Spoiler season is one of the most exciting parts of new sets, and Modern Horizons sets are my personal favorite. Modern Horizons had a profound impact on Modern, and Modern Horizons 2 seeks to repeat that success. Curating this list down to just 10 cards proved to be difficult, which is a great sign for the strength of Modern Horizons 2. Let’s dive right in!
For years, the biggest thing separating Modern from Legacy has been a lack of powerful cantrips. Abundant Harvest closes that gap a little bit, and funnily enough, it’s a green card that may end up being the best cantrip in Modern.
While Abundant Harvest doesn’t give you the selection options that Serum Visions or Sleight of Hand will, it will always give you what you’re looking for, provided you aren’t picky. Abundant Harvest is great at fixing hands that may be skewed too far in the direction of either lands or spells.
We may also see decks that previously wanted about 24 lands start to move closer to 22. Now, Abundant Harvest can find you a land in the early parts of the game, but it’s also guaranteed to find a spell if you happen to have enough lands already. This removes a lot of the fail cases of traditional cantrips.
Abundant Harvest should have an easy time finding a home in green midrange decks that have a relatively flat power level across their spells. Jund comes to mind, but it will also likely find success if Shardless Agent midrange decks keep popping up.
Damn indeed. It is rare that a better Wrath of God gets printed, never mind one that is this much better. Historically, the issue with Wrath of God has been that you may just die before you can cast it; Damn solves that problem neatly by also being a two-mana removal spell.
While you need to be in Orzhov colors to maximize this card, it’s not a requirement. If you’re not playing black, you still get a Wrath of God that gets around cards like Gaddock Teeg and Disdainful Stroke.
Esper decks also gain another powerful three-mana planeswalker with Dakkon, Shadow Slayer. On turn three, Dakkon can cleanly answer creatures that came down before it. But a three-mana removal spell that can also provide card advantage deserves special consideration.
Dakkon’s power becomes even more evident when you compare it to other three-mana planeswalkers in Modern. Kaya, Orzhov Usurper has seen small amounts of play, but her minus ability is much more restrictive than Dakkon’s. And with a +1 ability of surveil 2, I imagine Dakkon will be the go-to option between the two. The more difficult decision for Esper decks will be choosing how to split your copies of Dakkon and Teferi, Time Raveler. Both interact with the board, and Teferi has the more powerful static effect, but Dakkon scales much better as the game goes on.
I’d expect to see Dakkon make appearances in Esper control shells, as well as Esper Stoneblade, should that deck become popular.
General Ferrous Rokiric was one of the first cards that I saw from Modern Horizons 2 that really wowed me. “Hexproof from monocolored” helps mitigate his one toughness by dodging nearly all the prominent removal spells in Modern. Untapping with Rokiric should be rather easy, and incredibly punishing for your opponent.
Manamorphose was the first place I looked in order to try and break Rokiric, but it got so much better with the reveal of Shardless Agent. As Domain Zoo started to come together with Scion of Draco and Territorial Kavu, the home for General Ferrous Rokiric became clear. Bloodbraid Elf and Shardless Agent also play quite well with Rokiric, often making two 4/4’s apiece.
Endurance is the first of the evoke creature cycle to make the list (but it won’t be the last!). Modern Horizons 2 has a reanimation theme, and it is entirely possible that graveyard decks begin to pop up again. The most likely of those decks seems to be Vengevine — or maybe even Dredge — and Endurance gives green players some much-appreciated protection from those strategies.
Endurance is the most castable card of the cycle, which is nice — if your opponent stumbles a bit, or you have another piece of interaction, you can easily cast Endurance to save yourself a card. A 3/4 with flash and reach is nothing to scoff at for three mana, either, and it’ll help lock up games after you’ve hamstrung your opponent.
Persist is one of, if not the best reanimation spells in Modern, and it even comes with a pal, Unmarked Grave. Now, the traditional Reanimator win conditions such as Griselbrand won’t work, but don’t worry — we have both combo-oriented and value targets to work with.
Protean Hulk is likely to be the premier combo option. There are a variety of paths you can take, most of which will involve Protean Hulk + Body Double + Reveillark. Value-oriented Persists will likely end up picking up Sire of Insanity, or another Modern Horizons 2 bomb, Archon of Cruelty. Even if you opt for a fair game plan, you’ll be ending the game in short order while restricting your opponent’s ability to fight back.
Dauthi Voidwalker will play a large role in black midrange decks. Decks like Dredge that have historically dominated those match-ups in Game One, so a main deck source of graveyard hate is always welcome. Graveyard hate tends to come at a cost in Modern, with the exception of Scavenging Ooze; it disrupts the opponent, but doesn’t provide any pressure. Thankfully, Dauthi Voidwalker does both. A 3/2 with shadow will clock your opponent rather quickly if you can provide any backup.
Graveyard hate usually comes at the cost of being incredibly narrow, and thus not useful in other match-ups. However, Dauthi Voidwalker‘s ability to sacrifice itself to cast anything with a void counter on it plays very well with discard and removal spells. To top it all off, because it’s a two mana creature, you can even bring it back from your graveyard with Lurrus of the Dream-Den!
Kaldra Compleat is the second (and much angrier) coming of Batterskull. Stoneforge Mystic pilots must be thrilled to see this one! A 5/5 creature with haste and indestructible that exiles blockers is going to end the game FAST if you put it into play with Stoneforge Mystic.
While I doubt Kaldra Compleat will replace Batterskull as the de facto living weapon Equipment, I do think it will find a solid home alongside it. The only real downside to Kaldra Compleat is the hefty seven-mana equip cost, should the Germ get removed. But cards like Kolaghan’s Command are a non-factor when both the germ and Kaldra Compleat can just shrug it off. I could also see Eldrazi Tron and builds of Mono-Green Tron playing a copy in their sideboard to get with Karn, the Great Creator.
Solitude is just…wow. Swords to Plowshares on a 3/2 with flash and lifelink is a very powerful effect at face value. But Solitude manages to get even more powerful by being part of the evoke cycle, and its ability allows it to stymie an aggressive start out of your opponent. We can do even better by pairing Solitude with Ephemerate, Restoration Angel and Yorion, Sky Nomad; you can get multiple removal spells out of the same body and even cheat the creature portion into play. Death and Taxes, Azorius Control, and Stoneblade variants should all be looking to find a spot for Solitude in their lists, as it can dismantle some powerful starts out of Prowess, Zoo, and Death’s Shadow.
Even with the murderer’s row of competition we’ve seen so far, I believe that Grief will emerge as the best card in Modern Horizons 2. Historically, one of the issues in Modern has been that combo decks are too fast and interaction is too slow, and Grief helps mitigate it perfectly. Now, you can shred your opponent’s hand multiple times on turn one, either by evoking Grief and casting a discard spell or by pairing it with cards like Ephemerate or Malakir Rebirth. You may end up down some cards on the exchange, but Modern combo decks are fragile enough that it may still work out in your favor.
Grief also is just a reasonable play on turn four as a tempo-positive discard spell, and that just hasn’t existed in Modern until now. I would expect to see Grief out of decks such as Jund, Death’s Shadow variants, Orzhov Taxes, and possibly even black-based combo or Reanimator decks.
Wow, I sure am excited to get to battle with all of these cards and more once Modern Horizons 2 releases. I always love to see new Modern cards — they give everyone room to explore and try new strategies, or even new cards in their favorite decks. I know I’ll be on the lookout for new ideas in the coming weeks, so if any cards that stand out for you, be sure to let me know on Twitter at @Rappaciousone! Until next time, stay safe, and enjoy battling!
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.