MH1 Spoiler Season in Retrospect

Modern Horizons spoilers continue to throw all sense of direction out the window with each passing day. The first card that was leaked from the set was Flusterstorm, tossing everything I was speculating about Horizons into disarray. Then, on that magical first morning of spoiler season, we got hit with full-art Snow basics and Force of Negation, answering handily the question as to whether or not Force of Will was going to become Modern legal.

I actually would like to take a moment to appreciate the full-art Snow basics, with absolutely beautiful illustrations by Titus Lunter. Titus Lunter is one of, if not my favorite artist for Magic: the Gathering, his first pieces of artwork appearing in Khans of Tarkir, where he illustrated the basic lands for Temur, as pictured below.

Setting my love of Temur aside, these artworks are simply stunning. It’s on my short list to write an Artist Spotlight for Titus Lunter so I won’t drag on, but the Snow-Covered lands have a very similar feel that makes me feel at home with my very own full-art Temur lands.

On day 2, they dropped the mother of all tribal Commanders, ensuring every tribe ever will have a loving Commander to call “papa” at the end of the day, and Fist of Suns simultaneously got a whole lot better.

Not only does this card have really sweet design as a catch-all tribal Commander, it feels like they purposely made this unplayable in Modern, which I’ve heard quite a few people complain about, but I for one am thankful that Humans and Slivers didn’t get a busted lord past what they’re already getting for the set. I’m happy sharing Modern Horizons with Commander players if it means we can also get more powerful cards in Commander.

Just as we were getting warmed up to the idea of what this set could be like, we received one of the most splendid gifts of all, the enemy cycle of the poetically named ‘Horizon Lands’.

Poetically named of course after both the set Modern Horizons, and the only previously existing member of this cycle, Horizon Canopy. These I believe are a vastly underestimated tool that will help fair decks a lot in the coming Modern meta.

But holy sunbaked potatoes, that was only the beginning. Without even the courtesy of a warning shot, Wizards of the Coast let loose the goose and printed Nimble Mongoose into Modern. Not only that, but the mad folk working at Wizards printed tribal bear support.

They gave us a Legendary Bear, that’s a bear. Goreclaw is fun an all, but I much prefer the queen of all bears. Let’s be honest though, bear tribal isn’t going to be making any big showings in Modern any time soon. There is a tribe in this set however that’s giving Humans a run for its money.

As much as I hate to say it, it was only a matter of time before Slivers made a comeback. I’m just glad they’re only going to be tainting a Masters set’s limited environment rather than an entire Standard season. Joking aside however, these little meat-hooks hold a very special place in most Magic player’s hearts, whether it’s a location filled with love and compassion or a location filled with rage and anguish is up to the individual, but it’s going to be very cool to see if these guys can stand up to Modern’s expectations.

Also, let’s thank our lucky stars that they returned to the traditional meat-hook Sliver design, rather than going back to the Predator-esque look they had in the core sets a few years back. They just didn’t feel the same.

The gifts of spoils kept coming, and each day continued to be pleasant surprise.

Thought the number crunch on the Mythic Rares of the set has ruled out the remainder of the Sword cycle, we are now but three Swords away from having all ten, a cycle that was begun over 15 years ago. The only three left is White/Green, Blue/Black, and Red/Green, then the cycle will be complete. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get a Return to New Phyrexia set that features them, along with the long awaited Fortify mechanic from Future Sight.

Wrenn and Six is definitely one of the stranger planeswalkers they have printed. Wrenn is the older woman in front, and Six is the mech-like treefolk that is symbiotically fused to it, which Wrenn controls gundam-style. Now that we understand what it is exactly we are looking at, this card’s design gets me excited in ways I haven’t felt since I first started paying attention to Modern. His first ability can buyback fetch lands, or even the Onslaught cycle lands that were spoiled, essentially drawing you an extra card every turn. His second ability being able to Flame Jab any target can be huge, giving Lightning Bolt reach against Crackling Drake while killing most threats in Humans.

Kess is more of a pleasant surprise than anything, this being the first time she has been printed in non-foil, ending the headache of many judges as they no longer have to answer judge calls about warped Kess’ being a marked card.

I was originally going to be doing one of the generic “Top 10 Most Impactful Cards for Modern” article, but I couldn’t even narrow it down to a list of 20. I seriously underestimated just how awesome this set was going to be and am left feeling unprepared for all the brewing there is to be done in both Modern and Commander post-release.

Hexdrinker is looking to be one of the more potent threats for green, taking up the mantle that Tarmogoyf is handing it. Yawgmoth gives mono-black an infinite combo with creatures with Undying and Zulaport Cutthroat. Echo of Eons is literally going to be a Time Twister in some situations. Throes of Chaos is one of the most interesting card designs I’ve seen on a black border card being the most impactful do-nothing card I’ve seen. Serra is threatening to put B/W Tokens back on the menu.

There’s only two days of spoilers left, but this set has certainly shown its quality.

The very highest.

A reason in part I was able to get so excited for this set is the beautiful way that they paced the spoilers. Each day they would spoil a Rare or Mythic Rare with Uncommons that supported it and Commons that supported the previous day’s spoilers. With the season staying for the most part leak free, Wizards was able to entirely encapsulate my attention, keeping me on the edge of my seat, constantly checking for new spoilers.

With the season coming to a close, Game Grid is one week away from our Modern Horizons pre-release, and while our seating hasn’t filled up, our pre-order boxes are coming to an end. To make sure you have the opportunity to play and draft this set, I highly suggest following this link to preregister for our events, as well as get your name down for your own booster box. Modern Horizons is truly going to be a legendary set, and it’s made me feel like I’m eight years old again, waiting through the week leading up to Christmas.