Yesterday Wizards of the Coast announced an unprecedented new set. Modern Horizons will be the first set to print new cards directly into Modern without going through Standard. That opens a ton of space for R&D to experiment with the Modern metagame, even if they stay away from cards banned or restricted in eternal formats.

So how will Modern Horizons break the format? Let us count the ways.

#10—Dark Ritual

You know, they could reprint Tendrils of Agony into Modern. Storm cards sell, and with the general ban on designing new cards with the Storm mechanic, R&D has to find places to feed that dragon somewhere. There’s absolutely no point in bringing Tendrils to Modern without Dark Ritual joining the party, however.

Black mana acceleration is a big source of eternal Magic power that has been excluded from the Modern metagame while also being too broken to reprint in Standard. Dark Ritual would add another way to lose to Chalice of the Void, and that’s exactly the sort of format diversity Modern is hungering for.

#9—Fireblast

Have you ever met a burn player?

#8—Psychatog

Is Psychatog even good anymore? Do they know things? Let’s find out! If you love both Dredge and Ad Nauseam, why not jam them into one deck? You can put all your eggs in two baskets that are also one basket. If that’s not broken, what is? If nothing else, Psychatog is good against Lantern Control.

Seriously though, it would be interesting to see if Psychatog can compete with cards like Gurmag Angler and Monastery Swiftspear. Creatures are a lot better these days. Still, Ancestral Vision got unbanned, and there’s always the temptation to make Visions of Beyond Modern-playable. Can Shelldock Isle be far behind? Forget Modern, let’s bust out the cube.

#7—Thawing Glaciers

Just kidding! Thawing Glaciers is on the Reserved List and cannot be reprinted. We really dodged a bullet there.

#6—Anaba Spirit Crafter

Modern Horizons is a perfect opportunity to shore up the Minotaurs deck. Heartless Summoning will finally be a thing. That’s the extra twist with Anaba Spirit Crafter: you get full value on the two-mana discount. It’s surprisingly hard to find playable Minotaurs that have more than one generic mana in their costs. (Barging Sergeant helped a lot.) But have you ever tried to play Heartless Summoning and Boros Reckoner in the same deck? No, you haven’t.

Not yet, at least.

#5—Exploration

Exploration is fair game for Modern Horizons. Assault Loam could use a boost. Maybe Scapeshift decks can finally be fast enough to not suck. As an added bonus, Lotus Cobra can finally get its own speculative bubble. We already let Tron lands exist in Modern, and it’s hard to see how Exploration could be any more broken than turn three Karn Liberated.

After all, it’s not like they are going to put Wasteland into Modern Horizons. That’s never going to happen. You’ll probably get the same effect from a second Ghost Quarter anyway, since nobody plays basics in Modern.

#4—Land Tax

Speaking of broken decks full of lands, have you met Land Tax? Think of all those sweet basics you can tutor up each turn. Maybe they’ll reprint Foil to give you something to do with the tenth Island in your deck. Remember when they unbanned Land Tax in Legacy and everything went crazy? Get used to holding up Spell Pierce on turn one!

Yesterday Emma suggested Sanctum Prelate, and that would be a great friend to Land Tax. Mono-white taxes never quite gets there in Modern, but that could change. Karakas could also find its way into the set. Are there any other famous white cards in that category?

#3—Fact or Fiction

So there are a lot of good blue cards that could find their way into Modern Horizons. Force of Will would be a huge deal, but R&D will probably test the manaless counter waters with Foil or Daze before moving on to the hard stuff. Gush and Mind’s Desire seem a little too good, being banned in Legacy and all. Leave the Gush nonsense for Pauper! And Brainstorm feels a bit too much like a “Legacy-defining card” to slide up into Modern.

Fact or Fiction hits the sweet spot. It’s still broken, but it looks slow. That’s perfect for Modern, where it can partner with Cryptic Command to make opponents hate their lives after turn four.

#2—Shardless Agent

Shardless Agent cascades into Ancestral Vision. It also cascades into half the cards you’d play in the deck, but I’m sure people will figure out how to make it work. Free Tarmogoyfs sound reasonable. Cascade is serious value, and a three drop with Cascade is the best you can do. Electrodominance and Bloodbraid Elf have opened up these doors a little bit, but who wants to play red mana?

Sultai and Bant both seem like good homes for Shardless Agent in Modern. Could we see Edric, Spymaster of Trest included in Modern Horizons? Baleful Strix would also be a welcome addition to the format. Imagine if they use the set to port Shardless BUG into Modern. That would make a lot of people happy. But maybe Bant is better in Modern with the power of white sideboard cards? You’re playing Noble Hierarch either way.

#1—Elvish Spirit Guide

Imagine Modern with eight Lotus Petals. Players will be digging for second copies of powerful effects that straddle the Legacy/Modern divide, but what could be better than free mana? Elvish Spirit Guide frees the metagame from the brutal dominance of red. Green mana is so much more useful.

My ultimate dream is an unbeatable Gruul aggro deck with four copies of each spirit guide. Domri Rade is on the rise these days, so the flavor fits. Burning-Tree Emissary has been feeling lonely lately. Can you win off a turn one Blood Moon? Are you better off playing Dredge instead? I’d like to think the answer is no.

Brendan McNamara (Twitter: @brendanistan) is Editor in Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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