We are now deep into Modern Horizons preview season, and it’s shaping up to be a memorable set with echoes calling back to Time Spiral. Modern Horizons looks to shift the Modern landscape, powering up lower tier and tribal strategies and providing answers to the questions of the format. Expanding on Michael Rapp’s article from last week, I evaluate the latest previews from Modern Horizons and see where they fit best in current Modern landscape.

Continuing on with the “Force Cycle” we have the green variant. Force of Vigor provides a tremendous tempo play against linear artifact and enchantment strategies at the expense of two cards. There are many green-based Modern strategies that will be interested in adding this to their builds, with Amulet Titan coming to mind primarily. Force of Vigor provides an additional answer to Blood Moon, a problematic card for the big-mana archetype.

I could see Amulet Titan cutting basic Forests as Force of Vigor allows an additional answer to Blood Moon other than the Karn, the Great Creator and Mycosynth Lattice lock. By doing this, Amulet Titan has to potential to run more utility lands, which makes the toolbox theme more potent. The application doesn’t end there. As a Bogles pilot, I’m excited for Force of Vigor to answer Chalice of the Void and Ensnaring Bridge, though I fully expect my Daybreak Coronets to be destroyed by this card, too.

Important to note, Force of Vigor does not answer the Mycosynth Lattice/Karn, the Great Creator combination. Mycosynth Lattice changes all cards to colorless, which means the alternative cost can’t be met. Despite this, the cycle are elegantly designed, they are powerful independently but not to the extent where they can slot in most Modern strategies.

Force of Vigor and Force of Negation will impact Modern the most and will require plenty of playing around when it comes to post-sideboarded games. I expect to see Force of Vigor become a staple in green-based Modern strategies. It will be the premier artifact and enchantment removal in that color and meeting the criteria for the alternative cost shouldn’t be difficult to meet.

Plague Engineer may see play in Legacy as an answer the troublesome True-Name Nemesis, and it’s an exciting card for Modern. Plague Engineer takes inspiration from Engineered Plague from Urza’s Destiny, but it has an upside over its predecessor as the effect is one-sided. Plague Engineer is an excellent answer to tribal strategies such as Humans, Elves, and Goblins, with splash damage against Lingering Souls archetypes too. Although Plague Engineer may not be a complete blowout against Humans given how quick the board can develop, it provides a lifeline and the Deathtouch will be relevant in some cases.

Like its predecessor, the effect becomes greater in multiples; so I expect this to be featured in Creature Toolbox and G/B/x Midrange strategies if Modern Horizons encourage more tribal strategies. Plague Engineer is one of my favorite cards to come out of Modern Horizons so far, and I expect it to be an eternal all-star.

Modular cards have always been well-loved in Modern, with Cryptic Command and Kolgahan’s Command the prime examples. But what about Archmage’s Charm? It’s been confirmed by Wizard’s of the Coast that we won’t see Counterspell in Modern Horizons, but I really like the utility that Archmage’s Charm offers. Three mana to draw two cards is an exceptional rate if you choose not to hard-counter your opponent’s spell.

The last mode on Archmage’s Charm is shouldn’t be disregarded either as it targets plenty of threats the format currently presents. Despite being the weakest of the three, you can steal an Aether Vial, Amulet of Vigor, Hardened Scales, or even Death’s Shadow—all cards that will be played heavily in the coming months.

I expect to see Archmage’s Charm to crop up in small numbers in Azorius Control and Blue Moon lists, decks that can pay three blue mana. Alternatively, there could be a version of Azorius Control which doesn’t feature Field of Ruin to accommodate more copies of Archmage’s Charm; but alongside Dovin’s Veto and Force of Negation, there may not be room. With the emphasis on triple-mana spells in Modern Horizons, maybe it will give birth to a Mono-Blue Control or Tempo build alongside Vedalkan Shackles and Pteramander, or even could find a home in Merfolk. There’s plenty to like about Archmage’s Charm, and I expect it to see play in Modern soon.

There’s been plenty of focus on Planeswalkers with War of the Spark’s release with an emphasis on the power level of three mana Planeswalkers in Teferi, Time Raveler and Narset, Parter of Veils. How about two mana Planeswalkers? There has only been one other in Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded, which never amounted to anything. Wrenn and Six look to change that concept.

For two mana we get three loyalty that can be plussed outside of Lightning Bolt range immediately. Wrenn and Six’s plus ability draws a card, though it has to be a land. That means you want to play fetchlands to gain the most value from your graveyard. Additionally, Ghost Quarter, Blast Zone, and the newly previewed Horizon Canopy cycle lands benefit from the plus ability greatly. With this, I don’t think we are too far from an Assault Loam-style strategy featuring the two-mana Planeswalker and Living Twister.

The minus ability is also very relevant in Modern. There are so many powerful one-toughness creatures such as Snapcaster Mage, Thalia’s Lieutenant, Dark Confidant, and Noble Hierarch to pick off. You can answer early threats and replay your fetchlands, which also compliments incredibly well with Tireless Tracker—another means of turning lands into cards.

Wrenn and Six’s ultimate is powerful if the Planeswalker manages to stick around. Retrace is an excellent way of mitigating dead draws. Titanshift could be interested in Wrenn and Six as an additional route to re-cast Scapeshift, Explore, or Summoner’s Pact. With the rise of Azorius Control, Titanshift looks to be an excellent position in the coming months. The addition of Wrenn and Six looks to make it more potent. Azorius Control can’t deal with repeatable Scapeshifts, so it will be interesting to see where Scapeshift strategies line up in the next few months with the addition of this two-mana Planeswalker.

We are only halfway through preview season. I’m excited to see how Modern Horizons will shape up and if any new archetypes come to fruition. Who knows—Skred could become a top-tier strategy with the snow theme making a comeback. Don’t forget, our preview over at Turn One Thoughtseize goes live on the 28th! So keep your eyes peeled for the preview on our Twitter and you can subscribe to the Podcast here!

Emma is a writer and Modern enthusiast based in Suffolk, England. She has been involved in Magic since Khans of Tarkir’s release back in 2014, but won’t shy away from Cube and MTG Arena. Follow her on Twitter @emmmzyne to join in on the conversation!

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