Modern Horizons is almost here, and every day we’re inching closer to the full set. Quite a few cards that have been spoiled so far have interesting implications for Modern, though the barrier to entry for new cards is quite high. Other than the obvious bombs, I think Modern Horizons provides many role-players and small upgrades. Let’s look at a few that have caught my eye.

Urza, Lord High Artificer

Here he is in all his glory. The original overpowered planeswalker has finally been immortalized as a creature. Urza, Lord High Artificer plays well with many cards, and likely will create a new artifact-based combo deck. You can play Urza alongside Sai, Master Thopterist plus Mox Opals and Mox Ambers. Couple that with Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek for infinite life and mana, and the deck nearly builds itself. This is probably the most uniquely powerful card we’ve seen from this set so far.

Modern Power Level: A+
Nostalgia Power Level: A+

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

Similar to Urza, Lord High Artificer, Yawgmoth also appears on a new card as a four-mana creature. Yawgmoth, Thran Physician might not be as powerful as his nemesis, but I do think there is an obvious place for him in Modern. Humans won Mythic Championship II London and I think Yawgmoth, Thran Physician can slot in as the high-powered four-drop of choice. This card can wreak havoc in any creature matchup. And if you can remake the Humans manabase to enable the proliferate ability, it will do great work alongside Thalia’s Lieutenant’s +1+1 counters.

Modern Power Level: B-
Nostalgia Power Level: B+

Archmage’s Charm

Archmage’s Charm has been hotly debated among the members of Team Nova. I don’t think this card is absurd by any means, but modal spells are typically underrated. Instant-speed Divination and Cancel are pretty fair. The most underrated of the three abilities, and the one that really makes this card unique, is the gain control of target non-land permanent with converted mana cost one or less. Control decks haven’t really had access to this sort of effect outside narrow cards like Threads of Disloyalty. I don’t see this becoming a staple, or even an auto-include, but it’s a nice tool to have access to.

Modern Power Level: C+
Nostalgia Power Level: F


I don’t believe that Genesis will have an impact on Modern, but I do remember the Golgari Rock decks of Extended using this card to create a sort of inevitability. This may not be the best option for GBx decks, but I could see a copy showing up for mirror matches or against something like Mardu Pyromancer. This seems like mostly an irrelevant nostalgia reprint, but I can dream.

Modern Power Level: D+
Nostalgia Power Level: A


Unearth isn’t a card I have any experience with in Legacy, but I have tried many times to play Claim // Fame. I could see this coming into play in some sort of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy deck like Grixis or Esper Control. If Death’s Shadow decks weren’t completely unplayable right now, I’d say that this might have a place there. If Unearth manages to break into Modern, it will only be in very fringe circumstances or unplayable decks.

Modern Power Level: C-
Nostalgia Power Level: C+

Scale Up

I’ve heard talk of Scale Up helping Infect, and boy do I love Infect. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will solve any of the core consistency issues of the Infect strategy. The deck might want two or three copies of Scale Up, but I don’t expect it to make any revolutionary changes to Infect at its core other than a minor power upgrade and a higher chance for turn two nonsense.

Modern Power Level: C
Nostalgia Power Level: F

Wrenn and Six

Finally, we have a legitimately playable two-mana planeswalker. Wrenn and Six is awesome and the card will likely have a big impact on Legacy Lands. I’ve heard rumblings of it finding a place in Modern Titanshift, as well. Where I really want this card to find a place is back in 2012 Modern when the Aggro Loam deck existed. It would be awesome if something like Aggro Loam could find a place in Modern again, as it’s a more fun version of the grindy GBx decks we see today. There is something special about casting Life from the Loam for three lands with a Seismic Assault in play. Unfortunately for Aggro Loam, it’s more than likely a significantly worse version of Dredge.

Modern Power Level: B
Nostalgia Power Level: B (a pleasant reminder that Aggro Loam was a deck)

Horizon Canopy Cycle

They finally did it. Young Brad once asked his peers if they were ever going to finish or print more of the cycle of Horizon Canopy lands. Well, with the arrival of Modern Horizons come five new Horizon Canopies. I expect almost all of these enemy-colored Canopies to find a slot somewhere. GBx decks would love to get their hands on the painland for an extra draw in the late game. Both Infect and Storm get a nice boost from the Izzet and Simic lands.

But Burn is the deck that benefits the most from these. You hardly ever care about your own life total, and there are so many times where burn ends up one card short of victory. The Izzet and Boros canopies will deliver those final points of damage more often than not.

Modern Power Level: A+
Nostalgia Power Level: A (we’ve waited a long time for these)

I really like what Wizards has done with this set so far, and I’m excited to see how these cards change the stale Modern metagame. They’ve pushed their creativity to another level. So far they’ve included a lot of fixed versions of cards people wanted and really hit us hard in the nostalgia department. Most of the powerful cards from yesteryear will fall flat, but at least they’ll be fun in Limited.

You can find Brad Carpenter on Twitter and Twitch.

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