Howdy! It’s been a while, but I can’t resist the siren’s call of Modern Horizons 2 preview season. The original Modern Horizons was tons of fun to draft, with plenty of value cards to collect or trade away. I hope I get the chance to draft the new horizons, and that it is even half as fun to play as the original format.

The early spoilers are full of nostalgic callbacks and purchase-inducing rares and mythics. In case you missed them in the frenzy of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms preview season, I’ve got you covered. Stay awhile and listen.

I first heard the name Dakkon Blackblade in my high school lunchroom, whispered in reverence, among the poor young souls congregated there. Many of us were introduced to Magic in the fall of 1994, just in time to struggle to acquire the awesome cards from Legends. (I managed to buy and crack one pack—my rare was Akron Legionnaire, an absolutely horrible card.) While I can’t be too sure, Dakkon might have been the first named Magic character I ever heard about. It was either Dakkon or the even-more-legendary Tetsuo Umezawa; the first novel Arena would hit shelves a month or two later.

Kids these days get many more opportunities to get to know the burgeoning legendary cast of Magic. I hope some of them fall in love with Dakkon, Shadow Slayer, and that they can actually crack a copy in packs that are still in print. Sealed packs of The Dark had already become scarce by the time I discovered the morning scrum of trades and duels in the mostly-empty lunch room as a freshman all those years ago. Then again, packs of Modern Horizons 2 may fall outside the budgets of teenage Magic fiends, or be in short supply. Let’s hope not.

Eternal Dragon is more timeless than an eternalized version, but Timeless Dragon still hits the nostalgia bone good and hard. Games featuring Timeless Dragon will end sooner than ones full of Eternal Dragon shenanigans. Most games these days do. We don’t play super long-game looping prison decks anymore, do we? Stock up on Runed Halos while you still can!

What if Modern Merfolk could play Rishadan Port? I guess we’ll find out. You don’t need Wasteland to interact with Rishadan Dockhand, and it has fewer abilities than Deathrite Shaman, so it can’t be too oppressive. Right?

Speaking of lands getting tapped during upkeep steps, meet the latest iteration of multi-type lands. Dryad Arbor and Seat of the Synod never hurt anybody. Neither did Mox Opal, which should never have been banned in Modern. Hashtag unban Mox Opal. I am Urza, Lord High Artificer, and I approve this message.

This land strikes me as more of a Vintage card than a Modern one, but I wouldn’t bet against it becoming a multi-format all star. If nothing else, it joins the hidden cycle of cards that share names with expansion sets. Apocalypse was the one I loved back in the days before Apocalypse was a set. I don’t think I ever cast it, but I’ve cast my fair share of Time Spirals. Conspiracy wins the award for least connection between the card and set, and Visions wins the Healing Salve award for bringing up the rear—at least Prophecy is a cantrip, and Morningtide is better than Mudhole.

When I saw the name of this card, I wondered if it would have a static effect from the graveyard. Grief does not hearken back to the cycle that brought us Filth back in Judgment. (Anger, Brawn, and Wonder remain relevant today, while Glory was forgotten long ago.) Instead, Grief riffs on some real powerhouses: Thoughtseize and Cabal Therapy. Sounds good to me.

You will feel Grief when your opponent drops Marsh Flats on turn one, fetches, exiles Profane Tutor, evokes Grief, then casts Ephemerate to flicker a 3/2 menace and a second discard trigger. At least that requires four cards and putting white mana in your deck, two unreliable paths to victory. And you can still draw Urza’s Tower or Karn Liberated off the top of your deck.

Yes, please. Modular Flametongue Kavu may be hard to splash, but Modern has always had a way of getting mountains into play. The real comparison here is probably Ember Hauler, which can go to the face, but Flametongue Yearling kills Eidolon of the Great Revel more effectively in the mirror match. Do Magic players still use sideboards? Do they have room for both cards? Do you have your stack of Arabian Nights Mountains to cast them all in style?

Trample over planeswalkers? Don’t mind if I do. You probably want to play Questing Beast instead of whatever deck this goes in, but I bet Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar does some good work against Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Counterspell. I don’t know if Thrasta will end up actually seeing play in Modern, but I like its style.

Finally, a cheap artifact to fetch with the final stage of Urza’s Saga! Too bad you can’t pitch it to Force of Negation—now available in old border. You can’t pitch Brainstone to Grief either. Maybe your opponent will do it for you.

Carrie O’Hara is Editor-in-Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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