Modern Horizons 2 previews continue to pour in. My half-baked reactions continue as well. You can read my first round of impressions, or just plow ahead into this week’s collection of callbacks and reprints.

Let’s start with something a little bit outside the box:

If you can eat a Granite Gargoyle—not a simple task—then perhaps you can pronounce the name of this card. Gisa and Geralf have a new friend among the club of legendary creatures first introduced through flavor text. I hope you never try to pronounce this card name, but you could set up a series of prop bets during your draft on who can say it fastest or slowest or spell it out or whatever other nonsense you want.

But wait, what happened to the mana cost? Is it hiding behind some extraneous letters? (No.)

Arcbound Mouser seems sweet to me. Lifelink is perennially underrated, and with modular shenanigans this kitty can Enlarge to Become Immense. You can tell white is the weakest color in Magic these days by loading up the preview pages, where you’ll see many fewer white cards revealed so far compared to the broken colors (Blue and Green) and still trailing the mediocre colors (Black and Red) too.

Speaking of blue powerhouses, I really like the look of Suspend. Overpowered mechanic turned into Swords to Plowshares without the life boost. In any tempo deck worthy of the name, this card removes a creature permanently. You can also target your own creature, to save it from removal, “phase out” while you Upheaval the board, or set up another triggered ability when it comes back. But you probably want to use this to clear blockers for your Infect deck.

Another mechanic made into a card. Persist offers a fun new take on Animate Dead, as a sorcery instead of an awkward aura. In case you need a translation into English (which hasn’t been previewed yet), it says “Target a non-legendary creature in your graveyard. Return it to the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter on it.” You know, like the mechanic persist. Too bad for Griselbrand and Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. Works well with Fulminator Mage, though.

I loved Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer as the companion to Kari Zev, Skyship Raider. Now I wonder what happens if you attack with new Ragavan and Kari Zev side-by-side. Old Ragavan mostly got two free damage in, or made them waste a good blocker on a creature that would die anyway.

Now you have a hasty surprise version of Nightveil Specter—one of the coolest cards ever—plus bonus mana to cast their cards off the treasure to you make. Ragavan won’t let you stockpile the cards for later, and you can’t play their lands, but who cares! You paid one or two mana for this effect and got a mana back on the hit. Incredible card with incredible flavor and history behind it.

Why not? Exalted isn’t just for Bant anymore. Not that anyone wants to play Jund colors in Modern, or any format really, but now you have the option. Ignoble Hierarch is also a goblin, but it can’t power up your Jund Hackblade. Well, it can still exalt your Jund Hackblade, but you know what I mean.

Now here is a sweet modular creature. Are we being compensated for the banning of Mox Opal by getting a bunch of powerful cheap artifacts? Did they preemptively ban Mox Opal to make room for more artifact lands?

Does Zabaz secretly do more work than Arcbound Ravager? No, because you have to pay mana to destroy your own artifacts for modular value. Nothing beats free always-on sacrifice outlets. Still, Zabaz will beat a lot of cards over its life in the format. Does it replace cards like Bomat Courier or Gingerbrute? Even if it doesn’t, it’s still The Glimmerwasp, and nobody can take that away from it.

Oh look, new artifact lands! Time to discover how useless always-tapped dual lands can be in eternal formats. I’m not sure what deck actually wants these. Maybe Disciple of the Vault will finally return to playability, though I have a feeling the most useful part of these lands will be that you can fetch a land off an artifact tutor effect. That could get a couple copies into some decks. And thankfully this cycle is indestructible, so you can’t get Smelt Rained or Ingot Chewered on turn one.

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

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