I’m of mixed minds about Modern Horizons. I don’t love the precedent it sets for being able to “upend” Modern at any time, and I don’t love that it could produce a number of never-printed-before cards that every Modern player suddenly needs to have.
That said, the set will exist regardless of my opinion about it … so I may as well hope for some goodies!
It’s been quite awhile since I played my first and favorite Modern deck, Izzet Delver. But I would totally pick it up again if Modern Horizons delivers any or all of the pre-existing cards below.
Let’s start with one of my favorite cards, which already got introduced to a new format last year:
Fire // Ice
Fire // Ice found its way into Pauper via Ultimate Masters, and I’m hoping it will also find its way into Modern via Modern Horizons.
While Fire // Ice isn’t a strict upgrade to Turn // Burn (which yes, I play), it’s close enough to count. Fire provides an effect that I’ve gone out of my way to include in previous iterations of Izzet Delver (Forked Bolt says hi), while Ice performs Turn // Burn’s primary function: dealing with the large creatures that Lightning Bolt can’t handle.
Many Pauper Izzet Delver decks are playing one or two Fire // Ice, and I think that’s how many I’d play in Modern as well. The card is just flexible enough to earn a main deck slot or two.
Let me tell you a story.
I’m playing Izzet Delver, and my opponent is playing Tron. They’ve just played their fourth land, an Urza’s Tower that gives them access to ten mana.
Imagine how much better that sequence goes (for me, obviously) if I’m playing Counterspell instead of Mana Leak. I can counter the opponent’s Karn, play my own fourth land, and (with luck) use Snapcaster + Counterspell to take out their next threat, too.
Mana Leak is a liability in quite a few match-ups, including Tron, Jund, and Scapeshift. By the late game, Leak just does not do enough against those decks. And while counterspells, as a card type, are not great in Modern (play Thoughtseize instead), Counterspell would give Izzet Delver a big boost.
Okay, I realize I’m now asking for quite a lot. Daze is not a particularly “modern” Magic card. It has a bizarre alternate casting cost that would likely never be found in a newly-Standard-legal Magic set. It is a free spell that would be joining a format where, historically, Wizards of the Coast bans free spells.
I do think there’s an actual chance we could get Daze in Modern Horizons. Modern’s land destruction package is nowhere near as good as Legacy’s, so Daze’s one-mana tax would have less effect in Modern than in Legacy. And the fact that Modern players would be bouncing Steam Vents, rather than Volcanic Island, means Daze’s alternate casting cost would grow steeper than it already is.
Still, if I had to bet, I’d bet against Daze becoming Modern legal. The card is just plain odd, and I’m not sure Wizards wants to give Modern players access to Daze’s effect. Also, I think Wizards might just want to maintain a larger separation between Modern and Legacy’s counterspell suites.
I’d really love to have a reason to tinker with Izzet Delver again, so I’m hoping that Wizards included some (or heck, all) of these cards in Modern Horizons!
I know a lot of you have a Modern deck that you think is “almost there” as well, and you’re looking for some Modern Horizons cards to put that deck over the top. Feel free to leave your own Horizons hopes and dreams in the comments below, or to join me in ranting about how the product seems likely to exacerbate Modern’s existing financial pressure points!