What? Another Modern Horizons article already? You'd better believe it.
When we first talked about the set last week, I was flying by the seat of my pants with a massive amount of new information. Heck, we didn't even know how much the set would sell for! (The answer appears to be about $200/box, but with 36 packs/box instead of 24 packs/box like Masters sets. That comes out to roughly $5.50/pack for Modern Horizons.)
I still don't have any more hard facts about the contents of the set – we won't find that out until May – but I have had a lot more time to think about which cards might be reprinted in Modern Horizons. Not just a wish list of all the format-warping Legacy staples that have a shot at showing up, but the stuff that I actually expect to see reprinted.
This is important to figure out now, because possible Modern Horizons reprints like Baleful Strix have already begun to sell out and spike in price. And while some of the cards that show up in Modern Horizons will see their price tags fall, many will see a permanent increase in value while others will make for solid short-term specs.
One way or another, Modern Horizons will be the engine driving Magic Finance for the next couple of months, and I want to spend as much time as possible right now setting us up for success.
My goal today is to build ourselves a shopping list of potential Modern Horizons reprints. Not just the cards that might come back, but the ones that are likely to increase in value when they do. But first, let's talk about—
Cards That Are Too Powerful for Modern Horizons
Cards on this list aren't bad buys, necessarily. As with most things in Magic finance, any attention from the community is usually enough to cause a spike. For example, the previously mentioned Baleful Strix is up to $8 right now despite the fact that it would make for an absolutely miserable card to play against in Modern. No matter. If you bought in before the spike, you can sell your copies now at a reasonable profit.
On the other hand, I feel like this is the wrong list of cards to focus on. While one or two of them might sneak into Modern Horizons anyway, I'd rather not spend too much time buying cards that probably aren't going to be added to the Modern card pool.
How do I know that these cards aren't going to be in Modern Horizons? Well, the Wizards of the Coast crew have been very adamant about what they want this set to be: a way to impact Modern without turning the format on its head (or turning it into Legacy). Mark Rosewater also said that Modern Horizons has to adhere to the current color pie, so we're probably not going to see any of those wild early cards that seem to break nine different color pie rules at once.
Also, there has now been quite a bit of content produced on the potential reprints that may or may not be coming to Modern Horizons. I've already mentioned Emma Handy's great piece last week, but she wasn't alone – nearly every strategy site had at least one or two articles along these lines, not to mention the dozens of podcasts and Reddit threads out there. And while some of the analysis can be summarized as "I want Modern Horizons to have X because I want to play X in Modern," I've seen enough smart and measured takes to have developed a decent sense of what is possible and what is not.
At any rate, these are the cards that I don't think we'll be seeing in Modern Horizons, along with a few quick words on why:
Lands that generate two mana on Turn 1 aren't coming to Modern. Format-warping and bad.
Do we need a more powerful and less fun Blood Moon in the format? No. No, we do not.
This card basically blanks fair creature decks. It's certainly a more likely inclusion than Ancient Tomb or Back to Basics, but I'm putting it on this list since so many people seem to think it's a slam-dunk inclusion and I feel like it's far less likely.
It's the most-played card in Legacy. Just no.
This is closer to printable than it looks, primarily because we don't have Reanimate, Exhume, or Animate Dead in Modern, but I still can't see them printing a one-mana Entomb effect in a Modern-legal set. Expect an Entomb-alike for two or three mana.
This is another one that a lot of people are excited about, but too powerful and also one of the least fun cards to play against, thanks to the random discard element. I don't see it.
Artifacts that let you generate two mana on Turn 1 aren't coming to Modern, either. We've already got Mox Opal, please and thank you.
Modern Horizons was in R&D when Humans was dominating. This card would make that deck far better, and the rest of Modern less fun.
I've gone back and forth on this one, but ultimately I just think it's too powerful while also warping every green deck in the format around it.
A crime against the current color pie.
Ditto. If Wizards of the Coast is serious about maintaining the color pie, Sylvan Library doesn't belong anywhere near Modern.
Yeah, red's not getting a counterspell in this one. Sorry.
What's the opposite of fair and interactive? Oh right, it's this stupid card.
This would immediately become the best card in Modern, right? Yeah, we're not getting Wasteland.
It's okay to quibble with a few cards on this list. For example, I wouldn't be shocked to my core if Baleful Strix, Entomb, Mother of Runes, or Natural Order ended up being one of the set's headliners. I just don't think that any of these cards are likely, and I'd rather move on with our day.
Possible Inclusions That Are Already Too Expensive
Plenty of the cards that are reprinted in Modern Horizons are going to increase in value. I know that idea is a bit counter-intuitive – the entire Magic finance subreddit seems convinced that all the Modern Horizons reprints are going to tank in price – but they're wrong. See, if the increase in demand for a card will massively outstrip the increase in supply, the price will go up.
To use a recent example, Jace, the Mind Sculptor is currently $120. Before it was unbanned in Modern, though, you could pick them up for around $70. Even though the unban was announced at roughly the same time as the Masters 25 reprint, the card still more than doubled in price to $150 for a couple of weeks, and it still hasn't dropped anywhere near its pre-unban price. Demand caused by addition of Jace to the Modern card pool was more than enough to counteract the additional copies that entered the market thanks to Masters 25.
Problem is, not every card will be like Jace. Some cards are going to drop in price if they're reprinted in Modern Horizons, despite seeing an increase in demand.
How will this happen? Let's use Recruiter of the Guard as an example. Currently, Recruiter of the Guard is $26. It's expensive primarily because it has only been printed once, in Conspiracy: Take the Crown. It has also been printed recently enough that we can safely assume there won't be a rarity upshift in Modern Horizons; if it shows up in the set, it'll be at rare, not mythic rare.
A set with $5-$6 booster packs can certainly sustain a couple of $25 rares, but will Recruiter of the Guard be one of them? I'm guessing not. It would probably see some fringe play in Modern, but it wouldn't immediately become a Tier 1 staple or a multi-deck all-star. And even if I'm wrong and Recruiter of the Guard does end up sticking around in the $25 range…hooray? You have to pay $26 to buy in now, which means that the card would have to end up at $40+ for it to be a lucrative spec. That's not going to happen, so I can't recommend buying in now.
A few other cards in the same boat:
- Council's Judgment - $22. I love this one for Modern Horizons, but $20 is pretty steep. I can see it maintaining this price, but there's no upside here.
- Force of Will - $120. The elephant in the room. I doubt that Force of Will shows up in Modern Horizons because of the whole "we don't want to turn Modern on its head" thing, but I also don't think it's actually too powerful for the format and might actually be good for it. Either way, it's a bit of a long shot, and buying in at $120 doesn't feel great regardless. I have to believe that this will be the Buy-A-Box promo if they do bring it back, which would certainly keep the price down. You're only winning on this gamble if Force of Will is in the set and it isn't the promo. I don't like those odds.
- Sterling Grove - $15. Here's another card that was only printed once, and its price is already inflated due to casual interest. I can see Sterling Grove showing up in the set at rare, but it would probably end up closer to the $10 range than $20+.
- Toxic Deluge - $30. Toxic Deluge might be too powerful for Modern regardless, and I debated putting it on the list below. Needless to say, I can't see this one being a $50+ card unless it's reprinted at mythic rare, which is super-unlikely.
Uncommons and Commons Under Foil Consideration
Odds are, many of the most impactful reprints in Modern Horizons aren't going to be rares. For example, Carrion Feeder is one reprint I've keeping a close eye on. It's a completely fair card that I can imagine quite a few Modern decks wanting as a cheap sacrifice outlet, and it's the exact sort of card that I'm sure Wizards of the Coast had in mind when making this set.
On the other hand, Carrion Feeder is a common. Even if it sees a ton of play in Modern going forward, it's probably not going to spike past the $2 mark. And since the card is already selling for about two bucks, there's no reason to buy in now.
On the other hand, foil copies of Carrion Feeder seems like a pretty great spec to me right now. Eternal Masters foils are just $2 – same as the non-foil price – and original Scourge copies are just $5. If Carrion Feeder is reprinted in Modern Horizons, those prices will more than double. If it becomes a Modern staple, we're looking at an increase of four to five times current value at least.
Foil Carrion Feeder is a great buy right now, but here are a few others I'm keeping an eye on:
- Counterspell - $2. The only issue here is that Counterspell is so obvious that most of the neat foil copies have already spiked. Darn!
- Daze - $3.50. Daze is a little too borderline for me in terms of being overpowered, and I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up not being in the set. That said, the Eternal Masters foil isn't a bad buy at $10, and the gorgeous Masterpiece copy would double at least if you could play with it in Modern.
- Fact or Fiction - $1. I'm probably not in on generic foil copies of Fact or Fiction, since there's a From the Vault copy that's easy to snag for $2.50. Old-bordered Invasion copies are just $35, though, and they're vanishingly rare. If Fact or Fiction shows up in Modern, that's a $100 foil all day.
- Goblin Bombardment - $5. There actually is an old-bordered foil copy of Goblin Bombardment, despite it being a card from Tempest! It's an FNM foil, and it's $30 if you can find it. Goblin Bombardment would likely drop to the $2 range upon reprint, but the foil would probably end up at $50 eventually.
- Goblin Ringleader - $1.50. The value play here is the FNM foil, which is just $3. That said, Invasion block foils are just super hard to find and the old-bordered version sells for just $10 right now. Both would double at least upon reprint.
- Muscle Sliver - $2. Don't bother with the Premium Deck Series foil. It sells for less than the non-foil because it has a really unappealing texture to it. I vastly prefer the FNM foil, even for $10. It's an old-bordered foil from the early days of FNM, and it'll always hold value due to Slivers being a popular casual tribe.
- Wirewood Symbiote - $0.50. The Scourge foil is out of stock at $15, and good luck finding it at that price right now. I'd focus on the Eternal Masters foil, which is just $2.
The Sweet Spot
We've finally made it to the list of cards that might be reprinted in Modern Horizons and might also see an immediate increase in value! I like some of these a lot better than others, so be sure to read the full description before you buy in. As always, I'd rather be thorough whenever I can.
- Argothian Enchantress - $15. I love Argothian Enchantress as a spec right now. If it's reprinted, it'll be at mythic rare, which means that the increase in supply won't be enough to satiate demand for what would be the flagship card for an exciting new Modern deck. Its current price tag is almost entirely due to casual play as well, with Legacy Enchantress not being much of a deck right now. Worst case, it's a fine long-term hold for the next Modern Horizons set.
- Containment Priest - $4. This is my favorite spec on the list. The only thing that keeps me from feeling like Containment Priest is a slam-dunk is that it was just in Ultimate Masters, but maybe that doesn't matter? Either way, it would instantly become one of the most important cards in Modern and the buy-in is super low thanks to the fact that it was just reprinted. Much like with Argothian Enchantress, even if it doesn't show up this time around, it's a great spec for the future with almost zero downside. I'm going to buy several playsets as soon as I finish writing this article.
- Cunning Wish - $10. These are getting pretty hard to find at $10, but it seems like a pretty solid buy to me if you can swing it. The best arguments against Cunning Wish in Modern is that Wizards of the Coast seems interested in de-emphasizing sideboard play, and the "outside the game" wording makes it kind of awkward for new players to understand what, exactly, the card even does. I'm not sure that matters much. Modern is a format that's defined by its sideboard cards, and Cunning Wish would theoretically create more interaction, not less. A Modern Horizons reprint would probably push this card into the $20-$25 range.
- Dack Fayden - $22. If Dack were to show up in Modern Horizons, I feel like it would probably end up in the $50+ tier of planeswalkers at some point. The artifact-steal isn't as good in Modern as in Legacy or Vintage, clearly, but it's still incredibly good in some matchups. Plus, the looting effect is dynamite. Wizards of the Coast loves their marquee planeswalkers, and I can see Dack as one of the more pushed inclusions in the set. At $22, this is a very strong buy for me.
- Dust Bowl - $16. A quick Google search of "Dust Bowl Modern Horizons" turns up some pretty sobering results about the future of climate and agriculture, but I digress. The card Dust Bowl is about as close as we might get to Wasteland in Modern, so if Wizards of the Coast will give us some sort of land-based mana denial, Dust Bowl seems like a good bet. I'm not sure if this is a play pattern they want to encourage at all, but this could easily end up being a $30+ card if it's included.
- Flusterstorm - $17. Flusterstorm might end up being either too powerful or simply too awkward for Modern, but it still strikes me as a more reasonable inclusion in the set than Force of Will. $17 is also a far better buy-in, though it won't be printed at mythic rare, so the upside is probably closer to $20-$25 than $40-$50. It's a reasonable spec, but not my favorite on this list.
- Goblin Lackey - $14. Don't worry – if the Lackey is back, it'll be at rare, not uncommon. I debated putting this on the "too expensive" list along with Sterling Grove, but initial Goblin hype would probably drive this one up to $20-$25, at least temporarily. It's not a great pick-up right now, but it's worth keeping on your radar.
- Leovold, Emissary of Trest - $8. I don't think Wizards of the Coast wants Leovold in Modern after seeing what it did in Legacy for a while, but it's recent enough that I'm not willing to just dismiss it for power level reasons. At any rate, this card is a mythic rare that would instantly hit $30+ if it were legal in Modern. It's a casual darling that was just reprinted in Ultimate Masters, too, so it's a super solid long-term casual hold at current retail regardless. Another solid low-risk, high-reward target.
- Misdirection - $0.70. Let's add Misdirection to the "it's not Force of Will, but that's okay" pile of potential inclusions. At less than a buck the buy-in is basically free, and it's not like this card was overprinted or anything – it has only been in two sets, Conspiracy and Mercadian Masques, and one Duel Deck, Merfolk vs. Goblins. If you're looking for the card on this list that's most likely to see the highest-percentage gains, here you go. If Misdirection were legal in Modern, it would be a $10 card at least.
- Pernicious Deed - $5. This is a solid buy right now. Pernicious Deed seems like it's pretty close to a lock for Modern Horizons, and it might even show up at mythic – it was a mythic in Conspiracy, but a regular rare in Masters 25. There are a few more of these floating around than I'd like, but Jund hype would cause it to double or more before the additional supply caught up with demand. The upside for Pernicious Deed isn't great, but it's one of the safer short-term specs.
- Rishadan Port - $20. Here's another moonshot. As with Dust Bowl, I'm not sure this is a play pattern that Wizards of the Coast wants to encourage, but Rishadan Port would instantly be one of the most exciting cards in Modern and I really don't think it would be too format-warping to include. As with any colorless land, demand would be sky-high pretty much instantly were this to be included. And at just a $20 buy-in, I can't imagine Rishadan Port drops too much lower. Plus, it might make Masters 25 feel like a better set retroactively. Take that, Masters 25 haters!
- Shardless Agent - $1.25. Baleful Strix feels like it might be too much for Modern, but Shardless Agent feels right to me. Cascading this into Ancestral Vision could enable a new kind of Simic or Temur deck to take hold, and both cards would see pretty huge gains. A Shardless Agent reprint would spike this card toward $7-$8 at least with room for more. A super solid pick-up at just $1.25.
- Vindicate - $5. As with Pernicious Deed, Vindicate feels like a slam-dunk inclusion – one of the few cards that I'd be more surprised not to see. I'm not sure how impactful it'll be in Modern, but a quick spike to $10+ seems likely to me. Not my favorite target at $5, but there's some quick-flip money to be made here.
And there you have it! Are there any potential reprints I missed that that you'd like to see me address? Hit me up in the comments and I'll do my best to continue the discussion there.
This Week's Trends
Where else can we begin but with War of the Spark? Wizards of the Coast has confirmed that the set will contain 36 brand-new planeswalkers, and that each booster pack will contain one of them. Wow!
If people are expecting all 36 planeswalkers to be playable outside of Limited, I think they'll be disappointed. We're not getting 36 mythic rare quality 'walkers for the simple fact that it would make Sealed, Draft, and Standard all sorts of miserable. I'm expecting a higher-than-average number of good-to-excellent planeswalkers along with a series of underpowered inclusions.
That said, the planeswalker hype is already showing itself in the world of Magic finance. Mox Amber was the biggest gainer of the week, currently out of stock at $18 and closer to $20+ in real-world terms. I'd suggest selling into this hype before War of the Spark is released, but you've got some time to wait. That price chart is still pointing straight up, and we haven't reached Mox Amber's short-term ceiling yet.
If you're looking for other cards with planeswalker-related upside, check out Oath of Teferi, The Immortal Sun, Bedevil, Thran Temporal Gateway, and The Chain Veil. The Chain Veil isn't Standard-legal, of course, but this casual darling is already spiking and is very hard to find for less than $20 right now. Thran Temporal Gateway will spike if we end up with a super-expensive planeswalker or two, and it's one of those cards with strong long-term potential thanks to the fact that it keeps getting better with every new legendary permanent that's printed.
Bedevil is a super-strong Standard card that simply doesn't have a deck right now. If we really do get a glut of playable 'walkers, people will need an answer for them. Ditto for The Immortal Sun, which is already showing signs of movement and which has a ton of casual upside as well. Lastly, Oath of Teferi is currently being bought out as I write this, and I wouldn't be surprised if this previously bulk-level rare ends up kicking around the $5 range for a couple of months.
Over in Modern, the market had an incredibly robust week. Misty Rainforest sold out everywhere and spiked about $20, with Surgical Extraction not that far behind. Scalding Tarn had an excellent week as well, with other format staples like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger; Ugin, the Spirit Dragon; Dark Confidant; and Polluted Delta all trending upward as well.
One of the biggest Modern gainers this week was Raking Canopy, an unassuming uncommon from Shadowmoor. That's due to this Mono-Green Midrange deck, which Michael Neilson took to a second-place finish at an IQ last month. Corbin Hosler (among others) wrote about it this week, and Raking Canopy was the first card to spike. If you're looking for a second, check out Plow Under. The card was only printed twice, in 8th Edition and Urza's Destiny, so the available supply is vanishingly small. Also, Plow Under is just $2 right now. Even if Mono-Green Midrange doesn't end up being all that great, this card is primed for a lucrative buyout.