Modern Format Greatly Impacted With These 10 New MH2 Rares

10-Cards-That-Will-Change-Modern Format Meta

Modern Format Greatly Impacted With These 10 New MH2 Rares

The printing of Modern Horizons 1 (MH1) in 2019 introduced the prior unfathomable concept of printing cards directly into the Modern format, bypassing Standard. This allowed the printing of powerful cards of a power level unsuitable for modern, and for cards not tied to mechanics in Standard, to directly influence the Modern metagame. MH1 was in general a success with many cards becoming staples of the format and increasing the consistency of several deck archetypes.

The advent of Modern Horizons 2 (MH2) sees a bolder move into the territory of “print direct to Modern,” with many ‘free’ Evoke spells and powerful cards printed with obvious homes in many decks. Today we will look at some of the cards that have made an impact on the Modern metagame in the early days of MH2’s release. We also look at how some format staples interact with these cards.

Urza’s Saga, Game’s First Enchantment Land

Possibly the most prominent card in Modern Horizons 2 is Urza’s Saga.  The cards sees play in many decks, including Amulet Titan, Affinity, GB food, and Lantern Control. The card’s main utility is the ability to search for an Artifact card with mana cost 0/1 which allows for a great deal of versatility in Modern format’s many combo-centric decks.

Amulet Titan

While Amulet Titan is primarily a Lands deck, Urza’s Saga has found favour here due to the plethora of utility Artifacts that the deck runs. The Saga is capable of tutoring for the namesake card Amulet of Vigor, as well as Expedition Map, which in turn allows it to tutor (search) for specific lands to combo off and win the game. 

The card goes into overdrive after side-boarding, where it allows the amulet player to search up a wide variety of hate-cards for specific matchups. Sideboard targets for Urza’s Saga include Pithing Needle, Relic of Progenitus, and Engineered Explosives, providing a great reactive game plan against specific matchups.

Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen is a breakout deck enabled by MH2, playing a variety of food payoffs to control the board state and beat down with a never-ending stream of recursive threats. Urza’s Saga has found a niche here as many food payoff cards are Artifacts with mana cost 1. The Underworld Cookbook and Witch’s Oven are two engine pieces which the deck uses to get going. The deck also runs single copies of Shadowspear and Pithing Needle, both being Urza’s Saga targets to allow Asmoraomardicadaistinaculdacar to effectively use her abilities on opposing Indestructible/Hexproof creatures.

Food token generation is key to the deck, and each Food token also counts as an Artifact. Urza’s Saga finds another use here in the creation of a large creature with its 2nd chapter ability, which allows the user to create a Construct with Power and Toughness based on the number of tokens they control, which is assuredly three or more.

Lantern Control

Modern format’s premier prison deck is back thanks to Urza’s Saga. Lantern Control decks can use the Saga to find its key engine pieces – Codex Shredder and Lantern of insight. It also tutors for any one of the vast toolbox cards available to hate on opponents. Adding Karn the Great Creator and sideboarding Crucible of Worlds allows for continued value generation by recurring Urza’s Saga, which also generates an ever increasing number of threats to beat opponents into submission.


Urza’s Saga has found a home in Affinity decks. As a deck that thrives off colourless Artifacts and has a variety of low Mana Value Artifacts, Affinity is able to leverage on all of the abilities of Urza’s Saga. The 2nd chapter adds to the threat density of the deck and has been able to speed up the deck’s clock after the banning of Mox Opal.

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

MH2’s most expensive card on release is Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, a monkey with a ton of text attached to it. High power at 1 mana cost, providing card advantage and mana ramp and fixing, the card is packed with so much power that it’s almost a sin to not include it in some lists.

Ragavan Nimble Pilferer is a new card from MH2 that will change Magic's Modern Format.

Jund Decks

Ragavan seems to have come out on ahead of Ignoble Hierach as the one drop of choice for Jund. A closer look at the card reveals why.

Jund decks (using Red, Green and Black colours) work off attrition and answering threats one for one. Ragavan offers similar perks to the Hierach in that it offers ramp for a turn 2 Liliana of the veil or turn 3 Blood-braid Elf, It however, also has the advantage of generating card advantage by providing you with a card from your opponent’s deck to use. This essentially means that Ragavan pulls the duty of both Deathrite Shaman (before its banning) and Dark Confidant at the same time. Combined with the plethora of removal run in Jund, the way for Ragavan to attack is often clear, and games last long enough for the Dash mechanic to be used effectively to ensure protection from sorcery speed removal. Excess copies of Ragavan can also be ditched to Liliana, allowing for a very powerful attrition based game plan which Jund thrives on.

Red-Green Ponza

Ponza has adopted Ragavan for much the same reasons as Jund, Ragavan allows for early pressure and ramp on turn two which means a consistent turn two Magus of the Moon or Stone Rain.

The additional mana generation has also allowed lists to play with Obosh, the Prey Piercer as a Companion, adding massive power to the threats of the deck.

Grief and Solitude

Grief was probably one of the most hyped cards during spoiler season. The interaction between the Evoke cards and Ephemerate allowed for a turn one triple discard to wreck your opponent’s hand with Grief, while leaving an evasive body was on everyone’s radar. 

The card does not appear to have broken the Modern format in the way it was anticipated. That said, it looks to be a powerhouse card and this interaction has spawned a new archetype of Blink decks, which combine the value from Grief and Solitude for fast disruption and add on the Stoneforge Mystic package to close out the game.

Grief has also found its way into some of the lists of Living End decks, where it uses the Evoke ability to put itself in the Graveyard and clear the way for Living End, adding itself to the board for yet another targeted discard ability.

Murktide Regent

Murktide Regent has found homes in two old-school, spell-based decks – Izzet Phoenix and Delver. The large density of Instant and Sorcery spells in these decks make the inclusion of Regent obvious as a potentially massive evasive creature for a mere 2 mana that can close out the game very quickly. The large body and high mana cost make it resilient to removal such as Skyclave Apparition/Fatal Push which are typically a problem for small creatures like Delver and multiples of the Regent grow each other providing a reliable threat in these decks. 

Shardless Agent

Shardless Agent has added a great deal of consistency to decks looking to abuse Suspend cards. The card essentially acts as 5-8 copies of Violent Outburst

This has pushed decks centered around Living End and Crashing Footfalls up. Living End decks have probably usurped Dredge as the premier Graveyard deck of Modern format with the increase of consistency and less fragile game plan.

Thought Monitor

The printing of Karn, The Great Creator and the banning of Mox Opal saw the death of Affinity decks. MH2 sought to change that with a wide inclusion of Artifact lands, Urza’s saga and new affinity cards.

Thought Monitor from MH2 could impact the Modern format metagame.

A common theme with old Affinity decks was that they were largely aggro-centric. Thought Monitor has taken that shell and added card draw atop an evasive body. Considering the large number of Artifacts in the Affinity deck, it is not unrealistic for Though Monitor to be a 1 mana 2/2 flyer which draws 2 cards as it enters the Battlefield. The speed in which the deck can push out threats is frightening and the constant gas brought by the Monitor can potentially overload the opponent’s removal and close out the game post-haste.

Kaldra Compleat

Raw power is the theme of Kaldra Compleat. Designed specifically for the Stoneforge Mystic package as a new toy to pair with Batterskull, Kaldra Compleat offers much more immediate power with less recursive value.

The problem with Batterskull was that the token creature was still relatively easy to kill. Batterskull might have problems attacking into large creatures or was easily taken out by destroy effects such as Fatal Push. The plus side, was that you could essentially get a new creature for 5 mana each time by returning Batterskull to your hand and redeploying it with Stoneforge Mystic. Still not great if you got blocked all the way and was unable to close out the game before getting overwhelmed.

New MH2 cards like Kaldra Compleat will impact Modern format decks that use Stoneforge Mystic

Kaldra Compleat offers the Stoneforge Mystic package immediate power without durdling around with returning the creature. Allowing the decks to deploy a hasty, trampling, first-strike, indestructible beater by turn three put serious pressure on your opponent to have a specific and immediate answer. The downside is an Exile-based removal on the token will be devastating, considering you could not sink mana into it to return it to hand for redeployment.

Luckily, decks that typically play Stoneforge Mystic also typically play cards like Teferi, Time Reveler and Cryptic Command, allowing you to redeploy your Kaldra Compleat anyway! This, added on to the fact that it and Batterskull are typically single-copy cards that are tutored with Stoneforge Mystic creates a powerful impact to one of the most played packages in Modern format.

Dauthi Voidwalker

Dauthi Voidwalker has seen some fringe play and looks to establish itself as a toolbox card in Graveyard-centric metagames. As a well costed evasive Creature with a static Graveyard hate ability it offers decks which choose to adopt it with the ability to shut off Graveyard shenanigans in game one. 

Of the decks using Voidwalker, Black-Green Lurrus Midrange stands out as a deck most able to leverage on the card. By using a powerful removal package coupled with Lurrus to recur Voidwalkers, it is possible to get multiple cards into play through Voidwalker’s tap ability. 

It is proving to be a powerful option for certain strategies and might become a modern staple in time to come.

Svyelun of Sea and Sky

Merfolk creatures have been in Magic since the very first Alpha set, and is one of the old school decks that has survived the test of time, with dedicated players who struggle with the deck no matter how the meta changes. Slowly but surely, it has fallen by the wayside. But for MH2, Wizards of the Coast introduces key support cards to keep the archetype relevant with cards specifically designed to help Merfolk compete in today’s Modern format metagame. The biggest one is Svyelun of Sea and Sky.

Svyelun solves one of the Merfolk deck’s greatest weaknesses, which is its inability to survive against some of the fastest decks in Modern and the efficient removal in the format which constantly attack its lords. The card is absolutely bonkers, having conditional protection for itself, and other merfolk on top of a massive 3/4 body which doubles as a card draw engine. 

While the card is powerful, Merfolk as a whole still stays true to its roots with a fragile win condition amidst all the unfair decks of modern. The card however has proven that it is capable of being the glue that holds the deck in place and has a place and identity within the Modern format.

Other Considerations and Interactions Within Modern

Considering these cards that have entered Modern format and the meta-game impact, here are come certain things one must be prepared for.

Kill the Monkey

Ragavan is a brutally powerful card that can snowball the game out of control very quickly, kill it on sight if it appears on turn one, analogous to “bolt the bird.”

Destroy Effects Won’t Solve Everything

Stoneforge packages are very popular in Modern. Fatal Push won’t solve the problem of Kaldra Compleat complete once it is down. Have interaction in mind to deal with this line of play or it will bury you alive.

Big Mana Costs with Reduction are in

A trend in Magic has been headed toward cards with high Mana Value, but with reductions based on certain conditions, these cards dodge removal such as Fatal Push, Inquisition of Kozilek and Skyclave Apparition. Be sure to have a way to answer that or race with such cards, such as Exile effects/bounce.

Free Spells are in

Opponents will be able to cast multiple spells for free with all the Evoke and Suspend/Cascade cards in the format. Considering the prevalence of Living End and Crashing Footfalls, spells that can counter low Mana Value spells like “Chalice of the Void”, and “Lavinia, Azorious Renegade” are potentially playable.

Food, Affinity and Artifacts

With Urza’s Saga in the format, be ready for lots of powerful Artifacts and engines coming into play, consider how to reset the tempo once the board is flooded or answer the prison that is lantern control.

End step

MH2 has added a significant amount of power to Modern format, but with knowledge of what to expect, you will be able to better tune your deck to deal with upcoming challenges. Play, experiment and revisit older cards and you might find lines of play which can beat through the power creep we see with these direct-to-Modern sets. If you’re looking for get a box of MH2 cards for yourself,

After getting hooked on MTG in 2015, Paul pours time into making janky brews for Standard and Modern formats. Outside of MTG, they enjoy video games, food and dabbling in environmental issues.

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