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Modern Horizons 2: Top 10 New-to-Modern Reprints

10: Mishra's Factory

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A strict upgrade on Mutavault for decks that don’t have creature-type synergies like Merfolk since Mishra's Factory’s pump ability makes it a 3/3 on defense. (And even in a deck without other Assembly Workers, copies of Mishra's Factory can pump each other.) In Legacy, decks like Standstill and Pox often take advantage of the creatureland. While decks like Merfolk, Spirits, and Faeries will stick with Mutavault, other decks like 8 Rack, Control, Death and Taxes, and mono-colored aggro decks can take advantage of Factory, which gets even better with Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth joining Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth as low-opportunity-cost ways to make colorless lands tap for colored mana.

#9: Vindicate

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Vindicate's big calling card is flexibility. While being three mana and sorcery speed is a drawback, being able to kill anything (including lands) is huge. In Legacy, control decks, midrange Orzhov Stoneblade, and Dead Guy Ale decks often use the removal spell. In Modern, we see Pillage—a much narrower Vindicate that only hits artifacts and lands—see staple-level play in Ponza and Gruul Midrange. Vindicate should work similarly in Modern, giving control and midrange decks another strong removal option that doubles up as hate for decks like Tron. Blowing up lands also means Vindicate could be a strong sideboard hate card, targeting Tron and other land-based strategies, but with more flexibility than other options like Fulminator Mage or Pillage. Oh yeah, and two of the most exciting new Modern Horizons 2 cards—Grief and Solitude—want to be in decks featuring a bunch of white and black cards to support their evoke ability, and Vindicate just happens to be both!

#8: Enchantress Stuff

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Enchantress's Presence, Sterling Grove, and Solitary Confinement will likely all fail or succeed together. All three cards see various levels of play in Legacy Enchantress decks, and, combined with some new support cards from Modern Horizons 2, a real Enchantress-style deck might finally have a chance to compete in Modern. The question for these cards isn't whether they are good enough to see play in an Enchantress deck—we already know that they are—but whether Enchantress will be good enough to compete in Modern. The pieces seem to be there, but only time will tell for sure.

#7: Sanctum Prelate

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Sanctum Prelate has long been a staple of Legacy Death & Taxes, Humans, and various midrange creature piles like Maverick and Bant, offering creature decks a way to shut down removal (Sanctum Prelate on one stops Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, Fatal Push, Lava Dart, Thoughtseize, and much more), wraths (Sanctum Prelate on four shuts down Supreme Verdict, Wrath of God, Damnation, and friends), and combos (name five to keep Ad Nauseam from going off, seven to stop Karn Liberated from hitting the battlefield against Tron, or four to stop the Scapeshift / Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle kill). It can do the same in Modern. It already has a ready-built home in Humans and Taxes and likely will find its way into various Collected Company decks as well.

#6: Shardless Agent

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On one hand, in Modern, Shardless Agent is missing its best friend Brainstorm, which allows Legacy decks like Shardless Bug to stack cards like Ancestral Vision on the top of their deck for Shardless Agent to cascade into. On the other hand, Bloodbraid Elf sees a lot of play in Modern as a fair value card. Sure, you might not be able to control what you cascade into, but even a random cascade offers two-for-one value. At a minimum, Shardless Agent becomes the new, best three-mana cascade spell in Living End. At its best, it could show up in a lot of midrange decks with mana dorks, coming down on Turn 2 and cascading into high-powered two-drops to build a massive board early in the game. 

#5: Goblin Bombardment

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Goblin Bombardment might not look like much, but immediately upon the release of Modern Horizons 2, it will become one of the most powerful sacrifice outlets in the Modern format. In Legacy, it has been used in Gravecrawler combo decks, to repeatedly sacrifice it and Bloodghast for damage to close out the game. It can do something similar in Modern, offering a payoff for go-wide token-style decks, and even work like an upgraded Blasting Station for various sacrifice-based combos. While there might not be an existing Modern deck that Goblin Bombardment slots into cleanly, the enchantment is powerful enough (and the support cards are plentiful enough) that it has the potential to create its own archetype in the format.

#4: Cursed Totem

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While unlikely to show up in main decks, Cursed Totem likely is the best sideboard card to be reprinted into Modern in Modern Horizons 2. One thing we've talked about often this preview season is how Modern is a format filled with creature-based combos. Heliod, Sun-Crowned / Walking Ballista is the highest tier, but we've seen Devoted Druid / Vizier of Remedies, Goblins with Conspicuous Snoop, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician with undying creatures, and more be at or near the top of the meta in recent months. Cursed Totem stops them all for just two mana. Plus, you incidentally destroy decks built around mana dorks (Elves, Ponza), since Cursed Totem doesn't have a "mana ability" exception, while also hitting on other standouts like Stoneforge Mystic and Hexdrinker. More importantly, because it's a colorless card, any deck can take advantage of Cursed Totem's power. While there will be metas where it is mostly useless, considering how popular creature-based combos and mana dorks are in Modern, I expect we'll be seeing the artifact showing up in a lot of sideboards almost as soon as Modern Horizons 2 is released.

Flame Rift

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Flame Rift goes in exactly one deck—Burn—but it's a standout in that deck, seeing play all the way back to Legacy. Four damage for two mana is a very above-the-curve rate (see Boros Charm, which is often the only white card in the main deck of Modern Boros Burn). Sure, you also have to take four damage, but your life total isn't especially important in most matchups if you are the Burn player—you're just trying to count up to 20 damage as quickly and as efficiently as possible. The printing of Flame Rift offers two possibilities. First, Flame Rift can slot into Boros Burn, replacing a lesser burn spell like Lightning Helix. Second, it's possible that Flame Rift allows Burn to be mono-red as a replacement for Boros Charm, increasing consistency and making the mana base less painful. Either way, Flame Rift will almost assuredly be a new staple in Modern burn.

#2: Counterspell

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Counterspell likely will be one of the most heavily played reprints from Modern Horizons 2, being an upgrade over Logic Knot in all decks and stealing some slots from cards like Mana Leak and Remand in others. However, I'm not sure just how impactful Counterspell will be. Sure, it's better than Mana Leak and Logic Knot, but it isn't that much better. Plus, some decks likely will stick with cards like Mana Leak or Remand because they better fit their deck's plan, with Mana Leak being easier to cast in four- or five-color decks and Remand's cantrip effect helping tempo and combo decks to dig for action. All this is to say, Counterspell is great and iconic, and it will doubtlessly see a lot of play in the Modern format, but it's not a card to bear because, in a lot of instances, it will have exactly the same impact on the game as the other, lesser options.

#1: Imperial Recruiter

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While Imperial Recruiter could see some play in decks like Humans, as a value card that can be Aether Vialed into play (it seems better than something like Militia Bugler, which currently shows up in some builds of Humans), its main purpose is to help assemble creature-based combos. In Legacy, it finds Painter's Servant to go infinite with Grindstone, Food Chain finishers, and more. Remember all of the creature-based combos we were talking about Cursed Totem stopping? Most of those combos can be found with Imperial Recruiter. Want to go infinite with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Deceiver Exarch? Imperial Recruiter finds both pieces. Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid? Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and an undying creature? Walking Ballista to close out the game? Imperial Recruiter finds them all, which brings it in at the top of our list of the best new-to-Modern reprints from Modern Horizons 2!


Anyway, that's my list of the 10 most impactful new-to-Modern reprints from Modern Horizons 2. The set is so insane that I could have easily made a top-20 list, with cards like Quirion Ranger, Cabal Coffers, Zuran Orb, Upheaval, Riptide Laboratory, Karmic Guide, Patriarch's Bidding, Seal of Removal, Braids, Cabal Minion, and more not making the list, even though they have the potential to see Modern play. Now that you've seen my list, give me yours in the comments! What new-to-Modern reprint will have the biggest impact on the format? What did my list do right? What did it get wrong? Let me know! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter@SaffronOlive or at

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