Modern Horizons 2 has now been fully revealed and looks to become one of the best Magic: The Gathering sets in recent memory when it’s released later this month.
There can be a tendency with these supplemental MTG sets to give too much to Commander players; while there are certainly some good new cards for them here, there’s a real focus on Modern.
That also means that there are going to be a lot of cards in the set that you should probably keep an eye on and try and pick up. There are actually way more than ten good cards in Modern Horizons 2, but we’re just going to pick out the very best ones.
Best new MTG cards in Modern Horizons 2
- Murktide Regent: A very powerful dragon.
- Grief: Basically free hand disruption.
- Thought Monitor: Could this bring Affinity back?
- Persist: Resurrect your best creature.
- Esper Sentinel: Card draw on a human.
- Grist, the Hunger Tide: A planeswalker you can nab with Collected Company.
- Damn: Possibly the best board wipe ever.
- Ignoble Hierarch: A powerful mana dork.
- Tide Shaper: Merfolk with a purpose.
- Urza’s Saga: Truly a legendary land.
We could easily pick reprints here or note the cards that weren’t previously Modern-legal, but now are - cards like Shardless Agent and Counterspell are obviously incredibly exciting. Instead, though, we’re going to look at the cards that are truly brand new in Modern Horizons 2.
That means each of these is completely new to not just Modern, but Magic: The Gathering as a whole. Each of them is a good card across the board, which means you’ll want to consider getting them whether you’re a Modern player, a Commander player or any of the other eternal formats.
1. Murktide Regent
A very powerful dragon
Murktide Regent is a seven-mana Blue 3/3 with flying that gets a +1/+1 counter on it whenever an instant or sorcery leaves your graveyard. It also has delve, which allows you to exile cards from your graveyard to help pay for it. That means you can potentially cast it for two Blue mana as long as you exile five cards.
The delve isn’t just for making it cheaper either though, as it’ll enter with a +1/+1 counter on it for every instant and sorcery you exile to pay for the delve part of the cost. This means you could potentially be playing an 8/8 for two mana that can then get stronger if you exile any more instants or sorceries. We’re not saying that this card is definitely going to be banned at some point, but it has a lot of the hallmarks necessary for such a claim.
Basically free hand disruption
Grief is aptly named because you’re definitely going to use it to upset your opponents. Grief is a four-mana Black 3/2 with menace, which makes it a pain to block. When it enters the battlefield, you get to have an opponent reveal their hand and then choose a nonland card for them to discard.
That’s all okay, but the card becomes obnoxious because you can evoke it - which means it’ll come into play before dying - by exiling a Black card from your hand. This means you can put it in your combo decks and take a peek at your opponent’s hand before deciding if you’re going to start winning, all without having to pay any mana.
3. Thought Monitor
Could this bring Affinity back?
Affinity isn’t a deck that has done particularly well since the banning of Mox Opal, but it’s still got a lot of potential. Affinity is a keyword that means you can cast a card for less mana based on the permanents you have in play. Affinity as a deck was all about using Affinity for artifacts to cast things for cheap and then steamroll your enemies. Alongside a new cycle of artifact lands in Modern Horizons 2, we’re also getting Thought Monitor.
Thought Monitor is a seven-mana Blue 2/2 artifact that costs one fewer mana for each artifact in play. It also has flying and lets you draw two cards when it enters the battlefield. That’s a lot to take in, but basically means you’re going to likely be playing this on turn two and instantly drawing two cards. That’s a lot of work for one card to manage, and could be very powerful if people can bring back Affinity in a new way.
Resurrect your best creature
Persist is a useful keyword that brings a creature back from death with a -1/-1 counter on them as long as they don’t have a -1/-1 counter on them. Persist is more or less the same thing, but as a spell.
For a mere two mana, you can bring a non-legendary creature from the graveyard back to the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter on it. There are a lot of different uses for this in Modern and beyond, and you can expect to see this basically everywhere as a result.
5. Esper Sentinel
Card draw on a human
Esper Sentinel is a one-mana White 1/1 that reads: “Whenever an opponent casts their first noncreature spell each turn, draw a card unless that player pays X, where X is Esper Sentinel’s power.”
On the face of things, that means you get to draw a card unless your opponent pays one mana. However, if you put this in a deck that can boost the power of Esper Sentinel - say, Humans in Modern - this is going to be a 2/2 or more, which means you’re probably going to draw an extra card most turns. That’s great value.
6. Grist, the Hunger Tide
A planeswalker you can nab with Collected Company
This may well be the most intriguing bit of card design in the entirety of Modern Horizons 2. Grist, the Hunger Tide is a three-mana Black and Green planeswalker that can do a bit of self-mill and make Insect tokens, sacrifice creatures to destroy creatures or planeswalkers, or drain the life from your enemies based on the number of creatures in your graveyard.
However, Grist is also a 1/1 insect creature as long as it’s not on the battlefield. That means you can fetch it with cards such as Chord of Calling and Collected Company. This could have a huge impact on the way these kinds of decks are built, and it’s a very potent planeswalker to boot.
Possibly the best board wipe ever
Board wipes are an integral part of Control decks in any format, because you need to be able to wipe out every creature on the board sometimes. The trouble comes when it’s early game and you’ve got a board wipe in hand, not enough mana to cast it and only one main threat to deal with anyway.
Damn is a two-mana Black sorcery that destroys a target creature and makes it so they can’t be regenerated. It also has an overload cost of four mana, two of which has to be White, at which point it will destroy every creature in play instead. This is strictly better than nearly every other board wipe, and it’s going to be absolutely everywhere.
8. Ignoble Hierarch
A powerful mana dork
Ignoble Hierarch is a one-mana Green 0/1 that you can tap for Black, Red or Green mana. It also has exalted - which means that if you have a creature attacking on its own, it gets +1/+1 until the end of the turn.
Jund, which is a deck filled with Black, Red and Green cards, doesn’t really need anything new to make it better, but sometimes you get the things you don’t ask for - and even more rarely, those things are absolutely incredible. This is one of those times.
9. Tide Shaper
Merfolk with a purpose
We’re getting a few very interesting merfolk in Modern Horizons 2. The most obviously powerful one of these is Syvelun of Sea and Sky, which is basically an indestructible merfolk that draws cards and helps protect your other creatures. Tide Shaper is also an absolute beast of a card, but in a more subtle way.
Tide Shaper is a one-mana Blue 1/1 that gets +1/+1 as long as an opponent controls an Island land. You can also pay one extra mana when casting them to turn a land into an Island as long as Tide Shaper stays on the battlefield. This is a great way to disrupt your opponent’s mana flow, and it’s a very cool card.
10. Urza’s Saga
Truly a legendary land
Finally, we’ve got one of the earliest spoilers for Modern Horizons 2, which is Urza’s Saga. Urza’s Saga is an enchantment land that is also a saga. That means it gets a counter on it when you play it, and then on your next two upkeeps before it goes to the graveyard. The first counter allows Urza’s Saga to tap for colourless mana, the second adds an ability you can pay two for to put a 0/0 Construct into play that gets +1/+1 for each artifact you control, and the final ability lets you search your library for an artifact with a mana cost of 0 or 1 and then put it straight into play.
This card should absolutely help reshape Artifact decks in every eternal format. Every ability is relevant, but being able to fetch up a specific artifact and put it into play is something that can’t be overvalued. It’s also a land, which means there are lots of ways of putting it back into play in the right decks. Urza’s Saga is going to be a blast to play with.