Last week, while the Modern Horizons 2 spoiler was still incomplete, I gave my review of the mythics and rares I thought would be the most likely to be positive adds to a Battle Box format, which you can read below.
In today’s article, I’ll be taking a look at the commons and uncommons and writing about the Modern Horizons 2 cards that I’ll be actually adding to my personal Battle Box stack, the Danger Room.
Before I get to the cards, I’d like to take a moment to say that Modern Horizons 2 is an absolutely incredible set! It’s one of the overall most interesting, flavorful and stacked sets that I have ever seen in my years of playing Magic. With that said, and because I know a good thing when I see it, I’ve decided that I’m not going to be shaving any cards from my stack in order to make room for these spicy new additions.
I found between three or four cards from each monocolor that I’d like to add, three colorless spells and one of almost every two-color gold combination to add. Therefore, simply adding cards (without making cuts) will still leave my stack in relative balance. With things looking to open up for IRL play on the Horizon (fingers crossed!), I’m hoping to get some more concrete testing in before my next stack rebalance which will hopefully be in time for the next expansion.
All three of these artifacts look like fantastic additions to a Battle Box and will make an appearance in my Danger Room. I’m a huge fan of Fodder Tosser in particular.
Not only does it have great callback flavor, but I also think it’s a particularly great Battle Box card since it’s activation doesn’t require mana to use. It has potential as a way to eek out damage at the end of the game, but is also a great way to turn expensive or narrow cards into damage early in the game.
Triskelion is one of my favorite cards of all time, and there’s a zero percent chance that I’d leave a “skellion” on the sideline! The flexible colorless cost and respectable stats make it a solid inclusion.
Batterskull is a bit too much for my stack, but Batterbone feels a bit more balanced for the type of games my stack tries to facilitate. I’m always a fan of Equipment, especially when it comes with a body already attached as is the case with living weapon. It impacts the board and also gives players a nice mana sink later on in the game (as well as adds some incidental life gain to the stack).
Modern Horizons 2 isn’t stacked with multicolor spells but I was able to find a card from nearly all the dual color pairings of mana to add to my stack, the exceptions being Orzhov, Izzet and Boros.
I’m always on the lookout for solid one-drops and Ravenous Squirrel looks fantastic in terms of a card that can do some interesting things. Bonus points for the easy to cast hybrid cost.
Such a unique card with genuine Rakdos power! Rakdos Headliner will be one of the hardest hitting early drops in my stack.
I’m a sucker for a Guildmage-style card and this creature packs a lot of abilities onto a GW 2/2 body. I’m always a fan of life gain and finding ways to bring more into the stack, especially since I’ve lowered the overall curve of my stack and trended the gameplay toward combat.
I wish I had a little bit more artifacts in the stack to make it more likely to hit one, but the selection seems good here. I’m open to finding out the card will be a little below the average power level at a mana value of three, but I still need to try it out to know for sure. Personally, I think Chrome Courier will be a solid three-drop value creature.
I really like this card! It’s great selection at instant speed that provides an outlet to discard unwanted cards and some incidental life gain as well. That’s a solid include for sure. I think this is a really nicely designed card.
I’ve complained over the years about the lack of quality Simic cards for Battle Box…. no complaints here though! More of this please!
I tried to steer clear of rares as much as possible, but Territorial Kavu is just too sweet to pass up. It’s got great throwback flavor with Kavu creature typing as well as really unique stats for a two-drop. A worthy inclusion in any Battle Box stack.
For the most part, I found four rock-solid inclusions from each color (the exception being blue, where I only found three spells I wanted to add). I could have gone deeper in some of the colors (especially black, red and green) if I were adding more rares and mythics.
I chose not to include the following.
The lone reason for not including them is the expensive price tag. However, I think both of these spells would be terrific in a Battle Box. So, if you have an extra one lying around from a Booster Draft, I would not hesitate to toss either into my stack. With that said, no individual card is so important to a huge stack like The Danger Room that it necessitates expensive money cards to build a stack. I try to identify the best value for players and pass that info along in my reviews.
White (+4 cards)
White gets a really nice mix of cards in Danger Room that really covers most of the white’s color pie bases: efficient creatures, combat tricks and versatile removal.
Barbed Spike is a great little living weapon-style variant that comes equipped with a flying body which is pretty excellent.
Modern Horizons 2 has a lot of Arcbound “modular” synergies and my stack isn’t really artifact dense enough to pull it off. It could be a lot of fun to build a stack that centers more heavily on artifact synergies to better take advantage of some of the sweet new cards. With that said, Arcbound Javelineer is good enough on it’s own as a quality one-drop to warrant inclusion.
I love this combat trick. It essentially protects a creature from nearly everything that could happen to it!
I love the converge cards from Modern Horizons 2 and they play so well in a Battle Box because of how both players have equal access to the full spectrum of colored mana. Prismatic Ending is a wonderful card and it barely scratches the surface of excellent Battle Box cards with converge.
Blue (+3 cards)
I felt like blue really got the short end of the stick for Danger Room playables, with many of the most exciting cards either being too powerful or iconic reprints that I’ve already added to my stack.
Wow! Hard Evidence is a really good card. It’s sort of like a blue Wall of Blossoms. This is easily the card I’m most excited to add to my stack. I’m always looking for a way to add meaningful blocks to my stack and Hard Evidence does just that especially in the early game.
Suspend looks to be a nice, flexible trick that can sway the board one way or the other. I love that it can move creatures out of the way, but can also be used to “get value later” by targeting our own creature in response to a removal spell.
Nothing too special here, but it is a nice, efficient and most importantly flexible Counterspell variant. It’s kind of neat that it can double down on cascade spells or dodge a single counterspell (such as Red Elemental Blast) via replicate.
Black (+4 cards)
In my opinion, black was by far the deepest color for Battle Box cards in Modern Horizons 2.
Tourach is a mythic, but I really like the flavor and playability of the card. I think this one will be fun to cast, which is why I decided I wanted to add it to my stack. I also like that it can just be run out for two mana if you absolutely need to trade early.
I’ve cut most of the “big draw spells” from my stack and instead have made card advantage something that players have to work a little bit harder to achieve in the mid to late game. In particular, I’ve tried to align a lot of my card advantage into creatures that require some setup.
Clattering Augur is another example of a fantastic creature that can grind out card advantage in the later stages of a game. I love the “can’t block” clause on the card.
I’m pretty sure I still have Murder in my stack and Flay Essence is a strict upgrade to a card that felt a little underpowered.
Radiant Epicure is one of the most exciting new cards I’m adding to my set. Wow, is this card powerful! It’s kind of like a Siege Rhino (which is another iconic card I’ve been thinking of adding into my stack). I love the use of converge on the card.
Red (+4 cards)
I love the red cards from Modern Horizons 2 for Battle Box. In general, and I’ve said this many times over the years, I think that red tends to get many of the most fun and interesting Battle Box designs and there is no exception here in Modern Horizons 2.
I try and get as much draw and discard into my stack as possible to filter draws and so having another free madness spell is pretty sweet.
Faithless Salvaging is an incredible card. I cannot wait to draw this in Danger Room! I don’t have much else to say other than the card is sweet.
Again, I don’t know what else to say other than I love this card! Great throwback flavor and good stats and abilities.
This is one of my favorite designs in the set. I love the use of converge and flashback to allow the spell to scale up so nicely. It provides efficient early coverage on the front end and card advantage on the backend while also scaling up to meet bigger threats.
Green (+4 cards)
Green has some incredible options for Battle Box!
Glinting Creeper is big and can’t be chump blocked by small critters, which is kind of a cool twist. I generally try to shy away from expensive big bodies that don’t have an ETB trigger but I think this card really hits the sweet spot for me.
Who doesn’t love squirrels? An enchantment that creates tokens over the course of the game is fun. I’m also a fan of how it impacts the board early for cheap and gives players a great way to use mana later on in the game. A card I’d likely look to include in any Battle Box I make.
I expressed a lot of love for the card in Part 1 and for all of those reasons it earns a spot in Danger Room. It provides useful, niche effects on a modal instant.
Clearly, Timeless Witness is an incredible and powerful Battle Box card. In fact, of all the powerful cards I’m adding from Modern Horizons 2, Witness is the one I’m most worried will be too game-breaking. It’s just a lot of late game value and the ability to rebuy powerful or impactful spells is obviously very strong. Eternal Witness is already one of the better cards in the stack and I do think Tireless Witness is a stronger design for Battle Box. So, I’ll have to keep an eye on Tireless Witness and how it impacts the game.
I added a whopping 29 cards to my stack! So, it’s pretty straightforward to say that Modern Horizons 2 is a pretty incredible set to find awesome Battle Box staples! I stand by my earlier observation that Modern Horizons 2 is one of the best, most flavorful and most interesting Magic releases I’ve ever seen and I’m justifiably excited to add all of these cards to my Danger Room stack.
The set is so deep, and the designs so interesting, that I don’t even think I’m missing out on much by passing up on a few of the pricey chase rares and mythics. There’s certainly no rule against expensive cards in a Battle Box (especially if you have them on hand) but I’m all about trying to get the most Magic bang for my buck.
So, in a broad sense, I’d give Modern Horizons 2 an A+ as a Battle Box set. If I’m to get more specific, here are the TOP 8 cards that I am most excited about adding and playing with in my Danger Room Battle Box:
#8. Prismatic Ending
#7. Verdant Command
#6. Rakdos Headliner
#5. Flametongue Yearling
#4. Ravenous Squirrel
#3. Squirrel Sanctum
#2. Tourach, Dread Cantor
It’s kind of incredible that Simic again earns the top checkmark on my list for the second set in a row! Let’s be real, it would be hard for an excellent Mulldrifter variant not to pique my interest.
Overall, this is an exceptional Battle Box set for playables. I’m very much looking forward to seeing these new Modern Horizons 2 cards in action at an LGS near me very soon.