It’s hard to find the proper superlative for the past week of Magic news. Even though not a ton took place, we learned quite a bit about Modern Horizons 2. The set is poised to inject a ton of power and interesting options into Modern and, by proxy, other non-rotating formats (Vintage, Legacy, Pauper, and Commander).
The set has a loose Dakkon Blackblade theme. While originally a Legendary Creature, old Magic comic books cast Dakkon Blackblade as a Planeswalker and he appears as one here in the form of Dakkon, Shadow Slayer. Other characters from Dakkon’s history appear in the set as well. Carth, the Lion and Piru, the Volatile show up as legendary creatures while Geyadrone Dihada shows up as another Planeswalker. There is a third Planeswalker in the set: Grist, the Hunger Tide. Grist’s first card is a creature everywhere other than the battlefield which is sure to prove potent with cards like Unearth, Collected Company, and Natural Order.
Potent is one way to describe the Elemental Incarnation cycle. Each of these creatures has a strong enters-the-battlefield ability but the real spice comes with their Evoke ability. By exiling a card of the same color, these creatures are cast for the Evoke cost. This will have them enter the battlefield and then the Evoke trigger will cause them to be sacrificed. Players have already started experimenting with cards such as Ephemerate to ensure their “free” investment sticks around. As of the time of publishing we know four of the five Incarnations: Solitude, Subtlety, Grief, and Endurance.
This is only scratching the surface of what Modern Horizons 2 will bring to Magic. Several reprints are making their way into Modern for the first time, including (but not limited to) Upheaval, Vindicate, Braids, Cabal Minion, and Sea Drake. While collecting the various treatments of the set might prove to be a herculean task (for example: it was only clarified this week that the Modern Horizons 1 cards that appear in the Retro Frame in Collector Boosters would only be available in foil), the next release is setting a high bar.
As if that was not enough, next weekend is the Strixhaven Set Championship. Utilizing Standard and Historic Constructed, this tournament is one of the final chances for Challengers – those players not in the Magic Pro League or Rivals League – to make headway in the standings. It also is another opportunity for some League players to improve their standings ahead of the end of season tournaments.