By Zane Rowland
As we’ve all heard by now, on June 14th the Modern format is getting 249 new cards. We also know that some of these cards will be reprints of cards not yet legal in Modern. That means that we are free to speculate what reprints Wizards of the Coast might want to put directly into the format to, as they’ve said“build up favorite Modern strategies, create new ones, and bring plenty of flavor to matches where Modern cards are legal.”
Obviously WOTC is not looking to turn Modern into a new version of Legacyor warp the format with these reprints, therefore we can assume that Legacy’s absurdly powerful cards will not be among them. Yet this will, without a doubt, be the biggest change the Modern format has ever seen. Typically a Standard set has an impact of about 5-10 cards that find a home in Modern decks, this time we have 249 cards completely skipping Standard to go straight into Modern.
While I think WOTC will put a lot of fun, nostalgic reprints into the set, I don’t necessarily think a lot of those cards will make a significant impact in Modern. Cards like FlametongueKavu, Basking Rootwalla, Fact or Fiction, Oubliette, Wild Mongrel, Cabal Coffers, Spiritmonger and Sliver Queen are all safe picks I could see being reprinted, but not the cards I’m going to talk about. If I haven’t mentioned it in this list, it’s probably because I feel like it’s too powerful for the Modern format. I’m looking at you Crop Rotation, Hymn to Tourach, Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Gamble, Tutors, Shardless Agent, Mother of Runes, Vindicate, Innocent Blood, Chainer’s Edict, Price of Progress, Sneak Attack, Sinkhole, Toxic Deluge, Fireblast, and True-Name Nemesis.
So with all these things in mind, let’s take a look at the top reprints that I believe we could see shaking up Modern come June:
7.Containment Priest-For me, Containment Priest is a shoe-in, and exactly what Modern wants right now. Originally printed in Commander 2014, this card has been around a while and quickly became a white staple in Legacy to keep graveyard and Show and Tell decks from doing too many degenerate things. It’s a great pick to combat the speed of Izzet Phoenix and fast graveyard decks and it’s a fair card that is easily killed with any removal spell. The Modern Humans deck has fallen a little bit out of favor lately and so I don’t think this one card will push it over the top again, especially since it is so fragile and also locks the Humans player out of using their own Aether Vial. Containment Priest in Modern could even pave the way for a possible Birthing Pod unbanning, Astral Slide reprint or Eldrazi Displacer combo shenanigans.
6. Carrion Feeder-I’ve always had a soft spot for all the great Zombie cards out there. But unfortunately, with the plethora of graveyard hate that Modern decks employ, tribal zombies has never been able to make a name for itself. It’s a fun card that can be incredibly powerful but also easy to answer-all things I think WOTC wants to do with this Modern Horizons. With buddies like Gravecrawler and Stitcher’s Supplier, or Skullbriar reprint, Carrion Feeder could finally help push zombies to become a functioning archetype and also help out Aristocrat-type decks without giving too much to established tier decks.
5. WirewoodSymbiote/Birchlore Rangers/Quirion Ranger– Elves has always been a deck just out of top tier range it seems like. It’s come close, but never quite got there and stayed there. Any of these accelerators could help to push elves out and over the top to be a true contender in the format. If you’re like me, that may scare you a little bit, but since cards like Glimpse of Nature and Gaea’s Cradle aren’t current options I think that Modern could easily see at least one of the above cards.
4. Goblin lackey/Goblin Ringleader/Goblin Matron-To complete the tribal theme I’ve started, I think this tribe has gotten stale in Modern. Any of the above cards could bring new life to this beloved deck. And with all the new recent goblin printings like Warchief, Trashmaster, Skirk Prospector, Fanatical firebrand, Chainwhirler, Legion Warboss and Cratermaker, I think WOTC has been setting up the format for any one of these great goblin enablers. Let’s make Goblins great again!
3. Astral Slide-If there’s one card I’ve heard old school Magic players clamoring for a Modern reprint, this is it. Astral Slide was a powerful deck in the early 2000s, it is reminiscent of fun interaction and will generate a lot of nostalgia among old players. Without the Onslaught 1-cost cycling lands to accompany it, it may not be powerful enough to put up results-however if reprinted, I think we can expect to see a new Archetype in the Modern format.
2. Invigorate-This is a card I haven’t heard anyone talking about as a possible reprint. About 2.5 years ago, Infect was one of the best decks in the Modern format. A number of factors contributed to the decks decline, with Fatal Push arguably Infect’s biggest downfall back in January 2017. Invigorate would undoubtedly shake up the format but I feel like Modern is in a place right now where it could handle this inclusion andstill keep Infect at a tier 1.5-2 level.
1. Force of Will-We know the top reprint in the set is a blue card. Which means it’s an iconic card that sees play in formats like Legacy and Vintage. Assuming it is a monoblue card, that only leaves us with about 9 possibilities: Force of Will, Counterspell, Daze, Stifle, Back to Basics, Foil, Gush, Misdirection or Storm Crow. Gush, Daze, Back to Basics and Storm Crow 😉 are all too powerful in my opinion, so what card is not too powerful but also good enough to be the posterchild for this set? Many people have speculated that this whole set could be designed as a way to put Counterspell into Modern. Ultimately I thnk WOTC is a corporation and they want to sell packs and make money. Counterspell, Stifle, Foil and Misdirection won’t send players cracking packs like Force of Will will. Now hear me out, Force of Will has a reputation as one of the most powerful cards in the Legacy and Vintage formats. While that is true, we have to understand the reason why that is true. Force of Will keeps the format in check. It stops decks like belcher, Reanimator and Sneak and Show that attempt to win as soon as turn 1. Without it, Legacy would be dominated by these decks.Modern doesn’t really need a turn 1 Counterspell, and we know that WOTC doesn’t want decks to be winning by turn three in Modern anyways. Force of Will is a bad card against fair decks, if a control player is using two cards and a life to counter one threat, then that is the opposite of card advantage. Furthermore, my other issue with reprinting Counterspell over Force of Will is that with Teferi in the Format it would make control decks too oppressive, at least with Logic knot, Mana leak and Negate you have the possibility of resolving a spell after Teferi uses his plus ability.
Well those are my predictions, thanks for stopping by guys! Be sure and post any comments on how accurate you think this list is/isn’t or anything I may have completely overlooked!
© 2019, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.