Modern Horizons 2 is one of the splashiest sets in Magic the Gathering’s history. Boxes are terribly expensive, and we had to save up some serious pennies for this one! We opened a box of the original Modern Horizons a couple years ago, and not only were the cards great, they were great down to the commons. For sheer bang for the buck, MOHO2 seemed to be the real deal. Did we get our money’s worth?
Pack-opening Mini Games
Andrew and I are the box openers, and we play pack-opening mini games. We mostly play a tiny game of Magic, where we shuffle up the pack as a deck and draw 3 and play. We each have sets of lands that we use, inspired by Brian DeMars’ Battlebox land configuration. That is 1 of each basic, 1 of each allied-colour tapland, like Shivan Oasis here, and if you’re adventurous, 1 of each enemy-coloured tapland, like Golgari Guildgate. You can use fancy taplands, like Tresserhorn Sinks or Drossforge Bridge, so long as you use the unwritten rule that lands have indestructible and shroud, but watch out for cards that give big advantages to players that have gates or snow lands if you use those types.
We also play a type of ‘3-Card Monte,’ where we divide the pack into piles of 3, then match up those piles as if they’re our full hand/deck, and play them out. Sometimes only one of us has a creature, and that player wins by default, but sometimes it’s close too. This is a fun thing to do with a Cube, if you have one. We got Set Boosters this time, so they didn’t work out into piles of 3. We mostly played the first game.
Of course you want to hear about the splashiest, most expensive cards, don’t you? Andrew was really hoping for an Urza’s Saga, and I was looking for a Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth. It’s good to have land….
While I got a fair amount of monetary value, I’m not someone who likes to play tutor cards, which involve searching your deck for something. Shuffling sucks, and I play Commander primarily, so big piles. I’d rather not shuffle at all, to the point where I’m cutting cards like Evolving Wilds and Wayfarer’s Bauble from my decks. So the fetchlands and Imperial Recruiter are probably going to be sold.
Other Cool Stuff
Like Modern Horizons 1, the set is packed with cool cards, right down to the commons. We each opened a swath of cool rares, uncommons and commons, and I’ll highlight some of the most exciting.
Old-frame cards – This set has a bunch of cards with the old frame design. I got a foil Necrogoyf, which is more cool than playable, and a sweet Liquimetal Torque, one of my favourite cards in the set. Andrew got The Underworld Cookbook.
Artifact Dual-Lands – The cycle of indestructible bridges have all sorts of applications in Commander. Darkmoss Bridge and friends are really sweet, and we each got 6-7 of them, with a duplicate or two each.
Build-Around Legends – I pulled the very cool Lonis, Cryptozoologist, and the strange and flavourful underworld chef, Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. Yup, that’s on the card. No mana cost. No room. Andrew grabbed sweet new elder dragon Piru, the Volatile, enchantment specialist Sythis, Harvest’s Hand, and Carth the Lion.
Spicy Tech – I’m looking forward to playing with Patriarch’s Bidding, Academy Manufactor, Suspend, Search the Premises, Sylvan Anthem and my foil Ravenous Squirrel! Andrew is undoubtedly planning to play with Priest of Fell Rites, Fractured Sanity, Sanctum Weaver, Nettlecyst, Goblin Bombardment, and the very spicy Harmonic Prodigy. Andrew also pulled 2 Nykthos Paragons, one in the alt-art version where it’s like the concept sketch. From the limited look we got at it, the card is very strong, and possibly a kill-on-sight if you see an opponent play it. It’s really cheap right now, and would be a solid pickup for Commander collections.
Wild Cards – Not sure what I’ll do with Aeve, Progenitor Ooze but it’s neat. Same with Gaea’s Will. Andrew picked up some really wild stuff, including the fascinating pair of Dress Down and Out of Time, two really unique answers with huge potential. His Chef’s Kiss looks like a lot of fun, and his Resurgent Belief might be big game.
Budget-Friendly Playable Cards – I thought I’d be able to pick out a few highlights among the rest of the cards we got, including the commons and uncommons, but there’s a lot. Bone Shards is flat-out amazing. I can’t say enough good things about this versatile little spell. Break Ties is super-useful. Smell Fear is an amazing fight spell. Nested Shambler could be incredible, and Abundant Harvest is already a competitive all-star. There’s a lot of stuff that might not see competitive play, but is hot sauce in Cube or Battlebox, like Dihada’s Ploy and Arcus Acolyte. Underworld Hermit is squirrel Gary. Urban Daggertooth is a sweet dinosaur. Clattering Augur looks pretty playable. Even Jade Avenger should get a nod for a Battlebox. I chose a lot of these cards because they’re fairly simple to evaluate, but most of the set has at least a couple more moving parts than most do. There are likely tons and tons of sleepers.
The List – The List is an unknown group of cards that may see reprints in sets like this. Not vague at all. Maybe it should be known as the Legacy Lottery. We got a few cards from The List, including rares Hundred-Handed One and Arcbound Overseer. While it’s kinda cool, it’s not really a feature I’d pay much for in future.
Foils, Old-Borders, and Sketch Cards – It was neat to open these, but most ended up being commons that aren’t likely to see much play beyond the pack-opening games.
Art Cards, Tokens and Game Cards – I’ll pass on the Art Cards in future. Some are useful as tokens, but the biggest draw of Magic cards is functionality. I have nothing exciting to report about the tokens, which is fine. The big addition, however, is the Game Cards, which are cards that describe mini-games to play with packs or your own constructed piles, just like we already do! These are a great idea, and we’ve already played and enjoyed ‘Totally Lost in Translation.’
While this was a very expensive purchase, it seems like we did very well. The density of playable cards is unmatched in any box I’ve opened previously, and if we sell some of the valuable stuff we’re unlikely to play with, we might get a chunk of the investment back. Even the thematic unity in the commons and uncommons in the Set Boosters played well with our mini-games.
With Standard sets flying past at breakneck speed every few months, and Secret Lairs dropping from the sky every few minutes, it’s nice to have cards like this that are clearly going to leave some footprints. Thanks for reading!