Modern Horizons 2 Is Back On Magic Online And So Am I!

With Modern Horizons 2 Draft back on Magic Online, Ryan Saxe returns to his favorite format for two tricky picks.

Wavesifter, illustrated by Nils Hamm

Modern Horizons 2 Draft is the best Booster Draft format of all time. Period.

Better than all the other Masters sets. Better than original Innistrad.

I think I could draft it hundreds of times without getting bored, almost like Cube, and I’m so happy it’s coming back to Magic Online (especially since I have not been enjoying Adventures of the Forgotten Realms Draft).

The reasons Modern Horizons 2 Draft is so good are plenty:

  • The mana fixing is amazing. There are six commons with land cycling, as well as ten common dual lands. This means that splashing is relatively easy if it’s something you’re interested in, which opens up the door to speculate on powerful cards because you may still be able to splash them.
  • The archetypes have a lot of payoffs. Each color pair is extremely good at executing a gameplan, and so it’s very rewarding to find the open lane. Not only can you linearize your deck, there are a good suite of cards that will likely wheel to you. Basically, every card in the format is playable somewhere, and most archetypal cards aren’t completely dead out of their main archetype, but they still should go late if the archetype is open. It’s a beautifully impressive balance from a game design perspective.
  • The archetypes intersect all over the place. This is the chef’s kiss of the format. Every card has an optimal place and role, but wow, can so many decks make use of non-archetypal cards due to intersecting themes. Boros is all about modular, which would seem parasitic, but it’s not. Selesnya loves +1/+1 counters for proliferating, and Azorius is all about artifacts. There are so many nuances between the paths to navigate the draft due to these intersections, and given how rewarding finding the open lane is, this makes for the most fun Draft format I’ve ever experienced!

Now that I’ve sold you on why the format is so awesome, let’s jump into a draft!

Pack 1, Pick 4

The Picks So Far:

Thought Monitor Monoskelion Filigree Attendant

The Pack:

Tizerus Charger Tavern Scoundrel Crack Open Arcbound Mouser Flourishing Strike Burdened Aerialist Piercing Rays Tragic Fall Revolutionist Abiding Grace Strike It Rich Cursed Totem

The Pick:

Tragic Fall is a solid removal spell, but this Limited format isn’t like normal retail Limited. Removal is still good, but it’s far from premium. I wouldn’t fault somebody for taking Tragic Fall here, but generally it’s better to focus on being proactive rather than reactive. Interacting is still important, but you’ll pick up interaction without prioritizing it so highly, unlike normal retail Limited.

Burdened Aerialist has overperformed my expectation of it being mediocre, but still isn’t a fantastic card. It may look like the pick because I get to stay mono-blue, and making a Treasure is within the artifact theme of my current pool. However, I just don’t think I’m going to miss a Burdened Aerialist. Due to that line of thinking, I would rather speculate on what could be a very powerful card.

Abiding Grace is something many dismissed at the beginning of the format, but it turns out to be one of the more powerful uncommon engines. There are quite a few one-mana creatures to go in artifact decks, and they go relatively late in the draft. Being able to block forever is nothing to scoff at, and Myr Scrapling or Arcbound Mouser can even spread some counters around too. There’s even an Arcbound Mouser that could wheel out of this pack. When you consider the power of getting this engine early, alongside the fact that Azorius is the best home for a blue artifact start, I think the pick becomes Abiding Grace by a reasonable margin.

Take some time to go over the pool before taking a look at the next pack. There’s a lot going on in the pool, and pairing those cards with a card from the following pack isn’t trivial.

Pack 3, Pick 3

The Picks So Far:

Thought Monitor Monoskelion Filigree Attendant Abiding Grace Chrome Courier So Shiny Knighted Myr Silverbluff Bridge Burdened Aerialist Vectis Gloves Mistvault Bridge Flourishing Strike Sweep the Skies Floodhound Storm God's Oracle Prophetic Titan Flametongue Yearling Silverbluff Bridge Disciple of the Sun Raving Visionary Glimpse of Tomorrow Gargadon Arcbound Slasher Dress Down Lucid Dreams Slagwoods Bridge Arcbound Tracker Darkmoss Bridge Flame Blitz Flourishing Strike Ethersworn Sphinx Mental Journey

The Pack:

Darkmoss Bridge Parcel Myr Guardian Kirin World-Weary Glimmer Bairn Galvanic Relay Blacksmith's Skill Wavesifter Vedalken Infiltrator Specimen Collector Constable of the Realm Greed Dauthi Voidwalker

The Pick:

It’s looking like I’m drafting a Jeskai deck that wants to go into the late-game. Vedalken Infiltrator is a defensive body that can turn a corner, but this deck doesn’t care about a cheap unblockable creature, and a 1/3 doesn’t actually block the aggressive decks well in this format because madness, modular, and proliferate are all really good at pushing through small ground blockers. Parcel Myr is an artifact for that synergy, and at least can trade with some two-drops, but it’s still pretty lackluster.

Specimen Collector is just way too inefficient for what it provides. It’s definitely cool to go alongside Glimpse of Tomorrow, but it’s just not good enough. The same can be said about Constable of the Realm. If you can’t put +1/+1 counters on this card without it attacking unblocked, it’s just impossible to justify spending five mana on a body that bad.

Darkmoss Bridge as another artifact land would be cool if it were literally any other of the Bridges. I mean that. If Darkmoss Bridge intersected with either white, blue, or red, it would be the pick. As is, I’m not interested in a double-off-color tapland.

All this means that I took Wavesifter. It may be uncastable, but it’s the only card in this pack that has a chance to make my deck. I’m not worried about playables, and if I get a few more green sources to go alongside my Slagwoods Bridge, then I’m going to happily play Wavesifter. There are so many ways to fix your mana in this format that speculating on powerful cards is often better than taking mediocre ones that will be your 23rd card at best. That includes in Pack 3. Don’t put your blinders on in this format. Always be willing to weave synergies, and colors, together to make your deck work.

While I didn’t end up playing the Wavesifter, I still finished undefeated with an incredibly fun Jeskai deck. Check out the draft log, and a What’s The Play scenario below!