Wizards of the Coast has already given us a taste of Modern Horizons 2 with our first look at the brand new cards and reprints from the upcoming straight-to-Modern Magic: The Gathering set. The first week of Modern Horizons 2 previews has kicked off this week, and Magic head designer Mark Rosewater has shared the story about the development of this highly-anticipated set and explained how differently they planned to design it compared to the first Modern Horizons set.
Rosewater talked about how they have more room breathing room to feature more mechanics in Modern Horizons 2, and that their only real limit was that the mechanic had to be published at the time the card was designed, since unreleased mechanics could change before they made it to print. While there are various Limited archetypes already revealed for the set, MTG head designer also revealed the six main themes of Modern Horizons 2, including familiar mechanics that get a power boost in the new set. Check out what Rosewater said for each of the six themes of Modern Horizons 2:
6 Main Themes of Modern Horizons 2
One of those themes was madness. Madness is a mechanic that first appeared in Torment, the second set in the Odyssey block. It showed up again, along with many other mechanics, in Time Spiral block and then again in Shadow over Innistrad block. That’s six sets that it appeared in. That was enough cards that it occasionally shows up in Modern, but not quite enough to get it to the top tier. Including it in Modern Horizons 2 might provide the boost it needs. The mechanic exists primarily in black and secondary in red, so they made madness the black-red deck archetype.
Another thing that Modern Horizons sets do well is allow you to do one-of’s with many mechanics. What themes were there that overlapped a lot of mechanics? The team did some research, and the one that stood out to them the most was +1/+1 counters.
+1/+1 counters are a game staple allowing permanent incremental growth. A lot of mechanics have made use of +1/+1 counters over the years. In addition, because of all these mechanics, there are many cards that mechanically care about +1/+1 counters. The Vision Design team made this the green-white archetype, as those are the two colors that use +1/+1 counters the most.
Reanimation is a theme that’s hard to pull off as a Limited theme in most sets, so it seemed like a golden opportunity for Modern Horizons 2. The Vision Design team put it in white and black.
While Modern Horizons had 24 multicolor cards, none of them were at common, making the as-fan very low. Ethan and his team added common multicolor cards (ten of them—a full cycle), along with ones at higher rarity, to raise the as-fan and make multicolor have more of a role in Draft. Modern Horizons 2 isn’t a “gold set” per se, but it definitely uses multicolor cards in more volume than the previous set.
Because the product started with knowledge of Modern legality, it allowed the Vision Design team to have discussions with Play Design early and figure out what reprints could be in the set. (Adding a reprint to this set adds it to the Modern format.) Many more reprints that ended up in the set were added during vision design than were added in the first Modern Horizons.
Dakkon Blackblade Theme
Dakkon appeared as a legendary creature in Legends but never had a card that reflected his time as a planeswalker. Once that card was in the set, the design team, with help from the Creative team, found an opportunity to add a couple of Dakkon Blackblade-related cards.
It looks like Modern Horizons 2 will be more complex than the first Modern Horizons. The large amount of mechanics featured in the set is exciting, and I can’t wait to see how the cards will make an impact in the Modern Constructed format.
What do you think about the six main themes of Modern Horizons 2? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
If you’re excited for Modern Horizons 2, you can now preorder Draft Boosters, Collector Boosters, Set Boosters, and Bundles online .
Modern Horizons 2 is scheduled to release on June 18, 2021. The official preview season for Modern Horizons 2 is set to begin, and you can check out the list of outlets where you can find them here. You can check out spoiler section here.