Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer | Modern Horizons 2 | Art by Simon Dominic
22, May, 24

MH3 Retro Frame Reprints Are Packed With Nostalgic Value!

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Modern Horizons sets have always had one eye on the past and the other on the future. On the one hand, they bring with them a ton of reprints, many of which become Modern legal as a result. On the other, they add bold new designs that push the game in interesting directions. This commitment to players both old and new is a big part of the series’ success. Unsurprisingly, this is something that manifests clearly in the range of Retro Frame Reprints in MH3.

These Retro Frame Reprints are effectively a bonus sheet for the set. On this not-quite-Bonus-Sheet, there are 16 cards from Modern Horizons 1 and 2 in Retro Frame treatment for the first time. Notably, unlike a regular Bonus Sheet, you’ll only find these cards in Collector Boosters. Thanks to this, these cards will likely have some prestige and price right out of the gate.

To top all that off, though, some of them are genuine bangers that are fantastic to see reprinted!

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The Retro Frame Effect

Before we get to the newly announced reprints, let’s have a quick look at Retro Frame cards in general. This isn’t a new style for MTG as it made its debut back in 2021, with the release of Time Spiral Remastered. When they first debuted, these cards were referred to as ‘Timeshifted’ but the framing was the same. Given the similarities to the MTG frames of yesteryear, it wasn’t long before this style became known as the Retro Frame. It has since gone on to appear in several other sets, including Dominaria Remastered and Modern Horizons 2.

These Retro Frame cards are a fun hit of nostalgia, but how do they compare to their regular frame peers price-wise? This is a tricky question to answer, given how many Retro Frame cards there are at this point. A survey of the Modern Horizons 2 range reveals that most cost about the same, give or take a small percentage, as their normal versions. For better or worse, this means Retro Frames aren’t really premium chase variants, even if they are beloved.

While it’s not their only appeal, this detail is worth bearing in mind as we look at the MH3 Retro Frame reprints. While this style is popular, it’s not for everyone, so don’t expect the new framing to bump up the value of these cards too much. On many cards, you’ll be lucky if the value increases at all.

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The Big Two

There are 16 Retro Frame Reprints in Modern Horizons 3, but two stick out like sore, old-school thumbs when you look through them. I refer, of course, to Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Esper Sentinel.

Ragavan needs no introduction by this point. The card is an absurdly powerful one-drop, played in all manner of Modern and Vintage decks. He tends to see play in relatively fair Midrange decks, like Domain Zoo and Mardu Midrange. This is ironic because there’s nothing fair about his suite of powerful abilities. This meddling Monkey is sitting pretty at around the $40 mark at the time of writing. A low-supply reprint like this won’t do much to bring that price down.

Esper Sentinel is the other big dog in the pack. With its ‘Pay mana or I draw a card’ ability, it’s the very definition of a Death and Taxes piece. It sees play far beyond that Archetype, however, appearing in all manner of Modern and Legacy decks. Often these lists are artifact-centric, but the Sentinel is so generically good that he can slot in without extra synergies fairly often. A standard copy will run you around $30 at the moment, making it another big win in the Retro Reprints slot.

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MH2’s Evoke Elementals Cycle

The next step down from those juicy reprints is the full cycle of Evoke Elementals from Modern Horizons 2. All five of these format-defining monstrosities are part of the Retro Frame Reprint range, which really helps to put some extra spring in its step. As anyone who has played Magic for any length of time will tell you, casting spells for free is, more often than not, quite good. These cards proved to be even better than that.

All five, with the exception of the now-banned Fury, see consistent play in Modern. Grief is a key part of Scam decks, which aim to secure an early win by combining the card with Not Dead After All on turn one. The card does still see play in more balanced decks, however, as do the other three. Such is the power of interacting with your opponent without spending mana.

Prices on these cards are all roughly in the $20-25 range at the time of writing. Fury, of course, is much lower due to the ban, sitting at around $5. Personally, I think all of these cards look fantastic in the Retro Frame. The simple block colors of each art piece work very nicely with the simple block colors of the frame. That said, art is subjective, so don’t bank on these being much more expensive than the originals.

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Solid Reprints

MH3-Retro-Frame-Reprints-Solid

Things drop off quite a bit after the Evoke Elementals, with the rest of the Retro Frame reprints being fun callbacks more than anything else. That said, there are a few more cards in the range that are worth talking about.

Dragon’s Rage Channeler is a certified staple in both Modern and Legacy, giving aggressive decks a way of filtering their draws and stacking their graveyards. It also becomes a 3/3 flier very easily, which is a nice added bonus. The card isn’t particularly expensive, sitting at around $1 currently, but it looks great in a Retro Frame and it’s a welcome reprint regardless.

Dress Down is a Modern Horizons 2 card that sees play all the way back to Vintage. While typically only seen as a one-of, the ability to shut down all creature abilities for the turn, and draw a card in the process, can make or break games. It’s around $2 right now, but this version has real potential to go higher, given how perfectly suited the art is to a Retro Frame.

The final notable card here is interesting because its price is driven entirely by Commander. Tireless Provisioner is an excellent value engine for Landfall decks, or any green decks, really. It can give you Food and Treasure as and when you need it, on a fairly-statted body to boot. It costs around $3 right now, so opening it in your Collector Booster isn’t a total bust.

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The Rest

MH3-Retro-Frame-Reprints-The-Rest

After those small value blips, there really isn’t much else to write home about in the MH3 Retro Frame Reprints range. The remaining six cards all cost far less than a dollar in their original printings. As we’ve discussed already, they’re unlikely to gain much value by switching to Retro Frame.

There is one possible exception in Strike It Rich, the priciest remaining card at around $0.40. As a spell with Flashback, this card gets an additional tombstone detail in the top corner in this frame treatment. This gives it a little something extra that original copies don’t have and could hone its financial edge a little as a result.

Beyond that, we’re just looking at bulk. For the sake of full information, though, the remaining Retro Frame Reprint cards are as follows:

  • Abiding Grace – Around $0.10.
  • Hard Evidence – Around $0.05.
  • Munitions Expert – Around $0.20.
  • Sling-Gang Lieutenant – Around $0.20.
  • Unholy Heat – Around $0.10.

Based on the above, we can see that the MH3 Retro Frame Reprints are broken into seven great hits, three decent ones, and six bulk cards. Financially, this bonus sheet has the potential to jack up the value of a Collector Booster, but just as much potential to bring it down.

Time will tell if the Retro treatment here will boost the value of any of these cards. In the meantime, Just think of them as another fun extra in a set packed full of fun extras.

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