Modern Horizons 2 is prerelease right around the corner, and with stores opening their doors again for organized play, now is the time to brush up on how to draft this incredible set! We’ll go over each archetype, as talked about by Gavin Verhey, what cards you should be looking for in each, and when to know to go for a certain deck.
Blue and White’s theme is Artifacts. Affinity for artifacts, and Metalcraft are both mechanics in this set, so you’ll want to find cards that are going to make you artifact tokens, such as Sweep the Skies and Etherium Spinner. Some cards that are good filler creatures in your deck are Chrome Courier, Barbed Spike[tooltips], and even [tooltips]Hard Evidence. Pay offs in this deck will include cards like Filigree Attendant, Steelfin Whale, and Rise and Shine. Of note, you should value Razortide Bridge and Power Depot rather highly, as they’re effectively 2 mana for our affinity pay offs. You should go for this archetype if you hit a pay off and an Etherium Spinner relatively early and can force the strategy.
Blue and Black’s theme is discard. When we say discard, we don’t mean discarding your opponents cards, at least not primarily, but rather discarding your own cards to gain some sort of benefit. Generally discarding your own cards is a bit tricky to do, but there are a number of good ways to do this, with cards like Cabal Initiate and The Underworld cookbook. A few other notable cards here are going to be Hell Mongrel, Aeromeba and Scuttletide[tooltips]. You can couple black Madness cards like [tooltips]Kitchen Imp as discard fodder, and round out the deck with cards like Bone Shards for removal, and Gilt-Blade Prowler to help refill your hand. Pay offs in this deck will be cards like Mystic Redaction and Feast of Sanity. Of note, depending on what rares you open, or how many Mystic Redcations you pick up, Mill can be a very viable strategy to go for, just make sure that you pick up the engine pieces along the way.
While Blue-Black was seeming the “control” self Discard deck, Black-Red Madness is more akin to the aggro deck. You will want similar sorts of engine cards in Cabal initiate, and Hell Mongrel, you’ll also want more madness creatures like Rakdos Headliner and Blazing Rootwalla. Your payoffs in this deck are going to be essentially utility spells that gain value from discarding cards and can help you clear the way for your creatures to get in damage. These are cards like Mount Velus Manticore, and Terminal Agony. Go for this archetype if you find some of the above spells early in pack 1
Green and red are the colors of Storm. Storm is generally a difficult deck to build, as it requires a lot of cheap spells and a storm pay off to be able to work. It also requires you to stay alive during the game long enough to get enough to be able to cast enough spells to go off. The crux of this deck is finding enough Goblin Anarchomancers and Road // Ruins to make enough effective mana to be able to cast multiple spells in a turn. Your Storm pay offs in this deck are going to be something like Chatterstorm, or Hunting Pack at common, but if you happen to find cards like Aeve, Progenitor Ooze or Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar, then you have some real powerhouse threats. You can fill out the deck Strike It Rich, Unholy Heat, and Abundant Harvest as multiple spells you can cast in a turn, and hopefully you can go off in style! You can play this archetype if you find one of the rare pay offs, or find a good amount of Goblin Anarchomancers.
Green-White +1/+1 Counters
Green White is centered around +1/+1 counters. Despite there being a good number of cards that are enchantress focused, there isn’t enough cards to make the deck function reliably. Instead, we have a bunch of really great +1/+1 synergies. With cards like Arcus Acolyte, Herd Baloth, and Myr Scrapling all can build beefy boards, and support spells such as Unbound Potential just push the archetype over the top. Go for this deck if you find an Arcus Acolyte or Herd Baloth early, and can roll into the support cards.
White-Black is the deck of reanimator. You generally want to find a payoff before finding your reanimation spells as you want to be sure that your reanimation effects will be impactful, but in this format, there’s generally enough bigger threats that you’d be happy to cheat into play from the graveyard. Of these, Archon of Cruelty is the go to, but it’s a mythic so it’s not likely to be seen. You also have Archfiend of Sorrows, which can do a number on your opponent’s board, and Glorious Enforcer are uncommon threats that can end a game very quickly. Other cards to look for in the draft are going to be Vile Entomber, Young Necromancer and Persist. If you find it as well, Priest of Fell Rites is a recurring animation spell. Another key spell for this deck is going to be Cabal Initiate, as it’s another way to ditch your threats to the graveyard to reanimate. Go for this for sure if you find Archon of Cruelty, but if you find some of the uncommon threats and reanimation or entomb-like spells. You can pivot out of this if you’re getting cut off into either Madness, and use Archfiend as discard fodder, and cast it with unearth, or potentially getting into a ramp strategy and splash the 3rd color.
Black-Green Token Sacrifice
Black and Green is token sacrifice, or more specifically… squirrel sacrifice. We look to find cards that are squirrels, cards that create tokens like Drey Keeper, or Jewel-Eyed Cobra, and pay offs for sacrificing them. These would include Ravenous Squirrel, Vermin Gorger, or Legion Vanguard. You also may want to find Squirrel Sovereign to go wide with your tokens and squirrels as well. If you find Chatterfang, Squirrel General or any of the black pay offs, go for this strategy. If you only find the squirrel token generation cards, you may consider going to the next strategy.
Green Blue is the deck of tokens. With this you’ll be looking for token creation spells, such as Etherium Spinner, Orchard Strider, Wavesifter and any other blue token makers mentioned in the blue white artifacts section. We have a couple different strategies here to end the game, we can try to overwhelm our opponent with creature tokens, with the help of Combine Chrysalis, or we can sacrifice them to Glimmer Bairn to get in 1 big chunk of damage to our opponent. If you find Combine Chrysalis, or Etherium Spinner, you should consider playing Green Blue Tokens.
Blue-Red Delirium might be one of the more difficult archetypes to draft. Reason for this is because you need to be able to turn on Delirium, which requires you to have 4 or more card types in your graveyard. So while looking for your payoffs in Dragon’s Rage Channeler, or Gouged Zealot, you also need to be finding cards that can be useful to you, while finding an easy way to get them into the graveyard. Creatures are going to be easy enough, as you just play them and they’ll eventually die. Instants and Sorceries also are easy as you cast them and they’ll go to the graveyard. Good spells to look out for here are going to be Unholy Heat, and Strike it Rich, as well as Mental Journey for card draw. An important set of cards to look out for as well are artifact creatures, like Parcel Myr, Filigree Attendant, or any of the red arcbound creatures. Additionally you can look for Mount Velus Manticore, as its an enchantment creature, or Auras, as when the creature that they are attached to dies, you can get an enchantment in the graveyard. If you find some of these harder to secure card types and some of the payoffs, you might be able to go delirium.
The last 2 color pair is red white modular. This is the archetype of Arcbounds. Any of the arcbound creatures in red and white are going to slot into this deck perfectly as it takes advantage of their Modular ability. Now we can play a normal creature focused game and expect that our modular creatures will die on their own, but we can speed up this process by incorporating specific sacrifice effects such as Foundry Helix and Slag Strider or potentially our pseudo-Arcbound Ravager in Extruder. We can play it, launch a huge attack, and whatever creature isn’t blocked, use Extruder to sacrifice the blocked creatures to move our counters around to the unblocked one and get in for a ton of damage. A good vessel for those creatures can be cards like Marble Gargoyle, or maybe the token that’s created from Barbed Spike if you draft one. If you prioritize Arcbound creatures heavily and found other artifact creatures, you should be good to go for this deck.
There is one other archetype that I would say could be viable in draft, and that is Domain. There’s a couple of pay offs in this archetype, but they’re very powerful. Domain involves you having multiple land types, which sounds hard to pull off, but we have a lot of great spells that can help smooth out our mana. First off we have a few different ramp spells in green, so we’ll want to be base green for sure. Additionally, there are 5 basic land cycling cards that we can pick up along the way. Our pay offs are primarily Territorial Kavu and Scion of Draco, but we also have a cycle of converge spells that can act as outlets to utilize our different colors of mana. I’d only look to go for this if you happen to find a the payoffs in pack 1 and you see ways to smooth out mana / converge pay offs in pack 1 as well. This is also the only place where Garth One-Eye would fit.
That was a lot to cover, but hopefully you have the tools you need to go forth and build a killer draft deck in this awesome format. What decks are you excited to build and what deck do you think is the strongest? Let us know in the comments!