Tamiyo Seasoned Scholar | Modern Horizons 3
26, Feb, 24

MTG Designer Admits Modern Horizons 3 Is Named Inappropriately

Article at a Glance

Last Friday, Wizards of the Coast properly revealed Modern Horizons 3. This reveal came part as a jam-packed livestream that debuted the contents of four sets! During this time, it’s safe to say that MTG players were terribly excited, and even that is putting it lightly!

Now that the weekend has passed and the dust has settled, many players are taking another look at all the reveals. As arguably the biggest debut, this has left a lot of eyes on Modern Horizons 3. Boasting the highest format-warping potential, this set was already controversial from the moment it was announced!

If one major controversy wasn’t enough for your fancy, Modern Horizons 3 has a handful of them! Unsurprisingly, considering the $600 Commander decks, one of these complaints is about the astronomical price. Alongside this, some MTG players are suggesting that Modern Horizons is poorly named. Miraculously, MTG’s Lead Designer appears to agree with this suggestion.

Modern Horizons Isn’t All Modern?

Eldrazi Incursion

Up until now, every Modern Horizons set has had one important detail in common. When you open a pack or purchase any product, all the cards inside would be Modern-legal. Considering the name of the set, this seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, for the set’s third outing, Wizards is flipping the script.

As we alluded to a few moments ago, Modern Horizons 3 has Commander decks, four of them, in fact. Being a staple of every tentpole release, it’s entirely unsurprising to see these decks make an appearance. For many players, these decks are a welcome boon, as they’re sure to amp up some fan-favorite existing archetypes.

While many players are reveling in the new five-color Eldrazi deck and theorizing what it may contain, others are fussy. After all, thanks to these decks, Modern Horizons isn’t exactly just Modern anymore, making its name a misnomer. Frustrated with this point, some MTG players took their concerns to Magic’s head honcho and lead designer, Mark Rosewater.

Taking to Blogatog, Tumblr user Izzipurrito emphatically stated they’re “immensely disappointed […] that not all cards under the name “Modern Horizons” will be Modern legal.” While the comments attached to this post weren’t so supportive, miraculously, Mark Rosewater agreed with Izzipurrito’s comment. Stating “I agree Modern Horizons is an inappropriate name for the set,” it seems MH3 could do with a rebrand.

While Rosewater did agree with Izzipurrito initially, in a later answer, Rosewater downplayed the scale of this issue. Relying to user Zbaschtian, Rosewater commented they “think there is consistency,” when it comes to Commander products. As many other Tumblr users pointed out, this stops this issue from spiraling out of control too much.

“I think there is consistency. Commander decks accompany products all the time that have a different legality than the product line it accompanies. Why should the Modern Horizon accompanying decks be Modern legal when the Standard accompanying decks aren’t Standard legal?”

Mark Rosewater

But Where are the Modern Decks?

Ajani, Nacatl Avenger Art
Ajani, Nacatl Avenger | Modern Horizons 3

At the end of the day, even if the set is called Modern Horizons 3, Commander decks are still Commander decks. Not only should this long-established name dictate the legality, but there’s also a unique set symbol. Since this precedent has been around for years, hopefully, it shouldn’t cause a monumental issue.

While the name of Commander decks may not be the problem, other players chimed in to refocus the discussion. On Tumblr, Heartwithnobeat stated “The question is not ‘Why is the set called Modern Horizons?’, but ‘Why does the Modern set need Commander precons?‘” Unsurprisingly, Rosewater’s response to this question boils down to one simple fact; Commander is popular.

As the most played format on paper, it’s entirely unsurprising that Wizards would continue to support Commander players with decks. Despite this, Heartwithnobeat points out that instead there “could have been any number of things to help people get into Modern.” For example, Wizards could have brought back preconstructed Modern Event Decks.

Unfortunately, while many MTG players were quite fond of this idea, Mark Rosewater shot it down. In their response, Rosewater stated “there are some huge challenges,” to making this type of product. “The power level needed to be viable in Modern does not line up with the price point players are willing to pay for a pre-constructed deck.”

Considering a typical Modern deck costs around $1000, it’s unsurprising that preconstructed decks at this price point wouldn’t sell. In theory, the solution to this problem is easy since Wizards could just sell a tier-one deck for cheap. While this would be great for players, it, unfortunately, avoids the Reprint Equity philosophy that massively helps to sell sets.

The Sad Reality

Reality Shift | Ugin's Fate
Reality Shift | Ugin’s Fate

Ultimately, while MTG cards may cost the same amount to print in the factories, Reprint Equity reigns supreme. Without it, Wizards wouldn’t be able to sell Masters sets which would be a major blow to their bottom line. Thanks to this, it seems MTG players are never going to get the powerful and affordable constructed decks they crave.

Thankfully, while competitive players may be getting the short end of the stick, Commander is thriving right now. Recently, preconstructed Commander decks have been knocking it out of the park in terms of reprint value. Hopefully, the new Modern Horizons 3 decks will follow this trend when they are released. Considering their price point, the reprints in these decks could be absolutely insane.

Read More: MTG Snow-Covered Wastes and Evoke Elemental Reprint Revealed!

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