18, May, 21

Will Counterspell Be Too Good in Modern?

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Modern Horizons 2 will introduce the powerful spell into the Modern format.
Article at a Glance

Modern Horizons 2 looks to propose fresh and exciting cards into Modern without going through Standard. There will be a mix of brand new cards and older cards coming into Modern. Either way, it’s likely to shake up the Modern format once more. Hopefully, not in a similar way Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis did back in Modern Horizons 1.

Modern Horizons 2 previews begin on May 24. If you want to keep up to date with the previews so far, we have a dedicated gallery for the upcoming set.

Will Counterspell Be Too Good in Modern?

There’s plenty of discourse about Counterspell and how it may warp the Modern format. Counterspell was originally planned to see print in Dominaria but saw Teferi, Hero of Dominaria headline the set instead. Wizards of the Coast considered the instant for Modern Horizons 1 as well but wasn’t ready to pull the trigger. It seems now in Modern Horizons 2, they are ready to let the spell reign in Modern. So, what’s changed?

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Since Modern Horizons 1, the power of the format has skyrocketed. Cards such as Force of Negation and Wrenn & Six are now staples of the format. Granted, we don’t think Counterspell will hit the same level as those two, but it’s certain to find a role somewhere. It may be a case that the impact of Modern Horizons 1 is leaving a bad taste in player’s mouths with the anticipation of this set’s release. It’s easy to assume everything coming in Modern Horizons 2 will break the format again given what its predecessor achieved back in 2019.

However, Counterspell is likely to become a staple in Blue-heavy Control strategies such as Azorius and Izzet Control. While it’s tempting to run this in archetypes such as Izzet Blitz or Niv-to-Light, the double Blue mana cost is tough to meet. You’ll want to run spells such as Mana Leak so you don’t trip up on tricky mana requirements. With the introduction of Counterspell into Modern, it will retire Logic Knot in Control lists going forward.

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Upon release, everyone will force Counterspell in their decks as if it will solve the woes of the Modern format. Combo strategies will still exist, there’s plenty of redundancy in the format that goes beyond what Counterspell can prevent. It will end up being a sensible answer for the slow and traditional Blue strategies in Modern. If anything, Counterspell will be a clear answer, but not a definitive one.

With that, better pack your Spell Snares and Spell Pierces in anticipation of Counterspells foray into Modern. It’s going to land somewhere but we don’t think it’s going to break the format in half. Will Counterspell warp the format? Very unlikely. Will something else in Modern Horizons 2 warp the format? Absolutely, yes.

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