Nostalgia runs strong in Magic. There are so many cards that we used to play a long time ago and wish to play again, but very often we can't because they have never been printed into Modern. Every player has their pick on which Legacy cards would enrich Modern without endangering it. Yes, we will not be talking about Hymn to Tourach, Wasteland, or Daze. We don't want Modern to be Legacy in disguise. My goal today is not to print very powerful cards into the format but rather sweet designs that could find a home or two in Modern. This is my list of reprintable cards divided into categories.
Modern Horizons 2 has not been kind to people who like to play unfair decks. I strongly believe that linear "unfair" decks are an important part of the Magic ecosystem and they could have actually got some new toys.
The Wish cycle – Here I am mainly thinking of Burning Wish and Cunning Wish. As Modern is by nature a best-of-three format, dedicating sideboard slots is a real cost. However, for most unfair decks, making the sideboard an extension of their in-game deck could be a nice bonus. Storm players could better relegate Grapeshot, Past in Flames, and Empty the Warrens to the board and just grab whichever they need with Burning Wish. Cunning Wish could potentially just create a new deck. An example would be a Wilderness Reclamation deck with Mystical Teachings and the Wish and with Secure the Wastes, Blue Sun's Zenith, and Nexus of Fate in the side.
Brain Freeze – This could be a card for Storm. The first copy can target yourself and help mill through the deck. The second or subsequent copy can be your win condition. Having an enabler and win condition in one card could be strong. It might also spawn a new archetype such as Turbo Mill.
Doomsday – This is a bit risky. Doomsday is the type of card that is either busted or aggressively average. Contrary to Legacy, Modern now has no fast mana, which means people would cast it on actual turn three with a win on turn four. You could try to play red rituals and Manamorphose, but it would be wildly difficult to convert red mana into triple black. As is I believe it would be an interesting spin on a combo deck in Modern. While we already have Recross the Paths the cards promote fundamentally different lines and deck building.
High Tide – As far as I'm concerned, this card would not break anything in half. It might, however, spawn a completely new archetype especially alongside some of the cards I've already mentioned in this section.
Food Chain – a combo with any of Misthollow Griffin, Squee, the Immortal, or Eternal Scourge and some big-mana payoff such as Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. In addition, one can pitch the Griffin to Force of Negation or Subtlety and then still recast it from exile. It would make a nice addition to the format, combo-ish but with interaction.
Goblin Lackey – In Modern, there is no Muxus, Goblin Grandee so the best Goblins could do is Siege-Gang Commander, Goblin Ringleader, or Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. Don't get me wrong, putting these cards into play on turn two is powerful. However, Modern is a very interactive format, and Lava Dart is everywhere. If it were in the format, it would be punished even more by a deck that's already tier one.
Toxic Deluge – a trade-off type of interaction. You can have a mass removal spell, but you pay life, and paying life is a steep cost because this is a key resource against decks where a mass removal spell is useful. Against a deck with Death's Shadow or Tarmogoyf you would really have to pay a lot of life too. That's why I think we could have it in the format—it's not an automatic inclusion by any means but rather has its upsides and downsides.
Unexpectedly Absent – This would be an excellent way for control decks to be able to answer problematic permanents. Absent can be cast as early as turn two, which also just makes it a generically fine removal spell. I would be very excited to have it in Modern. We got Vindicate, but it pushes you into black and is sorcery speed, which is a serious downside.
Pernicious Deed – I am quite surprised we still don't have this card. As far as I'm concerned, it would complement black-green midrange decks nicely. They already have to play threats such as Tarmogoyf or Scavenging Ooze so it's not free. In addition, it's quite expensive mana-wise and the opponent gets a chance to interact with it if it's played on turn three. It would not be that strong, just another tool for fringe black-green decks.
Maze of Ith – a land that does not add mana, which is a huge restriction. Again, it would be a a role player in some narrow decks. It might create a new deck with Life from the Loam or end up used alongside Knight of the Reliquary. (There is a sweet play you can make with Maze—after you've dealt damage with a creature you can hold priority in the end of combat step; untap your creature then without preventing its combat damage.) As we don't have Exploration, I don't think I am concerned with its power level.
Karakas – This would be another interesting option. In Modern, there aren't that many playable and powerful legendary creatures. The one that immediately comes to mind is Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. A land which picks it up and makes you have to recast it again just to protect it against removal sounds perfectly fine, especially as the land itself is legendary. However, it can boost some fringe decks and allow them to abuse, for example, Vendilion Clique or Venser, Shaper Savant. I think it would make a great addition to the format.
Phyrexian Tower – The concept of fast mana is frowned upon in Modern, and this card would require close monitoring. But if it's safe for Historic, there's a decent chance it could improve some sweet creature toolbox-type archetype. I would mostly be wary of graveyard/recursion decks abusing it.
Submerge – Oh, I would love to have access to this card. Its application is not wide, but it allows one not to die to a Glistener Elf on turn two. Bare in mind that not all green-producing lands are Forests, however trivial that sounds. Infect can play Pendelhaven or Waterlogged Grove to dodge it. They also play Inkmoth Nexus. Against other decks it wouldn't be that devastating.
Portent – also known as "delayed Ponder." If Wizards is unwilling to print good cantrips into the format, I think that's a nice way around it. "Porter" is probably good enough to warrant some play but is not good in linear proactive decks because the effect is delayed. Naturally, there is a way to actually take advantage of the delay—Terminus. You could set up the miracle on top of your library to draw the card on your opponent's upkeep and wipe the board. If you have Teferi, Time Raveler, you can make it instant as well.
Predict – Please, let me play Predict with Mishra's Bauble! Oh, and Counterbalance. And Miracles and preferably the aforementioned Portent as well. I would be the happiest man on the planet. Note that you have to build your deck with Predict in mind, otherwise it will just be a two-mana cycler. However, if you build the deck right and properly manipulate your library, it can be a nice card advantage engine without being overpowered. You could also mill your opponent's library if you've put a spell on top with your Aether Gust or Subtlety!
In addition to expanding Modern and increasing the already wide diversity, such reprints could pull in some Legacy players who I'm sure would love to try their favorite decks and cards in the most popular competitive nonrotating format known to Magic. I don't believe any of these cards would warp the format but rather give us more toys to play with. And that's what Modern is all about! Do you agree or disagree with my picks? What else do you want to see, maybe in Modern Horizons 3?
Leave a comment below and let us know! And as always, hold my hand and let's pass the turn together. Cheers!
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