The Plan for Modern Horizons

All right, everyone, the full spoiler is out this morning, and while I’m sure there’s a couple of doozies that they’ve been holding out on, we’ve got most of the set known and it’s time to make some plans.

The set goes into prerelease next weekend and full release after that. Let’s keep in mind some basics, and then get into what we ought to be doing, using other Modern releases to guide our thinking.

So the set is the same size as a Standard release, but the big differences are going to be the price and the size of the print run. There is no MSRP on this product, but with boosters being $6.99 on MTGO, that’s a reasonable starting point. As usual, there’s 36 packs to a box, and with a distributor price higher than normal, the box prices are somewhere in the $200-$240 range, often depending on is the Buy-A-Box NONFOIL Flusterstorm is included.

If you look at the preorder prices for the set, you’ll notice that there’s a whole lot of pricey cards. That’s to be expected when the pack price is nearly double: a higher cost associates with higher prices in general.

The other key logistical detail is that we’ve got Core Set 2020 releasing on July 12. Traditionally, previews for a set start three weeks before prerelease, as they did with Modern Horizons. That schedule means that preview season would start on Monday, June 17…three days after Modern Horizons was released.

I would guess that the preview season for 2020 will be shorter by a week, but that’s about the most they can do, short of dumping it all on us at once. I’m not ruling anything out, though.

So we have a more expensive set, only relevant to Modern, and with an abbreviated run. This is a formula for some incredible profits. We know that this set is going to increase interest in Modern by adding new cards and hopefully new archetypes. Modern Masters sets have had a predictable price curve:

This is for Noble Hierarch, one of the most-played creatures in Modern, and a card with multiple printings. Every additional printing the price has gone down right away…only to creep back up again. For fun, let’s look at the graph for the Conflux version:

Oh yes, that means I love buying cheap Nobles right now. The high-end ones are a ceiling on the price, but the box topper especially has room to grow to the $150 range.

This is the pattern: Everything from Modern Horizons is going to get somewhat cheaper as the set gets opened, but within a couple of weeks of Core Set 2020 coming out, supply will be mostly maxed out, and that’s when it’ll be time to buy.

I don’t know which of the cards are going to make the biggest splash in Modern or Commander, but there are a few that I’m targeting.

Foil enemy Talismans (no price as yet)

We’ve got a couple of folks preselling these on eBay in the $10 range, and I think that’s fairly reasonable. I’m hoping to come down to the $5 threshold, as they are only uncommons but we are not getting one foil in every pack. These are slightly worse than the Signets, but this will be their only printing and the only foil. This is a long-term hold.

Scrapyard Recombiner (currently about $3.50)

There’s 140 Constructs in Magic, but the most relevant for us are Walking Ballista, Steel Overseer, Hangarback Walker, Kuldotha Forgemaster, and if you’re feeling spicy, Metalworker. That’s a list of some of the best artifact creatures you could have in Commander, and if this gets as low as $2 I’m going to pick up quite a few.

Echo of Eons ($38)

This is the card that I think will get broken first, in Legacy or Modern. This is just ridiculous, to be able to discard it and have the Timetwister effect ready to go. They just gave us Narset, Parter of Veils to go with this! I wish this was cheaper, because I’m not sure how far down it can go. I hope it becomes quite cheap, especially in foil, but it won’t. I’m likely to pick up a couple playsets when it (hopefully) hits $15-$20.

Plague Engineer ($4)

I’ll be interested to see where the foils of this land, and how many copies get played in assorted sideboards. Being three mana is a real drawback, but it’s instantly lethal to Thalia and Hierarch in the Humans deck, which is likely the best tribal deck in Modern right now. Being able to kill relevant cards and develop your own board is a formula for success, and I’m going to want a healthy supply of these going forward.

Goblin Engineer ($5)

There is a lot of talk about this being a fixed and shifted Stoneforge Mystic, and that’s not far off. This is an amazingly flexible card, and one that’s only a rare. Getting Swords of whatever and whenever is always going to be fun in Commander, but the Modern card that loves this guy is Ensnaring Bridge. Having this range of freedom, getting one thing back over and over, is going to have a lot of game for some decks and i’m a big fan.

Foil Everdream (no price yet)

This is quite likely to be the card I buy the most of from this set. I’m hoping it’s a dollar foil, though I’d be content at two bucks. It’s breathtaking to play with. How about 2UR to deal three and draw a card? Or 2UU to draw a card, scry 2, and then draw a card? 2UW to exile target creature, they find a land, and you draw a card? This is a card that will have you gnawing at the table in frustration because the spells player is so amazingly far ahead in terms of cards and you’ll never ever be able to keep up.

I think that people don’t yet know how good this is, or they recognize that adding three mana to stuff in Modern is bad. I can’t wait to see this in every Commander deck that runs lots of spells, and that makes it a solid long-term investment.

Snow-Covered Lands (fifty cents to $1.25 or so)

Finally, let’s talk snow. There’s not a lot of reasons to go heavy snow, but if you freeze all your basics, you can add some very powerful effects. We have one ETB tapped cycle of allied snow lands (did we get more this morning??) and that makes it difficult to go ham on cards like Dead of Winter. We know Gates Ablaze is good and this is better. I’m not sure that there will be some awesome snow deck in Modern, but the good news is that when you go to your store and do a draft, you’ll be able to trade for these pretty easily or even scoop them up in the leavings if you go to the MagicFests where this is the Sealed format.

Pick up all the spare snow lands you can. Don’t forget the people who like to maximize their advantage by playing snow lands in a Commander deck and then using Extraplanar Lens to great effect. You’re stocking up to feed their needs later.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.