A financial retrospect of the two Modern Horizon releases.
In 2019, Wizards of the Coast introduced an exciting new line of Magic: The Gathering products that would aim to support the popular eternal format, Modern. Modern Horizons came as a promise to print engaging new-to-Modern cards to bolster old archetypes and assemble new ones. In addition, Modern Horizons introduced a wealth of reprints without needing to go through Standard as a method to leave the entry-level constructed format unaffected. Right now, there are two Modern Horizons products, one released in 2019 and the second released in 2021.
Regardless of how you feel about Modern Horizons and the influential impact on the format, it’s also becoming one of the more valuable product lines from Wizards of the Coast in recent times. With these straight-to-Modern designed cards coupled with numerous borderless, retro, and foil treatments, players and collectors can’t get enough of the Modern Horizons. While the focus is primarily on Modern with these releases, there’s a smattering of cards trickled down into Legacy and even the singleton format, Commander—which only drives interest further.
Traditionally, Modern Horizons adopts a limited print run given the nature of the product, but with Modern Horizons 2, Wizards of the Coast chose a ‘print to order’ approach to facilitate demand. Eventually, there will be a cut-off to lend printing focus toward Standard and other supplemental releases. Whenever the cut-off hits, singles could dry up generating more value in these Modern Horizon cards, especially the highly playable ones.
Let’s take a look back at some of the most valuable cards to feature from Modern Horizons releases, including cards from both Modern Horizons 1 and 2.
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer (Borderless)
Modern Horizons 2
Market Price: $68.84
Modern Horizons 2 saw one of the best creatures to ever see print in Magic: The Gathering with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. For one red mana, you create a Treasure token and exile the top card of the opponent’s library with the option to cast the card—all by ensuring Ragavan deals combat damage to the opponent.
For Modern, Ragavan severely warped the format and efficiently made red one of the best colors in the format. Given how much of a lightning rod it is for removal and the insane value generated by Ragavan, running the playset ensured you could cast the card in the early turns. However, leaving a Ragavan unresolved can lead to severe snowballing and simply becoming outvalued by the opponent. The reason Ragavan is such an expensive Modern Horizons card is because of the raw power, the Mythic rarity, and the necessity to run a playset in Modern. It even saw a ban in Legacy, with Wizards of the Coast citing the card becoming powerful with Daze and Force of Will backup. Despite the normal variant commanding a high price, it’s the borderless version that remains one of the more expensive cards to come from Modern Horizons, especially in foil.
Wrenn and Six
Market Price: $49.03
Joining Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer on the Legacy banlist is Wrenn and Six, probably one of the more powerful planeswalkers to enter the eternal formats. For two mana, you receive three excellent abilities, with the second being relevant in Modern. In Modern, you have access to fetch lands (Scalding Tarn, Windswept Heath, etc) to recur with Wrenn and Six to filter your library while also giving you the colors needed to progress your game plan.
Market Price: $32.74
Market Price: $36.54
Also, the first ability is decent in a format full of one-toughness creatures such as Ragavan Nimble Pilferer and Esper Sentinel, to the point it can discourage players from playing low-toughness creatures in the format. While there is plenty of discourse on whether Wrenn and Six should remain legal in Modern, the card sees heavy play in the format in numerous archetypes ranging from Five-Color Creativity to Temur Scapeshift. Like Ravagan, you want to run a playset to ensure you can play the card on turn two as much as possible. Then, there’s the extended application of Commander where the planeswalker card fits perfectly into a ‘Land Matters’ strategy led by Lord Windgrace or Omnath, Locus of Creation. Even if Wrenn and Six happen to see a Modern ban in the future, the card will remain desirable for Commander players, with the opportunity to pick up the card in borderless, etched, or textured foil treatments from Double Masters 2022.
Modern Horizons 2
Market Price: $48.78
Modern Horizon 2 pushed the boundaries of powerful and influential cards for the Modern format, and Solitude is one of these. As part of the incarnation cycle, Solitude is the creature-variant of the Legacy and Commander staple Swords to Plowshares and is one of the best white cards in Modern.
What makes these so good within Modern is the ability to cast these for free for their evoke cost, where you can exile a same-colored card to pay for the evoke cost instead. The creature doesn’t stick around, but who cares when you can cast a fantastic removal spell by exiling a white card from your hand. It doesn’t end there, pairing Soltidude with effects such as Ephemerate or Malakir Rebirth means you get the enter the battlefield trigger again, but now the creature stays on the battlefield as it is seen as a brand new creature instead of the one you paid the evoke cost. For Modern, Legacy, and Commander, Soltidue is one of the best in this cycle and will continue to see play in numerous archetypes such as Azorius Control, Death & Taxes, and Four-Color Omnath. Free spells are always a double-edged sword as they can warp or support a format, but cards such as Solitude are here to stay and will remain in demand, especially the borderless variant.
Urza, Lord High Artficier
Market Price: $18.67
Once a dominating card for Modern during the Oko, Thief of Crowns and Arcum’s Astrolabe days was Urza, Lord High Artificer, a powerful way to turn artifacts into blue mana sources. Sometimes, you see Urza slide into a Thopter Sword combo, as a way to close out the game with multiple Construct tokens. Admittedly fallen by the wayside since those Modern days, but the Legendary artificer continues to feature in Commander, where it is considered to be one of the more powerful Mono-Blue Commanders in the format. Not to mention, Urza is one of the most important characters within the Magic: The Gathering lore, meaning the card will come with a decent value based on the history alone.
Urza’s Saga (Showcase)
Modern Horizons 2
Market Price: $29.23
Speaking of Urza, Urza’s Saga is one of the most flexible and powerful land cards to feature from Modern Horizons 2. During the previews, many players struggled to evaluate Urza’s Saga, given the unique design space. Since Modern Horizons 2 dropped, and players began playing with the card, it became clear that Urza’s Saga was not only strong, but it brought something completely different that we haven’t seen on any other Magic card before. Now, Urza’s Saga crops up in Affinity, Jeskai Breach, Tron, and Amulet Titan, where it offers mana in addition to token generation. Thanks to the influential application of Urza’s Saga, it drove the monetary value of one-mana value artifacts such Shadowspear and Relic of Progentius. These both serve as toolbox options mainboard when you sacrifice Urza’s Saga as part of the third chapter. As per many other cards featured in this article, Urza’s Saga performs best as a playset in Modern decks as you want to draw it as early as possible, given the flexibility on offer.
Surprisingly, Urza’s Saga is an underrated option for Commander, where you can add promise to find a Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, or any other utility artifact that suits the strategy you are playing. In terms of finance, it’s unlikely we’ll see a design similar to Urza’s Saga for quite some time, and will retain value for being a unique and influential card.
Misty Rainforest, Scalding Tarn, Marsh Flats, etc
Mana bases play an important role in Magic: The Gathering, and in Modern, this isn’t any different. Modern Horizons reprinted the enemy fetches in Marsh Flats, Scalding Tarn, Misty Rainforest, Arid Mesa, and Verdant Catacombs, where it created an affordable lifeline for players to acquire these cards. Even after Modern Horizon 2’s initial release, these reprints have kept to a low price point, which also caused a reaction in other staple cards from the set to increase in value. Especially since these reprints also came in extended and retro frame treatments, creating even more accessibility for players.
As these once-expensive fetches are now affordable, it created a new wave of Modern players, as the mana bases used to be a financial crutch when entering the format. With these reprints, it drove demand for other influential and staple cards such as Wrenn and Six and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, where demand couldn’t keep up given the nature of the product. If you wondered what caused Modern to become such an expensive format, these reprints were the catalyst. While these aren’t expensive compared to other Modern Horizon cards, they are essential to the format, these cards will be evergreen due to Commander and Legacy applications.
Modern Horizons 2
Market Price: $44.82
Joining Solitude on the valuable Modern Horizon cards is Endurance, one of the best cards to interact with an opponent’s graveyard. Following suit with the rest of the Incarnation cycle, you can exile a green card from your hand to pay the evoke cost of Endurance, and if you do, you force the opponent to shuffle their graveyard back into their library.
Not only does Endurance come with a strong stat line and the unassuming reach keyword, but it also gives an excellent answer to Dredge and Izzet Tempo, where the graveyard is an essential component of these strategies. In most cases, the graveyard acts as an extension to the library, where you can cast spells and reduce the costs of spells by utilizing the graveyard. While you don’t see Endurance feature heavily in mainboards compared to Solitude and Fury, Endurance is an excellent sideboard option if you play green, or have the consistency to cast the evoke cost.
Force of Negation
Market Price: $31.04
With the release of Modern Horizons, it’s narrowed the gap between Modern and Legacy in terms of power level, Force of Negation is an example of this—a nod to Legacy’s iconic Force of Will. Resuming the free spell trend you often see in Modern Horizons, Force of Negation immediately became a Modern staple upon release and features in a mixture of archetypes. The instant allows you to stay safe in the early turns and quells any interaction from the opponent, especially if you are looking to combo off with a Shardless Agent to cascade into a Crashing Footfalls, for example.
Force of Negation also serves well in Commander, as Negate effects are often desired given the number of non-creature spells in the format. Similar to cards such as Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Wrenn and Six, you usually want a playset for Modern as it gives you a better probability to draw these in the early turns. Even with the reprint in Double Masters 2022, Force of Negation remains a lucrative card as the free casting cost is easy to meet.
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
Market Price: $15.75
The card that created a powerful Modern archetype on its own, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician became an essential Magic: The Gathering card for various reasons. Not only does the card depict a pre-Godhood Yawgmoth, but it created the Modern Golgari Yawgmoth archetype, a strategy in which you take advantage of Yawgmoth’s activated ability to sacrifice to draw a card, and add a -1/-1 to any creature on the battlefield.
Incorporating creatures such as Young Wolf, Grist, the Hunger Tide, and Geralf’s Messenger, it creates an amazing sacrifice midrange theme by using these undying creatures. In addition, Golgari Yawgmoth quickly became a staple of the Modern metagame and won numerous Magic Online Challenges as a result. Through the necessity of running a play set in the aforementioned archetype, Yawgmoth is becoming an expensive card from Modern Horizons 2. There’s also attention from the Commander crowd, as it serves as a fine Mono-Black Commander if invested in the Magic: The Gathering lore.
Modern Horizons 2
Market Price: $38.58
Fury is the red Incarnation of the cycle and became another Modern staple after players realized how favored it became against the rest of the metagame. Unlike Endurance, Grief, and Solitude, Fury took a while to see attention as it didn’t seem as good compared to these other Incarnation cards. However, this was in part to how poor Force of Rage lined up with the rest of that cycle in Modern Horizons 1. As you can tell from the price chart below, Fury (both traditional and borderless versions) became desirable once players realized that a creature version of Pyrokensis is actually, really good.
Combined with the fact that a chunk of Modern staple creatures come with low toughness (such as Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer), being able to eliminate a board of cheap threats and use any excess to damage to target the opponent makes Fury an attractive card. In turn, it’s one of the reasons Modern tribal archetypes such as Elves and Goblins often struggle to settle in the metagame, as Fury lines up amazingly against these strategies. You often see Fury feature in Modern Four-Color Omnath and Rakdos Midrange, as there are plenty of red cards to help pay the evoke costs and ways to recur the enter the battlefield ability.
Modern Horizons 1 and 2 remain in demand with Magic players for various reasons. From powerful print-to-Modern cards to desirable reprints, the Modern Horizons series accommodates every kind of player. In addition, both of these releases present some valuable cards if you are after a solid investment or want to expand your collection, Modern Horizons is an ideal starting point—especially if there’s a Modern Horizon 3 on the horizon soon.