The range of cards that are on people’s Modern Horizons wish lists is absurd. Every Modern player has their own personal philosophy on what Modern should be. One thing that I have seen discussed is to add Legacy staples like Force of Will, Daze, and Hymn to Tourach to Modern. The idea is to turn Modern into a Legacy lite without the reserve list. In general, Modern has been an amazing format to play. It has its own distinct feel that players enjoy. Likewise, Legacy is an awesome and incredibly deep format. Converting Modern into Legacy lite is a bad idea but it is possible Legacy staples might be a great addition to Modern Horizons. Today we will examine these cards and the effect that they would have on the Modern format.
Force of Will
Force of Will is one of the most played cards in Legacy for good reason. A counterspell that requires zero mana to cast is incredibly powerful. Unlike Pact of Negation, Force of Will can be cast early without requiring you to win the game by your next upkeep or do some absurd mana shenanigans to pay for it. The one major positive about having a “free” counterspell is that it helps to keep all-in combo decks in check. If decks like Allosaurus Evolution and Narset Cannon are significantly helped out by the London Mulligan, a card like Force of Will could police that.
Force of Will is not one of the top cards in Legacy because it is some broken card. It is just one of the few cards that is actually able to stop the decks that are trying to win the game on turn 1-2 in Legacy. It gets sideboarded out a lot in fair matchups due to the negative card advantage and being a terrible topdeck. Force is pretty poor against discard which is quite prevalent in Modern as well. Honestly, Force of Will would probably not break Modern. It would definitely see a ton of play and shape the format. Whether that is good or bad is up for debate. I personally would prefer to police the combo decks format through the Banned and Restricted List.
Daze is one of the cards that allows tempo decks to thrive in Legacy. The ability to play a threat and then protect it while you are tapped out is exactly what a tempo deck wants. Cheap and efficient threats like Delver of Secrets are able to quickly end the game if given the opportunity to do so. Daze makes sure the creature stays alive and any must-answer spell can be handled. It gets pretty poor as the game goes on. The one mana to override it is not trivial but it gets significantly easier to play around as more lands are added to the board. The alternative casting cost of Daze is a real setback for most decks. Control decks generally cannot take the hit to their mana development. The decks that would want Daze will take major leaps.
The scariest place for Daze in my opinion is in a Death’s Shadow shell. The deck has a very low land count which helps mitigate the return a land setback. Death’s Shadow decks are designed to run with very few lands in play and replaying your shocklands can actually be a positive. If a Death’s Shadow player casts Daze with no other lands in hand, getting back a Watery Grave to replay allows them to lose two life they could not have otherwise. Daze seems way too good here and in Infect as well. Protecting a Blighted Agent with Daze seems far too good for Modern. I do not think the format would devolve into Infect vs Grixis Death’s Shadow, but it would be a significantly less diverse format.
Hymn to Tourach
Modern has access to a ton of high quality discard spells. Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, and good ol’ Duress are all available in Modern already. “Fixed” versions of Hymn already exist in Modern such as Wrench Mind, Whispers of Emrakul, and Pulling Teeth are all the same converted mana cost as Hymn and see little to no play. Looking at how little impact these cards have made on Modern, Hymn starts to look a lot more reasonable.
Wrench Mind is the closest to being playable in Modern. Artifacts are incredibly prevalent which makes its drawback relevant. Additionally, it is not random discard. Discarding two cards is almost always going to hurt, but discarding two random cards can be absolutely back breaking. Random discard does not care if it is your only land in hand, a critical sideboard piece, or that spell that would have won you the game. Whispers of Emrakul also has random discard but it needs delirium to be Hymn. This means it cannot produce the early game blowouts that Hymn can. As the game goes on, discard gets less relevant which Whispers falls pitfall to. Personally, I am very against having Hymn in Modern. The power level does not seem to high on average. However, think about games where you mulliganed and sideboarded well, had a good hand, and Burning Inquiry turned it into a non game. Hymn creates that same type of feel bad moment but on steroids.
Modern Horizons is going to shake up Modern. There is a ton of buzz around the opportunity to shape Modern in a way that has never been done before. With that being said, I do not think any of the Legacy staples listed above should go into Modern Horizons. Any of them one would instantly be one of the best spells in the format. Would you like to see these cards in the Modern format? Could they make control and/or midrange too powerful? Give us your take in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back next week with an Event Spotlight on the SCG Syracuse Open. Until then my friends.