2021 Magic Online Championship Showcase Season 1 will show off the new Modern

High-stakes Modern is on the menu this weekend.

Image via WotC

Modern is back in the spotlight with the release of Modern Horizons 2 and this weekend, fans get the chance to see the new direct-to-Modern cards in action at this weekend’s 2021 Magic Online Championship Showcase Season One.

The MOCS is on June 26 starting at 12pm CT on the Magic Twitch channel. Modern Horizons 2 released on June 18 and brought over 300 cards to Modern, Magic: The Gathering’s largest competitive eternal format. The first Modern Horizons in 2019 changed the meta with the introduction of cards like Urza, Lord High Artificer, and Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis.

The sequel set is having a similar impact on Modern with several powerful cards enabling a variety of competitive and casual decks. Modern is still adjusting to the influx of new cards, but this weekend’s MOCS will be a major step in the meta settling down.

The dual-format MOCS brings eight players to compete in six swiss rounds split between Modern Horizons 2 Draft and Modern Constructed. The winner takes $20,000 of the $70,000 prize pool.

Each player qualified for the MOCS through different formats on Magic Online. Here is every player competing in the MOCS.

  • Vintage Champion Ryan “Slasher21” Haddad
  • Standard Champion Yuuki “triosk” Ichikawa
  • Limited Champion Max “maxmick” Mick
  • Open #2 Champion Dominik “Lennny” Prosek
  • Legacy Champion Francisco “Patxi” Sanchez
  • Open #1 Champion Nathan “Nathansteuer” Steuer
  • Pioneer Champion Max “maxmagicer” Vervoort
  • Modern Champion Fiona “Aegisaziz” Wei

What to expect from the new Modern

Usually when a new set is released Modern goes through minor shifts. Most cards in Standard-legal sets don’t scale well into competitive Modern. This is where Modern Horizons 2 is able to shine by printing cards made for Modern.

This means the cards are powerful and actively support Modern-specific archetypes. Thought Monitor is proving to be an excellent addition to struggling Affinity decks. The cycle of Suspend cards are finding their way into a variety of combo decks. There’s even a bit of Squirrel Storm in the format thanks to Modern Horizons 2.

At a competitive level Magic Online league results show what archetypes remain at the top of the format and which new cards are having the biggest impact. No conversation about Modern Horizons 2 can start without mentioning  the format-warping potential of Urza’s Saga. The card represents the experimental design these direct-to-Modern sets are known for. The Enchantment Land Saga is a unique card that should appear only in dedicated Artifact lists, but is being played in far more archetypes.

According to statistics from MTGTop8.com, Urza’s Saga is being played in 22 percent of decks making it the only card originally printed in Modern Horizons 2 in the top 10 of cards played.

Urza’s Saga is a boon for Amulet Titan decks, which already is one of the best decks in the format. The Saga can find Amulet of Vigor, or a key sideboard Artifact, with its third chapter. The saga gives the player two Constructs and a free Artifact through three turns. That’s a lot of value from a Land.

This value is leading to many decks jamming four Urza’s Saga even if their game plan isn’t centered around Artifacts. Golgari Food and Jund are experimenting with Urza’s Saga and could appear in this weekend’s MOCS. Aggro strategies received two strong pieces with a pair of one drops: Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler.

Dragon’s Rage Channeler is a one-drop Creature that Surveils when a noncreature spell is cast. When it’s Delirium requirement is met it gains +2/+2 and Flying. This is a great one drop that scales well into the mid game. The Surveil ability can get Delirium online quickly and smooth out draws which is crucial for an aggro deck. UR Aggro is generally putting a full playset in the main deck.

Ragavan is another cheap Creature that scales well past turn four. The Dash ability allows Ragavan to be a quick, hard to remove threat. It generates Treasure tokens and can let you cast your opponent’s spells. Ragavan attacks from many different angles making it a key piece in Red aggro lists.

Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar is seeing enough play in Modern it might be time to learn how to say the card’s name. Combined with The Underworld Cookbook, Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar is found in several midrange decks. This is an underrated card combination to look for in the Constructed rounds.