Wizards of the Coast is attempting to revive formats outside of MTG Standard with its new set, Modern Horizons, by expanding upon tribal themes and symbiotic cards with revised mechanics.
Containing around 250 new and reprinted cards, the Modern Horizons set releases in card form and on Magic Online during the first weeks of June. Made up of new and reprinted cards (previously illegal in certain MTG formats), the set is an attempt by Wizards of the Coast to increase play in formats outside of Standard.
Mark Rosewater, MTG Head Designer, published an article on Magic: The Gathering over Memorial Day weekend regarding the vision behind Modern Horizons. Rosewater said that the mechanic “Changeling” is the foundation of the set and explained how it expanded into tribal themes, synergies, mechanics, and graveyard lands.
The main tribal themes being revived and expanded upon in Modern Horizons are Snow, Goblins, Ninja’s, and Slivers. Using “Changeling” (a mechanic which allows cards to be any creature type), lets players combine these tribal themes together—specifically during a Limited Draft.
Previous Modern sets weren’t made with the format of Draft in mind. The purpose of those sets was to reprint cards and add to the library of possibilities in Modern, Commander, Legacy, and other formats. The new direction Magic: The Gathering is hoping to gain from Modern Horizons is through drafting events held during Friday Night Magic and local games store slots.
Not everyone is happy, however, about the use of the mechanic “Changeling” or the tribal themes being revealed. Much of this is due to the lack of attention Modern is getting as Modern Horizons seems to favor the format Commander.
MTG Modern Horizons is set to release on June 13 in card form. Pre-release weekend for the set will run from June 8 to 9, and it’ll be available digitally through Magic Online starting June 6.