Early Modern Horizons Draft Guide | Card Rankings and Archetypes

Squirrels, Bears and Changelings

Limited represents one of the most popular ways to play Magic, proving an effective battleground for the casual and the competitive player alike. Beyond holding profound implications for Modern, Modern Horizons brings with it a host of archetypes draft with. Colloquially dubbed “Time Spiral 2”, Modern Horizons contains a little bit of Magic for everyone.

In this article we’ll be evaluating the limited format coming up on prerelease weekend, from archetype breakdowns to traps and pitfalls.

Archetypes | Signpost Uncommons and Key Cards

As with many specialty draft formats, Modern Horizons has both conventional drafting and archetypal draft. While forcing an archetype will be worse than drafting a good deck with archetypal synergy, it’s important to understand the archetypes in order to make informed drafting decisions. With clearly defined archetypes, certain cards will be picked higher than others depending on synergies, making a conventional pick order and grading scale less effective. Thus, in addition to evaluating each card individually, we’ve set aside a special section for the key cards for each archetype. In general there is a lot of overlap between archetypes, making the incentive to commit to a direction minimal, but some payoffs are worth digging deep for.

Let’s dive into the archetypes.

White/Blue Blink

Utilizing valuable enters the battlefield effects alongside a suite of efficient creatures, this archetype tries to grind out the opposition by reusing its creatures and drowning the board with card advantage.

White/Black Changelings

While not the most obvious archetype, almost every Changeling is Black or White, giving this color combination access to a wide variety of tribal payoffs. Take changelings early, and back them up with powerful and specific tribal payoffs.

White/Red Slivers

As stated by the name, taking a horde of slivers and changelings makes this archetype tick. While not as powerful as prior formats with Slivers, Red and White have a subtheme of going wide, as we can see from a variety of anthem effects. Be aggressive!

White/Green Creaturefall

A theme unique to Modern Horizons, this archetype wants you to curve out as much as possible, while getting aggressive in the early game. Another aggressive archetype, Green and White value token generation and creatures more than any other.

Blue/Black Ninjas

The de facto evasive archetype of Modern Horizons, Blue and Black have both difficult to block creatures and Ninja Tribal payoffs. Take evasive creatures just as highly as Ninjas and Ninja payoffs, as this archetype is highly effective at racing.

Blue/Red Card Draw

Cantrips are the place to be for this archetype, as Red and Blue seek to win the game with multiple explosive turns in a row. Early card draw spells are less important than late game ones, so pick your draw spells accordingly. Don’t forget to prioritize Cycling.

Blue/Green Snow

An archetype that almost assuredly bleeds into other colors, Blue and Green can utilize the Snow-Covered Lands to churn out efficient threats. Prioritize lands higher than other players, and take the payoffs highly.

Black/Red Goblin Sacrifice

As with Red and White, Black and Red have a loose theme held together by synergistic aggressive components. Balancing the subthemes of both Goblin Tribal and Aristocrats is difficult, but make sure to prioritize synergy. Most creatures in both archetypes are reasonably stated, so ensuring enough of an aggressive game plan will dictate which direction you end up in.

Black/Green Graveyard Matters

A recurring theme among most Draft formats, Black and Green care about the graveyard. By balancing Threshold, sac outlets, and cards that use the graveyard as a resource, this archetype can dabble into most other archetypes effectively. Don’t be afraid to splash for other colors or payoffs, and prioritize larger threats.

Red/Green Lands in Graveyard

A likewise unique archetype for Modern Horizons, Red and Green care about putting lands into your graveyard to power out undercosted fatties. Picking the large creatures early and backing them up with cheap removal and enablers is critical to success.

Top Early Picks


Top 2 Rares

Top 3 Uncommons

Top 4 Commons


Top 2 Rares

Top 3 Uncommons

Top 4 Commons


Top 2 Rares

Top 3 Uncommons

Top 4 Commons


Top 2 Rares

Top 3 Uncommons

Top 4 Commons


Top 2 Rares

Top 3 Uncommons

Top 4 Commons

Artifacts, Multicolored, and Lands

This section is difficult to evaluate, as all of them are playable depending on the deck. Take them as you need to for synergy and mana fixing. Every land is powerful, and should be picked early. All of the above cards are powerful, and synergize with one of more archetypes. Of note should be the relatively low individual power level of multicolored cards compared to recent Draft formats — most of their power is in their specific archetypes.

Traps and Pitfalls

Each of these cards is either missing just enough support to make it work, requires a specific combination of cards to be powerful, or is just downright awful for Limited. Stay away from these!

Thanks for checking out our Modern Horizons Draft Guide, and as always, let us know what you think in the comments below. Did we overlook anything? Do you disagree with our Traps?

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