Modern Horizons 3 Set Review - Reprints

Nick Wolf • June 7, 2024


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A Monument to Long-Forgotten Gods

When we do these Reprint Reviews for "regular sets," or in other words the sets that are centered around characters wearing a variety of job-specific hats, we don't usually have much to talk about, at least in the set proper. It's the Commander decks, bonus sheets, and other ancillary products that provide the bulk of the retreads. But not Modern Horizons 3. 

With MH3, we've got 53 reprints (counting the five basic lands), and you'll be delighted to learn that a lot of them are pretty dang good. We here at Commander's Herald analyze reprints based on a very scientific rubric of "is it expensive?" and "do Commander players care?", and I'm pleased to report there are a number of reprints that score very high in both categories. Not all of them, of course, as I don't think anyone will argue that we needed another Victimize, but they can't all be winners.

Speaking of Commander product, MH3's slate of Commander decks bring us another 260 reprints, plus 10 other cards appearing via Special Guests, so let's get into it. And since there are so many reprints to discuss, we're going to do this a bit more expediently. As usual, all prices quoted below are in USD, and all deck stats are courtesy of EDHREC.


Phyrexian Tower

Did we need it?

Phyrexian Tower showing up in MH3 shows me for assuming I knew what was on the Reserved List, I guess.

Legal in Modern for the first time (a phrase you might as well just apply to nearly every card we talk about today), Phyrexian Tower has long been a mainstay in black/x decks that want to treat all creatures like Blood Vassals, and the price has historically been quite high for that privilege, reaching heights as high as $100 only a few months ago. If Modern players find a use for it, it's not going to be cheap, by any means, but like its Ultimate Masters counterpart, it'll be cheaper than the original Urza's Saga printing, and isn't that the point of a reprint?

Did we want it?

Of the 2 million or so decks that can run a Phyrexian Tower, 8% do so. It's very good, and it's a land, so there's really no downside to running it in a black deck (other than the financial cost). It's a favorite in terms of sheer numbers in Meren of Clan Nel Toth (5,176 decks running it) and Teysa Karlov (5,026), and if you want to peek behind the cEDH curtain a bit, you'll see nearly 75% of all Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh/Silas Renn, Seeker Adept partnerships repping the Tower.

Recruiter of the Guard

Did we need it?

A good rule of thumb to follow these days is if a non-Standard, supplementary set features an extremely powerful card that will see play in any format in which it's legal, expect to see it reprinted. That was true of Dack Fayden, or Allosaurus Shepherd, or even Spellseeker. So a reprint of Conspiracy: Take the Crown's Recruiter of the Guard should surprise no one, though it appearing in a Modern-legal set might add a bit of a wrinkle. 

Reaching its highest price in May of '22 at $35, RotG has been slowly ticking down ever since, and a new version floating around will continue that trend. We even get an old-border variant to satisfy the requirements of people with a virulent resistance to change.

Did we want it?

In Commander, it's a great card, albeit a narrow one. It's in 51,767 decks currently, good for 3% of all decks playing white. Some of that might be due to scarcity, as, outside of its original printing, it's only ever seen a reprint on The List. That might also be because only decks with very good creatures with two or less toughness are looking to play Recruiter. Probably 90% of the time I've cast it, it's tutored up Karmic Guide, but that might just be a me thing.

Across EDHREC, we see Recruiter the most in Winota, Joiner of Forces lists (3,288 decks), but based on percentage, more than half of the 1,376 listed Delney, Streetwise Lookout decks run Recruiter, and it's in 154 Saffi Eriksdotter decks, including my own. I see you, Saffi fans!

Kaalia of the Vast

Did we need it?

Kaalia's been terrorizing the Commander skies for a very long time now, and for a certain generation of players was one of the format's first villains. First appearing in Commander 2011, the card's been above the $40-mark multiple times, but with reprints in Double Masters and Double Masters 2022, we now see Kaalia at a more reasonable $10 for the most basic version.

But we aren't just getting a basic version with Modern Horizons 3 (which has killer art in its own right), we're also getting a Jack Hughes profile treatment as well as a stunning Livia Prima full-art. It's tough to say whether any of those outclass Scott Fischer's version from Double Masters, but it's safe to say that if you're a Kaalia fan, you've got an embarrassment of riches on your hands.

Did we want it?

Maybe due to longevity, or power level, or the consistently great art, but Kaalia's always been extremely popular in Commander. Kaalia is the 14th-ranked Commander on EDHREC with 16,389 decks logged, and has been the linchpin of the Demon/Angel/Dragon triumvirate for more than a decade now. I can't speak to its potential impact on Modern (though I would hazard a guess that that impact will be nonexistent), but with the number of people playing Kaalia in Commander, at least we get three more artistic interpretations of the card to keep it interesting.

Breya, Etherium Shaper

Did we need it?

We'll go from one Commander villain to another, this time with a reprint of Breya, Etherium Shaper. People have been using Breya to do mean things to their friends since Commander 2016, and now they can do mean things while Breya's got a sick squiggle blazer. 

Unlike Kaalia, though, Breya's been relatively affordable throughout its lifetime, peaking at $25 briefly in 2019. Outside a few price spikes, Breya's consistently in the sub-$10 range, and that will remain the case for the regular version here. Its special treatments, another Jack Hughes profile as well as an etched foil, might demand a few extra bucks, similarly to the Secret Lair version

Did we want it?

Breya's also an extremely popular Commander, with its 12,494 lists logged, ranking it 35th among all legal commanders on EDHREC. Joining tokens, artifacts, and entirely too many abilities with its status as a rare four-color commander, Breya's always going to be lurking around the format. And interestingly, more than half of all Breya players refuse to leave home without Sai, Master Thopterist in the 99. Something, something synergy. 


Allied Fetch Lands

Did we need them?

We always need reprints of fetch lands. Their original printings, from Onslaught, are up around the $70-80 mark (except for that nerd Windswept Heath, which is $55), but the versions from their first big reprint in Khans of Tarkir demand a much more reasonable sum, averaging around $30. That's still a lot, but they're auto-includes in any 60-card format in which they're legal, and with the prevalence of Landfall decks in Commander, they're pretty ubiquitous there, too. With this new reprinting, they'll be had for near half of their Khans pricing, if we're lucky. 

Did we want them?

The short answer is yes, of course. The fetch land cycle is one of the best for color fixing, and as long as people are going to be greedy with their decks' color demands, they'll want fetches. The Zendikar Expedition versions are still going to be the biggest financial flex (unless you're talking about Bloodstained Mire or Wooded Foothills, in which case the Judge Promos from 2009 are more expensive), but the new full-arts from Modern Horizons might suit your deck's aesthetic more, and if that's the case, MH3 provides you with not one, but two borderless versions of each of the fetches here, with a varying degree of borderlessness. Neat!

Deserted Temple

Did we need it?

Seeing a reprint but not a slew of new arts and treatments is Deserted Temple. This is the first true reprint since it debuted in Odyssey way back in 2001, though hobbit fans might recognize it as Weathertop.

The price of an Odyssey Deserted Temple crept up steadily for two decades, going from a glorified bulk rare to a $20 card, and like many similar cases, COVID-era price dilation saw that $20 briefly turn into $200 before reality set in and it settled at around the $10 mark. The foil from Odyssey is an entirely different story, which is still demanding that $200 pricetag. It showing up in MH3 means that if you've always wanted one to untap your Eldrazi Temple or Cabal Coffers but never got around to it, there'll never be a better time to snag one.

Did we want it?

A non-colored land can be played in any legal Commander deck, and on EDHREC there are more than 4 million catalogued. Deserted Temple is played in 17,161 of them. It's not a very common sight at Commander tables, but I suspect that'll change thanks to its newfound affordability and its blossoming friendship with Eldrazi.

The Tempest Medallions

Did we need it?

In terms of excitement level for Commander players for reprints of this particular cycle, Commander Masters kind of took the wind out of Modern Horizons 3's sales (that's a pun, not a typo). However, fans of borderless treatments will be thrilled to acquire their favorite non-Mox jewelry with incredible art

The Tempest Medallions were more expensive than they should have been for a long time before they saw that Commander Masters reprint, routinely earning $25+. That's not the case today, as while the original Tempest versions are still $10ish, you can get all of them for around $5 (just double all those numbers for Jet Medallion), so we really didn't need them reprinted here, unless they're going to be a thing in Modern. 

Did we want it?

I've always been a fan of the Medallions, but I've also always been a fan of mono-colored decks, where they do the most work. That's just my opinion, and Dana Roach seems to have a different one.

On EDHREC, Jet Medallion's the most popular, appearing in nearly 90,000 lists, with the rest in the 50-70k range. Those are still respectable numbers, and another round of reprints will probably increase their usage a small bit. However, with the popularity of commanders featuring three or more colors in their identity, the Medallions will never be Arcane Signet levels of useful.

Estrid's Invocation

Did we need it?

Until now only appearing in Commander 2018, Estrid's Invocation was a $10 card. I say was, of course, because with it about to appear in Modern for the first time, speculation surrounding its potential impact has increased the price to $15. The MH3 version is already only a third of that price, however, which is probably where it should have been to begin with. It's a fun card, but it's not a $15 card. I should add the caveat that there's always that chance someone does something crazy with it in Modern (Urza's Saga...maybe?), and the price might balloon again. 

This will be the first time you can snag one in foil, as well.

Did we want it?

Anything that copies permanents will have its fans, and Estrid's Invocation certainly has fans. Appearing in 21,512 decks, the Copy Enchantment variant sees the most attention in Enchantress-adjacent decks like Tuvasa the Sunlit, Lynde, Cheerful Tormentor or Tom Bombadil, but I think with time we'll see Obeka, Splitter of Seconds players adding it to their decks.

Kappa Cannoneer

Did we need it?

The turtle that spawned innumerable references to Blastoise, Kappa Cannoneer returns to us once again after debuting in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Commander and its first reprint in Murders at Karlov Manor Commander. That's three printings in a very short time for the well-armed reptile, and, as a result, its price is pretty reasonable (outside of that COVID jump in 2022 where it was briefly $25). If you want the new old-border treatment from MH3, however, it'll run you a bit extra, as well as the first-ever foil versions present in this new set.

Did we want it?

Kappa Cannoneer already made waves in Legacy, and it remains to be seen if people are going to try something with it in Modern. Over here in Commanderland, the turtle's in a hair over 35,000 decks, good for 2% of all decks playing blue. It slots in well in artifact-centric decks that also want to be aggressive (or make use of +1/+1 counters), so naturally it sees plenty of attention from Morska, Undersea Sleuth players. Decks behind Shorikai, Genesis Engine and Urza, Chief Artificer also get rocked with the shell-shocked pizza king.

Urza's Incubator

Did we need it?

Filed next to Phyrexian Tower under "cards I'm surprised aren't on the Reserved List," Urza's Incubator has seen a few reprints since its debut in Urza's Destiny, including the first one in Commander 2015, followed by a trio of versions from Dominaria Remastered as well as a stint on The List. As we've said many times, its inclusion in MH3 marks the first time it'll be Modern-legal, though I have a feeling that won't matter too much. 

Players today probably know it as a pretty expensive card, but from Urza's Destiny all the way up to around Amonkhet, it was barely $5. That's about 18 years. After 2017, it became much more expensive, and today, pretty much any version will run you $30+, until Modern Horizons 3 hits shelves, at least. 

Did we want it?

We see Urza's Incubator in 107,987 decks, which is a pretty respectable number for a card that requires a certain kind of list to do anything, and as you might have guessed, most decks that play it are some form of creature deck, especially creatures that demand a bit of a mana investment.

Like Eldrazi, for example, which is why we see it frequently in Zhulodok, Void Gorger and Kozilek, the Great Distortion. Dragons are a close second, with the card showing up in more than 10,000 The Ur-Dragon lists. Conversely, it's a surprise that of the 11,005 Urtet, Remnant of Memnarch decks logged on EDHREC, only 12% use Urza's Incubator.

Uncommons & Commons

Angel of the Ruins

Did we need it?

Downshifted to an uncommon, Angel of the Ruins first appeared in Commander 2021, and since then, has been printed in four other Commander releases, two different Secret Lair drops, and now MH3. That's eight printings in three years. We didn't need it, unless you have a no-rares/mythics restriction and are pleased to see the rarity downshift.

Did we want it?

Of all decks playing white, Angel of the Ruins is in 2% of them, or 43,421 total. That's not a bad total, which is understandable because it's not a bad card. It's an Angel, which already attracts a bit of attention, it's also an artifact, and as a plainscycler it not only fetches you a land but gets itself into the graveyard for later reanimation. If you grew up playing Eternal Dragon, you're certainly playing Angel of the Ruins, which actually does something. 

Two of the five Odyssey Threshold lands

Did we need them?

It's pretty interesting that only squid square and barb ring saw reprints, while the other three members of the cycle in Nomad Stadium, Cabal Pit, and Centaur Garden were left behind. The two reprinted here in MH3 are also the only two that have been reprinted before (albeit sparingly), as well, with Cephalid Coliseum appearing in From the Vault: Relics and Barbarian Ring reprinted in Premium Deck Series: Fire and Lightning and briefly on The List. 

Of course, the three not reprinted are all around 35 cents, while Barbarian Ring is $2 and Cephalid Coliseum is nearly $20. Neither figure will stay that way for long, as when MH3 hits, both cards' newest versions will be a buck or two.

Did we want them?

They're lands that tap for colored mana but also do something else, so people will always be looking to jam them into Commander decks. While the threshold ability isn't as game-breaking in Commander as it might be in 60-card formats, neither is the cost of taking 1 damage every time you make mana. More than 40,000 decks run the Coliseum, including plenty of cEDH lists, while Barbarian Ring only sees play in 12,349 lists. Trading in a land for a Shock isn't as enticing as trading it in for an Ideas Unbound, apparently.

Decree of Justice

Did we need it?

Here we have another white rare downshifted to uncommon, but this time it's of the Scourge Decree cycle, which since 2003 has been teaching players the value of paying for premium upgrades when available. We're going back to the original Adam Rex art for the latest printing, which has Karona's shadow visible in that rock outcropping to remind us who's making all these decrees in the first place. As for financial value, there's none to speak of.

Did we want it?

Decree of Justice sees play in a shade under 10,000 decks, all of them either token or cycling related, with the plurality of those lists coming in the form of Gavi, Nest Warden. Decree of Pain will always be the most popular of the cycle, with more than 50,000 decks utilizing it, but Justice comes in second, followed by Decree of Annihilation in 6,465 decks, Decree of Silence used surprisingly sparingly with 6,029 inclusions, and Decree of Savagery largely forgotten, with only 3,600 lists counting it among their 99. 


Did we need it?

This is the first reprint of Meltdown since it first showed up in Urza's Saga. That was 1998. We have plenty of options for mass artifact destruction these days, but Meltdown will always hold a special place in my heart. At one point (I'll let you guess when), Meltdown was nearly $30, but before COVID it was barely a quarter. Since, the price stayed inflated, hovering around $7-8 for the past three or so years. That will likely change with the reprint here in MH3, and it's worth noting that it'll also be available in foil for the first time, even in old-border.

Did we want it?

Like I said, we have a lot of options for a similar effect. There's Vandalblast, Brotherhood's End, Anzrag's Rampage, By Force, Red Sun's Twilight, Shattering Spree, even Echoing Ruin for your Treasure troubles. 

That's probably why we only see Meltdown in 3,794 decks, not even registering as a percentage point in number of decks that can play it. But play it, for nostalgia's sake, and really isn't that the only metric that matters? [Editor's note: No.]

Reef Worm

Did we need it?

That's "worm" with an O, not a U, with its third reprint courtesy of MH3. Reef Worm is a better illustration of a food chain than Food Chain, and after first appearing in Commander 2014, it's been a go-to for blue-based decks to slowly "old lady who swallowed a fly" themselves up to a 9/9 Kraken. As for whether we actually needed a reprint, other than its newfound legality in Modern, there isn't much that's going to change with Reef Worm other than the likelihood you'll pay one fewer quarter to purchase one. It's another first-time downshift to uncommon, though, which might be relevant to some people.

Did we want it?

1% of all blue decks include Reef Worm, or 17,967 total. Tokens are the name of the game in that regard, with 59.5% of all Adrix and Nev, Twincasters decks including the card. One of my personal favorites, Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun, also plays the wormy boy in nearly half of all EDHREC-logged lists.

Priest of Titania

Did we need it?

Originally appearing way back in Urza's Saga, Priest of Titania has been a premier mana-making Elf for more than two decades. It's probably one of the most "kill-on-sight" Elves there are in Commander, and it'll be interesting to see if it can make any headway into Modern where it'll be legal for the first time. During the COVID price wackiness in 2021, the card hit heights as high as $13 a copy for the Saga version, and nearly $17 for its only widely-available reprint (at the time) in Commander 2014. Then there's the FNM Promo version that's been above $100 for nearly a decade. Seeing it in MH3 will mean people can get a copy for cheaper than they might otherwise or in old-border foil without paying three digits.

Did we want it?

If you're playing an Elf deck, you're playing Priest of Titania. Of all the Elf-based commanders on EDHREC, like Eladamri, Lord of Leaves, Ezuri, Renegade Leader, Tyvar the Bellicose or Marwyn, the Nurturer, PoT appears in more than 75% of lists. That's textbook ubiquity. Of course, if you're not playing Elves, you don't have much use for it unless you have a friend playing Elves against you so often that you start metagaming, like putting a Plague Sliver into your deck to spite that one guy at the LGS.

A quick look at the rest

Branching Evolution: Originally a Jumpstart exclusive, we've seen it reprinted twice before MH3 as an a la carte Doubling Season, and thanks to those reprints it's no longer a $60 oddity. Even though there are no Hydras in any version's art, it's a Hydra card and we all know it.

Cursed Mirror: Even though it's only been around since Commander 2021, there are currently nine versions now after MH3's release. It's a fun card, but not exactly a needed reprint, especially when taking up a rare slot in an expensive set.

Flusterstorm: 60-card fans have been well-acquainted with Flusterstorm for a long time, which is funny considering it debuted in Commander 2011. It's been Modern-legal since the original Modern Horizons, and it's once again the Buy-a-Box promo here in MH3. 

K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth: This particular reprint might be one of the more interesting ones for Modern, though for a Commander-slanted publication there isn't much to discuss. We've all known what K'rrik's capable of since Commander 2019, and in the time since we've seen a Judge Gift Card version and a Secret Lair version. With MH3, however, K'rrik gets that divisive profile treatment, this time from artist Ivan Shavrin. 

Laelia, the Blade Reforged: Basically take what I said about K'rrik and paste it here but tweak the details slightly. A Commander deck debut (in 2021), a random reprint (in Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate), and now an MH3 inclusion with a profile art treatment. And the animosity against K'rrik players is probably comparable as well to how people view Laelia hitting the other side of the table.

Ophiomancer: Did you know that if you forget to type the "p" in Ophiomancer, it becomes Ohiomancer? As a Michigander, I think that's just awful.

Orim's Chant: A Planeshift card that has never really gotten a true reprint, seeing it in MH3 will make a lot of people happy. It'll be cheaper, Modern-legal, and come with a borderless treatment from the POV of a person about to be strangled by an anthropomorphic kaleidoscope. People will be happy that it's available, I should say, but very unhappy when they get repeatedly Silenced.

Sevinne's Reclamation: The eighth reprint since Commander 2019 of a card I like to call "gimme that urn!" In those five years, though, it's become a crucial part of nonblack reanimator strategies, of which I'm a big fan.

Sylvan Safekeeper: First seen in Judgment, then a few stops in Commander products before popping up in MH3, Sylvan Safekeeper is an excellent way to keep things safe in green decks, and, with this reprint, will hopefully be a fair bit cheaper than the $15+ it's been for several years now.

Toxic Deluge: This is Toxic Deluge No. 9 and No. 10, but it's hitting Modern for the first time. It's also the first time in old-border, which might rival the Richard Kane Ferguson version for the "aging Magic player's preferred" classification.

Annoyed Altisaur: It's a Dinosaur with three keywords on it. Two of those keywords require no reminder text. The other one requires 42 words of reminder text. It's also technically a rarity upshift (for draft reasons, almost assuredly), as the original Commander Legends version as well as the first reprint in Double Masters 2022 were commons.

Buried Alive: Will this continue to be a $5+ uncommon now that it's reprinted again? Hopefully not, though the Weatherlight and Odyssey versions will always be a bit pricier for nostalgia's sake. 

Deep Analysis: So many versions since we first met Deep Analysis in Torment, with its art of a squid man doing ethically dubious science on a Masticore. Something something "first time in Modern." 

Distinguished Conjurer: There's always one card in a new set that is a reprint but I've never seen it before, and this is the one. Only appearing once before, in Jumpstart 2022, this variant of a "fixed" Soul Warden gets a bonus flicker ability tacked on.

Fledgling Dragon: Coming to us from Judgment, this is Fledgling Dragon's first reprint. Other than that little factoid, and that it's another rarity downshift, there isn't much else to say. It's a baby dragon that becomes a teenage dragon if you hit threshold

Junk Diver: It's surprising to me that this is Junk Diver's first booster pack set reprint since its debut in Urza's Destiny multiple decades ago. It popped up in Commander 2014 and in the Commander Anthology Volume II, but that's it. It's also been a rare that entire time as well as $5+, and neither of those things are true any longer.

Meteoric Mace: When this one was first printed in Commander Legends, it contained the exact right keywords to make a very small subset of players very happy, and I'm happy for them. I wonder if they're still happy to see a second reprint. They better be. 

Nadier's Nightblade: Another Commander Legends debut, Nadier's Nightblade is a popular one, seeing play in more than 70,000 decks. Will we see that number rise thanks to its inclusion here? Probably not. 

Nesting Grounds: Technically a rarity downshift, as Nesting Grounds was a rare in Commander 2020, Streets of New Capenna Commander, and the Fallout deck in which it was included. Thanks to MH3 we also get a pretty cool old-border treatment, which is immediately the most expensive version at $2 and change.

Shrieking Drake: Shrieking Drake returns! We haven't seen the boisterous little guy since Visions, which came out in a time when John Leguizamo's The Pest was a hit new movie in theaters. Aluren is my favorite card of all time, so I'm also quite fond of Shrieking Drake and happy to see it reappear for the first time in foil. And interestingly, it's a rarity upshift, as the Visions version was a common.

Victimize: If you ever wanted an old-border foil of Victimize, now's your chance, though sadly for nostalgia's sake it's not the original art of a skeleton man with pink pants under his bones.

Wirewood Symbiote: Not seen since Eternal Masters (outside a singular Secret Lair inclusion), Wirewood Symbiote is still the fatigue-drinking bug we all know and love, hitting Modern for the first time. 

Worn Powerstone: The 19th printing of Worn Powerstone, the one fun fact I'll share is that the original art (seen on the MH3 version as well) is actually a sculpture created and photographed by Henry Higginbotham.

Garbage In, Treasure Out

And there we have it. That's a lot of reprints coming to us courtesy of Modern Horizons 3. Sure, many of them are likely more interesting if you're into Modern as a format, but there's still plenty for we Commander players to key in on. Were there any you're happy to see? Anything you can think of that should have been reprinted in MH3 that's conspicuously absent? Let me know!