Goonhammer’s First Look at Magic: the Gathering Modern Horizons 3

For many Magic: The Gathering fans, the Modern format is the epitome of the game. There’s a relatively stable competitive format that has survived some major upheavals over the years while being diverse enough to let new decks pop up as the game evolves. 

Modern Horizons 3 is the latest way Wizards of the Coast is looking to spice up the format, with the third iteration of the format-specific set. Given how massive Modern Horizons 2 was, players have eagerly been gobbling up any little tidbit of information they can find. Now with the set’s release just a few short weeks away, official reveals are going live and they look rad as heck.

What You Need To Know About Modern Horizons 3

Alright, so, there is a lot going on with this set, from special art treatments to a ton of returning mechanics, and even a full Commander release to compliment the main set. Two of the major components of the set are the return of both the Eldrazi and double-faced Planeswalkers, much like the ones released in 2015’s Magic Origins.

Modern Horizon 3 Eldrazi, Kozilek the Broken Reality and Ulamog the Defiler

Double-faced cards, or DFCs, are big in this set, which is great for players since giving you options on how you want to play your cards is huge. So much of Modern Horizons 3 is designed as a celebration of Magic’s past, with characters like Ajani, Sorin, and Tamiyo being depicted as a pre-planeswalker creature on one side, and in their full planeswalker glory on the back.

Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student and Tamiyo Seasoned Scholar Modern Horizon 3 Planeswalker card

If you’re a fan of fancy cards and love collecting your favorites, Modern Horizons 3 might just be your perfect set. Depending on the pack you get, you can open:

  • Textured Foils
  • Ripple Foils
  • Foil Etched
  • Retro Frame
  • Extended Art
  • Full Art Eldrazi
  • Borderless Profile cards
  • Borderless Frame Break cards
  • Borderless Concept Eldrazi Titans
  • Serialized Borderless Eldrazi Titans

All of these together create a staggering array of cards available to collectors, along with plenty of options for players who have specific tastes in their cards. Every type of foil and special treatment on that list are ones we’ve seen before in other sets, except for the ripple foil, which is a new type of foiling that can be found exclusively in the Modern Horizons 3 Collector’s Edition Commander decks, where all 100 cards and the front side of each double-sided token will share the treatment.

Kaalia of the Vast Frame Break cards

The Biggest Cards From Modern Horizons 3 So Far

Even though it is just the first day of reveals for the straight-to-Modern set, there are plenty of cool cards out for players to gawk over. We’ve got a whole new cycle of free spells to experiment with, all those double-faced Planeswalkers, and some incredibly powerful spells to duel over.

Flare of Duplication, Flare of Malice, and Flare of Fortutide

Double-faced Planeswalkers are back, and this time we’re headed to the ancient history of everyone’s favorite brooding vampire, Sorin Markov. Flipping this nonchalant human into the tortured Vampire is fairly easy, all you have to do is gain three life before your postcombat main phase, transforming him into a hungry Vampire with a passive extort ability.

Images of the Card Sorin of House Markov borderless


What Mechanics Are In Modern Horizons 3?

This is a bit of a hard question to answer since there are 40 different abilities, actions, words, and more in Modern Horizons 3. While having to remember so many different mechanics seems like a daunting task, it isn’t so bad considering they all come from previous Magic sets. 


Given the heavy Eldrazi infestation in the set, Kindred is one of the bigger terms to be aware of. This replacement of the Tribal card type gives your noncreature spells, like instants and sorceries, a creature type, triggering various effects that check for when you cast creature spells of that type. For instance, the new Echoes of Eternity is a six-mana Kindred Enchantment – Eldrazi, that acts like a Panharmonicon for your colorless spells. 

Umbra Armor

Umbra Armor is a returning mechanic that also has an updated name. Totem armor is being reworked into umbra armor, though everything else works just the same. This mechanic has been a long-time favorite with players since giving your creatures an extra level of security can be critical in games like Commander.


Much like umbra armor, bestow is another fancy way to use your enchantments, letting you cast them as either a creature on their own or as an aura if you’re bestowing it onto another creature. Bestow also ensures you keep some sort of board presence since if anything happens to the creature being enchanted, whether it gets removed before or after the bestowing enchantment resolves, that card defaults back to being an enchantment creature and hits the battlefield. 


Fresh off a very popular return in the Universes Beyond: Fallout Commander decks, Energy is back to give players a powerful resource to micro-manage in their games. Energy is a type of bonus resource, almost like mana, but it sticks around forever, or at least until you spend it on some spell or ability. 


While not a keyword on its own, Modified is a batching term that is used to refer to creatures that have something a little extra to them while in play. A modified creature is one that has been equipped, enchanted, or has counters of any kind on them. Modified as a term in Magic isn’t exactly new, it’s been around since Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, but in Modern Horizons 3, it is getting some extra attention paid to it. 

The First Modern Horizon Set To Bring Commander Decks To The Table

Modern Horizons 3 Commanders, Disa the Restless, Omo Queen of Vesuva, Satya Aetherflux Genius, and Ulalek Fused AtrocityCommander and Modern have long been two formats that rarely had any interactions with each other. Commander products have long been a straight-to-Legacy release, which has had some awkward overlap from time to time, but otherwise has been fairly straightforward.

With Modern Horizons 3, four new preconstructed Commander decks are releasing, each one a little more experimental than your usual Commander precons. These decks are a little closer to the Commander Masters ones, with a higher price point, and seem to require slightly more knowledge of the game than the usually new-player-friendly decks. The cards in these decks however, are still not legal in Modern. Instead, they’re more inspired by elements from Modern, whether they be popular creature types or fan-favorite mechanics. 

All four of the decks also come with a Collectors Edition, as we mentioned before with the Ripple Foil cards, with each card in the deck featuring this new foil type.


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