New ‘Magic: The Gathering’ Modern Horizons 2 card sets planeswalkers on fire

New 'Magic: The Gathering' Modern Horizons 2 card sets planeswalkers on fire

Magic: The Gathering’s upcoming Modern Horizons 2 set doesn’t have a grand storyline involving a magic school, or gorgeous Japanese art variants. Rather, the expansion is purely focused on good old fashioned gameplay, bringing back classic cards while also introducing new ones to the game.

Following this, Mashable can exclusively reveal two Uncommon Red cards appearing the Modern Horizons 2 set this June: old favourite Gorilla Shaman, and brand new Enchantment Flame Blitz.

Gorilla Shaman

New 'Magic: The Gathering' Modern Horizons 2 card sets planeswalkers on fire

Image: WIzards of the Coast

Gorilla Shaman was first introduced way back in 1996’s Ice Age block, but had never been reprinted in a physical set — until now. 

Demanding only one Red mana to enter the battlefield, this Uncommon 1/1 Red Ape Shaman is an inexpensive creature that can help build an early defence. However, Gorilla Shaman’s true value lies in its activated ability: “Destroy target noncreature artifact with mana value X.” This ability allows players to destroy almost any artifact they choose, provided they pay double the targeted card’s mana value plus one. For example, if you wanted to destroy an artifact that cost 3 mana to cast, you’d have to pay 7 mana to activate Gorilla Shaman’s ability.

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“Artifacts are possibly the most undercosted and powerful permanents in the game of Magic, and having a way to repeatedly deal with these in the one card is super useful,” professional Magic player David Mines told Mashable. “I’ve used this in many sideboards of my pauper decks and have never been disappointed.”

What're you looking at?

What’re you looking at?

Image: filip burburan / Wizards of the Coast

The ability’s mana cost may feel prohibitive if you want to remove more expensive artifacts, and it can’t target artifact creatures. Still, Gorilla Shaman is a great solution to many artifact-related problems.

“The card hadn’t been printed in a long time and prices for it had been pushing up and up, so it’s nice to see Wizards giving players more access to cards like this for the cheaper formats,” said Mines. “Plus anytime these pauper cards are released in foil or with new art is always going to be great for the collectors.”

Flame Blitz

New 'Magic: The Gathering' Modern Horizons 2 card sets planeswalkers on fire

Image: WIzards of the coast

Flame Blitz is a brand new Uncommon Red Enchantment that also only costs one Red mana to cast. Yet despite its low mana value, it has a potentially significant ability: “At the beginning of your end step, Flame Blitz deals 5 damage to each planeswalker.” 

“Now this is a new effect! Planeswalkers have always been awkward for the Red decks to deal with,” said Mines. “This however is an incredibly cheap way to deal with your opponents’ planeswalkers.”

Red decks are focused on aggressive plays, hitting opponents hard and fast before they can build an effective defence. Unfortunately, this strategy can be significantly impeded by planeswalkers, which are special card types with their own powerful activated abilities.

“If your deck is aggressive you either need to redirect damage to the planeswalker by dealing it direct damage or attacking it (thus slowing down your speed at killing your opponent),” explained Mines, “or ignoring it and hoping you can beat its inbuilt card advantage (usually not the way to go!)”.

Solving this problem, Flame Blitz deals serious damage to all planeswalkers every time your turn ends — including any you yourself might control. This allows you to more easily clear planeswalkers from the field and refocus on your attack strategy.

“[This card] triggering the turn it comes into play really tips it over the edge,” said Mines.

Of course, not all Magic players include planeswalkers in their deck, which could render Flame Blitz effectively useless. However, Flame Blitz also has cycling, which lets you pay two mana to discard it from your hand and draw another card. This means you probably won’t get stuck with the card if you don’t need it.

“I’ve always subscribed to the theory that any card that has fringe utility that has cycling added onto it will always be playable,” said Mines. “As if you can’t use it — you can just cycle it and get a new card.”

Magic: The Gathering’s Modern Horizons 2 set will be released June 18.

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