Modern Horizons spoilers are out in full force, and the nostalgia-ridden set is giving plenty of callbacks to past Magic: The Gathering cards. A huge new cycle in Modern Horizons began with the reveals of Force of Negation and Force of Vigor. The newest of these cards, Force of Despair, looks to continue that trend.
The Alliance Pitch Spell cycle was a set of five cards with the ability to be cast for free if you exiled a card of a matching color from your hand. Most noteworthy of these was Force of Will. While the other cards weren’t as impressive, Force of Will became a defining card of the Legacy and Vintage formats.
Modern Horizons has now given us an updated version of this cycle. We previously saw the blue Force of Negation and the green Force of Vigor. Force of Despair, the black member of the cycle, was spoiled today.
Like the new cycle’s other members, you cannot cast Force of Despair for free on your turn. Due to this, they are more “fair.” You can use them to protect you from powerful combos, but they do not make those same combos harder to stop.
Force of Despair’s destruction effect calls back to the Planar Chaos card Cradle to Grave. This proved a strong “safety valve” for many creature-based combo decks in Modern that form massive boards in one turn.
Many such combo decks exist. The Hollow One deck can make three 4/4s on turn 1. Dredge can flood the field with Narcomoebas and Prized Amalgams. The new Neoform Combo can cheat out an Allosaurus Rider and transform it to a turn 1 Griselbrand. Currently, if a player drew or mulliganed into a “god hand” on their first turn, their opponent would find it hard to stop. After all, their opponent wouldn’t even have any lands yet!
As such, a “free” answer to degenerate combos is perfect “format police” design. Force of Despair should help keep these unfair decks from becoming too powerful.
Daily Esports is here to keep you up to date on Modern Horizons spoilers, so keep an eye on our Magic: The Gathering news page! If you missed the past couple days of spoiler season, check out our full roundups from Day 1 and Day 2.
Jim Harbor is a writer of articles, plays, comics, songs and animation.