I participated in the Modern Horizons 2 prerelease on Spelltable earlier this month. I had a great time; not only is Modern Horizons 2 a really sweet Limited environment, but playing games via webcam has proven to be quite a delight.

I did run into some technical glitches with my camera cutting out a few times, but they were minor inconveniences. A quick refresh of the browser seemed to do the trick, and my opponents and I were able to get back into the game without much delay. I’m still not sure if it was a problem on my end or with Spelltable… I should probably do some troubleshooting and sort that out before the next prerelease.

An Hour or Two for Deckbuilding

I’m not sure if it was because I hadn’t played in a sealed event for a while, if my sealed pool was particularly awkward, or if this set is just that complicated, but I had a hard time building a deck for this event. I tried all sorts of colour combinations, but nothing was coming together.  I was glad to be at home with plenty of extra time to puzzle things out, because I spent well over an hour staring at my cards. It felt like I had one half of five different synergies, and none of them quite fit together. Moreover, whenever I made any progress, my pile of cards would invariably stretch my mana in ways my colour fixing couldn’t support!

My Sealed Pool

Here’s what I was working with. What would you build?

After a lot of trial and error, I eventually landed on this deck:

Four-Colour Modular Reanimator

Modern Horizons 2 Sealed

Deck by Ben Iverach-Brereton

NOTE: “Mark of Fury” is supposed to be “Fury,” the new 3/3 double-striking Pyrokinesis with evoke. The database is just being weird.

The Thespian Squirrel

In my first match, my opponent kept discarding cards to make crabs with Scuttletide. He eventually ran out of physical crab tokens, so he used a spare squirrel token instead. We were having fun giving his tokens silly names and personalities, and decided that this one was actually a professional squirrel actor. Later in the match, when I needed an extra bird, I naturally grabbed a squirrel token and declared that it was the same actor.

I must say, that squirrel has incredible range. He’s so convincing in every role he plays that you’d swear he was a real crab one moment, and a bird the next! I hear he’ll be playing Marit Lage in an upcoming production of Lands! The Musical. You won’t want to miss it.


My second match of the weekend was incredibly long and grindy, but still fun. My opponent set up Dakkon as an early threat each game, with a Nevinyrral’s Disk to loom over the table in case I played too many creatures. It was an interesting puzzle to find a way to get rid of his planeswalker without committing too much to the battlefield. I managed to do it in the first game, but in games two and three it ultimately didn’t matter. My opponent used Profane Tutor to find Garth One-Eye and completely take over with his Shivan Dragon token. I fought back as best I could by repeatedly reanimating my Soul of Migration, and even pieced together a sweet three-for-one with Fury, though it wasn’t enough. At the end of the match I was about to destroy the Shivan Dragon (with my opponent’s own Tragic Fall, no less), but my opponent was so far ahead that he just used Garth‘s Terror to destroy the token himself. As he said, this way his dragon would go out “on his terms.”

If this were a match on Arena, it would have been a miserable experience. As it was, being able to banter back and forth with my opponent made all the difference; I might have been losing, but I was still enjoying the big plays thanks to our conversation. I miss playing in person, but webcam games really are the next best thing.

Grind for Value

My third match showed off my deck’s synergies in full force. An early Legion Vanguard let me sacrifice my modular creatures to fuel Arcbound Javelineer, before reanimating everything to do it again. My opponent eventually landed a Mirari’s Wake to buff his team, but by then I had a commanding lead. I pressed the advantage, and my opponent set up some double blocks to clear the board. Unfortunately for him, I was able to find my evasive threats to mop up, and finished him off in a few short turns.

Over the course of the prerelease I kept reanimating Young Necromancer with Late to Dinner, which worked out to be a solid value play. Whenever I did it, I couldn’t help picturing this little girl staying out well past sunset, only to come home with her dress covered in mud and a new friend in tow. Her exasperated parents would just sigh and set out an extra place setting; they clearly had this talk with their daughter several times already, but nothing was going to change….

Shikari Showdown

My fourth and final match of the weekend was against another modular deck. My opponent got out an early Ornithopter of Paradise, and was able to funnel five +1/+1 counters onto it as the game progressed. I kept throwing birds in front of it, watching each one explode into a little cloud of feathers to keep me alive. Eventually I was able to empty my hand and destroy the Ornithopter with a Tragic Fall, but by then I also had to deal with my opponent’s massive Arcbound Shikari.

Luckily for me, I was also able to grow a Shikari of my own a few turns earlier, and the two cat soldiers stood and stared at each other for several turns. During our standoff I drew my Sinister Starfish, and with its help was able to dig past a glut of lands and find my Dauthi Voidwalker. Thanks to the Voidwalker‘s passive ability, which shut down my opponent’s modular triggers, I was able to safely destroy the Shikari facing me without fear of the counters moving to another creature. With that last big threat out of the way, I was finally able to start swinging in for the win.

For game two I replaced my Etherium Spinner with a copy of Break Ties to better deal with those massive modular bodies. Looking back at how many artifact creatures I faced throughout the weekend, I probably should have included Break Ties in the main deck to begin with…. Oh well. That’s that benefit of hindsight!

A Casual Pace

Playing in the Spelltable prerelease was a relaxed affair. I could hop into the queue for a match, then take a break for lunch, or go make a cup of tea before queuing up again. Don’t get me wrong, I miss the hustle and bustle of a crowded in-person event, and if it wasn’t a risk to public health, I’d be right back there. Even so, playing at home meant that I could set my own pace for matches, and was able to enjoy some casual games with nothing but pride on the line.

All in all, Spelltable is a great way to play Magic, and the online prerelease was a lovely way to spend my weekend. Even once things get back to normal (or whatever normal looks like in the future), I hope these events continue. Webcam Magic offers a unique experience that bridges the gap between online and in-person play, and has been a welcome addition to the game. If you haven’t given it a try, I think you’d enjoy it, and taking part in a friendly event like a prerelease is a great way to dip your toes into it. I hope to see you at the next one!

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