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Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 Day One Highlights

June 28, 2024
Corbin Hosler

As the applause rang out, seventeen Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame members smiled wide. With a sold-out convention hall and Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 in full swing, the gathering of seventeen of the best to ever play the game was undoubtedly a high point of the first day of MagicCon: Amsterdam–but it was far from the only one.

Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 kicked off in sunny Amsterdam on Friday with nearly 250 players–fifteen of them from among those Hall of Famers. These players arrived from across the world to find out if all the work they've put in since the release of Modern Horizons 3 several weeks ago would pay off.

The stakes for the final Pro Tour of the season? The final chance at the largest tranche of World Championship seats, a share of the $500,000 prize pool, plus the trophy! It was enough to bring out some of the game's legends including Kai Budde and Jon Finkel, and from there other old-school Magic all-timers made their way to the Netherlands until we had one the most current and historical Magic talent you'll find in one photo:

17 Hall of Famers Present at Amsterdam

It's undoubtedly going to a memorable Magic moment; the Pro Tour itself soared to even greater heights with Modern Horizons 3. When the dust settled on the new Nadu normal, it was Jacob Nagro who led the way thanks to his prowess in both Modern and Modern Horizons 3 Draft. An undefeated draft run gave way to the Modern rounds where Nagro showed off exactly why so many people were talking about the bird before the Pro Tour.

Expanding Limited Horizons

As always, the Pro Tour kicked off with three rounds of Limited. Last time around we explored the high-variety world of Outlaws of Thunder Junction, and in Amsterdam players tackled the deep straight-to-Modern set that has brought back the tri-land in a big way. In fact, the Tranquil Landscape set of cycling lands is really a four "color" card, given its ability to produce the all-important colorless mana for Eldrazi. With the format oscillating between evasive creature decks, energy brews that thrive on synergy, and massive Eldrazi going over the top, having lands that can both provide the required Eldrazi mana as well as fix colors was a key to successful drafting.

As was drafting blue.

Of the 27 players who finished their draft pod undefeated, more than half included blue cards in their deck, and most of those as a primary color. Modern Horizons 3 limited has been described as powerful, but sometimes clunky if you don't get the right cards passed. On top of that, blue's suite of card draw and difficult-to-interact-with creatures set up perfectly at the Pro Tour level, with players prepared to lean into blue to combat threats like Writhing Chrysalis.

"There's very synergistic decks in this format, and there are cards that the average drafter doesn't value that we can get openly," explained Nicole Tipple, who helped to coordinate Team Sanctum of All's preparation ahead of the Pro Tour. "Coming in, our plan was to stay open, take lands, and be prepared to play what gets passed around."

Tipple pointed to Essence Reliquary as the type of card that Sanctum was willing to spend an early pick on. The artifact certainly doesn't go in every draft deck (or even most of them), but it could shine under the right conditions. Tipple's teammate Jake Beardsley, whom she knocked off in the second round to stay undefeated, lamented that at times in testing perhaps they even went too deep in testing and didn't end up with enough creatures or playables–the kind of valuable lesson to have under your belt once the lights turn on at the Pro Tour.

Draft records are key to converting a deep run into a Top Finish given their outsized influence in tiebreakers, and that was on the forefront of everyone's mind when they sat down for Modern Horizons 3 draft. It's not surprising for many of the top teams to focus on draft, and as usual it paid off for some of the Pro Tour's most consistent players with Luis Scott-Vargas, Simon Nielsen, and Seth Manfield among the undefeated drafters, among plenty more.

Amping Up Amsterdam with Nadu

What's new with Nadu?


Nadu, Winged Wisdom made a huge splash with its Modern Horizons 3 debut, and today it proved that it deserved the hype–and possibly far more. As the most popular archetype in the room it surged to the top of a field that also saw plenty of Ruby Medallion Storm as well as a larger-than-expected number of energy decks, all made possible with Modern Horizons 3.

As Friday winded down the bird soared even higher; at one point late in Day One eight of the top players were on a build of the deck. The sight was certainly reminiscent of Modern's most dominant decks over the years, and the ability to adapt the list to a particular metagame remains a strength; team Sanctum of All spent their time before the Pro Tour preparing for the mirror matches they knew were coming.

Other decks that debuted to mixed results, while some players chose classics and found success. Ruby Medallion Storm is the spiritual successor to Modern's classic Storm decks, and it turns out Past in Flames is just as effective in 2024 as it was in 2014–if you avoid Trinisphere from the Eldrazi decks. The explosiveness of the storm deck is mitigated by its weakness to tax or prison effects like Trinisphere or Drannith Magistrate, but the deck is more than capable of winning on the second turn.

"You really need to slow down the Storm deck. But Nadu can win through more interaction," Jacob Nagro explained. "Sometimes you'll Pact for Sylvan Safekeeper before you play Nadu, or you'll grind them out. If the disruptive decks don't have the right threats attached to them, Nadu will eventually win through it."

2 Teferi, Time Raveler 4 Nadu, Winged Wisdom 1 Outrider en-Kor 1 Endurance 4 Wall of Roots 1 Bristly Bill, Spine Sower 4 Springheart Nantuko 4 Delighted Halfling 1 Sylvan Safekeeper 1 Haywire Mite 1 Dryad Arbor 1 Dismember 4 Chord of Calling 3 Summoner's Pact 4 Shuko 2 Urza's Saga 1 Breeding Pool 1 Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth 1 Temple Garden 1 Hedge Maze 1 Hallowed Fountain 4 Misty Rainforest 1 Island 2 Forest 1 Lush Portico 1 Shifting Woodland 1 Verdant Catacombs 1 Boseiju, Who Endures 4 Windswept Heath 1 Wooded Foothills 1 Horizon Canopy 1 Endurance 1 Reclamation Sage 1 Drannith Magistrate 1 Volatile Stormdrake 1 Suncleanser 1 Soulless Jailer 1 Force of Vigor 1 Dismember 2 Veil of Summer 2 The One Ring 1 Soul-Guide Lantern 1 Deafening Silence 1 Boseiju, Who Endures

Oh, and don't forget about Necro.

Necrodominance, that is. Mono-Black Necro was one of the other new additions from Modern Horizons 3 that made a strong showing, as Mono-Black Cabal Coffers players found that they could get very creative–Soul Spike levels of creative–with the new legendary enchantment.

And because this is Modern, the "Other" archetypes category is always worth digging into for hidden gems–exactly what Frank Karsten did in his spicy decklists article!

Looking Ahead

Jacob Nagro stands alone atop the Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 field, but things are stacked up tightly right behind. There are six players who finished Friday at 7-1, and every one is a fearsome opponent to face when play resumes on Day Two: Eli Kassis, Brian Boss, Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, Javier Dominguez, Jason Ye, and Noah Ma.

Three more rounds of Modern Horizons 3 draft will kick things off in the morning, before we move on to Modern and march toward the Top 8! The action kicks off tomorrow at 11 a.m. CEST (5 a.m. EST/2 a.m. PST) at!

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