It's time for a truly wild Magic set.

Every time a new Modern Horizons set comes around, it's full of wild old references, wacky returning mechanics, cool legends—and a memorable Limited format. It's no holds barred as unusual combinations of abilities frolic around and make for something truly novel … and a blast to play!

And what's the best way for you to come check it out for yourself? Well, it all kicks off at your local Prerelease!

What's a Prerelease, you ask?

Well, Prereleases are some of my favorite Magic events anywhere, perfect for newcomers and seasoned veterans alike. They're the celebration of a new set, and Modern Horizons 3 has its Prerelease starting on June 7. It's going to be a wild and fun time!

First up, if you want to learn how to play Magic, I recommend some of these resources:

Additionally, if you're looking for a store to play in, I always recommend our handy store locator tool. Just enter your location, and it'll show any stores near you:

Once you've found a spot, be sure to contact them about preregistering. Prereleases are popular events, and you'll want to make sure you have a seat at the table!

Now, if you prefer to hear about some of this in a video, I have a companion video to this article you can check out over on Good Morning Magic:

But what makes a Prerelease such a great time? And what can you expect out of one? Let's take a look!

Expanding Your Horizons

There's nothing like handling fresh cards from a new set, and that's exactly what you get to do at a Prerelease. Everyone's on equal footing: nobody has these cards before the Prerelease, and it's your first chance to dig into the set and see how all of them work together.

The energy in the room of a Prerelease is palpable. It's relaxed and fun as people open their cards, exclaim about the cool things they've found, and discover cool combinations (or fun references!) for the very first time.

Magic Players

One of the really great things about the Prerelease is that it's a great environment for helping you through your first event. Even if you're brand new, people will be there in the store to support you and help you have a fantastic experience. New and old players alike—everyone comes together for the Prerelease! The set is new, people are chatting about the flavor and story (which you can learn about here if you haven't been reading), and everyone is just there to have fun.

So, do you need to bring a deck from home? Nope! For a Prerelease, you will play a format called Sealed Deck. It's straightforward: open the six Modern Horizons 3 Play Boosters from your Prerelease Pack (plus the promo card you get inside) and build a deck with the contents. It really is all about the new set and what you find in those boosters. If you want to, you can look over everything in advance, from the commons to the mythic rares, to build the best deck you can. (Check out all the cards beforehand in our Card Image Gallery.)

How exactly does this work out? Let me walk you through it.

Building on the Horizon

When you sit down on Prerelease day, you're going to get handed a Modern Horizons 3 Prerelease Pack.

Modern Horizons 3 Prerelease Pack
Modern Horizons 3 Prerelease Pack

While there are many things in here, like a spindown life counter for tracking your life total and a fun little insert with some information and tips, the most important are these six Play Boosters:

Modern Horizons 3 Play Boosters

Open them all and check out your new stack of cards. There will also be a foil-stamped rare or mythic rare card inside that you can play—make sure to pull that one out.

Okay, boosters open? Well, you're ready to build a deck!

But where do you even start?

Well, first thing's first, you should know what you're trying to do! In Sealed Deck, you only need 40 cards, not 60 or 100. You can get as many additional basic lands as you want from the store.

A good rule of thumb is to play 17 lands. So, all things said and done, you're only looking to play about 23 nonland cards from the cards you open. That's your goal: identify the 23 cards to play.

Okay, sounds a bit easier. How do you go about picking those cards?

Try sorting your cards by color first. Make eight piles: one for each color, one for any multicolor cards, one for colorless cards, and one for lands. As you're going through, you'll have a chance to read the cards and see what interests you.

You'll want to whittle your choices down to two colors. You can sometimes "splash" a third, playing two colors as your base and a couple powerful cards or additional costs of another color, but I'd really focus on the two colors you want here. You can select them in any ways you want—maybe you just like those colors—but three things to keep an eye out for are:

  • Any strong rares in those colors that you're excited to play
  • A lot of removal cards (Cards which destroy or otherwise deal with your opponent's creatures.)
  • Evasion (Many games of Sealed Deck are won with flying creatures or hard-to-block cards.)

Additionally, another huge element to look out for are good synergies and multicolor cards. Every two-color pairing in Modern Horizons 3 has a theme, and knowing what those are can clue you in to which colors to play. These are detailed in an insert on the top of every Play Booster display, but here it is for easy reference as well:

Modern Horizons 3 Two-Color Themes

One other unusual element to be thinking about in this set are colorless mana costs. No, not generic costs—colorless specifically, like Wastescape Battlemage here:

0017_MTGMH3_Main: Wastescape Battlemage

You can't pay Colorless mana symbol with mana of any color; you must pay with colorless mana. So, if you put these in your deck, you're going to want to make sure you have enough sources that generate colorless mana. It's sort of like splashing a color. I'd want to make sure I had three or four consistent sources before putting one into my deck, and much more if I were to play multiples. There aren't a ton of these cards in the set, but keep an eye out for them and make sure you have enough ways to cast them if you choose to include them.

Once you've chosen your colors, it's important to think about your mana curve. This helps to ensure that you have creatures to cast at every turn of the game. If everything costs six mana, you're going to be way behind on playing creatures, and if everything costs two mana, you're going to get outclassed in the late game.

Here's how to check your mana curve. First, lay out your creatures in mana-value order from left to right. So, all creatures that cost one mana, then all creatures that cost two, and so on. Only lay out noncreatures here if they're cards you are planning to play as soon as you have that much mana—for example, you might play an Equipment on turn two, so that counts as a two-drop, but you're probably not playing a removal spell on turn two.

For Limited in general—and this is just a guideline—I'd look to play something like this:

  • 1 mana: 0–2
  • 2 mana: 4–6
  • 3 mana: 3–5
  • 4 mana: 2–4
  • 5 mana 1–3
  • 6+ mana: 0–2

Mana Curve

Once you have those figured out, go ahead and add in your noncreature spells. You will probably want to play all your removal spells to deal with your opponents' creatures. Beyond that, it's nice to have ways to pump up your creatures at instant speed and ways to draw cards. But you can season to taste depending on what you think might work well in your deck.

And there you have it! When you're finished, you should have a 40-card deck. You can play more than 40 cards, but I would strongly advise against it: every card you play beyond 40 just worsens the odds of drawing your best cards.

Mechanics of Modern Horizons 3

Modern Horizons 3 is a wild set—instead of its own new mechanics, it has tons and tons of returning ones. You can check most of them out in the Modern Horizons 3 Mechanics article to learn more.

Reaching the Horizon

Modern Horizons 3 Prerelease is just around the corner, starting June 7! Check in with your local game store, look over the Card Image Gallery, and get ready for the wild and incredible experience that is Modern Horizons 3!

Oh, and one more thing—you can preorder booster displays for pickup at the Prerelease as well. So, if you want to bring even more cards home with you, you can get some Modern Horizons 3 for yourself—just be sure to talk with your local store about grabbing one.

I hope this helped you on your Prerelease journey. And, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube—I always appreciate hearing what people have to say.

Enjoy the set and have fun!

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