Thor: [taking coffee for the first time] This drink... I like it!
When characters end up in an unfamiliar place, crazy fun things happen. Whether it be table top role playing or video games, I love universe hopping. All it took for me to get into the first Thor movie was to see him interacting with the people of earth. Our world was strange to him and it made for some interesting situations. Thor is my favorite comic book character and I love everything about him.
For me, Magic sets are like comic book movies. Each comic book character has its own universe and storyline just like Magic. Although some characters are in the same universe, the feel of their story can vary widely from other characters.
Then we have Avengers. This super team brings together all the storylines into one epic adventure. We get to see all of the amazing heroes and villains in one action packed story.
Thor: You know, I had it all backwards. I had it all wrong.
Modern Masters is the Avengers of Magic. This weekend Modern Masters 2015 will be released and we will get to battle with lots of great strategies from the past. In one big mash up, we will have access to spirits, elementals, artifacts and more, all in one set. That’s pretty epic.
I was the first to express my doubts about this new reprint set not living up to expectations. As time has elapsed to the cusp of release and we have devoured the information from the full spoiler though, excitement has welled up in me almost as much as before I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron. Modern Masters 2015 comes out this Friday and I couldn’t be more excited.
My main concern with the set was not actually the financial value. I think the money to be gained from the set is quite considerable. You have a better chance of opening a mythic or rare worth some money, which also makes your foil pulls better.
The difference is that this set has less valuable commons and uncommons. So, if you open a lackluster rare, there is less chance to regain your money with the rest of the pack. I think that’s a fine compromise. Would we have liked to see some more playable cards frequently in these packs, sure, but what we have is still pretty great.
The topic on my mind, ahead of the financial value of the cards, was how the draft format would shape up. One amazing part of the first Modern Masters was how fun drafting it was. Sure you had to pay double or triple the cost of a normal draft, but on top of the chance to open expensive cards, you also were fortunate to be able to play in one of the best limited environments of all time.
Until we actually play with the set this weekend, we can’t know for sure, but it’s looking great from many angles. This Marvel team up of a set is going to be a blast to play.
Thor: Loki, this is madness!
You might be feeling overwhelmed at the thought of drafting the latest edition to our set roster, but it’s not madness, it’s greatness! When approaching a draft for this set, try to get in a mindset similar to that of Cube Draft.
For any Cube draft there’s one primary rule that I always try to remember. Many strategies are draftable and good, so draft what you want, but always have a plan. I expect this thought process to apply to MMA15 as well. There are a lot of archetypes you can draft and there are a lot of great cards in the set to build around.
When you look at your pack one, choose the card that’s worth money or the card that you can build your deck around. Many of the money cards aren’t necessarily the most playable, but a lot of them you can build your deck to support. Not every money card should be played in your draft so often your strategy might be to make money and then start your draft with your pack one pick two. Other players will be doing this as well so think about that when you are trying to pick up signals.
With so many concepts to choose from, it’s helpful to know what’s available. If you’ve been drafting for a long time, you might be able to go into any draft and be successful just because you have a lot of experiences to pull from, but most of the time knowing some solid strategies is a good plan.
Here is my initial list of draftable strategies.
Drafting a deck around a specific creature type can be tricky in any Limited format. This set looks like most of the time, you won’t be competing with other players for the same archetype, but in case that happens, remember to have a backup plan.
I am excited to try out this deck because it seems the most fun to me. Thief of Hope is amazing and I want to see how many I can draft in the same deck. Being able to regrow your Nameless Inversions when your creatures die is so much value it’s hard to believe. The spirits may not have high power and toughness (although Hikari, Twilight Guardian at uncommon is nothing to scoff at), but their synergies more than make up for it.
You will find your elementals in red and blue but also some in black. I expect a lot of players to pick up their Form of the Mulldrifters early in draft and then go from there.
Most of the time, what pairs well with your card drawer is Smokebraider to cast it earlier. If you have enough of them and you feel like living on the wild side, you might even be able to cast a Horde of Notions. I’m not sure if this creature type is deep enough for it to be consistently successful, but as a backup plan, you can always end up with a tempo strategy in these colors as well.
When you take a rare and make it a common, crazy things can happen. To my knowledge, this is the first rare to be downgraded to a common. The card in question of course is Scion of the Wild. If you didn’t play back then, you can compare this card to Wayfaring Temple.
Either way, the card is bonkers with tokens. Raise the Alarm, Spectral Procession, Nest Invader, Kozilek's Predator, Scatter the Seeds and Bestial Menace are already good on their own, but if you have a Scion in play, the combination will be hard to beat.
There are very few sweepers to catch your opponent up once you’ve amassed your swarm. We have All Is Dust at mythic, Cleansing Wildfire and Midnight Banshee at rare, Savage Twister at uncommon, and Shrivel at common. That is not very many answers to your army. The red cards are always playable so try to play around those if possible, otherwise build your army and destroy all who stand in your way.
There are a lot of great things to ramp into in this set and no ways to cheat these big threats into play. Eldrazi spawn and Rampant Growth seem to be the best way to ramp into things. Bounce lands will help give you enough lands so you can play one every turn and if you survive until the late game, your finishers are nearly unstoppable.
Many times I think this strategy will be one in the same with that of the multicolored deck. Cards like Tribal Flames, Matca Rioters, and Skyreach Manta are all good payoffs for playing multiple colors but getting to play all of your removal spells is pretty good too.
There is a lot going on with artifacts in this set, but unlike previous sets, all these cards work together. Whether you have cards with affinity or metalcraft, they can all play well together in your draft deck. There are a couple colored cards you will want in your deck, but sometimes you can stay open with your colors and draft the removal spells that come to you. If your spells are all colorless, then you can be lenient with what lands you play in your deck.
Here’s another strategy that I’m excited to draft. When the proliferate mechanic was first released, I wished there were more things I could proliferate. This set has them all. There are creatures with counters, removal spells that give counters, and artifacts with counters. If you want to do some neat tricks with counters, this is the set for you.
I think this strategy is solid as well, which makes this fun archetype even better. There are some black proliferators as well, so don’t limit yourself. If you see something that synergizes with this strategy, pick it up and work it into your deck.
R/W Aggro Pump
With all of the creatures that get bonuses from equipment or that have double strike, pumping up your guys seems like a potent strategy in this set. Daybreak Coronet is a great example of something that would work well in this archetype but is definitely not necessary. If you don’t get enough Goblin War Paints, you won’t be able to play it anyway.
This is a deck that will work with solid cards and won’t necessarily have to rely on synergies to be successful. You can build it similar to how you would play Bogles or Infect though and Voltron your way to victory.
Last up on my list is drafting all the hyper aggressive black and red cards with enablers like Goblin Fireslinger. The benefit to this archetype is that you can use this as a fallback plan from a number of other decks. If your strategy doesn’t come together, you can slip right into this deck.
Don’t limit yourself to just these combinations though. There are many ways to develop these strategies so be open to what’s in each pack.
Also, there are tons of great cards to draft. Splinter Twin and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker could make sweet starting points but you need to think about creatures for value since there’s no infinite combos available. Maybe you want to try to build a Delver of Secrets // Delver of Secrets-esque deck with Surrakar Spellblade. I’m sure a Skies deck is possible with cards like Daggerclaw Imp and all the good blue fliers.
There are also some cool multicolored cards that don’t fit into any of these archetypes. Any of them could spawn ideas for draftable decks. So remember, have a plan and have fun.
Thor: For the first time in my life, I have no idea what I'm supposed to do...
So, you’ve drafted all the valuable cards you could, had a ton of fun building on sweet synergies, but now what should you do with your cards? This will be the main question on players’ minds sometime this weekend or next week. I’ve boiled my thoughts down to two main ingredients.
The first ingredient is cards seeing play in Modern. All of the cards that see regular play in the format should go back up in price. They may not reach their previous price, but some of them will and others will surpass their previous price. Once players have access to certain cards, they will start building their new deck which creates demand for other cards they will need. This is why the prices don’t go down. Yes, lots of new copies of each card are being opened, but many players are keeping them so they can start playing Modern.
If you’ve been playing the format for a while, this might not be easy to relate to, but many players don’t have good Modern decks. There are lots of people who will use this set as a springboard into the format. It may not get them all the way there, but it will give them a taste of what’s possible and then they will make the rest happen.
The second ingredient are those cards that don’t see regular play in Modern but are casual all-stars. The prime example here is Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, but there are others like Tezzeret the Seeker as well. These types of cards are less common in the set because Wizards did a great job of printing cards that actually see play.
This subsection of cards are the ones I would be looking to move quickly. Many of the $5-or-less cards fall into this camp as well. The less tournament play a card sees, the more likely I would be to sell it quickly.
Keep in mind that if you want to make a quick profit, selling any cards you open now is completely understandable. The initial release of the set will be when demand is at its peak because the supply is so low. Selling quick will not necessarily net you the most profit, but guaranteed profit is never a bad thing. If you are willing to wait, the Modern cards that see consistent play should rise in price again so your margin will be bigger if you wait a while to sell.
Thor: My friends, have you forgotten all that we have done together? Fandral, Hogun, who led you into the glorious of battles?
Hogun: You did.
Thor: And, Volstagg, who introduced you to delicacies so succulent you thought you'd died and gone to Valhalla?
Volstagg: [chuckles] You did.
Thor: And who proved wrong all who scoffed at the idea that a young maiden could be one of the fiercest warriors this realm has ever known?
Sif: I did!
Thor: True, but I supported you, Sif.
Thor: Live, and tell those stories yourself!
So, when the time comes, grab your friends and head out to your local game store to make some memories and open some sweet cards. You’ll look back on the events as one big adventure you’ll never forget. I would love to hear stories of your Modern Masters escapades, so post them in the comments along with what sweet decks you drafted.
Until next time,
Unleash the Force!
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