Insider: Artful Manuevers – Making the Most of Your Modern Masters 2015

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I found this on Ebay..I'm going to assume one of you did this.
I found this on Ebay..I'm going to assume one of you did this.

So you've just finished opening your box of Modern Masters 2015 (MM2). Hopefully none of your cards are bent, ripped, scratched or previously opened. You've sorted them and you find that your mythic rares and a few other rare cards will get you your value back on a box.

Your bulk rares and select uncommons have made their way into your trade binder and you now have a pile of commons and uncommons on your desk. How do you maximize your value on these?

Get your paints out!

There are many commons and uncommons in MM2 that are playable in casual and constructed formats. In the wake of Electrolyze and Remand, a lot of these cards present good opportunities to an alterist but are overlooked by the average player. Finding these cards and making them unique is a great way to add value to your binder where other players won't be able to.

I'd like to list a few of the cards that I will be targeting with my brush in the coming weeks. I chose these cards based on playability and the ease of the prospective alter that they present.

Tribal Flames - Modern Zoo lists look to this card as simple and efficient removal. As this is a tournament card, we need to make sure it is tournament legal. This means leaving the name and mana cost untouched. We can still extend the borders and even alter the text box to look a bit singed. Estimate: 1.5 hours

Alloy Myr - A three cost mana dork that is also an artifact is pretty cool. Okay, so it won't see constructed play anytime soon, but there is always room for colorless ramping cards in casual formats like Commander. On top of that, this guy's artwork has almost no detail. We could certainly go full art on this, but casual players generally won't like the price that comes with it. Extending the borders it is! Estimate: 0.5 hour

Darksteel Citadel - This is an obvious inclusion in Affinity decks. Once again, we are bound by having to make this card tournament legal, but we have superior art to work with. A borderless alter on this card will be eye catching enough, but I believe a play set of these would sell better. Estimate: 4.0 hours for the playset

Thrummingbird - I always forget about this little rascal until he whoops my tail in Commander. Any deck that is built around counters of any kind loves this card. Opponents often underestimate Thrummingbird until it's too late. If you couple that with some beautiful orange and purple hues, we have ourselves a great alter target. It would be tempting to create a full art version but I feel like the spikes would be very uninteresting toward the bottom of the card. Borderless! Estimate: 1.0 hour

Gruul Turf - All of the Karoo Lands see play here and there in constucted and casual environments. Hive Mind decks especially enjoy them. I chose Gruul Turf from among them due to it's simple color palette and lack of detail. This should be a simple alter that can be completed before your opponent plays his turn two Primeval TitanEstimate:0.5 hour

Karoo lands - Ravnica - Modern Master 2
Time is money, so there is no shame in picking the easy one!


Ulamog's Crusher - Everybody loves an Eldrazi. They are huge, annihilating monsters! They also have a unique card frame, which gives us an advantage. Any tournament player will rather have the legendary Eldrazi over the lesser versions, which means our target audience will be casual players. The distinct card frame gives us less card to paint over which will save us time and keep the price down. Little Timmy Casual will love having this fine piece to show off at his kitchen table! Estimate: 0.5 hour

Vines of Vastwood - "Berserk Stompy" decks love their pump spells, and this one is no joke. It functions both as a pump spell and a defensive spell, making it playable in Legacy. You may be tempted to just extend the borders and move on, but I have a different idea. I will be spending my time on this card creating vines that grow up and around the borders of the text boxes and along the borders of the art. With some proper shadow effects, this may be a exceptional alter. It will take some time, but fortunately Legacy players aren't afraid to spend money on the right card. Estimate: 2.5 hours

Old art is pretty cool too

Pillory of the Sleepless - I love the new art on this card. It's evocative and violent. Whether or not you agree that it is better than the old art, the fact remains that this is the only printing of the new art to date. It also features a limited color palette which will save us some time in extending its borders. Some slight detail work will go into the smoke effects, but this should be done pretty quickly. In terms of the actual card, it's an effective removal spell which can really turn a game on its ear if left unanswered. Pillory doesn't see play in any constructed decks, but who doesn't want this in their black/white casual deck? Estimate: 1.0 hour

Oblivion Ring - Death and Taxes continues to be a force in Legacy. "O-ring" continues to see play in that deck (or at least in it's sideboard). This art gives us an easy extended border alter right off of the bat. It's a popular, well known card, so we don't want to do too much more. We want to create as many as possible and let them move out of our binders. This is a quick and efficient sale item! Estimate: 0.5 hour

Smokebraider - Smokebraider will likely only ever see play in elemental themed casual decks, but it is also a must have for that popular tribe. The art is a magnificent challenge of color which, when risen to, will produce a marvelous and unique alter. A few of you will allow yourselves to stop after extending the borders, but you are missing a great opportunity. A full art version of this card--covering the text box and leaving the name plate--would easily be the star of any trade binder. It would attract great attention to your store's display case and generate traffic to your online storefronts. All of this would take time, though. Here we see the decision between a quick hitting sale and one that may take months to sell at the proper price. There are benefits to both and only your financial situation and personal preference can make that decision for you. Either way, don't pass on this beauty of a card. Estimate: 4.0 hours for full art.


There you have it. I would love to hear about cards you have your eye on in this set. Did I miss one? Let me know in the comments!

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