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Insider: The Complete Guide to Eternal Masters in Modern

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Deep dark secret time: I used to be a serious Legacy player. Heresy, I know! For some current Legacy players, anyone who picks up a Modern deck (let alone switches formats entirely) can be as welcome in the play-group as droids at Wuher's Mos Eisely Cantina: "We don't serve their kind here."

As for the Modern players, some of us might like to play Legacy but don't see the format as sustainable, and others may prefer something where a Grand Prix Top 8 doesn't have seven of eight decks running playsets of the same two cards, and where four of those decks are the exact same thing. Can you imagine the outcry if Modern had Top 8s full of Miracles, Force of Will, and Brainstorm like Legacy?

No matter where you fall on the Modern and Legacy spectrum, it was hard not to get excited at Eternal Masters. Sure, the end product might not have quite lived up to initial hype, but who doesn't love opening $50-$150 bills in your booster packs?

Big bucks with Eternal Masters

As many Legacy mages have discussed, including QS's own Ryan OverturfEternal Masters can only go so far in opening up some of Legacy's best decks. I'm not getting into a Reserved List discussion/debate/dust-up today, but suffice to say the List's current form is severely restrictive to Legacy growth. When Volcanic Island is up to $350 per copy, it's no wonder Aaron Forsythe doubled down on Modern's original promise to "consist of cards that we are willing and able to reprint."

Despite its shortcomings (where the heck is Rishadan Port?), Eternal Masters still provides a number of staples for Legacy, Vintage, Commander, and even Modern play alike.


Adam Prosak, writing in his "Developing Eternal Masters" article a month back, explained the set would be focused on using "non-Modern-legal cards" whenever possible, and Modern-legal ones only to "help bridge gaps in strategies." Bad news for those who wanted the Snapcaster Mage reprint this spring, but promising for those who are looking to use their Eternal Masters cards in Modern.

Today, I'm doing a comprehensive breakdown of all the Modern-playable cards in Eternal Masters. If a card has seen current or past play in a Tier 1, 2, or 3 deck, then it's showing up today. Even some Tier 4 fringe might make an appearance! This will give you all the information you need to see if your Eternal Masters cards will hold up in the Modern finance game. I'll start with four of the biggest appearances before moving to the roughly 30 other options.

Before we get started, I will say it's probably better to just sell unopened boxes and packs and then use the proceeds to buy Modern cards. There's much more value in an unopened Eternal Masters box than one with two Sphinx of the Steel Winds and no other mythics. Instead of getting into that debate today, I'm going to assume you're just looking to use Eternal Masters cards in Modern, particularly the new foil versions.

Wall of Omens

Our first two cards on the list, Wall of Omens and Heritage Druid, are the highest-tier Modern cards in Eternal Masters. Wall is the odd case of one of those 2011-era uncommons which gradually climbed up to the $7-$8 mark and never looked back. These are the kinds of cards you have sitting around in bulk boxes from your Zendikar drafting days (the common Serum Visions from Fifth Dawn is also in this category).

Given its recent price-tag, Wall's reprinting is welcome news to players looking to break into Jeskai Control, Kiki Chord, and even lower-tier U/W Control strategies.


As I wrote about in my recent Modern Nexus metagame breakdown, Jeskai Control solidified its status as a Tier 1 player for the month of May. Kiki Chord has done the same in Tier 2, repeating its April performance with more respectable showings. Wall is an integral piece of most Kiki Chord builds, and many Jeskai lists are now moving towards the color-shifted Wall of Blossoms as well. See Shaun McLaren's recent attempts at optimizing the Jeskai core.

Wall of Omens and Modern pals

Following its reprinting, Wall is back down to the $3-$4 range, where it is likely to stay for the foreseeable future. There's a decent chance it even drops more, once the full Eternal Masters stock hits online retailers. This won't save you much on those Snapcasters and Scalding Tarns, but it's a nice bonus for those who are investing in the decks or buying Eternal Masters anyway.

Heritage Druid

Unlike its Collected Company partner in crime, Abzan Company, the Elves deck has never hit Modern's Tier 1 standings. It's never gotten better for the little green dudes than Michael Malone's win at Grand Prix Charlotte 2015, although Elves has managed to stick around in the 2%-3% Tier 2 range for basically every metagame period since then.

Following the Wall of Omens pattern of random low-print-run uncommons going for top dollars, Heritage Druid distinguished itself as one of Elves priciest cards, and also one of its least negotiable. His Eternal Masters reprinting means big savings for anyone who wants to get on Team Elves.


Druid hit a spike of $20 around the time of Malone's win, but has been gradually dropping ever since. It was already in the $11-$12 range before Eternal Masters, and its newest edition should guarantee the mana-engine Elf stays closer to $6-$8 for months to come.

Foil Heritage Druids also get a lot cheaper after the reprinting. Unlike Wall of Omens, a relatively high-volume opening from the widely played and drafted Rise of the Eldrazi, Druid hails from the mediocre and much rarer Morningtide. That's bad news for folks hoarding Druid foils, but good news if you want to foil out one of Modern's most consistent and powerful aggro/combo hybrids.

Bloodbraid Elf & Jace, the Mind Sculptor

No, you did not miss any Reddit-breaking B&R updates. Yes, both Bloodbraid Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor are still banned in Modern. But if---a big "if"---these cards ever hit the Modern stage, their Eternal Masters reprinting helps mitigate the risks of huge spikes. That's especially true for Bloodbraid, an uncommon who has now seen multiple printings.

Also, who doesn't want to play this beastly and beautiful new art?


As we've been tracking since the April 4 elimination of the hated Eye of Ugin, Jund remains the most-played deck in Modern, occupying the peak of Tier 1 in the 8%-10% range. This was also true in May, despite a huge uptick in R/G Tron from 3%-4% in April to 7%-8% by May 31. So long as Jund puts up these kinds of numbers, Bloodbraid will stay where she is.

That said, if the BGx super-star ever falls out of Tier 1 for an extended period of time, and if Abzan can't rise to take its place, then Bloodbraid might make her storied return. Sadly for Jund fans, this would require months of consecutive failings. The Reid Dukes of the world can only hope!

Speaking of improbable unbans, in the wake of Twin's banning, many blue mages lamented how their colors and strategies were rendered unplayable. Some proposed Jace's unbanning as a possible correction.


No new art or introductions required for this bad boy. Jace was a preemptive Modern banning before the format even hit tournament floors---no one wanted to see a reprint of the disgusting Caw Blade Standard and Extended of 2011. That said, Modern is a very different format than this old environment, with many decks winning before Jace can even hit play. This has led some blue players to advocate for Jace's return to incentivize players for committing to blue and holding out into the mid-game.

Like Bloodbraid, Jace is unlikely to return unless the metagame looks significantly different than it does now. Jeskai Control is poised to stay in Tier 1 for some time, and Wizards is unlikely to overshadow their new Nahiri, the Harbinger with the old Jace. I don't expect we see a Jace unban in the next 1-2 years, but it is a possibility if blue falls back into the metagame red zone in the long run.

Although Bloodbraid's price would likely stay reasonable following an unban, Jace's would soar to Reserved List levels even with the Eternal Masters reprinting. Wizards has never explicitly stated this is reason to not unban a card, but it's certainly a consideration for R&D, players, and investors alike. Keep an eye on these cards and maybe pick up a playset where you can.

Full Eternal Masters Listing

Moving past these headline reprints, Eternal Masters still offers some relevant reprints to a number of less prominent Modern strategies some. In this final section, I'll go card-by-card on all the set's Modern playables, noting where they see play so you can decide if they're worth keeping or ditching.

In most cases, these cards' prices were low before their reprinting, so I won't say much about their finance spec. In others, the reprint is a welcome relief to an otherwise higher price-tag. I'll mention those when we get to them.

Final disclaimer: it's possible I'm leaving some off the allegedly "complete" list (e.g. Commune with the Gods for those still trying to get GWx Nykthos Enchantments to work), but for the most part, this should be a comprehensive list covering all the Tier 1, 2, and 3 archetypes. If I missed something big, or you just want me to weigh in on a card that got left out, hit me up in the comments.

White

Blue


Black

  • Blood Artist: Rally the Ancestors isn't consistent Modern material, but it did put up some decent results in past SCG Opens and similar events---check out the MTG Salvation primer for more details.
  • Duress: Thoughtseize substitute in BGx and Grixis decks for when Burn is an issue and Inquisition of Kozilek alone can't cut it.
  • Innocent Blood: I can't tell if this reprinting makes Blood more or less likely in the thematic and flavorful Eldritch Moon. Please Wizards??
  • Night's Whisper: Grishoalbrand and Grixis Griselbrand draw-spell of choice. The deck is currently stuck under Tier 3, but if it returns, Whisper is a key consistency element in a notoriously inconsistent deck.

Red

  • Desperate Ravings: Storm is not well-positioned these days, but Ravings is a key draw spell in it. Unlike Looting, another Storm possibility, Ravings gives you card advantage, not just selection, in a deck that is already very redundant.
  • Faithless Looting: Huge in all the new Dredge and Prized Amalgam strategies. Also a Griselbrand staple. Its reprinting ensures low prices for the foreseeable future.
  • Flame Jab: Fringe inclusion in the fringe Assault Loam and Aggro Loam decks that have cropped up on MTGO.
  • Kird Ape: Here's one of the bigger reprints, especially for those looking to foil out their Gruul Zoo or Burn + Ape decks.
  • Mogg Fanatic: Bubble Hulk is one of my favorite Modern combo decks, and Fanatic is its kill-condition of choice.
  • Young Pyromancer: Modern ain't Legacy or Vintage, and the tempo-oriented Pyromancer has suffered as a result. Although no current top-tier Grixis or U/R builds use him, he could return under the right circumstances.

Green

  • Flinthoof Boar: Another big reprint. Various Gruul Zoo and Burn hybrids use the Boar, and its single printing kept prices higher than they needed to be. Foils in particular benefit from Boar's Eternal Masters run.
  • Harmonize: It's a Commander all-star, but Harmonize also sees regular play in the transient Tier 3 Nykthos Green deck.  This one is a favorite on the local Japanese Modern scene, and the reprint will help lower prices on this major inclusion.
  • Heritage Druid: See top section of article.
  • Nature's Claim: Sideboard all-star for R/G Tron, Infect, and other lists that need a catchall and don't care about life.
  • Rancor: Infect bullet, sometimes even in the maindeck, for particularly creature-clogged metagames.
  • Regal Force: An occasional Elves player with great Summoner's Pact and Chord of Calling synergy. One of those cards that was well over $10, Force should be much tamer now that Eternal Masters is out. Also, like Druid and Morningtide, this was from the seldom-opened Eventide set, making a reprint even more important.

Multicolored

  • Bloodbraid Elf: See above.
  • Shaman of the Pack: More aggressive B/G versions of Elves have used the Shaman to great effect, although the recently-printed Elf probably didn't need a reprint so soon after the first.
  • Zealous Persecution: B/W Tokens got a lot of love in Eternal Masters. The under-appreciated Tokens strategy has hit Tier 3 and even Tier 2 in the past, so don't expect it to stay on the fringe for long.

Artifacts

  • Goblin Charbelcher: Okay, so it's not a Modern staple or even a Modern playable. But as someone who has been known to Belch some Forests, I love the new art and am happy the deck's centerpiece is now cheaper.
  • Pilgrim's Eye: We've seen Eye in the U/W Sun Titan control strategies in past Modern seasons, but the already-reprinted artifact never needed much love to begin with.
  • Relic of Progenitus: Graveyard hate all-star, especially in R/G Tron. These spiked close to $5 for a while during Tron's Fall 2015 surge, and its Eternal Masters reprinting should prevent this from occurring again.

As I mentioned earlier, Eternal Masters isn't quite the Modern bonanza like the more format-specific Modern Masters, but you can still get some value if you're opening packs. I for one appreciate Wizards' willingness to throw Moderners some bones like Druid and Wall, even if we could use more Lilianas along the way.

Thanks for joining me today as we embarked on this grand tour of Eternal Masters. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or feedback about the article, and I'll see you all next week!

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