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Insider: Modern Masters 2017 Rarity Shifts

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Modern Masters 2017 is almost here, and I’m pumped. If you’ve been reading my articles in the past few weeks, I’ve talked a lot about the set. Today, I want to dig into a very specific part of Modern Masters that often gets overlooked.

If you play a lot of Limited, you may know that one of the best parts about these types of sets is how Wizards shifts the rarity of cards around. This makes for some great Limited interactions, but not only that – these printings go a long way towards shaking up the Pauper format. Modern Masters 2017 has a ton of great rarity-shifted cards so today, we’ll take a look at the most important ones.

More Rare Than Before

To start off, there are 15 cards that had their rarity increased in this set. Ten of those cards are Signets and the rest were certainly bumped up for stabilizing Limited. In addition to the Signets, Ancient Grudge, Seal of Doom, Compulsive Research, and Molten Rain all went from common to uncommon. The most financially relevant of this group has to be Snapcaster Mage.


Although an increase in rarity is not likely to have much price impact, Snapcaster jumping up to mythic is a big statement from Wizards, and we need to pay attention. This precedent is an important one and one we should consider Mythic Snappy the next time a reprint set like this rolls around. Snapcaster as a mythic says that any important Modern card can be changed to mythic to facilitate a reprint while not killing the price.

So Much More Common

The real meat of rarity changes comes to the cards that were decreased in rarity, becoming more common than previous printings. Here’s the full list of changes, and man, were there a lot. I’d say maybe not a Starkiller Base sized amount, but definitely a Death Star’s worth of changes.

Total Decreases in Rarity

1 mythic to rare
8 rare to uncommon
14 uncommon to common
1 rare to common

24 cards shifted down in rarity

Mythic to Rare


Rare to Uncommon

My favorite part about the rarity shifts are probably the rares downgraded to uncommons. The reason why is because this list of cards will have a huge impact on the Draft and Sealed formats for this set. None of these rares were standouts, but as uncommons they have the potential to be great and live up to the potential we thought they always had.

Take Gaea's Anthem, for example. That card reads the same as Glorious Anthem, which over the course of its various printings has had tremendous impact on Standard formats. Gaea's Anthem however, was a flop and never saw a hint of play. With it being an uncommon, we can draft multiple copies of this card and overwhelm our opponent with our pumped creatures. The same goes for Sedraxis Specter, a card I always wished was an uncommon to match the rest of the cycle of Wooly Thoctar and Rhox Warmonk. These cards changing rarity will impact Limited, but not much outside of that.

The really impactful cards on one particular Constructed format are the ones that dip from uncommon to common. Some of you are just looking for this list, so here it is.

Uncommon to Common

Each of these cards could be impactful on the Pauper format and shake things up a bit. I think this format is great, and I’d love to get back into it. One of the first articles I wrote was on Mono-Green Stompy for Pauper, and that’s still a formidable archetype to this day.

Speaking of Stompy, Slime Molding could have a home there. It provides a great late-game threat that just gets better as the game progresses. Unfortunately, it's a sorcery; otherwise it could be great against more controlling strategies.

Control strategies get some new options with Rewind, Augur of Bolas, and Ground Assault. Dinrova Horror could even make a decent finisher for the UB Control deck or one of the Tron variants.

No matter what format you play, Burn is a deck. That holds true for Pauper as well. So, Thunderous Wrath and Magma Jet are some new options for that strategy. I'm not sure the deck needs any more help, though. The list of burn spells that are common is quite long, and you don't lose much by limiting yourself to lower rarity for this deck.

Players still have to bring their burn hate to combat the deck also. That's one reason I think Gift of Orzhova could be great for the meta. Not only does it fight against burn well, but flying over blockers is always great. I know that Chainer's Edict is a common now, but I'm still surprised we don't see more Bogles in the format. Maybe I'm missing something, because I've been out of Pauper for a while, but Voltroning seems like a great strategy as long as you can find a way to combat the sacrifice removal spells. Gift of Orzhova would fit wonderfully in that archetype, and I think the deck is possible, so keep it in mind as an option.

Lastly for this part of the list, I need to mention Burning-Tree Emissary. That card is too good to go unnoticed in most formats, and changing it to a common could be huge for Pauper. I don't know what strategy this creature would fit in right now, but it could even spawn its own deck. Maybe Elves is just better at doing what Emissary is trying to do, but I think we need to start brewing with some other commons around this card.

Rare to Common


I saved the craziest part of the article for last. Wizards brought Mortician Beetle down from rare to common. Not only is that crazy, but it's also crazy awesome! This creature is going to be a blast to draft around, and we can also build around it in Pauper. Our very own Kelly Reid has been working on a Green-Black Sacrifice deck for the format, and Mortician Beetle is the cog that makes the machine worth running. Take a look.

pauper gb sacrifice

I was going to talk about what changes I'd make to his list, but all I can think of is wanting to play this sweet looking deck! It seems perfect, and I'm ecstatic to try it out. That's all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed this peak into Pauper. Have you ever played the format? What's your favorite deck to run? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time,
Unleash the Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter
Jedicouncilman23@gmail.com

4 thoughts on “Insider: Modern Masters 2017 Rarity Shifts

    1. Even with a thorough search, I guess I missed that one. I swore it was reprinted in a Commander deck though, that’s why I dismissed it.

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