With Modern Masters 2017 Limited out for a week in paper, it’s hard to gain a comprehensive understanding of the format. But what I will mention is that there is one question I really want to answer: How good is aggro? With Lone Missionary and Centaur Healer at common, it seems like aggro might struggle. Yet since I keep witnessing players try their hardest to draft sweet decks with a bunch of tap-lands, an aggressive start could be quite punishing. Is aggro at its best now because of this?
Over the next week or so I’ll be paying attention to how aggressive decks play out, and how they win and lose. It’ll be quite important for understanding this format, so I suggest you do the same. But enough of that, let’s get into the draft!
Pack 1, Pick 1
In a normal Limited format, Baloth Cage Trap would be much better than it is here. Unfortunately, 3GG for a 4/4 with flash really isn’t that impressive. I’ll still play it in most of my base-green decks, but I’m not looking to pick it up this early. Now, yes, if you ever cast this on turn 2 because your opponent casts a Signet, you’ll feel like you got away with something, but this isn’t going to happen often.
Mist Raven continues to impress me. With all the tokens running around — I’m looking at you, Baloth Cage Trap — sometimes this little Bird does a good Flametongue Kavu impression. I always want at least one in every blue deck, and I don’t mind multiples. And there are even plenty of ways to reuse the effect. I’m not a fan of first-picking the card in such a powerful set, but I don’t mind it all that much. Luckily, the last card to mention here is going to take the cake.
Putrefy is quite efficient. In this set, with all the multicolor decks and so on, it is actually easier to cast than Murder. So even though it’s a gold card, splashing Putrefy is going to be commonplace in this format. Many players are going to have high-quality bombs, and removal is important to have access to. I have even used Putrefy to destroy a Signet to take my opponent off a color. Needless to say, I won that game. It’s not the best way to start a draft of Modern Masters 2017, but I won’t complain about a Pack 1, Pick 1 Putrefy.
Pack 1, Pick 4
The Picks So Far:
Now that I have two copies of Putrefy, maybe I should consider anchoring myself into B/G. The problem with that is that the Golgari guild is not an ally guild, and hence not as supported as other two-color combinations. So far this has not been too much of a problem in my experience, though, and it still isn’t difficult to splash double Putrefy. The one thing I am certain of, with this Vampire Nighthawk, is that I’m base-black.
Golgari Rotwurm is the safe pick, but the card is a little too vanilla for my taste. Although a 5/4 (with a pretty good ability to boot) is actually pretty large in this format, given the infestation of 3/3s, at this point in the draft I want to take cards with a little more oomph. And given that it’s not a great splash card, the Wurm might wheel, so I’m not taking it here.
Now let’s take a look at Unburial Rites. I promise you this card looks better than it is. Not that it’s bad, as it’s actually quite good, but if you look at the top-end cards in this format, there aren’t many that are spectacular. This makes a reanimation spell quite mediocre. What makes Unburial Rites a quality Magic card is the fact that it’s a two-for-one. A very common way to win in this format will be overwhelming your opponents with card advantage, so loading up on value-style cards like Unburial Rites is certainly a plan.
And finally, we have a card that keeps on impressing me: Dinrova Horror. This card has exceeded my expectations to the degree where, if I’m in the Bant blink archetype, I take black Guildgates in order to facilitate splashing a fourth color for this monster of a card. And any time I’m playing both black and blue, I’m upset if my deck is lacking this Horror.
Remember how good Mist Raven is? Well, this is on a larger body, can hit any permanent, and makes your opponent discard! Dinrova Horror is the best of both worlds in comparison to our other two options as well because It’s both a large creature and a two-for-one (maybe a little more, depending on how you count the bounce effect). I’m happily picking up Dinrova Horror here and hopefully will move towards a Sultai control deck. Hell, I’m not even opposed to also splashing white for some Momentary Blink or Mistmeadow Witch shenanigans, but maybe that’s a little greedy.