While Iconic Masters isn’t out yet, I just wanted to get my hands dirty. Simulating drafts isn’t the best, but it can be fine for Pack 1, Pick 1 evaluations. So let’s take a look at a couple of packs!
Pack 1, Pick 1
While Serra Ascendant is a pretty spicy rare, I don’t actually think the card is going to be very good. Sure, there’s a deck built around lifegain, but if you have 30 life, you’re probably already winning. And the floor of Serra Ascendant is just too low.
Claustrophobia is a solid card. We all remember how good Unquenchable Thirst was, and this doesn’t require any Deserts, but it does require an additional blue mana. While the card is solid, I think both of the other blue cards in this pack are better. In a Masters set, many of the creatures provide additional value, and removal tends to be worse for this reason.
I think Mana Leak is one of the top commons in the set. It’s efficient and will really help both the control and tempo decks. I think I would be happy to first-pick the card, and that’s pretty much all there is to it! But there is one other card that may edge out the cheap counterspell.
Illusory Angel is a really interesting card, but it’s hard to tell how good it’ll be. Sure, casting it on Turn 3 along with a Mishra’s Bauble is going to be very good, but how often will the Angel be stuck in your hand? For now I’m going to assume that there’s a good amount of support and that Illusory Angel is pretty much an Air Elemental that you can occasionally cast on Turn 3 or 4, which is a pretty great card. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mana Leak is better, but for now, I’ll start off by taking the Angel.
Pack 1, Pick 1
Wow, these are two of the best cards in the set! We have the most efficient removal spell, and we also have one of the best bombs.
Usually I would take Swords to Plowshares. Seven mana is a lot, and Swords is ludicrously efficient. But given the amount of ramp in the set, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is likely more of a six-drop, or even a five-drop!
For now I’m going to lean towards Elesh Norn, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this is incorrect. It’s entirely possible that this format turns out to consist of decks that don’t have many two-toughness creatures and additionally only have a couple of creatures that matter. If that’s the case, then Swords to Plowshares would be the better pick.