Draft Digest: Modern Masters 2017, Anyone?

While we’re waiting on some precious packs to enter our eager hands, Ryan Saxe would like to remind you of some of the cards you’re about to see! Some are traps, some are bombs, and some are…well, Vampire Nighthawk!

Most of you are probably unaware, but I am a Cube aficionado. I have my own Cube, I help friends design their Cubes, and I have done hundreds and hundreds of Cube drafts. Although Modern Masters 2017 is not a Cube, the “Masters” formats (Modern Masters 2013/5/7 and Eternal Masters) have always had potent synergies, strategies, and power, much like Cube. For the next couple of weeks I will be spotlighting some cards that should have your attention. This way, you can be ahead of the curve when the set releases. I’ll go through my evaluations of cards I think won’t properly be rated at first glance, and if there are any cards you’re having trouble evaluating, mention them in the comments and I’ll try to squeeze them in for my next article!

Without further ado, let’s get into the first card:

Oh, boy…miracles are back. A pretty swingy mechanic, if you ask me. Six mana for an instant-speed removal spell and/or reach is pretty good in a normal Limited set, but in a Masters set, that’s probably a card you grab around eighth or ninth pick. It’s just not efficient enough, and efficiency is extremely important here. But one mana for five damage? Now that card is significantly more efficient than Lightning Bolt, one of the most efficient cards in the game.

It’s important to realize that the one-mana side of this card is, generally speaking, only going to happen during your draw step, making the card more restricted than your average sorcery. Don’t get me wrong, the card is still extremely good off the top, but given that you can’t plan around that without much library manipulation, something this set seems to lack, it’s no Lightning Bolt.

But with all this in mind, how much better does the miracle text really make the card? It’s hard to tell, but I would guess only slightly. It’s enough that I’ll take the card maybe sixth pick if I’m already in red, but it’s not efficient enough to put me in red. Now, Magma Jet or Chandra’s Outrage, those commons pretty much just do a better job at what Thunderous Wrath wants to.

Well, this is one hell of a Magic card! Eight flying power across two bodies. But obviously you can’t first pick a three-color card, right? I’m supposed to stay open, right?

Nope. This card is way too powerful. With Signets and Guildgates, you can reliably cast this Dragon in a variety of decks as long as you take fixing highly, which I certainly suggest.

With cards like Momentary Blink (yes, I absolutely plan on playing that card alongside Broodmate Dragon) and with populate as a theme of the set, making extra Dragon tokens is certainly a feasible strategy. So if you end up with a Broodmate Dragon, see what you can do to maximize it. There are plenty of synergies, and the deck with the most synergy tends to win out in these kinds of formats.

I don’t care if there’s an obnoxiously efficient card like Path to Exile in the pack. If there’s a Broodmate Dragon (in Pack 1 — if you know your strategy already, obviously disregard this), take it. The power level is so high that it is irreplaceable and wins games on its own. If you take it early, I doubt you’ll have any trouble casting the card.

Ah, the old “pingers in Limited” argument. We don’t get these much anymore, and this is a good one! It’s honestly not that hard to evaluate, but pingers vary in every format. Remember how we all thought Aethertorch Renegade was going to be a solid first pick? Well, turns out Kaladesh was a hostile format towards pingers. Luckily Modern Masters 2017 doesn’t seem to have that problem, but exactly how good is Vithian Stinger?

For those of you who didn’t play much Eternal Masters, Honden of Infinite Rage and Flame Jab were some of the best cards in the set. There were numerous one-toughness threats, such that almost every single deck had a large quantity of targets. And although this set seems to have a similar feature, it’s not too hard to interact with a creature. This card is one of the easier cards to evaluate. I wouldn’t mind first-picking it, but I would really be looking to take it around Pick 3 given the power level of the set (and the sweet, expensive rares). A late one of these I would certainly see as a sign red is open, and I’d even look to splash the card out of the sideboard when necessary.

There are also some cool little synergies with the card in the set. There is a sacrifice subtheme, so don’t forget that you can kill two-toughness creatures if you have a sacrifice outlet thanks to the unearth mechanic. And Vithian Stinger can also draw cards when soulbonded with Tandem Lookout.

I’m going to start on this one with something you may think of as hyperbole. Lingering Souls is the second-best non-rare card in the set, right behind Vampire Nighthawk. And I could see Lingering Souls being better in the long run if it turns out that a lot of decks are chock-full of removal. I could be wrong here, so feel free to disagree.

We all know Lingering Souls is good, but I’m writing about it here because I don’t expect people to be high enough on it. How many games of Limited have you played that were decided by some fliers? 70% of decks are white or black, and since it’s so easy to splash in this set, Lingering Souls will make your deck a high percentage of the time. It can offer four chump blockers or a five-turn clock. If you have any way to discard it, or even if your opponent casts Grisly Spectacle, this already great card gains additional value. That’s not even counting the inclusion of populate or Intangible Virtue.

I would be ecstatic to first-pick Lingering Souls, and I will play as many as I can get my hands on!

Okay, I think four cards is enough for today, but I’ll be back soon with more evaluations of cards in Modern Masters 2017!