“Psst. Hey, kid, wanna play some Modern?”
Well, sure I do, but I’m supposed to stay away from Modern. I’ve heard it’s addictive, and I don’t have enough cards. Besides, I’m really into Limited
right now. Sigh. If only there were a way to play with all my favorite Modern cards in a challenging and exciting new Limited format…
Have we got a set for you! Look no further than Modern Masters 2015! It has all that and so much more!
Clearly I’m looking forward to playing some Modern Masters 2015. The set looks great, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the cards, which I’ll be
doing at Grand Prix Las Vegas this weekend, one of the debut Grand Prix for the set.
The format is Sealed, which can be tricky if you don’t have a solid plan going in. Fortunately, I have one, and today I’ll be sharing it with you, along
with my thoughts on the format. I’ll follow that up with a few test builds.
The Big Picture
Modern Masters has more synergy and more power than your average Magic set. It’s also more complicated; there are a lot of complex interactions going on,
some new and some old, that give anyone who’s already played with the cards an advantage.
In a set with lots of synergies, bombs, and fixing, chances are you won’t get a perfectly synergistic affinity/bloodthirst/Spirit deck falling into your
lap with just six packs at your disposal. Sealed Decks with a unifying theme tend to be rare, which means you should be looking to build most pools with
your fixing and bombs with power in the lategame.
A powerful aggro deck can be deadly in Sealed, but don’t force it; recognize when you have an aggressive pool, otherwise plan on winning the clunky bomb
So you’re sitting down for deckbuilding, focusing in about to get your card pool. You looked over the spoiler and read up all the articles on Modern Masters 2015 you could find. You get handed your cards and… What next?
Well my starting assumption would be that you are going five- color control until proven otherwise. There are plenty of five-color bombs that reward the
archetype. Check for fixing, multi-color bombs, and mass removal. If you have mostly these cards, then a two-color deck, possibly with a splash, is the
next place to go. You might also encounter a situation where there isn’t a clear way to build your deck. The cards are either too strong (or too weak) in
In a normal format there’s a higher density of unplayables. In Modern Masters 2015 there aren’t really any. In a regular Sealed format, you’re
more likely to have only a couple colors worth playing, fewer playables worth sideboarding in, and a powerful enough maindeck that it would be very
unlikely to switch colors entirely when sideboarding. In Modern Masters Sealed, sideboarding will be very, very important.
Isn’t that something we do after we build the deck? Well yes, but you probably also want to build with your sideboard in mind, especially if you plan on
swapping out your entire deck for a different one in sideboarded games. If your pool has enough decent cards, you should build multiple decks, ideally a
powerful all-in aggro build and an all-in control build.
This is something you should always be looking out for in Sealed, moreso in Modern Masters 2015 because the card quality is so high. Catching your
opponent offguard with dead cards, like Combust or Deathmark, or ineffective cards, like slow Eldrazi against an aggro deck, can be game-winning.
Remember to be aware that your opponent might be swapping their deck out and can see what you’re up too as well. You want to be one step ahead of your
opponent, but don’t fall too far down the rabbit-hole of trying to predict what they’re doing and what they think you’re doing. When in doubt, do something
simple and powerful, and realize that’s what most people are trying to do as well.
If you have a bomb pool sideboard as normal, don’t be shifting into a crappy aggro deck or five-color control deck just for the surprise factor.
If you do have a sideboard deck you want to swap for sometimes and you haven’t practiced it before, make sure you can quickly sideboard between decks. It
can take a long time if you aren’t prepared and you only have a few minutes between games. Make sure all your cards are sleeved and practice actually going
through the motions. Write down your maindeck or take a picture of it so you don’t forget what your maindeck is when going back to the original
What about while you’re playing and asking yourself “What could they have?” Here is a helpful list of cards and tricks I would want to be aware of going
into a Modern Masters 2015 tournament. Look over this list and let it seep into your subconscious.
Removal – Sorcery Speed:
Removal – Instant Speed
Tips and Tricks
Steady Progress and Grim Affliction can be used to pump up creatures with +1/+1 counters (or shrink ones with -1/-1) at instant speed in combat. Remember,
you can proliferate and graft your opponent’s stuff. Plummet gets better when you have a Helium Squirter to give your opponent’s creatures flying.
Artifact and enchantment removal and Plummet are maindeckable in Sealed in your control decks. There are plenty of bombs that they hit, not to mention
Narcolepsy, Arrest, and Pillory of the Sleepless.
Speaking of which, Otherworldly Journey has synergy with practically everything and is really good in this format. Not only is it great against the
previously mentioned enchantments, it also saves creatures from regular removal. It’s arcane. It kills tokens. It pumps up Spikeshot Elder and double
strikers. It can be used to give “vigilance” to a creature. It can be used in response to an evoked Spitebellows or Mulldrifter. It turns sunburst
creatures into 1/1s. It resets the counters on generous graft creatures (plus 1). It can be used offensively to blink out an opponent’s blocker.
Otherworldly Journey gives the wielder a lot of room to make plays and pick up value.
I feel like the overall power level of this pool is rather low. There isn’t much in the way of fixing or really basic removal at all. There are two
Inexorable Tides but not that many ways to really abuse it.
I think this build showcases the most powerful cards in the pool and plays the late game pretty well. We have some mass removal in the form of All Is Dust,
but even that can be somewhat hit or miss. We also have some decent counter options with Cryptic Command being a big pull towards blue. I like the deck but
don’t really see any other options for sideboarding into different colors or strategies, unless Inexorable Tide can be broken…
Here, it looks like we have some good options. Our artifacts are strong, and we have a lot of equipment, but we also have a ridiculous amount of fixing.
We’re essentially mono-white and able to splash any color, but I went for the black and the Spirit and arcane subtheme to go with the artifacts.
Cranial Plating is an incredibly good card, even in Limited, and being able to use its black mana attach ability is relevant at times.
Having two Celestial Purge in the sideboard is also fantastic.
This is the other way to build this pool, but I think this deck suffers by not having quite enough meat. There’s no mass removal, and we’re a few cards
short of having enough great playables that aren’t mana sources. It’s possible the deck needs more filler since right now it’s a ramp deck without quite
enough incentive to be ramping. I’d say the first deck is solidly more powerful, and I would only break out this version if I felt my opponent was
particularly good against the artifact beatdown. It would be sweet to get Horde of Notions returning Fulminator Mage to blow up some bouncelands…
There you have it, some guidelines for Modern Masters 2015 Sealed! Remember, your cards dictate what you play. Play your bombs.
Multi-color Control is going to be a good starting point. Your sideboard (and your opponent’s) is more important than ever.
The set looks glorious. Now that we have good idea of our plan, all we have to do is the best part: the actual building and playing.
All the information needed to be a perfect Magic player can be a bit overwhelming, especially when charging into a complex format. If it feels like too
much to remember, just focus on the basics. Relax. Keep it simple. Trust your gut and do what works for you. Keep your eyes out for interesting card