Modern Masters 2017: Great value, masterful draft

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The Modern Masters 2017 set, the fourth Masters draft-only set by Wizards of the Coast, has already established itself as a major success, even after just a week and a half on the shelves.

Released March 17, the set saw widespread popularity for both limited play and booster box purchase. Countless videos on YouTube and other social media show customers finding great value in their boxes, especially with having a foil in every pack. At the card shop Valhalla’s Gate, in Columbia, Mo., Shop Owner Justin Delap says that Modern Masters 2017 is selling well. A prominent player at the store, Emery Powell, said that three full pods (24 players) attended the first draft, a large outcome for a store of that size.

One factor driving this set’s success is the design of its draft and sealed play, such as the built-in synergies and archetypes. “They are very well done,” says Powell. “Every archetype has a variety of options for the cards you can play, and a majority of those cards could easily be slotted into a different archetype.” Often, cards in a Masters set are suitable for multiple strategies that share at least one color, giving players more options and room for deck development. Cards in the blue-white blink strategy for Modern Masters 2017, for example, are also useful in strategies such as green-white populate and Bant Splicers.

The blue-white blink archetype has strong support in Modern Masters 2017, especially at the common and uncommon level. Photo courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.

This allows players to make use of nearly any on-color card, even if it does not completely align with the strategy being drafted. The many color fixing cards in the set, such as the ten Signets, allow players to splash a third color into two-color archetypes for even more power, such as adding green to a blue-white flicker deck to add Centaur Healer. Players can also push a full three-color deck for more options, such as Jund, which makes use of such cards as Broodmate Dragon and Sprouting Thrinax.

Once an uncommon in the Gatecrash set, Burning-Tree Emissary’s reprint at common brings this two-drop powerhouse into Pauper for the first time. Photo courtesy of Mythicspoiler.com.

As the preview season suggested, Modern Masters 2017 is reaching out to more than draft and Modern constructed players. Many Commander/EDH staples have found their way into the set, such as Stony Silence, Damnation, and Blood Moon. Pauper is another format that benefits from Modern Masters 2017. Based entirely on commons, the Pauper format welcomes any non-common cards that are reprinted as commons at least once. Modern Masters 2017 brought new cards into the format such as Burning-Tree Emissary and Mortician Beetle, and reprints of relatively expensive commons such as Spell Pierce which help make Pauper decks even more affordable.

“It allows for better cards in certain decks, and makes new archetypes that were previously unavailable now capable of being played,” Emery Powell said.

So far, Modern Masters 2017 has driven down prices of Modern and Commander/EDH staples as Masters sets typically do. Scalding Tarn, once an $80 card, is valued at $45 at Starcitygames.com and roughly $47 at Tcgplayer.com. Other major cards such as Tarmogoyf and Liliana of the Veil have seen similar price drops, and price drops in other, cheaper rares benefit Commander/EDH and even casual players as well. Kyle Schoenhals, a store associate at Valhalla’s Gate, said that the prices of certain cards may go down during the set’s release, then increase again when players decide to assemble sets of four of these cards. Goblin Guide, for example, is inspiring players to build Modern Burn decks, which increases the price of other Burn staples such as Eidolon of the Great Revel.

The success and value of Modern Masters 2017 may point to a positive future for similar sets, or any Magic: The Gathering set. The many sought-after reprints demonstrate that Wizards of the Coast is listening to its player base more than ever, and the quality of draft seems to increase with every set, with the archetypes in each set more clearly defined and supported than ever.

“This set is incredibly fun and well worth the hype that it got,” Powell said.

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