I don’t think there’s anyone more pumped for Modern Masters Limited than I am. Seriously, ever since I won that GPT at Montasy securing me with three byes, I’m incredibly hopeful for this format. First things, first. I was so excited I got off work on Thursday night at 11:00pm and figured I’d head over to Twenty Sided Store to get my complimentary Modern Masters packs from playing six straight weeks of Modern. What a ridiculously great promotion! FREE STUFF! So for throwing down $10 every week to play Modern, I walked away with six packs for $60 in essence. That’s beyond fair!

I’m the preverbial kid at Christmas for a new set. So you’re damn right I cracked these 6 packs the second I got my hands on them! For my troubles I received:

1 Academy Ruins
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Earwing Squad
1 Figure of Destiny
1 Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
1 Skeletal Vampire

Queue the loser sound from the Price is Right. No Goyf! What a ripoff! Ha, whatever, they were free and I wanted to look at what a sealed pool could look like. I floated off to sleep secure in the fact that I’d play in a draft the next day.

I won’t bore you with my particular picks in each pack but I will tell you my first picks for each pack. Pack one was Tooth and Nail, pack two was Demigod of Revenge and pack three was Sword of Fire and Ice. Sweet, I opened the bomb mythic! Looks like I won the draft!

My final Deck looked like this:

Draft MM 20ss Friday Day

Creatures (14)
Countryside Crusher
Dreamspoiler Witches
Blind-Spot Giant
Earwig Squad
Demigod of Revenge
Thundercloud Shaman
Stinkdrinker Daredevil
Thundering Giant
War-Spike Changeling
Deepcavern Imp

Spells (9)
Horobi’s Whisper
Crush Underfoot
Warren Weirding
Sword of Fire and Ice
Glacial Ray
Lands (17)

Jason Chan tempoed me out. Trygon Predator eats Sword of Fire and Ice. We went to three games but games one and three were solidly his. Blue seems so good in this set. Quick little guys with evasion has been a favorite archetype of mine since they printed Cloud Spirit.

I can’t lie, I was upset. Not tilted upset, I knew I had a great deck, Mr. Chan is a hell of a drafter but I just felt like maybe I played incorrectly. Anyhow, I vented a bit with Dom before being paired against him in the next round. It was no contest, giants followed by giants, sword arrived in each game as a win-more card but who am I to gripe. The final blow was dealt with Demigod of Revenge holding the Sword of Fire and Ice.

“Well you crushed someone…” Dom laughed off his defeat. I had confessed that I would feel good until I crushed my next opponent. It’s not as cool when you say that to someone and then get paired up against them and then crush them. Sorry Dom, thanks for being a good sport.

I confess I’m a little embarrassed by the way I carried myself between rounds one and two. I’m not a hothead normally, I make a point to chill out and manage my emotions for the next round. I repeat my mantra to myself. “I’m not at work. I’m here to have fun.”

You’ll hear me say this to a lot of friends when they’re taking Magic: the Gathering too seriously. I’ve been guilty of giving myself a hard time when I mess up. Rarely, do I let it spill out onto other players. Even when I’m losing I try to ham it up and smile. When you write for a blog about the Magic it keeps you honest, keeps you away from turning into “that guy”. What looks bad for one of us can make the rest of us guilty by association. [Editor’s Note: Speak for yourself! -Matt]

So on to round three. Matt only drafts. He just got back into the game a few months ago and he’s eager to try the “new” format. This time I’m more relaxed. Matt’s deck is mostly big green dinosaurs but he has a few little guys. Game one I was able to get value off my changeling with Peppersmoke. Between first strike, drawing a card, and killing a four toughness guy I had Matt in a bad spot. Thundering Giant and Blind-Spot Giant did a heck of a job pounding away his life total. Game two I got to see just how good Dreamspoiler Witches is with Peppersmoke. I took that game with Sword of Fire and Ice and the Witches punching in for six each turn while drawing two cards. That’s a hard act to follow.

One pack Rude Awakening, one word: rude. But hey 2-1. Not too shabby. And I never felt like I do during RTR block draft. Like everything is going terrible and all the cards in the colors I should have drafted I have to pass while I’m taking mediocre picks to stay firmly in my guild(s). So… better, in a word.

Tuesday Night I had scanned through Li Xu’s write up about UB faeries. And I really liked the idea of playing all the flyers. So that’s what I drafted. My first picks were a little more streamlined. Pack one was Latchkey Faerie, two was Bonesplitter, three and Bonesplitter. Oh boy this was gonna be fun! Li took a look at my deck… “You drafted 5 different cards!” Hyperbole for sure, but there’s a lot of consistency here:

Draft MM 20ss TNM

Creatures (12)
Spellstutter Sprite
Thieving Sprite
Faerie Macabre
Dreamspoiler Witches
Latchkey Faerie

Spells (22)
Erratic Mutation
Echoing Truth
11 other spells
Lands (34)
17 lands

Not counting land I was only running 11 different cards.

I curve out at four mana and really my Latchkey Faeires are three with their prowl ability. Most everything in my deck cost three. Erratic Mutation seemed like it would kill pretty much everything I’d have to worry about.

Round one I play David “Bonesplitter” McCoy. The games are a grind. Dave’s on W/R Giants with tons of big dudes. I really need to get lucky with my Erratic Mutations. I have Dave dead on the board in a turn but I think that his suspended Giant taps all my dudes and I scoop… David, being the excellent dude he is, informs me that it taps all non-white creatures… Which means I win. And he gave me the game, after I scooped. Way to not only not be a jerk but also insure than I don’t screw that up in Las Vegas. “READ THE CARDS, Zac Clark,” David reminds me. Game two the giants reign supreme. The Stinkdrinker Daredevil is just too much for me to get around. David’s casting Giants for next to nothing and they are too large for me to trade with. Game three is a another grind but I have some luck with Erratic Mutation and Peppersmoke again. I’m drawing a ton of cards and it’s just too much removal and guys for David’s slow giants to handle.

1-0 matches
2-1 games

In the second round I faced off against Josh Kaufman playing Sunburst/Suspend. This was a no contest. Both games I was able to play Spellstutter Sprite into Latchkey Faerie. Bonesplitter saw some action as well. Overall both games were pretty brutal I happened to get very aggressive hands. I’m really interested to see how suspend and sunburst fair against the rest of the archetypes in this format. I have a suspicion that much like 3xRTR each has its strong and weak match ups.

Round three I wasn’t taking any chances and asked Sean McKwoen if he’d like to split and we could each walk home with three packs? He agreed and we played it out just for kicks. He was on rebels. Both of our decks generate a sick amount of card advantage.

Each game was super close (literally one turn away), but I just had more removal coupled with my card advantage. I took the match in two games. Sean’s deck easily could have taken it if he won the die roll. Sean did however show me that Spellstutter Sprite does not Mana Leak it Spellblasts. That’s important because I think a lot of folks are playing it that way.

Of course, I opened nothing interesting. Academy Ruins, Rude Awakening, and ANOTHER Earwig Squad. Meanwhile across town my buddy Paul opened up a Goyf! LIKE A BOSS.

Wednesday I made it out to Will Juseck’s for another Modern Masters draft. I decided to try U/R arcane. Here’s what I came up with.

MM Storm/Arcane @ Juseck's

Creatures (4)
Rift Elemental
Pardic Dragon

Spells (19)
Desperate Ritual
Empty the Warrens
Rift Bolt
Petals of Insight
Sudden Shock
Glacial Ray
Peer Through Depths
Pyrite Spellbomb
Reach Through Mists
Lava Spike
Dampen Thought
Lands (34)
17 lands

I was beyond excited to see if this would work. I have a few ways to win and I can stall out, to make it there.

Round one I face off against Dom again. He drafted Grixis so he was on Goblins/Faeries. I was able to stave off his low toughness guys with Glacial Rays and Sudden Shock. I bought enough time in each game to enact the mill plan. It’s pretty intense chaining all these search spells together with the Dampen Thought. I quickly came to realize just how important my one mana spells, Lava Spike, and Reach Through Mists would be. I need to be on the Dampen Thought plan pretty heavy to make it work. We played a few for kicks while we waited for the next round. Dom solidly took those games on the back of his prowled-up Earwig Squad. Having a three toughness is hard to deal with. One game looked hopeless as his board was full of dudes. A bored Zach Barash took over for a sec and Grapeshot x4 plus Empty the Warrens x3 to kill off his team minus two guys. Whoa there’s some crazy stuff this deck can do!

Round two I’ve got Will who was the other 1-0 in the pod. He’s rocking atifacts in blue and white. Mulldrifter buys me a couple turns in the first game. And I Empty the Warrens for ten Goblins and start in on that plan. Dampen Thoughts are spliced with Glacial Rays and I’m zapping Will. It was a battle of attrition, and that generally goes to the player with more cards and guys. The second game though, Will’s artifacts throw me under the bus. He’s got 16 cards in his deck and a really solid sideboard card against me. Echoing Truth puts a kabash on my goblins. He never drew it but he didn’t need it so there’s that. Game three, I go off! Lava Spike with Dampen Thought, then Peer through Depths spliced Glacial Ray/Desperate Ritual/ then Glacial Ray spliced with 2x Dampen Thought. Here’s the thing. Limited is 40 card decks. You draw seven, there’s 33 in your deck. Seven turns of drawing happen that’s 26. I need to cast Dampen thought seven times, about to win. I’m hoping you like to draw cards too if you draw two I only need six. Turn six is a good clock but the deck has been good at turn sevenish. One of the great things is that your opponents removal is worthless for the most part. They side it out and you have Pardic Dragons they wish they could kill. It’s a funky deck. But waaaaaaay fun.

Round Three it’s a Zac(h) off! [Editor’s note: gross!] Mr B vs Mr C. Lately, these Limited matches have started to become epic. No longer am I able to trounce him in constructed and then have him destroy me in Limited the games are closer and we both trade off in the wrong formats from time to time.

Game one he’s on the suspend plan with a mull to five. I’m trying to go off but just can’t get it to happen. He starts to dominate the board as I’m trying to Glacial Ray him to death and keep his monsters from hurting me. I have a Rift Elemental in play and some number of Goblins just trying to hold of the bleeding. Mr B. is tapped out I draw a Pardic Dragon! I suspend it, Mr B looks quizzically at me. “I remove two suspend counters with Rift Elemental. Pardic has Haste!” It’s so late in the game I have mana to pump my dragon still. I swing with everything. Next turn he was gonna cast that Domain overrun spell. Game two I was on the mill plan, but never really got going until turn five. 4/4s are hard for me to stop and Zach was able to overrun me with Thallaids and Ephemerons. Game three was solidly mine I was Dampening Thought splicing from turn three on. Peer through Depths to Glacial Ray to Desperate Ritual. And a final Dampen Thought x2 for the tourney. What a match, though! The first two games were grinders and if I hadn’t top decked that Dragon I’d have lost.

Storm/Arcane can be a little shaky but what a ride! Focus on getting those Glacial Rays and Dampen Thoughts early. Look out for Peer Through Depths that card will keep you flush with arcane spells. If I could have seen some Vivid lands I would have run the one Mind Funeral I picked up. That card is waaaay worth splashing for.

In my prize packs I finally struck gold. Foil Meluku, and Vendillion Clique! I picked up a few sweet foils. I’m thinking about starting a cube now. Lots of sweet foils with no real home make me want to do it even more!

Foil Meloku, Vendilion Clique, Gifts Ungiven, Figure of Destiny, Foil Tidehollow Sculler, Street Wrath, Eternal Witness, Path to Exile, Paradise Mantle.

Foil Meloku, Vendilion Clique, Gifts Ungiven, Figure of Destiny, Foil Tidehollow Sculler, Street Wrath, Eternal Witness, Path to Exile, Paradise Mantle.

So there you have it three Modern Masters Drafts and I’m 8-1! That’s a day 2 right there! And I have three byes in Vegas! Sealed though. So I’m wary of the mega huge difference this format will be in sealed. I doubt, I’ll open a bomb arcane pool or a super redundant Faeries deck. My advice is this format is to take in the single and double card synergies, stick to the two color combos, and cut hard on your first pack. You’ll be rewarded well in the third! And finally, take the time to READ the cards, especially before you scoop.

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

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