Yesterday we witnessed the beginning of Eternal Masters spoilers, and they are absolutely awesome. Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Mana Crypt, Chrome Mox, and Sneak Attack are sure to give the set both its bang and buck, and that’s not even mentioning the previously spoiled Force of Will and Wasteland. These are some excellent choice rares. They’ll certainly get people cracking packs. But we all know the best use for booster packs: drafting.

Now, aside from some PPTQs, there aren’t any Eternal Masters tournaments, so it’s a format that many of my Spike-y friends are likely to skip over. But if you’re anything like me, you’re jumping at the bit at the chance to draft a new set, particularly one that has rares from Vintage Cube. You want to know what the draft archetypes are, how color combinations differ, what the best commons and uncommons are, and what removal is like. You want to know if this will be a high synergy format like Modern Masters, or a high power format like Legacy Cube. Well, there are only a handful of lower rarity cards so far, but we’ll give them all a good look.

Nimble Mongoose

Nimble Mongoose is the only common so far spoiled, but it says a fair deal about the set. First and foremost, it’s a Legacy staple, so we’re looking at a fairly high powered common. Secondly, it was an uncommon in Odyssey, and we’ve seen powerful cards get downshifted in rarity in Masters Sets and be top-tier picks and archetype pillars—cards like Bound in Silence, Imperiosaur, Dampen Thought, Incandescent Soulstroke, and Skyhunter Skirmisher.

Most importantly, Nimble Mongoose suggests a reasonably strong graveyard theme. (It’d be quite strange to put Nimble Mongoose in the set only for it to be a 1/1 shroud.) Threshold could be an entire deck all to itself, there could be multiple graveyard decks, or there could even be a self-mill theme (with cards up through Return to Ravnica represented, Innistrad is on the table and we could quite conceivably see a Spider Spawning reprint). I’d expect to see a graveyard deck in black-green, but if threshold is a major set mechanic, there are a lot of strong white cards with threshold to fill out a deck. If threshold is a major archetype, I’d also not expect it to be in blue: while blue is excellent at filling the graveyard, it only has two creatures with threshold—Cephalid Sage and Possessed Aven do not an archetype make or a curve fill. While none of these speculations are conclusive, we can assume quite a lot from the only common currently spoiled.


Daze is a fascinating card to have in a format. It’s unlikely to be a direct enabler for an archetype, but it will warp the format. When you know that any opponent with an island can have a Daze, you’ll have to be extra careful when sequencing your spells. On the other side of the table, blue mages everywhere will be able to bluff countermagic constantly and discourage their opponents from playing the most efficient curve or their best cards early. Daze should be an all-star in blue-based tempo decks, and I shudder to think how powerful it’ll be if a card like Delver of Secrets is in the format (which is unlikely, given how expensive double-faced cards are to make).

Bloodbraid Elf
Bloodbraid Elf is the final non-rare/mythic card spoiled yesterday and the last we’ll discuss. The card doesn’t suggest much of a strategy just yet; Bloodbraid Elf is an excellent aggro card, but it providing a free card alongside an efficient body makes it an excellent all-around Magic card. However, we can infer some things based on what Bloodbraid Elf is not.

Most sets these decks feature one or two uncommon multicolor cards which tie an archetype together. Oftentimes, these cards are simply strong or slightly better in their associated decks: see Electrolyze, Lightning Helix, and Wrecking Ball. However, other times they tell us a good deal about what that color combination is about: Worm Harvest, Hearthfire Hobgoblin, Restless Apparition, and Ethercaste Knight only make sense in dedicated decks.

In both Modern Masters sets, red-green had such clear uncommons (Manamorphose, Savage Twister, and Vengeful Rebirth) and relatively distinct archetypes (RG storm and RG ramp). Bloodbraid Elf gently suggests that red-green may not be playing those roles this time around. It’s a strong card that red-green mages will be happy to play, but not one that they’ll need in order for their deck to have basic functionality.

Fiery Conclusion

That’s all for this time, friends. I hope you enjoyed speculating about an entire set based on three cards—I sure did. Eternal Masters looks pretty awesome and appears to be living up to the value hype. Here’s hoping that it’ll be as fun of a Limited format as Modern Masters was, if not better! I’m quite excited to see what comes next, and if you’re reading this post as it goes live, you’re about to see what new spoilers are coming our way today.

And as always, thanks for reading!

—Zachary Barash

Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner, improviser, and game designer (currently going for an MFA in Game Design at NYU). He has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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