I love drafting Modern Masters. We’ve been graced with three sets proper, every other year starting in 2013. They offer a prepackaged draft that feels a bit like a cube while still being a random booster draft experience. Subsequent expansions on the concept have come up short—I don’t even recall Iconic Masters, for example—but the original three sets still excite me and many other drafters around the world. It’s nice that you can pick up a box and spice up your local draft night, though the OG will cost you a few bills.

As I was reading Zach’s excellent review of the last year of Magic, I was sad to think that Masters sets could be considered a failure. It is definitely true that the last year has overexposed the concept, but I hope that they can return to a biennial treat for drafters and an excellent venue for reprinting key Modern staples.

I was fortunate to be in the perfect place during the print run of the original Modern Masters in 2013. That summer coincided with the formative months of Brooklyn’s Team Draft League (of which I was the first person to win with two different teams!), and we cracked a lot of boxes for four-on-four team drafts. It was truly great Magic. Li Xu drafting Izzet splice/storm. Hugh Kramer suspending a metric ton of Giant Dustwasps and Errant Ephemerons. The People’s Elbow himself, Hunter Slaton, wielding the brutal Rebels as only a son of West Memphis could. Perhaps my favorite memory is lingering with Hugh in Dom Neitz’s loft after one great draft—foil Cryptic Command was the big pull—while we picked the Street Wraiths out of the common piles nobody else wanted. Hoarding those worked well after Death’s Shadow started doing its thing.

I loved how that format offered so many iconic archetypes. While they got old after a while, the set wasn’t intended to be drafted a dozen times in a month like we did. Blue-white Affinity was super fun to assemble. I drafted a lot of Esperzoas and Etherium Sculptors, at least when I could. But my favorite deck always started off with Kodama’s Reach and Traumatic Visions. Who cares what else you are doing when you ramp into hard-casting Force of Will with your extra mana fixing? Meloku the Clouded Mirror was a good finisher, but the set had plenty of options.

Amrou Scout fetching out Bound in Silence. Dampen Thought spliced onto Dampen Thought. These are fun things to do, in case you haven’t had the pleasure. New adventures continued in Modern Masters 2015, which was surprisingly different from the first iteration. And yet it was still a blast to draft. Soulshift Spirits and Evoke shenanigans are classics for sure, and it was a great draft format for the useful rare reprint Wilt-Leaf Liege. I also had the fortune of rare-drafting a birthday-cake-stamped Emrakul, the Aeons Torn during day two of Grand Prix Las Vegas en route to my glorious mincash. I also 3-0ed a local store keep-your-picks draft where my three first picks were Tarmogoyf, Noble Hierarch, and Cryptic Command—so maybe I’m biased. But any set where I can play Fiery Fall, Vengeful Rebirth, and Savage Twister is a set I can get behind.

The latest trip in Modern Masters 2017 was fresh too, although it’s emphasis on five-color nonsense proved more fun for casual side drafts than in-depth analysis. Dinrova Horror is the best common in the set, and that’s pretty sweet. We’ve done a few local drafts over the last year, and it’s always a fun time even if we don’t crack enough fetchlands. MM17 also gives you a shot of playing a draft deck with Sphinx’s Revelation, which is a joy I cannot recommend highly enough. Let’s hope Modern Masters 2019 will offer similar joys and opportunities.

But these sets don’t just offer great Limited play. It is really important to refresh the supply of Modern staples every few years. That’s one of the points of Modern as a format: they can and will reprint everything periodically. How happy were people to finally get more copies of Fulminator Mage, Noble Hierarch, and Damnation? Aether Vial has teetered around brokenness in Modern for years, and it’s a good thing it’s been reprinted a couple times in Masters sets to keep it available for “fair” creature shenanigans.

You think people would like to crack some Vengevines next year? That would be a perfect choice for a green mythic rare slot in Modern Masters 2019, assuming we don’t run into a Survival-type ban. We’ve had enough Tarmogoyfs, and Core 2019 did us a solid by reprinting Scapeshift, so Vengevine is an obvious include. Maybe reprint Celestial Colonnade too, please? My request is simple: keep making fun pseudo-cube Limited sets and reprinting powerhouses that fall into short supply.

Brendan McNamara (Twitter: @brendanistan) is Editor in Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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