December 7th brought the release of the highly anticipated Ultimate Masters, said to be the last Masters set for “quite a while” according to Wizards of the Coast. Despite the announcement, it didn’t dwindle any hype leading up to the release even with the short window to obtain product; the demand was still high due to how stacked the set is with reprints, giving huge support towards the Modern format.

This week, I look at what cards you can pick up for your Modern collection, taking advantage of the influx of reprints allowing you to pick up previously expensive cards at a lower rate—allowing you access to more decks and more Modern playtime. Eternal formats are tricky to finance as formats such as Modern and Legacy don’t have a rotation unlike Standard, but cards can break out and become valuable over time too if we take Arclight Phoenix as a recent example. Ultimate Masters will be the last in a long line of reprint sets with Wizards of the Coast shifting their focus on Arena and eSports. Thus meaning there could potentially be a point where Modern becomes more expensive due to circulation drying up, and demand to remain the same given how popular Modern is currently.

Modern isn’t notorious for being cheap to enter the format, unless you’re looking to pick up a combo deck such as Storm and Titanshift for example, but that might not be to everyone’s taste. Now is a good time to broaden your collection giving you the option to play a myriad of decks thanks to the release of Ultimate Masters. I’ve never been one to pick up a box of Masters unless the intention was to draft with friends. I always found the price point to be expensive, and Ultimate Masters is no exception—at roughly $300 a box it’s a significant investment especially if you’re only after particular singles.

I’ve always been one to focus on picking up desired singles such as Noble Hierarch for example. Noble Hierarch is one of the best creatures in the Modern format currently, giving support to Aether Vial decks such as Bant Spirits and Five-Color Humans, not forgetting the home its made in Infect too. It’s a staple in Modern and will be for a long time to come, and at $50 each is a decent price compared to the $75 it was a month ago. By all means, $50 isn’t cheap, but it’s one to keep an eye out if you’re in the market for Hierarchs as I can’t see them becoming much lower than that given how much play the card sees currently.

Accompanying Noble Hierarch are regulars to the Masters print run, Liliana of the Veil and Tarmogoyf. Probably not a huge surprise given how fundamental they have been to the Modern format over the years. Despite this, the reprints are welcome nonetheless, especially considering how little impact Tarmogoyf has on the format currently which is reflected in its price, sitting roughly at $50 which an excellent pricepoint if you intend to pick up Jund or B/G Rock anytime soon and if you aren’t fussy on the new art. Liliana of the Veil will keep her price given she’s one of the best planeswalkers ever printed, at $75 seems high. But that price will climb up again (was $100 prior to UMA’s release) so if you’re in the market for Liliana’s, now might be a good a time as any to pick some up. Supporting the Jund and B/G Rock archetype, Fulminator Mage and Maelstrom Pulse are also in the set and priced at $10 and $7 respectively. These have hit a huge price drop and are great additions for your collection and will always see Modern use.

Control and Midrange archetypes aren’t the only ones to be rewarded in Ultimate Masters, big-mana archetypes such as Tron have received some desired reprints in the form of Karn Liberated. Karn is the lynchpin in Tron strategies and made the deck a staple in the Modern format, during pre-Ultimate Masters Karn was valued at $100 and since has decreased to $65 making Tron more accessible.

Graveyard archetypes is another to receive a boon from the set, with Goryo’s Vengeance and Through the Breach being ideal reprints given how expensive they were in the Kamigawa block. You can pick up a set of Goryo’s Vengeance and Through the Breach for roughly $130 which is a vast improvement on the $400 it was before, not forgetting the addition of Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn for those Reanimator strategies. In addition, if you are looking to build Bridgevine now is an ideal time. Bridge from Below has crashed to $5 each, and Vengevine at $16 each—a massive drop from the $27 and $50 they were once before.

Reprints of Modern staples from previous Masters sets are always welcomed, but Ultimate Masters has delivered some much-desired reprints in the form of the allied creature lands originally printed back in Worldwake. Celestial Colonnade is one of the best creature lands printed and is a fantastic win condition in Jeskai and U/W Control decks, currently sitting at $23 is attainable compared to $60 beforehand. There will always be a demand for this cycle in Modern, especially as Raging Ravine is now at $5. With Creeping Tar Pit now at $7 this seems a fantastic opportunity to buy these up before they rise in value again. And let’s not forget Gaddock Teeg, a mainstay in Bogles and Human sideboards that became expensive due to the unpopularity of Lorwyn—now at an affordable $12, compared to the $40 it was previously.

Adding to this impressive roster of reprints: Engineered Explosives and Cavern of Souls. The pair have broad application and see plenty of tier one play currently. Cavern of Souls is key in Aether Vial decks and Engineered Explosives provides the preferred answer to those decks. These are easy staples in Modern given how essential they are, and with that, Cavern of Souls (currently at $60) is already climbing up due to demand and the popularity of tribal decks. Coupled with this, I can see Engineered Explosives (at $32) following the same path very soon given it’s the board wipe of choice in this Modern metagame.

A similar trend is currently happening to Snapcaster Mage, despite the average price being $55 at present due to its inclusion in Ultimate Masters. It’s likely to climb back up if we use Modern Masters 2017 as an example. When circulation dried up of Modern Masters 2017, Snapcaster Mage rose to $75 and maintained that price for a good while and I expect the same to happen again given how powerful it is in Modern.

Although the print run being lower than previous Masters sets and a potential second wave on the horizon, Ultimate Masters has done a fantastic job in supplying the demands of Modern and hitting a lot of the archetypes. Although I’d always recommend picking up singles over buying a box as this allows your money to go further, you can prioritize on cards needed this way instead of hoping the luck of the draw. On the other hand, it isn’t a bad option to pick up a few boxes to keep away considering these will be difficult to come by in the future if you’re looking to invest.

On a final note, it will be interesting to see how Modern shapes up from a financial perspective after Ultimate Masters’ circulation dries ups, but I can’t foresee it being as affordable as it is currently. This is why I recommend taking this opportunity to buy and trade into Modern staples to avert this becoming difficult in the future as Modern is by far the best and most popular constructed format right now. Besides, if you fall out of Modern or Magic in general, there will be value in the format, and you are likely to sell your cards for more than you paid for initially.

What do you think of Ultimate Masters? Are there any singles you are looking to pick up? Don’t hesitate to get in touch on Twitter or Facebook to share your thoughts!

Emma resides in Suffolk, England and started playing Magic back in 2014 when Khans of Tarkir first hit the shelves. She dabbled in Standard for a while then shifted into Modern, in particular playing Eldrazi Tron and Commander where she has found her home. Follow her on Twitter @emmmzyne to join in on the conversation!

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.