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Modern Masters Recap

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This past Sunday marked the belated end to the Modern Masters competition and—on my part—the beginning hours of sifting through submissions. First of all, I just want to thank all of you who took the time to send in your submissions over these past few months. Some of you just sent a list, and others went above and beyond, outlining why they believe their fourteen picks are the correct ones. No matter what your submission contained, I appreciate all the fan support, and although I would love to believe that this was all from the genuine interest in drumming up content, there also happened to be a prize involved. What is that prize, you may ask? Well, you could scroll to the end of this article and find out, or you could continue reading as I take this week to analyze the more common picks and throw a bit of my own personal opinion in there as well.

Dark Confidant
One card stood out more than almost any on the submissions—Dark Confidant—and it is probably a lock for the set I feel. When I sat down and started concocting my own list a month or so ago, this guy was my first mention, and as I assume many of you figured out, he fits almost every criteria outside of the fact that he has already been printed as a judge foil. I do not believe this alternative, expensive version of Bob will hurt his chances of slipping into Modern Masters, so I feel most of the field’s choice of him is correct. I do believe this submission summed it up perfectly:

Overpriced and far too powerful to be at rare. Greatness at any cost . . . why not at the cost of the mythic slot?

The next card—or in this case: cards—I would like to talk about are the two Swords from Mirrodin block. Now that the cycle has been completed at the mythic slot, I feel it is only correct to reprint the two originals at that slot as well. Even with the judge promos, these are still fetching $30 or more at times, and although their play is limited, I feel they have been and will continue to be players into the future. This pick also seems fairly obvious, but I have slightly less confidence than I do with Dark Confidant. Perhaps Wizards of the Coast does not want to fill two of the artifact spots with these Swords. I feel they have a strong likelihood to make the set, but I would not feel comfortable guaranteeing it.

As with any set, I imagine Modern Masters will have some number of planeswalkers on the roster. I was surprised by the lack of these iconic powerhouses in some of the lists, but most people did include at least one. The most common planeswalker mentioned was Elspeth, Knight-Errant. Although I can certainly see her being reprinted, Elspeth has already seen a Duel Decks reprint and can easily be found for $15 to $20 on the open market. The main reason I have to agree with the Elspeth choice, however, is not her price or her status; instead, I feel she will receive the nomination because white does not have a whole lot of other good choices. Sadly, most of the powerful white spells over the past ten years have been rares, and although it is possible one of them gets the bump, I just can’t see any that would be a sure fit.

Elspeth is the only real Modern-playable planeswalker from this time period, and her price is rather high.

Sarkhan Vol
Another planeswalker I was happy to see some of you mention that many people forget is Sarkhan Vol. Although many people forget this guy even exists, his price tag has reflected his casual appeal as he has slowly crept up and even—at times—overtaken Elspeth in price. I believe the set will have a number of cards that will be geared toward the casual crowd, and what better way to please that community than give them one of their favorite ’walkers?

Damnation is a card I have seen a number of people mention while I was combing through submissions. I can certainly see the Wrath warranting a spot based on price, but I am not sure if WotC will finally be willing to print a board sweeper at mythic. We have seen Bonfire of the Damned and other powerful board-altering cards printed recently at the spot, though, so it is possible that Damnation will be the first of its ilk to find that purple set symbol. On an interesting side note, one person suggested the idea of putting Plague Wind in the mythic spot, and although this card is very low in price, I can see this being reasonable, as it holds a much more mythic feel, and it would also not bog down the Limited format as much due to its high cost. Every set needs bulk, and if WotC is looking to print a functional mythic that can both be a bomb in Limited and lower the set’s chances of being solely a competitive interest, this is it.

Vendilion Clique
Vendilion Clique is a card I expected to see on almost everyone’s radar, but I was surprised when very few people actually picked it. I believe Clique is a card that will continue to see Modern and Legacy play for the duration of the formats, and to this day, it remains among the best blue creatures ever printed. Even with a judge foil, the price on Clique has continued to rise over the past few years, and I believe Modern Masters would be the perfect outlet to alleviate some of that monetary pressure.

A staple desperately in need of a reprint to bring the price down. From the power level, I'd say this is more of a rare than a mythic, but it makes a good chase card.

These were just a few of the outstanding picks I saw while sifting through the multitude of e-mails I received over the past few months. Some of the other, less-nominated cards are still worth mentioning even if not in detail:

Pact of Negation

Bribery

Killer in Commander and currently holding a pretty high price tag.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

Tooth and Nail

Daybreak Coronet

A unique and powerful Aura ready for a proper card frame.

Venser, Shaper Savant
Venser, Shaper Savant

A legendary creature with a unique ability, and given the character's story, unlikely to be reprinted elsewhere.

Regal Force

Mutavault – I was surprised this didn’t make the cut in From the Vault: Realms, and although it does not feel very mythic, I could certainly see it getting the boost—if not, I certainly expect to see it as a rare.

Lotus Bloom

It's a Lotus; of course it's mythic.

Mycosynth Golem – Another casual staple that has seen a great deal of inflation since its release.

Adarkar Valkyrie

Crucible of Worlds

Arcbound Ravager
Arcbound Ravager – Here’s a perfect way to make affinity even cheaper and allow new players to experience a tier-one deck without the tier-one price that typically comes along with it. Since archetypes will be present within the set in order to make a solid Limited format, I can easily see affinity playing a role as one of the aggro strategies.

 


Now to the part everyone has been waiting for: prizes! At first, I was going to give prizes to the top three entries that were the closest, but after seeing just how many people entered, I had to rethink that structure a bit. Instead, I am going to award prizes based on points—not on rank. Each correct pick awards you a point, and since I truly do appreciate those of you who entered earlier, I will be giving an additional point to anyone who had his or her submission in by January 1. This ensures that those who were diligent are still rewarded, while those who did not are not punished. The prize structure will be as follows:

  • Arid Mesa
    10 Points: Draft set of Dragon’s Maze
  • 11 Points: Original set shock land of your choice (See, I want to make Modern cheaper for you, too!)
  • 12 Points: Zendikar fetch land of your choice
  • 13 Points: Box of Dragon’s Maze
  • 14 Points: All of the previous prizes plus a From the Vault: Realms!

That’s right: A maximum of 14 points will be awarded since Tarmogoyf was already spoiled, so I will not be counting that toward your total. I hope everyone is as excited for this set as I am, and I hope some of you can manage to win a little something for your efforts. Thanks again for entering, and even if you didn’t enter, write down your nominations, and keep track as the set is spoiled. Join me, as always, next week for more financial content. I’ll cover both the Pro Tour and what to expect to be in price flux after the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Ryan Bushard

@CryppleCommand

Limited time 35% buy trade in bonus buylist