Summer is here and Wizards is releasing their newest limited release summer set. Since 2013, the fine folks of Wizards of the Coast have been perfecting their draft-focused Masters series. These sets contain no new cards and instead are comprised entirely of reprints from earlier Magic sets. Modern Masters and its sequel Modern Masters 2015 were two standalone draft sets tangentially created as a gateway for Wizards to introduce more Modern staples into the market. In between the Modern Masters sets, the online-only Vintage Masters premiered in 2014 on Magic‘s online client Magic the Gathering Online (or MTGO), this time geared toward the online Vintage community.
2016 brings us the newest foray in the Masters line: Eternal Masters. Comprised once again entirely of cards reprinted from past sets, the idea here is to create a new outlet for Magic‘s numerous (as the name suggests) Eternal formats such as Vintage, Legacy and Pauper, as well as the defacto eternal format Commander.
What does this mean for you, The Casual Player? Is this something you should be excited for? How will these cards impact your playgroup or gaming experience? Are these cards needed for your collection? Let’s take a look at a few ways Eternal Masters might be of interest to you.
Drafting Eternal Masters is certainly going to be a unique and challenging experience. The cards found in this set may look new with their shiny M15-style fonts, holofoil stamps, and borders, but the majority of these cards are very, very old, harkening back to the early years of Magic. In many ways, Eternal Masters feels like a love letter to the collectible card game’s unpolished beginnings.
Eternal Masters is designed with draft as its primary focus but it will feel very different from most Standard draft sets. Cards will be at the same time obviously more powerful and deceptively more powerful than more recent offerings. Synergies and strategies won’t be as immediately evident as they are with today’s Standard sets. This is due to the level of complexity of older cards being different from the level of complexity of more modern cards. If you’re planning to draft Eternal Masters as a first foray into drafting, be prepared for a much more complicated game of Magic. Taking the time to study the full spoiler once it is released is highly recommended.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for a pack of Eternal Masters is $10 USD; much higher than an MSRP $4 USD Standard pack. This means drafting Eternal Masters will cost you at least three times as much as a regular draft. The reason for this is because of the numerous older, costlier, and harder to find cards being reprinted coupled with it being a limited release set. The people drafting this set will most likely have the money to invest in drafting it and will be prepared to win. It will very likely attract a much more competitive crowd so be prepared. When the buy-ins are higher and the value of the cards are greater, the stakes will increase and the desire to win will be much stronger than your typical Friday Night Magic draft. I wouldn’t recommend drafting this set if it is your first time drafting unless, of course, a more complex, challenging and competitive environment is exactly what you’re looking for.
One last thing to keep in mind when drafting Eternal Masters: There will always be a small chance of opening incredibly valuable packs containing multiple highly sought after and expensive cards within one pack (e.g. a regular Jace, the Mind Sculptor and a premium foil Jace, the Mind Sculptor in the same pack). For some people, especially those on a more frugal budget, Rule 2.10 of the Magic Tournament Rules is as follows:
“Players who drop during limited events own the cards that they correctly have in their possession at that time. This includes any unopened or partially drafted boosters.”
If you’d like to keep your money cards instead of passing them, you are legally allowed to drop from a draft to keep your cards. Different stores may have different procedures for handling a situation such as this, ranging from continuing the draft with 7 people or simply allowing a player to buy a new pack and continue the draft or, more unfortunately and disappointingly, by preventing that player from returning to the store. If you’re concerned about your store’s policy on dropping from a draft, remember to ask what their policy might be before signing up as it may influence your decision to draft. What is important to remember is that you have a legal right to drop from your draft with your cards if you choose to do so.
Not interested in drafting Eternal Masters but are still intrigued by all these shiny old cards? There are other reasons to be excited about this new release.
Eternal Masters will help increase accessibility and reduce the costs of staple cards for a number of formats including, but not limited to:
Arguably the most popular multiplayer format in Magic, Commander players are excited to get their hands on new printings of a number of cards popular in the format including (but certainly not limited to) Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Mystical Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, and Natural Order.
The greatest boon of the Commander format is necessitating only one copy of a card for your 100 card deck. If you’ve been holding off buying a particularly expensive card, the increase in format staples provided by Eternal Masters might be the perfect time to commit to your purchase as these cards will decrease in price in the short term. If you’ve been having a tough time finding a particular card at your local store(s), now is the time to check again.
Many of these older cards are being reprinted not only in the new M15-style border, but for the first time in premium foil printings as well. Cards such as Toxic Deluge and Gamble have never seen foil printings while other cards such as Argothian Enchantress, Force of Will and Dualcaster Mage have only seen expensive Judge Promo printings. If you’re the type of player that loves blinding your opponents with shiny pimped-out decks, this set is the set for you.
Cube players are always excited whenever a new set is released and Eternal Masters is no different. The big draw here for Cube players are cards printed for the first time in the modern M15-style borders as well as a plethora of cards with beautiful new art.
Cube is by far my favourite format and there are a number of cards I’m excited to see reprinted with incredible new art such as Animate Dead, Enlightened Tutor, Sneak Attack, and Maelstrom Wanderer. Cube is a format in which you create your own draft environment by assembling an at-minimum 360 card “set” using any cards you choose from across Magic‘s rich history. Cube is something we will be delving deeper into at a later date, so look forward to that.
The most enjoyable aspect of Cube is that it is as much a form of expression of the Cube builder as it is a fantastic format to play. If you’re looking to create a more unique visual experience for your cube or would like to further develop archetypes in your cube with cards that were previously unattainable due to scarcity, Eternal Masters looks to help players like you.
Lastly, Pauper players are the real winners in Eternal Masters. Pauper is a Commons-only format, however, a card is legal if it has been printed at Common at any point in Magic‘s history. This means that while much needed Pauper reprints such as Hydroblast and Pyroblast might be Uncommon in Eternal Masters, they are both still legal in Pauper because they were printed at Common in Ice Age.
Eternal Masters has a slew of cards that Pauper players have been clamoring for reprints. There are a number of Common cards that have a surprisingly large price tag attached to them – mostly due to scarcity in printings – and reducing the prices of cards for what should be the cheapest format in Magic is exactly what Pauper players were hoping for.
If you’ve ever been interested in Magic‘s cheapest and fanatically-growing format, this will be the best time to jump in.
I really hope I was able to impart enough reasons why Eternal Masters might be interesting to you, The Casual Player. There’s a lot of different styles of Magic to be played and explored and Eternal Masters is the newest gateway into those formats. Did you find this article helpful and informative? Leave a comment in the Comments section below! And don’t forget, Three Kings Loot has Eternal Masters on sale here and will be hosting Eternal Masters drafts on Friday, 10th June and Thursday 16th June! If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out!
JP Vazquez – Optimum Jank
Wizards of the Coast just dropped an A-Bomb on us with the upcoming release announcement of Eternal Masters !!! Now I know what you’re thinking, are we going to be getting our Dual Lands reprinted finally ?!?!? Sadly and obviously the answer to that question was already addressed in their announcement that no cards from the Reserved List will be reprinted in this set BUT we already know not one but TWO of the all-stars that are going to be in the set. It should be no surprise that both Wasteland and Force of Will are in and have already been previewed with some incredible new art, Force of Will having a reworking by the original artist Terese Nielsen. The most exciting aspect of this announcement is that they’ve decided to name it Eternal Masters and not Legacy Masters which leads me to believe that we could see some needed reprints of both Vintage and Modern staples as well. With four months to wait before the release of the set will be upon us you can be sure that there will be endless lists of speculation as to what we should expect to see but there are a few things that come to mind. I would be really excited to see any awesome reprints but some these seem like they are well overdue. It’s doubtless that cards like Show and Tell or Sneak Attack would be very well received. I’m certain nobody would complain about Snapcaster Mage or Sensei’s Divining Top and there’s definitely great choices of planeswalkers with either Liliana of the Veil or Jace, the Mind Sculptor. There’s also tons of utility cards like Flusterstorm, Abrupt Decay or Thoughtseize which could easily make the list. That doesn’t even begin to look at the possible lands like Karakas, Rishadan Port, Ancient Tomb or the notably absent from reprint so far ZendikarFetchlands. So no doubt the debate will rage on for months about what is and isn’t included in the set and all we can do is wait patiently and prepare, because if you haven’t already set yourself up with those Reserved List Eternal staples then pretty soon they’re going to be gone the way of the Dodo.
Set Name Eternal Masters
Number of Cards 249
Release Date June 10, 2016
Magic Online Release Date June 17, 2016
Official Three–Letter Code EMA
Twitter Hashtag #MTGEMA
Initial Concept and Game Design
Tom LaPille (lead)
Final Game Design and Development
Adam Prosak (lead)
Languages Available English, Japanese, Chinese Simplified
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
1st at Grand Prix New Jersey Legacy on Nov. 16th 2014
It was a daily double last weekend with Treasure Cruise decks winning both this and the Modern GP in Madrid. Despite that though there was not an abundance of Treasure Cruise swarming the top 8 with a total of 10 copies between 4 decks, and they were each a distinct archetype. It wasn’t even the bogeyman UR Delver which won which was the other deck running the full 4 copies and there was an amazing diversity between all 8 decks.
The Legacy format is filled with cheap and efficient cards as it has access to the best ever printed over the entire history of the game. This deck is one of those that takes full advantage of that fact to pull together a cast of the top choices creating a highly disruptive killing machine. It pulls together permission, removal and draw to quickly dispatch all enemies that stand in its way. It’s no surprise whenever a deck of this style takes down a tournament.
Quite possibly the best Blue one drop ever printed, and quite aggressively out of Blue flavor, we have Delver of Secrets supported by an almost 50/50 split on spells which will be able to blind flip it turn two so you’re able to commence with the beatdown plan. Follow that up with True-Name Nemesis which demands the opponent to find an answer to it or they will definitely die to that unchecked clock. Both of them are supported by Stoneforge Mystic who is able to either search up an Umezawa’s Jitte to equip one of your attackers or find you a Batterskull to commit further to your beatdown plan. Next we speed up the deck with an abundance of card draw starting with the perennial Brainstorm, coupled with Ponder and Phyrexian freebie Gitaxian Probe which also provides you a sneak peek at the opponents plans. The deck also packs a very robust permission package centering around another format staple and free spell Force of Will, backed up by also free Daze and cheap but disruptive Spell Pierce. Then we round out the deck with top quality removal with the main reason this deck dips into Red with Lightning Bolt and also the classic Swords to Plowshares which will convienently exile most any creatures which are presenting you with certain doom.
We start off with the namesake of the deck or what I like to call The Flying Lightning Bolt in Delver of Secrets which is supported by 28 ways to flip, and should always be close to 50/50 on a blind flip if deployed on turn one to really lay down the beats. That is coupled with beatdown king Goblin Guide as a second option for a great first turn play to start laying down the beats. Given the plethora of instants and sorceries in the deck we also have Snapcaster Mage to rebuy a key spell that you’ve already used and then work on laying down the beats. As you can see this deck is truly a weapon of mass destruction. Support player Grim Lavamancer can either help clear the way for your army or throw additional fire in their face and will often find the graveyard stocked with any of the many spells or fetchlands. The deck has a stockade of burn with full sets both of Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning which at one Red mana for three damage are amazing, and easily reused by a Snapcaster. There is also a one of Forked Bolt which can clear two defenders or a dude and to the dome, and a pair of Price of Progress which in Legacy will mostly net either six or eight damage quite often sealing the deal. The counter suite is modest but necessary including format staple Force of Will to keep combo decks in check and Spell Pierce. We round it out with some draw power from Brainstorm, Ponder and Gitaxian Probe to ensure a steady stream of low cost threats continue flowing to your hand.
The Bazaar of Moxen is a four day Eternal Magic event in Europe featuring Vintage, Legacy and Modern tournaments. Every year a devoted crowd makes a pilgrimage to compete for amazing prizes and have a great time. We’ve already featured the Modern Main Event winners decklist for you and here we present the Legacy. It is based around the interaction of Life from the Loam with the toolbox of lands and the creatures which interact favorably with that design. At its core we have a Junk deck, the combination of White, Black and Green, with a splash of Red to gain a little extra reach. It has heavy elements of disruption but also a formidable creature package capable of finishing the match in short order.
The title of the deck comes from the decks engine card Life from the Loam which is able to return lands from your graveyard to your hand and has the added benefit of Dredge to pull itself back from the grave to continue the cycle. This is invaluable to the deck as you have a lot of interaction involving sacrificing or discarding lands to advance your plan starting right with the decks fast mana source in Mox Diamond. There is also a slew of lands in your manabase which will naturally find their way to the grave starting with the disruption staple Wasteland which is an absolute blowout when recured every turn to shut down the opponents mana, the decks fetchland Verdant Catacombs, and the trio of card draw in Horizon Canopy, Barren Moor and Tranquil Thicket. There is also the creature land Dryad Arbor which can find itself used turn after turn as a chump blocker if the need so arises. Speaking of creatures we then get to those beatdown creatures which will lock down the game for you with Tarmogoyf, Scavenging Ooze which also does double duty to brutalize opponents graveyards if they are using it as a resources, and the Knight of the Reliquary which can balloon to epic proportions while searching up the decks toolbox of lands. And in the Knights toolbox we find Maze of Ith to nullify large creature based aggro strategy, Karakas which is absolutely necessary to fight against decks like Sneak and Show cheating legendary fatties into play way ahead of curve, and also Grove of the Burnwillows which combos with Punishing Fire to pick off pesky creatures at a very reasonable price. Adding to the draw from the land package there is also Dark Confidant which with an average converted mana cost over the sixty cards at less then one will pay off in spades and the powerful card selection tool Sylvan Library. There is pseudo-card draw from Green Sun’s Zenith which will search up your most relevant Green creature including the Arbor if that’s what you need. For the disruption we have some extremely powerful tools starting with Chalice of the Void to work against specific decks strongest cards at that cost, there is Gaddock Teeg to nullify high cost non-creature spells especially Force of Will, and Liliana of the Veil where you’ll be able to swing the discard disadvantage back towards your favor while working to control the battlefield. The final piece of our puzzle comes with pinpoint destruction from Abrupt Decay which in Legacy is such a power piece of removal and is able to hit such a variety of targets.
So while this is not a new strategy for Legacy it is a very strong deck that in the right metagame makeup is able to find its way to success. We certainly will see this strategy continue to thrive and grow as it gets stronger every time a new utility land is printed that it can find use for. We will see if it continues to show itself at the top tables or if players find answers to hedge against its power.
We start with the namesake creature Delver of Secrets which is one of the best one drop creatures, when build properly into its deck. With a 28 of the cards in the deck able to Transform him from the triggered ability you’re basically a 50/50 shot to be smashing in with a ‘flying lightning bolt’ every turn. He is paired up with the very tricky True-Name Nemesis which while not unbeatable demands an answer or will make short work of your opponent. They are both supported by Legacy staple Stoneforge Mystic which has options to tutor up either a Batterskull or an Umezawa’s Jitte to speed to victory. A heavy disruption package finds full sets of Force of Will, Daze and Spell Pierce to suppress any plans the enemy may try to push forward. There is also a set of Wasteland in the manabase to try and limit their access to crucial mana. For removal we have both Swords to Plowshares to exile any creature threats and Lightning Bolt which can go either to a creature or straight to the dome to finish opponents fast. Finally there is both Brainstorm and Ponder to ensure that there is no taking the foot of the pedal once we get up to speed by streaming constant gas directly to the hand, and fetchlands in the manabase help to reset the top of the library when necessary.