Demonic Tutor

Magic: the Gathering in the UK

I loved Innistrad.  I believed Maro when he said New World Order made things better for experienced players too and used Innistrad as an example.

Then Modern Masters came out and despite having to include a bunch of rares and only being allowed cards from Mirrodin to Shards it was way better than anything we've seen since Innistrad, and most of what came before, too.

It will be minimum one year until the next Modern Masters.

So, my idea is, let's make our own Modern Masters.

Random ideas that are very much half formed:

* 6 of each of 60 commons, 3 of each of 60 uncommons, 2 of each of 50 rares, 1 of each of 10 mythics is 650 cards.

* Use old cards, pre-Mirrodin, for spell-based funtimes and novelty even for players that have been playing for a while.

* Invent cards where necessary to fill holes.

* Some possible seeded archetypes: free spell necro, ug madness, gro, draw-go, astral slide, reanimator, artifact control, mill, auras, tokens, birthing pod, pox, sacrifice, prison, wizard tribal.

* Possibly include a lot of Legacy playables and call it "Legacy Masters".  What wizards would print if they said fuck it to the secondary market and the reserve list and tried to support legacy via a "Masters" release.

What do you think?  Interested in being on the development team?  Could make for some cheap Tuesday nights during the long reign of M14* ...

* = Bit of a cheap shot.  I've actually really enjoyed 3 of the last 4 core set drafts.

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Yes after reviewing the cards I agree with you about not needing a wrath effect in white. I can't make it tonight for any testing but I should be at the club on Tuesday so happy to play then.

I think swap Avatar of Woe for Phyrexian arena maybe? The Avatars are definitely mythic in feel, whereas arena should be vulnerable to the enchantment removal in the set.

Just drafted a sweet(?) goblins deck, think it's coming together nicely!

Akroma's Vengeance at Mythic? Most sets have a couple of wraths, right?

Thomas David Baker said:

Living Death is a wrath that is currently in the set.  It's probably better than a normal wrath as you can set up for it to just win or thereabouts.

I agree that Phyrexian Arena is less Mythic than Avatar of Woe but I think we'd rather see Avatar of Woe being played than Arena?

Paul and my recent Goblin drafts make me think that Goblins is going to end up a mono-R or R + splash strategy.  That's not what we set out to achieve but it might be ok.  I'm even wondering how much it warps the set to give each color a non-dual colored strategy (W Soldiers, ?, B Sacrifice, R Goblins, G-based Domain perhaps?)

Akroma's Vengeance could definitely appear at Mythic which would put it in about 1 in 4 eight man drafts.  Living Death under the current scheme will be in about half of all eight man drafts.  I kind of like the MMA thing of just never having to play around wrath because there isn't one in the format so perhaps we cut Living Death rather than adding Akroma's Vengeance.  We can try it both ways.

The thing I like about living death is that it's a massive build-around-me card, and often you don't really want to use it as your opponent will end up getting back more than you.

Vengeance might be worth including at rare to check the enchantment deck, if it becomes dominant.

I thought the same initially, but the only decks that could really end up playing the Vengeance are both white enchantment based decks (I dont think white aggro wants a 6 mana Tranquility), and the cycling deck can actually abuse it by sliding out guys pre wrath.

Paul Hodgson said:

Vengeance might be worth including at rare to check the enchantment deck, if it becomes dominant.

Let's talk about lands.

This pool has so many awesome lands that it is beyond ridiculous.

We want to include some fixing so that if your RW cycling deck wants to stretch to include Hermit Druid for the Astral Slide funtimes it can just about be done. We don't want to make it trivially easy but we do want to err on the side of letting people play the spells they want to play if they draft accordingly. (IMHO.)

Two issues with good fixing or spell-like effects in the form of lands are (1) the fixing if good enough takes away one of green's strengths and (2) because the power level is high good lands are like extra cards you can run in your deck and they become very high picks. I'm not sure how big a problem either of these things are. I take dual lands very highly in my Standard cube because it is multicolor intense and it doesn't detract from the enjoyment. Note that we already have colorless basic landcyclers in each color at Common under the current plan in the form of Twisted Abomination, Noble Templare, etc.

How much room do we have for lands?

We have almost no color cards we want to print at Common currently. We could print 5 or 10 lands. 10 will probably feel like a LOT. For comparison RTR had 6 Common lands from 249 Commons. So even a single cycle at Common will show up plenty - 2.4 of each in an 8 man draft, 19.2 in total. (There are an anticipated 100 Commons in this set.)

Uncommon also has a dearth of locked slots for colorless cards. An Uncommon land would show up slightly more than once per eight man draft. A cycle of 5 about 6 times and a cycle of 10 about 12 times. Rares show up about 1 in every 3 eight man drafts and Mythics about half that (I think - I keep giving different figures for this!) Gaea's Cradle and Serra's Sanctum look like our Mythic lands and there are a lot of candidates for one-off Rare lands and cycles.

For comparison if you have original duals and all 10 fetchlands in your 360 cube that's roughly the equivalent of two Uncommon cycles but slightly less prevalent than a single Common cycle in this set.
It seems like we probably want at least one set of duals/fixers at Uncommon and some fun lands at Rare but everything is up for discussion.

Those are issues to bear in mind. Here are the lands.

Colored cycling lands - Secluded Steppe, Lonely Sandbar, Barren Moor, Forgotten Cave, Tranquil Thicket

Colorless cycling lands - Drifting Meadow, Remote Isle, Polluted Mire, Smoldering Crater, Slippery Karst, Blasted Landscape

Although we currently have the colored cycling lands at Common I think that it's so easy to dot cycling around through the colors they are unnecessary for the cycling deck. We might cut them to make way for some more interesting lands.

Tap for {2} - Ancient Tomb, City of Traitors

It seems like we're going to print these both at Rare as a nod to Legacy and because they will have cool interactions with Snap, Peregrine Drake and Cloud of Faeries. We don't want them in every draft or in multiples I don't think and they aren't broken enough to exclude altogether.

Odyssey Threshold Lands - Barbarian Ring, Cabal Pit, Centaur Garden, Cephalid Coliseum, Nomad Stadium

Originally printed at Uncommon these lands are pretty cool. In limited it's probably Cabal Pit and Barbarian Ring that will end up being most relevant. Cephalid Coliseum may or may not be good - I have no idea - might enable some Madness stuff or just dig you to something relevant when flooded - or it may just never be active or even played. Centaur Garden is fine as an on-board trick especially in a color with Wild Mongrel for surprise Threshold activation - but is it worth the pain? Nomad Stadium is actively terrible which makes me think if we do print these we probably don't print the whole cycle which opens the question - which ones should make the cut? Possibly we could print UBR and then for GW print Nantuko Monastery which also becomes active with Threshold and/or Krosan Verge and Treetop Village. Not exactly a cycle but it's an option.

Painlands - These have always been Rare. We could consider moving them to Uncommon. They are better for aggro than for control which might be good in this sure-to-be card advantageous (and possibly removal-heavy) format. Somewhere between pretty good and very good fixing. We have access to these in all ten color pairings.

Allied Fetchlands - Originally Rare. We could consider moving them to Uncommon. They fix splashes well but they aren't true duals - you have to decide when you fetch what color you want access to. Are they in that respect a better thing to include than true duals? There is no dual with basic lands types in the pool so these are not Legacy/Modern style fetchlands. They synergize with Brainstorm (at Common?) and otherwise provide a shuffle effect which can make games more interesting. Does the fact that we only have the Allied pairings in our set that treats each pair equally so far make a difference? We *could* print the Zendikar duals but I'd rather not as there is no old frame version to print. These lands support a sideways Domain draft strategy wayyy better than duals without basic land types.

Invasion duals - These guys are not so hot. They ETB tapped and have no sick interactions. However, Coastal Tower and friends could be exactly what we need to print lands that aren't high picks but still fulfill the fixing function. Aggro-unfriendly.

Manlands - Urza's Legacy Uncommon cycle: Forbidden Watchtower, Faerie Conclave, Ghitu Encampment, Spawning Pit, Treetop Village plus Nantuko Monastery and Stalking Stones. These are of varying quality but they are probably all playable in the right deck. Treetop Village is obviously a boss and attacking with a 4/4 land is no joke either. We could easily split the cycle and only reprint some here.

Five Color Lands - City of Brass, Grand Coliseum, Thran Quarry, Reflecting Pool. Not sure Reflecting Pool really belongs in this category without the Vivids. Any of these could be printed, or not, at Rare. Don't think we want them lower than that. Thran Quarry is probably entirely terrible?
Tribal Lands (I) - We probably aren't printing enough Beasts, Birds, Elves or Zombies for Contested Cliffs, Seaside Haven, Wirewood Lodge or Unholy Grotto. Although if we slip in some mono-colored strategies that may change.

Tribal Lands (II) -Daru Encampment (Soldiers), Goblin Burrows (Goblins), Riptide Laboratory (Wizards) and Starlit Sanctum (Clerics) have various levels of support. Do they do enough to merit inclusion? The others were originally Uncommon, Riptide Laboratory was a Rare. Riptide Lab did see play in a old Extended deck and can at the very least draw a card for 3UU mana with Merchant of Secrets. Starlit Sanctum sac'ing a large Vile Deacon or Doubtless One sounds quite fun. Or is Clerics becoming the weird autopilot counterdraft where you windmill slam everyone else's last picks?
Urza's Saga Legendary Lands - Gaea's Cradle and Serra's Sanctum I already mentioned as potential Mythics. Tolarian Academy is banned in Legacy. Phyrexian Tower and Shivan Gorge round out the loose cycle. The Tower seems relevant to both storm and sacrifice decks and might make a good Rare. Not sure about the Gorge.

Land Destruction - Dust Bowl, Rishadan Port, Wasteland. We could print any of these at lower rarity for a real Legacy feel but I'm not sure limited decks can operate on as little mana as constructed Legacy decks so that's probably a bad idea. Are they going to be obnoxious even at Rare?

Terminal Moraine is probably the best candidate for printing at Common as a Terramorphic Expanse of sorts that isn't a cycle but doesn't prefer any one color. A definite possiblity. Was originally Uncommon.

Cabal Coffers pushes you to mono black. I don't think we're in the market for that.

High Market is a sac outlet, Keldon Necropolis does damage, Kor Haven is a *slightly* less crazy Maze of Ith, Krosan Verge is good acceleration for WG, Maze of Shadows is a Maze of Ith for Shadow creatures and would probably be a sideboard card only, Temple of the False God does things but I'm no sure they are good things, Terrain Generator loves Land Tax (Rare) but does it do anything else? Tower of the Magistrate should be reprinted due to availability concerns but probably doesn't do enough in this format, Volrath's Stronghold is an awesome card for the sac/graveyard deck and Yavimaya Hollow is a very powerful effect considering it comes on a land.

I think that's about it for interesting lands. Now, what should we print? Most especially what should we print at Common and Uncommon? I quite like Terminal Moraine (only) at Common and Allied fetches at Uncommon with some combination of manlands and threshold lands. And a bunch of the cool other lands at Rare. But I really don't know. What do you think?

I think limiting the amount of fixing is a good thing, especially with Fertile Ground and other G fixing helping to keep that part of G's identity. Terminal Moiraine is terrible, but probably about right for what we want to be doing. Terramorphic would probably be the best fit at C but loses out on the flavour stakes. Fetches are generally aweful in limited without duals, so I think they're fine at U.

Hollow and Stronghold are good inclusions, not sold on the threshold lands though. The original manlands are probably worth an inclusion, if only to help power up terravore.

Yes, perhaps none of the Threshold lands are interesting enough to be including.  1 point of life for every tap is a pretty high price for the effect later.

Terminal Moraine is actually worse than an ALA Panorama which were pretty awful in a format with a lot less powerful cards than this one.  Perhaps it is just too bad?

So your vote is maybe Terminal Moraine at Common, Manlands and Allied Fetches at Uncommon and choice others at Rare/Mythic?  That seems pretty reasonable to me.  Will anyone play Forbidding Watchtower?  I guess it dodges Wildfire/Slice and Dice/Living Death and then does some blocking.

I think with Allied fetches at Uncommon you still ideally want to be base G with Krosan Tusker if you are playing 3+ colors.  I wonder if Tusker is overshadowing Fertile Ground.  He doesn't ramp you though.  UG-based Domain is looking pretty sweet although with a surefit of playables no matter what you do perhaps it is not good to be messing around with mana.

A lot to digest there Tom.

Simply put we are trying to support three things here:

1) colour fixing lands

2) lands with cool abilities

3) lands required for 'reprinting'

In the few Cube Tutor drafts I did, not having the enemy colour fetches was often a pain, and does unbalance the support for colour pairs. With fetches at Rare it might not be such a problem. I think this leaves us with two options I) move fetches to rare and replace with painlands (or taplands if you really want). II) supplement uncommon fetches with 5 enemy pair painlands. This might be better than it initially appears as our aggro/control archetype breakdown almost splits across enemy pair/allied pair lines quite nicely.

Regarding lands with cool abilities, I guess we are tied to max 2 per colour, probably one at Unc and one at Rare. Centaur Garden was actually fine, I always played one copy in my UG Madness deck.Thran Quarry is terrible.

As for 'reprint' required I guess we can choose to ignore this as long as it makes our set better overall.

My initial stab at this would be:

Common - Terminal Moraine, Blasted Landscape

Uncommon - Allied Fetches + Enemy Painlands, Threshold Lands

Rare - Wasteland, City of Traitors, Grand Coliseum, Manlands?

Mythic - Ancient Tomb, Serra's Sanctum, Gaea's Cradle, Riptide Laboratory, Volrath's Stronghold, Rishadan Port (as the red land of the cycle?)

Although Wasteland is the more likely Mythic in the real world, I think with the removal of cycling lands at common it is a lot less obnoxious in our set.

i just put a thread on dt about tuesday at the club - is the plan to do a proper draft of this - or just test before doing something else. i would be well up for a full draft of this or a cube of some sorts

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