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.
I'm pretty sure B is the best color in this pool. It has endless 187 creatures and constructed-quality removal spells.
You're right about Rats-Fiend. I'll cut fiend and put Disease Carriers back in. Although I worry they might be too weak to be playable. We can add them and find out.
I'm not sure about cutting Armodon as G's Common Creatures are currently 7 small, 3 medium, 3 large. MMA has 3 small, 7 medium, 3 large.
What I will probably do for tomorrow is print one of everything that is near to making the cut also in case that tells us anything.
In general there is not even slightly enough flying. MMA has 17 Common fliers. We have 5 Flying, 4 Shadow. Board stall a-go-go. Sadly a lot of the flying creatures in the pool are 2/2s for 4 and 2/3s for 5 with marginal abilities. Can we push anything down from Uncommon or otherwise increase the amount of evasion? More shadow?
Do we want Snuff Out at Uncommon?
Terminate, Bone Shredder, Ghastly Demise, Flametongue Kavu, Faceless Butcher and Ballista Squad at Uncommon and Innocent Blood, Kor Chant, Pacifism, Second Thoughts, Strafe, Lavamancer's Skill, Firebolt, Solar Blast and Heat Ray at Uncommon is a lot of removal. I guess the Commons dominate the actual draft so if we want to lessen it we cut some of those.
For Flying at Common in W we have Angelic Wall, which probably does the opposite of what we want. Opal Gargoyle becomes a flier rather than the 3/3 Knight which I am starting to think is a pretty weak card. Diving Griffin is a reasonable rate as a Wind Drake+ and that's about it in W. Battle Screech doesn't want to come down in rarity and we already dropped Angel of Mercy. There are no more appropriate W Shadow cards for Common.
In U we could replace Mistform Wall with Mistform Dreamer. Kingfisher/Aven Fisher are also acceptable in U. Fog Bank again probably does the opposite of what we want. Not much else in U. Raven Familiar? Fighting Drake?
There are actually quite a few OK fliers for Common in B and if we want more Shadow instead B has appropriate cards in Dauthi Slayer and Dauthi Marauder.
R and G don't really get fliers although G could do with some Reach. Canopy Spider was in for a while but it is very anemic.
Not sure what we are cutting for these.
Not sure how I missed Pincer Spider and Plated Spider when trawling for Reach creatures. Either look good as an Armodon replacement. Pincer gives more flexibility so I guess we'll go with that? 2/3 Reach for 3 or 4/5 Reach for 6 is a pretty good pair of options for an old school Creature.
Pegasus Charger is pretty feeble but about the best of a bad bunch. White has two Shadow creatures and two fliers already so perhaps we don't need it? Spiketail Hatchling is cool but trades with almost nothing in the air. Airship is better but what comes out? Merchant of Secrets or Thalakos Scout I suppose?
17 of 101 MMA Commons (58 Creatures) have Flying.
11 of 113 Innistrad Commons (58 Creatures) have Flying and 1 has Intimidate.
So perhaps with evasion totals of 4 W (2 Flying, 2 Shadow), 4 U (3 Flying, 1 Shadow) and 1 B (1 Shadow) we can get away with adding one or two fliers in B and calling it done? Skittering Skirge is cool although BB is annoying. I think Disease Carriers is first on the chopping block there? Or Cabal Ritual (not sure how useful that is going to be) and go up to 11 B Creatures?
I'll probably try and print at least one of each Common that's hovering around the chopping block and see if we can get a sense of what is worth including or not.
Cut Land Tax as a W Rare as it isn't actually in our pool!
Same for Enlightened Tutor! Everything else checks out!
I'm up for drafting this tonight if its still on?
It is still on and you are now on the list Charlie. Ross and I will be there from 5. See you later.
From 5? I might be a little later than that. Where is "there"?
EDIT: Just realised its tuesday so there is the county. My bad
Good playtest tonight folks. Thanks! I really enjoyed the drafts and the games. Saw some cool board states and some fun interactions. I really think we have the makings of something awesome here. I was spying on Louis and Charlie where a Chartooth Cougar was in play with Quicksilver Dagger on it when Louis made Sadistic Hypnotist sac'ing Wirewood Symbiote causing Charlie to Madness out Arrogant Wurm. I turned away and when I turned back a couple of turns later a Gloomdrifter had swept the board and was the only creature in play. Not sure what happend to the Wurm.
Loads of notes on individual cards that I saw in play.
Opal Champion was actually pretty good?
Spirit Cairn seemed fun but not busted. With all these effects triggering on either player discarding/cycling I can't decide if I can't wait for the cycling mirror, or I never want to see it.
Glorious Anthem gave my WB Clerics deck a little oomph but as you can't rely on seeing it I'm not sure it justified the many 1-power Clerics I was running.
I first picked a Merfolk Looter and had no cause to regret it. Although included for UG Madness it worked really well in UB with Unearth, Gravedigger, Wonder, Ghastly Demise and even Avatar of Woe.
What do you do when Scrivener is revealed off Fact or Fiction? This says a lot more about Fact or Fiction than it does about Scrivener, and I think it will probably have to move to Rare.
Peregrine Drake seemed awesome. Peregrine Drake into Rush of Knowledge is pretty slow but pretty cool.
Shoreline Ranger stops all beats in the air unless you have a flying Carrion Feeder and a bunch of other creatures. Really like the big landcylers in general.
I'm pretty sure Temporal Fissure is legit. Bouncing every single permanent and leaving two Peregrine Drakes and a Cloud of Faeries in play probably really is good enough. Louis' mono-U version was too slow and he was crying out for Sapphire Medallion. We probably need to see a version that uses the B acceleration to know. Still totally unclear if playing against Storm can ever be fun!
Rishadan Airship, which is currently halfway off the list, seemed like a real threat and a good card.
Circular Logic was close to a hard counter in my deck although I never Madness-ed it.
Wonder was awesome with Entomb and Merfolk Looter. I wonder if it's too good at Uncommon with so much discard-for-value. Will we get bored of everything getting flying all the time? I enjoyed playing with it but it's (still) on my watchlist.
Fact or Fiction is just plain awesome and a great card. It's power level is pretty damn high, though. Could move to Rare from Uncommon.
Daze had a great moment against me as I tapped out on t3 but Ross reported it as not very effective generally.
Repulse was solid. My choice of t3 play both times I had the option against Simon's t3 aggro.
I enjoyed playing around both Counterspell (Uncommon) and Miscalcuation (Common). We have so many good counterspells to choose from I'm not really sure how we decide what goes where.
Future Sight is as busted as ever. Should possibly be Mythic.
I only played Treachery once and as I had already played No Mercy I have no idea how good it was as No Mercy was already winning me the game. Probably pretty busted.
Ertai, Wizard Adept felt very powerful but also exceedingly fair. You can't just drop it on t3 and untap and wahey you have won. Your opponent can usually at the very least 2-for-1 himself to get out of the situation and often my opponents did considerably better than that. Leaving Ertai mana up is often the wrong thing to do as you don't advance your board and he himself can't do any battling. This is a good power level for a Rare, I think.
Festering Goblin was pretty sweet in UB with Carrion Feeder although he didn't quite make the cut in my Clerics-plus-Glorious Anthem deck.
Ravenous Rats was cool.
Not sure about Priest of Gix. The fact that he doesn't have Cleric in the typeline in the Urza's Saga version is unfortunate.
Phyrexian Rager was awesome and great with Unearth. Unearth itself was exceedingly cool especially with Bone Shredder.
Grave Digger did awesome things, especially with Bone Shredder.
Twisted Abomination didn't actually seem too good at Common but he's still on the watchlist. When he flies with Wonder in the graveyard it's even better.
Innocent Blood was good against fast starts (obviously) and also fun to try and work an opening to use for good value later in the game.
Ghastly Demise was good in my UB deck. Others didn't find the same.
I loaded up on Clerics in my WB deck in order to take advantage of Cabal Archon and double Profane Prayers. The Archon seems crazily good as he lets you burn them out from pretty high life totals. Profane Prayers is less exciting as it can be a literal do-nothing. The fact that it can go to the face might keep it in. We need to try it some more.
Patriarch's Desire is probably the most solid Monk Idealist target in the format.
A blind t1 Cabal Therapy for Cabal Archon from David sold me on Cabal Therapy as if I needed to be told. Additional utility with a 0 counters Blastoderm. I don't think it can be called at all too strong and really fun.
Louis was a fan of Gloomdrifter. I'm still not sure if we should go full MMA and cut anything resembling a wrath effect.
Withered Wretch has a slightly awkward mana cost but was straight into my WB Clerics as a 2/2 for 2 with a marginal ability.
Entomb was great for me. I mostly used it as Levitation at instant speed for B (with Wonder) but could also get Bone Shredder or Phyrexian Rager if I had Unearth in hand.
No Mercy was entirely broken and has to be cut. Very frustrating for my opponents who suddenly had very few options because of a 4-mana Enchantment. The main reason I 3-0'ed the first draft even though I resolved Future Sight several times.
Despite the awkwardness of the Echo goblins and the straight up terribleness of Rock Jockey (who will be cut) I probably couldn't have ever beaten Simon's mono R goblins without No Mercy. Sharpshooter in particular was crazy. Lackey seemed mostly fun rather than broken.
Slice and Dice is pretty much a wrath. I got caught by it against David with a lot of Clerics in play. It costs 6, though, so perhaps it is ok.
Solar Blast's cycling being uncounterable was bad news for Ertai and his 4 mana up. Seems good.
Threaten was good in Simon's aggro deck but out of control with Carrion Feeder in Ross' RB deck. Probably has to go back to its original print rarity of Uncommon.
Fierce Empath's relationship with the land cyclers was as good as Kieran promised. His other secret buddy Giant Warthog was also awesome.
Fierce Empath's buddy may be Giant Warthog but Giant Warthog's buddy is Overgrowth. t4 5/5 Trampler is pretty sweet.
Springing Tiger seemed fine but unexciting.
Blastoderm is a combination of a fifteen point burn spell or a triple removal spell. At least Blastoderm's opponent gets to choose I guess. Possibly too good/uninteractive?
Terminal Moraine was wildly unexciting. Not sure if it's doing good work or just a bit pointless.
The allied fetches and enemy painlands were great and although in fairly good supply I don't think it was ridiculous. I like the move to Uncommon for these AND the combination of the two types.
Treetop Village is great. Not sure if it might be too good for a "free" pick as it is a land.
I meant to also check what cards *didn't* make the cut. Merchant of Secrets and Giant Warthog got some lip but I saw both in decks. I wanted Festering Gobilns in my first deck but left them out of my second. Can't actually think of anything that I looked at and thought, "that doesn't go in any deck".
It's also not clear to me if the Rares are going to dominate the format if many of them are bomby and playable or if they offer a push in certain directions and are going to increase the variety.
Thanks to Tom for the printing/cutting/sleeving, and everyone else for turning up and playing.
Sorry I had to shoot off early, had to meet my wife.
I first picked a Goblin Warchief, and decided to just force the linear aggro deck to see how it plays. Halfway through pack 2 I felt like it was a bit of a disaster as I only had about 7 creatures total, and I thought that the creature/spell balance for red must be wrong. Luckily the last booster saved me as I think I opened Sharpshooter then got passed a pretty late Siege Gang Commander.
As for the Goblin deck as a whole, having a curve of Goblin Patrol, Goblin War Buggy and Rock Jockey is pretty unsatisfying! Luckily having Fanatic and Mogg Flunkies helps to make that a bit more palatable, but their were many times when I just couldn't attack until turn 4. Altough hating on Rock Jockey initially I think it might not be quite as miserable, but it is only good ig you have the rares (Lackey) or uncommons (Warchief).
I think I won almost all my games using Goblin Warchief and/or Sharpshooter. Sharpshooter is pretty nuts anytime you get to have a combat step and he is active. Usually you can wrath their board or they cant block. As a 3 mana 1/1 he is as fragile as Ertai and probably dominates a similar number of games, but in a different fashion. Will need a further playtest to decide if it needs moving to Mythic or cutting. Siege Gang I hardly ever played, almost entirely due to mana issues in my 17 land mono colour deck :-) In game 3 vs Tom if I could have played it I think I may have beat the No Mercy. Lackey was actually pretty balanced.
We might need a few more hosers in the way of enchantment removal and/or graveyard removal. Perhaps Thran Foundry/Steamclaw? We actually have Seal of Cleansing and Break Asunder at common, so we just need to think if we want an additional just enchantment removal in there somewhere.
Regarding rarity symbols/type lines I think we will just need to amend things in an image editor or mock up the cards in MSE, although Priest of Gix probably isn't ideal for the cleric deck, but maybe you just need any cleric you can get for those tribal decks.