Last Friday, we were finally graced with the complete Modern Masters 2017 spoiler, and after looking through all the cards, I will say it is a doozy. The set is packed full of awesome reprints, many of which are downshifted in rarity from their original printings, which to me means three things:

  1. It’s easier to get into Modern on the cheap.
  2. Pauper gets some awesome new toys.
  3. The limited environment is going to be AWESOME.

As’s resident limited-only player, it should be no surprise to you that I am most excited about the third bullet, and I’d like to talk about the set briefly before heading into some packs!

The first Modern Masters set came out four years ago in 2013, and it brought with it a highly acclaimed limited environment – somewhere between a normal set and a cube draft in terms of what you can do with power and synergy. Then, Modern Masters 2 released in 2015, and the limited environment felt remarkably similar to its predecessor.

Both sets made heavy use of tribal themes, changelings, arcane spells, and a U/W artifacts archetype- but it didn’t quite hit the same sweet spots with a lot of players. One of the best things about this new set, in my view, is the way it differentiates itself from the other sets in the Modern Masters series. Modern Masters 2017 shifts the focus away from X-matters type themes and toward multicolor cards and shard-based decks, while offering the same powered-up limited experience we’ve come to expect with these sets.

With that focus in mind, let’s look at the start of a MM3 draft and try to make the correct pick.

What’s the Pick?


Out of this pack, three cards catch my eye as top tier picks: Ranger of Eos, Path to Exile, and Crumbling Necropolis.

Ranger of Eos

It’s a powerful rare that I would be satisfied to start out a draft with, especially when the set it’s in has things like Avacyn’s Pilgrim and Gideon’s Lawkeeper at common. On the other hand, it doesn’t go in every deck, and you might not get to play it even when you warp your draft around it.

Path to Exile

Path is such a powerful card in Modern that it completely warps the removal landscape Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push. Some great constructed cards are worse in limited, and Path is not one of them. If you’ve never played with this card, being able to remove any threat for only one mana is incredibly powerful, even at the expense of giving your opponent free ramp.

Crumbling Necropolis

The last time we had trilands in limited, it was Khans of Tarkir, and they were incredibly powerful. Even if you picked one up that was only in two of your three colors, it fixed those colors as well as a Gate would, and plus it made splashing that fourth color (something that was very common in the format) all the easier. I expect that trilands like Crumbling Necropolis will be just as good here, if not better. The bombs are spicier on average, and while it’s hard to believe, the fixing here is even better than it was in Khans, which means the incentive to splash is crazy high.

While all three picks have their merits, Path to Exile is just too good to pass up here, and I am already feeling good about this draft. Let’s take a look at the next pack.

What’s the Pick?


It’s not every day that you see two of the same card in a pack, but we’re looking at both foil and regular Revive. I guess it helps that every pack in this set has a foil. Anyway, here are the picks I’m looking at:

Banishing Stroke

Stroke looks very similar to our first pick, Path to Exile…when you peel it off the top of your deck. Otherwise, it’s an expensive, clunky removal spell that gets the job done at instant speed. While it’s worth looking at here, I’m probably going to pass these up until I approach the middle of the pack (somewhere around pick 5-6), and at any point after that I’ll start reading it as a signal that white is open.

Compulsive Research

If Compulsive Research wasn’t here, I would be talking about Forbidden Alchemy, which along with Mystical Teachings is one of the core commons card selection spells in the blue-black instant control deck. If I picked that card, I would be interested in slamming down some Teachings, which pair very nicely with both Alchemy and our first pick Path. However, Compulsive Research is in the pack, and it is an extremely powerful draw spell that by far outclasses Forbidden Alchemy. Compulsive Research is more tempting to me than Banishing Stroke at this point, even though it’s off color.

Seaside Citadel

This option is very interesting. Since MM2017 is shard-based, Citadel it’s “centered” on white, which means unless we end up in one of the rare enemy color decks or don’t end up playing Path to Exile, it will fix our mana no matter which direction we head in on the color wheel. And as I mentioned earlier, the ability to splash is incredibly important in this format, so important that I am going to take Seaside Citadel as my second pick and walk away with a smile on my face.

We’re off to a great start. Let’s take a look at Pack 1 Pick 3, which is the last pack we’ll analyze today.

What’s the Pick?


Wow, look at all those Bant spells and fixing! No seriously, look at it, we’ve got a decision to make.

Penumbra Spider

This card’s subtype should have been ooze, because it oozes value. Seriously, this card is stubborn, and if you’ve ever played against it, you know how hard it is to kill. Play this, expect 2-for-1s, and laugh while your aggro opponents stare at it helplessly.

Avacyn’s Pilgrim

Pilgrim serves as a reminder of the days when Wizards still printed one-mana dorks in Standard sets. Nostalgia aside, this card is powerful as both ramp and fixing, with the obvious yet often ignored benefits of being able to attack your opponent for 1 and chump block if needed. Ramping into a 3 drop on turn 2 is a surprisingly attainable dream, and if you’re lucky that 3 drop is going to be Rhox War Monk.

Deputy of Acquittals

I don’t want to leave the Deputy out of the discussion entirely here, but it doesn’t seem to be in the same tier of power as our other options. If it turns out to be especially good at blanking removal and enabling trigger shenanigans, it might get the nod at some point. For now, I’ll relegate it to strong filler.

Simic Signet

Boy oh boy, signets are back! Cube players know signets as disgustingly powerful mana rocks that are some of your best options for either ramp or fixing, except they provide both for only two mana. That is a damn good deal, and this artifact deserves your respect. It’s also very nice that it reinforces the Bant-ness of our existing picks, giving us a bit of a direction to work with early on without plunging too deep before we know what’s open.

Arcane Sanctum

Sanctum is great redundancy for blue-white fixing, and it also enables a black splash should we decide to pursue that Mystical Teachings dream we considered earlier. Still, it’s not as powerful as a Signet, and on top of that it’s not as centered on the colors we’re already going for as Simic Signet is.

Ultimately, the signet is my pick here, and I’m hoping to spend my next few picks on some great Bant cards. If there’s a moral of this draft sequence, it’s that fixing is better than you think it is, especially in Modern Masters 2017, where people will be using their Wayfaring Temple to populate the copies of Sprouting Thrinax they made with their Cackling Counterpart. OK, maybe that deck will never come together, but you get my point. In any case, feel free to comment with your thoughts on my picks, and let me know what cards you’re most excited to play with in the new Modern Masters set!

My last few articles here on have been about analyzing the power level of creatures using mathematical models. If learning how to better evaluate new cards as they are spoiled interests you, definitely give it a read here.

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