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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Mar 15 2017 12:00pm
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I love this game. I love writing about it. Compiling lists about it. Evaluating it. Sometimes, I even play it. I'm an Accidental Player.

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 Three's a charm. The third Modern Masters set finally reprinted the most valuable planeswalker in Magic history, along with a bunch of other very important cards. Like I did for Eternal Masters back then, I'm going to review all the reprinted creatures, even if they don't actually grow the ranks of their tribes, since they're still going to influence the Tribal scene and beyond. It's also an occasion to reevaluate both some classics and some underdogs. Mostly classics, because Modern Masters is a draft set that's more akin to a Cube with almost no filler at all.

 So let's have a look at the MM3 creatures and their tribes. As always, the focus is on all the Constructed applications, the tribes are listed alphabetically, but you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 249
  • New cards: 0
  • New creatures: 0
  • Reprinted cards: 249
  • Reprinted creatures: 112
  • Creature types affected: 52
  • Tribes with more than 5 appearances: Human (31), Wizard (16), Goblin (10), Shaman (10), Vampire (6)

Advisor: 2

 

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 Related Tribes: Human, Spirit

 Impact of the Reprints: Medium

 Highlights: Speaking of "almost no filler", Advisor doesn't start with the right foot, because unfortunately Agent of Masks is exactly that. She gets a cool new artwork, though, replacing the not-very-good old one. Also, I now realize she's supposed to be a reference to Game of Thrones (or better, A Song of Ice and Fire, since Guildpact predates the TV show.)

 On the other hand, Obzedat, Ghost Council is a great card, although it hasn't been a money card since its Standard times. And will never be anymore, since it's been downgraded from mythic to rare.


Angel: 3

  

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 Impact of the Reprints: High

 Highlights: That's more like it. Linvala, Keeper of Silence is one of the most valuable, most powerful Angels ever printed. She's consistently played everywhere she's legal, if mostly as a silver bullet or sideboard option, because one-sided creature nerf is something you certainly want available when needed. I was expecting new artwork where she now finished her bath and put some clothes on, but I guess that didn't happen until Oath of the Gatewatch.

 To accompany the Legendary Angel we have a legendary one, as Restoration Angel has been the protagonist of not just the sideboard, but the maindeck of a number of successful builds. Flash + blink = shenanigans, either for combo or control. Stoic Angel is the dark horse here, since you rarely see her played, but that doesn't make her a bad card. The color requirement is a bit steep, but the Smoke effect is old school punishing, especially within a tribe known for its vigilance. And her CMC and stats are actually on par with her MM3 sisters: it's a veritable charge of the 3/4s for 4.


Artificer: 5

  

 

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 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: So, Artificer gets the entire Splicer cycle (except for Maul Splicer, which is weird), and nothing else. Of these guys, only the rare Blade Splicer has ever seen play, but they work well in a Limited environment. Fun fact: Sensor Splicer is the only Artificer without another subtype, which makes me wonder why they never made Phyrexian into a creature type.


Avatar: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: High

 Highlights: You know how many duds the Avatar tribe has? By picking one randomly, the chance of happening into money, or a good power level, or, like in this case, both, was very slim. Too bad they didn't pick randomly, so we get the very peculiar Death's Shadow, making every Suicide Black player out there happy. Or at least as happy as a Suicide Black player can be.


Beast: 5

  

 

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 Impact of the Reprints: Severe

 Highlights: I'm going through the types alphabetically, but I'm already convinced Beast is taking the throne of the best tribe in the set. First of all, we've got Craterhoof Behemoth, which is one of the scariest finishers and overall best green creatures ever printed, not to mention a great value card. And then there's Thragtusk, which isn't worth much anymore, but it's an amazing, multifaceted critter, embodying aggression, durability, stopping power, lifegaining: the most effective hard counter to burn strategies in creature form.

 And even the rest is still solid: the two bloodrush creatures have both seen tons of play and are excellent designs, and Woolly Thoctar may be vanilla, but boy if that guy is above the curve.


Bird: 4

   

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 Related Tribes: Scout, Shaman

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: Bird definitely didn't enjoy the Beast treatment, because there's literally nothing of any relevance here. Maybe Mist Raven, but in the end is just an overcosted Aether Adept (which is in turn a strictly worse Man-o'-War.)


Cat: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: All right, not every Cat is Wild Nacatl or Brimaz, and Rubblebelt Maaka has actually seen play in Cat Tribal as the tribe's built-in Giant Growth, but in the end it's just a forgettable common. Cat's not winning the MM3 competition here.


Centaur: 1

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 Related Tribes: Cleric

 Impact of the Reprints: Medium

 Highlights: Well, if a tribe must get just a lonely common, there are certainly worse choices than Centaur Healer, aka miniature Thragtusk. Plus, Centaur is not exactly known for the many amazing creatures it brings to the table (one could have hoped for Courser of Kruphix, I guess.)


Cleric: 5

  

 

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 Related Tribes: Centaur, Human

 Impact of the Reprints: Medium

 Highlights: Now, Cleric is a much larger tribe, and high-profile stuff are in fact there. This said, this bunch of low-costs are at least useful: the Centaur is a high pick in Limited, Soul Warden (along with her sisters) is an archetype-defining card, and Sin Collector is excellent advantage through disruption. I remember using Entomber Exarch back when Birthing Pod decks were still a thing (sigh), and it raises again the question of why Phyrexian is not a tribe. And Urbis Protector got new art! Finally, says nobody, ever.


Demon: 3

  

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 Impact of the Reprints: High

 Highlights: Of course all eyes here are on Griselbrand the Dark Reanimated Prince, which is one of the major money cards in the set; yet, Extractor Demon is another bona fine endgame guy in a variety of combo builds, and Desecration Demon is still an outstanding beater with a weird, indirect control element. Demon matches Angel perfectly, as it should.


Devil: 2

 

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 Impact of the Reprints: Medium to High

 Highlights: Devil gets (back) the best of their kin ever printed in Hellrider (an alpha-strike enabler almost on the same level as Craterhoof Behemoth), plus a forgettable pre-Innistrad one. So I guess this balances their karma out, the poor devils.


Dragon: 2

 

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 Related Tribes: Wizard

 Impact of the Reprints: Medium to High

 Highlights: If Dragon was, as always, an obligatory tribe in MM3, then they chose two nicely peculiar specimens. They aren't worth a thing, but Broodmate Dragon was once a Jund star, and is a 2-for-1 that overcomes the typical clunkiness of the tribe. Niv-Mizzet Mk. II was never really played, and it's way less combolicious than his older incarnation, but that one was already included in MM2, and this one is not mythic anymore, so it's all good.


Drake: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: Null

 Highlights: Man, even in a set of all-star reprints Drake can't provide anything but underwhelming filler.


Druid: 1

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 Related Tribes: Elf, Snake

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: Eh, Coiling Oracle is a great mana-ramping 2-drop and all (plus the only creature in the set sporting 3 subtypes), but you know which Druid people were expecting in its place? Yeah, you know that, it's this one. (And yeah, she was in MM2 already, but it's not like there's not another example of a big money card doubling its presence.)


Elemental: 3

  

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 Impact of the Reprints: High

 Highlights: Hear hear! Voice of Resurgence gets reprinted for the first time, and everybody rejoices, because Voice of Resurgence is the type of card that makes your Maverick-style, "smart aggro" deck better, yet it's not a be-all, end-all kind of card, so it shouldn't cost 20 tix apiece.

 Flickerwisp, in its own small way, is its usual amazing self, while Wayfaring Temple is just cute, but ineffective in most Constructed formats. Curiously, it shares stats with Voice of Resurgence's token.


Elf: 3

  

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 Related Tribes: Druid, Scout, Snake, Wizard

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: No mana dorks among these MM3 Elves; instead, we got  two great little rampers with built-in card advantage. They're nothing fancy, reprint-wise, but they certainly help the Limited environment quite a bit. The third Elf is an odd one: I didn't even remember Thornscape Battlemage was Modern-legal (thanks to the Time Spiral "Timeshifted" subset.) It's an atypical creature and/or artifact removal on legs, requiring multiple splashes, that ceased to be popular since about 15 years.


Gargoyle: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: Null

 Highlights: As bizarre as it sounds, this is the only artifact creature in the set, and it's not even colorless. Or bound to be remembered after you finished reading this paragraph.


Giant: 1

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 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the Reprints: Null

 Highlights: Unusual choice for a Giant, but I guess it was mostly incidental, since Grixis Slavedriver is primarily a Zombie. Just a common, not very noteworthy instance of the unearth mechanic from Alara.


Goblin: 10

  

 

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 Related Tribes: Scout, Shaman, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the Reprints: High

 Highlights: Goblin has a strong presence in MM2, their gang being headed by the one and only king of the aggressive 1-drops, Goblin Guide, which also happens to be a money card, despite this being its fourth iteration (and third artwork after the Zendikar and promo ones.) Then we have a few other solid beaters, and Goblin Electromancer that takes the tribe entirely elsewhere, i.e. in the Izzet, "instants and sorceries" matter territory. But also Wort, the Raidmother, which is just not what any Goblin deck wants (tribal or otherwise.) Sure, universal conspire is juicy, but she's too damn overcosted, and still boltable. More of a Commander card, really. I'd like to see a MM3 draft built around her, though.


Horror: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: Null

 Highlights: Whoa, this is one obscure Horror. I couldn't for the life of me remember from where this was from (spoiler alert: it's from Gatecrash.) Its ability is strong in theory, but not for 6 mana, it's not.


Human: 31

  

  

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 Related Tribes: Advisor, Artificer, Cleric, Knight, Monk, Scout, Shaman, Soldier, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the Reprints: Irrelevant (no, well, actually not quite irrelevant, is it?)

 Highlights: Guess what, you take a bunch of random creatures from anywhere in the game, and one quarter (almost one third) of them happen to have the Human type. Go figure. Anyway, enjoy your money mythic (formerly rare), Human-lovers.


Illusion: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: High

 Highlights: Phantasmal Image is the Illusion that goes in any deck. Clone for two, with a little drawback, what not to love? It used to be worth more, but it still commands a few dollars in the paper world, this being its first reprint since Magic 2012 after all.


Insect: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: This guy used to be rare and is now common. This says something about it, doesn't it? (All right, it's not terrible, but it's certainly more at home among commons.)


Kithkin: 1

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 Related Tribes: Wizard

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: Mistmeadow Witch is one of those cool creatures that's very hard to exploit in 60-card Constructed, because the activation cost is steep, and she doesn't actually do anything else. Still, repeatable Flickerwisp effect is nothing to sneeze at. She also brings back controlled creatures, thanks to the "owner" clause (I recently realized a lot of blink effects don't have that clause, including Cloudshift, Conjurer's Closet, Deadeye Navigator, Ghostly Flicker, and Restoration Angel.)


Knight: 4

   

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 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: None of these Knights is a star, but they're all very desirable in Limited, especially Attended Knight.


Kor: 3

  

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 Related Tribes: Monk, Soldier

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: The same goes with what I said for Knight (except, well, Kor Skyfisher is indeed a star in Pauper.) Freeze a creature, replay something, gain 4 life... looks like white is going to be quite strong in this Limited environment.


Kraken: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: Null

 Highlights: The fact that the only Kraken in the set is a 0/4 is outright hilarious. Release the Hatchling!


Leviathan: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: Simic Sky Swallower is a 10-cent card, but it's also one of the greatest finishers in the game, so there's that.


Lhurgoyf: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: Severe

 Highlights: And here it is again, the most sought-after creature in the entire Magic scene, and a fixed feature of all Modern Masters sets so far. Don't expect its price to drop too much as a result, though, since the little big guy keeps being an extremely chase mythic. It'll just mitigate it a bit.


Lizard: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: This Thrinax is not a super-powerful card by any means, but I've always liked its design, a 3/3 that turns into three 1/1s. It's neat.


Merfolk: 1

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 Related Tribes: Wizard

 Impact of the Reprints: Null

 Highlights: Not the most representative member of the Merfolk tribe, but it's good card advantage in the form of a solid turn-2 blocker. Plus he's explicitly heralding the advent of Bolas in Amonkhet, right?


Minotaur: 1

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 Related Tribes: Wizard

 Impact of the Reprints: High

 Highlights: See, that's one dude that does a pretty good job representing Minotaurs as a whole, or at least the best they can be for Constructed purposes not necessarily linked to the tribe. Boros Reckoner's time in the spotlight has somehow faded since its Standard turn, but it's still quite a hard beater to face without consequences. Not to mention all its combo possibilities.


Monk: 3

  

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 Related Tribes: Human, Kor, Rhino

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: So Monk has the pure mana dork the Elves were negated this time around, plus some guys that give you life. Rhox War Monk is actually a beast at that, combining hitting power with lifegaining, all for a ridiculous CMC (if requiring a Bant configuration.) Were it a mythic, it would spell money for sure.


Ogre: 1

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 Related Tribes: Rogue

 Impact of the Reprints: Null

 Highlights: The guildgates are in the set (along with the shard lands and 5 fetches), so here's a creature that works with them. Not an amazing one, but it does its job of slightly rewarding players who picked a guildgate while drafting.


Ooze: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: High

 Highlights: Scavenging Ooze is certainly the best Ooze in the game, possibly along with Acidic Slime. It's fast, fulfills many roles, from graveyard hate, to beating, to lifegaining, and it used to be quite pricey, back when its only printing was in the very first Commander decks set, before being reprinted in Magic 2014. And it's still a minor money card to this day, so welcome back again, Scavenging Ooze. Green is having a blast in MM3.


Rhino: 1

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 Related Tribes: Monk

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: I've already sung the praises of Rhox War Monk, but it's even more significant as a Rhino, of course. It's the Rhino you want to get when they tell you they're going to give you a Rhino.


Rogue: 2

 

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 Related Tribes: Ogre, Vampire

 Impact of the Reprints: Null

 Highlights: That's a strange pair of Rogues. Ogre Jailbreaker is an overcosted defender that could occasionally attack as a vanilla 4/4 and Vampire Aristocrat is one of the typical sacrifice outlets the Vamp tribe gets a lot of, but it costs at least 1 mana too much compared to the best ones.


Scout: 4

   

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 Related Tribes: Bird, Elf, Goblin, Human

 Impact of the Reprints: Medium

 Highlights: Yeah, Goblin Guide is a Scout, too, albeit that subtype is rarely pertinent to its applications. Sylvan Ranger is more of your typical Scout, if a cheap, unremarkable one. The other two are unusual again, but mostly unplayed and irrelevant, although I guess Tandem Lookout can be good in Limited.


Shaman: 10

  

 

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 Related Tribes: Bird, Goblin, Human, Vampire

 Impact of the Reprints: Medium

 Highlights: Such a large amount of Shamans, for obscure reasons! Well, it is a tribe with an outstanding lineup in average, so maybe that's why they have a chance to shine in a set of reprints. There's no money here, but cards like Vampire Nighthawk and (Vithian Singer) are going to define MM3 Limited. Ulvenwald Tracker, too, but as a rare it will be less likely to show up in drafts. All three are forms of removal on legs, so they're bound to be good.

 Burning-Tree Emissary, with her explosive starts, is also going to leave a mark on Limited, just like she did in Standard a few rotations ago.


Shapeshifter: 1

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 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: Among the many, many different strictly better Clone variations, Evil Twin has the disadvantage of being linked to two colors. It tries to balance that with a removal ability that's more effective in theory, because it requires tapping and more Dimir-colored activations. Despite being Clone Plus, it never managed to become popular for those very reasons.


Skeleton: 1

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 Related Tribes: Warrior

 Impact of the Reprints: Null

 Highlights: You can see what this Skeleton's master plan is: to attack recklessly and relentlessly, surviving any blocking via regeneration, and guaranteeing a modicum of life loss will happen anyway. It's just that the execution is overly clunky, what with those 3 mana it requires in order to regenerate. I know, it's just an uncommon.


Snake: 2

 

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 Related Tribes: Druid, Elf

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: Snake represents both its humanoid members with its land-grabbing Druid, and its animal-like counterparts with Death-Hood Cobra, which is perfectly fine, if a bit mana-intensive, as a potential deathtouching bear, potentially with reach as well.


Soldier: 5

  

 

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 Related Tribes: Human, Kor

 Impact of the Reprints: Medium to High

 Highlights: A couple good Kors, a couple good tappers/disablers (I always liked Thundersong Trumpeter because he doesn't require any mana activation), but the true Soldier highlight is Ranger of Eos, naturally, now with a new artwork that unfortunately doesn't portray 2006 Magic Invitational winner Antoine Ruel anymore. It's a deliberate decision, it appears, because the same goes for Snapcaster Mage and Tiago Chan as well. What's worse, this Ranger of Eos is not shown as summoning two creatures, which is his defining characteristic, but just the one. And what's even worse, that one summoned critter is... Suntail Hawk of all creatures? What gives? (These issues aside, I still like the artwork.)


Specter: 2

 

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 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: These two Specters do essentially the same stuff (as most Specters do), but Sedraxis Specter is the superior one (more power for less mana, unearth) because of its color requirements, and the fact that it was originally a rare that's now been downgraded. By the way, what's the difference between a specter and a ghost in MTG terms? The latter is included heavily in the Spirit tribe (that also involves natural spirits like the Kamigawa ones.) Maybe a Specter is not actually a dead spirit? Regardless, it seems like one of the many redundancies in the creature type system.


Spider: 2

 

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 Impact of the Reprints: Medium

 Highlights: These are two good Spiders for sure. Arachnus Spinner is the big mama Spider; she's expensive, but sometimes worth it, and being uncommon means she'll show up in the Limited environment quite a bit, along with her web (she might have liked a larger Spider presence in the set, though.) Penumbra Spider is just a great card, basically two Giant Spiders for price of one, but sequential in time. It's a Pauper staple.


Spirit: 3

  

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 Related Tribes: Advisor

 Impact of the Reprints: Medium

 Highlights: Both Obzedat (previously mythic) and Deadeye Navigator are big, flashy Spirits that give you a bang for your buck. Scorched Rusalka pales in comparison; she's a viable sac outlet in red, but that's just about it.


Vampire: 6

  

  

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 Related Tribes: Rogue, Shaman

 Impact of the Reprints: High

 Highlights: So the original, party-going Olivia Voldaren is back, but the biggest news Vampire-wise is that Falkenrath Aristocrat is now a rare, which means she's going to be affordable to everyone from now on (both these floating gals were still worth a few tix before MM3.)

 The rest of the Vamp reprints are not bad, either, especially Vampire Nighthawk, maybe not so much with the other Falkenrath; here's another strange custom in the MTG area of naming conventions for you: an "aristocrat" is somehow superior to a "noble".

 Also, Moroii is a very obscure Vampire from the first Ravnica set. Modern Masters 2017 reminds you of the cards you had forgotten about, and then reminds you why.


Wall: 2

 

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 Impact of the Reprints: Medium

 Highlights: Two of the best Walls ever, with plenty of stopping power. I've always had an insane admiration for Wall of Denial. You feel so safe behind it!


Warrior: 5

  

 

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 Related Tribes: Goblin, Human, Skeleton

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: The Warrior tribe in MM3 amounts to the always wonderful Zealous Conscripts (another card that brings back sweet memories of the lost Birthing Pod), plus a bunch of subpar guys. I guess the other hasty beater, Spike Jester, is not that bad for 2 mana. And Mudbutton Torchrunner can be annoying.


Wizard: 16

   

  

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 Related Tribes: Dragon, Elf, Goblin, Human, Kithkin, Merfolk, Minotaur

 Impact of the Reprints: Severe

 Highlights: Wizard is another big winner of the set, mainly because of Snapcaster Mage, of course (with his brand new, non-Tiago Chan-like appearance.) But most of the other reprints are noteworthy, if not as economically sound. For instance, Zur the Enchanter is a Commander staple, Venser, Shaper Savant is the ultimate bouncer, and Boros Reckoner is beating on a stick. Even Sea Gate Oracle and Wingcrafter are worthy commons that will impact the Limited environment quite a bit. There's a reason it's called Wizards of the Coast and not Drakes of the Coast.


Wurm: 1

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 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the Reprints: Null

 Highlights: This is not the Wurm you would expect, but I gather there's quite a bit of a multicolored theme in MM3. And this semi-forgotten thing is probably good in Limited.


Zombie: 5

  

 

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 Related Tribes: Giant, Wizard, Wurm

 Impact of the Reprints: Low

 Highlights: Zombies are mostly filler in MM3. Corpse Connoisseur is the possible exception here, because it can set up graveyard combos, being a sort of Entomb on legs.


SUMMARY

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 Check the Complete Creature Types Reference Table here.


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KUMA'S TRIBAL EVALUATIONS