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By: stsung, Jaroslava Stefankova
Apr 06 2017 12:00pm
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Since I started playing Magic I was constructed player rather than a limited one. In our city, Friday Night Magic was just limited and I was going there to draft. I was the 0-3 player that never managed to win a single match. I was drafting with very good players and I did not expect to do any better. When I moved and started playing in Prague everything changed. I started to win.

I learned that while I'm obviously terrible at limited in general I was often doing fine because I knew how to use my cards to their full potential and often used them in a way they weren't really meant to be played. This made me an above average limited player and my win rate started to go higher. I played 2-3 drafts a week and often went 2-1 or 3-0 which was a nice change after years of 0-3 in every single draft. My collection started to grow and I was a happy player. The internet though changed things. Sets are usually already 'read' and 'solved' very early and the drafts are very similar soon. This is something that drove me away from drafting regular sets and I started just playing constructed (and Cube). There are sets though that made me want to draft all day. Notably Modern Masters sets. I could draft decks I liked in the past. Maybe I like these sets also because it feels more like Cube and the power level is higher.

My first MM2 draft, I ended up in UG graft and it was so much fun! Glad I didn't play this on Magic Online because I would certainly time out.

When Modern Masters 3 was announced it was inevitable that I would end up drafting this set both in paper and online. I decided to bring you a draft report for a change. I've never done something like this so here is my first attempt.

Picks

If Snapcaster Mage wasn't in the pack I'd be looking at Call of the Conclave or Kor Skyfisher. One I'd want to use in GW Populate decks and the other one in UW Blink but the card is in general very good.

In this pack from my point of view the interesting cards are Moroii, Seal of Doom, Kor Skyfisher and Tandem Lookout. Moroii is a card I like because this is a card I used to beat many people with in the past and I can still see 4/4 Flyer being good. It dies to Auger Spree though which makes it a bit worse than it used to be. Seal of Doom is removal that can destroy a nonblack creature. I usually pick this but there is tons of other removal I should be able to pick on the way. Tandem Lookout is a card that I don't think is that strong (for a second pick) but people pick it relatively high due to the fact that more archetypes want this card. It's usually a card you get one at most 2 chances of drafting. Kor Skyfisher is like Gush in Vintage. I just find this card too good.

This pack did not bring any cards that I would be interested right away so I had to stare at the pack for a while. While I was sure that I wanted Mystical Teachings, that is a card that would come to me even as 12th pick. Gideon's Lawkeeper seemed like the best card.  It is good and does not require that much of synergy. Esper in MM3 works fine so I picked that in the end.

At first glance it was clear I'd pick Soul Manipulation. I also have very good memories of playing with this card in my decks. It was a card that could win a game out of nowhere and in a UB deck especially with good creatures I already picked earlier this seemed like a must pick. The other card I was considering was Thunderous Wrath.

Seeing this pack I was like 'wow'. There were many cards one would want to draft so I really wondered what were the cards picked earlier. For my deck though only two were the obvious choice - Agony Warp and Dinrova Horror. My reasoning here is that any number of Agony Warps is good but I only need one or two Dinrova Horror. I expected to see the card later. Falkenrath Noble in this pack was rather fishy.

The pack started with a good card but I wasn't really in those colors. It was another removal that was worth picking but I still thought about being in Esper colors and picking something that costs RR wasn't an option. Crippling Chill, Deputy of Acquittals, Grixis Slavedriver and Mystical Teachings were the cards I was looking at. I didn't really like either of those cards so in the end I picked Orzhov Guildgate.

While I really love the card Falkenrath Noble it didn't quite fit into my deck so I picked Abyssal Specter which was perfect.

Teleportal is the card that stands out because this can kill an opponent out of nowhere and sometimes it becomes the only win condition. In the end I decided that Augur of Bolas could be useful. That is a card that annoyed me in the past very much because it can simply miss and does not give us the choice not to use the ability. Sea Gate Oracle is a way better card since it allows us to find whatever we need unlike Augur of Bolas that looks for Instant or Sorcery card. An ok pick for a Blue Black control deck with lots of removal.

'Each player discards 3 cards' is a good card against my deck but not one that should be in it. Thus it was Forbidden Alchemy that was picked. This card sometimes also does more harm rather than good. UB/Esper/Grixis decks can often draw many cards and the games are long. 4 cards in limited is actually many cards and Flashback is a huge cost. In a deck running Gifts Ungiven, Unburial Rites, Lingering Souls etc I'd run this card but not in this deck.

The pick here is Rewind. I often want one counterspell in a deck that can deal with anything. Grixis Slavedriver may not be that bad but in these colors I need something with evasion.

Not much of a choice. Seeing Vampire Aristocrat so late was a surprise though.

Carnage Gladiator is a card that I liked to pick when I was playing aggressive decks and I certainly did not like playing against it. So I picked that.

Gift of Orzhova was one of very underrated cards when it was printed. This card is good though in a deck that can play it and runs enough creatures. Not my case though.

In all the MM drafts I played the last picks were often Seal of Primordium so I wasn't surprised to see that. Sundering Growth though does a bit more so I picked that.

The rare wasn't an option already since my deck took a different turn. Agony Warp was the pick because I wasn't really interested in anything else. It wasn't a stellar first pick.

Next pack brought a present though. Olivia Voldaren was a clear pick for me. The card is very strong even in constructed and limited it's one of the best bombs. She just does everything, clears the board, steals the best creature and beats your opponent. It was clear that I would have to shift to red.

In this pack I'd normally pick Opportunity. The rare though is a good surprise card and with the creatures that I had picked already it becomes even more powerful. So in the end Cackling Counterpart was the pick.

The following pack did not make me happy. The Splicer would have been awesome if I were in white. Serum Visions is a card I do not like and usually it does one thing - looks for correctly colored land. Since there was a Guildgate in the needed colors it seemed better to pick that.

Next pick was Kathari Bomber. I needed some creatures to deal some damage. This creature is sacrificed after it deals damage to an opponent but it leaves 2 Goblins behind. BR decks usually like this card even some Jund more aggressive ones or aristocrats. My deck so far did not seem to be the best place for it. The card is not bad in MM even if it used to be rather bad when it was printed for the first time.

Here the pick was Ghostly Flicker. I was tempted to pick Giantbaiting though. I main decked Ghostly Flicker in the end not even considering replacing it. But it wasn't a good card in the deck even with quite many targets to blink.

I was glad to be able to pick Dimir Guildgate.

Agony Warp was a nice addition even though I also considered picking another Guildgate.

Hanweir Lancer is a card I liked in Avacyn Restored but I did not feel like this was a card to include in my deck. I was happy that I picked the card though (and regretted not playing it main deck)

I was very happy with this pick. Tandem Lookout paired with a creature with evasion is just too good. Any deck needs to draw cards and this is one of the best ways to do it.

Not much in this pack. 2/1 Zombie with Unearth could end up in the deck if I didn't have enough cards to play.

Pit Keeper aka random 2-drop.

Golgari Rotwurm is quite a funny aristocrat. Big body, makes an opponent lose life for B and sacrificing a creature. A card I really like and was certainly drafting a lot of it in Ravnica. The card can be splashed. But my deck did not really need that.

When I opened my last pack Venser, Shaper Savant popped at me. There was also Spire Monitor which is a card I really wished to pick during the draft but the rare got the priority.

In the next pack I was interested in 3 different cards - Izzet Charm, Dimir Guildgate and Tandem Lookout. I did not want to pick any of them early but Izzet Charm being versatile and sometimes a removal spell was the card I wanted to pick the most. It wasn't likely it would come back. I really like the card though so sometimes I pick it over a better card.

Next pack was also interesting. There was Vithian Stinger, Agony Warp, Sea Gate Oracle and Mystical Teachings. The decision here was between Vithian Stinger and Agony Warp. Since this set features many 1 toughness creatures and many 1/1 tokens it is a card that should most probably get the preference. For example if there would have been Cower in Fear I'd pick that.

I was passed Hellrider here and I was tempted to pick it. But my deck wasn't the best aggro deck out there and Vampire Nighthawk seemed to be the better suited card. Very annoying flyer that can double as a removal and the lifelink is just awesome and wrecks maths for many decks. There were times this card was played in constructed! There was also Grisly Spectacle but I would pick that card only if there wasn't anything better to pick.

My next pick was welcome. Since the deck started to feature more and more creatures this card was exactly I was looking for. A bounce effect and 2/2 Flyer.

Sometimes smoothing our draws even in a card I really don't like is the right pick and it felt like it here. Aethertow is a card I like. But this deck does not run too many creatures so it would most probably just target one creature. That's when it is better to play a card like Grasp of Phantoms.

A Grixis deck has the advantage that it can play Terminate so I picked that over Guildgates.

Finally it was time to pick Mystical Teachings that could search for Venser, Shaper Savant or Snapcaster Mage and myriad of removal spells (or Cackling Counterpart which wasn't a likely target).

Another gift was passed to me - Augur Spree. This removal can kill majority of creatures I would need to deal with.

There wasn't a single card I would want in my deck so I picked one of my favorite cards - Falkenrath Noble.

Since I already picked Mystical Teachings earlier I decided to go for Shimmering Grotto. I can't express how glad I was to always pick that card. It may seem pretty bad and it certainly is in decks that are faster but here I was glad for another fixation.

If I'd run into a control deck there was a card I could board in - Night Terrors.

Nothing to pick here. Hate pick.

Zur wouldn't most probably end up in any deck. There is not so many relevant targets. Seal of Doom? Gift of Orzhova?

Pit Keeper wasn't bad for a last pick.

Submitted Deck

Round 1
Shimmering Grotto, Dimir Guildgate, Agony Warp, Island, Snapcaster Mage, Terminate and Island seemed like a snap keep. My opponent started with Swamp and followed with Spike Jester on turn 2. They continued with another two-drop but not a hasty one, so I just killed the Jester and let the two-drop slowly chew at my life total. I drew two more removal spells so I did not expect the creature to kill me. On turn 5 my opponent played Kathari Bomber so it was time for another Agony Warp. My opponent wasn't doing much of anything so at 9 life it was time for Snapcaster Mage, getting rid of the two-drop and start dealing damage. Later my opponent finally drew a fifth land they obviously needed and buried Griselbrand via Corpse Connoisseur. It was clear I'd face Griselbrand next turn. I kept mana open for Terminate and continued in Snapcaster Mage beatdown. I expected Torrent of Souls and that is exactly the card my opponent played. Griselbrand got Terminated and then not much else happened except my creatures dealing the remaining 12 damage.

Game 2, one lander wasn't an option so I took a mulligan. That hand wasn't any better though. It had more lands but no source of blue. Quick concession from my part.

Game 3 started with another mulligan. This time the keep was Hanweir Lancer, Rewind, Soul Manipulation, Kathari Bomber, Island, Island. My opponent was on mono red while I was on mono blue so it was a race who gets to put their colors together. When MODO provided me with a Swamp my opponent countered that - they targeted the land with Molten Rain and played a Rakdos Guildgate. The game did not look good. Anyway I managed to draw a third land and played Tandem Lookout. Next turn I copied the card and swung. I drew two lands in the colors I needed off the attacking Lookout. That meant I was back in the game even though my life total was low - 7 life. Since my mana base wasn't ideal I had to think hard how to proceed and not die to some hasty creature. Next turn I would be able to play Olivia and if that card would stick I could win. My opponent played Torrent of Souls on Skirsdag Cultist and attacked with 5/3 Corpse Connoisseur. For some reason during combat they decided to keep my two creatures alive instead of killing them which certainly helped me. I went for Olivia knowing that my opponent could deal 5 damage at most. Olivia instantly died to Grisly Spectacle.

So it was time for Hanweir Lancer to save the day. It paired with Tandem Lookout and the Lookout hit for 2 and drew 1 card. Feeling quite confident I played Moroii because any kind of trade with that card would be a good one. My opponent unearthed Corpse Connoisseur this time fetching Sedraxis Specter that he unearthed as well and swung with the unearthed creatures. This time they traded correctly and killed my Moroii by sacrificing the Cultist. This meant though that I was in the very same position again - with Augur of Bolas and Tandem Lookout in play. Then we both played Kathari Bomber and killed them. But I also had removal for the unearthed one and my opponent conceded at that point.

Round 2
I kept Swamp, Swamp, Island, Ghostly Flicker, Terminate and kept Moroii on top. My opponent played Mountain followed by Forest and Sylvan Ranger that suggested that my opponent was on Jund or Naya. I eventually drew a source of red mana and put Moroii in play. My opponent tapped few times to play a spell but didn't cast it. I just couldn't come up with anything got 5 mana that could be a removal. A turn later I found out what the card my opponent tried to play - Thunderous Wrath. That indeed could take care of my 4/4 Flyer. I played Ghostly Flicker on it to save it but than my opponent top decked another one with which I couldn't do anything.

Since my opponent was on Jund I started to fear their bombs, because the only reason why I would draft Jund is a card like Broodmate Dragon. In the meantime my opponent was just looking for lands and later they landed Broodmate Dragon. Even though I got rid of that Grixis Slavedriver and its Zombie supported by army of Sylvan Rangers killed me.

Game 2 I started with Vithian Stinger so I could start getting rid of the Sylvan Rangers my opponent played. Unfortunately Arachnus Web was played on it. I tried playing Olivia which could do the same but she was hit but Thunderous Wrath again played for its Miracle cost. My opponent then played Falkenrath Aristocrat. I didn't care much about that card since I had few Agony Warps and Augur Spree in my hand. I played Moroii and started to race. Unfortunately my favorable position was totally wrecked by yet another Miracle - this time Bonfire of the Damned. This was very bad since my remaining card in hand was Snapcaster Mage. My opponent played Broodmate Dragon, a 6/6 Slime and Vithian Stinger which I couldn't deal with.

Round 3
It didn't feel well to be wrecked by Jund so badly so I wondered what my next opponent would be playing. I kept Dimir Guildgate, Ghostly Flicker, Island, Swamp, Swamp, Abyssal Specter and Terminate. When my opponent played Soul Warden as their first and second spell I knew that this game would be a long one. I played Specter on turn 4 and hoped that paired with Tandem Lookout it would do a lot of damage and that later I could deal with the Wardens. Flickerwisp on my opponent's side of the table slowed my plan down and gained them even more life. It was still a plan. I was forced to kill the Flickerwisp to draw something, but my opponent put an even better creature into play - Stoic Angel. I did not feel like double blocking that so I just let it through and hoped for Snapcaster Mage or Augur Spree. Instead my deck provided Mystical Teachings. This way I could look for Snapcaster Mage and hope that my opponent would tap out so they wouldn't be able to play Momentary Blink. They did not want to that obviously but fortunately for me I drew Cackling Counterpart which allowed me to reuse Snapcaster Mage later. When my life total started to be critically low I had to simply play the Snapcaster Mage and Terminate the Angel. My opponent played Momentary Blink on it but it saved me a few life. I had to double block a Watchwolf (or rather a 3/3 Centaur) with Specter and Lookout but my opponent had Path to Exile to deal with one of my creatures. I decided to use Ghostly Flicker to save my creatures. I wasn't too happy about that but I still had Cackling Counterpart in my hand and could still Flashback it later. My opponent was finally tapped out because of the combat tricks so I tutored for Augur Spree, killed the Angel and swung with Abyssal Specter. My opponent discarded Momentary Blink and I drew Vithian Stinger. I had to let the Centaur hit me so I could reuse my Snapcaster Mage next turn. The Specter got bounced with Mist Raven which did not look good but I still had a lot of mana available so I could play the Abyssal Specter and Vithian Stinger. This time though Vithian Stinger was bounced. Because of a misplay on my part (tapping the wrong lands) I was unable to play the Vithian Stinger next turn to finally deal with the Soul Wardens. When I played the Vithian Stinger finally after dealing with my opponent's flyers they were at 55 life. They had nothing in hand and I had an army of creatures with power 2. There was no way I could possibly lose unless I would deck myself. I pinged Tandem Lookout and just swung with the team till my opponent went from 55 to 0. During that time my opponent played another Soul Warden card so I wasn't really looking forward to game 2. I needed to win because otherwise I would time out.

It was very likely I'd time out in the second game anyway. I boarded in all the creatures I could and submitted my deck wondering how I will race all that life gain.

My keep was Mountain, Island, Swamp, Island, Kathari Bomber and Mist Raven. I had all the lands I needed so I hoped I would just draw something relevant. My opponent started with a pair of Soul Wardens. On turn 3 I played my first creature and my first few attacks weren't really efficient - my opponent was still above 20 life. Then nightmarish plays followed. My opponent blinked Soul Warden. Then blinked it with Restoration Angel. I had to bounce the Angel in order to keep my attacker alive. Restoration Angel stopped my attack though since there was no way I could get through 3/4 body. Flickerwisp followed that blinked few creatures. My opponent was over 40 life by then and I was drawing lands. A top deck that saved the day came though - Olivia Voldaren. I had all the lands in the universe except sources of red though. I started pinging Soul Wardens but first few attempts failed due to Ghostly Flicker, Momentary Blink, Restoration Angel and Flickerwisp.

A few turns later the Wardens finally died. My Olivia was flickered so it lost its counters but I finally could steal Restoration Angel. Then I just killed yet another Soul Warden and Flickerwisp and attacked with the team a few times (since my opponent's life total was rather high). I had a 1:22 minutes on my timer but all I needed was to swing twice and ping some of my creatures to make Olivia bigger and I hoped I didn't miscalculate. I didn't.

After the last match I was glad I managed to win and not to time out as I expected. After my previous drafts that did not feature a blue card (if I omit Aethertow in my Populate deck) it was a nice change. I felt way better playing this deck than my GW Populate, RG Tokens or BR Aggro. The deck archetypes are interesting and fun to play and there are many rares that can make the games way more interesting. It brought many good memories to me from drafting earlier sets like Ravnica or Shards of Alara. It also reminded me of the time when I was playing the original Aristocrats in Standard. All the drafts I played were lots of fun and I would recommend to anyone who likes playing limited at least a bit to draft this set because it really is worth it.