Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success! This past weekend Modern Masters 2017 released in the paper world and by the time you read this article it will have released on Magic Online. I can't wait to draft the set and see the crazy things you can do in this format. I drafted twice in paper and I had a blast, even though I only hit one lottery card once, a Scalding Tarn that I needed for my Storm deck. For the time being this set has done wonders for prices of cards that were included in the set. I remember years ago buying a single Blood Moon for about 50 dollars and yet now I was able to trade/buy into them at 20 dollars. That's quite the price difference! Before I talk any more about Modern Masters, let's look at the upcoming schedule:
Aether Revolt Draft #8, Aether Revolt Sealed League #3 videos, Aether Revolt Sealed League #4 videos
Modern Masters Draft #1, Aether Revolt Sealed League #4 videos, Aether Revolt Sealed League #5 video
Modern Masters Draft #2, Aether Revolt Sealed League #4 videos, Aether Revolt Sealed League #5 videos
Modern Masters Draft #3, Aether Revolt Sealed League #5 video, Aether Revolt Draft #9
After playing with the set and looking at the short window we have for Modern Masters (March 22nd to April 12th), I've decided that Modern Masters drafts will replace Aether Revolt drafts for the next few weeks. Aether Revolt Sealed League #5 will be the last league we do and will end when the Amonkhet Sealed Set Review goes up. I'll do my last Aether Revolt draft (Aether Revolt Draft #9) the week before the review. We'll be doing phantom drafts for Modern Masters, not only because they're significantly cheaper, but also because I'll be forcing an archetype in each one. Speaking of Modern Masters...
5 Color Control in Modern Masters
When I sat down to do my first draft of Modern Masters 2017 I told myself that I was going to draft 5 color and then try to draft "normally" for any drafts after that. This is mainly to see how far I can stretch the manabase in this format. Looking at the set and watching pack openings beforehand gave the feel that this could be almost like a cube where you can draft a lot of mana fixing and pick up powerful spells later on. My first pick was a Scalding Tarn that I needed for my Storm deck and then the next three picks that followed were all guildgates. I took Mist Raven and Dinrova Horror pretty highly since not only do they kill tokens for free, it gives me time to slow my opponent down and make my land drops. When you're playing with a lot of guildgates you're going to be naturally a turn slower than your opponent, so having a way to "catch up" is extremely important.
Pack 2 Pick 1 showed me a Cruel Ultimatum that I could not say no to. That card is quite the beating if you're able to cast it and I knew I'd have the manabase to support it even if I ended up in all five colors. I got passed a foil Mystical Teachings that a) I couldn't say no to, and b) allowed me to chain that into either Opportunity and/or counter/removal. Mystical Teachings followed by casting Opportunity likely wins me the game because otherwise I would be dead if I spent two turns not developing my board to draw cards. I ended up getting 6 guildgates and a single triland, and while I had the chance to pick more guildgates, it wasn't actually needed. I was only taking a slight dip into white and red, so some lands like Selesnya Guildgate or Boros Guildgate didn't actually do all that much. The way the table was drafting it was clear that I was the only one taking guildgates highly, so I could afford to skip a few and have a good shot at tabling them if I really wanted to take them. In the end this is what I ended up drafting:
I wasn't sure how well the deck would do and was pleasantly surprised that I went 2-0-1 (split in the final round) with this deck. I was definitely playing from behind a lot, but if I managed to stabilize and cast Cruel Ultimatum, it was quite hard to lose from that spot. The Mist Ravens proved to be quite good as hitting for 2 in the air while holding down the fort with my other creatures meant I had a clock on my opponent that I would not let them answer easily. One of my opponents was a very aggro Naya deck that went 3 enchantments deep on a creature only to get punished by my Mist Raven. My next draft of the format was another 5 color concoction, this time even more greedier than my first draft:
My first four picks in pack 2 were Cruel Ultimatum, Obzedat, Ghost Council, Stoic Angel, and Soul Ransom. I showed someone all four and told them "I plan on playing all of these in the same deck". Do you know how crazy it is to play cards that have 1WWBB and UUBBBRR in their casting cost in the same deck? It's crazy, but definitely doable in this format. This deck was not as good as my first one as I had less Mist Raven and Dinrova Horror. My Mystical Teachings package was also less than stellar since I had no way to counter any spell my opponent tried to play. The maindeck Seal of Primordium was a hedge against someone playing (Seance), but I likely should have left that in the sideboard. My record was 1-1-1 with this deck, getting a draw against (Seance) guy and losing to 5 color beatdown. If you want to know more about my thoughts on drafting 5 color in Modern Masters, check out the video below!
Aether Revolt Draft #8
This draft was a little wonky given the fact that I was all over the place in pack 1. I took Aetherwind Basker to be a signal that green would be open in pack 1 but that didn't pan out. I took cards of four different colors and only settled in on green after getting a first pick Rishkar's Expertise in pack 2. From there I made sure to take green cards when I could and when I saw a Winding Constrictor I made the jump into black/green and continued that way for the rest of the draft. Looking back on it I should not have taken Panharmonicon pick 1 in pack 3 since it really didn't do anything for me in the end since if I have that going plus other things then I'm already going to win, so I don't need to win more. I should have taken Maulfist Squad or Dhund Operative instead.
A 2-1 result isn't bad, especially since this deck had a good chance at going 3-0 if I had drawn Release the Gremlins before the last three turns of that game. Each turn that passed after I was hoping to draw it gave my opponent a much better chance at winning that game, and in the end I ran out of time. Perhaps I should have held my Larger Than Life given that I ended up with a 11/12 Verdant Automaton, but I was hoping to end the game sooner rather than later if I drew the right mix of spells. I'm not advantaged going late and I need to win soon otherwise I die. I had the inkling my opponent might have had a counterspell for Aetherwind Basker, but given my hand and them starting to come out of their mana issues, I needed it to go right for me. I'm very advantaged if it resolves and I was willing to take the chance on that. I honestly did think the game was over when I said it, so for me to keep myself in it for quite a long time afterwards was very surprising to me.
Aether Revolt Sealed League #3
Ending the league is not the result I wanted, but I'm not surprised it happened. It turns out that we needed to rely more on Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter a lot more than I had intended, and the games where she died I was greatly disadvantaged. Overall the deck is just okay. It doesn't have any free wins unless Oviya is in play, otherwise you have to work for your wins. This could have been a 3-2 deck with a bit of luck, but sadly it went the other way around. This is a format where you need to have solid plays each and every turn and this deck sometimes fails to do that. Looking back on it I don't think I used Mobile Garrison effectively, and perhaps I would have been better off with Ghirapur Guide or Alley Strangler.
Aether Revolt Sealed League #4
I'll say this, I'm glad I went with RB over any of the two other decks I had made with the pool. Herald of Anguish is a pretty strong card and I think this deck is able to leverage it a lot better than the other decks. Through a little luck and Herald of Anguish at my side I was able to get to a 2-0 lead before I fell in the third round to a better RB deck with Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Freejam Regent, and Battle At the Bridge. I will say that I could have played better in that last game and not used my Chandra's Revolution earlier than I should have. I could easily beat the Foundry Screecher with Herald of Anguish and that lets me save my removal for Freejam Regent. I definitely played a little loose that game and got punished for it. The pack we opened at the end gave us quite a few cards that would go into our deck, making it a big stronger now. I'm very happy with the second Aether Chaser, as that card is quite good when you're more likely to have it on turn two.
Next week I get to start up our last Aether Revolt Sealed League and here's hoping that it's a good one. We'll revisit Aether Revolt Draft the week before the Amonkhet prerelease, but until then we'll be doing Modern Masters. I'll be forcing 5 color in every single draft so if you're not into that sort of strategy you have been forewarned.
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