Team NRG Roundtable: Eternal Masters

With Eternal Masters fully spoiled, it’s time to start figuring out what effect the set will have on the game. Team NRG members Caleb Scherer, Matthew Tickal and Devin Koepke got together to weigh in on what’s in the set, what isn’t, and how it will change Eternal formats.

Casey Laughman (CL): What is the most pleasant surprise to see in this set?

Caleb Scherer (CS): What I thought was very interesting was the printing of the tutor cycle in this Mystical Tutorset, considering they’re pretty much banned in most everything except Vintage. That is a pretty cool treat, and for Limited it will be pretty sweet.

Matthew Tickal (MT): I’m excited for Karakas, because it will lower the price a little bit. I’m thinking about playing Miracles, and it’s one of the cards that I’m missing.

Devin Koepke (DK): A lot of the mythic rares are pretty exciting. Jace, Vampiric Tutor, Sneak Attack, Natural Order. All the mythic rares that are pretty high in price could potentially go down. But, if you look at Tarmogoyf, whenever it got printed in Modern Masters it went up. So you don’t know; you could be looking at $80 Natural Orders instead of $20 like they are now.

CL: What deck that is currently played in Legacy got the most out of this set?

CS: Elves seems like it got a lot better in terms of price and availability. All the $15 power uncommons just got nuked. You’re pretty much only looking at Gaea’s Cradle and Bayou, which puts it on par with everything else.Jace

DK: Anytime they reprint Jace, the Mind Sculptor it’s going to lower the price of it, which will maybe allow more people to play it. It could see a resurgence. I know Miracles plays a lot of them and Sneak Attack even plays one or two. I love that card. They did something right when they printed that card.

CL: What was the most surprising thing to not see in this set?

DK: Maybe they’re waiting for a Modern Masters 3, but Liliana of the Veil saw a price spike and it’s not in this set. It seems like a pretty good set for it to be in, because it’s played in Legacy. Show and Tell, too. It’s still $50 or $60 and a Legacy staple, and it’s not in this set. Those two cards I’m really surprised to not see in this set.

CS: I’m very surprised that they didn’t put in Rishadan Port, because that card is insane both in real life and on MODO. Also, the storm mechanic not being in here is very weird to me for it being an Eternal draft set.

CL: Of the obvious archetypes, which one are you most looking forward to drafting?

CS: I just want to draft all-in Burning Vengeance flashback decks. That’s basically the closest thing you can get to a combo deck in this format.

DK: The Reanimator deck looks great. You’ve got a bunch of power hitters and a bunch of reanimate spells. I’m also kind of ticked off that there’s not a Piranha Marsh in this set to combo with Worldgorger Dragon. You just have the gain life lands. So you can gain a bunch of life, but you can’t kill your opponent. I thought that was kind of odd.

MT: Merfolk Looter is an uncommon, too, so that will be good for Reanimator.

CL: When you sit down to draft this set for the first time, what card do you most want to see as your pack 1, pick 1?

MT: Value-wise, we’d just want to open Jace, right? It’s like the best Limited card ever. Besides that one, Balance is always broken; it’s unfair.

CS: Of course, the aforementioned uncommon Burning Vengeance deck; or Necropotence, just because I’d try to break that as well.

DK: Mana Crypt.Mana Crypt

MT: Oh yeah. Mana Crypt, for sure.

DK: That card’s just unreal. He’s like “Balance” and I’m like “yeah, that’s not even close to Mana Crypt.”

MT: Yeah, you’re right. Not even close.

CL: So if your pack has a Balance and a foil Mana Crypt, or a Mana Crypt and a foil Balance —

DK: Mana Crypt, dude.

CL: Mana Crypt all day?

DK: It depends on what the prize support is for the draft, I guess. If there’s like no prize support and foil Balance is a million dollars, then sure. If we’re playing for a box or whatever, oh yeah, we’re slamming that Mana Crypt.

CL: Aside from the obvious archetypes, what other combinations are you really looking forward to trying out?

CS: One thing I would have to look at is to see if it’s possible to force the all-in, hyper-aggressive red deck. That seems pretty interesting. You’ve got the Reckless Charges, you have the nice commons like Mogg Fanatic, Keldon Marauders, stuff like that. You have a very, very deep common selection.

DK: Sulfuric Vortex.

CS: Yeah, exactly. All those crazy rares.

DK: Somewhere along the line, someone’s going to have a Chrome Mox and a Sinkhole in their deck. And someone is going to be on the draw, and then Chrome Mox, Swamp, Sinkhole their opponent and make them cry, and I want to be that guy. I want to turn 1 Sinkhole my opponent. That sounds like straight gasoline. That’s my combination for the day.

MT: Probably the best strategy is just Elves, because there’s a bunch of good value elves, including Timberwatch Elf, which is just bonkers good in Limited. There’s very little removal, so Timberwatch will be an all-star.

CL: Removal is an interesting aspect of this set. Matt, you mentioned Jace being as powerful as it is in Limited, and there are really not a lot of ways to get rid of Jace in this set.

MT: Right. Bloodbraid Elf is about it.

DK: Vindicate. You have Vindicate, Chain Lightning, Bloodbraid Elf. Vindicate

CS: Chain Lightning might be good enough to keep him in check a little bit.

DK: He might not even be that good if you’re behind on board. Because you’d have to play him, plus, then hope they can’t attack him with their creature or whatever.

CL: We mentioned Bloodbraid Elf, and the return of everybody’s favorite mechanic, Cascade. It seems like there is a potentially bonkers Cascade deck to be drafted out of this set. If you open one of the really powerful Cascade cards, what do you look for to fill out that deck?

DK: I have an affinity for Shardless Agent and Baleful Strix to go together in a deck. (Editor’s note: Can confirm.) So, I would look for all the Baleful Strixes. It depends on your colors, obviously. Bloodbraid ElfVampiric Tutor is nice; a bunch of the Goblins could be OK with Bloodbraid Elf; there’s Young Pyromancer. There’s a bunch of really neat cards that could go into a Cascade deck; the great thing about Cascade is it’s just a natural two-for-one. Which could be the reason Bloodbraid Elf is banned in Modern.

MT: On that note, it should probably be unbanned.

DK: I second.

CL: Any concerns about the Cascade deck just overpowering everything else?

CS: Not really, because basically all the good Cascade stuff is at uncommon or rare. So you’re not going to be dealing with a critical mass of Cascade being too much of an issue. What seems kind of interesting is what Tickal touched on, which is the Elves deck being kind of the guiding force, and then everything trying to adhere to that. Heck, even Bloodbraid Elf fits into an Elf deck, considering you also have Deathrite Shaman and all that good stuff.

MT: There are no fetches, though, so Deathrite’s going to be far less good. Still strong, though, especially with Eyeblight’s Ending.

CL: Speaking of fetches, are you surprised to not see the Zendikar fetches in this set?

MT: No, because they’re probably going to be printed next year in Standard.

CS: They would require a Standard-level printing to reduce the price in any meaningful way, which they need to do for Modern.

DK: I was definitely expecting some sort of land cycle at rare instead of theGrove Khans of Tarkir come into play tapped lands. Filter lands or Grove of the Burnwillows even, to push that price down.

CS: They could have just done the Future Sight cycle. That would have been sweet.

DK: I’m waiting for the card that makes Contraptions.

CL: Steamflogger Boss.

CS: Yeah, maybe in Chandra’s homeworld?

DK: Yeah, sure. I just want to know what a contraption is.

CL: In honor of the fact that Fact or Fiction is in this set, I’d like to do a quick round of Fact of Fiction. Fact or Fiction: This set will succeed in making Legacy and Vintage more accessible.

CS: Mostly Fiction. Legacy still has the same barrier to entry for someone who doesn’t play. But, what I think this set gives a lot of credence to is less stagnation in Legacy because now, if you own the duals, picking up the six or seven cards you need for other decks is what will be facilitated. That is still a great thing, but I don’t think it will expand the player base all that much.factorfiction

MT: I’m agreeing with Caleb, but the fact that Force of Will is being reprinted will hopefully lower the price. That’s the big card that I’m currently missing, and that enables so many decks. It’s more fiction than fact, but it will help.

DK: I’m going to agree with both of those guys. There are still going to be Reserved List cards that aren’t going to be reprinted, and that’s still going to be a barrier. There was talk of a no-Reserved List Legacy, so maybe this could be a precursor to that and we could have a bunch of sweet cards with new art. That Daze art looks awful, by the way.

CS: Yeah.

DK: That’s not Daze.

MT: That’s like Brain Freeze or Psionic Blast.

CL: Fact or Fiction: This set’s Limited format will be better than either Modern Masters set.

CS: Partly Fact. The best part about this Limited format is that it will feel a little bit like Cube in that you just get to do your thing and it’s less focused on answers. The removal is a lot worse than we saw in MM1 or 2, so you can just draft your deck, then just jam it and just have all this fun with either a broken Reanimator strategy, or a fair Elves strategy, stuff like that. I don’t know if it’s just exactly better for someone’s own personal taste, but definitely a unique take to this powered-up Draft environment, which will be real exciting.

MT: Fact. I love drafting value creatures and come into play effect creatures. Man O’ War, Civic Wayfinder, Bloodbraid Elf. These are the cards I want to draft; these are fun and set up for interesting games of Magic. Gravedigger, where I’m hedging value. Slow value, where games go long and I interact with my opponent to actually play a game of Magic. That’s what I find fun.

DK: Fiction. The first Modern Masters was great; you had things like the Storm deck and Faeries variants. This one you’re going to have a bunch of powerful cards that break the game open and then some combo decks that are going to make people angry. This set is going to allow for more broken things to happen than Modern Masters, so it’s going to be worse for new players because they’re not going to really know what’s going on. Like Chrome Mox-Sinkhole type of games. Also, Chrome Mox is a mythic rare. Why is Chrome Mox a mythic rare?

MT: It’s a little broken in Limited.

CL: You also have Isochron Scepter in the format.

MT: Yeah, Brainstorm on a stick? That sounds great.

DK: Is that the best thing you can get with Isochron Scepter? Counterspell! That’s the one. Isochron Scepter, Counterspell, go.

CL: Fact or Fiction: Armadillo Cloak will lead to more judge calls than any other card in this set.

CS: Definite fact. The best will be everyone’s reaction when they draft this online Armadillo_Cloakthen the triggers stack all the time.

MT: I’m going to go with Fiction on this one. Just because Winter Orb; everyone’s going to forget it. They’re just going to automatically untap and draw and you’ll be like “judge.”

DK: Fiction as well. There are a lot of complicated cards in this set and there are a lot of upkeep triggers. People are going to forget a lot more things than the double lifelink off two Armadillo Cloaks, I think.

Casey Laughman is editor of You can contact him at




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