Cast In Silver - Daily Spoiler Commentary 26/2/18
Masters 25 is the birthday party that Magic: the Gathering is throwing for us, the players. Today, we're taking our first look at some of the presents, and they seem very welcome. With promises that there will be at least one card from every Vintage Legal set within the packs of Masters 25 - the teams at R&D have the challenges of: getting needed reprints out into the player base, displaying the most powerful and iconic cards from Magic past and present (unlike Masters sets just gone), all the while creating a fair and fun limited environment.
Much of the player base knows by now that the hero/boogeyman of Modern, Jace returns in this set; as does Phyrexian Obliterator and Azusa, lady of Landfall. I won't cover them too much. They're here. Yay!
Mmm. Premium Limited removal. It's confirmed now that all the cards in the set are sporting a watermark of some kind - most of them being the set symbol of their original printing. As for Murder itself, I expect to get a lot of bombs just picked off by this when I draft the set and I'll pick it heavily if Black seems open. The classic art reminiscent of a renaissance painting and the smack talk from Bad Bitch Queen Marchesa makes it welcome for Pauper Cube players once the limited tables pack up.
Pauper Sideboard staples Blue Elemental Blast and Red Elemental Blast return with new, mirrored artworks and bullet pointing their counter/destroy effects on two lines. Something I love about the artworks here, more than just a blue beam cutting through redness and vice versa, is the wizards' hands. The Blue mage pointing to their target, collected and measured, while the Red mage flexes their fingers to put as much force into the blast as they can, holding that finger back to be the opposite of Blue. The 'M' in the watermark is, because their first printing in Revised didn't have a set symbol, and I expect to see many other cards get the same treatment.
Thalia, guardian of fair decks (to quote Vince) returns here. Humans and Prison players will be happy to see her return. I'm a Storm player. I'm offended. Let's move on.
Now coming to a Pauper sideboard near you, Pillage! It seeing print as a common means a lot of good things for Red decks in the all-commons-format. The utility for it to be able to bust an artifact or a land is just such rare value, making it an immediate sideboard include for most red decks in the format. Pauper Tron has been called one of the more oppressive decks out there; and sure Pauper decks do have access to Molten Rain to bust up Tron and Smash to Smithereens for the Affinity matchup, but being able to free up slots by having this effect on one card for a very reasonable cost is something that cannot be ignored. From a Limited perspective, I do have to wonder why this was printed at Common; we can't just assume this was intended for Pauper play, even though it WILL see Pauper play. Some have speculated the World Wake Man-Lands like Celestial Colonnade and Raging Ravine will be reprinted in this set. I like the idea of this. The last time aggressively costed Land Destruction was put into a Master's set was Modern Masters 3; a set which had the Shard Tri-Lands, Guild Gates and Fetch Lands. Having Molten Rain in that environment at uncommon kept those decks mostly in check, but Pillage at Common leads me to think some very powerful Lands and Artifacts are afoot.
Ah; Modern Tron sideboard tech. I've heard questions as to why this is a Mythic; and that's because it's not fun in Limited. Ultimately, Masters sets are ways to disguise mass reprints as a fun draft format (that's why Modern Masters 1&3 were so successful; they did both perfectly) so putting a card like this in there is good, but not so low a rarity that you'll hate your life when someone plays it against you.
Blood Moon returns with the staccato, center justify, version of the rules text. The set symbol from The Dark just reiterates the whole Moon motif. As long as there's a deck in Modern that dares to play three or more colours, Blood Moon will be there in your sideboard. I've got a Creedence Clearwater Revival song stuck in my head now.
With it's original artwork, Cursecatcher will plummet in price for all those eager Merfolk players out in Modern and Legacy. The premier one-drop of the deck alongside Kumena's Speaker (if you're tropical) is always welcome in to any fish player out there.
Okay, this is very bold of Wizards to show the giant Darksteel robot smashing Shock Lands all over the place. Why is there so much Land hate so far in this set? I'd understand if this big bot were a Mythic, but at rare, people will get hit by this boy in draft; and many players consider Land destruction to be one of Magic's most unfair lines of attack (although for me, hand attack like Thoughtseize is utterly abominable). Only the rest of the spoiler season will tell us what to expect from the big boy that busts basics.
Well then. The question for what the other chase Mythic will be has been answered on day one of spoiler season. The $200 tutor from Portal 3: Kingdoms, printed in paper that once is guaranteed to slash that price tag. The power of this card is evident: tutor effects are always useful. Red's tutor's are as chaotic as the colour itself (we all know how Gamble reads). Conspiracy: Take the Crown brought us Recruiter of the Guard, but the powerful Red advisor is coming to many more players very soon.
With lands destroyed, powerful angels like Akroma and Gisela at Mythic Rare, and a charismatic recruiter searching your deck for Red Weenies; Masters 25 has started very well. You can read all about it here on Fantastic Universes.