Modern Masters 2015 Draft Themes

Justin Clouse | 8 May 2015 18:00
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I was a big fan of the original Modern Masters as a draft format. With such a big selection of card, spanning a huge range of sets, Modern Masters draft felt more like an underpowered cube than a normal draft set. It made for a fun and interesting set to draft, and let's face it; it didn't hurt to have a chance at opening a pack like this -

However, there were two issues with Modern Masters. One downside was that it was a little too archetype dependent, once you'd drafted all the different decks is was more question of how powerful a version you had of Giants, Affinity, etc. So for better or worse, the other problem was there simply wasn't a lot of it to go around, after the initial release weekend and GP Vegas it quickly dried up. Given WotC's history with the reserve list it's not terribly surprising that they'd be a little gun shy about print runs.

It's been two years since the first Modern Master, WotC used last year's late spring/early summer to print Conspiracy, but today we have the full spoiler for Modern Master's follow-up, Modern Masters 2015. I wanted to take some time to point out a few interesting things about the set.

Less Tribal, More Mechanics.

As I mentioned, the original Modern Masters was heavily weighted towards certain archetypes with a number of them being tribal, like Rebels, Faeries, or Goblins. This time around tribal seems to be de-emphasized in favor of mechanics, keywords, or other synergies, though there are some Spirits and Elemental tribal in the set. A lot of the mechanics also work with each other, which will hopefully make for a more wide open format. Here are the keywords and mechanics to keep your eye on in each color.


Soulshift is a tribal mechanic that returns Spirit cards from your graveyard, and it's typically always one CMC less than the cards casting cost. Note that the various Changeling cards in the set are still Spirits in other zones as well. In addition to Soulshift there are a few other Spirits matters cards in White, and if you're looking to find more Spirits your next best color is Black.

Soulshift #(When this creature dies, you may return target Spirit card with converted mana cost # or less from your graveyard to your hand.)

White's other primary theme appears to be equipment. A number of the creature get bonuses for being equipped or are naturally good at carrying equipment. A few of the cards are Metalcraft and give a specific better effect when you control more than three artifacts.


While it's not specifically a theme, Blue does contain a couple Evoke creatures. A creature with Evoke will have some enter the battlefield ability printed on it, and you can either pay its more expensive casting cost to get both the ETB and the body or you can play the Evoke cost to effectively just get the ETB.

Evoke (You may cast this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it enters the battlefield

Blues also has a number of mechanics related to counters with Graft and Proliferate. Graft allows you to move counters from one creature to another when something enters the battlefield after the Graft creature, and Proliferate gives everything an additional counter. Note that this is any type of counter, not just +1/+1. There are a number of cards with charge counters and -1/-1 counters in the set.

In addition, Blue also has an artifacts subtheme, including the return of Affinity for Artifacts. This would be a nice pairing with the White cards that also want Artifacts around.

Affinity for Artifacts (The spell costs 1 less to cast for each artifact you control.)


First seen in the Lorwyn-Shadowmoor block, Wither changes the way that creatures deal damage. Instead of outright damaging other creatures, they wear them down with -1/-1 counters. Like Blue, Black also gets proliferate and certainly would make a good color pairing between the two.

Wither (This deals damage to creatures in the forms of -1/-1 counters.)

While there is more of it in Red, Black also gets a few creatures with Bloodthrist, and Bloodthirst looks to be the primary hyper aggressive strategy. It's lacking one of its previous primary Black enablers from Tormented Soul, there are still other ways to push damage and you're rewarded with creatures that are bigger than you'd typically get at that casting cost.

Bloodthirst # (If an opponent was dealt damage this turn, this creature enters the battlefield with # +1/+1 counter(s) on it.)

As I mentioned in White, Black has a few other Spirits lingering around as well. There's more Soulshift and many cards that reward you for sacrificing your own creatures or simply creatures dying, so it's not a bad idea to look for cards that spawn tokens.

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