A Look Back at My Predictions: Eternal Masters

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With previews for Eternal Masters starting next week, I figured today would be a good day to take a quick look back at my predictions for the set before the big reveal next week!

Eternal Masters, a set designed to increase the supply of hard-to-find or pricey Eternal staples will be released this June. Very few preview cards for this set have thus far been released, with only the counterspell Force of Will at mythic rare, and Wasteland at rare thus far being confirmed. These two cards are basically the backbone of Legacy/Vintage, so their inclusion has people buzzing about this set.

As a hardcore Legacy player, naturally I’m really looking forward to this set!

Back in 2013, I had posted my predictions for the original Modern Masters set. I did fairly well; I had correctly predicted 9/15 mythics, and 19/53 rares correctly; this meant that I was 40% right, which was a good enough success rate that I considered this round of predictions to be a success. When Modern Masters 2015 was spoiled, I did another round of predictions; this time with a much lower success rate – I was only 30% right this time.

Today’s article will be my predictions for what will be in this awesome-sounding set, so let’s go!

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MYTHICS:
When making predictions about this set, there were a number of factors I considered. First, I looked at the EV, or expected value of a box. When opening a box of MTG cards, you can reasonably expect an average of three mythic rares per box. Thus, the EV of the mythic rares could not average to more than the cost of a box, or people would just buy this set out for pricey rares. (This is unfortunate, as I believe it will preclude the important Imperial Recruiter reprint being in this set). Thus, there will be cards that Wizards will hold back from this set that can be printed at mythic, that will be pricey cards.

When putting together my list of mythics and rares, I tried to stick to the Modern Masters 2015 breakdown. That set had a pretty even mix of mythics and rares across all five colors, and so I figured Wizards would try to do the same here.

I also took into account some possible draft archetypes that have potential to be included in Eternal Masters. I expect to see a storm deck, some tribal archetypes (Goblins, Elves, and possibly Merfolk), a Reanimator archetype, all the pieces for the Death and Taxes deck, and potentially the pieces for a Burn deck. With those archetypes in mind, I came up with a list of potential rares and mythics for this set.

Here is my final brainstormed list of mythic rares for Eternal Masters:

1. Force of Will
2. Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3. Balance
4. Entreat the Angels
5. Natural Order
6. Craterhoof Behemoth
7. Sneak Attack
8. Past in Flames
9. Entomb
10. Griselbrand
11. Sensei’s Divining Top
12. Umezawa’s Jitte
13. Batterskull
14. Karakas
15. Dack Fayden

This gives the average value of a mythic of roughly $35, which sounds about right. There are some mythics on this list that are worth under $5 (Balance), and some that are worth much more (Force of Will, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Karakas, which is where much of the value of this set would come from). Sadly, if we tried to add the near-$300 Imperial Recruiter to this list, the EV shoots way up, so I don’t think we’ll see him in this set.

I’ve chosen my list of mythics to complement the various draft archetypes that I expect; I also expect Wizards will showcase the Legacy decks with cards they can reprint (the mono-white Death and Taxes deck is a prime example, since none of that deck is on the Reserved list and thus can all be reprinted).

Force of Will was, of course, a no-brainer for this list, since they’ve already spoiled it as the set’s first card.

For Legacy’s most popular deck, Miracles, I have included Entreat the Angels, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Sensei’s Divining Top (I’ve bumped Top to mythic, because it’s really aggravating to play against in Limited). For the Legacy Elves deck, I’ve included Natural Order and Craterhoof Behemoth, two of the pricier cards in the deck that can be reprinted (sadly, Gaea’s Cradle is on the Reserved List). For Reanimator, I’ve chosen Entomb and Griselbrand… and Griselbrand does double duty here, since he also goes in the Sneak and Show Legacy deck, for which I’ve also included Sneak Attack in the list. (Sadly, Sneak Attack’s partner in crime, Show and Tell was cut for Jace, the Mind Sculptor.)

The Death and Taxes deck is honestly what I think Wizards is going to focus on in this set, and so the greatest concentration of mythics goes to that deck. We have the entire Equipment package of Batterskull and Umezawa’s Jitte (at mythic, since they’re both obnoxious in Limited), and most importantly, the priciest piece of the deck in Karakas. If Wizards is going to push this deck, as I feel they will, Karakas needs a reprint here, and I think mythic is where they would put it.

From here, my last two mythics are ones that have Vintage and Cube applications: Balance and Dack Fayden. These are cards that have proven themselves in the most expensive of formats, and Dack is also a casual favorite from a short-printed set, making him also a good choice here. The only thing that would keep Dack from being reprinted is the possibility of him being included in this summer’s Conspiracy II, but I still think he’s a good fit for Eternal Masters.

There are various other Legacy staples that I considered for my list: Dark Depths (I have Karakas as the mythic land instead), Show and Tell (I went with Jace instead), and the Modern powerhouses Tarmogoyf/Liliana of the Veil/Vendilion Clique/Dark Confidant/Snapcaster Mage (I feel that if these are going to be reprinted, it’ll be in Modern Masters 3). And of course, I considered Imperial Recruiter, since that guy really needs a reprint to bring his price down, and expensive fringe Legacy card Grim Tutor, but I can’t see either happening here.

Overall, I like my list of mythics, and I think it’s got a good shot at being close to the actual list.

RARES:
Choosing the list of rares was much more difficult, because the rares are where Wizards are going to put dollar rares that only help for Limited. In Modern Masters 2015, much of the value of the set was tied up in the mythic rares, with most rares only being worth a few dollars at best (with the exception of cards like Noble Hierarch). I have a feeling that apart from Wasteland, we’ll likely see that again in this set.

Going by Modern Masters 2015 rares, we’ll have 53 rare slots to play with. I’ve gone with 7 of each color, 10 gold cards, 5 artifacts, and 3 lands.

Having said that, here is my list of predicted rares:

White:
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Stoneforge Mystic, Mangara of Corondor, Land Tax, Terminus, Council’s Judgment, Containment Priest

As I mentioned above, I believe Wizards will focus on the Death and Taxes deck, so three of the rares are chosen with that in mind (Thalia, Mangara, and white’s lone pricey card on my list, Stoneforge Mystic). Terminus is one of the key cards of the Miracles deck, and both Council’s Judgment and Containment Priest have seen a lot of play in the Legacy format out of the sideboard as well. I especially like the pick of Containment Priest, since this would be the first opportunity to print it in foil.

Land Tax is on the list as an old-school card that sees fringe play, as well as EDH/Cube play, and isn’t worth that much.

Blue:
Flusterstorm, Counterbalance, True-Name Nemesis, Lord of Atlantis, Harbinger of the Tides, Mind’s Desire, Ancestral Vision

Blue gets one very pricey rare in Flusterstorm, and a medium value rare in True-Name Nemesis. I feel that True-Name is a good fit for this set, as he’s both a Merfolk (one of the tribes I expect to be a draft archetype), he’s been a key part of the Stoneblade fringe Legacy deck and various other decks since his release, and he’s never been available in foil before. From here, I have Counterbalance to help people build the Miracles deck (bumped up to rare to not impact Limited games), two other rare Merfolk, the storm-enabling Mind’s Desire, and Ancestral Vision, a card that sees play in the Shardless BUG deck in Legacy.

The real question with the blue cards is just how much value they would allocate to one color. Having both Flusterstorm and True-Name would add a lot of value to this set; we will see if I’m right and they have both of them.

Black:
Infernal Tutor, Ad Nauseam, Bridge from Below, Living Death, Toxic Deluge, Hymn to Tourach, Sinkhole

This is one of the rare sections where I really had to reach to come up with enough rares, and it shows. I have Hymn to Tourach and Sinkhole bumped up to rares; Hymn has always been a fringe card in Legacy black decks, and I’ve bumped it to rare so that it doesn’t warp Limited games. Sinkhole is a card that shows up in Legacy Pox, and has always needed a reprint. Infernal Tutor and Ad Nauseam are here to represent the storm archetype that I’m sure will be built into draft, while Living Death and Bridge from Below are to represent the graveyard archetype that I’m pretty sure will be in the set. Finally, Toxic Deluge is an obscure Commander card that sees Legacy and Cube play as a cheap Wrath of God variant, and has never had a foil printing, so I feel good about adding it to the list.

The sad part about adding Infernal Tutor is that if they add it to the set, I’m pretty sure they won’t have any other black Tutor effects in the set (and there are several in black that could use a reprint, from the classic Demonic Tutor, to Grim Tutor, even to the obscenely expensive Imperial Seal).

Red:
Blood Moon, Sulfuric Vortex, Grim Lavamancer, Siege-Gang Commander, Goblin Chieftain, Goblin Lackey, Dualcaster Mage

All of the value for the red cards is sucked up by Blood Moon, which is one of those pricey cards that desperately needs a reprint. Blood Moon is a key piece of Modern, Legacy, and sees fringe play in Vintage, and so I feel that it definitely needs a reprint in this set. From here, I chose cards that would complement a Burn archetype (the cheapest way to get into Legacy is with a Burn deck, so I have the feeling Wizards will support that here), and multiple Goblins. Dualcaster Mage is chosen for the EDH players; it also happens to work well with burn spells, so it could also work well in Limited.

I looked at Gamble for one of these rare slots, but I honestly can’t see that if Blood Moon is one of their choices.

Green:
Glimpse of Nature, Sylvan Library, Golgari Grave-Troll, Exploration, Life from the Loam, Elvish Archdruid, **Deathrite Shaman**

Green is interesting to me, and I really wasn’t sure what to do with it. I have what is technically a gold card taking up a green rare slot in Deathrite Shaman; I am fairly certain he’s in this set, but I already had a G/B rare in Abrupt Decay, so he gets to use up a green slot. From here, I have Elvish Archdruid and Glimpse of Nature to help the Elves draft archetype, the two key cards of the Legacy R/G Lands deck in Life from the Loam and Exploration, a dredge enabler in Golgari Grave-Troll, and the super solid card drawing spell Sylvan Library (which sees Legacy, Cube, and EDH play).

I’m highly uncertain that Wizards will be using two G/B rare slots in this set, or that they’d do the same thing I’ve done here with Deathrite, but I do know he should be part of the set.

Artifacts:
AEther Vial, Crucible of Worlds, Grafdigger’s Cage, Engineered Explosives, Painter’s Servant

This was one of my smallest sections, and there were an awful lot of artifacts that I had competing for spots on the list. AEther Vial is a necessary reprint for Death and Taxes, Crucible of Worlds sees play occasionally in the Legacy Lands deck (and lots of Vintage Workshop play), Painter’s Servant is a key part of Legacy’s Imperial Painter deck, and both Engineered Explosives and Grafdigger’s Cage have seen sideboard play.

Other important artifacts I looked at for my list were Ensnaring Bridge, Chalice of the Void, Chrome Mox, Goblin Charbelcher, Pithing Needle, and Wurmcoil Engine, all of which are more likely to be in Modern Masters 3.

Gold cards:
Abrupt Decay, Shardless Agent, Baleful Strix, Knight of the Reliquary, Vindicate, Geist of Saint Traft, Mizzix of the Izmagnus, Borborygmos Enraged, Anya, Merciless Angel, Slaughter Games

The gold cards that I’ve chosen are a very mixed bag, and this was the hardest section in which I made my choices. In the end, I went with three cards that see a ton of Legacy play in Abrupt Decay, Shardless Agent, and Baleful Strix (Shardless Agent and Strix are both key components behind the popular Shardless BUG deck, and have never been printed in foil before). From there, I’ve chosen some popular EDH generals (Mizzix and Anya), a great reanimation target that sees Modern play in Boborygmos, and two cards that have seen fringe Legacy play here and there in Knight of the Reliquary and Vindicate.

It’s very likely that I’m completely wrong on this entire section, and I honestly would not be surprised by it. The R/G rare was my hardest choice here, and I honestly had no idea what to pick. Knight of the Reliquary is definitely a card I wouldn’t be surprised to see in Modern Masters 3, and the same goes for Geist of Saint Traft.

It will be very interesting to see just how close I am to being right on this section.

Land:
Wasteland, Rishadan Port, Ancient Tomb

I’ve shaved the land slots down from the initial six that I’d allocated, just because I do not think Wizards are going to use this set to reprint the original Zendikar enemy fetch lands (ie. Arid Mesa and co.) I’m reasonably certain they’ll wait another year to reprint them in Modern Masters 3. Regardless, these are the three lands that most need reprinting in Legacy that aren’t on the Reserved List; each one powers the manabase of multiple decks, with Port being a key part of the Death and Taxes deck I keep mentioning.

I feel it worth mentioning that I’ve left Dark Depths, Grove of the Burnwillows, and Thespian’s Stage off my list. These are very possible additions to Eternal Masters (especially if they want to help people build the Lands deck for Legacy), but I have a feeling that Grove is much more likely for Modern Masters 3, and the Depths/Stage combo more likely for Eternal Masters 2.

If Wizards wants to help drive down prices to help people play Legacy, putting these lands at rare is a good place to start.

Conclusion: So there you have it, that’s my set of predictions for Eternal Masters! With Wizards finally getting ready to start previews next week, it’ll be interesting to see how well I did with this list!

 

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