Full Force is a weekly draft series focusing on specific archetypes or build around cards in the newest sets. Stop by every week for a new episode!
Modern Masters 2017 is here, the most anticipated draft set to come out in at least a year and I would like to assure you that the hype for this set is very real. It’s a blast to draft, but with the price tag attached it might be very hard for people to play as many drafts as they normally would. With this in mind, I’d like to give a few basic tips for newer Magic Online players to maximize your money so you can play more MM17!
First, pick your league. Do you win a lot? Or are you more of a casual player with an average win percentage? This makes a fair bit of difference on your “EV” or “Expected Value” from your league winnings. A great tool to get a feel for those differences is the Goatbots EV calculator. This calculator will let you plug in a win percentage and see how much money you would win or lose on average in that Magic Online event. There’s definitely room for error and there are a lot of variables, but it will give you a starting point. For example, if you expect to win about half of your matches, you’ll want to join a Phantom Modern Masters League, since you will lose about $2.75 in Magic Online tickets each draft instead of the rather steep cost of Intermediate League where you’ll be losing a whopping $7.06 every go. This changes if you can consistently get a 2-1 record (66% win rate), with the Intermediate league gaining you $.73 a draft and the Phantom league still losing you around $.29. These numbers are subject to change a lot based on the Magic Online market so make sure to consider that and look at the calculator yourself before making a decision.
The second thing to check is booster prices. As of this writing, it’s not relevant because Modern Masters packs are selling for the same price or higher from Magic Online resellers than they are in the official store, but this can change and if it does it can save you a decent amount. If you go to the trading page in Magic Online you will see stores (bots) set up that sell cards and boosters for tickets. Some of the main stores are Cardhoarder, Goatbots, and MTGOTraders. Check them occasionally, or use a third party website like MTGGoldfish.com to keep track of the prices in case they drop. It can save you a fair bit in the long run to buy packs at $6 worth of tickets from the reseller bots instead of $7 from the official store.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the actual draft!
This week we looked at one of the most popular decks in the format so far and the one that I’m sure will quickly become my favourite; Esper Blink. The focus of the deck is to get as much 2-for-1 value as possible by abusing “Enters The Battlefield” abilities like Mist Raven and Dinrova Horror, by pairing them with cards like Vanish into Memory, Momentary Blink, Ghostly Flicker, and others.
The strategy is slow and grindy, but has a very high power level. Once you have a Dinrova Horror in play and any “blink” effects to back it up it will be very difficult for your opponent to win the game. With the weakness of the deck being it’s slowness I think it’s very important to grab some early Signets to ramp and cheap removal spells like Agony Warp or Seal of Doom to interact with faster opponents.
For me, there are two early indicator cards to move into this archetype, excluding rares (Dead-Eye Navigator is an absolute beast). The first is Dinrova Horror. If you see them being passed, it’s a good sign that this archetype is available. Dinrova is easily the biggest, baddest creature to be flickering, as it provides either huge tempo swings, or even straight-up removal if your opponent has no more cards in hand. The other big indicator looks less impressive at first glance, but is probably the more powerful card: Mistmeadow Witch. Mistmeadow Witch doesn’t do a lot until you have a lot of mana, or some enablers, but at 4 mana it’s good and at 8 mana it’s almost unstoppable. Not only can it blink your own creatures to protect from removal or to get extra triggers from their abilities, you can also use it to kill opponent’s tokens (a key mechanic in the set, with Populate), and removing attackers or blockers. It’s also key to remember that Mistmeadow Witch has no restriction on the creatures it can target, so it can protect itself from removal by blinking as well.
After those two, your choices for creatures vary a bit more. Mist Raven is probably the next best, but Sea Gate Oracle is close in my opinion, since your goal is to maximize the value you get by pairing these creatures with the blink effects and Sea Gate draws you down to the enablers you need to really start the engines. Just remember not to get too caught up in picking up awesome come into play creatures; you need to balance it with your other needs as well. Mist Raven is great, but you probably want your first Agony Warp or Ghostly Flicker over your second Mist Raven. You can always sub in a Kor Hookmaster instead and still come out ahead by having a more rounded deck.
With this in mind, my strategy here is to pick up one or two great finishers or enablers early, like Dinrova Horror/Urbis Protector or Mistmeadow Witch and then start drafting early control cards, like Agony Warp. Pick up the blink effects after you have some good targets and it looks like you can maximize them. You can have a great control deck with just a Dinrova Horror or two and decent creatures, removal, even without the blink effects; it’s very hard to have a good deck with a lot of blink effects but very few or mediocre effects like Lone Missionary and Sensor Splicer.
Join in for the next episode as I dive into the opposite colour pairing and look at the Jund sacrifice archetype!