Wizards of the Coast has been making a concerted effort in the past few years to reduce the cost of entry for Modern, one of their premiere sanctioned formats. In 2013, they released Modern Masters, a set comprised entirely of Modern format reprints, including many staple commons and uncommons, as well as several highly sought after rares. This strategy succeeded in driving down prices for almost every card included in the set. However, the demand still outweighed the supply, prompting Wizards of the Coast to release another reprint set: Modern Masters 2015.
But will the set deliver? Upon seeing the full set spoiler, which was revealed today, many players are lamenting the absence of some key cards. Let’s take a look at some of the more notable omissions:
Serum Visions – Common – $12
With the likes of Ponder, Preordain, Ancestral Vision, and Treasure Cruise all feeling the wrath of the banhammer, Serum Visions has become the de facto choice for cheap card draw and deck filtering in Modern. However, it hasn’t been reprinted since it’s initial release in Fifth Dawn, making it a hard card to track down. Popular online merchants currently have Serum Visions valued at $12, which is a fairly prohibitive cost for a common, especially if you need a play set of four.
Some have already speculated that its absence means that we’ll see Serum Visions reprinted in a future expansion. However, the card uses the Scry mechanic, making it difficult to include in just any set. And with Core Set 2015 being the very last of its kind, we may be waiting quite a while before a reprint makes sense.
Goblin Guide – Rare – $25
Despite the emergence of Monastery Swiftspear in aggressive red decks, this little jerk is still seeing pretty heavy play in Modern. And to quote the meme, some deck lists even ask, “why not both?”
Traditionally, aggressive red decks have been a popular choice for players due to their relatively cheap cost. They don’t need much in the way of non-basic lands, burn spells are usually both plentiful and inexpensive, and many of the popular creature choices are found at common or uncommon. Goblin Guide is a pretty noteworthy exception to the rule, and an equally noteworthy omission from Modern Masters 2015.
There’s a sliver (not THAT kind of sliver) of hope, however: Goblin Guide was originally printed in Zendikar, and Wizards of the Coast is returning to the Eldrazi-infested world this Fall, with Battle for Zendikar. If we’re lucky, Goblin Guide is still hanging around.
Damnation – Rare – $50
I’m pretty salty about this one, but I’m not surprised. Damnation was one of the plane-shifted rares from Planar Chaos, which places it in a strange sort reprint limbo. You see, the plane-shifted cards are off-colour variants of existing cards. They threw the established rules of the colour pie out the window and then spat on them. This genuinely upset some players, and Wizards of the Coast’s Development Team has been open about their regret in printing them.
Further complicating matters is Development’s distaste for the ‘they can’t be regenerated’ clause, which appears in Damnation’s rules text, as well as its original, non-shifted variant, Wrath of God. Wrath of God was eventually replaced by Day of Judgment, which was functionally identical save for the absence of the aforementioned clause. If Wizard’s of the Coast is unwilling to reprint Damnation for Modern, perhaps we’ll see a black Day of Judgment instead. However, that will probably just make Damnation even more expensive.
Blood Moon – Rare – $30
Let’s be clear: Blood Moon saw reprint in the original Modern Masters. However, while it initially drove down the cost of the card, it has since skyrocketed. Why? With Khans of Tarkir, we saw the reprint of the Onslaught fetch lands, making them Modern-legal. With all ten fetch lands, and all ten of Ravnica’s shock lands present in the format, mana-fixing has become easier than ever. And as you’d expect, non-basic lands are everywhere. All the colours of the rainbow!
However, some non-basics, especially those mentioned above, aren’t cheap. The land for some Modern decks alone can cost hundreds of dollars. So if Wizards’ goal is to make the cost of entry less prohibitive, why not give players a cheap means of combating decks stuffed with non-basics, as an alternative to assembling one?
Aven Mindcensor – Uncommon – $10
“Yo dawg, I heard you like searching your library! Well, too bad! Squawk!”
That’s my impression of Aven Mindcensor. I think I totally nailed it. Now here’s my impression of Wizards of the Coast:
“Yo dawg, I heard you like cards that help battle the plethora of search effects in Modern, such as the fetch lands! Well, too bad! Cha-ching!”
Totally nailed that one, too!
Despite these unfortunate omissions, players still have plenty of reason to be excited for Modern Masters 2015. Some expensive cards, like Tarmogoyf and Dark Confidant, are returning. And others, like Noble Hierarch, are seeing reprint for the first time. And one of my favourite cards, Vendilion Clique, is even getting some long-overdue artistic love.
I’ll have more on Modern Masters 2015 as the set hits shelves!
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