Hi everyone! It’s time for Pack 1, Pick 1. This time, we’ll be cracking some packs of Modern Masters 2015. Bear in mind, I have never played with this set, as it hasn’t even be released yet, so a lot of my decisions are based on instinct. Let’s take a look at some packs:
My pick: Karn Liberated. Well, this is a good start to Modern Masters 2015. Karn Liberated is one of my favorite cards to play with in the history of Magic. It is exceptionally powerful, protects itself, comes into play with a large amount of loyalty, and gains 4 from its plus ability. I can’t imagine ever passing this card, and this is no exception. Hopefully I’m also able to find a copy of Karn Liberated in my first pack at Grand Prix Vegas.
Honorable Mention: Narcolepsy. At first, I thought that I could see drafting Skyhunter Skirmisher to draft an aggressive equipment-based deck. However, after looking over the set again, it seems like without Bonesplitter, most of the common equipment isn’t particularly powerful, and you’ll have to rely on getting something good to pair with the Skirmisher. It’s possible that it turns out to be one of the better strategies, but my instinct is that it isn’t the pick here. Narcolepsy is basically a 2-mana removal spell, although bad against creatures that have activated abilities. I still think that its efficient and versatile enough that it is the pick.
Oblivion Ring. An all-purpose removal spell is great in a format like this. With such a wide variety of archetypes, having a catchall answer that can remove a card like Ulamog’s Crusher, Karn Liberated, or Cranial Plating is going to prove to be a valuable addition to any deck. Oblivion Ring is weak to enchantment removal, giving them their threat back, but it’s still worth taking, and the best card in the pack.
Honorable Mention: Darksteel Axe. It seems like the white in the set is equipment based, and as I said in the previous pick, the uncommon equipment is a fair bit stronger than the common equipment. Darksteel Axe is a reason for this, and I think I’d take it here intending to draft an aggressive white deck.
Cryptic Command. Cryptic Command is the most versatile counterspell in Magic. Part of the reason for that is that you don’t even have to cast it as a counterspell. Tapping all of your opponent’s creatures can often end the game in Limited, and even a 4-mana Repulse is powerful. Any combination of the modes is a great card, and the versatility of being able to choose 2 of the 4 just makes the card absurd. I would take Cryptic Command over almost any card.
Honorable Mention: Lightning Bolt. Lightning Bolt is one of the most iconic cards in Magic’s history. 3 damage for 1 mana without downside at instant speed is as efficient as it gets, and I’d be happy to first pick Lightning Bolt out of many packs.
Wildfire. Another ridiculously powerful card. My plan at this point would be to draft a ramp deck with cards like Rampant Growth, Wayfarer’s Bauble, or artifact mana like Everflowing Chalice. You can spend your early turns putting extra lands/mana into play while your opponent hopefully plays small creatures. Once you hit 6 mana, you can destroy all of your opponent’s lands as well as their creatures, leaving you with some mana, and them with nothing. Even in a “normal” non-ramp deck, Wildfire is a strong card, and acts as a very potent sweeper. I’d probably take it first over almost any non-rare.
Honorable Mention: Electrolyze. Electrolyze is a cheap removal spell, albeit only for small creatures. When you’re facing down a bigger monster, it can be used in combination with another damage spell without costing card economy, and if you don’t have another damage spell, you can even cycle it to dig for an answer.
Arrest. While not as versatile as Oblivion Ring, it is equally efficient in the creature removal department. Like Oblivion Ring, it has the downside of sitting in play and possibly falling victim to an enchantment removal spell, but hopefully that won’t happen very often.
Honorable Mention: Nameless Inversion. Not the most exciting pack, but I’d opt for the cheap, efficient removal spell here. Having a 2-mana removal spell is always nice, and is invaluable against aggressive strategies. The fact that Nameless Inversion is a changeling and removes all creature types from the targeted creature doesn’t seem incredibly powerful in the format, but it does mean that Nameless Inversion can be returned to your hand with any of the soulshift creatures.
This format seems like it’s going to be incredibly fun and challenging. I really can’t wait for Grand Prix Las Vegas. Luckily, there are still a few more weeks before then, so I can do a couple more Pack 1, Pick 1s and, hopefully, we can learn some more about the format!