Spring of 2017 is looking pretty exciting for Magic with Amonkhet on the horizon, but right now the hype train's engine is definitely Modern Masters 2017. The full spoiler has been out for a while now and the set looks fantastic from every angle. MM3 will grace the shelves in a week, so let's break it down while we're still ahead of schedule.
Modern Masters 2017 is the third installment in the product line, predated by Modern Masters and Modern Masters 2015. The sets are 100% reprints from 8th Edition onward, with MM3 ending at Magic 2014. Like its predecessors it's designed to put more Modern staples and high-demand cards into circulation and it is designed as a draft set.
Recent paper masters sets have been very consistent size wise, as opposed to the online-only masters sets which varied quite a bit. The original Modern Masters was slightly lower at 229 cards, but each since (MM2, EMA, and now MM3) has been 249.
There is a heavy multicolor theme in Modern Masters 2017, and that's evident from the color breakdown. Mono colored cards show up at 29 of each, but the sum total of multicolored cards comes in at 69 making about 28% of the set multicolored. The inclusion of ten three-color cards also points heavily to the multicolor theme as do the lands and mana rocks represented in the color identities.
The color identity breakdown is much more representative of the draft plan for the set. While there are 35 colorless cards only 10 of them maintain a colorless identity, and seven of those are either fetch lands or lands that produce any color. Another 20 of them are accounted for by Ravnica signets and Guild Gates which are all two-color producers. Going by color identity, about 41% of the set is multicolor.
It's also worth noting that very few mono-colored cards with other colored abilities were included; there are only 8.
The card types of MM3 are dominated by creatures which is unsurprising; that's just the way it works. As only a casual observer of Modern I'm actually much more interested in the low-end of things. MM3 has thirteen artifacts, one artifact creature, and just two planeswalkers. There are a lot of strong artifacts and planeswalkers out there, so I figured we'd see some more of them represented here.
Lands make up almost 10% of the set with a number of notable cycles coming back; the 10 Guild Gates, the Zendikar enemy color fetches, and the Alara tri-lands account for 20 of the 22. Instants and sorceries take up the 2 and 3 spots, which is exciting for good ol' spell slinging Magic.
The rarities for this masters set are exactly the same as they were for Eternal Masters and Modern Masters 2015. I'll go out on a limb and say that the original Modern Masters would have had this same distribution as well if the set had been the same size, since the 20 card difference is entirely made up of uncommons.
The contents of each rarity are pretty diverse which is always nice. At mythic we see five different card types, all five colors and some multicolor. The other rarities touch on just about everything which is to be expected with the higher counts.
Modern is a pretty fast format, as the extended formats tend to be. In any fast format your lower cost spells are going to be very important, and this set brings a wealth of them. A whopping 69% of the set falls between two and four mana, with about 18% at zero or one. A closer look reveals that this falls pretty close to modern standard sets, only about 5% higher in the 2-4 cost range.
Two notable differences stand out between this and a standard set. There is a higher density of instants and sorceries in the 2-4 range, two or three more per cost for instants and four or five more per cost for sorceries. Additionally, every land here is a nonbasic, whereas a standard set (at least the first in a block) has ten or more of those slots taken up by basic lands.
Like all masters sets, this one is 100% reprints and that means we can get an interesting window into where good Modern cards come from. Obviously not every winner got a reprint and not every reprint is a winner, but it's an interesting sample none the less.
The multicolor draft theme is very apparent in the original blocks for many of the cards. Reprints from Return to Ravnica block make up a full 25% of the set, and adding original Ravnica to that accounts for 35%. Three-color Alara block and two-color hybird Lorwyn block make up 12% and 6% respectively so over half the set is cards that were originally printed in multicolor sets.
There are also a lot of reprints from sets with novel themes and mechanics. Innistrad block, with morbid and graveyard shenanigans, comes in strong with the second most reprints. Zendikar and Lorwyn also show up quite a bit, as well as Scars block which boasts infect.
In the small counts group there are a number of reprints from much older sets like Ice Age and The Dark, which is much older than average for popular cards in Modern.
Modern Master 2017 has generated quite a bit of hype. There are more A+ reprints than anyone expected, and it'll certainly be far better than Modern Masters 2015. I'm very interested to see how the heavy multicolor draft environment works out once the set hits MTGO.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next spoiler season.