THE MANA DORK—Modern Masters 2, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Frog
I’ve got my opinions on Modern Masters 2 as a reprint set, or the price point, or the quality of the printing. (Heck, I’ve had my opinions on the quality of the printing since Khans of Tarkir—seriously, buy a Theros pack and a Khans pack, they will smell different, it’s not the same anymore.)
But that’s a different column.
I’m here today to give you a proper tournament report on a Modern Masters 2 draft. And let me tell you, it’s a pretty sweet draft set.
Mostly because of this guy. He was a very early pick for me, and he did work. Became the mascot, in a way, since how can a mutant frog wizard not be your mascot?
MM2 has a set of pretty clear draft archetypes—cards with a lot of synergy in similar colours. You had BW spirits, RW affinity… and for me, grafting, in green and blue.
Grafting is a lot of fun, I have to say. The way it functions is this: all your Graft creatures consist of +1/+1 counters, and every time a new creature comes in, they can receive a +1/+1 counter from each of your graft creatures. Then, you can usually spend mana on graft creatures to give anything with a +1/+1 counter an ability. Like Plaxcaster Frogling giving shroud earlier, or Helium Squirter giving flying.
We’ll get back to Helium Squirter in a moment.
In terms of the picks, I learned how important it is to stick to your plan. I passed on Mirran Crusader in my first pack to take the Plaxcaster, because I knew that UG Graft was a fairly aggressive deck that could also play a controlling game when it needed to, and Plaxcaster was a huge enabler for that archetype. In my second pack, I opened Horde of Notions, a big frickin’ legendary that would’ve been wonderful in front of a Commander deck… only to pass it on, in favour of picking Thrummingbird, which is a-mazing for the cards I already had.
And it paid off.
The final version of my deck looked something like this:
Jesse’s MM2 Draft Deck—Don’t Fear The Grafter
Creatures (16 total)
2x Cloud Elemental
2x Helium Squirter
1x Novijen Sages
1x Nest Invader
1x Aquastrand Spider
1x Kozilek’s Predator
1x Cytoplast Root-Kin
1x Dread Drone
1x Blinding Souleater
1x Artisan of Kozilek
1x Lorescale Coatl
1x Plaxcaster Badass
Spells (6 total)
1x Vapor Snag
1x Mana Leak
2x Rampant Growth
1x Sign in Blood
1x Expedition Map
Lands (17 total)
1x Evolving Wilds
The traditional distribution of cards in a draft deck is 17 creatures, 6 artifacts and spells, and 17 lands. I went a little light on creatures here for one big reason: I was in three colours, and I’d need to be able to go and find a Swamp or Forest if I needed it. So cards that fix my mana (Rampant Growth, Expedition Map) were more important than another beater or two.
How’d I do?
Round 1—vs. RW Affinity
In this match-up, I ended up being more of a control deck than an aggro deck, and I simply couldn’t handle the aggressiveness of this RW Affinity deck. In both games, I drew zero mana ramp, my opponent got out some very nice creatures very quickly, and they sent fliers like Battlegrace Angel over the top for the win.
Round 2—vs. Sunburst Aggro
Game 1, my grafting creatures function nicely, with Plaxcaster Badass protecting them from some mean-looking spells and +1/+1 counters flying everywhere.
Game 2 is not looking so good. My opponent grinds me down and grinds me down. About halfway through, I get Thrummingbird out, but poking for 1 damage and proliferating counters on my blockers aren’t doing much.
I’m in the single digits and dropping fast when I start counting my +1/+1 counters…
I’m at 2 life. It’s now or never. I swing with my whole team… and tap all my mana, using Helium Squirter to give everything flying.
I have 17 total damage. My opponent has 17 life and no fliers.
Round 3—vs. RU Aggro
I had a shrewd opponent making shrewd choices with Shrewd Hatchling, but very little in the way of fliers. I copied my strategy from the previous round and used Helium Squirter to send all my little grafting guys over the top for the win in both games.
(yes, I’m putting up a picture of him again, the little guy deserves it)
Final results: 2-1, with a 4-2 record across all six games. My best winning percentage yet!
Big thanks to A Muse N Games for hosting this Modern Masters 2 draft. They’re running drafts Thursdays at 7 PM and Saturdays at noon every week—come on down!
by Jesse Mackenzie, 6.2.15
Jesse Mackenzie is a regular contributor to A Muse N Games. Tune in every second Tuesday for The Mana Dork, his column on getting back into Magic.