It must be time for another release of Magic’s “Masters” set. Chris and I have started our prerelease ritual of texting one another box prices and our intentions to maybe perhaps think about possibly buying one. I started the conversation yesterday with the news that a local store is taking preorders at a decent price that they will honor until the week before release. I did some research and saw, again, that the box only includes 24 packs. That got me waffling a bit and perhaps thinking that my money was better spent elsewhere. After all, I still have to buy my Rivals of Ixalan sealed product.
We went back and forth, initially agreeing that it was a silly idea for either of us to buy a box. I suggested going in half and splitting one, though honestly neither of us was terribly receptive to that idea. Conversation turned to my van “Check Engine” light, which is a big deal in my life right now. I’m driving around with a rejected inspection sticker and looking over my shoulder like I was driving the getaway car in Baby Driver.
Then, as I was in my class, Chris texts me with a link to a place selling them for an even better price, but he was under the impression that it was only in bulk and that you’d have to buy a case of them. While that was true for the price he quoted, there was a slightly higher price for non bulk orders. He and I both agreed that we wouldn’t find a better price than that and stamped “SOLD” across the post in big, red letters. Even so, I’m still having second thoughts. Look, I get that this is one of most first world of all first world problems. But, I imagine that some of you out there might be having the same issue and it always helps to talk things out. Hopefully, by the end, I’ll arrive at some sort of conclusion.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor – This is the best argument that can be made for the set, especially now that Wizards has decided to let loose the hounds of hell and give Jace another shot of showing just how repressive he can be in Modern. Similar to Black Lotus, I have been obsessed with this card ever since learning of its existence. I mean, come on. It’s blue and it’s Jace.
Early on in my entry back into the game, its name was only whispered in darkened corners and never openly discussed. As I became more familiar with the game and more people argued for the unbanning, I started to wonder why (more than it’s blue and it’s Jace) the card appealed to me so much. Other than the previously mentioned reasons, it’s also 3 of the best blue cards ever printed on one card for only 4 mana. That’s true, but it doesn’t quite capture the essence of why.
Then, a streamer responded to someone in his chat who mentioned the potential that maybe the card could be unbanned from Modern. I told you the conversation has been gaining momentum. He said that he agreed with the banning, which got people going before he even had a chance to explain. That’s what reminded we that we were in Twitch chat and not Socrates discussion circle. On the internet, nobody can hear you, well anything, because they are too busy shouting over you.
His point was that the card was too good. Of course it is. Otherwise, they wouldn’t ban it. But, it was too good in the way that other cards aren’t. See, people lost to Jace, but they would have no idea that they lost to Jace. They would blame this card or that card, all the while neglecting to realize that Jace set all of that into motion 10 turns ago. A light went on in my head and all was made clear. Jace is the ultimate blue card. They’ve tried before and since to distill the essence of what it means to be blue, but this card nailed it. Sneaky good, beats you before you realize it, and then strings you along for a good while after. Just an amazing card design.
I’ve mostly only experienced drafting the Master sets from the outside. I watched streams of the GPs for the Modern Masters set last year, astounded that people were giving the player crap for taking a foil ‘Goyf with his pick. I have drafted a few of the sets, mostly Modern Masters 2015 in xMage since I didn’t know about the sets and especially not their draftability. Since learning of them, the cost of the packs has kept me away. Who wants to pay 30 dollars for cards and then give half of them away?
During one of our conversations when I realized that both Chris and I might end up buying a box of the set, I said, “Plus I could put 6 packs aside for a future draft.” Having had my interest again kindled by the draft that Chris and I did a couple of weeks ago, I’m more than willing to donate a few packs to get a chance to see what we can do with this set and these cards. Since he is a Modern player and I am obsessed with Vintage and Legacy even though I’ve only ever played the formats on xMage, I wonder how that might affect our draft strategy. Stay tuned
After Chris sent me the link of the better price of the boxes, I texted him back, “Maybe this will finally inspire me to do what I’ve always meant to do and just post an unboxing video.” He replied, “Yep, that would most likely get hits.” I agreed, especially if I can get it done on release weekend. As with many things, there are no promises on this front, but we have been good about updating articles and recording podcasts and uploading videos are part of Phase 2 and 3 of our eventual internet takeover.
Not Many Spoilers
We are still relatively early in spoiler season for the set. Other than Jace, we have Azusa, which is a relic of a Modern meta long past and Phyrexian Obliterator, which is fun to draft in cube, but not as much fun as, say, Massacre Wurm or Big Daddy Gris. So, in other words, other than Jace, there is literally nothing else that has me excited about this set yet. Jace is the only thing. It keeps dancing in front of me like some ridiculous dream that will most likely never be realized and yet, I can’t say no.
Sure, there will be other spoilers and some of those cards might actually get me to say, “Wow!” Honestly, though, none of them will be Jace. He’s my man crush Monday. He’s my tweet about this dude I love Tuesday. He’s my Hump Day dream. He’s my…okay, you get the point. Am I just buying this 200 dollar boondoggle simply because of the (I don’t want to do math, so here comes a made up statistic) one out of a thousand chance that I am blessed with one of the boxes that contains Jace? Maybe….
Because these sets are designed to be drafted, Wizards can’t make every card a bomb rare or mythic. For every Jace, there are (another made up stat because it’s Friday) about 3 dozen Waxmane Bakus. While they are cool when you are trying to put together a sweet spirit deck in your draft pool, they are miserable to continue to pull from packs that cost twice as much as any other Magic the Gathering pack.
As I said before, in the pantheon of first world problems, this is one of the first worldest. Nevertheless, it is not one that I’ve gone through before. Since these sets generally come at a time when I’m either on break or having just gotten off break, I’ve never actually had the money before to spend. Now that I have the money to spend, I have to figure out if I’m really going to spend it.
If I was truly thinking with my head and going over the Pros and Cons list that I just made, I think that I’d come to the conclusion that is isn’t worth the extra money. However, when it comes to games and gaming, I rarely think with my head. Most of the time, I go with what my gut or heart tells me and that’s telling me to stop being such a weiner and just preorder the box.
There’s a tiny chance that I can pull a Jace or some other really cool card from the box, which will make for great video. Sure, there’s also the chance that I might end up with a whole bunch of garbage, but that can happen with any box of cards and has never stopped me before, even when I was spending 200 on old boxes of Phyrexia and such. Chris and I have been really into drafting lately and I want to see what this set would look like in one of our two man drafts. So, let’s listen to the old heart and stop being such a weiner.