To no one’s surprise, Eternal Masters did end up being quite sweet. The games are dominated by swingy, powerful cards, and you can find your gameplan changing drastically after you get wrecked by Void or when your only blocker is Memory Lapsed while you’re getting pecked away at by fliers.
I got a chance to do my first three drafts this weekend at GP Columbus and would love to share some of my findings with you.
Deck 1 (2-0-1):
This is an archetype that I think is not obviously apparent to people at first glance through the set. There are several good sacrifice effects and the payoffs are plentiful in the form of recursion spells and morbid cards. This particular deck took a more aggro bent than I expected because I couldn’t find enough quality sacrifice enablers like Carrion Feeder.
Echo and morbid make for a great understated synergy between red and black. Mogg War Marshal, Stingscourger, and Ghitu Slinger are all perfect for triggering your Wakedancer or Tragic Slip but still getting value first.
Borderland Marauder was quite good as a two mana three power attacker. Surprisingly, Avarax – aka the red Squadron Hawk – is actually not garbage because it’s a reasonably sized threat and it feels pretty good to search up another one. Along with Firebolt, Avarax provides some badly needed red card advantage! Finally, Blood Artist and Malicious Affliction were both so good that they felt unfair. You should be first picking those cards.
Deck 3 (3-0):
This whole deck revolved around a late pick Braids, Cabal Minion and the two sweepers Nevinyrral’s Disk and Toxic Deluge. My opponents hated me after I would drop a Coalition Honor Guard, followed by Braids and then a Sengir Autocrat to feed her. Braids is probably best suited for a RB sacrifice deck, but she works fine in WB because of sacrifice fodder like Raise the Alarm and Sengir Autocrat.
When the deck wasn’t drawing Braids it was just a more controlling midrange deck that used spot removal and sweepers to bridge to the midgame where it would overwhelm other decks with card advantage. There’s just so much card advantage in Eternal Masters (do you know how bad it feels to have to watch your opponent Deep Analysis-ing and Fact or Fiction-ing?) that if your deck is not fast you HAVE to include ways to keep pace. Here, it was the Gravediggers, Night’s Whisper, Hymn to Tourach, and the cantrip removal spells. Nausea was fantastic out of the board.
Deck 3 (3-0):
R/W Tokens and Goblins
This deck was amazing – it was one of those rare decks that just feels unbeatable. The R/W token synergy archetype is well-supported (there are lots of powerful enablers at common and payoffs at uncommon), but the rares Siege-Gang Commander and Goblin Trenches pushed it way over the top. Rally the Peasants is the real deal. I was happy to have two in my deck in addition to the Intangible Virtue. It wasn’t hard at all for the deck to create situations where 3 creatures would get through after a couple blocks and they’d take 9, facing a flashback the next turn. And often one of the tokens would trade up due to the temporary power boost from Rally.
I think Nausea is the most important sideboard card in the set. This particular deck was able to withstand a single hit from a sweeper (Void, Toxic Deluge, Nausea) and still bounce back with another 4-5 creatures on the board. Nevertheless, Nausea is critical to have any shot at beating a nut draw from a deck like this.