By: Eric Sommers
Welcome back to Little E’s Commander Archive, home to all things related to Commander. As we move forward here on the Questionable Endeavor Network, we will branch out from time to other areas of Magic: the Gathering, from casual to competitive formats and events that impact the game as a whole. This brings us to our topic this, which has been all the buzz since it was announced.
Recently, Wizards announced the Masterpiece Series to much fanfare. Going forward there will be a collection of cards included in booster packs that will highlight a thematic element of the block by reprinting a variety of cards from throughout Magic’s history. This series technically started in the original Zendikar block in the form of Priceless Treasures. In order to highlight the adventure and treasure hunting theme of the popular set, Wizards randomly placed Power Nine cards, dual lands, and an assortment of reserved list cards. These weren’t reprints so much as old cards mixed in with the new. In order to capture this flavor and excitement, WIzards included the Expeditions in the Battle for Zendikar block.
This proved to be a huge success. In order to collect these full art lands that Magic players bought up boxes of booster packs in order to grab these fancy fetchlands, shock lands, and other famous cycles. It was a clever way to get players excited about the set. It was a chance for newer players to get their hands on hard to get or expensive cards. It gave collectors some cards to chase after.
All in all, the community was hyped about these Expeditions, and it led to an increase of sales. It also begged the question, why doesn’t Wizards do this more often? Flash forward a year to the soon to be release Kaladesh and the inclusion of the Inventions and the announced Masterpiece series.
The Masterpiece Series looks to put those older cards in newer players’ hands while keeping them out of standard. The cards selected for the series will be tied thematically to the block. So with Battle for Zendikar we got lands, Kaladesh gives us artifacts, and we anxiously await what the series holds for us.
So far, the cards selected for the series have been big successes. As said earlier, shock land, fetchlands, as well as filter lands from Oath of the Gatewatch were popular choices. Looking at Kaladesh, we will get Mana Crypt, Crucible of Worlds, as well as many famous artifacts. Both blocks seem to be delivering on their hype. It almost seems like each set has a built in From the Vault. So what do we have to look forward to with these awesome gifts from Wizards?
In order to figure out what to expect of the Masterpiece Series, we need to look at past blocks and see what options there could be for their own Expeditions. Each block has its own identity, so it should be easy to assign some Masterpiece level cards to them. Lands and artifacts seem like such obvious choices to start this series. Both are major facets of the game and make up some of the most valuable cards in the history of the game. The cards types also highlighted a major theme of the block. When look at other blocks in history, we can start to see what the Masterpiece Series has in store.
Looking back into the not so distant past, we will find the Tarkir block. Now, the block kicked off with Khans of Tarkir, which introduced us to the wedge tribes, so it would be hard to shine the spotlight here. But Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir were heavy with Dragons. It seems like a Masterpiece collection of dragons would be perfect for this block. Dragon is one of if not the most popular creature type and there are plenty of choice dragons that could be highlighted.
However, can Dragons hold their own against the value of cards featured as Expeditions? I didn’t believe so at first, but was proven wrong when I checked out this article. It seems the right choice of dragons with the correct art could see some value as high as the Expeditions. With dragons being such a popular creature type, it is only a matter of time before we get them in the form of masterpieces.
Theros block was twofold in its theme. First, it was a Greek inspired block, and secondly it was an attempt at an enchantment block. It might be hard to do a Masterpiece series on Greek inspired cards, but enchantments is something that everyone can get behind. The card type has always been popular and the history of Magic gives us many fine selections to choose from. A search of expensive enchantment proves that there is plenty of value in this card type. We will likely get a return to Theros as some point, and Masterpiece enchantment series is inevitable.
Our next block is Return to Ravnica, and this is where things start to get a little murky with our selections. Ravnica is defined by its guilds and is highlighted by multi colored cards. I suppose the theme of the Masterpieces could be organizations in Magic’s history, but the more obvious choice here is gold cards. Although there is quite the selection of cards that can be highlighted for the series, the value of these cards pale in comparison to those previously listed. Wizards would really have to find some hidden gems and spruce them up with some new artwork to get players excited for this series as they would be about Inventions.
All in all, I am excited about the Masterpiece Series. It will create a great deal of speculation for each new set. It was a great addition in order to get reprints into the hands of new players without disrupting competitive formats, gets collectors excited about buying new sets, and will spice up some limited games (since the cards are legal if opened during booster drafts and sealed events). Sure, not all series will be considered equal, but I am confident that Wizards will use the Masterpiece Series to make as many players happy as possible with their selections in the years to come.
Let me know what cards you would like to see as Inventions in Aether Revolt or what kind of themes you would want to see on other planes or in past sets. Thanks for joining us on the Questionable Endeavor Network for Little E’s Commander Archive. Keep coming back each week for more Magic: the Gathering content. Happy Commandering!
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