Eternal Masters is getting the entire Magic community excited, and for good reason. The best way to take advantage of this set, outside of looking for specific cards for a deck, will be to draft it. The hope is that Eternal Masters Limited resembles Modern Masters, because boy was that a fun draft format.

This does look like a two-color Limited format for the most part, as there isn't a ton of fixing. I am going to go ahead and break down the ten different draft archetypes and talk about some of the key cards in each. I won't be talking much about rares as while rares are awesome it is much more important to know about the commons and uncommons, since you will be more likely to see them in a draft. Also many of the rares here are clearly bombs, or some are just unplayable, so most shouldn't be too difficult to evaluate.

Red/White Aggro

Key Commons/Uncommons: Ballyknock Cohort, Rally the Peasants, Mistral Charger, Fervent Cathar, Firebolt, Keldon Champion, Flame-Kin Zealot

Red/white has long been considered the most aggressive archetype in Limited. White should provide more creatures than red, and red can supply the cheap removal spells. The creatures generally have more power than toughness as there is little interest in trying to block. There are some haste threats like Fervent Cathar and Keldon Champion, which can be used as tempo plays.

There is a lot of removal to choose from in white and red, so I would prioritize making sure the creatures are good, or at least cheap to cast, while only taking the best removal spells. Don't be afraid to play creatures like Elite Vanguard, this deck wants to deploy its threats faster than the opponent, as the lategame is lacking.

Red/Green Fatties

Key Commons/Uncommons: Kird Ape, Avarax, Ghitu Slinger, Flinthoof Boar, Emperor Crocodile, Sentinel Spider, Bloodbraid Elf

This color combination has so many good creatures to choose from, and there are three that nobody else will be taking, and only fit into this color combination: Kird Ape, Bloodbraid Elf, and Flinthoof Boar. Nowadays the fatty decks are no longer playing huge six and seven mana creatures necessarily, this deck can play fatties like Emperor Crocodile and not need to wait until turn seven to have a huge creature which can take over the game.

The red removal is cheap, which will help buy time in order to put these superior creatures into play. There are some green combat tricks here that also may be worth including. However, this deck really needs to hit its land drops so that may mean playing eighteen lands. This set has cards with flashback so it will always have something to do with excess lands.

Green/Black Elves

Key Commons/Uncommons: Blightsoil Druid, Lys, Alana Scarblade, Eyeblight's Ending, Timberwatch Elf, Lys Alana Huntmaster, Imperious Perfect, Elvish Vanguard

Sometimes there are lots of tribal synergies in a set. In Eternal Masters Elves seems like the most important tribe to be aware of, and black and green are the colors that contain the most elves. There are a number of Elf creatures that significantly improve the more Elves are in your deck. Expect most dedicated Elf decks to play all the Elves in their card pool, and draft them higher in order to make the deck more synergic.

A good Elf deck is going to be great, but when an Elf deck doesn't come together it becomes difficult to win even a single match. There will be some Green/Black decks which are just primarily good cards and don't focus much on the Elf synergy, but that isn't nearly as fun! This is one of the archetypes I look forward to drafting the most, though it is not an archetype I want other players at the table to also try to go into. A given eight-person draft will only be able to support one or two good Elf decks, depending on how the packs break.

Blue/Black Control

Key Commons/Uncommons: Deep Analysis, Merfolk Looter, Giant Tortoise, Gravedigger, Nekrataal, Tragic Slip

In Eternal Masters, blue is by far the most controlling color, so it will be rare to have a super aggressive blue deck. Black also has controlling creatures and removal, so the colors pair well. There is an overwhelming amount of card advantage in both blue and black, that means there will be plenty of cards that draw cards or return creatures from the graveyard when playing these two colors.

The key becomes stabilizing the game early on, which is why a card like Giant Tortoise is important. A lot of the black card draw also causes loss of life, so you want to be able to have some source of permanent defense. This is the color combination where there are the most good cards by themselves, but that can be too much of a good thing. You want to be able to impact the board in a significant way; drawing a bunch of cards is the easy part.

Blue/White Flyers

Key Commons/Uncommons: Warden of Evos Isle, Phantom Monster, Man-o'-War, Wall of Omens, Mistral Charger, Soulcatcher

Blue and white traditionally are the colors that have the most evasive creatures, and in Eternal Masters there are cards that specifically support having lots of flyers. Warden of Evos Isle and Soulcatcher only get better the more flyers are added to your deck, and there are a number to choose from. Flying creatures need to be supplemented with removal, bounce, and high toughness creatures. A card like Wall of Omens is a perfect two drop to cast before deploying a stream of flyers.

In general it is going to be very difficult to answer all of the flyers, so in order to beat this deck the best plan is to race it. Some of the best fliers are common, like Mistral Charger for instance. Expect every deck to fight over a card like Mistral Charger so I would take this over a solid removal spell like Pacifism, depending how the draft is playing out. Both Pacifism and Faith's Fetters are going to be the best permanent removal this deck has access to though.

White/Green Aggro

Key Commons/Uncommons: Faith's Fetters, Second Thoughts, Welkin Guide, Elephant Guide, Sylvan Might, Werebear, Armadillo Cloak

In most limited formats I am a big fan of white/green decks but here there isn't a ton of synergy between the green and white cards. White can provide removal while there are solid green creatures and combat tricks to go with those creatures. In general though this is a color combination I wouldn't actively want to be going into Eternal Masters limited. It is important to look for what the payoff cards are for a color combination, and what cards you won't have to fight for too much in a draft. Any White/Green decks should be aggressively based, and I really want Sylvan Might, Rancor, or optimally Armadillo Cloak, to try to get those last points of damage through.

Green/Blue Self-Mill

Key Commons/Uncommons: Roar of the Wurm, Werebear, Commune with the Gods, Cephalid Sage. Fact or Fiction, Screeching Skaab

When looking at the blue and green cards the question becomes what synergies can this color combination take advantage of? Blue/green is one of the least popular color combinations in draft because the decks don't have a strong identity, and can end up all over the place. Here though this seems like the best color combination to take advantage of both threshold and flashback. There are a number of cards with both threshold and flashback in these colors, and there are ways of getting cards into the graveyard.

Screeching Skaab is not a great card, but here it is more than playable. Milling yourself is one of the best ways to turn on threshold, and sometimes you can even randomly mill a flashback card. Uncommons like Merfolk Looter and Fact or Fiction are going to be the best graveyard-enablers, but sometimes those cards are hard to find in a draft. There definitely seems like there are plenty of decisions to be made when drafting a Blue/Green deck in Eternal Masters but the color combination does show some promise.

Blue/Red Spells

Key Commons/Uncommons: Deep Analysis, Prodigal Sorcerer, Honden of Seeing Winds, Honden of Infinite Rage, Ghitu Slinger, Beetleback Chief, Young Pyromancer

Expect blue/red to be one of the most successful color combinations in Eternal Masters limited. Here Desperate Ravings and Wee Dragonauts are the specific payoff cards for being Blue/Red but those cards are not actually why you want to be drafting Blue/Red. This archetype can happily play almost all of the cards in its colors, make them work, and there isn't a need to pick a specific strategy, with all the cards being so powerful. This deck is going to be chalk full of card advantage and cheap removal. This is why a Honden package or Beetleback Chief are going to be very powerful here, because this deck will be very spell heavy, and not have as many creatures.

The removal is going to be burn for the most part, and card draw works especially well with cheap burn spells. This is really where I want to take control of a game with Young Pyromancer, just like a Constructed deck would do.

Red/Black Tokens

Key Commons/Uncommons: Mogg War Marshal, Beetleback Chief, Torrent of Souls, Phyrexian Rage, Carrion Feeder, Blood Artist

Let's talk about what initially may seem like an underpowered color combination. There is definitely solid removal, but the creatures are lacking. There is one hidden theme related to some of the more important cards in this archetype though, which shouldn't be overlooked. There are a bunch of small creatures to go along with sacrifice outlets. Getting a bunch of little guys backed up by other cheap threats like Blood Artist, and Carrion Feeder can be pretty impressive.

This deck needs to be aggressive, so don't attempt to be controlling with it. Playing cheap threats and backing that up with removal is sometimes is just good enough. Creatures like Mogg War Marshal and Beetleback Chief are important to the gameplan.

Black/White Good Stuff

Key Commons/Uncommons: Calciderm, Whitemane Lion, Field of Souls, Benevolent Bodyguard, Skulking Ghost, Victimize, Zealous Persecution

The black/white deck is sort of similar to what black/red is trying to do with the sacrificing creatures theme. Field of Souls is a card that has the potential to get completely out of hand and take over the game. This deck can play some powerful enchantments and removal, but it isn't the most exciting strategy in Eternal Masters. If you are lucky to get a couple of powerful creatures worth bringing back from the graveyard it definitely seems like there is also a direction you can go with reanimation. The creature base here is interesting. This deck has the capability of maximizing come into play effects like Phyrexian Rager, alongside Whitemane Lion or Glimmerpoint Stag.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield