At the time of writing this, only a third of the set has been spoiled, but this is already shaping up to be the best Modern Masters set yet! Today I'm going to highlight some of the best decks in Modern and Legacy that feature cards from Modern Masters 2017. Depending on what you open, you'll now have an idea of which deck(s) you might be interested in trying to build to get into Modern. If you're looking to pick up some Modern staples while the price is low, I can give you an idea of where to invest to give you a competitive deck with a proven track record.

Let's start with the biggest Modern Masters reprint since Tarmogoyf… besides Tarmogoyf itself, of course.

Liliana of the Veil

Easily one of the top five planeswalkers ever printed, Liliana is played in quite a few decks, especially in Modern. It is a staple in Jund, Abzan, and Death's Shadow.

These decks use Liliana as a value engine. Against creatures, it's a way to kill multiple threats with a single card, but unlike Path to Exile and Terminate, this "removal" spell is also a way to empty the opponent's hand when facing a control or combo deck with few creatures. Her ultimate also lines up great against Scapeshift and Tron decks that rely heavily on their lands to win the game.

Jund and Abzan each play Damnation, which is also one of the most anticipated reprints included in Modern Masters 2017.

Death's Shadow utilizes Liliana similarly and has proven itself to be the top deck in the format. This deck also plays Ranger of Eos and the deck's namesake Death's Shadow, which are two more Modern Masters 2017 reprints.

Path to Exile, Restoration Angel, and Stony Silence

These are some of my favorite cards and I put them to good use in the most recent MOCS playoff. Leonin Arbiter removes Path to Exile's drawback while Restoration Angel gains value from blinking Blade Splicers and Flickerwisps. Stony Silence is the nightmare of Affinity, Lantern, and Tron.

This is another successful way to utilize Restoration Angel and Path to Exile, going infinite with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. This deck also plays Snapcaster Mage, which is yet another highly anticipated reprint from Modern Masters 2017.

Snapcaster Mage

In addition to Jeskai Control, Snapcaster Mage also plays a major role in Grixis Delver and Grixis Control.

Whether trying to win fast with Insectile Aberrations or win the long game by looping Kolaghan's Command or Cryptic Command with Snapcaster Mage, Tiago Chan is the key ingredient in the late game of each plan and is now available in new art at a lower price (for now).

Blood Moon

This is the deck I played at the World Magic Cup Qualifier last year. The goal is to resolve Blood Moon on the second turn of the game, which is backbreaking for so many decks in Modern. This deck also runs three other Modern Masters 2017 reprints: Bonfire of the Damned, Primal Command and Thragtusk. Bonfire of the Damned clears out opposing creatures, especially mana-producing creatures, without also nuking your own in the process.

This is a prison-style Blood Moon deck that aims to lock the opponent out of resources on multiple axes. It's quite annoying to play against and is rising in popularity ever since the printing of Chandra, Torch of Defiance.

Blood Moon is also played in sideboards of Affinity, Grixis Delver, Goryo's Vengeance, and Blue-Red Storm.

Goblin Guide

Good old Goblin Guide is unlikely to ever stop seeing play in any format where it's legal. It's a very efficient damage source that combos well with burn spells and/or Reckless Bushwhacker and other creatures. Burning-Tree Emissary is also reprinted in Modern Masters 2017 as a common!

Terminus, Entreat the Angels, and Venser, Shaper Savant

Without Sensei's Divining Top, Miracles isn't playable in Modern, but the consensus right now is that it is the best deck in Legacy. So if you already got part of the deck built from Eternal Masters, you get more pieces in Modern Masters 2017!

Gifts Ungiven and Past in Flames

With the banning of Gitaxian Probe in Modern, Storm decks no longer use Pyromancer Ascension, but it's in Modern Masters 2017 anyway. Instead they use a different reprint – Gifts Ungiven – to find their rituals and Past in Flames (yet another reprint) to combo off and Grapeshot the opponent for a bajillion damage. If you own a storm shelter, you'll need it because Modern Gifts Storm is more popular than it has been in years!

Phantasmal Image

While not an indispensable part of either deck, Phantasmal Image is a role-player in Merfolk and in Bant Company. It's versatile enough to copy lords or value creatures at an efficient rate, depending on what circumstances dictate. Most cards in Modern that target a creature kill it anyway, so the drawback doesn't actually come up that often.

Temporal Mastery

If you hate this card, then you probably just hate fun because this card is about as fun as it gets! In Legacy, you can use Sensei's Divining Top, Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Brainstorm to put Time Walk on top of your library. In Modern you take a bunch of turns in a row, drawing more Time Walks off Howling Mine effects each turn, until you cast Part the Waterveil to awaken a land and start smashing the opponent with lands on each of your subsequent extra turns. It might not be tier one, but it's definitely Tier Fun!


Sneak and Show is no longer considered the top deck in Legacy, but it's still up there near the top and a Griselbrand reprint is quite welcome. Griselbrand comes out just as quickly in Modern, thanks to Goryo's Vengeance and now fuse spells with Breaking // Entering, though with the amount of graveyard hate aimed at Dredge, Snapcaster Mage, and Tarmogoyf you'll have to dodge some bullets if you want to sleeve up Griselbrand for your next Modern tournament. Then again, if you're the type of player who loves nothing better than putting Griselbrand onto the battlefield, you probably don't care what the metagame looks like anyway. #YOLO

Inquisition of Kozilek

One of the most in-demand uncommons in Modern, the best discard spell in the format is back in packs! In addition to being played in Modern Death's Shadow, Abzan and Jund, it is also played in two decks only a mother can love.

Lantern decks need to clear out opposing Disenchant effects to make way for their Ensnaring Bridge. This version runs Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas as another way to find Ensnaring Bridges and also as a way to close out games a bit faster. I like it, though the technology is new and hasn't yet caught on fully. 8-Rack is another deck that is one-sided fun every time, win or lose. It also runs Liliana of the Veil, so if you are lucky enough to open her in a booster pack and don't have the resources to build Jund, Abzan or Death's Shadow, this might be a more budget-friendly option that allows you to play with your shiny new planeswalker.

Craterhoof Behemoth

Elves produces a bunch of mana and then uses Natural Order (or Green Sun's Zenith) to search out Craterhoof Behemoth and stomp the opponent into the ground that same turn.

While Modern doesn't have Natural Order or Green Sun's Zenith to search out the 'hoof, it does have Eldritch Evolution – and that's exactly what this deck uses to find it! Allosaurus Rider costs zero mana, but as far as Eldritch Evolution is concerned it costs seven, which is just enough to be sacrificed to find Griselbrand or Craterhoof Behemoth – two of the biggest (quite literally) reprints in Modern Masters 2017!

Might of Old Krosa

Infect has been a bit on the decline recently, in part because Fatal Push is on the rise, but it's still a solid deck and Might of Old Krosa is a staple in the deck, functioning as four poison to the opponent for a single green mana.

Scavenging Ooze

In addition to seeing play in Modern Jund, Abzan, and Green-White Hatebears, Ooze also sees play in Modern Bant Company.

This deck has been performing better and better lately. It can combo off with Knight of the Reliquary and Retreat to Coralhelm or function as a grindy midrange deck fueled by Collected Company. It doesn't fold to graveyard hate, though it utilizes its graveyard enough to make opponents board in their graveyard hate anyway, making it quite the annoying deck to combat. It was enough for Steve Rubin to qualify for the MOCS World Championship and I suspect it's not done winning yet.

Abrupt Decay

Modern Lantern Control, Jund, Abzan, and Death's Shadow all play Abrupt Decay, but so does one other big-time deck.

Abrupt Decay is a versatile answer to creatures and non-creature permanents alike. It's pretty much the only card in Modern that can kill a Tarmogoyf, a Cranial Plating or an Ensnaring Bridge. Dredge is especially interested in it out of the sideboard to kill Rest in Peace or Grafdigger's Cage.

Sphinx's Revelation

Sphinx's Revelation decks in Modern tend to be off people's radars and perhaps they always will be until something like Jace, the Mind Sculptor becomes legal. I really like this Esper list though. Fatal Push is a big addition to that deck, which was already dominant in the hands of MrCafouilette before the printing of Fatal Push. All other control decks have been overshadowed by Corey Burkhart's dominance with Grixis Control, but I suspect Esper has the tools to compete as well.

Basilisk Collar

Basilisk Collar used to be seen alongside Stoneforge Mystic, but that's not legal in Modern. That's no problem, because we now have Walking Ballista to turn into a machine gun with Basilisk Collar. Combining deathtouch with the ability to ping creatures means anything it pings dies. Endbringer gets to also ping two things to death per turn with the collar since it untaps on each untap step, including the opponent's. But what if you have the collar and none of your seven pingers? No problem! Just strap it onto one of your giant Eldrazi and attack and gain life since it also grants lifelink. Did I mention deathtouch also works with the trample on Reality Smasher?

Voice of Resurgence

In addition to Bant Company, Voice of Resurgence is also played in Modern Naya Company and Abzan Evolution. Pretty much any time Collected Company is involved, so is Voice of Resurgence.

In addition to Voice of Resurgence, this deck runs lots of reprints: Linvala, Keeper of Silence, Restoration Angel, Scavenging Ooze, Thragtusk, Lingering Souls, Path to Exile, Abrupt Decay, Stony Silence, and Verdant Catacombs!


I haven't even gotten to the most played cards in Modern Masters 2017, namely Grafdigger's Cage, Arid Mesa, Verdant Catacombs, Marsh Flats, Misty Rainforest, and Scalding Tarn, which are nearly ubiquitous in Modern and also very popular Legacy staples! Modern Masters 2017 is shaping up to far exceed expectations, even for a Modern Masters set. Now is a great time to get into Modern if you haven't already, or to finish off playsets of Modern staples that you've been waiting for the price to come down on. Personally, I'm looking forward to drafting this set. Maybe I'll open a Voice of Resurgence to go along with my TCGplayer Elemental token!

Craig Wescoe