The Most Interesting Cards in Magic's Modern Masters 2017

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The Most Interesting Cards in <i>Magic</i>'s Modern Masters 2017

Modern Masters 2017 is out now, and Magic: The Gathering players who want to get into the Modern format might finally be able to buy the cards they want to play with. Because I love Modern so much, I thought it would be important for me to write a list of the Most Interesting cards in this new set. These are the Most Interesting, not the Most Competitive or the Most Valuable, but is value really dependent on money? Or is it about having fun? Sit with that for a while, and then scroll down to check out my definitive, objectively-correct list of the Most Interesting Cards in Modern Masters 2017.

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10. Ranger of Eos

Look at the art for this card and read the text. It is clear to me that we are learning the story of a ranger who sends out a trustworthy falcon to pick up some sweet allies. Importantly, in my version of the story, the converted mana cost of “1” means that the falcon is literally picking those creatures up. This is the story of one ranger, one falcon, and a number of incredibly inconvenienced tiny creatures that have been roughly handled by a falcon. To be fair, these smaller creatures could be a goblin or the shadow of death itself. This game is a great storytelling medium.

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9. Cavern of Souls

Two words: ghost urine. Look at that card and tell me that you aren’t seeing ghost urine from the great beyond being poured upon allies and enemies alike. This is the real reason that cards summoned with mana from this cavern cannot be countered. No one wants to be close to creatures pulled from the aether covered in the piddle of unthinkable beings.

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8. Grisly Spectacle

This card is what’s known as a “flavor win.” One might think, looking only at the art, that this is about being traumatized by the spectacle of a decapitated person. A creature is destroyed, and you “pay” in mental energy by putting cards in the graveyard. That is not the case. The person in the foreground is, in fact, telling you that it is going to cost you at least five dollars to take a closer look at the spectacle. You are “paying” in sweet, sweet fantasy ducats to do some Victorian rubbernecking in this fantasy world.

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7. Wall of Denial

If given the option of your opponent playing Wall of Denial or screaming in your face for 15 minutes while you openly weep, there’s a good chance that you should go with the latter option. This card is basically every way of saying “no” that is available in creature form in the game of Magic, and I love that someone remembered this card from nearly ten years ago and thought “Yeah, we gotta get this bad boy back in there. People gotta live this life again!” I salute you, whoever did that.

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6. Mudbutton Torchrunner

This is the most joyous goblin to ever live, and it knows that its star shines too bright. Its open mouth contains the wax and wane singsong of a being which flies too close to the sun. We all know that if life is one side of a coin, then death is the logical reverse side. The greatest moments in each goblin’s life are tempered by the melancholy of knowing that this will all end in a great nothing. That’s the reason why this goblin runs through life with a smile on its face, a torch in its hand, and a jar of flammable oil on its head.

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5. Terminate

This is the very definition of watching a creature “get got.” I mean, my god, what’s even happening here? It’s like this titan tripped, sprained its ankle, and then disintegrated into nonexistence. It’s like those traffic accident compilation videos on YouTube; you watch them and you’re like “damn, I’m glad that’s not me!” That’s how I feel about being terminated. I’m glad that’s not me.

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4. Craterhoof Behemoth

Ok, so on one hand I am adding this card to this list because it is cool. I mean, this dude pops onto the battlefield and is like, “Hey y’all, get excited and attack with me.” On the other hand, I am adding it because I want to share my personal experience with you. Every time I see Craterhoof Behemoth, I speak from its subject position. I take on the role of the Behemoth. I think about what it would be like, and I whisper to myself. “Me big,” I whisper.

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3. Serum Visions

I’ve always enjoyed this card, but I want to take a stab at writing the flavor text of this version of the card. After all, this has always been about seeing the future a little bit (the “visions” from the serum), but I think that this printing has shied away from the core message of the serum. Here’s my version: “Everyone loves to get high on freaky metallic space edibles, but metal dudes really like to get jazzed on that brain juice.” Hit me up, Wizards. I’m ready for the big time.

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2. Wake the Reflections

I like to think that the art for this card is showing us a moment of apology. This wood elf person has snuck into a private garden and done the artisanal version of a “a cool druid was here” by magically carving her likeness into the oldest, dopest tree in the whole place. And she’s just, like, shruggo about it. Cards that depict True Rudeness are the most important ones for me.

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1. Ulvenwald Tracker

This card is a mystery. Do you think he’s tracking the bear? The bear is right behind him, but his name is not “Ulvenwald Bear Master” or “Bear Wizard.” I think we might be watching someone fail upward, and to be honest, this is just par for the course for the tracking industry in the Ulvenwald. If a bear sneaks up on you in the forest, you’re not a tracker. You’re someone getting clowned by a creature that is basically a giant gopher.

Cameron Kunzelman tweets at @ckunzelman and writes about games at His latest game, Epanalepsis, was released last year. It’s available on Steam.