With the way Modern Masters 2 worked out, Vegas was the perfect location to host the largest Magic GP ever. Vegas is known for being gambling HQ in the United States, and competing in any Modern Masters events was a heck of a gamble. So, let’s go over how my gambling went.
Modern Masters Draft: Thursday Evening
So my friends and I finished the 6.5 hour drive into Vegas, checked in to the hotel, and then walked right to the venue to hop in a draft. After about an hour of waiting, the event finally began and things were off to a poor start. I drafted a decent UR “elemental” deck, since signals showed those colors were pretty open with a late Air Servant and Water Servant in pack 1. However, during the drafting the most valuable card I saw (and passed) was an Etched Champion coming in at a whopping $3. The total value of my 3 opened rares was a little under $1, so at the lowest percentiles of the distribution. Then I went on to lose the first round of the draft against a sweet 5 color deck with great fixing and a bit of luck hitting 4 colors turn 4 naturally a couple of times. But hey, it’s Vegas. Things happen, I can afford to lose $30, and surely the next event will go better. The three rares I opened are pictured below in Magic Online form, since it makes them so much easier to read.
Modern Masters Swiss Sealed: Friday (All Day)
After a nice run Thursday night and a large all you can eat breakfast, I was ready for another day. Technically this event was for byes, but I was there to have fun and play Magic so that wasn’t a major focus. The event was scheduled to start at 1, and eventually it did get going. A major reason I signed up for this event was the Vendilion Clique Playmat, which is gorgeous and guarantees $20 in value from the get go. The way this and the main event work is that you opened 6 packs, register each card in the pool, and then pass that pool to another player. So, theoretically you have 2 chances to see some value, and in reality around 10-20% of people dropped after opening the pool they were in charge of registering because they opened value.
For the pool I was in charge of registering, it certainly didn’t go well. It started off on a high note when the pack had a foil rare (Finkel aka Shadowmage Infiltrator), but that ended up being the most valuable card in the pool. No Remand, Electrolyze, or Foil Lands. The total value was well under $10, so I went ahead and passed it since it wasn’t worth dropping from the $75 event for $10+$20 in product. Hopefully the next pool would end up better, and below are the rares that I ended up passing:
The guy across from me opened Noble and Karn, the guy on the right opened Spellskite and Bob, and they were both passing their pools. Although many dropped, I knew there was still some good value cards going around and odds are most pools were worth well more than the pitiful value I opened despite having 2 foil rares on top of the other 6. After shuffling the pools around, I managed to end up with a pool worth even less than what I passed. No mythics, no money rares, and once again not even a Remand or Electrolyze. So at this point, I’ve done two events totaling $105 and I’ve gotten the guaranteed playmat ($20), around $4 in rares, and haven’t actually seen a single mythic. Also, dropped after being 2-2 in this event because despite starting at “1” it was around 7:30 after I quickly lost the fourth round and it wasn’t worth being their til 9 for the hope of 10 tickets (think 2 packs of Dragons). Once again, the rares are below, and this time despite being poor value they made a fun goodstuffs deck.
Modern Masters Sealed: The Main Event (Saturday)
Okay, so at this point I’m pretty down in value. Well, very down. Obviously I’d had a lot of fun at this point hanging out with friends, seeing artists, and just being surrounded by people that love this game as much as me. But this is my time to make up some value since I know I’m down around $80 at this point. I haven’t seen any money rares, or even a mythic after seeing 14 packs of Modern Masters 2. This is the main event, so I start out with a decent playmat and promo Griselbrand, which is at least $30 in value. If I see $50 in value, I know I’m dropping out since I just want to see the artists and explore what the vendors have up for sale. So I opened up those first 6 packs and see the pool below.
…Damn. Although the foil Etched Champion at $8 is by far the most valuable card I’ve opened or been passed all weekend, it’s still a low value pool. Betweeen Champion, a Remand, and Eye of Ugin it’s under $20 and well under the $50 I’d set as my limit. This is the main event, so I know people are more likely to pass value and I no one at my table (20-30 people) dropped so I know people kept value. At this point I’d seen 20 packs worth of Modern Masters, and I still hadn’t seen a single value card. Heck, I hadn’t even seen a mythic. But maybe it’s finally my time for value. My friends and I are texting about our opens, and none of us dropped at this point although one guy was passing a Foil Tezzeret and another passed a Bitterblossom.
The judges say to pass your pack to the right so everyone will double check that the pool to their left was registered correctly. I knew the guy who opened this pool had a Kozilek in there since it caught my eye when he opened it. It turns out there was even more value than that, there was also a Noble Hierarch, All is Dust, and a Spellskite. So there was around $60 in this pool between those cards, but I was only double checking it. Obviously I’m interested in keeping it so I call a judge to ask if we can keep this pools. You can’t. Once again… Damn. There goes my best chance at finally winning a Modern Masters 2 gamble. The rares/mythics in the pool I was double checking is pictured below:
Once I have the pool double checked, I’m sitting there thinking “please just pass me a pool with nearly as much value as I’m passing. Just one time.
My friends and I are once again texting about the value we have in front of us. Out of the three of us actually texting, one has a Foil Kozilek and Splinter Twin in from of him. The other has a Bitterblossom and a Spellskite. We’d all love to drop, keep our pools, and go mess around.
Then over the speakers we hear “The pool you double checked is the pool you are playing…”
That is the exact text I sent out to my friends as soon as they made that announcement. I honestly can’t tell you how that announcement started, but the people around me started deckbuilding so the word “start” was probably in there somewhere.
Obviously this pool was also a great start for an artifact deck, and I’ll talk about how that went in my next article about the non-value side of GP Vegas.
In terms of value, I definitely experience the gamble of Modern Masters 2. And I lost.
However I did not gamble away or lose more than I could afford to, which is the way gambling is meant to be done. I must have finished down $100 in Modern Masters cards, then another $20 in drafts with friends (we did a Chaos draft among ourselves and drafted with a sealed box of M12 we bought for $60). Regardless, Vegas as a blast and I’ll be writing more about the overall experience in the next post.