I suppose it's only fitting that the most prestigious tournament of the year kicks off with the Cadillac of draft formats: Modern Masters. It's been called the most interesting draft format of recent memory, and the competitors in Pod 1 agreed. Hall of Famer Shuhei Nakamura calls it a Cube made up of classic draft formats. Even Dimitri Butakov, who focuses almost exclusively on Constructed, said that he loves the format's depth and variety of archetypes.
Here's how the pod shook out.
Starting with our winner, Reid Duke, he wound up in Black-White Rebels (considered by most to be one of the format's most powerful decks) after a brief flirtation with green. He simply couldn't ignore the flow of white cards headed his way. He described his preference as being for decks centered around card advantage and removal, and boy, did he get what he wanted.
Contrast that with Josh Utter-Leyton. Sitting three seats away from Duke, he also got what he wanted, more than enough, in fact. He has a strong preference for white in Modern Masters, saying that its best cards fit well in any of its archetypes. He opened Cloudgoat Ranger, one of the best white cards, and settled in to White-Red. In pack three he had to take Murderous Redcap over Thundercloud Shaman (not having enough giants to make it worth his while) and left Molten Disaster in the sideboard because of the fragility of his team. Confident in his deck, he wound up an unsatisfying 1-2.
The two players most disappointed with their drafts were Eric Froehlich and Shuuhei Nakamura. Froehlich got the signals to go into Five-Color Green after opening up with a pair of powerful blue cards. It seemed confirmed when Etched Oracle completed a lap of the table to wind up in his pile. Unfortunately he got hit with a terrible plight, seeing very little of the fixing he so desperately needed. Pack 3 was more of the same, and he was left shaking his head. He finished 2-1, better than he expected.
Nakamura was impaled on the horns of a dilemma. After the first pack he felt like he was drafting two decks, affinity on one side, blue-black faeries on the other. He couldn't quite ride the ship, and wound up creating a hybrid of the two. This led to an unsurprising 1-2 finish.
It's never pleasant to go 0-3, but it stung doubly for Dmitriy Butakov who actually liked the Blue-Red Storm deck he wound up with. His favorite archetype is blue-red control, getting card advantage off spliced Glacial Rays, but passed Ray second-pick in favor of Death Rattle, thinking he would wind up in Faeries. Aside from that regretted decision, he was optimistic of his chances.
David Ochoa was characteristically lukewarm on his Green-White Thallids deck. His 1-2 finish was disappointing, but not shocking.
The two most surprising decks at the table belonged to Willy Edel and Shahar Shenhar. Edel wound up in his preferred archetype of Blue-Green Tempo, based around powerful suspend creatures. Shenhar thought he was in a Red-Blue control deck, until the end of pack three when a few late key cards let him playin Mono-Red. The three (!!) Thundercloud Shamans in his deck made it an absolute terror. They both finished 2-1.
Flexibility seemed to be the order of the day at Pod 1. Players were content to spend their first few picks on powerful cards of several colors, trying to get a read on where their neighbors were headed. Would you have had that discipline in their seats? Head over to the Draft Viewer and try your hand at it. would you have first-picked the versatile Rathi Trapper in Reid Duke's seat? Would you have done a little dance as Josh Utter-Leyton when you got a Cloudgoat Ranger? See how the best did it, consider and question their picks, and learn from their example.