As a generally Casual player, Masters sets provide a unique opportunity. It tends to make certain 1-of cards affordable for EDH and 4-of cards possible for 60-card decks. It opens up possibilities for supplements where I otherwise would’ve gone for a cheaper option.
Considering these cards are all reprints, there isn’t really an opportunity for speculation outside of price fluctuations, and even then, most fluctuations have settled already since the spoilers were released. So that leaves me with the option of being entirely selfish and telling you where I plan on supplementing some of these cards into decks I already have built (this due either to the fact that I was hesitant towards the card because of price in the past, or, I simply never came across it in my previous ventures in deck building, admittedly).
So…let’s take a look at a few cards and how/where I plan on using them!
This card is a perfect supplement in my Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker deck. Despite grumbles I’m bound to hear, I’ve preferred the Shirei build in 60-card rather than EDH. The biggest advantage of this choice is I get to run a lot more of the cards that benefit most from Shirei’s ability. The biggest disadvantage is the dependence of a 4-of card at 5 CMC. Hell’s Caretaker helps out a lot with that for so many reasons. The 1/1 power/toughness syncs with Shirei’s ability, while Hell’s Caretaker provides sack engine at the benefit of returning cards from the graveyard. This allows me to keep the “devour” biggies like Ravenous Demon from getting stuck in the graveyard and opens up possibilities of letting 1/1’s go to the graveyard before I have Shirei out because I can just get them back with Hell’s Caretaker. It’s a perfect compliment to Shirei.
Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
My oldest living EDH deck is an Esper artifact/sphinx deck. It started out based around Sen Triplets and slowly evolved over the years to be more artifact-centric, and then became somewhat “balanced” by a heavy inclusion of sphinxes. The primary focus of the deck now is to manipulate the battlefield and gameplay with artifacts. Hanna would be a welcomed addition because permanent graveyard return for artifacts is always better than temporary, especially at her CMC.
I am not a fan, in general, of stalling a player’s field with mana manipulation, particularly if it doesn’t affect my own field as well. Cards like Iona, Shield of Emeria just aren’t very friendly, and therefore aren’t generally used amongst friends. But, it’s always fun to have a nice card like Sundering Titan in your back pocket for some EDH shenanigans against a particularly brutal opponent. It fits well in my Esper artifact/Sphinx EDH deck as a circumstantial drop. Unfortunately, its ban in EDH makes it even more of a no-go…but sometimes Casual has a place for banned cards because the card isn’t used explicitly for abuse.
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
This card has been one I have always wanted to add to my mono-green creature-only Surge deck. It runs a handful of Oracle of Mul Daya and Courser of Kruphix and tends to only stall when I hit too large of a mana pocket. A couple of Azusas would help resolve this problem and expedite the mana ramp.
My Animar EDH deck is one of my favorites. I’ve committed to it being entirely creatures to a fault. I’ve also avoided any of the infinite combos associated with the deck. This would upset a lot of people, but I’d rather win in a feverish battle trading blows. To do this and still remain competitive, I rely on putting creatures with a lot of versatility in their abilities to make sure I can cover every contingency. The deck focuses heavily on tutoring to keep my hand/field versatile. While ETB/ability-based tutoring has been the name of the game so far, there is a unique benefit to Protean Hulk because of its reaction to field wipes, which is the primary enemy of this deck. Rather than be in deep water if I lose my field presence, Protean Hulk allows me to at least retrieve something in return for my loss, and with this deck’s expansive CMC curve, it will provide me quite a few options for what to retrieve.
I enjoy seeing the cards they choose for Masters. I fall right on the fence about the usefulness of Masters in regards to supply and pricing. Sure, it’s nice to open up the card pool to all types of players, but sometimes the card choices can be seen as a slap to the face of loyal players/collectors. As I am on the fence, it’s hard for me to make a definitive statement. In general, I think Wizards knows what it’s doing. It’s a good opportunity to balance the game, even if the choices can be easily questioned sometimes.