The core sets have gotten much better limited wise over the years. When they started in Alpha, they were completely un-draftable. It has moved so much in the other direction that now core sets are some of the most fun limited formats to play during the year. I specifically recall M14 as being an above average draft format. To be able to remember M14 is remarkable considering it came out in the same year as both Vintage and Modern Masters – two sets specifically made with only limited play in mind. The set shined and is my go-to draft format online nowadays.
Core sets are about getting newer players involved in Magic. This means that the amount of both instants and on board tricks are largely diminished. This also in theory makes the games less complex and to some, less fun. I think this was true up until M13. Wizards recognized this and set out to fix the problem. In M14, the two best decks were B/R sacrifice and U based Control. Control is difficult to play and wasn’t really hindered by a lack of on board tricks or flashy instants. Opportunity and Nephalia Seakite alone were enough to give the blue mage options throughout the game.
The sacrifice deck on the other hand was relatively easy to play, but very difficult to draft. Taking and sacrificing opponents creatures wasn’t the difficult part, what you needed to focus your attention on was kill spells to clear the board, sacrifice outlets, shear number of Act of Treasons, and synergies like Pitchburn Devils, Bubbling Cauldron, and Festering Newt. Assembling these combos and building a good sacrifice deck took skill and knowledge.
Coming in to M15, I would expect a lot of the same things to be true. I expect good drafting to be rewarded as well as tight play. Just from going through the spoiler I think aggro is back. This means that tight curves and powerful finishers are in demand.
Join me later this week as we start to put together our thoughts on the new format!
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