Wizards of the Coast is about to try something very different with "Magic: The Gathering," and Director of R&D Aaron Forsythe spilled all of the details to fans this week. "Modern Masters" will be a 229-card set reprinting popular cards from "Eighth Edition" through "Alara Reborn." This is not the first time that WotC has reprinted "Magic" cards, but "Modern Masters" is without a doubt a unique product; this admittedly experimental release breaks the mold for what players can expect from a "Magic" set.
"Modern Masters" is targeting a very specific demographic among players, those who play in Modern-format tournaments, which allows cards from the past ten years of "Magic: The Gathering" history. The set will reprint the best of these cards for use in Modern play, while continuing to forbid their use in Standard-format matches.
First off, "Modern Masters" will be produced in extremely limited quantities. Forsythe explained how the "Magic" R&D team was well aware of the mistakes made with the 1995 release of "Chronicles," which flooded a market of once-valuable cards. According to Forsythe, WotC "will not be increasing the quantity of any card in circulation by more than a fraction of what is already out there." Any dip in value is expected to be recouped if "Modern Masters" achieves its goal: expanding the rolls of Modern-format players who will seek out these cards.
Tarmogoyf, complete with new "Modern Masters" artwork, the most-requested "Magic" reprint according to R&D Director Aaron Forsythe
The set breakdown is fairly standard (101 commons, 60 uncommons, 53 rares, and 15 mythic rares), but the distribution in boosters packs is quite different from previous "Magic" sets. Since there are no basic lands included, "Modern Masters" will include 15 cards and a premium foil card in every pack. Wizards of the Coast knows the value of these cards, though, and will be upping the pack price from $3.99 to $6.99. This helps cover the costs of foils and a small overall print run, while also dissuading casual players (who will not be allowed to use these cards in Standard-format matches) from buying these limited packs.
Booster box size has also changed, but with an eye towards playability. Forsythe describes drafting a box of "Modern Masters," telling fans that "battling storm versus dredge versus Faeries in draft is an unforgettable experience, kind of half-way between a normal set and Cube." With this in mind, "Modern Masters" boxes will include 24 packs, the perfect number to run a draft from.
"Modern Masters" will be available in stores on June 7th, 2013, and Wizards is celebrating this release with a limited "Modern Masters" only Grand Prix event in Las Vegas from June 22-23rd.