Number of Cards: 249
Release Date: June 10, 2016
Official Codes: EMA, #MTGEMA
Languages: English, Japanese, Chinese Simplified
Eternal Masters is the booster-based "Masters" compilation for the summer of 2016. The set contains 249 different cards, carefully selected to create a unique and enjoyable Booster draft experience for veteran players, who would like to take a trip down memory lane with many of the well-known and beloved cards from Magic's early years.
Just like the Modern Masters series, this is a special set, in which Wizards of the Coast is publishing reprints of some of the most iconic and sought-after cards in Magic history. Unlike Modern Masters though it takes a wider focus, incorporating mostly the cards that were printed before the Modern card frame was established with the first Mirrodin block. Thus the set has been designed to satisfy all the needs of the different kinds of Eternal Magic Players, whether they prefer to play Vintage or Legacy or the more casual Commander (EDH) or Cube formats. Wizards has announced that no cards from the Reserved List will be reprinted (as has always been their policy regarding the Reserved List), but there still are many cards available for reprint that are ubiquitous in the eternal formats.
Upon announcing the set, two cards were confirmed directly: Force of Will and Wasteland, both of which have been format-defining cards in Legacy since they were printed, so it was exciting to follow the community guessing which other eternal powerhouses were chosen to join these two. While the original Dual Lands could unfortunately not be reprinted, many players are looking forward to picking up their first own copies or even playsets of cards like Karakas, Mana Crypt, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Natural Order, Sneak Attack, Vampiric Tutor, Entomb, Gamble, Sensei's Divining Top, or Deathrite Shaman.
There are a lot of great cards reprinted at lower rarities as well which are staples in Legacy, Vintage or Commander, like Cabal Therapy, Chain Lightning, Daze, Swords to Plowshares, Brainstorm, Young Pyromancer, Hymn to Tourach, Pyroblast, Invigorate, Price of Progress, Wirewood Symbiote, Mishra's Factory, and many more. Some of the cards in the set are available as Foils for the first time in Magic history and many cards have received a new artwork! Some cards like Force of Will and Vampiric Tutor had only been available as Judge Promo Foils so far. Now there will be additional copies available for players all around the world to choose from thanks to Eternal Masters. Eternal Masters has been announced to be released in only three different languages: English, Japanese, and Chinese Simplified. This means that nearly all the product listed on MKM will be in English, and Japanese Foils of the most desired cards will probably sell at a large premium. Booster packs (inside of displays inside of cases) will be the only form of distribution for this set. Each booster contains 16 cards, one of which is a token or marketing card, while the other 15 are the actual playable cards. Upon opening you will find 10 commons, 3 uncommons, 1 (mythic) rare and 1 foil card, which can be of any rarity. Given that it is a product aimed at long-term and expert players, it is not surprising that the set does not come with basic lands like a regular Standard legal set.
Keep in mind that the product has a much higher MSRP at $9.99 than regular sets at $3.49, and that displays contain 24 packs instead of 36. This puts a display at the perfect size for drafting, which should be your preferred way of opening these packs anyway - to maximize your enjoyment. You might remember drafting all of these cards over the years in the past, but you never had to determine their playability value against each other before, unless you are Cube drafting a lot! Eternal Masters is not only a bunch of powerful cards from the past though. As we are used to from recent sets, every colour pair supports a specific draft archetype from the past, like Treshold, Reanimator, Auras, Elves, and more.
A lot of cards have received a new artwork, most of which are capturing the essence of the old art perfectly while providing a fresh perspective. There are also some really nice easter eggs hidden in the art, like Wasteland showing a devastated City of Brass, Goblin Charbelcher firing a Black Lotus into the air, or the hand on Enlightened Tutor reaching for a book that has the bird from Idyllic Tutor engraved on its golden cover. All of these traits make Eternal Masters a great nostalgic product for Magic veterans, but also for players looking to get their hands on some of the first Magic cards ever printed!