MTG Masters Sets Receive Thematic Overhaul

Kyle Massa
February 22, 2018

Love Magic's Masters sets? If so, you'll want to read about this.

Magic: The Gathering Senior Designer Gavin Verhey today announced a thematic shift for future Masters sets. Verhey wrote, "Instead of being focused on formats, Masters sets going forward are going to be focused on themes."

For context, the original Masters set was Modern Mastersit was released in 2013. As the name suggests, Modern Masters contained only cards legal in the Modern format. It was an instant hit and sparked two sequels, the first releasing in 2015 and the second in 2017. The format theme was explored further with Eternal Masterswhich contained reprints of classic cards for Legacy, Vintage, Commander, and Cube.

Last year's Iconic Masters became the first in the series to break the trend. Rather than exploring particular formats, this set was instead composed of cards matching a theme. In this case, Iconic creature types. Unfortunately, the set was criticized for its somewhat misleading title. Verhey acknowledged and apologized for this mistake in his article.

Still, many players considered Iconic Masters an excellent draft format. Verhey attributes this quality to the expansive card selection available to the design team, which was not constrained by format limitations. This is one of the main reasons behind the thematic shift. The second is that Wizards wants to provide players with desired reprints beyond just the Modern format.

The theme for the forthcoming Masters 25for instance, is nostalgia. Verhey writes, "We picked many cards, especially at common and uncommon, that should conjure up memories." 

Verhey adds that this decision does not necessarily mean the end of Modern Masters or similar sets. They could still reappear.

Whether you enjoy Masters sets for the draft experience or the reprints (or both), this change appears to be a vast improvement. We'll see what the next step is when Masters 25 spoilers begin next Monday.

Kyle Massa is a writer and avid Magic player living in upstate New York with his fiancée and their two cats. When he's not writing, you'll find him down at the East Greenbush Flipside store jamming booster drafts. For more of Kyle's work, visit or follow him on Twitter @mindofkyleam.  

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