Spoiler Spotlight – Master of the Feast


Black has been the worst color in Magic for the last couple of years. However, with the printing of cards like Thoughtseize, Hero’s Downfall, and Gray Merchant of Asphodel in combination with Journey into Nyx, it seems black is on its way back to the top.

I predict that Master of the Feast will see much Constructed play in the upcoming block Pro Tour as well as in Standard. Master is an extremely powerful card with the potential to win or lose the game singlehandedly. Magic is a game of resource management: cards, mana, and life. Master of the Feast sacrifices significant card advantage for an equally significant mana advantage.

Compare Master of the Feast to Goblin Guide. It’s not perfect, but valid in the sense that both cards aim to rapidly kill the opponent before their inherent weakness gives the opponent an insurmountable advantage. Cards that change drastically in power level, like Master, are interesting to evaluate. In the best-case scenario your opponent will be playing a deck with little or no removal for Master and lose despite receiving free cards. On the opposite side of the spectrum, an instant speed removal spell could kill the Master after giving the opponent a free card, not to mention an effect like Pacifism that could turn Master into a nightmare. It is important to note that Master triggers on your own upkeep, making sorcery speed removal merely a fair trade. In addition to the drawback of giving the opponent an extra card each turn, Master is susceptible to enchantment removal. The final drawback of Master is amusingly enough, being black: the existence of Dark Betrayal makes it a risky card to leave in post-sideboard against other black decks.

I doubt that attrition-based decks like Standard’s black devotion will incorporate Master. The current construction of the Standard black devotion lends itself toward trading resources with the opponent and gaining an advantage in a long game. Master has the potential to be a powerful sideboard card in matchups where the opponent either lacks removal or sideboards it out. Master could be a useful sideboard card in control decks, imitating the classic Baneslayer Angel sideboard gambit in a much more aggressive manner.  LSV’s explanation.

Another strategy to utilize Master would be to simply power through removal with Duress in addition to Thoughtseize, or protective spells like Boon of Erebos or Gods Willing. I doubt that this strategy will be effective as it is high risk and relies on drawing Master. If the metagame becomes infested with efficient, instant-speed removal, Master will likely need to take a break until the metagame shifts to a friendlier environment.

Master seems at its best in an extremely aggressive deck that strives to end the game before succumbing to the inherent card disadvantage. Master gives black aggressive decks a threat that is much different than the rest of the deck in respect to what removal it is susceptible to.

Here is a short list of cards that are typically effective against aggro, but are made an embarrassment by Master of the Feast:

 Here is my initial draft of a Mono-Black Aggro deck for Standard: 


This deck features another Journey into Nyx card: Gnarled Scarhide, which is quite powerful.

“2/1 [for B] and +2/+1 bestow [for 3B] are both very solid, but the thing that most interests me is the fact that you can stop anything from blocking—in certain scenarios, this is basically a removal spell.” -Quoted from PV’s article.


23 lands is more than average for an aggressive deck but I could potentially see 24 being correct. The bestow abilities of Gnarled Scarhide, Spiteful Returned, and Herald of Torment, in conjunction with Mutavault, make flooding out a minor liability. I appreciate that this deck has the capability of different avenues of attack:

  • Quick start with triple one-drops.

  • Gaining card advantage with Pain Seer, enhanced by bestow or paved a path for by removal spells.

  • Overcoming a congested board with flying creatures or Mogis’s Marauder.

I chose not to include Hero’s Downfall in this deck despite it being such a good card. This deck already plays more noncreature spells than most aggressive decks, any extra noncreature spells would risk not applying adequate pressure in the early game. Additionally, Hero’s Downfall is not efficient, it is at its best in a midrange or control deck that predicts needing to deal with a wide variety of threats in a long, drawn out game. Mono-Black Aggro has the capability to win a long game but its primary goal is to further its own game plan with minimal attention given to the opponents’.

Mono-colored decks tend to have weak sideboards. Nevertheless my proposed sideboard looks effective against several different strategies. The sideboard contains powerful cards against both poles of the format, Mono-Red Burn and Esper Control, with tools against the center of the spectrum too—green Monsters, Mono-Black, and Blue. 

It is impossible to guarantee that a card will be successful in an unknown format, nonetheless I have high hopes for Master. I am excited to play with Master of the Feast in both Standard and Block Constructed. Perhaps the gluttonous Demon will even guide me to victory at Pro Tour Journey into Nyx.

Thanks for Reading,

Jacob Wilson



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