What is Maestros Ascendancy
Maestros Ascendancy is a rare card from the Streets of New Capenna Set. Card text:
Once during each of your turns, you may cast an instant or sorcery spell from your graveyard by sacrificing a creature in addition to paying its other costs. If a spell cast this way would be put into your graveyard, exile it instead.
Key Considerations on Whether to Draft Maestros Ascendancy in Limited
- It requires three different colors: I have now completed at least 94 drafts (tracked by 17lands), and one major takeaway is that despite SNC pushing a 3-color theme, it is best to enter drafts with a focus on 2-color decks. What this means is that you don’t necessarily want to force a Maestros Ascendancy deck, and instead, let the Grixis/Maestros colors fall to you (i.e., I very rarely take a 3-color card first pick, and most definitely not Maestros Ascendancy)
- The win rate for Maestros Ascendancy is rather low compared to other cards: If you look at any of the card-level win rates available on 17lands (games drawn, games played, opening hand), then they are at best 50%, and the only one above 50% is actually games not drawn. The card is not a strong card, and the average player does not have see success with the card. I have only played it once (a very recent draft) despite having played Maestros many times before.
- To be successful, you need to draft a Maestros deck with creatures good for grinding games out, and that make good candidates for sacrificing (creatures with Blitz, tokens): Good creatures for this include Girder Goons, Pugancious Pugilist, Exhibition Magician.
- And of course: you need high quality instants or sorceries that are worth recurring: Removal spells are always atop the list, but I especially want modal cards (like Maestros Charm) that provide options, non-conditional removal (Murder), or utility effects (like Call In a Professional which can turn off shield counters).
My Personal Experience With the Card
I mentioned earlier that I have played with the card once, and I was able to go 7-1 with deck in a Premier Draft on Magic Arena. Great results, right?
I drew Maestros Ascendancy three times:
- 1st time: I was already ahead on board, thanks largely to early removal being able to control the game. Maestros Ascendancy was not needed (i.e., Win More!), but theoretically could have helped turn the tide should my opponent have managed to stabilize. I didn’t mention it above, but this can also be a good reason to include Connive creatures (which you may want anyways) to give you options for discarding Ascendancy for some value when it is not needed.
- 2nd time: Maestros Ascendancy was completely dead card. I was in top-deck mode and needed a creature, not a card that required me to already have one. A major issue with the card: some game states make Maestros Ascendancy completely dead (akin to how you want to balance the number of counterspell cards in your limited decks)
- 3rd time: It shined, and when I say it shined, I mean to say that it took over the game. Getting twice the mileage out of Maestros Charm and Murder by trading out random two-drops and leftover 2/2 zombies from Girder Goons is amazing when you manage to stall the board. The game was all but over once Maestros Ascendancy came into play.
What to take away from this: The card is awesome when you play it in a stalled board (or neutral game state) where you have already played some instants and sorceries, and turning your lowest value creatures into spells allows you to clear paths to victory.
Unfortunately: Maestros Ascendancy misses more often than it hits.
I have no problems playing it as a 22nd-23rd card, but I’m not going to steer my draft around it. However, if I draft it in Pack 1 or even Pack 2, then I will keep in mind that I may want to push up removal in the draft order. Or especially take into consideration the direction I take with my creatures (token generators, Blitz, skew towards defense and not offense). A Maestros Ascendancy deck is looking to grind games out (i.e., less emphasis on the Red beatdown cards).