As someone who bought the master set mainly to steal the bits from the box to add to my existing sets, and to bite the bullet in case another expansion is made, which I'm sure wouldn't be backward compatible, I have a few thoughts to share.
As for icons vs text - I find the icons easier because you can see them from across the table in any orientation and know what they do without having to read text upside down.
To me the only rule worth entertaining the idea to bring back to the original versions is the drafting rule. The original rule is no big deal once you've seen it done, but I do think trying to teach it to a new player is a bit much. To me the solutions are, use the Master Set draft, or just handle that part of the game yourself. Why teach them how to draw the cards for the draft market if you can just handle that part of the game for the table.
My thoughts about the icons across the table were the same as yours until I actually played it. I just looked at the spoils mostly, because I was attacking more for my benefit than their detriment.