Master links sure are handy, but chains do a lil better without them, I think. Master links make chains shake around more, out of balance and that minute difference in length where the ends meet.
Peppers: just make sure your new link moves freely and you're pretty good to go. If the link keeps sticking you need a better tool like a Park, but you can still work it out with some patience! If in doubt, remove and redrive the link pin