PROTRADER: Pro Tour Preparation

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Next week is a significant week in MTG finance – the first Pro Tour since Standard rotated!  Pro Tours are typically very powerful catalysts to move and shake the market, often leading towards huge spikes in prices.  Remember when Return to Ravnica first came out and Angel of Serenity made a splash?  The card, which had pre-ordered for $5-$10 in advance of the Pro Tour, skyrocketed to an all time high after appearing on camera during the event.

Serenity

Of course, the momentum could not be continued, rampant selling ensued, and the card crashed from a high of $25 to around $8 in a couple months.  The card tried to rally back that Spring, but the bounce was short-lived.  Never again did the card show any life, and it still hovers just above bulk mythic status two years later.

As you can see in such a volatile chart, buying and selling at the right time was absolutely critical to make profits.  Buying at $7 and selling at $20 is a tremendous feeling, but buying during a Pro Tour spike at $17 and then watching the card’s price fade from $20 to $12 in the week it takes for your cards to arrive is absolutely miserable.  There’s a right and a wrong way to take advantage of Pro Tour hype and this week I want to share my strategy using a few case studies to help me along the way.

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22 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Pro Tour Preparation”

  1. I like tireless tracker alot. I picked up 20 playsets at $5.50 a set, then it has had a good showing in the bant company (and jumped to 19 a set) and I would really like to see it as a early card in a ramp deck. I also picked up undergrowth champions dirty cheap. I like the potential of sylvan advocate, tireless tracked, undergrowth champion, deathmist raptor, lumbering falls and hissing quagmire in a collected company deck.

  2. Hi Sig, what relevance will the Pro Tour have on prices that the SCG events have not already had in Baltimore and Columbus? Or is the word still out on what is considered “settled meta?”

    I know you’re not a standard expert, but I think it’s pretty clear the winners out of this new format will be the white based cards from this block and the last few. Humans and Bant company decks are utterly absurd.

    Is this a changing landscape where the Pro Tours have less influence on the standard market?

    1. Yes this was already effecting the last Pro Tour as well, but that still had some financial implications for example Matt Nass first showing the world the Rally Deck, which lets not forget didn’t break out until the following GP’s so I think the Pro Tour has more than enough chance of breaking out new decks we haven’t seen show up yet.

        1. My picks are for the Black/White control/midrange to break-out using Sorin and Grasp of Darkness. Hope the pros turn to languish and some sort of advantage to break Company and Humans decks. Otherwise this meta is going to get stale very quickly.

      1. Exactly, I agree with carboreeta. Just because Humans have been good these last two weeks doesn’t mean the pros won’t innovate and find us something completely different. At least, that’s my hope 🙂

    2. Not Sig, but I’ll chime in. SCG events at the start of the season are relevant, but let’s not kid ourselves – the best players in the world are preparing for the PT, not playing in the SCG Open. The PT is the best minds in the game playing new Standard, not just whoever is local to Baltimore and a handful of SCG grinders taking a stab at it.

      We see new decks come out of the PTs (Rally evolved from a PT deck last year), and it is the event that solidifies the metagame.

    3. Basically, my general thought process is: if cards have already jumped a bunch from recent SCG Opens, then I won’t be moving money into cards with already inflated prices. The best pops will happen in cards that have been “under the radar”. For example, take Linvala. If she starts showing up on camera and swinging matches favorably, there could be a major rally in Linvala’s price throughout the weekend. On the other hand, if the PT is dominated by the PT, how much higher can these cards really run? It’s a continuum, of course, but look at how little Rally moved after the PT because it had already jumped so much when it broke out the week before at an SCG Open.

  3. I think one thing to look for in the Pro Tour Meta game are decks that have a fighting chance against White-weenie and Bant Company decks. When the Top 8 of a large event just prior to the Pro Tour shows that much in one area, Pros would be remiss to not have ways to deal with a likely opponent. My first thought is along the lines of Languish in a control shell.

      1. If were going to move on this card, I might hedge my bet on the Gameday promo version…then I’ll have casual appeal if it doesn’t pan out.

  4. I think if W/X control decks are looking for a way to catchup from behind and Linvala is the best way to catchup. I think she could have a breakout tournament at the pro tour.

    1. Don’t forget Ultimate Price may be the kill spell of choice as most of the gold threats are now PWs.

      1. Ultimate Price is not a reasonable maindeck card against decks playing 4 reflector mage and 4 bounding krasis and pretty miserable against any thought-knot seer / reality smasher deck.

  5. I’ve been playing around with some humans decks and taking note of decks/cards that give it problems. Languish is obvious and low cmc black/red removal is good too (as well as declaration in stone).

    One of the decks that truly surprised me was a B/R/W control deck that ran Nahiri, the Harbinger, of all things. Nahiri doesn’t look great on the surface… but consider a meta that is filled with White Humans… What are white decks best cards other than humans/declaration in stone? Enchantments… Stasis Snare, Always Watching, etc. Nahiri, the Harbinger completely screws the late gameplan of these white decks.

    Basically… You pack enough removal to 1-for-1 their creatures (Black/Red/White has more than enough!) You add in a few Languish to push the removal over the top. Late game it was Nahiri and Chandra that closed it out for the B/R/W control player. Nahiri and Chandra are SUPER hard to deal with after a humans player has already been hit by a languish… So watch out for that one.

    I’m truly expecting to see a B/R/W control list now at the PT… Its an iffy list in the beginning but this is truly a deck that can come back from 5 life and close out the game… Chandra, Nahiri, Languish and random cheap removal. Keep this one in mind folks! This is the kind of deck that doesn’t even care if you get them down to 5 life… once they have the mana and the walkers hit the board… Good luck trying to deal with them. Note: Walkers POST Languish is what really made this deck disgusting to deal with…

    Maybe Languish and Chandra are the real winners here, but Nahiri might be crucial in keeping the white aggro decks from beating it too fast by taking Always Watching out of the equation. And by splashing white for Nahiri also gives this B/R Control list access to early Declaration in Stone… Just something to think about. At the very least, Nahiri is a GREAT SB option for White Aggro running Stasis Snare and Always Watching. And don’t get me started on the Madness options between Nahiri and Chandra… Wow…

    1. Well the more I read these comments, the more I want to own at least a few Languish before this weekend. Hmmmm….

      I like your creativity. I’m not really well prepared enough to give you constructive advice as I don’t know Standard all that well, but I’d say place your bets now if you’re passionate about your ideas!

  6. With its awesome maychup against Bant as well as recently winning the Standard SCG Open, Ramp could be a good choice at the PT. With that in mind, potential PT hits could be G/R cards like Traverse the Ulvenwald and Ulvenwald Hydra. Also, cards like Tireless Tracker and perhaps Arlinn Kord could blow up in popularity in these archetypes, and I have been seeing much talk about B/G (/x) decks becoming a thing, likely with the Hypnotoad. Like Corbin stated previously, I have to believe WOTC would have made SOI Standard a bit deeper than Mono White decks and Bant of Yesteryear 🙂

    1. GR ramp took down the Open side event at Columbus. It was very old school and played a bunch of Ulamog, and none of the new stuff you mentioned.

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