All posts by James Chillcott

WEEKEND UPDATE FOR OCT 18TH

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By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

Here’s your weekly update on what’s been shifting around in price in the world of paper Magic: The Gathering this week. Overall, with the release of Khans of Tarkir still echoing through a refreshed and dynamic standard metgame, most of the movers and shakers are found in that format.

10 Winners of the Week

1. Astral Cornocopia (Born of the Gods, Rare): $.39 to $.88 (+208%)

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Formats: Standard + EDH + Eternal Potential

I would love to claim I saw this one coming based on my 50+ copies, but in reality I only snagged them as a bulk rare with clear combo potential in early summer without any clue they would be playable in the scariest combo deck of the season (Jeskai Ascendancy). The Jeskai combo deck plays this card as a zero casting cost artifact with the slight potential upside of being a mana rock if necessary (it never is). It’s worth noting that the card can easily be swapped out for Briber’s Purse in standard, which should limit it’s short-term price below $3 unless it makes a showing in an eternal format in some random combo deck at a top table.

Verdict: Conditional Sell (on entry points below .$50)

2. Perilous Vault (M15, Mythic): $3.54 to $5.13(+145%)

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Formats: Standard + EDH/Casual

Put simply it is the emergence of the U/B Control builds at the Pro Tour that is driving the resurgence in this card.  As a sweeper that can clear the board of everything but lands, the card gives control builds game against both creatures and planeswalkers out of the mid-range deck as well as stray enchantments and artifacts out of Jeskai Ascendancy.  Expect the future of this card to depend on how many control decks keep making top tables over the next few months. A faster field will put it to sleep and leave it as a spec to look at next summer for future EDH and casual interest.

Verdict: Hold

3. Pearl Lake Ancient (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $2.31 to $5.13 (+124%)

Format: Standard

As with Perilous Vault, Pearl Lake Ancient is under the spotlight as a somewhat reluctant finisher in various Jeskai and Dimir control builds for standard. The combination of Prowess, Flash and some resiliency to 1-for-1 removal makes PLA a reasonable top end for decks that can survive to that point. I have been a seller at the new price, having bought in to 20+ copies around $1.50, mostly because I think the card is merely good rather than great, and could easily fade from memory if the format shifts. It has no future in other formats and I wouldn’t want to be caught holding a bunch beyond the peak. On the other hand, if it posts a prominent finish at GP Los Angels this weekend, it does have upside potential similar to Wingmate Roc given it’s mythic rarity. Keep an eye on our wrap up coverage of the major tournaments Sunday night for clues.

Verdict: Sell

4. Rakshasa Deathdealer (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $1.63 to $4.09 (+66%)

Format: Standard

Initially speculators held off this card on the assumption that it would follow a similarly unexciting trajectory to Fleecemane Lion, another solid beater from a fall set that peaked over $10 in Nov ’13 only to fall to the $2 range later that season. Ironically the Deathdealer made a strong debut at PTKTK alongside the lion with both cards offering major coordinated offensive power in Mike Sigrist’s aggro Abzan build.  Despite the flexibility of the Abzan deck builds, I’m a seller of this card in the $5-6 range as we still have a ton more Khans product to be opened and the card isn’t likely to cross the border into older formats.

Verdict: Sell

 5. Dig Through Time (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $8.16 to $12.58 (+54%)

Format: Standard, Modern, Eternal.

If I had to pick a card to be the Snapcaster Mage of Khans of Tarkir, this would be it. Initially overshadowed by the more hyped Treasure Cruise, it was soon revealed that Draw7/Pick2 is actually more powerful than Draw3, especially in control/combo decks that need specific answers or combo pieces to close out games. It’s so powerful, it’s popping up in pretty much any Standard or Modern deck that can cast it and wants the effect, and that’s a lot of them. As a rare in a heavily opened set it will have trouble holding a price point above $10-12 this season, but it deserves the better than average price curve and will be a definite spec once it floats lower on available copy volume heading into spring and summer. As an eternal and EDH gem, I’m holding multiple copies, English foils, Japanese foils, and multiple foreign copies. It’s a card worth trading into and acquiring wherever you find it. The only real question is whether the new delve cards will be too powerful in modern and lead to fresh bannings but we’ve got time to see how that plays out this winter.

Verdict: Sell (Short Term), Buy (Mid-Term/Long-Term)

6. Siege Rhino (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $7.40 to $10.50 (42%)

Here is your leading candidate for the best creature in Standard and a virtual swiss-army knife in the current format. It’s an efficient beater, blocker and de facto counter spell against burn spells. It helped multiple Abzan builds dominate the Top 8 of PTKTK, it reverses starts against Aggro and Tempo that look unwinnable, it tramples over green ramp creatures, and it’s up 40%+ this week as Abzan takes the early mantle as the deck to beat. As a KTK rare it’s current level leaves little room for growth, so I’m a seller, looking to cash out from $4 pre-orders and reinvest for further profit potential elsewhere.

Verdict: Sell

7. See the Unwritten (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $4 to $5.62 (+41%)

This is a card to watch. There is a strong legacy of green cards that leverage early ramp into massive creatures on board, and it’s easier than ever right now to push an early 4 power creature into 2 behemoths given the plethora of ramp creatures and mid-range power creep. The growth this week was based on some Green Devotion play at the Pro Tour leading into Hornet Queen, but with a strong possibility of Eldrazi and/or massive Dragons showing up in Standard later this year, there is definitely runway left for this undervalued mythic. I’m a buyer under $6.

Verdict: Buy

8. Wingmate Roc (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $14.88 to $20.12 (+35%)

Format(s): Standard

With Abzan (WGB) decks dominating the top 8 at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir last weekend, Wingmate Roc has had plenty of camera time lately. The card has more than proven itself as a solid role player in any mid-range deck that can afford the mana cost of 3WW. In a standard format where folks are generally trading 1-for-1 against removal, adding two solid threats to the board for the cost of one can be big game against an exhausted hand. The card’s price is definitely vulnerable to metagame shifts, and it has no future in older formats, but it’s also seeing play in Jeskai Control and Mardu builds so it should be able to hold $15+ for most of the season.

Verdict: Sell

9. Glittering Wish (Future Sight, Rare): $15.99 to $19.36 (+21%)

Easily found for as little as $2 just 6 weeks ago, Glittering Wish was always a strong card waiting for the right deck. As a Future Sight era rare it is basically a Super Mythic, and the 1000% increase isn’t that surprising given the trajectory of other rares from that set in recent years once they found a home. Driving the trend is the pivotal nature of Glittering Wish in the modern version of the Jeskai Ascendancy combo deck where it serves as an extra 3-4 copies by fetching the central combo piece from the sideboard as necessary. So long as it’s Ascendancy rather than Wish that gets banned this winter (a result most consider likely), there is more room for upside here, so long as another deck finds a use for it. Even still, I’ve been a happy seller at this price point, because the upside from here is unlikely to outpace other options.

Verdict: Sell

10. Blood Moon (9th Edition, Rare): $16.24 to $19.49 (+20%)

Format: Modern + Legacy

At a time when many Modern cards are floating lower, the utility of Blood Moon in shutting down the increasingly complicated mana-bases in Modern and Legacy is still gaining traction. The card hasn’t been printed for a while and the recent boost is attributable at least partially to the increased prominence of Burn and U/R aggro strategies in older formats made possible by the emergence of Monestary Swiftspear. This is a card that’s fine to hold if you’re looking to play it and easy to sell if you see a chance to reinvest elesewhere.

Verdict: Hold

Noteable Losers

1. Savage Knuckleblade (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $4.31 to $3.21 (-26%)

Format(s): Standard

The Estimated Value of a box of Khans of Tarkir is still too high at present, and with such a highly opened set, something has to give. Prime candidates will continue to include powerful but under-performing cards like Savage Knuckleblade that aren’t showing up at enough top tables to hold their value. Pending a strong finish of note, this card is headed to $1-2.

Verdict: Sell

2. Rattleclaw Mystic (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $5.85 to $4.64 (-21%)

Format(s): Standard

Despite showing up as a four-of in the Jeskai Ascendancy standard deck, the Mystic is largely unrepresented compared to stronger rares found on the upswing this week from Khans of Tarkir. As such, expect it to settle in around $4 and look to snap copies up quickly if it posts a strong finish, since a metagame shift could easily see this come back up in the $6-10 range.

Verdict: Hold

3. Empty the Pits (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $5.34 to $4.30 (-19%)

Format(s): Standard, Modern + EDH/Casual

The power isn’t in dispute, but it’s unclear whether Empty the Pits can find a home in a powerful graveyard centered deck in Standard that can put up great results. Even when it shows up, it’s often just a 1-2 of. As a long-term pickup this card has strong potential as a mythic in the $5 range that could easily hit $15-20 in a few years.

Verdict: Buy

Quick Hits:

  • Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, Surrak Dragonclaw and Butcher of the Horde are all down 15%+ this week because they aren’t showing up in top table decks yet. All three can easily reverse course on better news. Keep an eye out for bargains, especially on the mythics.
  • Fetches have been a “sell” since the pre-release and will continue to be until they fall under $10-12 broadly as befits their status as fall set rare dual lands that are only seeing limited play in standard. Look to buy a ton of these next summer during fal set discount season.
  • I recommend selling boxes of Modern Masters which can be unloaded in the $360-400 range right now. Unknowns around the potential release of Modern Masters 2 as a global release make possible reprints from the 1st set a distinct possibility I don’t want to hang around to see proved wrong. The profits are solid for a 16 month hold, so I’m all out, saving only one box for way down the road.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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The Lessons of Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

It was a weekend full of great decks, plenty of drama, and an excellent showing from many of the world’s best players. In defeating Shaun McClaren’s Jeskai Wins burn/tempo deck, Ari Lax claimed his first Pro Tour trophy and put Abzan mid-range on the map as the deck to beat this fall. Perhaps most importantly, this Pro Tour has also put Khans of Tarkir on display as one of the most influential fall sets in recent memory.

More than ten KTK rares and mythics made it onto the top 8 stage today, including such notables as Savage Knuckleblade, Clever Impersonator and Rakshasa Deathdealer. But with 6 of our Top 8 decks featuring either Abzan or Jeskai builds, it was really the following  cards that defined the weekend and now threaten to define the standard metagame heading towards years end:

The New Staples

If there was a single creature heralded for key wins this weekend, it was certainly Siege Rhino. The life draining beat stick was instrumental in multiple Abzan victories over aggressive Jeskai hands that had trouble putting games away in the face of one or more 6 point life swings. Easily found as low as $5 last week, this format defining threat has spiked to $10+ per copy this weekend and may gain a few more dollars before the inevitable general downtrend in KTK rares kicks in due to ever expanding product openings.

Dig Through Time has arrived. Initially overlooked in all the hype around it’s cousin Treasure Cruise, DTT was virtual TNT all weekend, blowing up end games with the incredible power offered Combo and Control players when they get to find answers amongst their next seven cards. Spiking from $5 per copy to $40-45/playset this evening. I’d expect a solid $10-12 plateau now as more players explore how best to put this game winner to use.

Wingmate Roc was a big question mark heading into PTKTK, but it comes out the other side with feathers intact. Never a bomb, but frequently a solid roll player, the giant bird twins did work all weekend as an efficiently costed clock that often required more than one answer to escape. Expect the gains towards $15 to solidify through the early part of the week.

Despite being objectively less powerful than Sarkhan or Nissa, Sorin’s ability to slot neatly into the dominant Abzan decks and to help grind out games through life link bonuses or double bat activations was frequently a key strategy in pushing past the last few removal spells and on to victory. Now proudly uttered in the same breath as Elspeth, and often found boosting her soldiers, Sorin, Solemn Visitor should have little trouble heading towards $30 this week.

Speaking of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, she’s not going anywhere quite yet. The format isn’t quite as aggro as expected in the early weeks, and she’s still doing good work even without Sphinx’s Revelation backup.

Mantis Rider drew blood over and over again at PTKTK and should easily hold $7-8 as a central soldier for the variety of Jeskai brews.

THE INCUMBANTS

Any uncertain about the dominance of the best cards from Theros block must now be put aside, or at least for this group of powerful staples that made up 4 of the top 6 most popular cards in the Top 8. All of these cards clearly deserve their current price tags and should be neutral to rising heading out of the weekend:

Thoughtseize might have been bad had dedicated aggro decks made a stronger showing, but paying 2 life to get rid of key draw spells, planewalkers and heavy hitting mid-range creatures was good all weekend long.

Though green decks were less dominant than many feared coming into the event, Sylvan Caryatid still did a ton of work all weekend fixing mana problems and setting the stage for victory in the hands of  both Green Devotion and Jeskai Combo players.

With so many powerful mid-range creatures and planeswalkers on display, Hero’s Downfall stood strong as the de facto kill spell of standard this weekend.

Siege Rhino might have won the tournament, but Goblin Rabblemaster still scored thousands of points of damage across the event hall this weekend. With Jeskai blends emerging as a powerful and flexibility cluster of archetypes across the top tables, we can expect the best Goblin printed in years to hold his role as a $15+ staple.

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THE CHALLENGERS

These cards made their presence felt all weekend and are on deck to be a big part of the evolving metagame despite not having the full spotlight this weekend:

Sarkhan, Dragonspeaker was all over the top 64, despite now showing up in vast quantities in the top 8. His power now confirmed, we can expect Sarkhan to maintain a $40+ price point as Jeskai Wins, Jeskai Control and G/R players all find ways to put him to use at various levels of standard play.

Coming at ya straight out of Theros Block events, Prognostic Sphinx shared on camera time with Pearl Lake Ancient as the control finishers of choice in a world without Aetherling and a cadre of top pros who refused to go Esper to make use of Elspeth.

Pearl Lake Ancient: Despite UB Control’s inability to close out key games on camera this weekend, it will surprise few if PLA manages to find a home in a retooled control build at some other prominent tournament this fall. It’s no Aetherling or Elspeth, but the big body, resistance to point removal and potential for life gain shenanigans has proven the mythic is likely worth closer to $5 than $1.50.

It may have fizzled out in Top 8 but Jeskai Ascendancy based combo decks actually performed reasonably well across the tournament. Though the deck is clearly more fragile in Standard than it is in Modern, enough turn 4 kills were still thrown down by the likes of Lee Shi Tian, Dave Williams and other top pros to ensure this deck’s centrepiece holds value in the $5-8 unless the metagame shifts away.

Coming out the other end of the Pro Tour tunnel, we’re facing a diverse and grindy metagame that rewards careful deck construction, flexibility and well considered play. In short, this is a skill testing format, and the stage is set for further innovation as the season progresses. Think you’ve got what it takes to crack the secret formula? First you need to get past my Super Villain (Villainous Wealth Ramp) deck…..bwahahahahah!

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir Coverage (Day 3: Top 8)

Finals: Lax vs. Mclaren

Ari Lax defeats Shaun McClaren to establish Abzan mid-range as the deck to beat this fall. Look for Sorin and Siege Rhino to rise. Huge congratulations to Ari Lax on his 1st Pro Tour win and to fellow Canadian Shaun McClaren on his fantastic 2nd place finish, less than a year after his own win.

The story of the day continues: Jeskai vs Abzan

Semi-Finals 2: Sigrist vs. Mclaren

  • McClaren puts Sigrist away easily, reinforcing the potential for Mantis Rider and Dig Through Time to be mainstays alongside Rabblemaster this fall
  • Dig Through Time called out again as card of the tourney and a key success factor for Shaun
  • Lax just top decked Elspeth for the win, perhaps ensuring she’ll maintain some upward price momentum
  • Lax vs Thiago see split 1-1
  • Abzan Aggro gets another chance to demonstrate dominance over the Jeskai builds to see who makes the finals

Semi-Finals 1: Ari Lax vs. Thiago

  • Abzan mid-range mirror match

Quarter-Final 4:  Lee Shi Tian (Jeskai Combo) vs. Shaun McClaren (Jeskai Wins)

  • McClaren keeps Shi Tian on the back foot the whole game to take Game 2, and win into the semi-finals
  • Lee Shi Tian has access to a full 15 card transformative sideboard, turning into a mid-range Temur deck using 4 Savage Knuckleblade, but only does a partial switch for Game 2
  • Shaun takes Game 1 from Jeskai Combo, using Mantis Rider to ensure a weak hand from Shi Tian doesn’t get it done
  • Coverage team breaking down how the Jeskai combo works, highlighting Jeskai Ascendancy as the key card
  • Go Canada go! (totally unbiased)
  • This match gives us an interesting new head-to-head of two different Jeskai builds

Quarter-Final 3: Mike Sigrist (Abzan Aggro) vs. Ivan Flock (UB Control)

  • Sigrist takes a convincing game 2 to put the Abzan decks at 3-0 in the quarter-finals!
  • Ajani, Mentor of Heroes on camera punishing Floch
  • Sigrist takes Game 1 and makes clear that Abzan has game in multiple configurations
  • Prognostic Sphinx being shown to match up poorly against the meta-gamed choice to run Raskshasa Deathdealer and Fleecemane Lion on the aggro plan
  • This round will give Abzan a high profile shot at proving it’s ability to handle control decks

Quarter-Final 2: Thiago Saporito (Abzan Mid-Range) vs. Ondrej Strasky (Jeskai Wins)

  • Abzan takes down Jeskai Wins again to take the top table record to 2-0 in the war of clans
  • Thiago goes up a game, but is quoted on saying that Strasky is favored after sideboarding
  • LSV calling out Dig Through Time as a key missing card for Strasky
  • Strasky build of Jeskai Wins contains a few cards of note as well, including: 3 copies of Ashcloud Phoenix and the oft-overlooked 4 Hushwing Gryff. Gryff is a meta-call against comes into play abilities like the ones found on Siege Rhino and Wingmate Roc. Gryff was easily available for $1.25 heading into the weekend, but has been inching up towards $2+ since first being mentioned on camera tomorrow.
  • We get to see another Abzan vs. Jeskai tempo/burn match here, which could help establish the pecking order for the format
  • Willy Edel being credited for designing the deck
  • LSV is highlighting the use of 2 copies of Anafenza in Thiago’s deck (1 main/1 sideboard)
  • Of note in the Thiago Abzan build is the presence of 4 Wingmate Roc, 2 Sorin, and 4 Siege Rhino

Quarter-Final 1: Ari Lax (Abzan Mid-Range) Vs. Yuyaa Wantanabe (Jeskai Wins)

  • Ari takes Game 2 to defeat Jeskai Wins and but Abzan one step closer to taking the tournament and increasing the profile of Siege Rhino, Sorin, Solemn Visitor, Wingmate Roc and Utter End as potential #mtgfinance gainers
  • In Game 2 Ari is making planewalkers, including Sorin, look great in this format
  • Ari takes down Yuyaa in Game 1, demonstrating that even Abzan mid-range can handle a shaky draw from the Jeskai deck with the right tools in hand

After 16 exciting rounds the table is now set for one of the most dynamic and diverse Pro Tour Top 8’s in recent memory.

Here’s where we’re at in terms of players and decks:

  1. Shaun McClaren (Jeskai Burn)
  2. Ivan Floch (U/B Control)
  3. Ari Lax (Abzan Mid-Range)
  4. Mike Sigrist (Abzan Aggro)
  5. Ondrej Strasky (Jeskai Wins)
  6. Yuyaa Wantanabe (Jeskai Wins)
  7. Thiago Saporito (Abzan Midrange)
  8. Yuyaa Wantanabe (Jeskai Wins)

That’s a dominant 3 versions of Jeskai builds centered on tempo and burn, along with 1 Jeskai Ascendancy combo deck, 3 versions of Abzan builds and a lone U/B control build in the competent hands of master control player Ivan Floch.

Notably absent from Top 8 after solid showings this weekend are the Green Devotion decks in their various forms, the various graveyard based Whip/Sidisi/Hornet builds, and a variety of Esper and Jeskai flavored control decks.

In terms of card copies, here are the key #mtgfinance cards that dominate these Top 8 lists ranked by total copies in main and board:

  • Hero’s Downfall (15)
  • Thoughtseize (15)
  • Siege Rhino (12)
  • Sylvan Caryatid (12)
  • Dig Through Time (11)
  • Prognostic Sphinx (9)
  • Mantis Rider (8)
  • Wingmate Roc (8)
  • Goblin Rabblemaster (8)
  • Fleecemane Lion (8)
  • Sorin, Solemn Visitor (7)
  • Elspeth, Sun’s Champion (6)
  • Mana Confluence (6)
  • Anger of the Gods (6)
  • Sarkhan, Dragonspeaker (5)
  • Silence the Believers (4)
  • Savage Knuckleblade (4)
  • Rakshasa Deathdealer (4)
  • Clever Impersonator (3)
  • Brimaz, King of Oreskos (3)
  • Ajani, Mentor of Heroes (2)
  • Stormbreath Dragon (2)
  • Nissa Worldwaker (2)
  • Polukranos (2)
  • Hushwing Gryff (4)
  • Jeskai Ascendancy (4)
  • Pearl Lake Ancient (1)

For the cards on this list that were undervalued, look for them to rise. For those that were already high, their status should be safe for now.

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Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir Coverage (Day 2)

by James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

ROUND 15 Notes:

  • I’ve got to check out for the last two rounds guys, but I’ll write up a late night set of notes as necessary, depending on how the Top 8 turns out.
  • Breakout cards now definitively include: Dig Through Time, Jeskai Ascendancy, Pearl Lake Ancient, Perilous Vault, Siege Rhino and Sorin, Solemn Visitor and possibly Sidisi. Sarkhan, Swiftspear, Mantis Rider, and Elspeth all looked like continuing staples as expected.
  • Stoke The Flames was present in high enough quantities to maintain it’s crazy $4 uncommon price tag.
  • Goblin Rabblemaster and Courser of Kruphix are still in the mix but are not outright dominating as feared. The format is very diverse.
  • So far Top 8 looks likely to include a couple of Jeskai brews, a couple of Abzan brews, a couple of control decks and possibly a Mardu deck. Very diverse with few surprises left to be discovered.

ROUND 14 Notes:

  • Sorin did good work in Ari’s match, advancing the case that he should be sharing a price tag with Sarkhan based on results
  • Ari beats Strasky to put Abzan in position to have at least 2 players in the Top 8 alongside McClaren
  • In the Orange (Esper Control) vs. Watanabe (Jeskai Burn) match, Orange dropped an Ashiok, one of the first we’ve seen this weekend, and he’s up a game.
  • Ari gives Ajani, Mentor of Heroes a bit of face time on camera
  • Strasky deck is notable for 2 copies of Ashcloud Phoenix and Hushwing Gryff to mess comes into play abilities on creatures like Siege Rhino and Wingmate Roc
  • Ondrei Strasky on Jeskai Wins (combo) vs. Ari Lax on Abzan mid-range is our feature match this round
  • Heading into this round Sigrist is again top man with his Aggro Abzan deck
  • Also running 4 Hornet Queen + multiple Sagu Mauler
  • Running 4 copies of Sidisi, Brood Tyrant + 4 copies of Whip of Erebos (!) and a single Soul of Innistrad in the main.
  • Sidisi Whip being featured as a Dech Tech with Christian Seibold

ROUND 13 Notes:

  • Now we’re looking at the first appearance on camera of Sidisi Whip, featuring Soul of Innistrad + Sidisi, Brood Tyrant. Deck pilot is 10-3 and still live for Top 8. An appearance like that would push both of these mythics up the list.
  • Owen takes down Oiso and makes Pearl Lake Ancient look even better. Floch beats Brad Nelson, putting 2 UB players in line for Top 8.
  • Floch on U/B Control with Prognostic Sphinx, playing against Brad Nelson, on Jeskai Tokens
  • Owen goes up a game against Green Devotion using Pearl Lake for the win
  • Pearl Lake Ancient getting more camera time. Ebay checks show copies going for about $4 shipped now, up ~75% since start of the event.
  • Clever Impersonator on camera doing some work. Also worth noting that Oiso is running Prophet of Kruphix. Look for foil Clash Pack versions to climb if this deck makes Top 8.
  • Owen on camera with UB Control vs. Mashashi Oiso on Green Devotion, both at 9-3

ROUND 12 Notes:

  • Jeskai Aggro is being featured as the first dech tech of the evening…expecting a push on Ascendancy again tonight
  • Standard format being discussed as incredibly healthy and diverse with many decks capable of shifting form after sideboarding
  • Levy defeats Cuneo, highlighting Mardu Planeswalkers as a deck to beat. Levy calls the deck grindy and calls Chandra a key source of advantage. Refers to Sarkhan emblem as key in victory.
  • Brimaz called out as highly effective against UB Control on the play
  • Zack just called out Dig Through Time as the breakout spell of the tourney. We concur.
  • Innovative Shi Tian deck also seems to have Polukranos out of the board!
  • McClaren does 11 damage on the final turn to go up over Shi Tian
  • Shi Tian is playing transformational Jeskai combo, choosing to use Savage Knuckleblade against McClaren on Jeskai burn post-board. Good camera time for the Temur monster could help keep it in the $4-5 range.
  • Game 1 to Levy, demonstrating that in a post-Revelation world, Mardu can out draw classic control
  • Elspeth joins Chandra to ensure we know neither card is dead in the format
  • Multiple Chandra’s taken down by Pearl Lake Ancient in some back and forth post Sarkhan emblem
  • Utter End takes care of a Perilous Vault for profit
  • Sarkhan goes ultimate and provides a permanent source of card advantage against the control deck
  • Mardu Charm clearing the way for Sarkhan to sneak under counters demonstrating the ability of this deck to fight control
  • Pearl Lake Ancient getting more top table air time. Not feeling ultra confidant on the prospects, but I like a few sets under $2.
  • Cuneo on UB Control vs. Raphael Levy on Mardu Planeswalkers should help us further triangulate the metagame
  • Helen announces that Regional PTQ participants will be receiving Liliana of the Veil just for attending. This card just turned into a sell signal but distribution isn’t until April 2015 so I’m a buyer below $40/copy.
  • Starting at 7pm EST Sat, Oct 11th

On to day 2!

Follow along with live video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MHTE3qT3_U

Day 1 of Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir featured 3 fascinating rounds of draft, followed by 5 highly varied and exciting rounds of standard action. So far the field is strongly diversified but at the end of the standard rounds, the theme was clear: Jeskai and Abzan own this tournament. Mardu Planeswalkers, Green Devotion and G/B Constellation builds also still have a shot, but it’s the Ascendancy and Siege Rhino decks that need to be overcome on Day 2 to win through.

See all of our Day 1 coverage here.

Let’s check in on our noteable cards to see how they’re doing:

If there is a break out card this weekend so far, this is it. Jumping this week from $3-4, to as high as $17/copy Friday night, it’s now running in our predicted $10-12 range. A future in Modern and Legacy will only help ensure that this card locks into the top 10 cards of the KTK for the foreseeable future.

It’s unprecedented. A tri-color rare combo piece that is seeing widespread play in Aggro, Tempo/Burn and Combo decks all in the same format! That flexibility, manifesting with Jeskai as the highest percentage (20%) of the field, along with a couple of Turn 4 kills on camera Friday night, has pushed the card up towards $10 overnight. If it shows up in 2-4 decks in the Top 8 it should easily hold that price until the meta shifts. In at $3, I’m already a seller at these levels, holding back a playset for standard use.

With Mardu showing up as the 2nd most played deck of the tournament, Sarkhan seems relatively secure in his role as the most expensive card from Khans of Tarkir. Missing Day 3 could result in a $5-10 slide, but a Top 8 finish should further cement bid red on the throne.

Sorin is an early success story at this tournament, showing up in both Mardu and Abzan decks and making a strong case for an upswing towards $30. If Sigrist makes Top 8 with his Abzan deck (and it looks very possible), Sorin should top $30 with room for growth.

Largely overlooked up to this point, the Aggro Abzan build needs this guy as a phenomenal 2-drop in place of the eschewed Sylvan Caryatid. Speaking of Sylvan, I’m a seller above $15 at this point, unless a green ramp/devotion deck playing the card makes Top8.

This bulk mythic is now on deck for gains, showing up as the finisher of choice alongside Prognostic Sphinx in U/B control decks. Hype is still low, so a top finish is necessary to pull this up to the $3-4 range where getting in around $1 would be seen as worthwhile.

This casual favorite did show up in the sideboards of the U/B Control builds run by Pantheon and others, but failed to gain any strong camera time. Current price level should stay steady.

The Hornet Queen is all over the tournament acting as the finisher of choice in multiple devotion decks. Playsets are running $20-$26 this weekend, and there is room for growth on par with Rabblemaster if it makes Top 8 in multiples.

  • Fetchlands

They’re in play at every table, but very few decks are running more than 4-6 copies. I’m calling these to fall further on schedule, down below $15 by the holidays.

The Rabblemaster is showing up in force, but with so much recent growth, it will need a Top 8 showing to avoid a possible slideback in price. I’m a seller at current levels, happily reinvesting in other options.

It’s getting played in Abzan and Mardu decks in as many as 4 copies. A strong Top 8 showing could see it push over $16 from the current $10-12.

Sigrist called it out Friday night as the “best card, no contest” in his 5-0 Abzan Aggro build. If it makes the top tables, expect a bump towards $10.

Stay tuned through the evening as we update this page with additional notes and findings from the early rounds and offer insight into how the rest of the weekend might shape up.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

 

 

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