So here we are, heading into a Pro Tour Top 8 dominated almost entirely by Mardu Vehicles, with only a single copy each of Jund Energy Aggro and BG Delirium to try and keep the highly efficient vehicles deck in check.
The competition includes a Hall of Fame inductee (Paulo Vitor Dama De Rosa) and a likely future Hall of Famer in Martin Juza. Matches are best of five on Sunday, but the first two games are played without sideboards so main deck inclusions matter more than usual.
Let’s take a look at the Day 2 conversion rate for the various deck types:
And here are the decks that did better than average getting their pilots into Day 2:
So what insights can we glean from these stats? Well, first of all, Mardu Vehicles is clearly the new deck to beat looking forward. Despite a large sample size of 95 players from many different teams, a full 75% of players on this deck made Day 2, which is very impressive indeed. Across all six copies that managed a Top 8 finish, five cards were included at the maximum of four copies in each build: Concealed Courtyard, Inspiring Vantage, Toolcraft Exemplar and Scrapheap Scrounger. All of these cards are still cheap given this level of play, and if the deck keeps doing well, I would expect both Scrapheap Scrounger and the dual lands to show gains, especially since they are often played in the competing decks as well, as Inspiring Vantage shows up in Jeskai lists as a four-of, and Scrounger is also in the rest of the aggro lists as well.
Keep in mind that many of the pros that didn’t field Mardu Vehicles seemed surprised at the percentage of the field that brought the deck, so the control decks will now be reworking their game plan to skew more towards defending the early game vs. aggro plans and less against the Saheeli Rai combo. Jeskai Control, UR Control and Grixis Control all still have a shot at making inroads at future Top 8s, and you can expect them to get better at doing so as the aggro decks become more predictable. The core control color thus far has been blue, largely due to the power of Torrential Gearhulk, so I still have faith that the card will get to $25-30 at some point this spring.
Speaking of Saheeli Rai, despite the combo not putting a single copy in the Top 8, and representing a brutal Day 2 conversion rate of just 41%, there is reason to believe the narrative isn’t over yet. Josh Utter-Leyton and seven other pros brought 4 Color Aetherworks/Saheeli Combo to the tournament and managed an impressive 75% Day 2 conversion rate that could allude to further refinements of the shell contributing to greater competitive potential.
Also worth noting is that there are plenty of GB decks of both the Delirium and Winding Constrictor varieties in the Top 32 and 64, and with conversion rates around 70% it seems likely that the staples of this archetype, including Verdurous Gearhulk, Winding Constrictor, Mindwrack Demon, Rishkar, Peema Renegade and Walking Ballista should stay on your radar if the tables turn. GB deck success has been the most consistent aspect of the Standard season thus far, so take the single Top 8 player with a grain of salt.
On Friday I predicted that the Top 8 would include a single dark horse deck, and indeed, we were gifted with a sexy new Jund Aggro Energy build in the hands of Martin Juza to mull over as an alternate approach to the early game on the go forward. This deck leveraged Scrapheap Scrounger alongside Longtusk Cub and Greenbelt Rampager and Voltaic Brawler to attempt to field an aggro army with slightly more power than the competition. According to Juza, he cut a few cards from the middle of his curve to install a late game package of three copies of Chandra, Torch of Defiance and a single copy of Nissa, Vital Force.
With the odds stacked for a Mardu Vehicles finish Sunday, and this handy guide to the results in your hands, we’re going to call our coverage for the weekend here and regroup again in a week or two once we see the results of the next big tournament.
Editor’s Note: Relevant financial details in blue, folks.
Coming into Day 2 of the Pro Tour Aether Revolt, the field has proven to be a mix of the expected and a smattering of attempts to get ahead of the metagame with outsider cards.
For reference from our Day 1 article yesterday, the metagame broke down as follows for the initial field.
Between Jeskai Copy Cat, Jeskai Marvel and 4 Color Copy Cat, the Saheeli Rai/Felidar Guardian combo was the archetype that the greatest number of pros showed up with at 25% of the field, despite the shell having a big red target on it’s back as the deck to beat heading into the tournament.
BG decks, in both Delirium and Winding Constrictor focused builds made up over 23% of the field, as the other archetype that had been performing well in the first couple of weeks of the format. LSV pointed out on coverage that a lot of pros had leaned in this direction because they expected the vehicles deck to be popular and felt that these decks were the trump.
Almost as many pros showed up with a Mardu Vehicle build that was tuned in an effort with a full 22% of the field trying to leverage a highly aggressive game plan to try and get in under the format defining Saheeli Rai infinite combo.
A few different control shells also made up a combined 10% of the field, with UR Dynavolt Tower, Grixis Control and Jeskai Control showing up in roughly equal proportions.
Dark horse decks that were whispered about before the tournament in chat rooms and forums did not show up in force, and have so far failed to make a major splash at the top tables.
Interestingly, many of the cards that have seen the biggest gains this weekend, including Inspiring Statuary, Paradox Engine, Tezzeret the Seeker and Tezzeret’s Simulacrum, all belong to a class of decks that ended up practically unplayed. As such, all of these spikes have a strong chance of back sliding heading into next week as speculators that went deep attempt to mitigate their losses by selling off.
Perhaps more important is the fate of the key mythics of the format: Verdurous Gearhulk, Torrential Gearhulk and Heart of Kiran. Each of these mythics are often played as three or four-ofs, are lynchpins in their respective archetypes and are very likely to see continued play in 2017 regardless of what happens with the potential Saheeli Rai combo banning later this month.
Verdurous Gearhulk is still hanging out in the $18 range, but if BG ends up dominating the Top 8, the stage could be set for the card to make a move into the $25-30 range as a dominant powerhouse aggro and mid-range card. Likewise, Torrential Gearhulk is the cornerstone of the blue based control decks in this format and at $23, offers slightly less upside than it’s green brethren in the quest to top $30.
The legendary Aether Revolt vehicle Heart of Kiran seems to be taking over the Smuggler’s Copter four-of slot in many aggro and mid-range decks and has edged up a few dollars, currently sitting at $15 or so. As a small set mythic, if four-of play continues this year, this card has a solid shot at $25+. On Magic Online the card is up over $10 overnight.
Kaladesh rare Scrapheap Scrounger, previously available for $1.50 is edging up toward $3-4 on the back of more frequent play in various aggro and vehicle/aggro builds. The card could possibly see play in Modern and Frontier, but is unlikely to yield significant gains from here on out.
Follow along with us as we track the final 5 rounds of constructed play before the cut to Top 8 and the establishment of the new Standard metagame.
Round 12 (6th Standard Round): Thierry Ramboa (BG Constrictor) vs. Lukas Blohan (Jeskai Control)
In the first game Lukas Blohan gets stuck on three lands and Ramboa is able to leverage some Winding Constrictor shenanigans into a quick win. Game 2 was all about Tireless Tracker and Fleetwheel Cruiser running over Blohan while backed up by Murder and Blossoming Defense. Match to Ramboa.
Round 12 (6th Standard Round): Martin Juza (Jund Energy Aggro) vs. Ben Rubin (BG Delirium)
This match pivots on a series of combat phases driven by the recent introduction of Verdurous Gearhulks to the battlefield, and Juza is able to leverage the heightened aggro pressure of his Jund Energy build to drive it home and move to 10-2.
Deck Tech #5: Willy Edel (Grixis Improvise)
Herald of Anguish">Herald of Anguish is a small set mythic at $8. Given the poor performance of the deck at the tournament, I wouldn’t be moving in on this card yet, but it’s worth keeping an eye on moving forward because there are definitely some interesting elements in play here.
Josh Utter-Layton has taken his fourth loss, knocking him out of Top 8 contention, and possibly relegating the cool Saheeli Marvel deck to a position out of the spotlight.
Round 13: Alexander Hayne (Mardu Vehicles) vs. Ken Yukuhiro (BG Constrictor)
Heart of Kiran powered up by Scrapheap Scrounger for Hayne puts away Game 1 in a hurry. In Game 2, Yukuhiro gains the benefit of highly skilled play, edging out a win from a position that seemed to have him beat and the match is evened up. In Game 3, Yukuhiro stabalizes at four life on a pair of Walking Ballistas, and a Verdurous Gearhulk and a Winding Constrictor facing a near empty board for Hayne names the Japanese player the victor and puts him at 10-3.
Round 13: Daniel Grafensteiner (4Color Saheeli) vs. Tatsuhiko Ohki (Mardu Vehicles)
We come into this match with the players at a game a piece and Ohki offering a commanding board position from his blisteringly fast aggro deck. In Game 3, Daniel stabilizes on three life, and starts going to work with Nissa, Vital Force and Felidar Guardian to scrap out a win without his combo.
Deck Tech #6: Deep-Fiend Saheeli (Gerry Thompson)
This version of the Saheeli deck tries to set up additional paths to finding the combo and delays the aggro decks with Elder Deep Fiend. Felidar Guardian has multiple ways of gaining value as you pursue the combo.
Round 14: Samuel Tharmaratnam (BR Aggro) vs. Lucas Esper Berthoud (Mardu Vehicles)
The life gain from Aethersphere Harvester ends up being the pivot point in Game 1, and Lucas takes the lead. In Game 2, Sam is force to mulligan twice and Lucas easily takes the match.
Day 2 Metagame Breakdown
Here are all the decks that showed up in the hands of at least four players, and their conversion rates (chance they made Day 2).
Perhaps more importantly, here are the decks that were played by at least eight players and managed a conversion percentage above the field average of 62.6%.
Note that the conversion rate for the Saheeli Rai combo decks that weren’t also running Aetherworks Marvel was just 41%. The Marvel version on the other hand, in the hands of Josh Utter-Leyton and company, converted at an impressive 75%. With conversion rates between 68% and 76% both Mardu Vehicles and the GB variants look to be proving out as fantastic meta calls for the weekend. Also of note is the fantastic 82% conversion rate of the GW Tokens decks, an archetype that has been largely absent on coverage but is putting up results second only to RB Aggro, which placed 8 of 9 players into Day 2 on the back of ultra fast early game pressure. Jeskai Control decks lacking the Saheeli combo have advanced the theory that forcing your opponents to respect the combo potential while working a different angle can pay off well. Overall, the field looks to be diverse and healthy so far and unless upcoming tournaments this month suggest otherwise, the Copy Cat combo may end up safe from a ban for now.
On camera, LSV suggests that Ishkanah, the Grafwidow may be in demand based on the shift in the metagame, with so many flying vehicle threats and low power attackers flooding the tables.
Round 14 Standings
Round 15: Jeremy Dezani (Mardu Vehicles) vs. Craig Chapman (Copy Cat Control)
In Game 1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Heart of Kiran go to work for Dezani and Chapman never really gets a chance to set up shop. Game 1, Dezani. Dezani also cleans up Game 2 pretty quickly and he now has an outsider shot at Top 8.
Deck Tech #8: Jund Energy Aggro (Martin Juza)
Martin outlined that he was the only member of his team that decided to go with this innovative aggro brew that capitalizes on synergies between cards like Greenbelt Rampager and Longtusk Cub. Three copies of Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Heart of Kiran are again relevant here.
Round 16: Lucas Esper Berthoud (Mardu Vehicles) vs. Dimitris Triantafillou (BG Constrictor)
This match is a win and in for Top8. In Game 1 a key Grasp of Darkness from Dimitris on Heart of Kiran from Lucas lets him stabilize for long enough to capitalize on a blundered Needle Spires attack from his opponent. Game 1 for the Greek player. In the second game Lucas manages to redeem the misplay on the back of strong card advantage from a protected, Chandra, Torch of Defiance.
On the back table PVD beats Ben Rubin in two games to set up his eleventh lifetime Top 8!
Our Top 8 is starting to take shape. So far we know the following players/deck that are a lock:
Marcio Carvelho (Mardu Vehicles)
Lucas Esper Berthoud (Mardu Vehicles)
Yuchen Liu (Mardu Vehicles)
Donald Smith (Mardu Vehicles)
Jan Kasandr (BG Delirium)
Martin Juza (Jund Energy Aggro)
Eduardo Sajgalik (Mardu Vehicles)
PVD (Mardu Vehicles)
That puts our deck count at six (!) copies of Mardu Vehicles, a BG Delirium deck and a singular Jund Energy Aggro build that shares several cards with the other two archetypes.
This Top 8 is also notable in that the very aggressive metagame choices aimed at batting the Saheeli Rai combo decks and coming in under the control builds have paid off in a major, major way. There are zero combo decks in the Top 8 and zero copies of Torrential Gearhulk, which likes chills the price appreciation on that card for the short term. Saheeli Rai is now in a weird spot where the deck likely isn’t good enough to force a banning of Felidar Guardian this month, and in fact, might not be good enough to set up the price appreciation that might have been on deck if the deck had put a couple of updated versions into the Top 8. Either way, I’m glad to have been a seller of the card during the initial spike as the future is murky on the boogeyman of the format.
The diversity of resilient threats and excellent answers in Mardu colors has set up the deck as the must answer shell coming out of the tournament, a result backed up by the archetypes excellent conversion rate this weekend in to the second day of play. Four copies each of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Heart of Kiran and Scrapheap Scrounger mark those cards as the potential gainers from this deck. The fact that the GB and Jund Energy Aggro decks are also running both the 4/4 vehicle and the recursive construct threat means that few other cards in the format can claim an equivalent demand profile heading into the rest of the month. Seven of the eight decks in the Top 8 are running Heart of Kiran. Expect the spike to take place tonight.
Walking Ballista is also a card to watch as it is good at answering X/1s and holding down Saheeli Rai, though there can’t be much meat left on the bone of a rare that hasn’t hit peak supply yet.
Join us tomorrow for our coverage of the Top 8!
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.
Round 4 (1st Round of Standard) started at 9am EST/6am PST, Friday, Feb 3rd, 2017 after three rounds of draft. Here’s how things are playing out.
Round 4 starts off with the introduction of a Grixis improvise based deck including Herald of Anguish , which I will cover in more depth once I have full details. It’s worth noting that Inspiring Statuary had spiked to $4 last night on early whispers of a potential breakout deck, but is already falling back on MTGO as any such deck has failed to show up on camera thus far.
Round 4: Pierre Dagen (4C Marvel Cat) vs. MIke Sigrist (Jeskai Copy Cat)
Here we have two greats of the game, representing major teams in the tournament and both of them on variations of the Copy Cat combo. I’m sure WoTC development members are cringing at their desks watching Dagen field Aetherworks Marvel alongside the combo in a hybrid combo brew. The final game comes down to Sigrist going for the combo, only to have Dagen cast Negate, and allowing Siggy to respond with a Negate of his own to take the match.
Deck Tech #1: Paul Cheon (Team CFB Fire) on Jeskai Copy Cat
Paul is 1-0 in Standard so far, but went 0-2-1 in the draft portion. He’s on a controlling variant of Copy Cat that runs some card draw alongside a package of board control and counterspells to address both aggro decks and fellow combo decks. Nothing especially relevant from a financial perspective here, other than the indication that major teams failed to find a new deck that could beat Copy Cat consistently and still address the rest of the field.
Round 5: Martin Juza (Jund Energy Aggro) vs. Jon Finkel (Mardu Vehicles)
Both players are at 4-0 coming into this round, having 3-0’d their drafts and won their first round of Standard. Juza’s deck includes the Greenbelt Rampager to crew Heart of Kiran before returning to hand combo. Pretty slick. Finkel has a Heart of Kiran of his own however, alongside Depala, Scrapheap Scrounger and a heap of good removal. Finkel takes the first game after Juza fails to answer his threats quickly enough. In the 2nd game, Juza manages to field both Voltaic Brawler and Longtusk Cub into a Fatal Push to clear Jon’s Veteran Motorist, and unable to find the necessary lands, Finkel concedes the game and moves to the tie-breaker.
In the final game, Juza sideboarded into a more mid-range configuration with Skysovereign, Consul Flagship, and Finkel is caught drawing dead in the mid-game to fall to 4-1, as Juza moves to 5-0.
Deck Tech #2: Jund Zoo (Simon Nielsen)
Nielsen outlines that they were focused on early game, so cut two copies of Ballista, which is better late. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar also failed to make the cut and was replaced with Aethersphere Harvester for additional aggro pressure. Longtusk Cub called out as essential when partnered with Constrictor. Catacomb Sifter is there to provide multiple bodies to add counters to as well as minor ramp as necessary.
Day 1 Metagame Breakdown
The official tally from WoTC on the Standard Metagame for Day 1 shows a full 22% of the field on Mardu Vehicles trying to apply early pressure on the combo decks while holding answers for both other aggro decks and the Copy Cat combo. The cat decks still managed to hold onto 17% of the field, and BG decks combined for another 23%. A smattering of various control builds make up most of the rest of the field, leaving little room for widespread surprises on the weekend. Note that seven players are on the aforementioned new Herald of Torment Grixis Improvise deck but they are facing a steep road to the Top 8. So far I’m not seeing any cards more important to the format than Torrential Gearhulk and Verdurous Gearhulk, regardless of whether or not the cat combo ends up banned.
Round 6: Victor Fernando Silva (BG Constrictor) vs. Alexander Hayne (Mardu Vehicles)
Both players at 4-1 heading into this round. With a Gideon on board, a key Unlicensed Distintegration allows Hayne to press his advantage in Game 1 and take the lead. In Game 2, stuck on a couple of in play vehicles without crewmates, Hayne is forced to Game 3. IN Game 3, the late game finds Hayne with a mighty board force topped off by Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Hayne takes it in three.
On the back table, Kelvin Chew on Mardu Vehicles is battling Ben Rubin on BG Delirium, both at 5-0. Ben wins Game 1, but in Game 2 Kelvin gets Ben down to five life and forces Ben to find a quick succession of answers.
Deck Tech #3: Marvel Saheeli with Josh Utter-Leyton
Josh is at the tournament on an Aetherworks Marvel/Saheeli Rai hybrid combo deck that looks to combo people out as quickly as possible and puts Marvel back on the map as a potentially undervalued mythic available for less than $5 and often played as a 4-of. There aren’t a lot of these decks at the tournament, so one of them will need some luck to make it through to the final rounds.
Round 7: PVD (Mardu Vehicles) vs. Simon Nielsen (Jund Constrictor)
Game 1 is a grindy affair that ends up with Paulo staring over at an empty board and a quick concession. In Game 2, Pia Nalaar turning off blocks lets PVD push through the final damage he needs to convert to 6-1.
In the meantime, Verdurous Gearhulk, one of my picks on MTGFastFinance this week, is quietly moving towards $20. Could it hit $25 on the strength of the BG and Jund aggro decks this weekend?
Deck Tech #4: Sam Pardee on Mardu Vehicles
Sam outlines that the Mardu deck puts enough pressure on Saheeli combo decks to keep their Saheeli Rai off the table and has solid game vs. GB decks. Sam calls out Heart of Kiran as potentially better than Smuggler’s Copter in the deck, and they’re playing it as a 4-of. Along with Torrential Gearhulk and Verdurous Gearhulk, this could be one of the key mythics to see price motion this weekend. Currently available around $14, this could be a card that breaks $25 at some point this year, if not this weekend. There is plenty of inventory in stock however, and we haven’t even hit peak supply for Aether Revolt yet, so buyer beware.
Round 8: Thien Nguyen (BG Constrictor) vs. Cesar Segovia (BR Aggro)
Both players are at 7-0 heading into the last round of Day 1. In Game 1, Thien leads off with a double Winding Constrictor draw that threatens to end the game in a hurry with a Rishkar, Peema Renegade in hand. Cesar however has the red direct damage necessary to break up the pressure, and we roll into the mid game with two Scrapheap Scroungers and a Heart of Kiran applying counter pressure as the Central American player switches gears. Weldfast Engineer from Segovia puts yet another uncommon card from Aether Revolt on the map, providing combat phase buffs for the RB aggro player turn after turn. Unfortunately, a debatable missed trigger costs Cesar the first game.
In Game 2 the players trade off resources, and LSV notes the value of Skysovereign, Consul Flagship coming out of the sideboard for Thien against an aggro deck that has many vulnerable threats. Segovia keeps the pressure up however, and Thien is unable to find a creature to crew his vehicle. Game 2 to Segovia. Game 3 turns on Thien getting stuck on three lands and no black mana, and Cesar goes to 8-0 on Day 1 with BR Aggro!
In other action a UR Dynavolt Tower control deck in the hands of Toru Inque tries to prevent a loss against BG Delirium by using Torrential Gearhulk to flash back Brutal Expulsion, exiling a Scraphap Scrounger and bouncing a plant token while blocking a Grim Flayer. The game ends up in extra turns, and the aggro player, Jan Ksandr is able to take the match on their final attack phase.
The second stop of the 2016-2017 Pro Tour season finds Standard in a pretty weird spot. Fresh off an early winter Standard scene that was heavily warped by the presence of Emrakul, the Promised End, WOTC elected to ban the Eldrazi titan along with Reflector Mage and Smuggler’s Copter in an attempt to hit the reset button and open up the field.
Unfortunately, the printing of Felidar Guardian in Aether Revolt introduced a Splinter Twin style combo to the format alongside the previously ignored Saheeli Rai, and now the format is warping alongside the combo and the GB aggro and delirium decks that seem best suited to keep pace with it.
Over in Dublin, Ireland, the best Magic players in the world have been stealth testing to answer a pressing question: facing down one of the most dangerous Standard combo decks in recent memory, can a foil be found that still has game against the rest of the field?
With over $250,000 USD on the line, and a cool $40,000 for the champ, players angling for the Top 8 will need to be both lucky and good while they pray their team has both read and answered the meta-game correctly. Taking a look at the results from the first two major Star City Games Standard tournaments including Aether Revolt, the Top 8 field has been more or less evenly dominated by GB and Jeskai Combo decks.
So far, dark horse decks striving to break out might include any of the following shells that have put up a smattering of relevant results:
As per usual, it is worth noting that the Pro Tour currently requires that players succeed in a mixed schedule of booster draft (AER – AER – KLD) and Standard play with 3 rounds of draft Friday morning Ireland time, followed by 5 rounds of Standard starting around 8am EST/5am PST, Friday.
Given the European time zone of this tournament, early morning speculation has the potential to be more successful than usual here.
Will any of the pros find a way to unlock a new archetype with game against the known field? Will a fringe deck from the early weeks of the format suddenly end up perfectly positioned to take off? Will there be a chance to get in on a must-have card that shows early promise or will the hype train leave the bandwagon speculators out in the cold without enough buyers come Monday morning?
Cards to Watch
Complicating matters this weekend is the fact that WoTC has announced that bannings can now take place at the release of a new set and five weeks later. As such, investing in cards that are most heavily played in the Saheeli Rai combo decks (including Saheeli herself) is potentially very risky. A top 8 dominated by the combo could easily get Felidar Guardian banned and result in Saheeli plunging back down towards $5. This scenario should be predisposing the financially minded to pursue cards that are likely to be in high demand with or without the Saheeli decks in the format, and especially cards that are useful in a variety of deck shells.
Here are a few of the interesting cards that seem like they should be on our radar this weekend:
Saheeli Rai: Too good for Standard?
Saheeli Rai + Felidar Guardian is the pivot point for the entire format at present and anyone that can’t figure out how to beat it consistently this weekend might as well join the crowd and field some version of the deck. Both Jeskai and 4-Color builds have been doing well, with a green splash being put to good use to help find combo pieces via Oath of Nissa, ramp with Servant of the Conduit or grind value with Rogue Refiner.
So far I am finding it hard to believe that any of the pro teams will find a brand new deck that is so good against both the combo and the rest of the field that it dominates the Top 8 from nowhere. Instead I predict a Top 8 with 2-3 versions of Saheeli Combo, 2-3 versions of GB decks, 2-3 sggro decks and a perhaps a random Tier 2 deck that slipped past the ramparts. If the combo decks field 5+ versions in the Top 8, the clock for a banning will be counting down and Saheeli will likely tank as players anticipate an imminent banning. The ideal scenario for the risk takes among us is that the deck only fields 1-2 copies in the Top 8, marking it as strong, but not overwhelming and potentially allowing for some upward price motion. Once the near term ban decisions are made, another spike could be possible as well. Having already gotten in at $5 and out at $20 on this card, I’m steering well clear of this uncertainty, but do as you will.
Current Price: $18
Predicted Price Monday: $15
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 4
Torrential Gearhulk: Best card in the format?
Sure, Saheeli Rai may be hogging the spotlight, but a compelling argument can be made that beyond the combo, it’s the blue artifact creature that best defines this format. Showing up in both combo and control Jeskai variants, Torrential Gearhulk provides tremendous value in the late game. A typical sequence might involve flashing in the ‘hulk to block and kill a threat, while flashing back an instant to kill another threat, stop an opposing combo turn, draw some cards or simply close out the game on the back of a burn spell.
This card is even seeing fringe play in Modern and I would be stunned if it didn’t make the Top 8 of this tournament. Often played as a 3 or 4 of, this ubiquitous mythic is highly unlikely to get banned in a few weeks, and could easily end up over $30 at the end of the weekend. Even if that doesn’t happen, the card has at least a year to spike again, and constitutes my top pick for the fall set mythic most likely to hit that number before rotation. There isn’t a lot of meat left on this bone, but a playset for $88 could end up being outed at $120 minus fees, or about $105, for a $17 gain. Not amazing, but you could make worse decisions.
Current Price: $22
Predicted Price Monday: $26-28 (on a strong Top 8 presence)
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 4
GB aggro and delirium decks make up 20-30% of the metagame heading into this weekend, and nearly all of those decks are running multiple copies of the second most powerful gearhulk. In coordination with Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Winding Constrictor and Walking Ballista, Verdurous Gearhulk offers ratchets up the shenanigans level on +1/+1 counters to new heights in Standard. With a supporting cast this deep on deck for the next 18 months, there is a decent chance that additional role players will appear in forthcoming sets and keep the beefiest construct in demand for the duration of it’s time in Standard. Currently priced about $6 less than his blue brethren, and with a much lower chance of being impacted negatively by a fresh round of bannings, I think that picking up a couple of play sets of this card could be in order.
Current Price: $16
Predicted Price Monday: $22+ (on a strong Top 8 presence)
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 3
Aetherworks Marvel: Dead For Good or Amonkhet Ready
Without Emrakul coming into play on Turn 5, and facing down the trigger countering abilities of Disallow with blue decks doing well, Aetherworks Marvel seems to be back on the shelf waiting to get broken all over again. I have to assume that the pros are at least attempting to make this happen, since they’re all too familiar with the power potential, but even if they don’t find it this cycle, there are several more sets forthcoming that might put this back in the spotlight in 2017. Heck, a great new Nicol Bolas planeswalker and a good discard spell might be enough to get this back in play alongside Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. I’m not moving back in yet, but I’ll be ready to pull the trigger as soon as someone gives me a good reason.
Current Price: $3.50
Predicted Price Monday: $3
Odds to Top 8: 10 to 1
Metalwork Colossus: Stuck at Tier 2?
Numerous versions of the Metalwork deck have put up decent results since the fall, but the deck has so far failed to find a configuration that can consistently lay claim to Tier 1 status. Between vehicles, Sanctum of Ugin and numerous value artifacts, these decks can pull together some pretty explosive turns, and I would love to see a fresh take on this archetype make it’s way to the top tables and give this card a reason to break $5 and set up some decent action for the folks who got in closer to $1.
Current Price: $2
Predicted Price Monday: $2
Odds to Top 8: 5 to 1
Inspiring Statuary: First to Spike
The first buyout of the weekend belongs to this oft-overlooked artifact, and either the pros are feeling confidant about a rogue deck choice or someone decided to go deep indeed. If the deck is real, it likely involves Aetherflux Reservoir, Paradoxical Outcome, Crush of Tentacles (a $2 mythic!) and a poor man’s storm combo in Standard that was briefly seen on camera at SCG Richmond last weekend. Something nutty with Paradox Engine (currently at $7) could also be a thing. If one or more pro teams have actually built a finely tuned killing machine around this card and they manage to Top 8 with it, the current spike may hold for long enough to get back out, but it’s much more likely that someone is going to get stuck holding a lot of $2 rares without buyers. I’m happy to stay out of this and play it safe, as peak supply for Aether Revolt is still weeks away and anything over $2 for a rare is going to be tough to make money on.
Current Price: $4 ($1 this morning)
Monday Price: $2
Odds to Top 8: 6 to 1
Tezzeret’s Simulacrum: Sold Out?
I can barely find a copy of this card for sale anywhere in North America right now. Did the pros figure out a way to break this with Inspiring Statuary and Paradox Engine? Is Tezzeret, the Schemer going to end up a thing at $13? This would be big news if true and someone is certainly making a move here. Keep in mind that even though this card is labelled as an uncommon, it is only available in the Planeswalker sealed product, and it therefore effectively a mythic rare if it is suddenly needed as a four-of in a real deck. Could this be the biggest surprise of the weekend?
Herald of Anguish: Coming Out Party?
Here we have a 5/5 flyer that can potentially be cast cheaply, force your opponent to discard and kill small creatures at will. This bad boy demon was bought out early in Japan during preview season, but has yet to put up relevant results. Now down to $7, with deep inventory that’s only getting deeper, this weekend would be an amazing time for these to suddenly start doing work on camera and drive a hard spike to $15 that would probably fade on Day 2 when it’s pilot failed to ace their draft pod and got knocked out of the tournament. A long shot for sure, but solid profit potential if someone proves this card is real.
Current Price: $7
Monday Price: $6
Odds to Top 8: 20 to 1
Aether Hub: Most Popular Kid in the Class
Aether Hub is the most played non-basic land in Standard, and it’s not close. Unless Amonkhet provides some great new color fixing, this essential uncommon could end up pushing $4-5, but only if Standard play regains momentum at the local level and starts draining down inventory on what is currently a pretty deep stock. Blooming Marsh and Spirebluff Canal also have a chance to make you a few bucks/copy based on their current demand profile and their limited Modern play, though foils may be the better bet there.
Current Price: $2
Monday Price: $3
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 100 (ie inevitable)
Do you have an outsider pick for the tournament? Share it in the comments!
Stay tuned for round by round MTGFinance coverage of Pro Tour: Aether Revolt all weekend!
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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