Category Archives: Pro Tour Coverage

Pro Tour Kaladesh: Day 2 MTGFinance Coverage

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Editor’s Note: Relevant financial details in blue, folks.

Coming into Day 2 of the largest (466 players) Pro Tour field of all time, the field has proved to be a mix of the expected and a plethora of attempts to get ahead of the metagame with cards previously thought to be nearly unplayable in constructed Magic.

Aetherworks Marvel decks were the archtype that showed up in the greatest numbers, constituting nearly 18% of the total field on Day 1. When they work, the various flavors of Marvel decks can drop a gigantic threat such as Ulamog or Emrakul into play as early as Turn 4. They have also generated some truly embarrassing moments for their pilots however, with too many of their top end threats stuck in hand resulting in fail to find adventures when activating the Marvel. Heading into Day 2 it will be important to identify whether a proportional number of these decks have made it through to Day 2, or whether the group think on going big was off the mark. The spike has already taken place however, with the card pushing from $10 to $20 early Friday evening. It will need to make Top 8 to avoid a wholescale sell off by the speculators come Monday.

Coming out of a highly aggressive first couple of weeks in the new Standard, many wondered aloud whether a control deck could be configured to beat the variety of aggressive and combo strategies in the meta. So far it has been Grixis Control in the hands of Hall of Famer Shoota Yasooka that has been most impressive in controlling the field.

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grixis

Shoota’s deck has put both Thing in the Ice and Torrential Gearhulk back in the spotlight on the financial front, with Gearhulk spiking Friday night up toward $20 before fading back a bit to $18 on significantly lowered inventory.

Heading into the weekend, Smuggler’s Copter was the card that seemed to define the format, but we haven’t seen a lot of the card so far on camera, and it is unclear how many Copter decks have made it into Day 2.  Metalwork Colossus decks were sprinkled through the field, and a couple of them may be doing well enough to make a bid for Top 8. Consequently the card has moved from $1.50 to $5 overnight. Dynavolt Tower, as seen in the Travis Woo championed Jeskai Control build (with three players over 50% Day 1) and the Degan UR build, is also on the move. The card is currently available around $2, but inventory is draining and this card can easily top $5 if it makes Top 8.

Dynavolt TowerAetherworks MarvelMetalwork ColossusTorrential Gearhulk

The RG Double Strike aggro deck hasn’t had a good showing so far, with Brian Kibler looking fairly foolish with a few obvious misplays during his feature match with the deck. Electrostatic Pummeler may still end up a popular card at the LGS level however, as the deck is fairly cheap and easy to play.

As I expected, Chandra, Torch of Defiance has not made it on camera as of yet, and by all accounts she is essentially absent in the format. Look for this Planeswalker to crash hard heading out of the weekend. Panharmonicon spiked earlier this week on the back of a prominent video series by Saffron Olive, but the card is not in the field this weekend, and seems likely to slide back toward $5 from $10. Foils on the other hand, propped up by EDH demand, are likely to hold their current plateau a bit better.

Day 2 Meta looks as follows as reported by coverage staff:

  • Temur Aetherworks holding steady, 1.17% up to 18.77% of the total field
  • BG Delirium down 1.5% to 10.24%
  • BR Aggro steady at 8%
  • RW Vehicles steady at 7%
  • RG Energy steady at 6.5%

Ten other decks between 2-5%.

Worth noting that no one deck has gotten blown out of the format thus far, nor have any of the newer decks proven to be true solutions to the format. Meta is looking wide open at present. The continued prevelance of the Aetherworks decks may indicate upward pressure forthcoming on Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Emrakul, the Promised End.

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 9 (6th Standard Round): Lee Shi Tian (Mardu Vehicles) vs. Kentaro Yamamoto (Grixis Emerge)

The Tian deck is splashing black for Unlicensed Disintegration. Yamamoto’s deck leverages the Prized Amalgram/Scrapheap Scrounger engine via Perpetual Timepiece instead of the red discard spells favored by other pilots. In Game 1, Tian overruns Kentaro, essentially unopposed, within the first five turns. In Game 2, Tian comes out to another aggressive start but this time Yamamoto is able to stabilize with a Kozilek’s Return and turn the corner to put it away. Game 3, a key Ceremonious Rejection off a freshly played Cultivator’s Caravan allows Shi Tian to brush past a Kozilek’s Return and put the match away.

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Round 9 (6th Standard Round): Matt Nass (Temur Aetherworks) vs. Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control)

Matt Nass concedes Game 1 after being unable to ruin Nass with an Emerakul trigger.

Round 9 (6th Standard Round): Makis Matsoukas (R/W Tokens) vs Rich Hoaen (Temur Aetherworks)

We come into this match with the players tied one game a piece. In Game 3 we quickly see Hoaen spin his Aetherworks Marvel, only to whiff on a solution to the quick RW clock from the Greek player, and Makis takes it.

Round 9 (6th Standard Round): Steve Rubin (BR Aggro) vs.  Mike Hron (Mardu Vehicles)

These players split the first two games before we check in as well. The weakness of aggro decks in this tourney is looking to be premature. There are plenty of aggro decks keeping the combo and control players honest in the top ranks.

Deck Tech #5: Zac Elsik (UR Control), 5-1 in Standard so far

  • 4x Torrential Gearhulk
  • 2x Nahiri, the Harbinger
  • 3x Dynavolt Tower
  • 4x Galvanic Bombardment
  • 4x Incendiary Flow
  • 4x Harnessed Lightning
  • 2x Void Shatter
  • 1x Spell Shrivel
  • 2x Negate
  • 4x Glimmer of Genius
  • 4x Anticipate

Dynavolt Tower has moved up to $3.00 online, but vendors are adding copies as low as $.50. One of these decks needs to Top 8 to avoid a backslide.

Cut for Top 8 is being reported as likely to extend only to 13-3.

Ben Weitz is talking to Marshall Sutcliffe about his White/Colorless Eldrazi brew, which went 5-1 on day 1.

Round 13 (7th Round of Standard): Oliver Polak-Rottman (Temur Colossus) vs. Pierre Dagen (UR Spells)

Both players come into the round at 10-3, needing to win to stay live for Top 8. Oliver takes Game 1 by repeatedly bashing in with 10/10s artifact creatures. In Game 2, he manages to get three copies of his signature beatstick into play and Dagen is forced to lean heavily on Niblis of Frost activations to hold off the metallic offensive. One stunning turn later however, Dagen pushes the match into a tie-breaker, by eeking through eleven damage between prowess triggers on both Niblis of Frost and the activation of a Dynavolt Tower.

Plenty of Metalwork Colossus inventory now posted in the $3.50-$4 range. Deck feels a bit niche to me, and I don’t see it taking more than 10% of the meta moving forward.

In Game 3, a Confiscation Coup from Oliver is met by Void Shatter, but it is countered by Ceremonious Rejection and Oliver manages to steal a Dynavolt Tower, leaving another on Dagen’s side of the board. Oliver is then able to get a Metalwork Colossus into play on the back of the extra non-creature artifact now in play on his side.
Dagen however, has a super-powered Harnessed Lightning to take down the first Colossus, with Oliver quickly following up with another from his yard. LSV calls out Niblis of Frost as doing amazing work out of the board, especially when opponents take out their removal. Indeed, Dagen uses the Niblis to hold back the remaining Colossus, gets a Torrential Gearhulk down and starts rolling a train of instants and energy generation to take control of the game. Dagen takes the match and stays live with his innovative UR Dynavolt Tower deck.

Reid Duke (RW Vehicles) vs. Kenji Tsumura (BG Delirium)

We come in on this and Duke finally puts Chandra, Torch of Defiance on camera out of his sideboard. The beleagured planeswalker is quickly killed however, and the match is split, heading to a third game after a key Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet makes combat too tricky for Reid. Off camera a bit later however, Reid is able to take the match.

Deck Tech #5: Frank Karsten (Mardu Zoo)

zoo

  • 4x Inventor’s Apprentice
  • 4x Toolcraft Exemplar
  • 4x Thraben Inspector
  • 1x Depala, Pilot Exemplar
  • 3x Pia Nalar
  • 3x Veteran Motorist
  • 4x Scrapheap Scrounger
  • 4x Smuggler’s Copter
  • 2x Fleetwheel Cruiser
  • 1x Incendiary Flow
  • 1x Declaration in Stone
  • 4x Fiery Temper
  • 1x Key to the City
  • 1x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Franks mentions that he found that the other aggro decks were step behind this build in presenting early game pressure.

Standings after this round look like this:

rnd13

Decks in contention are all over the map so far, with no clear theme. RB and RW Aggro, Grixis Control, Aetherworks Combo, Colossus, UR Control and UR Emerge are all live.

Round 14 (Standard Round 8): Lee Shi Tian (Mardu Vehicles) vs. Raphael Levy (UR Emerge)

Lee Shi Tian’s consistent aggro plan plays out as per normal again this round, allowing him to claim first blood yet again. In Game 2 Levy is forced to mulligan on the play against the last deck you want to stumble against. Levy is running a copy of Nahiri’s Wrath out of the board, which boasts nice synergy with Stitchwing Skaab and Prized Amalgam. He puts the power to use to clear the early assault cluster from Lee.


Round 14 (Standard Round 8): Makis Matsoukas (R/W Tokens) vs. Rob Pisano (Temur Aetherworks)

Matsoukas has Reckless Bushwacker in his deck to assist in the go wide plan and he makes great use of it in Game 2 to take down the match in record time when he applies it to five attackers.

Round 14 (Standard Round 8): Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control) vs. Rich Hoaen (Temur Aetherworks)

The control is real as Yasooka takes this down without a lot of trouble. Counterspells are showing their value every round, but this one has a truly great sequence at the end.

Yasooka is at four cards in library and has a Thing in the Ice with two counters. He casts Painful Truths for three, and then Negates it, flipping his Horror and drawing a concession. Hoaen was stuck with multiple not-yet-castable Eldrazi in hand, later versions of this deck may adjust the threats. More Gearhulks anyone?

The final Feature Match of the round doesn’t have more to add, except to show us how bad Chandra is against Vehicles. Her price is still on the decline until she’s able to stay in play.

Round 15 (Standard Round 9): Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control) vs. Reid Duke (RW Vehicles)

Game 1 felt over after two early Galvanic Bombardment from Yasooka blunted Duke’s early creatures, but aggro takes it down anyway.

Game 2 shows us the spell-Negate my spell trick to flip Thing in the Ice again, and only a couple of attacks are needed to win it. Yasooka is still playing Jace, Unraveler of Secrets, which seems amazing. If Duke attacks it, Jace has replaced himself and gained some nice life. If he doesn’t, the card advantage is real. It’s only a two-of, though, so big movement is probably unlikely.

Game 3 is a clinic, as the control deck uses life totals and Weaver of Lightning triggers very well, even managing to fire off a Jace ultimate! A late Chandra, Torch of Defiance just isn’t enough and Duke picks up his fourth loss. Will we get to see Chandra be good on camera as these rounds progress?

shota

 

Jun Ishihara (Temur Emerge) vs. Tyler Hill (BG Delirium)

This games ends up in a draw after an epic Game 2 with multiple Emrakul’s in play between the two players.

Matt Nass is in with Temur Emerge, so is Makis Matsoukas (R/W Tokens).

Deck Tech #6: Oliver Polak-Rottman (Temur Colossus)

Oliver describes how Sanctum of Ugin allows you to chain Metalwork Colossus, with the dream draw leading to four copies on Turn 4. It’s a combo deck and Sylvan Scrying adds consistency by finding the Sanctum of Ugins. More reliable than Aetherworks in his opinion. Colossus is pushing $4 at this point.

  • 4 Sanctum of Ugin
  • 2 Inventor’s Fair
  • 4 Sylvan Scrying
  • 4 Metalwork Colossus
  • 4 Hedron Archive
  • 4 Prophetic Prison
  • 3 Deadlock Trap
  • 4 Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot
  • 3 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
  • 3 Cultivator’s Caravan
  • 4 Glint-Nest Crane
  • 1 Elder Deep-Fiend
  • 2 Select for Inspection (Oliver says he’d replace these with more artifacts)
  • 1 Hanweir Battlements

Pierre Dagen manages a tough match win against Ondrej Strasky, to keep his Top 8 hopes alive, making UR Control live for Top 8. Predicting Top 8 to include: Grixis Control, UR Control, Temur Emerge, R/W Tokens so far. This format is wide open.

My gut says that Temur Aetherworks is going to be dust binned after this tournament as a strategy that is simply too inconsistent. Need to see the win %s on this deck on Day 2.

Round 16 (Final Round of Standard): Tyler Hill (BG Delirium) vs. Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control)

Both of these players are playing for access to the Top 8, at 11-3-1. Hill’s delirium deck isn’t much different than versions from a month ago. Romao is running Dovin Baan, Torrential Gearhulk, and many of the UR control components we’ve seen all weekend.

Game 1 Carlos gets off a two target Quarantine Field on Kalitas and Mindwrack Demon to empty the board. This opens up a sequence a few turns later where Carlos finds himself with a pair of Torrential Gearhulks in play, and the onslaught is too much for Hill to deflect. Romao is now a game away from making Top 8 of the Pro Tour only a week after winning his 2nd GP of the season. Impressive!

In Game 2, Romao gets a Dovin Baan out onto an empty board, but it gets answered quickly by Hissing Quagmire. Hill then answers with Liliana, the Last Hope, only to have it countered. Another Liliana is answered just as quickly by a Torrential Gearhulk into Harness Lightning. A late Quarantine Field later takes out three threats on Hill’s side, and the board opens up for aggression by the Jeskai player and Romao pulls another control deck into the Top 8.

Round 16: Matt Nass (Temur Aetheworks) vs. Pierre Dagen (UR Control)

Dagen has taken the first game off camera. Pierre takes the match as well, and clinches Top 8 for both players.

Joey Manner is ghosting into Top 8 with a UW Flash Spirits deck, running Archangel Avacyn, Smuggler’s Copter, Spell Queller and co, knocking a Temur Emerge deck out of the final day.

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 Kaladesh Finance: Standard Day 1

Check out our Pro Tour preview over here, and join us for round to round coverage in live blog style below all day.

Round 4 (1st Round of Standard) started at 8pm EST/5pm PST, Friday, October 14th.

Round 4: Martin Muller (Temur Colossus) vs. Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control)

Right of the bat we have Muller bringing Metalwork Colossus to the forefront in a Temur brew that veers off from the UB varieties that have been in evidence on Magic Online this week. It is Yasooka that draws first blood however, taking Game 1 on the back of Torrential Gearhulk, which is already showing signs of a spike. Mueller strikes back in Game 2 to even things up. Yasooka takes Game 3 and puts Grixis Control on the map for this format, running four Thing In the Ice, a card that has been languishing in the $5 range.

Round 4: Jelger Wiegersma vs. Lee Shia Tian (Mardu Vehicles)

This brew is running elements of WR Vehicles with Depala and Copter, as well as Scrapheap Scrounger and Unlicensed Disintegration. Tian loses the first game, but takes the second one.

Off camera, Oliver Tiu has a turn 4 Emrakul in play off of Aetherworks Marvel.

Day 1 Metagame is reported by WoTC Coverage as follows:

  • Temur Aetherworks 17%
  • Black-Green Delirium 12%
  • Black-Red Aggro 8%
  • Red-Green Energy 7%
  • Red-White Vehicles 7%
  • Black-Red Madness 5%

Aetherworks Marvel is drying up at online retailers but we’ll have to see if Marvel can weather the storm of aggro decks that still seem to be out in force.

Deck Tech #1: Willy Edel w/ GR Pummeler

This deck, which aims to deliver 20+ double-strike damage as fast as possible, features the following relevant cards from a financial perspective:

Torrential Gearhulk just took the crown from Smuggler’s Copter for most valuable Kaladesh card on #mtgo. Will it last?

torrential

 

Round 5 (Standard Rnd 2): Pierre Dagen (Blue-Red Spells) vs. Raphael Levy (Blue/Red Emerge)

Pierre Dagen is running a Dynavolt Tower deck.  Levy is on a Blue-Red Emerge deck that eschews the green cards usually seen in similar decks in favor of more meta specifics answers and recursion from Advanced Stitchwing. Game 1 goes to the Hall of Famer, as Levy leverages recursive pressure and some burn spells to close it out.

In Game 2, Levy starts on two copies of Sanctun of Ugin. Dagen boards in Thing in the Ice and Niblis of Frost, to help with board control against the recursive plan of his opponent. Dagen is running Take Inventory, another first on camera this season. A Torrential Gearhulk later, and Levy packs it in to try and preserve his clock for Game 3.

Game 3 finds Levy in need of a mulligan, but he does manage to find his lands on the next hand. Levy gets Dagen down to just two life, but Dagen is able to use Niblis of Frost to stave off the final points of damage for several turns and takes the match.

Round 5 (Standard Rnd 2): Eric Froelich (GB Aggro) vs. Reid Duke (RW Vehicles)

This match is mostly showing off the aggressive decks that were expected coming into the tournament. Fairly telling that two names this big, that enjoy the benefits of testing with some of the world’s best teams, still chose to go this route. Under intense pressure, Reid takes Game 2, and evens things out to one game each.

Round 5 (Standard Rnd 2): Thomas Hendriks (Metalwork Colossus) vs. Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control)

Hendriks is running Thought-Knot Seer, Elder Deep Fiend, Metalwork Colossus, Skysovereign and various enabling artifacts. Carlos is on a fresh Jeskai brew, with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and Torrential Gearhulk. A key Void Shatter prevents an incoming Colossus, and acts as turning point for the game and we move to Game 3.

Deck Tech #2: Chris Botelho (Dynavolt Tower/Fevered Visions)

Dynavolt Tower

Dynavolt Tower back on camera in an impromptu deck tech with brewmaster Chris Botelho on a deck he hilariously calls “FTTF 4000“.

  • 4x Dynavolt Tower
  • 2x Harnessed Lightning
  • 4x Glimmer of Genius
  • 2x Fumigate
  • 3x Consulate Surveillance
  • 4x Fevered Visions
  • 3x Radiant Flames
  • 2x Lightning Axe
  • 3x Anticipate
  • 3x Declaration in Stone
  • 2x Blessed Alliance

Dynavolt Tower is spiking on MTGO.

At the end of Round 5, here are the standings:

rnd5-results

Round 6 (Standard Rnd 3): Pat Cox (Temur Aetherworks) vs. Brian Kibler (GR Energy)

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LSV calls the Temur Aetherworks deck the most powerful deck in Standard, but notes that it is especially vulnerable to sideboard cards.

In Game 1, Cox manages to get Emrakul on the table early on and Kibler immediately scoops with no hope of answering the most dangerous threat in the format. In Game 2 however, Cox has trouble finding an Aetherworks Marvel and Kibler puts him on a fast clock with early aggro creatures, that lets him even it up. LSV notes that Kibler is running multiple copies of Ceremonious Rejection out of the board as a splash.

Game 3 Pat Cox uses Glint-Nest Crane to find the Aetherworks Marvel he needs to set up a win. Kibler has an aggro plan in action with Lathnu Hellion and company, but he is forced to let Cox search for a threat with his Marvel after forgetting to pay energy to keep his Hellion in play in a major punt. The Marvel activation fails to find a real threat, but Cox does get a green puzzleknot to boost his life and restock some energy. This sequence of events gives Pat enough time to take another swing with the Marvel, and this time he gets to choose between Emrakul or Ulamog. Cox goes with Emrakul, the Promised End and takes control of Kibler’s next turn as well as setting off a Kozilek’s Return from the yard. With no threats left, Brian is stuck without a way out, and yields the match.

Round 6 (Standard Rnd 3): Yuuya Watanabe (Bant Aetherworks) vs. Zac Elsik (Jeskai Control)

We move over to this match mid-game. LSV notes that Watanabe is running Tamiyo, Field Researcher, but loses Kozilek’s Return based on his color preferences. Elsik is also running Dynavolt Tower as well as Nahiri into Torrential Gearhulk, flashing back Glimmer of Genius. These Jeskai lists also run multiple copies of both Wandering Fumarole,  Needle Spires, and Spell Queller too. Elsik runs a value train and takes the game.

In Game 2, Yuuya boards into a more aggressive plan with Longtusk Cub and manages to take the game relatively easily. Game 3 sees Watanabe with Tamiyo, Field Researcher in play in the mid-game, facing down some creature lands and a Spell Queller. Yuuya tries for a Spell Queller, only to have it exiled by a Spell Queller from Zac. The Japanese player has an Aetherworks Marvel in play, but with no other relevant permanents left in play and opponent holding a grip of counter spells that can interact profitably with the Marvel. Yuuya elects to hard cast Emrakul, which hits a counter from Zac, shutting down the Eldrazi threat, but opening the door for Yuuya to mess with his opponent’s board state by taking control of his turn off the cast trigger. Watanabe does manage to burn a ton of cards in Zak’s hand and remove some threats, but creature land attacks the next turn still manage to drive home a win, putting Zac Elsik to 5-1.

Deck Tech #3: Raphael Levy (UR Emerge)

  • 4x Cathartic Reunion
  • 3x Fiery Temper
  • 4x Lightning Axe
  • 3x Tormenting Voice
  • 4x Elder Deep-Fiend
  • 4x Prized Amalgam
  • 4x Kozilek’s Return
  • 3x Wretched Griff
  • 4x Advanced Stitchwing
  • 4x Stitchwing Skaab

The deck can’t even cast Prized Amalgam from its’ own mana base, relying entirely on graveyard recursion to pop it back into play after discard. 3/4 flyers in the deck often match up well against Copter. Levy details why he likes the blue flyers over Haunted Dead, due to their ability to apply significant pressure in the air.

Round 7 (Standard Rnd 4): Carlos Romao (Jeskai Control) vs. Reid Duke (RW Vehicles)

Game 1, Reid has his first threat answered by Immolating Glare, but a Veteran Motorist gets a Smuggler’s Copter in soon after, and the beat rush is on. Romao has a surprise Dovin Baan, a card thought to align poorly against the copter, but it does have the option to shut off an existing crew member by reducing its power to zero. A Selfless Spirit from Reid does allow him to crew up the Copter and clear Dovin from the board. Romao manages to counter a Depala, but Reid still gets in for eight, dropping the Brazilian to eight, and Reid takes Game 1 on the next attack step after adding Fleetwheel Cruiser to the board. In the second game, Duke brings the beats in equivalent fashion, and Romao again loses an early Dovin Bann to a massive attack. A Fumigate clears some of the threats but it leaves behind two clues, a Gideon and a Fleetwheel Cruiser and the control decks falls on the next attack step. Duke moves to 6-1.

At a side table, Ari Lax takes control of a Grixis Zombies/Emerge deck via Emrakul, and pulls off a crazy sequence that shuffles dozens of cards back into Kentaro Yamamoto’s deck to deprive Yamamoto of future graveyard recursion options, leading to a quick scoop. Yamamoto does manage to take the match however on the back of two copies of Ceremonius Rejection in Game 3, putting him at 5-2.

In a BG Delirium semi-mirror between Kenji Tsumura and Eric Froelich sees Gonti, Lord of Luxury stealing a Kalitas, Lord of Ghet from Eric for solid value. The Froelich build features Catacomb Sifter, a card that most players have left aside. Both of these players at 6-0 coming into this round.

LSV calls out Aetherworks Marvel as the biggest splash of the tournament, an opinion underscored by the fact that the card is spiking over $20 at present.

Deck Tech #4: Christian Calcano (UW Spirits)

Spirits is still a thing in this evolving Standard meta.
Spirits is still a thing in this evolving Standard meta.
    • 2x Skywhaler’s SHop
    • 1x Ceremonious Rejection
    • 4x Smuggler’s Copter
    • 4x Thraben Inspector
    • 4x Selfless Spirit
    • 4x Spell Queller
    • 4x Reflector Mage
    • 4x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
    • 3x Archangel Avacyn
    • 2x Rattlechains
    • 2x Negate
    • 2x Stasis Snare

Calcano called out Gideon and Avacyn as excellent top of curve threats that are well adapted against the current meta. Deck is 3-1 in Standard at this point.

Round 8 (5th Round of Standard): Eric Froelich (BG Delierium) vs. Matteo Moure (Temur Aetherworks)

In Game 1 Matteo whiffs on a couple of Aetherworks Marvel activations, and is overrun by consistent pressure from Eric. Game 2, Matteo manages to Ulamog, removing Froelich’s lands and casting a Kozilek’s Return out of the yard to clear the board and earn a concession. On to Game 3. Eric gets to 8-0 as Matteo ends up with too many giant Eldrazi stuck in his hand without a way to cast them, and without a hit off his Marvel, after a mulligan.

Round 8 (5th Round of Standard): Shota Yasooka (Grixis Control) vs Valentin Mackl (Grixis Emerge Zombies)

Yasooka takes Game 1 with some Torrential Gearhulk/Unlicensed Disintegration action. Yasooka takes Game 2 as well, to go to 8-0, as one of the only undefeated players left on Day 1.

Round 8 (5th Round of Standard): Pierre Dagen (UR Spells) vs. Matt Costa (RW Vehicles)

Off camera these players trade a game each. In the final game Costa follows up a Veteran Motorist with Depala, with a Thing in the Ice on the other side of the board. Dagen is able to answer the threats with a combination of Niblis of Frost and some timely burn spells, and the French player goes to 8-1.

That ends Day 1, and we’ve seen a good mix of new and expected decks. Join us Sat evening for Day 2 Standard coverage.

day1

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 Kaladesh: Financial Preview

The world’s most dangerous Magic: The Gathering players are once again coming together to kick off the 2016-2017 Pro Tour season in gorgeous Honolulu, Hawaii.   After a couple of weeks of highly secretive testing, and more than a few drinks with little umbrellas, the top teams from around the world are locking in their decks and making plans to take home the trophy. With over $250,000 USD on the line, and the champion taking home $40,000, players will need to be both lucky and good while they prey that their team has read the meta-game correctly. Coming out of the first big Standard tournament of the season, SCG Indy two weeks ago, the pros were facing an incredibly aggressive format that featured the full 32 of 32 possible copies of Smuggler’s Copter in the Top 8.  With Patrick Chapin joking that it’s a great format where you can “play any Copter deck you want”, the stage is set for a very odd meta that may include multiple deck styles and color combinations, with the caveat that they are all running the overpowered two-mana vehicle.

So far, big decks in the format have included the fast and furious W/R Vehicles and W/R Humans decks, the graveyeard recursing Grixis Emerge deck,  various flavors of B/G Delirium, as well as R/B Aggro.

Chris VanMeter's winning deck from SCG Open Indy.
Chris VanMeter’s winning deck from SCG Open Indy.

It is worth remembering however, that current Pro Tour stops all require that players succeed in a mixed schedule of booster draft (KLD – KLD – KLD) and constructed play (Standard in this case) with 3 rounds of draft Friday morning Hawaii time, followed by 5 rounds of Standard starting around 8pm EST/5pm PST, Friday.

For the MTG Finance community, the biggest question is whether the pros have been able to uncover a new archetype not previously on the radar of the masses. Of note, given the pacific time zone of this tournament, overnight speculation has the potential to be more successful than usual.

Will any of the pros find a way to unlock a new archetype with game against the known field of infinite thopters? Will an underplayed deck from the previous weeks results suddenly end up perfectly positioned after adding a few new pieces of tech? 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 buyers come Monday morning?

Cards to Watch

With many SOI/EMN cards already commanding high price tags, most of the speculation potential lies this weekend should reside in cards that have yet to make an impact.

Here are a few of the interesting cards on our radar this weekend:

Smuggler’s Copter: Here to Stay?

Smuggler's Copter

There is very little indication so far that Smuggler’s Copter is a flash in the pan. As a 3/3 flying looter, the card is simply too powerful to be left out of any deck that can crew it effectively, especially given that most colors only have a couple of instant speed solutions that they must have on hand to prevent the early value train from rolling across their skies. The fact that the sweepers in the format mostly operate at sorcery speed, as do the abilities of the planeswalkers, makes the card a tough to answer early threat that can show up in nearly any color combination this weekend. If a control deck manages to break out, it’s possible we might see 1-2 decks in the Top 8 that aren’t running this card, but otherwise, I’d expect it to be running rampant just like it was at SCG Indy.

Financially, if you got in on extra copies of the Copter anywhere under $10, you can likely garner $20 in trade or $15 cash for your copies at present, and get out with a smile. A fall set rare holding more than $5 is impressive, let alone $15, and an unexpectedly poor showing for the card would knock it back below $10 for certain. That being said, there are relatively limited amounts of inventory priced under $16 at present, and the market seems primed to make a move to $20 if the card settles in as a dominant Standard staple.

Interestingly, utter dominance of the card has a chance to lead to a banning, especially if it’s usage ends up consolidating under the banners of just a couple of stand out decks, or possibly, if the format dissolves to aggro Copter decks vs. the only control deck that can battle them. If the format stats diverse on the other hand, with many viable decks, and Copter as the shared staple between them, Wizards may leave well enough alone and avoid the issuance of a rare Standard banning. If banned in a month or two, this card drops to $2, so be aware of the risks of too much success here.

Current Price: $15
Predicted Price Monday: $15-20+
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 4

Chandra: Destined to Fail?

Will Chandra find a home this season?
Will Chandra find a home this season?

Chandra has a lot to prove at this Pro Tour or her price rebellion may be over with. Originally held up as the stand out card of Kaladesh, this multi-talented planeswalker has failed to put up a strong performance, with even the WR Vehicles and Humans decks preferring to run Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in either the main or the board. In the world of Copter beatings, Chandra’s inability to control the board at sorcery speed or add board presence like Gideon or Nissa, may see her price drop hard towards $10 by next week. I have stayed well clear of this card so far, and would be outing any copies I had before the price party stops. On the outside chance that she makes Top 8 in an impressive and sustainable deck, her price could float back towards $40, but only if she were a main deck three or four of.

Current Price: $28
Predicted Price Monday: sub $20
Odds to Top 8: 6 to 1

Panharmonicon: Too Cute or The Real Deal?

panharmonicon

Earlier this week, Saffron Olive over at MTGGoldfish ran an Against the Odds article that featured him playing a Panharmonicon deck that was absolutely devastating once it got rolling. The deck centered around it’s namesake artifact, doubling up on comes-into-play triggers on everything from Glint-Nest Crane, Filigree Familiar and Prophetic Prison to Reflector Mage, Verdurous Gearhulk and Cloudblazer. Panharmonicon spiked instantly on Magic Online, moving from 1tix to over 2 tix and providing 100% gains overnight. Paper copies have now spiked from $2.50 to nearly $10 and inventory levels are low across the board. Could this be the super secret tech of Pro Tour Kaladesh?

I wouldn’t get too excited about the possibility until it shows up on camera and does well. The games Saffron played earlier this week weren’t against the world’s best, and a four mana artifact may still be too clunky for a format this fast. That being said, paper copies of the card have spiked hard from $2.50 to close to $10, so people are clearly excited about the card.

Ultimately, Panharmonicon does exhibit one of my favorite speculation scenarios: a potentially undervalued Standard breakout that will be a great long term hold regardless based on casual and EDH demand. So far, I’ve purchased a few playsets at $10/set, and I’ll be happy to hold those if a crazy streamlined version of the Standard deck doesn’t appear at the Pro Tour or I don’t get a chance to out them over $30/set this weekend.

Current Price: $10
Predicted Price Monday: $6
Odds to Top 8: 3 to 1

Electrostatic Pummeler: A Push To Pummel?

electrostatic

Some of the early buzz heading into this Pro Tour is coming from a RG Energy deck that looks to pump the power on an Electrostatic Pummeler and add double strike to offer up a decent impression of Modern Infect. This deck is currently hovering under 3% of the MTGO meta, but with the right draws this may be the fastest way to deal twenty damage in the format. The card has spiked from $1 to $5 in the last few days, so it has plenty to live up to this weekend.

Current Price: $5
Predicted Price Monday: $4
Odds to Top 8: 3 to 1

Metalwork Colossus: Too Big to Battle?

Metalwork Colossus

Another deck that has been making in-roads in the online meta is a U/B deck that features four copies of Metalwork Colossus and three copies of Skysoverign, Consul Flagship, Foundry Inspector, Elder Deep-Fiend and Cultivator’s Caravan and a pile of incidental artifacts. The deck also finished 45th at SCG Indy two weeks ago, and with the Colossus still available at $1 in paper, while it has tripled up online might be a hint at a bigger future for this card.

Current Price: $1
Predicted Price Monday: $3
Odds to Top 8: 5 to 1

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar: The Real Chandra?

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is showing up in multiple decks at present, including WR Vehicles, WR Humans, WG Aggro and even UW Control, and often as a 3 or 4-of. A case could be made, that should this powerful mythic planeswalker show up in the Top 8 in at least a couple of different decks, this card should be headed toward $25 or $30, trading off some value with Chandra, the falling star.

Current Price: $20
Monday Price: $20+
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 2

Aether Hub: The Little Uncommon That Could

Aether Hub

Aether Hub is quietly one of the most purchased cards in Kaladesh, with the mana fixing land making appearances in the majority of decks in the field in a format with limited options for color fixing. An uncommon from a fall set setting up shop at $5 is nearly unheard of, but looking at the current online inventory levels, it’s possible that this card could finish the weekend even higher.

Current Price: $4
Monday Price: $6+
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 20 (ie inevitable)

Do you have an outsider pick? Share it in the comments!

Stay tuned for Round by Round MTGFinance coverage of Pro Tour: Kaladesh 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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Pro Tour Eldritch Moon: Day 2 MTGFinance Coverage

Editor’s Note: Relevant financial details in blue, folks.

Coming into Day 2 of this smaller than usual Pro Tour stop, several interesting decks have made waves, and a handful of cards have already popped. After being featured on camera winning games over and over on Day 1, Emrakul, the Promised End popped from $15 to well over $40, only to fall back toward $25 as vendors and speculators sought to sell into the hype. Liliana, the Last Hope, which came into the weekend holding a $40 price tag, was reported to be selling for ridiculous amounts on the tourney floor and has gained $5 to $45 domestically as we wait to see how many copies make Top 8. Voldaren Pariah, the grindy flip creature making waves in the U/B Zombie lists has popped to $3 from $1. Kozilek’s Return has jumped to $10 from $6. Traverse the Ulvenwald looks set for a double up, moving from $2 to $4.

Ishkanah, Grafwidow and Prized Amalgam have also shown modest gains based on frequent camera time, though their ultimate fate this weekend has yet to be written in stone.

Follow along with us as we follow along with the final 5 rounds of constructed play before the cut to Top 8 and the establishment of the new Standard metagame.

Round 13 (7th Standard Round): LSV (Bant Company) vs. Reid Duke (RG Ramp)

Reid  (11-1) is on track to make Top 8 with one more win today, and LSV (10-2) needs just two wins to make Day 3 for the third time in a row, the first time this has happened in a generation!

In Game 1 LSV misses a couple of land drops while Reid sets up shop on his ramp plan. Despite the fast takeoff, Reid draws hollow for a few turns, giving Luis too much time to get back in the game. A few value creatures, a Jace, and a Collected Company later, LSV is able to take Game 1.

In Game 2, Reid mulligans twice, but an early Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy from LSV is still answered by Kozilek’s Return, and the players trade threats and answers for a few turns as Reid achieves delirium. In the mid-game LSV adds a Tamiyo, Field Researcher to a crowded board to really start churning the value engine. At just four life Reid finally stabilizes with an Emrakul that wrecks most of the board for LSV. LSV manages a Selfless Spirit on his next turn, but the combination of Emrakul and Ishkanah (with her spiderling buddies) holds his attacks at bay. Soon after Luis is forced to Reflector Mage the Emrakul, allowing Reid to cast it again and take another bonus turn against his best interests. Facing certain doom, LSV top decks another copy of Tamiyo, tapped Emrakul and Ishkanah, attacks with his Sylvan Advocate, eats Reid’s remaining spider and finds himself just a bad top deck away from a win. Sure enough, Duke is unable to find a blocker and falls in two games to put both players one win away from the Top 8.

Round 13 (7th Standard Round): Lucas Blohan (WB Control) vs. Zen Takahashi (Naya Legends)

The innovative Naya Legends deck in the hands of Takahashi features Oath of Nissa, Hangarback Walker, Thalia’s Lancers, Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Evolutionary Leap, Linvala, the Preserver and a toolbox of interesting legendary creatures. Oddly, Takahashi just barely qualified for this Pro Tour via the GP in Australia last week, and here is in Top 8 contention. Off camera, Blohan takes Game 1.

Deck Tech: Esper Control (6-1 in Standard, out of contention on draft record)

  • 4 Jace, 2 Gideon, 2 Sorin, Grim Nemesis, 1 Ob Nixilis
  • 2 Descend Upon the Sinful, 3 Declaration in Stone, 2 Languish, 1 Anguished Unmaking
  • 3 Transgress the Mind, 3 Clash of Wills, 1 Silumgar’s Command, 2 Ojutai’s Command
  • 3 Fortune’s Favor, 3 Secure the Wastes, 2 Painful Truths
  • 3 Westvale Abbey

Secure the Wastes and Fortune’s Favor singled out as crucial to the deck. At just $.05 picking up 20-40 copies of Fortune’s Favor could be an easy penny spec if enough players start testing Esper Control builds in the coming weeks. 

Here are the top table standings after Round 13, with just three rounds left before the cut to Top 8.

rnd13
With Owen, Reid, LSV, Sam Pardee, Jacob Wilson and the rest in contention, this Top 8 is looking likely to be epic. This crowd includes BG Delirium x2, Temur Emerge x2, BW Control, Bant Company.

Round 14: LSV (Bant Company) vs. Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge)

This match is a win and in for Top 8, and will result in a fantastic narrative regardless of who wins. Both guys come in 11-2. Owen is now within reach of Player of the Year, while LSV is looking to Top 8 for the third time in a row this year!

Game 1 is over quick as strong early pressure from LSV bumps up against an Elder Deep-Fiend, only to have Archangel Avacyn flash in on the end step to clinch the victory the following turn for Luis.

In Game 2, Owen is available to chain Gnarlwood Dryad into Deep Fiend, triggering a flashed back Kozilek’s Return and then on into an Emrakul. LSV is forced to spend his Tamiyo to keep Emrakul tapped down for a couple of turns. Chandra Flamecaller shows up alongside Emrakul, and the threat level is just too high for LSV to recover from. Tied at 1-1.

In Game 3, LSV leverages a Duskwatch Recruiter to overcome some land flood, and again makes excellent use of Tamiyo, Field Researcher to lock down key blockers and get in for the win. This almost certainly puts LSV into the Top 8 and breathes fresh life into Bant Company moving forward.

Round 14: Sam Pardee (BG Delirium) vs. Andrew Brown (Temur Emerge)

In Game 1 we arrive from off camera to find a Liliana emblem in play. Kozilek’s Return from Brown clears the zombie army, and allows him to take down Liliana. Pardee responds with Languish to clear all but a Deep Fiend from Brown. We miss the next several turns, but Pardee ends up winning with the ultimate emblem proving too much for Brown. Pardee also takes the match, butting BG Delirium into the Top 8.

Off camera, Reid Duke puts away Jacob Wilson to clinch Top 8 as well, meaning RG Ramp has a shot at the title as well.

Deck Tech: Jund Delirium (Simon Nielsen)

Running 3x Kozilek’s Return, 3x Traverse the Ulvenwald, just a single Emrakul. 2x Distended Mindbender. 3x Mindwrack Demon and 3x Lianna, the Last Hope. 3x Languish.

Round 15: Reid Duke (RG Ramp) vs. Takahashi (Bant Company)

Reid loses Game 1 quick to an explosive start from the CoCo mage. Reid loses Game 2 as well, butting Takahashi and the 2nd Bant Company deck into the Top 8.

Round 15: Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge) vs. Lukas Blohon (WB Control)

Owen needs to win this match or the next to make Top 8 and Player of the Year. Big money on the line here for the new Hall of Famer. Blohan takes Game 1 on the back of yet another Liliana emblem and puts Owen on the back foot. In Game 2 a pair of Transgress the Mind removes the relevant threats from Owen’s hand, and Blohon takes the match quickly to make Top 8 with BW Control. Owen must now win his final match to make Top 8 and win Player of the Year. Biggest pressure point of the season coming up next round.

On a back table Daniel Cathro has the UB Zombies dream still alive at 10-3-1, and is up a game against Temur Emerge/Thomas Hendriks. A Liliana emblem is in play and generating massive advantadge, and Cathro takes the match to gift himself with a win and in next round.

Jan Ksandr on Bant Spirits is also battling fellow 10-3-1 player Ken Yukihiro on GR Ramp, but the match goes to time, with both players due to miss Top 8 if they pick up the draw. Weaver of Lightning ends up winning the match on the back of a Tormenting Voice, removing a key blocker to allow the Japanese player to get it done and put a second G/R ramp deck into the Top 8. Kozilek’s Return, also featured in the Temur Emerge deck seems likely to hold near $10.

Round 16: Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge) vs. Daniel Cathro (UB Zombies)

Owen has it all on the line this round. Sadly for him, Game 1 sees first time Pro Tour participant Cathro return a Haunted Dead via a double Prized Amalgam discard to put four creatures into play, a move quickly followed up by a Liliana, the Last Hope. A couple of turns later Owen manages to go Pilgrim’s Eye into Wretched Griff to bring back Kozilek’s Return and clear the board at two life. A couple of turns later a similar pattern is demonstrated, and the players jockey for board position with Owen trying to hold down the looming zombie threats. Owen manages to stabalize on an Emrakul, but more Haunted Dead shenanigans into a Voldaren Pariah, clears much of the board on both sides. A Murderous Cut lurking in Cathro’s hand signals danger to Emrakul but Owen gets a full value Ishkanah into play. Cathro at 4 life, Owen still at 2 but Daniel can’t easily bypass the spider force. Owen alpha strikes with Emrakul and all his spiders, but Cathro pulls the trigger on the Murderous Cut on Emrakul, and sets up to get more zombies back with the players now tied at two life a piece. Owen manages an Elder Deep Fiend to pop another enhanced Kozilek’s Return, but Daniel works through two copies of Voldaren Pariah in response to end up with a big bad flyer on the table ready to strike by end of turn. Owen looks for a solution, comes up dry, and we move to Game 2 with Owen facing the loss of both Top 8 and Player of the Year.

Cathro mulligans into two lands and can’t find his third land. Owen gets Chandra Flamecaller into play and the pressure is real. Despite still being on two lands Haunted Dead comes back with a spirit and a Prized Amalgam and the team takes down Chandra. At ten lands to his opponent’s three, Owen chains Spiders into Eldrazi and earns his last chance at the best possible weekend.

Both players keep a full grip and the game pivots early when Owen casts Negate on the first copy of Liliana, the Last Hope. He then keeps the board stable for a few more turns, drops Emrakul, controls the next turn, and manages to snag victory out of the jaws of defeat one turn later. Huge congratulations to Owen Turtenwald for making the Hall of Fame, a fresh Pro Tour Top 8 AND Player of the Year all in one weekend. Temur Emerge earns another slot on Sunday, and puts Kozilek’s Return and Emrakul squarely in the spotlight. Side note: the UB Zombie build looks very hot indeed, and this won’t be the end of things for that archetype despite the loss.

Ken Yukihiro defeats Reid Duke in final turns for the second match in a row to make Top 8. Some of the best Pro Tour match play ever today, wow.

Top 8 Announcement

  1. Sam Pardee (BG Delirium)
  2. LSV (Bant Company)
  3. Yuta Takahashi (Bant Company)
  4. Lukas Blohon (BW Control)
  5. Ken Yukihiro (GR Ramp)
  6. Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge)
  7. Reid Duke (GR Delirium Ramp)
  8. Andrew Brown (Temur Emerge)

What a star studded Top 8, topping off an epic year of great Top 8s. Two Hall of Fame players. Sam Pardee and Reid Duke. Great players fill the rest of the bracket.

Relatively few Liliana, the Last Hope in the Top 8 in the end, with just BW Control and BG Delirium running the card. Kozilek’s Return and Emrakul however feature prominently in roughly half the decks. Elder Deep Fiend could show gains if it wins the whole thing. Bant Company still has a shot to take it all in the hands of red hot LSV.

The brackets look well balanced with no real blowouts set up to play out. Anyone could take this, but odds on favorites have to be the dominating Channel Fireball squad, with Reid Duke, LSV, and Owen looking set to have a west coast wizard take the tournament.

Tune in tomorrow for the final result of a great weekend of Magic!

 

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