Category Archives: Pro Tour Coverage

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?



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?


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, 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.

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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Pro Tour Eldritch Moon 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 started at 1am EST, Friday.

Round 4 (1st Standard Round):  Andrew Cuneo (BG Delirum) vs. Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge)

Owen comes to the table with a snazzy new hair cut and a relatively unseen archtype for Standard thus far this season in Temur Emerge. The deck features Emrakul, the Promised End, Gather the Pack, Kozilek’s Return, Ishkanah, Grafwidow, Den Protector, Elder Deep Fiend, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Pilgrim’s Eye, Nissa’s Pilgrimage, Chandra, Grapple with the Past and Gnarlwood Dryad. Ishkanah showing up in Temur certainly opens the door for the card to see more play.

Andrew’s deck on the other hand is a version of the familiar GB Control style build including value cards such as Liliana, the Last Hope, Mindwrack Demon, Grasp of Darkness, Gilt-Leaf Winnower and Nissa, Vastwood Seer. After some back and forth, Owen takes Game 1 on the back of a late game Emrakul.

In Game 2, Owen shows off Coax from the Blind Eternities, perhaps a sideboard option against Infinite Obliteration. Midway through Game 2, both players are still at 20 life, and Turtenwald has three copies of Elder Deep-Fiend in hand.

Floor report has Liliana, the Last Hope selling at prices as high as $100.

Round 4 (1st Standard Round):  Brad Nelson (Jund Delirium) vs. Patrick Dickmann (Bant Eldrazi Rites)

Dickmann is on a unique Bant brew with Reality Smasher, Elvish Visionary, Reflector Mage, Spell Queller and Drowner of Hope. He’s running Collected Company and Cryptolith Rites, despite running many creatures over three casting cost.

Nelson is on a Jund deck with Emrakul, the Promised End, Kozilek’s Return, Traverse the Ulvenwald, Distended Mindbender. Emrakul getting a lot of camera time, and seems to be in many decks. Brad takes Game 1 with Emrakul in similar fashion to Owen at the other table.

Dickmann takes Game 2 off camera.

In Game 3, Brad gets off a Kozilek’s Return in the mid-game to clear most of Patrick’s board. He follows up with Ishkanah and sets up to run back the Return off a forthcoming Distended Mindbender. Spell Queller eats the Return, but Brad top decks Languish to clear the board. Reality Smasher comes off the top for Patrick however and with Brad at just three life, Dickmann puts the match away.

Not many aggro decks at the top tables so far.

Round 4 (1st Standard Round):  Ben Seck (U/B Madness) vs. Marco Camilluzzi (Legendary Naya)

Seck is on U/B Madness, using Voldaren Pariah. Camilluzzi is on a Naya build that leverages Thalia’s Lancers and a toolbox of legendary creatures to try and take control of the mid-game. Marco takes the match mostly off camera 2-0 in their games.

Over a quarter of the field is caught still playing with time called. Format is slow!

Deck Tech #1: Bant Company (Andrea Mengucci)

Randy notes that Bant Company is only 19% of the total field, as opposed to the expected 30-35%. Everyone gunning for it. As per usual, deck is built around Bant value creatures Duskwatch Recruiter, Spell Queller, and Reflector Mage coming into play via Collected Company.

Round 5 (2nd Standard Round): Matt Sperling (B/G Delirium) vs.  Reid Duke (R/G Delirium)

Reid Duke is basically on an old school red/green ramp deck, using green ramp spells, Hedron Crawler and Hedron Archive to get to Ulvenwald Hydra (one copy), Dragonlord Atarka and Emrakul, the Promised End. At the low end he runs Sylvan Advocate, Fiery Impulse and other board stabilizing cards.

Sperling is making use of many of the green and black delirium cards, leveraging the graveyard and various card selection, discard and kill spells to try and control the mid-game. The deck also features Languish, Liliana, The Last Hope, Nissa, Vastwood Seer and the rest of the expected cards of the archetype. Traverse the Ulvenwald into Emrakul, the Promised End is also part of the game plan. Traverse is looking like an important card in this meta.

In Game 1, Reid manages to get his Emrakul out a turn before Sperling and quickly earns a concession with Atarka also on his side.

Between games I checked out the movement on Emarkul, the Promised End, and watched 20-30 copies dry up under $15. Channel Fireball is sold out. This card could be over $20 by end of the weekend if it stays prevalent near the top tables.

Reid manages to take down Game 2 in similar fashion, this time getting in with Atarka before Sperling can stabilize.

Round 5 (2nd Standard Round): Christian Calcano (Bant Company) vs. Marcio Carvalho (U/B Zombies)

We come into this match in Game 3, with the players tied at a game a piece. Carvalho is on a full-fledged blue/black zombie deck. Deck runs the full set of Prized Amalgam, discarding them to Haunted Dead and Stitchwing Skaab (!) for major value. Crypt Breaker is also present, as is Voldaren Pariah, which at $1, certainly has room to move up if it does well. Indeed, the card is absolutely savage in the third game and earns a place on the must watch list for the weekend as Carvalho takes the match.

Calcano’s deck is running Elder Deep Fiend, a card rarely seen in Bant Company, and further evidence of players looking to go bigger this weekend.

At end of Round 2, more than half (!) the matches are still going. Ultra grindy indeed.

Round 6 (3rd Standard Round): Luis-Scott Vargas (Bant Company) vs. Steven Rubin (Black/Green Delirium)

LSV is running a fairly stock Bant Company list with a few tweaks. Defending Pro Tour champion Rubin is on a GB Delirium list running many of the same cards already expected. Rubin takes Game 1 fairly easily. LSV crack back in the next game to even things up.

In the third game things get very grindy, with LSV trying to fight through Ishkanah and Void Winnower to get rid of a threatening Liliana, the Last Hope. The solution ends up being Tamiyo, Field Researcher, which allows LSV to tap down the big blockers and get in to kill both Liliana and a flipped Nissa. Nevertheless, Steve does get off an Emrakul on the next turn that absolutely wrecks his opponent’s board state, including an Ojutai’s Command countering a Reflector Mage. Rubin is able to put it away and advance to 6-0. A great game.

Round 6: Patrick Dickmann (Bant Company/Rites) vs Yuuya Watanabe (R/G Ramp)

The Watanabe deck is similar in some ways to the one Reid Duke is running, but with a few twists, including Hangarback Walker, and Ishkanah, Grafwidow. At one point Yuuya takes control of Dickmann using Emrakul and forces him to use Reflector Mage to give him back the Emrakul for another go at mind control. Savage, but Dickmann does manage to take the next game to even things out.

100+ copies of Emrakul, the Promised End have now evaporated across the online vendors after being constantly featured as the finisher of choice across multiple decks. The price looks likely to settle above $25 if the pace of camera time continues and it makes Top 8 in quantity.

At another table, Owen Turtenwald beats Reid Duke, to put Temur Emerge at 3-0, and Owen at 6-0 on the day. A great start for our newest Hall of Fame member.

Deck Tech #3: 4-Color Emerge (Michael Bonde)

Gather the Pack, Grapple the Past, Traverse the Ulvenwald, are all 4-ofs, as is Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Three copies of Noose Constrictor and a single copy of Nissa, Vastwood Seer. Prized Amalgam and Haunted Dead are also four copies each, providing a recursive value engine we’ve seen in a few decks now.  Haunted Dead and Prize Amalgam could both end up in the $3-4 range. Kozilek’s Return, and Elder Deep-Fiend are also 4-ofs and provide even more shenanigans with the Amalgam/Haunted Dead package. Just the Wind and Ishkanah are used in single copies.

Back at the coverage desk, Liliana, the Last Hope called out as the defining card of the tournament.

Round 7 (4th Round of Standard): Olivier Ruel (Sultai Control) vs. Jacob Wilson (BG Delirium)

Ruel is on a deck similar to the one Ali Aintrazi ran to 2nd place last week at SCG Baltimore. Jacob Wilson is on G/B Delirium. Ruel gets down a Liliana, only to get it answered with a Ruinous Path. Both decks running Liliana, and Jacob has both Grim Flayer and Ishkanah, Grafwidow. About ten turns into the game we find Wilson casting Emrakul, finding another Emrakul in Ruel’s hand. Eldrazi overlords for everyone! Wilson’s Emrakul is stolen by Dragonlord Silumgar, but Liliana and Grasp of Darkness take out the Dragonlord and Jacob is able to take Game 1 as Ruel draws dead.

In a very grindy second game, at one point both players have Liliana and Nissa in play in planeswalker mode with Ruel also having a flipped Jace in play. Things grind on for a dozen or more turns with over a dozen permanents in play. Ultimately time is called, and the players enter the five extra turns. Wilson casts an Emrakul on Turn 3 of extra turns, giving him control of Turn 4, but forcing him to get rid of multiple potential attackers on the forthcoming Turn 5 to fend off the tie. Wilson moves to 6-1.

Here’s the Day 1 meta:


Note that the blue/green Crush of Tentacles deck from last weekend is nowhere to be found here, though it may have been a good choice facing this incredibly grindy meta.

Deck Tech 4: GB Delirium (Shaheen Soorani)

Shaheen calls out Emrakul as the best finisher in the format.

Round 8 (Standard Round 5): Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge) vs. Steve Rubin (GB Delirium)

Owen comes into this round at 7-0, while Steve is at 6-1. Turtenwald uses Emrakul to take Game 1, playing into the themes of the weekend thus far. In Game 2, Owen chains a pair of Elder Deep Fiends with Kozilek’s Return to wipe out Rubin’s opposing creatures and present serious pressure. Owen moves to 8-0 on the same day he is elected to the Hall of Fame. Talk about driving it home. See you guys tonight for Day 2!

James Chillcott is the CEO of, 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 Shadows Over Innistrad: Top 8 Coverage

Finals: Andrea Mengucci (Bant Company) vs. Steven Rubin (G/W Tokens)

With six of a possible eight copies of Archangel Avacyn in the finals of this Pro Tour stop, the powerful angel seems poised to hold her value heading into the next few weeks of Standard. Also worth noting that there are numerous copies of Canopy Vista in the combined mana base of the finalists, as well as a full eight copies of Sylvan Advocate, a creature that seems likely to be ubiquitous this season.

G/W tokens as played by Rubin called out on camera by LSV again as the deck of the tournament, with Team FacetoFace credited for the deck.

In Game 1, the board stalls out pretty quickly, but Rubin has the dynamic duo of Nissa and Gideon behind his army to create massive advantage. A top decked Secure the Wastes sets up a huge swing on the back of a double buff from the ‘walkers and Rubin takes Game 1. A match win here could possibly push Nissa over $15 and Gideon back over $25.

Whoa. Massive changes to the benefits of Hall of Fame and Platinum Pro status, effectively reducing their guaranteed earnings to fund a more bombastic World Championships. Can’t imagine the top pros are going to be too pleased about that, and Hall of Fame benefits shouldn’t be negotiable after the fact.

Game 2 plays out in similar fashion. In a small board stall, Rubin ultimates his first Gideon immediately and hides out behind a growing Hangarback Walker. Mengucci is sitting on two copies of Reflector Mage, while Rubin awaits the moment to launch a surprise attack with Archangel Avacyn. Drawing into another Secure the Wastes with the Gideon emblem in play, allows Rubin to wreck an all out attack plan from Mengucci by dropping a pile of token blockers in their path, though he does end up at eight life. A Westvale Abbey activation on the following turn however, and Rubin is in position to take the game in the air.

Game 3, our first game post-sideboard, ends up looking very similar in the early turns, but Mengucci does manage to leverage Tragic Arrogance to force Rubin into a slimmer board presence. Rubin is able to cast Hangarback Walker for zero to try and flip a newly require Avacyn, but Mengucci answers with an Avacyn of his own, dancing through the hole in Rubin’s plans by saving his entire board. Rubin ends up with multiple Walkers in play, but Andrea ends up with the only Avacyn on the board, and looks to turn the corner. Rubin however top decks Dromoka’s Command, and threatens to kill Avacyn and cash out a Walker for multiple fliers. Mengucci chooses to cast a second Avacyn in response, saving the first copy, but yielding to the Walker tokens. Steve then top decks his own Tragic Arrogance, taking out Bounding Krasis, Avacyn, and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, and allowing him to cash in his second Hangarback Walker for additional tokens. Mengucci responds with an activation from a fresh Jace, flashing back his own Tragic Arrogance to trim the board once again for Rubin.

Rubin’s next big play is a Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, which starts making tokens but Mengucci fills up from a Collected Company and a Nissa, Vastwood Seer, and pushes through to move to 1-2 on the match thus far.

Game 4 finds Rubin on Nissa on Turn 3, holding off attackers with plant tokens long enough to find enough mana to cast an end of turn Archangel Avacyn, into a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar which immediately sacs for an emblem. Fearing only a Tragic Arrogance from Mengucci, Rubin makes another plant token, and challenges Mengucci to find an answer to a dominant board position. A Reflector Mage from Mengucci on Avacyn, prompts a flurry of activity as Rubin strives to find the opening he needs to get the last four points of life from Andrea in the air. Rubin subsequently sacs Nissa to boost a growing team of plant tokens, Sylvan Advocate and Avacyn, and tries to decide when and whether to sacrifice some of that army to put the demon prince into play. He ultimately chooses to swing with the entire team first, forcing a round of bad chump blocks from Andrea. An Ojutai’s Command from the Italian seeks to keep him alive, but it isn’t enough and Steven Rubin and G/W tokens wins Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad!

Semi-finals: Seth Manfield (Esper Control) vs. Steven Rubin (G/W Tokens) 

LSV calls out G/W Tokens as one of the best performing decks of the Swiss rounds. In Game 1, Narset appears from Seth to answer early action from Rubin in the form of a pair of Thraben Inspectors. Narset survives for several turns and does a ton of work on camera, rebounding a Dark Petition that seeks out important kill spells and answer both Nissa and Gideon from Rubin. With an Avacyn in hand and a lonely Westvale Abbey on the table, Rubin soon finds himself facing down a trio of planeswalkers, including Narset, Sorin and Jace, Unraveler of Secrets with a combined loyalty of seventeen. Manfield quickly takes over and claims Game 1.

In Game 2, Rubin gets a mix of threats in play, including Hangarback Walker, Sylvan Advocate and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Seth gets off a Languish to slow the advance, but leaves Gideon in play, a potent threat that is quickly followed up with an end of turn Secure the Wastes that finds Seth without a counter spell. Rubin evens things out at 1-1.

In our third game, having taken Languish out of his deck against a tokens deck, Manfield uses two early copies of Anguished Unmaking to get rid of Nissa and Gideon respectively and try to keep the board under control. Rubin rebuilds with a Sylvan Advocate and a second copy of Nissa, Voice of Zendikar vs. a hand of Sorin, Ultimate Price and Ruinous Path. The Path takes down Nissa on the following turn, and Manfield digs for additional answers with his Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Rubin gets an Avacyn on the board which is sent to the bin by Ultimate Price. An Oath of Nissa finds him an additional copy of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which Rubin uses to table a 2/2 knight token only to get hit by another copy of Ruinous Path. Sigarda, Heron’s Grace is the next threat to enter the fray and Seth follows on with Sorin, Grim Nemesis to trade off. Hangback Walker for three from Rubin presents a tough threat for Manfield, and on the next turn Rubin finds Westvale Abbey off the top with five creatures already in play. The resulting demon quickly takes Game 3 for Rubin.

In Game 4, Rubin keeps a land heavy hand, and finds his early Nissa answered by counter magic. Kalitas, Tratior of Ghet enters on Seth’s side, but Rubin has the Stasis Snare off the top to answer. Manfield however manages to field a second copy of the legendary vampire and the impact on a pair of Hangarback Walkers is felt immediately. Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Narset, Transcendent join the squad for Seth, and Rubin is clearly stalled out, while Manfield adds Sorin, Grim Nemesis to fully take control of the board against a pair of Thraben Inspectors. Game 4 to Seth and we move on to the deciding game.

Game 5 sees Rubin get two Hangarback Walkers into play, prompting an early Languish that fails to deal with Nissa or Gideon. Anguised Unmaking does take down Gideon the following turn, but continued pressure and a fresh Archangel Avacyn takes the match for Rubin, who moves on to the finals.


Mengucci takes the match in five games, putting the Bant Company deck that the field thought they had outmaneuvered into the finals despite their best efforts. It is worth noting that in the Swiss rounds, only Lee Shi Tian managed a 9-1 record, and he was also on Bant Company. Also, depsite not making Top 8, U/W Humans in the hands of Raymond Cheung and Mono White Humans from Pat Cox, did each achieve an 8-2 record. 


Mengucci wins the match in


Despite a series of grindy games, where Pyromancer’s Goggles and World Breaker both put in a good work, Steve Rubin defeats Brad Nelson 3-0 on the back of Avacyn and Westvale Abby and advances to the semifinals, having won three games where he tabled very aggressive starts.

BREAKING NEWS: WoTC uses the platform of a very diverse Standard Pro Tour to announce that Modern will no longer be a Pro Tour format, throwing the growth of Modern specs into question. My guess is that this could shave some growth potential off of non-staples without having much of a meaningful impact on Modern staple card values directly. If however, we see the de-emphasis of the format trickle down to  the GP and local level as fewer top players have a reason to play more Modern, the threat to Modern specs could be heightened. Details here.


Seth Manfield defeats Luis Salvatto.

Andrea Mengucci defeats Jon Finkel 3-1 and advances to the semifinals!


In Game 1, LSV starts strong, only to run into multiple early kill spells and a Languish that clears the board. The explosive power of the GB deck is proven again however, as LSV casts Collected Company end of turn, finding a Husk and a Cutthroat, to untap and kill Shoota on the spot.

In Game 2, Shoota manages to trade kill spells for early creatures, minimizing the drain damage along the way from Luis and setting up a shop with a rampant Dragonlord Ojutai helps the Japanese player pull away for the win.

Game 3 sees LSV go to six cards on the play, and again his early threats are efficiently answered with the likes of Grasp of Darkness, Ultimate Price and Foul Tongue Invocation. Despite an amazing series of plays by Luis where Liliana, Heretical Healer put in some good work, Shoota finds a copy of Languish and lands a Dragonlord Ojutai to set up a nearby win.

In Game 4, Luis only get a chance to field a few early threats before Shoota clears them out with his opponent flooding out on lands. LSV loses the match and moves on to the coverage booth.


Hold on to your hats folks, this is going to be good.

Heading into this Pro Tour many observers seemed convinced that the metagame had been solved early and that Bant Company and White Humans were going to settle into the top tables. Instead we got an incredibly diverse field and a Top 8 full to the brim with eight distinct decks and a plethora of innovative brewing technology. The Top 8 competition may be the best of all time, with three Hall of Fame members, a former Player of the Year, and the current World Champion.

So far, the big financial movers of the weekend have included a bevy of underrated cards including Pyromancer’s Goggles, Seasons Past, Dark Petition, Cryptolith Rite, Languish and Hissing Quagmire. With such a diverse field, it may take a finals appearance to defend the price spikes, so we should pay special attention to the cards like Dark Petition, Languish, Archangel Avacyn and Goggles that have shown value across multiple shells. That being said, selling into the hype ahead of the results is almost certainly your best bet, as back sliding on many of the spiked cards is quite likely this week. Of the cards that haven’t really moved, Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Narset, Transcendant may have the most upside as three to four of inclusions in their respective decks. At $18 or so, Dragonlord Ojutai has six copies in Day 3 across two distinctive Esper Control shells, and has peaked over $30 before. World Breaker is currently around $8, but could hit $15 again if it makes the finals, especially given that the card is also setting up shop in Modern. 

To recap, here are our Top 8 deck types and their notable cards:

  1. Jon Finkel: B/G Control (Dark Petition, Seasons Past, Hissing Quagmire, Languish)
  2. Seth Manfield: Esper Control (Dark Petition, Narset, Ascendant, Ob Nixilis, Sorin, Grim Nemesis)
  3. Brad Nelson: R/G Goggles (Pyromancer’s Goggles, World Breaker, Fall of the Titans, Kozilek’s Return)
  4. Luis Scott-Vargas: B/G Aristocrats (Collected Company, Cryptolith Rite, Liliana, Heretical Healer, Duskwatch Recruiter)
  5. Shota Yasooka: Esper Dragons (Dragonlord Ojutai, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy)
  6. Steve Rubin: G/W Tokens (Nissa, Gideon, Avacyn)
  7. Luis Salvato: R/W Eldrazi (Pyromancer’s Goggles, Thought Knot-Seer, Archangel Avacyn, Nahiri, The Harbinger, Fall of the Titans)
  8. Andrea Mengucci: Bant Company (Collected Company, Archangel Avacyn)

Full lists can be found here.

Our match-up ladder starts as follows:

  • Jon Finkel (BG Control) vs. Andrea Mengucci (Bant Company)
  • Seth Manfield (Esper Planeswalkers) vs. Luis Salvato (R/W Eldrazi)
  • Brad Nelson (G/R Goggles) vs. Steve Rubin (G/W Tokens)
  • Luis Scott-Vargas (G/B Aristocrats) vs. Shota Yasooka (Esper Dragons)


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