Unlocked Pro Trader: Dawn to Dusk of a New Day’s Doings

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Don’t call it a comeback, because THIS mad, murderous Monarch never left. That’s right, Queen Marchesa has clawed her way up the rankings on EDHREC, ending up the 6th most popular deck this week. This didn’t make a lot of sense to me initially, but after doing some sleuthing on EDHREC, it still doesn’t make a ton of sense.

These are the new cards. Is Canyon Slough really that exciting? It could be, because another card is making a bit of a comeback and clearly, access to a red-black cycling land is the difference-maker. Let’s take a look at the new stuff in Alesha, Who Smiles at Death.

Is Harsh Mentor enough of an impetus to resurrect these decks and build them at a rate they haven’t been built since they were new? Perhaps, but it’s also worth looking at the specific cards that seem to be enabling these two decks, Anointed Procession in the case of Marchesa and Dusk//Dawn in the case of Alesha. These are basically the two decks bothering with Mentor, although Samut is giving him a try, as well.

Is a card like Harsh Mentor enough of an impetus to submit an updated version of your deck so it can get scraped by EDHREC? Maybe, maybe not. But that’s actually a good thing – I think the inertia surrounding what a pain it is to submit a new deck based on one or two new cards is actually a useful analytical tool if we can harness it properly. I’ll explain.

If a card is exciting enough for a measurable number of people to either build a new deck or submit an updated version of their deck, that is indicative of a larger phenomenon going on. If only 5% of people will build a new deck or update their deck as a result of a new card, usually that signal will get lost in the noise. We could, I guess, physically write down the number of decks and check them every week, but EDHREC graphs these trends automatically and by virtue of the changes with the largest magnitude being even picked up by the graph algorithm, we’re automatically filtering out only the information that matters. If 5% of people update their decks and a deck shoots up to the 6th-most-built deck when people are still building with Commander 2016 commanders and the new commanders from Amonkhet and no one is really buying Conspiracy 2, that’s a big effect. If we’re graphing it at all, it’s worth noting, right?

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With Conspiracy 2 being basically unsellable at dealer cost, boxes aren’t really getting popped and the singles aren’t getting any more plentiful. Add to that the fact that Leovold was banned in EDH and therefore for the set to maintain even its current value, something else will have to grow and some of the cards are taking a lot longer than expected to move at all, or even become adopted (I’m looking at you, Regal Behemoth).

I don’t want to just rehash my article about Marchesa from the first time around but it’s worth re-reading now to see which of the cards have doubled since it was written. I do think there are some cards to look at, though, in the context of the deck being made by people who have access to Kaladesh and Amonkhet block cards. I think the cards I liked in Marchesa are the same as before, but there are new ones to like now.

If it’s Anointed Procession that has given us a second look at Marchesa, I think there are some cards you might want to take a second look at.

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Assemble the Legion

This is down from its historic high which is good because the buylist price isn’t budging. A shrinking spread can only indicate that movement is coming. There is moderate reprint risk for this card, especially since there is a tribal EDH theme for Commander 2017 and red-white soldiers is a real possibility (though how boring would that be?) and this likely gets wedged into that deck. However, I think the reprint would be shrugged off eventually and the risk is low since the buy-in is low. This card is about to do something and I think you want to be holding copies when it does.

Marchesa decks are already toying with Anointed Procession because you can get double assassin tokens when you’re not the Monarch and white is probably the second best color for tokens, letting you generate a ton of blockers with cards like Martial Coup so you maintain your Monarch status and get a free Phyrexian Arena.

Purphoros, God of the Forge

This is one of the best gods and with decks that didn’t have access to Parallel Lives before now beginning to flirt with jamming this guy into decks with Anointed Procession. That’s a pretty good idea, you ask me. The foils are also starting to disappear on TCG Player and with the reprint risk for foils being much lower, that seems like a good bet, especially with the foil multiplier being under 2x. If Procession opens up a few more red-white decks to taking tokens seriously, Purphoros can ride that wave to money town. Graphically, Purphoros looks pretty good and although the buy price appears to be backing off a bit, overall it’s trending toward a lower spread which usually means a retail price correction is incoming. The foils selling out could be what triggers the market, increase in play as a result of Amonkhet making decks that use Purphoros could be a factor, also. All we know for sure is that a god was printed in a Commander precon and all bets are off, making foils seem even safer.

It’s not just Marchesa getting more love, either, like I said before, Alesha is getting a second look. Harsh Mentor is much better in the Alesha deck and that’s likely  factor for the renewed interest but I think Dusk//Dawn plays a role as well. There have been cards printed since Alesha was new that could get a second look now since people are building or at least updating enough Alesha decks that it caused a blip, so let’s take a look and see if there is anything there.

Gamble

Gamble seems like it was custom made for Alesha decks and the Eternal Masters reprinting has largely done its work. I talk a lot about how I love the look of a reverse-J-shaped graph because you can tell it’s the first half of a U-shaped graph that indicates a price fully recovered. The first half of that graph is great because you can watch the price decline until it’s time to buy in. I think Gamble will recover to roughly half to 3/4 of its peak so buying at the floor, even at $5-$6, seems reasonable. Gamble is no slouch in EDH.

This is a card that’s pretty good in some pretty popular decks and gets non-zero amount of eternal play as well. Gamble was a $40 card in a set where cards like Gilded Drake and Phyrexian Tower are only $30, it’s pretty reasonable to assume that a $5 buy-in is pretty safe.

Knight of the White Orchid

This is a mainstay in Alesha and it’s basically at its floor. We’re not likely to get another bout of inclusion in Standard to make this an $8 card again and if we do it will be accompanied by a reprinting, but this has upside and it shrugs off Dusk//Dawn so already it’s worth looking at.

Every time a new set is printed, check out EDHREC to see what older decks are impacted by new cards, and keep checking back. It took a few weeks for the trend of an increasing number of Marchesa and Alesha decks to emerge but once I caught, I found quite a few cards I really liked in the context of this new trend. If a deck is being rebuilt and resubmitted often enough to show up as much as new commanders in new decks, it’s definitely worth seeing if you can figure out why and what comes up along with it. $4 Phyrexian Arena? Could be. Maybe not. The important thing is to realize that the data is speaking to us and it is important that we listen. That will do it for me this week. Join me next week where I’ll almost certainly have some more money-making picks for you. Until next time!

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PROTRADER: The Watchtower 5/15/17

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy. And if you enjoy playing Magic, make sure to visit https://scry.land to find PPTQs, SCG Opens, and more events on an interactive map with worldwide coverage. Find Magic near you today.


One more Pro Tour is in the books, and this time it was taken down by a long deserving grinder, Gerry Thompson. I’ve met Gerry a few times and he’s always been amicable and receptive, including in social media interactions, where I would frequently pester him about updating his Modern brews. There are few other players that I personally would root for. Congratulations Gerry!

Two major storylines developed from the event; that Aetherworks Marvel is back in force, and Zombies are the real deal. Gerry took down the entire event with a Mono-Black zombie build, and there were two other Zombies lists in the top eight as well. Meanwhile a full half of Sunday was Temur Marvelworks. Looking at the best performing decks, rather than the top 8, provides a similar set of data. Zombies and Marvelworks were a huge part of the 24+ point Standard decks. Only 4 of the 14 best decks, less than 30%, were not one of those two archetypes.

It’s unlikely Standard will resolve into a two-deck format over the coming weeks, but make no mistake, both Marvelworks and Zombies will be tier one lists for awhile. Expect Mardu Vehicles to still show up on the local circuit alongside these two for a few weeks. Vehicles may not have had an excellent conversion rate, but it’s still a strong deck, and many players at your store will be too invested to audible to a new strategy. We may also see Zombies behave the same way Spirits did at Pro Tour Dark Ascension several years ago. It was a dominant tribal strategy at the Pro Tour, but once it was out in the world, it folded too hard to dedicate hate, and fell off the map. Zombies is likely better positioned than Spirits was, but a Swelting Suns and one or two pointed pieces of exile goes a long ways towards completely defanging the strategy.

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Bontu the Glorified

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $12

While Rhonas has been the most discussed Amon…khetian? god, and Hazoret the Pervert the second most, it’s Bontu that I’m looking at today. Bontu the Glorified is the black god, and while he isn’t as obviously powerful as the Gruul pair, he’s certainly capable, and possibly quite underrated.

This weekend saw Bontu in the Cryptolith Rites decks as a way to filter away chaff and keep pressure up with a strong attacker. I expect Rites decks to continue to hang out in Standard at the fringes until October when Shadows Over Innistrad rotates, but Bontu’s price shouldn’t be driven hard by this.

I see his presence in the Cryptolith decks as a proving grounds; a message that yes, there’s definitely ways to make this guy work. Come October he won’t be in Cryptolith decks, but that doesn’t mean he won’t find a home elsewhere. My first thought is in the freshly baked Zombies deck that did so well this weekend. In order to transition from a Pro Tour deck to a tier one Standard deck, Zombies is going to need the ability to go a little larger, increase resiliency, and find a way to finish a game after a late sweeper.

Bontu sets up all of these. As a menacing indestructible 4/6, he’s capable of putting real pressure on the opponent with impunity, and will occasionally be stone unblockable. Zombies is a natural home for his sacrifice ability, both with the mass of tokens it generates and Dread Wanderer’s reanimation. There’s upside to that as well; with the ability to set up larger Diregraf Colossus’, or trigger Relentless Deads as a means of reanimating other bodies or simply putting a zombie back into your hand to cast for more Colossus triggers.

More generally, Bontu provide two other functions that aggressive decks are going to be happy with. Sacrificing dudes provides both card selection via the scry, helping to avoid excess land drops later in the game, and reach, as a way to close out the last couple of points after an opponent has clogged up the board.

Bontu’s price is hovering just north of $4, and is likely to depreciate over coming months as Standard, and Magic in general, take a back seat to pleasant weather activities and college gaming groups on recess. The next few months will be a great time to pick up Bontu, and anything else you’ve had your eye on, ahead of the fall surge.


Crystalline Crawler


Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $15

Probably two months ago I discussed this over on MTG Fast Finance, and it’s still a great card to keep your eye on today. In fact this has become even more true with all of the Commander 2016 buyouts that have been occurring lately. Within the last two weeks we’ve seen Breya, Conquerer’s Flail, Bruse Tarl (ongoing), and Duelist’s Heritage, to name a few. There are less than 30 NM copies of Crystalline Crawler on TCG Player right now, and at least two sets of those are around $8 each.

I don’t feel like I need to spend much energy explaining the card, so I’ll hit the highlights. It’s fantastic in Atraxa, the most-built EDH deck on edhrec.com. It’s excellent in Breya, the second-most built deck. It loves counter manipulation strategies, and as such has a high synergy with Doubling Season, perhaps the most visible EDH card period. It’s simply a dang good card in EDH.

There are still copies floating around in the $3 range, but those don’t have long for this world. A solid double up towards $7 to $8 is basically a foregone conclusion, and I’d say that prices between $10 and $15 are completely plausible within the year, if not the next month or two.


Necroskitter


Price Today: $1
Possible Price: $6

Blowfly Infestation. Dusk Urchins. Flourishing Defenses. Crumbling Ashes. Seshiro the Anointed. Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons has made a surprising number of cards spike in value recently. Necroskitter is the next poised to fall.

Hapatra is a deck all about -1/-1 counters, and as such, Shadowmoor and Eventide have been rich veins both for deck builders and speculators alike. The former appreciate the number of synergy cards from the mini block, and the latter appreciate how few copies there are of said synergy cards. I’d wager at this point that the only reason Necroskitter isn’t $10 is because it was (semi) recently reprinted in Modern Masters 2015, giving it a bump in supply that most of the block hasn’t seen. Supply is low across both sets though, and Necroskitter is perhaps about as good a payoff as one can get in a deck that specialises in A. putting -1/-1 counters on creatures and B. destroying creatures with -1/-1 counters.

We’re well past the point of “it’s too early for MM2 cards to spike,” so I don’t expect that to prevent a shift upward on Necroskitter, rather, it will simply delay it by a few weeks. As a must-of in all Hapatra decks from here out, I’d expect Necroskitter to land comfortably in the $5 to $8 range, depending on how much additional traction it gets as players discover it for other decks.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


Pro Tour Amonkhet Finance: Standard Day 2

Here on MTGPrice.com we are providing MTGFinance coverage of Pro Tour Amonkhet all weekend long.  You can check out our Pro Tour Amonkhet financial preview over here, and our Day 1 round up over here. Today, join us for round to round coverage in live blog style below all day. Look for color coded text if you don’t have time for the whole thing.

First off, let’s review which decks showed up to try and take home the trophy this weekend:

As we can see, the hoped for narrative of Mardu Vehicles no longer being the dominant deck type was in question based on the number of pros that decided to bring the best deck so far of 2017 into a fresh meta. That being said, it’s unclear thus far how many of the Mardu decks have survived Day 1 and are hovering around the top tables.

That being said, my quick tally of the decks I think were at the top tables heading into the Day 2 draft, there seemed to be a lot of Temur Aetherworks Marvel decks in contention. Marvel has made a move from $6 to $10 so far, and could go higher if it proves out to be a major force heading into the Top 8. Other decks I expect to have a shot include UR Control, Mono Black and BW Zombies and a few Mardu Vehicles. We’ll know more around 4pm when the Standard rounds start.

Overnight, the spikes included New Perspectives pushing to $4 from $1, which it may have trouble holding given the relative lack of pilots deep in Day 2. Liliana’s Mastery, one of my picks for this week on MTGFastFinance moved from $1 to $3 on a strong zombies performance across the tournament and should be able to hold a price point in that range. Aetherworks Marvel has moved from $6 to $10 and could push higher if it proves out as the top deck of the tourney. 

Round 12: Reid Duke (Sultai Marvel) vs. Steve Hatto (BG Energy)

Reid has a few spicy cards in his build, including Liliana, Death’s Majesty, Yahenni, Undying Partisan and Demon of the Dark Schemes. In Game 1 Duke dumps Ulamog into his yard with Liliana and follows up by zombifying the giant Eldrazi. Hatto has nothing and we’re on to Game 2. Hatto gets out with an early advantage on his next try, with Aethersphere Harvester, Bristling Hydra, Riskhar, Peema Renegade and Winding Constrictor providing solid pressure while Reid has an Ulamog stranded in hand. Duke does manage to stabilize at 14 life behind a wall of mid-range creatures, but can’t find an answer for the Harvester in the air. A Skysovereign, Consul Flagship soon joins the board, but Ulamog finally joins the board to clear the skies and soon after take the match.

Round 12: Gabriel Nassif (Mardu Vehicles) vs. Tsuyoshi Fujita (WR Exert)

Fujita is on a pretty spicy WR aggro deck that seeks to leverage exert abilities on cards like Glory-Bound Initiate with Always Watching for maximum benefit and zero downside. In Game 1 the life linking white creature gets Fujita up over forty life by the mid-game before the camera switches back.

Michael Majors called out for using four copies of Chandra Flamecaller as a way to combat aggro decks in his Temur Marvel build. He ends up tied a game a piece vs. Mardu Vehicles piloted by Lio Yuchen and it’s a long one. One Ulamog turns into another from Marvel and match goes to Majors, contributing to a dominant team position by Team Genesis.

Deck Tech #1: Reid Duke (Sultai Marvel)

Reid describes it as a hybrid between Marvel and GB Delirium and notes that he elected to run just two copies of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger to minimize his reliance on keeping it out of hand.

Demon of Dark Schemes was highlighted as a card that can be a fantastic hit off of Marvel in the mid game against aggro decks.

Results after Round 12 look as follows:

Round 13: Eric Froelich (10-2, Temur Marvel) vs. Chris Fennell (11-1, WB Zombies)

Fennell represents the best hope for a zombies deck to make the Top 8 so far with this mirror breaking WB build. In Game 1, Froelich gets off an early Marvel activation for an Ulamog, as we’ve seen all weekend and Fennell struggles to find an answer, falling down a game.

In Game 2, Froelich takes a mulligan, stumbles on land and is facing down a full board by Turn 5. Game 3 looks much the same and Fennell goes to 12-1 and seems close to a lock for Top 8.

Thanks to stats master Frank Karsten, we now have fantastic information about the Day 2 conversion rates of each of the major archtypes that may inform our financial decisions in the format moving forward.

First off, the Marvel decks, which made up just under 20% of the field managed to put 71% of all related decks into Day 2, which is a very dominant position indeed. It’s worth noting that this was across six different variants of the deck, ALL of which put up at least 60% conversion except for the dismal 33% conversion of the six four color Marvel pilots. If Marvel gets a few copies into the Top 8 I’ll be very surprised if the card doesn’t bust past the current $8-10 price point on low supply. Anything less could indicate that Standard demand still hasn’t rebounded enough. The version running four copies of Chandra Flamecaller put an insane 100% of it’s pilots into Day 2, so that card is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Mardu Vehicles still put up positive results across all variants, but not quite as good as the Marvel decks.

Note the blue sideboard splash leading to the best results, with five of six pilots on that build making Day 2.

Interestingly the WB zombies decks did a little worse than the stock mono black builds, perhaps due to their slightly worse mana base. All told, these decks put 72% of their pilots into Day 2, and look almost as good as Marvel looking forward in the format.

BG Decks, in a variety of configurations put up underwhelming results, with just 55% of their pilots making it into the second day. Digging deeper however we see that the BG Cryptolith Rite deck got all five of it’s pilots into Day 2, which could suggest that the deck was underrepresented vs. it’s potential, perhaps because many teams failed to find it. Look for Bontu, the Glorified and/or Vizier of the Menagerie to possibly show motion if the deck makes Top 8 or gets further camera time.

So far Torrential Gearhulk based decks don’t seem to be where the format is headed, based on this mixed bag of results where only the two Dynavolt Tower pilots really made headway in the tournament. The card could be overpriced above $25 if this trend line continues.

Another archetype that put up great numbers despite being underrepresented on camera was Temur Mid-Range, without Aetherworks Marvel. 82% conversion is fantastic, and this might be another dark horse worth considering in your local meta.

Round 13: Dean McClaren (8-3-1, BG Delirium) vs. William Jensen (8-3-1, Sultai Marvel)

This match is more about putting Sultai Marvel on screen than representing top players with enough reach to Top 8. The players split the first two games. Jensen gets a Liliana, Death’s Majesty off a Marvel spin and brings back a zombified Ishkanah, Grafwidow to take the advantage. Jensen gets there and goes to 9-3-1.

Round 13: Yuuya Watanabe (9-3, Temur Marvel) vs. Josh Cho (9-3, Black Zombies)

As we come into this match Hall of Famer Yuuya seems well positioned to take the match  on time, and does so shortly to go to 10-3 and put himself in solid position to Top 8.

Deck Tech #2: New Perspectives Combo

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This deck is getting featured because it’s pretty cool, but it only got three of seven pilots into Day 2 so its future is not yet assured and you should likely be selling your New Perspectives if you can.

Round 14: Martin Muller (11-2, Temur Marvel) vs. Christian Calcano (11-2, Black Zombies)

In Game 1, Calcano manages to Grasp of Darkness an early Servant of the Conduit from Muller, after Muller stumbles on land, and Game 1 slides into the Zombies pilots hands in short order as Westvale Abbey becomes a massive flying demon and takes down Muller.

Game 2 gets pretty crazy, with early pressure from Calcano eventually met by a key Chandra Flamecaller, and after some jostling back and forth, Muller finds himself a Whirler Virtuoso with twenty-four energy on deck, resulting in eight (!) end of turn 1/1 flying Thopter tokens. With Calcano at thirteen and no easy way to deal with the air force Muller pushes the match to the final game.

In Game 3, Muller keeps a zero land hand with two Attune the Aether and two Aetherworks Marvel. Calcano manages to fire off consecutive Transgress the Mind to ensure Muller can’t get rolling and thereby ensures his first Pro Tour Top 8, exiting the round at 12-2 and able to ID his way in.

Off camera Gerry Thompson pushes to 11-3 on Black Zombies, with a solid shot to Top 8.

Deck Tech #3: BG Rites

This deck was notable for putting ALL of it’s pilots into Day 2. Bontu, the Glorified is the most notable opportunity here as a usual 3-of.

Round 15: Martin Muller (11-3, Temur Marvel) vs. William Jensen (11-3, Sultai Marvel)

Muller takes a quick Game 1 on the back of a quick spin. Game 2 is a drawn out affair, with Jensen on the back foot for most of the game. A late game Liliana, Death’s Majesty changes the equation a bit and several turns later Jensen manages to hard cast Ulamog and kill Marvel and Ulamog on Muller’s side. Chandra decides it again however and Muller is in at 12-3.

Round 15: Chris Fennell (13-1, WB Zombies) vs. Reid Duke (11-3, Sultai Marvel)

Chris Fennell takes it in two to take top seed for Top 8 at 14-1. Duke has a slim chance at 11-4.

Deck Tech #4: Abzan Tokens w/ Sam Black 

Anointed Presence shenanigans are in full effect with this deck. Black reports that he gained dozens of life in the final game of his last match. Aside from Gideon, the rest of this deck is super cheap if you’re looking for a technical budget build.

Round 16: Yuuya Watanabe (11-4, Temur Marvel) vs. Reid Duke (11-4, Sultai Marvel)

These two top pros are playing for potential access to the Top 8 here depending on their final tie-breakers. In Game 1 Duke is the first to get an Ulamog on the field, via his ace in the hole Liliana activation. Yuuya spins his own Marvel but can’t find what he needs and gives up first blood to Reid. Yuuya evens things up. In the final game, Yuuya finds a copy of Marvel facing down enough pressure to finish him off if he misses the spin. Finding a second Rogue Refiner to block Noxious Gearhulk, Watanabe stabilizes at five life and starts to pull away behind a wall of Negates in hand. Hall of Fame player Yuuya Watanabe looks locked for yet another Top 8.

Developing Top 8 of Pro Tour Amonkhet (Known Inclusions)

  1. BW Zombies (Chris Fennell): 42 pts
  2. BG Aggro Energy (Ken Yukuhiro): 39 pts
  3. Temur Marvel (Marc Tobiasch): 38 pts
  4. Black Zombies (Christian Calcano): 38 pts
  5. Temur Marvel (Martin Muller): 37 pts
  6. Black Zombies (Gerry Thompson): 37 pts
  7. Temur Marvel (Eric Froelich): 36 pts
  8. Temur Marvel (Yuuya Watanabe): 36 pts

By my count, that gives us 4x Aetherworks Marvel, 2x Black Zombies, BG Energy and a single BW Zombies. With some of the Temur decks having access to Chandra Flamecaller, barring bad draws, I give the edge to the Marvel players tomorrow.

This is yet another star-studded Top 8 at Pro Tour Amonkhet with multiple prior Top 8 competitors and two Hall of Fame members in Yuuya and Froelich. I haven’t noted any major spikes since yesterday, so people may be feeling cagey about rejoining the Standard fray so far. Let’s see how things play out tomorrow!

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.

Pro Tour Amonkhet Finance: Standard Day 1

Check out our Pro Tour Amonkhet financial preview over here, and join us for round to round coverage in live blog style below all day. Look for color coded text if you don’t have time for the whole thing.

Before the start of the Standard Rounds, LSV highlights the cards he expects to see a lot of this weekend:

  1. Magma Spray
  2. Glorybringer
  3. Pull from Tomorrow
  4. Sweltering Suns
  5. Manglehorn
  6. Liliana, Death’s Majesty
  7. Censor

Round 4 (1st Round of Standard) starts at 2pm EST/Noon PST, Friday, May 12th, 2017 after three rounds of draft. Here’s how things are playing out.

Round 4: Martin Juza (2-1, Mono Black Zombies) vs. Masashi Oiso (2-1, New Perspectives Combo)

Coverage decides to start off with coverage of two of the newer decks, likely hoping to head off the potential Mardu narrative. Oiso, clearly well practiced with the new combo deck, quickly dispatches Juza, who amusingly posts an F6 note in the middle of the table as the Japanese player works through his combo for the win. In Game 2 Juza tables a strong offense backed up by a timely Transgress the Mind, and Oiso can’t find his combo pieces fast enough to hold him off. In Game 3 Juza is able to work around control elements from Oiso and advance to 3-1. N

Nevertheless, camera time has triggered the obvious buyout and New Perspectives is now bought out below $5. 

Round 4: Jacob Wilson (3-0, Temur Control) vs. ??? (2-1, Zombies)

Wilson takes this match down 2-1.

Deck Tech #1: Patrick Dickmann (Jund Gods)
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Patrick explains that he decided to run Amonkhet gods instead of planeswalkers due to the power of indestructible.

Deck includes:

Round 5: Joel Larsson (4-0,  BG Rites) vs. Kentaro Yamamoto (4-0, Temur Aetherworks Marvel)

Larsson is on a Cryptolith Rite deck sporting Bontu, the Glorified, a card that has been on my radar, but which hasn’t made much of a splash until now. Other cards include Vizier of the Menagerie, Walking Ballista, Catacomb Sifter, Manglehorn, Loam Dryad, Duskwatch Recruiter. Yamamoto manages to get an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger onto the table in Game 1 and puts Larsson on the back foot. Game 2 doesn’t go much better for Larsson, who stumbles on lands a bit early and never manages to accelerate out past the reach of Marvel activation from Yamamoto.

Round 5: Sam Pardee (3-1,  BG Rites) vs. Travis Woo (4-0, Zombies)

As we enter this match, the players are tied at a game  a piece. Vizier of the Menagerie">Vizier of the Menagerie + Cryptolith Rite is tabled by Pardee, while Woo has a hoard of zombies. Ultimately it is an active Ormendahl, Profane Prince that puts the match away for Pardee and moves him to 4-1.

I’m hearing that 25% of the field is still on Mardu Vehicles. Lower than it could have been, but still pretty high.

Deck Tech #2: BW Zombies

This build gives up a bit of mana consistency to have a much stronger sideboard.

Here’s where we are in the standings after five rounds. A lot of big names on this list:

Round 6: Patrick Dickmann (3-2,  Jund Gods) vs. Craig Wescoe (3-2, RW Humans)

Here we see coverage again making the choice to show interesting decks instead of the players with the best records overall. Be aware that this may make certain decks seem more important in the meta than they really are.

Game 1 hinges on a couple of missed land drops from Dickmann, leading to a quick concession in the face of overwhelming offense from the famed white mage. Game 2 is a tighter, more drawn out affair, but ultimately it is Patrick that takes it to even things up. In Game 3 Dickmann manages to keep the pressure on Wescoe, who draws a few too many lands to stay in the race. Wescoe drops to 3-3, while Patrick moves to 4-2.

Owen Turtenwald is now at 5-1 on Mardu Vehicles.

Deck Tech #3: Paul Cheon (UR Control)

Paul walks us through the UR Control list that has been posting solid results on MTGO lately. The highlights here include 4x Disallow, 4x Torrential Gearhulk and 1-2x Commit//Memory.

Round 7: Chris Fennell (6-0,  WB Zombies) vs. Marc Tobiasch (6-0, Temur Marvel)

IN Game 1, Chris Fennell manages to get a ridiculous mass of zombies onto the table, leveraging Liliana’s Mastery and a posse of Wayward Servant to make the pile of assets on Marc’s side moot. Zombies takes Game 1. The reach of the white splash via drain effects really paid off in this game. Wayward Servant is commonly available at $0.25, but could easily end up as a $3-4 uncommon this season if zombies proves out this weekend and through the next few major events. Diregraf Colossus inventory has been draining out at $3, and the card could end up at $6+ by the end of the weekend. The next game isn’t much better for the Marvel player, and WB Zombies in the hands of Fennell goes to 7-0.

Round 7: Ari Lax (4-2,  Temur Marvel) vs. Alex Sittner (4-2, U/W Spirits)

On the back table, Ari Lax casts an insane six Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger in a game he eventually wins the first game against Alex Sittner on W/U Spirits after casting the Memory half of Commit/Memory. Sittner strikes back to even it up off camera, and in the third game Lax manages to find an Ulamog off Aetherworks Marvel to take out two potential attackers & lock up a victory to move to 4-3.

Deck Tech #4: R/W Humans (Craig Wescoe)

Craig is one of the only players on this list at the tournament so it’s unlikely to have much impact. This list is pretty similar to what we’ve see here.

Day 1 Metagame Breakdown

Here we see a solid falling off for BG Delirium decks, but Mardu Vehicles still making up a full quarter of the field. Marvel at nearly 20% could lead to further gains on their banner card (currently tough to find under $10) if it gets a strong contingent into Day 2 and on to Top 8. Zombies is the only other archetype over 15% and then we have 10+ other deck types with minor showings. This all suggests that the pros had trouble establishing consensus across teams on which decks were best in this newly minted format.

Round 8: Pierre Dagen (7-0,  BG Energy) vs. Oliver Oks (7-0, Temur Marvel)

Here we have a Marvel deck already well positioned for Day 2 success against one of the few aggro energy deck pilots. Marvel spins don’t quite pay off as hoped in Day 1 and Dagen is able to take the first game. In Game 2 Oliver again hits a low impact spin off his Aetherworks Marvel, netting a Servant of the Conduit against a board of aggressive threats (Greenbelt Rampager, Glint Sleeve Siphoner, Winding Constrictor) from Dagen. In the final game Oks ends up with a trio of Ulamog caught in his hand, and after many turns Dagen is able to put things away.

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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