Down in the golden city of Sydney, Australia the world’s best Magic: The Gathering players are coming together once more to polish off the 2015-2016 Pro Tour season. Now, after weeks of secretive testing, the top pro teams from around the world have gathered for another epic quest to take home the trophy. With over $250,000 USD on the line, and the winner taking home a hefty $40,000, players will be hard pressed to overcome the deep pool of talent. Coming out of the first couple of weeks on the SCG circuit, the pros are forced to either run Bant Company or find the solution that can beat it consistently enough to Top 8. Other contenders include the consistently great G/W Tokens, B/W Angel Control and even the surprising G/U Crush of Tentacles deck from last week.
The Pro Tour, of course, requires players to succeed in a mixed schedule of booster draft (EMN – EMN – SOI) and constructed play (Standard in this case) with 3 rounds of draft Friday morning Australia time, followed by 5 rounds of Standard starting around 1am EST, Friday.
For the MTG Finance community, the question of the day is which decks will rise to dominance today in a field that has been largely oriented around Collected Company and the tempo/value combo of Spell Queller and Reflector Mage. Of note, given the unique time zone of this tournament, overnight speculation has the potential to be much more successful than usual.
Will any of the pros find a way to unlock a new archetype with game against the known field? 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:
Lilianna, the Last Hope: Ready to Win?
So far several of the Eldritch Moon cards are expensive if they can’t continue to make top tables. Liliana, the Last Hope is currently priced for success at around $40. Mostly showing up in BW Angel, BG Delerium or BGW control decks Liliana proves yet again that planeswalkers at 3cc are not to be underestimated. Often played as a 4-of, she needs to do well to hold her premium price. If several decks in the Top 8 make prominent use of this powerful lady, the potential for a short term spike over $50 could trigger a good chance to sell. If she fails to make an impact, her price could plummet back toward $25-30 in a hurry.
Current Price: $40
Predicted Price Monday: $50+
Odds to Top 8: 2 to 1
Spell Queller: Too Pricey For A Rare?
There is no doubt at all that Spell Queller is kicking serious ass in Bant Company decks alongside fellow value creatures Reflector Mage and Duskwatch Recruiter. This is however a recently printed rare and holding a price over $10 is a rare event indeed for such a card. The fact that Spell Queller may have a future in Modern certainly helps the prospects, but only the ubiquitous Collected Company has managed to hold a $15 price tag at rare for long as of late. With CoCo due to rotate in October, we are likely to face a major change up in Standard deck types, and who knows if W/U will be good at that point in the season. If you’re holding this card, hope it does very well this weekend and look to get out at the high point closer to $20 because like Hangarback Walker before it, this could easily be a powerhouse that ends up on the sidelines after rotation.
Current Price: $15
Predicted Price Monday: $20
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 2
Gisela, the Broken Blade: Catch a falling star?
B/W Angel control decks look viable, but nowhere dominant coming out of the first few weeks of Standard tournaments including Eldritch Moon. Gisela is often just a 2-of in these decks and the case for needing four copies in a consistently performing deck has yet to develop. In fact, I am hoping that the card is largely absent this weekend, so that we get a chance to get in under $10. In such a scenario, I would be looking to unload in the short to mid term before she rotates out of Standard on the premise that she eventually makes a relevant Top 8 as a 4-of. If that never develops her status as a powerful angel and the small-set, mythic half of an important collectible in the Magic community should make her an easy $20 card a couple of years down the road.
Current Price: $14
Predicted Price Monday: $14
Odds to Top 8: 2 to 3
Ishkanah, Grafwidow: Weaving a Larger Web?
So far, no one seems certain how many copies of this surprisingly powerful mythic rare they should be running. To jump from $7 to say $15, we likely need to see a build that truly optimizes her ability stabalize a board, blunt flying aggression and set up recursive graveyard shenanigans. There may also be long term EDH demand for this eight-legged queen of the webs, but I need to see strong Standard demand to get in on the action.
Current Price: $7
Predicted Price Monday: $10+
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 1
Eldritch Evolution: Did someone find a home?
Despite being one of the most hyped Eldritch Moon cards early on, Eldritch Evolution has largely failed to show up at the top tables in Standard thus far. Oddly enough, Jeff Hoogland had little trouble justifying a full four copies of the card in his 3rd place Modern deck at the SCG Classic in Baltimore last weekend, so the potential for great things is certainly there. If the card shows up in some hot new deck this weekend, a spike over $10 could follow. If it doesn’t make the top tables however, it could easily fall toward $3-4 at which point I’ll start picking these up.
Current Price: $5
Predicted Price Monday: $5
Emrakul, the Promised End: Enough Demand to Pop?
Coming into the Pro Tour Emrakul has already made some waves as a top end finisher in a few different decks, but look out this weekend to see if it can become a ubiquitous finisher in high enough demand to move the price needle. The art is awesome, and the card is powerful, so the long term prospects are good and I’m going to pick a couple of sets up to try and work both the short and long term angles here.
Current Price: $13
Monday Price: $20+
Do you have an outsider pick? Share it in the comments!
Stay tuned for Round by Round MTGFinance coverage of Pro Tour: Shadows Over Innistrad 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.