By: Travis Allen
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Chances are, by the time you’re looking at this, the very first Modern Masters 2017 spoilers will just be hitting Twitter. My guess is that before the day is over we’ll have Liliana of the Veil confirmed, and possibly Domri Rade. Other than that, who knows! Hopefully we’ll also get an idea of major returning mechanics, so that we can start to figure out what’s in store for us over the next two weeks.
This weekend saw two events; a Standard GP over in Europe and an SCG Modern Open in Indianapolis. Looking through the Standard results, I’m completely unmoved. It feels like 80% of the format is BG or Mardu Vehicles, with a small smattering of Saheeli and a few Dynavolt lists that a couple of crazy European guys came up with. I’m not seeing any potential price shifts that we can capitalize on, and even the Dynavolt lists don’t have any cards that could spike. We’re basically stuck until someone reinvents the format or Amonkhet spoilers start rolling in.
SCG’s Modern results were slightly more interesting I suppose. They’re tough to work with though, given that nearly every card I would be inclined to write about could theoretically be announced as a reprint within an hour of my article being posted.
Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $15
While energy has certainly been the most compelling mechanic from Kaladesh and Aether Revolt, the mechanic of the same name has inspired a new build of Zoo, that is, Revolt Zoo. Revolt Zoo plays 12 fetches to fuel Hidden Herbalists and Narnam Renegade. Herbalists are Burning-Tree Emissarys 5-8, giving the deck the ability to spill it’s entire hand between turn 2 and 3. Wrap it up with a Reckless Bushwhacker and you can theoretically be swinging for lethal on turn two.
A list came in 9th at the SCG Modern open, and it’s awfully light on rares. You’ve got a playset of Goblin Guides, which is hardly cheap. With MM3 spoilers rolling out in an hour though, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Guide takes a huge hit in the immediate future. If Guide is reprinted and his price crashes, that leaves just the mana and Atarka’s Command as the only rares in the main deck. What that translates to is a list that’s explosive, promises Magical Christmas Land turns (which more casual and entry-level Modern players love), and most importantly is affordable. This is that “budget Magic deck” recipe that really only has a single card that can reasonably budge in price, and in this case, it’s Atarka’s Command.
I don’t anticipate Command rocketing upwards in price or anything. I think that if A. Goblin Guide is reprinted at rare and B. the deck has enough staying power to keep people on it, that Command could double over a few months as players begin picking it up as a cheap, fun strategy. That Command is also usable in the Naya Burn lists that have become mainstays in modern certainly helps. I’d consider looking for these in trade over the coming weeks, as there’s at least potential.
Price Today: $2.50
Possible Price: $10
It’s not often I get to pick a common as something to watch for, but as far as commons go, this is a spicy one. Of course, this comes with a huge caveat: if it’s reprinted in MM3 — or any set, as it could realistically show up in any non-Standard product — then the price is immediately flattened. Utopia Sprawl is a ticking time bomb in this regard, but we could see it explode before the price is defused.
Most recently this popped up in a GR Ponza deck that took 15th at the Modern Open. That man is doing God’s work. GR Ponza, for players that haven’t had the pleasure, is a deck that focuses on denying your opponent mana. This particular list has a full playset of Blood Moon, three Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, and best of all, honest-to-God Stone Rain. Stone Rain! There are few more cards more fun to cast in Modern than that.
This build, like many of this stripe, tends to be mana hungry. You’re trying to deny your opponent’s mana resources while at the same time building an advantage on the board, so that they can’t eventually draw into enough lands to stabilize. To that end, it’s using MTGSalvation-rogue-deck-building-form favorite Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl. This fun, flirty little combo sets up four mana on turn two, which gives you Blood Moon, Stone Rain, and most dirty of all, Mwonvuli Acid-Moss. I’m eager to play Magic just writing that sentence.
Ok, focus. Utopia Sprawl is the best at what it does, and it’s useful in all of these green ramp style decks we see floating around Modern. It was used in the Nykthos, Shrine of Nyx builds from a year or two ago, and a Tooth and Nail build popped up in the MODO results recently that uses it as well. It’s hardly a format staple, but there’s several various lists on the fringes that all want to put it to good use alongside Arbor Elf.
A $2.50 common may sound wild, but remember that Mishra’s Bauble is a firmly $25+ uncommon. Utopia Sprawl is older, with only a single Dissension printing. If one of these decks picks up a head of steam — good or not — we’ll see Sprawl dry up real quick. I can easily see this card hanging out in the $8 to $12 range. Of course, as I mentioned before, it can be reprinted in basically every single non-Standard product that exists, so buyer beware.