Modern Playsets

When we’re looking at cards to spec on in Modern, it’s unlikely that single copies of a card here or there in different lists are going to move prices much. What really makes something a solid spec is when it’s seeing consistent play as a playset in one or multiple decks, potentially even being an archetype-defining card. Those are some of the cards I want to take a look at today, but they might not be the cards you immediately think of when it comes to this format.

Summoner’s Pact (Foil)

Price in Europe: $6
Price in US: $10
Possible price: $15

Summoner’s Pact has always been an integral part of any Primeval Titan decks in Modern, be it Amulet Titan or Titanshift variants, as well as being played in Neobrand decks. It’s also previously seen play in Devoted Druid combo decks, although they haven’t been a prominent force in Modern for a little while now, with too much cheap interaction and disruption running around for that deck to be able to find its feet.

Regardless, Pact will almost always be found as a playset in Titan decks and as such is always a relatively in-demand card. It’s also around the 10k mark on EDHREC, a good sign that EDH players like the card too and are likely willing to pay a premium for foil copies. We’ve had four printings of the card now, all in foil and non-foil, but the older foils are getting more and more expensive, especially if you’re after an original Future Sight foil – that’ll set you back a pretty penny ($65 to be precise) if you’re looking at NM prices.

The most recent foils from Time Spiral Remastered are yet to quite catch up to the older foils (in Europe at least), with $6-7 copies being in reasonable supply on CardMarket. TCGPlayer has all foil versions starting at $10 or more, so there is a decent arbitrage gap that I think will be amplified by both markets increasing in price over the coming months. We had a good three years between the A25 and TSR printings of Summoner’s Pact, and so I expect a similar timeframe before we see another foil version thrown at us.

Persist (Retro Foil)

Price today: $3
Possible price: $10

Persist has shown up here and there in Modern since its printing back in Modern Horizons 2 (nearly nine months ago now), and although I don’t think it’s likely to ever be a hugely dominant force in the meta, I think it’s still worth taking a look at. It was used to good effect in an Amulet Titan variant for a little while, and has since been played in other reanimator style decks as well as one of the current flavours of Yorion blink decks, which utilises a bunch of flicker and reanimation effects to abuse the enter-the-battlefield triggers of Stoneforge Mystic, Solitude and Grief. Persist is a great card for these combos, especially if you’re going to be blinking the card again to remove the -1/-1 counter anyway.

Persist is also in nearly 10,000 EDH decks listed on EDHREC, a pretty good number considering how many strong reanimation effects we have in the card pool now. You can’t use this on your commander or other legendaries, but any other creature is fair game and for two mana with very little downside it’s easy to see why people like the card. With retro foils still at $3 but supply slowly draining, I expect to see the price bump up before too long at all. I think the retro foils are far superior to the sketch foils here, and with no EA versions this is definitely your best bet.

Thought-Knot Seer (Foil)

Price in Europe: $13
Price in US: $17
Possible price: $30

Eldrazi Tron used to be an incredibly dominant force in the Modern format, even after the Eye of Ugin ban brought about the end of the ‘Eldrazi Winter’. It’s waned from popularity in the past year or so, with more interactive archetypes like Lurrus and Ragavan decks at the forefront of the meta, but with the recent strength of the Hammer Time decks it seems that the Eldrazi might be a good deck to counter those strategies.

Eldrazi Temple is still a very powerful card, and being able to land a turn two Thought-Knot Seer into a turn three Reality Smasher is something that a lot of Modern decks just can’t deal with fast enough. Thought-Knot has always been a four-of in this deck and always will be, and the fact that it contains a colourless mana cost makes it a very difficult card to reprint, especially in foil. We’ve seen a non-foil reprint in The List, but I don’t think that we’ll be seeing foils of this again for a little while, and there really aren’t many left on the market.

NM foils on TCGPlayer start at around $17, which I don’t think is a terrible buy and could still make you a bit of money (or save you money on personal copies) – but I prefer the $13 copies in Europe. TCGPlayer is down to 33 listings with almost all of those being single copies, and it doesn’t take more than a few players picking up playsets of these to push the price over $20. Give it a few more months or so and I can see this being a $30 card, especially if the deck continues to trend upwards in Modern.

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern and EDH. Based in the UK, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.