Pro Tour? In This Economy?

Normally, we have to wait until during the weekend for Pro Tour decks to come out, for us to get access to the top information. Those days are gone, because decklists are due Wednesday night, and Thursday, we get metagame information.

With this information in hand, and the rest of Karsten’s article here, we can look ahead and figure out what to buy if the Pro Tour is back and if Pioneer is really really a thing. 

For the record, I think it is, and not just because of my previous specs.

Decklists will go up Friday afternoon local time, around when Pioneer play starts. Everyone’s list will be published, in order to minimize the advantage bigger testing teams used to get by watching lots of matches, recording data, and feeding it to others on their team. Big, skilled teams still get great practice and advice, but more information is a good thing.

We’re told the top cards across all decks: “The most-played nonland cards across all main decks and sideboards were Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Thoughtseize, Fatal Push, Llanowar Elves, Elvish Mystic, and Bonecrusher Giant.”

I’ve been skeptical about how much higher Fable can go, but it’s already in need of a reprint and it is a Standard-legal rare. One card represents two creatures and a rummage for two cards, which we’ve established is already redonk good. 

Yes, you could have gotten in at extremely low prices early on, and several of our ProTraders did. However, I think that only a reprint can cool this card off. It’s a top spell in Pioneer, very good in Modern, and it has a more than respectable 19,500 decks listed on EDHREC. It might dip down a little as we come up to its rotation out of Standard, but I won’t be shocked to see this rise till its reprint arrives.

Thoughtseize is a different story. It’s got a massive amount of reprints, multiple premium editions, and while it’s a staple in Modern and Pioneer alike, there would have to be a massive surge of interest to crank prices higher. Even if they did go up, Wizards has shows a willingness to reprint this into the ground. I’d stay away here, as well as from Fatal Push, a card with a similar ‘too many cooks’ problem.

The Elf cards are intriguing. One-mana dorks will always have a place in decks looking to get out fast, and there’s some specific targetable versions that I can see going in for. These elves also have the bonus that when you go for these cards, you’re getting a matching playset, not just a singleton. If these decks get a lot of attention and put up some results, watch out for prices to go up.

Llanowar Elves has a sweet Secret Lair version that might be the right nonfoil choice. There’s a ton of copies, it being a recent lair, but my eye is really on the foil Dominaria promo versions. Larger art, simplified frame, very unique while still being a Magic card, and not a huge number of copies out there. Elvish Mystic has some awesome choices for art, but if you’re betting on tournament play you might want to target the Time Spiral Remastered retro non-foils for around $7 each. One vendor has 33 copies as of this writing, but the overall quantity is small, especially if you’re counting by four. 

I’ve extolled Bonecrusher Giant before, and I’ll say it again: a spell this popular probably shouldn’t be this cheap.

We did get extras in one of the CLB precon decks, and that plus inclusion on The List has been enough to keep the price in check. We’ll see if a reprint comes soon, though.

There’s one more set of cards worth calling out: the fastlands. These are new to Pioneer and are among the most popular cards this weekend. Right now, the BR and RG ones are on top but all of them will have their place in the sun. I love picking up your playsets of foil or nonfoil ZNR Expeditions right now, because the while borderless ones are cool, these are cooler.

Supply is also pretty light here, so get in there and get what you can at under $20 before a few playsets sell and you’re looking at $30-$40 a copy. 

The different archetype decks will highlight what certain cards can do, but I want to talk about one more card that perfectly shows both what a card can do and why you want to sell into the spikes: Indomitable Creativity.

The current iterations of this deck use some generated tokens before casting this at x=2, hitting the only two creatures in the deck: Worldspine Wurm and Xenagos, God of Revels, giving them a 30/30 trample crashing in that leaves behind three 5/5 tokens if you kill it without an exile effect. The rest of the deck is a UR control-type list, very reactive and ready to interact with your game plan.

The namesake card hit big, as you can see, but within a couple weeks prices had come back down to pre-spike levels. I think this is an excellent candidate to be in a Secret Lair soon, but we’ve got at least a month left on the current drop and the Pro Tour is this weekend. Hitting your opponent for 30 hasty trample damage is the stuff of Magic players’ dreams, and if the deck performs well, I think you’ll see this card spike hard yet again. 

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.