All posts by David Sharman

The Moving Modern Meta

The Modern metagame is still looking pretty diverse right now, which gives us some great opportunities for specs to pick up. There are a huge number of different decks vying for the top spot in the format, and what’s more is that there’s a lot of crossover into EDH with those cards, which makes for some even juicier targets.


Thought Monitor (Showcase Foil)

Price today: $7
Possible price: $15

Since its recent printing in Modern Horizons 2, Thought Monitor has been incorporated into multiple high tier Modern decks and stuck around as part of them. Both the updated Affinity lists and the Urza’s Kitchen decks have been using Monitor as a cheap cantrip that puts a body into play – we’re back in the Frogmite era of Affinity, and although it’s not the most popular deck right now it is still putting up good results.

It’s reasonably popular in EDH as well, with 500 inclusions on EDHREC to date – which doesn’t sound like a huge amount but bear in mind the set hasn’t been out very long and there are actually only a handful of cards with more than that from the set. Any artifact-based EDH deck should probably consider playing it; it might not be super powerful but it’s just good value all around.

This is one of the few cards from MH2 that I actually like the showcase versions of – I think that they were very hit-or-miss in general, with some of the sketch arts missing the mark but a few being spot on. There are a reasonable number of the showcase foils around but not loads – 76 listings on TCGPlayer with no big walls, mostly just single copies. They’re a little cheaper in Europe at around $5-6 but so huge margins there, but still a good option if you have access. I think that this is going to be a role-player in lots of Modern artifact decks for a while to come, and should be a solid hold to out in 12 months or so.

Flamekin Harbinger (MB Foil)

Price today: $3
Possible price: $10

I talked about the Elemental tribal deck in Modern a couple of weeks ago, and since then the deck has been putting up more top finishes and generally performing well. Flamekin Harbinger is an integral part of the deck, searching up any Elemental you need when you need it – be it an Omnath, Fury or Solitude. Flamekin Harbinger is an unassuming 1-drop that helps smooth out your hand and keep the Elementals flowing.

There are three printings of this but only two foils – the non-foil-only one being the Planechase printing – and original Lorwyn foils are basically non-existent; only three NM foils on TCGPlayer and only a few more on MKM. That leaves us with the Mystery Booster foils, which are much lower at $3 and in greater supply, with 40 NM foil listings on TCGPlayer. If people want these for Modern though, they’re going to disappear a playlist at a time and so that supply won’t last long at all.

Bear in mind this is also a fairly popular EDH card, listed in nearly 2500 decks on EDHREC and a must-have if you’re playing anything close to Elemental tribal. I think these MB foils are primed to jump soon, and if you can out them in playsets when they’re ready to sell then that just makes life all the easier.

Sanctifier en-Vec (OBF)

Price today: $4
Possible price: $20

Sanctifier en-Vec is another one of those cards that has found its home in the sideboard of many Modern decks – we’ve seen it before with the likes of Burrenton Forge-Tender, Auriok Champion etc., but it looks like Sanctifier might be replacing those as just a better option. It has the classic protection from Black and Red, and on top of that adds a huge graveyard interaction that can shut down or seriously hamper graveyard strategies.

Auriok Champion had a huge spike a little while back, which shows what even just a sideboard card can do in Modern when it’s played across so many different decks. I think that this is going to be a staple in sideboards and possibly even some mainboards of Humans, Death & Taxes and Collected Company decks moving forwards, so if you’re looking for any personal copies then don’t hang around too long.

There are a few different versions of Sanctifier, but I like the retro-frame foils the best here. They’re the lowest supply and most premium version of the card, but can still be had for just $4 at the moment. The art fits super well with the old frame and I think they look great; if I wanted these for my Modern deck then I’d definitely be buying OBFs. There are only 31 listings for NM foils on TCGPlayer at the moment and so I think that the sub $5 copies are a steal right now. Even anything under $10 is probably a safe bet on a 6-12 month horizon, and I expect this to be a part of the format for a long time to come.


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

Specs in the Forgotten Realms

Magic’s new D&D set, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, isn’t out in paper for another 10 days, but it’s already released on Arena and MTGO and people have been building decks with the new cards. Preorders are up and so today I want to take a look at some of the cards I think might be good to either pick up early or keep an eye on for when prices hit their lows.


Treasure Vault

Price today: $8 in US/$4 in EU
Price I want to buy at: $2
Possible future price: $10

In general, preorder prices in the US are always too high because not enough vendors put copies up (especially on TCGPlayer), whereas over in Europe, MKM tends to have a lot more preorders up early. As such, Europe has Treasure Vault (along with most other things) priced quite a bit lower than the US, with plenty of copies available around $4.

Treasure Vault is a kind that looks fairly unassuming at first, but the fact that it’s an artifact land changes things up quite a bit. I’m looking at this from both a competitive and EDH perspective, as I think it’s going to have legs in a lot of formats. The original artifact lands are famously banned in Modern, which just left us with Darksteel Citadel (and Inkmoth Nexus I guess?) for a long time until we got the artifact duals in Modern Horizons 2. These enter play tapped though, and as such haven’t seen much play in Modern – but I feel like Treasure Vault is going to do a lot more than that. As well as it just being an artifact land to boost your artifact count for free, you can pump mana into it for a surge of new artifacts when you need them as well.

On top of its competitive potential, Treasure Vault has already been picked out as a popular EDH card. Any deck that has anything to do with artifacts is going to want this, as well as any strategies just doing things with Treasure tokens (or even just tokens in general). Albeit very early days, it’s already the number one card from the set going by raw numbers played on EDHREC, and I think that bodes well for its outlook. Yes, it’s only a rare and so there will be a lot around, but I want to look for the low point on this ($1-2 would be nice but we’ll have to wait and see), pick up a bunch and sit on them for a bit. If it pops off in Modern then you might be looking at $10+ quickly, but otherwise this is a prime target to out to a buylist in a year or two.

Circle of Dreams Druid

Price today: $5
Price I want to buy at: $3
Possible future price: $10

Now onto what I think is purely an EDH card, Circle of Dreams Druid is the Magus of the Cradle we never knew we needed until now. Okay well, some people have probably wanted it for a while but that’s beside the point – we’ve got one now and a lot of folks are going to be wanting it for their green EDH decks. It’s a tad more fragile than a real Gaea’s Cradle and costs 3 mana more, but apart from that it’s all upside…right?

Jokes aside, Gaea’s Cradle is an $800+ card now and this is approximately $800 less than that for the same effect, just a bit slower. It’s also an Elf so you have synergies there, and it’s definitely going to be a big hit with the casual players. The triple green cost does make it slightly restrictive even in EDH, but it’ll still be viable in 2-colour decks and any mono-green deck would likely be foolish not to run it.

We’ll have to keep an eye on the prices for FEA copies, but I think that if we can get a good price on them then they’ll be a great spec as well as the regular non-foils. Sub-$10 is likely good for the FEAs and we could well see them push lower than that, but it depends how quickly the EDH and casual market is to react to the card and grab their copies. Europe is well stocked on regular versions around $5 at the moment and I expect to see that mirrored in the US before long, with them probably dipping down to around $3 where I want to pick them up.

Tasha’s Hideous Laughter

Price today: $5
Price I want to buy at: $1
Possible future price: $8

Back onto a cross-format card for today’s last pick, I’m looking at Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. In terms of any competitive play this is purely a mill card, and although it could have some other uses in EDH and casual it’s likely to just be milling people out there as well. Modern Mill has always been a bit of a fringe deck, sometimes spiking tournaments here and there but never being consistently at the top of the metagame. Now I’m not saying that Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is going to completely change that, but it is a card that mill decks have started playing four copies of almost immediately.

The majority of decks in Modern play low cost spells to try and maximise efficiency, which makes this card all the better for trying to mill out as many cards as possible – if you’re playing against an aggressive deck like Blitz or Hammer Time, then it’s entirely possible that you’re going to be able to hit 15 or so cards off this for just three mana. That gets things going pretty speedily, and so I think that mill could be a more real contender in the format.

Aside from that, mill has always been a popular casual deck, and the templating that Wizards are using on cards like this nowadays (“each opponent” rather than “target opponent/player”) makes cards like this a lot more viable in EDH. When you’re using one card that hits all three or more of your opponents at the EDH table, you’re getting way more out of your cards than you used to, as well as the added benefit of a single player not feeling targeted and so perhaps not coming after you in retaliation.

All of that means that I think Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is a great pickup when it starts to hit bulk-ish prices below $1 (which I think it will). FEAs could easily go under $5 as well which could be good too, so keep an eye on those and grab them at their lows. Buylists for regular copies should look great a year or two out – maybe less if the Modern deck picks up a bit more.


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

Would I Lie To You?

Last week I tentatively promised you more Modern content, and nobody would ever lie to you on the internet so here we are. I think that the format is generally in a decent place right now, albeit with a couple of problem cards, so let’s take a look at what’s good and what’s not.


Subtlety

Price today: $12
Possible price: $25

Lots of Modern decks – both new and old – have been putting use to the new ‘free’ Elementals we got in Modern Horizons 2. Living End is using them as extra creatures to put in the graveyard, whilst there are some more fair decks like tribal elementals (notably piloted by one of our own Protraders to multiple top 8 finishes) making use of the cards. Grief was the one from the cycle that was the most hyped going into MH2, but since then some of the others have been picked up as well. Endurance is proving to be a solid card too and is already over $25, but whilst Subtlety is actually in more decks (with more copies per deck) than Endurance at the moment, it’s still only $12.

I haven’t even talked about half of why this card is good yet, and even so I’d be a buyer just based on its trends and play patterns. But if you actually read the text on the card it’s really strong – having a pseudo-counterspell strapped to a 3/3 flyer is great, and the fact that you can evoke it for no mana cost puts it on a level with Force of Negation, which has proven its worth in Modern time and time again. I think that this, along with the others in the cycle, will be a mainstay in the format for a good while at least.

Even the non-foil borderless versions are only $14 at the moment, with the foils starting at around $28 – and I think they’re all great pickups right now. As a mythic in a supplemental set it’s got a great amount of potential, and I have no doubt that Subtlety is going to follow the same trend that we’ve seen from some of the other Elementals too. It shouldn’t take too long to get up there; this is a fairly hot card and so you shouldn’t be waiting around on it especially if you want personal copies, and it’s no cheaper in Europe at the moment either.

Risen Reef (Foil)

Price in EU: €2.50 ($3)
Price in US: $8
Possible price: $15

Speaking of Elementals, here’s another one that’s looking pretty good at the moment. Risen Reef was a big part of Standard for quite a while when it was in the format, but since then hasn’t really had much time in the limelight. It’s seen a smattering of play in tier 2-3 Modern and Pioneer decks (Fs in the chat for Pioneer), but with the introduction of the MH2 Elementals this deck really looks like it might have some decent legs on it.

Multiple top 8 finishes from this deck with four copies of Risen Reef are a good thing to see, and what’s more is that this is also a card in almost 12,000 EDH decks listed on EDHREC. Albeit only an uncommon, these foils have already crested $8 in the US and supply is on the low side. We saw the potential of M20 uncommon foils in Veil of Summer, and with only 17 TCGPlayer listings for Risen Reef foils, this is primed to do similar things. The EDH demand has seen foils slowly dry up over the past year or so but this burst of competitive play is going to keep pushing it higher, but Europe is lagging on foils right now.

Cardmarket has NM foils starting at €2.50 and supply is definitely deeper than that of TCG, but not by a huge amount. Card Kingdom are already paying that in cash on their buylist which is a good sign, and so if you can get these from Europe to sell to the US market then you’re going to be in for a treat. Even buying and reselling in Europe is probably going to work out well for these, be it for Modern or EDH play on a relatively short timeline.

General Thoughts on Modern

Instead of a third pick today I want to talk a little bit about how Modern as a format is looking at the moment, and my thoughts on where it’s heading. The top couple of decks at the moment are BR aggro and UR Blitz, taking advantage of the seemingly infinite number of 1-2 mana efficient threats like Dragon’s Rage Channeler, Ragavan and Monastery Swiftspear. These two along with pretty much half the decks in the format are all just playing four Mishra’s Baubles right now, for reasons ranging from prowess triggers to artifact shenanigans to enabling Delirium, as well as just being a free cantrip on top of all that.

Mishra’s Bauble might honestly be a problem card in Modern, enabling lower land count decks and giving decks higher consistency along with all the previously mentioned benefits it provides. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a ban coming for it before long – it’s just free for almost any deck in the format to play and unintentionally powers up a lot of strategies. The other option here would be to ban Lurrus, because even after the Companion rule change Lurrus continues to dominate in multiple formats, so that’s one to keep an eye on too.

Other than that, I think that Modern is in a pretty healthy place for the time being. There’s quite a lot of diversity in the metagame, which is changing from week to week, and I think that Modern Horizons 2 has hit the right mark with lots of the new cards being powerful and viable without being overly dominant. That’s it for me this week and maybe I’ll talk about something different next week, but we’ll just have to wait and see!


David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

All Modern All The Time

Last week I talked about Modern, this week I’m talking about Modern, next week…I may well be talking about Modern again. It’s a great format and there’s so much diversity in the meta right now with all of the new cards from Modern Horizons 2 – nothing seems completely overpowered or dominant (but the Urza decks are certainly close to being top dog right now), and so there are a lot of opportunities for us to explore.


Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger (Secret Lair)

Price today: $40/$45
Possible price: $70/80

Kroxa has been a relatively important part of multiple formats for a while now, and has made its way into a few different Modern decks along the way. Most recently, a new evolution of the BR aggro deck has made its way to the forefront of the meta with Dragon’s Rage Channeler and Ragavan at the helm – both of which have been separately heralded as the best red one-drop of all time (although we know that Magic players are a little prone to hyperbole).

Either way, Kroxa is doing well in this deck alongside some others as well and on top of all that it’s quite a popular EDH card to boot. 1100 decks as the commander and a further 3000 in the 99, and we only have two premium versions of the card at the moment – the original EAs from Theros Beyond Death, and the Secret Lair versions. The FEAs are over $120 with very low supply now, but both foil and non-foil Secret Lairs are around $40-45, which I think is a decent entry point considering the card’s popularity now.

Especially since Uro got banned from multiple formats, Kroxa is the Titan of choice now and if you want a premium copy – either foil or non-foil – then your options are starting to run thin. I think that these non-foils should be good to run up over $60 before long at all, and the foils driving higher still. Prices are fairly similar in Europe, as expected, but supply isn’t much higher there either and will continue to drain.

On Thin Ice (Foil)

Price in Europe: €5 ($6)
Price in US: $13
Possible price: $20

Now that Sterling Grove has been printed into Modern in MH2 along with the new cards Sanctum Weaver and Sythis, Harvest’s Hand, it seems that Enchantress might actually be a real deck in the format. It’s been a Legacy deck for quite a long time – never dominating but always there at tier two-ish, and now it looks to be doing similar things in Modern.

Taking a look at the different iterations people have been playing, there are a reasonable number of flex slots in the deck and a few cards that remain consistent. One of those is On Thin Ice, a card that we only ever had printed in MH1 and so supply is really on the low side. It’s a four-of in the deck and is very efficient removal that keeps your enchantment count high over something like Path to Exile, and so is perfect for the deck.

Foils have already started to pop off in the US where paper play is a little ahead of Europe, where foils are dragging behind a little at €5-6. I think that this is a good arbitrage opportunity that might not be readily apparent, as it’s not a particularly flashy or exciting card – but it’s good all the same. There are only 29 NM foil listings left on TCGPlayer, and if the Enchantress deck remains relevant in Modern I think this is a sure thing to hit $20 in the next few weeks or so.

Æther Vial (The List)

Price in Europe: €25 ($30)
Price in US: $45
Possible price: $50

I don’t want to harp on about arbitrage opportunities too much, but stuff like this is just too good to pass up, especially when you’re likely to be selling them in playsets. There are multiple Æther Vial decks doing well in Modern at the moment, including Humans, Merfolk and D&T/Stoneblade, and they’re all running four Vials. We’ve had a few different printings of Æther Vial now and they’ve all been trending upwards, but copies from The List in particular have been dragging their heels in Europe.

There are only 17 NM copies left on TCGPlayer, and this is the cheapest version out of Europe at the moment so I think this should just be some good clean arbitrage. Holding for a little longer could well net you even more profit as well, but either option looks pretty solid right now. If you’re thinking about getting into an Æther Vial deck in Modern any time soon then you’ll want to pick your Vials up sharpish, because they’re only going up until we see another printing.


David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.