All posts by James Chillcott

MTGFinance: What We’re Buying This Week (Pt 2)

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By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

One of the most common misconceptions about folks involved in MTGFinance is that we are constantly manipulating the market and feeding players misinformation to help fuel achievement of our personal goals.

It recently occurred to us here that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when we actually put our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a weekly series simply breaking down what we’ve been buying this week and why. These lists are meant to be both complete and transparent, leaving off only cards we bought without hope of profit, where appropriate. We’ll also try to provide some insight into our thinking behind the specs, and whether we are aiming for a short (<1 month), mid (1-12 month), or long (1 year+) term flip. Here we go!

Buying Period: Feb 15th – 21st, 2015

Guest Report: “Davis” (Toronto, Canada MTGFinance Hustler)

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While most of us are just talking about buying cards, guys like “Davis” (not his real name) are out there hustling for paper in both directions. I first came across Davis when preparing for GP NJ last fall, when he lent me some much needed Legacy cards without the slightest demand for compensation, having never met me before. Intrigued by his trust, we chatted on social media, and it quickly became apparent to me that he was one of the sharpest minds in MTGFinance. Davis has a keen eye for a deal, and he’s willing to travel to get things done. When others are scared, he’s stockpiling, and recently we’ve been chatting about how the swings in exchange up here (the Canadian dollar has moved from $1.05 against the USD last summer to $1.28 now) have made acquiring Legacy and Vintage staples in Canada a serious bargain.

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Here’s what Davis has been up to this week:

  • 6x Alt Art Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: $60 per
  • Swords to Plowshares (FNM Foil): $95
  • Lightning Bolt (Judge Foil): $115
  • Counterbalance (Foil NM): $65
  • Thoughtseize (Foil NM Lorwyn): $175
  • Foil Gaea’s Cradle $195
  • 12x Polluted Delta (KTK) $10
  • 12x Flooded Strand (KTK) $10
  • 12x Windswept heath (KTK) $8
  • 12x Wooded Foothills (KTK) $8
  • 12x Bloodstained Mire (KTK) $7

“Here in Canada, we don’t have our outlets like TCGPlayer to sell our cards [as easily as in the US], and for most players, buying via TCG is such a hassle, due to shipping costs (if the seller will even ship internationally to begin with) and border fees, so the local players tend to ignore TCG, and most deals are based on StarCityGames prices. SCG is known to be terrible for pricing, but when you take the recent changes in the value of our dollar, you start to realize how cheap our cards actually are. “

“What once was TCGPlayer’s low prices against the highest buylist, I now look at the difference in foreign currencies, and see where SCG prices in Canadian dollars relates to US buylists. For example, a near-mint Underground Sea is being sold by our local stores for $300 Canadian, and Æther Games was buying them at $230 US Dollars at GP San Jose. Now when you put both into a common currency, $300 Canadian is only $239 US. You can currently buy cards in Canada for nearly buylist prices from our retail stores! As of today, the current TCG low on Flooded Strand is $12.83 USD, meanwhile our stores are essentially selling them for 11.56 USD. And many players will sell their cards for even less than that of the local stores.”

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

  • Mid: 1x Russian Thoughtseize (SP Lorwyn): $60
  • Mid: 2x Abrupt Decay (NM): $11 per
  • Mid: 9x Temur Battle Rage (NM): $1.35 per
  • Long: 10x Mind Control (NM – Alt Art Foil Promo): $.020 per
  • Long: 10x Kiora’s Follower (NM – Alt Art Promo): $.020 per
  • Long: 10x Vault Skirge (NM – Alt Art Foil Promo): $.020 per
  • Long: 10x Hall of Triumph (NM – Alt Art Foil Promo): $.020 per
  • Long: 10x Dictate of the Twin Gods (NM – Alt Art Foil Promo): $.020 per
  • Long: 10x Magister of Worth (NM – Alt Art Foil Promo): $.020 per
  • Long: 10x Megantic Sliver (NM – Alt Art Foil Promo): $.020 per

This week was a bit quiet on my side of things, as I spent more spare time playing Magic than buying cards. Standard is just in such a great spot right now, so I’m all in with no less than 5 decks on hand.

The Russian Thoughtseize is a pretty rare specialty item given that’s a Lorwyn edition, so I snapped it up for personal play use, with the potential for upside should the more common versions start pushing the price higher next year.

I continue to acquire Abrupt Decay, having start in on the card at $6 last year, and up to about 40 copies at this point. I see this powerful multi-format all-star hitting $20 within the year, as it should be free of reprint risk for the next year or two, and is one of the most powerful removal spells in both Modern and Legacy, as well as being excellent in the emerging Tiny Leaders format. It could also stall out in the mid teens, but it’s almost impossible for the card to reverse course, and that makes it a great place to store some value at the outside worst.

Temur Battle Rage first popped on my radar when I saw LSV steal a few games with it on camera in limited. The ability to deal immense amounts of damage in a hurry is much more powerful than most people realize, as both double strike and trample can easily wreck plans. Then I started seeing the card show up all over the place on MTGO, in bizarre hyper aggro builds leveraging cards like Steppe Lynx, Death’s Shadow and Wild Nacatl. It’s only a common, but it’s from a set that won’t be opened for very long on it’s own, and I can easily see these foils hitting $3-5 at some point down the road when aggro regains prominence in Modern. This is a perfect example of the kind of long shot specs you should stay away from if your funds are limited, especially if you don’t already have your allotment of cards like Abrupt Decay or Eidolon of the Great Revel.

Speaking of long shots, I picked up another 12 copies of Soulflayer around $1, because I’m convinced that this card has a future home in Modern and/or Legacy. Oddly many of my peers disagree and see this card as pure bulk. To my eyes, it’s basically Tasigur without Legendary limitations and much more upside in aggro/combo builds. Sure Tasigur only requires a single black mana vs. double black, and he has that sweet recursive ability in long games, but if Tasigur is an 8/10 on power level, I think Soulflayer is at least a 6 or 7, especially when you’re set to give him Hexproof. Travis Woo even through together a Soulflayer brew this week for Modern that looked predictably loose, yet still very powerful in the games on camera. In the hands of a more devoted brewer, and with the high potential of future synergistic cards adding to it’s power, I’m happy to be holding 20+ of this card.

Re: all the promos, they aren’t the kind of cards I tend to target, especially if they don’t represent top of mind demand, but a local LGS had them on special as 10 for $2.00 packs, unplayed, so I snapped them up to add to my trade fodder, with a few held aside for Cube and Commander decks. Given that most of these cards are already worth $1-3, that’s a pretty great deal.

Guo Heng Chin (@theguoheng)

Note: Guo Heng Chin buys from Malyasia, so his costs will tend to be different than for those of us based in the west. 

  • Long: 4 x foil Kemba, Kha Regent (NM): $3.99 per.

Guo says:

“In my article last week, I mentioned that Kemba, Kha Regent is a good pick up at under $5 and what better way to back my argument than moving in on a few myself. Kemba is a rare combination of a solid leader in Tiny Leaders who at the same time oozes casual appeal. She is also a good addition to equipment-centric Nahiri decks.

Just four copies as I am not interested in ‘buying out’ the market (nor do I have the resources to do so). Any less than four makes the $7 recorded shipping to Malaysia unjustifiable.”

 

Jared Yost

  • 1x Thassa, God of the Sea (NM Foil): $15
  • 1x Sygg, River Guide  (NM Foil): $11
  • 1x Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (NM Promo Foil): $6
  • 1x Selvala, Explorer Returned (NM Foil): $9
  • 1x Rayne, Academy Chancellor (NM Foil): $10
  • 1x Isamaru, Hound of Konda (NM Foil): $20

Jared says:

“This is all Tiny Leaders speculation. I’m targeting foil Commanders since they are the centerpiece of their respective decks. I will continue to look for more opportunities in Tiny Leaders as the format evolves.”

 Cliff Daigle & Travis Allen

Nothing to report this week.

So there you have it. Now what were you guys buying this week and why?

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.

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WEEKLY MTGPRICE.COM MOVERS: Feb 15th/15

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

Iterations on the metagame are moving fast and furious these days, with the decks to beat seemingly shifting every week as results roll in from the big weekend tourneys. Meanwhile in the background, speculation surrounding recent Modern top performers and the emergance of the Tiny Leaders format is driving additional price shifts.  Here’s the down low on the major price shifts in the world of paper Magic: The Gathering this week.

5 Winners of the Week

1. Summer Bloom (Visions, Uncommon): $1.60 to $3.00 (88%)

Summer Bloom is a classic combo piece, meaning that it really needs a prominent deck to be doing well to be in demand. At the moment that deck is Amulet Bloom, which took 2nd at the Modern Pro Tour Fate Reforged last week and drove prices higher on several of the key components in the aftermath. However, because this is an uncommon that’s been printed multiple times and had few other obvious applications, I’d steer clear of it entirely as spec material at present.

Format(s): Modern

Verdict: Hold/Sell

2. Wild Defiance (Avacyn Restored, Uncommon): $1.42 to $2.46 (+73%)

Here is a card that was basically forgotten until bright minds in the Tom Ross camp realized it might be the missing component to a successful Infect deck in Modern. The card provides reach by ensuring that any top decked pump spell threatens lethal damage when applied to whichever creature your opponent hasn’t managed to kill yet. Regular copies shouldn’t be on your radar, as there are plenty around, and foils are only worth considering if you really believe that Infect has long legs in Modern, as their recent bump took them from around $2 to $8-9.

Format(s): Modern

Verdict: Sell Foils/Ignore Non-Foils

3. Puresteel Paladin (New Phyrexia, Rare): $2.36 to $3.98 (+68%)

A couple of different things are pushing this card up, including Commander/EDH demand via Nihiri, the Lithomancer and some tiny leaders speculation. This could easily tap  $6-8 on the shoulder, but again, it could easily show up in Modern Masters 2 and fall back to $2-3. Foils are already around $20 so I’m steering clear and outing my few copies in trades looking for $5 in value.

Format: Standard/Modern/EDH/Tiny Leaders

Verdict: Buy/Trade

 

4. Wilt-Leaf Liege (Shadowmoor, Rare): $16.42 to $26.14 (+59%)

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This card already had moderate casual demand and is sourced from an under-opened set, so showing up in a strong Abzan deck at the Pro Tour (as an answer to discard and Lilianna of the Veil alongside Loxodin Smiter) was sure to cause a spike. If the card stays useful in Modern all year, expect the card to settle in the $22-$28 range, but beware a possible MM2 reprint that would crash this down into a $4-6 fallen star of a spec. I’m outing my copies this week for certain.

Format: Casual/Modern

Verdict: Sell

 

5.  Pact of Negation (Modern Masters, Rare): $11.45 to $16.45 (+43%)

Pact of Negation is another key component of the Amulet Bloom deck, often providing the kill in concert with a resolved Hive Mind as the opponent is handed a spell they aren’t prepared to pay for in their next upkeep, consequently costing them the game. As a Future Sight/Modern Masters rare, and a counter spell with multiple future applications, I really like this card below $10, but I’m less excited to acquire them now that they’ve risen off Pro Tour hype and seem to be on track to plateau in the $20-$25 range this year. Interestingly however, foils of the MM version are still available for $25, well below the 2x standard foil multiplier, which is tempting given the card only really sees demand in Modern and Legacy where foils are in higher demand.

Format: Modern/Legacy

Verdict: Buy Foils

 

3 Top Losers of the Week

1. Ugin, The Spirit Dragon (Alternate Art Promo, Mythic): $220 to $160

Most of us were totally caught off guard by the insane rise in price on the promo Ugin that was only available at the Fate Reforged pre-release events. Peaking around $250 just over a week ago, copies can now be found on Ebay around $150-$160 and it’s hard to tell where things go from here. As a non-foil of a card that is only every really played as a 1-of, my instincts tell me this could just as easily collapse under $80 as to regain $200 this year. There may be money to made by the brave or the foolish, but I’m keeping my wallet firmly clamped shut on this one for fear of variance.

Format(s): Standard/Cube/Casual/EDH

Verdict: Trade/Sell

2. Rings of Brighthearth (Lorwyn, Rare): $22.50 to $18.12 (-24%)

This card was pretty hot a few weeks ago, mostly because someone was trying to corner the market on it. The card has a unique effect that plays well in EDH/Commander and at Casual tables, and it doesn’t seem like an obvious inclusion in MM2 in June. With only limited demand to keep the price spike afloat, it’s fallen back a bit. That being said, some quick math shows we’re only 20 copies or so away from another spike in the base price. Foils are commanding a 3x premium already, so stay away from those in favor of easier targets.

Format(s): Casual/EDH

Verdict: Trade/Sell

3. Whip of Erebos (Theros, Rare): $4.46 to $3.89 (-15%)

Rotation is still a ways off, but the Whip decks are being displaced somewhat by recent shifts in the Standard metagame towards R/G Devotion, Mono Red Aggro and R/W and R/W/U token builds. There is also a promo foil floating around under $2.50. For the long term, foils are available around $6, which is a low premium for an iconic card that will likely find a home in cubes and at casual tables for years to come.

Format(s): Standard/Casual/Cube/EDH

Verdict: Sell Non-Foils/Buy Foils

 

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.

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MTGFinance: What We’re Buying This Week

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

One of the most common misconceptions about folks involved in MTGFinance is that we are constantly manipulating the market and feeding players misinformation to help fuel achievement of our personal goals.

Having been squarely inside the scene for a while now, it’s become crystal clear that while there is plenty of manipulation going on, very little of it has anything to do with the people whose articles you are reading every week on the various blogs and vendor sites. In fact, most of my research seems to point at mid-level vendors as the biggest instigators of the various buyouts and attempted pump and dump schemes, along with a shadowy and constantly shifting melange of players from across the globe who make little noise while they are making their plays. Most of the writer’s I know on the other hand, tend to either talk about more cards than they buy, or simply do their best to buy good cards at the right time and let other’s in on the play as part of their role in the community.

It recently occurred to us here that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when we actually put our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a weekly series simply breaking down what we’ve been buying this week and why. These lists are meant to be both complete and transparent, leaving off only cards we bought without hope of profit, where appropriate. We’ll also try to provide some insight into our thinking behind the specs, and whether we are aiming for a short (<1 month), mid (1-12 month), or long (1 year+) term flip. Here we go!

Buying Period: Feb 8th – 14th, 2015

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

  • Mid: 3x Eidolon of the Great Revel (NM – Foil): $21 per
  • Mid: 5x Amulet of Vigor (NM – Foil): $12 per
  • Mid: 8x Amulet of Vigor (NM – Foil): $9.50 per
  • Mid: 14x Amulet of Vigor (NM): $4.00 per
  • Mid: 9x Humble Defector (NM – Foil): $5.25 per
  • Mid: 18x Gurmag Angler (NM – Foil): $0.80 per
  • MId: 4x Lingering Souls (NM – Foil): $5.75 per
  • Mid: 4x Leonin Shakiri (NM): $5 per
  • Mid: 3x Stubborn Denial (NM – Foil): $3.50 per
  • Mid: 3x Anafenza, the Foremost (NM – Foil): $12 per
  • Long: 2x Voice of Resurgance (NM): $14.40 per
  • Long: 2x Tasigur, The Golden Fang (NM – Foil Promo): $20 per
  • Long: 33x Seance (NM): $0.24 per
  • Long: 44x Chord of Calling: $2.45 per
  • Long: 7x Russian Fate Reforged Booster Box: $109 per

I’m currently aggressively adding to my holdings as I believe that despite relatively flat player growth, well designed set releases and constantly shifting metagames in 2015 are likely to drive strong sales and open up opportunities for undervalued cards to achieve solid growth. I further believe that the death of Modern is greatly exaggerated and with Modern Masters 2 just a few months off, interest in the format is likely to stay steady throughout the year.

Amulet of Vigor, Gurmag Angler, Stubborn Denial, Eidolon of the Great Revel and Tasigur, the Golden Fang were all positions I added to after seeing their potential early on at Pro Tour Fate Reforged last week. Of those cards Eidolon and Tasigur are the sure bets, with regular versions of Eidolon and foil versions of Tasigur being the best plays. Amulet is currently holding steady near it’s Pro Tour hype spike and I believe that far more players are interested in the deck after seeing it perform so well (even with mediocre draws) on camera. Amulet also holds potential in other decks down the road.

Stubborn Denial foils are bound to increase, as the card is possibly playable back to Legacy, especially given that some version of the Delve archtype brought to the Pro Tour by Patrick Chapin is likely to find Tier 2 status in Modern and/or Legacy once it has been refined. Chapin did terribly with the deck at PTFRF, but I’ve been running an adjusted version with 12x 4+ Power Delve creatures + 3x Glimpse the Unthinkable on MTGO this week with solid results.  Hence the Gurmag Angler pickups, which are low risk with great upside if the card finds a permanent home in the archetype.

Lingering Souls is a key card in Modern at present, and despite multiple printings in non-foil, the only foils are still the Dark Ascension pack foils and the FNM promo. Anafenza foils and the pile of Chord of Callings I picked up are plays on Tiny Leaders gaining momentum, though I also believe Chord is only a few cards away from finding a new foundation in Modern and heading back north of $10. Seance and Humble Defector fall into my “just waiting to be broken” category, with Defector already showing up in Grixis Twin variants in Modern and seeing play in Standard G/R decks.

Finally, I’m a huge believer that Fate Reforged will be opened far less than Khans of Tarkir and Dragons of Tarkir, both because of the short shelf time between the 2nd and 3rd sets this year, and because it’s a small set with a lot of underrated cards set for long term growth potential. As such I am thrilled to be holding more than a case of Russian booster boxes, looking to exit over $250 within a few years as people chase foil Russian Ugin or Tasigur and the potential for “all-fetch” foreign fun.

Cliff Daigle (@WordofCommander)

  • 2x Foreign White Border Scrubland (Italian/German): $55 per

Cliff says “I’d been looking for a chance to swap my Revised Scrubland out of my EDH deck, and the Italian worked out perfectly for that. Now I’ve got the German and the English copies ready for trade and I’m targeting a French Badlands.

Guo Heng Chin (@theguoheng)

Note: Guo Heng Chin buys from Malyasia, so his costs will tend to be different than for those of us based in the west. 

  • 2x Ambassador Laquatus (NM – Foil): $2.49 per
  • 1x Black Sun’s Zenith (NM – Game Day Promo): $6.99
  • 2x Merieke Ri Berit (NM – Time Spiral): $0.59 per
  • 2x Smother (NM – Foil): $1.49 per
  • 16x Outpost Siege (NM): $0.49

Guo says:

“I mentioned in my article a while back that Ambassador Laquatus may be a good spec as he was touted as one of the tier one leaders in Tiny Leaders, and I meant it. It has yet to arrive (orders take a month to arrive at my treehouse in Malaysia) and he’s already doubled in price. Black Sun’s Zenith was another Tiny Leaders spec I highlighted in my article. I only snagged one copy as it was for personal use (Fun Police Control decks, here I come!) and my Magic budget is a bit tight this month, having just bought a GoPro Hero 4. I bought two Time Spiral Merieke Ri Berit. The foils were a little beyond my humble budget and I would have to make do with non-foil copies of this tier one control leader.

I bought two MP Onslaught Smother foils because in Tiny Leaders Smother reads “1B: Destroy any creature, it can’t be regenerated” Sounds good to me. Also, I have a fetish for old border foils, a proclivity I attribute to being exposed to Magic during Urza’s Destiny, when foils were called premium cards and were actually a rare sight.

Outpost Siege is my bet for the undervalued Fate Reforged rare that would break out: It’s a bloody Phyrexian Arena in Red for goodness sake. Apparently I am not the only one to think so.”

Jared Yost & Travis Allen

Nothing to report this week.

So there you have it. Now what were you guys buying this week and why?

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.

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Pro Tour Fate Reforged: Top 8 Coverage

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By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

And we’re back for round by round MTGFinance coverage of the Top 8 matches at Pro Tour: Fate Reforged! Stick with us all day as we explore the potential financial implications of the early 2015 Modern metagame based on how the rounds play out.

3:59pm: Finals: Amulet (Justin Cohen) vs. Splinter Twin (Antonio Del Moral Leon)

  • Antonio takes the next few games on the back of Blood Moon and some bad draws from the Amulet deck and Splinter Twin is our Pro Tour Champion
  • Justin Cohen shows the importance of deck practice, navigating a tricky Game 1 to a victory with poise
  • Splinter Twin called out as favored in the matchup

3:24pm: Antonio takes down Jelger to proceed to the finals

1:40pm Semi-Finals: Amulet of Vigor (Justin Cohen) vs. Jesse Hampton (Abzan)

  • Cohen plays tight facing pressure and wins despite an Aven Mindcensor hampering his Primeval Titan
  • If Hornet Queen doesn’t win it, it’ll be about Tasigur. Love it.
  • Hornet Queen may be the pivotal card in Game 3. Yes, in Modern.
  • Justin Cohen manages to start going off on Turn 3 to take Game 2
  • Jesse Hampton overcomes 2 Primeval Titans to take Game 1

12:28pm Quarterfinals: Abzan (Jacob Wilson) vs. Splinter Twin (Jelger Wiergersma )

  • Jelger Dispels past a Path To Exile to face the Twin mirror match and guarantee Splinter Twin makes it into the finals
  • Despite a timely Anger of the Gods by Jelger, Jacob Wilson gets a game as his opponent fails to find his combo
  • Wiergersma gets his combo early to take Game 1 in a hurry.
  • Both remaining Abzan decks need to get past combo decks to win. Seems unlikely.

11:16am: Quarterfinals:  U/R Splinter Twin (Antonio Del Moral Leon) vs. R/W Burn (Lee Shi Tian)

  • Antonio Del Moral Leon gets one step closer to winning the first Pro Tour he has ever attended, and gives Splinter Twin a better shot at winning the day.
  • Tight play by Lee Shi Tian takes us Game 2 on the back of an Eidolon of the Great Revel
  • Antonio takes down Game 1 in convincing fashion

10:21am: Quarterfinals: Burn (Seth Manfield) vs. Amulet of Vigor (Justin Cohen)

  • Cohen pilots well through Game 3 to survive his encounter with Burn and move on to the semi-finals
  • A well-timed Molten Rain out of the sideboard for Seth Manfield helps take down Cohen in Game 2
  • Justin Cohen steals Game 1 with a timely Simian Spirit Guide into Hive Mind to stick a Pact that Manfield can’t pay for
  • Key cards from the Amulet deck for the MTGFinance minded include: Amulet of Vigor, Hive Mind, Primeval Titan. See our reviews below.

9:20am: Quarterfinals: Eric Froelich (Abzan) vs. Jesse Hampton (Abzan)

  • Tasigur again playing a key role towards the end of Game 3 based on the ability to ensure attrition swings the way of he who holds the Bananas by recursing key cards. Jesse Hampton takes down the first match of the day, reducing to one the number of discard focused Abzan decks in contention for the win.
  • Maelstrom Pulse top deck called out as the winning card for Jesse Hampton in Game 2.
  • Siege Rhino and Tasigur defining the shape of this 1st game and highlighting the future of both cards in Modern and the strong likelihood that foils of both cards will continue to increase.
  • EFro takes an easy Game 1 on the strength of timely discard.

9:05am:

After 16 tense rounds of Modern and Draft, it’s all down to 2 Twin, 3 Abzan, 1 Bloom and 2 Burn decks.

Here are the potentially financially relevant cards for each archetype:

Abzan

Siege Rhino (Foil)

rhino

12 copies in the Top 8! 4 months ago, very few players realized just how good this card was. Sure, the horned one was clearly set up as a major player in standard, but only the mad genius types had yet started testing this swingy and efficient creature for older formats. But then, a single copy started showing up in Pod decks and some of us started accumulating foils in the $10 range. Soon enough the Pod decks went to 4, but then Birthing Pod was banned, and the naysayers said it would fall of the table. Well, as it turns out, this card is plenty powerful in it’s own right and seems destined to have a long and storied career at the top tables in Modern for much of 2015 and possibly beyond. As a Khans of Tarkir rare in plentiful supply, 4-of demand from dual formats should keep the non-foil below $12 all year, but I like foils for continued growth up towards $40 on a strong finish today.

Lingering Souls (Foil)

souls

This is the other Abzan staple with upside appearing as a 4-of in all three of the contending decks, for a total of 12 copies in the Top 8. The card already has a few reprints at uncommon, but only one foil printing outside promo versions, which gives it a shot to make a run for new highs if it takes a trophy today and stays relevant in the meta as a great way to present threats that are resistant to point removal.

Tarmogoyf

tarmo

There are 8 copies of this creature in the Top 8, but they play against each in the first round. Tarmogoyf has hung out in the $180-$200 range for quite a while, and is unlikely to move much based on the results of this tournament. Rather, the issue will likely hinge on whether the card shows up again in Modern Masters 2015, a possibility I now peg at roughly 50/50. On the one hand Wizards would certainly like to see the price of the card come down as they had originally intended by their reprint release in Modern Masters. On the other hand, this means printing the card yet again, which may not have been on their mind when they went to the presses. I’m staying away.

Lilianna of the Veil

lotv

In the presence of the powerful blue/red Treasure Cruise decks leveraging Young Pyromancer tokens and the ability to shrug off discard spells, LOTV was sidelined. With those decks booted from the metagame however, Lilliana of the Veil has already started climbing back from her recent prices in the lows $50s. Folks who got in 6 weeks ago, are already facing 50% increases, with the card testing new highs around $85-$90 this morning. With a promo printing this spring, and no possibility of a reprint in MM2, only an outside chance of an appearance in M16 would be likely to stop the card from topping $100 again if she wins this tournament.

Noble Heirarch

hierarch

This card was previously key to the dominant pre-bannings Pod Decks last season, but had fallen from $80 highs down to the current $55 levels on the assumption that Birthing Pod getting banned would hurt demand for the card in Modern. Instead we see 7 copies out of 3 relevant decks in the Top 8 and a chance for this sweet aggro/ramp creature to take home another trophy. Specing on this card is a short term play however as the card is very likely to appear in Modern Masters 2015 early this summer. Note that the card does not appear in the Jesse Hampton version of the deck, so pay attention to which version wins here.

Abrupt Decay

abrupt

7 copies of this card appear in the decks of the Top 8, but there is little doubt that this card can find a new high in the $15-20 range this year on consistent demand all the way back to Legacy and no reprints on the horizon.

U/R Twin

Splinter Twin

twin

As the key element of the two Twin decks in the Top 8, Splinter Twin stands to benefit in the short-term if the deck takes the tourney. The mid-term outlook is muddied by a likely appearance in Modern Masters 2015 in June, which should hold the card down below $10 for a while if it’s reprinted at rare, which seems likely.  At present, the card is hovering around $16, but it’s been as high as $35 last summer, and we should be able to retest at least $25 for a month or two if the deck earns another trophy today.

Snapcaster Mage

snaps

Available for as little as $20 after it rotated out of Standard, Snapcaster Mage was always destined to be a staple in Legacy and Modern, but hit a rough patch when the sheer power of Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time made delving the graveyard better than recasting it. With those two cards now banned in Modern, Snapcaster is again primed to succeed. The card has gained ground early in 2015 and is now hanging out around $35. However, as a card that will not be reprinted this year, and which fits into WUR Control and Aggro builds as well as Splinter Twin decks, there’s a good chance Snapcaster Mage can hit and hold $50+ this year. A win today could spark that fire.

Remand

remand

This uncommon staple from Ravnica: City of Guilds recently saw a reprinting in the Jace vs. Vraska Duel Deck but I still worry that it’s coming back again in Modern Masters 2 in June.  Another printing at uncommon will make this a $3 card. As such, I’m selling, not buying, despite the key role this card plays in Splinter Twin and other viable Modern decks.

Burn

Goblin Guide

guide

Goblin Guide spiked to $40 last fall on it’s role in the punishing U/R Delver decks, but has since fallen down under $20, partly on the assumption of lessened play after the banning of Treasure Cruise, and partly on the assumption that the card will be reprinted in Modern Masters 2015 later this summer. A win for a Burn deck today (both are running the card) could boost the Goblin into the $20-25 for a short while as people move toward the deck to take down their local tourneys. Part of the strength lies in the fact that all of straight red, R/W and R/B versions are all viable in the metagame right now.

Eidolon of the Great Revel

revel

Initially dismissed as unplayable, it didn’t take long last summer for Burn players to demonstrate that Eidolon of the Great Revel is likely one of the best red creatures of all time. The appearance of the card on the table puts Modern and Legacy decks on tilt given their plethora of cheap spells, while simultaneously providing a clock. Foils have already enjoyed a big jump in recognition of the play as far back as Legacy, but the regular copies are almost certain to follow a path similar to Abrupt Decay post-rotation, making them one of the best pickups on this list. I’m holding 60+ copies, and intend to pick up another 40 or so under $7.

Amulet

Amulet of Vigor

amulet

The last time this deck did well in a big tournament, it spiked from $2 to $10, falling all the way back to $3 after some of the early birds reaped some profit off the hype. This time, with the deck guaranteed a fresh Pro Tour Top 8, I suspect it will regain $10, and possibly push $15 if it wins. As a Zendikar block card, it is possible to appear in MM2, but there is room to grow before that point. Foils were bought out under $10 yesterday, and are likely to reappear this week around $25-30, depending on what happens with the regular copies.

Primeval Titan

titan

Titan was briefly a $40 cards during it’s most dominant period in standard, but post rotation it struggled to find a home in an older format, and has fallen towards $10. With a key role to play in the Amulet deck however, this beating of a ramp creature could easily challenge $15-20 if the deck wins and becomes popular in local metagames.

Hive Mind

hive

Previous versions of this deck played less copies as their alternate win condition, but with 3 copies now becoming the standard, Hive Mind is poised to regain some ground towards previous highs in the $5-6 range. Foils are also out there around $10, which seems pretty solid right now, as this card is almost certainly not getting reprinted in MM2 due to awkwardness in limited.

————————————————————

Here are the Top  8 Quarterfinal Matchups:

  • Abzan (EFro) vs. Abzan (Jesse Hampton)
  • U/R Splinter Twin (Antonio Del Moral Leon) vs. R/W Burn (Lee Shi Tian)
  • U/R Splinter Twin (Jelger Wiegersma) vs. Anti-Abzan (Liege Abzan)
  • Burn (Seth Manfield) vs. Amulet of Vigor (Justin Cohen)

———————————————————————

First, a recap of the Top 8 Modern Decks of Pro Tour Fate Reforged:

  1. Abzan (Eric Froelich)
  2. U/R Splinter Twin (Antonio Del Moral Leon )
  3. U/R Splinter Twin (Jelger Wiegersma)
  4. Burn (Seth Manfield)
  5. Amulet of Vigor (Justin Cohen)
  6. Jacob Wilson (Liege Abzan)
  7. R/W Burn (Lee Shi Tian)
  8. Abzan (Jesse Hampton)

 

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.

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