Category Archives: ProTrader

PROTRADER: Midpoint Pickups

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Since Standard is on a once-a-year rotation, I like to think about what’s on deck. Yes, we are about to lose two blocks in September, but there’s two that have another 18 months or so, and that’s what I want to focus on. Kaladesh and Aether Revolt are at their low points, so this is when I want to look for value.

I’m looking at cards that are being played, and are not as expensive as their amount of play might indicate. I’m not expecting huge gains, but I do want to think about increases in value, especially in trade or Pucapoints (if you’re still doing that).

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expensive cards

ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Cliff is an avid player of any and all casual formats, the weirder the better, going all the way back to his first tournament wins: Iron Mage, keeping a life total from round to round, and a grand melee where he cast a Hurricane for 43 and lived.

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Pro Trader: Here There Be Dargons

What a week it’s been. Fortunately for David Leavitt, someone else came along and grabbed the mantle of “Person the Magic Community is most mad at” which is probably too little too late considering even my local morning zoo radio program DJs (I don’t listen to the fart noises that pass for local radio, but a buddy with less taste does and he told me about it) was talking about his joke (which barely qualifies as a joke, not because it was offensive but because it was lazy) leaving the Magic community to focus on who we don’t like this week. And we don’t like the person who leaked pictures of the Dragons from the Commander 2017 dragon deck. At all.

I wanted to post the silly post he tried to make on twitter about how he isn’t responsible for the leaks, he just had a friend give him the pictures to share. The whole thing is really funny to me on top of how annoyed I am that some human parasite leaked a bunch of card images early and forced us to talk about them. Pasting your Instagram name on the leaks seems like a bad way to escape Wizards’ inevitable wrath coming down on you and is hilarious. Saying you’re not responsible for the leaks while being 100% responsible for the leaks is hilarious. Changing your Instagram name to “Turn 1 Thoughtseize” when there is already a Magic podcast with that name and pissing them off on top of everything else is hilarious. As much as this dude sucks for leaking the cards, at least he had the common decency to turn the entire affair into a gigantic comedy of errors for my amusement. It’s put me in such a good mood that I’m writing my article for next week super early so you can get in on this giant gamble we’re all going to be in on. Let’s look at what was leaked and what will matter.

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Checking in on Amonkhet

It’s been a month and the Pro Tour hype is over, and we are still adjusting and still innovating. I love that mono-black Zombies took it down, but I don’t love that much of the deck is going to rotate in six months. It’s gonna be a good time until then though!

Today I want to go over some of the movements of Amonkhet cards, and how far they might fall.

Gideon of the Trials ($20.69): He didn’t light up anything at the PT, so I’m not expecting much from him right now. We’ve also had hints that the Gatewatch is getting a little overplayed as a set of planeswalkers, so if he’s the only Gideon in the deck, he gets less good.

I do think there’s space for him to be good, we just haven’t seen the control deck that wants him yet. If he lands, and there’s a Fumigate or other wrath waiting to punish the opponent for overcommitting to the board, then I think there’s a whole lot of potential.

I’m not buying now, though, and he’s getting his price cut by a couple of stores. He’s gonna be $15 soon and I think he’ll be $10 by the time we get Hour of Devastation…which is where I’ll be getting in. I’ll be hoping for a double-up when he gets good.

Rhonas the Indomitable ($17.72): Believe it or not, this card is increasing in price even as it sees almost no Standard play. The foil is only 1.5 times more, and the Invocation is about 3x. I think it’s casual demand causing this graph:

I am super impressed that this is rising slightly, when most of the mythics are on a slow decline. Sure, this is good in Commander, but I didn’t think it was this good. I don’t know where this will go, but experience tells me that it should be going down. I definitely am not buying this now, but the rise in price over time is fascinating given how little Standard play it’s getting.

Vizier of the Menagerie ($8.13): It’s lower than when it was released, and the casual demand has been mostly sated. A creature that helps you get more creatures is always going to have a special place in my heart, especially when it’s half the mana cost of Garruk’s Horde. It’s hit $6 and has crept up a little, but I’d expect that to go back down over the next few weeks. I’d prefer to pick this up in the $3 range, but $5 might be the floor. Very few green Commander decks would skip this card.

Glorious End ($1.82): So in case you’re not aware, there are streamers who can cause a card to spike quickly. This was featured the other day and while the deck didn’t light the league up, it’s closing in on bulk-mythic territory…which is always an intriguing pickup, especially considering how much longer this will be in Standard. When it gets to sub-$1, I’ll be looking to grab a couple of playsets, because when these spike, it’ll be glorious.

Dispossess ($.59): You’d think that with all the vehicles and Marvels and Scroungers running around this would at least be a sideboard card. I’m both surprised and not surprised Lost Legacy saw some play when Emrakul, the Promised End was the Marvel target of choice, but the goal there was to take down the monster, not the enabler. I wouldn’t mind having some of these in bulk storage, but that’s the purest of speculative targets.

Special bonus pick: Fumigate ($1.79): It’s a wrath that catches you back up. Yes, it’s bad against planeswalkers and vehicles but it’s seeing more play now than at the beginning, and lots of people are trying very hard to make UW Control good again. I think eventually they will get there, and I want to have some sub-$2 copies of this handy for when it cracks $5.

Cliff is a father, teacher, and casual enthusiast who recently finished a ‘Busted Uncommons’ cube, which Sol Ring is not in because it’s too busted. His Magic career boasts two PTQ top 8s that were 8 years apart. He whispers to his stack of Prophet of Kruphix every night, telling them they are good boys and their time will come.

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Pro Tour Amonkhet Finance: Standard Day 1

Check out our Pro Tour Amonkhet financial preview over here, and join us for round to round coverage in live blog style below all day. Look for color coded text if you don’t have time for the whole thing.

Before the start of the Standard Rounds, LSV highlights the cards he expects to see a lot of this weekend:

  1. Magma Spray
  2. Glorybringer
  3. Pull from Tomorrow
  4. Sweltering Suns
  5. Manglehorn
  6. Liliana, Death’s Majesty
  7. Censor

Round 4 (1st Round of Standard) starts at 2pm EST/Noon PST, Friday, May 12th, 2017 after three rounds of draft. Here’s how things are playing out.

Round 4: Martin Juza (2-1, Mono Black Zombies) vs. Masashi Oiso (2-1, New Perspectives Combo)

Coverage decides to start off with coverage of two of the newer decks, likely hoping to head off the potential Mardu narrative. Oiso, clearly well practiced with the new combo deck, quickly dispatches Juza, who amusingly posts an F6 note in the middle of the table as the Japanese player works through his combo for the win. In Game 2 Juza tables a strong offense backed up by a timely Transgress the Mind, and Oiso can’t find his combo pieces fast enough to hold him off. In Game 3 Juza is able to work around control elements from Oiso and advance to 3-1. N

Nevertheless, camera time has triggered the obvious buyout and New Perspectives is now bought out below $5. 

Round 4: Jacob Wilson (3-0, Temur Control) vs. ??? (2-1, Zombies)

Wilson takes this match down 2-1.

Deck Tech #1: Patrick Dickmann (Jund Gods)
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Patrick explains that he decided to run Amonkhet gods instead of planeswalkers due to the power of indestructible.

Deck includes:

Round 5: Joel Larsson (4-0,  BG Rites) vs. Kentaro Yamamoto (4-0, Temur Aetherworks Marvel)

Larsson is on a Cryptolith Rite deck sporting Bontu, the Glorified, a card that has been on my radar, but which hasn’t made much of a splash until now. Other cards include Vizier of the Menagerie, Walking Ballista, Catacomb Sifter, Manglehorn, Loam Dryad, Duskwatch Recruiter. Yamamoto manages to get an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger onto the table in Game 1 and puts Larsson on the back foot. Game 2 doesn’t go much better for Larsson, who stumbles on lands a bit early and never manages to accelerate out past the reach of Marvel activation from Yamamoto.

Round 5: Sam Pardee (3-1,  BG Rites) vs. Travis Woo (4-0, Zombies)

As we enter this match, the players are tied at a game  a piece. Vizier of the Menagerie">Vizier of the Menagerie + Cryptolith Rite is tabled by Pardee, while Woo has a hoard of zombies. Ultimately it is an active Ormendahl, Profane Prince that puts the match away for Pardee and moves him to 4-1.

I’m hearing that 25% of the field is still on Mardu Vehicles. Lower than it could have been, but still pretty high.

Deck Tech #2: BW Zombies

This build gives up a bit of mana consistency to have a much stronger sideboard.

Here’s where we are in the standings after five rounds. A lot of big names on this list:

Round 6: Patrick Dickmann (3-2,  Jund Gods) vs. Craig Wescoe (3-2, RW Humans)

Here we see coverage again making the choice to show interesting decks instead of the players with the best records overall. Be aware that this may make certain decks seem more important in the meta than they really are.

Game 1 hinges on a couple of missed land drops from Dickmann, leading to a quick concession in the face of overwhelming offense from the famed white mage. Game 2 is a tighter, more drawn out affair, but ultimately it is Patrick that takes it to even things up. In Game 3 Dickmann manages to keep the pressure on Wescoe, who draws a few too many lands to stay in the race. Wescoe drops to 3-3, while Patrick moves to 4-2.

Owen Turtenwald is now at 5-1 on Mardu Vehicles.

Deck Tech #3: Paul Cheon (UR Control)

Paul walks us through the UR Control list that has been posting solid results on MTGO lately. The highlights here include 4x Disallow, 4x Torrential Gearhulk and 1-2x Commit//Memory.

Round 7: Chris Fennell (6-0,  WB Zombies) vs. Marc Tobiasch (6-0, Temur Marvel)

IN Game 1, Chris Fennell manages to get a ridiculous mass of zombies onto the table, leveraging Liliana’s Mastery and a posse of Wayward Servant to make the pile of assets on Marc’s side moot. Zombies takes Game 1. The reach of the white splash via drain effects really paid off in this game. Wayward Servant is commonly available at $0.25, but could easily end up as a $3-4 uncommon this season if zombies proves out this weekend and through the next few major events. Diregraf Colossus inventory has been draining out at $3, and the card could end up at $6+ by the end of the weekend. The next game isn’t much better for the Marvel player, and WB Zombies in the hands of Fennell goes to 7-0.

Round 7: Ari Lax (4-2,  Temur Marvel) vs. Alex Sittner (4-2, U/W Spirits)

On the back table, Ari Lax casts an insane six Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger in a game he eventually wins the first game against Alex Sittner on W/U Spirits after casting the Memory half of Commit/Memory. Sittner strikes back to even it up off camera, and in the third game Lax manages to find an Ulamog off Aetherworks Marvel to take out two potential attackers & lock up a victory to move to 4-3.

Deck Tech #4: R/W Humans (Craig Wescoe)

Craig is one of the only players on this list at the tournament so it’s unlikely to have much impact. This list is pretty similar to what we’ve see here.

Day 1 Metagame Breakdown

Here we see a solid falling off for BG Delirium decks, but Mardu Vehicles still making up a full quarter of the field. Marvel at nearly 20% could lead to further gains on their banner card (currently tough to find under $10) if it gets a strong contingent into Day 2 and on to Top 8. Zombies is the only other archetype over 15% and then we have 10+ other deck types with minor showings. This all suggests that the pros had trouble establishing consensus across teams on which decks were best in this newly minted format.

Round 8: Pierre Dagen (7-0,  BG Energy) vs. Oliver Oks (7-0, Temur Marvel)

Here we have a Marvel deck already well positioned for Day 2 success against one of the few aggro energy deck pilots. Marvel spins don’t quite pay off as hoped in Day 1 and Dagen is able to take the first game. In Game 2 Oliver again hits a low impact spin off his Aetherworks Marvel, netting a Servant of the Conduit against a board of aggressive threats (Greenbelt Rampager, Glint Sleeve Siphoner, Winding Constrictor) from Dagen. In the final game Oks ends up with a trio of Ulamog caught in his hand, and after many turns Dagen is able to put things away.

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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