Category Archives: Watchtower

Modern Movements

It’s a Modern week! There have been some shifts in the Modern metagame and I’m here to talk about them, the decks that are doing well and the cards from those decks that you should be buying if you want to keep on top of things.

Chord of Calling (Foil)

Price today: $7
Possible price: $20

I’ve written about the Yawgmoth Modern deck a couple of times previously, and until now it’s mostly been a tier 1.5ish deck that has had moderate success but never quite been one of the top dogs. In the past couple of weeks, however, it’s been seeing a lot more play and a lot more top finishes, so here we are again seeing what might be ripe for the picking.

Chord of Calling has always been a staple of this deck, and although the card has four printings now, supply – especially on foils – isn’t particularly plentiful any more. Original Ravnica foils are silly money, but M15 and Double Masters foils can still be had for around $7 right now, which I think could be a steal. There are only 17 2XM listings and 22 M15 listings for NM foils on TCGPlayer, and if you want a playset for Modern then that’s going to severely deplete the available supply quite quickly. There are also the promo foils to consider, of which there are a few more around at the same price, but again not too many.

Europe has everything a buck or two cheaper if you have access to those, but either way I think you should be rewarded on these fairly quickly. EDH demand will always back up the competitive play – this is in over 43k decks on EDHREC and that number isn’t going down anytime soon. Pick these up under $10 whilst you still can!

Dauthi Voidwalker (Retro Foil)

Price today: $15
Possible price: $30

Another deck on the up and up in Modern is the Rakdos Midrange archetype, curving Ragavan into Dauthi Voidwalker into Seasoned Pyromancer, and stacking full playsets each of the MH2 Elementals Grief and Fury. This is a super-streamlined deck that wants to attack your hand and your life total whilst keeping your board clear, to finish the game fast whilst still controlling your opponent’s every move.

Dauthi Voidwalker has become a big part of this deck, with most lists playing the full four copies. It’s an aggressively costed creature that is unblockable for the most part, and the graveyard hate is often very relevant in Modern. The bottom ability is what makes this card really powerful though – being able to play an opponent’s card without paying its mana cost can be a huge boon, especially if a game drags out into mid/late stages.

Retro foils are still only around $15 for this card, but supply is starting to dry up. Compared to the $7-8 regular non-foils, that seems quite cheap for the retro foils, and I think that they should do pretty well a little way down the line. This is also a card in an incredible 50k EDH decks on EDHREC, way more than I thought it would be – but it does make sense. This card is an EDH powerhouse that provides incidental graveyard hate whilst giving you access to your opponents’ most powerful cards.

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

Pioneer Innovation

The Pioneer meta has been changing from week to week and it’s quite exciting to see new decks popping up in each paper tournament, as well as in the online challenges and leagues. Although decks like Winota and Mono-Red are still the top dogs in the format, there’s a lot of innovation going on with the rest of the decks that people are playing, and that is making for some good spec opportunities.

Cavalier of Thorns

Price today: $10
Possible price: $25

Once upon a time, Cavalier of Thorns was a dominating force in multiple formats but has since fallen off a little – until now. There’s been a revival of the old mono-green deck that’s been doing well in Pioneer over the past couple of weeks; a classic ramp deck that can drop mana dorks on the first two turns into a turn three Cavalier, Nissa or Storm the Festival. Nykthos is still an incredibly powerful card in the format even since the banning of Leyline of Abundance, and can generate absurd amounts of mana very quickly when you’re churning out Elvish Mystics into Old-Growth Trolls.

Cavalier provides extra devotion for the deck as well as finding copies of Nykthos, Boseiju or Lair of the Hydra, and even gets you a card back from your graveyard when it dies – this card does it all, and if the mono-green deck stays around in Pioneer then I don’t think it will drop down to any less than four copies of the Elemental. Looking at EDH numbers it’s less popular than I thought it might be, but with us already being three years out from the card’s only printing, demand is outstripping supply without too much trouble.

Regular copies are already $10+ on TCGPlayer, and with only fourteen NM listings, supply is dwindling fast. There are still quite a few cheaper copies available in Europe if you have access to that market, which could make for some quick arbitrage over to the US as this deck picks up popularity, and it’s worth hunting around some of the smaller online retailers and LGSs for copies that haven’t had their prices raised yet. I don’t think it will be very long before this is a $20-25 card, so don’t hang around if you want any of these.

Mausoleum Wanderer

Price today: $2
Possible price: $5

Moving on from mono-green to mono-blue, the Spirits deck has evolved somewhat from previous iterations to a very aggressive deck that plays almost exclusively one- and two-drops, only stretching the curve out a little for a couple of copies of Brazen Borrower (I’m not counting Geistlight Snare as a three-drop because it should really always be costing one or two mana in this deck). This super-streamlined version of the archetype has been seeing a lot of recent success over its more midrange predecessor that plays Collected Company and a few more three-drops, but both decks share a card that is always played as a four-of in any Spirits deck: Mausoleum Wanderer.

This one mana 1/1 has quite a lot of text on it that makes it incredibly powerful – for starters it can often be swinging for three damage on turn two with a Supreme Phantom on the board, and on top of that it comes in clutch to counter removal spells or even boardwipes when you most need it to. I’ve played quite a lot of Spirits, both in Modern and Pioneer, and can safely say that Mausoleum Wanderer is one of, if not the best card in the deck.

Foil copies of this card are already very difficult to get hold of, but I think that non-foils are ripe for the picking right now. There are still quite a few hanging around, but at $2 I think they’re a safe bet; they’re generally going to be bought a playset at a time so don’t underestimate how quickly they could start to disappear. A very good sign for Wanderer is that CardKingdom are already paying $2.25 cash/$2.93 credit on them, so it’s obviously a popular card that they are willing to pay top dollar to keep in stock. Give it a few months or even less, and I can see this hitting $5 retail/$4 buylist for an easy double up. It’s not too exciting, but if you’re just buying a stack and then buylisting them, it’s easy money.

Mayhem Devil

Price in Europe: €0.10 ($0.10)
Price in US: $4
Possible price: $6? Does it matter?

There are a few different versions of Sacrifice decks going around in Pioneer at the moment, and whether they’re Jund or straight Rakdos, they’re all playing four copies of Mayhem Devil. It’s one of the best cards in the deck, and the damage output it can provide should never be underestimated. Even just cycling a Cauldron Familiar and a Food token each turn is two extra damage to kill off a creature or hit your opponent directly, and it can add up very quickly.

Mayhem Devil foils have been all but snatched up, and will set you back a crisp $20 if you really want one for your deck (and good luck justifying $80 on a playset of uncommons from three years ago). Non-foils are also in relatively short supply and have crept up to $4-5 over the past couple of months – in the US at least. Over in Europe you can still grab a load of copies for €0.10-0.20, and although it might mean grabbing a few playsets from a bunch of different vendors, it’ll still easily be worth it compared to the prices on the other side of the pond.

This is some easy straight arbitrage, with CardKingdom paying $2.25 cash/$2.93 credit if you’d rather do that than sell on TCGPlayer, but I think that if you wait a couple of months or so then you’ll be further rewarded. Demand for this card won’t be stopping any time soon, and with only a single printing there aren’t many copies to go around. I don’t think that it’s something primed for a reprint in any of the next sets, so you should be good to wait a little while if you want to squeeze as much value as you can out of this spec – but if you can sell at a tidy profit and move the money into the next spec then that’s generally going to be the correct play.

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.

Early New Capenna

You’ll be thankful to hear that I’m taking a week off from talking about Pioneer today – now that we’ve seen the full preview for Streets of New Capenna, I want to do what I usually do right before a new set comes out and have a look at what I think should be decent pickups when we hit peak supply in a few weeks.

New Triomes (All Versions, Probably)

I’m not going to spend too long talking about these, because it’s pretty clear from looking at the original Triomes that these are going to be a success on pretty much any timeline. With the original set of five printed in Ikoria, we just had regular versions and Showcase variants – now we’re getting both of those plus Borderless versions too. Just to make things confusing, it looks like the new Borderless versions are the same style as the old Showcase versions, and the new Showcase versions are a totally different style (and the regular versions are thankfully just normal). Keeping up? Good.

The regular versions of the Ikoria Triomes got down to around $4-5 after release, and the foil Showcases hit a low of around $15-$25, depending on which one you’re looking at (Savai lower, Ketria higher etc.). I’m hoping to see similar (or lower) prices from these ones as well a few weeks after release – you might think that prices will stay higher because people already know how good these lands are, but I’m pretty sure people knew that the Ikoria Triomes were very strong and they were available at fairly reasonable prices for a while anyway.

Regular Ikoria Triomes are now sitting at around $15, with foil Showcases up at $40 or so – I think that given a reasonable amount of time we should see those prices from the new ones as well (if you swap out old Showcases for new Borderless foils – the Borderless are more expensive than the new Showcases and I think they’re likely to stay that way).

Void Rend (Showcase & Gilded Foil)

Void Rend has caught my eye as possibly one of the best spot removal spells that you can put into an Esper+ EDH deck (i.e. anything that’s white, blue, black plus any other colours). Unconditional permanent destruction that can’t be countered is huge for three mana, and I think that this will (or at least should) be going into every EDH deck that can play it for the foreseeable future. It’s almost a shame this doesn’t hit lands too, but I think that it might be a little too good/oppressive if it didn’t have the “non-land” clause on it.

As well as being a future EDH powerhouse (I don’t think I can quite call it a staple because it’s three colours), I think that this card could have potential in more competitive formats as well. Pioneer control decks will definitely be trying this out, and Modern will more than likely give it a shot as well – if they’re playing Vindicate (which they are) then I think they’ll be happy with a little upgrade.

I’m looking for non-foils to get pretty low on this – I don’t think it’ll hit bulk, but $1-2 seems realistic. For the Showcase foils preorders are currently sitting around $12, and I think this should come down a bit in the coming weeks – I’m hoping that we’ll see something like $5-7 but this will be one to keep an eye on and watch out for the low. The Gilded foils are going to be even more difficult to predict, with no preorders on TCGPlayer but a few up on CardMarket for €22+. I think we could definitely see it come lower than that, but by how much I’m not sure – it’ll be a bit of a wait-and-see.

Professional Face-Breaker

Aside from the fact that I absolutely love the name of this card, I think it’s going to be a big player in EDH. EDHREC is already showing it as one of the top cards from New Capenna, and with Treasures now being evergreen in Magic there’s always going to be more support for the mechanic and new things to do with Treasure-related cards. It’ll be easy enough to amass a pile of treasures with Face-Breaker (and other cards), and then churn through your deck using your extra Treasures for mana to cast the cards you’re exiling to Face-Breaker’s ability.

This is a card that I’m going to look to be buying bricks of either in the US or Europe, hopefully at around $1-2 (or even lower if we’re lucky). It should be a great buylist target a year or two out, so be ready to sit back on this one and wait it out.

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.

Pioneer Plus

I’m branching out from just talking about Pioneer this week, and whilst I’m still looking at the Pioneer metagame and how it’s evolving, I’m focusing on cards that are seeing cross-format play to back up their newly found (or already well-established) fame.

Dark Petition (Foil)

Price today: $10
Possible price: $30

As I alluded to a couple of weeks ago, it’s been hard to take down Hidden Strings as one of the top dogs in Pioneer. The new mono-red deck featuring Chandra, Dressed to Kill is doing its best to dominate the metagame right now and certainly doing a pretty good job of it, but after the past couple of weeks of people trying out different decks, Hidden Strings is still firmly one of the best decks in the format.

Dark Petition has long been a staple of this combo deck, not necessarily as a playset but almost always there as 1-3 copies, helping to find your combo pieces whilst generating mana to help you go off. This tutor is also (unsurprisingly) a very popular EDH card, in over 11,500 decks listed on EDHREC – tutors have always and will always be highly prevalent in that format, and the fact that Spell Mastery isn’t particularly difficult to achieve makes it that Dark Petition will effectively cost two mana the vast majority of the time.

What really makes this a great pick, though, is the fact that it’s never had a reprint outside of promo pack copies, which means it’s been nearly seven years since a proper print run of this card. Foils and even non-foils have been slowly drying up, and it’s getting to a point where there really aren’t many around any more. Foils are hard to get under or around $10, and will likely see $20 in the next couple of months – there are only nine listings for NM foils on TCGPlayer right now, and whilst there are a decent few more over in Europe I don’t think that will last too long. Non-foils are looking pretty ripe at around $5 too (more like $2.50 in Europe if you can get those), and should be headed for $10 pretty soon. Even though there aren’t a huge number of decks playing this card in competitive formats, the low supply combined with EDH popularity is definitely going to keep pushing Dark Petition upwards until we see a reprint. It might be something that we get in a Commander deck at some point, but likely not in foil so that’s a safer bet if you’re worried at all.

Stormwing Entity (FEA)

Price today: $2.50
Possible price: $10

Another deck that’s been putting up the numbers recently is Izzet Phoenix. Back in the very early stages of Pioneer, Arclight Phoenix decks were some of the best out there and dominated the top tables week after week – and the card hasn’t really gotten any weaker since then. If anything, it’s better than ever before due to the steady influx of new cantrips and cheap burn spells we get with every set. Stormwing Entity has seen some play across multiple formats in different variants of Arclight decks, and most recently has popped up in some of the Pioneer lists that have been doing well. Stormwing has seen a reasonable amount of price fluctuation over its time in Standard, Modern and Pioneer, but all versions are currently at a price floor and now is the perfect time to pick them up.

The best kind of setup with this card can look something like dropping it on turn three, and following up on turn four with one or more Arclight Phoenixes from the graveyard. That’s in Pioneer, mind you – in Modern you can do all that a turn earlier with free spells like Gutshot and Manamorphose.

With Stormwing as low as it is at the moment, I think it’s a great time to be grabbing some of these cheap. The deck is on the upswing in Pioneer and it’s sure to have some more time in the sun in Modern as well, so I think that this card should be primed for another spike soon enough. The FEAs have seen highs of around $30 before, and we could see that again with enough success from these styles of decks. Regular non-foils are very cheap right now, around $0.50-$1, so if you can pick up a brick of those at a decent price then that could also be a good option.

Knight of the White Orchid (Foil)

Price today: $5
Possible price: $20

Perhaps a slightly more under-the-radar card for my last pick today, I’m looking at Knight of the White Orchid and its use in a relatively new mono-white deck in Pioneer. There isn’t too much of this deck around at all, but it has put up some very strong finishes in recent Pioneer Challenges and I think is worth taking a look at.

Knight has never seen a huge amount of competitive play, but over on the EDH side of things it’s another story. Nearly 40,000 decks registered on EDHREC means that this is a very popular card in white decks, and we all know that EDH players love their foils, which is likely a big part of the reason supply is as low as it is.

Knight has had a lot of non-foil printings in Commander decks, but the foils are currently limited to the original Shards of Alara print, the Origins reprint and the Origins pre-release promo. That’s not a lot of supply with the last foil version already being nearly seven years old, and that’s reflected in the listings we can see across TCGPlayer and other vendors. Original Shards foils are practically non-existent if you want NM (although still a few around €6-7 in Europe if you’re quick…), whilst Origins foils can be had in a small amount for $5-10. These aren’t going to hang around much longer, but if you’re quick then I think you’ll be rewarded nicely for it.

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.