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Insider: Digging Deep into Modern

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Before we begin, there’s one thing we need to clear up.

ZOMG BUY RAVNICA LANDS

If you read my initial article about Modern (which I’m assuming you did since it was included in the e-mail link), you had to have known that was coming.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move on. As I’m sure you all know by now, Modern was confirmed by Aaron Forsythe at Comic Con, and that leaves us in a great position to buy into Modern.

One of the things that makes Modern so attractive to invest in is that it’s more than a (probable) PTQ format that very few people are buying into yet, though that reason alone makes it a solid investment. But more than that, what Modern has going for it is that it’s a new “Eternal” format, one that doesn’t take Tundras to compete in. This means it’s going to carry demand beyond the typical PTQ season level. There are plenty of players who were priced out by the Legacy boom that want to play Eternal, and Modern is likely where they’re going to turn.

I realize I probably haven’t said anything new to you yet, but I intend to change that with this article. This is not meant to be a definitive starting point for Modern (my previous article covered that, as well as other authors on QS this week), nor is this by any means comprehensive. What I’m going to do today is to try to dig deeper into the format and find some gems that haven’t seen any price movement yet that will become major players. You won't find any Mutavaults or Bitterblossoms here, those should be common knowledge at this point.

As such, treat these as much more speculative than other investments. The money QS has made you on all the other Modern staples (or the Dark Confidants I suggested picking up on April 28th) will cover these speculative buys, and even just a few of these working out will cover the rest.

With Sword of the Meek banned, a great starting place for the Modern metagame is to look at the successful decks from Extended two years ago, which was Mirrodin-forward.

With that, let’s dig in.

Flagstones of Trokair

This card peaked at more than $4 on Ebay, and is now around $2, and can be picked up in trades for even less. Along with Plated Geopede and Steppe Lynx, the Boros Landfall deck could kill opponents on Turn 3, and all its best starts involved a Flagstones. Removed another two years from its $4 price tag, $6-7 seems attainable for this card. Pick them up now for cheap.

Meddling Mage

A card that sees fringe play in Legacy and no play in Standard, yet might have a home in Modern. It was heavily played in Extended two seasons ago, shutting down combo decks in Bant shells while helping to apply a clock. I’m not sure how popular this card will be, but it seems like it could be a reasonable sideboard card in UW Mystic decks. Don’t go crazy, but keep Meddling Mage in mind.

Ethersworn Canonist

Another very effective hate bear that shuts down Elves, Living End and Hypergenesis. The perceived value on this card is rather low, despite it’s commanding a $3 pricetag on Ebay. Another card to target in trades.

Boom / Bust

Boom Bust Zoo was a real deck, using Bloodbraid Elf (another card to pick up now) to cascade into this, either Booming your land and one of their own fetchlands (which they then crack in response), or Busting all the lands in play and leaving them with at least an Elf. The Cascade triggers on Boom/Bust due to Boom being 2 mana, but allows you to play either mode, in case you weren’t aware.

Don't be surprised to see these bust out at a Modern tournament near you.

Pick these up for under a dollar and they could see some movement to $3-5 if the deck takes off.

Ranger of Eos

Ranger climbed to $8 on Ebay during its time in Standard, and currently goes for about $2. A solid reload option for Zoo decks (which I expect to be huge in Modern), Ranger could pretty easily climb back up to $5 and beyond.

Engineered Explosives

Another card down nearly 50% since its high of $15. With Zoo decks being so powerful, one of the best options for a control deck to catch back up is going to be Explosives. Watch out for this card in trades, as many people undervalue these powerful artifacts from the original Mirrodin block.

Sunken Ruins (and friends)

Buy in hard on filter lands and Sunken Ruins. Not only is Faeries likely to be a real deck, but the cycle of Filter lands in general is going to be heavily played in Modern alongside the Ravnica Shocklands, in addition to their inclusion in Commander decks.

River of Tears

See above.

Elspeth, Knight Errant

See: Finisher, Zoo, Kibler. Being a planeswalker that I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see a reprint in the next few years, Elspeth 1.0 is a very great option as both a finisher in Zoo decks and a value card in Control decks. Nothing not to like here.

Scapeshift

Find the players who still have these left over from last Extended season and kindly take them off their hands. With both aggro and Blue combo versions of Scapeshift performing well two seasons ago, there’s nothing to suggest they won’t do the same again.

Firespout

Pretty much just the best sweeper available at its mana cost. This power uncommon has topped out at $2 on Ebay in the past, and while it’s printing in Commander hurts the price a little, it’s a great card to be on the lookout for, since you can get it pretty much for free right now.

Aven Mindcensor

This quirky bird from Time Spiral block shuts down Scapeshift decks (and makes Fetchlands really annoying). It’s not ever going to be huge, but it will be great trade fodder if Scapeshift is a major player.

Blood Moon

A huge number of decks are just going to be cold to this card, including Scapeshift and most control decks. It’s seen $5 on Ebay before, and will easily eclipse that if the metagame becomes friendly to Mountains. Also look at Magus of the Moon.

Hypergenesis

I’m only including this because it’s not currently banned, though I still suspect it will be.  This was possibly be the more degenerate deck compared to Dark Depths/Foundry, and with that deck out of the format, Hypergenesis is very well-positioned out of the gate. If Hypergenesis dominates the format early, look for a move to the next card.

Chalice of the Void
This is the best answer to Hypergenesis, as well as Living End. It's easy to play for any deck as sideboard hate, and a number of decks can play it main to lock out opposing decks. Solid prospect.

Cloudstone Curio

This curious Ravnica rare shot up to $4 after seeing play in Combo Elves, allowing you to go infinite with Primal Command, and with it sitting at a dollar currently, this seems like a safe target. On that same note, stock up on Glimpse of Natures.

Doran, the Siege Tower

Doran decks went in and out of style, but it’s still powerful enough to build a deck around (and it makes your Stoneforge Mystics into 2/2s!)

That’s where I’m at with my list of “next-level” investments. All the really insane buys on Shocklands and Bitterblossoms are likely gone now. The fact remains that 80-90% of the Magic community still doesn’t know that Modern has been confirmed (and many don’t even know what it is), so there is still plenty of time to invest in the staples of the format, you’re just looking at a lower profit margin at this point.

Once the good buys on those cards are gone, I’m certain some of the cards on this list are going to experience heavy jumps, and we’ll be ready. I’m planning on picking up all of the above cards on sight in trades, and I expect you’ll do very well for yourself if you do the same.

Did I miss anything, or do you have some hot tips for Modern? Let us know in the comments or forums!

Thanks,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

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