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Insider: Modern Day Miracles

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For weeks and months people (including myself) have speculated on whether or not Modern, or Over-Extended will exist, and if so, what cards will be hot. Well, for one, we now know it will at least exist in some form. Time to assess what we know about it, and what we expect to happen to the important cards. The confirmation came from Aaron Forsythe himself at the San Diego Comicon during the Magic Panel. Modern format can be defined here, for those who aren’t familiar. According to Aaron Forsythe they plan to pursue the format very soon. This can mean a variety of things, and depending on what that is, will impact the price of cards very differently.

There is certainly a possibility that Modern starts out as an MTGO format, piggybacking on much of the success Gavin Verhey has garnered through mtgoverextended.com. I will say that I think movement on MTGO may happen sooner, and quicker, and likely to a sharper degree. The pricing I’ll be discussing will be in relation to paper cards, but most of the logic should apply to MTGO as well.

Is Modern the New-New-Extended? I mean this in two ways, one positive, one negative. Is it literally replacing Extended, which would imply a PTQ Season, and regular Grand Prix events as well as Pro Tours? Or is it the new Extended as the format that never really catches steam outside of the competitive circuits and their corresponding seasons. This is why Extended rarely kept prices spiked up too high. I’m speculating it’s the former. As a person who’s primary focus is Limited I was extremely engaged by Over-Extended while preparing for an event (that i ultimately didn’t play in) our LGS held. I also noticed a ton of casual players brewing for it at our store, and the guy who won it was one of the stronger EDH players at the store who doesn’t normally dabble in constructed. People want a new Eternal format. This won’t replace Legacy, it will be a stepping stone into Legacy for a lot of people, likely including myself.

Corbin did a piece on Modern/Over-Extentended speculation here. I assume he’s going to be revisiting this soon, and I’d keep your eye open for it. Also, just this past week Stephen Moss began identifying the potential gainers and breaking them down by color. The best way to make money on this format is to read everything about it you can. I'll be looking at some of the most important cards in the format and some that I think could make you a fair bit of money.

Hypergenesis- Cascading into this card is just silly, and although not banned in Modern’s first birth, I don’t see it surviving long. It’s either going to be too good and quickly banned, or unplayable. The card might move, but I’m not confident enough in it to make a call.

Shocklands- Obviously, these will be a huge part of the format. If so, it’s almost no doubt they’ll be reprinted at some point down the line, but we should find out in Innistrad pretty soon. As a 10-card cycle they’d be spread over a block, and unlikely to eat up 10 rare slots in a modern-day coreset. This means even upon reprinting, you’ll have an opportunity to get rid of them before all 10 see print. I think these are a very safe buy.

Bloodbraid Elf- This card can be found as low as $1, as high as $1.50. If there’s a PTQ season, these will fetch $3, no question. Unlike the other Cascade spells, this does not need to hit a Hypergenesis to be good. Giving Jund two drop options like Tarmogoyf and Dark Confidant (which are already too expensive to move on en masse) makes it a pretty resilient Mid-Range deck.

Thoughtseize- Speaking of Jund (and Faerie’s) the sweetest hand-disruption spell since Hymn is going to see a ton of play. This will hit high 20’s easily. In its Standard PTQ season in Faeries, it brought up to $25 retail.

Dark Confidant- Not a lot to say here, going to be a huge player, and will likely be hitting Tarmogoyf range pretty soon. Not prepared to pick a number on this, but I don’t really think its too late to try to buy a ticket on this train. I just want 4 so I don’t have to buy them later, but I might be upset at myself for not trying to get more.

Mutavault- I put this up on the Prediction Tracker a day before the Modern Format was confirmed at the Comicon. This was purely on speculation in Legacy as the development of both Merfolk and Stoneforge Control has the best tools (see: Stifle, also on Prediction Tracker) to deal with Hive Mind. Mutavault is also going to be an auto-include in a Stoneforge Deck, as well as any other ‘Fish’ deck. There is some risk that Inkmoth Nexus proves to be a better option, as the creature type bit is not relevant in non-Merfolk decks. Although I don’t expect that to happen, I at least want to present the counterpoint.

Stoneforge Mystic- We all know what she can do. Tutoring is such a silly ability, as is putting power permanents into play without vulnerability to counterspells. I’m not saying anything new here, this card is damn good. If you didn’t buy in on these when they came down, you need to hurry, even without Modern as a format, these will see play in Legacy for-eh-ver.

Mental Misstep- When Misstep was printed I made some of my most notable calls about price adjustments. Did you know this? Mental Misstep will never be reprinted. Yup. Are you surprised to hear that? Yeah, I know. It’s never going in a coreset with Phyrexian mana in its cost, and unless the Phyrexians are just travelling plane-to-plane bringing Phyrexian mana with them elsewhere, it likely wont appear in a regluar printed set ever again. While we may see it in Event Decks or Multiplayer product, this Uncommon is going to hold an appreciation by the existence of a new format. It will be played in any control deck that hopes to exist. This will see $5 or more at the right moment.

Muddle the Mixture- This is my cute-speculative play. These can be found on Ebay well under $1, but much higher than your bulk common. Tutors are hard to come by, and this is a tutor a Blue deck can get behind. It will be a tutor for Prismatic Omen in a Scapeshift deck, but can also grab Jitte, Stoneforge Mystic, Dark Confidant, and Tarmogoyf.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor- If you’ve been following the cycles almost everyone on this site has been screaming, you’re making money on this guy all the time. He’s going to come back up, and not just due to this format, but also his extreme importance in Legacy, and evergrowing relevance in Vintage. Also, another card that we can safely say will never be reprinted.

What does Modern mean to you? Anything I left off? The main strategy is to focus on cards that have protected downsides by their inclusion as Legacy Staples. If you want to put some eggs in a higher-reward investment, pick a smaller card and go for volume, like Muddle the Mixture, It's not going down, and that's for sure. Just make sure to keep your transaction costs down for something like this. But a lot in bulk from a dealer, and see if they will cut you a price break. Good luck racing for the best deals!

Chad Havas
@torerotutor on Twittera

5 thoughts on “Insider: Modern Day Miracles

  1. Even if Modern does become a "thing" I'm probably not going to take part in it. I already spread myself thin between Standard, Legacy (albeit much slower than Standard), and EDH which I've finally started getting that under control too. Right now I'm just going to take the wait and see approach. If enough events start to spark my interest I might have to throw down into it too.

  2. Great article! Some of the Shocklands on MTGO are now close to the price of MED duals; Hallowed Fountain and Breeding Pool are selling for 20 tix. I think a lot of speculators have got on board with these, and I don't feel there's much value in them at the moment. Thoughtseize, on the other hand, hasn't budged since the announcement, still at around 7.5 tix. Last year's extended PTQ season saw Thoughtseize up to 20 tix, so I think there's lots of potential yet in the staples on MTGO, but you have to look a bit deeper than the shocklands.

    1. Matt- Good call on the discrepancies on Shocklands, maybe not a chance to make much profit on MTGO if they've shot up that far, but if you plan to play the format, it may still be wise to get in on the ones you'll want to be playing with. I'm liking the thoughtseize move more and more as I think about it, as ripping apart hands is going to be the best way to defend against the degeneracy that will likely show its face in the formats infancy.

      1. I've been considering the possibility of wizards reprinting the shocklands in Innistrad, and I think there's a small chance of seeing the allied ones in the fall. Flavor wise, we have Bloodcrypt-vampires, Stomping Ground – Werewolves, Watery Grave-Zombies. Those all seem to fit, and are the confirmed tribes for those colour pairs. Temple Garden-? and Hallowed Fountain-Ghosts don't seem to fit as well in a gothic horror themed set.

  3. Good article, and I like your calls. I do intend on revisiting this this week, and going deeper into the tank now that most of the obvious plays have been identified, and will hopefully emerge with some good buys.

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