Insider: Nationals Sweep Market

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This past weekend we had a number of PTQ's, a couple of Nationals events, and some results from MTGO to work off of for our post M12 format. I found it interesting that there were no red decks in the top 16 of the SCG Open, or the top 8 of the Japanese Nationals event. Red seemed to be such a strong contender with its new cards added into the mix, however the format continued to be about tuned up Valakut lists, U/W Puresteel, Tempered Steel, and U/B Control. There are a number of other strategies worth watching, but I wanted to focus on those previous four today, and get a good idea of whats going to happen for them. For the prices I'll be using the Online Store from TCG, since more often than not that's where I can get the lowest prices through.


With the namesake card for this deck, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle rotating out this fall, I would expect that this deck will enjoy its time in popularity until the very end. The addition of Solemn Simalacrum to the list gives them acceleration, blocking, and card replacement when it dies. It's no wonder that almost every winning list is playing them as a 4-of right now, making him a card that I only see starting it's use in the current metagame.

Solemn Simalacrum

Lowest price: Tabletop Arena @ $4.75 (M11)

Highest price: The Gaming Goat @ $7.99 (Mirrodin)

$4.75 is a really good price at the current point. In trade, you should be able to pick them up for $5 pretty easily, and it's a fair price for the time being. If U/B control picks up the card, it could go higher for the average, so get them if able.

The next card is one that can be found in the sideboard of any deck playing green, and with Tempered Steel picking up more popularity, I expect these to find more play.

Creeping Corrosion

Lowest price: Wild Rabbit Ent. @ $0.16

Highest price: IDeal808 @ $0.24

I don't think they will be going up to above the $2 mark since their use is limited to decks with green, but hitting the $1 mark isn't unreasonable if Tempered Steel continues to do well. Grab a few for throw-ins if you can, or buy some for under $0.20 each, since you can usually trade them for $1 in value.

Tempered Steel

The best and worst thing about Tempered Steel is that the deck mostly plays commons and uncommons. This makes it an attractive option to people looking for something new to play, but it doesn't leave a whole lot of room for investments and profits. The most expensive piece of this deck is the Mox Opal, and it was many months ago that I told people to be watching them.

Mox Opal

Lowest price: Run MTG @ $16.50

Highest price: CCG Unlimited @ $17.00

With only a $0.50 difference between the highest and lowest, there isn't a whole lot of room to get a killer deal, though compared to SCG's $19.99 price point, even $16.50 looks pretty good if you really need a set. You can probably get them for $15 in trade, and perhaps lower if the deck falls in demand.

The next card has foil a full art versions, but the normal rare ones still get you a decent price.

Tempered Steel (normal version)

Lowest price: Alter Reality Games @ $3.48

Highest price: XtremeGames @ $4.48

(Full art version)

Lowest price: Channel Fireball @ $7.99

Highest price: CCG Unlimited @ $22.98

Quite the difference there, CFB is usually hit-or-miss for their prices, though this time they have a rather decent deal. If you know people looking for them and willing to pay the medium between the two prices ($12-$15) I would pick up a set of them from CFB and take your profits.

Finally, a card that most of us have already sold off, or are holding onto to see if it goes higher,

Blinkmoth Nexus

Lowest price: Wild Rabbit Ent. @ $7.92

Highest price: CardAddiction @ $9.20

Again, most of us have already gotten them, and either sold them off or are holding a few of them to see if their demand in a few decks ticks the numbers up a couple of dollars. I don't suggest getting in on these now if you already haven't, unless you can find them at $6 and under.

U/B Control

The favorite from worlds last year seems to have made a return in Japan, but on the financial side of things, it's rather dull. Solemn made an impact here as well, Jace Beleren is rotating, and Black Sun's Zenith isn't used enough to warrant buying them in large quantities.

U/W Puresteel

This deck is like the lovechild of Caw-Blade and Tempered Steel, and it's all awesome. Fifteen main deck equipment are present to take full advantage of the Puresteel Paladin's effect, and there are often three more swords in the board. With the possible surge of blue based control decks on the way, the market has responded by increasing the demand on Sword of Body and Mind, giving you an excellent opportunity to get rid of them for a decent price.

Sword of Body and Mind

Lowest price: Wild Rabbit Ent. @ $7.04

Highest price: Fustion Gaming @ $7.90

The FtV Relics swords go for a bit more though, ranging from $12-$15, while a Scars foil sword is $15+. Still, if there are a number of people that decided to play blue based control/permission decks in your area, its a good time to have a few of the swords to trade away to the local aggro players.

Puresteel Paladin

Lowest price: TJ Collectibles @ $1.79

Highest price: The End Zone @ $2.80

With the low price being under $2, I've gone and picked up a few of these myself. From what I've seen the deck is a real contender now, so having a few of the Paladins ready to go when people decide they want to play it can work in your advantage.

The other other from the deck worth mentioning is Blinkmoth Nexus, but I already covered that up above.

That about covers it for this week, next week we'll see how things continue to pan out. we have the SCG Open Seattle, and a few other events that will give us more results. Keep an eye on fringe decks, many of them are just in need of the right meta or a few more tweaks from becoming something really great.

Stephen Moss

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