Insider: Burning Breaches & Mike’s Modern Struggle

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My article is a little late and a little short this week because of some computer problems. I've literally written (and rewritten and rewritten!) it three times. I’ve had corrupted files all other times. This is try number four and I’m glad things are beginning to work again.

I'm going to dedicate the first part of this article to Modern. I don't like the format. I think it’s nothing more than another Extended, but it has made some cards ridiculously expensive, and it’s worth looking at regardless of my own personal opinions of it.

Get Punished

So Punishing Fire is good. Really good. I easily bought 40 Grove of the Burnwillows on Friday at anywhere between $4-$6 apiece all across the internet. It was a good call, as Grove has skyrocketed to almost $20 a piece.

I will be selling mine as soon as they arrive.

With all the Modern bannings, Punishing Grove has become absurdly good. After helping some Minnesota guys test for the PT, we came to the realization that a turn 2 Punishing Fire with a Grove in play is essentially unbeatable.

I personally think Grove will get banned. Wizards is trying to make the format slower and more diverse. Punishing Grove doesn't allow that to happen, offering a recurring removal/pump suite at hand, which leads me to believe that it will get banned sooner than later.

Wizards wants aggro to be good and Punishing Grove prevents that, even though the mechanic is used in Zoo. The format will warp to fit around this card and prevent other’s little kitties from winning games.

And we can’t have little kitties not winning, can we?!

I would recommend selling these this week, or sell them in Philly if you are going.

Move these fast or face getting burned.

Shocking, Isn't It?

Modern's shock lands have reached an insane price. Modern can’t support these prices.

Wizards wants this new format to be playable, but, as of right now, the cost is just far too insane for that to be wholly true. They will reprint these lands in the near future to try to keep the price down.

I sold all of my shock lands recently and I do not regret it one bit. I got a price I was happy with and don't want to be too involved when this bubble bursts.

Another card that spiked recently is Vendilion Clique. I own a set of these for Legacy and will be holding onto them. I personally think it is one of the best creatures ever printed and will easily stay at least/around $25+ for as long as it sees play.

How to Buy Everything

So, this past week, with Modern changing prices all around us, you had to be buying cards on the fly in order to make maximum profit.

Where do you draw the line? When have you bought enough?

I’ve found that the best way to buy a ton of cards at once is to go to every website connected with Simply go to the stores with 3 or more of the desired card and buy as many as you can afford once you’ve decided that the investment will likely pay off.

When buying cards, the worst you can do is lose all that money in shipping. If a card you buy doesn't go up in value, then sell it off (Legacy cards, especially staples, can be sold to dealers at about 75% the retail cost) and cut your losses. That’s why buying only from stores with three or more works far better than buying everyone out. If you make a bad gamble, you are really only out the money you paid in shipping and the small hit from selling back to dealers. You can always, however, trade the cards to others for at least the value you purchased them at.

Buy fast. Familiarize yourself with buying cards on your smartphone, assuming you have one for checking prices on the floor. I've seen people buy hundreds of cards on the fly in a matter of minutes because of these little wonders.

When a new banning comes around or a new format is announced, you need to be ready to capitalize on it.

For the most part, the Magic economy is fairly predictable. You just have to look for the trends and hints.

Enough about Modern, let’s talk about the REAL Eternal format.

Through the Breach


I don't understand why Erik Manooshism would choose Through the Breach over Sneak Attack.

I can't think of a single reason why Sneak Attack would be considered, in any way, worse.

You can use Sneak Attack more than once. Sneak Attack and activation is equal to the converted mana cost of Through the Breach.

I just don't get it. If you have any enlightenment for me, please do tell. Maybe it’s because he simply didn’t have/couldn’t afford/could borrow Sneak Attacks..?

Just because it was in a winning list doesn't always mean you should buy it.

This is a perfect example.

After seeing two Sneak Show decks in Top 8 of SCG Richmond, I bought a few Sneak Attacks and a few Show and Tell.

I did not buy any Through the Breach.

I'm not saying Through the Breach can't be played in some deck, somewhere. I just don't think it was the right call in Sneak Show.

On the other hand, it was nice seeing my favorite deck New Horizons make Top 8, even if it wasn't playing Stifle.

What Does a Magic Card Mean to You?

When you see a Magic: The Gathering card, what do you see?

What emotions do you feel?

When someone trades me a Magic card, it’s as though they are giving me a seed. Some seeds grow to be great trees while some seeds grow to be weeds that leech off of other plants and eventually get pulled out of the ground and tossed aside.

Magic has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. While the player base continues to grow larger, so does the demand for quality cards.

Figure out what cards in your collection are going to grow over time.

Evaluate why they will grow and then practice looking at other "worse" cards the same way.

What makes a card good?

What makes a card worth more money than the next?

Try to find "sleepers" in your collection that may be worth money some day. Set them aside, monitor new releases and see what happens. Learn to evaluate trends in the game and then evaluate what type of cards make sudden leaps in price.

The next time a hot new deck comes out, having these potential sleepers set aside will help you have a better understanding of which cards out there may go up and which won’t.

Man, That is Vial

…is legal in Modern and hasn't really jumped in price yet. Vial has proven itself to be one of the best 1 drops in all the game. I bought a few of these on speculation and encourage you to do the same. Plus, who doesn’t love some fishies?

With Mental Misstep being banned, there aren't a whole lot of ways to stop a turn 1 Vial from resolving. I think Vial has a ton of room to grow. We won’t be seeing a reprint anytime soon.

I've heard a lot of rumors about him being reprinted in Innistrad. Yes, it is a graveyard based set. Yes. Tarmogoyf uses the graveyard.

You know what other car uses the graveyard?

Yawgmoth's Will. That card will never see a reprint.

While I personally think Tarmogoyf will be reprinted someday when Wizards has pushed the power creep far enough so that Tarmogoyf is cast aside by some new mythically rare, bigger, stronger, faster, evolveder form.

But I don't think that will be anytime soon.

Keep your Goyfs for awhile. They will continue to be a Legacy staple for many years to come and won’t (shouldn't) be outclassed anytime soon.

Weekly Checklist

Check a Check a Check, Check it Out.

Sneak Attack- $29.99 on SCG

Sneak Attack has started to show its face again in Legacy. This card is worth picking up for long term gain. It has a lot of potential to grow as, especially as creatures get better. Don't be afraid to pick up some played ones for cheaper because casual players absolutely love this card.

I'll throw a Modern card on here because it could someday be good in Legacy.

Bloodbraid Elf- $2.99 on SCG

Cascade is a pretty broken mechanic. And Legacy really doesn't have a great way of dealing with this critter. I think its value will increase with Modern, too, as I’m sure she’ll rear here cheating little head again sometime soon. Pick them up now to make sure you can get them on the cheap(er)

Show and Tell- $29.99 on SCG

I don't really know what else to say about this card that hasn't been said. It’s too good and will probably will get banned at some point. For now, though, buy them while they are cheap(ish) and if/when they start to dominate a Mental Misstep ridden format, you won’t be left in the dust.

Next Week

Before I go...


That’s really all I have to say about Wood Elemental…

I will be out of town, in Alabama, next week for some family business. I'll see if I have time to throw an article together, but if you don’t hear from me, have a great week! If you do that, you'll hear from me soon.

Until next time...

If you’re not having fun, you’re not risking anything.

Please feel free to post question in the comments or email me.

May the force be with you.

-Mike Hawthorne
Twitter: Gamble4Value


7 thoughts on “Insider: Burning Breaches & Mike’s Modern Struggle

  1. erik said he didn’t like sneak attack as it was double red and with wastelands, and everything. he was afraid that he might not be able to get it into play as breach is only a single red.

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