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Insider: Stepping Back to the Beginning

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The old news – Mental Misstep is banned in basically every format ever.

The new news – Legacy is Legacy again!

This presents us with a strong financial opportunity. The loss of the card is going to completely un-warp the format, as much as its printing warped it. This is not only good for Legacy enthusiasts everywhere; it also gives us an opportunity to move back into the format on some depressed prices.

Whether or not you’re in favor of the banning (I, for one, am), no one can argue the fact that there was more diversity before Misstep was printed. I know that I have a fundamental problem with power creep when I played against more Stoneforge Mystic decks in Legacy than I did in Standard at the top tables of the SCG Invitational in Indy.

But regardless of how you might feel about the banning, the fact is that Legacy has been opened back up to players and investors. So how do get ahead of the market?

Keep in mind that with a Star City Games Open this weekend – and one that will be the first legal with Innistrad – the future of Legacy is now. Or at least is in two days. Outside of closely following the results of that event (which we will be), we can go back to the beginning, also known as May 12, 2011, the day before Misstep was released.

We were in a remarkably similar situation in January when I split the finals of the SCG Legacy Kansas City Open. Survival of the Fittest had just got the axe, and people were clamoring about how wide-open Legacy now was. So what did I do? Brew a new deck with the shiny cards from Scars?

No. I went to a known quantity, in this case Saito’s winning list from GP: Columbus. Being the biggest event before Survival began to warp the format, it seemed like the best place to start. I think it’s safe to say I made the right decision.

So let’s do the same here. Here’s the last Legacy top 16 before Misstep was legal, and here’s a list of all the Open decklists.

Welcome back, Putrid Imp.

The cards to watch

Let’s start with an obvious one that is near to my heart — Merfolk. While the Fish oscillated in and out of favor after Misstep, I think it’s actually better off post-banning. With Misstep, Stoneforge Mystic decks were just too good, and Batterskull is pretty rough for Fish to deal with. Now that Misstep is gone, Stoneforge Mystic starts to look really bad when your opponent starts with Rite of Flame or Tireless Tribe. As such, Fish should actually pick up again in playability, as should Goblins. Not to mention that Phantasmal Image probably makes the cut in Fish decks, making them even better and more loaded at the two-drop spot.

Aether Vial

You can still get these in trade for $12, and that’s not going to last much longer. We’re nearly another year away from its printing and we now have another format for it to shine in (Modern). As such, I think we’ll see Vial move to $15-20 before long and stay there until a reprinting comes along.

Coralhelm Commander

These are moving further and further out of print, and if Fish has a few big showings we’re going to see this inch up to $5. You can still get these at $2 or so on the trade floor, another trend that won’t last.

Llawan, Cephalid Empress

This is still the best card to fight the Fish, and be on the lookout for it. People have really started to forgot about some of these cards since the format became so warped with Misstep – use that to your advantage this weekend while you still can.

These are the three cards I wanted to call out specifically, though in reality you should be on the lookout for all the staples from Merfolk and Goblins while you still can. Trade away the shiny new (and overpriced) Innistrad goodies and stock up on these underpriced Legacy staples.

Public Enemy No. 1

High Tide; Candelabra of Tawnos

The tide is high. I’m really not excited to see High Tide come back, since it was pretty much considered the best deck in the format before Misstep. Candlesticks are already shooting up again on Ebay, so I would keep an eye out in your local stores for any underpriced Candlesticks, if you feel like taking the plunge. The question is not if High Tide wins an event again, it’s when. There’s going to be another jump when that happens.

*Sports Aside* I considered making a play on "roll Tide" to lead off that deck, but being from Oklahoma, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

Storm

Ad Nauseam is back, possibly with Past in Flames floating around as a one or two-of. Look to pick out Past in Flames cheap this weekends ($5-6 or less in trade), since it also has Modern game.

Lion's Eye Diamond

Diamond has fallen out of favor post-Misstep, but if Storm is back (and I imagine it is), then Diamond could see another bump.

Speaking of Storm, here’s a card that is primed to really see a tick up.

Mindbreak Trap

I’ve been discussing this card for a while on Twitter. It’s seen an increase in playability in Modern due to the storm decks, though that format is also up in the air at the moment.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Storm-based decks are dead in Modern. Past in Flames helps, as does the banning of Green Sun's Zenith. Losing Preordain and Ponder sucks, but there are decent replacements to keep Storm rolling along. With the other fast combo decks banned as well, Storm can afford to be a turn or two slower with the bannings. Trap is the answer here, and if Storm is back in Legacy as well, we’ll see a move here.

The price on MTGO was pretty high for a while (much more so than its paper counterpart). This is another good sign, and with Zendikar now out of Standard these will begin to disappear from binders. It’s a narrow hate card, but it fills that role very well and is a Mythic rare. Currently checking in at just $3 on SCG, conditions are right to pick this card up.

Other cards to look out for

Counterbalance

Not sure if this archetype is alive or not, but be aware of it as people flood back to lower-casting-cost decks.

Grindstone

In this deck, the Stone alongside Painter's Servant, figures to be real again. Keep an eye out for both these cards.

Goblin Welder

Seeing play both in Painted Stone decks as well as Metalworker decks (which will hopefully return since they’re awesome), Welder could make a move.

Glimpse of Nature

Elves is also alive and well with Misstep gone. If there’s a card in the deck to look out for, it’s Glimpse. It has no love in Modern (and probably never will) due to being banned, so find it from players who don’t realize this is still a $15 card.

Metalworker

One of the keys to the Metalworker deck (obv), worth keeping an eye on.

That should cover enough to get you going. There are a ton of cards on this list people have completely forgotten about in the Misstep world, and this weekend is one of your last chances to trade for these cheaply. If you’re interested in playing one of these decks, get what you need now, and if you’re playing in a Legacy tournament anytime soon you need to know what has been opened back up by the banning.

It’s a Brave Old World in Legacy, and I, for one, will be watching anxiously to see what unfolds.

An update on Black Lotus Project

As many of you might have noticed, my favorite price tracker Black Lotus Project has been messed up recently. Prices stopped being accurate a while ago, and I e-mailed the site’s administrator to find out why.

Here’s the short version. BLP uses MOTL price guides, which haven’t been updated in a long time. It’s also why new sets haven’t been added. Here’s the response I got from Ross, who runs the site.

“Magic Traders has been behind for some time now, so BLP is lacking in data. If you have a chance, stop by their forums at http://forums.magictraders.com/Ultimate.cgi and let them know you want to see their pricelists updated.”

I would suggest doing just as Ross requested and get on MOTL to fix their lists. BLP is an invaluable resource when it’s working properly, and we’re a lot worse off if it continues to be unreliable.

We should have plenty of data from Opens next week to analyze, and I’ll see you then.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@chosler88 on Twitter

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