Insider: A Modern New Year

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We’re finally into 2012, which means, more importantly, we’re finally into Modern PTQ season! With that comes some easy moves for the PTQ season, and some other, more difficult to guess moves.

I’ve been hyping Modern for months, and with good reason. As Aaron Forsythe pointed out in his “state of 2011” feature article, Wizards is all-in on Modern. That means we’re going to see plenty of continued support for the format, both in the form of the current PTQ season and Grand Prix events throughout the year. Aaron also reiterated that they’d be freely reprinting cards for the format (something I’ll explore more fully next week).

The important thing to us now is that there are some cards that you probably should have already picked up, but you’ll have one last chance to do so this weekend before everyone catches on to some price increases. I’ll start by listing some of the obvious ones and then move into a metagame breakdown.


Old news here. I’ve been talking about these forever, they’re still a good move.

Past in Flames

This card has gone crazy in the last few weeks, but no one who isn’t already following the card’s price knows about it. It’s up to $8 on Star City Games and people will trade it to you all day at $3-4. Get in on these while you can. Remember, Modern doesn’t ever rotate, so the decks that are good now will continue to stay good (barring more bannings).


I think this is a fact that many people are overlooking. Unlike Extended, Modern will never rotate. With the continued support we know we can expect from Wizards, foils of these cards will hold their value very well, as will the regular versions of the cards. And with the new GP schedule, there won’t be as much “out-of-season/in-season” price fluctuations that we’re used to.

End aside

Elspeth, Knight Errant

Another card I’ve been championing for a while. It shows up in Matyr decks and control decks and Big Zoo decks alike. SCG has quietly sold out at $20, so move on these while you still can.


A good card in Jund or just about any other deck that wants the disruption, it’s hard to go wrong getting into a card like this, since it’s already a Legacy staple. Also start hoarding Inquisition of Kozilek again. It’s sometimes played instead of Thoughtseize and has seen high prices before.

Kitchen Finks

This is already absurdly expensive, but I don’t see any reason for it to come down, and many people will still move it at a couple of dollars.

Those are some obvious ones that fit into a multitude of decks. Now we get into another aspect of what makes this format unique. That is the fact that the metagame is being defined on MTGO and we’re basically going into PTQ season with just that information, as there’s no high-level Modern event for the pros to work on coming up soon. That means we can mine a lot of information from MTGO, where paper prices haven’t caught up yet to the coming demand.

Chord of Calling/Summoners Pact/Melira

Melira decks are sticking around, and moving in on the cards from this deck isn’t a bad idea. It brings a lot of angles of attack and can play solid disruption, so I don’t see any reason it won’t stick around the format.

Hate Bears

As evidenced by just a Melira deck or two, you can see that hate bears have a lot of value in this format. Ethersworn Canonist, Kataki, War's Wage, and Gaddock Teeg are all solid options in the format, though usually out of the sideboard. Canonist is an especially popular one with all the Storm decks running around.

Speaking of Storm…

Mindbreak Trap

We might finally see the big jump Trap is primed for. This is an incredibly cheap Mythic rare and Modern decks are packing 2-4 of these in the board. While “in the board” isn’t a good sign for a card’s price, if Trap does become the go-to answer (which I suspect it will, as Hate Bears die to Bolts), then it could really move.

Rise/Fall/Rain of Gore

Here’s a pair of Ravnica-block cards that are floating around as important tools. Rain of Gore is an incredibly potent sideboard card for the Red decks that I suspect many people will still sleeve up, and Rise/Fall is as close to Hymn to Tourach as you’re going to get.


Yes this card is a common. It’s also sold out at $2 on SCG and foils are out of stock at $6. I’m willing to bet that comes as a surprise to many of you. If you can dig these out somewhere, do it.

Maelstrom Pulse

Jund is a real deck, and this baby has nowhere to go but up. It’s from a small, third-set and fits into formats besides Modern.

Leyline of Sanctity

Another card that hates on Storm, but also stops targeted discard. Easy to pick up as throw-ins in trade, and could pay off well down the line.

These are all cards I feel will make an impact in this PTQ season and you should be prepared to stock up on them now. Some of these cards will have a large price increase, and some won’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t profit from them, though. A lot of the random sideboard cards are very easy to pick up in random trades but can be traded off very well at the right moment. Stocking up on cards like these now is a very low-risk, high-reward scenario.

Modern isn’t going anywhere, and despite all the ups and downs of the format to this date, there are still opportunities to profit.

And, by the way, happy 2012!

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler


One thought on “Insider: A Modern New Year

  1. Another great article about Modern. Looks really clear and I like the explanations, and that you point out the cross-format relevance of some cards 🙂 thanks!

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