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Insider: Diving into Modern Daily Data

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Time to Pass on Past in Flames?

PTQ season has officially switched into Modern, but there isn’t exactly a wealth of data available yet from high level events. Times like these are a good time to turn to MTGO Daily decklists. I spent some time this week pouring over some of the most recent 4-0 decklists from Modern Daily Events (DE’s), and taking a look at what a Modern deck costs, both in paper, and on MTGO. The data I compiled is found here, and I’ll be referencing it throughout my analysis. Keep in mind, this is only 7 from a few different events in the past week, but this should give us a grasp of what this format is looking like, and how it will move (if at all).

What is this data? I compiled pricing from 3 different sources. MTGOtraders.com, Starcitygames.com and blacklotusproject.com. Above each column you’ll see two calculations. Above any (each) column, I show the average price per card (Mainboard on top, Sideboard beneath), and above the (total) columns I show the total cost of the Mainboard and Sideboard respectively. When appropriate I selected the least expensive version of a card.

First Glance
Range is the one of the broadest ways to look at the spread of a dataset. On MTGO the range is from about $50 to about $700+. In paper, the two token decks are the only ones under $100, and Jund is in the $800 vicinity. Especially when a format is hot on MTGO, grinders want to shift into decks that are profitable. Meaning they could recoup any investment into the deck by grinding daily events. If they already have the cards for a deck like Jund, sure they’ll play it. But what if they don’t? They gravitate toward the cheaper deck that has also been having success in DE’s. If this happens enough, the key rares in those cheaper decks start to rise. This is something to look for. The range on paper cards isn’t as drastic. Most of the decks sit very close to to the same $175-225 mark, while the token decks are about half of that price and Jund is about 4 times the price. If I owned a Jund deck and I was playing Modern, I’d want to be certain it was the best choice if I had to tie up 4 times the funds to play with the deck for the season.

One step deeper

How is this data useful to me, unless I’m just buying a deck? This is the real question. The reason we want to look at this data is to predict how people will behave going forward. Sure, the die-hard grinders are already on MTGO firing away at DE’s, but most people I know are still tinkering with proxies at the LGS before they dip an investment into physical or MTGO cards. Most local PTQ’s don’t really pick up until next month, and people are still learning the format. With a deck like the tokens deck (Two variants in the past week have 4-0’d) there’s no question people will latch on to it, seeing as they could order the entire deck from SCG for $100. The other thing I noticed from the mono White deck is Proclamation of Rebirth. It’s the 2nd most expensive card in the deck on MTGO behind Elspeth, but in paper it sits about the same price as many of the staple uncommons. It can fall into a number of other strategies as well, and the fact that the MTGO price has already climbed so much comparatively, leads me to believe it’s paper counterpart may be right behind it.

We’re also able to look at cards that are appearing in multiple archetypes. Ethersworn Canonist has been found in a bunch of these lists, as is Relic of Progenitus/Tormod's Crypt/Nihil Spellbomb. We’re seeing tons of Storm hate here, guys and gals. Will storm lose popularity as a result? If so, the only card that stands to fall is Past in Flames. I’d be shipping out on those immediately. Alternatively, I noticed Mindbreak Trap in one of the sideboards, and found it was a $13 card on MTGO as a singleton in the board! If this is any type of indication, these are going to be hard to come by when the paper PTQ’s begin, and I’m placing an order for a handful of these as soon as I finish this article.

Wrap-up

This isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list of every deck in the format, but a snapshot of what things look like right now. This is the type of digging I use to figure out what to target in trades, what to dish out cash for to hoard, and what to dump. It’s well known the paper market lags behind the MTGO market, and looking for anomalies in prices and decks is a valuable asset at the trade tables.

I hope you all find this data useful. If there’s demand for it, I can continue to update the spreadsheet for the next couple of weeks.

Find me on twitter! @torerotutor
Chad Havas

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