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Insider: What the Pro Tour Changes Mean for You

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This is a very exciting weekend for those of us in Magic finance for a few reasons.

The most important one is that there is a Pro Tour this weekend, one that will feature the new Standard format. While we got a preview of what it will look like last week at SCG: Richmond, this weekend will truly demonstrate the power of the new format.

And this Pro Tour will be unlike any before it (at least since it was on ESPN). The reason why? The changes in coverage.

I first touched on this subject back when Organized Play changes were causing a stir throughout the community. At the time I made the argument that these changes would actually be a good thing for the community and I stand by that sentiment. Of course there were a few changes along the way (as we knew there would be), and now it’s safe to say the current system keeps Magic going stronger than ever.

So what are these changes?

Remember this hitting it big?

The most important one to know about is that there will be live video coverage from the Pro Tour, ala SCG Opens and events that GGsLive makes it to. The reason this is important financially is that tech will be available to the masses MUCH faster than in the past.

Think back to even just the last Pro Tour. If you had the right connections (like a QS subscription) you knew that Olivia Voldaren was seeing heavy play and was ready for a spike. Using that knowledge, a ton of people were able to get on the card in a matter of hours and make their money by that night. But with the event being streamed, news of breakout cards like Olivia will hit the masses faster than ever before. And you need to be aware of that.

But what I really want to focus on is the fact that this type of coverage can also be a trap.

A Trap?

Think about all the times you’ve watched SCGLive. The commentators get caught up in their own beliefs and you hear their side of it, which doesn’t always correlate with results, not to mention that I’ve heard far too many commentators give financial advice on air that is horrible.

I remember being taken for Contested War Zone, which spiked for a very short period of time and then disappeared entirely. If it was for the SCG team hyping the card like crazy on air, it’s unlikely I would have ever bought in from just seeing the results.

With all of that in mind, how do we get ahead of the game this weekend? Well, the staff here at QS will be using all the connections we have to try and find out the information as it comes so we don’t have to rely on the coverage. And the usual avenue of Twitter is still a solid way for finding out up-to-date information.

And speaking of that, here’s the piece of news that I have: I’ve been told that Matthais Hunt’s testing group is bringing something exciting, and more importantly, “Not Delver at all” to the tables. That’s all my source from the group gave me right now, but I’ll do my best to keep the information as live as possible this weekend. It will be nice to see something that might shake up the format a bit.

***UPDATE***

It turns out that they'll be on a G/R deck of some kind and are packing Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells. Keep a close eye on this and be ready to move on that particular Mythic.

***

Now that we’ve looked at some of the disadvantages of the increased coverage, let’s look at the upside.

The Upside

Remember, in the past when cards would break out at a Pro Tour, the big ones like Olivia would peak immediately, but something else that performs very well but maybe doesn’t Top 8 would get buried under the coverage archives. Now, however, we can expect more features highlighting those strategies. And this presents more of an opportunity.

It’s still safe to say that a performance like that of Death Cloud (which performed very well at the Modern Pro Tour but didn’t Top 8), won’t see huge gains, but the bottom line is these types of decks will receive more coverage.

In all likelihood, this is going to be the best place to look to for speculation opportunities after the initial rush on the Olivia of the Pro Tour are played out. If such decks are solid in the metagame but overshadowed by the “it” deck of the Top 8, we will have an opportunity that is days-long rather than hours-long to move on the cards. That’s important as it takes things out of the range of cash buys and into the world of trading, where you’re able to more easily convert this knowledge into profit.

Dark Ascension

Personally, I expect we can see some more Dark Ascension cards make an impact.

There are a few factors that limited the set at the Open last week. The first was card availability. A lot has been made of the lack of Sorin, Lord of Innistrad at the top tables last week, but how many people realistically had four to sleeve up? That doesn’t mean that Ratchet Bomb (a card I suggested picking up) won’t keep B/W Tokens down, but it is something important to keep in mind.

The other is the fact that people simply didn’t have time to get much in with the cards, especially considering the Pro Tour coming up this week. The average level of brewing for a Pro Tour is completely different than that of an Open, and, in that light, it certainly makes sense for the format at that particular Open to move by a matter of degrees rather than larger leaps.

I’m excited for the Pro Tour and the expanded coverage this weekend. Let’s hope that we get even more news about some exciting pickups in the hours to come!

Thanks for reading and keep your eyes pealed for QS alerts this weekend.

Corbin Hosler
@Chosler88 on Twitter

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