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Insider: Moving Back into Modern

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This is one of my favorite times of the year. Why? For a few reasons. The first is that I’m coming to you from the paradise of Jamaica, where I’m spending a week for my honeymoon. That in itself goes a long way.

But there’s another reason why I like this time of year, and I’ll tell you it’s not because of the 100+ degrees it is nearly every day back home in Oklahoma. Instead, this is one of my favorite times on the Magic calendar, because I’m able to make more profit at this time of year than nearly any other.

Why is that? Like the miserable hot condition back home, it has to do with seasons. Specifically, the PTQ season, and the fact that it’s not the Modern PTQ season.

It’s Standard time all over, and that means it’s time to get rid of all your Standard cards and start stocking up on Modern again. I ran this strategy last year and ended up making a ton of money off things like Path to Exile and Kitchen Finks before they blew up once Modern season hit.

Of course, it helped that I was out ahead of Modern financially before anyone else in the world, and that allowed me to lock in some early profits. This year won’t be quite as easy as last year was, but there’s still a lot of room to make money working off the seasonality of demand.

If you don’t already know this concept, the idea is that Standard cards are at their peak during PTQ season, and cards from Modern (Or Extended, or Old Extended, whatever the flavor of the week is) dip significantly when they’re out of season. Now that we know Modern is here to stay, there are some really easy targets we can hone in on.

Kitchen Finks is one of them. It’s still $8 everywhere, but it was $10 during the season. While just working off of those prices you stand to make a little, what really helps here is that people will simply undervalue their Modern cards because they are impatient. Part of it is that people will have forgotten the prices of stuff since it’s not in front of them every week, but another part is that many players simply won’t care. If they need that Geist of Saint Traft for this weekend, they’re willing to give you some value on stuff like Paths.

I’ve also had success simply telling people that since its not PTQ season, the cards aren’t worth as much, and many accept that and give you good prices on their stuff. This allows you to get into Modern playables cheaply while moving out of your Standard stock that is as high as it will go.

So what should you be doing, specifically, to make money during this season? The first is to blow out all of your Scars block cards. In about a month you’re going to start drastically losing your chance to get out clean, and every day and week counts at this point. Move out of Scars and put that value into Modern cards or Innistrad block cards (though I would suggest the former).

Cards to stay away from

Obviously, stay away from the Ravnica Shocklands since the chance of a reprint is so high. I’ve been telling everyone to stay away from these since the initial jump, and haven’t touched maybe more than two myself in that time.

I don’t want these at all. Reprints are coming. Stay away.

As far as bannings go, the only things I can see being banned at this point are either Emrakul or Tron pieces. The decks never completely dominated the metagame, but it is possible they created an environment Wizards isn’t comfortable with. Personally, I have no problem with Through the Breach strategies, but the RG Tron deck that pumped out Turn 3 Karns over and over again is probably a little too much.

Do you ban Emrakul or the Tron lands? I would vote the lands, since people will always find ways to abuse them (see Turn 3 Karn). That said, I can certainly see it not being banned as well. Still, the potential for it means that I’m staying away from both pieces, as well as anything else that goes into these decks (like Through the Breach).

I’m also not dying to hold onto Tarmogoyf. With every new set printed this guy looks more and more normal, and he’s actually falling out of favor in Legacy. That and the possibility of a reprint makes me very shy to get into this guy unless you can flip it quick.

Fetchlands

I can’t suggest anything more than this, as I’ve been doing forever. You can still get these at $15 in trade, but that’s the best you’re probably going to be able to do nowadays. Still, pick up every Blue Zendikar Fetchland you can. SCG has moved them up to $20, and they’re only going to get more expensive. My original goal was to buy a car with the proceeds from the stock of these I have, but since I just got a new one we’ll see what I end up doing with them in a few years. I have a lot, but I always want more.

Kitchen Finks/Path to Exile

I’ve been harping on these for a reason. Paths are $6 across the board on SCG, but you can probably find them at $3-4 now that people don’t need them as much as they need that last card for that Standard deck.

Sowing Salt

This is a really nice value play I like. If Tron strategies aren’t banned, this could become one of the go-to answers late in the season. It’s 50 cents a pop right now, but being from Kamigawa it could become very hard to find. Unlike something like Steelshapers Gift, it’s not a maindeck card, but it could become a very potent sideboard one, along the lines of Ethersworn Canonist. As I said, it’s so cheap right now there’s not much risk here.

Inquisition of Kozilek

It’s $4 on SCG, and they have a ton in stock. That said, most people have forgotten that this once commanded a $6 pricetag. You can get them for just a couple dollars or as throw-ins in trade, and sooner or later this is going to be $6 again. Easy play here.

Maelstrom Pulse

This is a good catchall that’s always floating in and out of lists. It’s $13 right now on SCG but most people have a price memory of about $10 for it. Not a ton of upside here, but a fine target nonetheless.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Another very safe target. I love this card in Modern and I think it still has some room to grow. The more degenerate things like Tron get banned, the better Elspeth gets. She’s a house in both midrange and Control decks, and having been reprinted not very long ago probably is safe to grab. It’s theoretically possible she shows up in M13, but I’m pretty sure she’s above the power curve of where they want to take Planeswalkers.

Sedraxis Specter

Another pet card of mine, but one that has been great in the few decks running it. It’s always a two-for-one, and countering it is a joke. It’s $1.50 on SCG but people will definitely trade it away as bulk. Another very low-risk, high-reward investment.

Lingering Souls

I know this is a Modern column, but this Standard powerhouse is also very good in Modern, and it’s not going to be cheaper than you get it right now. The best part of this play is that people will still trade it for a dollar, though there’s no way that lasts much longer.

I’m going to stop there for today. There’s some more, farther-out calls, but those are some safe targets for the coming weeks, and ones that as a whole will pay off when Modern season rolls back around. I’ll be back next week as some M13 spoilers begin rolling in!

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

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