Insider: Quietly, Modern Sneaks Back In

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This was a very exciting week, because we have more Modern results! I wrote a few weeks back about why it was a good idea to start moving on Modern cards, and now we see even more clearly what we want to pick up. Doug Linn touched on this event on Monday, and his advice to pick up cheap Birthing Pods is sound. But even in the Pod lists there is plenty going on that may not have been obvious.

If you’re lost, I’m talking GP: Yokohama, which happened last weekend and drew more than 1,500 players to a Modern tournament. It’s important we talk about that number. That’s 1,500 Lingering Souls playing Wizards’ new format. It was the largest tournament in Japanese history.

If you were ever on the fence about investing in Modern, this should sway you. It’s a sign that the format is popular, healthy and here to stay. There’s no excuse anymore to not buy in, especially since the seasonal nature gives you even more of an opportunity to invest cheaply.

There’s a really diverse amount of decks that won grinders before the event, even if not all of these decks translated into Top 8. It also stands to note that Affinity had the best conversion rate, getting players into Day 2 from Day 1. That means the Robots, never far out of mind in Modern, have survived a few new sets being added and are ready to stick around for next season.

So let’s look at the Top 8, and some of the breakout cards and financial opportunities contained therein.

To start, here’s the top 8.

-       1 Jund

-       1 B/W Tokens

-       2 No-Melira Pod

-       2 Melira Pod

-       1 Affinity

-       1 Faeries

That’s four Pod decks in the Top 8. That definitely makes Pod a great target in the next few months. While everyone else is looking to unload their Pods before they rotate, you can snag them for a buck or two in trade and look forward to a spike sometime down the road. The toolbox and flexibility Pod and similarly hot pickup Chord of Calling give you make the deck very resilient.

No Melira in Melira Pod?

I honestly thought this might have been a typo at first, but two of the Top 8 “Melira Pod” decks had no Meliras! This is because infinite life doesn’t mean much when people are planning on doing infinite+1 damage to you in this format. I still like Melira as a 1-of in these decks to give them more flexibility to gain the life in situations where it wants it, not to mention the insta-kill with Murderous Redcap.

So why did the Meliras get cut? The answer, of course, is Restoration Angel. A card I tagged as a player when the set was spoiled, it’s had a huge impact on Modern. It fits perfectly into a Pod deck, and provides an instant win with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. Kiki-Jiki is another solid pickup, since it just saw a reprint and probably won’t see another for a while.

Even more important than the differences in the decks are the similarities. All four ran a full playset of Kitchen Finks. The card isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s not coming down, is harder to reprint due to the Persist keyword and is insane in any number of decks. Grab these in trade during the off-season (now) when people are less worried about them and hold until Modern season. This is probably one of the most stable moves in the format.

Looking ahead to Pod staying Enemy No. 1 next year, things like Torpor Orb, Grafdiggers Cage, Spellskite and Aven Mindcensor are the best ways to hate on the deck. The upside on these isn’t likely great, since only the latter two are likely to be maindecked, and usually not in 4s hurts the upside.

Another great answer card with more upside is Linvala, Keeper of Silence. She checks in at $8 out of stock on SCG and a buck above that on TCGPlayer. Capitalize on this gap while you can, and don’t be surprised to see this Legacy Maverick-playable card shoot way past $10 next Modern season, which is a lot closer than it seems right now.

Enough about Pod

The deck I hate most in Modern is RG Tron, since it’s so mindless and the least “Magic-like” experience in Modern. It’s similar to Dredge in that regard. But this event showed a distinct lack of Tron, in any combination. There was also a lack of Disciple of Griselbrand in the Top 8, though one copy won a Grinder. If this deck goes on to become a thing again next season, the move is into Goryos Vengeance. As a $3 card from Betrayers, there’s a lot of upside here, though I’m not sure how good that deck actually is.

Moving on to the rest of the Top 8, let’s look at the winning deck, BW Tokens. It’s a sweet-looking deck, and most of the financial opportunities lie in the Uncommons.

Tidehollow Sculler, Spectral Possession and Zealous Persecution all could pay off big since you can get in so cheaply. Of course the deck also makes great use of Lingering Souls, which isn’t a Modern-only pickup, though I do think it’s a great time to get into Souls, since it will be making a big enough impact on Standard post-rotation to at least double in price.

As for the rest of the deck, Windbrisk Heights has some nice upside, coming in at $5 right now. Most people will let it go cheaper than that if you can actually find any in binders, so targeting it seems like an easy play.

Looking to next level the deck, the easiest answers are Ratchet Bomb and Engineered Explosives. Of these, the Explosives (and maybe Academy Ruins?) is the better play since Bomb is still in Standard. Explosives also occasionally pops up in Legacy and has a set-specific keyword, so I wouldn’t expect a reprint anytime soon.

Casually up to $12, by the way

One more note from the deck, even though it was just a 2-of. Fetid Heath. If this doesn’t blow your mind, you’re more ahead of the game than most — It’s a $12 card, with exactly one in stock on SCG. Eventide was basically just not opened, so anything out of that set is gold, just look at $10 Deathbringer Liege. All of the filter lands are good pickups right now, especially since Shocklands seem to be getting the reprint treatment. I’m after all the Filters, but especially the ones from Eventide.

Everything else

Looking at the other decks, it’s basically everything you would expect. Jund is Jund, Affinity is Affinity, and Faeries has Fae in it. Vedalken Shackles, which was $30 for awhile on SCG, is down to $20, but I’m not crazy about getting it at that price.

Cryptic Command, on the other hand, could be primed to move past its $15 price point. The insanely powerful spell was certainly played last season, but never seemed to really dominate. As the format matures, the Blue decks seem to be showing up (surprise), and Cryptic could easily shoot past $20 next season.

The most interesting thing out of the Affinity deck is the lack of Steelshapers Gift. The card spiked last season but then actually saw less and less play, since it turns out Steel Overseer is actually better in that slot. SCG has a ton of those in stock at $3, and there may be a little upside here, though nothing outstanding. Affinity is what it is, and everyone knows about it, so there’s not really any surprises going on to spike a card. I wouldn’t be afraid to get out of the Gift, though.

Threads of Disloyalty is another card I’ve mentioned from time to time, and it showed up in pretty decent numbers last weekend (though all in the sideboard). Another Betrayers rare, it’s priced at $5 on SCG and is a safe, if not incredibly sexy, investment.

That pretty much covers it. It was definitely a good event for the Modern format, and since it’s received relatively little press here in the U.S. it gives us some time to get ahead of the format a little bit. Plan, and trade, accordingly.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter


Addendum: Don’t forget to check out the latest cast of Brainstorm Brewery, the financial podcast I co-host, where we delve into the spoiling of M13, and, more importantly, what isn’t in the set.

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