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Insider: Post-Release Shifts Just Before States

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How does it feel to have all these Return to Ravnica cards in your hands? I’m really enjoying this new set, and preparing for the Team Sealed Grand Prix this coming weekend. I’ve also managed to make a decent chunk of cash just in these first couple weeks dumping my over-inflated rares. We've now got some input from the tournament scene as two 5k’s happened this weekend, and in all honesty, we didn't see too many surprises.

I’m still immediately selling any shocklands I happen across from drafts. Seeing the massive quantity of these that are being opened, it's only a matter of time before they start to dip down in price. My game plan for these is to attempt to acquire them just before the draft season changes to triple Gatecrash. We will have a full 3 months with no RTR drafts as Gatecrash will be drafted alone. During that time we’ll see an artificial spike in the RTR shocks until the third set in the block comes out, especially once Modern PTQ season starts in the Winter. I’d like to be buying shocks at about half of their current price, and I have no doubts that that will be a reality within just a couple months.

States is this weekend. Remember last year? Scars lands hit their peak, as Innistrad lands will. If you haven’t moved these out yet, I’d be doing so immediately. States is the last major event for Standard for quite some time, with the exception of the year-round nature of the StarCityGames and TCGplayer 5k events. That being said, once they come back down again stashing them for next year’s Standard PTQ season is a must.

Standard brought us some decks I was expecting. I’ve anticipated a control deck featuring 4 Jace, Architect of Thought and 2-3 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage. Tamiyo has already started to bounce back up as a result, and this should stay above $20 for the remainder of the year. She can still be found at a few places under $20, and at that price I like her as a buy. As Bonfire of the Damned comes down in price, Tamiyo will come up and replace some of that value. Remember, Mythic Rares in the same set are linked in pricing with a negative correlation.

As I’ve discussed in this column before, the overall value of a set is mostly fixed, so as one Rare or Mythic drops another typically rises to average out to the same expected value per pack. The GerryT list that performed well at the StarCityGames open was only a few cards different from the version I had brewed, and mine featured the Chromatic Lantern. Perhaps that means it’s not good enough, or perhaps it means that others haven’t discovered how great it is. I’m still convinced, and still picking these up around $3 in trade whenever possible.

On the same note, and echoing Sigmund’s article from earlier this week, I like Terminus and Entreat the Angels as buys. Since Bonfire has so far to fall, some of that value will hit other cards from that set that are seeing standard play. Terminus is criminally underpriced, while Entreat might see a slight spike as people try out the new U/W/x control brews.

The G/W cards such as Armada Wurm and Trostani are seeing a lot of hype after this weekend although neither of them put up good finishes in the Standard events we’ve seen. I’ve also heard some reputable sources on Twitter talking about these cards in anticipation of a sweet deck appearing. I’m not yet sold on these, both are very weak against the sweepers in this format, and would have trouble dealing with a deck that features 4xTerminus plus some number of other sweepers too. If you picked up on these before the hype and are holding them, I’d personally sell out into the hype now.

On the Legacy side of things, we’re starting to see a shift. Some BUG Delver lists appeared featuring a small number of Abrupt Decay and Thoughtseize. While I don’t condone buying Abrupt Decay at it’s current price, Thoughtseize is a staple and is worth considering. The lists I saw only played two copies, and from the people I’ve talked to, upping that to four is likely correct. It’s already crept up a couple dollars in the last few days, but it probably has room to go higher.

About a month ago we looked at ways people will try to combat Show and Tell, and now Omniscience versions, and Thoughtseize, along with other black discard, was the answer. It’s happening, so time to make a move on these while you still can. This will shoot up above $30 in no time. Inquisition of Kozilek is another card to consider, as it often operates in tandem with Thoughtseize. While it’s not as good for answering Omniscience, it does hit Living Wish and Show and Tell, and is a good budget option. It’s already at $3, but as it’s essentially impossible to find, and Rise of the Eldrazi packs are insanely expensive, I could see this climbing to $5 pretty easily. Both of these cards are a strong buy for me right now.

What comes next? What are the next level answers to these new Standard brews, and can we get out in front of them with some speculation? I think Ash Zealot is a good option right now, as a RDW strategy could easily trump the Control decks I’ve seen. I’d envision it being similar to the B/R Zombies brews we’ve seen but less black, and more red. Stromkirk Noble combined with Ash Zealot is pretty insane, both of these are cards I'm picking up on the cheap. Rakdos Cackler would appear in this deck, and while it’s already a $1 uncommon, I expect it to stay at that price or higher for a while.

Are there other archetypes in Standard or Legacy you’ve tried and haven’t made the limelight in the tournament scene yet? Have faith in your testing and make some speculations on decks that will come back to fight the control decks.

3 thoughts on “Insider: Post-Release Shifts Just Before States

  1. Looking back at this article as some of my most profitable calls. No one else was talking about thoughtseize at this time, and it’s tripled in value in just 3 months. Inquisition of Kozilek went from $3-5 just as i suspected. On the other hand, the RDW standard specs did not pay off. Luckily, they didn’t move at all and I just lost transaction costs, while the other specs will single handedly fund a PTQ season for me.

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