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Insider: Responding to the Modern Pro Tour’s Top 8

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At the time of this writing, it’s PT Sunday and some of the game’s best are hours away from battling for the $40,000 first prize.

Between the unbanning of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, the release of Return to Ravnica, and the announcement of Modern Masters, this has been quite the weekend for the Modern format as a whole. The nature of the Modern Masters set and the distinct lack of information available makes me hesitant to recommend aggressively buying cards over a certain price threshold that could be reprinted.

This make the best investment, with Modern in mind, the Zendikar fetchlands due to their necessity and Zendikar’s exclusion from the Modern Masters set itself. However, there is still a lot of information to be had from this Pro Tour, particularly the top 8 lists, which give us a reasonable representation of the field as a whole: lots of Jund, and a menagerie of everything else.

Jund

Being part of the most popular archetype at the PT, one of the real winners of the tournament would have been Blackcleave Cliffs, as a 4 of across the board in all 3 top 8 lists.Even without the announcement of Modern Masters, however, the number of Jund players in PTQ level events is lower than in professional ones with card availability and overall cost being the culprits.

As such, overall demand for Jund staples will be lower than one would expect, given its results this weekend, come the Modern PTQ season this winter. Thus, the potential profits will be much lower. I would put my money elsewhere.

Jund is generally considered a known quantity, as everyone remembers various horror stories attached to Bloodbraid Elf. However, one Return to Ravnica card may have changed the archetype going forward.

Deathrite Shaman’s viability in the format given its predication on fetch land mana bases should come as no surprise, and its ability to interact with an opponent’s graveyard is particularly relevant against the U/R Storm decks. It was in two of the Jund lists that made top 8, including David Ochao’s list that ran Geralf’s Messenger over the more common Kitchen Finks, a move that takes the deck in a decidedly more aggressive direction.

I think now is a great time to ‘sell high,’ given the hype the card received during coverage. It is still a fringe card in Standard and is not worth the $10 some retailers are selling it for, especially considering the set is still actively being used for Limited events.

Eggs

This deck went 9-1 in the Swiss on its way to the 1st overall seed in the top 8. There will be demand for this deck going forward, not only based on the hype it received during coverage, but also its relatively inexpensive cost (beyond the mana base, the most expensive card is Lotus Bloom, which is the best speculation target within the deck given its pseudo casual appeal).

I expected budget Modern decks to be very popular this PTQ season, given the financial uncertainty surrounding so much of the format, making Eggs and Storm staples very strong short term investments (3-4 month holds until Modern season begins).

Scapeshift/ Valakut

Valakut was unbanned and the world did not end. This is a good thing, unless of course you own a lot of Prismatic Omens, which Shi Tian Lee’s deck didn’t play.

Given the presence of the Shocklands in Standard, this deck is actually much less expensive than it appears and will be a prime candidate for Standard players looking to pick up Modern without spending much extra money.

Scapeshift looks like a good short term pick up. And depending on its results during the PTQ season, it could spike much higher than it already did after Valakut’s unbanning.

Infect

I wonder if Wizard’s R&D will come to regret the Infect mechanic.

It never feels fair when it's good and no one cares when it’s awful. Kelvin Chew’s deck is mostly inexpensive commons and uncommons, alongside fetch lands.

The only card that stands out financially to me is Inkmoth Nexus. We’ve already seen this card hit $10+ during Standard, and it could absolutely do that again come the PTQ season as one of the only expensive cards in an otherwise very cheap deck.

U/W Midrange

This deck is unfortunately uninteresting to me outside of Celestial Colonnade and Seachrome Coast, both of which have a lot of room to grow if this becomes the pseudo control deck of choice in Modern.

The Player’s Championship showed us the problem it has with the Jund matchup, but that will be less relevant in the coming months for the reason’s I already brought up. I expect Seachrome Coast to retail at $7-8 during PTQ Season, while Celestial Colonnade should hit $5.

Free Agents

Serum Visions and Inquisition of Kozilek are two non deck specific staples that demand will only increase for as Standard players make their way to Modern over the next few years. Whether you’re looking to flip them during the PTQ season or hold them longer, these two cards are great inexpensive investments.

~

This weekend was a new beginning for Modern as Wizards does its best to make the format a year round fixture rather than a burden tournament players must overcome, like Extended was towards the end of its existence. I assume that more things will be done beyond Modern Masters to achieve this goal, and in the long term I feel good about the future of the format, which makes me feel safe in investing in it.

Paul Feudo

Paul Feudo started playing Magic in 1999 and became fascinated by the financial aspect of the game a few years later. He recently gave up the competitive dream and became focused solely on trends in the Magic economy. Follow him on twitter @plfeudo.

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Posted in Finance, Free Insider

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