The Revenue Review – What We Learned in Cincinnati

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So there was a Star City Games Open last weekend you may have heard about. Or, more likely, there was an SCG Open last weekend AND YOU HAVEN’T HEARD ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE!

There’s a good reason for that. We finally saw the new format in all its Zombie-infested glory. And it was certainly a very telling event. We’ve had several articles already talking about some of the financial movers from the weekend, so I’m only go to touch on those briefly before moving on to the bigger question of why there were so many big movers.

Let’s start with the Top 16.

4 Zombie decks (and a bunch more in the top 32)

3 Bant decks

2 UWR Control (including the winner)

2 Reanimator (one made the finals)

2 Jund decks

1 GW deck

1 RB Aggro

1 UW Aggro

Of these, I think the ones we’ll see the most going forward are the UWR Miracles deck, as well as the Jund decks. The Reanimator decks looks solid, but cards like Rest in Peace are very difficult to beat, which will limit how much success they can have over the long-run.

And, though it may be blasphemous to say it, I don’t love Zombies going forward. There are many hate cards against the deck that as the format becomes more fleshed out there will be fewer and fewer Zombie pilots. Control decks will be able to tune against the Zombie decks more going forward, and a lot of what Zombies has going for it right now is that it’s the only “battle-tested” deck, having come from a successful shell last season and having easy cards to slot in. Now that other decks are being discovered and refined, Zombies is naturally going to fall off some, even if it remains very good.

This means stuff like Lotleth Troll, Falkenrath Aristocrats and the pair of Dark Ascension zombies don’t strike me as good holds right now. I think they’ll all continue to trade very well (same with the GB lands), and certainly aren’t going to drop overnight.

As we’ve seen already, there’s been a huge increase in the cards for the Miracle deck, and I’m inclined to believe the jump on Entreat the Angels is real, as well as the one on Tamiyo.

Jace at $50 is ridiculous. Remember Liliana at this time last year? She started pushing past $60 and toward $70 (something I called ridiculous then, too). Jace is very good, as I said in my set review. I still think he’s going to settle near $30 as I predicted in that review. There’s simply no way $50 holds for more than two months at the max. That doesn’t mean, of course, that there isn’t money to be made, but be aware.

Now let’s talk about a few cards that didn’t receive as much hype this weekend but still performed well. The first is Olivia Volderen. She saw a jump to $15 (glad I got that Insider blast out to you guys in time for that), and I think $10+ is going to hold. She’s very, very good. Remember what I said about Niv-Mizzet? That he’s a better Olivia? Well, the regular Olivia is still plenty good as well. And the Jund decks are very, very real. As I said on the podcast ( I think Jund is going to become the best deck of the format, and I can see the prices on Olivia and Thragtusk coming along for the ride.

Why do I think this? To break it down, the Jund deck operates much like its namesake. Every card brings card advantage. There are very few 1-for-1s in the entire deck, and it has the tools to handle aggro while being resilient enough to stack up against Control. And it has Mizzium Mortars to answer the Entreat the Angels play that other decks can’t.

The next card I want to touch on is Angel of Serenity. I called it $10-15 medium-term in my set review, but I think I have to revise that upwards to $15-20. The card is nuts, and it’s definitely a 3-4-of in the decks that want it. On its face, you would think it’s way worse than Elesh Norn, and, while that’s true to an extent, it still does great work in the Unburial Rites decks. And it’s not unreasonable to hardcast it in these decks, either. Combined with the Angel casual appeal, I think $20 is going to be reasonable.

SCG Opens Driving the Market?

I remember it very clearly. I was watching a SCG Open, and there was only one deck anyone could talk about. The commentators went on and on about how the new set changed the format, and this deck was here to stay.

And Contested War Zone was the cog that made it all go.

I bought 20.

Needless to say, that one didn’t work out so well for me. Why, then, did last weekend’s SCG Open move the market so much? Generally only prolonged play of a card or a big weekend at the Pro Tour has this kind of effect. So what gives? Should we be watching Opens every weekend, ready to buy out TCGPlayer at the mention of a card in preparation for the next spike?


I believe there are a few reasons why last weekend was an anomaly. Let’s break them down.

-       It’s the first weekend. This is the most obvious, but I don’t think it’s fair to stop there. SCG Opens really have become more of a driver in the last year or two, so it’s not unreasonable to see movement based on SCG results. We’ve obviously seen it with Legacy recently. While the “first weekend adjustment” tells some of the story, it’s not everything.

-       States. To me, this is the biggest one here. The drive last year solidified that people want their decks together for States, and for those who aren’t into brewing, copying whatever did well at the only large Standard tournament we have is their only option.

-       Increased viewership. Give SCG its due, viewership on Opens has been rising, and, while it’s not quite the same as a Pro Tour, I do think we’re going to see market moves from Opens, especially after formats are shook up.

-       Increased speculation in the market. This is also important. There are more people than ever trying to “break it” and going deep on their cards. Combined with the increased player base and the increase of financial knowledge in the game, this isn’t something going away. We can only try to be ahead of the curve, as we’ve done so far.

So moving forward, keep a close eye on the SCG Opens for potential tech, and don’t be scared to buy in, as we’ve seen this weekend as an example of it working, but don’t go hard on every piece of tech that shows up, either. It’s one thing to stay ahead of the market, it’s another to get too far ahead and lose everyone else while you’re doing it.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

2 thoughts on “The Revenue Review – What We Learned in Cincinnati

  1. Any thoughts about Sublime Archangel?

    This card made a big splay in all GW aggro decks, and could also potentially be (or maybe is already) in WU aggro decks.

    Mtgo price for the Archangel rose from 10 Tix to 16 Tix on Mtgotraders in a matter of days. I don’t really now what’s its price and consideration in the paper world.

  2. I hope you saw on my Twitter about Olivia when people were going nuts about Tamiyos and Jaces. I ended up scoring 30 for 7$/each. She is def the real deal.

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