The Gatecrash Pro Tour is less than 2 weeks away, so there’s still time to make some speculations about where the Standard format is going. After only one large Standard event since Friday’s release of Gatecrash was the SCG Open in Atlanta. This gives a place to jump off from to see what we think might pop up in the Pro Tour. Along the way, we’ll see where our recent specs have gone, and what we want to do about them.
Both of these already more than doubled it’s retail price since I talked about them here, but by the time I get to transaction costs, I want to give them a bit more time to grow. At $3+ I’m making a profit on Mutilates, but I think this card can hit 5. Drownyard is up to $1, and I’m in at pricing varying between $0.25 and $0.35. I expect to see a number of Esper Control decks at the Pro Tour, and they will be guaranteed to run Drownyard, and it’s yet to be seen if they will play Mutilate. In the Star City Open, none of the top 8 decks were playing a full complement of Boros Charm, while some in the top 16 were. Mutilate really is better than Supreme Verdict only if Boros Charm is a card, otherwise they’re relatively equal depending on what your manabase supports. Even if Mutilate doesn’t make an appearance in this Pro-Tour, if Boros Charm sees a lot of play, I’ll want to go even deeper on Mutilates, despite the fact that they’ve already begun to increase.
One deck in the top 8 of the SCG Atlanta was a 4-color tokens deck. This has me interested to pick up Intangible Virtues again. They can be found around $1 retail, but likely traded for much cheaper, and if the token strategies pick up steam, this card will see some growth, but the ceiling isn’t terribly high, I’d say $2.50. One thing to consider, if a tokens deck becomes popular, the new GTC card, Illness in the Ranks will likely gain some popularity, and as a $0.50 uncommon, has room to grow. More importantly, Curse of Death's Hold has fallen steeply since it’s no longer been played, but if weenie decks are a thing, this card will make a comeback. As soon as I see a token deck emerge during Pro Tour Coverage, I’ll be scouring the internet for these. Right now various retailers around the net carry them at under $0.50.
Lingering Souls is another card worth considering before the Pro Tour. Whether it’s Esper Control or Tokens, I expect this card to see a ton of play, especially now that Godless Shrine is legal. It’s current price of about $2 is mostly due to Legacy and Modern play, but if it becomes a highly played card in Standard again, this will exceed $3-4 pretty quickly. It being Modern PTQ season, means demand for both formats will really drive this card up. Sets can still be found on EBay close to $9.
Champion of the Parish has increased from $4 when I recommended it a few weeks ago to $5, and is seeing quite a bit of play. With his appearance in an upcoming Event Deck, I think we can see this card get up to $7 or 8 at the most, so keep that ceiling in mind if you still want to get in. Now that I'm already in at average price just under $4, I'm willing to hold on while it climbs, but given that it's already at 5, and it's ceiling has shifted down a bit it's probably best to stay out, while people who already have them should wait a bit to unload. Mayor of Avabruck // Howlpack Alpha is another card worth considering, while it will only slot into decks that can afford to play green, most Humans decks do, and he’s an important card to the deck’s power. At only $2.50 it has some potential to grow, but not enough for me to be interested in making a move at this point. Some Jund lists I’ve seen have been playing Victim of Night, and if that card becomes the go-to cheap removal spell, maybe Mayor is the right pick, as it still remains a werewolf even on his “front” face. If humans is indeed popular, I expect Slayer of the Wicked to start making Sideboard appearances. Killing Olivia, Mayor of Avabruck // Howlpack Alpha and Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells, Blood Artist and any number of Zombies, is no joke. I don’t know how much a Sideboard presence will affect its price, but it currently sits at $0.25, and is a fairly safe play.
Spirits hasn’t been popular since it’s debut in Pro Tour Dark Ascension almost a year ago. Putting up a top 8 finish at the SCG is reason to give it a new look. Most of the usual cards appear, but most notably is the reemergence of Dungeon Geists. At it’s all time low price of $1.50, it seems safe to assume the card is at it’s absolute bottom, however, when people thought the deck had legs last year, it quickly shot up to $8. While I don’t expect that same result, I feel there’s an opportunity to be had on this card, and I’m going to pick up just a set for now. I will, however, bookmark it on several reputable retailers to place an order as soon as I know more about Pro Tour decklists.
Tomahiro Saito posted a decklist that he defines as the best aggro deck in the format. It’s a typical RDW list, but it splashes Green for Flinthoof Boar and Rancor. It gets access to green via 8 dual lands and Burning-Tree Emmisary. I think Flinthoof Boar is a decent spec target here, as it’s only $0.25, and it could also find homes in other strategies, even if this one doesn’t emerge to be the aggro deck of choice this season.
What other archetypes do you think might emerge from this Pro Tour? Are there cards that you could buy into now before it hypes? What cards have potential to appear as answers to other strategies that might emerge? If you have any, get ready with your research so that when decklists hit the net, you’re the quickest to the E-shopping cart.