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Insider: Of Curios, Druids and Birds

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This is the card that set the wheels in motion when it was spoiled Sunday night. I immediately made two moves upon reading the card.

The first, a simple statement to my buddy and established Elves pro Joe Naseef:

"You just got Glimpse of Nature back in Modern. Go."

And the second, a late-night feverish e-mail to Doug, Kelly and Sig that precipitated the Insider blast you all received.

“I assume you guys will see this when you wake up in the morning and I’m still asleep, but Beck (of Beck//Call) could do some nasty things for Elves in Modern. The uncommons like Heritage Druid or even something like Cloudstone Curio and/or Primal Command (which used to be the wincon but I assume is now superseded by Emrakul and/or Craterhoof) could see movement. If not now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen next season. Seems like a turn 3-4 combo deck with a plan B of playing “all the huge dudes.” Joraga Warcaller is also not a bad target since he’s a sink for all that mana if you don’t have something infinite.

Rambly, but my thoughts.”

The aftermath, of course, is history at this point. Curio is $10 everywhere cards are sold, despite no one having actually sleeved up a deck yet.

This is a classic hype-based spike, and while it’s old habit for many of us, chances are this is new for some of you here. So today I want to walk through the effect this will have on the market, what the risks are and what you should be focusing on.

The Cards

Cloudstone Curio

The big one, and one I’m glad we caught for you guys (with a shoutout to Nick for spearheading this in the forums). Curio was a part of the old (old) Extended Elves deck and along with some casual appeal was already priced around $2.

Everyone has now listed theirs around $10, which is a baseline moving forward. So the question is, do you sell now or hold on longer?

The buy price right is $4.50 or so, so getting in at $2 has been an easy double-up, and chances are you can get rid of these through an outlet other than buylist (whether it be trading, the LGS, TCGPlayer or eBay).

So what to do? For me, it’s an easy answer, one of my most basic rules of speculating which I’ve hammered home time and again.

Sell into the hype.

The price is only coming down from here as people list theirs to get rid of, so the earlier you move yours, the better. Remember Scapeshift? When Valakut was unbanned the card spiked to more than $10, and I sold mine at that price. Now it’s widely available under $8 retail, so even though the deck panned out, holding onto your copies was a mistake.

I suspect the same is true of Curios. I think the Elves deck will be viable assuming nothing is banned, but it’s just another deck in the field meaning Curio is unlikely to continue going up. Make your profits, leave the last ten percent to the next guy and move on to the next target.

Heritage Druid

Somewhat surprisingly to me, this hasn’t made a move yet. It’s just as integral to the deck as Curio and is played in the Legacy build, so it’s not like demand is going to drop from its current level. On those merits, I think this is a great target both as a cheap cash buy and in trade.

But what about Modern Masters? This is the most common response I’ve heard, and people assume it will be in there. My question is, why are we assuming that?

Look, I get that speculating on cards that could be in the set are dangerous, but with something this cheap you’re not risking a ton since buylists at the time of the Modern Masters reveal aren’t going to plummet overnight.

Not to mention that this wasn’t exactly a staple before now. The card hasn’t been played at all in Modern, and there are a ton of other cards Wizards is looking to reprint as much if not more than this. It also plays into an elf theme, and we have no evidence to suggest Modern Masters is going to support tribal mechanics.

That’s a lot of strikes against its inclusion. No, it doesn’t mean it won’t be in there, just that it takes more than the threat of a reprint to scare me away from this card.

Nettle Sentinel

This is really just a reminder to pull these out of bulk boxes and such. It’s a 30-cent common that sometimes fetches a dime from dealers now. Come Modern season next year, if combo Elves is a deck, you may end up getting a quarter or even 50 cents since it’s not like Eventide set the world on fire with the number of boxes opened.

Craterhoof Behemoth

I don’t think there’s a play to be made on this right now because of how much Standard influences it. That said, come the release of Theros, rotating cards like this are going to plummet. That will create a cheap trade-in opportunity with the potential for spikes down the road if the deck becomes and/or stays a real thing in Modern.

Joraga Warcaller

Like I said in the email above, I’m not sure if this or Ezuri, Renegade Leader will find a home in the deck or if it will always just be Craterhoof or Emrakul. That said, both are examples of the ever-popular “Elf Lord” so it’s not like trading into these already was a bad idea.

Elvish Archdruid

It’s certainly seen its share of reprints, but the “cast-all-the-Elves-and-hardcast-Craterhoof” backup is actually a thing, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this find a home. That said, the upside is somewhat limited due to the number of copies, although I’ve never had a problem moving these either.

Intruder Alarm/Sprout Swarm

Jason’s big on this iteration of the deck. With no testing I can’t say anything about it except to keep it on your radar, as Intruder Alarm especially could spike if that became the plan. It’s also worth noting that unlike Glimpse, Beck will trigger off of Sprout Swarm.

Regal Force

I think this is also a great target, and one that hasn’t moved much. But it has been on a steady incline for the last year, so I’m pretty sure this is primed for either a big jump or a continued rise. Either way, it’s a great target.

Ranger of Eos

This used to be played as a one- or two-of to find missing combo pieces after someone dismantles your hand. I’m not sure that the deck can play all three colors, although Deathrite Shaman obviously helps a ton. Ranger is something to take note of and maybe start grabbing cheaply.

Ethereal Usher/Muddle the Mixture

Both transmute for Beck for three mana, which adds some redundancy. After that, there are positives and negatives to each. While Mixture offers some protection, Usher is a creature that can be cast if you end up in a situation with plenty of mana while comboing but still need to churn. Again, likely not much of an opportunity here besides pulling them out of bulk, but I wanted to mention it.

Summoners Pact

The last card I’ll talk about is one I expect to be played but at $15 has a fairly limited upside for the initial investment, especially since it’s a real Modern Masters candidate. Still, if Elves breaks out at the next Modern tournament a spike to $20+ is not unreasonable.

Birds!

It's in the article title, so it has to be here, right? Anyway, one probably-meaningless-but-possibly-not upside to Beck//Call is that once you've started generating all the mana with your Elves you could conceivably fuse it for full value.

Build Your Strategy

I’ve talked about it before, but remember you must filter all these considerations through your own perceptions. Plenty of people don’t think the deck will be good, and if you agree don’t go out of your way to pick up these cards. Wait and see what happens at the next big event and maybe you can buy out the internet cheaply then.

But I know personally I’ll be on the lookout for these cards because I want to have some in hand if/when the movement happens. And with a lot of these, even if Elves never breaks out in Modern there’s really limited downside, which is always my number one reason for liking a spec.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

7 thoughts on “Insider: Of Curios, Druids and Birds

  1. Excellent Article with a lot of good points. The only other card you didn’t mention that I could see going up is Chord of Calling (as it could be used in combo elves and is used in some of the pod decks)

  2. Aaron foresythe mentioned that we’ll have the ability to draft fairies in modern masters so I wouldn’t completely rule out tribal just yet

  3. i went in for about 20 of them at 1.5 euros and maanged to sell only 8 of them at inflated price, barely covering the risk :p Now what happens is that people actually still trade high price for them compared to the usual european outs like MKM (where price is back to 2.5eu after a spike at 8) or buylist. I think dealing 4 Curio for some ravland is still a win or at least a safety conversion.

    Great article as usual 🙂

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