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Insider: Modern Movement

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Welcome back readers! Today's article will focus on movement we're seeing in regards to Modern cards. Modern Masters hit about a little over a month ago now and it's pretty safe to assume that most of the product that will be opened is already opened. That means that prices on staples should be at or near their low.

The Modern format starts back up soon. Here's a list of the upcoming big Modern events:

  • GP Detroit (Sept 13-15)
  • GP Brisbane (Oct 4-6)
  • GP Antwerp (Oct 25-27)
  • Pro Tour "Romans" (Winter 2014)

First off, this means there will be an increase in demand for Modern cards within the next few weeks as people prepare for the fall GP season which finalizes into the PT. It also means that now (and quite honestly the past few weeks) is the ideal time to pick up Modern cards before the inevitable spikes start to hit.

Unfortunately for us paper players, the Modern format, while being pushed by WoTC, hasn't taken a foothold in many local stores and hasn't even appeared much on the larger SCG Opens. That means we need to look to our MTGO friends for changes in the Modern format.

What cards are becoming hot right now, which ones are cooling off. What are the strategies that are doing well, which ones are falling by the wayside. Thus, for this week's article I have scoured the MTGO forums in search of references to Modern decks/cards that are doing well on MTGO. (Prices taken from ABUMTGO site.)

Modern Breakouts

Scapeshift

This card is the namesake for its deck, which usually plays Prismatic Omen, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and Scapeshift together to combo-kill an opponent. It has the beauty of being a combo deck that doesn't rely on creatures (like the Kiki/Twin) decks or on the graveyard (like Melira Pod). Thus it negates creature removal for the most part (although most versions do play Primeval Titan.)

Currently paper copies of this card on TCG player are $7-$8 while its MTGO counterpart is close to 22 tickets. While there may be some price differences due to the number of Morningtide packs opened on MTGO, the point is that it has doubled in price within the past month on MTGO but hasn't seen that same spike in its real world counterpart.

Linvala, Keeper of Silence

Linvala hoses the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker/Splinter Twin combo deck, and is a thorn in the side of plenty of other decks. Currently she's around 21 tix on MTGO but her real life counterpart is closer to $27.

Nettle Sentinel

This card is necessary for any combo elves deck. Coupled with Heritage Druid and a draw engine like Beck // Call, it allows for some insane turns.

While this is only a common, it typically sells for around 10-25 cents in paper, whereas its MTGO counterpart is more like 2.35 tix. I wouldn't suggest going super-deep on this one, but this has always been a good common from an older set, which also sees play in Legacy. Foils go for around $3-4 in real life and 6.35 tix on MTGO.

Celestial Colonnade

This land is a four-of in RUW Control decks that are showing up a lot online (it appears Modern finally has a control deck). The paper counterpart is around $6 whereas the MTGO one is 10.42 tix. The fact that this is a card from Worldwake means the supply is limited, as that set was not opened much.

Restoration Angel

This card has already dropped pretty hard with its pending rotation from Standard. It's used in the Kiki-Pod decks as well as the RUW Control deck. It serves as an excellent combat trick or end-of-turn threat.

Currently paper copies can be picked up in the $7-9 range, whereas the MTGO copies are sitting at 10.52 tix ($10.52). This one could probably be picked up in the $5 range if you trade with Standard-only players, who see its rotation as a death sentence on its value.

Uncommon Staples

The other Modern cards to target are ones which are near their floor or have a strong possibility of jumping in value during the Modern season. Recently my focus has been picking up uncommon Modern staples at buylist prices. Specifically, I've picked up copies of the following cards.

Inquisition of Kozilek

Diet Thoughtseize wasn't available for reprint in MM. The fact that it names a specific character in a specific plane makes it far less likely to see reprint in a Standard set (unless they do a return to Zendikar). This means that outside of reprinting in a specialty set (MM2 or Duel Decks) it will likely continue its rise in value to accommodate demand.

Kitchen Finks

This guy was reprinted in MM, but again the number added to supply wasn't as large as many expected. If you can buy originals in the $3-4 range (buylist) or MM copies in the $2-3 range you should easily be able to make 60%+ profit come Modern season. The only potential wrench in his spike is the printing of Scavenging Ooze, which hoses the Melira style of combo deck pretty hard, given its reliance on persist to go off.

Path to Exile

This is still the premier removal spell of the format. Similar to Kitchen Finks, I'm willing to pick up original and FNM copies in the $3 range ($4 for the FNMs) and MM copies in the $2 range. It's already been reprinted as a FNM promo, in Archenemy, Commander and the Venser vs. Koth duel deck, and still sits in the $5 range.

Remand

This is currently sitting in the $16 range (it's taken over as most expensive uncommon, thanks to Aether Vial's reprint) and is a necessity in Mono-Blue Tron, RUW Control, Scapeshift, and pretty much any blue based Modern deck.

WoTC has admitted it's too powerful for Standard, so its only reprint will be in a specialty product. It's pretty awful in Commander, but I can still see them trying to slide it in there just to add more to the supply.

I still like it as a spec for this Modern season only, but I don't know if I'd buy them for cash at higher than buylist. However, I wouldn't turn down trading for them.

7 thoughts on “Insider: Modern Movement

  1. Nice article. I don’t like going into remand (or aven mindcensor) – sure it can go to $20, but the odds of a reprint are way too high. This is the sort of card that is perfect to trade into more stable cards.

    1. Thanks. I’m in similar agreement…I wouldn’t buy it at it’s current price (I advocate NOT doing that) but as I mentioned WoTC has stated that Remand is too powerful for standard, so it’s only chance of reprint is in a specialty product. I don’t believe any come out within the next 2-3 months (aside from FTV:20) which is when I suggest selling them. I’m 100% positive they will reprint it within the next year or two, especially as it’s the “premier” counterspell of modern and they need more in the supply.

  2. After testing with IoK it underperformed for me. Everything I wanted to take 80% of the time was 4 or more including 3 of the breakouts you listed above plus pod, Kiki, Twin and most planeswalkers. I changed to Duress and Appetite for Brains and have been happier with those. Of course I would rather would run Thoughtseize but will wait for the reprint.

  3. I think Inquisition has a decent shot at being reprinted:

    (1) The Eldrazi are long-term recurring villains, which WotC will revisit (maybe after Theros). Gideon was on Ravnica because he was looking for help fighting them. Jace briefly planeswalked to a post-apocalyptic Zendikar in The Secretist. Another Eldrazi-related set is inevitable, and Inquisition reprint there is obvious.

    (2) The Eldrazi aren’t restricted to a single plane. Flavorwise, there’s no problem referencing them outside Zendikar. I could see Inquisition as a plant, especially in a core set, with flavor text implying that the Eldrazi are on the move.

    (3) Core sets can have plane-specific cards from different planes. The last two have had cards from Mirrodin (Darksteel), Shandalar (Thune, Xathrid, Valkas, etc.), and Innistrad (Odric). Pre-M10 had that stuff all the time. It’s a great marketing tool to tie the core set into the larger multiverse. Inquisition doesn’t have any set-specific mechanics and does something at the core of black’s part of the color pie. Hence, it’s a perfect candidate for any core set.

    1. You make some good points/observations. My only counterpoint is the creation of Elvish Mystic instead of Llanower/Fyndhorn elves…another functional reprint (though I will admit it could simply be to get “druid” on the subtype as well). While I haven’t read any of the books you’re referring to, it seems perfectly reasonable that the Eldrazi could indeed change planes. My point on Inquisition of Kozilek is that I’m sure they would still prefer to include the eldrazi in any standard set they reprinted it in. I can see it being reprinted in a specialty set, but again these specs are ONLY for the upcoming modern season (i.e. I plan on unloading them all within 6 months) because the only specialty sets I’m aware of coming out right now are FTV:20 and possibly some winter special set.

      1. Also for both IoK and Remand, i have the feeling they may see a reprint in the new upcoming Commander product. Especially remand that has been dubbed as too strong for standard by WOTC.

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