Insider: The Holidays Bring Gifts

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Today I’d like to follow up on what Sig wrote on Monday. The general gist of his piece is that during the upcoming holidays Magic finance can take a bit of a back seat for people and that makes opportunities harder to find.

But harder to find is what we do.

Just because people are busy eating turkey and buying presents doesn’t mean that Magic finance goes away. In fact, this can even be an opportunity for us. But first, something far more important.


First off, I want to draw attention to Threads of Disloyalty, and some of my favorite cards alongside it. MERFOLK!

The deck has been picking up steam, both in eternal formats thanks to True-Name Nemesis (more on him coming in a bit), and in Modern thanks to people finally deciding to experiment a bit and give the deck a go. Mono-blue (my favorite), Blue-Red and Blue-Black builds have all put up some success in Modern, and they share some cards worth noting.

First off are the actual merfolk. Cursecatcher we know about, and Merrow Reejerey has shown some nice movement as well, but not all the cards have moved yet. I think there’s opportunity to make some money on Silvergill Adept, Lord of Atlantis (black-bordered copies), and even Master of the Pearl Trident. I doubt any of these will go wild, but there should definitely be movement, considering Cursecatcher has doubled to $6 in the past two weeks.

Another interesting one to look at is Aether Vial. Thanks to several printings the non-FTV copies are about $13 on TCGPlayer. All these Merfolk decks are definitely playing Vials, and with such a powerful card I could see this pushing to $20 come Modern season.

The sideboards of these decks hold some of our favorite Modern targets for next season like Spellskite, but there’s more than that. Swan Song is something you can get cheaply in trade right now, which seems like an easy play, and Darkslick Shores are another favorite.

But I think the card I first mentioned will spike the most. Threads of Disloyalty is older than the rest and seems to be a constant in the decks. I can see it easily going past $10 in the next month and just staying there like so many Modern specs. Kira, Great Glass-Spinner was just reprinted in Modern Masters, which makes me think it’s probably a better play just having them in your binders than buying in cash.

Future Developments

On a sidenote, I’ve focused heavily on making Merfolk competitive, and it’s interesting to see these lists go through iterations I’ve already made. For instance, Spreading Seas is too good against too many matchups to not have at least two maindeck, and the sideboards are beginning to match up with mine as well.

I think Steel Sabotage will end up falling off the radar, since I’ve found Annul to be more relevant as you can also bring it in against Splinter Twin, Phyrexian Unlife or Pyromancer's Ascension. Hurkyl's Recall, on the other hand, seems like the nuts against Affinity and plausible against Pod, though that’s pretty much it.

One card I think these decks are missing is Cavern of Souls. I’ve gone so far as to cut a Mutavault from my list because you straight lose to not having UU open on turn two. While these lists do run more lands than mine (and four Master of Waves, which feels like too many even though it’s the best card in the deck against Jund), I think Cavern is being skipped over.

It’s incredible against a range of decks, mostly UWR, completely blanking their counters. You get to slam your guys without worry, it casts Aether Vial on turn one and still gives you UU on turn two for your fish. While I’m not sure how financially relevant it will be, it would be the first Modern deck to heavily adopt Cavern.

I couldn’t help myself. When my favorite deck and one I’m pretty knowledgeable about starts breaking out financially, I can’t help but devote some space to it. And it sure doesn’t suck that my foiled-out version is only going up in price by the day.

True-Name Nemesis

I do have to talk about one more fish, though. True-Name Nemesis. After dominating the SCG Open last weekend as expected (some decks even running maindeck Celestial Flares to prepare for it), the card spiked to around $50 on eBay.

That’s not sustainable.

Look, I know that there won’t be “infinite” Commander decks printed. If everyone’s buying Mind Seize and not the others Wizards probably won’t keep printing more, since all five are printed together. But the bottom line is more will be printed, and the price will come down.

The current rush is because people need them for Legacy, but that’s the only format where people will need them. And if prices on dual lands in the last six months are any indication that’s not exactly an expanding format.

My point is there's an artificial cap on demand. I think these will certainly remain valuable, but I don’t think they’ll continue to rise. And just like we saw with Baleful Strix, I believe Wizards will find a way to reprint Nemesis at some point if it stays this expensive and popular.

Add all that up, and I don’t see big short-term gains, nor do I thing the long-term future of the card is hugely bright at $50. Snap-buy the Grixis deck at MSRP, of course, but besides that stay away.

End Merfolk Aside

Okay, back to my original point. The holidays are slow for Magic finance, and Modern is basically a forgotten format for the next few months. In addition, we can be sure that there will be some Black Friday sales around the internet or in your LGS.

Those things scream opportunity to me. I think Modern is probably the best format to trade or buy into right now because the prices are as depressed as they’re going to be considering how far away the season is. Theros is more or less set for the moment as we await redemption to bring prices to the floor, but Modern is a format where prices are already sitting at that floor.

I’ve talked before about the Modern cards I’m interested in right now, and added a few more today. I don’t want to hit you with a massive list again because honestly at this point it’s not about finding the secret new spec. It’s just about taking advantage of a quirk in the calendar that gives us an opportunity to get into the format.

Cards like Path to Exile, Inquisition of Kozilek, Lightning Helix and their ilk aren’t exactly new cards. But they are cards that we can reasonably expect to go up in price come Modern season. Add in things that we’ve been calling for increases on like Spellskite, Birthing Pod and so on, and you’ve got plenty of targets for the next few months.

Slow time for Magic finance? Great time for us.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

8 thoughts on “Insider: The Holidays Bring Gifts

  1. Absolutely agree with the article. As the holidays approach, there will be deals. Modern seems to be the play, but it does carry with it a little risk. Reprints in the form of Modern Masters 2 aren’t likely but they are possible. Just something to keep in mind.

    Should I go out and buy some Threads now you think?

    1. That’s what I’m doing. I just bought a set, and I’m trying to find more on the cheap between 6-7. I actually can’t find very many; there’s less than a page of listings on Ebay, not very many on TCGplayer, and only a few between cardshark and amazon.

    2. Here in Europe, the buyin price would be like 4.5€ max. Currently on MCM one can only buy a singleton from every vendor WHILE it is very hard to find one in European shops let alone playsets

      1. It’s also a nightmare for Limited. It’s basically Invisible Stalker + Butcher’s Cleaver in one card. I don’t think they’ll print it in a draftable set.

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