Insider: ‘Tis the Season…for Modern

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Splinter Twin. Spellskite. Phyrexian Obliterator. Threads of Disloyalty.

All Modern cards which have spiked in the past few months. All cards out of season, so to speak. All cards we’ve predicted here.

What’s next?

I’ve talked repeatedly about how the time to invest in Modern cards is not when the PTQ season is upon us--or even when it’s nearing--but now, when it’s on few peoples’ radars.

The pillars of the format are primed to go up in-season regardless of any small metagame changes. But there are also some other targets we can look at as possible risers, which is the plan for today.

The Criteria

What do all the cards above have in common? They’re all from older sets, often third sets, meaning supply is lower than that of many other cards. We’re not looking to find Snapcaster Mage or Deathrite Shaman here, though those are probably safe pickups as well at this point. What we want to find is the next Chord of Calling or Fulminator Mage.

First, let’s check in on some of the other cards I’ve talked about in the past few months that I really like picking up for Modern right now that haven’t moved yet.

Format Staples – A Check-in

Liliana of the Veil

Holding steady at about $40. I don’t think there will be a ton of upward movement necessarily, but barring a reprint--which may not come until MM2?--Lily is likely to continue to creep up.

Birthing Pod

The spike on this one has been more of a solid growth so far, and it remains to be seen if that’s the precursor to a hard to $10 or just a continued growth. We don’t know the answer to that, but we do know that there’s nothing but upside for the next year with these.

Path to Exile

Somehow the original Conflux printing is the cheapest right now, but all are essentially between $5-6. Path was $8 at its peak, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it head back that way. Again, this is a slow gainer that banks more on the format season than any particular change in demand. Paths are always going to be safe.

Inquisition of Kozilek

We’ve actually seen some weakness for this over the past few months as Thoughtseize has become easier to obtain. That said, there’s no reason this will decline. It doubled up last Modern season, and while I don’t expect that again I do think it will gain a few bucks. A nice trade target.

Going Deeper

Raging Ravine

Remember Celestial Colonnade and how cheap it used to be? Well, that’s Raging Ravine now. Much like the Scars fastlands that I’ll keep harping on because there’s no reason not to invest in them, Ravine is a solid land that will likely always find a home in Modern.

It’s continuing to climb, from $1 a year ago to $3 now. This is a steady rise, and stock is starting to dry up. Sound familiar? It’s what propelled Splinter Twin to a huge gain, and it’s what could see Ravine suddenly become $8-10 when the general masses catch wind of dwindling supply.

Restoration Angel

I liked it a month ago at $4 (when I first mentioned it) and I still like it at the $5 it’s at now. There’s a copy available on TCGPlayer for $3.50, and that’s just insane. It’s from the same set that’s giving us a big riser in Griselbrand, and is played way more in Modern. I know there’s a promo, but there’s no way this isn’t $10 in a year.

Thrun, the Last Troll

I’m not sure if this is really going to catch on, but it may actually fit into the G/B shell that’s so strong right now. It may forever be a one- or two-of in the sideboard that doesn’t see much price movement, but it’s exactly the kind of card that could have a big weekend and hit $15 overnight.

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

One weekend of a Gifts deck performing well and this will be $20. It’s up from $10 to $13 since I last talked about it, and its casual appeal makes it safe even if it doesn’t go anywhere in Modern.

Torpor Orb/Stony Silence/Grafdigger's Cage

All sideboard options, and all super cheap. I was big on Orbs when they were nearing bulk status despite shutting down a ton of decks, and I still like them now that they’re up to a buck. Orb is steadily trending upward, and being from New Phyrexia supply is somewhat limited.

All three of these cards are unlikely to ever really take off, but they’re great trade targets that you will do well on if you have in your binder in six months. The time to acquire these is now while they’re basically throw-ins in a trade.

Wurmcoil Engine

Hard growth followed by a plateau, this sits at about $13-14 dollars right now. The promo will keep this from going nuts, but SOM was a long time ago at this point. No reason this won’t be $20 in-season.

Staying Ahead

Remember, the time to care about Modern is not in the middle of the season. If we can catch these cards now, we’ll stand a much better chance of getting in at the ground floor of prices.

I realize a lot of the stuff I’ve talked about today has been mentioned before, either in my column or in other QS columns. And there’s a reason for that. These seemingly-sudden spikes like Splinter Twin don’t come out of nowhere. If you’re paying attention you’ll usually see these things coming.

And here’s to that.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

12 thoughts on “Insider: ‘Tis the Season…for Modern

    1. I like that as well, though Red is often cut out of “Jund” these days, so that makes it a bit narrower. That said, it’s played maindeck whereas Thrun isn’t always, and Huntmaster is in more numbers. It’s also printed a bit more, though probably not a ton considering AVR came right after.

  1. What do you think about Inkmoth Nexus? Its currently a 4 of in affinity, and while second set cards aren’t generally as lucrative as third set cards, affinity is the biggest percentage (according to MTGGoldfish at least) of the modern meta right now. Its probably not worth buying into, but it seems like a safe trade target right now.

    1. I really like Inkmoth, for the reasons you stated. It should be noted, though, that Affinity is cheaper to build so it makes up a larger percentage of MTGO, whereas that’s a little different in paper. But it’s a good trade target.

  2. Excellent article and I’m actively picking up most of your “going deeper” targets. The bigger problem I’m running into is that many people don’t carry a lot of the older stuff on them anymore (or worse…already traded it into a store).

  3. It’s important to note that when you talk about recent sets as “a long time ago” already, it’s not because so many years have passed since their printing (compared to say, legacy staples from Urza’s block), but that the number of people playing Magic has increased so much since the set was released, there’s much higher demand for these staples that had lower print runs.

    I hope this helps people understand why something with the modern card face is considered printed “a long time ago”.

    1. Correct, and thanks for clarifying. There’s also the fact that, alongside smaller print runs, since they’ve been several years now many are tucked away in boxes of people not actively playing, so they’re not really “on the market.”

  4. Much do you think Lily can grow? I’m looking for the card that’s going to make the 2x jump thoughtseize made last year.

    Lily is a hard 4x in Jund / Rock decks and even Gifts and other attrition based decks. It’s from a highly opened first set, but it is a mythic. Also has gradual demand from Legacy.

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