Unless you spent last weekend under a rock, you saw and heard significant buzz around Pro Tour Valencia. The recent B&R changes made this Modern event even more anticipatory. And with speculation at its most rampant, excessive hype and card buyouts were a sure thing.
Now that the event is in the books (well, I’m writing this while the semifinals are taking place) we can take a step back and identify which price spikes are here to stay and which are likely to fall right back down again.
It will depend heavily on the popularity of the decks in question as well as their respective success rates. Both factors are key, and a card may sustain a price increase by satisfying one factor and not the other.
This week I’ll take a first look at what cards moved most last weekend. I will attempt to project where these prices will settle in the short term as well as how they may move heading into Modern PTQ season.
Pyromancer Ascension +267%
In hindsight, storm decks gained in strength significantly with the banning of Deathrite Shaman in Modern. Both Pyromancer Ascension and Past in Flames rely heavily on graveyard interactions. It is obvious how much better these cards become when their caster doesn’t have to deal with constant turn one Deathrite Shamans all day.
Even before Deathrite was printed I remember seeing Pyromancer Ascension decks on occasion. At $2 a copy, this card was a winner most of us overlooked.
Guess who didn’t overlook Storm in Modern: Chris Fennel. He made Top 8 running a sweet storm deck with the full set of Pyromancer Ascension and three Past in Flames. With this success and with the popularity of Storm in general, I anticipate this strategy will stick around come Modern season.
Of course, decks will be running graveyard hate in force throughout the PTQ’s ahead so this deck will be kept in check. But value-wise, I expect this jump in Pyromancer Ascension to stick. In the short term the price target is right where it’s at plus/minus a buck, with likelihood of approaching $10 during PTQ season.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir +238%
This casual favorite could not be more the opposite of Pyromancer Ascension. Teferi didn’t show up as a four-of in a Top 8 deck. Instead he received a ton of hype for being a one-of sideboard plan. On the plus side, the deck in question was the “Blue Moon” deck, which received a ton of hype and discussion. With the Top 8 finish, I would even say the buzz was deserving.
But Teferi? That’s what people buy out, honestly? After spiking to $30 on Saturday this card has already begun its decline. I listed a single copy on eBay to try and take advantage of this spike--no luck. My list price is down to $21.89 and still no takers. This card’s price will retract quickly and drastically. Granted, it’ll end up over $10, but I don’t expect TCG Mid to be over $20 by the summer.
Want a better play for the Blue Moon deck? How about the deck’s namesake, Blood Moon, which is a four-of in the deck! This card has been printed a ton, but it’s already moved up significantly and unlike Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir this price jump will stick. My advice: sell/trade away your Teferis immediately.
Amulet of Vigor +212%
Anybody else sensing déjà vu with this buyout? Amulet of Vigor received a ton of hype a while back because of a tournament appearance, only to fall flat shortly thereafter. The story here is similar--significant buzz around this deck, followed by almost no mention come Sunday coverage.
But there is one key difference this time--the Amulet of Vigor, piloted by Matthias Hunt, did actually do fairly well during the Modern rounds. After all, the deck does show up as one with at least 18 points during the Modern rounds of the Pro Tour. The deck also looks like a ton of fun to play, and new players may flock to it due to the relatively low cost of entry (count ‘em: zero fetches and zero shocks).
My conclusion: this card overshot itself quite a bit by hitting $8 on TCG Player. This morning it’s already back down closer to $6, and the drop isn’t over yet. I expect this one to end up in the $4-$5 range for the short term.
But the long term will depend heavily on how well the deck does come this PTQ season. Being the wild card it is, there’s no way I can recommend anything other than selling into the hype here if you haven’t already. As for the 12 copies I purchased from ABU Games at $2.49 each, I plan on listing them eBay the evening they arrive in the mail in the hopes of making about a buck a copy after fees. That should indicate my confidence in their longevity.
Past In Flames + 167%
See: Pyromancer Ascension. My attitudes towards this one are the same: not coming back down.
Hive Mind + 118%
How was this card worth only $0.75? It had already proven its worth in Legacy combining with various Pacts and even Show and Tell to enable earlier wins. I am thrilled someone found a way to make the card also work in Modern. Now that Magic 2010 is a few years old, I can certainly see this card maintaining the higher price tag.
Once again, this card made its Modern debut in Matthias Hunt’s Amulet of Vigor deck. That is to say, the card likely received a ton of hype on Friday and Saturday only to have been a memory on Sunday. Nevertheless Hive Mind is a powerful spell and I suspect it will continue to be combined with Pacts to steal some victories in some form or another.
Now that the price has jumped to $3 I cannot advocate buying. I need more data before making such a call. But if you think you’ll be able to find these under $1 again (except maybe at LGS’s behind in their pricing) you may be disappointed.
Walk the Aeons + 113%
Wait a second, is this really a Modern card? Well sort of. It seems a player on MTGO has been streaming a deck with this card to some success lately. It certainly didn’t get notice from the Pro Tour.
I know some players have been brewing with this sorcery for a while now, and the EDH crowd loves their Time Walks. This is a price jump that may retract slightly in the short term but will likely stick due to casual demand.
Those were the top non-token price jumps of last week. But there were many other noteworthy moves. Blood Moon is taking off as I mentioned before.
Azusa, Lost but Seeking was another mainstay of Matthias’ popular Modern deck. Her EDH popularity already hoisted her price tag up there but Modern playability only raises the ceiling further. I liked her under $20 but I can’t get behind a buy at any higher number.
Other movers include Tolaria West, Angel's Grace, Lotus Bloom, Primeval Titan and Geist of Saint Traft. Splinter Twin and Snapcaster Mage seem especially well-positioned heading into Modern season, based on their rampant success at the Pro Tour.
You know what didn’t show up in most discussion threads? Faeries, Bitterblossom, Jund, Dark Confidant, Wild Nacatl. Interesting. It seems the most impactful B&R change Wizards made was the banning of Deathrite Shaman. Unbanning Bitterblossom and Wild Nacatl may have driven an initial price spikes. But their absence from Pro Tour Valencia discussion will lead to price retraction.
Overall I say Wizards made the right call with these Modern B&R changes. The format remains diverse and exciting to watch. There’s room to innovate and impact the metagame. I’m excited to see how the Modern format evolves from here.
In the meantime, I will gladly do the majority of my speculating and profiting in the Modern space due to the price swings, lower card availability and increasing popularity.
- Walk the Aeons has been on a steady incline for a week or two now, but Star City Games has been reluctant to increase their price. I bought their last five copies at $1.49 and although they’re now “sold out” they haven’t upped that price tag yet. If you have a shop that prices off Star City Games I highly recommend buying as many of these at $1.49 as you can.
- Affinity made Top 8 at the Pro Tour despite Wild Nacatl’s unbanning. It seems Affinity may still be the aggro deck of choice. That bodes well for Inkmoth Nexus, which has been steadily rising over the past couple months. SCG only has five copies in stock--of any language. Expect a bump from $9.99 to $11.99 in the next week or two.
- Birthing Pod continues to be a cornerstone of the Modern metagame. Retail prices are up to $9.99 on the powerful artifact. Foils are now triple their nonfoil counterparts, retailing for $29.99. This could be an indication that Modern is finally meriting a higher foil multiplier. Either that or the nonfoil version is due for a price bump!