Insider: The Next Level of Modern

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We’ve seen the breakout decks. Sigmund wrote a nice article on Monday breaking down the movement from the Pro Tour, and it’s pretty clear how to handle that movement at this point.

But what’s next?

Before I go any further, let’s talk about how awesome the Pro Tour was. Watching Modern on the “big screen” was really cool since it’s my favorite format. And while the decks that did well weren’t super exciting, I’m also not sure how representative of the format they really are.

After all, a room full of high-level pros is more likely to pick up a skill-testing deck like RWU than a room full of PTQ players, but even with the Top 8 as loaded as it was with one color combination, the field was really open. Even my pet deck, Merfolk, had three of its eight players go 6-3 or better. Not bad.

Earlier Picks

But we’ve seen the Pro Tour movement already, and I don’t need to recount it here. Instead, let’s figure out what’s coming next. First, I’ll start by briefly looking at the picks I made a week before the PT and see how they’ve done so far.

Geist of Saint Traft

Available for around $15 when I made the call, the cheapest Geists you’ll find now are now $20, and the mid price is up to $25. These are going to continue to trend upward to $30-35 in-season.

Snapcaster Mage

$21 TCGMid two weeks ago, it’s now up to $33 Mid and rising. I didn’t expect this to move so quickly, but $30-35 does seem like a real price from here on out.

Restoration Angel

$5-6 when I made the call, now climbing over $7. Going to be an easy $10 in-season.

Blinkmoth Nexus

Almost $8 when I made the call, now $10 and rising. My call of $12-15 in-season looks about right.

Cavern of Souls

$17 when I talked about it, over $20 now, and I expect this to settle at around $25 in-season.

The Next Wave

Those were the ones I was most confident in, and they moved as expected. So what’s next?

Well, we can learn a lot from the decklists that did 6-3 or better.

From that, we see that Razorverge Thicket had a great weekend, as did Blackcleave Cliffs. Given current prices, the obvious play is Thicket. Really, I like all the Scars lands, but these two are far above the rest right now.

Sulfur Falls

This may be just a fluke of this tournament, but it illustrates a good point: Innistrad lands are good and played a fair amount in Modern, especially this one. $5 now, and probably not a ton of upside, but worth grabbing for sure.

Thrun, the Last Troll

I’ve talked about him before, and my feelings have only solidified having seen the Top 8. Look at those RWU decks and tell me how they handle a Thrun.

Spoilers: They don’t. I know this guy costs a million mana in Modern, but the effect is undeniable. The RWU decks aren’t even playing Supreme Verdict anymore, which means you don’t need to leave up mana for regeneration, and Wrath of God is kind of a distant memory at this point.

In short, the format seems primed for Thrun to make an impact. And, look at it this way, as Doug pointed out in the forums, what is there to bring his price down? It’s an older mythic and the downside is really low.

Gavony Township

From a card with a ton of upside to one with considerably less. Township isn’t going to become a $10 card overnight, but it saw a ton of play at the Pro Tour and has proven itself to be the most powerful of the Innistrad utility lands. This will continue to move toward $5, so grab them for dollar-rare status while you can.

Kitchen Finks

This is another slow gainer, but it’s another solid bet. It saw a ton of play at the Pro Tour and likely isn’t being reprinted any time soon since it was just in Modern Masters. I expect this to continue to climb and likely push $6-8 in-season.


I know this isn’t really a “spec,” but honestly stuff like Path to Exile, Celestial Colonnade, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Primeval Titan, Aether Vial and the like will all continue to rise, even if they don’t draw the headlines.

One more thing, before I go…

Duel Decks

The contents of Jace vs. Vraska have been spoiled, and the biggest news is that Goremand is in it. That will bring the price down some but I don’t think it nukes it. It will probably fall from $17 to $10 or so and rebound to $12-13 in-season, based off previous cards in these decks.

The other news (outside of a few key reprints like Future Sight) is that neither Abrupt Decay nor Deathrite Shaman is in the decks.

Abrupt Decay is one that can actually see Modern play, so it’s a solid pickup, but Deathrite still has the downward pressure from the ban. The beautiful thing about both these Eternal staples is that neither sees a ton of play in Standard. That means rotation won’t decimate their prices. With that in mind, I like both as a pickup.


Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler


12 thoughts on “Insider: The Next Level of Modern

  1. Excellent points and I think most of our writers were in agreement on the “earlier” picks list. I personally don’t see as much upside to Inkmoth Nexus and I really like Stirring Wildwood as the next “manland of choice” for modern…a 3/4 with reach for only 3 mana can serve as a great defense against Faeries/ R/W/U control (vendlilion cliques and can block restoration angel all day) and all the x/3’s in Zoo…

    1. Not to say that Stirring Wildwood is not good, but I don’t think these arguments are very strong. Faeries is not really a deck and UWR mostly wins with Colonnade. If they are in a position to attack with Restoration Angel they are typically already ahead.

      Another consideration is that GW typically does not want ETB tapped lands. Looking at the decks with positive records from Valencia, there is exactly 1 copy of Stirring Wildwood.

  2. Hey Corbin, great read. I know how big a fan of Merfolk you are so I can guess your answer, but I wondered your thoughts on Vial. It’s currently sitting at an all-time high of a penny under $20 and fish didn’t exactly show well at the PT. Since it has a higher supply due to an original printing at uncommon, would you still lump it in with other staples as a hold? Or are we nearing a good sell point? I doubt I’d sell before Modern season, but how much higher can it go? Worth the wait?

    1. I really liked Vial a month or two back, when it was $15. I see it going to $25 and maybe $30, so buying in at $20 isn’t the best. But it’s not going down either.

      So 3 of the 8 Merfolk decks went 6-4 or better, which I’m not sure how to take. It does show that it’s still viable, even if it’s not as high up there as we’d like to see.

  3. The “top modern decks” only had to achieve a positive record of 6-4 to make it onto the list, not 6-3. I wish that they had limited it to either 7-3 or 8-2 or better, or at least included the deck’s record. IMO it makes the data less useful for determining what was successful but it does give more information for the spread of which cards are being played where.

  4. Most of the picks in your article have already gone up. Everyone upped their price on Abrupt Decay as soon as the Jace vs Vraska list came out. Sulfur Falls and Razorverge thicket have already gone up. It seems almost everything has gone up a rediculous amount already. There are a handful of staples that haven’t though, presumeably because there are still a lot of copies out there. Spell Snare and kitchen Finks are both seing a lot of play and haven’t gone up yet. There are a lot out there due to modern masters. I don’t feel as sure of them going up as I did of some of the earlier clear calls, but it seems like one of the few specs available. Otherwise, there are some riskier targets out there. Shakles and Engineered Explosives haven’t gone up yet, but they don’t see much play and were reprinted in MM. Maybe it’s time to switch over to Theros pickups.

      1. Thicket is 4.85 on TCG mid. I got into about 30 of them a few months ago for 2.50 – 3 each. Batterskull is already 25 on SCG compared to the 15 it was at a few months ago. There might be a few cards hiding from the spike, but for the most part Dec and earlier was the time to buy in.

  5. Just hoard charms. Azorius and izzet. One is modern’s tempo king, the other will continue to shine in legacy, while it takes root in mtg’s new darling. Foil izzet charms are too cheap.

    There is always something cheap. Shocks might not appreciate but selling them is easy. I like liquidity that doesnt require moving though a dealer. Phantasmal image remains cheap, it will get better as formats get stronger… see true name.

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