Welcome back -
Last week, I talked at length about what to expect from the Pro Tour. Now that it's come and gone, how close did we come? More importantly - let's take a look at what the ripples will be. Magic: The Financing is not just about reacting before anyone else has the information. The positioning of all your pieces on the board with the right angles of attack and retreat are even more important than acting quickly before anyone else. Time is something that is more on your side than not.
1) Jund still made an impact
Following the trend of Modern having the best cards available - Jund was still one of the top representations at PT BNG. The deck tech Willy Edel did showed where Modern Jund is heading, and how it's adapting to the change in formats. Reid Duke also adapted Phyrexian Obliterator to a B/G shell to great effect. While I believe Jund is not where it wants to be just yet, now Jund knows what to prepare for. Jund is not an aggro deck, as many feel it straddles the Aggro/Control line. Jund is a pure control deck. Blue-based control typically can just respond with counterspells. Jund, however, has to make sure it has the correct threat/reaction ratio to be able to handle whatever is thrown it's way. Jund components are still a hold in my opinion moving forward, with the most important ripple being Anger of the Gods. As Brian Kibler pointed out - this PT was all about who knew about Anger of the Gods and who didn't.
2) UWR represented 10% of the field
Snapcaster + __________ has become one of the most powerful things you can do in this format. After the recent news of UWR success, I was seeing a bevy of trades during SCG St. Louis of Snapcaster Mages coming and going. Snapcaster has once again returned to form, renewing everyone's hopes pre-Deathrite Shaman's printing. Before the banning, I felt the clear position on Snapcaster Mage was to sell. Now, I'm backpedaling. This upcoming Modern season should probably be renamed "Pro Tour Snapcaster Qualifier." It's going to be the pillar of this upcoming format, and probably the next target on WotC's radar. We'll see how far they decide to go with it.
3) Scapeshift placed 4 players in contention
Out of the 14 players that played it, Scapeshift placed 4 of them in the top performers category. That's a decent representation, and moving forward there might be some niche speculation targets. Steam Vents still seems to be the land that this whole format revolves around. Scapeshift itself has been on seen a slight 25% increase in price since placing well at the Tour. Other hits like Cryptic Command, Snapcaster Mage, and Misty Rainforest will continue to see the spoils of high demand. This deck will present an alternative for Twin or UWR decks if they feel the need to attack the metagame from a different angle.
As I mentioned, Brian Kibler labeled this Pro Tour as the "Ones in the know, or not." In my personal testing, I had been moving away from Liliana of the Veil and replacing her with Anger of the Gods as the sweeper is just pulling it's weight in pure gold at the moment. I'm curious to see why this card was printed with the text it has. Something tells me there is less impact on Standard for that extra "Remove From Game" wording than for other formats, but if it does manage to affect Standard, I feel extrapolating a price of $7-$9 on Anger is not unreasonable. When the card was first released it garnered that type of price tag shortly, and with renewed demand that could easily happen again.
Zoo itself performed well, too. Representing over 16% of the field. It ran into the interesting problem of being the Paper to many Scissors. Once again though, it came down to who planned for Anger of the Gods or not. It appears that with the high amount of representation, most of the Zoo decks fed on themselves sometime in the mid rounds, which later hurt the deck's final standing. I still believe this will be many players' go-to archetype of choice moving forward with some adjustments. There also might be an additional move to include more Snapcaster Mages, possibly driving that price even more.
5) Pod came within (1) game of winning the Pro Tour
I came very close in calling this, but the widespread adoption of Anger of the Gods seemed to put this as a longer shot than I originally anticipated. Still, being represented in the finals of the biggest stage is exactly what Jacob Wilson was envisioning when he chose it. It appears that the list itself hasn't changed much, and while the breakout of Voice of Resurgence is still waiting, Birthing Pod itself is still a potential format mover. While this card still hasn't cracked over $10 - it will soon. I envision Birthing Pod hitting the $20 range before the end of the season. This is the format defining card, along with Snapcaster Mage. This is what I'm beginning to classify as a "slow burn" card. Why this is still under the radar, as far as players and traders looking for it, is still unknown to me. That's the only key that I think is holding this back. Stores are reacting slowly to an uptick in price for this which makes me believe that the widespread belief still holds that Scars Block is widely available. Soon enough, this will change dramatically.
6) The Dark Horse
Bogles hit a home run in this Pro Tour in my opinion. While easily able to race the mass appearance of Combo decks, dodge the removal of the Control decks, and go bigger than the Aggressive decks - the only thing left to do was win the tournament. On this, it fell just short. Bogles still has the issue of being a horribly bad deck in terms of mulligans. When it hits - it hits for contact and power. But if it doesn't, it can be depressing.......
Poison also enjoyed a little bit of the spotlight, Affinity reminded us why manlands can still carry a deck, and Faeries let us know that the price correction for Bitterblossom will be coming soon.
Blood Moon, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, Pyromancer Ascension, and Past in Flames are the financial winners of this tournament. All except Teferi feel like the real long term winners as the Blue Moon deck itself just feels like UWR without the weakness to Blood Moon itself. As far as overall results though, if you've been following along - it was pretty much what you should have been expecting.
The next step is to figure out what the reaction is going to be. Now that the format knows just how scary Blood Moon can be, what's the next reaction? More basic lands? More ways to "answer it"? Rely more on Red? This weakness though has been truly exposed and the market will adjust, in time. In the meantime, there's still the feeling that "I'll just dodge Blood Moon." Except for just "play more basics" there are ways for these three color decks to truly not blink when their opponent casts it. Abrupt Decay, more Mana Leaks, Deglamer, Seal of Primordium, and other solutions could potentially be a target. But as most already have Decay in their portfolios, there does not "feel" like a good target to follow up with.
-Till Next Time