Unlike what I announced last week, I'm taking a break from my portfolio management series to write about the outcomes of PT Journey Into Nyx.
I want to discuss a little bit about what happened, and what did not happened, in terms of past and future speculations. We'll see if what I wrote three weeks ago in my article Speculating on Block Cards held true for this PT.
PT Journey Into Nyx
I heard and read several times before and during the event that this PT was going to be PT Elspeth.
For sure, Elspeth, Sun's Champion is a great midrange/control card, and every non-aggro deck playing white was playing several copies, if not a playset, of the white Planeswalker. Red/Green decks splashed white for Elpseth and Banishing Light. Not to mention that the final of this PT was a battle of Elspeths.
However, after an on site visit on Friday, and after watching some coverage videos--to me this was PT Courser/Caryatid.
In a vast majority of midrange decks, 4 Courser of Kruphix and 4 Sylvan Caryatid were the pillars. Whatever your preferences were among BUG, Junk, BWG Constellation or RG, the Courser and the Caryatid had to be in your deck.
Beyond that, Journey Into Nyx cards did not radically change the block format, as we had seen with the Innistrad and Return to Ravnica blocks. Rather, cards nicely mixed with existing archetypes and reinforced known control and aggro decks.
Mana Confluence and the other Scry lands allowed tricolor decks to be more stable. Banishing Light and Silence the Believers were added to the arsenal of removal. Launch the Fleet and Satyr Hoplite contributed to a more robust Heroic deck. Only the Constellation.decks were totally new.
In the end, of the 35 non-land cards in the Pat Chapin deck list, you'll find only five cards from Journey Into Nyx. In the BUG list from Josh Utter-Leyton, only four from Journey Into Nyx among the 36 non-land cards.
Nonetheless, for what I knew of the Theros block format on MTGO prior to Journey Into Nyx, several modifications occurred. The Reanimator deck was mostly unseen at the PT. RG Monstrous with a playset of Polukranos, World Eater got modified to incorporate Elspeth and Banishing Light, and the legendary Hydra got kicked out of the deck. Mono Black devotion also got adjusted to be more aggro, with cards such as Gnarled Scarhide and Master of the Feast. And probably others I forget.
My Targets During the PT
As I mentioned before, I really think that in terms of speculation the best play is to wait for more confirmation from the PT itself, or simply do nothing. Was it going to be the same story here?
The newer the set, the better for these kind of hype speculations, and the more mythic the better too. With such an omnipresence, my first and only purchase on Friday was ten Coursers. I was looking to acquire them at 7 tix or less, and I should have bought a playset or two more.
In the end, ten Courser of Kruphixs @ 6.55 tix/each.
Only after the result of the final did I decide to get some Elspeth, Sun's Champion and try to ride a very transient wave. I went for 17 copies of Elspeth at 16.95 tix/each. Elspeth was anticipated to be a major actor of this PT, and its price was already at its highest. It needed a strong finish to potentially be a profitable quick flip.
I sold these two positions on Monday night, and I would have done so whatever the price would have been. I sold the Coursers for 8.65 tix/each (+2.1 tix), and the Elspeths for 17.3 tix/each (+.35 tix). A minimal profit after 48h, but no risk taken.
Here are some examples of price evolution among the favorite cards of the PT. As anticipated, prices spiked over the weekend and dropped on Monday. And as you can see, many cards could have been potential targets and could have generated a few tix.
The Cards I Voluntarily Didn't Consider
Prognostic Sphinx got its share of hype, and if you were on it and acted quickly, you probably made a couple tix. I did not jump on the Sphinx for two reasons.
First, this card is a junk rare and even if the % fluctuation looks incredible, I may have made more tix with my Elspeth than with 50 copies of the Sphinx.
Secondly, the Sphinx is only a junk rare from the first set, Theros. Being a pure ,event-specific metagame choice, and having no implication outside of the Theros block, means that there's bazillion copies of Prognostic Sphinx out there. Pretty much impossible to properly make quick flips with this target.
Fleecemane Lion was a little bit like the Sphinx. Too little to gain here, and not much support from outside block. It probably remains a card to watch, however
Prophetic Flamespeaker. This cards got some attention before the PT and was anticipated to show some of its power in Atlanta. Despite couple of players running a red aggro deck containing four copies of the Flamspeaker, the red mythic from JOU didn't perform. For that kind of investment, I would need to see some results before committing.
The risk real and the reward minimal, Prophetic Flamespeaker was overestimated here. However, and with recent results in Modern and Legacy, and with a new lower price, the Flamespeaker could be a good target in the short/mid run. Still, nothing is sure for the next Standard, and even if this cards seems strong, I would be very cautious.
Eidolon of Blossoms got a similar trajectory as the Prophetic Flamespeaker. Even if the enchantment creature was part of the finalist's deck list, it didn't make as big of a finish as some would have expected. I still like the card and we can envision many scenarios where it could do well. Let's have its price settle down for couple more weeks.
The Opportunities I Missed
If the Courser was obvious to me, I should have considered Sylvan Caryatid as well. I didn't consider it because the wall doesn't see much play outside of Standard and I considered it as a low price tag card for me.
However, the Caryatid is not really a junk rare (its price was always around 0.5 tix) and it might as well have a great potential in the future. Its price doubled during the PT and I should have collected some tix in between. Depending on the future sets, Sylvan Caryatid could be the mana fixing of choice of many midrange/control decks of the future, in Standard and in Modern.
Kiora, the Crashing Wave, Brimaz, King of Oreskos, Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver, Silence the Believers and Mana Confluence. Based on my strategy on how to take advantage of PT results for quick flips, I should have picked up these five cards. To the exception of Brimaz, all of them got between a moderate to a very nice spike during the PT. These cards matched the criteria for quick flips over a PT weekend. A lack of time made me focused on only the targets I mentioned above.
All the cards mentioned here may have a shot in the next Standard, so keep an eye on them.
Lost in Translation
Some cards shined by their absence during this PT block and should, in my opinion, be considered seriously for fall Standard or Modern. They didn't fit the Theros block metagame and they might represent a good opportunity to get some copies while their prices are still "low".
- The Gods. Did you know that God cards were in Theros? Ten of them? Very few of them made the cut in PT Journey Into Nyx deck lists. I'm not at all an expert in Standard top decks, or top decks to be, but I'm sure some Gods might still be very relevant next Standard season, especially if we get some help from colored permanents in M15 or Khans of Tarkir to fuel the devotion. If the Gods from Theros may be easier to play, the Gods from Born of the Gods and Journey Into Nyx will especially be more likely to see bigger price changes.
- Talking about devotion, no deck really exploited this mechanism in block. Is it time to pick up some Master of Waves or Reverent Hunter? I want to know more about the next sets before making a move.
- Anger of the Gods. When so many decks include Courser of Kruphix and are midrange or control, this red mass removal becomes kind of useless. Aggro strategies were simply not good enough, and the Heroic decks can manage to dodge it. Still, this is a great sweeper that has already proven to be Modern playable. I believe that it is a great target for next year.
- Soldier of the Pantheon. Hard to imagine that one of the best 2/1 creature for one mana would not see play in the future. Multicolored creatures in Khans of Tarkir could make it stronger, and with potentially more humans and aggro strategies to come, the Soldier could be a key card of these decks.
- As mentioned above, Prophetic Flamespeaker didn't shine at this PT. Nonetheless, it remains a very powerful creature, especially with equipment. How to imagine a set whose symbol is two swords would not have couple of scimitars, sabers or swords in it?
- Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. This land can propel devotion deck to another level. Since devotion was not the flavor of the weekend a week ago, this land is currently quiet cheap for what it could offer. Being playable in Modern and Standard could make its price rises next fall. Definitely a card to keep an eye on.
- Thoughtseize was, unsurprisingly, in all decks playing black. Despite a strong presence, its price remains around 5 tix, which seems to be about its bottom. As we are approaching Modern season and Theros block will be less and less drafted, it may be time to pick up your copies of this multi-format all star.
For all these target, around M15 release events should be the best time period to pick up.
Next week, I'll resume my portfolio management series.
Thank you for reading,