Insider: Pro Tour Magic 2015 Postmortem

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Who ever knew sheep could go so far?

Ivan Floch did, and Nyx-Fleece Ram and Archangel of Thune took him all the way to the Pro Tour title. Not the combo you’d expect to win the whole thing, but it certainly worked.

Of course, the real question is, will it continue to work? And, if so, what are the financial ramifications?

With next year’s Pro Tours all going to Standard, more than ever we need to care about the format as it will be receiving more press than Modern (outside of Modern Masters 2, which I’ll get to in a bit).

Anyway, we had rams and more from the Pro Tour, and today I want to break down what this means for us as we move out of the summer doldrums and into pre-rotation hype.

The Top 8

  • 1 White-Blue Planar Cleansing Control
  • 1 Green-White Aggro
  • 2 Jund Planeswalkers
  • 2 Black-White
  • 1 Brave the Elements Naya
  • 1 Boros Burn

So I guess the witch that was Mono-Black Devotion is dead? Maybe so, but while Grey Merchant may have left us, the true terrors of Pack Rat, Desecration Demon, Lifebane Zombie and Thoughtseize have not.

Of course, most of those rotate in a few short months. Until then we’ll have to suffer through it. While I would usually look at the top decks and figure out what rotates, in this case it’s easier to figure out what they actually keep, and make decisions from based on what we know from Block event Pro Tour Atlanta a few months ago.


There was an error retrieving a chart for Sphinx's Revelation

Keeps Divination, Dissolve and Last Breath, along with lands. Basically, this deck doesn’t exist after rotation, as even the “win-con” of Elixir of Immortality goes.


There was an error retrieving a chart for Voice of Resurgence

Lots of key pieces including Voice of Resurgence and Ajani, Caller of the Pride leave, but there are some powerful ones left moving into next season. Namely, the core of Sunblade Elf, Soldier of the Pantheon, Fleecemane Lion, Boon Satyr and Banishing Light are enough pieces to conceivably rebuild from the ground up.

Of these, it may oddly be an uncommon with the most upside. I always said Banishing Light would be at least $2, and it’s currently sitting a little above that. Realistically the best window was when I talked about grabbing these at the Journey into Nyx prerelease, but honestly trading for them at $1.50-2 doesn’t seem like the worst idea.

They certainly won’t come down until the inevitable reprint, and if that reprint isn’t in Khans they will have a nice little upside given how desirable they are.

Of the rares, I like Solider and Satyr the most, given that they sit lower than Lion, are currently available under a dollar and conceivably fit into more decks than a straight Green-White card does. Even if these go to just $3 and hit $2 on a buylist you’re looking at an easy double-up, and if they fail to pan out your risk was low in the first place.

Jund Planeswalkers

Let’s use Yuuki Ichikawa’s list for reference. The planeswalkers in question? Xenagos, the Reveler. Nissa, Worldwaker. Chandra, Pyromaster. Vraska the Unseen.

Notice a common trend? They’re nearly all legal next season. Of the 11 planeswalkers he played, only the singleton Vraska rotates.

So let’s look at the rest of the deck. Rotating from the maindeck: Mizzium Mortars, Dreadbore, Rakdos's Return, the typical removal suite from Ravnica, and Mutavault.

In other words, 12 cards and some land. Given that it’s premium removal it’s losing but more removal always seems to be around (especially after the threats are less universally potent after rotation), and that with the new wedges the mana seems fixable to go with Sylvan Caryatid, there’s a lot to like here.

Specifically, I like Xenagos at $7, where it has bottomed out. This was also a huge player at the Block Pro Tour, and could easily see the “Jace spike” to $15-20 next season. There’s also a lot to like about Chandra at the $5 its headed toward. Sure, she may not be a huge Modern player anymore, but she’s the best Chandra ever printed and is from a core set. Solid chance to hit $10. After all, Ajani, Caller of the Pride did so for a time in his second printing last season, so there’s a precedent.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Courser of Kruphix

The usual suspects of Courser of Kruphix and Sylvan Caryatid are also present, and while Caryatid is at an all-time high of $7 and likely doesn’t have much upside, there’s also little reason to think it won’t still be heavily played as we just went another set without a four-mana Wrath.

Similarly, Courser (and the Block deck with Prognostic Sphinx) benefit from there being no Wrath. Courser is trending downward thanks to a reprint after hitting $18, but I wouldn’t be incredibly surprised to see a double-bounce here. If it comes down to $7-8 and nothing from Khans gives us reason to think it will fall out of favor (A Wrath, mainly, as this is insane with the Caryatid/Sphinx engine), then I become interested in again picking it up in anticipation of it going back to $15.


There was an error retrieving a chart for Elspeth, Sun's Champion

Dies for the most part, but you can be guaranteed that Thoughtseize and Elspeth, Sun's Champion are showing back up next season.

Obviously Thoughtseize fits into the Mono-Black decks that also feature juicy targets like Herald of Torment, but it will also fit into just about everything else, too. I know it’s far from cheap at $15, but it’s one of those cards people aren’t going to want to come off of because they know how good it is in Eternal play, so I don’t think we’re going to see a much lower price without a reprint in a supplementary product.

Elspeth is $20 and will likely fluctuate between $15-25 next season, because it’s still the premier finisher. I don’t see a ton of opportunity, but you can feel reasonably confident at the current price if you need a playset to compete with.

Brave Naya

Dies outside of Solider and Lion. More points for those two cards, but nothing especially compelling.


Probably dead? Eight of the nine creatures rotate, as do many of the best burn spells, including Boros Charm. The sideboard may offer a glimpse of the future with more Chandra, Eidolon of the Great Revel (a card I like at current prices thanks to Eternal applications), as well as Firedrinker Satyr. I wouldn’t exactly go in on any of these, but it shows us another home for Chandra.

Rabblemaster Red

The breakout deck that didn’t Top 8. We watched Goblin Rabblemaster go from 75 cents to 3-4 dollars. The deck actually loses a fair amount at rotation and is a metagame call depending on the amount of sweepers. I think if you got in on Rabblemasters cheap you get out now, and in all likelihood don’t get back in unless we see something from Khans that plays nicely with the deck concept or the Rabblemaster himself.

Looking Ahead

A more diverse Top 8 than we expected. Jund seems like the deck best-positioned to stay relevant moving forward into next season, but there are powerful Theros cards littered across the field that will remain heard.

One more thing before I go: Modern Masters 2.

You may have seen Danny’s post earlier in the week about this; there are three Limited events planned next summer on the same weekend, and none have cities determined yet. I’ve always called Modern Masters 2 for Summer 2015, and these dates line up perfectly with a worldwide Modern Masters event extravaganza. I would be extremely surprised if that’s not what we saw.

That means even more that, unlike a lot of times, Standard is where we want to focus our efforts right now. With rotation offering some great chances at games, it becomes even more difficult to hold onto a lot of Modern stock. With every week and every new announcement that goes by I’m more glad than ever I made the decision to lower my Modern holdings and advocated for others to do the same back at the beginning of the summer. It allows me to be extremely excited for next summer without worrying about what I need to get rid of.

The world of Magic finance is constantly changing, and even more so it seems this year. The last few months have been a little slow, as is usually the case in the summer, but it really looks like we’re gearing up for some busy months ahead of us.


Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

3 thoughts on “Insider: Pro Tour Magic 2015 Postmortem

  1. I don’t think a Wrath being in the format has any impact on Courser’s price, since it’s already heavily played in Standard with</em a Wrath in the format. The only reason it took a dip in price is due to the Clash pack copies, and I fully expect it to rebound in the fall, irregardless of Prognostic Sphinx being good or not.

    1. It’s more a question of decks that survive. The BUG deck that relied on Sphinx at the top end existed only because of the no-Wrath thing, and Courser was insane in that deck. But if we get a wrath maybe that deck isn’t good or the meta shifts away from a place where Courser/that deck isn’t good, similar to what happened with Reckoner. For the most part I agree with you, but I think there’s something to be learned by going deeper into the discussion.

      On one hand, if we have no wrath you have a ready-made deck with Courser everyone will play. If there is a Wrath, suddenly it’s a much more-open metagame where people can’t just insta-jam that deck. It’s worth being aware of.

  2. BUG might still be able to survive with stuff like Kiora, Hero’s Downfall, Ashiok, Nissa, Liliana Vess, Drown in Sorrow, and counters and other spot removal though. Similarly, Bant could also be a thing although it prob needs another shot in the arm in terms of removal and/or card draw. Either of these would naturally play Courser as a 4-of. Not to mention, Jund walkers and G/R/(x) monsters retain most of their pieces and Courser is a 4-of in those lists as well.

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