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Insider: [MTGO] Preparing for the Next Month – Pro Tour, Modern MOCS and Fate Reforged

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B&R list changes are always crazy. Even when nothing happens, the hype around potential Modern unbanned cards is always interesting. Bloodbraid Elf and, more subtly, Ancestral Vision may have made some speculators a few dozens of spare Tix, if you were wise enough to sell before the official announcement. Last week, two bans and one unban were more than enough to set three quarters of Modern staples on fire. With an imminent Modern Pro Tour and a Modern MOCS season online there won't be long to wait to reap the benefits of these changes in the Modern format.

In addition to these events, Fate Reforged will be released this week on MTGO. The paper version of the second set of Khans of Tarkir block is already out and we should have a better idea now of what's real and what's not in terms of speculation.

February will be an active month for speculators, with both buying and selling opportunities in perspective. Let's see how things should pan out in regards to your MTGO investments.

Modern Times

I hope you were accumulating Modern positions before the groundbreaking announcement of the past week, or that you made some investments suggested in our new MTGO Market Reports. It's not a secret that Modern prices are cyclical and that pretty much every card eventually goes up or down. The newly banned and unbanned cards simply made most of the cards of the format go up all at once and in dramatic proportions. For speculators this is nothing less than another Christmas gift, in January.

Modern Masters prices were expected to rebound but certainly not as fast as that. Below is the Modern Masters set price and the biggest winners of the past week. Every single card that was playable in a non-Pod non-Delver decks has gone up by anything from 30% to 150%. This is an unprecedented spike all across Modern and a blessing for investors.

The inflation of Golgari Grave-Troll and dredge-related cards such as Vengevine, Gravecrawler, Bloodghast and Bridge from Below are the least likely to sustain in my opinion. Although the potential decks gravitating around the troll may have a shot, DredgeVine decks only saw fringe appearances in Modern before Khans of Tarkir. Anti-graveyard cards, reinforced by Anafenza, the Foremost, are still a big hurdle for heavy graveyard-based strategies.


All the other Modern winners of the week are, however, previous or current Modern staples. Without the pressure of Treasure Cruise and Pod decks, for the first time in Modern history, the format seems more open than ever before and all cards have a chance to rise even more during and after the Pro Tour.

With the gains of the past week, several Modern staples have already recovered to a level close to their all-time high. Splinter Twin, the next designated card-to-beat, is currently over 16 Tix, for a record high of 18.6 Tix. The Jund crew, Liliana of the Veil, Tarmogoyf and Dark Confidant, have regained their past glory in less than a week and are also very close to their individual record.

Robots, Tron, Living End and UWR decks are also expected to show up next. How open is Modern now? Look at the result of the SCG Modern Premier IQ--10 different decks in the top 11!

The million dollar question is which of these will sustain or increase their price in the next Modern environment. A corollary is which overinflated positions you should sell before they collapse.

Modern Pro Tour Fate Reforged

A strong answer to the million dollar question should be delivered in less than two weeks during Pro Tour Fate Reforged. If I'm inclined to sell my Vengevines now, I'll be holding everything else until the Pro Tour. Some cards may drop a little bit if some speculators cash out after the B&R list announcement but I see more upside after the PT results for many cards. With the opinion of the pros on the remodeled Modern established, players may then be inclined to commit to some decks, and popular cards will rise again as high as the previous prices were.

As usual, anything that goes on camera is expected to rise. Hopefully, with a format that needs to be solved again we should see a lot of different decks, and so many opportunities to give another boost to your Modern positions. As usual too, selling into the hype is always a good move, especially if cards are breaking their previous record high. If you do so, it would certainly represent a very nice profit.

A valuable stat to look for during this weekend is the state of metagame. How varied is the format? What are the most represented decks? Is the format aggro, combo or midrange? And what deck(s) showed disappointing results? These data might tell you more than just the Top 8 decks or the PT winner's deck.

Typically, at the end of this weekend I would be tempted to sell cards with a strong finish and with prices above their previous record high. I would also be selling disappointing cards. For any position in between, from fairly represented decks but without strong finishes for instance, I would keep them because of what happens next on MTGO--a MOCS season in Modern.

Magic Online Championship Series

From January 28 to February 25 the format of the MOCS season is Modern. This should create a continuous demand to sustain Modern prices for some time after the Pro Tour. During this month, and because the online Modern metagame is always a little bit different from what exists in paper Mtg, different decks may have their time to shine.

Aggro decks are usually slightly more popular on MTGO. Decks such as Burn, B/W Tokens and Bogles may be virtually unseen during Pro Tour Fate Reforged and could see more appearances during Daily Events and MOCS events.

I'll be looking to sell marginal Modern cards I bought couple of months ago that don't usually shine during Pro Tours. I'm thinking about cards such as Phantasmal Image, Magus of the Moon, Pillar of the Paruns, Coralhelm Commander or Vesuva.

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February, a Tipping Point in Modern

Whether I'm profitable or not I plan on selling the vast majority of my Modern positions this coming month. The bomb that the B&R list announcement was, followed by a Modern Pro Tour and a Modern MOCS season, is the best combination of events you can dream of to drive Modern prices high. After February the interest in Modern is likely to fade away, especially for cards not favored by the new Modern environment.

By then, cards reprinted in MMA2015 are going to be spoiled little by little. At the moment, and with the exception of excluded sets, all cards are potential reprints. With MMA2015 looming over most of my Modern positions and after a great opportunity to sell Modern cards I would rather sell all I have now.

Standard and Fate Reforged Release

Since January the Standard format has lost a little bit of its interest on MTGO, represented by a drop of 10% of the Standard Total Format Price as seen on Mtggoldfish.

Almost all Standard staples have lost some or a lot of value. The release of Fate Reforged will be the opportunity for players to explore this format anew.

Looking for Changes in Standard

This weekend was the first SCG Standard Tournament with Fate Reforged. Since the new set of the Khans of Tarkir block is not here yet on MTGO we can only focus on the other Standard sets for speculative purposes.

As mentioned above, pretty much all of the Standard staples have dropped a bit in the past few weeks. Even if Fate Reforged brings new decks to the front, the metagame is not going to be fundamentally changed. Most of the previous good decks, and good cards, will remain good and might be worth speculating on.

To name a few, Elspeth, Sun's Champion is down by 2-3 tix, Chandra, Pyromaster is also down by 3-4 Tix, Temple of Malady is down from 20 Tix to 15 Tix, after flirting with 20 Tix in December Goblin Rabblemaster is now under 14 Tix, and Doomwake Giant lost almost 70% of its value in less than a month.

All the previous known archetypes were represented this weekend at the SCG Standard Open--Abzan midrange and aggro, Sultai control and reanimator, red and red-white aggro, Jeskai Tokens, W/U or W/R Heroic, etc... constellation and devotion strategies are also in the mix. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon has already been adopted as a finisher of choice. Frontier Siege ramped many decks this weekend and Monastery Mentor and Soulfire Grand Master found a home in Jeskai Tokens. More details can be found in the Day 2 Metagame Breakdown.

Temur Ascendancy combo deck finished 11th and made the price of this ascendancy jumped through the roof this weekend. Is it here to stay? Time will tell, but speculating on the most recent Standard set is not an easy thing.

Doomwake Giant may be an excellent target at the moment. Its price is very low now compared to its last month's peak and several SCG pros built a G/B Constellation deck and posted decent results with it. Sultai control decks included Kiora, the Crashing Wave, which could also represent a good opportunity at its current price.


This probably won't see play in competitive decks, but with Dark Deal in Fate Reforged Waste Not has bumped up by almost a Tix. The combo is sweet and really efficient if put together. However it needs to perform in tournaments to sustain or to keep increasing Waste Not's price. Travis Woo already mentioned this interaction, so we might soon have a Modern, or a Standard, brew.

In the same "probably not competitive category", Renowned Weaponsmith made Scuttling Doom Engine and Soul of New Phyrexia increase a little bit. You may want to enjoy the bump to sell your copies of the two artifacts.


For now it is probably worth checking the current price of all Standard staples. Those with a big drop in price could constitute great buying opportunities. As for new cards to spec on we should know more about it in the coming days with more paper tournaments and more MTGO Standard data when Fate Reforged hits.

Fate Reforged

The Fate Reforged prerelease events hit MTGO this coming weekend. This may create a little drop in price across all the Standard format. If you were thinking about potential specs nobody has thought about it will be your best time to acquire them.

Similarly to the release of a new set on MTGO, the advice is invariably the same--don't touch any card from this set during the first weeks. It is usually safer to invest in other Standard sets than in the one currently released. As the supply rapidly increases the prices rapidly decrease. In the first weeks, if you try to speculate on Fate Reforged cards because of tournament results, aiming for quick flips should be way to go.

 

February is going to be a very busy month for speculators and I anticipate to sell a lot this month, of Modern particularly. The next six months will also be busy times. We'll have no less than three large sets released in four months--Dragons of Tarkir, Modern Masters 2015 and M16. Three majors opportunities to speculate. We'll have time to focus on these later on.

 

Thank you for reading,

Sylvain Lehoux

6 thoughts on “Insider: [MTGO] Preparing for the Next Month – Pro Tour, Modern MOCS and Fate Reforged

  1. just became an insider and really appreciated this article. due to a change in my circumstance I am transitioning to mtgo to play magic now and I am looking to get into modern as that is my favourite format however, I think I will wait until march now due to your advice and modern staples being so high right now. thanks! just wish it didn’t feel so far away!

    1. I would indeed wait a few months, maybe even wait after modern masters is being drafted, because there were certainly be cards that are interesting for you.

      You can take the time to decide what deck you want to play and if you are not used to MTGO, try to know the client, learn the tips and tricks. It’s really important if you don’t want to lose games because of client crashes, bugs, time outs, accidently pressing F6, not selecting the right times to demand priority,…;

    2. As Brecht Van R suggested, from a speculative point of view, and talking about all Modern cards in average, the best is to wait until MMA2015 release events. By then, I would expect most of the Modern cards to be fairly lower than now.

      All reprints should lose a big chunk their current value and the Pro Tour/MOCS feel will have passed.

  2. Do you think it’s now too late to invest in Modern?

    I have the feeling it is, and I’m glad with a small set of cards I invested in, but this article indicates that there is still some time to invest in modern. Is that right?

    1. Most of the best opportunities have passed with the B&R list announcement.

      If you have followed the two first MTGO Market Reports you have hopefully bought some god Modern positions. We’ll discuss the few remaining “good deals” in the MTGO market report tomorrow. But there’s less and less.

      Although the upside may not be that great I like Grim Lavamancer at 2 Tix. In the same idea Sower of Temptation is now slightly under 4 Tix and on the rise. I’m not sure about the relevance of this faerie in Modern but it previous record in September was 8 tix. I bought several playset of Sower ~3.2 Tix expecting something around 5-6.

      Then there are few “why not?” bets that can be done. Bitterblossom? Chord of Calling? Sulfur Falls? These could yield some profit but also have chances of not being played at all.

  3. Great article. Concise and well-thought out information.

    For the comments section:
    As to whether there are still modern opportunities. Look to Modern Masters 1. There are quite a few 1-7 ticket cards that are still hovering near their low, but are bound to be used in modern. Even if the cards are used in fringe decks, you’d be surprised how many modern players like to play fun quirky decks over tier 1 proven decks. Never mind that the field is somewhat wide open for the formation of a new meta after the bannings.

    I personally don’t believe that any Modern Masters cards will be reprinted in MM2015 (with the outside possibility of Tarmo returning). If I’m right, this means that demand for the staples found in this set will be in high demand with renewed interest in modern, Feb-Jun with protour Fate, Mocs, mm2015 release.

    The downside to MM investing on mtgo is that Wizards can call up flashback drafts whenever they choose and MM is a popular one. They might even decide to do combined events with MM and MM2015 online in May. So keep this in mind, and keep your eyes and ears open for announcements that will affect your positions.

    I like these at their current goatbot prices. And I have positions in all.

    Kataki, War’s Wage
    Bridge from Below
    Slaughter Pact
    Summoner’s Pact
    Maelstrom Pulse
    City of Brass
    The two Swords
    Elspeth
    Vedalken Shackles.

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