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Insider: Storylines Leading to Pro Tour Origins

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Hello everyone!

Hope you’ve all been enjoying the recent events and how Magic Origins made a splash into the Constructed scene. It was an interesting first set of results coming out of SCG Chicago that were well documented here on the site by our own Mike Lanigan and Brian DeMars.

Well, hold on to your seats everyone because the real thing is still to come. I expect there still will be some cards shifting around in price leading into PT Origins, and we do still have one more Star City Games event that could cause its own impact on the market. While that’s all well and good, we all know in this market that Pro Tours set the tone for market fluctuation. Once something is on camera or doing well at the Pro Tour it’s no holds barred. Which bring us to the best advice I can premise this article on: Be ready ahead of time.

Maybe you have the time to sit and watch PT Origins in its entirety, and if you do I’m sure it will be a great event to watch. Sitting there and financing during the coverage may not end up being so great though. Which is why I have started to try my best to preemptively prepare myself before the event. This way you’re not scrambling to fill up your carts and praying vendors don’t cancel orders.

Now, I’m not saying don’t finance at all during the event--just offering a helpful reminder to maybe make it a little easier on yourself. If you're thinking about a card, get it now rather than later.

Let’s get to the many storylines leading up to the Pro Tour, and maybe that can shed some light on some of the questions (and cards) we will all undoubtedly have coming into this event.

What’s up with Goblin Piledriver?

While some people may consider Goblin Piledriver putting up a “no-show” at SCG Chicago, it did end up in a Top 32 deck piloted by Micheal Bernat. As per Mr. Lanigan pointing out to us:

“Goblins is going to be lurking at tournaments for the next couple of months but it needs to come prepared for the horde of Arashin Cleric’s hiding in every white deck’s sideboard. There is some room for adaptation, but most of the spots are almost irreplaceable. Maindeck Languish is like a giant moat that your little critters need to swim across before you can defeat your black opponents.”

Could it be that this will be a part of a Pro Tour list being held back until that event? It wasn’t until a Pro Tour that we saw Goblin Rabblemaster seize the tournament. Maybe that same scenario could happen with Piledriver.

As for Modern--it takes a lot of testing and superb deckbuilding before people are confident in using a deck in Modern. Maybe there just wasn't enough time to construct a suitable deck that involved Goblin Piledriver. I might be grasping, but I still want to give the Goblins archetype and Piledriver the benefit of the doubt. Whether it’s 100% viable still remains to be seen.

Could Enchantments Be a Contender?

Well, from the past week we already saw some constellation decks come out of SCG Chicago. A respectable 29th place finish by Ross Isley shows us that it’s on the radar and will most likely be in every pro’s testing gauntlet.

As to the financial impact should the deck do well, note that a large percentage of this deck is in Theros. It may not be enticing enough to invest in with rotation looming.

Red October

Yikes. That’s a large portion of the decklist--and while Herald of the Pantheon sticks around for a while, I would be hesitant to invest in anything until we know exactly what’s going to happen in the upcoming block. I would like to note that the printing of Herald is either untimely, or a great foreshadowing to what will be coming down the pipeline. I’m inclined to believe the latter because I’d like to think that WoTC is competent.

I’d like to think that Starfield of Nyx is powerful enough to build around for the Pro Tour. While the other cards may not be as enticing to invest in, if either Herald or Starfield do end up putting up a great showing at the PT you can rest assured it will be enough to spike both of the cards. Whether that margin of increase is enough to make it worth our time to invest at their current prices remains to be seen. My guess is that in that scenario we may have an artificial spike and a giant “race to the bottom” rendering most profit margins very slim.

What's Happening with Kytheon?

Besides being a one-of in a decklist that barely missed Top 8, Kytheon, Hero of Akros really didn’t show up as many expected. During the preorder period, many had Kytheon pegged as the better of the flip walkers in Origins. Some even said it would be the best in Standard. So far that remains to be seen.

As it is, I think it would have to take quite a strong showing from someone like Craig Wescoe to really put this card back into relevancy. If Kytheon doesn’t see play during this weekend's SCG event it could slide enough by the PT to warrant investing in if they're out in droves at the PT. There just seem to be a lot of stipulations that need to line up perfectly for Kytheon to be a good place to stash money. I guess that’s the bottom line of MTGFinance, right?

As far as the situation with Kytheon goes, I’m not too optimistic. At the same time I won’t rule out any of the aforementioned scenarios. One has to remember that the Mono-White Devotion list just missed a Top 8 appearance, so with another good showing at this coming SCG Richmond pro testing groups could perhaps take the deck and tweak it for the PT.

Elves - Is It a Thing?

It seems Elves ended up strong enough to warrant bringing to the first event in the new Standard. I know the pilot, John Ostrem, and he frequently likes playing Elves in any capacity across all formats. So it wasn't surprising to see a 41st placing with this list, from a good player who knows the tribe.

I absolutely think that this list can be tweaked and optimized for a strong showing going forward. Sure it doesn’t have eternal help in specific cards like Mutavault but there are enough tools to run the engine, at least while Elvish Mystic is still around as an additional 1-CMC mana producer. I was a little surprised to see the lack of Gilt-Leaf Winnower in the main, but with with the deck leaning on Collected Company, maybe that’s why it was relegated to the sideboard.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this shows up in some capacity at the Pro Tour, but I’m not sure if it will in large numbers. That’s the issue; it’s just hard to say what the pros will ultimately settle on for these events. I have an inclination that it probably won’t be Elves. If it doesn’t show up in great numbers I don’t think that means the end of Elves' viability. Most of the tools stick around for a long time, sans Elvish Mystic.

~

Well, those are some of the storylines I wanted to highlight before the PT is upon us. I’d like to hear from all of you on your biggest questions about this coming Pro Tour and what you’re all doing to prepare. And I want to reiterate: Please do yourselves a favor and buy ahead of time. If you have a strong inclination about something--don’t wait.

Also, try to do as much reading and research as you can in the coming days. There could be some clues out there to what certain players are liking before the event. An example would be Ali Aintrazi’s article on TCGPlayer providing a U/B Control list--just the kind of deck pros would like to play at the event.

Before I depart I wanted to share a few of the cards I will keep my eyes on and what I think is worth investing in the coming days. I’m leaning on purchasing Ojutai's Command currently. It’s been slowly creeping up on daily stocks after sitting at its bottom for some time now. That is clearly changing, and it seems to play nicely with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.

I haven’t given it much thought other than that. It would be great to converse with you all on any cards I didn’t mention. I did list Hangarback Walker because surprisingly it has started to lose value again since SCG Chicago, and if it puts up good PT results then I think we'll have a 12-15$ rare on our hands.

Comments, Questions, Concerns? Always feel free to contact me.
- Chaz (@Boltsnapbolt)

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