Insider: Transitioning to Modern After PT BFZ

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Yet another Pro Tour is in the books. It was quite a busy weekend for us here on QS Staff, and especially for Kelly! I hope everyone enjoyed the coverage, and the commitment put into bringing you well informed updates.

I found myself chatting in the QS Chat with quite a few people. Overall our coverage was fantastic and, I think, the best of the weekend bar none. Thanks again to everyone who hung out in chat and reacted to on-screen performances, our dialogue, and Kelly’s timely updates.

All said it led to a successful weekend for some, especially those who invested in Liliana, Heretical Healer // Liliana, Defiant Necromancer early on.

Rather than rehashing exactly what happened at the Pro Tour, I'll recap the event briefly before discussing what's next. If you're looking for additional coverage, I suggest reading the articles posted earlier this week by our own Brian DeMars, Douglas Linn and David Schumann.

By now if you're still holding cards that didn’t have a significant impact during the PT, I would suggest hitting the buylists.

Keep in mind that Dragons of Tarkir and Origins are sticking around for an additional rotation, as I've mentioned in numerous articles. Some cards from these sets could be worth watching as the post-Pro Tour meta develops.

Pro Tour Recap

Lets look at some brief points about Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar.

While Kazuyuki Takimura (congrats to him!) won the event with Abzan, the archetype put up middling numbers across the board. Out of 18 pilots on Day 1, 55% made Day 2 and only four ended up with a 6-4 record or better. This was one of the lower conversion rates for an archetype.

Atarka Red was the most popular deck of the tournament, with 53 players showing up on Day 1. 35 of those players ended up making Day 2, for a 66.03% conversion rate. Don’t expect the deck to go anywhere anytime soon.

Hangarback Walker, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar were the three most played nonland cards, at 210, 155, and 138 copies respectively. Gideon’s price won’t be nose-diving anytime soon no matter how much product is opened. It’s literally the only card worth owning (again, besides lands) in BFZ at this juncture.

Standard is clearly defined by Khans block at the moment. We might have to wait until Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) for anything in BFZ block to actually impact the format.

Making the Top 8 of any Pro Tour isn’t easy, and everyone will correctly pay attention to those decks going forward. Remember, though, that it is a dual-format event, and sometimes great decklists don’t end up breaking out because of a poor Limited record.

Take Sam Black’s list, for example:

To wrap up the Pro Tour section, I do feel there’s a huge emphasis on Khans Block, but it will be short-lived. There just isn't a lot of time for these cards to appreciate before rotation. Like we’ve been saying, Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins, especially the latter, are the most promising sets during this period.

Hangarback Walker, and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound aren’t going anywhere. In spite of their play in eternal formats, I have to think their price is driven predominantly by Standard. With prices like these, players might start asking themselves, "would I rather be playing Modern?"

Moving on to Modern

Which brings us to the “moving on” section of the article, as we look ahead from Pro Tour BFZ. Modern didn't magically go away, and it's still a very lively format.

In fact, we have quite a few decklists rolling in from the Star City Games States events. With Standard prices through the roof, I would think the question I posed above is on many minds.

This may be why buylists and market value for Jace, Vryn's Prodigy are considerably lower than retail prices. There are quite a few copies on TCGPlayer in the low 60's, and buylists offer even less. I would say this is a fair indication that hype has died down a bit, and MTGO supply has suppressed the price.

Perhaps we don't want to overreact to an event like States, but I think the observation is valid. To see if these events were indeed just "FNM-level events," I tried to crowdsource an estimate of the number of players in attendance on Twitter.

I was sent these numbers:

  • Oregon - 50
  • Wisconsin - 75
  • Minnesota - 104
  • SoCal - 78
  • Montana - 54

I would have to dig up more from Star City’s Twitter account. While this is a small sample size, it appears these events were a tad bigger than a typical FNM.

I’d say moving out of Standard cards to focus on Modern for the upcoming season is a great idea at this juncture. The best targets are reprints in Modern Masters 2015 (MM2015) that still see a considerable amount of play.

Since MM2015 already feels like an eternity ago, I suspect that the grace period of suppressed prices won’t last too much longer. Unless players wised up and acquired their playsets in the period just after release, many will have to start paying a premium.

Looking at results from States, MTGO and recent SCGs, I would say some familiar cards haven’t gone anywhere. Here’s a quick list of cards to watch:

That’s just scraping the surface. I understand these cards aren’t really surprising, but I felt it was a good idea to mention them anyway. Typically reprints from Modern Masters sets don’t stay depressed for a long time.

I don't expect huge gains over the next few months, but I do expect enough to make investment worth it. A considerable amount of this product was released and box prices basically haven't moved since the set's release date.

With Dig Through Time banned, I think we might see Dark Confidant start ticking up again, which bodes well because it’s also played in Legacy. Other cards like Fulminator Mage are still ubiquitous. I would look at those cards first--the more decks a card is played in, the better its chances of appreciating during Modern season.


Well, that’s all for today. Again, I understand when we talk about Modern the cards aren’t the most flashy or “speculative,” but that’s kind of the point. Why not look at what’s been in front of our face all this time, with a newly lowered price point?

I like to stick with these types of cards--even if they don’t increase dramatically they will always have liquidity.

As always, feel free to comment, or find me on Twitter @ChazVMTG and I will always discuss anything I write or talk about.

Until next time, Insiders!

- Chaz

2 thoughts on “Insider: Transitioning to Modern After PT BFZ

  1. Dark Confidant looks really prime for a pick up. Even if it doesn’t hit it’s previous ceiling, it still has ample room to grow during the lead up to modern season.

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