Insider: Under-the-Radar BFZ Specs – Observing Suspicious Price Movement on MTGO

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Because of their high-profile nature, Pro Tours are milestone events in the evolution of competitive metagames and financial markets. In the weeks and days leading up to a Pro Tour, professional players dissect the format and attempt to unlock the secrets of new cards, while speculators take positions based on future expectation.

When the cards hit the table Friday afternoon, a picture of the Pro Tour metagame will begin to develop, and the market will react strongly over the weekend. Cards that don't live up to expectations will fall in demand and price, and cards that exceed expectations will rise.

This second category is the interesting one, because it holds the opportunity for profit. The trick is to identify the cards with the highest potential PT performance relative to current expectations.

An expensive card like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is likely to perform well at the Pro Tour, but it’s already expected to and that's reflected in the price. On the other hand, when a bulk rare is discovered as a critical component in a winning archetype, it will make huge gains.

Because of playtesting demands, Pro Tour players are heavy factors in the purchase of Magic Online cards during release week. They also have valuable inside information regarding the Pro Tour metagame.

Thus, it's prudent to believe at least some number of them are involved in speculation in some fashion, even if it’s done indirectly by disseminating information.

I have been studying the MTGO market, and found some startling price movements around a cluster of cards that point towards a new archetype. Given the large gains enjoyed by these cards and the obvious synergy between them, I am confident they will have coming out party at the PT that the community at large isn't anticipating.

As of 5am EST Thursday, compared to 24 hours earlier:

Ingest and Process

These cards point to an Ingest-Exile deck that seeks to make the most of Wasteland Strangler and Blight Herder--both highly overpowered creatures when their restrictive conditions are met.

Here’s a sketch of a potential decklist:

Fathom Feeder, Horribly Awry, and Silkwrap reliably enable a fully-powered Wasteland Strangler on turn three. The addition of Stasis Snare, Spell Shrivel, Utter End and Quarantine Field help attain the critical mass needed for a turn-five Blight Herder producing Eldrazi scion tokens.

Even the sideboard provides enablers, with Transgress the Mind, Radiant Purge and Infinite Obliteration.

Wasteland Strangler is beautifully positioned in a metagame of cheap creatures like Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound, Mantis Rider, Warden of the First Tree, and Abbot of Keral Keep. Blight Herder is a nightmare for opponents relying on one-for-one removal, and the Eldrazi scions can even help cast future spells.

Assuming these creatures have a breakout performance at the Pro Tour, they have to raise higher than their current prices around $0.5.

Return of The Aristocrats?

I have also taken note of:

These cards point to an Abzan Aristocrats-style deck combining sacrifice outlets like Nantuko Husk and Evolutionary Leap with two-for-the-price-of-one creatures like Carrier Thrall and Catacomb Sifter.

Add engine cards like Grim Haruspex, Zulaport Cutthroat and Abzan Ascendancy and you have a synergistic deck that can generate insane value. Rally the Ancestors could bring everything back for another go.

Speculating on the Aristocrats deck is tricky, because it relies on commons and uncommons from Battle for Zendikar rather than rares and mythics. But if the archetype finds success, everything in it, regardless of set, will trend upwards.

Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar is shaping up to be an eventful tournament. Stay tuned to Quiet Speculation for all of the latest updates.


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