Hello, Insiders! This article will get right to the point. It’s getting closer to Modern season and the time for waiting around is over.
The cards I'm going to discuss aren’t flashy, or even all that “speculative.” They're just the ones I’ve noticed showing all the good signs of cards to own for this season. I’ve been monitoring these for a while, and the needle is definitely pointing up.
So let’s get to the goods, shall we, and I'll explain why I'm targeting each card.
I’ve been keeping Scapeshift under close watch, and it turns out my hunch has borne fruit. We've seen renewed interest in the card recently, with more Scapeshift lists cropping up in the latest Modern tournaments.
We already mentioned this on the QS Cast. It seems Bring to Light has pushed the power level of this deck ever so slightly, and now it's putting up results.
Bring to Light isn't the only recent addition to the archetype. It has also adopted the new Battle lands, a welcome addition to one of the slower decks in Modern in order to minimize damage from shocklands. Even the reprinted fetchlands (which were new to Modern) have helped the archetype.
If we look at the historical buylist prices on Trader Tools (the green line above), we see it's been rising over the last few months, with intermediate fluctuations. It looks like stores are raising the price because of demand, filling that demand, and then finding out they need more.
The graph tells me stores are having no trouble selling this card. This isn't surprising--Scapeshift has always had a fair bit of liquidity. Even during its downswings, the archetype has always been a decent choice to sling in Modern tournaments.
So with the help of a few new cards it seems Scapeshift is receiving more attention. Barring the outside shot of a reprint, it will be a great card to have in stock for the Modern season.
This card needs little introduction. It’s still a staple, and while it did cool off for a while after the MM2015 reprint (which is normal), it’s back in a big way.
It probably didn't hurt that MM2015 added little to the supply. Buylists have been increasing aggressively, and it could easily end up somewhere close to its pre-reprint price.
It's hard to recommend a buy for such a high-ticket item (even at buylist prices it will run you $19 per copy). But this is still one of Modern's top creatures, and it's played as frequently as ever.
I felt a feverish need to write about this card as soon as I noticed the drastic buylist increases, so its inclusion on this list was easy. With no time to spare, apparently.
Again, this card isn't flashy, and might be out of range for many bankrolls. So I'd say this card is probably best for Insiders currently running storefronts (whether brick-and-mortar or online). To be honest that applies to some extent to all the specs I'm mentioning today.
I doubt you'll have much issue selling Spellskite, because it has such high liquidity. Just be cautious and don't assume you'll double up in a few months or anything absurd.
Next up we have a few cards that are trickier. Looking at Noble Hierarch’s retail price graph, we see a steady decline since its reprinting in MM2015.
Getting these at buylist would obviously be great. Buying in at retail is less enticing. But this card is still seeing play across several popular archetypes, and I think there will be a good enough rebound to eek out modest gains.
As for Dark Confidant, I know a lot of people believe it's poised for a comeback. While I'm not ruling that out, given the choice between Bob and Hierarch, I'd lean toward the latter.
The two cards are priced quite close to each other, but a quick comparison of the graphs on Trader Tools shows a noticeable difference in trajectory. I feel this validates my preference for the Bant mana dork.
Is it finally time to dust off the shocklands? I know that quite a few financiers out there are sitting on large numbers of them.
After countless discussions and much thought, I have to say I don't really know what their future holds. At the same time, I want to give a concrete answer to the question so often asked in the finance community, "Should I buy into shocklands?"
This pie chart shows the six most played shocks in Modern, by the percentage of decks that run them. Stomping Ground has seen a drastic increase lately and now holds a commanding percentage even over previous leader Steam Vents.
These lands are still a cornerstone of the format, that much is certain. They will always walk hand in hand with the fetchlands.
I’d like to add that we're further removed from the release of Return to Ravnica block, so the landscape seems favorable for the future of shocklands. If you're looking to stock inventory for the upcoming Modern season, these six are the first ones to target.
The giant question mark is that of reprints. The truth is these are always up for consideration when any supplemental product comes out. Throwing one of these in at random as a one-of wouldn't be that egregious, and it might help WotC sell product. So don't lose sight of that.
Going back to the original question, my short answer would be, “Yes.” But I would treat them as a short-term play in preparation for Modern season.
The buylist and retail prices on Trader Tools for Stomping Ground have fluctuated between $5-7 and $8-10, respectively, for the past year. I just don’t see a super high ceiling on any of these lands, so I can't really advise financiers to buy in right now.
Even at buylist prices, you’d be purchasing sets at roughly $28 and ideally selling for $52 (which might even be out of the question). If you sold them on eBay you would take off roughly $8-9 in fees/shipping. After subtracting initial investment you’re left with roughly $15-16. That’s not terrible, but unless you’re selling a large quantity it might not be worth your time.
If it is, then by all means go ahead. But, I'll reiterate that they're best as a short-term proposition to be unloaded during the zenith of Modern season.
Other Cards of Note
Before I go, I wanted to glance quickly at a few other cards to monitor.
During the last "Modern hype" price hike, almost every article listed Abrupt Decay as a buy. As a result it suffered some inflation.
I think it will rebound nicely, and there will be more chances to move these from stock to players' hands. There’s no foreseeable time frame for a reprint, so I'm feeling good about the Abrupt Decay prospect.
Yeah, that's Thoughtseize all right. I wrote about this card months ago, explaining how the price drop after rotation wouldn't be drastic. Now I think the window on Thoughtseize is closing rapidly.
This card is one of the top ten cards in Modern, period, so I'd advise not to wait. Especially if you want them to play in a deck.
As always feel free to comment and we can discuss anything I've written about. Or find me on Twitter @ChazVMTG!
Until next time, Insiders!