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Insider: Modern Pick-Ups and Thoughts on “Diamond Mana”

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I don't know about you, but I just want it to be Oath of the Gatewatch release weekend already. We're in that boring lull once again, but the recent SCG announcement gives us something to work with.

As any good financier is telling you, the increase in Modern support by SCG will lead to price increases, both indirectly through their series and possibly through buyouts similar to ones SCG has made on Legacy staples in the past. One way or another, this is a great time to invest in Modern.

If you're a trader or if you have a lot of extra cash to speculate with, targeting anything Modern-playable while factoring in risk of reprint is a wise move. For my money I have a short list of solid bets.

Mox Opal


Mox Opal took a significant hit with its MM15 reprinting, tanking from $50 to $30. As a four-of in one of the best decks in Modern and a commonly played card in fringe decks like Krark-Clan Ironworks and Lantern of Insight Control, expect this price to increase as we move further away from that reprint.

There is real concern that every Modern Masters set will have an artifact theme, and consequently that Mox Opal might be printed again. But the Modern format will see an increase in prices before the next Modern Masters set drops. This will be a good card to have over the next year.

Scapeshift


I'm not the only one talking about Scapeshift, and rightfully so. The new Bring to Light toolbox gives the deck not only additional copies of its kill card, but also some flexibility on interactive spells and alternate win conditions. The sky is kind of the limit here, and the baseline of eight cards in your deck that win the game on resolution is a great starting point.

Blood Moon is a problem, but it's pretty easy to handle with counters. The high volume of basics run by the deck also turns on Bring to Light as an answer, assuming you have enchantment removal out of the board.

The new builds have already top-eighted some larger events, and I believe we're only at the tip of the iceberg.

Abrupt Decay


Abrupt Decay has already fallen a couple bucks from its previous high, and the damage done to the Legacy format doesn't help. That said, every GBx deck in Modern plays this card too.

As more people play the format, this one is sure to be a big seller. It's kind of strange to see the price ticking down the way that it has, but don't expect that to hold true when Modern PPTQ season rolls around and SCG supports the format more. This is a fantastic trade target.

Inkmoth Nexus


Speaking of cards in multiple decks, a four-of staple in both Affinity and Infect is a recipe for a high-dollar card. This card is primed for a reprint in the next Modern Maters set, but I fully expect a price hike until that point in time. Tread cautiously here, but this one is strong for the short term.

Goblin Guide


This is another card screaming for a reprint, but it's irreplaceable in Burn. Burn is the easiest deck to pick up and play in Modern, and it's basically always competitive. New players to Modern are going to need these, and it's another strong pick for the short term.

Temporal Mastery


This is a more fringe pick, but it's so low risk, and potentially yields high rewards. This card has been hovering around $5 for some time based entirely on casual appeal, and now there's a Modern Time Warp deck placing highly in events.

There are too many Time Warps in the market for that card to be actionable at this point, but Temporal Mastery could explode if this deck takes off or has a high profile win on camera. If it doesn't pay off in Modern, it will at least creep up over time as a casual card. One way or the other, I love this pick.

What About Bloom Titan?

A lot of people speculate that Bloom Titan will be subject to a banning prior to the coming Modern PT. Prices of this deck's staples have never really exploded despite being a boogeyman of sorts, and a big part of that is this fear of banning.

The deck is very, very good, and in the event that nothing is banned I expect to see its stock see significant gains. If you're a real risk-taker you could start investing now, but this is, of course, high risk due to the volatility of the Modern banlist.


I personally own a short stack of Hive Mind that I bought when the deck first showed up. The card hasn't gained a ton of value and is still very cheap to pick up.

I targeted Hive Mind due to its unique nature and low chance of reprint, combined with its intrinsic synergy with the core of the deck and a minor historic Legacy appeal.

No matter how you choose to approach it, if you're investing in Bloom Titan know that you're taking a pretty serious risk.

The Impact of "Diamond Mana"

Assuming the spoilers from Oath of the Gatewatch are real, and assuming that "diamond" mana is just colorless mana that must be colorless, I expect this to have some impact on Standard.

wastes

The green ramp deck currently cleans up against slower strategies quite nicely, but some tools against aggressive decks could easily make the deck top dog in Standard. It already plays quite a few colorless sources, and a few anti-aggro cards or a relevant seven-mana threat to trigger Sanctum of Ugin would be a huge boon.

One thing to pay attention to as we see more "diamond" cards is whether or not they fit into a deck with painlands. Given playable cards in enemy-color decks, "diamond" mana will increase the popularity of painlands, which are super cheap right now.


I don't see the new Kozilek taking Ulamog's role in the ramp deck. Ulamog has an immediate, huge impact on the board, which is what a slow deck like G/R Ramp needs in its 10-drop. The card advantage and counter ability offered by Kozilek are neat, but just not what the doctor ordered.

I can easily see Ulamog becoming more expensive if new tools are introduced for the ramp deck. Ulamog and Ugin and definitely stocks to watch as more Oath is spoiled.



Full-art Wastes themselves are all but guaranteed to increase in value over time due to their uniqueness, assuming they aren't printed in some absurd amount. I have my eye on foil copies in particular, but I imagine this is a no-brainer for most.

Thanks for reading.

-Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter

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