Insider: Specs in a Twinless Modern

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Goodbye Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom, we barely knew ye...

What we do know is that two of the objectively best decks in Modern have been banished to the realm of history.

Even nixing two of the best decks isn't going to slow down the juggernaut that is Modern Magic. The format looks to continue gaining in popularity, and with a Pro Tour, a new set, and a new Twinless "wild west" format to explore things are going to get crazy.

As this is a finance speculation column, today I'm going to talk about ten cards that just got a whole lot better and are worth considering as Modern investments. I've been pretty hot at picking winners the last few months, so let's take a look at some cards that seem primed to rise now that the format is clearly going to change in the coming month.

I'm not going to talk about the ones that have already spiked. The boat has already sailed on Goryo's Vengeance and Scapeshift. However, there are still plenty of other cards that are ready to jump in price.

Wurmcoil Engine

Honestly, my Wurmcoil Engine pick is just emblematic of the entire G/R Tron archetype. I think there's a significant chance that many, or even all, of the cards in the deck see growth in the coming weeks. Twin has been known to have a favorable Tron match-up and without Twin in the format to give UrzaTron fits I see it becoming "the deck to beat in Modern."

The King is dead. Long live the King Karn.

The great thing about Tron is that it traditionally crushes all of the "fair" decks. Most midrange decks simply cannot compete with its ridiculous mana output and gigantic over-the-top threats. There are plenty of worse things we can do in Modern than straight-up crush the Jund match-up.

I picked Wurmcoil because it has a modest $25 price tag compared to many of the other cards (Grove of the Burnwillows, Oblivion Stone or Karn Liberated. However, if Tron asserts itself as the new "best deck" in Modern I fully expect all of these cards to go up in value to some extent.

Consider also that all of the players who were playing Twin will now need to move in on new decks, which may require a lot of players to be in the market to pick up cards. Demand is what drives prices, and coupled with an upward trend in prices already this could lead to even more Modern growth.

Gavony Township

I'm not saying there are no longer combo decks in Modern but when you simultaneously nix two of the best combo decks in one swift stroke it opens up the battlefield for fair decks. Yes, there will be new unfair decks to deal with but winning the midrange mirror is going to be a big thing in the coming weeks and Township plays a big part in that battle.

This utility land is one of the ultimate trumps in the "fair deck" battle. Township has long sat as a cheap rare but not for much longer, I estimate. I really like the way that various Collected Company creature decks look with regard to metagame position, and Township will play a big role in such an environment. Also, it's worth noting that Abzan decks with Lingering Souls will also love utilizing Gavony Township.

Speak of the devil...

Lingering Souls

At about $0.50 a copy, one could do a lot worse than bet on Lingering Souls. The card is very good and in many ways format-defining of Modern. It is a great card advantage card in midrange mirror matches and also a stone cold house against Affinity.

Lingering Souls is also great with and against Liliana of the Veil. I expect that card to see more play now that Twin isn't around to punish people for tapping out for her.

The biggest weakness of Lingering Souls has always been fast combo decks. Fast combo decks exactly like the ones that just got banned! I would be shocked if Lingering Souls wasn't omnipresent at the upcoming Pro Tour and wasn't a format-defining card in Modern moving forward.

Etched Champion

A few of the Affinity cards have already seen pretty significant gains since the Twin banning. I think some of the other role-player type cards may well follow suit in the coming weeks. Etched Champion did see a Modern Masters 2015 reprinting, but we've seen recently with the Eldrazi lands that those reprintings don't necessarily mean cards can't go up in value.

Especially if Lingering Souls and other green-white creature decks become more popular in the coming weeks, I predict Etched Champion will play a big role in punching through creature stalls with Cranial Plating.

Blinkmoth Nexus

The same can be said of a card like Blinkmoth Nexus, also sitting in the five-dollar range. It has seen reprints but is getting better in the metagame as Affinity will undoubtedly continue to separate itself as a tier one deck. It also helps that Affinity (in no small part because of its manlands) has a good UrzaTron match-up.

Affinity may well be the most played deck in Modern now that Twin is gone (alongside Tron), and betting on the cheap rares is typically a pretty safe bet. They can't really go down in value as demand continues to climb and there's a significant chance they will go up.

Angel's Grace

The Ad Nauseam combo deck could make waves as the next big Modern combo deck. The deck is pretty solid and any card from the deck would be interesting to speculate on. There will always be a premium on decks that can just end the game on turn four or five by casting a few busted spells and this particular archetype could be a front-runner combo deck in the new format.

The deck is kind of a dark horse but I've played with and against it and have gained a lot of respect for it. It's very quick and basically puts players to the test of "counterspell or bust."

Phyrexian Unlife

Speaking of undervalued cards in the Ad Naus deck, Phyrexian Unlife is sitting pretty at about a buck right now. There are far worse investments that just throwing $25 bucks at a bunch of copies of this card and sitting on them.

If the deck becomes a real contender I'd expect that price tag to go up six times at least. The card is also from New Phyrexia, a popular and short-printed set, which will also help the value creep up.

Pyromancer Ascension

Speaking of broken combo decks...

Storm now seems uncontested as the premier fast, blue-based combo deck in Modern. The deck was always a little bit less resilient than Twin and couldn't really play the beatdown game, but now that Twin is gone it may be the best combo option left. The deck certainly doesn't lack the explosiveness of Twin and can even win on turn three at a reasonable clip.

I think a lot of Twin mages will gravitate toward the Storm deck. It's powerful, just as fast as the Twin deck was, and in many ways less vulnerable to the kind of hate that people play. You can't break up the combo with a Path to Exile, after all!

Past in Flames

Same principle as the other combo cards here. Past in Flames is also a mythic rare which a lot of people don't remember and it isn't as easy to pick up as one might think. If Storm crushes at the Pro Tour, which I wouldn't bet against, expect that the storm staples will all hit the $15-$20 range.

The Scapeshifts, Goryo's Vengeances, and Through the Breaches of Modern are similarly narrow combo cards that already occupy $25+ price tags, and I don't really understand why the Storm cards are so much lower. The aforementioned cards are a little bit older but far less played than the Storm cards.

I'd also argue that Storm is a much better and much more proven deck than those other alternatives. In fact, I've actually been trying to pick up as many of the Storm cards as possible since I heard that Twin and Amulet got banned.

Even though they banned the two best combo decks in the format I still believe Modern is a combo format at its core. While it does open up some room for midrange and creature decks to have a better chance, there will always be unfair decks to prey on people who want to grind and durdle.


There is a ton of excitement right now surrounding Modern and I encourage all of you investors to be on the lookout for good deals on some of these cards that are primed to make gains in the future.

I'm very much looking forward to digging in and playing more games of Modern now that Twin and Bloom are gone. I think both of these bannings will help generate more interest in the format and ultimately be good moves for Modern. Good moves for Modern means more popularity for the format and additionally more growth.

Good luck! And enjoy not getting Twinned and Bloomed. I know I will.

One thought on “Insider: Specs in a Twinless Modern

  1. Interesting observation: since the Twin ban announcement was made, the community hype-train has firmly left the station on Tron. There’s a broad and accepted assumption that Tron will now be the de facto best deck in the format, and Tron pieces have accordingly skyrocketed in price.

    Last night I played in a 24 person Modern tournament. In anticipation of the Tron bogeyman, Ghost Quarters, Fulminator Mages, and Crumble to Dusts were everywhere. The Tron players got absolutely mauled (a friend of mine, who’s an excellent Tron player, finished 0-4 drop). The Top 4 for the evening included 3 Jund decks. Just something to think about.

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