Insider: MTG Stock Watch for January 2016

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Welcome back, readers! Recently I put the Stock Watch article series on a hiatus as I have been trying to branch out a bit. However, I feel like the overall value of having this type of article on Quiet Speculation is significant, so I decided to revive it---though I am going to play with the formatting a bit.

Modern Changes

1. Treasure Hunt (Player Rewards) (+192.4%) - This is our biggest spike from last week. As of writing, there are currently only eight vendors with a total of 15 copies available on TCG Player. There are actually still three copies on Star City Games in Slightly Played (SP) condition.

This jump screams buyout as opposed to actual market demand. Casual players in my area have been asking for Treasure Hunts for the super cheap Zombie Infestation Modern deck. But they aren't the type who would likely try to pimp out a deck (although in theory it wouldn't take a lot to do so, even now).

Unfortunately, I am unaware of any methods to figure out how many copies were available prior to this price change. For now I'm chalking it up to market manipulation and I expect a subsequent drop.

2. Wild Nacatl (Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas) (+188.7%) - Similar to Treasure Hunt, when we look at TCG Player we see only 11 sellers with a total of 15 copies among them. This is one of the weirder buyouts, as the card Wild Nacatl has three printings (including an FNM foil) and the Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas printing shares the same artwork as the original Shards of Alara printing.

If you have any feel free to unload them, assuming you can find someone who wants them at this new price.

3. Past in Flames (Innistrad) (+126.9%) - With the banning of Splinter Twin, there are likely plenty of U/R Modern players who don't want to go out and buy a whole new mana base. Luckily, they can convert to U/R Storm without buying many (and depending on the build, any) new lands. The deck tends to ignore what its opponents are doing and combos out relatively consistently by turn 4 or 5, so it's not a huge jump in play style either.

With a single mythic printing and relevance in both Legacy and Commander, it's not that surprising to see Past in Flames finally take off. For those who didn't play back when Innistrad first came out, Past in Flames was considered the second coming of Yawgmoth's Will, which is powerful enough to be banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage.

4. Ghost Quarter (Commander 2015) (+107.3%) - With the release of Oath and a plethora of powerful new colorless spells, many players believe that Tron (in one of its incarnations) may now be the "deck to beat" in Modern. The deck has an incredibly powerful end game and plays huge trump cards incredibly fast (I'm looking at you, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon).

Tron's biggest weakness is that each Tron piece is, individually, pretty bad at actually casting spells. As Tron only requires three lands to function, Tectonic Edge isn't the best option for Modern players. Instead they have quickly adopted Ghost Quarter as the go-to answer, and despite a good number of printings all of them have risen to the $2 range now.

5. Urza's Power Plant (Antiquities) (+71.9%) - As I mentioned with Ghost Quarter above, with so many people believing in the power of Tron in Modern, it makes sense that the original black-bordered versions are seeing strong growth.

If you go back through my old MTG Stocks articles you'll see these lands repeatedly pop up as big gainers of the week. I honestly expect this trend to continue until Tron gets dethroned either by another archetype or the WotC banhammer.

6. Ghost Quarter (Modern Event Deck) (+61.3%) - See above.

7. Aerie Worshippers (Urza's Saga) (+46.9%) - This card popped up a while ago as a potential solution for white creature-based decks against some of the fast burn decks.

Worship forces Burn players to keep dealing with creatures and can make cards like Lingering Souls a huge pain, as they may be forced to expend four spells to eliminate all the souls. They also have an extremely hard time beating a Worship combined with a pro-red creature like Kor Firewalker or a hexproof one like Thrun, the Last Troll.

8. Ancestral Vision (Duel Decks: Anthology) (+40.0%) - This one isn't currently legal in Modern, but a lot of its current value, and its recent increase, is due to speculation around an unbanning. The interesting thing here is that the price has already moved repeatedly due to speculation with no increase in demand, so even if it were to become unbanned it's unclear how much more of a jump it would see.

9. Ancestral Vision (Time Spiral) (+32.3%) - See above.

10. Brushland (Ice Age) (+29.4%) - This card is likely moving upward due to the very high cost of Horizon Canopy at this time. With Canopies hitting almost $80, it's not surprising that budget-minded Modern players would be willing to pay 96% less for something that's very similar (though granted the ability to draw a card with the Canopy is often more important than many realize).

Standard Changes

1. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet (Oath of the Gatewatch) (+87.7%) - This card is showing up a lot in Abzan decks as a way to combat Rally and provide a lot of card advantage in a deck with tons of removal spells. He serves as a formidable blocker against the Atarka Red decks, and gaining three or more life (depending on how many times he gets to block) can easily negate an early swing or two from the aggro decks.

2. World Breaker (Oath of the Gatewatch) (+56.1%) - This guy showed up on camera in Zhengdong Shan's 10th place G/R Eldrazi Ramp deck from the SCG Open. It did a lot of work against Gerry Thomson (while on camera) though he obviously just missed Top 8 of the event.

3. Sylvan Advocate (Oath of the Gatewatch) (+41.4%) - This guy is starting to show up in some CoCo builds in Standard. His ability to pump Shambling Vent in the Abzan decks is not to be underestimated and the fact that multiples in play stack accordingly can allow for some truly monstrous manlands. Of course the Advocate himself also becomes a 4/5 in the late game, which is pretty beefy for a two-drop.

Commander Changes

1. Peregrine Drake (Urza's Saga) (+109.2%) - The Saga block spells that untap lands have proven to be broken since they made lands that could produce more than one mana---this is another in the long line of powerful spells with that effect. It has two printings (Planechase and Urza's Saga) and the Saga one has now caught up with the Planechase version.

However, it appears that both are currently priced due to a buyout. There are currently seven vendors with 15 copies of the Urza's Saga version and two vendors with a total of four copies of the Planechase version. I expect we'll see an influx of copies to the market as players try to capitalize on this price spike. Trade or sell them if you can.

2. Overburden (Prophecy) (+42.4%) - I added this card to my "mean" Commander deck back in the day, but realized just how brutal it can be and ended up tearing that deck apart as I like to keep Commander fun and lighthearted. However, that's just my opinion and plenty of spikes realized how insane this card could be, especially in a creature-light deck which can turn it into a much more one-sided card.

Interesting to note that while regular copies jumped up by 42% to a little under $3, the foils have spiked much higher to around $20. With only the one printing in a very weak set, there are likely a lot fewer copies floating around than you might think. The regular price still seems pretty reasonable for a powerful Commander card, but if it appeared in any sort of supplemental product the price would plummet.

3. Martyr's Bond (Commander) (+33.5%) - Thanks to the latest Commander sets having a black-white enchantment theme, it's not surprising that this card has seen an uptick in demand. If you look at the price graph you see some nice slow steady growth, up until Commander 2015 hit the shelves and players started looking around to see what other powerful enchantments could be added to spice up their Daxos the Returned decks.

4. Hell's Caretaker (9th Edition) (+29.8%) - As I haven't heard any rumors of this card in Modern, for now I can only assume this is due to Commander demand. This card's printings are limited to Legends, Chronicles, and 9th Edition (with the latter having arguably the best art).

This is definitely the type of card that can be abused in Commander. Repeatable reanimation isn't all that common anymore and certainly not options that cost as little as 4. I wouldn't be surprised if we see the Legends version go up next as the original, black-bordered copy probably still has appeal and now it's only $4 more than the 9th Edition version.


And those are the major movers from last week. If you have any comments on the new formatting of this article series I'd love to hear them in the comments below.

- David

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