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Insider: Now or Never – My Final Modern Specs Before the Pro Tour

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With the Modern Pro Tour just a week away, the hype around Modern is reaching its zenith. The recent bannings of Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom have thrown the metagame into disarray, and the Modern community and market are counting on the pros to figure it out.

With the future uncertain, it’s open buying season because no one wants to miss the next big thing. There’s a lot of speculation going on, and some price spikes are buyouts to be sure---but plenty of price increases have been a natural reaction to increased demand, better classified as price corrections.

As someone who has grown up playing through the sets of Modern, I'm amazed to step back and realize the format spans back over twelve years. Magic was far less popular back then, and cards from the earlier part of the format are far less circulated than newer releases. Supply for Modern and casual players is lower, so it’s no surprise that cards like Boom // Bust and Flagstones of Trokair were underpriced and due for a price increase.

I have identified some cards that I believe are prime candidates for a price increase going forward into the Pro Tour and beyond. These cards were big winners from the banning of the two premier combo decks in Modern, which has opened up the format for new decks to fill the niche.

The picks are key components of decks I expect to be played at the Pro Tour, decks that could become Tier 1 competitive Modern decks going forward. These cards have not yet seen a paper price spike, so they are sitting below the radar of speculators and the playerbase at large.

Ghostway


I’ll start with Ghostway, which has tripled in price on MTGO over the past two weeks but still hasn’t budged in paper. The paper price has been trending downwards since a price spike that nearly doubled its price last winter.

$8 seems high for a fringe Modern card, but the high casual and EDH demand must constrain the supply. If Ghostway becomes a part of a Tier 1 Modern deck the price would certainly have to jump towards $20. Long-term potential as a casual card makes it seem like a safe bet, but this is a very easy card to reprint.

Here’s an example of the deck I have in mind.

Chord of Calling


Chord of Calling has a ton of potential in creature decks like the one above, in addition to the well-established Abzan Company deck and the burgeoning Kiki-Chord combo deck popularized by Jeff Hoogland. These decks are the living legacy of the banned Birthing Pod decks, and they threaten to rise to the top in the wake of the banning.

Chord of Calling has seen great recent MTGO growth (150% gains over the last three weeks), but the paper price has been slower to react. The Ravnica version gained a few cents since the banning, but the Magic 2015 reprint has crept up by around 25%.

Under $8 still seems cheap, and I expect this to hit double digits sometime this year.

Prismatic Omen


Proven long ago as a competitor in Modern, Scapeshift has been identified as a huge winner in the wake of the bannings. The price of its namesake has long since spiked, but one card remains curiously unnoticed: Prismatic Omen.

Omen supercharges Scapeshift by making it lethal with just six lands, but the truly impressive part is how good the card is in draws without Scapeshift. It turns Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle into a serious damage engine, making every land into a Lightning Bolt---and every fetchland into two!

The card hasn’t seen a lot of play in the archetype in Modern, but it can be found in the occasional MTGO deck. In Modern’s precursor, Extended, Prismatic Omen was hugely successful alongside Scapeshift, and usually all four copies were played. If the card is adopted in those numbers by Scapeshift in the future, the sky's the limit for the price.

Visions of Beyond


Visions of Beyond has gained a lot of ground competitively in the wake of the bannings. It’s used in the U/B Mill deck, which looks a lot better without Splinter Twin to contend with. More exciting is its use in a Jeskai Ascendancy combo deck that has been picking up steam on MTGO. I believe this card has room to grow.

Cavern of Souls


An Eldrazi spec that no one seems to be talking about is Cavern of Souls. Cavern produces colorless mana for the new Eldrazi cards, or can name Eldrazi to make them uncounterable. That's quite valuable in a format where counterspells are poised to make a big comeback.

The price on this card is high, but I believe that in the long term it could easily break $100 if not reprinted.

Ad Nauseam: The Next Amulet Bloom?

One deck I'm sure will have a lot more success in Modern is the Ad Nauseam-Angel's Grace combo deck. This archetype has been around all the way back to Extended. It’s always been on the fringes, but it’s remarkable for how long it has remained a contender.

Splinter Twin was one of its worst matchups and Amulet Bloom was faster, so now the deck looks like a better option. Angel’s Grace and Phyrexian Unlife act as fogs against creature decks like Infect and Affinity, so these matchups are surprisingly strong. Urzatron and Jeskai Control are becoming popular, and both are filled with dead cards against the combo deck.

One of the biggest proponents and innovators of the Amulet Bloom deck on MTGO has responded to the banning by switching to this deck, and he has been doing remarkably well. You have been warned.

Spoils of the Vault


Every card in this deck is a potential spec. Chaz mentioned Spoils of the Vault before, and I am right with him as this being a great pick-up. It’s old, it’s cheap, and the price has nowhere to go but up.

Lotus Bloom


Lotus Bloom is another card I have my eye on. It’s a staple for this deck, and it’s always going to be a great mana enabler for combo decks in a turn-four Modern format.

Seachrome Coast & Darkslick Shores



Seachrome Coast and Darkslick Shores are two more potential specs. Both are bargains compared to Blackcleave Cliffs, and clearly just as playable.

~

What do you think of these specs? Any other cards in particular you have you eye on? Let me know in the comments.

- Adam

5 thoughts on “Insider: Now or Never – My Final Modern Specs Before the Pro Tour

  1. > Phyrexian Unlife act as fogs against creature decks like Infect

    I don’t think that will work out quite like fog.

    Cavern of Souls seems pretty risky. Even if it does crest over $100, there’s a huge buy in cost for it. With so many other cards likely to rise, I can’t help but think think that that capital would be better off in more diversified cards. Granted, it might not be bad to pick up a playset if you need them to play.

    > Prismatic Omen

    If the number of abrupt decays falls, this does seem like a really good pickup for scapeshift. Going for a more all-in gameplan instead of a controlling one might be the way to fight through all of the aggro that we have seen so far.

  2. With the rise in price of tendo ice bridge, what do you think of Mirrodin’s Core as a cheap replacement. I picked up 20 foils for $33 just in case it sees any play.

  3. The one big spec I think you’re missing here that fits with several of the deck themes you’ve covered is Bring to Light. It has so much synergy with Scapeshift that I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 2/3 of in most of those decks. Furthermore, it interacts with the Kiki combo as a “pseudo Chord” replacement. I know it is from a hugely opened set but it rests under $1 right now in some cases. I think that changes as people continue to experiment with it and see its strengths.

  4. Thanks for the great comments everyone.

    @Gervaise: I agree with the lands-especially because I don’t see the price ever falling.

    @Chris Bring to Light is great in Modern, and it only gets better as time goes on and more cards are printed. I’d like to start picking them up after players stop drafting BFZ.

    @James I noticed Mirrodin’s core too- It’s probably just under the power level needed for Modern, but as far as I know it’s a great casual card.

    @John You are right, it actually doesn’t do anything against Infect specifically. Against normal damage, it essentially Fogs them on the turn they would otherwise kill you, no matter how much damage they are dealing, you won’t lose the game that turn. They have to destroy Phyrexian Unlife, or wait until the next turn and deal 10 damage-in some cases it’s even better, a Fog plus 10 life.

    I might be too optimistic on Cavern of Souls, and it’s certainly risky. I don’t necessarily suggest going out and putting your bankroll into it, just don’t be surprised if every Eldrazi deck at the PT has 4 and the price skyrockets.

    I agree that Prismatic Omen is better than ever because people are actually cutting Abrupt Decay in Jund/Junk decks. Also there were two copies in the deck that made the finals of the Modern SCG Classic on Sunday.

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