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