The Grand Prix triple-header of Detroit, Bologna, and Melbourne is here. We will see the Eldrazi invasion into Modern happen before our eyes, and it is not until the weekend comes to a close that the full extent of the horrors will be realized.
The Eldrazi have completely warped the metagame, and even if they don’t dominate this weekend, they have still destroyed all semblance of a fun and balanced format in the eyes of the average Modern customer.
WoTC has to act, and with the release of Shadows over Innistrad, they will. A land or two from the deck is going to be banned, and Eldrazi will be relegated to tier-two status in the metagame.
With a ban in April inevitable, how do we move forward on the financial front?
The prices of Modern cards saw huge gains over the winter. It was a surprise to some, but it shouldn't have been. Modern cards have spiked every winter since the format's inception, as evidenced by the price graphs of countless cards.
WoTC schedules high-profile Modern events in the winter and spring, so demand is high, but it begins to lag off as the year goes on and prices start to sag. The winter price spikes are not artificial however, but rather real price corrections, so prices remain elevated until they spike again the following winter.
This winter, the Eldrazi warped the market, and it's unclear which cards spiked due to real demand from Modern as a whole, or temporarily because of the Eldrazi. It’s imperative to differentiate between the cards that spiked because of real demand increase that will sustain through an Eldrazi ban, and the cards doomed to fall in price subsequent to a ban.
If a card spiked around the weekend of February 5th, the Modern Pro Tour, or any time afterwards, then it’s likely related to the Eldrazi---either used in the deck or against it---and its value is going to drop dramatically after the Eldrazi deck sees a ban. Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple began to rise after Christmas in the final week of 2015, so any spikes around that time could be related.
Alternatively, cards that spiked earlier in December before the Eldrazi were on our minds will be safe. Ensnaring Bridge is a fine example of a card that will sustain its high value even through any Eldrazi ban.
The difficult thing is figuring out cards in between, and any outliers. For example, Crucible of Worlds saw a spike in the middle of January, after Eldrazi were known but before the Pro Tour. This is a card that, while useful with and against Eldrazi, isn’t necessarily tied to them, and I suspect it will maintain its value through a ban.
If you're holding cards inflated from the Eldrazi, I would move off of them. It’s possible some cards will rise even after the Grand Prix if they have a big weekend, especially the anti-Eldrazi cards, but in general the peak will be right before the Grand Prix starts. Some cards may already be falling, but demand at the Grand Prix themselves is sure to be very high.
If you show up with the right cards to the Grand Prix you could make a killing, but be aware that other people may also have that plan. As the weekend wraps up, I am sure many players will attempt to unload cards, so we could see prices on some cards spiral downwards next week as dealers lower buy and sell prices.
Predicting the Future
There is a lot of money in determining where Modern goes after the Eldrazi become merely a memory. I expect the metagame will move to its most wide open point ever. It’s easy to forget that Amulet Bloom and Splinter Twin combo are gone, and there is a ton of space for other decks. Smart money is on the classic archetypes, so I recommend acquiring staples currently suppressed by Eldrazi.
Chord of Calling is going to be huge. It’s already a part of a few archetypes, like Abzan Company, Kiki-Chord, and Elves, and as time goes on players are using it in more ways with an ever-growing list of new creatures being added to the toolbox. Collected Company is another card that’s only going to get better.
Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise accompany these cards beautifully, so they are also great pickups, as are role-players like Eternal Witness and Wall of Roots. As a corollary, I’d target Grafdigger's Cage, one of the best ways to stop these decks.
Urzatron might be the biggest winner from Eldrazi being banned, and it will be a great deck even if it’s forced to cut Eye of Ugin. The Urza lands have been steadily growing, and I expect they will see a spike sometime after the Eldrazi ban. Major pieces like Wurmcoil Engine and Karn Liberated are big pickups, but staples like Chromatic Star and Ancient Stirrings are also cards to keep in mind.
Grixis Control was the hottest deck in Modern before the Eldrazi, and after a ban it will start back where it left off. Especially with Splinter Twin gone, we will see many of the best players work on this deck and develop it to a top contender. Cryptic Command and Creeping Tar Pit come to mind as cards that will grow with an increase in Grixis.
The classics are a great investment, and decks like Burn, Affinity, and Infect are going to be mainstays. I could imagine a day when Cranial Plating or even Inkmoth Nexus is banned, but I’m getting ahead of myself, and I highly doubt those would happen in April.
Burn is a big winner from the banning and very safe from potential bans, so I love buys like Eidolon of the Great Revel and Goblin Guide. Even anti-burn cards like Leyline of Sanctity could be strong pickups.