If you were looking for some spice from the Columbus Invitational, you're out of luck. Unless you want to play the deck that maindecked Fevered Visions in a field of two great decks that the card is bad against.
Your champion is Human Aggro, and your finalist is Bant Company. The Invitational, like the Baltimore Open, featured seven out of eight white decks in Standard. The Columbus Open had a Top 8 with only six white decks---a non-white deck even won---though five of the Top 8 decks were Bant Company. Humans and Bant will continue to be the decks to beat going into the Pro Tour.
Interestingly, the Humans deck is still quite cheap. The truly expensive cards in the deck are Declaration in Stone, Kytheon, Hero of Akros // Gideon, Battle-Forged and Archangel of Tithes. I'm still not convinced of the necessity of Archangel of Tithes, though it and Kytheon have spiked no doubt in part to being from the under-opened Magic Origins.
Meanwhile, the other rares in the deck haven't seen as much movement as I would expect. I think part of this is due to players refusing to believe that Mono-White Aggro could be the best deck in Standard, though here we are a week after the deck swept Bant Company in a best-of-five set to win the Invitational. There were players in the Invi playing mono-white that didn't even pick up Gryff's Boon, which demonstrates to me that many good players are shying away from the deck in part no doubt due to the stigma of Savannah Lions being so bad for so long.
So, with the Origins cards being expensive because they're from Origins and Declaration in Stone being expensive because it's in every Standard deck, I think there's room to grow for the other Shadows over Innistrad cards in the deck that post a good PT performance.
I fully believe that Humans is just a great deck, and should it make the Sunday stage this weekend then you'll see the $3-5 rares like Always Watching and Thalia's Lieutenant balloon up to $8 cards. I think these are solid cards to pick up sets of and to trade for at FNM this week.
With regard to Bant Company, it's pretty bizarre to me that Collected Company has lost a dollar or two in value while being the most represented deck in Standard. It's possible there are just too many Companies out there, though the slightly negative price trend in the wake of overwhelming success just looks odd. If the deck continues to perform anywhere near its current level of success, this should be a good couple of weeks for the price trend of CoCo.
One card from that deck I expect to double or more in the coming weeks is Lumbering Falls. You had the option to pick these up for under a buck for a while, but as of now they're still sub-$2. They're a four-of in Bant Company and play very well with Sylvan Advocate---both of which will survive the next rotation. I like stocking up on Falls a lot if you haven't already.
People have been asking me what the best way to beat Bant Company is. They say, "Ryan, I really want to win but I don't like these ground stalls in the Bant mirrors. What's the best way to beat Bant?" From covering the deck a number of times, I can say that the conversation with regard to haymakers always boiled down to Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier.
This card was a slam-dunk pre-order, and has more than doubled already. It's going to have a great PT weekend, and will see some more growth because of it. Can you reasonably invest at retail at this point? I don't especially think so, but if you want to play Avacyns any time soon, buy them now. It really is the best card in Standard, and it's just great against everybody.
For more under-the-radar picks, Languish has been gaining traction. When you look at paper prices, the card has spiked from sub-$2 to over $4. From an under-opened set, it doesn't take much for this movement to happen. What's more telling to me is that copies have similarly inflated in price on MTGO.
When you look at paper prices, you get some lurking variables such as people wanting Languish for Commander decks or more speculative price increases. With regard to MTGO, prices for Standard-legal cards are pretty concretely tied to Standard play, and the card continued to see growth even after Languish didn't put up results in Columbus.
This suggests that players are picking this card up to jam on MTGO, and it definitely has the potential to line up well against the format. The card is somewhat weak to flash threats, though that's what the rest of your deck is for. If you buy in now, you're definitely behind the initial spike, though if Languish has a good PT it could easily be $10+ next week.
The last pickup that I like for this weekend is Nahiri, the Harbinger. Nahiri didn't really have a big weekend in Columbus, but the card is more promising than it's being given credit for.
Specifically, Nahiri slots perfectly into Goggles Control, with both the ability to rummage madness spells and to tutor for the Goggles. Joe Lossett was playing Nahiri in his list for the Invi, though despite starting 4-0 in Standard his tournament fell apart from there. With Nahiri being able to kill Always Watching on top of her other strengths, the theory for Nahiri is there, she just needs a result.
Interestingly, Nahiri is another card with positive MTGO data to work off of.
Typically, you'll see card prices drive down in the first couple weeks of a set's availability on MTGO, though a couple days ago you could have bought Nahiri for less than five tix, and now you can sell them for eight. People are buying Nahiris, which indicates players have figured something out, though the real test will be at the PT.
It's unclear how many Nahiris a Goggles deck would play, though with her only costing four and being able to rummage past redundant copies or even sac herself to find a Goggles after a couple turns, it's not hard to imagine the full playset. The paper price for Nahiri is around $10, and if she has a breakout performance at the PT this price could easily double.
The other place to look for price growth this weekend is in Eldrazi Ramp. The deck won the Columbus Open in a Top 8 with five Bant Company decks, and it's the matchup that you should be most scared of if you're trying to do midrangey things.
The reason Bant has run rampant so far is because there hasn't been a Ramp list players are happy to sleeve up. If this deck takes off, expect movement across all of those cheap mythics like World Breaker and Kozilek's Return. This could be a huge weekend for this deck if one of the teams cracks it for the PT.
These are my specific picks for this weekend, though as always you'll want to be vigilant in your PT viewing and speculating. Often times, all it takes is one feature match for a card to spike. For a lot of us, if we don't have the cards before the tournament actually starts, we've already missed our opportunity to turn a profit.
Be sure to leverage MTGO to pick up cards in real time as they break out, and to attempt to lock in orders at pre-spike prices as more cards break out. Lastly, don't forget to stop by those local shops who are slow to update prices in the wake of the PT. It's never 100% clear what cards we can profit on, but it's always the case that there's money to be made.
Thanks for reading.
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