There has been a lot of excitement around Modern this week, with a weekend of multiple Grand Prix set to define the metagame after the unbanning of Ancestral Vision and Sword of the Meek. Remember that Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom were banned immediately prior to the Eldrazi invasion. Modern is very much a new and unexplored place, with ample space for new decks to flourish and develop into format-defining fixtures of the metagame.
I’ve been watching metagame trends and the market and have identified some cards that I believe are poised for growth. These cards are included in decks that are establishing themselves as key players in the new Modern world, so these cards have a bright future ahead of them.
Through the Breach
Not only does Through the Breach shave a mana off the cost, it lets Primeval Titan attack immediately to get two more free lands. In most practical scenarios this combination wins the game, so it’s a bonafide two-card combo and one of Modern’s scariest new elements. Through the Breach is also great with Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, and some of these decks include that along with Nahiri, the Harbinger.
There are also blue-based versions of Through the Breach that play many copies of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and try to operate something like a Splinter Twin combo deck. Finally, Through the Breach can also be found alongside Griselbrand in decks with Goryo's Vengeance.
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle is the real workhorse behind the success of Primeval Titan and Scapeshift decks. The price of the card doubled earlier this year, but at under $8 this Zendikar rare seems like a bargain compared to $85 fetchlands in the same set. Its price on Magic Online has more than tripled in May, now to an all-time high over 2 tix.
It was widely distributed as an online promo card, so the price increase is a testament to a large increase in demand, which will be mirrored in paper as players begin to adopt these decks. There is a paper foil Launch Party printing currently under $10 that adds to the total number of these in circulation, but it’s a small number relative to the current player base.
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
The rise of Nahiri, the Harbinger in Modern has shaken up the format. It’s being included everywhere, and in all of these places along comes a copy of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn as the single-best creature in the format to find with Nahiri's ultimate.
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn may just be a one-of, but Nahiri, the Harbinger making its way into the format's top decks means a lot of decks playing that one-of---a huge increase in demand for a card that was nothing more than a niche player outside the mainstream.
The online price grew by 33% this week, up to almost 9 tix. The paper price has been sitting steadily under $30 for months, but it has seen growth of about 8% in the last month. I expect that pace to accelerate as it sees increased play.
Supreme Verdict was tailor-made as an eternal-format card with its “can’t be countered” clause. It immediately found a home in Legacy, and while it has seen Modern too, it has been a minor factor as UWx control hasn’t been a permanent fixture in the metagame. The unbanning of Ancestral Vision was a boon to control, and Nahiri, the Harbinger has brought about a resurgence in Jeskai Control specifically.
Supreme Verdict has a place in these decks, if not now, then in the future, so it’s poised to see a real increase in demand. The paper price has been slowly rising all year, up from an all-time low under $3 at the end of December, to $6.5 today. That is the highest the price has been since the card was in Standard, and if this pace continues, it will break $10 this year.
Abrupt Decay has always been talked about as a future $20 card, and that time is finally here. It peaked over $17 last summer, but it’s down under $13 now.
The Eldrazi pushed Abrupt Decay out of the metagame temporarily. Now a return to a more classic Modern metagame with traditional aggressive decks means Abrupt Decay is once again excellent, and players are back to playing three or four copies. I expect the price will do nothing but rise from here on until a possible reprint in a future Modern Masters set.
Ancestral Vision bringing back classic blue decks means a return of Vendilion Clique. This card has long been a tool of blue decks for fighting against combo decks and control mirrors, and that describes much of the Modern metagame. Vendilion Clique is specifically included in Jeskai Nahiri, which is going to be a big deck this weekend and in the future of Modern, so I like its chances for growth.
When Cedric Phillips won a MTGO Modern PTQ with G/W Hexproof a couple of weeks ago, he told the world. It may have been news to some, but any experienced Modern player is acutely aware of the beatings the deck is capable of delivering with the right draw. The deck is straightforward and powerful, and it’s well-positioned against a field of Lightning Bolt.
I expect the deck to do well this weekend and develop into a more permanent fixture of the metagame, so I like picking up staples. Daybreak Coronet was over $33 before being reprinted in Modern Masters 2015, and the new version is now available for $6. The price isn’t going to break $30 again, but it certainly has a lot of room to grow.
I selected this batch of cards because they are very solid staple cards with wide applications. They are in position to see modest continuous growth as players begin to adopt the decks that include them.
Decks that perform well at this weekend's Grand Prix will be widely publicized and copied, so they will play some part in defining the Modern metagame going forward. Big finishes this weekend for any of these cards could certainly cause a price spike, and assuming they are currently undervalued, a new price point.