Insider: More Specs Before the Modern GP Weekend

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Modern is great. I love the fact that there are a ton of different decks and strategies. I love that you can show up for a tournament and legitimately expect to play against a different archetype every round. I love that I get to play with sweet old cards that were printed like ten years ago when Magic was a very different game.

Do you know who else loves all of these qualities and also loves Modern? About 99.9% of people who play Magic. And that 0.1% person is just complaining for the sake of complaining because that individual also enjoys Modern (albeit, without admitting it).

I got a chance to play last weekend at the Star City Games Open in Indianapolis. I went 6-3 with Abzan Company (one of those rare times when that record doesn't day-two the event because it was huge, because it was Modern, obviously). I was blown away by the diversity of the format. I legitimately played against a different deck each of my nine rounds!

  1. Mono-Red Burn
  2. Jeskai Control
  3. Abzan Company
  4. Kiki Chord
  5. G/R Tron
  6. Mono-Blue Extra Turns
  7. Naya Zoo
  8. Abzan Midrange Control
  9. U/W Planeswalker Control

It also feels like a bunch of stuff is kind of changing and starting to settle in for Modern. I think now could be the right time to pick up a few nice cards to reap the rewards shortly down the road.

The key will be identifying cards that have traditionally been "non-factors" but which could be pieces in new and emerging decks. For instance:

Nahiri has already spiked but this is the kind of card that I'm talking about. The card is crazy-good in Modern control decks because it can deal with all kinds of permanents on the board and if it lives for a couple of turns it suddenly summons Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and ends the game on the spot.

Not a bad control deck finisher!

Potential Modern Hits


The ship may have already sailed on Nahiri, the Harbinger but people are going to be looking for ways to cleanly kill her from now until forever.

Dreadbore is a very elegant answer to Nahiri that may start seeing some play soon. It is worth noting that it is pretty impossible to burn her out which makes "destroy target planeswalker" a premium effect right now.

Champion of the Parish

This is another card with a ton of potential that has begun seeing some play in the Mono-White Humans deck.

First of all, Champion is an amazing Magic card. It was great in Standard back in the day and has always teetered on the edge of Modern playability. Shadows over Innistrad has given the Humans archetype some new toys and I think that it really pushes Parish into the realm of being actually good. In particular, Thalia's Lieutenant and Thraben Inspector come to mind.

Yes, it is in a Duel Deck but that is the only thing keeping the price suppressed so low. If it wasn't in a supplemental product the card would likely have already spiked well above $15 by now. I noticed copies of the deck version at less than $1.00 on TCGPlayer, which seems like an insane deal.

Mayor of Avabruck

There was an error retrieving a chart for Mayor of Avabruck

The Mayor is another standout card that has crept up a little in the past month but could see significant gains depending how the Humans thing shakes out. It is also worth noting that Mayor of Avabruck has seen some significant Vintage play, especially in the Bazaar of Moxen tournament. If it plays in Vintage, it plays, period.

Mayor is just a great card no matter how you slice it. Lords that cost two mana have always been way above the curve. Keep in mind too that there is still another Innistrad set yet to come which means that this card could still find some allies to push it over the top. The promo foil version has suppressed the price thus far, but I think both could still make some healthy gains.


What is this "Night of the Living Promo Suppressing Value?" It boggles my mind how Gravecrawler is still so cheap right now. The card is basically in any Zombie deck from now until forever and zombies are popular. The Walking Dead, much?

Gravecrawler is also a centerpiece of any creature-based graveyard deck moving forward. The card does everything. It is a one-drop and can just continue to come back to life forever.

Don't even get me started on the casual appeal of the card. Yes, there is a buy-a-box promo but the card is great and great cards go up.

Prized Amalgam

Yet another reason to love Gravecrawler, as the printing of this spicy graveyard synergy zombie in Shadows over Innistrad has opened up some room. This one is still priced like bulk.

Not a bad card if you are into the whole "dredge" thing. It is also fantastic that the card triggers off Gravecrawler coming into play and counts as a zombie for the crawler. Maybe not a junk rare for long? Few things that see play in Modern have no value.


Bloodghast is a very powerful Magic card. It is also going to be in any deck that ever tries to abuse the dredge mechanic. Especially in Modern, the card is fantastic because there is a lack of things that come back into play for free like Ichorid. I'd watch out for this card and would strongly consider picking up a playset if you don't already have one.

Matter Reshaper

The card seems really cheap considering how good it is in Modern. That isn't even taking into consideration the fact that it is still Standard-legal!

The card is comparable to Kitchen Finks in some ways. A three-drop that generates value. It doesn't "go infinite" like Finks but the upside is actually higher in some situations. Eldrazi Temple is still a thing, even with Eye of Ugin banned.

Various flavors of Eldrazi Temple did very well in Indianapolis and Matter Reshaper was a part of that success. Also, keep in mind that when the Fall set is released we lose Origins and Dragons of Tarkir, which could really help the Eldrazi's chances of being great in Standard. You know if Eldrazi end up being great in Standard the prices will also adjust.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated...

You just can't kill R/G Tron. Ban the Eye? Meh, who cares?

The power behind Tron had little to do with Eye of Ugin and lots to do with ridiculous plays like turn three Karn Liberated. With fewer people devoting less space to hardcore land destruction in Modern it really opens up some space for Tron decks to thrive. Ulamog is my pick to represent the archetype because I feel like the card has really dipped off in price as a result of a couple of factors. First, people assuming that Tron sucks (which was false), and second, people assuming that ramp sucks in Standard (also false).

Let's not forget either about the casual appeal of a card like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, which will be absurdly high in the future. I also really like foil copies of this card as investments for the future for the same reason. Ulamog is a fantastic Commander card for like a zillion reasons.

Galerider Sliver

As everybody looks for new ways to abuse Collected Company that dodge the hate against the Abzan combo versions, new and exciting things are afoot! And yeah, Slivers are a thing...

Galerider is the best one-drop sliver of all time and one of the best cards in the Sliver deck. The ability to grant your whole team evasion for one mana is goofy-good. When it comes down to it, costing one mana is a pretty insane ability for any card that counts as a sliver.

Sliver Hive

This land is awesome, and cool. Combine that with the fact that Slivers are actually good in Modern, and you can see why I believe this card could see some gains. It is already pretty hard to keep in stock at local game stores. I've noticed everybody is always sold out, which is a strong sign when it comes to fringe casual-competitive cards. I think this card is a winner.

Elvish Archdruid

Another Company deck: Elves!

Elves has a faster and more consistent nut draw than Abzan Company, and lots of refueling gas in the form of Collected Company and Lead the Stampede.

I've selected Archdruid as my pick because it feels underpriced based on a couple of factors. First, it is one of the only rares in the deck. Second, it was a random M-set card from like five years ago. And third, because it is also a great casual card. What more can a kitchen-table Elf deck ask for than a creature that is an anthem and makes a bajillion mana?

Alongside CoCo, Archdruid is one of the major lynchpins of the deck. It singlehandedly makes copious amounts of mana to sink into the Overrun effect of Ezuri, Renegade Leader that so frequently ends the game. I love when good cards with upside have those low, low online prices because it makes it so easy to pick up a bunch of copies in a hurry.

Gearing Up for Modern Weekend

Everybody knows Modern is great, and that everybody and their uncle loves to play it. Next weekend there are two Modern GPs in North America. I suggest paying close attention to the hype surrounding potential decks leading into the event. The cards above are ones that I've identified as potential game-changers but there are certainly bound to be more in the wings. Find the new tech and find the money.

4 thoughts on “Insider: More Specs Before the Modern GP Weekend

  1. Do you like Hero’S Downfall as well or is the 1 man’s difference between it and Dread bore a significant hindrance on Modern?

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