Insider: Kaladesh Hype and Post-Pro Tour Targets

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Well, I mediumed the heck out of Pro Tour Kaladesh (my record was 8-8), but I had a blast and that is important too. I was impressed with Standard and Draft as competitive formats, as both offered a lot of options and fun gameplay.

I think there's a chance of this Standard format attracting and retaining players at FNM through the fall months. So often, Standard just looks and feels rancid and players decide to give up on the format before they ever bother to become engaged in the first place—but I think there's a real chance that this Standard is one people will want to play.

The biggest question for Magic financers and traders is which cards to move in on and which to give up on. Obviously, there is a ton of hype and demand for Standard cards (Kaladesh singles, in particular) as players scurry to cobble together the staples they need to build their new deck of the week. The key for the savvy trader will be to give up on the cards that have already peaked and move in on the cards with room for growth.

In today's article, I'll give you my perspective on which cards have peaked and which cards I anticipate seeing growth.

Kaladesh Has Peaked

The surging prices of Kaladesh singles is not sustainable. If the prices were sustainable we could all just crack packs infinitely and become millionaires. As enticing as an infinite loop of value sounds, the whole thing is a trap. Online sellers and local game stores are looking to capitalize on demand as players try to grab the last few copies of cards for their constructed decks. The market will adjust once the "I need it now!" crowd has overpaid for the cards they need to play.

We should also keep in mind that Kaladesh has the entire Masterpiece series wedged into the packs, adding additional value into the average price per pack. With a roughly $3 per pack retail price (with the box discount), it just isn't possible for cards like Smuggler's Copter and Torrential Gearhulk to sustain such high price tags.

In fact, if you were thinking about cracking a box or two of Kaladesh to hunt for Masterpieces, now is probably your best time to do so given the spiking prices after PT KLD. If you are willing to hit the trade tables and move the expensive cards, now is a decent time to open up your extra packs.

Smuggler's Copter is a fantastic Magic card and I think we're only getting started with all the places it can be played (all the way into Vintage and Legacy!). Cards have a tendency to go bananas and then come back down to earth. Look at Hangarback Walker or Sylvan Advocate as examples of what I am describing. Once people acquire their play set of these cards, demand wanes and the price tanks.

Copter may be a better and more versatile eternal staple than Hangarback Walker (which does see some play), but I expect a similar trajectory.

Torrential Gearhulk, on the other hand, is not a card I can see sustaining such a pricey tag. The card is a great Standard card for blue control decks as an efficient finisher that generates card and board advantage, but it should only have minor implications outside of Standard.

I'm a big advocate of selling off Torrential Gearhulks now, if you don't need them to play, and reacquiring them down the line when they drop in value. It is worth noting that cards like Snapcaster Mage (which provides a similar effect for significantly less mana) should limit blue Gearhulk to diminished eternal play.

Another card that I would avoid like the plague is Aetherworks Marvel. I know the deck was the talk of the PT after Day 1 but I promise you the deck is a hot pile of garbage. It's wildly inconsistent and cannot beat any deck that plays permission. My team had the deck and could have played it and opted not to because we thought it was a bad deck.

Last week I advised picking up Aetherworks Marvel because I believed it had a good shot at spiking—now is the time to unload them as quickly as possible, reap the reward, and move on with our lives.

It takes a special kind of person to play a deck like Aetherworks Marvel combo because it doesn't give you much play and is high-variance. There are always people who like to live on the edge with Goblin Charbelcher-style combo decks (and they are the target audience for Marvel) but the average player isn't going to play the deck. You only need to look at the very medium Constructed records of the great pros who played the deck to understand Marvel is on the way out.

Don't worry—Metallurgic Summonings will be bulk again in no time. Trade off, immediately!

The post-PT Kaladesh Standard spikes are temporary, based on demand from local Standard players who suddenly need to buy new cards. These prices will correct in the next week or two. I would be looking to move on all of these cards right now and reacquire when the prices come back down. Profit!

Innistrad on the Rebound

I started off pretty negative... Sell! Sell! Sell!

We can't be all sell, all the time, because that would mean we've quit Magic and moved onto other things. Who wants that, right?

With all the hype of Kaladesh, I think now is the perfect time to start investigating some of the Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon singles that have fallen off the radar. With the splashy Kaladesh singles being the new hotness, many people will be more willing to trade their cards from the last block for new ones. Indeed, I like making these types of trades now because I believe the Kaladesh cards are grossly bloated.

I finally got around to playing with Grim Flayer in Standard at the PT and the card is pure gasoline. It is way better than advertised. Between the four players who played our B/G Delirium deck at the PT, the win percentage was 100 when a turn-two Grim Flayer connected on turn three. The card is that powerful.

It is also worth noting that the green-black decks tend to be the natural enemy of these new Jeskai flash decks—which means that Flayer could be a nice investment. I'd also say that Liliana, the Last Hope ought to be a good investment, but that card is still a billion dollars for some reason I don't understand.

Notice a trend? Yeah, another The Rock all-star!

Ishkanah has dropped in the past few weeks, but it's still absurdly awesome in Standard. Now feels like a good time to pick up a few copies for the trade binder.

A big piece of technology we discovered in testing for the PT was that Mindwrack Demon was actively fantastic in the Delirium deck. If The Rock makes a comeback, expect this card to see some gains in the coming weeks.

I don't mean to go on a total, "all delirium, all the time," rant, but I really believe that's where a lot of the value lies right now. As I said before, Delirium is the natural enemy of these Jeskai flash decks which makes them really well positioned moving forward. It is also worth noting that the high number of Aetherworks Marvel decks at the PT (roughly 20%) was bad for The Rock mages, which is a big reason why we didn't see the deck in Top 8.

Spell Queller has really bottomed out and now could be a good time to pick this creature up. It feels like a card that will be very important in the Jeskai Control mirror match. It also has pretty clear Modern/Legacy/Vintage playability. Now feels like a great time to take advantage of people snoozing.

Cryptolith Rite feels like a Doubling Season-type Commander card somewhere down the road. It has fallen out of favor in Standard but the card is still absolutely nuts powerful in the abstract. Now that nobody wants them and is willing to let them go cheap, I'm interested in creating a stockpile of this card for the future.

Do you know what's really good against big mana sweeper decks like Jeskai Control? Faeries...

Spirits are the new Faeries of Standard. The deck was always good but matched up badly against some of the other popular decks. Perhaps now is the time when it makes a little bit of a comeback? It certainly has the tools to be a deck: Selfless Spirit, Niblis of Frost, Spell Queller, Fevered Visions, etc...

Keeping in mind that Spirits could actually be well positioned at some point in the next few months, I don't mind hedging and targeting some of the key component cards. When Faeries, i.e. Spirits, are good, lots of people want to play it because it is so much fun.

As You Were

Well, tried and true theory applies today just like always. Post-PT you want to move off of all the speculation targets that were high before the PT and pick safer long-term investment cards in return.

Hopefully, you ladies and gentlemen were able to hit a couple of the big movers this weekend! If not, well there is always next time. Try to get out of Kaladesh and into the more stable Innistrad singles while you can!

Good luck at the trade tables. Cheers, Brian

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