There has been a flurry of financial activity this week since Wizards made their unexpected banned list announcement on Monday.
The banned cards have plummeted in price,of course, but what’s more interesting is the impact on other cards in the market. In some cases, cards associated with banned cards have fallen in price, indicating a lack of confidence in their associated strategies. For example, Ishkanah, Grafwidow and Aetherworks Marvel suffer from losing Emrakul, the Promised End, and Selfless Spirit loses a lot of value when it doesn’t have Smuggler's Copter to protect, and its archetype, White-Blue Flash, is further gutted by the banning of Reflector Mage. Accordingly, each of these cards have seen significant price decreases on Magic Online.
More exciting is the increase in demand and thus prices of cards that are suddenly more desirable in the metagame. Today I’m going to focus on the cards in Standard and Modern that are big winners from the bannings. These cards are poised to be major players in their respective formats, and they are likely to see a significant increase in demand as players adopt them. I’ve been paying attention to the quick-moving Magic Online market as barometer for future paper trends, but in some cases paper prices are already reacting.
Control strategies gained a ton of ground with the Standard bannings. Smuggler's Copter was the best tool aggressive decks had against them, and Emrakul, the Promised End was the one card they couldn’t beat, so now it’s smooth sailing ahead. All control cards have room to gain, but Torrential Gearhulk, which is played in all variety of blue control, has seen the biggest initial gains, growing around 50 percent on Magic Online since the announcement.
Dynavolt Tower could be had for a tenth of a ticket on Monday, but it’s up to almost half a ticket. The paper price is bottomed out at a dollar, and could see some modest gains as control decks start to see more play.
All of the gearhulks suddenly become more attractive in a world where Emrakul, the Promised End is gone and decks need different finishers. Their prices are starting to creep up online, with the price of Noxious Gearhulk almost doubling over the week, Combustible Gearhulk growing by 75 percent, and Verdurous Gearhulk growing by almost 50 percent.
Another big finisher that might now have room to shine is Chandra, Flamecaller, which has grown by around 25 percent online after months of stagnation.
With Emrakul, the Promised End gone, Aetherworks Marvel decks will seek a direct replacement in Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Its price immediately spiked in paper from $13 to over $22, and the online price went from 6 tix to 8. There’s a lot of hype to the spike, but with the card also getting better in Modern and having long-term casual appeal, it’s possible the price won’t ever get lower.
What hasn’t yet spiked is Kozilek, the Great Distortion, which is another possible replacement to Emrakul, the Promised End. The old style of Aetherworks Marvel decks included eight Eldrazi, and as they are already playing Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, they may turn to Kozilek, the Great Distortion. With Red-Green Marvel dying from the banning, the old style of Marvel deck is poised to make a comeback, especially with Whir of Invention giving it a new tutor, so I’d pay attention to Kozilek, the Great Distortion. The price hasn’t seen much movement online and is still a bargain, but the paper price has actually begun to creep up a few cents.
Smuggler's Copter oppressed planeswalkers because it couldn’t be blocked by Plant or Knight Ally tokens, and it couldn’t be touched by abilities from Liliana, the Last Hope or Dovin Baan. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar was once a major part of the metagame but fell very hard after Kaladesh, and it has the most to gain from the banning. The price has already almost doubled online, and it’s starting to creep up in paper. It also gains from hype over Aether Revolt enabling a +1/+1 counter strategy with Winding Constrictor. The strategy has also increased interest in Drana, Liberator of Malakir, which also has applications in Vampires. Renewed interest in the archetype explains the 35 percent growth of Olivia, Mobilized for War on MTGO.
Renewed interest in planeswalkers bodes well for Oath of Nissa, which has almost doubled in price on Magic Online since the announcement. Not only is it useful in traditional midrange decks, it’s also quite useful for casting Saheeli Rai, which makes it an enabler for the new infinite combo with Felidar Guardian. This combo is going to be everywhere, and anything associated with it or beating it is a good bet, at least in the short term until it potentially gets banned five weeks after the Pro Tour, which would be early March. One spec to keep in mind is Authority of the Consuls, which players are moving to in droves as a way to counteract the combo.
The Eldrazi have proved good enough for Modern, Legacy, and even Vintage, but they have had minimal impact in Standard, mostly because they were printed in the same set as Reflector Mage. With it removed from the format, there is really nothing holding the Eldrazi in check, and I expect they will begin to invade the metagame. The price of Reality Smasher and Thought-Knot Seer have already seen significant growth online, and I expect they’ll continue to grow.
Keep your eyes on Nahiri's Wrath, which has grown from under a ticket to over 1.5 tix online, but is currently at its rock-bottom paper price. It’s suddenly a lot more attractive in a world without Smuggler's Copter, which evaded this sorcery-speed removal.
The bannings have completely shook up the Standard metagame, and that has massive implications for the Standard market. What do you think of these market movements? What Standard cards are on your radar?