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Insider: Modern Cards to Watch

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The release of Aether Revolt and the bannings of Golgari Grave-Troll and Gitaxian Probe have significantly altered the texture of Modern, but there haven’t yet been any major Modern events to shed light on the metagame. The coming weekends feature two consecutive Modern SCG events: a Team Open containing Modern as one of the formats first, then a Modern Open the following weekend. These events will serve to explain some of what’s going on in the format, with market implications inevitable. Today, I’ll highlight some of the cards that have improved strategically due to the new cards and bannings, which might be good investments for the near future when Modern re-enters the spotlight.


Basilisk Collar has entered the realm of top-tier Modern playable with its incredible interaction with Walking Ballista, which it turns into a walking machine gun. Basilisk Collar has been increasing steadily in price since Aether Revolt was released, growing from 2 tix to 3.5, but up to just $9.80 from $9.40 in paper, so there should be more room to grow. The price has been steadily increasing ever since the card was printed, so it looks good in the long term,

Online, Walking Ballista has proven fantastic in Eldrazi Tron, where it fills in as disruption and a threat, and its large Eldrazi are also perfect for wearing Basilisk Collar to push through blockers and gain massive amounts of life. Both halves of this combination can be found by Trinket Mage, which makes it an interesting possibility for Mono-Blue Tron decks as well, or even a deck like Blue Moon. Eldrazi Tron has been growing in popularity since the banning of Golgari Grave-Troll and Gitaxian Probe, but there hasn’t yet been a major paper event to test the metagame, so if a deck sporting this combination does have major success, then it’s liable to spike.


Urzatron was a big winner from the Modern bannings, because Infect is its worst matchup, and it’s subsequently picked up in popularity online. Rather than just the typical Red-Green version with Grove of the Burnwillows, there are all varieties of Tron decks, including the colorless Eldrazi Tron, Mono-Blue Tron with counterspells, White-Green Tron with Path to Exile, and even Black-Green Tron with Fatal Push.

If Modern goes through an Urzatron renaissance, then demand on Urzatron lands is sure to rise. I’m also confident in Urzatron lands as being reprint-safe because of their potential to be banned. Wizards isn’t keen on the fast mana they provide, and they are surely on the short list of possible ban candidates given the precedent of Cloudpost being banned after the first Modern Pro Tour, but I don’t think they're likely to actually see a banning. I just don’t see them as cards they want to popularize more or flood players with, especially given that they are from Ninth Edition, which many argue should be wiped from Modern entirely. Foil copies are quite expensive, but they might be great long-term holds given the low risk of reprint.


Kolaghan's Command is up to $10, and while some of that spike is from interest in a Frontier, which doesn’t seem to be keeping up steam in the United States, the price has held steady at the new price for a month, and is now trending upwards after a slight dip. The card is a true Modern staple, and as a black card has become better than ever with Fatal Push in the format. It also has plenty of casual appeal, and is likely in many Commander decks of these colors. This card isn’t going to see a reprint in an expansion, and won’t be in a Modern Masters set for years, so it looks like a great hold.


The Modern bannings have reduced the amount of graveyard hate in the format, especially Grafdigger's Cage, which makes things a lot easier for Abzan Company decks that use the graveyard to combo. The deck has also received a new tool in Renegade Rallier, which opens up a combo with Saffi Erriksdotter. Abzan Company is never popular online because its infinite combo is very slow and impractical to operate, but the deck is historically the darling of many grinders on the SCG circuit, and they could bring the deck to the forefront. Collected Company is central to the strategy and will only get better as more powerful creatures are printed, so it’s only going to appreciate over time.


Baral, Chief of Compliance has spawned a new version of the Storm archetype using Gifts Ungiven as a combo engine with Past in Flames. Its price online has grown rapidly since the release of Aether Revolt, doubling from 3.2 tix to 6.4 tix for the Champions of Kamigawa version and 3.5 tix to 7 tix for Modern Masters version. With the paper price at the lowest point in a year after a big rise and fall in 2016, the card is ripe to start heading back up, especially since it’s not likely to be in Modern Masters 2017.


One of the big players online these days is Titan Shift, which combines Primeval Titan and Scapeshift in a Valakut, Molten Pinnacle-centered deck. It’s a big winner from the banning of Gitaxian Probe because Infect was a poor matchup, and from the release of Aether Revolt because it’s immune to Fatal Push. Primeval Titan is critical to the deck, but I don’t see it being reprinted in Modern Masters 2017 after making it in last time.

Scapeshift would be an absolutely incredible buy if it’s not in Modern Masters 2017, but I imagine it’s the perfect card to reprint: a card that hasn’t been reprinted yet that’s in powerful and flashy strategies but at a very fair pace. I imagine this is the type of strategy Wizards would like to promote in the format.

Summoner's Pact is used as a two-of in the deck, and it could be a good spec because it has already seen a reprint in the first Modern Masters.

Obstinate Baloth is a staple of the sideboard that occasionally creeps into the maindeck, and it has been steadily growing in price online since the release of Aether Revolt, doubling from 1.7 tix to 3.4 tix. The paper price has stagnated to under $5, and it will be a great buy if not reprinted.

--Adam

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