GP San Antonio was a blast! We lost our win-and-in for Top 4 but pulled out an insane match in the last round to finish 11-3 and in 8th place. Team events are literally the best in all of Magic and I'm making it a priority to attend every single one that I possibly can.
Modern is great and the unified format really showed off a lot of cool decks, precisely as I suspected it would. All things considered, with the exception of Pascal Maynard's neat Krark-Clan Ironworks deck (which we beat in the last round!), the format shook out largely as was expected. There was a lot of Death's Shadow, Affinity, Eldrazi, and combo decks. The basic bread and butter of the Modern format.
The trio of decks that my teammates and I selected were RG Scapeshift (with no Through the Breach), Affinity, and Bant Eldrazi. I couldn't have been happier with that configuration. All three are great Modern decks and served us well.
Today, I'd like to take a quick look at what San Antonio taught us about the format. I'll also make some predictions about the cards likely in great territory for price increases in the foreseeable future.
I think we could do a lot worse than investing in Collected Company right now. For starters, I lost against Bant Knightfall in a pretty decisive match. I wrote about the deck last week for Channel Fireball, and I think it is much better than people give it credit for as a real Modern option.
The deck continues to impress me the more I see it in action. To be fair, all of the Collected Company decks (Abzan Melira, Elves, and Spirits) are decks that I secretly fear playing against in tournaments. The matches are always super close and I feel unfavored in the matchup with whatever I'm playing.
Collected Company is also the kind of card that will continue to get better as time goes on. I mean, it's pretty obvious we are not getting a "better CoCo" any time soon—but every time a great creature with CMC three or less gets printed, it becomes a potential option for Collected Company.
My assessment is that Collected Company is currently underplayed in Modern and will likely improve with regard to metagame share as time passes.
Spell Queller is another card that has tanked pretty hard lately. All things considered, it's a very powerful Magic card. I played against more Quellers last weekend than I would have anticipated. They were very good against me in the Bant CoCo deck, and a pretty surprising blowout from UW Control after sideboard.
I did learn a couple of cool Displacer / Queller interactions.
Two triggers go onto the stack. 1) To cast the spell that was exiled by Spell Queller. 2) Spell Queller's "Exile a spell from the stack" trigger. Since you haven't actually cast the spell that was exiled yet (the trigger is on the stack but not the actual spell), Spell Queller can't choose it as a target. So blinking Queller is great because you essentially unlock the spell.
The other cool interaction is that if an opponent has a Spell Queller in play and then casts, say, a Monastery Mentor, you can blink the Queller in response and force them to exile their own Mentor! Ding!
I thought those were cool interactions worth sharing, because at the time I had no idea what was going on and had to ask a judge exactly how these things worked to be sure.
Spell Queller is the kind of card that will always be around in Modern as a good option for decks that want to play a flash-style game. I know Kyle Boggemes is very high on his Jeskai Flash deck that also makes great use of Queller.
Despite matching up poorly with Eldrazi Displacer, Spell Queller is a great Magic card in Modern. I also think there is a very legitimate chance that Queller could finally have its day in the sun in Standard with the release of Amonkhet. I think the current low price and the high potential makes Queller a strong card right now to pick up and hold onto.
I actually wrote about Scrap Trawler as a dark-horse pick from Aether Revolt, believing that it had serious combo potential in eternal formats. It only took some time for somebody to figure it out in Modern.
The interaction between sacrificing artifacts to generate mana with KCI and continuing to loop Mox Opals and Chromatic Stars to generate card and mana advantage is pretty insane. I think Pascal's deck from the GP is a legitimate choice in Modern. And seriously, who doesn't enjoy a good "Eggs" deck?
A KCI-style combo deck featuring Trawler could potentially be great in Legacy or Vintage as well. I have a knack for looking at a new card in the abstract, and recognizing unique and powerful cards that will, at some point, eventually find a home in constructed Magic. Trawler was an example of just adding up the stats and saying, "eventually."
Trawler is essentially a bulk rare which makes it a good card to horde up on right now. Keep in mind that Pascal lost a win-and-in for Top 8. One more win would have put him into Top 4 and we likely would have already seen a spike on KCI cards.
Rest in Peace is a great pick-up right now. It has been slowly creeping up and I don't anticipate that trend to curtail any time soon. Easily one of the most important sideboard cards in the format and the best graveyard hate card ever printed. Nothing strikes fear into Dredge like a RIP!
If you are playing white in basically any format you are playing Rest in Peace. That is how good the card is. It also didn't see a Modern Masters reprint—let the games begin!
I have a huge stack of these that I've been saving, literally, since RTR came out. because I knew the card was insane, and continued to know the card was insane year after year. If you don't have these yet, I suggest picking up your playset because the sky is the limit.
A few weeks ago I wrote about my general strategy for approaching Modern Masters 2017 specs. The cliffs notes version was to wait a few weeks for MM17 rares to begin to bottom out, at which point there will be a ton of them floating around. Then they'll slowly start to trickle back up.
Stony Silence is a great example of this philosophy playing out. Stony has plummeted to a low-level-priced rare because of MM17. However, it is still a marquee Modern and eternal staple. While the price has gone down because supply has increased for the moment, we also know that the demand is and will always be high. Eventually, it will balance out and the price will go back up as has been the case with other similar Masters reprints in the past.
Stony Silence is probably the most devastating sideboard card in all of Modern and I don't see that changing. If anything, the card has recently gotten better because it is also a house against Pascal's KCI Eggs combo deck. Basically, I want to acquire every Stony Silence I can trade for while they are $3.
Last but not least, I love Phantasmal Image as an investment card right now. It falls into the same category as Stony Silence: an MM17 reprint where supply has momentarily eclipsed demand. Phantasmal Image is not a dollar card. It is extremely powerful and sees considerable play across various formats. Most importantly, it is unique. We are not going to see another two-mana clone.
It's also quite a house in Collected Company decks, especially when copying Drogskol Captain or other hexproof monsters. It also sees some fringe play in Merfolk. I see Image as a card very likely to rebound in value; so strike while the iron is hot!
Modern felt great last weekend and I'm looking forward to continuing to explore the new metagame in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on those cheap MM17 staples. Abrupt Decay also seems like a hot buy right now. Most importantly, look for cards that are continuing to drop and pick them up low to wait for the value to come back later.
Modern is great. Magic is great. Money is great. Have a great week!