The Pro Tour is in the books, and there are some very important price movements going on that are worth taking a look at.
"Yeah, yeah, Kyle, the cards in the Ramunap Red deck spiked and many others fell off."
Shockingly, that would be incorrect! While every Pro Tour in recent memory has given the winning deck a significant price spike, that did not happen this weekend. While Hazoret the Fervent saw a significant price spike, most of the cards in Ramunap Red saw no movement or significant negative movement. Hazoret might not be the best god to worship since she doesn't seem to generate any coattails for her supporters. Her price spike was also very short-lived, as her price is currently making a swift descent.
This overall price picture differs significantly from the paper world, where the Ramunap Red staples are seeing major bumps that will probably last for a significant amount of time. Online, though, the prices of the cards fell flat, on average rising 0.05 tix for an average rate of increase of 1.35 percent.
The gains made by Hazoret and Scavenger Grounds are the only reason why the overall suite of Ramunap Red cards didn't actually decline in value. I was particularly surprised by Earthshaker Khenra and Collective Defiance, the former exhibiting just as much a breakout hype-generating gameplay performance as the god herself, the latter a rare from a small set that is no longer draftable online.
The normal course of Pro Tour finance on MTGO – the breakout cards and decks receiving a major price spike followed by a swift market correction over the next week that moderates those gains – did not occur in this instance. What this means to you as an MTGO user is that if you want to buy into Ramunap Red to play for the next few months before rotation, then as strange as it sounds, now is not a bad time to pick up the deck.
Enough pros have publicly espoused the claim that Ramunap Red is the best deck in the format to make me feel confident that Ramunap Red will be tier-one for the remainder of this Standard season. The deck is also almost Rotation-proof, losing only Falkenrath Gorger and Village Messenger // Moonrise Intruder in the fall. Soulscar Mage could serve as a replacement, as could a new red card in Ixalan.
If Ramunap Red's cards did not benefit from an incredible Pro Tour performance, which cards did?
See a theme? The cards that benefited the most from the Pro Tour were the cards that line up best against Ramunap Red. Lifelink has become everyone's favorite keyword. Black cards in general received a significant boost, since Fatal Push, Liliana, the Last Hope and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet are cards that are very effective against Ramunap Red, and a lot of Zombies received a significant boost since many seem to think that Zombies has an even to slightly favorable matchup against Ramunap Red. Below are some of the cards that received the biggest bumps from the Pro Tour.
What might these price movements be telling us?
(1) Players on Magic Online are scrambling to innovate to beat Ramunap Red.
While in the paper world players are now making the choice to buy in to Ramunap Red, a greater share of players online are making the choice to try to beat it. Despite many pros' beliefs that Ramunap Red is the best deck, online players believe that they can get an edge on the competition by honing their deck in such a way that beats it. In particular, players are gravitating toward Zombies and even less-proven archetypes like Crested Sunmare White. It seems clear that the red deck is so intrinsically powerful that you want either access to black for the removal and lifelinking Kalitas or to white lifegain cards like Glory-Bound Initiate.
(2) The new online data restrictions may already be impacting MTGO finance.
One possible explanation for the price movements over the past few days is that the MTGO online community is only now becoming aware of what the metagame looks like. One possible explanation for the lack of significant movement for Ramunap Red cards is that a very high number of players are already playing the deck, a higher number than what MTGGoldfish's metagame analysis might have suggested.
Now that players who don't want to play aggro know what they have to beat, they are working towards building decks that can compete favorably head to head against Ramunap Red. Going forward, it is possible that the biggest price gains after Pro Tours will often be the best counters to the winning decks rather than the winning decks themselves.
My hunch is that the brave new world of limited online data will lead to a wider range of possible market reactions, ones that differ from one Pro Tour to the next. Every Pro Tour will now be a collective and recurring exercise in leaping from blind ignorance into truth regarding the landscape of the metagame. With that said, the reactionary market we saw after this Pro Tour seems like one destined to repeat itself. For those of you who like to speculate while the Pro Tour is ongoing, this is something to remember.
I want to end with a piece of advice for those of you still holding valuable cards in the Zombie deck. Now is a great time to sell. Zombie cards have received a major spike, and it is beyond the realm of my imagination that the deck will survive rotation as a tier-one deck. Cryptbreaker, Relentless Dead, Liliana, the Last Hope, and Dark Salvation all seem too integral to the deck's native power level. I also don't think that the Shadows over Innistrad or Eldritch Moon cards in the Zombie deck will ever reach higher prices. If you want to play the deck, that is one thing (go for it!), but if you are sitting on singles from the deck, you'll do well to sell now.
Share your thoughts in the comments below! How did you like the Pro Tour? Were you too surprised that Ramunap Red as a whole saw no significant price gains online? My heart sank for Wing Chun Yam when he threw away his game in utter excitement of drawing the perfect card to beat Paulo in the semifinals – the raw human moments are always the most compelling. 'Til next week!