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Insider: Modern Trends and the Market

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The modern RPTQ season is over, but Modern is still on the minds of many, especially with two Modern Grand Prix coming up this weekend, and the Modern Pro Tour in February quickly approaching. Ixalan had a significant impact on the metagame, which continues to evolve, and there are some decks on the upswing that could have some major market implications over the coming days and weeks.


Lantern control is quickly approaching tier-one status, with Whir of Invention-driven lists coming up big online, and last weekend Sam Black played it to a perfect record in the SCG Invitational, while Brian Braun-Duin played it the top eight of the Modern Classic. It seems inevitable that the deck will put up some big paper results, maybe as soon as this weekend, that will cause its cards to appreciate. Whir of Invention is a potential target, and foils seem like a great buy with little downside. Pyxis of Pandemonium could be a great buy as its current price barely over a quarter, with foils coming in at a $1.


I'm especially interested in Witchbane Orb, which is now played main as a one-of, and has crossover appeal in Commander, Legacy, and Vintage. The foil price has been trending sharply upwards over the past two weeks, from $2 to $3.50, and could just keep humming along.


Another deck that suddenly is seeing a lot of support is 8-Rack, which drew heads by placing three players into the top eight of the Modern Classic. It doesn't have a lot of online results, but momentum is on its side, and it's trending upwards, so a break out could be imminent. The top eight lists had a lot of tech that could good buys, including Blackmail, Funeral Charm, and Nezumi Shortfang // Stabwhisker the Odious, but money is with foil versions of the four-of staples, including Shrieking Affliction, which is still cheap at $3, The Rack, which only has one foil printing, and Smallpox, which has seen its original Time Spiral printing go up from $6 to $10 over the past month after falling from a high over $12, and alternative versions sitting still at $3.

The Black-Red Madness deck has been growing in popularity, which this week brought Call to the Netherworld from a couple dollars to over $10, a spike I called when I first mentioned the deck last month. My eyes are now on Goblin Lore, which is being adopted into lists online as a powerful discard outlet.


It's also seeing play as a four-of in Vengevine decks, and I could even see potential in Dredge. Its online price has spiked from bulk to 0.1 tix, while the paper price of 30 cents for the Tenth Edition version is starting to visibly move upwards. Its Starter 1999 and Portal Second Age price of around 60 cents seems destined for $1 and above, but I am most interested in its only foil version, from Tenth Edition, which at $4 seems like a steal, especially since it has a history of spiking to $7.

The player with the most online League 5-0 trophies did it with a Mardu Control deck, and it gained widespread attention after a player fought to the top eight of the online RPTQ with the deck. It's perfect for cutting through Five-Color Humans, which explains some of the success, but it seems like the real deal in the metagame, and there's a real likelihood for a breakout at a major paper event. The deck plays an assortment of all the familiar quality cards that other decks do, basically a Mardu-colored version of Jeskai Control or Jund Midrange, but Bedlam Reveler stands out as a card it uniquely uses and is liable to spike.


Its foil price had been in steady decline to an all-time low of $3.30, but last week it started trending upwards, to $3.43. It seems like now is a great time to buy-in to a card with immediate potential and a lot of long-term upside, because it only gets better with each new instant and sorcery printed.


Another card that the the Mardu deck uses that isn't found much elsewhere, and which has a similar price graph, is foil Forked Bolt. Its price had been in slow decline for years, but bottomed out just under $10 this summer and maintained that price until the end of October, when it started trending upwards to the nearly $10.50 where it now sits. It's a relatively old Modern card from a set that has historically demanded high prices, and it has Legacy crossover in Delver decks, so it seems like a solid and stable buy that due to the Mardu deck is no longer getting any cheaper.

Online there has been a very noticeable upsurge in pseudo-Splinter Twin decks that use Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to combo, in part due to Opt, and the deck could potentially fight its way back into the top-tier metagame picture. The trend would have led me to believe that Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker was a clear buy, given that the price has moved down to under half of its previous high, but its printing in Iconic Masters has further exerted downward pressure, and is currently undercutting the price of previous versions by about 50 percent. There could be some room for that $6 price to grow towards the $10 to $12 we see for the others, but it would take the deck truly becoming a major part of the metagame for the price of any versions to grow above $12.


A cool piece of tech that the decks are using as a one-of is Harvest Pyre, which is something like a do-it-yourself Terminate without needing black mana, and at 50 cents it seems like a nice buy for what could become a Modern staple.

–Adam

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