Insider: Streamers and the Netdeck Effect

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Hello, guys.

This week I'm going to talk about price changes due to decks played and recorded by streamers as well as decks posted online, especially the MTGO Daily 5-0 lists. Recently, a new deck has broken out in Modern – Blue-Black As Foretold + Living End:

The first decklist was posted online on the 4th of December. More players have succeeded with the deck afterwards, plus, more streamers are talking and playing with the deck, and then the following happened:

What makes this different from any other random brew that we can find online?

Very simply, other decks that appear online are mostly lists that are tweaked from previously existing decks. For example, changing the creature base of a Collected Company or Chord of Calling deck; or switching out a planeswalker in a midrange deck; for example, adding Chandra, Torch of Defiance to a Jund deck.

These kinds of moves will only make the specific added card increase in price, assuming that build even becomes popular. As for this blue-black deck, it's an entirely new archetype – and such a brew rarely make it to the WotC's decklist website.

Players online reacted very quickly to the posted decklist, especially streamers who want to provide fresh content to their subscribers. I personally watch a lot of streams, and I'd seen someone playing this deck before the decklist was posted, but I never expected the prices to spike like this. Lesson learned?

Why Is This Deck Good?

Basically, this Blue-Black As Foretold-Living End deck plays like the usual cascade -spell-into-Living End build, except it adds a bunch of control spells like Goremand and Cryptic Command. Other than that, Academy at Tolaria West also synergizes wonderfully with all the zero-mana spells like Living End and Ancestral Vision. As long as As Foretold is in play, the pilot can easily control the board, slowly fill up the graveyard and bring the monsters back to end the game.

Besides all the synergies, even the sideboard has some straightforward answers to almost everything in the format – including both Leyline of Sanctity and Leyline of the Void. No doubt, these Leylines spiked along with the popularity of this deck.

Leyline of Sanctity slows down Burn decks a lot, forcing them to commit more creatures to the board, which will eventually get cleaned up by Living End. The white enchantment also stops discard spells like Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize from sniping the key card As Foretold from the pilot's hand. I did suggest to buy in on Leyline of the Void months ago, then reviewed the price here and suggested you guys to be prepared to let go for profit. If you haven't sold them off, now is a great opportunity to do so. Do remember the one golden rule in MTGO speculations: always sell into the hype! Because you will never know when the price will go down again.

Although we missed out the chance to profit from this deck, we can still put this deck on our watchlist and see if there's any updated versions. Also, we can check out the streams that are available regularly to see how the streamers tweak this deck. For example, I saw Caleb Durward streamed the deck with Chalice of the Void, so let's check out Chalice:

As you guys can see, the price is still sticking around 32 tickets, and it doesn't seem like there will be any changes since Caleb already ended his stream as I'm writing this. Anyway, Chalice was just an example I took from Caleb's stream. You guys can watch streams and compare decklists with more popular versions. And if you do find cards that the streamers are testing out, you probably should start monitoring their prices immediately.

Alright, let's look at another deck I found online as example of how we should look at new brews posted online:

So this is a rather fresh build of Ramunap Red but with a slight white splash. If you think this deck has potential to beat all the top-tier decks, which cards would you speculate on? A feneral way to find out which cards have potential is to figure out how dependent is the deck to the specific card and what is the rarity of the card. I've picked a few cards as example:

As always, a deck's land base is the most important part of a deck. Ever since Mardu Vehicles becomes less popular, this land stayed between 1 and 2 tickets. In order to rate the dependencies of this white-red deck on this land, we try to think of other replacements for this card – but currently there's no other untapped land than Inspiring Vantage that can produce red and rhite mana. In conclusion, this deck cannot function without the red-white fastland. In other words, if the deck becomes really good, this will be one of the pieces that will spike.

Kinjalli's Sunwing is a card that has not seen much play. I've only seen this card in the mentioned deck as well as a green-white aggro deck. This card is a bulk rare currently, which means its easy to get tons of playsets. But in order for the price to spike, it needs to be very impactful in games. A recent example of a bulk rare becoming a 1-ticket rare is Regal Caracal. The cat lord was played in blue-white control decks as a transformation option in the sideboard. For Sunwing, its application is to make haste creatures do nothing on the turn they are cast, which is only needed against deck like Ramunap Red. When a sideboard card is too narrow, it can be replaced by other, more important cards. So Sunwing is the type of card that you shouldn't pick as speculation.

The white splash in this deck is mainly for token generators like Servo Exhibition and Legion's Landing // Adanto, the First Fort. I believe this build of Ramunap Red is to beat the mono red version, as tokens can easily trade with creatures like Bomat Courier and Earthshaker Khenra with 1 toughness. Legion's Landing is an enchantment, which means red decks have no way to deal with it. Therefore, I think Legion's Landing is irreplaceable in this deck – and should this deck become good in the metagame, it will have high potential to spike.

Alright, guys, that’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all next week!

–Adrian, signing out.

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