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Insider: Biggest Winners from the Modern Unbannings

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The unbanning of Bloodbraid Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor are going to make a huge impact in Modern. The financial impact will be huge, which can already be observed given the hype surrounding the cards and the many market movements that have occurred as a result, none more apparent than the massive rise in the price of the unbanned cards themselves. It has also increased demand for cards that are obvious choices for supporting these broken cards, many of which David Schumann explored earlier this week. Today, I’ll tap into my competitive background to share my thoughts on what other cards are prime targets for growth.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor will find a home in decks of all styles, but it’s set to benefit control decks most of all. There’s already significant hype around the card enabling a Legacy-style Miracles deck, which explains why David suggested Hallowed Fountain and Flooded Strand as buys, and explains the rise that Celestial Colonnade is already seeing. These will be great in all style of blue-white decks, even if Jace is just added to the existing White-Blue Control or Jeskai decks – but Terminus is a buy specifically for the Miracles strategy.

A card that has up to this point been underappreciated in Modern, but may now find its time to shine, is Telling Time, which is a perfect way to set up the top of the deck for a miracle.


Three printings of Telling Time have kept its price under $0.50, and even under a quarter for the Modern Masters 2015 printing, but becoming a Modern staple will certainly bring this toward a dollar and beyond. Where bigger profits may be had is the foils. If the price of other foil blue Modern staples is any indication, its current foil prices, which sit under $5 for the original two printings, seem like a bargain, and the sub-$1 MM15 price looks like a steal.


A more unique Miracles card that isn’t used in the Legacy version but was a key part of the original Innistrad block version is Temporal Mastery. It has seen a big spike online, doubling in the past week, but the paper price stagnated down to $5 before seeing a small rise this week to $5.50. If it catches on in Modern Miracles decks, it’s going to see big gains, potentially breaking its previous high of around $10.


Another card that could see significant gains based on a Miracles-style deck is Monastery Mentor, which is used in the archetype in Legacy, and would do work in Modern alongside cantrips like Opt, Serum Visions and Telling Time. It gives Miracles an efficient threat that could see maindeck play or be used in sideboards to change gears, and because it is relatively resistant to opposing Jaces, could help win the Jace wars that these decks will inevitably find themselves in against other control decks. Its price is also at a bargain level in the long-term, currently at an all-time low price under $9, but its upwards price trajectory online is a good sign.


Jace is also set to find a home in blue control decks besides white-blue, so I’m eyeing Creeping Tar Pit as another buy. It’s at home alongside Jace in Grixis, while it’s also historically one of the better ways to pressure Jace, so it should see a general uptick in play in any decks that can support it.


A card that has been mentioned by some pros as a potentially excellent card with Jace is Disrupting Shoal, which can protect Jace in a way similar to how Force of Will protects it in Modern. Disrupting Shoal has seen very minor play in Modern, but Jace has never been legal in the format, so now it could finally be time for the card to rise to the level of blue staple. Its price has already moved up from from $9 towards $15 on the hype, but this card that saw print almost thirteen years ago would head significantly higher if its proves itself.


White-blue won't be the only deck to use Jace, and one of the best candidates for the card is Grixis Control, which was already competitive in Modern, but may rise to the very best Modern control deck because of how well the colors and its wealth of removal can protect the planeswalker. One component of that removal is Damnation, which is currently used in small numbers in Grixis, but will likely see even more play as the deck becomes more controlling and able to dominate the late game with Jace.

On the Bloodbraid Elf side of things, the obvious winner is Jund, which explains why David pointed out Kolaghan's Command as one of the biggest winners. There’s a host of cards in the archetype that win from the unbanning, including staples Dark Confidant and Liliana of the Veil.


The card that I see as one of the very biggest winners from the rise of Bloodbraid Elf is Raging Ravine, which sagged to under $10 since spiking to a high of nearly $20 two years ago. It’s up to almost $11 now after the announcement, but that leaves plenty of room left to grow.


Grim Flayer is a relatively new arrival to Modern that hasn’t had the chance to play with Bloodbraid Elf, but now is its time, which explains its big rise online since Monday, and should finally bring some growth to its stagnated paper price.

The unbanned cards demand that decks respect them, which will also bring price increases to an entire class of cards that will be used to hose them. David mentioned Dreadbore, which has spiked hard online and is moving up in paper as well, now at $2.40 from $2, with more room to grow. Some other cards to pay attention to are Hero's Downfall, which does the job at instant speed, along with Modern staples Maelstrom Pulse and Detention Sphere, which are now more important than ever because they answer Jace.


Jund has struggled in Modern over the past couple years, but the most successful lists in 2017 included Goblin Rabblemaster, which helped the deck apply pressure to its opponents. It's going to be a fantastic card to cascade into, so I see nothing but upside for its price in 2018.


Bloodbraid Elf will see play in a lot more decks than just Jund, and one clear home is Zoo. A version of this deck that was successful in the past combined Bloodbraid Elf with Congregation at Dawn, which can dig for it on-curve and set up a cascade along with a third creature, potentially another Bloodbraid Elf. It's a borderline combo that also has great toolbox potential, so I see big things for it over the coming months.


A creative solution to Jace is Gaddock Teeg, which prevents it from being cast, along with cards that go along with it like Cryptic Command, and cards in Miracles like Terminus and Supreme Verdict.


One of the best ways to handle Bloodbraid Elf is to turn off cascade, which could bring about a rise in Ethersworn Canonist, and in its counterpart Eidolon of Rhetoric.

What cards do you predict will rise because of the unbannings?

–Adam

One thought on “Insider: Biggest Winners from the Modern Unbannings

  1. Definitely some great picks. I agree with all of them aND I really like bitterblossome as a jace protector that comes down early and provides continual advantage.

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