Insider: Modern Buys After the Unbannings

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The unbannings of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf promise to bring massive changes to the Modern metagame, and that has led to rampant speculation on cards with the potential to become all-stars alongside the unbanned cards.

Much of the buying so far has been based on historical precedent and theory-crafting (to use another word: speculative), but the cards are now tournament legal, so we’re starting to see actual results with the new cards in action. The cards have been legal online for over a week now, and lists are being published, so there is some hard data to study to get a more informed idea of how the new metagame is playing out before paper results from major events like Grand Prix and SCG events come in and things really start to take off.

Today, I’ll go over some of the cards that are starting to perform online and increase in price, and are thus primed for a paper spike.

Voice of Resurgence was once a Modern all-star worth over $40, but it was slowly knocked from the metagame, and its reprinting in Modern Masters 2017 was the nail in the coffin that brought its price down further, and sagged as low as under $11 the turn of the year.

It has gain dramatically from the unbannings, because it’s one of the best hosers against counterspells, and it plays very well against decks relying on removal to beat a deck through attrition. That makes it line up very well against control decks with Jace and Jund decks with Bloodbraid Elf, so the metagame is shaping up to be one where it shines. It’s also found a new home in Zoo decks that were bolstered by BBE, so there is a perfect storm brewing around the card. The online price of both printings have moved up from under 8 tix to over 10, and they are only going higher. The paper price, on the other hand, has barely risen from the all-time low, so now is the time to buy.

Courser of Kruphix has lived right on the edge of Modern playability, but it has seen a big boost with the printing of Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The cards have great synergy, with Courser of Kruphix able to play lands Jace puts on top of the deck, and the 2/4 stats providing a robust body to help protect the planeswalker. It also has some potential alongside Bloodbraid Elf, and the cards can already be seen alongside each other in Green-Red Ponza, with more decks to come likely to include the combination, so it seems that it’s time for the card to become a true Modern staple.

Its price online has seen large growth from 3.3 tix to 5.6, and its paper price is starting to head up after languishing for years, from $4 before the unbannings to $4.30 now, with plenty more upside.

Blue control decks are the biggest winner from the unbanning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor, including blue-red based decks like Grixis, Jeskai, Blue Moon, Through the Breach decks, and those with the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combo.

Keranos, God of Storms has a history of being used in these sort of decks, often as a sideboard option where it’s a secondary win-condition, and whatever the use, there’s clearly a lot of interest in the card based on its online price more than doubling since the unbannings from under 4 tix to nearly 9. Its paper price has been relatively stable just above 7 for the last year, but will likely now start heading back to its previous post-Standard high of nearly $14 with the potential to surpass it.

Another major beneficiary from Jace, the Mind Sculptor is the Takin’ Turns deck based around chaining multiple Time Walk effects, which become more powerful than ever when you allow for repeated activations of planeswalkers. The deck was borderline before, but has had some big results, like making the top eight of Grand Prix Vegas last summer, and it seems to have been brought over the top from the unbanning. The deck with Jace added is already a big performer online since the unbannings, and even made top eight of the high-profile Modern Challenge event last weekend, which could explain the price of the multiple printings of Time Warp moving to around 7 to 8 tix from their previous range of 4 to 6. There are a few paper printings, and I expect them to all start rising.

I also see big things for the other staples of the deck, many of which have also seen big online movements, like Curse of Exhaustion, which has seen its various versions move from around 0.05 to 0.1 tix to 0.25 to 0.60, quite massive gains. It has six paper printings, and I could see them all rising, with the $0.50 pricetag of the Urza’s Saga and Ninth Edition printings being the version most players will turn too.

What’s interesting is that the three Portal printings all have unique art, which makes the $1.20 price of the Portal version and the $0.90 price of the Portal Second Age very attractive. The big-ticket version is Portal Three Kingdoms and its $10 price tag, which may have the potential to spike the hardest due to its small supply.

Another card to pay attention is Mikokoro, Center of the Sea, which had been seeing steady online growth all year from a bottom in December at around a quarter of a ticket to 0.70 before the banning, which has now doubled to 1.4. The paper price is at $14, and as a one-of may not exactly spike, but as an old third-set card in a maligned set that is in short supply, this has plenty of room to grow.

Other specs from the deck include Day's Undoing, which has doubled online from 0.9 tix to 1.80 tix, Dictate of Kruphix, which was mere pennies online but is now 0.14 tix, and Temporal Trespass, which is up to 0.20 tix from 0.1. These are all worth a dollar or two in paper, but would take off if the deck becomes top-tier.

Drogskol Reaver was included in a Soulflayer deck featured at Grand Prix Lyon, which was apparently made viable by the printing of Zetalpa, Primal Dawn, and hype around the card has spike the price of its staples online. Drogskol Reaver is up from 0.60 tix to 3.60, while Soulflayer is up from pennies to 0.60, an astronomical spike. Both of the cards have also started to noticeably move in paper, from $2 to $2.1 and $0.30 to $0.37 respectively. This deck isn’t likely to be top-tier, but it’s now on the Modern radar, and can only be improved now that more players are working on it, so any future appearances would only bring these prices higher.

It's an exciting time to speculate on cards, and there's many opportunities to make money. What cards are on your radar after the unbannings?


2 thoughts on “Insider: Modern Buys After the Unbannings

  1. Thank God. I bet big on Voice of Resurgence with MM17, and until now that looked like a huge mistake. I’ll be happy if I can sell them for more than $15 online.

    1. It’s being used in Zoo and also Bant CoCo, which is looking to be one of the better Jace decks. It’s already heading up, and I think it’s just a matter of time before it takes off because it’s at such a relatively low price.

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