Insider: What’s Up in Modern?

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Hi, guys.

The Pro Tour should be concluded by the time this article is published. As I'm writing this, day one of the Pro Tour has just ended, and the metagame breakdown is quite similar to the metagame on MTGO. The most-played decks on day one are Tron, Five-color Humans, Grixis Shadow, Affinity, and Burn (the last with more than 6-percent in the field). Let's look at the online metagame:

All the top eight MTGO decks are popular at the PT except Titan Shift. Titan Shift's absence is likely explained by the players at the PT expecting a lot of aggro decks like Affinity, Burn and Humans. Eldrazi Tron and Jeskai Control variants were also slightly less popular compared to the first five decks mentioned, because most testing teams concluded that the aggro decks were just better choices.

Regardless of what the outcome of the PT is, I'm going to talk about potential decks that I've seen from live coverage and articles. These decks aren't that high in percentage of the entire Modern field, but that means that they aren't known quantities, which offers great opportunity. At the very least, I think they are good decks that are worth studying.

Opt is a new addition in the Modern format. Many blue-red decks are playing the full four copies in tje maindeck. Grixis Shadow is one of these, along with four other UR decks, namely Blue-Red Breach, Madcap Moon and Kiki Combo. Before we go into specific picks, let's look at the sample decklists.

Blue-Red Breach

Madcap Moon

Blue-Red Kiki Combo

As you guys see, these decklists are very similar in terms of each one's spells package, but they each have different combination of win conditions. I think if one or more of these decks become popular in the near future, it will directly affect the price of the staples that are in all three of these decks – for example, Snapcaster Mage and Cryptic Command.

Despite being reprinted multiple times, Cryptic Command went up to 15 tickets recently due to the increase in Jeskai and Blue-White Control variants online. Although the price has gone down slowly since then, I think it's worth keeping track of this card's price moving forward.

Snapcaster Mage has been one of the best creature in Modern since the format's inception, almost a confirmed four-of in any deck that can play it, including Grixis Shadow and any Blue Control decks. Now that there are three new decks that plays Snapcaster, I think it's time to pick up playsets of this card as investment. At its current price of 15 tickets, I think its relatively low, but if you guys want to play it a little bit safer, you can monitor the price more frequently before you invest your tickets in this Mage. If any of the above decks do become top-tier stars, the price of Snapcaster Mage can easily go up to 20 tickets.

Anger of the Gods is another card that got reprinted recently in Iconic Masters. The reprint did pull down the price of Anger by a lot, but I think it's the best sweeper for the current metagame full of Humans, Robots and Burn. Look at the price trend of the two versions above, and you can see that the price can still reach 1.5 tickets. I suggest buying Theros Anger of the Gods for speculation or play because it's currently the cheaper version. This pick won't earn you a ton of tickets, but it's a safer pick as this card it should maintain its utility in Modern as we move forward.

Next up, let's look at another deck – Mardu Pyromancer. This deck is played by Pro Tour champion Gerry Thompson in featured match:

This deck already existed online for months, but somehow it didn't get popularized by the players online. Mardu is a great color combination because it has access to many of the best spells in Modern. For example, Thoughtseize, Lightning Bolt, Collective Brutality, Kolaghan's Command, Lingering Souls, and the powerful enchantment Blood Moon. Although it seems like there's not much potential in this deck due to all its cards being at their respective high points right now, I think we can take this deck as an example to learn. Let's take a look in detail at the core cards of this deck.

I remember I wrote about Bedlam Reveler somewhere in December last year. Back then, it was only 1 ticket, but because the deck did well at the PT Day1, the price spiked to near 3 tickets – and can potentially go higher if this deck becomes top-tier on MTGO. The reason why this card is so good right now is because, as a card best in midrange decks, it has better games against aggro decks compared to Grixis Shadow. Without playing blue, decks rarely have the ability to draw cards, but Reveler solved the problem for non-Blue deck like Mardu.

When Kolaghan's Command was released, everyone underestimated its utility in Modern until Reid Duke plays it in Modern Jund and proves how versatile and powerful this card can be in the format. Since then, the black-red command becomes a staple in Modern instead of just a crap rare. Last year, K-command's price stayed above 15 tickets about 70 percent of the time and it actually hit the 20-plus tickets mark twice. If the price of this card ever drops below 15 tickets again, I'll definitely buy in playsets of it.

Similarly to K-command, Collective Brutality is also a versatile card that fits into many black decks in Modern. As you can see from the price history, the price is climbing up slowly towards the 25-ticket mark. If I remembered correctly,  back when this card was legal in Standard, it was only 5 tickets each on average, meaning it has increased by 300 over percent since then.

Cards to Buy This Week

If I were to invest in some Modern cards this week, they would be Liliana of the Veil and Tasigur, the Golden Fang. Liliana was once a 100-ticket card, but due to reprints and the recent lack of black-green decks in the format, the price has declined slowly downwards since September of last year, and it's now around 50 tickets. Black-green will make a comeback eventually, as it's an archetype that's always going to be there, and at some point, Liliana will increase in price again.

As for Tasigur, you can take a look at the price trend and find clear cyclical movement in it. It's a low point in its cycle right now, so buying in at this point is an easy way to earn a few tickets.

Alright, that’s all for the week. Thank you all for reading, and I will see you guys again soon!

–Adrian, signing out

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