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Insider: Speculating with a Competitive Player’s Mindset

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Hi, guys.

As an MTGO singles investor, you can have many different approaches to speculating. I believe one of the most important aspects is to have a competitive player's mindset. Put it simply, you need to be able to think like a competitive player.

How does a competitive player think? They need to find out the changes in metagame, and react to them quickly. If we're doing the same thing, we can then buy cards that we think will be the next game changer and wait for a price spike.

Let's look at some of my recent picks and I'll explain in more detail why I picked them.

I talked about Collected Company last week. I mentioned that this card got overshadowed by the hype of the Bloodbraid Elf and Jace unbans. It was less than 14 tickets at the time, and has increased by about 5 tickets since then.

Competitive players who have been playing since at least Dragons of Tarkir know how broken Collected Company is. In Modern, Company is a four-of card for both aggro and creature-combo decks. The ability to put six mana worth of creatures into play at instant speed, for just four mana, is insane.

Back when this card was in Standard it was already causing lots of frustration, and certain players were hoping it got banned. Whenever these decks are popular online, the demand for Company will usually spike.

I mentioned Trinisphere two weeks ago. Back then, I only mentioned that this card is played to combat midrange decks but I didn't say how it does that.

First, let's talk about why midrange decks are good: they use cheap, efficient spells to gain control of the game slowly. That alone should make it clear why I picked Trinisphere. This three-mana artifact makes the spells of slow decks less efficient because they will be less likely to cast more than one spell in the early game. Cards like Thoughtseize and Lightning Bolt become a lot less impressive at three mana. By restricting the actions from a midrange deck, it will be easy to beat them.

Now, let's relate this card to the recently unbanned Bloodbraid Elf, where BBE's cascade trigger will no longer be free (it will require three extra mana to cast the revealed spell). This was kind of like secret tech back when the Sphere is still around 16 tickets. So if you were thinking from a competitive player's point of view and bought Trinisphere, today it would have earned you an average of about 8-9 tickets per card.

Surveying the Meta

Before I elaborate more on the topic, let's talk about the decks that popped out on MTGO recently.

From my experience, I've seen lots of aggressive red decks that play Goblin Guide and Eidolon of the Great Revel online, be it traditional Burn, Goblins, or random red creature decks. Eidolon hasn't increased in price because it just got reprinted in Masters 25. If Burn's performance starts to improve I think there's a chance it will increase in price, but I wouldn't suggest buying into Eidolon because it's too risky. I will be suggesting something better to invest in later.

Besides Burn, I've also noticed that many decks are including Bitterblossom as tech to beat midrange decks like Jund. I've seen it in Abzan, BW Eldrazi, and even Affinity. If you're actively playing Modern online, this isn't a new thing for you.

Combining the best decks in the format—Jund and Humans—with the decks I talked about just now, we see some of the most commonly played cards as below:

Trying to think in a competitive player's point of view, what do you see here? Let me share what I can think of from these data.

  1. Many cards cost two or less.
  2. Decks are getting more aggressive.

I can directly relate the first point to one card in particular: Spell Snare.

Spell Snare might seem very narrow as it only counters spells with converted mana cost two. But looking at the most powerful cards played in the format right now, it looks like it has a ton of targets.

I could easily see control decks like Grixis and Esper starting to play this as a four-of soon. These decks have cheap tools to gain control of the board, like Lightning Bolt, Fatal Push, Thoughtseize, and various counter spells. With Spell Snare, I feel these decks will get even more competitive as this one-mana counterspell can stop lots of spells in the current meta. Recently Spell Snare dropped from 2.5 to 1.3 tickets, which is a good opportunity to acquire some playsets for investment.

As for the second point about the increase in aggressive decks online, I think the four-mana sweepers like Supreme Verdict and Wrath of God are a little too slow right now, and Anger of the Gods is a little too hard for most decks to cast. So, it's time to get back to some old technology:

The combination of Kozilek's Return and big Eldrazi is the best way to answer all the creatures that our opponent has cast from early to late game. In the current metagame, Tron is the only deck that can employ this combo. Kozilek's Return is able to kill off most early creatures in Humans, Jund, and Burn. In the midgame, the combo might not be able to kill a large Tarmogoyf, but the Tron player should be able to stabilize by then.

Here I would suggest buying both Kozilek's Return and World Breaker for investment. If you have extra tickets, I would also suggest buying other Eldrazi like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Emrakul, the Promised End, as I think Tron will be the next deck-to-beat very soon.


Alright guys, that’s all for this week. I hope my examples are enough to elaborate on the topic. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you again next week.

Adrian, signing out.

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