Insider: Getting Ready for the Pro Tour

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Hi, guys,

Last week I wrote about early speculation on Pro Tour Dominaria. This week I'm going to talk about what you should be doing, both in the lead-up to the Pro Tour and during the event itself.

The thing about MTGO singles is that they fluctuate way faster than paper singles. But it's also easier to buy and sell digital cards from the comfort of your home. If you're doing any speculation on singles online, do make sure you stay in front of the computer while the Pro Tour is live.

Survey Online Traders

Before the Pro Tour, make sure you know which bots you're planning to visit to purchase cards. Bigger bot chains are generally better, as they make it easier to manage your tickets.

These chains might be slightly more expensive than the bots you usually use to buy your own playsets for games or collections. But when you want to obtain lots of cards in a limited time frame, big bot chains will help you avoid having leftover credits everywhere. They're also easier to get into a trade with during a high-volume selling time like the Pro Tour.

Also, know where to check MTGO singles prices on the web—for example, Cardhoarder has their own website to check prices. This is important as you will not be required to enter every bot to check the price for a particular card.

Set Up Your Devices

To be able to trade efficiently during the PT, you will need a good environment. For example, I like to have good WiFi to watch the PT live stream, and extra monitors to check prices and keep MTGO open. I don't need to elaborate more on this—just make sure you're comfortable and in a good place to work.

Study the Format

Not everyone who speculates on MTGO plays a lot of Magic. Even if they do, the Pro Tour might not be the format they're familiar with. If you're very familiar with Standard, then the coming PT shouldn't be a problem for you. If you don't play Standard, you should at least watch some videos to get an idea of what's going on in the current format. This is to ease your decision-making while you are watching the PT live stream.

For example, say a blue-white deck shows up on camera with the sideboard tech of switching to midrange with some History of Benalia. Let's assume this card is still underpriced, and that the featured player is doing well using that card. Will you be able to judge whether or not this technology is good in the metagame?

Some of the information required to answer this question will be readily available online—the metagame spread at the event, what commentators are saying, the Twitter discussions going on, etc. But knowledge of the format is indispensable here. If you have enough knowledge of every deck and how it works, it's much easier to tell whether the new sideboard tech can do well against the rest of the meta.

Take Note of Cheap Decks

Dominaria has been in the format for a few weeks now, but we cannot tell which deck is the best until the Pro Tour. This also means that many decks are still in the experimental stage—in other words, cheap decks right now might be the best decks next week! On the other hand, the current top-tier decks are already at their peak price, therefore there's no point investing in those decks.

I have a few decklists to share with you here that I think are worth watching.

As you all know, Karn, Scion of Urza is one of the most powerful cards in the new set. No doubt we will see plenty of play for Karn at the PT, but which deck suits Karn the most?

I think the UB Improvise deck above can potentially be good. This list might not be the best version of the deck, but the core components are already there for you.

Tezzeret the Schemer is one of the least played planeswalkers in Standard right now, which explains why its price is only about 1 ticket. There's not much time left for Tezzeret in Standard, however, so you need to be very confident in this card if you want to invest in it.

Bontu's Last Reckoning is a very cheap sweeper to handle the aggressive decks, while the improvise mechanic can help to reduce its drawback.

Another card that might fit this deck is a Saga from Dominaria:

The Antiquities War might be a little too slow against aggro decks, but I think this is a very good sideboard card against midrange and control. This card is a free investment opportunity for this set. If you think junk rares at 0.08 ticket can't go anywhere, then you are wrong. A recent example of this happened with Regal Caracal:

The Cat lord's price was similar to The Antiquities War's back in July of 2017. Then it spiked to 1 ticket when everyone found out it was great against aggro. Similar things can happen with the blue Saga. The buy-in cost is very low—close to free, even—because you can simply include this card when you have leftover credits with bots after trades.

Sultai Energy slowly lost popularity after the release of Dominaria. However, in my opinion, that doesn't stop the deck from being good. The Scarab God is slowly regaining popularity in UB Midrange variants in Standard, and thus the price is going up.

Players are shifting away from blue in these decks because pure black-green can have Llanowar Elves while not easily getting mana screwed. But there could still be a version of Sultai that plays Llanowar Elves while splashing blue for The Scarab God. In my opinion, The Scarab God is still cheap enough to pick up some playsets for the PT.

Llanowar Elves opens up a lot of potential for three-mana spells, as there can be a big difference when they're resolved one turn earlier. For example, a turn-two Champion of Wits or Jadelight Ranger can be very strong. So do take note on three-mana cards that can become broken with the help of one-CMC mana dorks for this coming PT.

In either case, regardless of which cards you're aiming at, try to stay away from Kaladesh and Aether Revolt, as I mentioned for Tezzeret above.

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

Adrian, signing off.

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