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Insider: MTGO Block Staples to Watch – Lorwyn & Shadowmoor

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Hello, guys.

Welcome to another Block Staples to Watch article. This week we will be visiting two small blocks together: Lorwyn and Shadowmoor. Between the two, the sets in these blocks consist of Lorwyn, Morningtide, Shadowmoor, and Eventide. Considering each of these small blocks doesn't have enough notable staples, I'm covering them together.

Cryptic Command used to be a staple in Modern when Splinter Twin was dominant. Without the combo piece, and with everything faster today, blue control is much weaker.

Furthermore, Cryptic Command has been reprinted in several sets. I wouldn't say this is the top pick when we want to get some singles as investment, but it is still a card that we should watch out for. Blue decks remain popular and the card is likely to come back into vogue again.

Thorn of Amethyst is a Legacy/Vintage card used by creature decks to combat other decks playing lots of free or low-cost spells. I haven't seen a Modern deck that used this card well, so you can probably ignore the Modern metagame when you are looking at this card.

As you can see in the graph, the price of Thorn fluctuates a lot from time to time. Currently it is at a relatively low price, which makes it a good time to pick up sets for investment.

Thoughtseize is undoubtedly one of the best cards across multiple formats where it's legal. However, as with many other format staples, it has been reprinted multiple times, which reduces the demand by a big chunk.

Having said that, I still think Thoughtseize is a staple that no MTGO investor should neglect. As time goes on demand for this card will increase bit by bit, because it's still the best discard spell available in every eternal format.

After Lorwyn, lets visit some of the notable singles in Morningtide. This is a set which consists of many staples played in the Faeries deck. Faeries is unique in Modern as a creature-based control deck that turns the tide very fast with its clock. As I said earlier in the article, control decks are worse nowadays since aggro decks are everywhere.

With a card like Bitterblossom, paying life to create 1/1s is no match against the aggressive creature decks in the format. However, a deck will not always be dominant in Modern based on past experiences, and keeping a card in our watchlist isn't going to hurt.

Mutavault is one of my favorite lands as it has helped me to win lots of games. This card was expensive when it was legal in Return to Ravnica-Theros Standard because it was played in many decks. Today it's still being played in several Modern archetypes, but we rarely see its price increase beyond 8 tickets.

Decks playing Mutavault include Merfolk, Death & Taxes, and some versions of Eldrazi. While they're not popular among the top performing decklists, these archetypes are still viable and it wouldn't take much for them to take off. In any case, I definitely recommend buying Mutavaults right now, as the current price around 4-4.5 tickets is an all-time low.

Scapeshift is yet another card seeing much less play than in the past. Two weeks back, I talked about this card and recommended it as a buy. My suggestion remains the same now: buy Scapeshift for its current price.

The GR Valakut deck looks like one of the best-positioned decks against the current top decks in Modern. Take a look at the top four decks according to MTGGoldfish:

Three of the four can be beaten by including more red sweepers like Pyroclasm or Anger of the Gods, while the last deck—Jund—is the natural prey of big-mana decks like GR Valakut. I'm not saying that Valakut will come to dominate the metagame, but it's definitely a deck I expect to increase in value in the near future.

Moving onto Shadowmoor, we have Fulminator Mage, which I mentioned two weeks ago. What I said back then is still true—it's the best land destruction available in Modern, and it's cheap to keep as an investment.

What I'm more excited to highlight, however, are a few common/uncommon cards from Shadowmoor.

Looking at the graph we can identify Gleeful Sabotage as a card with a clear cyclical pattern. While this card definitely isn't played in powerful formats like Modern, it sees lots of play in Pauper sideboards. Assuming your deck plays creatures, Sabotage is among the best artifact and enchantment hate available in Pauper.

If you don't play Pauper, you may not have known about the existence of this card. Now that you do, you can start watching it to try to benefit from the periodic spikes. The most ideal price for buying Gleeful Sabotage is around 1 ticket.

Kitchen Finks is a very flexible card, with applications against many decks in Modern. It's strong against both aggro and midrange, and can even be useful for gaining card advantage in grindy matchups. It also forms part of several three-card combos, alongside Viscera Seer and Melira/Anafenza.

I'm not sure why the combo isn't being played right now, but I think it's still a good deck when players aren't expecting it. I suggest buying Kitchen Finks when they are at low prices like now.

Manamorphose was cheap back before Modern Storm became popular. That has changed since the printing of Baral, Chief of Compliance, and the addition of Gifts Ungiven to the deck.

Right now, the lowest possible price for this card is around 1.2 tickets, but it frequently goes back up to 2.5 tickets. I can't say that's a huge profit, but if you can ride the periodic cycles, you'll be surprised how fast it adds up!


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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