Insider: MTGO Block Staples to Watch – Time Spiral

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Hi, guys.

Welcome back to another MTGO Block Staples to Watch. This week we will be visiting Time Spiral block, consisting of Future Sight, Planar Chaos and Time Spiral itself.

Each of these sets has powerful cards that are key parts of the Modern metagame. Future Sight, known for its unique card frame, also contains the most powerful vanilla creature ever printing, Tarmogoyf. Planar Chaos was the first printing of Choice of Damnations. Meanwhile, Time Spiral is where all the suspend cards like Living End and Ancestral Vision were printed.

I've talked so much about Tarmogoyf during the course of this column, I think I'll just skip the explanation part. Suffice it to say, this is definitely a card that should be on your watch list.

Next, we will look at two powerful lands from Future Sight: Horizon Canopy and Grove of the Burnwillows.

At one time Grove was heavily played in Tron, as RG was the only good version of that deck. Nowadays, players are exploring different color splashes to combat other decks in the meta. There was even colorless Eldrazi Tron, which my fellow countryman nasilemak used to earn many trophies on MTGO.

Recently, the red splash has become good again because the format is full of creatures with low toughness, making access to Pyroclasm valuable. Red also gives Tron decks access to artifact hate like Ancient Grudge and Abrade. As seen in the graph above, Grove is currently decreasing in price, which is the time we should be watching it closely.

Almost every deck playing green or white is interested in Horizon Canopy. It prevents flooding in the late game, trading one-for-one for a new card if you have no need for the mana. This card is played in at least five top-tiered decks in Modern and Legacy, which is why it's still so pricey after a few reprints.

Canopy fluctuates based on how popular the decks that run it are at the moment. As you can see in the graph, in each of these cycles the price can change by 20 tickets—sometimes much more. This card represents a huge opportunity for cyclical gains that you definitely want to be aware of.

Next we look at a powerful uncommon from Planar Chaos. Big Game Hunter appears occasionally in the Modern metagame. Several months ago, when Eldrazi was still popular, Big Game Hunter was used by black midrange decks to destroy Reality Smashers without having to pay the "discard a card" cost.

Recently this card has appeared again in Modern, but this time because of its madness ability. When it's played in decks like BR Hollow One, the player can discard this to any discard outlets, so instead of just throwing cards into the graveyard, the deck can do something profitable.

Looking at the graph, you can tell that you should grab this card for investment when the price goes below 1 ticket.

Boom // Bust was pretty broken back when players could abuse it with Brain in a Jar or cascade. Since the rules update that fixed that, the card has continued to see marginal play in certain land destruction decks.

The current price can't really go any lower, and I like these as an investment right now. MTGO players are constantly coming out with new ideas, and Boom // Bust is one of the top picks to brew around. I think this card has a good chance to increase to at least 2 tickets if and when someone makes it looks good again.

Ancestral Vision is one of the cards that came off the Modern banlist. Back then, Grixis Control became a dominant deck because of this card, but now it seems that control is temporarily overshadowed by aggro decks in the format. In my opinion, the control decks can no longer perform well because aggro decks are too fast. Drawing three cards after four turns is too slow, as the game will often end before Vision can be cast.

Anyhow, Modern is an interesting format where there are plenty of ways to cast spells for free—cascading into it, As Foretold, and so on. Maybe after a few months players online will manage to combine Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Bloodbraid Elf, and Ancestral Vision into a feasible deck? You never know!

Based on the graph, the price for Vision is dropping slowly. Make sure to get some playsets when it hits around 5.5 tickets.

To close we'll look at two lands from Time Spiral that I think are pretty low in price. First up is Gemstone Caverns.

Caverns is usually played in combo decks, or aggressive decks looking for acceleration. Caverns becomes enticing when a one-mana difference can gain you a great amount of advantage in the early game. It's similar to Simian Spirit Guide, except that it remains in play as a land for repeat uses. We often see Caverns alongside Blood Moon, Chalice of the Void, or Thought-Knot Seer, each of which can be devastating when cast a turn early.

As you can see above, the price is relatively low right now, so you can consider buying playsets of it for investment. While you are holding your pieces, you can also experience playing with it, as I bet many of you have not played with this card before.

It seems many online players have forgotten about the existence of Amulet Titan. Isle of Vesuva is staple in Amulet Titan, where it can copy any two-mana land or utility land in play.

Although it's less likely that this card will spike to a very high price, it can be an attractive penny-ticket pick. Basically, just use your spare tickets to buy some playsets of the card when you have nothing else to buy. Then wait for the price to go up by a bit so that you can gain that small number of tickets. Well, that's better than nothing!

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

Adrian, signing off.

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