With the Pro Tour in the books, it's time to figure out how to move forward as investors and speculators over the next few weeks. Mountains proved to be the best land at Pro Tour Dominaria, as seven of the Top 8 decks were base-red, and the winning deck played a pristine twenty-four Mountain mana base.
We also got a good sense of the lay of the land in Standard. Red-Black Aggro was the best deck at the Pro Tour, as it dominated midrange strategies and maintained a favorable matchup against UW Control. It was the success of Red-Black Aggro against midrange Constrictor decks that allowed a Mono-Red Aggro pilot to win the whole thing, as Mono-Red Aggro has a favorable matchup against Red-Black Aggro.
Perhaps the best way to understand the Mono-Red Aggro deck that took down the trophy is as a mirror-breaker. We saw this on camera quite a bit – the RB variant loses tempo in the mirror when its lands come into play tapped, a fact Darby identified and exploited to full effect. If it's game-losing for you to top-deck Canyon Slough when you're sitting with Glorybringer in hand and four lands on the battlefield, then why not see if you can cut Black? That was a masterclass in deck-building, and his victory was well-deserved.
Judging by how red staples prices are behaving, it seems that Red-Black Aggro is being recognized as the deck to beat going forward. Unlike in paper, though, prices are not going to increase across the board. As of Sunday evening, here's how the prices of Red staples have been faring:
Overall, Standard red staples have experienced a modest 11-percent gain as a result of their Pro Tour success. Those cards that were seeing play in both Mono-Red Aggro and Red-Black Aggro went up by the most, and in fact, they are the ones that are continuing to climb. This suggests to me that Red will increase its metagame share slightly going forward, especially the Red-Black variant.
I. Standard Implications
1) Avoid Black-Green Midrange cards.
Although the pilot of the winning deck indicated that his deck struggled against BG Constrictor, BG Constrictor just wasn't good against RB Aggro, the archetype that will become the most popular deck going forward. Don't expect Constrictor to rise to counter Mono-Red Aggro, and many of its cards are rotating soon.
2) Avoid Speculating on the Red Aggro cards.
Although in paper these cards are likely to experience a nice bump, it is unlikely that Red staples will continue to climb. It's fine to buy them if you want to play with them, but don't expect them to actualize price gains good enough to merit speculation. The time for speculating on these cards was before the PT, not after it.
3) Consider Esper Control cards.
That The Scarab God and Torrential Gearhulk are my two favorite speculation targets in light of the results of the Pro Tour signals that I don't believe that the Pro Tour has created a lot of opportunities for MTGO speculators. In light of the Pro Tour data, Esper Control has definitely unseated UW Control as the best control deck. If we look at cards contained in Esper Control not contained in UW Control, the two cards currently at low points in their price trajectories are The Scarab God and Torrential Gearhulk.
Both are risky spec targets since they will rotate in September, and we only have one more infusion of new cards that can alter the fabric of Standard and change the fundamentals of our card valuations. In fact, I sold my copies of The Scarab God over the weekend before its price dipped. I wanted to free up some capital to speculate on Modern cards and, soon, Dominaria cards.
Something in me says that Torrential Gearhulk is too good to be left out of the metagame and that 7.60 tix is too low a valuation. I'm on the fence about taking the plunge, but I think throughout the month of July its price will fall between 5 and 15 tix, so buying in at 7.60 tix means that the odds are in my favor.
II. Modern Implications
As Matt Lewis wrote last week, now is a good time to be investing in Modern since Standard has the spotlight. This will begin to change over the next one to two weeks as Standard grows a bit stale and players want a change of pace as they look toward the 25th Anniversary Pro Tour in August. This window is closing fast, so it's better to be the hare than the tortoise.
1) Buy the staples you need for Modern now!
It's been a long time since you could get Blood Moon for this low, and I use it to highlight the fact that Modern cards are depressed right now.
2) What Modern cards did I speculate on this weekend?
I was happy to speculate on both of these cards, as both are at relative lows and should see modest gains, regardless of metagame percentage. I'm aiming to sell Collected Company at 20 tix and Selfless Spirit at around 2.5 or 3 tix.
Fulminator Mage is definitely my favorite spec of the week. It is basically at its lowest point ever since its reprint a few years ago, and it has two spikes up to 30 tix under its belt in the interim. While it needs a specific metagame to spike, I have faith that that metagame will manifest itself sometime over the next year, and tripling up sounds good to me.
Since the release of Dominaria, Nahiri's value has been cut in half, from 9 tix to 4.2 tix. She and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar are at post-rotation lowpoints, and both I believe make for good speculations long-term. I've bought two playsets of Nahiri and am mulling over a similar investment into Gideon. Nahiri strikes me as the better of the two for speculators.
III. Signing Off
A copy of my portfolio can be found here. I invested in a few other cards over the weekend (in fact, I've bought and sold more in June than in all of May, and it's only June 3rd!), so feel free to have a look at the Buy Transactions and Sell Transactions tabs of the portfolio. Leave your comments and questions down below, and as always thank you for reading!