Daily Stock Watch – Hardened Scales

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Hello, everyone and welcome to a new week of the Daily Stock Watch! Another big Grand Prix has passed us by and it certainly shook the Modern world to its very core. The Hardened Modular deck won the whole thing and it was something that certainly didn't surprise everyone who knew it was performing very well in MTGO. And just like the good old times, the best deck produced the best opportunity for its main cards to gain value financially. I wanted to write about this card last week and missed out on it but nonetheless, I think it's still good to talk about it.

Lauri Pispa is an accomplished Magic player who did his homework for Grand Prix Prague by outlasting almost 2,000 other mages. His deck of choice is something that has been respected in the online world before this event but is something that hasn't proven anything on paper. This win cements the status of Hardened Modular as the next tier one deck that may have just retired its older counterpart in the process. At the forefront of this archetype is Hardened Scales which has gone back up to $3.19 as of writing, and is the vital cog of the deck that allows it to go broken consistently on certain draws. With a plethora of creatures that would love the extra counters, the miniature creatures of the deck are becoming bigger and meaning with Hardened Scales, Animation Module, and Throne of Geth doing most of the heavy lifting in the same sense that Thalia's Lieutenant has been getting it done for Humans.

I've asked friends who are playing Affinity if they'd go with this version versus the old one and almost all of them said yes. When pressed to answer what's the difference maker, it always goes down to the absurd power levels that even a vanilla-looking creature like Arcbound Worker could get to because of Hardened Scales. It could also beat you in different ways and abuse the counters it could get with the presence of BR Bridgevine's enablers Hangarback Walker and Walking Ballista. But none of these gets going without Hardened Scales as it would seem like you're playing against a slower version of OG Affinity if it's not around. Needless to say, the best draws of this deck would be those with our featured card at the helm of things so it really deserves the price raise that it's commanding right now.

Going Obsolete

The new deck looked so different from the stock list that it hardly resembled that annoying Arcbound Ravager-powered deck as we know it. The holdovers in the list are mostly the rare cards that Affinity is known for and surprisingly omits Etched Champion which has been the hardest creature to deal with in combat-based matchups. The ability to go wide in different directions sets this deck apart from other aggro lists and puts it on par with Humans as far as power level is concerned. It should be around for a while and we shouldn't miss out on the opportunity to squeeze profit out of Hardened Scales while it's hot.

At the moment, StarCityGames, Card Kingdom, and ChannelFireball are all out of stock of Hardened Scales from Khans of Tarkir. SCG has quite a number of it from Commander Anthology Volume II and it should be a good pick up right now if you are into playing the deck. I remember a lot of KTK packs being opened back in the day because of fetches, so I'm quite sure that a number of Hardened Scales are hiding in player's bins somewhere. I personally have more than 20 copies and I'd be glad to move it out at $5 and I suggest that you do the same. A card that's crucial to a very good deck will have a certain ceiling and I'm guessing that this is it for this card.

And that’s it for today’s edition of the Daily Stock Watch! See you again next time, as we check out a new card that should be on the go, or good enough for speculating. As always, feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below. And if you want to keep up with all the market movement, be sure to check in with the QS Discord Channel for real time market information, and stay ahead of the hottest specs!

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