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Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em #6

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There wasn’t too much new stuff happening at Grand Prix Brussels or Grand Prix Orlando this past weekend. But that’s not too shocking since we’re winding down in Standard before rotation this fall. As per usual, here are the criteria for Hold 'Em & Fold 'Em.

Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em Article Series Focus

  1. Cards that you should hold onto or pick up for tournaments if you need them before they rise in price. These cards are either seeing increased play in one or more formats, the supply is drying up, or they’re pretty far from the next reprint.
  2. Cards that you should consider selling or trading away. Their prices are pretty much at the ceiling owing to inflation from speculation, reprint inevitability in the near future, a lull in tournament play, or some combination of these.

Hold ‘Em

Karn, Scion of Urza - Dominaria (Non-Foil & Foil)


I think it’s time to pick this up since it’s close to the all-time low. It’s a colorless four-mana planeswalker that can pretty much go in every deck. And not just in Standard. Time has already proven that it has what it takes to see play in Eternal formats. Take a look at this list from MTG Stocks.

Keep in mind that Llanowar Elves and Druid of the Cowl will be around after rotation to help power out Karn a turn early. And UWx Control might start playing this again next to Teferi, Hero of Dominaria as its turn four and five punches.

I remember I wanted foils when they were $100. And now they’ve dropped to about $86. If you want these and have the cash, now is probably a good time to buy. I don’t really see these going on lower than $75, but I can see them going to $125 or even $150 within the next year or two.

You can find them on TCGplayer. Just a warning though—I’ve purchased from MTG Mint Card before, and they’re a bit slow on delivery. I wouldn’t buy from them if you’re in a hurry to play with Karn.

Ghitu Lavarunner - Dominaria (Foil)


If you’re looking for some good deals on some cheaper cards, here’s one of them. This is starting to show up a little more in Standard and will survive rotation. Kyle Cooper lost to Gabriel Joglar in the finals of Grand Prix Orlando with it in his list.

[deck title=Standard: Mono-Red Wizards by Kyle Cooper]
[Creatures]
4 Soul-Scar Mage
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Bomat Courier
4 Earthshaker Khenra
4 Viashino Pyromancer
4 Goblin Chainwhirler
2 Ahn-Crop Crasher
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
4 Lightning Strike
4 Wizard's Lightning
4 Shock
3 The Flame of Keld
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
19 Mountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Mountain
3 Hazoret the Fervent
3 Chandra's Defeat
2 Abrade
2 Cut // Ribbons
1 Banefire
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Insult // Injury
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

The cool thing about Ghitu Lavamancer is that it’s popular in Pauper and starting to see some fringe play in Modern Wizards. Check out Patxi’s Burn and LazZoO’s UR Delver in Pauper.

[deck title=Pauper: Burn by Patxi]
[Creatures]
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Thermo-Alchemist
2 Ahn-Crop Crasher
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
4 Chain Lightning
4 Fireblast
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Needle Drop
4 Rift Bolt
4 Searing Blaze
1 Shard Volley
4 Curse of the Pierced Heart
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
3 Forgotten Cave
16 Mountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Electrickery
1 Flaring Pain
4 Keldon Marauders
1 Martyr of Ashes
3 Molten Rain
4 Smash to Smithereens
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

[deck title=Pauper: UR Delver by LazZoO]
[Creatures]
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Spellstutter Sprite
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
4 Daze
2 Dispel
2 Gush
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Mutagenic Growth
4 Ponder
2 Preordain
3 Skred
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
3 Ash Barrens
4 Evolving Wilds
9 Snow-Covered Island
2 Snow-Covered Mountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Annul
1 Echoing Truth
2 Electrickery
3 Hydroblast
3 Pyroblast
2 Stormbound Geist
2 Swirling Sandstorm
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

And here’s Trojanmamba’s Modern UR Wizards deck. Although I see a lot of room for improvement in his list, it’s definitely good news for Ghitu Lavamancer.

[deck title=Modern: UR Wizards by Trojanmamba]
[Creatures]
2 Snapcaster Mage
3 Adeliz, the Cinder Wind
4 Stormchaser Mage
4 Soul-Scar Mage
4 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Delver of Secrets
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
2 Vapor Snag
3 Mutagenic Growth
4 Wizard's Lightning
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Opt
4 Serum Visions
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
3 Sulfur Falls
3 Island
4 Mountain
4 Shivan Reef
4 Spirebluff Canal
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Tormod's Crypt
2 Spell Pierce
2 Smash to Smithereens
1 Negate
2 Dispel
2 Dismember
1 Disdainful Stroke
3 Ceremonious Rejection
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Viashino Pyromancer - M19 (Foil)

There was an error retrieving a chart for Viashino Pyromancer

Here’s another decent deal on a cheaper card. Viashino Pyromancer also showed up in Kyle Cooper’s Mono-Red Wizards list. And it also sticks around for rotation. It only sees play in Standard Mono-Red right now. But it could easily slot into the various Wizard decks in Modern that are popping up here and there. It’s also a common so this could easily start popping up in Pauper soon as well.

Opt - FNM Promos


If you look close at Trojanmamba’s UR Wizards Modern deck, you’ll see that he runs four Opts. And then you take a look at this list.

Wow, that’s a lot of decks it’s played in. I already have a playset of non-foil Ixalan ones, but I’m tempted to buy four to twelve of these. Why? You know why. It’s promo time!

There are some relatively cheap copies on TCGplayer around $3 to $4 each, and I don’t expect them to last.

Yixlid Jailer - FNM Promos


The Zombie Wizard only sees play in Vintage right now. However, with the recent uptick in graveyard strategies in Modern like Bridgevine, this could start to see some play if it’s awkward for your deck to have Leyline of the Void in the sideboard. I’m not sure if it’s a more effective answer than something like Surgical Extraction, but it does stop Bridge from Below. And if it dies, it also exiles Bridge.

I don’t think this will make the cut in Modern Wizard decks though.

Recent Buys

Yixlid Jailer - FNM Promos


I bought a playset from TCGplayer on August 13 for about $2 each. There aren’t a lot left; so if you want them, you might want to get them now. The artwork on these is pretty nice just like the Future Sight ones, making them another awesome promo.

Updates

Sai, Master Thopterist - M19 (Foil) [Hold]

There was an error retrieving a chart for Sai, Master Thopterist

Sai is on the rise. We’ve seen the Vintage playable, Paradoxical Outcome, hit Standard in combination with Sai in list like Luke Feeney's.

[deck title=Standard: Paradoxical Outcome by Luke Feeney]
[Creatures]
4 Ornithopter
4 Sai, Master Thopterist
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
2 Blink of an Eye
3 Commit / Memory
4 Paradoxical Outcome
4 Reverse Engineer
2 Aetherflux Reservoir
4 Fountain of Renewal
4 Inspiring Statuary
3 Mox Amber
4 Prophetic Prism
4 Renegade Map
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
1 Inventors' Fair
14 Island
3 Zhalfirin Void
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Aethersphere Harvester
4 Glint-Nest Crane
2 Karn, Scion of Urza
2 Negate
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
3 Time of Ice
1 Walking Ballista
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

But the real reason why Sai is on the rise is because of the innovative spin on Modern’s Ironworks Combo. Take a look back at Ben Stark’s list from Pro Tour 25th Anniversary.

[deck title=Modern: Ironworks Combo by Benjamin Stark]
[Creatures]
2 Myr Retriever
4 Scrap Trawler
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
4 Ancient Stirrings
3 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
3 Engineered Explosives
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks
4 Mind Stone
4 Mox Opal
2 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Terrarion
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
3 Buried Ruin
4 Darksteel Citadel
2 Forest
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
2 Inventors' Fair
3 Yavimaya Coast
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Island
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Nature's Claim
3 Negate
3 Sai, Master Thopterist
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Summary

Hold ‘Em

Recent Buys

Updates

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Agree? Disagree? Why? You can also connect with me on Twitter at @edwardeng. I’m also open to suggestions on how to make this series more valuable. Hit me up.

Have fun,
Eddie

2 thoughts on “Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em #6

  1. Nice article Edward! I just got back to Texas to visit so I haven’t been paying attention the past few days.

    Karn is a tough one. It was the only expensive card in Dominaria I didn’t spec on (as an MTGO player). I’m uncertain whether it will sustain its Standard demand after Kaladesh block rotates. I think there may be a window to get it cheaper from September through December. In paper that’ll be less true.

    Foil promo Opts are where I’d be if I were wanting to invest in paper. It’s a Standard-Modern playable cantrip and looks sexy in foil. That’s a win-win and seems like a smart pickup!

    I noticed you were talking about Pauper a lot. Is that still growing in paper? I know it was being hyped over Christmas last year, and I hope that it is growing since it’s a very unique and interesting format.

    1. Thanks, Kyle! I’m in Houston; where are you visiting in Texas?

      Yeah, there might be a window to get Karn cheaper in December this year. But I doubt it’ll be much cheaper than now since it’s played in Modern and Legacy. If you want to play with it, I would probably get it now. Otherwise you can probably wait till December. There will probably be a smallish spike from October through November.

      I just got a playset of promo Opts in the mail and will highlight them in the next article’s Recent Buys section. I hesitated and ended up paying $2 extra on the set. =/

      Pauper seems somewhat popular online but not quite sure in paper. When I look at Pauper, I still look at cards from the ‘regular’ competitive tournament demand/playability. I will feature another Pauper card as an example in the next article’s Hold ‘Em section.

      Feel free to message me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/edwardeng. Or ping me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/eddie.eng.

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