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Speculating on Modern Trends Before the Mythic Championship and Modern Horizons

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Buying surrounding the London Mulligan will come to a head this weekend at the Mythic Championship II in London, which will reveal what the pros bring to battle. The results will help set the course of the Modern metagame afterward leading into Modern Horizons. This event is also likely to drive a lot of buying, especially if there are surprises.

I’ve been paying close attention to results in the past weeks, specifically on Magic Online where the new rule has been in effect since April 10th, in hopes of finding some insight into what the new rule enables and what decks we could see at the MC. It’s also a growing time for Modern and Magic in general, and with Modern Horizons coming and likely to spur more buyouts and real demand, it feels like a great time to be investing in the format.


An example of a deck that could break out at the MC is the Narset, Enlightened Mastercombo deck. The deck hasn’t been putting up any published results to speak of since February, but I could not help but notice the price movement on Enter the Infinite, a staple of the deck. Before the London Mulligan rule was implemented on MTGO, its price was around 0.1 tickets, but it has steadily grown to over 1 ticket. A look at the paper price shows very steady and rapid movement over the past year when it was available under $2 last April, and has now broken $5. I imagine this increase has been from almost entirely non-Modern demand, so some significant increases would be due if the Narset deck breaks out. Regardless, it seems likely to keep slowly growing even if the deck doesn't perform.


An extreme combo deck that has been putting up results is Grishoalbrand, which has now finished in the top 8 of multiple high-level MTGO events, and looks to be growing into a real contender with the new mulligan rule. When some of its big staples, including Goryo's Vengeance, Through the Breach, and Nourishing Shoal were reprinted in Ultimate Masters we saw spikes on some of its other staples like Griselbrand and Worldspine Wurm. For that reason, I think the best way to cash-in is to target these reprinted cards, which are currently very cheap and likely at a low. I think targeting cards in sets like Masters 25, Iconic Masters, and especially the recent Ultimate Masters make a lot of sense, and this fits right into that strategy.


Cheating Griselbrandinto play is one of the most powerful things in Modern, and that plan has now appeared in a non-Grishoalbrand deck. It takes a more classic approach, using a set of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn to pair with Through the Breach, and a set of Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur as another way to K.O. an opponent with Goryo's Vengeance.


Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur saw a spike online this week, and that brought my attention to the paper price, which despite an Iconic Masters reprint is over $9, a pretty solid price for a card that sees mostly casual play. It was under $8 at the new year and now approaching $10. It seems like a great buy because like Enter the Infinite its fortunes clearly are not tied to Modern and will likely slowly appreciate indefinitely until a reprint.

Tron has become the most popular Modern deck on MTGO since the London Mulligan, with Humans in second. Humans was once the top deck in Modern before losing metagame share to Spirits, and then getting further knocked down by Izzet Phoenix and Whir Prison, both tough matchups. Its fortunes are starting to turn, from a combination of things like the new rule helping it find Aether Vial, and an increase in combo decks for it to prey on. The prices of Humans staples have been in decline, and they are likely a bargain given the strong future prospects of the deck, especially given that it can incorporate any new Human printed.


The juiciest Humans target looks like Auriok Champion, which has become a true sideboard staple of the deck, often as a 2-of but up to a full playset. Humans' resurgence has spurred its price online to spike from 4 tix in February to over 22 tix now. It’s very easy to forget that Auriok Champion was once over $40, and was around $20 before Iconic Masters accelerated its decline to an all-time low of under $9 this March. Things are starting to turn around, and I expect this will get expensive again sooner than later.


I’ve taken notice of Sliver Hive, which in the past month moved from 0.1 tix to over 0.5 and growing. At the same time, its paper price has moved from around $6.50 to $9.50. Around this initial period of growth, we saw spikes in Sliver Queen and Sliver Legion, so it seems likely Sliver Hive is riding the same wave. Sliver Hive should have good prospects on the back of it being an essential Sliver Commander card, but even goes beyond with some competitive potential, whether it’s in Legacy or Modern. The presence of Slivers in a future set - which seems like a matter of when and not if - would surely send the prices of these Sliver staples higher.


One of the best investments in Modern right now may be the Fetchlands. These cards are essentially unaffected by either the metagame or new releases, and are the prime example of an evergreen staple, a blue-chip stock. They are the exact class of cards that will rise if Modern sees growth in the player base, that could happen from the release of Modern Horizons. All of them look to be showing signs of slow and steady growth, and won’t turn around until we see another reprint.

 

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