This Week’s Finance Factors: Modern Metagame, Spoiler Season, London Mulligans

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Modern Metagame 

I've shared my opinion before that the release of Modern Horizons will drive growth in the Modern market. That has me looking to buy in on staples now, before things really take off.

Last weekend Amulet Titan won the SCG Modern Open in Cleveland and put another copy in the Top 4, and it’s making its own impact on the market. Card prices of the deck's staples are starting to increase across the board, and seem to indicate further gains or even outright spikes as interest in the deck continues to grow and Modern expands.

A staple of Amulet Titan, and also of Dredge, is Gemstone Mine. Being played in two top-tier decks has dramatically increased its price online, which has grown from 13 tickets to over 40 in the past two month. The prices of its two printings did spike around the turn of the year, from around $10 to the $15 where they now sit. From here there is still plenty of room to grow, relative to the awesome prices many top Modern staples command.

A new and growing piece of technology for the Amulet Titan deck is Coalition Relic. It broke out as tech a few months ago, and is seeing widespread adoption as a new staple.

Its online growth has been explosive, rising steadily from just a fraction of a ticket at 0.2 in February, to the nearly 4 tix where it now sits. In the same time period the paper price of the original printing has trended from around $6 to $8.50, and the reprint from $5 to $6.50, with most of that growth in the past week. Given Modern trends and Commander appeal, the card is in good position to keep growing for a long time.

Isle of Vesuva has had an interesting price history. For years it sat around $10 as an obscure card, before coming into its own in the Amulet Titan deck, and eventually trending to over $20 in 2016. With the banning of Summer Bloom, it managed to fall nearly all the way back to its previous price, bottoming at $12 at the end of 2017.

It has been moving back up since, surpassing its previous high sometime around the turn of this year. This week it saw a spike of almost 50%, to over $30. There aren’t many copies available cheaper than that online, so I expect the price will continue to grow as copies dry up.

While only a singleton in the deck, Pact of Negation is nevertheless a core staple as part of the Academy at Tolaria West toolbox. Even this card's stock has been rising with the good fortune of Amulet Titan.

The online price has nearly tripled since February, from 1.2 tix to 3.5. The prices of the Masters 25 and Modern Masters versions have grown from $11 to $15 in the past month, nearly reaching that of the Future Sight version.

The single most important card in the Amulet Titan is actually Primeval Titan itself, and it too is starting to look like a good spec. Countless printings have helped keep it very affordable under $10, but in the past few months it has moved past that number. With so many copies out there it’s not going to see a real spike, but I expect strong and solid growth.

Another Modern deck going through a renaissance is Grixis Death's Shadow, which has proven it can stand up to Izzet Phoenix and the rest of the metagame. The most recent innovation for the deck is Mishra's Bauble, which has grown from a fringe card in the deck to seeing widespread adoption.

In the past few months Bauble's price online has grown from under 10 tickets to over 20, while the paper price has moved from a bottom of $6 in January to over $8. This was a $40 card before reprint. As a low-print-run Coldsnap card, that price defied the normal rules, but there’s still potential for the price to rise into the teens or $20 range.

Spoiler Season

This week also brought movement due to War of the Spark spoilers. The biggest factor was Feather, the Redeemed, which has caused a bunch of related spikes off of Commander hype.

I remember Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons and the Gods thing made huge stirs when they were printed, and this seems to be a similar case. Those cards had a ripple effect that caused spikes and increases for weeks as more and more cards were targeted. The lowest-hanging fruit was picked, but there is likely more out there.

This week some new legendary gods were revealed, with more in a cycle likely to come. Clearly designed with potential as Commanders in mind, these cards are already having an impact on the market, and any more spoiled will do the same.

For example, Ilharg, the Raze-Boar is basically Through the Breach on a creature, but it returns to hand instead of dying. That's generating interest in creatures with powerful effects to re-use, like Medomai the Ageless, which lets you take every turn.

Another curiosity is Sundial of the Infinite, which lets you end the turn while the creature's return to hand trigger on the stack, allowing you to permanently keep whatever you put into play.

London Mulligan Arrives to MTGO

In other news this week, the London Mulligan is now live on MTGO. A handful of cards moved on Wednesday when the rule went live. A look at these cards gives some insight into how the rules change could impact the metagame and the paper market.

Tron is considered to be a winner from the change, and we saw Karn Liberated move as a result. Reality Smasher and Chalice of the Void also showed increases, a nod to the Colorless Eldrazi deck with Serum Powder and Gemstone Caverns, both which improve from the rule. Leyline of the Void has also increased, another winner from the change.

I’m confident the new rule will become the gold standard, so I think these and related cards are due for paper increases.

The London mulligan rule promotes aggressive mulligans, and an unexpected side-effect is that it benefits the 8-Rack deck. Cards like The Rack and Shrieking Affliction get better when opponents are starting on six or even five cards much more often. The deck has also received a new tool in Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage.

These all add up to explain The Rack’s massive growth online, from 2 tickets in February to 7 a week ago, and now up to 10.

Multiple printings means The Rack isn’t likely to spike in paper, but all of the other staples are fair game. One possibility is Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, which is at a low due to the recent Ultimate Masters printing.


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