This weekend brings the Players Tour, the New Pro Tour, to Europe and Asia. The results will heavily influence the metagame going into next week’s Northern American event and the Pioneer GP along with. The market has already been in a frenzy, and I expect things to only get wilder as the weekend develops. While the best chance to get in on recent big movers like Niv-Mizzet Reborn and Inverter of Truthhas likely passed, there are plenty of other cards showing signs of a breakout.
The Inverter of Truthand Thassa's Oracle combo deck is the real deal. On Wednesday the winner of the last Mythic Championship, popular streamer Piotr “kanister” Glogowski announced to the world he had registered it for the Players Tour, and others have followed suit. The buzz is building, and there’s no doubt we’ll see the deck in action this weekend, maybe even on Sunday. While Inverter of Truth itself has already spiked, there could be opportunity in its other staples, especially because the rest of the deck has not been completely nailed down yet. Targeting cards riding the rising tide of spiking cards is one simple and effective way to approach it speculation, so I’ve been keeping a close eye on the decklists and any new tech to emerge.
Pack Rat has shown up in the deck’s sideboard as an alternate kill con, and in turn has a massive spike online from around 0.10 tix to over 1. The paper price already nearly tripled after the Pioneer announcement on pure speculation but has held steady since, so I’d bet it will take off in price it ends up seeing success at the Players Tour.
Another card of note is Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver, which has seen its fortunes improve with the rise of Blue-Black decks, and has increased online accordingly. It was an old Standard staple and has even seen a bit of play in Modern, but it didn’t budge with the Pioneer announcement. That leaves plenty of room for it to rise if the card starts seeing play, and the Players Tour would be the perfect catalyst, but the verdict is still out if this is actually a staple or not. If it does end up putting up good results, it’s something I’ll be looking to buy in on.
Combo decks may prove to be the story of the weekend, because the Heliod, Sun-Crowned combo with Walking Ballista has also been taking off on Magic Online. It has found a good home in a White Devotion shell, and two online cards that have spiked from it are Gideon of Trials and Quarantine Field. At around $0.70 for a Mythic Rare Quarantine Field feels like a solid bargain bet, while under $4 looks cheap compared to the $20 level where Gideon of the Trialsbroached while in Standard.
Another promising target in the deck is Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit, which is a nice option because it’s also played in Modern decks that have been built around the combo. It currently has a strong buylist price of $0.75 at CardKingdom, which is barely lower than the retail price around $1.
One version of the deck splashes green for the powerful Collected Company, and it has increased demand for Fortified Village online. A look at the paper price shows a very promising graph showing steady growth since the Pioneer announcement, and this deck could be the spark that sends it truly spiking.
The same concept could also apply to Choked Estuary, on the back of the Inverter of Truth-Thassa's Oracle combination. It has not become a consensus staple, however, and is generally played as a two-of if not completely absent from some decklists.
Compared to the graph of Fortified Village, it has not maintained its growth and actually pulled back, but it has been stable all month. I’d approach cautiously, but certainly, the deck only helps its prospects.
Last weekend brought qualifiers for Magic Online’s new Showcase Series, and the Pioneer event was won by Pro Teruya Kakumae playing his own version of red aggro. Included was a set of Abbot of Keral Keep, an old Standard staple and one-to-be in Pioneer.
I immediately scooped up a few dozen mint copies at $0.40 each upon the news, but I should have focused my efforts on Magic Online, where its price spiked from mere cents to over a ticket by the day after, and is now sitting around 0.40. I expect it to become a real staple of the format in the coming weeks and years so I love its long-term prospects, but a breakout at the Players Tour could send its price spiking sooner than later.
Low on Graveyard Decks
None of the Gather the Pack decks have been performing well recently. Soulflayer has fallen off, Dredge seems nonexistent. I buylisted all of my spec of Decimator of the Provinceson news that "Sodeq", the foremost proponent of the deck and one who popularized it in the first place, is not even using it in the most recent list. I got rid of all my Gather the Pack along with it.
One graveyard strategy I would watch is Izzet Arclight Phoenix, which has seen only minor play in the past few weeks. It seems to have been mostly forgotten, but a promising new version that incorporates Ox of Agonas has been building steam and put up a 5-0 Preliminary finish this week. Adding broken new cards is always a recipe for success, and I think Ox of Agonas itself, at around $6, could be a strong spec target. It has been creeping up online this week, so interest seems to be building.