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Theros Beyond Death Defines the Metagame and the Market

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Theros Beyond Death has continued into 2020 the trend of Throne of Eldraine and the other overpowered sets of last year. Many of its cards, like Underworld Breach and Thassa's Oracle, are not only seeing play, but redefining entire metagames. As a result, they’ve shaken up the market and driven up demand for a whole new class of cards. While these cards have been thoroughly explored in Pioneer and have led to dramatic spikes in cards like Inverter of Truth, for older formats the exploratory process has really just begun. Neither the metagame nor market has fully adjusted to the presence of these cards, and there is still plenty of room to grow. 


Take Modern for example, which just saw a massive spike in the price Grinding Station on the back of a new breakout Underworld Breach deck. 



At this point, I’d be selling my copies into the hype, but there’s still gains to be had on other cards in the deck. One target is Hall of Heliod's Generosity, which is used as a one-of in the deck because it’s great for returning Underworld Breach.



A spike this week on Magic Online and a paper price graph that has been slowly and steadily heading higher tells me this is going to keep growing, especially when you consider it’s long-term potential in a variety of formats as a very unique and powerful card. 

Thassa's Oracle is making waves in Modern in a variety of shells and driven up demand for a whole swath of cards. It’s an easy upgrade to the singleton Laboratory Maniac in Ad Nauseam combo, but a new variation of the deck has embraced multiple copies of the card along with a build-your-own Demonic Consultation with Spoils of the Vault and Angel's Grace or Phyrexian Unlife



This has clearly driven demand for Ad Nauseam, which is up a few dollars in the past week, while Angel's Graceis also trending upwards. Spoils of the Vault still hasn’t moved, but major gains online lead me to believe some paper growth is inevitable.


I’m especially interested in a further evolution of this new combo element, including a new build that ditches Ad Nauseam in favor of completely embracing Thassa's Oracle by adding Inverter of Truth and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. This Modern take on the Pioneer deck would become the next best place to play it after a ban, and it has access to a uniquely powerful tool in Shelldock Isle.


Massive online growth in its price has been driven on not hype and speculation, but some real results with a couple of 5-0 finishes posted. With some added utility from the Dimir Mill deck, and added potential in the emerging Legacy takes on the Thassa's Oracle strategy, I have high hopes for the card that has already gained nearly a dollar in the past week.

Legacy, where Underworld Breach decks have risen to define the metagame but are still very much under development, holds its own opportunities. It recently drove a spike in Silence, which white versions of the deck use to protect its combo, but even bigger staple Orim's Chant has been slower to move. 

 


 

While the online price has exploded, the paper price has only budged up about a dollar over the past few weeks and should continue to grow as the deck gains more converts. 

 


 

Another candidate in the same class is Abeyance, which is a more mana-intensive option but one with a major payoff of drawing a card. It has been showing up in sideboards, and its online price has spiked accordingly, so I’m a buyer of this reserved list card that can still be had for just a few dollars. 

 


Another target from the Jeskai Underworld Breach deck is Sevinne's Reclamation, which has seen steady growth on MTGO for months, from under half a ticket last fall to around 6 tickets, before truly spiking this week to over 10. The paper price bottomed out in December around $2.5, and is now up to nearly $4, and now see it growing indefinitely, in the short-term from this deck and in the long-term due to its widespread applicability. 


In the Jeskai Breach deck Sevinne's Reclamation works particularly well with Intuition, and the deck gives a great home to a card I’ve been watching for a while now. As a powerful, unique, and iconic reserved list card, it has seemed underpriced to me for a while. After spiking to around $75 in spring 2018, it slowly fell to the $45 level where it sat before the spike. Now up a few dollars over the past few weeks, it looks as though the bottom has passed and there’s growth in its future.

While Thassa's Oracle and Underworld Breach continue to define Pioneer without a ban yet, players are working on finding their own solution. One surprising development has been the rise of green decks, including a new Green Devotion build that was popularized on social media before breaking out in last weekend’s MTGO Modern Challenge. Followed by a 5-0 Preliminary finish by MPL Pro Piotr "kanister" Glogowski on stream, the deck continues to grow in popularity and has spiked the price of its staples on MTGO.

 


The deck is novel because it goes beyond the Vivien, Arkbow Ranger wish package by adding a set of Karn, the Great Creator and a suite of artifacts, for a full 15 card wish board.


After falling out of favor completely and seeing their prices plummet, Vivien and Karn have approximately tripled in price on MTGO in the past week. What’s interesting is that both of their paper price continue to fall to all-time lows. With Vivien as a Pioneer staple that’s also used in a breakout Simic Eldrazi deck that won the Pioneer Challenge last weekend, and Karn as a cross-format staple, their descent has to turn around sometime, and this could be the catalyst. 

 

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