At SDCC (San Diego Comic Con), the Friday Panel featured Aaron Forsythe, Director of Research and Development. At SDCC, Aaron acknowledged that Wizards is going to move forward with the format and we should see some big announcements over the next few months. So what does it mean?
For those who do not know what the Modern format is, it’s a new format that was first introduced in this years’ Community Cup. The format consists of every set from Mirrodin Block (Original) through Standard.
Here’s a quick list:
Magic 2010 (M10)
Magic 2011 (M11)
Magic 2012 (M12)
Time Spiral block (including the “timeshifted” cards)
Shards of Alara block
Scars of Mirrodin block
From these blocks, we have a tentative banned list that consists of:
With a new format around the corner, this is definitely the time to start picking up staples, but where to start?
The current buzz around Ravnica Dual Lands is pretty huge. In one of my first articles for CFB, I talked specifically about trying to pick up as many of these cards as possible. This still stands. Ravnica Dual Lands are going to be the way that most people fix mana in Modern. With Zendikar Fetch lands, you will be able to fetch any dual necessary.
Current Value (Based upon Multiple Sites):
Overgrown Battlement $7.99 – $9.99
Temple Garden $7.99 – $9.99
Breeding Pool $9.99
Hallowed Fountain $9.99 – $12.99
Sacred Foundry $9.99 – $11.99
Steam Vents $9.99 – $11.99
Godless Shrine $7.99 – $9.99
Blood Crypt $7.99 – $9.99
Watery Grave $10.99 – $12.99
Stomping Ground $9.99 – $11.99
The major downside is how expensive they’ve already become. A few months ago, you could pick a lot of these up for $5.00 – $6.00 each. Now they have already doubled. I would probably move on some of them now before they cap out and start approaching the prices they had during Ravnica Block.
Overgrown Battlement $14.99
Temple Garden $14.99
Breeding Pool $19.99
Hallowed Fountain $19.99
Sacred Foundry $14.99
Steam Vents[card] $19.99
Godless Shrine $14.99
Blood Crypt $14.99
Watery Grave $19.99
Stomping Ground $19.99
These prices are based upon what I feel will happen to “shock” lands once actual Modern events become sanctioned (outside of casual) by Wizards.
Other cards to keep an eye out for include:
I listed these three cards for a reason. They are the most talked about creatures in Magic and with the release of Modern, they are going to see heavy play (Assuming the banned list doesn’t change).
Dark Confidant may arguably be the best two drop creature in Magic. It’s competitors are listed above. The card advantage and splashability/playability of black in a brand new format will definitely be something to consider. This card makes me nervous, as $50.00 is a pretty hefty price tag for a card that was $20.00 a few months ago.
Stoneforge Mystic should not need any explanation, but all I have to say is Sword of (Fill in the Blank) or Batterskull will make this card definitely playable. It already has a solid home in Legacy and with Modern, so I expect it to stay. With it’s recent banning in Standard, the price of this card has plummeted, but it will not stay this low as this card will be a staple for a long time to come.
Tarmogoyf is a kill condition and is certainly one of the best green creatures to ever be printed. This card single handedly took and strangled Legacy from the time it was standard until Stoneforge Mystic found some toys. With Zoo strategies definitely viable in Modern, I expect this guy to be out in full force.
Since the format has very little data to build a metagame around, we need to spend some time looking at what the Community team played and also what “was” popular throughout those blocks. By figuring out what old archetypes are available, we can make some predictions on what could happen.
During the Community Cup, members of the Magic Community were pitted against Magic R&D. The community easily took down this portion and here is a break down of the lists:
Luis Scott-Vargas – Elves
Josef Kron – Hypergenesis
Graham Stark – Jund
Chris Kuehl – Junk
Joe Dillard – Mono-Red
George Efelis – Scapeshift
Bing Luke – U/B Faeries
Marshall Sutcliffe – U/W Control
Dave Guskin – Elves
Dwayne St. Arnault – Hypergenesis
Erik Lauer – Dredge
Lee Sharpe – Kuldotha Red
Max McCall – U/W Control
Troy Reppas – White Weenie
Worth Wollpert – Jund
Zac Hill – Dragonstorm
For those who did not follow the event on MTGO, it was a little different than normal as it was a Unified Modern event. This means that within each decklist, no more than 4 cards could be used throughout the team. The purpose for this is to show the diversity of the format, but it does skew our perception of the metagame some. Below I will breakdown the lists, targeting key cards to either obtain for this format now, or to at the very least pay attention to.
Archetype: Elves (LSV/Dave Guskin)
Although not in this list, Cloudstone Curio is $1.49. It’s often used in combo elves and paired with Glimpse of Nature ($17.99), lead to a pretty awesome draw mechanism for the deck. Within the list above, the majority of the uncommons are worth more than the rares. Regal Force, is currently four dollars, and can usually be traded for pretty casually.
The card that surprised me value wise was Glimpse of Nature. This card comes in at $17.99 on CFB, and closes on eBay for $10.00 or less. This card has a lot of value trading in it as you can pick them up off of ebay for let’s say $10.00 and trade them locally for their full value. The window is pretty small to move on this card, so I would definitely do so sooner than later.
Archetype: Hypergenesis (Josef Kron/Dwayne St. Arnault)
This deck seems fairly simple to build. Currently, Hypergenesis is $1.49 and it’s not unforeseeable for this card to climb up to $5.00. The high priced cards are in the big fatties. Angel of Despair starts the list at about $6.00 each. With its recent reprint within the Commander decks, picking them up for about $3.00 is pretty easy. Progenitus is definitely the chart topper at $14.99, but because of Commander, the foil is a solid $49.99. Keep an eye out for Progenitus as those who have not drank the kool aid of Commander, are definitely eager to move this card.
Archetype: Jund (Graham Stark/Worth Wollpert)
The version listed above is definitely the more expensive one. With both Dark Confidant and Tarmogoyf, this deck will not be built cheaply. The other version played in this event, the one that mirrored an old “standard” version ran Maelstrom Pulse ($8.99) as it’s most expensive card.
Regardless of which version is preferred, I would definitely start picking up some of these cards through trades. Keep an eye out for Maelstrom Pulse, Grove of the Burnwillows, Boggart Ram-Gangs and the Filter Lands that are currently being sold cheaply. As for the uncommons, start scouring your local stores for cards like Bloodbraid Elf, Putrid Leech and Blightning, for when the format gets announced on the Mothership, these cards are going to become very scarce.
Archetype: U/W Control (Marshall Sutcliffe/Max McCall)
I already love this deck. I get to play with my Jace, the Mind Sculptors ($74.99), Stoneforge Mystics ($7.99) and Sword of Fire and Ice ($39.99). On top of this, I get Vendilion Clique ($9.99) and Kitchen Finks ($3.49), Path to Exile ($7.49) and a suite of Counterspells. LOVE it.
Check the price at your local store of Path to Exile, I noticed recently that quite a few of our local stores had them for about $3.00 and this is a prime time to snipe them before someone else does. Also, ebay has them closing quite frequently for around $4.00 and this might be another scenario of value trading. Kitchen Finks is $3.49 and can easily break $5.00 again if this archetype becomes popular.
Archetype: U/B Faeries (Bing Luke)
Surprisingly, the Wizards team decided not to play U/B Faeries. For as popular as this deck was during standard and extended, the team opted against it. Although the paper copies have not dropped very low, on MTGO cards like Bitterblossom, Thoughtseize and Vendilion Clique are currently under 10 tickets. I would definitely invest now and move them later. A playset of all the other faeries can be picked up for 10 tickets total or less.
Archetype: Junk (Chris Kuehl)
This deck looks interesting, but seems sub-optimal. People will play with it because they want to run their Tarmogoyfs (Not in this list), Dark Confidants, Stoneforge Mystics (Not in this list), and Knight of the Reliquary ($9.99). I’ve talked about all the above cards except Knight of the Reliquary. This card has been and will probably always find itself to be a staple (or at a minimum, extremely playable) in whatever format it’s legal in.
Archetype: Mono-Red (Joe Dillard)
Mono-Red has notoriously been the cheapest deck to build. With Figure of Destiny coming in at $4.99, I would definitely start trading for this guy specifically. Regardless of the fact that this deck is good or bad, it will be played. Included in this list will definitely be Grim Lavamancer and the rest of the deck consists of Commons/Uncommons that easily obtainable at any shop. We may see cards like Plated Geopede join this deck and with it, Fetch Lands.
Archetype: Scapeshift (George Efelis)
Valakut dominated standard and will definitely be a player again. During last extended season, this deck was definitely playable and did pretty well on the PTQ circuit. The cards to pay attention to in this list are clearly Scapeshift ($3.99) and Prismatic Omen ($5.99). If Scapeshift takes Modern by storm, these cards are going to blow up.
Overall, the major archetypes listed above dominated their time in Standard. Each list above is NOT optimal, but gives you an idea of what cards to obtain if you want to explore a particular archetype. When we think about the history of Magic over the past few years, certain decks emerge immediately. Affinity, Faeries, Valakut and Caw-Blade. Below is a list of archetypes as I remembered them from Mirrodin Block forward. Each era is broken into the sets that were standard legal at the time:
Mirrodin/Kamigawa Block (Ravager Affinity (Pre-Ban), Kiki-Jiki, Tooth and Nail and MonoBlack)
Kamigawa/Ravnica Block (Gruul, Jitte.deck, Heartbeat Combo, Solarpox, Solar Flare, Ghazi-Glare) (SNAKES ON THE PLANE, ok – not really).
Ravnica/Time Spiral Block (U/G/X Pickles, Little Girl, Zoo, Dragonstorm, Project X)
Time Spiral/Lorwyn Block (Eminent Domain, Mono-Blue Tapout, Mono Red)
Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Shadowmoor Blocks (Faeries, Elves, Kithkin)
Lorwyn/Shadowmoor/Alara Block (Faeries, 5-Color Control, B/W Tokens)
Alara Block/Zendikar Block (Jund, Naya, Mythic, Mono-Red, USA Control)
Zendikar/Scars of Mirrodin Block (Valakut, Elves, RUG, Boros, Vampires, Caw-Go, Caw Blade)
This is not meant to be an all inclusive list and I apologize now for probably forgetting something.
Hopefully the above list will inspire you to start brewing. At worst, at the very least will inspire you to start obtaining cards that are going to be very playable in this format. On a very exciting note, we are going to have a large scale Modern Tournament here in Colorado.
Front Range Magic, headed by Level 5 Judge Scott Marshall, Store Owner Jeff Kocx, Level 3 Judge Mike King and Podcast Personality (Djinn’s Playground) Nick Bonham are holding a casually sanctioned cash tournament on September 3rd (Labor Day Weekend) at Enchanted Grounds (8800 S. Colorado Blvd). The thoughts are that somewhere between 50-100 players will descend upon this store and battle it out for some serious cash. As for right now, the coverage will probably be typical for a Colorado PTQ where there will be feature match coverage on the FRM website as well as on their Facebook Fan Page. This will be one of the first large scale Modern tournaments, so keep an eye out on what is happening and be sure to check out the deck lists once they are posted on their site.
Until Next Time,