Trade Routes – Getting Ready for States

Like many people, I have spent most of my week narrowing down deck choices and making a list of cards I need from Scars. For most of us, obtaining some of the chase rares will be difficult. After looking at the results from the major tournament of last week, I believe that anyone can take their current standard collection and with a minimal investment, build a very competitive states deck. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the top 8 of the New York 5k from the perspective of what new cards were used.

New York States

Here is the deck that won the New York 5k:
First Place – Jack Vargas – Valakut Ramp


This list has only two cards from Scars of Mirrodin, which both of them happen to be Koth of the Hammer. Assuming you have all the other major cards here, picking up Koth should be fairly easy. Most of the online websites are selling Koth from between $40-$50, with local stores theoretically pricing them between $50-$60. If you don’t have the money available, try trading in other planeswalkers. I do want to warn you that I believe Koth will be dropping in price. Scars of Mirrodin is going to be drafted for a very long time, which in turn causes more packs to be opened and the inevitable drop in value will occur. My personal belief is that after a month or so of drafting, Koth and his new friends will drop by $5-$10. But, not to digress, this deck used about $100 worth of Scars cards and won the tournament.


Second Place: Tim Landale – Eldrazi Green

This deck also barely uses any of the new cards from Scars. Wurmcoil Engine is a beefy artifact that is going to see a decent amount of play this weekend. They are fairly easy to obtain since they were the prerelease card. I wouldn’t expect to pay more than $8 – $10 on the foil promo and $15 – $18 on the regular version. However, as with Koth, I believe this card is only going down. If anything, trade it away the week following States, wait a monthl, and pick them back up. Effectively, this deck used between $36 and $76 worth of Scars of Mirrodin cards, and took second place.

Third Place – Michael Lapine – Elves


Five cards. Elves are back and running multiple copies of two different cards from Scars. The first card, Ezuri, Renegade Leader removes Elves’ need to run overrun and has Genesis Wave, the only sorcery in the whole deck. Both of these cards clock in between $2 and $5, which makes this one of the most affordable decks in Standard. This deck made less than a $20 investment and took third.


Fourth Place – Jason Ford – UR Force

This deck used 2 uncommons in the main deck and ran 1 Koth of the Hammer in the sidebard. Value wise, the uncommons are not worth more than $0.25 each and Koth is obviously fifty dollars. To be fair, this is a fairly new idea and it placed well within this tournament. What is unknown about this deck is whether or not it has staying power. There are a lot of expensive cards in this list though, so if you need more than just Scars cards, this deck is probably out of your price range.

Fifth Place – Abbas Tapal – Eldrazi Green

Just like the other lists, this deck used very few Scars cards. This is the first list with [card]Ratchet Bomb[/card], which I expect will see a considerable amount of standard play. The other card was a singleton [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card] in the board. This deck finished in fifth place and only invested about $50 in the new set.

Sixth Place – Brian Flynn – Valakut Ramp

Seems to me to be a theme here. Another ramp deck, and another deck that barely runs cards from Scars. This deck is also the first to utilize Memoricide. So after a $30 investment, this deck placed 6th overall.

Seventh Place – Pedro Quintero – UW Control

Yay! Our first deck with Elspeth. This deck used the most Scars cards so far at seven in the main deck and nine in the sideboard. Although not the same uw control that we are used to, this deck looks pretty good. The one thing to note though is that this deck runs 8 fairly expensive planeswalkers. On a personal note, I am not sure if 1 Gideon is the correct number for the deck. That being said, I’ll let the pro players speculate on deck design.

Eighth Place – Chester Li – Eldrazi Green


Similar to the other two Eldrazi Green decks, this one runs very few Scars cards. In fact, only four [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card]s are in the deck. Seems to me that this was a pretty popular card for the tournament.

Overall, the breakdown of the top 8 for Scars cards looked like this:


To speculate, many people are going to copy these lists for their own States this weekend. What isn’t taken into account is the reality that most of these decks were probably assembled with very little playtesting with the new cards. Depending on your state, and the types of players who typically perform well (Spike, Johnny, Timmy) you can reasonably expect that quite a few of these decks will make appearances at your tournament.

One deck that I have noticed a lot of in my own meta is Affinity White. Here is a version of the list:

Do not be surprised to see some form of this deck. It’s incredibly cheap to build (Except the Mox Opal) and will be very popular. In fact, when looking at the average price of decks between all of these, this deck is almost $100 cheaper than any of the other decks that I listed.

Essentially, the purpose of this article was to inform all of you on what has done well with the limited amount of information that we have. I do expect that States will have quite a few ramp decks roaming around and we should all be prepared for that. However, one issue was discussed earlier this week while my friends and I were preparing for states. The reality is, although these decks did well, not everybody can afford to actually play them. Many people do not have a full playset of Jace, The Mind Sculptor or Primeval Titans. If we were to take a second look at this top 8, we would see the average value of each deck to be between $358 – $559. Here’s the breakdown:

Top 8 Approximate Value/Cost (numbers based on average low/high costs):
Eldrazi Green – $310 – $490
Valakut Ramp – $320 – $520
Elves – $250 – $450
UR Force – $430 – $610
UW Control – $480 – $725

With these numbers, expect a lot of Elves to also be present for this weekends event.

Also, with last week’s set review, here is a shortened version of Market Watch:

Venser, the Sojourner
Venser, the Sojourner
Set: Scars of Mirrodin
Card Type: Planeswalker
Use: Competitive
Current Value: $ 50
Projected Value: $ 30
Trend: Down
Status: Sell
Reasoning: This card is not as good as we all would like him to be. Since he has no ultimate that will actually kill him, running multiples will not be necessary. At best, he’ll be a 3x in a deck and even then, he’s not better than Elspeth Tirel, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and probably not better than Gideon Jura either. Everyone has been trying to get rid of him and this has caused the value of him to plummet. Expect him in a niche deck, but move these while you can.

Nissa Revane
Nissa Revane Set: Zendikar
Card Type: Planeswalker
Use: Competitive
Current Value: $ 9
Projected Value: $ 13
Trend: Up
Status: Buy
Reasoning: Elves are a legitimate Standard deck again. With the printing of Ezuri, Renegade Leader, we are going to see more and more elves. Nissa really only works in decks with Elves and therefore will most likely rise in price.

Elvish Archdruid
Elvish Archdruid
Set: M11
Card Type: Creature
Use: Competitive
Current Value: $ 1
Projected Value: $ 4
Trend: Up
Status: Buy
Reasoning: Read above. This card has seen a few printings now and therefore will not climb much higher than 4. However, if Elves accelerates in popularity over the States weekend (which I believe it will), expect this card to steadily climb in value.

Anyhow, another week is gone and I am going to prepare for States. I promise that I will be posting a blog link soon to my Mountain for Power, but classes and life are keeping me busy.

Until next time,

Brian Grewe

Warning: Brian’s former MTGO account, Casetok, was recently hacked. Do not do business with the person with this account claiming to be Brian. Brian’s MTGO name is BrianGrewe.

Casetok (MTGO)


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