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Traderous Instinct – Pro Tour Philly and You

Chances are, you don’t trade much with pros.

No one does, unless the pro in question is a trader on the side or a lover of all things foil and Japanese. Most players at that level have a network of people that borrow and swap cards as needed.

I doubt most of the people reading this column trade much at Pro Tours, either. For the most part, I bet your trading network is made up of PTQ grinders, FNM brewers, and a couple of casual all-stars.

That doesn’t mean that Pro Tour results don’t matter in your day-to-day trading world.

If someone earns $40,000 with a deck, people stand up and take notice. Results matter, especially when a format is popular, and triply so when a format is new. Now that we actually have a real Modern metagame, it’s crucial that we identify the cards that are actually good in decks that did well. Because people are going to want them.

Sure, the master deckbuilders and actual pros are going to keep looking for the next great thing, especially in a format as vast as Modern. And every shop will have their share of rogue brewers who are going to blindly work toward whatever awesome endgame they thought up in the shower that morning.

But the majority of grinders and locals you trade with are going to want one thing: staples from a deck that has proven itself.

It behooves you to start picking these up now and shipping the cards that did poorly in Philly. The market will catch up, and you need to be on the bleeding edge.

Let’s examine, oh, I don’t know…how about every rare in all the Top 8 decks?

As always, prices are current CFB retail.

Splinter Twin by Samuele Estratti

[card]Breeding Pool[/card] (1) – $40
[card]Cascade Bluffs[/card] (4) – $10
[card]Misty Rainforest[/card] (3) – $16
[card]Scalding Tarn[/card] (4) – $20
[card]Steam Vents[/card] (3) – $35
[card]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/card] (2) – $10
[card]Spellskite[/card] (4) – $9
[card]Disrupting Shoal[/card] (1) – $8
[card]Pact of Negation[/card] (2) – $25
[card]Splinter Twin[/card] (4) – $7
[card]Blood Moon[/card] (3) – $5
[card]Engineered Explosives[/card] (2) – $18
[card]Vendilion Clique[/card] (1) – $35

Between the sideboard and maindeck, this is a reasonably expensive build with a bunch of rares. Of course, I doubt Samuele is complaining about the cost!

Note the importance placed on the U/R mana sources. The Bluffs are pretty essential, and have room to grow at $10.

There are actually a reasonable number of Standard legal rares in this list, which makes sense considering the deck is a port of a current build. This certainly is a reminder to pick up your set of [card]Spellskite[/card]s now – the card is playable in nearly all formats, it seems.

Note too that the Zendikar fetches are going up toward Onslaught prices as they rotate and shift from Standard staples to Extended/Modern/Legacy ones. Both [card]Scalding Tarn[/card] and [card]Misty Rainforest[/card] will be $20-$25 for years, so make that a priority buy.

[card]Blood Moon[/card] is another card you can still find for $2-$5 in trade binders that is a Modern sideboard staple. Make this a priority buy as well.

Counter Cat by Josh Utter-Leyton

[card]Arid Mesa[/card] (4) – $15
[card]Hallowed Fountain[/card] (1) – $35
[card]Horizon Canopy[/card] (1) – $11
[card]Marsh Flats[/card] (2) – $12
[card]Misty Rainforest[/card] (4) – $16
[card]Sacred Foundry[/card] (1) – $20
[card]Scalding Tarn[/card] (1) – $20
[card]Steam Vents[/card] (1) – $35
[card]Stomping Ground[/card] (2) – $25
[card]Temple Garden[/card] (1) – $20
[card]Noble Hierarch[/card] (4) – $20
[card]Gaddock Teeg[/card] (1) – $5
[card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card] (4) – $15
[card]Tarmogoyf[/card] (4) – $100
[card]Elspeth, Knight-Errant[/card] (2) – $20
[card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card] (4) – $10
[card]Gideon Jura[/card] (2) – $18
[card]Grim Lavamancer[/card] (1) – $6

Again, we see the Zendikar fetchlands are the key to the manabase. Having a set of 40 shocklands would be a nice luxury, but having the set of 20 fetchlands is essential.

Anyone who was paying attention expected Knight, ‘Goyf, and Green Sun’s Zenith to be format staples, so no surprise there. Elspeth and Gideon are nice sights, though, and you can find promos of the former for around $10-12 in trade still.

Note that this Zoo deck did NOT run the punishing grove combo.

Mono Red Affinity by Chikara Nakajima

[card]Blinkmoth Nexus[/card] (3) – $5
[card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card] (3) – $12
[card]Arcbound Ravager[/card] (4) – $25
[card]Mox Opal[/card] (4) – $25
[card]Blood Moon[/card] (4) – $5
[card]Etched Champion[/card] (3) – $3
[card]Magus of the Moon[/card] (1) – $10
[card]Mindbreak Trap[/card] (4) – $2
[card]Torpor Orb[/card] (3) – $1

This is one of the cheaper decks to build, and seems like one of the easier decks to pilot. Thus, I would imagine this will be a popular one among the FNM crowd.

Most people haven’t adjusted to [card]Mox Opal[/card] being a $25 card, so buy in accordingly. Same with Ravager – these are both solid pickups that should be stable for a while.

Again, [card]Blood Moon[/card] rears its head.

[card]Mindbreak Trap[/card] seems like a great pickup at $2. Against combo heavy fields, this could be a real metagame player. I’ve always thought this card was on the brink of being awesome, and as a mythic it could make a big run one of these days.

Mono Blue Infect by Sam Black

[card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card] (4) – $12
[card]Scalding Tarn[/card] (4) – $20
[card]Watery Grave[/card] (1) – $25
[card]Progenitus[/card] (1) – $15
[card]Blazing Shoal[/card] (4) – $12
[card]Disrupting Shoal[/card] (3) – $8
[card]Dragonstorm[/card] (4) – $5
[card]Pact of Negation[/card] (1) –$25
[card]Summoner’s Pact[/card] (1) – $15

[card]Blazing Shoal[/card] and [card]Disrupting Shoal[/card] are going to be scorching hot cards for the foreseeable future.

Tons of people are going to want to make pitch strategies work, since they’re pretty darned fun, and these cards are super out of print. You should try and keep plenty of these in stock.

The two pacts feel a little overpriced to me right now as role-players in a few different decks. I could see these coming down in price over the coming months along with the shocklands.

Pyromancer Ascension by Max Sjobom

[card]Misty Rainforest[/card] (4) – $16
[card]Scalding Tarn[/card] (4) – $20
[card]Steam Vents[/card] (3) – $35
[card]Banefire[/card] (1) – $2
[card]Pyromancer Ascension[/card] (4) – $3
[card]Blood Moon[/card] (3) – $5
[card]Vendilion Clique[/card] (3) – $35

A very cheap deck, and fun to play, this will be the Modern deck of choice to many in the casual crowd.

Again, I can’t tell you how important it is to buy in on any undervalued Tarns and Mistys you can right now.

[card]Pyromancer Ascension[/card] is also a strong buy at $3. The card seems like it will always go in out of being very good, and you’ll be able to move this at $5+ easily before long.

BreachPost by Jesse Hampton

[card]Eye of Ugin[/card] (1) – $2
[card]Grove of the Burnwillows[/card] (4) – $18
[card]Misty Rainforest[/card] (2) – $16
[card]Stomping Ground[/card] (1) – $25
[card]Vesuva[/card] (4) – $35
[card]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/card] (4) – $15
[card]Oracle of Mul Daya[/card] (1) – $2
[card]Primeval Titan[/card] (4) – $14
[card]Terastodon[/card] (1) – $1
[card]Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre[/card] (1) – $13
[card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card] (4) – $10
[card]Through the Breach[/card] (4) – $10
[card]Brooding Saurian[/card] (1) – $1
[card]Chalice of the Void[/card] (3) – $12

This is a neat deck that combines the Twelvepost engine with [card]Through the Breach[/card] as a way to fight through hate and play more fatties. As a fan of Legacy Reanimator, I may have to give this one a go.

The Punishing Grove combo finally makes an appearance, albeit the fires are in the sideboard.

[card]Through the Breach[/card] again proves that it is certainly playable in eternal formats. A $10 card? Maybe not, but a solid one for sure.

The Prerelease version of Emrakul is only worth about half as much as the set version, but you can still pick them up for $4-$5 in trade. Very few people know that any version of the card is worth a solid $15 now.

Splinter Twin by Alessandro Portaro

[card]Breeding Pool[/card] (1) – $40
[card]Cascade Bluffs[/card] (4) – $10
[card]Grove of the Burnwillows[/card] (4) – $18
[card]Misty Rainforest[/card] (2) – $16
[card]Scalding Tarn[/card] (4) – $20
[card]Steam Vents[/card] (3) – $35
[card]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/card] (2) – $10
[card]Spellskite[/card] (2) – $9
[card]Pact of Negation[/card] (2) – $25
[card]Splinter Twin[/card] (4) – $7
[card]Mindbreak Trap[/card] (2) – $2
[card]Slagstorm[/card] – $1.50
[card]Blood Moon[/card] (3) – $5
[card]Engineered Explosives[/card] (1) – $18
[card]Vendilion Clique[/card] (2) – $35

This version is pretty similar to the one that took down the whole tournament, only with the Punishing Grove combo included and a few other tweaks.

Again, [card]Mindbreak Trap[/card] seems like a good inclusion and a possible sleeper to me.

Otherwise, all of these cards have now become format staples and should be picked up accordingly.

Other Interesting Cards from Winning Decks

[card]Pyromancer’s Swath[/card] – $10

Featured in Finkel’s version of Pyromancer Ascension, the Swath seems like a pretty sweet card.

Boom//Bust – $1

This one was in Brian Demars’ zoo deck and seems like kind of a sweet finisher as well as an answer to the Grove combo and opposing [card]Cloudpost[/card]s/[card]Vesuva[/card]s.

[card]Erayo, Soratami Ascendant[/card] – $6

A 4-of in a different sort of Affinity brew piloted by Oleksandr Onosov.

[card]Reaper King[/card] – $6

A VERY popular pitch target all day long. Quite good with both Blazing and Disrupting Shoals.

[card]Chord of Calling[/card] – $3

Appeared in some elf decks as well as some Birthing Pod decks.

[card]Amulet of Vigor[/card] – $4

Showed up in most of the Twelvepost lists that did well.

Strong Buys/Trades

[card]Misty Rainforest[/card] [card]Scalding Tarn[/card] [card]Blinkmoth Nexus[/card] [card]Blood Moon[/card] [card]Mindbreak Trap[/card]

All of these cards showed up in multiple Top 8 decklists, and I believe they are undervalued right now. Look to pick these up in trade at retail whenever you can.

The Priority Sell List

[card]Dark Confidant[/card] – $50

This card is already back down to $50. It was in a few decks that did reasonably well, but overall it is too slow and punishing for the format right now.

[card]Life from the Loam[/card] – $15

This was a $5-$6 card until Modern took off, and I didn’t see too many of these near the top tables.

[card]Plow Under[/card] – $10

Again, not a card that did all that well. If you can get anything near $10 for this, do it.

[card]Tooth and Nail[/card] – $18

Too slow, too redundant. This’ll head back down to its EDH price of $10.

[card]Aether Vial[/card]/Merfolk – $Various

The deck did not make the transition from Legacy without the proper countermagic backup.

[card]Cryptic Command[/card] – $15

What does this card have to do to become eternal playable? As much love as people have for this spell, it just hasn’t gained traction since it dominated Standard.

Snapshot of Modern Right Now

Going into Philly, everyone knew that Twelvepost was the deck to beat. It was taking down most of the dailies online, and rumors were starting to fly that [card]Amulet of Vigor[/card] was speeding the deck up by a turn to the point where T4 Emrakul was a reasonable hope.

Thus, the rest of the Metagame sacrificed resiliency in order to win on turn 3 when Cloudpost decks were still doing absolutely nothing.

As a result, Twelvepost decks did poorly at the tour while fast combo (Ascension, Twin, anything with shoals) proved the breakout stars.

Zoo, considered THE best deck before a single game of Modern was played, did quite well also. Despite being marginalized in the MTGO events leading up to the tour, the CFB team put up good results overall.

Instead of being a normal rock/paper/scissors format with control/aggro/combo, Modern right now is a rock/paper/scissors format with Twelvepost/aggro/combo.

Basically, if you’re playing a ‘fair’ deck, you had better be swinging with ‘Goyfs on turn three.

I am sure the format will adjust over time. Hate will develop for the combo decks, though it will be important to have something that can beat the resiliency of Twelvepost as well. Defeating both at the same time will be the trick, and something like Jund won’t be able to handle it.

Further, I imagine that WOTC will do something to the format if it stagnates in combo-land for too long. Banning [card]Cloudpost[/card] would be one option, as would giving blue access to another good counterspell.

Modern right now is pretty similar to what Legacy would be like without Daze and Force: there’s nothing to keep the degenerate fast decks in check.

Until something does change, though, ship away your ‘fair’ cards for things that do broken things on turns 2 and 3.

Until next time –

Chas Andres

Discussion

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