Category Archives: Modern Madness

Pro Tour Fate Reforged: Day 1 Coverage


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Stay tuned for round by round MTGFinance coverage of Pro Tour: Fate Reforged!

[Day Ended]

A Wild Defiance foils buyout is going down as a result of the card appearing in Infect decks from Team Pantheon. Card may settle in the $6+ range, but the deck needs to Top 8 to maintain the price mid-term.

7:03pm An Infect deck piloted by Austin Bursavich just went to 8-0. Manfield also takes his Burn build to 8-0.

7:01pm: Jon Finkel  (Infect) vs. Martin Muller (Abzan)

Lingering Souls being called out as a good speed bump against Infect.

6:50pm: Frank Karsten (Affinity) vs.  Osman Ozguney (Faeries)

Karsten goes to 7-1 with a traditional Affinity Build.

Each of Infect, Affinity and Burn have a player at 7-0.

6:30pm: Alexander Haybe breaking down the Jeskai Control Archtype on camera

6:10pm: Rnd 7: Marco Lombardi (Merfolk) vs. Seth Manfield (Burn)

5:44: Rnd 7: Lee Shi Tian (Burn) vs. Makihito Mihara (Grixis Twin)

Whoa! Mihara is running one of my top underated cards of Fate Reforge, with multiple copies of Humble Defector in his innovative deck list.

Marco Lombardi is 6-0 with Merfolk.

4:55: Rnd 6: Andrew Cuneo (Infect) vs Ken Yukihiro (Abzan)

Yukihiro takes the match.

Tasigur on camera yet again. Thoughtseize featuring in game after game. Noble Hierarch’s demise after Pod banning widely exaggerated.

4:43pm: Rnd 6: Kentaro Yamamato (Abzan) vs. Shuhei Nakamura (Jeskai Control)

Yamamato takes the match, finishing Shuhei off with Siege Rhino, a card that continues to earn it’s keep in the format.

Lingering Souls has seen multiple release at uncommon, but the only mainstream foil release was the original, and those have been sitting at half their peak value for a while without a home in modern. Today, the card is all over the place, and should easily regain $10+.

3:56pm Frank Karsten and Affinity build being featured in the metagame overview with BDM.

3:45pm: Rnd 5 Jelger Wiegersma (Twin) vs. Justin Maguire (Jeskai Control)

Restoration Angel and Blade Splicer getting some camera time in the Maguire deck. A wild top Splinter Twin top deck gets spoiled by Wear/Tear.

3:09: Rnd 5 Patrick Chapin just played a Gurmag Angler and protected it with a Stubborn Denial…in Modern!!! (bowing respectfully to the master despite his losing to Affinity.)

3:04pm: Rnd 5: Paul Cheon (Abzan) vs. Stanislav Cifka (W/B Tokens)

Cifka deck noteable for running Bitterblossom & Intangible Virtue (keep an eye on foils, but remember the card has been reprinted multiple times). Sorin, Solemn Visitor in the Cifka deck, over the older version.

2:52pm: Eidolon of the Great Revel being discussed in the burn deck tech. This card is still too low around $6 and should break $10 this year for sure, especially if Burn does well this weekend.

Just snapped up some copies of Chord of Calling around $3, promo Tasigurs around $20 and whatever Ghostways I could find overseas under $10, which wasn’t many. M15 foils currently have a 4x foil multiplier so I’m staying away for now.

Sam Black showed off a very sexy Naya Ghostway based deck earlier this week on See it here. Rumor has it that a few pros are actually running the deck, and Ghostway has already been bought out into the $16+ range, with minimal copies remaining online. This was a sub-$8 card last week.

Team Channel Fireball has several members on WGB Junk with Noble Hierarch and Gavony Township.

2:39pm Jon Stern (Abzan) vs Kenji Tsumura (Abzan)

2:15pm: Jelger Wiergersma (Twin) vs. Milos Stajic (Elves!)

  • Chord of Calling features prominently in the Elf deck and is noteable as being undervalued since it’s part of the Ghostway deck as well. I’ve noted well over 100 copies disappear in a short time period.
  • Elves went down in 3

2:07pm: Owen Turtenwald (Infect) vs. Ben Stark (Scapeshift)


  • Team Pantheon reportedly all on UG Infect

2:01pm: 1st on camera Modern match, Round 4: Shehar Shenhar (Burn) vs. Seth Manfield (Burn)

  •  Shenhar has the black splash for Bump in the Night vs. Mansfield’s white splash for Boros Charm
  • Games are tight involving a high degree of basic math strategy

1:59pm: The guys predict the following archtypes as defining the metagame:

  • Scapeshift, Abzan, UWR Mid-Range, Aggro

1:49pm: Rich Hagon and Randy Beuhler counting down the 10 most important cards in Modern:

  • 10. Blood Moon
  • 9. Lilianna of the Veil
  • 8. Arcbound Ravager
  • 7. Snapcaster Mage
  • 6. Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
  • 5. Lightning Bolt
  • 4. Fetch/Shocklands
  • 3. Splinter Twin
  • 2. Siege Rhino
  • 1. Tarmogoyf

Notable that Siege Rhino has gone from being “unplayable” in Modern a few months back to a #2 ranked staple based on it’s role in Junk decks!



And so begins our only Modern format Pro Tour of 2015, and a defining signal for Modern hype leading up to the release of Modern Masters (2015 Edition) at the end of May via Grand Prix Las Vegas and two other mirrored tournaments in Europe and Asia.

Far from abandoning the format, WOTC seems as committed as ever to ensuring we all have a powerful, yet diverse evergreen format to cling to, with many rewards for deck builders who find innovative ways to address the metagame.

Love ’em or hate ’em, the recent banning of Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time and Birthing Pod has put the usual meta on tilt. MTGO lists have been awash with creative deck lists since the new rules took effect last week and while there may still be a very good chance that stalwarts like Junk, Jeskai/Geist or U/R Storm will be hanging out in the top 16, all signs point to a rogue deck or two storming the castle this weekend in Washington, D.C.

As per usual, the Pro Tour weekends now feature a mix of booster draft (FRF-KTK-KTK) and constructed (Modern) formats with 3 rounds of draft Friday morning, followed by 5 rounds of Modern starting around Noon EST.

The big teams such as ChannelFireball, SCG, and the various Japanese powerhouse squads have been relatively quiet all week, as their best deck ideas hide out in stealth mode, waiting to be unleashed on a hopefully unsuspecting field and scoop up the $40,000 top prize.

For we MTGFinance speculators, the weekend will be an especially important proving grounds for many of the most hyped cards of the format. Here are some early stories worth paying attention to:

Siege Rhino (Foil): Skies the Limit?

At first, many doubted whether this Standard stalwart could make the jump into a format as powerful as Modern. Then they said he couldn’t survive the banning of Birthing Pod. And yet, just a few weeks later, a quick look at the MTGO results shows that Junk lists running the full 4 copies of this swingy beast are all over the place. Whether some version of GBx can take down the tourney is anyone’s guess, but foil Siege Rhino’s are still looking like a buy to me anywhere under $20, perhaps with a target to out around $30 within the year on continued strong results. Given how quickly Abrupt Decay foils broke $80, there seems to be upside on Rhino despite the lack of Legacy play.

Dark Confidant: Heading Down?

It’s hard to believe, but the metagame may still be too unfriendly for this powerhouse card drawing engine to regain lost ground in the Modern meta. With a clear shift from Jund to Junk heading into the tournament, many lists that could run Bob, simply are not. If he doesn’t see play in the Top 16, we should be ready for a shave of $5-10 off his price at least, though the price memory is definitely strong with this sith lord of value.

Geist of Saint Traft: Where’s the Top?

We were picking up copies around $12.50 not so many months ago, but this highly aggressive legend has no staged a comeback just above $20 and could be poised to head back towards the $30+ range if a Jeskai Aggro or Control build finds a seat at the top tables this weekend. The card’s power is hardly in debate, but matchup luck will almost certainly play a role here as the card doesn’t like facing down blockers.

Snapcaster Mage: Free at Last!

In a world with Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time dominating graveyard resources, Snappy had to take a back seat last season, but with the competition taking a dirt nap, there is a very good chance that a strong showing by Esper or Jeskai Control/Mid-Range builds could start a climb into the $50 range by summer. Free from a possible MM2 reprinting due to the exclusion of Innistrad block from the set, Tiago should be good to run the chart until MM3 roles around in 2017 or so.

Paul Cheon: What a story!

Was anyone not on the edge of their seats last weekend watching Paul Cheon face Paul Reitzel at the finals of the team event at Grand Prix San Jose? Paul, the perennial kid brother of the Channel Fireball crew, has been busting his ass at the pro magic game all year, but desperately needed no less than a win at the GP to qualify for the Pro Tour. Demonstrating poise, focus and determination, Empty the Cheons played one of the best matches of the year on camera to earn his shot at the big show. Good luck Paul!

Travis has some great additional ideas on cards to watch over here, so take a look!

James Chillcott is the CEO of, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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Modern Madness

Hello world! I’m Igor Shapiro. I’ve started a business out of magic within the last 2 years. Learning this ropes in this market isn’t easy; it’s been mostly a trial and error process. In a world where everyone has the Internet in their pocket, spotting trends and being able to analyze how the market behaves is what I believe will set you apart from every other floor trader. My goal is to help the community understand this market better and how it works. But enough about me – let’s get to the numbers!

As some of you may have noticed, Modern cards have recently skyrocketed in value. For example, look at the trend of Kiki-Jiki:

Kiki-Jiki as of Jan 27, 2013



It almost doubled in price within the last 3-4 months. But why is that? It’s simple: demand for Modern has significantly increased due to the PTQ season. The availability of older cards (Pre m10) has always been low. Especially since lots of Kiki-Jikis are already hidden away in EDH decks. Now with the PTQ season everyone wants to play Modern. Kiki-Jiki is found as a 3-4 of in the Kiki-Pod decks and also at least a 2 of in some Splinter Twin decks.

This card is on its way to $30. I sold my copies to a vendor at a recent local PTQ for $22.

This card may have surprised many people. If you told me a year ago that this card would be $30, I would have laughed. But Kiki-Jiki isn’t the only card that has spiked to extraordinary amounts. Almost every card in Modern has reached very high price points, higher than we’ve ever seen before. I would want to own as many Modern cards as possible right now. With the Modern PTQ season in progress, the demand for these cards is through the roof and supply is low. They have a high liquidity and vendors are willing to overpay on these cards just to remain stocked. Most Modern cards can be sold to many vendors for close to eBay prices. Learn what vendors are paying on hot Modern cards and remember that trading for these hot Modern cards on the floor can be the equivalent of trading for cash.

The next card I want to look at is Venser, Shaper Savant. Let’s look at the data:


Venser as of Jan 27th, 2013

You can see the sharp increase happened very recently.  I don’t think the $20+ price tag is stable. He’s starting to see more play in legacy and is still a popular EDH card. Let’s investigate what happened.

Speculators helped buy up all the copies online (especially on TCG player) causing the price to rise to a ridiculous number. There was a point where you could list them on TCG at $18 and they would sell by the end of the day.  But cards have a certain chain of exchange.

Let’s look at Venser as an example.


  1.  Here, the card starts trending upwards, with slow, gradual growth.
  2. Then, speculators buy the Vensers from stores.
  3. Supply of the card dries up online, accelerating the price upwards as everyone wants to get in and make money.
  4. Vendors raise the buy price for Venser in order to restock.
  5. The speculators that bought Vensers sell them back to vendors at the new inflated price.
  6. The vendors drop the buy price.
  7. The new price is either stable if it reflects actual demand (are there people that are willing to purchase at the new price point?) or the new price drops above what it was before the spike but below the inflated price it was at when there were no copies online.

The most important question to ask is whether the card actually has use somewhere.  What formats does it see play in? (Remember that Casual is a format when it comes to MTG Finance). In the case of Venser:

  1. It sees minor play in Legacy.
  2. It sees minor play in Modern.
  3. It sees minor play in EDH.

In the end, I think that Venser’s price will stabilize at $15. It’s not seeing any groundbreaking amount of play in any new decks but still is a fine casual and cube card.

Now let’s look at what you should be trading for this week. All these cards are trending up and you can capitalize by picking them up at their old prices before the market and everyone else catches up.

Clifftop Retreat – Many new Boros cards are in Gatecrash (Boros Charm, Aurelia’s Fury). People

Clifftop Retreat as of Jan 27th, 2013

will want to build the deck. The retail price is up to 15 on some major websites. Pick these up at 10-12 in trade if you can. Should be very liquid.

Huntmaster of the Fells– This guy is finally starting to see a lot more play in standard and even Modern. In most lists he’s a 4 of. If you can still pick him up at 25 on the floor I’d snap them up. These DKA mythics are only getting harder to find. There is also upside if Gruul is a deck. I can see him being $40+ in the upcoming months. (Thundermaw Hellkite is a good precedent)

Inquisition of Kozilek – How is this still $6? This is a $12 card. It’s seeing a good amount of Modern play, it’s seeing a small amount of legacy play, and it’s a budget replacement for Thoughtseize. Also, being in Rise of the Eldrazi doesn’t hurt either. I was offered $5 from a vendor and still said no. I’d trade for these at 6-7 confidently.

Inkmoth Nexus – $5? Really? Go ahead and look up the price of Blinkmoth Nexus. This is a 4 of in the Infect deck and Affinity. I see this card being $12 by next season very easily.  I’d buy any copy I see at 4 (was being offered this by vendors). Inkmoth Nexus is still $5 on a lot of major sites so take advantage of that when trading.

NOTE: Inkmoth and Inquisition can’t be reprinted in Modern Masters which makes me like these cards even more.

That is all for this week folks!  I hope you enjoyed my article.