About the Author
@plfeudo     -     Email     -     Articles Paul Feudo has been playing magic since Urza's Destiny. After gloriously scrubbing out of GP Anaheim in 2012, he changed his focus from competitive play to the financial aspects of the game.

Plant of the Gods

Three things I think I know:

1. Modern has had a barrier-to-entry problem since its inception. It used to be (incorrectly) attributed to things like copies of [card]Hallowed Fountain[/card] being $40, but as the format has grown in popularity, very real scarcity issues have caused staples to spike at a rate far beyond anything most of the Magic community has seen before.

2. Modern is as interesting as it’s been for the past year-and-a-half thanks to the recent DCI Banned & Restricted List changes and the upcoming pro tour. Unfortunately, the element of intrigue and uncertainty the announcement caused has only made Modern even more expensive as more people try to buy in.

3. The high barrier to entry means that most Modern staples are too expensive for many people to effectively speculate on by actually buying cards.

Fear not! There is still money to be made in Modern. I don’t think buying in is the best plan right now, given the type of gains the market has already made. Instead, I think now is the time to trade.

The Targets

Broad like Sir Mix-A-Lot

Remember [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]? I think many people have forgotten about him (we may as well call him doctor at this point) and how good he was before [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] came into our collective lives. This is my pick for most played non-fetch land card in the top eight next weekend. I expect the card to come to the forefront of Modern due to its versatility as much as anything else—you’re just as likely to see it target [card]Cryptic Command[/card] as [card]Tribal Flames[/card]. The type of broad demand that versatility creates makes Snapcaster an appetizing target. eBay listings are closing as low as $15, making this the only card on the list I’m comfortable buying. I expect buylists to be in the low-to-mid $20s after the pro tour.

The natural response many people had to the banning of [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] was to shove four copies of [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] in whatever they were playing and call it a day. The card went nuts, ending as high as $57 on eBay during the buying frenzy that happened the first few days after the announcement. eBay is still averaging around $45, and while Hierarch’s spread of 28% is not ideal for a buy in, its certainly not awful.

I think [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] is going to be white hot at Pro Tour Born of the Gods. From [card]Birthing Pod[/card] decks, to Infect, to Zoo, to various midrange strategies, I expect Hierarch to be one of the most played cards next weekend (outside of the fetch lands) and I expect eBay to head back up to $60 right after the pro tour. I would trade for every copy I could—as long as it didn’t cost me any copies of [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card].

eBay auctions for [card]Arid Mesa[/card] are ending in the low $30s for single copies. The card is due for a price correction soon. Between various [card]Wild Nacatl[/card] decks, Burn, and [card]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/card]-[card]Birthing Pod[/card] decks, I think [card]Arid Mesa[/card] will see a surge in popularity after Pro Tour Born of the Gods. This increase in demand should send Mesa into the price range of [card]Verdant Catacombs[/card] (mid-to-low $40s on eBay, $50 TCGplayer mid). While this is not enough of an increase to make it a buy if your best out is buylisting, it is still a no-brainer as a trade target.

[card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card] and [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card] are likely see an increase just by riding the coattails of [card]Noble Hierarch[/card], though I like Geist much more so than the Knight, given the one printing its seen compared to Knight’s three, as well as Geist’s applications in aggressive U/W/R strategies.

If you want something a little more dangerous (and cheaper for that matter), the best option I can think of is [card]Vengevine[/card]. [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] was keeping the plant man down, and now that it’s gone, people are ready to embrace their inner spiteful broccoli. eBay is already at (and in some cases, above) TCGplayer mid, which tells me people are excited about this card despite it being off the radar for such a long time. It’s by far the biggest risk/reward card on this list, because unlike the previous cards I mentioned, there is no broad demand supporting Vine’s current price, given how narrow and demanding the card itself is. That said, it is becoming harder and harder to find, despite last year’s promo version, and I would not be surprised if any type of success (or possibly just camera time) caused a noteworthy, if temporary, price increase. A top eight would make the card $30-40+ overnight. I like [card]Vengevine[/card] much less than the other cards on this list, but I still feel its potential is worth mentioning if you’re interested in a possible home run.

I think Modern graveyard-strategy staples are generally underpriced given how much easier their decks’ game ones have gotten. Cards like [card]Living End[/card] and [card]Goryo’s Vengeance[/card] still have significant room to grow despite their upward trends.

Now is the time to be trading into Modern. The PTQ season doesn’t start until June, but given the excitement about the format and the upcoming pro tour, there should be a window to trade out for a gain, if not simply cashing out everything you pick up this week. You should be able to out your positions during the month following the PT while still having time to take other positions before the summer season starts.

Bonus Tip

[card]Chromatic Lantern[/card] has started to climb. Its up to $3 TCGplayer mid from what I can only hope is [card]Chromanticore[/card]-fueled hype (apparently a [card]Chromanticore[/card] deck made top eight in a six-round Standard tournament in Japan. I can’t be the only one that desperately wants this to become a thing). I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lantern hit $5 before rotation due to its potential competitive-casual appeal. I love it as a deal evener.

Paul’s Pre-GP Rundown

You have less than a month to sell your [card]Mutavault[/card]s or trade them away for something insane five minutes before a PTQ starts. This card should be in an event deck soon, and even if it’s not, demand can’t get much higher. There’s no upside left in the card, and it’s time to turn your copies into something else if you haven’t already.

Jan van der Vegt is apparently on the [card]Goryo’s Vengeance[/card]/[card]Through the Breach[/card] deck for GP Prague, but with a five-color manabase to support [card]Fist of Suns[/card] as a third way to cheat in [card]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/card] and [card]Griselbrand[/card]. I have no idea if this version of the deck is good, but you can get Fist for under $2 and its casual appeal will help mitigate the risk (it has a 27% spread, though some of this is likely due to potential hype about the deck). I think this is close to a free roll if you’re paying attention this weekend and can cash out before stores update their buy prices should the deck flop.

[card]Primeval Titan[/card] has a 15% spread and is 20 tickets on MTGO. These are both giant signs pointing towards the card going up fairly dramatically in the near future. It’s in some versions of [card]Scapeshift[/card] as well as the fringe [card]Amulet of Vigor[/card] deck. It’s also in the Green Devotion deck everyone has been secretly brewing at 3:00 a.m. I’ll admit I bought in pretty hard on these last week and I still like the price they’re at—between GP Prague and Pro Tour Born of the Gods in the short term, as well as Modern PTQ season coming in a few months, this bet feels hard to lose.

[card]Gemstone Mine[/card] is another interesting pickup. It’s in the [card]Fist of Suns[/card] – [card]Griselbrand[/card] deck I mentioned earlier as well as the [card]Amulet of Vigor[/card] – [card]Primeval Titan[/card] deck. Normally being in two fringe strategies wouldn’t be very interesting, but it also has a 30% spread and lots of demand outside of Modern. I don’t think Mine is an outright buy so much as a trade target, but it’s something to keep an eye out for during the next few weeks when you’re at events.

I cannot keep copies of [card]Cabal Therapy[/card] for more than a day or two. There are 32 total listings on TCGplayer right now and the internet is slowly drying up (Star City Games is completely sold out, for instance). I think this card could hit $20 or more over the course of a day and is a fantastic pick up.

Avacyn Restored is in the middle of a price adjustment. [card]Avacyn, Angel of Hope[/card], [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card], and [card]Griselbrand[/card] have seen significant increases over the past few months and I don’t think the set is done experiencing these kind of jumps. I love [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] as a pickup right now—this has real long-term potential to hit $20 or more in a few years with no competitive results, a la [card]Vampire Nocturnus[/card] before the reprint. However, the card also has real legs in Modern and Legacy Merfolk decks, which makes it even more appealing. Cavern isn’t a cash buy right now, but it’s a very solid trade target that I don’t think you can lose on in the long term.

Andrew Shrout continues to show us that green-white is not completely dead in Standard. His results combined with the upcoming G/W temple in Born of the Gods would normally lead me to believe that buying into Standard G/W staples this month is an easy way to turn a profit, but I’m not sold in this case. Take a look at his list:

[deck title= GW Shrout]


*4 Experiment One

*4 Soldier of the Pantheon

*4 Fleecemane Lion

*2 Skylasher

*4 Voice of Resurgence

*4 Banisher Priest

*4 Boon Satyr

*3 Mistcutter Hydra



*4 Advent of the Wurm

*4 Selesnya Charm



*8 Forest

*8 Plains

*3 Selesnya Guildgate

*4 Temple Garden



*1 Mistcutter Hydra

*2 Skylasher

*3 Unflinching Courage
*2 Last Breath

*2 Rootborn Defenses

*2 Polukranos, World Eater

*3 Glare of Heresy



That’s 34 rares and mythics. Granted, eight of them are [card]Mistcutter Hydra[/card]s and [card]Skylasher[/card]s, but they could just as easily be [card]Ajani, Caller of the Pride[/card], [card]Loxodon Smiter[/card], or [card]Witchstalker[/card].

With around half the deck being made up of rares and mythics, I think any type of price increase will be spread out among too many cards for anyone to make any money. The lone exception is [card]Advent of the Wurm[/card] because everyone hated Dragon’s Maze, so the relative supply will be much lower. It’s also entirely possible that [card]Lifebane Zombie[/card] is actually the best pickup if we think G/W is going to be good, but it’s almost three times as expensive as Advent, so it has less upside. We can probably wait a bit longer before picking it up.

I invested in [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card] instead of [card]Mutavault[/card] this September. Oops. I like Ooze as a trade acquisition this month, if not an outright buy, while it’s price is so significantly depressed. I don’t think there’s much more time than that to get in because the temples coming in Born of the Gods should help make midrange strategies relevant in Standard again, which is where Ooze is at its best. Don’t get me wrong, [card]Sylvan Caryatid[/card] is the main reason to play Green in midrange strategies and Ooze will probably be riding its coattails, but I don’t think that matters. The promo hurts the ceiling somewhat, but I still think Ooze can hit $12 with broad demand once the format evens out a little.

It’s very interesting that Standard prices haven’t really moved much despite PTQs starting a month ago. At the same time, various older cards have doubled. We all have to learn the pricing patterns of the new PTQ schedule and how the different block structures fit within it. For instance, I’m staying away from all Theros cards until June (right before M15 and during Modern season). We haven’t had a big-small-small block since Scars of Mirrodin, when the playerbase was significantly smaller, and while I don’t know what drafting a set for nine months is going to do with this large a player base, I have a hunch.

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