This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a Star City Invitational Qualifier event at a local game shop, Spanky’s Card Shop in Kansas City, Missouri. There were upward of 60 players in attendance and there was a fairly diverse meta-game represented despite the continued success of the mono-colored decks. One deck in particular put up very impressive results at this particular tournament. Designed by Team Como, this unique build of RUG devotion put 2 decks into the top 4 of the IQ, both going undefeated through the swiss portion of the tournament.
RUG Devotion Eric Schreiber 3rd place Star City Invitational Qualifier Spanky’s Card Shop 1/19/2014
Granted a tournament of roughly 60 players is a small sample size, I really think that there is some excellent potential from this and similar builds. This deck capitalizes on the explosiveness of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. This deck also demonstrated the power of Prophet of Kruphix. A similar list was showcased this week on the Star City “Deck tech.” That deck did not run Prophet, and I think by doing so missed out on some of the most explosive potential that the deck can have. Prophet is kill on sight, and with Garruk, Caller of Beasts as well as Jace, Architect of Thought providing plenty of ammunition, you frequently have threats to dump into play with all the extra mana. Prophet may never be a huge role player in standard, but even so, I recommend picking up an extra play set or two in trades if you have the opportunity. At $2 on TCG right now, its a low risk. With foil copies going for four times that much, its obvious that casual players have found ways to abuse this card already. The power level of the card is there and with the right environment, and/or shell this card could be a real role player.
I had to double and triple check. Not a single copy of Mono-black in the top 8 of the Open this week! Unfortunately, I don’t think this is a sign that the deck is going away. Perhaps just evolving. We did see two copies of Black/White Midrange in the top 8, which is basically the same shell, with Blood Baron of Vizkopa and this week featuring Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. I think main deck Ratchet Bomb is a pretty effective way to win the Pack Rat war as well and something many decks of this ilk are moving toward.
A new champion was crowned this week in Big Boros. While the deck is quite impressive in it’s own right, holy cow Batman! Is Star City seriously asking $40.00 for Mutavault right now? What is the ceiling on this card? When is the madness going to stop? In my opinion, very soon. I believe that we are nearing the top of this wild ride for Mutavault at least during its run in standard. Right now there are many one color, and two color mana bases. When that ends, and people start playing more colors than one, Mutavault should see a decline in the number of copies decks can get away with playing. Furthermore, M14 is still in print, and if this card goes any higher, the amount of the set that gets opened and redeemed on magic online should begin to drive the price point back down.
Big Boros clearly has some very effective tools and combos, Assemble the Legion plus Purphoros, God of the Forge for example seems like a good place to start. While the deck runs two copies of the aforementioned Mutavault it doesn’t run a single copy of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Coincidentally, the second place deck this weekend also had access to multiple copies of both Purphoros and Assemble the Legion in its 75. Both decks have access to four copies of Stormbreath Dragon. Some are selecting to play Stormbreath in place of Thundermaw Hellkite in Modern. It is unclear at this point which is a better choice, the protection from white Stormbreath has being quite relevant in the format, but both are viable options. Nonetheless, Thundermaw is climbing in price as are most modern played cards right now. Stormbreath Dragon likely has room to grow in price. Last year at this time Thundermaw Hellkite was valued at $40. Different format, different card, but there is definitely room for Stormbreath Dragon to move up in value.
Legacy for the last few weeks has been a showcase of ways to go over, through, or completely ignore True-Name Nemesis. This weekend was no different in that regard. Reanimator is an excellent way to ignore the existence of True-Name Nemesis. One card to note from the list, as well as the second place Sneak and Show list is the addition of Ashen Rider. Although this card is still going for $1.50 at TCG, one retailer is already asking double that. Foil copies are $11.00 on TCG and I anticipate that long term this card will experience a steady increase in value.
My condolences to Joe Bernal following the epic top deck in the semifinals. But check out the decklist. Engineered Explosives on three kills True-Name Nemesis, EE is Modern legal, and its still selling for $5. The From the Vault Twenty Jace, the Mind Sculptor can still be picked up for $85. I do not anticipate that this will continue for very much longer. The entire FTV 20 can currently be purchased on ebay for roughly $125. This is criminally low and seems like an excellent long term investment.
Jund Depths cracked into the top 8 again this week, and although the deck itself is somewhat a fringe strategy, Jund is not. Jund leans heavily on Liliana of the Veil and the card is gradually climbing in value due to its play in both Legacy and Modern. Grab copies now because unless Liliana of the Veil sees a reprint, it will continue to climb in cost.
With Modern season still months away, several cards are spiking rapidly in cost. If there is a deck you want to build for the season, do so early. Like last month. Modern cards across the board are only going to continue to climb with Grove of the Burnwillows and Wurmcoil Engine being the latest examples. There will be more. Enjoy the Born of the Gods spoilers!
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