This weekend marked the first major Modern event of the year: Grand Prix Prague. As we creep closer and closer to Modern season, Modern staples are beginning to ascend in price almost across the board. If you don’t believe me, go TCGplayer and search Birthing Pod. It’s already almost a $10.00 card, and Modern season doesn’t technically start until June. I will be selling my copies of Birthing Pod at $10.00 if and when we get there. While it will very likely climb to higher heights, I am quite content with the profit I’ll be making at that point. As the guys from the Brainstorm Brewery podcast like to say, “Leave the last ten percent for someone else.” With that being said, Wizards just announced a new deck product for Modern. We don’t know what will be printed in the deck, and I won’t speculate on its contents.
Wizards would like to capitalize on some of the Modern hype and this product will assuredly be in high demand despite the MSRP. I am still
quite bullish on almost all Modern staples, (the more recent the reprint the safer bet). If you aren’t already, I recommend targeting Modern staples in trades. Many casual players are still out there who cracked Modern Masters packs in hopes of living the dream and ended up with a handful of Modern playable cards sitting in their trade binders. A couple of cards that haven’t seen reprint in awhile that I am a little more hesitant to acquire as speculation targets: Remand and Noble Hierarch.
I am happy to report that Jund is alive and well. Four of the top 8 decklists fit the description (at least loosely) of what modern Jund has evolved into following the banning of Bloodbraid Elf. Meanwhile, not a single copy of Birthing Pod managed a top 8 finish with one copy in the top 16. Going into day two, each of the following archetypes, U/W/R midrange, Merfolk, Urza-tron, Splintertwin, and Jund had at least one pilot that remained undefeated. Birthing-pod strategies are surprisingly missing from that list, but a number of factors may contribute to this and we are only examining the results from a single tournament. Consider the following decklist:
Emanuele Giusti Grand Prix Prague 2014 Top 8 – Modern
I would consider this particular Jund decklist relatively “stock” in the sense that there are no big surprises. Liliana of the Veil is a four of in almost every Jund deck I have seen as of late, and I don’t believe that her current price point reflects her current popularity. I could easily see price correction moving her price to $50.00 and higher during Modern season. I saw copies earlier this week as low as $40.00 and she is trending upward as I write. When did Olivia Voldaren become the four drop of choice in Modern Jund? She has been showing up in recent MODO daily decklists as well, but I am under the impression that the general population of magic players would not think of this card as an auto-include in Modern Jund. I might try to target a few copies now in trades as the casual appeal alone for this card can potentially drive its value upward. At less than $5.00 it feels pretty safe. The versions of Jund splashing white tend toward Ajani Vengeant, and there were numerous copies of this card in a variety of archetypes.
At the Star City Standard Open in the top 8 there were three copies of Mono-Blue Devotion, one copy of Mono-black, two copies of pseudo-Mono-Black plus Blood Baron and Sin Collector (otherwise known as B/W midrange). Seems about par for the course. Standard is clearly stagnate. Liliana’s Reaver did make its way into the 11th place B/G devotion deck that Shawn Ellis ran. I don’t really see any financial implications for the card, but it did seem like a reasonable card choice both contributing to devotion, strong on offense and defense, and a nice little upside. I think that the four drop spot isn’t really contested and still belongs to Desecration Demon, but the hand disruption element to an unchecked reaver may be something worth trying out.
Yet another unique deck chock-full of answers to the True-Name Nemesis showed up and took it down this week in BUG Delver. This deck can proactively fly over True-Name Nemesis, with Delver of Secrets or Tombstalker or just kill it. Not by coincidence we see another three copies of Liliana of the Veil in this deck. I see a trend here. She’s everywhere. Another card that shows up in the sideboard of the winning BUG list is Grafdigger’s Cage. This card is also showing up in a number of places, and it’s incredibly versatile, with one or the other clause of text being very relevant in numerous match-ups in Legacy as well as Modern.
With the amount of discussion of True-Name Nemesis being an unfair card as of late, it is quite pleasing to only see four copies throughout two decks in the top 8 of the open this weekend. The winning list did not have a single copy, and no one archetype had more than one pilot in the top 8. One could argue that Delver of Secrets is an archetype in and of itself, but I would argue that it is more of a super-type. What is clear is that Legacy is incredibly diverse, rewards good play, and would appear to remain rather healthy despite the addition of True-Name Nemesis.