Historically, the Monday after a Pro Tour has been the best time to sell your Standard specs. It makes sense: People watch the last few rounds of Day 2 and the Top 8, pick a deck they want to play, and buy in. At the same time, supply for these cards is extra low thanks to all the speculators who snagged several dozen copies of each new staple on Day 1. By the following weekend, speculator copies have started flooding the market while more and more Standard players will have already completed their new deck and moved on.
If you want to follow this advice and sell your Amonkhet specs immediately, you will do fine. It's certainly the low-risk play, and there are some cards that spiked early in the weekend (cough cough New Perspectives) that should be dumped ASAP.
That said, I wouldn't be surprised if the overall price trends look a little different this time around. Thanks to the oppressive nature of Smuggler's Copter Standard and Saheeli Rai Standard existing almost back-to-back, a lot of the format's normal player base is acting a little gun-shy right now. Instead of buying in immediately, many players seem to be waiting to make sure that the format doesn't just become 90% Aetherworks Marvel or whatever by this time next week. And considering the deck's performance in the Top 8, I don't blame them.
I'm writing this at the start of the Top 8 Coverage on Sunday morning, and it's still possible to find Aetherworks Marvels for less than $15. In most previous Pro Tours, that card would have broken $20 almost a day ago. The same is true for many of the key pieces in the Zombies decks. People are happy that Vehicles didn't steamroll the Pro Tour, but they're still very worried about competitive balance.
As long as people eventually deem this to be a healthy Standard environment-and I suspect they will-many of these cards will remain at their post-PT highs longer than average. Some of them might even have further to gain. Selling now is fine-it almost always is-but my urgency is a lot lower this time around. Of course, that confidence is based on a belief that we'll find a reasonable solution to…
The Marvel Universe
Let's start by talking about what will now be viewed as the consensus best deck in the format: Temur Aetherworks. This Pro Tour proved beyond a doubt that a turn 4 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is the most powerful thing you can do in this format, full stop.
Aetherworks Marvel seems like a monolithic archetype, but there's actually a good deal of variety. Frank Karsten broke it down into six distinct variants , though three of them are just flavors of Temur. I'll be focusing solely on these today: not only did all three Temur versions of the deck have a better Day 2 conversion percentage than all three non-Temur versions, but all four Aetherworks Marvel decks to make Top 8 were Temur-based. In the immediate future, then, I suspect that all the Aetherworks players will be moving in this direction.
Let's start with Marc Tobiasch's version of Temur Aetheworks Marvel, which is fairly straightforward:
- 4 Rogue Refiner
- 4 Servant of the Conduit
- 1 Shielded Aether Thief
- 2 Tireless Tracker
- 4 Whirler Virtuoso
- 4 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Financially, the key cards (as in all the Marvel variants) are Aetherworks Marvel and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. StarCityGames is sold out of both as of me writing this, but I expect them to re-stock Marvel in the $15-$20 range, while Ulamog ends up around $35. Considering you need 3-4 copies of each to play this deck, there's not going to be a ton of room for financial gain when it comes to the supporting pieces. If you've got four copies of Ulamog, you probably aren't going to have any trouble tracking down a set of Whirler Virtuosos or Rogue Refiners, right? We may see small bumps for Botanical Sanctum, Spirebluff Canal, and Aether Hub, though.
This version also runs three copies of Chandra, Torch of Defiance. That card is likely to see a small uptick in interest, though I'm a little more interested in the version of the deck that plays Chandra, Flamecaller. Let's check out Martin Muller's Top 8 build featuring the Flamecaller, shall we?
It's easy to forget that Chandra, Flamecaller was a top control card back when Oath of the Gatewatch came out. Zombies are tier one now, though, and as a result the Chandra, Flamecaller variants of Temur Aetherworks went seven for seven in terms of conversion percentage.
If Chandra, Flamecaller isn't a $10-$12 card by the time this article is published, you might want to run out and grab a few extra copies ASAP.
Lastly, let's talk about the spell-heavy variant of Temur Aetherworks. Both Yuuya Wantanabe and Eric Froehlich piloted this into the Top 8 and had a fantastic weekend playing this more controlling variant of the combo deck. Let's take a look:
You might get dollar signs in your eyes at the sight of Torrential Gearhulk, but the card was actually underrepresented all weekend. Gearhulk-based control never made the splash that many were expecting, and the card's pre-PT price spike was a little bit of fool's gold. If you have extra Torrential Gearhulks kicking around, sell them ASAP. It looks more like a $15 card than a $35 one.
Otherwise, it's worth noting that Censor is likely to remain one of the most expensive Uncommons in Amonkhet. Don't forget to snag a couple of playsets before the Draft format moves on to Hour of Devastation.
Everyone thought that Zombies would define Standard back when Shadows over Innistrad came out. I guess we were only a year off! Not only did Zombies show up in force at the Pro Tour, the deck did quite well. Both the mono-black and white-black variants had above average Day 2 conversion percentages and have joined Standard's top tier. Let's start by taking a look at Christian Calcano's Mono-Black Zombies list from the Top 8:
- 4 Metallic Mimic
- 4 Cryptbreaker
- 4 Diregraf Colossus
- 4 Dread Wanderer
- 4 Lord of the Accursed
- 4 Relentless Dead
There are a lot of financially-relevant cards in here, and their prices are still in flux. Cryptbreaker, Dread Wanderer, Diregraf Colossus, and Dark Salvation are played in both the mono-black and white-black versions, meaning that they should be your primary targets. All four cards spiked during previous weeks, but they've all got a bit farther to go. Dread Wanderer is up about 50%, Diregraf Colossus is up about 40%, and Dark Salvation is up by almost 500% - from near-bulk to about $5. All three of these cards should settle in the $5-$7 range when all is said and done. Cryptbreaker was already $8, but it hasn't seen any real gains from the Pro Tour yet. I suspect it'll end up around $12.
The mono-black version of the deck also features Relentless Dead, Metallic Mimic, Liliana's Mastery, and Westvale Abbey. Relentless Dead is already back up to $20 and it could hit $25 or even $30 in the short term. Metallic Mimic and Liliana's Mastery should end up around $5.
Westvale Abbey is my favorite buy right now, though-it's a casual darling that hasn't seen any post-PT gains yet. It might end up back in the $6-$7 range with a very high floor.
The other version of Zombies might be even better positioned coming out of the Pro Tour, thanks to the power of its sideboard and its strength against Mono-Black Zombies and Temur Aetherworks. Let's check out Chris Fennell's list:
- 2 Binding Mummy
- 4 Cryptbreaker
- 4 Diregraf Colossus
- 4 Dread Wanderer
- 4 Lord of the Accursed
- 4 Wayward Servant
Anguished Unmaking, Concealed Courtyard, and Shambling Vent are the big additions here. The financial world hasn't really caught up to them yet, though, and none have experienced significant post-PT bumps yet. I'd grab a set of two of Shambling Vents-it's a Modern-playable card and it's just $5. I love the high floor and moderate ceiling of specs like this.
Want to go next level? Now that Zombies are a known part of the metagame, people are going to be playing more sweepers in their decks. Yahenni, Undying Partisan and Bontu the Glorified are two potential ways to fight through them that haven't seen a lot of play yet. If you want to take a home run swing, that's the direction I'd go.
Is Mardu Vehicles dead? It sure seemed that way watching the Pro Tour coverage. It was the most-played deck on Day One, but we barely saw it on camera and not a single copy made it into the Top 8. What happened?
I believe that the answer is a combination of the following three factors:
Firstly, everyone knew that Mardu Vehicles was going to be a big target going into the Pro Tour. Thus, everyone came into Tennessee with a plan to beat it.
Secondly, because it was a very proven deck, it was chosen by a larger number of unaffiliated and less experienced pros. If you had a testing team with a bunch of platinum pros on it, you probably played something different. If you were a first-timer on the tour, you were much more likely to go with Vehicles. This always happens with the consensus "previous best deck" going into a PT, and it always leads to a low Day 2 conversion rate.
Lastly, WotC knew that people were sick of seeing Vehicles on camera and deliberately chose interesting decks to feature on their stream. This made the deck seem less prevalent than it actually was.
The upshot is that that the narrative ("Vehicles is dead!") doesn't match reality. Mardu didn't do great at the Pro Tour, but it was still the most popular Day 1 deck and its conversion rate was still 50%. I expect Vehicles staples to drop off significantly, but the floor is likely higher than you think. Sell these cards ASAP if you're not playing the deck, but don't feel the need to switch into something else if Vehicles is your primary weapon of choice. The deck should start performing better once the heat is off a bit, too.
The final Top 8 deck we need to discuss is Ken Yukihiro's B/G Energy build. Take a look:
- 4 Walking Ballista
- 4 Bone Picker
- 3 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
- 4 Greenbelt Rampager
- 4 Longtusk Cub
- 4 Winding Constrictor
- 4 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
This isn't much different from the B/G Variants running around before the Pro Tour, but this should help keep Walking Ballista, Winding Constrictor, and Rishkar, Peema Renegade financially relevant in the new format. Greenbelt Rampager might have a little bit of room to gain, too, as this particular version of B/G pushes the delirium strategies further out of Standard. The success of this deck should also help keep Heart of Kiran from dropping off too much.
It's also worth taking a moment to discuss Fatal Push, which showed up in all the non-Aetherworks Marvel Top 8 decklists. The uncommon is up to $10 now, and it might have even further to go as we move away from drafting Aether Revolt. I'm not a buyer at current retail unless I need them, but if it ends up at $5 or $6 during a summer lull, you'd better believe I'll be going in on a giant stack of them.
Beyond the Top 8
It seems like forever ago, but the Pro Tour actually started off with a match-up between Mono-Black Zombies and New Perspectives Combo. Not only did New Perspectives lose on camera, it did quite poorly at the event overall. It's possible that the deck is just really hard to build and play and that it'll eventually find a home, but I'm not sticking around to find out. New Perspectives spiked to $5, but it'll be back to a dollar before long. Sell ASAP if you have any of these kicking around. Ditto Sphinx of the Final Word, which spiked prior to the PT thanks to this deck and didn't see much play anywhere else.
Sam Black showed up at the Pro Tour with a really fun-looking Abzan Tokens deck. Other than Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and the mana base, it's a cheap deck with only three rares: Anointed Procession, Anguished Unmaking, and Cryptolith Rite. Anointed Procession is the exact kind of card that many semi-casual Standard players absolutely adore, and the fact that it's even remotely competitive could lead to a lot of people wanting this deck.
The card is already racing past $3 and could settle around $5-$6 for a bit. Cryptolith Rite hasn't seen any real gains, but it could also end up closer to $5 before long.
Speaking of Cryptolith Rite, the B/G Cryptolith Rite deck had a 100% Day 2 conversion percentage and may end up on everyone's radar after the dust has settled. In addition to its namesake card, the deck features exciting mythics Bontu the Glorified and Vizier of the Menagerie. Another reason to buy Bontu? Yes, please! At just $5, sign me up for an exciting mythic with a super high ceiling.
Lastly, this was just a poor weekend for classic control decks. The U/R Control build that everyone expected to perform well this weekend ended up doing terribly against both Marvel and Mardu, which was not a good place to be. In addition to seeing Torrential Gearhulk lose value, I expect Disallow, Commit, Pull from Tomorrow, and Dynavolt Tower to all start ticking down. They won't totally tank, though: Not only are these still very powerful cards that might find a home, but a certain number of local players will always run decks like this regardless of how good they actually are. I'll probably snag a few playsets of Pull from Tomorrow and Commit once they reach their post-PT lows because I assume that control will make a comeback long before these two powerful cards rotate out of the format.
This Week's Trends
Modern was incredibly quiet this week thanks to all the time we spent on the Pro Tour. Cryptic Command is up a little, All is Dust continues to rise, and Ethersworn Canonist saw a small bump, but these are all long-term trends rather than sudden jumps. Regardless, all three spells have the potential for a spike at any moment. Ethersworn Canonist has an especially juicy price chart, and I wouldn't be shocked if a buyout sends it to $15 at some point soon. Snag a set now.
Over in the mysterious land of Commander, -1/-1 counters are still all the rage. This week, it was Flourishing Defenses and Dusk Urchins making the same leap that Blowfly Infestation and Crumbling Ashes did earlier this month. Both of those cards have leveled out a bit, though demand for Hapatra, Vizier of Potions staples is real enough to ensure that none of these cards should return to their pre-spike lows. All four of these cards are legitimate inclusions in that deck according to EDHREC .
None of these are as good in Hapatra decks as the cards that have already jumped, but there might be some fuel left in this rocket as long as you aren't expecting crazy big gains.
Also up this week: Debt of Loyalty, a reserved list card from Weatherlight. There's not much to say here: It's a very good casual spell that isn't going to be reprinted ever again.
It's probably not ever going to be $20, but I doubt it'll drop below $5 at this point. Selling into hype is fine, but it's not necessary with a reserved list card like this. You can afford to be patient.