- Dr. Hans Joachim Höh
There were multiple massive price hikes due to the unbannings, but how successful will the decks using the “new” cards really be?
All the eyes were on Standard this weekend, as this format was heavily modified by Shadows over Innistrad replacing Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged. On the other hand, Modern was modified by the B/R announcement and therefore wide open for exploration as well.
There were multiple massive price hikes due to the unbannings, but how successful will the decks using the “new” cards really be in the upcoming weeks?
The Modern side event in Baltimore was indeed literally Explored, as it was unexpectedly won by a Scapeshift deck. There was another version in the top8 as well, but neither version was using the freshly unbanned Ancestral Vision, or other new tech. The winning deck was using a full playset of Prismatic Omen though – a card which is usually played in smaller numbers or not at all in this archetype, and could therefore see some gains now.
As expected, Ancestral Vision saw play in successful versions of Grixis Control, Jeskai Restoration Angel/Kiki and Sultai Control. These are slow decks which are confident in their ability to live long enough for the suspended Ancestral to resolve. The Sultai deck really was all-in on winning due to card advantage, as it was also packing a playset of Dark Confidant and even Imp's Mischief to misdirect opposing draw-spells (or removal).
All of these decks had to settle for a top32 spot though, signalling a healthy return of control, without taking over the format.
Despite being easier to flip in the larger formats Thing in the Ice / Awoken Horror was used the least in Legacy this weekend in Baltimore (1 copy in the top16 in a U/R Delver list), a little more in Modern (2 copies in the top16 in a Grixis Control deck), and the most successful in Standard, where Todd Andersen made it into the semifinals with a U/R Control deck based on 4 copies of the frozen monster. Given that Modern and Legacy were only the side events, it is a little too early to say whether the Horror will be a thing in multiple formats. The price is rising again at the moment due to the unexpected early Standard success, but should stabilize and drop again once redemption and limited events around the world increase the supply. This card should be just as rare as regular rare cards, but due to the different kind of distribution of double faced cards, the variance is higher, which can leave you with some additional or very few copies when opening “small amounts” of packs. The numbers will work out on average if you are opening 1500 displays, but that doesn't help at all from a player's perspective.
All three printings of Gifts Ungiven have started moving at a significantly increased pace since the B/R announcement made blue cards and blue strategies more attractive in general. If you want to play any Gifts deck in the near future or are looking to get in before the big spike (which seems to be incoming if the American market is any indication), you should act fast, as there are only about 300 copies remaining - all three printings combined.
Ironworks and Foundry
The combo deck that looked the most interesting to me was the U/W Ironworks Foundry that finished 19th. The combination of Sword of the Meek and Thopter Foundry allows you to transform one mana into one life and one Thopter as often as you can pay for it. By adding Krark-Clan Ironworks as a third piece to the combo, you can sacrifice a Thopter for two mana, which means you can get an arbitrarily large number of mana, life, and Thopters, which should win the game even without casting Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. The rest of the deck consists of artifact mana and artifact cantrips, which work well with Open the Vaults to draw more cards until you have found all the pieces. If you own Mox Opals and Glimmervoids already, this is a very cheap deck to assemble right now, and could be an interesting entry point for players new to Modern. With only 240 copies of Krark-Clan Ironworks on the market at the moment, this Fifth Dawn uncommon could easily spike, if this deck takes off.