Modern lies in Ruins

One card to rule them all.

Some things in life are easy and obvious, while many are much less so. Sometimes we might prefer easy explanations and easy solutions, but as a Magic player you will appreciate the beauty of difficult situations, allowing for very different descriptions and pathways of action. Magic finance can be just as complicated, sometimes causing my articles to structurally resemble a spider-web of conditional sentences.

A card might look like an obvious buy at a certain price, but what if the deck and game-play it promotes just doesn't come together, yet? What if the set ends up over-hyped, or contains too many other good cards which suppress the value a rare from the set can realistically have? What changes if the card becomes the Buy-a-Box Promo as well, or ends up in a Preconstructed deck? Maybe the card gets ignored at first because of a different breakout deck, and the metagame has to evolve three steps further before it is time for the card to shine. It could lose a lot of value in the meantime before spiking, so you should ideally have waited a little longer before buying in. A lot of different effects factor into the price trajectory of a card. Therefore, there is also a lot that can go wrong with any prediction.

Of Gods and Mortals

When Tobi thankfully took over Insight for a week in early September this year, he did a great job arguing why The Scarab God would most likely lose a lot of value on rotation, and why he already sold all his copies due to being risk-averse when the card spiked up to 12 €. In hindsight that advice looks pretty hilarious - given that the card went on to cost more than 30 € a month later, and still is selling for 24 € currently. Yet, most of his analysis was correct. His only mistake was to think that Energy decks wouldn't be able to handle a fourth color anymore post rotation...

Sunk but not Ruined?

So let's look at another card with a price tag that could easily go on two very different routes from where it currently is.

Search for Azcanta / Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin

On the Prerelease weekend I told you that this card would end up in all the control decks (which admittedly hadn't been making up large percentages of Standard and Modern for a while at that point). If you listened to me back then, you were able to pick up copies below 5 €. You would have been able to sell those for more than 10 € already, but Wizards' recent announcement of the Buy-a-Box Treasure Chest Promotion stopped the upward trend of the powerful enchantment/land. Two days ago the foil alternate art copies actually started to hit the market, putting the regular copies at their current bottom. Additional copies entering the market obviously reduces the price, as some players sell their regular copies and buy into the foil alternate arts instead. The question is how long will this trend continue and how should you respond to it? Is it time to panic sell your copies as long as you can still get 8 €, or are the upcoming days (and weeks?) just another chance to get in on the card, before it starts rising in price once again?

Modern Ruins

Why would it start rising again at some point if it isn't currently dominating Standard though? Because the card has started to show up in successful Modern decks as well. Jeskai control, which wasn't really top tier for a while now, really appreciates the card selection and the milling synergy with Snapcaster Mage and/or Torrential Gearhulk. Three Jeskai control decks showed up in the Top 8 of the SCG Team Constructed Open in Baltimore last weekend. Such numbers would have been basically impossible before this card was printed. Jeskai is not the only deck which might want to experiment with it though. After all, lots of decks like to mill themselves for various reasons. Grixis might want to cast Delve creatures like Gurmag Angler, or just increase their options for Kolaghan's Command. Sultai decks would enjoy those extra graveyard cards to grow their Tarmogoyf or create Delirium for Traverse the Ulvenwald. In this case milled or destroyed Searches can also be helpful by providing the elusive enchantment card type. Keep in mind that Azcanta doesn't limited you to instants and sorceries – you can also pick up a Liliana or other planeswalkers with the ability of the legendary land.

Players have only just begun to brew with this card in Modern and it will most likely end up in lots of different decks that can play a grind game - at least as a 2-of. Therefore, I can see this card gaining additional value once the temporary depression due to the foil promos is over. Pay attention to the price trajectory, and make your move at the right time!