Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan: Just What the Doctor Ordered
- Dr. Hans Joachim Höh
Following a Pro Tour most players buy the cards they need to play the hot new decks, but that isn't what you should be doing to be financially efficient. The day after the Pro Tour is in fact the day to sell all the cards which you correctly identified as the future hotness way before the Pro Tour.
This weekend Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan happened in Bilbao, Spain. For a change, it used the Modern format instead of Standard (combined with the usual Draft portion). After the Eldrazi debacle at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, Modern had been removed from the Pro Tour line-up, supposedly forever, but that change has, less than two years later, been undone. The Standard format has faced quite a few issues as well, while Modern has been gathering more and more fans all the time, with the format remaining quite diverse for a long time. In the past, pro players often complained about the high relevance of matchups and sideboard cards in Modern, and some famous players were afraid that the pro community would once again break Modern, making it less enjoyable for less ambitious crowds in the wake of the Pro Tour. Luckily for Wizards and the community, these fears didn't come to pass. I haven't had as much fun watching the Pro Tour in a long time, as players were facing a lot more difficult short- and long-term decisions than in recent Standard formats. The Top 8 also ended up full to the brink with well-known players, disproving the supposed randomness of the format. 5-color Humans was the most played deck and for good reason, as it was the only deck to put two players into the Top 8. Even if this deck is currently the best deck, its 9% metagame share as the most played deck is hilariously low compared to the percentage rates we usually see at Standard Pro Tours.
So, from my perspective, the return of the Modern Pro Tour was a great success, but not only in one regard, as I also enjoyed seeing many of my financial predictions finally coming true.
You might not have been subscribed to Cardmarket Insight while we were running it as a paid service focusing only on Magic finance, but by now you have access to all of the 480 finance articles I wrote in the last three years. I am happy that we massively broadened the scope of Insight, brought a lot of talented writers in, and made it free for the whole community to enjoy. This change takes a lot of pressure off me to come up with interesting content all the time, but for all of my loyal readers, this Pro Tour might deliver a bunch of value by making many of my past financial predictions come true.
In the wake of the Pro Tour, players will be assembling their favorite decks from the Top 8, and many of them contain key cards that I suggested as a good investment, when they hadn't left their mark on Modern yet. Due to its high potential for explosive draws, B/R Hollow One became one of the favorite “new” decks of many players. In July last year I had pointed out that it was only a matter of time until this card was broken, and here we are. Hopefully you picked up the cards for the deck when the prices were low at the end of last year.
The Top 8 decks represented lots of other financial chances as well though, like this little blue creature:
I told you to pick these up once they rotated out of Standard, because they were poised to show up in Modern at some point. Blue control wasn't doing so great in Modern for some time, but Search for Azcanta / Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin and especially Opt finally caused blue Mages to start brewing new control variants again. For these decks, Thing in the Ice / Awoken Horror is a nice finisher which also resets the board. It pairs up perfectly with the deck-building requirements of Young Pyromancer and Snapcaster Mage, in that it asks you for lots of cheap spells. Pascal Vieren of Team Cardmarket made us proud by showing up with this new Blue/Red control deck and earning himself a spot in the Top 4 of the Pro Tour, where he lost a nail-biter versus Gerry Thompson.
Talking of Gerry Thompson's deck obviously leads us to one of my most recent article, Black Bases, in which I highlight the importance of black discard and removal for the current metagame.
I especially mentioned the high power level of Mardu Pyromancer, which was still completely under the radar at that point. Here is what I wrote on January 13th:
“Bedlam Reveler has been massively under-priced for its power level so far. It is a cheap but large creature, which dodges Fatal Push, and red card draw all rolled into a single card. With the regular supply still being huge, I would look into Foils and Prerelease Promos instead. You can probably double your investment with those in a shorter time frame.“
The prices didn't move at all until the Pro Tour started, but by now both the prices for regular copies and Foils have more than doubled, so congratulations if you took my advice and stocked up on copies of this card.
And last but not least, I highlighted the power level of the new Lantern version based on Whir of Invention, a card which is also gaining lots of value due to winning the Pro Tour in convincing fashion in the hands of Luis Salvatto.
Hopefully you had a lot of fun watching the Pro Tour play out and you picked up all the best cards included in the Top 8 decks before their prices spiked! I am looking forward to seeing many of you play Modern at the MKM Series in Rome next month! You can check out the event page here.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.