I had a family emergency to attend to, so I apologize for not having an article last week. That being said, boy what a week to miss out! I'm still trying to catch up with the coverage of SCG Baltimore. With Standard, Modern and Legacy on camera, it was a testament to how exciting each format can be. We also got a sneak peek into Modern Masters 2017 and Amonkhet packaging. Let's get started.
It was only a matter of time, but Basilisk Collar finally took off. It has seen use in various Commander decks attached to creatures like Silklash Spider, but now it found a competitive home alongside Walking Ballista in Modern Tron decks. It started as a sideboard card, but has quickly become a main board all-star. I'm surprised it took this long to break $20 as not many cards give deathtouch that easily and the lifelink portion is just icing on your pinger's cake. Eldrazi Tron has become one of the benchmark decks in Modern: you better bring tools to combat it or you're going to have a long day.
Oddly, the Commander printing of Dimir Signet spiked this week, while the original Ravnica printing stayed relatively stagnant. It's not unusual for sets like Planechase or Archenemy to see higher than normal prices, but it is notable that original Commander cards are beginning their climb as more expensive printings. The numbers are limited and this spike shows that you should probably hold onto anything from the OG Commander set. All the Signets see widespread play in Commander, but very few make it to Modern decks.
I go away for a week, hoping to forget about Cheeri0s, then I see two cards on this week's list from the deck. Noxious Revival is a card that could honestly see play in any deck. The Phyrexian mana cards have potential and Noxious Revival is the latest free spell to see play (thanks, Phyrexians!) Cheeri0s actually performed pretty well in the SCG event and while the deck is prone to fizzling out, it definitely “breaks the rules” of Modern. I don't foresee the ban hammer coming down just yet, but this gives Wizards another reason to take a look at banning Mox Opal.
The other card from Cheeri0s that spiked was Paradise Mantle. (I just sold my foil Paradise Mantles, so hopefully I didn't lose too much value.) Yet another 0 drop for the deck, but more importantly it gives them access to more mana thanks to free equips from Puresteel Paladin. Paradise Mantle is probably the most practical equipment in the deck for Commander players to use, besides Sigil of Distinction. Still, investing in Cheeri0s cards comes with high risk as the cards had so much room to gain, but can quickly drop back into obscurity. You can't really buy any pieces of the deck for cheap now, so if you want to play the deck, wait until the hype dies down.
Death's Shadow made a comeback and showed that you should never count out a 13/13 for 1 mana. I think there is still room for Death's Shadow to grow, so it's not too late to get your copies. Found in B/G/X decks, Death's Shadow turns a normally painful mana base into a benefit. (Matt Nass has a very spicy brew that took down team Modern of SCG Baltimore found here.) Most people, myself included, thought that Fatal Push would push the lowly 1 drop into oblivion, but I was wrong. Very wrong.
Argivian Archaeologist is a reserved list card that doesn't see any play, but it actually has a fairly usably ability. I wish it wasn't so expensive, as I'd love to showcase it in a Commander deck. The art is one of a kind! It jumped this week as part of a mini buyout and if you can afford it, I'd buy one just to play with it.
Two weeks ago, during our maiden voice of mystery chart, I featured Stoneforge Mystic. This week, your challenge is to figure out this card:
I don't have many auto includes when it comes to building a Commander deck, but one of the most included blue cards is Mindbreak Trap. It stops people comboing off or just exiles a spell after your opponent has cast a few. I love free cards and especially free cards that can save the day. Tech tip: bring Mindbreak Trap to your Modern sideboard to stop Storm, Ad Nauseam or even Cheeri0s. You don't even need to play blue. With MM17 on the brink of being spoiled, some cards are seeing speculative buyouts. Whatever cards don't get reprinted in MM17 will most likely see an uptick. That being said, Remand is about as cheap as it has ever been right now, and while it's not seeing much play in Modern, it's still a great card to own. Finally, my speculation of the week: Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. We all know lands command a pretty penny, but for someone reason this super unique land sees little play and is very cheap. I'd pick up my copies while I still could. Especially with possible gods coming in Amonkhet…
There were a couple things that I wanted to talk about, then I saw people talking about the reserved list again, so I had a change in plans. First and foremost, the reserved list is here to stay. The day that the reserved list is gone is the day Magic is no longer a profitable TCG and dies. I hope that day never comes. As someone who has played since the early days, but doesn't own a ton of original cards, I'm all for the reserved list. Not all good things need to be so easily obtained and the fact that the cards are harder to come by each and every day is a beautiful thing. In my experience, the people that want the reserved list abolished generally do not own any older cards and don't make the effort to buy them. There are plenty of cheap reserved list cards that make a great conversation piece during a Commander game. I encourage everyone to find an old, obscure reserved list card or cards and put them in your deck as a tribute to the old days. Besides, there are more copies of those cards floating around than most of us think.
Since I missed last week, I present to you a few of the best Commander cards you're not playing, starting with Sundial of the Infinite. It can do some very gross things paired with enter the battlefield effects that you would like to NOT happen like Eater of Days and Phyrexian Dreadnought, but you can also abuse the effect with cards like Zirilan of the Claw. With the trigger on the stack to exile your dragon, activate your Sundial and you get to keep your dragon! Up next for the best Commander card you're not playing, Commandeer. When I played Commander heavily, Commandeer was always a card you had to be fearful of. Now it seems most people don't play it anymore, so start stealing your opponent's spells! Finally, Phthisis (don't try to pronounce it.) The best part about suspending this is that by time it finally comes off of suspend, your opponents would have forgotten about it and you can obliterate the largest creature, then dome them for a ton.