I was hoping for fireworks during Pro Tour Hawaii, and man what a show! Congratulations goes out to one of my favorite Magic players, Shota Yasooka. He piloted a Grixis control deck to the top of the pack. As a result of last weekend, we have lost of movement, specifically in Kaladesh, but a few other strange spikes. Lets get started!
What was assuredly the posterchild for Top 8 play, Torrential Gearhulk looked absolutely brutal on camera. (Shota’s list found here.) Snapcaster Mage he is not, but Snapcaster doesn’t turn games around as fast as a well-timed Torrential Gearhulk. While there were only 3 decks running the Beatcaster Hulk in the top 8, it had the kind of showing that would make a father proud of his little hulk (They grow up so smash. Get it?) There’s no doubt that Thing in the Ice and the control package helped make it a smooth running machine. The fact that Glimmer of Genius is an instant means playing at the end of your opponents turn is supremely profitable, and getting a 5/6 body with your Glimmer is quite…genius. $30 now for a card that was under $10 until people saw it on camera is pretty amazing.
Shifting gears, what the heck is up with Song of the Dryads? It had an overnight buyout (for an unknown reason) and now it’s sitting about 5 times more expensive that it was. I mean, only one printing of it, and it is effectively a “beast within” type card for green, in that it provides an effect green doesn’t have a ton of access to. I expect this to settle down lower than where it is now, but probably not back to where it was. The unfortunate part of cards available only in specialty products is the average consumer isn’t running around buying Commander product in bulk for singles. I tend to hold onto cards like this on the off chance I decide to put it in a commander deck, as I only buy one of each Commander set.
With Halloween coming up, it was no surprise that the next reserve list card targeted was All Hallow's Eve. Just kidding, but the timing is slightly hilarious. Besides, look at the art! Nothing against the art of today, as there is plenty of beautiful cards to admire, but we don’t get cards like this anymore. Legends is home to some of the most iconic Magic the Gathering art. It’s also home to a host of legendary creatures that are insanely expensive, and quite interesting as Commanders (Gwendlyn Di Corci being my favorite.) If you’ve never had the pleasure of viewing some of these older cards in person, I highly recommend it.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar has always been powerful, but he showed just how strong he can be for people that weren’t ready during the pro tour. Every time a player would resolve Gideon, it became apparent that he was a card that needed to be answered immediately. For a standard rotation that seems hostile to walkers, Gideon stands out the most. Probably because he can emblem right away so you get your value, but also because every mode is a threat. I would hold on to any Gideon, Ally of Zendikar you can get your hands on. Granted he may drop in price after rotation, he does see some Modern play, and is the kind of walker that defines a deck. With the Wizards announcement (explained below), we’re sure to see more and more of him in the future.
Wizards announced (here) that they will be changing the rotation of Standard back to once a year effective immediately. What this means for Kaladesh is that it’s legal for 2 years, instead of 18 months. What does this mean for card prices? The direct impact would seem to be a rise in Standard cards. Theoretically, more players will be incentivized to invest in Standard since it won’t be rotating as often. The potential downside is that if an oppressive card dominates the format, we will see it for even longer (this means you, CoCo!) Before we hammer Wizards, I think we should wait and see just how they deal with cards that begin to be over represented. This last pro tour was fairly diverse, so as of now, things seem to be balanced. Even something as oppressive as casting Emrakul or Ulamog on turn 4 wasn’t THAT dominant (Aetherworks Marvel decks.) That’s really the only downside to making the time between rotations longer, and I for one am glad they made the move. They were listening to a player base that was definitely upset with the pace that Standard rotated. That, and the cost to play Standard. Now if only they would show Modern more love…
As for foils this week, OG (original) Pithing Needle and Wrath of God saw very healthy gains. Time Stretch (which should be burned) also jumped a substantial amount. Steely Resolve foil is nearly $10, and I bet you didn’t even know that card existed. It was one of my favorite cards to cast in my tribal dragons edh deck headed by Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund. (Because he’s the best dragon boss ever printed. He just is. No, not even Nicol Bolas is on his Dragon level.) While I’m on the foil topic, for most of Magic life (after foils came around,) foils were always traded at the 2 for 1 rate. It used to be that one foil equaled 2 non-foils, but I’d say around Worldwake all that changed for me. Anyone else experience the same? Foil prices are so finicky these days, but that being said, I’m glad Wizards still supports those of us that prefer Foil, Alternate Art, Full Art and Promo. (FAAFAP cards. Yes, I just made that term up.)