Weekly Winners 2023 - 02

13 Jan
by Arjen

The market seems a bit slow, but fortunately there are still plenty of cards to talk about. This week we have a card that sees play in several formats, one that's moving because of Commander and Premodern, and an old favorite from Legacy.

Like every week, just in time for FNM, I'll tell you about the cards that will be the talk of the town tonight! Come discuss this week's price movements with us on Discord and Reddit.

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Last week in The Big Things, Harvey talked about the reserved list and the lessons we have learned from it. I'm also very excited that Corey Williams started writing for us in his new series Modern Times, where he talks about the musings and speculation in the Modern format.

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Onto the Weekly Winners!

#1 Hidden Gibbons $4.49 (+290%)

Hidden Gibbons

 

Let's start with an older rare from Urza's Legacy. This enchantment for has the possibility of becoming a 4/4 Ape. It does so whenever an opponent casts an instant spell. Hidden Gibbons only has a single printing, even though it is not on the reserved list.

As you may recall, a few weeks back we discussed another primate (formerly an Ape, but errataed to be a Monkey): Ravenous Baboons. Since the printing of Kibo, Uktabi Prince in Jumpstart 2022 this card is an auto-include in this Commander deck. Keep in mind that Hidden Gibbons's ability does not say "until end of turn", so whenever an opponent does play instant, this card will remain a 4/4 creature for as long as its on the battlefield. If you are able to play this on turn one, you can almost be guaranteed a 4/4 creature pretty quickly.

But not only is this card more popular in Commander, it actually sees play in the "Premodern" format where it's usually included in the sideboard. This format is slowly becoming more popular, and thus becoming a driving factor in prices for these older cards that haven't been reprinted.

Mono Green

Creature(27)
4
$0.01
4
$0.01
4
$0.07
Enchantment(8)
4
$0.37
Artifact(3)
3
$5.99
Sorcery(4)
4
$0.24
Instant(8)
4
$0.01
Land(10)
10
$0.04
Sideboard(15)
4
$0.01

Kibo, Uktabi Prince
Hidden Gibbons
Ravenous Baboons

 

#2 Cityscape Leveler $12.99 (+72%)

Cityscape Leveler

 

When I have time I occasionally play Magic Arena, especially the Explorer format. This is because it's the closest Arena format to Pioneer, and I think the better format to be in if you don't want to create new decks every time a rotation happens. But since Explorer Anthologies II we have Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx in the format, and gosh, is Mono Green doing some silly things! Being able to churn out a bunch of mana, play Karn, the Great Creator, and then fetching (and playing) Cityscape Leveler can be absolutely backbreaking. This is how I mainly know this card, but this is also exactly how this card is played in Pioneer Devotion to Green decks.

Besides Pioneer and Explorer, it also sees play in Standard in Izzet control decks that are trying to ramp and play big scary creatures. Since Cityscape Leveler is colorless it fits in any color that can try to get the mana going. In Modern we see it being played in Green Tron decks alongside fatties like Wurmcoil Engine and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. It's also been doing pretty well in recent MTGO Showcase Challenges.

Green Tron by bonsheen

And obviously we see it in another format that can ramp mana pretty quickly and do crazy stuff: Commander. For example, this big creature has found its way into many Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa decks.

Cityscape Leveler
The Brothers' War
The Brothers' War: Extras

 

#3 Counterbalance $34.00 (+17%)

Counterbalance

 

Who of us is old enough to remember Countertop decks in Legacy? These decks, usually in the Azorius colors, revolved around Sensei's Divining Top along with Counterbalance. Back then in Legacy you barely saw any spell with a mana value higher than 3, except for Force of Will obviously. So with both the Counterbalance and Top in play, you could, in response to your opponent's spell, use the Top to look at the top three cards of your library and put the cards back in such a way that the top card of your library had the same mana value as your opponent's spell. Counterbalance's triggered ability would then make sure the spell was countered. If your opponent cast a spell with mana value 1, and there was not one of those in your top three cards, you could activate the Top's tap ability to put it on top and counter your opponent's spell that way. This was a soft lock to prevent your opponents from playing any spells. Meanwhile you would try to hit your land drops and end the game with Monastery Mentor, for example.

However, in April 2017 Sensei's Divining Top was banned in Legacy. The deck was simply too strong, but also too time consuming because of the many, many, many activations of Sensei's Divining Top during a game. Since then the archetype was dead and the price of Counterbalance dropped rapidly. This Coldsnap uncommon has never seen a real reprint other than the Amonkhet Invocation print.

But it's been picking up some steam again in Izzet Delver decks where it sees play as a 2-of in the sideboards. It is mainly used in the mirror match and against combo decks. And while Counterbalance is not necessarily the most consistent hate, it provides sufficient value in these matchups. With cards like Ponder and Brainstorm you can still manipulate the top of your deck.

Izzet Delver by tbrantl99

Artifact(2)
Sorcery(8)
4
$1.45
Instant(17)
4
$1.09
4
$0.70
4
$47.00
1
$2.87
1
$0.01
Land(19)
1
$0.01
2
$22.55
1
$12.34
4
$575.95
4
$18.00
Sideboard(15)
1
$5.67
2
$1.80
1
$1.24
3
$2.87

Counterbalance
Coldsnap
Masterpiece Series: Amonkhet Invocations

 

Cheap Pickups

Please note: for our 'record low' we consider the price of the card over the past 7 years. Many cards have been even cheaper (a) decade(s) ago. Also note: some cards are still going down, and might be even cheaper pickups next week.

 

Canoptek Scarab Swarm $4.94 - Moving up!
Canoptek Scarab Swarm

 

Canoptek Scarab Swarm has been identified by the MTGStocks Premium Penny Stocks feature as a card that has reached its bottom and is starting a consistent uptrend.

 

Diabolic Intent $8.00 - Slowly moving down
Diabolic Intent

 

Primeval Titan $4.90 - Slowly moving down
Primeval Titan

 

Primeval Titan
Canoptek Scarab Swarm
Diabolic Intent

 

That's it for this week. Make sure to check back next week for more Weekly Winners!

Arjen
Arjen

Arjen has been playing Magic since Ice Age and has mostly played the Legacy format. Ten years ago he founded MTGStocks because he and his friends wanted to buy Magic singles at the right time to play with.


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