Finance in a Flash: Costa-nalysis

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I managed to make my way down to SCG Oakland last weekend which was a blast. I spent much of the two days trolling Judges, eating delicious food I couldn’t pronounce and being ecstatic I wasn’t in Dallas, unfortunately the rest of the time was spent looking at people’s binders.

One thing was apparent throughout the weekend, especially when I took a look at what we had picked up after the event was over. There were not very many copies of Deathrite Shaman in people’s binders and those that had them were not interested in letting them go. I don’t blame them. Barring something odd Deathrite is going to be much more relevant during Modern season in a few months than it is now and is a fine trade target while everyone is focused on how useless it is during Standard.

It’ll be hard for Deathrite to hit $20+ during Modern season because despite being relatively hard to find, its still miles easier than something like Misty Rainforest or Tarmogoyf. However there will certainly be a demand increase and the price should follow suit. They’re going to be highly liquid even if their price doesn’t jump or blow you away and will be an entry level staple that newer players will be looking to acquire during the season similar to what Stoneforge Mystic is in Legacy.

The adoption of Last Breath (and possibly Dimir Charm?) is poised to change the Standard metagame going forward. It hits everything in Mono Blue devotion that isn’t a God or a Planeswalker (including Mutavault!!) and may force Nightveil Specter out of Mono Black lists as we saw in the winning deck from GP Dallas – Fort Worth.
The addition of Blood Baron of Vizkopa in (formerly) Mono Black lists to get an edge in both the mirror and against White aggressive decks will probably help bring Lifebane Zombie back into the maindeck (likely over Specters). Lifebane’s price only dropped $1 TCG Mid despite falling out of favor over the past month while the format was revolving around Black and Blue cards and I expect it to be $10-12 as the meta gets more inbred before Born of the Gods is released.

Mutavault is $25 TCG Mid and Standard PTQ season has barely started, this is about about as high as Standard rares get and there probably isn’t much room to grow here. I wouldn’t blame anyone who had extra copies for either liquidating them or trading into things with more room to grow (Modern and Theros cards at this point).

However the card is so liquid, and in such high demand that I also can’t help but think, what’s the rush? Its unlikely that a Standard rare hits $35 but if one was ever going to it’d look a lot like Mutavault, (printed in a core set, not in event decks, played across all archetypes).

I don’t think I want to have many extra copies by the time the Born of the God’s event deck is released because it would make too much sense for it to have a copy or two, but the next three months look like smooth sailing. Even if Mutavault doesn’t go up much from here, its by far the most liquid and flexible card in Standard and makes a fantastic transition point for your inventory when you’re in between investments.

Was Matt Costa’s Jund list a one week wonder? I love Rakdos’s Return right now (its an absolute beating against Devotion decks) and find it odd that we’re not seeing more of it. Jund feels like the best shell for it mostly due to Sylvan Caryatid fixing your mana and accelerating you into bigger Returns earlier. Unfortunately it would take a drastic shift in the meta for Return to get popular enough to make a financial jump, however there are still a few cards worth taking a look at in Costa’s list.

Reaper of the Wilds is suffering from a lack of cross archetypal demand because the various Midrange strategies it would shine in have been pushed out of the meta by diverse demands Devotion strategies, Soldier of the Pantheon decks, and Sphinx’s Revelation decks put on them. I think that we will need to wait for Born of the Gods to bring us the B/G Temple before there is a second jump in Reaper’s price (other Golgari staples should follow suite – Abrupt Decay, Overgrown Tomb etc) but I don’t mind trading for them in the mean time.

Stormbreath Dragon is popular in a variety of tier 2 decks like G/R Monsters and R(/x?) devotion strategies that sprinkle the top 8s of Standard tournaments in between all the Devotion decks. While TCG Mid is still almost $20 many players don’t really have a use for the substitute Thundermaw and I think its fairly easy to get copies at a discount right now. I don’t think there’s much downside trading into Stormbreaths right now, and I could see a serious bump should the meta shift away from Tidebinder Mage and friends because of Last Breath etc.

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver is dirt cheap at $12 TCG Mid. There have been some rumblings about it being a way to get an edge in various Devotion on Devotion matchups (alongside Dimir Charm). I have no idea if this is legit or not but there are worse things to trade into than 3 mana Planeswalkers that are at their price floor. You can buy in at about $9 without looking too hard and some playsets have been closing at less than $30 on Ebay which feels like a steal.
This is more of a boom or bust play than most of my recommendations because Ashiok could just as easily be the next Vraska the Unseen as the next Domri Rade but if it is the real deal in the Devotion matchups I could see it hitting $20+ over the next few weeks.

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