For dealers, trying to stock cards for a new, untested format can be a bit tricky. For every surefire popular card like Steam Vents or Dark Confidant, there is a whole slew of Amulet of Vigors being discovered by pros looking to break Modern wide open.
While much of the talk leading up to the tournament has been centered on decks based around casting Emrakul, the Aeons Torn with Cloudpost-copying Vesuvas, dealers found themselves stocked full of the Locus and clone lands but struggling to keep up with demand on such platinum hits as Amulet of Vigor, Disrupting Shoal, Blazing Shoal, Shivan Reef, and even Brooding Saurian.
Dealers from one end of the Marketplace to the other at Magic Weekend Philadelphia were all reporting that cards from blue-red combo decks were proving to be extremely popular. Desperate Ritual, Peer Through Depths, Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon, Through the Breach, Disrupting Shoal, Serum Visions, Pestermite, and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker were all in high demand.
Exactly what flavor of blue-red combo would prove popular this weekend could be tough to say, as Splinter Twin (Pestermite, Deceiver Exarch, Splinter Twin and Kiki-Jiki), Pyromancer Ascension, Through the Breach, Hive Mind, Dragonstorm, and Pyromancer's Swath have all received attention in the run up to Modern's main-stage debut.
And while dealers reported that Vesuvas have not been particularly popular, a number of cards meant to fight against the mana monstrosity spawned by Locus lands have shown that players still have the matchup in mind.
The moon effects—of the Blood Moon and Magus of the Moon variety—both punish greedy mana bases and make life difficult for the Cloudpost player. Bribery, best known for its role in every blue Commander deck ever, has made the jump to the world of 60-card decks as a way to steal Emrakul, the Aeons Torns lurking in opponent's libraries.
But that doesn't mean Cloudpost decks haven't found ways to fight back. Amulet of Vigor has gone from casually untapping Dimir Aqueducts on kitchen tables to speeding up the big mana decks by a full turn or more. Since Amulet of Vigor is a triggered ability, every additional one stacks, meaning a single Cloudpost can generate tons of mana on the turn it enters the battlefield if it has a few other Loci to key off of. It doesn't much matter if they have Bribery if you're attacking with a 15/15 before they have a chance to cast it.
But even if they do manage to steal a raging Eldrazi, some forgotten Coldsnap tech is giving green Cloudpost players hope in the form of Brooding Saurian. Not only is the 4/4 for a beater in its own right, but if Emrakul, the Aeons Torn does happen to get stolen, the Lizard has no problem taking it right back.
A few other cards have shown glimpses of decks outside the combo versus Cloudpost metagame. Birthing Pod, Chord of Calling and Green Sun's Zenith give players a number of ways to find and resolve Melira, Sylvok Outcast for various Persist shenanigans, and dealers reported each of them was selling well.
Whipflare, Affinity's Pyroclasm of choice, has seen some movement alongside Glimmervoid, showing that, even with the banning of the five colored artifact lands, the artifact menace could be a force to be reckoned with.
Finally, Blazing Shoal and Summoner's Pact have made their presence known among deals for some of the more off-beat decks. Summoner's Pact has a number of uses ranging from finding Protean Hulk in Through the Breach decks to finding Regal Force in Elf combo decks, but its coolest, least-fair use might be combining with Blazing Shoal to kill players on turn two in a deck that may or may not have been what Mark Rosewater had in mind when he brought back poison.
The deck looks to cast an early Glistener Elf, Blighted Agent or Inkmoth Nexus, search up a Reaper King or Progenitus—both of which have a converted mana cost of 10 and are both red and green—and then exile it with Blazing Shoal to inflict a quick eleven poison as early as turn two. Don't count out the fastest kill in the format!