Yesterday we chatted with some of the card traders here at Great British Nationals, trying to get an early insight into what we were going to see in Standard. The answer was: "pretty much exactly what you'd expect to see". So life as trader must be pretty simple at the moment, right? If everybody knows what is good and what's not there's no massive price rises or falls for a trader to get caught out by.
Well, yes, that's true. About Standard. But the decision to switch Pro Tour Philadelphia from Extended to Modern has swirled up a whole new storm of interest in cards that had been long-forgotten, gathering dust under beds and in folders. Right at the centre of this storm at the card stores, hoping to ride out the upheaval and (touch wood) come out ahead. I grabbed a few minutes of Mike Duke's time, from Magic Madhouse, to see how Modern had rocked his world...
"It's been really interesting this last couple of weeks. There's been a lot of churn, with dealers getting the Modern cards in, but at the moment nobody really knows what's good in Modern. Like, we've had some Modern tournaments, but the best players haven't really defined the format yet to set Modern in stone. It means that we're seeing some fluctuations in desirability for certain cards, but it's based on uncertain knowledge. As a trader that makes me really nervous and I've got be cautious.
Mike continued with his thoughts on how the format will shape up.
"The format needs time to settle, and everything will settle with it – most of the big cards are just overhyped. And the bannings have a big impact as well – does banning Bitterblossom really kill Faeries, or is the deck still going to be good anyway? Vendilion Clique is one card that has really become popular, Mutavault as well, so does that mean Faeries is still going to be around? If you think back to when the artifact lands were banned in Extended, it didn't kill Affinity and people were still playing the deck, so just because a particular card is banned it doesn't always kill the whole deck. But then, by the end of Extended people had stopped playing Affinity, by and large... so it's hard to know what's going to happen."
Which cards are most in demand?
"Well, all the Ravnica shocklands, for starters. Then Vendilion Clique, Mutavault, Pact of Negation...Vesuva as well, although I don't know why that one is so in demand at the moment. Grove of the Burnwillows as well. It's not just the rares though, uncommons like Remand, Bloodbraid Elf, Spell Snare have all seen increased interest.
And I think the manlands, Treetop Village and Faerie Conclave – I think players will soon turn their attention to those. Life from the Loam -, that's a hot card. You kind of forget about all these powerful cards. They go out of your mind because you haven't had to think about them for a while, but there's lots of great cards in Modern to get excited about!"
So there you go, the change to Pro Tour Philadelphia has created a new Modern world, for players and traders alike. Until the smoke settles after the Pro Tour nobody will really know who the winners and losers are, but either way it's making for exciting times at the trade stands – and it might be time to dig out your old card boxes to see what forgotten treasures you have hidden away!