Apparently the stories of me screwing up Collective Brutality and not recognizing the synergy between Lupine Prototype and vehicles impressed someone — I'll be picking up Super Sellers duty from here on out. I'll come clean here — I don't enjoy the arbitrage-y, opportunism-wrapped-in-altruism aspects of HASHTAG EM TEE GEE FINANCE, but I do enjoy this column, because all my expectations are proved wrong every single week in a way that's fun, cluing me into the simple fact that I don't really know anything, I have much less control over things than I'd like to admit, and that I should just enjoy the ride.
My best friend growing up, Kurt, had twelve brothers and sisters. As an only child, the idea of this made my skin crawl, but it did mean that going over to Kurt's house was never boring. Kurt and I got to talking this week, and he noted that his dad seemed much more mellow and less strict with his younger brothers and sisters than he had been in previous years. Kurt attempted to chalk it up to multiple things — retirement, old age, less kids around the house — but what Kurt missed is that the source of a lot of people's frustrations is a perceived lack of control.
The distinction between things we want to control and the things we can control is important. No one has full control over whether or not their kid falls into the "wrong crowd" — all anyone can do is try and instill some morals and values in hopes that they'll steer themselves effectively. I can't control whether or not some deluded soul speculates on Deploy the Gatewatch, but I can try and write some words in an effort to try and dissuade someone from doing so in the future.
Unless, of course, the Deploy the Gatewatch spec has nothing to do with money. In which case, go nuts. I have a friend who owns a store in Pennsylvania who's trying to get three percent of all of the Sundial of the Infinite on earth for no other reason that it's fun to mess with things. In this case, there's no anticipation of an end — he's just throwing grease on the embers. What happens will happen.
I should talk about Magic cards at some point.
Panharmonicon is one of those rare cards that feels limitless in its applications. I almost always think too small in these circumstances; the first thing I thought of with Panharmonicon, embarrassingly, is "does this work with Arcbound Ravager?" (It does not.) Eternal Scourge finished right outside the top ten as well, ostensibly because people aren't taking it highly enough in drafts. Maybe people are trying to combo it with Lost Legacy! I really hope that's it.
Here's a tweet I wrote about Madcap Experiment:
Are you ready to break the Burn mirror in Modern?— Magic.TCGplayer.com (@MTGatTCGplayer) September 6, 2016
Don't think about it just say yes pic.twitter.com/acjL986veK
I stand by that. Don't be caught without Smash to Smithereens this fall! Rounding out the best of the rest is Concealed Courtyard, which is sure to be an important player in Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim decks. It's weird to say that about a land, but Craig can fill you in on the finer details.
I talked this card up a lot last week, but I'll be honest — I wasn't sold on it. Don't get me wrong, I'll take this over pretty much anything if I'm drafting, but it's a much harder sell for me in a 60-card deck. At the end of the day, though, its versatility is what makes it so good. Don't expect to see it maindeck very often, but it does really specific things in certain matchups with the added upside of versatility.
I record a lot of videos with Ryan Gomez, and his awesomeness notwithstanding, a fun part of working with him is that we tackle new cards totally differently. He's really good at contextualizing new cards and putting them together with other new cards quickly to determine how they interact while I stand there and point and yell "HEY LOOK IT'S A NEW Lobber Crew." You can decide for yourself which skillset is more important.
Collective Effort is a strong card in its own right, but it gets much better with Kaladesh in the mix, powering stuff like Animation Module and Armorcraft Judge.
The first of the two Kaladesh cards in the Top 10 this week, and SPOILER ALERT they're both part of the rare cycle that resembles the Scars of Mirrodin dual-land cycle.
I never, ever realized I was pronouncing Mirrodin wrong until about five years after the set came out and someone made fun of the way I said it. I pronounce it mur-ROH-din, while the accepted pronunciation is MYR-uh-din. I like my version better, but this did not stop me from getting made fun of at FNM back in 2010. I quickly learned to just call it Scars.
I don't know what to make of Kaladesh yet. The cards scream Commander to me; I'm having trouble picturing a 60-card deck that makes use of Aetherflux Reservoir or Gonti, Lord of Luxury. I'm suspicious of a new resource. Overall, though, I am excited. Kaladesh seems vibrant and colorful against Innistrad's brooding purples and Zendikar's muted earth tones and grays, not to mention it's nice to go somewhere Magic hasn't been, and Tarkir doesn't count as new. There are no science fairs in Tarkir. Also, Sandsteppe Outcast is a really cool card, and I'm glad it spawned its own mechanic: Fabricate.
Not to be confused with the card Fabricate, from Mirrodin block, which is where Serum Visions was originally printed! See? I brought it back around. Had a plan the whole time.
Craig's article today goes in-depth on Oath of Chandra and why it's great with Chandra, Torch of Defiance, so you should read that. I'll be honest — I loved Oath of Chandra way before Kaladesh preview season. I'm a sucker for a Volcanic Hammer.
It's no coincidence that Spirebluff Canal and Concealed Courtyard are two of this week's top sellers. The color combinations they occupy — blue/red and white/black — already exist as strong two-color decks in Standard. U/R Burn and W/B Control are proven, powerful, and don't lose much in rotation.
Okay, a while back, I played a Kessig Wolf Run / Primeval Titan ramp deck with the worst sideboard plan ever: three Liquimetal Coating, four Ancient Grudge, three Surgical Extraction. I did not make day two.
There's an interaction making the rounds on the interwebs: Play turn-one Altar of the Brood, turn-two Liquimetal Coating. On turn three, cast Saheeli Rai and target her with Liquimetal Coating. Once she's an artifact, activate her -2 ability, targeting Saheeli Rai. The new copy will enter the battlefield — the original Saheeli Rai will be sacrificed — and trigger Altar of the Brood. From here, you can keep making Saheeli Rais until your opponent's dead. Made possible by making Saheeli Rai an artifact. It's great!
Every time a Planeswalker with starting loyalty close to its ultimate ability gets revealed, expect Oath of Gideon to enjoy a slight bump in sales. This time, the culprit behind the bump is Nissa, Vital Force. I look forward to seeing Oath of Gideon pop up on this list against when some 12 loyalty monstrosity rears its head in Aether Revolt.
Someone in the comments noted last week that Lupine Prototype will be awesome with vehicles. That makes sense to me... and apparently plenty of folks as well — it was our best-seller last weekend and all week. The price is trending upward, but its Market Price is still less than a dollar. The margins on spec'd rares are razor thin in most circumstances, but Lupine Prototype's a good buy that won't feel too bad on the wallet no matter which way it breaks. Also that art rules.
See you next week.