Hello charming readers, and welcome back to my monthly review of the online Extended PTQs â€“ that is what Iâ€™d like to be saying, but the scheduling is such that there have been no Online Qualifiers since my last report! Â Instead this week I am going to look at the winding up of Extended season and the appearance of Legacy on MTGO, and what impact these two events will have on card prices.Â Read on to find out what you should dump early and what you should pick up pre-emptively to save yourself some tickets!
Turning of the Season
Anyone who thought about getting into Extended a month before the PTQs began, then finally decided to buy a deck after the first tournament would have noticed a three to four-fold increase in price on many of the cards.Â Chalice of the Void, for instance, went from four tix to fifteen over a couple of weeks!Â The reasons for this are obvious â€“ a limited supply, as the packs are no longer being opened on old sets, and a suddenly and massively increased demand.Â Now, with only a few PTQs left, people will be starting to cash out their Extended decks, trying to get a head start on the price dives that will coincide with the last PTQ finishing.Â The cards that will take the biggest hit are those of Mirrodin block, as it will never see another Extended season since it rotates out of Extended in October.Â Leaving aside predictions of possible reprints in â€œLightsâ€ block or M11, we will be farewelling Engineered Explosives, Chalice of the Void and Cranial Plating for good.
Affinity is obviously the big loser in the upcoming rotation, losing nearly every card, but fortunately for Affinity players their deck is mostly common/uncommon and so they wonâ€™t take too big a hit on the price drops.Â Arcbound Ravager and Blinkmoth Nexus will be the rares that promise to lose the most value so if you are holding them with no intention to play in the last PTQs you should ship them out sooner rather than later.Â Affinity is a low tier deck in Legacy, despite being able to play Disciple of the Vault, though now that it has exited Extended perhaps wizards will feel free to print some absurd new artifact tools? I wouldnâ€™t bet on Affinity becoming a good enough Legacy deck that the cards would be a good investment, though.
Trinket Mage based Control decks will also need to find a new tutoring package, however this is not a solid-enough archetype for me to be able to predict the price shifts that may result.Â Death Cloud is another archetype whose key card is rotating, leaving Smallpox decks to fill in the miserable-black-control slot in the metagame.Â Eternal Witness is a massive departure, though I wouldnâ€™t be surprised to see the old girl in M11 â€“ if not Gifts decks will need to find a new way to cheat on their namesake card.Â Isochron Scepter popped up once or twice this season but we are bidding it farewell also.Â Mindslaver was a significant presence in seasons past, and personally I am glad to see the back of Second Sunrise and its accompanying â€œEggâ€ deck.Â Tooth and Nail is another archetype that dies with its namesake cardâ€™s rotation.
Other notable Mirrodin block cards that wonâ€™t be sticking around for 2011â€™s Extended season are Arc Slogger, the Spellbombs, Chrome Mox, Cloudpost, Damping Matrix, the artifact lands, Krark-Clan Ironworks, Magma Jet, Molten Rain, the Pulse cycle, Rude Awakening, Serum Powder, Serum Visions, Shrapnel Blast, Sundering Titan, Sword of Fire and Ice, Sword of Light and Shadow, Thirst for Knowledge, and Trinisphere. Phew! Obviously there will be significant changes to Extended come next year, and all the cards listed here are likely to take a big hit in value unless they can find a home in Legacy.Â The same goes for other Extended cards which, while remaining legal for next yearâ€™s format, will lie dormant for all that time since nobody plays Extended outside the PTQs.Â Letâ€™s turn our eye now to that new format, and see what Extended cards are likely to make it in the big leagues.
Surprisingly Legacy Weapon does not feature
Legacy is fast becoming the second most popular paper Constructed format, with Star City Games holding big money tournaments seemingly every other week.Â This popularity is likely to be mirrored online when Legacy launches at the end of March, with Extended going back into hibernation and Classic becoming almost a non-format.Â Now I know almost nothing about Legacy, but what I do know is that people love to netdeck â€“ and the best source of current Legacy decklists is the recent Madrid GP Top 8 and the most recent SCG Legacy $5k.Â Letâ€™s take a look at a few decks.
Familiar to every Extended player, this is basically the same deck that features Wild Nacatl, Tarmogoyf, and Lightning Helix with a few minor improvements from the expanded card pool.Â It is a sign of just how strong creatures have become recently that so many of the beaters used in this archetype have been printed since Time Spiral â€“Goyf, Nacatl, Knight of the Reliquary, Qasali Pridemage, and Gaddock Teeg all feature in Richard Blandâ€™s 3rd placed Madrid list:
Converting an Extended Zoo deck to this Legacy version is a simple matter of slotting in 4 Grim Lavamancers, 4 Chain Lightnings and a single Sylvan Library and improving the manabase by swapping the Ravnica block dual lands for their original counterparts.Â This deck is also one that is not missing any cards online unlike any deck utilising Urzaâ€™s block cards, for example.Â As such I expect this deck to be popular in online Legacy, and I anticipate the cards from Extended Zoo – that would normally take a price nosedive after the PTQ season ends â€“ will largely maintain their value.
This deck benefited from the recent unbanning of Entomb in Legacy, and staked its claim on the metagame by winning GP Madrid.Â Check out the winning list, piloted by Andreas Muller:
This build features virtually no Extended cards, barring Thoughtseize and the few creatures, so it is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Zoo.Â Unfortunately the deck is missing a couple of key cards due to Urza & Masques blocks not being available online yet.Â Exhume is one of the cheapest reanimation spells available, and Show and Tell is a plan B that is like Hypergenesis without the hard work.Â It is likely that people will try and make the deck work with the cards available â€“ for instance, Animate Dead could substitute for Exhume â€“ but I wouldnâ€™t get too excited about this deck online just yet.
ANT (Ad Nauseam Tendrils)
The closest thing Legacy has to a tier-1 budget deck, this storm combo deck should be familiar in spirit to anyone who has played Extended Swath-storm or Dragonstorm this season.Â Hereâ€™s David Do Anhâ€™s 2nd place list from Madrid:
ANT(Ad Nauseum Tendrils)
There are only a couple of cards missing from this list online, the one of maindeck Ill-Gotten Gains and the sideboard Reverent Silences.Â I am unsure how much less reliable the lack of Ill-Gotten Gains as a tutor target maindeck will make ANT, but the main parts of the deckâ€™s engine are available in the rituals, Ad Nauseam and Tendrils of Agony.Â Chrome Mox, Dark Confidant and Thoughtseizeâ€™s price plunge should be cushioned somewhat by their presence in this and other Legacy decks.Â Unfortunately for prospective ANT-ers this deck features several very expensive four-ofs: Orims Chant at 40 tix each, Underground Sea at 48, and Lions Eye Diamond at 50 meaning it is rather less budget than its paper counterpart.
Answers and Questions
This is a very small preview of the sort of decks any given Legacy tournament will feature.Â With Extended rotating and Legacy arriving we will see price changes across both formats, and the examples above show the kind of cards that can make the jump from one to the other â€“ cheap, efficient creatures, cheap card draw/selection, cheap acceleration and cheap disruption â€“ above all, low mana costs govern who is allowed in to Legacy.Â I hope to see some articles on the Academy soon converting paper Legacy decks to Online, accommodating for the missing Urza and Masques cards.
For those of you exiting Extended early, now is the perfect time to sell off your AIR, Scapeshift, Affinity, Elves!, Thepths and Faeries staples.Â Unless you have no interest in Legacy, hang on to your Zoo cards for the time being as I expect it to be the most popular archetype early on.Â Ravnica block duals are likely to hold value better than normal thanks to the originals being so very expensive, but ship them out now if you want to get rid of them as they will still take a dip after the PTQs finish.Â If you are looking to get a jump-start on the Legacy competition, time is running out to get a decent price as after the end of March everyone will be gearing up.Â Get your decks now, if you have the tickets spare, as prices will rise once the tournaments start.
One question these decks do raise is the Force of Will question, or alternatively the IPA question.Â Force of Will is a four-of in the Reanimator list above, as well as many other popular Legacy decks.Â Based just on Classic play, it is already at 70 tickets and rising.Â With Legacy likely to exceed the popularity of Classic and with Aaron Forsythe sounding out the community about Legacy PTQs, I fully expect FoW to top 100 tickets a pop before very long.Â IPA cards like Orims Chant have similarly inflated prices, due to the extremely low amount of them in the system.Â I wonder how Wizards and the Magic Online team will handle this potential crisis, with the possibility of Online Legacy card prices exceeding their paper counterparts dramatically? Â Share your thoughts in the comments below, Iâ€™d love to hear your musings on the upcoming transition from Extended to Legacy!