This past weekend was a big one for competitive MTG players. Between the North American Eternal Weekend and a massive 702-player Modern event over in Barcelona, many players have been surprised by new powerful strategies emerging worldwide.
With so many unexpected strategies making a big impact competitively, there’s bound to be some financial unrest. If you want to explore some of the surprise strategies that made it big this weekend, there may be a premium to pay! Alternatively, if you’re not attached to some of these cards in your collection, now may not be a bad time to move them along!
Triumph of Saint Katherine
Triumph of Saint Catherine was a big part of the winning strategy that took down the Legacy North American Eternal Weekend event this weekend. Incredibly expensive promos were up for grabs in this almost 1000-player person event.
Triumph of Saint Catherine, despite being unavailable on Magic Online, has been a force to reckon with in Legacy for quite some time. A cheap 5/5 Lifelinker when using it’s Miracle cost, Triumph of Saint Katherine becomes an inevitable win condition that cantrips alongside Up the Beanstalk. This gives control strategies a powerful way to end the game that can be deployed with minimal resources.
Triumph of Saint Katherine, following its performance at Eternal Weekend, is seeing a massive spike in interest and price. Near mint copies of the card are currently selling for anywhere between $6.50 and $25 according to TCGplayer, but this price spike only hit the market as of yesterday. As a result, prices are incredibly unstable at the moment. That said, most recent sales are floating around $20 at the time of writing.
Triumph of Saint Katherine appears to be the price spike to watch this week, as the market average has already jumped from $6.50 to over $10. Considering that this card is beginning to sell for over $20, the average market value could climb even more in the coming days.
Return to the Ranks
The recent Pioneer Showcase Qualifier, a small invite-only tournament with a Pro Tour and MOCS invite on the line, was taken down by a relatively new archetype. It appears that the Amalia Explore combo introduced in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has found a powerful home, and Return to the Ranks is part of the reason why its so powerful.
In order for this combo to work, you need Wildgrowth Walker and Amalia Benavides Aguirre in play with something that can start the chain, either a lifegain card like Prosperous Innkeeper, or an Explore card like Cenote Scout. This can pump Amalia to 20 power and wipes the board, allowing Amalia to attack for game. Add in Dina, Soul Steeper to drain your opponent’s life as the combo proceeds.
All of the mentioned creatures happen to have a mana value of two or less, which makes Return to the Ranks spectacularly powerful. Armed with Convoke, and the Explore mechanic to dump cards in to the grave, its easy to resurrect a board of creatures that will instantly kill your opponent.
While Return to the Ranks wasn’t initially increasing too much in price, this trend continued as players hunted down cards to prepare for the upcoming Pioneer Regional Championship in the US. Return to the Ranks has increased from below a dollar in November to a market average of $3.12, at least that’s how it was on Monday.
With one passing day, the price on Return to the Ranks has skyrocketed! Even moderately played copies of Return to the Ranks are currently selling for over $10. It currently appears that this is simply a result of massive demand, as players are scrambling to put their decks together for Regional Championship Atlanta.
To be precise, is of November, Return to the Ranks’ average market value was 92 cents before the spike started. While some sites have Return to the Ranks valued even higher, the most expensive sale for the card is $12.95 on TCGplayer at the time of writing, representing a 1307% price spike!
Now that Smuggler’s Copter has been unbanned for a week, prices are beginning to settle down. In terms of market value, the more impressive price jump between variants is definitely found with the Battle Bus. The market price of this card has jumped from $6 to $27, meaning that players wanting to knock out their opponents with the school bus should be ready to pay around $27 for it.
Regular copies of Smuggler’s Copter have seem to have stabilized around the $8 mark for the time-being, falling off a tad bit from last week’s apex, but spiking a bit from the initial falloff. Foils are much more expensive, with the market price surpassing $19 for the Kaladesh foil. Considering how prevalent this card is in Pioneer, this isn’t too surprising.
Short, but Explosive
This is the end of the more interesting price spikes that have occurred this week. Only three cards really managed to break the mold, with one being a known thing last week. That said, these three card prices show just how big of an impact a sudden competitive shift can have on the secondary market, especially right before another big tournament.
After this Regional Championship season winds up, Modern is next, and Standard will start to take over Regional Championship qualifiers. As we begin to shift gears towards different formats, we may see more price spikes like this in the future. Modern, while littered with many established archetypes, is still finding its footing after the recent ban. That said, now that we know that the Scam archetype is still very alive, anything could happen.