8, Jun, 23

MTG Metabreaker Sees 5900% Price Increase Over a Week!

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Article at a Glance

MTG players have a habit of identifying new potential archetypes as the sky falling. We saw this with the rise of Boros Convoke in Pioneer, which caused a massive surge in price for all of the unique staples seen in that strategy that were, before it, bulk cards. The fear for that archetype was particularly great since the Convoke keyword caused one of the most miserable Modern formats in the game’s history thanks to Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis.

Well, another new Pioneer archetype has emerged thanks to an innovation that occurred at the recent US Regional Championship. Like Boros Convoke, it mirrors an archetype that created a miserable format thanks to how overpowered the strategy was. Also, like Boros Convoke, this is a far cry from the demon it represents.

That said, unlike Boros Convoke, which employed multiple cards that flew under players’ radar, this strategy only promotes two. One of the cards was so niche and underused that, immediately following our speculation callout on Tuesday, at its most expensive today, the foil iteration of it spiked 3900% while the nonfoil version, spiked 5900%! Anyone who bought a large amount of Metamorphic Alteration is swimming in money right now!

Metamorphic Alteration in Pioneer

Metamorphic Alteration is a two-mana Aura that enchants a creature and turns it into another creature in play. Copy effects like this can be incredibly powerful in the Commander format, but, most of the time, slots with these effects will be prioritized to cards that ignore the Legend Rule. Metamorphic Alteration does not, meaning that attempting to copy your Commander will result in one of the two cards dying. Sometimes, that’s what players are after, like with the recent reveal of Smaug in Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, but this is not true for the most part.

Recently, Metamorphic Alteration was discovered to have a game-ending interaction with the card Archfiend of the Dross from Phyrexia: All Will Be One. For reference, a 6/6 flier for four that causes your opponents to lose two life whenever one of their creatures dies is an absolutely ridiculous rate. It makes sense that this card also comes with an absurd downside.

Archfiend of the Dross enters the battlefield with four Oil Counters on it. One of these are removed each one of its owner’s upkeeps. Should the Archfiend run out of Oil Counters when trying to remove one, its controller will lose the game.

Here’s where Metamorphic Alteration comes in. If you have an Archfiend of the Dross in play upon resolution, you can turn one of your opponent’s creatures into an Archfiend. Archfiend of the Dross gains its four Oil Counters when it enters the battlefield. Should it not enter, it will not gain the Oil Counters. This gives your opponent until the upkeep trigger to remove the Archfiend. If they fail to, they lose the game.

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What Boogeyman Does This Combo Represent?

Pioneer’s most miserable metagame revolved around a combo with a few similarities to this one: a four mana 6/6 flier with an absurd drawback, and a two-mana blue spell that, in combination with the card’s downside, wins the game.

This refers to the combo of Inverter of Truths and Thassa’s Oracle. Inverter of Truth’s downside to help keep its ridiculous rate in check was to invert your library. Your graveyard replaced your library, and your library got exiled face down. If you had no cards in grave, you lose on your draw step.

Thassa’s Oracle, like Metamorphic Alteration, is a win condition that takes advantage of Inverter’s downside. Thassa’s Oracle cares about your library being empty to win the game.

How is it Performing?

Now, like the Boros Convoke panic revealed, the new Metamorphic Alteration combo is not the second coming of Dimir Inverter. Thassa’s Oracle was incredibly difficult to interact with since it won with an ETB trigger. If played around, killing the Oracle or the Inverter both achieve nothing. This is not the same for the Metamorphic Alteration combo.

You can kill the Archfiend in response to the Alteration to prevent it from being able to copy the Archfiend. You can also kill your creature being targeted by the Alteration to prevent it from turning into an Archfiend. Finally, besides counter magic, the most efficient way to deal with this in a way that Inverter could not be dealt with is by Channeling a Boseiju, who Endures. This will destroy the Aura, allowing your creature to remain whatever it originally is. Notably, Boseiju is also Thoughtseize-proof, which is a powerful card that both decks utilize for clearing the way for their combo.

That said, this deck did win a big tournament over the weekend and, with some work, can easily become a larger presence in the Pioneer metagame. This is still a two-card death combo with a lot of potential. If you want to read more about the deck, you can do so here.

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Why Didn’t Archfiend of the Dross Spike?

Players following this spike may be somewhat confused. Only one half of this combo has seen a significant spike while the other remains under a dollar to purchase. This, largely, likely has to do with a few factors:

Firstly, Archfiend of the Dross is from Phyrexia: All Will Be One which released this February. This means that the set is still both widely available and in print. If players buy up a lot of Archfiend of the Dross and therefore cause more packs to be opened, Wizards of the Coast can print more product to meet demand.

Metamorphic Alteration was printed five years ago. This means that Core 2019 has been out of print for quite some time. Additionally, Metamorphic Alteration has never been reprinted and exists as a Rare from that set. There aren’t a lot of these actively available on the market, which means that an increase in demand will get a matching increase in price.

Prices in Detail

For reference, Metamorphic Alteration before the spike, according to TCGplayer’s market values, was worth 20 cents and 50 cents for non-foil and foil iterations, respectively. The most expensive values that the card sold for the day that this article was written are $12 and $20, respectively. Prices are currently all over the place, but you can generally find non-foil version for between $5 and $10, while foil versions are almost all $10+.

If you want to have an opportunity to catch price spikes like this in the making, we flagged Metamorphic Alteration in our finance roundup article earlier this week. The card had already begun spiking, but copies were only selling for around 50 cents at the time, which, in our books, is a lot cheaper than the $5-10 interval that the card is mostly selling for now.

Not everyone is aware of this price spike yet, which means you can still find copies of Metamorphic Alteration for a bargain. We don’t really know if this will become a new Pioneer mainstay, but the card is likely to start stabilizing soon. This may be under the top end of the price spikes that we saw today, but it will likely be higher than a good deal (a dollar or two) that can be found right now.

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