Well, Wizards of the Coast did it again. A new Murders at Karlov Manor inclusion has completely broken the Modern format, and put up disgustingly dominant Regional Championship performances over the weekend.
Many players were initially looking at Leyline of the Guildpact as a very volatile option that might be good enough to see play in Pioneer. Alongside Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, Leyline of the Guildpact can represent four Devotion, allowing you to cast an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger as early as turn three.
Ironically, Leyline of the Guildpact ended up being a much stronger card in the Modern format thanks to the powerful Domain cards released in Modern Horizons 2. Combined with Scion of Draco, Murders at Karlov Manor’s newest free spell has made a massive change in the Modern format, and cards are surging in price!
Leyline of the Guildpact
Leyline of the Guildpact ironically caused larger spikes to bigger cards than itself, but it is undeniably the star of the show. We said pretty early on that Leyline of the Guildpact was either going to be absolutely busted or incredibly mediocre, and it looks like the first option rings true.
Not only does Leyline of the Guildpact fix mana for the Modern Domain Zoo archetype, allowing Domain to be online at all times, but Leyline of the Guildpact combined with a Modern Horizons 2 Mythic Rare spells doom for a majority of opponents. More on that, and the price spike this card experienced, later.
Scion of Draco
Even though leyline of the Guildpact is the star of the show, the card that it combos with in Modern actually spiked harder than it did.
Leyline of the Guildpact broke Scion of Draco. Resolving a Scion with a Leyline of the Guildpact in play not only ensures that your Scion only ever costs two mana, but Scion’s other text goes bananas.
In addition to fixing all of your mana permanently, or at least for as long as it sticks around/gets timestamped by something else, Leyline of the Guildpact also makes all of your creatures all colors. This means that Scion of Draco now gives all of your creatures all of the keywords it cares about.
This effectively means that Scion of Draco has Lifelink, First Strike, Trample, Vigilance and, most importantly, Hexproof in addition to its Flying keyword when Leyline of the Guildpact is in play. This is already enough to completely obliterate the Rhinos matchup, as their Crashing Footfalls are essentially rendered moot by the Scion.
Scion of Draco would already be insane with Leyline of the Guildpact if this was all it offered, but it doesn’t stop there. Scion of Draco also gives these keywords to other creatures depending on their colors. Since Leyline of the Guildpact gives all your creatures all colors, all of your creatures will gain Lifelink, First Strike, Vigilance, Hexproof and Trample.
This combo was so good that even Crashing Footfalls themselves used the tech. Players were driving hours to pick up the cards they needed the night before various Regional Championship event. Audibling to the Leyline of the Guildpact strategy was a last minute decision for many, and it was worth it.
While Scion of Draco was not an expensive card before this spike occurred, it also unfortunately happens to be a Modern Horizons 2 Mythic Rare. Considering just how valuable the Mythic Rare cards are from Modern Horizons 2, any demand in Scion’s favor is going to jump the price a fair bit.
Over just the course of this weekend, Scion of Draco jumped from $4 to $15! Copies are beginning to sell for as much as $22 (a 450% increase!), but $15 does seem to be the sweet spot for this card right now.
As for Leyline of the Guildpact, thanks to excitement for this free spell right out of the gate, this card didn’t spike as heavily percentage-wise even though it still experienced a gigantic spike. Leyline spiked from $8 to $22 over the weekend, and is starting to push towards $25!
Will These Price Spikes Hold?
Scion of Draco and Leyline of the Guildpact are definitely the real deal for the Modern format, but players have not yet had a chance to adapt to the strategy. These cards are definitely worth a lot right now, but as players begin to adapt to the Modern metagame changes, this Leyline of the Guildpact and Scion of Draco combo may become more fragile. By using cards like Sheoldred’s Edict, you can find ways around this sticky situation. If the combo becomes less powerful, the secondary market value of these cards is likely to drop.
This massive Modern change has already had its ramifications for the Modern format. Living End put on a brilliant performance this weekend, thanks to an incredibly dominate Temur and Domain Rhinos matchup. If Living End rises in popularity as a result, Leyline of the Guildpact is likely to get a lot worse. For now, though, Scion of Draco and Leyline of the Guildpact are the hottest topics in competitive Magic.
Leyline of the Guildpact isn’t the only Karlov Manor card spiking in price. Surveil Lands alongside the bizarre Cryptic Coat have also been rising in price after some great results. We recommend keeping an eye on Murders at Karlov Manor as things move forward.