PROTRADER: Battle for Zendikar Lands

By Saturday night, I had a pretty rough idea what my article topic was going to be heading into Sunday morning. There were numerous loose ends I was planning on tying up from past articles – a conglomeration of ancillary thoughts and observations, of sorts.

Then I woke up Sunday morning and saw a barrage of news and spoilers from Battle for Zendikar. Naturally I would be doing a major disservice to MTG Price subscribers if I didn’t share my gut reactions to all this information. I will have to put my other ideas on hold for at least another week.

Perhaps it’s for the best.

Lands Lands Lands

We received three major land spoilers over the weekend, and each will have some sort of financial impact.

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Thinking About Future Stars of Standard

I’m writing this article mostly because I just saw Dig Through Time’s price and noticed that one of most powerful card selection spells in Standard reached its bottom in terms of price.

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Besides Standard, the card has burst onto the eternal scene and completely changed Legacy (it was already way too good for Modern, and along with Treasure Cruise quickly received the ban hammer). There has even been talk that this card should be banned in Legacy, right along with Treasure Cruise, because it just makes blue decks way too good – especially combo oriented decks like Omni-Tell, where if you have your combo countered initially you can just use all the trashed pieces in your graveyard to dig for another Show and Tell and Omniscience and still win even through an absurd amount of counter magic or hand disruption. For control decks, it makes them even more oppressive because they can also keep going through their deck until they again find a way to lock down whatever you’re trying to do again and again.

Now, Standard obviously can’t abuse Dig and Treasure Cruise like eternal formats. Even if they became more oppressive in the environment, because of the changes to the block structure Khans and Fate Reforged are going to rotate out earlier than they would previously (they rotate once the next large set after Battle for Zendikar is released). This means that there will be a smaller window for profit once we get into the accelerated Standard rotation window if cards like Dig become great. Picking cards before release should also become more profitable (or costly) depending on how good you are at it. For Magic Origins, many of the writers for MTGPrice were able to identify the vast majority of undervalued cards going into the set release so I highly recommend you follow authors like Derek Madlem, James Chillcott, and Travis Allen (if you have premium) so that you are better able to see which cards are undervalued. This way, you can make more informed decisions when it comes time to preorder if you like to add risk to your portfolio.

Besides preordering though, another way to profit on Standard cards is to pick up staples in the current block at undervalued prices before as rotation approaches. Of course, the counterpoint to this is to pick up undervalued casual or eternal cards in the rotating block, but here I would like to focus on cards in the current block that I feel have reached a bottom and have room to grow as Battle for Zendikar is released.

Dig Through Time

My strongest pick for value, both in terms of card selection and the current market price of the card, I would suggest that if you are a Standard player to finish your playset in the near future and if you want to speculate on the new Standard to pick up as many copies as you are comfortable holding. I think that this card is at least doubling up once rotation happens, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it headed to $15 or higher for a short period.

Languish

Another card that has reached a low point, this seems to be the direction that Wizards is taking Wrath of God cards. I believe that Standard players are going to be attracted to using it because a four mana board wipe that kills basically everything is the hotness. I especially think it will be a good pickup because Abzan is already an established boogeyman of the format and everyone will be playing aggro decks during the release of Battle for Zendikar to punish the slower decks. Well, this is an aggro punisher if I ever saw one!

I admit though, as Standard goes on I think that Languish will get worse and worse because I’m expecting some super large Eldrazi to come out of the next two sets (I mean, we might even see something bigger than Emrakul!) and Languish isn’t even coming close to killing them. I think the play here is to pick up copies now, and then get rid of extras once a spike happens because I don’t think it has a chance of a second spike during its Standard life.

Siege Rhino, Dromoka’s Command

  

The lynchpin of the current Abzan strategies, these cards were hit hard by the Clash Pack printing but should rebound nicely as rotation happens in the fall. We’re not going to see $10 Rhinos or $9 Dromoka Commands again but they each should go back up to at least $6, since I believe that many players are going to want tools to fight against Burn and super fast decks as the new Standard is being figured out. Also, both are applicable to Modern and should be buoyed financially if even they don’t experience a major spike in Standard. If you are looking for long term value, I think that since Siege Rhino and Dromoka’s Command were reprinted that both are good places to park some dollars in expectation of future gains, since they both have dropped in price considerably and have eternal application.

Dragon Whisperer

I’ve always ascribed to the philosophy that aggro tends to dominate Standard during the time of rotation, and this is a two-drop mythic rare that could fit nicely into a newly envisioned mono-red aggro deck. Another interesting possibility is its inclusion in a midrange deck which is able to take advantage of the Formidable ability, so you can generate 4/4 Dragons as the game goes on. Either way, for $2 you won’t be losing much if this doesn’t make a splash and have everything to gain if it does. On the plus side, Dragons of Tarkir will actually be Standard legal longer than Khans and Fate Reforged, so there is actually another rotation where this will be legal to see a spike. So you actually get two chances with this card to see a spike!

Whisperwood Elemental

Well, you know what they say, it’s always the quiet ones you need to watch out for… looks like both Whisper cards have hit their bottoms, and both being mythic rares means that if they spike then the price is going to go up higher and faster than their rare equivalents.

Whisperwood being green means that he’ll be better able to fit into ramp strategies, which I think players are going to experiment with once we get some large and imposing Eldrazis to work with in Standard. Whisperwood can keep generating 2/2’s as blockers to keep you alive until you get some Eldrazi online. Seems like a great card to me and I have big expectations for this guy.

Rattleclaw Mystic

I’ve been hyping the Rattleclaw Mystic money train for a while, and I’ve picked up plenty of excess copies of this guy in anticipation of a decent performance in Standard since this is predicted to be the best mana ramp creature we’re going to get. Going with what we’ve seen from Sylvan Caryatid, I expect Rattleclaw to start going up in price some time in October.

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Caryatid went from $5 to $15 in October, so going with Rattleclaw’s current price of $2 I expect it to be at least $6 by the time October hits.

Final Mention – Fetchlands

   

Wait a second, you say. How could these things possibl0y go even higher than they are now? Didn’t Polluted Delta and Flooded Strand recently see a significant appreciation in their price?

Despite both of these questions being valid concerns, fetchlands are in a league of their own when it comes to price and will be especially important to Standard since Landfall is being reintroduced in the coming-back-to-Zendikar block again.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Khans fetchlands go over $20 retail in their Standard life, with the most heavily played ones reaching $30 or more. We also have to consider that Modern will be driving demand in addition to Standard, since we just saw a spike of the original Zendikar fetchlands because of Maro letting us know that we have an “exciting” new type of dual land coming out shortly… mhmm, I think I’ll keep my excitement in check until I see those original Zendikar fetchlands reprinted again, mkay?

While the fetches have been trending up nicely over the summer, especially the blue ones, I still think they have room to grow before they rotate from Standard. I wouldn’t expect to get killer deals on these things near or after rotation – remember, everyone is going to be looking to pick them up at rotation so retailers aren’t going to be budging on prices much. While the best time to purchase fetchlands is behind us, I still think it is a good idea to complete unfinished playsets before Standard and Modern hype start bringing the Khans fetchlands to lofty new price highs.

That’s all I’ve got for this week! Which cards are you guys looking at in Standard that have reached their bottoms for some nice fall gains? I know I only covered non-rotating cards, so is there anything from Theros that you think is even more important to keep an eye on than Khans/Dragons/Origins?

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MTGFinance: What We’re Buying & Selling This Week (Aug 31/15)

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

One of the most common misconceptions about folks involved in MTGFinance is that we are constantly manipulating the market and feeding players misinformation to help fuel achievement of our personal goals.

It has occurred to us at MTGPrice that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when and why our writing team actually puts our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such running this weekly series breaking down what we’ve been buying and selling each week and why. These lists are meant to be both complete and transparent, leaving off only cards we bought for personal use without hope of profit. We’ll also try to provide some insight into our thinking behind the specs, and whether we are aiming for a short (<1 month), mid (1-12 month), or long (1 year+) term flip. Here’s what we we’ve been up to this week:

Buying Period: Aug 21st – Aug 31st, 2015

Note: All cards NM unless otherwise noted. All sell prices are net of fees unless noted.

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

After completing the research for my new series, MTG Finance Growth Stocks, I put my money where my mouth is and dove in on a few of the specs that seemed most likely to pop sooner or later. Some of these cards were already on the move, but the exposure this week seems to have helped push foil Jace and Hangarback up to the next plateau.

BOUGHT

  • 1x Hangarback Walker (Foil) @ $25
  • 4x Hangarback Walker (Foil) @ $30
  • 2x Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (Foil) @ $50

BOUGHT (PucaTrade)

  • 11x Hangarback Walker @ 1793 points
  • 2x Hangarback Walker (Foil) @ 3050 points
  • 3x Evolutionary Leap (Foil) @ 1200 points

Hangarback Walker is exhibiting many of the early signs of a multi-format superstar, showing up in a myriad of Standard decks and enjoying early experimentation in Modern, Legacy and even Vintage. As a colorless creature with a flexible casting cost and synergies with +1/+1 counters, artifacts, sweepers and resiliency against point removal, the card has the potential to show up in a ton of decks moving forward. A strong role player with little reason to ever be banned, Hangarback was one of my top picks for Modern foils likely to gain value ahead of the market average. The card has now gone through a buyout and seems to be settling between $40-50 for the time being.

Like Walker, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy has taken the Magic world largely by surprise and it has proven value in both Standard and Modern with hints that it may even see play in Legacy or Vintage. As a summer set mythic that is exceeding expectations, targeting the foils was a no-brainer from my perspective. Now that the card has spiked feel free to unload for value if you can, or simply hang around for a year and hope for further gains.

Evolutionary Leap foils are a pet card I expect to end up in the $30-40 range within a year or two when someone figures out how to break the card in Modern or Legacy and wins a tournament with it.

 

Danny Brown (@dbro37)

BOUGHT

  • 4x Whisperwood Elemental @ 653 PucaPoints each = $4.57 each
  • 3x Sarkhan the Dragonspeaker @ 519 PucaPoints each = $3.63 each
  • 8x Wingmate Roc @ 282 PucaPoints each = $1.97 each
  • 2x Gilt-Leaf Winnower @ 103 PucaPoints each = $0.72 each
  • 1x Monastery Mentory @ 1606 PucaPoints = $11.24
  • 1x Soul Fire Grandmaster @ 899 PucaPoints = $6.29

Danny says:

“Whisperwood Elemental was the most promising mythic I found in my review of Fate Reforged this week. I tend to like buying cards even less expensive than this, but I like the card enough to speculate on a playset.

Getting additional Sarkhans is representative of my ever-increasing belief that this card will get somewhere above $10 this fall. There are still more on my list and I hope they get sent.

I was on the fence about Wingmate Roc, but Travis’s commitment to the card this week convinced me to pick up a couple sets. Thanks, Travis.

I only discovered Gilt-Leaf Winnower wasn’t $5 like ten minutes ago. I threw a playset up and two were committed before I even finished drafting my section of this article, so there’s some additional content for you. Supply of Magic Origins won’t be high and this is a really good card. I like it quite a bit at under a dollar and may go deeper.

Monastery Mentor and Soul Fire Grandmaster are both cards that are a little too expensive for my speculative tastes, but I needed these both for my cube. Now, if they spike significantly next season, which is not outside the realm of possibility, I’m certainly willing to turn them into profit and wait until rotation to make them a permanent part of my list.”

So there you have it. Now what were you guys buying and selling this week and why?

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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PROTRADER: To Redeem or Not to Redeem:Magic Origins

By Guo Heng

Magic Origins redemption went live after the Magic Online downtime this Wednesday. Which means you could start transmuting those digital objects on Magic Online into tangible, tappable cards. A price disparity between Magic Online cards and real life (which shall be henceforth referred to as ‘IRL’) cards is ever-present due to a multitude of factors. The price disparity could sometimes be exploited to get your hands on cards below market price, especially foils from sets chock-full of eternal staples. (I’m looking at you Khans of Tarkir.)

Today we are going to crunch some numbers to find out if it is worth going through the effort to redeem Magic Origins, for both non-foil and foil sets.

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Track your collection's value over time, see which cards moved the most, track wishlists, tradelists and more. Sign up at MTGPrice.com - it's free!

ADVERTISEMENT: Each Monday, VidFall (a group discount service) holds a Magic: The Gathering "Crowd Deal" where a variety of packs and singles fall in price until they all sell out. Packs, singles, and the time of the event are voted on by the VidFall community prior to the event. Click here to create a free account and attend an event!

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