Mastery of the Invisible

Author’s note: Today’s article is not to be treated as a standalone piece, but rather a continuation of last week’s focus. If you have not already, please read last week’s article here.

Do you know why Homelands failed? Part of the reason was that the set was terrible, but most of the sets of that era were pretty bad. The set was also massively overprinted, and compounding this with the fact that, as I mentioned, the set was terrible, caused demand to drop off quickly. But why was it overprinted?

When Alpha was first sent off to print, Wizards made what it thought would be six months’ worth of product. To the company’s delight, it instead sold out in about six weeks. Based on that information, WOTC ran a second, larger printing (Beta), which was intended to last six months. It sold out in one week. Seriously.

Fast forward a year or so, and demand for Magic is surpassing the ability of its printers. Store owners and distributors learned quickly how to play the system: if you wanted six cases of Legends for your store, tell Wizards you want ten or twelve. You wouldn’t get what you actually requested, but you would end up getting the amount you secretly wanted the whole time. As more stores wanted more and more Magic, however, they had to get more aggressive in their estimations.

In between The Dark and Fallen Empires, however, Wizards gained the ability to print on a much larger scale. Fallen Empires had a printing of between 350 and 375 million cards, compared to only 75 million for The Dark. After Fallen Empires was Fourth Edition (when Wizards experimented with new US-based printing companies) and then Chronicles.

In October 1995, Homelands was only the second expert-level expansion to get the big-printing treatment, and stores were still overestimating what they needed to request to get what they wanted. This time, though, most of the stores got exactly what they asked for—unfortunately, what they got was Homelands. Homelands: the set so bad, WOTC had to force people at the pro tour to play cards from it.

Homelands Constructed

Now, in the twenty years since, Wizards has gotten much better at both understanding demand and scheduling printing. Homelands was a failure in many ways and along several metrics. Players hated it because the best card in the entire set was probably Serrated Arrows. Wizards hated it because it didn’t sell well enough, and that’s a key point to understand. There have been cases like Avacyn Restored, where Wizards loved the set because it sold well, but enfranchised1 players hated it. There has also been one case of the opposite happening, which lead to the discovery of the primary focus of our article.

The Invisibles

Here is Mark Rosewater from Drive to Work episode 96:

“…Future Sight had come out. Time Spiral block had come out. And for the first time, we had this weird statistic. Up until Time Spiral came out, we would look at sales and we’d look at tournament organization, like how many people were playing in tournaments, and they tended to be lockstep. Meaning if tournaments were doing well, sales were doing well, and it showed this tight-knit bond between the two.

But Time Spiral did this weird thing that we’d never seen before, in which sales were down but tournament attendance was doing fine. I don’t know if “up” is the correct term, but they were not trending on the same line. And that was very different. We’d never seen that before.

And that’s when we realized—at the time we called them The Invisibles, but the idea was, there are people who play who don’t participate in organized play, that are hard for us to see because they’re not somewhere that we can easily monitor.

But for the first time, because there wasn’t a lockstep between tournament play and sales, we knew that there’s this group that wasn’t being reflected in tournament organization, but was obviously being reflected in sales.”


It’s jarring at first to realize how significant these “Invisibles” are to Magic’s overall sales. Time Spiral, to the enfranchised players, was considered a tremendous success. I know I was personally buying a lot of sealed product and singles during that time, and playing in tournaments at least two to three times a week. If we assume that “Invisibles” are spending less money on Magic per person than enfranchised players, then there have to be so many more of them in existence that they are still able to guide the course of a format’s fiscal success.

tarmogoyf

In my (brief) time working behind a game store counter, I have encountered some of these “Invisibles.” These are the people who will come to a game store but not bring decks or trades. If you ask them what formats they play (as a kind way to guide and hopefully grow sales), they will either politely or brusquely state some iteration of “We just play for fun” or “We only play at home.”


BRIEF ANECDOTAL ASIDE: I had this interaction with some customers once, and their response was “Oh, we just play Legacy.” “You do?!” My heart skipped a beat—Legacy players are extremely rare in Florida. “Yeah, but just at home, we don’t play in tournaments or with tournament decks.”. My heart LITERALLY shattered.


These are, again in the small sample size of my personal experience, not the players likely to spend serious money at your local game store. They aren’t buying more than enfranchised players in singles, they aren’t paying tournament entry fees, but they love Fat Packs. I think the last time I bought a fat pack it came with a book2. I see people who I’ve never seen at my store before come in, buy some number of Fat Packs, and then leave.

I have to also think a sizable portion of Invisibles are kids. If you first got into Magic when you were young, you or someone you knew likely bought packs from a major retailer and then played some strange interpretation of Magic at school or on the bus. Even though my first exposure to Magic was in grade school, I wasn’t lighting the tournament scene on fire until high school. Oh no: I was an Invisible!

Applying Knowledge

So how can we profit off these rubes? Well, the honest answer is that we probably can’t. However, the more we can learn about them, the better we can predict how their preferences can and will affect the market. When you encounter Invisibles, make sure to present your game store as a friendly and accommodating environment. Offer events or game nights that cater to all types of players, not just the tournament-grinding Spikes. Put a tracking tag on their ears, like endangered species or that computer Professor Xavier has (note: please don’t actually do this). 

The truth is, a lot of the presuppositions we apply to “casual players” ought to be more correctly applied to Invisibles. Not every Commander player is going to rush out and build a dragon tribal deck today just because Dragons of Tarkir is available. However, dragons have for a long time been considered a “prestige” creature class, in the sense that inexperienced and disenfranchised players are likely to seek out dragons more than Lhurgoyfs or Splinter Twins. “Dragon” holds a captivating allure to players that are slowly familiarizing themselves with the game, which is why Shivan Dragon was the first real chase rare (that, and creatures were terrible pretty much up until Y2K).

I mentioned Avacyn Restored before, and almost every finance writer on the planet has made some comparative correlation between AVR and DTK.

Avacyn Restored, to players, sucked. However, the set was a huge success to both Wizards and game stores, and the set is considered in finance to be a slam dunk. You know what set Invisibles also liked? Rise of the Eldrazi. I noticed this trend a while ago: my store was selling out of Intro Packs and all the weird pre-con stuff that usually just collects dust. That set has a lot of value tied up in Emrakul and Ulamog, sure, but It That Betrays is also more than $10. That card saw absolutely no legitimate Constructed play, interacts poorly with formats that have singleton restrictions, and is still expensive! Khalni Hydra and Nirkana Revenant are each $15, Lighthouse Chronologist is $10 and freaking Bear Umbra is almost $5! While the value of that set is largely tied to its three headliners (and Linvala), there are plenty of, “No way, really?” prices in there that are based on eclectic demand.

I haven’t done a set review, and a part of the reason why is because so many people do a better job than I could ever hope to. I will, however, be going deep into my thoughts on the set next week.

Here’s a little homework assignment until then (don’t worry, I’ll be doing it too): look at the cards that are valuable in Rise and Avacyn that aren’t the obvious headliners (Emrakul, Avacyn, etc.). Do you see any cards in DTK that resemble them? What kind of effects seem to be popular? Nirkana Revenant feeds a very particular type of strategy with an effect that is not terribly common, but is always popular. See anything like that in Dragons? I’ll report my findings next week, feel free to share yours in the comments below.

Best,

Ross

1 I say “enfranchised” here rather than “competitive” or “casual” because either of those demographics is likely more connected to the game than the “Invisibles.” EDH players will never be on the pro tour, but the enfranchised ones are still moderately to very cognizant of what is going on in the rest of the Magic world.

2 Actually, the last Fat Pack I bought was with my best friend Byron. We opened a Tarmogoyf!

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Tracking a Wishlist

By: Cliff Daigle

Today, with Dragons of Tarkir being the new and amazing set, and the beginning of a shaken-up Standard and Modern, I want to take a look back at my wishlist for Khans of Tarkir.

It’s been about six months since the set came out, and now that we aren’t opening Khans packs in drafts and Sealed, the prices are at their floor. How much could I have saved on the cards I wanted if I were willing to wait? How much is my patience worth?

I have gotten a few of these cards already, but I want to demonstrate the value of patience. These are all Commander cards for me, cards I’ll be adding to decks (or already added) to make them a little more awesome.

Foil Deflecting Palm
Foil Empty the Pits
Foil Hooded Hydra
Foil Kheru Bloodsucker
Foil Nomad Outpost
Foil See the Unwritten
Foil Sorin, Solemn Visitor

You don’t need me to tell you what these do or how good they are, since they have been out for six months now. You’ve likely traded or opened some of these already.

Here were the prices on Sept. 23, the Tuesday after the Prerelease, when prices are generally at their highest:

Foil Deflecting Palm $8
Foil Empty the Pits $17
Foil Hooded Hydra $14
Foil Kheru Bloodsucker $0.50
Foil Nomad Outpost $4
Foil See the Unwritten $17
Foil Sorin, Solemn Visitor $48
Total: $108.50

It’s a list with four mythics, two uncommons, and two rares, all in foil, because I am totally a collector. If I could find them in foreign foil, all the better. I feel this is a good sample from any given set, with a range of things I want to play right away.

I’ve been upgrading EDH decks for years and I’ve learned to wait, though. The longer I can stand to wait, the cheaper the cards will be in almost all cases. The cheapest path is to wait until Standard rotation, but even at the accelerated 18-month timeline, that’s just not good for me.

Let’s see what I saved (or would have saved) if I waited until today to get these cards:

Foil Deflecting Palm: $3.23
Foil Empty the Pits: $5.55
Foil Hooded Hydra: $6.38
Foil Kheru Bloodsucker: $0.43
Foil Nomad Outpost: $3.45
Foil See the Unwritten: $9.56
Foil Sorin, Solemn Visitor: $27.52
Total: $56.12

Even with a recent bump to See the Unwritten, even with the Manifest synergies of Hooded Hydra, even with Sorin seeing some play in assorted Abzan lists, the price has gone down by nearly half. Some of the cards went down by lots more than half, and the only ones to have even stayed the same are the two uncommons!

What does this mean for you?

It means that when you seek value, patience is key. There is sometimes money to be made in buying things up right away. I am not good enough at predicting Standard and Modern to take that approach, but I can tell you that cards like See the Unwritten will always be amazing in Commander. (for spice, add Quicken, and add the tears of your opponents to taste.) 

It means that if the 50% figure holds (and the actual figure does vary, mainly due to spikes in prices) then I can determine how much of a premium I’m paying to have this card right now. It’s possible I could have beaten that $108 figure with judicious use of eBay or TCG sellers, too. I shouldn’t presume that I’d be paying full retail.

In this case, is it worth $50 or so to me to have the cards at the beginning of the format? Would I have been more content to get a nonfoil Sorin, and save $25 or so? That’s half of the value I gained by waiting six months, but foils are a much better bet over time.

As for what I did get: I picked up the Outpost and the Bloodsucker immediately, and I opened nonfoils of most of these. I’m still trying to trade for the foil versions. I haven’t bought any of these directly…yet.

I’m going to bring up another option here: PucaTrade goes nuts when a new set becomes available. There’s a lot of points and cards flying around, and the key to success on Puca is selling into hype, which is especially true this first week. Rack up the points while you can!


 

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Cold Tomatoes

Welcome back, financiers! I was happy (and a little bit relieved) to receive a lot of positive feedback to my article last week. It looks like my year and a half writing for Brainstorm Brewery prepared me well for this jump to MTGPrice. One of the Facebook comments on last week’s article asked for discussion of a completely opposite topic: the cards that can’t be reprinted in Modern Masters 2015 and other upcoming supplemental products. I thought that was just a fine and dandy idea, since it keeps me from having to come up with another idea for this week. Let’s look at what won’t be reprinted in the near future, why it won’t be reprinted, and what to do with the cards—whether you have them or not.

request

Oh, right, I almost forgot to explain the title of this piece. You see, because this article is the opposite of last week’s, I wanted the title to be the opposite to match it.

The opposite of hot is easy: cold. But what’s the opposite of a potato? Well you don’t have to Google that, because I already did that for you. I blindly clicked on the first few results, and I’ll let you see what I saw.

Potato

Potato2

Potato3

Interesting stuff, this internet thing has to offer. Where were we again? Right, Magic finance. Let’s get back to that.

Snapcaster Mage 

snapcaster

Let’s get the big one out of the way first. I get frequent requests to explain what to do with Captain Snaps now that he’s reached close to $50. He can’t be put into Modern Masters 2015 because the set only goes through New Phyrexia (which is one of the reasons he’s climbed this high already). He can’t realistically be put into Magic Origins, because that would require reprinting and creating a bunch of new cards with the flashback mechanic. They’re already bringing back double-faced cards from Innistrad as a mechanic (yes, I know it’s only for the five transforming planeswalkers), but I highly doubt they resurrect flashback along with that.

So, what do we do if we have Snapcasters? If you bought or traded for a bunch of Tiagos back when they were $20 or $30, you’re in luck! You don’t need to be in a huge hurry to cash out, and you can probably continue to expect a steady climb into the $55 to $60 range.

This is a classic example of the steady, consistent gains that I love to see in a spec. I’d start to move them toward the end of summer or start of the fall, just to be safe and lock in profits before anything is announced that could warrant a reprint. If you’re actively using them in a deck and don’t see that changing in the near future, I wouldn’t worry about unloading them. The utility you gain from holding onto them and playing them in actual events will most likely outscale the profit you gain by ripping them from your deck, selling them, and waiting for the reprint.

So, what do we do if we don’t have Snapcasters? I’ve heard a lot of people suggest buying in now for the flip potential, because the $55 to $60 price range coming in the next few months is all but guaranteed. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more with this strategy. First of all, you’re tying up a lot of money over a long period of time. If you buy in right now at $47, and look to sell at $60 towards June or July, you’re making next to nothing after fees and shipping. There will most likely be multiple hot specs between now and then that could have made you a lot more money.

On the other hand, what if you need them for a deck? What if you desperately want to play Splinter Twin, and have zero copies of Snapcaster despite the deck running a playset? Well, I think you just have to bite the bullet and buy them. Burn the $200 before you have to burn $240 later in the year, and at least you’ll get the value of casting them during the time you own them. The card’s not getting any cheaper. Try to forget about the fact that you didn’t get in at $30 and mitigate that error by getting in now.

Voice of Resurgence 

voice

The good old $60 Standard mythic has been reduced to a token of its former self, hanging out at $18 ever since its rotation from Standard. It holds onto a relevant price tag thanks to seeing play in one of the stronger Modern decks of the format, and the fact that there were approximately seven packs of Dragon’s Maze opened throughout the entire world. It’s outside the realm of reprints in the near future, so do we want to pick itup at $18?

My position on this card is similar to Snapcaster, so I should be able to save a few words here. If you need the card to play with in the Abzan deck, I recommend picking it up now. I don’t think it goes any lower than its current price, and the trajectory looks to continue on a plateau, maybe going up a couple of dollars over the next few months due to how few copies there are on the market.

If you’re looking for a sweet spec target, I’d look elsewhere. If it does creep upwards, the trend will likely be too small to make a reasonable profit. It does, however, look like a nice trade target (along with Snap) if you’re trying to turn volatile Standard stuff into a secure chunk of value that won’t move for a while.

Liliana of the Veil 

lilianav

Liliana is more expensive than Dark Confidant and has been for almost two months now. I don’t know why so many people are clamoring for another reprint of Bob when he hasn’t been seen in a top-tier Modern deck for a long time now. Liliana is by far the more powerful and popular card, seeing play in a variety of decks. She has a small reprint on the way in the form of a PTQ promo, but I don’t expect that to slow down her price growth very much. There won’t be a massive number of promos out there, and she’s certainly not going to be in any of the rest of the currently announced products for the rest of 2015.

To be perfectly honest, I fully expect Liliana of the Veil to be the next $100 Modern staple, a price currently sustained only by Tarmogoyf.

Quick Aside on Dark Confidant:

If you’re not using these (and you probably aren’t), I actually recommend selling them. While the card probably won’t be in Modern Masters 2015, it also hasn’t put up any significant results for a while. Bob has even seen a lot less play in Legacy lately, so I feel that a large chunk of its price is inflated by a combination of price memory and how iconic the card itself is. Trading Bobs into the other cards mentioned in this article will provide a much better return on investment in both the short and long terms.

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed 

mikaeus

Speaking of mythic black cards from Innistrad: “Dead Mike” has slowly crept up the past year and a half from his low of $4 to the current price of $12. Although he obviously has zero competitive applications, his power level in Commander is not to be ignored. I play one myself in my Marchesa list, and I’m never disappointed to draw it.

I don’t think this card stops creeping upward as the year goes on, and I can see it hitting $20 by the end of 2015. Foils are currently $32, and I’d get them now if you feel that you really need one for Commander, as there certainly won’t be any more getting added to the market anytime soon.

Mikaeus seems like a Doubling Season-esque situation to me, where the card will invisibly creep up to $25 or $30, and everyone will wonder when that happened.

Oh, Doubling Season is $30 again, by the way. And the judge foil can be found for $30 on eBay right now, with a few copies trailing behind in the $35 range. You can’t explain that.

Dseason

Abrupt Decay 

AbruptDecaycard

Decay has been sitting at a steady $12 to $13 for almost six months now, refusing to budge above that and break into the $15 range. What has changed, however, is the card’s buylist price. If you check out the blue line on our MTGPrice graph, the strongest buylist price has slowly crept up from $6, which is a 50 percent spread, up to $9, a mere 25 percent.

I don’t need to tell you how powerful Decay is in both Modern and Legacy—you already know that. You probably also knew that this card was going to creep back up to $20, due to the fact that it will be hard to find a spot for a reprint in the coming months. I’m here to give you a thumbs up and tell you that you’re right. Abrupt Decay is a fine pickup in both trades and cash, assuming you’re looking for an extremely safe investment.

I also want to touch on foil Decays. While it’s not impossible to reprint Decay due to its ubiquitous name (it doesn’t reference a specific plane, name, or faction, unlike Inquisition of Kozilek, for example), foils will be a lot harder to put into the market. I can see Abrupt Decay being put into a Duel Deck product in the future (although they’ve already done Golgari ones to death), or a casual product like Commander, but the cards in those decks aren’t foil. Copies are approximately $75 at the moment, but they’re definitely safer from reprint than non-foil copies. I admit, though, that I don’t expect quite the same double-up with foils as for non-foils.

End Step

Overall, I’m seeing a pretty similar trend in a lot of these “un-reprintable” (at least in the coming months) staples. If you can acquire them in trades by liquidating Standard staples, or cards that are ripe for reprinting, then I fully approve.

I also wouldn’t disapprove if you were purchasing Snapcasters, Voices, or Lilianas for your own personal deck construction, because they appear to either be holding steady, or steadily creeping up over the course of the spring and summer.

You still have a chance to liquidate all of your Zendikar fetches, Bolts, Probes, and Mox Opals before Modern Masters 2015 arrives, but be sure to pick up your staples that you’ll be needing before the full brunt of the storm arrives, too.

Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or content that you feel needs to covered. I’m easily reachable through Twitter, Facebook, email, Reddit, or the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

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Dragons of Tarkir Tiny Leaders Review: White and Blue

By Guo Heng

It’s review time in the Magic writing community as Dragons of Tarkir is a few days from being released. I hope you all have had a fun (and hopefully awesome prerelease weekeend) and if any of you had the good fortune to open a Narset Transcendent during your prerelease and is wondering what to do with it, you can check out the piece I wrote a few days back about the cards I would trade an overpriced Narset Transcendent into.

If you are looking for a set review, Travis Allen wrote an epic 7,000-word financial review of the rares and mythics last week. Jared Yost sifted through the commons and uncommons for financial value yesterday. And of course, Brainstorm Brewery did their customary review in their latest episode (which you can get access to before the general public if you are a MTGPrice ProTrader).

My review today is going to take a look at the new toys we get in Dragons of Tarkir through a pair of Tiny Leaders lenses. Whether you are a huge fan of the next big tiny thing, or you just engage in Tiny Leaders casually, have a seat and let’s go through what Dragons of Tarkir has to offer us.

Even if you are not interested in Tiny Leaders, you may want to read on as Tiny Leaders demand has and will be driving up the price of cards, especially foils.

We shall go down the list by color.

White

Anafenza, Kin Tree Spirit

Anafenza, Kin Tree SpiritThe new Anafenza  is the Dragons of Tarkir card I am most excited about for Tiny Leaders. I am of opinion that Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit is one of those cards that could create a snowball effect if she stays on the board for a few turns.

Creature-based strategies are the most common strategy in Tiny Leaders, as control and combo are neutered by the three casting cost and singleton restriction (combo and control still exist, they just do not occupy as large a niche as they do in other eternal formats) and Anafenza 2.0 fits just about into any creature decks that could run her.

Can you imagine Anafenza’s Bolster trigger being abused with Alesha, Who Smiles at Death‘s creature recursion? You can expect to get multiple Bolster triggers every turn in Alesha decks. Not to mention as Alesha’s ability triggers when she attacks, you could Bolster your Alesha to increase her odds of smiling at death during combat (bolstered by Anafenza 2.0, Alesha could finally defeat Anafenza 1.0 in combat).

Anax and Cymede swarm builds are another home for Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit. The quality of your one and two drops increase significantly if they all come with an enter-the-battlefield Bolster trigger. Indeed, Anafenza should be an auto-include in any swarm decks running white.

As a dedicated Anafenza, the Foremost player, I am ecstatic to see her new incarnation. Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit combos with Kitchen Finks and a sac outlet for the infinite life combo I have been championing in my previous Tiny Leaders articles for Anafenza, the Foremost builds.

I am excited because Melira, Sylvok Outcast has always been the weakest link in the combo. All the other combo pieces are solid value cards by themselves and are cards I’d be happy to play outside the combo. Melira would have been a waste of deck slot had she not been an integral component of the combo. I’ve accepted the fact that I risk having a dead card in my hand sometimes for the privilege of running an infinite combo in my midrange deck.

Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit changed it all. Even if I am not running the infinite combo, I would play Anafenza in my Anafenza deck (Anafenzaception). Why?

  • The deck runs on value. Most of the creatures in the deck are already undercosted in terms of casting cost to power and toughness ratio. Anafenza 2.0 amplifies that.
  • Anafenza 2.0 functions like Gavony Township, one of the MVPs of the deck. She turns your Birds of Paradise and 1/1 flying spirits into formidable threats. Nothing breaks open board stalls by having a Bolster trigger attached to every non-token creature you play. Her edge of over Gavony Township is that she does not require mana investment to Bolster your creatures. Her downside is that she is easier to remove compared to Gavony Township.
  • Having your hard-to-remove creatures like Cartel Aristocrat and Varolz, the Scar-Striped enter the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter is enticing.
  • Making your Kitchen Finks immortal without wasting a card slot.

I would not be surprised to see Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit spawn a new archetype in Tiny Leaders. A white weenie swarm deck with Crusade and Spear of Heliod looks to be a good shell for Anafenza 2.0. Swarm strategies are a strong route to take in Tiny Leaders due to the lack of board wipes.

Financially, I would not be getting Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit foils right away as foils would likely drop in price during her time in Standard.

$2.66 for non-foil copies is a decent price to buy Anafenza 2.0 if and only if you want to run her in your deck.

Arashin Foremost

First and foremost, there are not many warrior creatures in decks that run white. Arashin Foremost is no Silverblade Paladin.

Gleam of Authority

Gleam of Authority could potentially find a home in either Anafenza decks to create an insanely huge creature. However, you are pitted against some of the best removals in Magic and enchanting a non-Hexproof creature is just setting yourself up for getting two-for-oned.

Hidden Dragonslayer

There are no dragons to slay in Tiny Leaders. Hidden Dragonslayer may be a sideboard card for white swarm decks to deal with Anafenza, the Foremost decks. I am not counting on that to bolster Hidden Dragonslayer’s financial value.

Myth Realized

Again, you would be facing some of the most efficient removals ever printed in the history of Magic. I do not want to sink effort and mana into growing a card that could be plowed.

Radiant Purge

Too narrow.

Secure the Wastes 

Secure the Wastes

Secure the Wastes is an easier-to-cast, cheaper version of White Sun’s Zenith that could fit into decks that would run White Sun’s Zenith had White Sun’s Zenith had a cheaper casting cost.

Anax and Cymede players probably relish having Secure the Wastes. Cast Secure the Wastes at the end of your opponent’s turn for an instant horde which you could then pump with Anax and Cymede and go in for the kill on your turn.

However  Secure the Wastes is one of the more expensive preorder rares at $3.50 and I would probably wait for it to drop a bit before buying in. Do note that Secure the Wastes is one of the Dragons of Tarkir intro pack rares, so the ceiling for non-foil copies are lower than other rares.

I would keep an eye on the foils when they drop in price from their current extortionate $12.

Silkwrap

Silkwrap

I don’t usually review uncommons, but you’re telling me that white now have a Smother? Foils are the way to go with Silkwrap as the margin for non-foils is way too small for a long-term spec. To compare, foil Worldwake Smother spiked from under $1 to nearly $6 in January this year when Tiny Leaders exploded in popularity. Smother is not played in any other formats, so it could be safely assumed that

Foil Silkwrap is currently $1.50, which is not bad if you want a copy for your Tiny Leaders deck. But I would wait until foils drop to below $1 to buy my specs. Or trade for them.

Blue

Anticipate

Anticipate

I am going to briefly talk about Anticipate as it one of the most playable blue card in the set and there were talks of the card being potentially played in Modern as a Telling Time that digs one deeper.

I do not anticipate Anticipate seeing much play beyond the few blue-based combo (Ambassador Laquatus and Nin, the Pain Artist pop into my mind) decks in Tiny Leaders that really needs to dig for combo pieces. And if they have a slot. Unlike Modern, Tiny Leaders have access to real blue cantrips like Ponder and Preordain.

If there are any drivers for the price of foil Anticipate, it would be because Scapeshift replaced Telling Time with Anticipate.

Mirror Mockery

You risk getting mocked by your opponents if you run Mirror Mockery.There are currently only three blue-based leaders that want to attack with creatures – Geist of Saint Traft, Sygg, River Cutthroat and Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest – and Mirror Mockery fits in neither.

Shorecrasher Elemental

Shorecrasher Elemental has potential in other formats but would be stranded like a beached whale in Tiny Leaders.

Silumgar Sorcerer

Silumgar Sorcerer

 

My initial assessment  of Silumgar Sorcerer in regards to Tiny Leaders play was one of excited anticipation. I mean its a counterspell on an evasive body that could be played at instant speed. Four abilities on a three casting cost creature! So much value and tempo.

After giving it some thought I’ve decided that Silumgar Sorcerer may not be that good in Tiny Leaders after all. The problem lies with finding a home for it. Decks that run blue and cares about tempo (again, Geist, Sygg and Shu Yun) are not exactly full of exploit targets and who else would Silumgar Sorcerer exploit but him/herself.

The only decent exploit targets that would net you value that I can think of are a Stoneforge Mystic that has ran her course or an exhausted Snapcaster Mage. The only token generator in those decks would be Monastery Mentor in Shu Yun.

If Silumgar Sorcerer sees Tiny Leaders play, adopt the same spec strategy as with Silkwrap discussed above.

Stratus Dancer

Her abilities are good, but their cost is too prohibitive for a format that is dubbed singleton Legacy.

Closing Thoughts

Dragons of Tarkir brought some nifty white cards into Tiny Leaders and I am keen to see how they would impact the build of current tier one decks. Blue was a bit meh unfortunately.

However, my biggest disappointment was that there were no tiny dragons. Being the Vorthos that I am, I was wistfully hoping for a dragon leader or something of that sorts.  Alas Mark Rosewater dashed any hope of seeing tiny dragons when he mentioned that there weren’t any baby dragons for them to make as the dragons of Tarkir were born out of dragon tempests.

Part of me wondered why would they opt for dragon tempests rather than baby dragons which would have been a hit among Vorthoses and casuals.

Cardboard Crack has a great answer.

That’s all for today. I have something else in mind for next week (hint: it’s Commander-related) and I would get back to evaluating the remaining Dragons of Tarkir cards for Tiny Leaders playability after that. In the  mean time you can follow me on Twitter @theguoheng.


 

 


 

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