Insider – From The Vault: Boats


I think my foil spreadsheet nonsense can wait. The spreadsheet isn’t going anywhere (as always, here is the link) and there is more to be gleaned from it. For today, though, I wanted to get back in the practice of trying to make predictions based on upside to older cards based on the printing of newer ones and there was a really spicy card spoiled this week. Well, two, actually. One of them is a little harder to pin down but it probably goes in a ton of decks.

Legendary Artifact
Players can’t activate Loyalty abilities of Planeswalkers.

At the beginning of your draw step, draw an additional card.

Spells you cast cost 1 less to cast.

Creatures you control get +1/+1

This is just dumb. It’s a better* Caged Sun and for the decks that can afford it, it’s going to get a lot of value going. Shutting down their ‘walkers is just absurd value on top of everything else this card does for you. However, since this appeals so broadly, it’s going to be really tough to nail down which decks it improves on its own and therefore I’m not going to discuss it this week. There’s another card coming to town which can reinvigorate an older deck that is still very popular and give some upside to a lot of the cards in it. I’m talking, of course about one of the four other cards from Rivals that are spoiled so far. I’m talking about the good one.

So this is a card. Let’s not be hyperbolic about this card, though. People who don’t play much EDH got REAL hyperbolic about Growing Rites of Itilmoc and compared it to Gaea’s Cradle. That card is not Gaea’s Cradle. It’s much worse than Cradle. This card is much worse than Tolarian Academy but it does have one thing going for it that Academy does not – this is legal. Also, this makes treasure tokens sometimes. So two things. I’m not saying this is a better or worse cards than Academy because that’s a pointless distinction to make when we should be talking about whether this card will make people dust off or build for the first time old archetypes. Will this give anything older some upside? I think it might.

First, let’s take a token look at what we expect from a price perspective on this card. Since Growing Rites is much more playable in EDH than this is and didn’t have the benefit of a card performing poorly in front of it the way Storm the Vault has had, I think the price graph shows points above which Storm the Vault’s prices will never go.

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Modern Masters 2015 Japanese Booster Box Opening (Photo Essay)

The title of the is article should just be “Do As We Say, Not As We Do.” There is no good reason to be opening a box of Modern Masters 2015, even a Japanese copy.

I’m the first guy to tell you that #mtgfinance really isn’t about sealed product at the moment. Since Return to Ravnica, the limited player growth and increasing frequency of product releases and relevant reprints makes holding sealed product one of your worst options.

Take this box of Japanese MM15, for instance. It was part of a trio I picked up for about $290/piece from a judge who got them in lieu of payment in Japan and brought them back to Canada. They were dropped off at my front door in the summer of 2015, and I sold two of them about a year later for $380 each (net). That’s $90 on $290, or about 31%, which isn’t the worst, but it’s quite a bit less than what I average on singles (45-65% per annum last couple of years.) That also doesn’t account for this box, which had been staring at me from the corner of my spec closet for weeks.

I knew it was the wrong move. Sure, some of the stuff in this set could get hit by reprints this year, perhaps as early as M25 this spring. And yet, I had just received a couple of offers on the box online, which net fees, would have worked out to about $340. That’s worse than the first two boxes, but still fine. But I just had one of those nights. You know the ones. I’d been totally hands off on Ixalan. Didn’t even pick up my usual Russian boxes, assuming I could find them closer to the holidays for less. In truth, I’d even pulled back a bit on the singles. Just too busy with baby and work lately. “It could have a foil Tarmogoyf!”, said the devil on my shoulder. “No it won’t idiot. You’re just going to end up having to sell the singles for less when you could have got out clean. Weren’t you just sending in buylists to clean up your specs?” said the rest of you.

What can I say? Sometimes even the strongest of wills goes weak and now you get to follow along as we open this thing pack by pack.

Enjoy your tour of a bad #mtgfinance decision. Just don’t make them yourself ūüėČ

Note: Prices on some of these cards are somewhat hard to come by and should be considered to be approximates. Where possible I’m cross referencing TCGPlayer, Ebay, TokyoMTG and Hareruya and using the lowest posted price. Given that our opportunity cost was $340 here, I’d have to beat $14/pack on average to make this worthwhile, and more like $16.25 accounting for normal selling fees of the pulled singles. It gets worse once you realize that unloading the stuff under $5 may not be realistic. Sigh. Here we go!

Pack 1:

Notables: Foil JPN Daybreak Coronet  ($6), JPN Niv-Mizzet ($1.50)
Pack Value: $7.50
Subtotal: $7.50

If I played boggles I might be pretty stoked about this pack, but as is, that’s not the foil rare we were looking for (though it is pretty).

Pack 2:

Notables: JPN Mirror Entity  ($.75), JPN Mutagenic Growth ($2)
Pack Value: $2.75
Subtotal: $10.25

Mirror Entity is not the kind of card you can unload and make money, so that hardly counts. A Japanese Mutagenic Growth is a cool card, but not much better.

Pack 3:

Notables: JPN Noble Hierarch  ($60), JPN Foil  ($2.50)
Pack Value: $62.50
Subtotal: $72.75

Pack 4:

Notables: JPN Lightning Bolt  ($6), JPN Vines of Vastwood ($1.50)
Pack Value: $7.50
Subtotal: $80.25

I’ve got homes for this stuff, so no real harm done here.

Pack 5:

Notables: Um
Subtotal: $80.25

The best part of this pack is that the Spider foil is clearly scratched right out of the pack, which is something I had heard was common in these boxes. Pray that doesn’t apply when we find something tasty.

Pack 6:

Notables: JPN Foil Hurkyl’s Recall¬† ($18), JPN Mulldrifter ($1.50)
Pack Value: $19.50
Subtotal: $99.75

Ooo, nice. A Japanese Foil Hurkyl’s Recall isn’t going to turn the ship around and return to port sanity, but it’s a twinkly trinket that isn’t very plentiful and should appreciate decently before it sees a reprint despite relatively modest demand.

Pack 7:

Notables: JPN Necroskitter ($2)
Pack Value: $2
Subtotal: $101.75

Necroskitter got a bump this year from the -1/-1 focused Commander additions, but that isn’t really going to help this get out of my binders.

Pack 8:

Notables: Foil JPN Frogmite ($1)
Pack Value: $1
Subtotal: $102.75

Um, maybe Affinity will switch back to a Myr Enforcer/Frogmite build? Yeah, so, moving right along…

Pack 9:

Notables: None
Pack Value: $0
Subtotal: $102.75

Over 1/3 of the way through and we’re on pace for mediocrity here.

Pack 10:

Notables: JPN Everflowing Chalice ($1)
Pack Value: $1
Subtotal: $103.75

Nothing to see here. I wonder what’s on Netflix.

Pack 11:

Notables: JPN Lodestone Golem ($4)
Pack Value: $4
Subtotal: $107.75

You know what really makes for a pack winner. A Vintage card that’s only allowed to be played as a singleton. Wait, no it isn’t.

Pack 12:

Notables: JPN Electrolyze  ($2)
Pack Value: $2
Subtotal: $109.75

When your effective pack cost is $4, a $2 pack is par for the course. When your effective pack cost is closer to $20, this is not the road to greatness you are hoping for.

Pack 13:

Notables: JPN Hurkyl’s Recall
Pack Value: $5
Subtotal: $114.75

My 11 month old woke up in her crib and sent me a note on the back of her rideable dinosaur. It was just a scribble, but I’m pretty sure it translated to “Daddy, you’re doing it wrong.”

Pack 14:

Notables: JPN Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Pack Value: $10
Subtotal: $124.75


The only great thing about this pack was that it lead me to tripping over an underpriced foil version online that I will use to mop up my silent tears.

Pack 15:

Notables: JPN Expedition Map  ($4), JPN Cranial Plating ($1)
Pack Value: $5
Subtotal: $129.75

Pack 16:

Notables: None
Pack Value: $0
Subtotal: $129.75

No comment. Caw-caw! FWOOOOSH!

Pack 17:

Notables: JPN Cryptic Command  ($30), JPN Electrolyze  ($2)
Pack Value: $32
Subtotal: $161.75

I mean, sure, I could bitch about opening a pack with a rare that just got reprinted with arguably better art in Iconic Masters, but dudes with ten packs of draft chaft on the table in front of them should just shut up and smile pretty for the camera.

Pack 18:

Notables: None
Pack Value: $0
Subtotal: $161.75

This one time, at band camp, I opened a pack that was worth more than the paper it was printed on. No, I swear.

Pack 19:

Notables: JPN Wilt-Leaf Liege  ($2), JPN Cranial Plating ($1)
Pack Value: $3
Subtotal: $164.75

Pack 20:

Notables: JPN Foil Kozilek, Butcher of Truth ($100), JPN Leyline of Sanctity ($32)
Pack Value: $132
Subtotal: $296.75

Excuse me while I push my Roger Rabbit eyes back into my ‘noggin. You should always go to the party with low expectations but that hottie you’re into might actually be there, so do still be ready to jump off the roof into the pool when the time is right.¬† This is the kind of pack you’re looking for when you foolishly open an expensive box of sealed. That Leyline of Sanctity will be a quick flip, because it’s about due for a reprint in the next 12-18 months. Kozilek, Butcher of Truth on the other hand is in 10K EDH decks, and is less likely to see a foil reprint in the next few years. It’s also sold out on Hareruya, TCGPlayer and TokyoMTG, and the only copy on Ebay is an original LP at $120. Pretty safe to say that $100 is a reasonable starting point, and a nice boost to an otherwise underwhelming box.

Pack 21:

Notables: JPN Foil Repeal ($3), JPN Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre ($15)
Pack Value: $18
Subtotal: $314.75

Japanese Foil Repeal can actually be hard to come by, so that’s a decent little foil. Ulamog isn’t in massive demand these days, but it still shows up in 9000+ decks on, so I’m sure it’ll find a home.

Pack 22:

Notables: JPN Expedition Map  ($4)
Subtotal: $318.75

Pack 23:

Notables: JPN Remand ($8)
Pack Value: $8
Subtotal: $326.75

If you’re going to pull an uncommon you can do worse than a Japanese remand with the solid new art.

Pack 24:

Notables: JPN Foil Thoughtcast ($1)
Pack Value: $1
Subtotal: $327.75

So there you have it. A $290 box that (barely) coughed up $330 or so in total value, that will only be worth $250-270 after the fees, and only then after I bother to sell it.  In other words, for the love of Urza, just leave your shiny boxes alone and go buy some Bitcoin.


MTG Fast Finance Podcast: Episode 94 (Nov. 16/17)

MTG Fast Finance is our weekly podcast covering the flurry of weekly financial activity in the world of Magic: The Gathering. MFF provides a fast, fun and useful sixty minute format. Follow along with our seasoned hosts as they walk you through this week’s big price movements, their picks of the week, metagame analysis and a rotating weekly topic.

Show Notes: November 16th, 2017

Segment 1: Top Movers of the Week

Card Set Old Price New Price Increase
Ebony Horse Arabian Nights $3.00 $9.00 $6.00
Nicol Bolas Legends $55.00 $140.00 $85.00
Defense Grid (Foil) Urza’s Legacy $40.00 $100.00 $60.00
Moggcatcher (Foil) Nemesis $12.00 $26.00 $14.00
Diamond Valley Arabian Nights 350 550 $200.00
Multani, Maro-Sorcerer Urza’s Legacy $115.00 $175.00 $60.00
Angus Mackenzie Legends $120.00 $165.00 $45.00


Segment 2:  Picks of the Week

James’s Picks:

Card Set Confidence (1-10) Timeline Current Price Target Price
Spirebluff Canal (foil) Kaladesh 8 1 year $15.00 $30.00
Anguished Unmaking (Game Day Promo) WPN Promo 8 6-12 months $6.00 $15.00
Unclaimed Territory (League Promo) WPN Promo 8 12-18 months $3.50 $8.00


Cliff’s Picks:

Card Set Confidence (1-10) Timeline Current Price Target Price
Earthcraft Tempest 9 2 years $30.00 $80.00
Path of Ancestry Commander 2017 9 1 year $2.50 $8.00
Bloodspore Thrinax Commander 2015 7 18 months $2.00 $8.00

Segment 3: Metagame Review

James and Cliff break down GP Atlanta, with a review of the top decks, what got camera time, and what cards are going to move based on the current state of Standard.

Segment 4: Unstable Previews and MTG Finance

Cliff and James dive into a discussion of what Unstable represents, who it’s for, and what’s worth looking at. Comparisons to other sets and long-term outlook on what this set could have been are also brought up.

MTG Fast Finance Podcast: Episode 93 (Nov. 9th/17)

MTG Fast Finance is our weekly podcast covering the flurry of weekly financial activity in the world of Magic: The Gathering. MFF provides a fast, fun and useful sixty minute format. Follow along with our seasoned hosts as they walk you through this week’s big price movements, their picks of the week, metagame analysis and a rotating weekly topic.

Show Notes: November 9th, 2017

Segment 1: Top Card Spikes of the Week

Card Set Foil? Start Finish $ Change
Skyline Despot Conspiracy: Take the Crown Y $4.50 $12.00 $7.50
Vraska, Relic Hunter Ixalan Y $25.00 $50.00 $25.00
Sustaining Spirit Alliances N $1.66 $3.25 $1.59
Angel of Invention Kaladesh N $6.00 $11.00 $5.00
Greed Legends N $25.00 $38.00 $13.00
Champion of the Parish Duel Decks: Blessed vs. Cursed N 3 5 $2.00
Grapeshot Time Spiral Y $3.75 $6.00 $2.25
Chord of Calling Ravnica Y $50.00 $80.00 $30.00


Segment 2: Picks of the Week

James’ Picks:

Card Set Confidence (1-10) Timeline Current Price Target Price
Hour of Revelation (foil) Hour of Devastation   7 2 years $2.00 $8.00
Vizier of the Menagerie (foil) Amonkhet   8 1-2 years $6.00 $15.00


Cliff’s Picks:

Card Set Confidence (1-10) Timeline Current Price Target Price
Duskwatch Recruiter (Foil) Shadows over Innistrad   7 2 years $2.00 $8.00
Docent of Perfection (foil) Eldritch Moon   8 1-2 years $6.00 $15.00
The Locust God Hour of Devastation   7 18 months $7.00 $20.00


Disclosure: James and Cliff may own, or intend to own, speculative copies of the above cards.


Segment 3: Metagame in Review

James and Cliff explore Pro Tour Ixalan, with the archetypes that did well and the cards that may gain in value as a result.

Segment 4: Interview with Collins Mullen

Fresh off of taking down an SCG Open with his innovative Five-Color Humans deck, the crew talks to Collins about the process that led to this deck, and a lively game of ‘Is this Human worth consideration?’ ensues.


Cliff is an avid Magic player, and hardcore Cuber. He’s been at this since 1995, and clearly remembers what happens to one’s wallet when Wizards releases three new sets in three summer months.