By: Travis Allen
Consuming Aberration is a $4 card. Consuming. Aberration. Is a $4 card. Are you really reading these words? Do you understand what they mean? Read them again. Think about them. Consuming Aberration is a $4 card. Huh. What does that mean?
Well, it means we should take it out of our bulk boxes.
I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this. I remember plugging it into MTGPrice for some reason and seeing a price of $4.10. I assumed it was a mistake. The site is great, but there are always algorithmic problems and such. I flipped over to my magiccards.info tab. I plugged it in. $3.72 mid.
I flipped back to MTGPrice. The buylist was $2.32. ABU Will give you $2.32 for copies of Consuming Aberration. ABU Games will give you more than two American dollars for a copy of Consuming Aberration.
Where is the demand for this card coming from? Who is driving the price up to $4? It’s not an old, out-of-print diamond-in-the-rough gem. It isn’t on the reserved list. It’s a Standard legal rare that sees absolutely zero play in any constructed format.
Think about your local store. Have you ever, since Gatecrash released, heard someone unironically ask if you had any Consuming Aberration for trade?
Nobody wants this trash. It’s complete and utter garbage. It is the absolute worst kind of rare. 100% bulk. (Or so we thought.) The next time you’re at your LGS, yell out “does anyone want a free Consuming Aberration?” It is entirely possible that not a single person will want the free card. Think about that. In a room full of Magic players, you literally could not give this card away. This will not be true of every store, but it will certainly be true of some.
What else in Standard costs $4 right now? Supreme Verdict, sweeper du jour and playable in the four largest constructed formats, is $6. A bit more, yes, but it’s still in the same ballpark. It’s a lot closer than most of us would have guessed without looking. Desecration Demon, scourge of the skies and bane of green decks everywhere is $5. This is a card that has a good 70% chance to win any given Standard GP and it’s only $1 more than Consuming Aberration. Puzzled yet?
Most of the Scrylands are around $4 to $5 as well. Temple of Enlightenment isn’t, but the rest are hanging around there. The most important lands in the largest sanctioned format are about the same price as Consuming Aberration. That tells us something curious.
Price is a factor of supply and demand. For the most part we can assume that Consuming Aberration and any given Scryland should have the same supply. (Really, the Scrylands should be lower supply right now if anything. Gatecrash has come and gone, and there are virtually no new packs being opened. Theros and BOG are still being drafted, so there is still some flow of Scrylands.)
If you assume that the supply is equal between the two cards, and their prices are still just about equal, what does that mean for the rest of our equation? It means that the demand for the Scrylands is equivalent to the demand for Consuming Aberration. Consuming Aberration is just as desirable as the Scrylands. If everyone at your LGS is looking for Scrylands but nobody wants Aberration, just where is this demand coming from?
Welcome to the invisible majority. All of us – the tournament grinder and speculators, the heavy traders and constructed players – are the minority of Magic players. Of course, we FEEL like we’re the majority. We’re all loud, we talk on every form of social media, and we’re the ones represented on official coverage. Wizards isn’t broadcasting kitchen table “anything goes” four-Sol-Ring four-Tolarian-Academy Magic on their Twitch channel. But the reality of the situation is that you and I and everyone like us comprises a far smaller portion of the Magic world at large.
Obviously the price swings on tournament staples is nobody’s fault but our own. Casual players aren’t making Sphinx’s Revelation and Voice of Resurgence $30. But they are capable of making Consuming Aberration a $4 card, with absolutely no help from any of us. It requires some serious demand to move a Standard rare to $4, and by golly they did it. When the the casual market can push a bulk Standard card that hard, we need to be paying attention. The market force is bigger than any of us, but if we hop on the wave we maybe be able to ride it.
Price behavior is going to be quite different than we’re used to. Most of us have come to be familiar with the wild nature of constructed staples. Cards rise and fall by factors of ten semi-regularly. We understand rotation, we understand “constructed playable,” and we understand ban lists. This is all irrelevant when dealing with casual cards though. There are no rotations. There aren’t “staples” or fear of reprints or ban lists. There’s a large, quiet group of players and there are cool cards. Column A wants Column B. It doesn’t matter whether its March or September or whether the card is legal in Modern. Players want cards and they order them online or purchase at their LGS from the total finite pool available. Slowly the supply dwindles, and as it does, prices rise. Occasionally copies make it back into rotation if a player sells their collection to a friend, but for the most part the supply is evaporating. The result is a plodding, semi-smooth rise in price.
With the recent influx of players in the last few years, there’s going to be growing demand on old casual staples. This is why Vigor is $20. Yet there is stilll profit to be made. There’s plenty of other old casual cards that haven’t adjusted their price. While they may not spike as often, and they aren’t sexy, they’re going to be practically guaranteed profit. Buying quiet casual allstars means you can’t brag about looking like a genius because you bought ninety Heralds of Torment at $.40 before they jumped to $7. But you can fill your collection with $1-$5 casual cards that are virtual locks to double or triple (or more?) in price within a year or two.
15 thoughts on “Consuming Aberration is a $4 Card”
You know what? I have bought 20 of them for under $1 from the Prerelease. I think it is a great card, especially in EDH. The mill deck in EDH hasn’t been popular yet cause it still lacks of good commander but once it starts having enough good ingredients, I would not be surprised if the price even go further.
Anyway, great article.
There are plenty of good Commanders for the mill deck, including the new Phenax which combos quite nicely with Consuming Aberration.
Phenax requires creatures to mill and can mill only 1 player. I don’t think he is good enough to be a commander. IMHO, he is very bad card.
My Consuming Aberration is sitting in my Nekusar deck as filler. Assuming you cast Wheel/Windfall effects, that makes it grow.
But the number of Nekusar cards ever printed is nothing compared to the number of Consuming Aberrations. Where is this silent majority? They sound fun to play with.
I personally think that this card is bumping due to people seeing his interaction with Phenax. This guy + Phenax can mill out an opponent FAST!
I seriously don’t get this. Non-combo mill isn’t even good in casual EDH formats, and I have to imagine this is mainly being purchased as an EDH card. Mill is one of those things that it’s so awesome when you pull it off, it doesn’t matter that it’s a huge waste every time you don’t win by milling. Mill is the strategy of players who don’t have a drop of Spike in them.
The card is being purchased by the type of player you’ve probably never interacted with. They’re the casualist of the casuals, playing at home without sleeves. They talk about their blue deck and their green deck. They run Goblin Guide and Warp World in the same deck.
I bought my Consuming Aberration off eBay for $1 + $1 shipping. I immediately dropped it into my blue/black Commander deck in spite of not having any other mill effects in the deck.
Why? In a 4-player commander game, consuming aberration gets to a ridiculous power/toughness. Combine him with whispersilk cloak & you’ve got a game-changer. Maybe not a game-winner per se (as it gets weaker as you kill off your opponents), but certainly enough to give your opponents headaches…
So you say this card is garbage in tournaments? That’s nice. It’s a fun card to play with when you’re not obsessed with winning a tournament. Speaking for casual jerk-offs everywhere, you’re welcome for the price spike. Glad I got mine on the cheap.
You competitive types might want to try playing the game for fun once in a while. You might see things in cards that you hadn’t seen before. Might give you an insight into the casual player. Casual players play MTG for this thing called “fun.” Who knows? You might even experience this “fun” thing yourself.
I think winning a tournament is fun. I think the process of preparing for and playing in those tournaments are also fun.
I also think he’s entirely missing the point. The number of people who find that style of play fun is a vast minority — and the two types of players rarely interact. The point (that I feel he’s missing) is that casual (and to an extent, primarily commander-only players) have a large impact on the prices of cards. There are cards that are worth buying purely because of demand from people who never go to tournaments.
It doesn’t matter whether the strategy or card is hyper competitive, it’s that there’s a market for cards that non-tournament players generally ignore: and it’s a large one.
True, but we still sleeve ’em.
What of Sewer Nemesis?
Always thought he was the better version of Consuming Aberration. Less powerful, but comes out quicker and doesn’t matter about its weaker mill effect when you have been playing mill cards prior to turn 4. I guess less casual appeal? Not perceived as powerful?
Some of you guys should take a step back and look at this card from the FUN side of things.
I play this card in a black/blue/green deck alongside Mind Grind and Whispering Madness. My group usually plays 4 player+ games with mostly standard non-edh decks. I do group milling, though the point is not to completely mill out the other players (though it is rather comical when that happens). Once Aberration hits the table, he is usually in the 30’s+. Hang onto an Essence Harvest and you can have some serious fun.
Is the deck a sick tournament deck? Nah. Is it fun as hell to play in our group? Absolutely. Everyone loves playing it too because its a fun deck to beat. Whispering madness has you drawing a new hand basically every turn if left unchecked.
Sometimes, just downright fun cards are the best way to play.
Hey, I don’t know where to give the opinion about the site. So far, your site is great but I still want to see more statistical figures on each card. If you have traded stocks, there are some other variables such as RSI (Relative Strength Index), MACD, Bollinger Band that you could put in your graph. I think these numbers would be super helpful for making decision on purchase.
What appeals to the kitchen table player can’t necessarily always be predicted, but generally, the fun value of this, and many other cards that attract casual players, is the feeling one gets from this card going off even 10% of the time. The function of the card is simple to understand, and when the card works, the advantage to the controlling player is game winning in a casual setting.
I play Consuming Aberration in a casual Mill deck, and while I am thrilled that I purchased my play set at a time when it was worth next to nothing, I will not be selling this card at $4 (or even $10 for that matter) because the money I would make doesn’t translate into much in the way of profit or playability in other formats.
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