Rise of the Rise of the Eldrazi

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PAX Preview Pain

One of the downsides to my articles being published on Thursday means that I’m usually pretty late to the party for any Magic news that was shown over the weekend. For example. I was going to spend a few solid paragraphs thoroughly expressing my disgust for how Wil Wheaton butchered the Battle for Zendikar preview show at PAX, but I’m not even going to attempt to hold a candle to Travis Allen’s beautiful explanation on how much of a vomitfest that was. Seriously, if you were thinking, “Maybe I should watch the preview show. Seeing a dumpster catch on fire has no value to the world, but it’s kind of entertaining…”, then forget about it. Don’t give them your clicks or views. Just go be entertained and informed by Travis, then come back here.

Wizards of the Coast, if you’re reading this. Hire literally anyone else to do the preview show next time. Pick a random guy or girl out of the crowd, and let them do the preview show with flashcards or a teleprompter. It would have been better than the middle-school presentation that I had to dredge through. The only things that kept me remotely interested in the show were spoiled cards, MaRo’s interesting design talk, and this guy that I’ve circled in the below image.

Screenshot 2015-09-02 at 10.47.23 AM

Every time they panned back to the crowd, this guy was sitting in that exact pose, giving off that “yeah, I’m not gonna clap for this bad meme personified, just give me the damn spoilers” vibe. Mystery crowd member, you are my hero of the weekend.

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Eldra..gons of Zendi…tarkir

You know what? Forget it. There’s a clever joke in there somewhere, but I’m not going to sit here for twenty minutes and try to figure out what it is. I’ve got Magic cards to write about, not subheading puns.

My point is that back when Dragons of Tarkir was released, every goddamn dragon in the game suddenly went up approximately a billion dollars, just because everyone wanted to play dragon everything. Scion of the Ur-Dragon EDH, 60-card dragon casual, 78-card unsleeved dargon casual, you name it. Well, every dragon went up, except for the FTV copies of Bladewing the Risen that I’ve had for forever…

Anyway, the point is that with Battle for Zendikar quickly approaching, I think it’s time to look back at a few of the older Eldrazi and get in on them before any hype starts to lift them up off the ground. I want to look for safe targets that aren’t likely to plummet any time soon, and some of them will definitely be longer-term holds.

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While BFZ won’t be the “Eldraziest Eldrazi set that ever had Eldrazi” as DTK was with dragons, I still think there are some safe pickups and holds that have room to grow. A lot of the dragons that picked up the price pace weren’t even good in EDH, but were just being purchased by casual players who enjoy slamming big, fire-breathing threats onto the table. We’re going to look at a few parallels here in the old Eldrazi set.

Spawnsire of Ulamog

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Spawnsires

At only $3, I really like Spawnsire of Ulamog as a pickup. It dodged all reprints up until now, it makes a lot of mana dorks, and the last activated ability is perfect for both Timmy and Johnny to get excited about. The annihilator 1 is pretty irrelevant, but who cares? We’re casting every Eldrazi ever. Spawnsire gets a whole lot of new tools with this set, and I don’t think he needs to see competitive or EDH play to get up to $6 or $7 on casual demand alone. SCG is out of stock on NM copies at the moment, but has plenty of SP/MP. eBay is practically dried up of non-foil copies, and there are still quite a few on TCGplayer. Maybe this doesn’t pick up until casual players start cracking packs and building decks, but this is a card I’m very bullish on. You don’t see me pick out spec targets very often, but this is one of them.

Eye of Ugin

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I’ve heard some rumors and suggestions on Eye of Ugin recently, so I wanted to clear the air with my thoughts. Eye of Ugin just got reprinted into dust because of Modern Masters 2015 by being rare instead of mythic, and you only really need one, maybe two in a deck. I’ll admit that I almost had a heart attack when I considered using it with the devoid mechanic, because Forerunner of Slaughter is technically colorless… but you still need to pay colored mana to cast it. Maybe there’s still something there, though. It makes you only need one black mana to cast Dominator Drone, and if you’re in black then you can run Urborg to let Eye tap for mana… I don’t know. Maybe I’m crazy. Being able to tutor for “colorless” devoid creatures isn’t irrelevant late-game, but there’s just so many copies in supply right now. I’m calling Eye a hold for now, because I don’t want to give up on the possibility that there’s a really cool interaction in the set that we haven’t seen yet.

Awakening Zone

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Awakening Zone has been creeping and crawling very subtly over the past couple of months.

Azone

It’s easy to not notice a trend of a card slowly creeping from $2 to $3, and Awakening Zone has shrugged off two multiplayer product reprints  over the years. It doubles as a repetitive token engine and ramp spell, and we could definitely see increased demand with the new Eldrazi. It’s always been a semi-staple in Commander decks that can make good use of the tokens, but additional casual demand could put it in the $4 to $5 range relatively quickly.

Keep an eye on this one, but I don’t think we buy in at the $3 it is now. If you want to buy a $3 rare, go for Spawnsire. Just be ready to sell this off at $4 to $5 if it makes it there. I still think it’s a good trade target at $3, especially if you end up being able to move soon-to-be BFZ bulk rares.

Eldrazi Temple

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How the mighty have fallen. If it weren’t for the back-to-back reprints, I would’ve loved this as a pick-up. Everyone would have. Being dropped down to uncommon from rare basically kills any chance for this to be worth anything in the next ten years, so don’t even touch it, unless you’re picking bulk and basically getting them for free. Sell them for a quarter to all of the new Eldrazi players and enjoy the small demand bump, but don’t go hoarding them thinking that you have a master plan.

Pathrazer of Ulamog

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Did you know that Pathrazer of Ulamog is close to being a $3 uncommon? Yep, it’s worth almost as much as a Gitaxian Probe or a Boros Charm, and those ones actually see competitive play. I always preferred Artisan of Kozilek in my EDH decks because of the bonus reanimation and cheaper mana cost, but I suppose there’s something to be said about a higher annihilator number and pseudo-unblockability. At $3, though, I wouldn’t expect this to see any additional gains. The rule here is identical to how you’re moving Eldrazi Temples: be happy with the new buyers, and don’t look back.

End Step

Now, let’s step back into something more recent. Shaman of Forgotten Ways recently shot up to $8 off the back of pure, unadulterated hype, but there’s no actual decklists to back up the price tag yet. Because of that, I made the executive decision to list my copies on TCGplayer yesterday, and they sold in less than three hours.

Azone

Nick is correct in that it’s not particularly fair for me to say that I sextupled up purely from speculation, because I paid buylist prices for them anyway back when they were $2 retail. I was just happy to unload them into the incoming hype, when I still haven’t seen a tangible decklist yet for any sort of green ramp containing the new Eldrazi. Mark Rosewater confirmed that Ulamog was the only titan left on Zendikar, so we won’t be getting Emrakul or Kozilek as backup (at least in this particular set). I’m curious to see if there will be anything else worth slamming down for 10 or more mana mana; if not, then See the Unwritten and Shaman of Forgotten ways could both very well crash and burn. I don’t want to be holding them when that happens.

Do you have any pocket picks that you expect to jump up from the BFZ spoilers? Let’s continue the conversation below, or on Reddit, Twitter, or Facebook. I’m not picky.

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28 thoughts on “Rise of the Rise of the Eldrazi”

    1. I really don’t think there will be any non-Expeditions reprints in BFZ. They rode the nostalgia train by bringing back Landfall, Allies, and previous versions of other legends/walkers (Omnath, Ob Nixilis, etc.), so they have to make the rest of the set feel original and unique.

        1. Sorry. I mean Zendikar block specific reprints. RTR had Arrest, Giant Growth, etc, but they were just there for Limited and guild flavor purposes, not to resurrect any nostalgia of the original Ravnica block. I should have specified; I do not think BFZ will have any ZEN reprints (other than Expeditions of course)

  1. 1. Good you didn’t rant about the PAX presentation (read the comments on that article to see how the readers react to it, and they are right).

    2. Khans was only 1 year ago. What I remember is that the financial writers THOUGHT every dragon would go up, but I can tell you, this didn’t happen. A few did, but not what we expected.

    3. I also think that recent years proof that Edh demand is not a price driving factor anymore. Supply overruns EDH demand, which results in so many good EDH cards worth absolutely nothing these days.

    4. artisan of kozilek, bonus regeneration? You’re talking about the other uncommon eldrazi I think.

    1. 1. Thanks, I suppose. I still really enjoyed Travis’ description of it though, even if it might have been out of place in a finance based series.

      2. I exaggerate a lot. There were still several notable dragons that saw increases when no one expected them to (Zirilan of the Claw for example)

      3. I wouldn’t say it’s completely a non-factor. Cards like Prophet of Kruphix and Deadeye Navigator may have been printed enough to have them be dollar box worthy, but we can still use EDH as a factor of “how easily will I find a buyer for this card?”

      4. Read it again. I said bonus *reanimation*, because Artisan is a walking Zombify, an effect that has historically earned it the nod over Pathrazer in EDH, at least in my experience.

      1. The problem wasn’t that it was out of place for a finance article. The problem is that it was petty/childish bullshit.

  2. What about the likes of original Kozilek/Ulamog and say foil Eldrazi Conscription?

    One would think that with the recent Modern Masters and the anti-Annihilator climate these days such cards won’t be reprinted again for the foreseeable future. Do we expect them to revert to climbing steadily over time? Is there an expected cap on those sorts of cards?

    1. I definitely thing the MM15 Titans are at their bottom for the foreseeable future, although I don’t know how quickly they can return to their previous historic highs, or if they can ever again. If you need them for Cube or EDH, I think $20 Kozilek is the lowest he’ll be for the next few years. However, I wouldn’t advocate buying into them now expecting to see massive gains.

  3. Hey DJ,

    Thanks for another great article. I’m writing in to request a future Topic (apologies if it’s been done but I’m fairly new to MTG finance) I am interested in opinions on how alternate art/extended borders and other types of consumer made variants, impact the value of each specific card. For example; I have an Eldrazi print Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre which is altered to be the Stay Puft Marshmallow man and looks awesome… but does this damage or improve the price? Especially as eldrazi hype is gaining steam I get to wondering. Please chat with the guys about a finance series targeting these types of cards

    1. As someone who alters cards myself, I doubt it has ANY effect on the price of the card. Most of the time the artist does it as a commission for someone and if not, it will often be priced above FOIL-level (if the alter is good). But if someone has another point of you, I’ll gladly listen, since this may affect me in some way, too.

      1. I disagree here. Stores will almost NEVER buy altered cards, and you can’t sell them on TCGplayer/Pucatrade. You’re restricted to eBay and Facebook groups, and you have to find that one guy who really appreciates your alter enough to pay a premium for it. There are a lot of players who simply won’t use altered cards, or would consider them damaged goods.

    2. It depends on what kind of buyer you find. You’re limited to selling it through eBay or a Facebook group, because you can’t move it to a store (unless it’s in person, and even then most stores will turn you away), and TCGplayer isn’t an option. You have to find the one guy who really enjoys the alter and is willing to pay a premium for it, otherwise you’re stuck with it, because a lot of players consider them damaged goods and don’t want to risk not being able to play them in a competitive sanctioned event.

  4. So with Ulamog the only titan do you think See the Unwritten is worth sitting on or is now the time to sell? I picked up a dozen copies at 1$.

  5. On the topic of cards from Rise of the Eldrazi…

    I’m interested in thoughts on when to pick up two Modern-playable cards from that set: Ancient Stirrings and Inquisition of Kozilek.

    There’s a distinct possibility that both of them will be reprinted. We currently don’t have enough of the spoiler to say one way or the other. Stirrings is currently $3 and Inquisition is $13. A reprint will crash their price, but no reprint is going to increase it, especially the latter.

    $3-$5 stirrings isn’t the worst thing since much of Tron and Bloom are relatively inexpensive. I wouldn’t be surprised if Inquisition pushed $20 with no reprint, and that could be a real problem for those getting into Modern.

    I watched the PAX preview specifically to see if they spoiled Inquisition. When they didn’t, I immediately bought 2 copies to finish my playset.

    Speculators may not be interested in dropping $10/piece on uncommons, but I know I’m not the only player who has limited funds for decks and has to decide either to save up for expensive heavy hitters (like goyfs) or buy cheaper staples (like inquisition) in case of buyouts or substantial increases.

    I bought in when I did because I didn’t feel like refreshing the spoiler lists 20 times a day only to find that I missed the full spoiler (and price jump) by an hour. I was fortunate enough to have the extra money on hand (and I’m ok with losing $10 if it gets reprinted), but that’s not the case for everyone.

  6. DJ, I can’t deny that selling Shaman of Forgotten Ways now isn’t a good idea. I was high on him when he was released as a green devotion and Gen Hydra enabler but it wasn’t until now that players seem to realize how great he can be in a world without quality sweepers. There’s a very good chance he becomes the new “sylvan caryatid” for Abzan or used to enable the casting of Dragonlords and Eldrazi. That said, I was shocked my LGS was selling him for $8. Getting out now seems right even though I really like the card in multiple formats.

    If Ulamog is the only Eldrazi titan left I’m wondering what the other mythics in this set are going to be. So far my friends and I are really only excited about full art basics in the fat packs. The premium mythic lands seem like a good marketing ploy, but technically there isn’t that much extra artwork on the cards but you do get a minuscule chance to open a suped-up Scalding Tarn. I’d feel horrible for the person who opens up a case and only finds a full art version of the new BFZ dual for $600. What do you think the premium land subset is going to do to the value of the set (ie Khans and fetches driving the price of the other cards down)? I feel like this is a set I want to stay away from in regards to speculating.

  7. @Jimmy Bruno: Ulamog is the only titan left, which means no Inquisition of Kozilek reprint. And it wasn’t in Zendikar v Eldrazi which points it to being safe til MM17.

    1. I would agree if Kozilek’s Channeler wasn’t already spoiled. The titan’s non-presence on the plane hasn’t prevented its namesake from popping up, so it seems reasonable that inquisition could still appear.

  8. Saying that you haven’t seen any decklists with Shaman of Forgotten Ways is a reason to sell is ridiculous since we don’t have the cards to start suggesting reasonable decklists yet.

    1. And that’s exactly why the $9 price tag is ridiculous and unstable. The demand for this card is coming from “Oh shit maybe there will be some cards that work with this one that haven’t been spoiled yet!” I don’t want to hold cards based on that logic when there are other greater fools willing to buy in on pure hype.

  9. ANIMIST’S AWAKENING!!! (my pet spec)

    Why are people so damn obsessed with the Eldrazi? Didn’t you all hear that LANDFALL is back?

    Animist’s Awakening has already shot up 150% to 200% in the past week. I like it in landfall decks more than Eldrazi decks but still… How the fuck do people expect to get from 5 or 6 lands to 10 or 11 without a card like this? (Yes I know there are other options like Sword of the Animist which could very well end up being playable… but they weren’t under $1 last week!)

    The absolute LAST thing that will spike in price are those big ass creatures… The first cards that are seeing movement are all super obvious in my opinion. Mana Dorks and Ramp Spells. We are entering a format where everything good costs a crap ton of mana and people are still dumbstruck when they see cards like Shaman of the Forgotten Ways or Animist’s Awakening prices go up 200% in one week.

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