What a Waste

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So that Wastes card is all but confirmed, isn’t it?

Wastes

This guy. The card that is *wink wink, nudge nudge* unconfirmed. I am not going to 100 percent say that we know this card is real, but I don’t think it would kill us to pretend it is.

Kill Shot

This card actually matters a great deal even if it’s not real, because it’s going to drive buying behavior for a little bit, and if it is real, everyone who was waiting for confirmation is going to act and only those who bought before they got confirmation are in a position to benefit. Let’s look at every possible consequence of this card within an EDH-finance perspective and try to see how much this card matters and how likely we think it is to be real.

I think it’s probably real. I’ve heard from a few people who design proxies, most notably “Proxy Guy” (@theproxyguy) that if this card is a fake, it’s flawless. For a while, the odd symbol on the card appeared like it might be a dreaded sixth mana color. Players who are optimistic like me when I’m drinking (but only the right amount and the right stuff—like, Whiskey Jason is only optimistic about his ability to beat school buses in fights and Tequilla Jason blacks out and tells people he invented time travel, but only a few hours into the future and your pants can’t travel into the future with you) will tell you they think this is just a basic land that taps for colorless mana.

How do we explain Newzilek (Newlamog rolls off the tongue so much better) and the fact that he has colorless mana in his casting cost?

Kozilek-the-Great-Distortion

 

Being charitable, we’ll assume the two diamond shapes are colorless mana that originated from a source that produces colorless mana and the other eight mana can come from colored sources. You can tap eight forests and two wastes, for example, but you can’t tap ten forests. That seems a little bit clunky and unintuitive, but the alternative is living in a world where Wizards of the Coast took all of the design work Johnathon Loucks did plus all of the feedback they have gotten from EDH players with colorless generals, put all of those things into a pile, and peed on them. Just peed right on that pile of mostly intangible concepts.

peepressure

I don’t want to live in a world where Wizards of the Coast pees on concepts. I want to live in a world where I can play Evolving Wilds in my Karn, Silver Golem EDH deck, should I ever hate winning enough to build that kind of deck. Although, maybe I will build it, because the idea of using Liquimetal Coating to assassinate their lands one by one or attack them for seven with Spine of Ish Sah makes me laugh.

So maybe it’s not just wastes that produce this diamond mana. Maybe other lands tap for it and maybe it’s just a new and totally unnecessary way to denote colorless mana. Did we have other clues? You bet.

mirrorpool

There’s that symbol again. So, either only lands from this set produce this mana (stupid) or this is the new way lands that tap for only colorless will denote that (stupid, but less stupid, so it wins).

Battle of Wits

Let’s ignore how totally hot sex Mirrorpool is in EDH for a few weeks, even though this card is. It’s hot, hot sex. Can you think of a deck that doesn’t want to do any of those things? Oh, you can’t? And Crucible of Worlds is a card? Interesting. I hope this card’s real. You know what else I hope is real? The last piece of the puzzle.

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mysticgate

There’s that fugly diamond again. I could kiss you, fugly diamond. I could kiss your fugly, foil f$^%*@# face.

I don’t want to talk about the price of a Mystic Gate Expeditions land will cost, because I just started thinking of the analysis I could do to figure it out, and correctly predicting the price of something that the market will dictate the price of before any of us can preorder them and no one can make any money from short of buying packs and busting them is a lot of work to show off, maybe be wrong, and not talk about what I wanted to talk about when I started writing this article.

"Ach! Hans, Run!"

Let’s stick with the task at hand. Still, if this is real, we’re getting foily, fantastic filter lands in EDH, and maybe some other formats, too, I guess. It also confirms the diamond symbol. There will be DIRE CONSEQUENCES.

Card with Symbols

268

I did this in MS paint because I was out touching girls’ boobs when the rest of you nerds were learning how to photoshop boobs onto the Facebook pictures of the girls in your homeroom class. The point still stands: if they’re committed to the stupid diamond thing outside of this block, and therefore for the rest of the time this wacky card game keeps selling, this is how the next Sol Ring might look. Why is this important? Well, it’s new. And new could matter.

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Oh, the plateaus and plummets of our old friend. Every time it looked like the card might get back on its feet, another reprint came and kicked the legs out from under it like old Brooks kicked the legs out from under the chair he was standing on when he carved “Brooks was here” in the support beam in the room in the halfway house where he was staying after getting paroled from Shawshank. Who’s going to feed old Brooks’s crows, now? Are you? No, all you care about is yourself.

Greed

Maybe you want to think about other people for a second, though. Because people have different opinions. Some people think Shawshank Redemption wasn’t one of the greatest movies of all time. They’re wrong, but since we can’t put a snubnose .38 in their face (the very same gun that was use to frame old Andy Dufrense) and force them to buy a DVD copy, we have to tolerate their points of view.

The point is: preference could come into play. I can’t guess at the exact distribution, but there will be people who prefer the new double diamond look of the Sol Ring from Commander 2016 which, let’s not pretend we all don’t think is happening, and the people who prefer the classic circle deuces look. People will prefer one or the other, and the new look could mean the price won’t be quite as cheap as we expect, even though there will be a Sol Ring in every deck. The price of the new, diamondy Sol Ring is likely to finish above the many different printings of the older ring, and the price divergence could stabilize the price of the older versions, as the preference players have for the different versions could have a stabilizing effect on the supply and demand curve.

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Ditto here, and maybe moreso.

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Colorless Cards

There are EDH staples and then there are narrower staples. It’s the manabase pain in the ass that kept people from building a deck with a colorless commander. There are a lot of colorless cards with upside if people start to build more decks with colorless commanders, made easier by Wastes. Maybe Newzilek would be a sweet commander.

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An artifact that is less useless in mono-artifact decks all of a sudden? Be still my beating heart. The Commander 2015 version of Marvin the Paranoid Android is hovering under $3 and has some real upside at that price. I don’t see it getting any lower. It’s a damn Solemn Simulacrum. True, there is a chance it’s reprinted a year from now, but I bet it goes up enough from $2.50 that you’ll be glad you bought in. Besides, being able to fetch Wastes is unprecedented for this card, and when people realize how much applicability it will have in a type of deck people weren’t building before, I see real upside. The original version is still the most expensive because it looks the coolest (why have an Invitational and do a portrait of the winner on the card they designed if you’re going to change the art later? It’s dumb) and because it’s super rare compared to the rest. It’s also got a foil version.

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The new applicability in the colorless decks could be the kick in the ass frowny Jens needs to climb the charts again. You could get an ugly 2012 version in foil, but you could also join the Hare Krishnas or pierce your own nipples with that kit you bought on Amazon because the directions looked so easy, and that cute goth chick in your computer programming class said “tight” when you mentioned you thought you might get a piercing (and you didn’t mean it), but maybe this could be your in; you could be like “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” and maybe the piercing she shows you won’t haunt your nightmares. The point is: don’t buy ugly foils and don’t pierce your nips. That chick’s getting back together with her ex, everyone knows that.

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The third printing, even though it was at mythic, brought this card down to a new low. According to EDHREC, this is a +47% synergy rating for Karn, Silver Golem, a commander with upside with Wastes. This can’t get cheaper barring a reprint, and it could be turning the corner already.

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This thing is almost impossible to reprint, and it’s already doing what we expect it to do. Dealer confidence could be higher, but you never know what caused the behavior which was following the plot to tail off. What we do know is this card is nutter butters with artifacts.

It’s not just artifacts that could benefit here. A new Kozilek and new Ulamog give us a chance at having sicko Commanders, ready to come out of the Command Zone and get into trouble. Although Wastes may figure into the mana base, it won’t be the only thing.

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Can we agree this card isn’t going anywhere but up?

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At first glance, there’s no money to be made here. Bulk rares in in-print sets that are non-mythic in the post-mythic era aren’t going to be significantly buoyed by EDH alone, but wait. Let’s look at another graph.

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Foils under $3? Thanks, generous multiplier stymied by a low non-foil price. If this card preserves this multiplier (it can’t) this could be a $50 foil as the non-foil grows, but I’m thinking we’re seeing a divergence due to the high desirability and low relative availability of the foil versus the non-foil, and I expect more divergence is possible.

We can explore a few more examples later. I have a final point I want to make.

Wastes Themselves

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Awwww, yiss. Playing with Wastes is going to be sicko. How do we evaluate the price of Wastes? Are they in every booster? Are they inserted as a sixth basic land? Do they replace a common? Are they mixed in with commons? Will this be the last set with them? What I think is important to know is that these will likely be discarded by Limited players and are worth jamming in a box if you get them for free. I think it’s unlikely they will be printed again soon, and if they are, I doubt it will be full-art. This is free money.

Untitled

Here’s a card to look at.  Four printings have beleaguered its price, but it’s still hanging in there. Imagine only one printing of this card. I realize it’s uncommon from a much older set, but it’s also a card that everyone who wants them wants a lot of. Foils are $4 to $7 depending on the set. Want a closer example?

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I feel like Wastes are$1 (or more!) cards waiting to happen. Snow-covered lands are cool, but Ice Age gave us a ton of them so the two printings limit the upside.

Here’s a price you should have memorized as we go into preorder season:

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Is $10 unreasonable for foil Wastes? I don’t think so. If you can get them for very cheap, imagine what a foil, full-art Wastes could go for very easily in a year or so. Will Wastes be in every set? Return to Return to Zendikar only? Will they never print them again? All I know is that we have some decent price corollaries and we should be mindful of them going into “busting packs of Oath of the Gatewatch” season. There will be full-art lands in the fat packs again, there will be Expeditions lands again, but there will also be foil Wastes. As far as I know, that’s worth paying attention to.

After my article last week went a little bit long, I was told my article this week would have a hard cap at 2200 words and that was non-negotiable. No matter what I was talking about, 2200 is the cap, so I need to work on being a little pithier. I understand the need to be more succinct in my writing and respect the decision to cap me. I’d like to thank you all for reading and I invite you to join me next week when the topic of my article will be


 

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7 thoughts on “What a Waste”

  1. You completely opened my eyes on Wastes. OMG you’re right, that card is going to be $. Let’s hope they are cheap when they come out so we can horde them!

  2. I’m really intrigued to see if they are real. I can see myself ordering a couple of boxes of Oath so i can have fun cracking them and stashing wastes for the future when i need some liquidity in my collection.

  3. I really, really hope this isn’t a new way of denoting colourless mana. Why, because I fear change and it would mean errata of countless cards.

    I dunno, as an old school MTG player, it just makes me uneasy.

    1. There would be no errata. “Remove from game”becoming “exile” didn’t errata anything, and neither would this. You would simple see a difference in the way mana is indicated on reprints, but they would all still function as always.

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