Going Mad – More Expeditions

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By: Derek  Madlem

We’ve known for a while that we were going to get 20 additional expeditions in Oath of the Gatewatch, then Mark Rosewater confirmed that they were, in fact, also going to be lands. The #mtgfinance hive mind quickly settled on the man lands and filter lands to be the most likely culprits. The “spoiling” of Mystic Gate seemed to confirm our suspicions, but then we were thrown for a bit of a loop and the dream scenario of ten random lands showing up  rather than the man lands came true.

Hierarchy

In my last article, I stated that the price for these lands doesn’t fall into a clear hierarchy like we saw with the fetches and shocks. We knew which were going to be the most expensive and every other would just fall in line behind it in a rough percentage based way. With this, that hierarchy is not as clear. Sure, we’re most excited about Wasteland at the top, and probably the least excited about Tectonic Edge, but then again…Tectonic Edge sees more tournament play than Wooded Bastion by a pretty significant margin.

So let’s take a look at each of these and figure out where they fit in with past printings financially.

Wasteland

wasteland

Wasteland exists in a really weird place on this list because it first appeared in a set that existed before foil printings but has since had three, count ’em three, promo foil printings. The prices breakdown of these is like this:

Original Art – $250
Second Printing – $205
2015 Judge foil – $275

The latest printing is still sitting a bit high because these haven’t been fully dispersed to judges yet, or maybe they have, who really understands the new judge foil program? I think it’s pretty reasonable to expect that $250 is going to be the ceiling on the Expeditions Wasteland because “OG” pimp trumps “new money” pimp, a phenomena we saw with the original Onslaught fetches vs. Expeditions.

I would expect the Expeditions copy to settle in the $200-225 range, and I also expect the 2015 Judge FOIL to fall into line around $200 with the second printing once they have been more widely dispersed.

Horizon Canopy

horizoncanopy

Horizon Canopy has the dubious honor of being expensive as all holy hell on the basis that it’s just kinda rare. It’s not widely played as more than a one of in Modern outside of Bogles and is pretty much only showing up as a singleton in Legacy Maverick and Death & Taxes decks.

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Current foil copies of Horizon Canopy are hovering around $175 and I doubt this copy is going to supplant the original. I’d put the ceiling for this card at $150, but realistically that number is going to creep lower as this takes much of the upward pressure off of the original printing of Horizon Canopy printings. Giving players an alternative when it comes to foiling out decks is never good for the price of the original and Canopy typically showing up as a one of doesn’t help…Expeditions make a great choice for singleton “pimping”. I’d expect this to settle out around $100-125.

It’s likely that these two are the “top dogs” of the Oath expeditions, but where’s everything else fit in?

Ancient Tomb

ancient tomb

This is where things get tricky. Ancient Tomb shows up in variety of Legacy decks and in Vintage Workshop decks. There is a foil printing of Ancient Tomb but is has a major issue – it’s a From the Vault printing. This series has been loved and hated for providing foil versions of cards that were never printed in foil and then doing so with a finish that makes the cards somehow less desirable. The Expeditions Ancient Tomb gives Magic’s 1% something that they don’t have to be ashamed of.

The FTV Ancient Tomb is hovering around $16 currently, and there is little chance that this isn’t in the 4x to 5x range of that printing right? Even an Expeditions Smoldering Marsh is $45, so $60-75 seems like a very easy threshold to cross, but where does it stop? I’ll be honest, I am not well versed in the mindset of Vintage players when it comes to pimping their decks. How do they feel about Expeditions in general? It makes perfect sense to prefer the original printing of a fetch land to the latest incarnation, but what about in a heads up dual with FTV?

There is a world where these end up closer to $200 than $100, but I’m not sure whether or not we’re living in it. The biggest drawback for Expeditions is the atrocious border and mostly opaque text boxes that keep them from actually being “full art”. Maybe there’s a few among those reading this that can shed some light on how the Vintage pimps feel about Expeditions.

Forbidden Orchard

forbidden orchard

Forbidden Orchard has what I feel is one of the cooler artworks in this round of Expeditions, but is pretty much featured in a single deck in all of Magic – Oath of Druids in Vintage. Pack foils for the original are under $20 and there’s also a FTV printing that’s sitting around $7, so the value of this Expeditions card is going to lean heavily on the question we asked with Ancient Tomb: how do the most hardcore of Vintage players feel about Expeditions in general?

Strip Mine

stripmine

Now if I was a smarmy turd, I would point out that the artwork for this appears to be quite the opposite of strip mining as it’s clearly underground…oh right, I am, and I did. Once you get past the technically inaccurate artwork for this, you have another FTV vs. Expeditions cage match. Strip Mine is only allowed as a one of in Vintage and gets heavy play in Commander because ruining someone else’s fun is the name of the game.

In general I feel like the low water mark for any of these Expeditions has to be the $45 mark we see with Smoldering Marsh, but pimping our Commander decks IS a thing, and shiny singletons still command (see what I did there?) a premium. With the FTV printing hovering around the $30 mark, I can’t see this being much more than $60, but again, who knows? Strip Mine is the only card that is literally in each and every Commander deck I’ve ever built, so I feel it’s pretty universal in that format and there are a lot of Commander pimps out there, not to mention that whole Vintage thing again…

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Dust Bowl

dustbowl

Dust Bowl is for those Commander terrorists that just want to watch the world burn. Pack foils for this card are around $75, so that seems to be a pretty reasonable ceiling for these as they do not really see much play outside of Commander.

Eye of Ugin

Eye of Ugin

One the topic of spicy one ofs we have Eye of Ugin. With two printings and foil copies for as low as $7, there’s not too much hope for this one unless there’s a sudden surge to really embrace Expeditions as the de facto pimp edition. While this does see constructed play in Modern Tron and fringe play in Legacy Cloudpost decks, it’s unlikely this one is going to get past that “technically it’s an Expeditions” price at the bottom of the pile.

Mana Confluence

Mana Confluence

Not really excited about this one kneecapping my spec on foil Mana Confluences for eternal formats, but at least the art has something happening on it this time around. Mana Confluence has the dubious honor of being the best land for a bad deck. Generally only showing up in Legacy Dredge and Modern Bloom Titan decks doesn’t help the forecast for this one immensely, but it’s ability to slot into nearly any multicolor Commander deck makes it at least a desirable card for some players. I’d put this one somewhere in the $45-60 range as it’s probably less desirable to own than any of the shock lands but it’s still a Expeditions land.

Kor Haven

korhaven

Kor Haven was a good catch on Wizards’ part for a land that’s cool and fits thematically on Zendikar. Kor Haven is one of those cards that I still feel like Commander players have failed to rediscover as foil copies have been steady around $45 for as far back as there are data points on it’s price. This doesn’t make for an extremely compelling case that this one’s price will be much different as it’s not likely that the Expeditions copy is even half as rare as the original printing. There’s a chance that the Expeditions copy being printed makes the Commander hive mind remember this card exists, but probably not enough to really move the needle.

Tectonic Edge

tectonicedge

Tectonic Edge has the dubious honor of being the worst of three uncommons to appears as Expeditions. This is going to see far more Modern play than Smoldering Marsh and friends, but it might be hard for players to get past the fact that Tectonic Edge was printed at uncommon during this decade. It gets played in Modern but not in any significant quantity. Sure it sees play in Commander, but mostly as a budget alternative to Wasteland and Strip Mine…and there just aren’t a ton of budget pimps in the world. Tectonic Edge is likely going to sit on the price floor, or be the one to break through it completely. I would not be at all surprised to see these as low as $25.

Filter Lands

firelitthicket

Filter lands haven’t made huge waves in constructed formats since their rotation from Standard, typically showing up as singletons outside of aberrations like the Geralf’s Messenger Jund before the Bloodbraid Elf ban. However, they remain extremely popular in Commander and are one of the premiere dual land cycles in that format.

Currently their prices range from Graven Cairns on the low end at $18 to Cascade Bluffs on the high end at $65. Wherever these fall on the spectrum, we can expect loose ranking based on color desirability with the blue ones on the top end and the Naya colors on the low end with black / red trailing as the caboose, because let’s face it – nobody likes Graven Cairns.

I think it’s fair to guesstimate these falling primarily in the $50-75 range, as there’s not a huge demand to push these above and beyond their predecessors.

Wild Cards

The two questions that will most impact the prices of these Expeditions are “how are these received by Vintage players?” and “how much do Commander players care about consistency?” It’s quite possible that demand (and therefore price) for the filter lands goes higher if Commander players embrace these lands in general.

If you’re already pimping your commander deck with Expeditions shocks and fetches, there’s a decent chance you say “might as well” and follow suit with filter lands, Wastelands, Strip Mines, and Mana Confluences. A similar phenomena is possible within the Vintage community when it comes to the Ancient Tomb/Forbidden Orchard/Mana Confluence conundrum.

Of course there’s always those eBay preorder prices to  look at for reference…looks like Forbidden Orchard is sitting unsold at prices anywhere between $55 and $400 so you can take that for what it’s worth.

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5 thoughts on “Going Mad – More Expeditions

  1. I love your analysis for these lands and am really glad I read your article because it has really tempered my expectations for the values of these vs. the BFZ Expeditions. One thing I think you missed, or maybe i missed in your article: How is the New Colorless Mana Symbol going to affect prices?? I think the Wasteland art (and Strip Mine) are just awful, but they are the first and only versions with that new little colorless mana symbol on them. I’m curious if the Vintage community or some collector group cares and targets these Expeditions with colorless mana symbols as the chase cards to have as they are the first and most rare (possibly).

    Forbidden Orchard has the best artwork, and i guess that makes up for the fact that whomever opens the card can’t do a thing with it except admire it and sell it (it doesn’t even have the colorless mana symbol on it which makes it a very weird inclusion). Are these all the lands because I feel like Boseju was left out and it makes more sense than Orchard? Horizon Canopy also has nice artwork, but as time has passed it seems like more players like the uniqueness of the Future Sight frame, but thank you for the great value analysis of the card. When it gets a MM reprint and if it’s new art it will be interesting to see how the price is affected.

    In your opinion, do you think they should have had the man lands over the filter lands if all these random lands were included? The random Expedition lands (is there a good name for them?) seem to be an odd inclusion as they really don’t generate excitement in 90% of the players that will open them vs the Expeditions from BFZ. At worst the Battle/Tango lands can be played in Standard or the draft they were opened in, what the heck is a draft or sealed player doing to do with Ancient Tomb, Orchard, Wasteland, etc?

    I too am a little worried about my foil Mana Confluence spec with it being included and don’t quite get it. 1. It was just printed, 2. It doesn’t need the errata of the colorless mana symbol on it, 3. The artwork is roughly the same or worse than the original. I actually think the Mana Confluence Expedition will be less than Journey foils, or the same, but a bit disappointing for my financial spec regardless.

    Thanks for your work over the past year. I enjoy your articles (and rantings) the most. Happy holidays!!

    1. Thanks Spencer!

      Answers:
      Boseiju wasn’t included because it’s a specific location on Kamigawa, all of the lands that were included make sense existing on Zendikar. Otherwise I would have expected to see Dark Depths or Grove of the Burnwillows.

      I think the man lands would have been pretty cool promos if they got the art right on them, whereas the filters are somewhat generic by nature.

      I don’t think there’s going to be anything “collectible” about the new mana symbols, if people like the expedition frame / layout then they’ll pick them up, but can’t see anyone caring about the mana symbols.

  2. Solid analysis on all these. Looking at Judge Foil Wasteland again…that flavor text certainly feels like a bit of an Easter Egg. 🙂

    (or probably just an inside joke w/secondary market, haha..)

  3. As a connoisseur of older formats I opine that the colorless mana symbol is crap and pretty much sums up everything I hate about WOTC’s current direction. But one magician does not make a council, so take as you will.

  4. much better analysis of the expeditions than your last post. I think you did a good job of assessing the factors that will push and shove prices.

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