Old Dogs, New Tricks

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Whaddup, nerds?

It’s time for another installment of “Jason talks about cards that will slowly but inevitably double or triple in value over the next 6 months to a year but not many people are going to notice because everyone is trying to make $0.50 a copy on non-mythic rares in a post-mythic era from a set with Masterpieces in it because Pro Tour hype is the best hype there is” which is the new subtitle of this series. The nautical theme felt forced, after all. If you’re still reading, it’s because you like MTG Finance on easy mode, same as me. Do you want to make a bunch of money? Go buy every copy of Black Market you can find and sit on them. It’s not every day we find a card that is so obviously and inevitably going to go up, after all. I shouldn’t have to make good calls like that all the time – Black Market has enough potential that I should be able to retire from MTG Finance.

I can’t, though. I am going to keep writing every week and coming up with other picks for you. They might not be as good or as obvious but  I always use the smart part of my brain to keep track of what’s going on and tell you what to do about it. Unfortunately there isn’t a ton to be excited about from Kaladesh at this point in terms of commanders that are going to shove other prices up so I was at a bit of a loss this week. That was, until I realized Kaladesh cards are going to be used to update other decks and if those decks gain in popularity as a result of new printings that change their relative popularity, the cards in the decks have more upside than they used to. All of the cards in the decks. It was an interesting thought and it didn’t take me very long to find an excellent example of just what I’m talking about.

Everything’s Relative

When I say “relative popularity” I mean its popularity relative to the other decks in the format and the format itself. It’s hard to track something as nebulous as “true” popularity because you wouldn’t know if the increase in the number of decks being built indicates a change in preference or a change in the overall popularity of the format. That’s why I like how EDHREC is set up because you can nearly eyeball decks that are gaining in relative popularity without having to do any math, and by “math” I mean “looking at 2 numbers and seeing which number is larger” a lot of the time. At worst you need to calculate a ratio.

It didn’t take long to see that Mizzix of the Izmagnus was making moves. Mizzix is the 19th most popular commander on EDHREC of all time with a whopping 616 decks dedicated to the weird Goblin Wizard thing. 19th overall isn’t bad but when I noticed it was the 4th most popular over the last month and the 6th most popular this week, I figured something was up. It leapt past Leovold earlier in the month and the only reason it’s not in 3rd this week is for the same reason Mizzix itself is moving up in relative popularity in my view – new cards. Ezuri is being built and redrafted because of Rashmi and Panharmonicon. Brago is being built and redrafted because of Cloudblazer and Panharmonicon again. Queen Marchesa got Kambal, Chandra, Authority of the Consuls and some land. Nearly exactly as many Mizzix decks were added this week as Queen Marchesa, Ezuri and Brago; essentially the relative popularity of all of those decks are the same but Ezuri and Brago are more popular relative to the total number of decks on EDHREC so the change is most profound in Mizzix’s case. Quibbling beyond that makes little sense because I could easily plumb through Brago and Ezuri lists for picks and I might do that next week if I’m not distracted by something else that seems more important.

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New Pizzix in the Mizzix

Why the spotlight on Mizzix all of a sudden? What did it even get that makes people care?

First and foremost, I think although Aetherflux Reservoir is a pretty obvious Ayli/Oloro/Karlov card, it has applications here. Gaining life when you do what you were going to do already (play spells) and either buying yourself a cushion to help you not die or giving yourself the ability to point and click delete someone at the table is appealing. This card is going to be expensive in a year or two but for now, it’s not going to push up individual cards so much as decks. You’ll want to either gain a ton of life the hard way or play a ton of spells and gain life the… other hard way. Look, being able to treat an opponent like Alderaan shouldn’t be easy.

The other card that is more unique to Mizzix in my view is Metallurgic Summonings, a card I’m not super sold on. Luckily my skepticism steered people away from preordering, which would have been a mistake. Now if the card is actually good in EDH I get to jump on the bandwagon and act like when I write about it, I’m discovering the card. It’s a win-win for me, which is rare because normally the position of having to evaluate cards in formats you don’t play sucks. If Summonings ends up a good cards, Mizzix will be one of the few decks that can really take advantage of it. You have mana rocks and such so even if they start picking off the little durdle monsters you summonings, you should still be able to hopefully qualify for the “ultimate” on Summonings and serve a bunch more spells to their domes.

Insidious Will is not a card that was an impetus for Mizzix seeing more play, nor was Spirebluff Canal nor was Saheeli’s Artistry, but I think all of these cards make the cut in a decent percentage of Mizzix decks, but it’s hard to say how greedily people want to jam new cards considering they’d have to cut something out of a deck that was already running well if they want to make room for new stuff. That’s easier for a Fast Land than it is another Cryptic Command, although Insidious Will is too many cards in one not to consider. It does everything this deck wants.

What’s got upside moving forward if we get a sustained increase in the popularity of Mizzix that isn’t completely nipped in the bud by Commander 2016?

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Mizzix’s Mastery’s graph is a bit all over the place, but with the price seeming the plateau and there being little chance of decreases in the price of cards like Mystic Confluence, it seems like we’re entering a period where the total price of cards in the precon will no longer be bound by MSRP. This means Mizzix’s Mastery can go up in price without anything else going down. The weird balancing act of MSRP enforcing the total price will be out the window, so watch Mastery. It hasn’t impacted Legacy (and who’s even playing Legacy anymore?) the way we might have hoped, but it’s impacting Mizzix decks in EDH and every copy that ends up in a Melek or Jeleva deck means there is one person who has a copy of Mizzix that needs a copy of Mizzix’s Mastery that didn’t come from the same precon as the Mizzix. If you need 1.01 copies of Mizzix’s Mastery for every Mizzix deck built, you’re going to see the price move. I like it at its current price (near historic low) a lot.

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Even though this card is at its historic high point, it’s by no means done going up. EDH is pushing the whole cycle (except Increasing Devotion, which was pantsed by a reprinting) up and now is basically your last chance. These cards are decently reprintable, but with them all but ruled out for Commander 2016 and not super likely in Commander 2017, you have a few key venues for reprinting them ruled out (not ruled out per se, but I’m confident enough that they’ll dodge reprintings in both C16 and C17 to the extent that I’d bet my own money).

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It’s hard to find a card that seems more directly tied to the fate of Mizzix. As Mizzix gains in popularity, demand for this card will grow at an equalish (not 100% of Mizzix decks run this, though they all should) rate. Expensive and powerful, this is the perfect example (another would be Expropriate) of a card that rewards you for doing what Mizzix does. Once this costs like 4 or 5 mana because you have so many experience counters that every spell is trivial to play, you’ll see how trivial winning the game is, also. You should be able to find a way to win the game if you resolve this and if you don’t, a Feldon’s Cane or a Mizzix’s Mastery or something should be able to finish them off. Drawing your entire deck, discard all but 7 cards then aiming a big Mastery at the table is a very satisfying way to win, and casting Enter the Infinite for cheap seems ideal. This spell was made for Mizzix and as Mizzix gets more popular, expect this to grow – not that it wouldn’t have anyway.

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This is never getting cheaper. With multiple decks that want this effect, though perhaps none more than Mizzix, and Origins fading fast from memory, this little enchantment that could, and still can, is a pretty safe pick-up. Its effect is very simple but the scry on top of the spell cost reduction means it’s never irrelevant, even when you have more experience counters than you know what to do with and your opponents can’t seem to even temporarily get Mizzix off of the board. I like this moving forward.

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This I’m interested to watch. I don’t know whether Mizzix is going to push it up all that much or not, but what I do know is that I should keep an eye on this card and this reminded me of that. It’s not so much what this card does or doesn’t do, although that factors. What is most interesting is that this will be a good test case for how recently a spiked card can grow based on some sort of demand (if there is any mind you – this is all contingent on a “maybe”) because copies never got a chance to fade into the woodwork. Are we at an artificial low because price memory is propping the price irrespective of demand? Will that matter if new demand kicks in and the card begins to climb? Are there too many copies because there are a lot of copies of any recent card? I want to see what happens to this card, an EDH staple to be sure, because it can inform what will happen to other cards that are picked up by casual formats as soon as they are out of Standard (this might help us figure out what is going to happen to Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time, also, though I think I already know ).  How the price of Goggles diverges from a card like The Chain Veil will be incredibly instructive. Then again, The Chain Veil could leave the goggles in its wake, and that wouldn’t surprise me, either.

That does it for me this week. I hope you’re not let down – I kind of expected a few juicier cards in the Mizzix deck, but there is a real problem with something I’m calling “The precon effect” that I’ll delve into a bit deeper. Possibly not on this website – it’s possible I’ll be writing more EDH content in addition to my current MTG Price and Gathering Magic articles very soon, and I’ll announce that here when I know more. Thanks for sticking with this series, everyone. Until next week!

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14 thoughts on “Old Dogs, New Tricks”

  1. So my question to you, oh guru of casual, what is your long term predictions for the Dragonlords of DTK and the legendary wedge leaders from KTK? Foil/Non foil if you have an evaluation on both or either.

    I’m currently purchasing multiple playsets of all, save for Kolagahn. I’m thinking that the long term value is similar to the Gods, and will just eventually triple up over time. Foils I see reacting differently dependent upon their eternal format play (see Dromoka).

    1. I think cross-format play is more applicable than EDH demand at this point. If the set was opened at all, it’s really tough for Legendary creatures to get there solely based on their applications as EDH generals unless they’re foil. I see the foil multiplier growing for a while before the non-foil price even flinches, but that’s based on the past and we haven’t really had a block jammed with dragons before, have we?

    1. What is the point in being so negative? If you don’t like his articles, just stop reading them. There is zero reason to be rude to someone you don’t know.

      1. Fair enough. Apologies for the rudeness.

        At the same time it is a bit rich from the saltiest of the Saltlands, who makes a point of making fun people he doesn’t know on two podcasts.

        I had written more in-depth, but at the end it is squabbling over opinions.

        I believe that Aetherflux Reservoir and Mettallurgic Summonings are a bit obvious and on the nose, because any deck low on creatures, that draws a lot of cards will like these two cards. That they are in an RU Artifact set makes them more so.

        Insidious Will is more of a standout card because of the versatility being able to counter/copy/redirect, which can be very relevant in any manner different EDH games.

        Also recently your articles feel a little top heavy. You start of great put it then peters out a bit towards the end.

        Now don’t go off the wall here, I am just trying to say that I liked your earlier stuff a bit better before it became more of a fixed pattern. And it would be nice to see more of that from the EDH finance guy rather than this now.

    2. 2,000 words is 2,000 words. I assume you’re implying it takes less time every week because I’m getting better at this and I appreciate the compliment.

  2. I was worried we wouldn’t see your articles here anymore, but am glad you are still writing. 🙂 Please keep us abreast of where all you will be writing here if you can and definitely on twitter so we’ll be able to read your stuff going forward. It’s one of the articles I look forward to getting as often as possible. Thanks again for writing them.

    1. There was a technical issue that prevented this from being published last week. I’m still on MTG Price for the forseeable future – if I pick up a new writing gig it would most likely be at the expense of my series on Gathering Magic, not this one. Thanks for reading.

  3. Well … if all us hecklers run Jason off then we will actually have zero articles . It’s easy to see that every body has a bit of a waning interest in this project here …. Still no Kaladesh pricing available.

    Jason, how are things going over there? Is there any actual plan to regain momentum on this website? The issues are evident but improvement on the situation sure doesn’t seem to be.

    I had commented on one of James’ articles a couple months ago requesting a refund for my pro trader payment which happened automatically in spite of my emails requesting otherwise- James responded on his comment thread but never to my actual email. As of now you’re the only bit of value that I can seem to utilize here and I hate to say it but I do agree the lack of care is evident and is translating to a vanishing viewer base. 2000 words IS 2000 words but in general I don’t pay to just hear rambling-I can get that for free from my girlfriend.

    SerMikey was not wrong and he also wasn’t rude in the way he posed his question. We are consumers who have paid for a product which has been spiraling downward to a point where the guy running MTG STOCKS is actually producing more articles for free as a side project, alone, than this once fine place of knowledge.

    What are we to expect moving forward?

    To reiterate I do really enjoy your articles and have made some great pickups at your suggestion. Thank you.

    1. I wasn’t asserting that you called him rude. Thank you for responding to ONLY that portion of my comment though because it was really important to me that we clear that up …

  4. Well im not exactly sure what i stumbled across but these comments are riveting!!! Jerry Jerry Jerry !!!

  5. Which version of black market to you advise buying? Is the buy in for the older, more expensive copies worth it in the end?

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