All posts by Cliff Daigle

I am a father, teacher, cuber and EDH fanatic. My joy is in Casual and Limited formats, though I dip a toe into Constructed when I find something fun to play. I play less than I want to and more than my schedule should really allow. I can easily be reached on Twitter @WordOfCommander. Try out my Busted Uncommons cube at http://www.cubetutor.com/viewcube/76330

Should We Preorder Any Mythics?

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The whole set is revealed, and we’ve got some breathing room to think about the new set, instead of trying to cram it all together into that first weekend.

As a result, we can take our time on preorders, and decide if we want in or not. Mostly we won’t, but there’s a couple of cards that could be in line to go up significantly out of the gate.

Let’s get to the cards! This week, all the mythics. Next week, select rares.

Arclight Phoenix ($2.50): No. Not even a little. When you have to do work to get your Phoenix back, and fulfill specific conditions, the card is not good and not worth it. I expect this to be a bulk mythic, because even if you jump through the three-spell hoop, the payoff isn’t too strong and dies again pretty easily.

Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice ($10): This is super tempting, as by herself, she’s a 4/5 trample vigilance for four mana. That’s a pretty crazy rate, and given the abundance of Boros aggression it’s very possible for this card to take over games, just with Swiftblade Vindicator. Plus, she gives her bonus before Mentor triggers, meaning that she can help grow your army for a while. All that being said, she would need to be commonly played and also played a lot for her to go up much from this price. I suspect she will bump up a little at first, and then start to trickle down. Please note the current curve of Resplendent Angel – Aurelia – Lyra Dawnbringer and be amazed when that isn’t a top tier deck with that quality of creature.

Besties!

Chance for Glory ($4.50!): This early price is 100% due to the hopeful brewers out there. If Gideon of the Trials wasn’t rotating, then we could talk, but as it is I can’t imagine this being more expensive and I fully expect it to tank.

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I will admit that when foils get down to the $4 range, I’m probably going to stock up, as that’s a fun line of text which doesn’t have an ‘end of turn’ deliberately.

Divine Visitation ($11): There’s no shortage of Commander decks that are frothing at the mouth to add this card. The new tokens have vigilance built in, which I believe is unique and just icing on the ‘Oh, okay, we’re all dead now’ cake. I fully expect this to hold its current price for a while, and if a token deck shows up in Standard it’ll be a $20 card.

I will badly want to buy foils of this for long-term holds but I don’t think there will be many. This would be a $2 rare but as a mythic, I suspect it’ll settle in the $6 range.

Doom Whisperer ($13): Effects where you pay life and get an effect are very strong, and I’m not going to be shocked when this card gets broken in Modern. It’s also huge for the mana cost, big enough to take on Lyra, and the combination is very appealing. Even if the creature is immediately killed, the ability will give some value right away.

Maintaining this price will require being part of a Standard combo or instant success (or on-camera shenanigans) in Modern. It’s at least $20 if that happens, but the more likely event is that it drops below $10 and approaches $5. I have a suspicion that the broken combo will come along sooner, rather than later.

Dream Eater ($3.50): I think this will replace Torrential Gearhulk as a finisher for blue decks. It’s not the same level of value engine, but the combination of flash, a decent body, surveil 4 AND bounce a nonland is too much for the blue control decks to pass up. This is going to go higher at first, as it’ll be widely adopted in Teferi decks, and I think it’ll go as high as $10. I’ve preordered four, and I’m reassured that it’s not an expensive card.

It’s a more balanced Gearhulk.

Lazav, the Multifarious ($8): This is spot on for a legend with a janky ability. I’d expect a lot of Entomb/Buried Alive effects to play very well with him,

March of the Multitudes ($6): Absolutely not. It’s an instant, and that’s good, but Secure the Wastes is better in most situations. It’ll get played in a few Commander games, as doubling your creature count is a winner, but this is so much of a win-more card. It’ll end up as bulk.

Mnemonic Betrayal ($6): Also no. Far too conditional, and while it’s going to make for some fun stories, it just can’t reach an efficient level unless your opponent is a fizzled Storm player. Also bulk.

Nullhide Ferox ($9): I respect Steel-Leaf Paladin into this into Gigantosaurus, but white decks just got the perfect card to answer big green in Citywide Bust. This is huge for four mana, and requires mana plus a kill spell just about immediately, and that’s good. Also good is that you’d likely run the full four if you’re playing with this card, but I don’t see him holding this price. Much more likely is a drop to the $4 range.

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Ral, Izzet Viceroy ($13): So yeah, Ral does all you’d want for a control-oriented planeswalker. Draws cards, the plus ability feeds into the minus, and a backbreaking ultimate. I foresee many people trying to build Jeskai decks in Standard around him and Teferi. I think those decks will eventually get there; what I’m not sure about is how many they’ll play and what the market is for him otherwise. Teferi is sick because he gives you a card and the mana to use it right away, where Ral requires setup. Not impossible, though. I think his price will go up a little and settle a little, but $13 is close enough to the long-term price that I’m not pre-ordering him.

He’s got that Travis Allen ‘get me a razor that stops 2 mm above my skin’ look.

Thousand-Year Storm ($5): This is going to be one of those bulk nonfoils/$8 foils that see see occasionally. Super-mega-niche card, and it’s only going to make the durdling Commander decks durdle harder with a 20-minute turn that mercifully ends the game. Please don’t buy this.

Trostani Discordant ($6): This comes with two 2/2 lifelinkers, and that’s good. Pumps your horde of tokens, also good. They doesn’t enable a lot, and so I’m staying away, financially. I’m with you 100% if you’re adding this to your token-themed Commander deck, but this is going to be $1-$2 before long.

Underrealm Lich ($6.50): This is verrrrrrry intriguing. Vraska’s Contempt and Settle the Wreckage are both exile effects, which makes the activated ability lame as hell, but the draw replacement is VERY powerful. They don’t stack up well together, but I think this is going to grow a bit. I’m not sold enough to think that it’ll hit $20, but it’ll see enough play to get to $10. That’s not a big enough jump for me to want to preorder it, though.

Vraska, Golgari Queen ($18): I really want her to be awesome, but I just don’t see it. Her drawing a card is conditional, and while the -3 is great on turn four, it’s pretty terrible as a topdeck turn 8. I think she’ll fall in price some, down to the $10 range, but likely no lower. The bar for Planeswalkers is pretty high right now, given Teferi and Karn.

 

Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP (next up: Oakland in January!) and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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What Mythic Edition Means

If you listened to MTG Fast Finance last week (and you really ought to, it’s free money and scintillating conversation) then you heard James and I discussing the impact of the Mythic Edition of Guilds of Ravnica.

In the time since, I’ve been thinking about that set and what it means for players, and for collectors, and people who care about the financial aspects of this decision.

Come with me, and let’s talk about what they might be trying to do.

First, let’s talk about what the set is. From their page:

The product will be a Draft-sized (24 pack) box of Guilds of Ravnica, with the twist that eight packs (they’ll be clearly marked) will each come with one of these planeswalker cards inside the pack (plus the normal rare or mythic rare card). You will know which packs have these special planeswalkers, so this can make for an exciting Draft experience. Or just crack the whole box. You do you.

So you’re dropping $250 on a box, which is about double plus some for the average box. Maybe even triple, depending on the box and where it is in the price cycle.

The amazing part of this box is the eight packs which each has a different borderless Planeswalker, the first official ones of this kind, though there have been assorted borderless alterists and online artists who’ve made these ‘super-art’ styles for years and years. This is a lazy set of Masterpieces–This isn’t original. It’s not going somewhere new. I prefer Invocations  to these cards, and I don’t like Invocations much.

The art choices, aside, one thing is clear: If you can get this at the original MSRP, then you’re set. It’s a slam-dunk at that price, having 24 packs of Guilds of Ravnica, and 8 of those packs (they will be clearly marked, it seems) with the special Planeswalkers, so those packs will have an extra card. Shouldn’t be too much of a disruption, as you’ll still get a regular mythic or foil. It’s not clear if that’s replacing a common, or if the number is now one more.

If regular packs are $4, then this is $64 worth of packs. Even at $3 a pack, which is your price if you’re buying a box at $108, that’s $50 of value before we get to the main attraction.

You’re getting eight foil planeswalkers for $200. Only $25 each! Let’s look at these current foil prices before we get into anything else.

Name

Foil Price(s)

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Dominaria $95

Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Duel Deck $14

MM 2013 $35

Shards of Alara $43

Liliana, the Last Hope

Eldritch Moon $99

SDCC 2016 ‘Zombies!’ $125

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

Duel Deck $7

Magic 2013 $22

Conflux $27

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Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast

Conspiracy 2 $59

Ral, Izzet Viceroy

No foil prices yet, but the regular is preselling around $15, so likely $30 or so.

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

Mirrodin Besieged $68

Vraska, Golgari Queen (presumably)

None listed yet, but preselling for ~$25, so the foil should be $40-$50 easily.

With these prices, there’s a LOT going on. Will these be as valuable as the pack foil? Possibly. The only time we’ve seen something close to this as been the assorted SDCC promo planeswalkers, and that printing consistently represents the most expensive versions of those cards, even if the cards aren’t that pricey.

So with this in mind, at ~$200 for the set of eight, you’re looking at about $470 worth of pack foils. That’s ridiculous value, quite frankly, and it’s guaranteed. You’re not hunting for an Expedition or the like, you’re simply going to have to brave the website and the inevitable crashes. You know exactly what you’re getting, and even the worst of these (Ral) is going to be a $30 card.

He’s got that maybe $30 face too.

There are variables at play, like the website’s terrible interface and the fact that these can’t be shipped outside the USA at this point, but the primary one is going to be the total number made. If there’s a lot, if everyone gets as many as they want, then I’d still have a hard time believing that it’s not at least a break-even. Teferi has a year left to warp Standard, and he’s popping up in other formats too. Liliana sees some play, but a lot of her price is due to small-set mythic supply. Tezzeret is from forever ago. Daretti doesn’t have much demand either.

I can see a world where the Teferi is $75, Liliana is $40, and the rest are hovering in the $20 range. That’s still $235 just from the eight planeswalkers, and that’s the worst-case, mega-overprinted scenario.

Yep, still a whole year in Standard.

Wizards’ track record is to underprint things, and they’re right to do so here. These foils are the definition of a luxury item, as you could collect this set in nonfoil for around $150. When you are hunting special versions, you’re in luxury-goods territory, and keeping those scarce is good.

What I really don’t like is how this feels like a giant middle finger to local stores. The buy-a-box promos are an attempt to bring business to the stores that keep events and registration high, and this bypasses the stores entirely. This isn’t FTV, where stores got to have a markup that was pure profit for them. This is cutting out the middleman, and testing the waters of how much profit they can siphon away from those stores.

Using the local stores would have allowed for worldwide distribution, and it’s a shame that Wizards is neglecting the rest of the world this way.

Finally, I want to address resales. Should you buy this on eBay, if you can’t get through on the site? I’m going to lean in and say no unless you’re getting them for $300, but not as high as $350. Sure, these look fun, but aside from being borderless, they are the same cards with different art.

These are unlikely to spike, too. The planeswalker sets from SDCC show that their prices are super high early, and after the GIMMEGIMMEGIMME wave wears off, it tapers down. I bought an SDCC Liliana of the Dark Realms for $90 three years ago. She’s $87 now. There will be people making money on this set for a while if they got in at $250, but the best money is going to be in immediate flips. Don’t hang onto sealed sets of this product, if you happen to get your two.

Do you want your $90 now, or your $90 in three years?

I don’t mind Wizards doing this, selling the premium versions of this directly, except for how it takes potential profit away from local stores and hoses non-North Americans. These versions are lackluster Masterpieces to me, but I felt that way about Invocations too. For future releases of a product like this (and there’s very likely to be more of this) I’d expect them to slowly increase how many get sold, and hopefully figure out how to let international buyers get some too.

Please remember that these are promos of something that already exists for cheaper. Don’t freak out because there’s a more expensive version of a card. Get the one you need/want/can afford and move on.

 

Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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Previews and Shocklands

Guilds of Ravnica previews officially start next week, and while we have a smattering of cards, we also know that the shocklands are back.

Again.

I got this question three times over the weekend, in some form or another: “What should I do about shocklands?”

I’m here to answer that for you, along with a couple of cards that have potential to do very well in the new Standard.

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To learn how ProTrader can benefit YOU, click here to watch our short video.

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Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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Amonkhet Block at Rotation

Last week I had some picks for what to acquire now that Kaladesh block is FINALLY rotating. Amonkhet is also going, and this is our chance to pick up some cards dirt cheap.

I’ve got a combination of cards that are already good but underpriced, the casual foils I am targeting, and the spec cards that might not be worth much now, but in a world where Wall of Kelp is $10, anything is possible!

First up, Amonkhet, and then Hour of Devastation, the last small set we’re ever going to have until Wizards decides to go back to this model in two years.

As Foretold ($6 nonfoil/$20 foil)

There’s a few fringe decks using this, and it caused several of the nonexistent-mana-cost cards like Restore Balance to spike hard. What remains true is that this is a unique and powerful engine, and it’s a mythic that would be a four-of in the deck trying to break it.

Eventually, it’s going to get broken. Someone will figure out a new combo, or a new card will be printed that makes this a totally ridiculous play.

It’s not a big casual card, being in 3700 decks on EDHREC, but I want to have some of these for when Modern brewers make this the new terrifying play. Whenever it happens, I’d expect the nonfoils to hit $20.

Anointed Procession ($6/$10)

First of all, these foils are too cheap or the nonfoil is too expensive for the current prices. The ratio doesn’t line up at all. I’d expect this to either be $3 nonfoil or something like $15-$18 in foil. Frankly, I’m not sure which it is, but I’m super-in on foils at this low price. It’s in 6700 EDH decks, and that’s not bad for such a recent card. Compare to Parallel Lines, which is $18 and in 14,000 decks online. I think that’s a case of reverse recency bias, where older cards have just been around for a longer time, building up fans and decks. White is very good at making tokens, and I think the foil is due to correct upward by at least $10. There’s 80 copies on TCG, compared to 60 foils of something like Soul-Scar Mage or 200+ for Prowling Serpopard.

Soul-Scar Mage ($2/$5)

I’m hoping that the rotation in October floods the market a little on this card. It’s seeing just enough Modern (UR Wizards) and Legacy (UR Delver) to be worth putting a few copies away, I’d just like to get in as cheap as possible.

A wild ride indeed!

The reason both of those decks are running this card is because it’s a one-drop with Prowess, so a deck stuffed with cheap spells and interactions is going to have a field day with this.

I would prefer to get in at $1 or less, or hopefully $3 on the foils, but there’s a good chance that we are at the bottom for this card. It’s done a lot of coming and going, as the graph shows, but I’m hoping that people dump their supply.

Hour of Devastation

Crested Sunmare ($5.50/$8)

This is another card where the prices just don’t line up. There’s 120 nonfoils on TCG, and 60 foils, so there’s not a huge gap in supply. A price like this makes me think that the card has been carving up Standard, and people are playing the foil and the nonfoil at almost an equal rate. I can’t find any decks with this doing well in Standard, either.

Regardless of why (I wish I knew but shrug) the important thing is that the foils seem quite underpriced. It’s a much better Regal Bloodlord, triggering every turn and making a more powerful creature. There’s no Horse tribal synergies yet, so I’m just going to scoop up the foils at or under $10 and store these away. It feels like the foils will have a better growth pattern than the nonfoils, so that’s what I’m pursuing.

Mirage Mirror ($3/$8)

This is a pickup because it’s stunning in Commander games. It is a hasty clone effect, it can copy their Mirari’s Wake, or even pull a Thespian’s Stage and get you a Dark Depths 20/20 creature!

Terrible on its own, but in a Commander pod?

I am consistently impressed by this card, because it offers maximum flexibility and it gets used over and over again. Please, just go try it. You’ll be amazed too. I think this is a lock to end up in a Commander set sometime in the next couple years, and that’s why I strongly advocate you get foils now. Something’s going to happen and it’ll spike to $20, easily.

Scavenger Grounds ($3/$6)

I like this one for the amount of play it’s getting in Tron maindecks. It’s only a one-of currently, but in decks that are heavy on the colorless mana AND have 8 land tutors (plus a set of Ancient Stirrings) it’s pretty great to have this available game one. It’s notable that decks are playing this over Bojuka Bog, which might have been your first thought, but here we are. It’s not a heavy player yet, but I’ve seen this do a lot of work in Commander for not a lot of cost, and can be re-used if there’s more than one desert in the deck.

Abrade ($2/$8/$3 gameday non-foil)

The Game Day version of this card is sweet, but have you seen how many non-rotating decks play at least one copy in the main or sideboard?

courtesy of mtggoldfish.com

It’s so flexible, offering a lot of decks a lot of options. I don’t mind that several of these decks are playing just one in the board, as I’m going for the foils. There’s only 40 foils on TCG at the moment, and that’s a surprisingly low number for an uncommon printed just a year ago. All of these point to a moment when the card tips, and I don’t think that time is far away. I also think that it’s not going to do a small jump–this will be a $25 card. Don’t sell when it hits $15.

 

Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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