All posts by Jason Alt

Jason is the hardest working MTG Finance writer in the business. With a column appearing on Gathering Magic in addition to MTG Price, he is also a member of the Brainstorm Brewery finance podcast and a writer and administrator for Brainstorm Brewery's content website. Follow him on twitter @JasonEAlt

Bonus Article – Rebound

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Readers,

I’m sorry for the lack of an article earlier in the week. By way of apology to Pro Traders, I’ll have some exclusive picks for you in next week’s article. We have a policy of a pretty soft paywall on this site but that doesn’t apply to cases where I drop the ball. If you’re not a Pro Trader, thanks for reading and consider buying what is easily the cheapest paywall subscription on any website. You’ll make your money back  for the year the first time a spec hits. Onward to what I wanted to discuss today.

Guilds of Ravnica is having a sort of slow time getting going compared to the excitement people experienced with Commander 2018. That’s to be expected – Guilds of Ravnica is not exactly optimized for EDH and cards like Tajic really drive that point home. However, there are a few unique commanders like Lazav that are driving prices already (although we could argue Necrotic Ooze popped because of the free article on SCG rather than Lazav decks, but I guess we’ll never know until Phyrexian Devourer either pops or doesn’t) but for the most part, we’re not finding a ton of data. What I am seeing isn’t super encouraging.

We have 4 GRN commanders in the top commanders for the week, which is not great. Worse, only one of them is really all that new and unique. Niv-Mizzet is being basically built the exact same way as every other Niv-Mizzet because he has 0 new abilities, Izoni is basically Slimefoot with different creature types and Emmara is a bad Rhys. Lazav is doing novel things but we already covered what I expect to pop based on that deck. I don’t think it’s worth taking another look at it this week but this did make me wonder – how likely are non-mythics to recover from recent reprints if they get more play based on events that happen after their printing? Is there a way we can target cards in Masters sets and commander precons better knowing what’s likely to recover and what’s not? Do we pick differently based on what shakes off a printing in under a year (Eternal Witness) and what takes two or more (Oblivion Stone)?

It’s unlikely that someone who has built a Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind deck is going to run back out and buy the 97 or more cards that will be identical when you build a Niv-Mizzet, Parun deck, but someone who has built and loves Rhys might be inclined to build an Emmara deck because the decks, while one seems to be more effective, play a bit differently. Emmara is focused on using the cheap, easy-to-recast commander to generate advantage and use spells to modify the tokens whereas Rhys uses spells to make the tokens and his ability to modify them. Cards like Parallel Lives overlap and cards like Umbral Mantle do not.

So what that was reprinted in the last year and I looking at based on its inclusion in one of these 4 decks?

I want to use this card as my baseline. I think being a Mythic in a recentish set (last Ravnica which everyone says was too recent but was 6 years ago this week) is like being a rare in an older set and getting a commander precon printing is worse than getting a masters set reprinting. I don’t expect Epic Experiment to recover. I think under 3K decks is probably too few, I think it’s not even that great in Niv-Mizzet, Parun decks but a third of the people who just built it disagree with me there (though two thirds agree) and I think it’s not useful in enough different kinds of decks to go up. I’ll be saying whether every pick I come across is more or less likely than Epic Experiment to go up. If you agree, then maybe the pick is a good one.

Tandem Lookout is a card with very little demand (around 1,000 decks, almost all of them Niv-Mizzet) but foils are basically the same price as non-foils. The farther we get from Modern Masters 2017, the more likely it is to flirt with that $2 mark again. I think this is a “roughly as likely as Epic Experiment to recover” but you can get these in bulk foils and I recommend setting them aside.  These may be the same price as the non-foil now, but I expect that to change. It’s too perfect with Niv-Mizzet and apparently they love to reprint cards with that same ability in Izzet.

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Up from $0.50 to its current $2, this has recovered from Eternal Masters quite nicely. The foils took a bit of a hit as well.

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I think this is a good example of a card that can shrug off a reprinting in foil eventually as well and Modern and Vintage play makes the foils more attractive than does EDH. However, the foil is beginning to recover and though any time this is reprinted, it will likely be in a set that has foil options also, this is still bound to follow the non-foil and recover. It’s sub-$20 but has shown the capacity to flirt with $50. I think this will be $25-$30 pretty soon and the non-foil will be $3 to $4. EDH isn’t doing this on its own, but it’s helping.

Way more useful than Niv-Mizzet-specific cards is one that I found in Lazav lists as well. This shrugs off reprints all the time but never really gets above $2.50, either. I think the real play here is the foil copies.

While the non-foil is likely to get a breather to recover in price for a year or so in which time I expect it to crest $3, the foil is currently $4 despite only having been printed in foil once. I think this can slowly climb given how good the non-foil has been at maintaining a relatively even keel in the face of a pile of reprints and if this is $10 in a year, I won’t be that surprised. It could just as easily not be $10, but it’s in 18,000 decks and because of its inclusion in Commander sets and Battle Royale, it was only printed once in a set where its rarity mattered. I like both the foil and non-foil of Windfall and the fact that it showed up in Niv-Mizzet AND Lazav decks when I checked today makes me doubly confident. This foil can’t remain a dollar more than the non-foil when it’s in booster packs that cost $7.

This tanked to nearly $4 and is recovering but it’s not done. I think the new art kind of sucks so I am targeting Mirage copies but at 33,000 deck inclusions, it’s clear players aren’t picky, they just want copies. This likely crests $10 if it’s not printed again soon and despite not being legal in Legacy anymore, this is a real iconic card, it’s an EDH staple in Blue decks and it has almost recovered 100% in the last year and isn’t done. Next time they do a Master’s Set, I’ll do another list of cards likely to recover well – I checked back in on the cards I mentioned last time I did that like Rune-scarred Demon and Austere Command and they are doing very well. This seems like a no-brainer even if we’re not buying at the floor.

12,000 deck inclusions and some real synergy with Izoni make me think this is bound to pop back up, soon. Being printed at uncommon in Masters 25 isn’t ideal, but it’s also like an $8 booster pack and the card is relatively recent anyway. I bet this is $2 eventually – especially given that Blood Artist was in Eternal Masters AND C17 and is already over $2 itself. If you only play one, you probably play Artist over Cutthroat, but why in the world wouldn’t you play both?

You do play both.

There’s nothing really applicable in the Emmara deck, but I do have a few notes.

This is in the Guild Kit with the same art, meaning the Eternal Masters price drubbing has been made even worse. This will likely never recover. I don’t think its modest demand, limited mostly to Emmara decks coming out soon, is enough to make me want the foils, either. Don’t sleep on the Guild kits, folks. They have foil commanders with new art, really sexy basic lands and it has quite a few rares for its price point.

No one really has this in stock and I think a quick run on it the few places it’s listed can create a spike you can sell into.  I’m not advocating creating the spike but I think you might want to be equipped with some of these. They are pretty specific to this one deck but they are also rare as can be given they were printed in 1996. I am planning to buy every copy on Card Shark in a few days – it’s already selling out everywhere else.

That’s all for me. I apologize for the late article. I’ll get the Pro Traders back next week with some exclusive picks. Until next time!

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Brainstorm Brewery #308 Now I’m Recording

 

Corbin’s (@CHosler88) and DJ (@Rose0fThorns) start the episode without the star, Jason (@jasonEalt). But once they all gang up they are able to help you tackle your way through new standard, Magic Fest, and the Mexico of Europe.

Make sure to check us out on Youtube for hidden easter eggs and facial reactions  https://www.youtube.com/user/BrainstormBrewery

  • Oh, Can-a-da!

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  • New Standard

  • Poland; Europe’s Mexico

  • Director’s Cut w/ Jason Alt https://youtu.be/-ho7nQCiPMs (plz don’t fire me)

  • Breaking Bulk

  • Magic Fest

  • Emails

  • FTV Emails

  • Special Guest Appearance

  • The real reason we don’t get preview cards

  • Send us your emails!

  • Support our Patreon!

  • Need to contact us? Hit up BrainstormBrew@gmail.com

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Brainstorm Brewery #307 Brown Listed

Corbin’s (@CHosler88), DJ (@Rose0fThorns), and Jason (@jasonEalt) welcome back patron Steve (@SteveMKestner) to discuss all the exciting news and hype for Guilds of Ravnica.

Make sure to check us out on Youtube for hidden easter eggs and facial reactions  https://www.youtube.com/user/BrainstormBrewery

  • Corbin’s totally worth it story…

  • How to navigate unknown standard

  • Breaking Bulk

  • Amazon isn’t the Problem

  • Brown Listed

  • Emails

  • Send us your emails!

  • Support our Patreon!

Need to contact us? Hit up BrainstormBrew@gmail.com

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Unlocked Pro Trader: The Second Wave

People all seem to agree that a second wave of Battlebond is coming. I looked for a while and the only corroboration I could find was this bitchy tweet and, considering the source, I’m inclined to take it with a grain of salt, but if someone were going to dispute the facts, they would have already and so far no one has.

It would appear we’re getting a second wave of Battlebond that, for two reasons, excites me.

No, it excites me for ONE reason but there are two reasons it excites me for one reason. That’s confusing. There are two reasons it’s exciting for one reason? There are two FACTORS that contribute to it being exciting (for one reason) and here they are.

  1. It’s been a long time since we had Battlebond packs
  2. We didn’t know we were getting more

If you take the total amount of Battlebond packs over the two printings and released them at a steady rate until they were all gone, the prices would all equilibrate quite a bit lower than they are now. However, breaking it up into two waves with the second wave not even really announced (I suspect they realized they underprinted) and a curious thing will happen. The first wave will establish the price, high, based on the full demand and half of the supply. When the second wave of supply comes in, demand won’t really be satiated, most people won’t really be aware that the second wave is happening or that it’s as big as the first wave and the prices will mostly stay the same. The first wave gave us the $12 Morphic Pool, the second wave will give us hundreds and hundreds of Morphic Pools that we can sell at $12.

A perception of a smaller supply than exists can cause prices to go drastically above MSRP.

This is what happens when a small batch of $5 chips sell out quickly and end up on the secondary market. I only know these chips sell for so much because we wanted to eat one as a Patreon goal on Brainstorm Brewery. If you want to see Douglas Johnson almost die and Corbin Hosler embarrass himself by being a filthy cheater, check it out.  If you want to see Corbin have to redeem himself by eating a second hot-ass chip (they were so hot, seriously) then check it out.  If they released all of the chips at once, the price wouldn’t be so ridiculous on the secondary market with such a high supply of high price chips, but with release staggered and the total number available unclear, we see a high price that maintains itself.

If you don’t want a chip anecdote because the part of your brain that allows you to experience joy or whimsy is damaged, I can give you another example, and that’s Unstable. The example isn’t unstable, the example IS Unstable. The set.

Maro says they didn’t overprint Unstable and they broke it into multiple waves which meant that prices were allowed to get decently high on the important stuff like foil tokens, meme cards and the full-art lands. They learned how to make a set seem like it sold much better than previous Un-sets while selling less of it. The trick? Something they must have failed to do with Conspiracy 2 – they didn’t have a bunch of unsold boxes of a set that people were only interested in for a few weeks. Battlebond appears to have sold much better than Conspiracy 2 by sheer virtue of there not being loose boxes of Battlebond for dealer cost all over the internet.

With a second wave of Battlebond coming, what do we expect?

Discovered Demand

People are priced out of some of the Battlebond cards, if you ask me. Najeela is $8, the foil is $100 and the Battlebond lands, all 5 of which could go in the deck, are all above $10. A second stab at being able to open some Battlebond hotness saw 15 people make a Najeela deck on EDHREC this week, which is high. Is it that people are updating their list to incorporate Guilds of Ravnica cards?

I don’t think that’s the case because only 3 people have updated with Guilds cards and the cards they added aren’t exactly staples. It seems like the promise of more Battlebond boxes has people jazzed and thinking about the deck. More people built Najeela than Saheeli this week and the ink isn’t even dry on Saheeli.

If there is hype surrounding Najeela and other Battlebond stuff, we should briefly re-look at what’s going on in that deck.

For whatever reason, the Humans deck in Modern doesn’t care about this human. That said, this is also a Warrior, it’s unfair and it is coming off of a reprint and regaining ground fast. If this is left alone for a few years, which I anticipate, this is a $4-$5 card you can currently buy below $2. I don’t like this as much as other picks, but this is a great card to snag in trade or just get for a dime when you tell people you buy bulk rares and you let them tell you which rares they want to sell you for a dime (don’t be a scumbag and tell people their $2 cards are bulk rares). I buy stacks of bulk rares without looking through and when I get home I always find one or two of these and I can live with that.  That party won’t last forever.

I wouldn’t call what’s going to happen to this card a second “spike” per se but I would venture to guess that this tanks at rotation and approaches $5ish bucks. All of the cheap copies were ferreted out when it spiked the first time and it’s not like people are going to stop doing Helm of the Host stuff in EDH. Celebrant gives extra combat phases to everything and there are a lot of commanders that like to swing a few times and even more that haven’t been printed yet, but will and when they are, people will remember this mythic.

If this isn’t reprinted or made obsolete in the next 24 months, this will sell for $10 on Card Kingdom. I would stake money on that claim.

Since we have EDHREC data (some) for Guilds of Ravnica and my best advice regarding Battlebond singles is “buy boxes as close to dealer cost as you can and enjoy opening a set where there are 10 cards over $10 and multiple $100 foils,” I am going to close today’s piece out with a few GRN picks based on Lazav data.

Lazav Picks

This is also a $10 foil but this unreprintable uncommon from a set with $700 booster boxes (I’m guessing) isn’t getting any cheaper and with demand from both Lazav and Yuriko coming within weeks of each other, expect a brief ramp and then a violent cascade in this card’s price. I realize there are a lot of copies of this out there, but there are a lot of copies of a lot of cards that have been printed more than this and which cost more. This is a $3-$4 card that you’re going to pull out of bulk.

I know I mentioned this last week or the week before but, seriously, this is a matter of “when” and not “if” and you need to believe that.

This card is $3 some places and $0.50 others. Which of those two prices do you expect is going to be the one to correct?

Anyway, there’s some picks. I think if you have a line on cheap Battlebond boxes, I might look into getting a case because box EV is pretty nutty. EV is currently over $100 and if you can get $80ish boxes, you’re playing a lottery where every $1 ticket pays $1.20 and there are occasional jackpots. A case makes you reasonably sure to get cards that aren’t done going up like Brightling, Doubling Season, Diabolic Intent, Najeela, Morphic Pools cycle and Will and Rowan. That’s my plan, anyway. You do you.

Until next time!

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