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

Unlocked Pro Trader – From The Vault: Boats

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I think my foil spreadsheet nonsense can wait. The spreadsheet isn’t going anywhere (as always, here is the link) and there is more to be gleaned from it. For today, though, I wanted to get back in the practice of trying to make predictions based on upside to older cards based on the printing of newer ones and there was a really spicy card spoiled this week. Well, two, actually. One of them is a little harder to pin down but it probably goes in a ton of decks.

Legendary Artifact
Players can’t activate Loyalty abilities of Planeswalkers.

At the beginning of your draw step, draw an additional card.

Spells you cast cost 1 less to cast.

Creatures you control get +1/+1

This is just dumb. It’s a better* Caged Sun and for the decks that can afford it, it’s going to get a lot of value going. Shutting down their ‘walkers is just absurd value on top of everything else this card does for you. However, since this appeals so broadly, it’s going to be really tough to nail down which decks it improves on its own and therefore I’m not going to discuss it this week. There’s another card coming to town which can reinvigorate an older deck that is still very popular and give some upside to a lot of the cards in it. I’m talking, of course about one of the four other cards from Rivals that are spoiled so far. I’m talking about the good one.

So this is a card. Let’s not be hyperbolic about this card, though. People who don’t play much EDH got REAL hyperbolic about Growing Rites of Itilmoc and compared it to Gaea’s Cradle. That card is not Gaea’s Cradle. It’s much worse than Cradle. This card is much worse than Tolarian Academy but it does have one thing going for it that Academy does not – this is legal. Also, this makes treasure tokens sometimes. So two things. I’m not saying this is a better or worse cards than Academy because that’s a pointless distinction to make when we should be talking about whether this card will make people dust off or build for the first time old archetypes. Will this give anything older some upside? I think it might.

First, let’s take a token look at what we expect from a price perspective on this card. Since Growing Rites is much more playable in EDH than this is and didn’t have the benefit of a card performing poorly in front of it the way Storm the Vault has had, I think the price graph shows points above which Storm the Vault’s prices will never go.

OK, then. That’s about what I expected. I don’t expect Storm the Vault to tail off so hard because I expect people to be a little wiser than they were when they said “OMG CRADLE” the way they did when Rites was spoiled. Then again, I didn’t expect people to say “OMG SPHINX’S REVELATION” when they spoiled Aurelia’s Fury or “OMG DARK CONFIDANT” when they saw Pain Seer, so maybe I am giving this community too much credit.

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I do, however, expect Storm the Vault to be relevant and I think it’s going to make people build decks they might not have gotten around to before, namely Breya.

Why Breya?

Breya is the ideal shell for this card which makes it pretty narrow but also pretty strong. I can’t imagine any Breya deck out there doesn’t want this and I think this gets Breya decks built and rebuilt. The two colors in the color identity make this card tough to slot in and could hint at a UR artifact commander coming soon – nerds have certainly been clamoring for one for long enough. Should we get that, either in Rivals or soon after, everything we associate with Storm the Vault will have more upside so it doesn’t hurt us to start making those associations now so we have a blueprint later and don’t have to think about it.

What in Breya Has Upside?

So glad I pretended you asked. I think there’s quite a bit worth revisiting since this time a year ago when this set was new. It’s been a year and a lot has happened so let’s take a look at what I think goes up if more people build Breya decks.

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Breya, Etherium Sculptor

Breya herself is a great place to look first. While apparently Breya decks are popping up in those crazy Target 4-deck repacks for $30, you’re mostly not finding them on shelves. Until we get an artifact commander as good as Breya, she’s the de facto ruling queen of all things artifacts every time they print a new artifact that can go in her deck (or has to, like in the case of Storm the Vault). How much can we expect to make if we buy the card at $5, though?

Meren went up a lot faster and there are more Meren decks than Breya decks, but $10 seems like a reasonable ceiling.

Meanwhile we’ve established precedent for a commander from C16 to go above $10 so it’s pretty reasonable to think Breya could go from $5 to $10 a year from now. Breya’s deck didn’t end up being as tough to find as Atraxa’s but I bet 90% of the Breyas opened were in a deck and with supply dwindling even in repacks, we’re going to see some upside on the price if new printings give us any impetus to build. If we don’t see a better artifact commander soon, people will have to take a second look at Breya. You know why else we want to be using Breya for our artifact decks?

Revel in Riches

I don’t hate foils of this under $5. I think they can go down but I think this is a solid EDH card and it’s not just good in gimmick decks (I hesitate to compare it to the price trajectory of cards like Biovisionary because this is an achievable goal and you can get there just by casting Damnation so you win by doing stuff you’d do anyway which makes this not a durdly combo card) but rather in any deck where you plan to be killing creatures. I like foils of this a lot and Breya is a great home for it. If this card’s printing wasn’t an impetus to build a Breya deck, surely this plus Storm the Vault will be. I’ll take to my article series and other content websites to make sure of it. Spell Swindle likely goes in the deck, I guess, but Revel is the play.

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer

You don’t HAVE to play White, but since you can, it doesn’t suck to take a look at foils of Jor. The price trend seems to be up-ish overall and while this is still not buylisting for more than it used to since I bet it’s easy to replenish stocks of a fringey card, I think the overall price increase continues. This is a fine commander in its own right and if you can snap sub-$3 foils you’re already doing pretty well. I think a small number of copies of these get snapped up and this is a $5 card. This is probably the pick I have the least amount of faith in since I don’t know if it does enough on its own to move even the small number of copies to make this $5 or more, but I think it is a card that takes a small amount of work for a price correction to happen and those are worth noting, even when the card doesn’t seem capable of doing that small amount of work on its own.

Reshape

We know second spikes are good and this has the potential to reach its full potential. Modern didn’t quite make this the price people hoped and adding on some Breya demand was good for the price which means there aren’t too many loose copies. This is a pick that needs very little work to go over its tipping point and I think it can do it. New relevance in Modern, a new artifacts-matter card in a set and more people playing artifacts on the back of the printing of Storm the Vault are all factors that make this $10 overnight. Could this get reprinted. I mean, sure. Where? A Commander set? Masters 25? Reshapers of Ixalan? I don’t think this is very easy to reprint. If you’re that worried, grab one of the $20 foil copies floating around. This card is legit and stocks online are not plentiful. I feel good about this one.

Scourglass

This is one that I’m not sure about. It went up a lot predicated on Breya the first time around and it sort of petered out. Plenty of Breya decks want this, but this has fewer chances to go up outside of Breya so I think tracking stock of this card can be a worst case scenario for what your other stuff is going to do. Other cards have upside from sources outside of Breya, but the White cards associated with Breya have virtually 0 non-Breya upside unless they print more Esper artifact stuff. Could we return to Alara? I wouldn’t hate that. Did that plane get wiped out or some BS? Man, I wish I paid attention to lore, that would be really helpful to know right now. OK, unless someone in the comments says the Godsire ate the whole plane or an Eldrazi destroyed it or whatever, I guess we’ll assume we could go back to Alara at some point. Barring that, White artifact stuff basically signals “Breya upside” and that’s about it.

If Scourglass represents our worst-case scenario, I think the Blue and Red artifact stuff have even more upside. A potential Izzet artifact commander is always a possibility since nerds have been clamoring for it so there are some chances for Storm the Vaults to make some other cards relevant. Watch stuff like Hellkite Tyrant, Mechanized Production and other goofy “Revel in Riches enabler” cards to go up alongside Storm and check back next week for hopefully more Rivals cards to look at. Until next time!

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Brainstorm Brewery #265 The Cardsphere Episode

The brew crew (@Chosler88 , @Rose0fThorns , and @jasonEalt ) welcome the creators of Cardsphere (https://www.cardsphere.com/) to discuss the platform and listener questions.

*Sadly there were some audio issues with Jason’s microphone. Sorry*

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Unlocked Pro Trader – What Would It Take?

Welcome back, nerds.

I don’t really have anything productive to say about Unhinged. It’s cool that there will be foil tokens in every pack. It’s cool that there is a new Booster Tutor variant for cubes. I hope people think they’re cute using a Legions booster and I hope they windmill a Phage. I hope someone pulls off the Voltaic Key/Time Vault combo at your LGS with that Spike card and I hope the set sells well, I open a bunch of foil Islands and they figure out a way to make a third Conspiracy set sell better if they do one. I wish I had gotten to spoil the card Ineffable Blessing, but sometimes being Mayor of Flavortown means you have administrative duties to take care of and don’t have time to approve every flavor-related thing that comes down the pipe. Stybs wrote a great article spoiling the card and even shouted out EDHRec [sic] and that was pretty cool. It was a good day today.

It got me thinking about last week and some of the cards we took a look at. I see a lot of cards with multipliers that may be a little lower than either they can be or will be or maybe just cards with decent multipliers and low buy-in for non-foil meaning both prices are apt to move together. Whatever happens, we need to take a look at reprint risk before we start buying in all willy-nilly and I think today we should talk about a few juicy opportunities and how much risk is involved. Put simply, what would it take to give these cards a reprint?

Inspiration

I was looking at the Signets, mostly. Signets are easy as heck to reprint. They go in Commander product, duel decks, goofy stuff in the future like Invaders of Ravnica or whatever they decide to do when we inevitably return to that plane. They haven’t all been printed the same number of times (7 for Boros versus 4 for Dimir, for example) but they have been in foil the same number of times, and that’s the important part. I’m not saying let’s go in on Signets, although that may be a thing considering it might be a minute before they reprint them in foil again. It’s just that Signets were the impetus for taking a look at some stuff that I may not like now but could like later.

Targets

Beast Within

Total Printings – 6

Foil Printings – 2

Foil Multiplier – 4.0

Still hovering around $8 despite the printing in Conspiracy 2 (The Conspiracy art is terrible) and like $15 is New Phyrexia, Beast Within seems a little bit tough to re-reprint. The large disparity between the two prices shows that the more desirable art is holding a premium and if this card were printed again, it seems likely that they’d use the newer art or commission a third design.

What Would It Take?

A third conspiracy set or a masters set. A masters set seems the most likely and with the ability to make a masters set based on any criteria they want, this card isn’t all that safe. Again, though, I think the New Phyrexia art is safe. However, I’m not advocating the safe play here – I’m advocating the risky one. The foil prices of Conspiracy 2 cards are all super low. I don’t know how well the set sold but I know that boxes are not moving for cost on eBay so either everyone got too much of it or they just don’t want to touch it. If no one is super inclined to buy up those boxes and supply doesn’t increase anymore, you’ll have a situation where the desirable cards, especially foils, dry up. Phyrexian Arena, Expropriate, Selvala’s Blessing, The-elf-who-shall-stay-on-the-shelf and others are all in this set that’s frankly really jammed full of good stuff. Barring another Conspiracy printing (doubtful; Beast Within wasn’t in the first Conspiracy set), I think this is in a Masters set or basically nothing. I like Conspiracy foils, ugly as they are. EDH players tend to buy the cheapest copy, even when they foil and if one is half price, that one likely sells a lot first. I feel similarly about Phyrexian Arena.

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Rakdos Charm

Total Printings – 3

Foil Printings – 1

Foil Multiplier – 16.0

This is like a $5 card on TCGPlayer right now having sold out of smaller vendors. I think this card is about to pop and $10 isn’t out of the question. This is useful in many formats and in EDH and it can actually just KO the tokens player. With this much utility, this charm is charming as hell.

What Would It Take?

So far they have only reprinted this in Commander sets. I could see a Masters set reprinting a whole cycle of these, but that’s 10 slots which is basically all of your gold slots for the set. An incomplete cycle seems very unlikely in a Masters set. Incomplete cycles of charms happen all the time in Commander product, but that just makes the foils seem even better to me. This is also a lowish buy-in for what could end up being a double-up. Where are more foil Rakdos Charms going to come from? Will there be an impetus to control the price when the non-foil is $0.25? I don’t think so. Reprints solely to curb costs are always aimed at the non-foil versions so in the case of a large multiplier, it’s only going to go up. Buying just after an increase is awkward, but if anything, the card just demonstrated it has chops and I think $10 is not out of the question. Buy as many as you will play with and maybe that number again to expose yourself to some upside. If these hit $10 you can always replace them for a quarter. In the mean time, your investment just grew 100%. I feel good about this and maybe I’m missing an obvious reprint avenue but I don’t see it.

Darksteel Ingot

Total Printings – 9

Foil Printings – 3 (1 promo)

Foil Multiplier – 11.4

With a lot of play in EDH, this card is very strong. The mana fixing utility you get from this card and its resilience in a field full of Banes of Progress, Sages of Reclamation and Blasts of Vandal, this card is premium mana fixing. Its EDH ubiquity is indicated by its 9 printings and promo printing. Reprinted in M14 this has been foil in sets twice, though at uncommon the second time and how likely is it to be foil again? Another promo seems very unlikely as does inclusion in a Masters set where the fixing might be a little too good, even at uncommon.

What Would It Take?

I think there’s a risk we should discuss before we discuss reprint risk and that’s obsolescence. Darksteel Ingot is already fighting for a deck slot with Chromatic Lantern and Commander’s Sphere and having a ton of 3 drop artifacts early in the game is very awkward. People play 2 mana ramp like Signets and Farseek because you want that turn 2 (or 1 off of a Sol Ring, you cheater, I’m shuffling your deck next game for sure. Yeah, I bet you always just get a t1 Sol Ring because you’re lucky, right Ben? I’m onto you.)  ramp spell to get the game going. Hitting your 3rd land drop on turn 3 and finally playing a mana rock feels bad. Lantern is great, Sphere is great, Ingot is great. You play them. But when something better comes along, it’s likely to be better than Ingot (can you imagine a 3 drop rock better than Commander’s Sphere being printed these days?) and if you happen to own a Coalition Relic, you’ve cut Ingot already.

That said, Ingot is cheap, ubiquitous, indestructible and it comes in precons so people tend to just leave it in. I think this is tough to reprint in a set that has foils in it and with the price of the foils going up recently, I really like the promo at around $4. I think it’s got more upside than the others on account of how shiny it looks. It’s roughly the same price now but it’s the easiest for a buyout to trigger and it’s going to be the first one to increase.  I think obsolescence is more likely than a reprint, but for now, I think those promo Ingots are really tasty at $4 per.

That’s all for this week. I might go a little deeper on that list (linked here for your perusal) of the Top 100 EDH cards with their foil prices and multipliers next week or we may have something tastier to talk about. The effect of Unstable on the price of Legions packs, maybe? Who know? The important thing is that it’s been another great week writing for MTG Price. Until next time, I’m Jason Alt and you’re not.

 

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Brainstorm Brewery #264 – Have We Met Before?

The brew crew welcomes back Corbin (@Chosler88). Plus we have a very special guest, Steve (@VerbotenWater4), who no one (especially not our long term guest DJ @Rose0fThorns) has ever met before. We answer emails, discuss possible modern unbans, delve deep into Jason’s ( (@jasonEalt) inability to accept compliments, and much more.

*Also we know that BBE can’t get boom//bust anymore. We forgot about the rule change.*

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