All posts by James Chillcott

WEEKEND PRICE UPDATE: NOV 1ST/14

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By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

Here’s your weekly update on what’s been shifting around in price in the world of paper Magic: The Gathering this week. This week, the story continues to be about the deflation of Khans of Tarkir prices.

5 Winners of the Week

1.  Chained to the Rocks (Theros, Rare): $0.81 to $1.14 (+41%)

Format(s): Standard

Chained to the Rocks is seeing play in a couple of different Standard decks and this is pulling it up a bit from it’s bottom line. As one of the strongest possible removal spells in the format, it’s possible metagame shifts could result in more upside here, though the top line is likely in the $3 range. The fact that this is our biggest gainer of the week is indicative of as strong downtrend overall in the market as the Khans cards settle to their natural lows and the lack of focus on other formats keeps prices depressed for a while longer. (One bright spot likely to cause spikes is GP: NJ Nov 14-16th which as one of the largest Legacy format tournaments of all time, should inevitably boost some trending Legacy staples short-term).

Verdict: Hold

2.  Drown in Sorrow (Born of the Gods, Uncommon): $0.82 to $1.10 (+34%)

Format(s): Standard

The uses for this card as main and sideboard tech against token and aggro strategies in this Standard fall metagame are myriad. Scry 1 certainly never hurts either. This isn’t likely to become Stoke the Flames Pt 2, and selling fees are unlikely to make dumping playsets very profitable so there’s not much action here.

Verdict: Hold

3.  Monastery Swiftspear (KTK, Uncommon): $1.87 to $2.23 (+19%)

Format(s): Standard

It’s a an aggro card of Legacy caliber and will likely be seen all over the room at GP NJ later this month as part of both Burn and U/R Delver strategies. That being said I’m higher on foils long term, picked up around the holidays as max supply after the Legacy GP hype has receded.

Verdict: Hold

4.  Whip of Erebos (Theros, Rare): $2.18 to $1.95 (+12%)

Format(s): Standard + Casual/EDH

Whip strategies in Standard are looking like one of the top 5 options in the format, whether they be GB or Sultai versions. The card could peak around $4-5 if it takes down a few major Standard tourneys through Nov/Dec, and the fact that some decks are running the full four copies of the legendary artifact is encouraging. I’m holding for now, looking to pick up copies next summer at their natural lows for future EDH value.

Verdict: Hold

5.  Battlefield Forge (9th, Rare): $7.41 to $6.66 (+11%)

Format(s): Standard + Modern

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With Jeskai tempo, aggro and combo strategies all viable in Standard, it’s no surprise that this is the most desired of the M15 pain-land reprints. This should be close to peak value, so I’m a seller in the $6-8 range, having slurped up copies in the $2 range mid-July.

Verdict: Sell

5 Top Losers of the Week

1. Anafenza, the Foremost (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $6.16 to $5.10 (-17%)

Format(s): Standard

With the KTK card slide in full motion now, good cards that aren’t seeing enough play will be the main victims of the downslide. Anafenza, doesn’t have a strong home in the Abzan lists, and may keep trending down into the $3-4 range in the near future. I’m trading my copies as high as possible and looking for a future entry point.

Verdict: Trade/Sell

2.  Siege Rhino (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $8.67 to $7.67 (-12%)

Format(s): Standard + Modern

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Yes, it’s taken a bit of a shave alongside the rest of it’s KTK cousins, but make no mistake, this is an important card and not one you need to be rushing to sell. If you’re holding extra copies from some cracked boxes and Abzan’s not your deck, then go ahead and trade up into some depressed Modern or Legacy staples you might need.

Verdict: Hold

3.  Perilous Vault (M15, Mythic): $8.55 to $7.63 (-11%)

Format(s): Standard

Despite UB Control putting up solid win percentages at multiple big tourneys lately, the hype on this card has receded a bit as players realize it’s often a turn too late to be the sweeper mid-range and control decks need to put Aggro decks to bed. I’ve already outed my copies, and unless you’re playing it I suggest you do the same as it has little upside at this point and not much of a future in other formats outside casual and EDH.

Verdict: Sell/Trade

4.  Dig Through Time (Khans of Tarkir, Rare) 10.29 to 9.29 (-10%)

This card is amazing and the only thing giving me pause in holding multiple copies is the outside possibility that it finds a banning in the next 6 months. My money is on Treasure Cruise being the only banning, but we need to see results from GP Jersey to know for sure which way we’re headed. Regardless, it’s going to be a key blue card, often used as a four-of, for another year and a bit, so there’s no need to be unloading now.

Verdict: Hold

5.  Wurmcoil Engine (Scars of Mirrodin, Mythic) $22.70 to $20.57 (-9%)

It’s in the new Commander 2014 red deck. That will pull the price down even further, likely below $15 and within 30 days. Get out now and scoop up copies at their future low.

Verdict: Sell

Quick Hits:

  • With basically all of the five Commander 2015 decks now revealed, it’s pretty clear that WOTC has taken steps to ensure that none of the decks are as unbalanced value-wise as the True Name Nemesis deck was last year. That being said, the red deck looks like the one to pick up with at least 3 cards (Dualcaster Mage, Feldon of the Third Path, Wurmcoil Engine) representing strong value.
  • It’s worth keeping an eye on MTGO Daily Legacy winners heading into the GP NJ weekend. Trending cards have a good shot at making you some money if you can spot something fresh that’s good at against Treasure Cruise/Delver strategies.
  • Conspiracy Booster boxes can currently be had for around $85 online. This is way too low for a unique draft format, with solid foils, some unique cube cards and Dack Fayden.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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WEEKEND TOURNAMENT COVERAGE: OCT 24-26TH

by James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

Weekend Summary

Across three major Standard tournaments this weekend, the story is clear: we are facing one of the most interesting and diverse Standard formats in recent memory. Sure, Jeskai Wins still managed to take down two of three major tournaments (Grand Prix Stockholm and SCG Open Minneapolis) but overall the field looked far more open than even a week ago with a number of new archetypes popping up as serious contenders for best deck in standard.

Across all three Top 8’s, here’s the archetype summary:

  • 4 Abzan Mid-Range + 1 Abzan Aggro
  • 4 Mardu Mid-Range (1 Winner)
  • 3 Jeskai Wins (2 Winners)
  • 3 Temur Mid-Range
  • 2 Whip Decks: 1 Sidisi UGB/1 GB
  • 2 GB Enchantress
  • 2 G/R Mid-Range
  • 1 Mono-Red Aggro
  • 1 U/W Control
  • 1 Jeskai Ascendancy Combo

Keep in mind none of these decks can be considered lucky shots as all of them survived 12-18 rounds of Swiss. Clearly this is a format that will reward careful meta-gaming and skilled play as it evolves.

Noteable cards of the weekend included:

  • Whip of Erebos: So powerful it has defined at least 3 different archetypes this year, this theoretically vulnerable artifact enchantment put multiple players over 100 life this weekend. If there is anything holding it back it’s the potential for these decks to generate incredibly grindy games that have trouble closing out despite the huge life gain. Perhaps something like Empty the Pits is needed to mop up?  Moving forward look for some upward pressure on the price towards $4-5 if these decks continue to perform.
  • Sidisi, Brood Tyrant: In the Sultai Whip versions, Sidisi performed well all weekend and looks set to climb.
  • Keru Spellcatcher came out of nowhere in the Top 8 semi-finals to steal a game for a Temur player that looked lost. It’s a one-of in a single Temur build so far, but my ears are perked up on the potential for a rise above bulk status.
  • Hornet Nest: Likewise, the RG Monster builds running four main deck Hornet Nest did some very nasty things to unsuspecting opponents and it’s possible that this M15 rare can snag a slot in more main decks if the ground keeps getting clogged up by mid-range decks.
  • Doomwake Giant & Pharika: The GB Enchantress decks may or may not catch on, but their ability to chain enchantments entering play through Pharika and the -1/-1 happy giant of doom might be one of the best one-sided wraths options in the format.

In other news Eternal Weekend crowned new Legacy and Vintage champs this weekend. In the Legacy portion of the tournament the buzz was all about the dominance of UR Treasure Cruise/Delver strategies, and it was a surprise to no one that the new Ancestral Recall clone took down the tournament with relative ease. Foil Treasure Cruise, which should by all usual standards by headed to $10 or less, is holding up well at $30 so far with only the spectre of a winter banning to hold it back thus far.

For the Timmies in the room, the presence of a Slivers based deck in the Top 8 had to be a highlight of the weekend, making all of those old rare Slivers in my trade binder shiver with anticipation of a Sliver revival.

The Vintage tourney was won by Marc Tocco playing his Oath of Druids deck with Griselbrand to a big win! Noteable cards in the Vintage decks included the strong showings by Dack Fayden, Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time, much as expected.

Main Coverage

Between a European Grand Prix, the SCG Open Series and the TCGPlayer 50K Championship, we have several prominent Standard tournaments this weekend worth keeping an eye on for shifts in the metagame. With Eternal weekend unfolding to crown champs for Legacy and Vintage, we’re also seeing the ascent of Treasure Cruise in U/R Delver builds. Here’s how events are unfolded and what it means for your paper magic collection.

Grand Prix Stockholm

Top 8

Another standard Grand Prix Top 8 is on the books, and again we see strong evidence that this format is wide open for anyone with a creative deck and skillful play to challenge the top tables.

Here’s our Top 8 archetype breakdown:

  • 2 G/B Enchantress
  • 1 Jeskai Wins
  • 1 Mono-Red Aggro
  • 1 Temur Mid-Range
  • 1 GB Whip
  • 1 Sidisi Whip
  • 1 Abzan Mid-Range

Quarter-Finals:

  • Jeskai Wins ( Matej Zaltkaj) vs. G/B Enchantress (Matteo Cirigliano): Jeskai wins
  • Mono-Red Aggro (Gionvanni Rosi) vs. Temur Mid-Range (Einar Baldvinnson): Temur Mid-Range wins
  • GB Enchantress (Lukas Blohon) vs. Sidisi Whip (Christian Seibold): GB Enchantress wins
  • Abzan Mid-Range (Thiago Rodrigues) vs. Jeskai Wins (Alexander Pasgaard): Abzan Mid-Range wins

Semi-Finals:

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  • Temur Mid-Range (Einar) vs. GB Enchantress (Blohon)
  • Abzan Mid-Range (Thiago)  vs. Jeskai Wins (Matej)

Finals:

  • Temur Mid-Range (Einar) vs. Jeskai Wins (Matej)
  • Matej takes down Grand Prix Stockholm with Jeskai Wins in convincing fashion. Congrats Matej!
  • In post interview coverage Matej explains that Dig Through Time should be a 1 of max in the deck to avoid clunky draws and stay fast.

Day 2

Day 2 Metagame Breakdown by WOTC coverage staff shows Abzan down to just 30% of the field, with Jeskai Wins joined by Mardu Mid-Range, both at 14% of field.  Sidisi Whip is the breakout deck of the tournament so far with multiple copies at the top tables and over 7% of the Day 2 metagame, again demonstrating that this format is far from binary and far from solved.

Mikael Magnusson is playing a Riddle of Lightning UR CounterBurn control deck leveraging Treasure Cruise/Dig Through Time for big damage alongside main deck Steam Augery, Nullify and Anger of the Gods. He’s 7-3 going into Round 11. Keru Spellsnatcher masquerading as an Ashcloud Phoenix jacks a Jeskai Charm pointed at it in morph mode to make one of the sexiest debuts of the tournament! Even jank rares are seeing play in KTK Standard. Magnusson then goes on to play an excellent Game 3 and go to 8-3 to keep his Top 8 dreams alive with his rogue deck design.

Round 12 Feature Match showcases UW Heroic vs. Jeskai Ascendancy Combo, highlighting just how deep the top tables are running at this 1000+ player tournament. Jeskai Combo goes to 10-2 looking very much alive as a viable top table contender.

10:20am EST: Christian Seibold wins his final match to run 12-2-1 and likely lock up a Top 8 berth with an attack from his Sagu Mauler out of his Sidisi Whip deck. Worth keeping an eye on Whip of Erebos, Hornet Queen, Sagu Mauler and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant as events unfold. Sagu Mauler is my pick for underrated beater in a standard where many decks have trouble dealing with outside of hornet tokens.

10:35am EST: This battle for Top 8 between Lindstrom and Juza demonstrates the raw lifegain potential of Whip of Erebos while also showcasing the extremely grindy nature of it’s matches against other mid-range decks, that often push the match to full time and potentially deadly draws.

When are 3 Wingmate Rocs not enough? When the Whip is in the house!
When are 3 Wingmate Rocs not enough? When the Whip is in the house!

Day 1

Grand Prix Stockholm represents the first major Euro-Standard gathering of the season, and so far the tournament is unfolding along expected lines.

After 9 rounds, heading into Day 2 the following players were all at least 7-1-1:

  • Sidisi Whip (Christian Siebold): 9-0
  • Temur Mid-Range (Einar Agu Baldvinsson): 9-0
  • Abzan Mid-Range (Oskar Skold): 9-0
  • (Thiago Rodrigues): 8-1
  • UB Control (Thomas Pettersson): 8-1
  • (Matej Zatlkaj): 7-1-1
  • Black/Green Enchantress (Lukas Blohon): 7-1-1
  • Temur Aggro (Christoffer E Larsen): 7-1-1

Note: We’ll post decks for these players as they are posted.

TCGPlayer 50K Championship

Day 2:

Mardu Mid-Range featuring Butcher, Elspeth and Wingmate Roc takes down the TCGPlayer 50K Championship in the hands of Andrew Baeckstrom!

Finals: We have a Mardu Mid-Range playoff for the finals! Butcher of the Horde will be on the podium this weekend no matter what, potentially exerting a bit of upward lift in his price. (Limited to this archetype, the ceiling is likely $4-5 unless it starts winning more broadly.)

Semi-Finals: There’s not a single Abzan or Jeskai deck left in the Top 4! Instead we’re treated to two Mardu Mid-Range decks, a Temur mid-range and a very sexy new R/G build. What a healthy format!

  • RG Mid-Range (Caleb) vs. Mardu Mid-Range (Cody)
  • Mardu Mid-Range (Andrew) vs. Temur Mid-Range (Eric)

Update: It appears that there may be a 4-way prize split going on with the semi-final competitors, with highly casual games in motion.

Quarterfinals:

  • Mardu Mid-Range (1st, Andrew Baeckstrom) vs. Abzan Mid-Range (8th, Josh McClain). Baeckstrom advances on the back of some strong play with Crackling Doom.
  • Temur Mid-Range (Eric Flicklinger) vs. Mardu Mid-Range (Brian Weller Davis). Temur takes this down to advance.
  • Mardu Mid-Range (Cody Lingelbach) vs Jeskai Ascendancy (Byrd)
  • RG Mid-Range (6th, Caleb Durward)  vs. Abzan Mid-Range (3rd,  Ray Perez). Caleb’s innovative RG deck (running 4 main deck Hornet Nest) handily puts Abzan to bed, locking it out of Top 8 on the strength of a back-breaking Setessan Tactics.

Day 1:

After 15 rounds a Sunday Top 8 has been declared, and here’s how it breaks down:

  • Mardu Mid-Range (Andrew Baekerstrom)
  • Mardu Mid-Range (Cody Lingelbach)
  • Mardu Mid-Range (Brian Weller-Davis)
  • Abzan Mid-Range (Raymond Perez Jr.)
  • Abzan Mid-Range (Josh McClain)
  • RG Mid-Range (Caleb Durward)
  • Temur Mid-Range (Eric Flicklinger)
  • Jeskai Ascendancy Combo (Mark-Antony Byrd)

Of special note here is the fact that the Mardu Mid-Range decks shoved into 37.5% of the Top 8. Sure, Abzan still nabbed 2 slots, but a win for Mardu here could be signal that the downward trend on Butcher of the Horde could reverse back into the $6-8 range, especially if the pattern repeats elsewhere this weekend. The presence of R/G Monsters, Temur Mid-Range and the Jeskai Ascendancy combo decks also demonstrates that many of their key cards need to be watched for action.  For Temur this means Savage Knuckleblade, Crater’s Claws and Rattleclaw Mystic are possibly on deck for gains. For Ascendancy, the central enchantment could easily be undervalued after losing value this week.

By far the most interesting deck in this Top 8 is the R/G Mid-Range piloted by Caleb Durward.  Running a full 4 copies of Hornet Nest in the main is a possible early sign that that card is undervalued in this format. A couple of sick on camera plays based on killing the Nest himself to drop blockers or attackers into play at key moments underscored some real under the radar potential that could see this card upgraded from sideboard to main deck duty in a broader context. Also of note in the deck were 3 main deck Setessan Tactics, set up to combo with the Hornet tokens deathtouch ability to wipe the board.  Appearances by two copies of Nissa, Worldwaker and 3 Xenagos, The Reveler, both planeswalkers most players had nearly written off as Tier 2, are also worthy of note. A win in the finals would put this practically brand new archtype into the spotlight and further demonstrate the depth of the current standard metagame.

 SCG Open: Minneapolis, MN, USA

Day 2 Top 8

Here’s our SCG Open Top 8 breakdown for the week:

  • 2 Jeskai Wins
  • 1 Abzan Mid-Range
  • 1 Abzan Aggro
  • 1 U/W Control
  • 1 Temur Monsters
  • 1 Mardu Mid-Range
  • 1 G/R Monsters

Quarterfinals

  • Mardu Mid-Range (2nd Donovan Schulz) vs G/R Monsters ( 7th, Derek Thill): R/G Monsters (Thill) wins
  • Temur Monsters( Robert Caladere) vs. U/W Control (Jeremy Bylander): U/W Control (Bylander) wins
  • Jeskai Wins (Aaron Glick) vs. Abzan Mid-Range (Nick Paulson): Abzan (Paulson) wins
  • Jeskai Aggro (Andrew Johnson) vs. Abzan Aggro (Mike Rekow): Jeskai Aggro (Johnson) wins

Semi-Finals

  • U/W Control (6th Jeremy Bylander) vs G/R Monsters (7th, Derek Thill)
  • Jeskai Aggro (Andrew Johnson) vs. Abzan Mid-Range (Nick Paulson): Jeskai Aggro (Johnson) wins

Finals:

  • U/W Control (Jeremy Bylander) vs Jeskai Aggro (Andrew Johnson)
  • Jeskai Aggro takes down the event in the capable hands of Andrew Johnson to demonstrate that Jeskai is still a Tier 1 standard mainstay

 

 

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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WEEKEND PRICE UPDATE: OCT 25TH/14

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

Here’s your weekly update on what’s been shifting around in price in the world of paper Magic: The Gathering this week. This week, the story is much more about what’s falling than what’s rising as the overinflated EV (estimated value) of Khans of Tarkir packs starts to fall back to earth.

5 Winners of the Week

1. Waves of Aggression (Eventide, Rare): $2.15 to $4.49 (+109%)

Format(s): Modern + EDH

The upswing on this card is squarely rooted in it’s appearance in a new Modern combo deck that uses Goryo’s Vengeance to bring back Narset, Enlightened Master and take extra attack steps to demolish the opponent as early as turn 2. The card is likely to fall back a bit before enjoying a slow but steady increase as additional uses are found, but I would be a seller on any stray copies I happened to have lying around.

Verdict: Sell

2. Hushwing Gryff (M15, Rare): $1.31 to $2.72 (+108%)

Format(s): Standard + Modern

It pulled some Top 8 camera time at the Pro Tour a few weeks back and word has slowly been spreading that this card might be one of the best answers to cards like Siege Rhino, Wingmate Roc and Sidisi by blunting their comes-into-play abilities. With Rabblemaster already proving that M15 rares carry strong gain potential, the question now becomes whether Gryff can find multiple homes and set up shop as a staple or fall back toward bulk on limited top table play. I stored 12 copies at $1, but I’m in no rush to unload now as a future home in Modern seems likely and the post-fee profits aren’t very compelling as of yet.

Verdict: Hold

3. Perilous Vault (M15, Mythic): $6.93 to $8.66 (+25%)

Format(s): Standard

The big gainer’s fall off pretty quick this week, but the big Vault shows it still has some gas in the tank as an M15 mythic with applications in multiple control builds in the new standard that have interest in wiping boards completely.  This card needs some top table finishes in the near future to push over $10 and towards $15 so I’m now comfortable holding until we see how the format evolves, with an eye to getting out if things shift heavily toward aggro.

Verdict: Hold

4. Shivan Reef (M15, Rare): $7.49 to $8.65 (+15%)

Format(s): Standard + Modern

The price on this heavily reprinted rare dual land is being pumped up by the widespread adoption of Jeskai Wins and Jeskai Ascendancy decks. You had a shot at picking these up this summer under $3, so now is a good time to get off the train if you’re holding. Otherwise, you can reliably wait until next summer to get back in for your personal collection.

Verdict: Sell

5. Thoughtseize (Theros, Rare): $16.24 to $19.49 (+20%)

Format(s): Standard + Modern + Legacy

Thoughtseize is to Theros block as Abrupt Decay was to Return to Ravnica, meaning that it’s a multi-format all-star you should have been snapping up by the dozen when the card as under $10 during the summer lows.

Verdict: Hold

5 Top Losers of the Week

1. Jeskai Ascendancy (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $4.42 to $2.61 (-41%)

Format(s): Standard

This combo bad boy is dropping for a few different reasons. Firstly, it hasn’t been posting enough top table results to make people really respect the card in Standard. Secondly, there’s the general downtrend of KTK rares that is finally kicking in as more product floods the market. Finally, there’s the fear that the card will be banned in Modern this winter for degeneracy. For what it’s worth I think it’s much more likely that Treasure Cruise gets banned in Modern instead of Jeskai Ascendancy as there simply aren’t enough high profile Modern events between now and the next ban list release to prove the combo is too dominant to live.  At $4-5 this was a hold, but if we can get copies under $3 I’m a buyer as the card has applications in many formats and the Standard deck could easily improve with help from forthcoming sets.

Verdict: Buy

2. Dig Through Time (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $10.29 to $7.82 (-24%)

Format(s): All Constructed Formats

This drop has nothing to do with the power and reach of this card, and everything to do with the general decline in KTK card prices that will unfold into the holidays. Over $10 I was a seller, but in the $5-7 range I’m a buyer for long term holds since the card is an all-time all-star , with the caveat that a slight ban potential in Modern could injure the spec in a big way.

Verdict: Buy

3. Wooded Foothills (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $13.06 to $10.98 (-16%)

Format(s): Standard, Modern, Legacy, EDH

All of the KTK fetchlands are headed south as expected, and should settle into the $8-14 range depending on Standard usage by the holidays. Interestingly Polluted Delta is still holding the highest price of the five, a situation that should correct itself in favor of Foothills and Windswept Heath, ie the two lands that are actually seeing the most standard play. I’ll be buying a couple of full playsets of these lands, but I’ll happily wait until they bottom out to snatch them up.

Verdict: Sell/Trade

4. Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic) 36.56 to 31.51 (-14%)

As predicted a lack of dominant play and the downtrend for KTK is pulling Sarkhan down a bit. If you’re going to play him, feel free to hold, but if not, I’d be looking to trade into fetches at their lows, since their long term potential far exceeds Sarkhan, who won’t be a great target for gains until he rotates. For him to bounce back this fall, the Mardu planeswalkers deck that Brad Nelson and crew ran back at GP Los Angeles last weekend needs to post some big results across a few important tourneys to unseat Jeskai Wins and Abzan as the assumed dominant decks.

Verdict: Sell/Trade

5. Nissa, Worldwaker (M15, Mythic) $40.59 to $36.94

Is she powerful? Of course she is? Is she owning top tables? Nope. Price memory should keep her over $30 for a while longer, but she’s really not winning enough games to justify this price.

Verdict: Sell

Quick Hits:

  • See the Unwritten is my pick for one of the few undervalued cards in Khans of Tarkir. Easily available around $4, this card has major short, mid and long term upside potential in Standard, Modern (possibly) and EDH.
  • Russian boxes of KTK are sold out across Russia. Think about that for a second. An entire country is old out. They’re drafting English KTK because they’ve cracked everything they could get their hands looking for foil fetch lands. If you’re local LGS is holding foreign Japanese, Korean or Russian boxes, you should be pouncing all over them. Throw them in the closet and smile hard in 2 years when you flip them for 150+% upside.
  • The 2014 SDCC Black Planeswalkers sets are available online below $325 and many vendors are offering above $400 for the 6 cards contained within. I traded a set for $465 in store credit last week. This makes no mathematical sense so get on it.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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Weekend Tournament Coverage: GP Los Angeles + SCG Worster Open

by James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

10:15pm UPDATE: Daniel Scheid takes down GPLA with G/R Monsters, beating Mono-Red Aggro, and proving that Stormbreath Dragon is far from being obsolete in the new fall Standard format. Daniel reports that he went 7-0 against Abzan during the tournament to nab the win. Anger of the Gods also looks better in the face of a likely upswing in Sligh style decks since it’s already so solid against Jeskai, Mana Dorks and Mardu early plays.

6:30pm UPDATE: Here’s the GPLA Top 8 Decks:

  • 2 Abzan Aggro
  • 2 Abzan Midrange
  • Mono Red
  • Boss Sligh
  • Mardu MidRange
  • GR Monsters

Another week of KTK Standard is nearly behind us and the story is a fairly exciting one. Despite cries of dismay at the possibility of a new binary Standard format composed of Jeskai Aggro & Abzan Mid-Range, this weekend has unfolded across North America with a clear signal of diversity.

Several new archtypes have emerged at the top tables of Grand Prix Los Angeles, including Mono Red Aggro (Eric Pei) and Temur Mid-Range (Brian Kibler).

In terms of the total metagame on Day 2 of the tournment, the promising breakdown was as follows (Decks/Percentage):

  • Abzan Mid-Range: (47/24%)
  • Jeskai Wins: (44/23%)
  • Abzan Aggro: (16/8%)
  • Green Devotion: (15/8%)
  • Mardu Mid-Range: (12/6%)
  • R/W Aggro: (8/4%)
  • G/R Monsters: (6/3%)
  • Sidisi Whip: (6/3%)
  • Temur Aggro: (5/3%)
  • U/B Vault Control: (5/3%)

Sure, the two best decks from PTKTK represented 47% of the field, but the next 40% was broken down across 8 different archtypes.

Decks hunting for Top 8 at the Grand Prix currently include:

  • Temur Mid-Range (Brian Kibler)
  • Mono-Red Aggro (Eric Pei)
  • Jeskai Wins (Austin Bach)
  • Mardu Tokens (Brad Nelson)

Over at the StarCityGames Standard Open held in Worcester, Massachusetts, the Top 8 broke down as follows:

  • 1st: Jeskai Wins (Trevor Humphries)
  • 2nd:  Mono-Red Aggro (Dylan Murphy)
  • 3rd: Abzan Mid-Range (Andrew Boswell)
  • 4th: Jeskai Wins(David Shiels)
  • 5th: Abzan Mid-Range (Scott Robins)
  • 6th: Abzan Mid-Range (Elliot Wolchesky)
  • 7th: G/B Devotion w/ See the Unwritten (Steven Jack)
  • 8th: Temur Mid-Range (Andre Batista)

Regardless of how the GP plays out, the sheer number of different deck archtypes (with many builds varying by as many as 12 cards), mean that we are facing an open season where skill, careful testing and sideboard planning are likely to be rewarded as the weeks unfold.

So where does this all leave us from an #mtgfinance perspective?

Well, despite the broad play seen by a plethora of KTK rares and mythics, the fact remains that the expanding supply from cracked packs should continue to drag down the overall set value as we move closer to the holidays. We’re likely to see mild spikes this week on some of the freshly proven performers this week including Butcher of the Horde, Savage Knuckleblade, See the Unwritten and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, all of which are clearly viable as top tier cards in Standard for the season. Butcher and Knuckleblade can easily hit $4-5 and as undervalued mythics Sidisi and See the Unwritten should be possible to challenge $8+ in the near future, despite only having homes in one archetype.

Crackling Doom, Whip of Erebos, Doomwake Giant and Eidolon of Blossoms are all also live to hold or increase value slightly based on their expressed viability.

It’s also possible that inertia and price memory will force a milder curve until they redouble their results at upcoming tournaments.

It’s worth noting that though several new archtypes and their banner cards have proven themselves, Jeskai Wins and Abzan Mid-Range are still all over the top tables and clearly still circling the podium. Heck, even devotion and heroic sub-themes did far better than anyone imagined throughout the weekend. With no clear losers, it will be tougher for the new cards to drain value from fallen soldiers.

Budget focused players will be happy to note that strong finishes by the relatively cheap Mono-Red Aggro deck makes affordable Standard a real possibility for the budget conscious this fall.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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