All posts by James Chillcott

WEEKEND PRICE UPDATE: NOV 8TH/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.  Forked Bolt (Rise of the Eldrazi, Uncommon): $0.36 to $1.26 (+40%)

Format(s): Modern/Legacy

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Heading into GP New Jersey next weekend, a tournament that is likely to be the largest Legacy Magic event of all time, we have a metagame before us that pivots on the fulcrum point that is U/R Delver decks. Suddenly most of the creatures you need to kill (Delver of Secrets, Young Pyromancer, Swiftspear, Tokens) are begging for the cheapest possible solution that can do 1-2 damage. That card is Forked Bolt. Low inventory relative to immediate demand is spiking the card, and foils have done even better. I was happy to mop up a handful of foils a couple of weeks at market rates based on my early Legacy testing and tourney results, but the paper version could easily hit $3-4 on the floor of GPNJ in a world where Stoke the Flames exceeds that price. The long term prognosis largely depends on whether Treasure Cruise gets banned in Modern, which could signal a shift back towards other decks, but there is profit to be found here in trades at Legacy events in the interim.

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Verdict: Buy/Hold

2.  Firedrinker Satyr (Theros, Rare): $1.05 to $1.20 (+14%)

Format(s): Standard

The red aggro deck continues to be a popular and viable strategy in local standard metagames despite not taking down any top tables at major tourneys upstream. Depending on how many Coursers and Caryatids you need to punch through this guy can be a very helpful little bastard. I was targeting these at .35 cents and as throw-ins for trades last summer, so trading out now is a good move if you aren’t playing your copies.

Verdict: Trade

3.  Whip of Erebos (Theros, Rare): $1.87 to $2.23 (+19%)

Format(s): Standard/EDH

With a few strong Top 8 finishes lately, the various Whip decks have staked a claim to Tier 1 deck status in Standard for the season. Some decks go so far as to play 4 copies of this legendary enchantment, which is helping to boost the price. These will drop near rotation for sure, due to a complete lack of legacy play, so if you can trade out extras in the $2-3 range that’s a solid move, looking to pick some back up for long term holds next spring/summer.

Verdict: Trade

4.  Jeskai Ascendancy (KTK, Rare): $2.18 to $1.95 (+12%)

Format(s): Standard/Modern/Legacy

First it was jank. Then it was the hidden king of combo. Then it was too fragile for Standard, but ban-able in Modern. Then Ivan Jen took down SCG Open Oakland last weekend with his Heroic/Ascendancy hybrid deck and demonstrated yet again the versatility and power of this multi-facted combo piece. They key here is whether it’s getting banned in Modern this winter, and so far, the lack of results there makes me say no. Assuming it survives the first swing of the axe (which will almost certainly hit Treasure Cruise regardless), this could be a serious gainer heading into next fall as more cards become available to expand the combo options in Standard. I’m quite happy to these up at $2-3 and roll the dice for a role in multiple formats. I’m also holding a plethora of Japanese foils of this card, but it’s a risky move.

Verdict: Buy/Hold below $3

5. Thoughtseize (Lorwyn, Rare): $34.49 to $36.78 (+7%)

Format(s): All

What Snapcaster Mage was to Innistrad and Abrupt Decay was to RTR block, Thoughtseize is to Theros. All are eternal playable power cards that the MTGFinance community told everyone repeatedly to buy at their lows. Thoughtseize never got much below $15, but I managed to snag several sets in the $12-13 range.  Now it’s in the low 20’s and likely to regain 30 within 18 months with ease. My records tell me that I was selling Lorwyn versions at $55USD summer of 2013, so getting back in this year around $30 on those was also solid. With both versions climbing far in advance of rotation I’d grab any sets you want for play or speculation sooner rather than later. You may get a chance to snag copies at a good price from standard players trading out next fall, but then again, you may not.

Verdict: Buy

5 Top Losers of the Week

1. Heliod, God of the Sun (Theros, Mythic): $3.42 to $2.67 (-22%)

Format(s): Casual/EDH

We are now at the point where virtually all of the gods are excellent pickups for long term holds. These are iconic and unique mythics that are unlikely to see reprints in any specialty products anytime soon due to thematic issues and the need to be surrounded by devotion strategies. Commander 2015 would have been a fine vehicle and WOTC passed on that opportunity due to proximity to release, so they should be safe for a few years at least. I’m happy to snag a ton of Heliod around $2-$2.50, as he can easily be expected to settle in around $6-8 down the road. Keranos is the only god I’d wait to target at rotation. The others I’ll be buying in piles heading toward summer lows, happy to dollar cost average.

Verdict: Buy

2. Kiora, the Crashing Wave (Born of the Gods, Mythic): $20.37 to $16.07 (-21%)

Format(s): Standard + Modern

Kiora is a great Planeswalker, but she’s too fragile in the current burn heavy standard meta and she’s just been announced as one half of the spring Duel Decks release alongside Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. In my mind, both cards are worth dumping sooner rather than later, as they will surely crash heading into summer and will then by buys at half the price or less. For what it’s worth I prefer the original art on both cards, so it’s worth watching to see if the bottom will drop out on foils at some point, opening an EDH spec.

Verdict: Sell/Trade

3.  Wurmcoil Engine (Scars of Mirrodin, Mythic): $20.03 to $17.07 (-15%)

Format(s): Modern/Legacy/EDH

As covered earlier, there is far too much value in the new Commander 2014 red deck to allow this freshly reprinted mythic to stay up. I think the floor on this is somewhere in the $8-12 range, and at the lower end of that I’m in for a few sets as longer term holds and to play with, since I only had a few in the collection until now. If you can manage to trade them away above market averages, that’s a slam dunk right now.

Verdict: Sell/Trade

4.  Xenagos, The Reveler (Theros, Mythic) 14.26 to 12.20 (-14%)

This guy has put in plenty of work in the last year and has nothing to be ashamed of. First commanding around $30 at his release, he later dipped to under $10 this summer, when I was snagging him for $8. He spiked in the fall on middling standard results and lessened availability to around $18, but is now falling again on lack of play. You should have got out a few weeks back, but it’s possible he sees a resurgence based on new cards in the next two sets this winter/spring so holding your playset isn’t crazy.

Verdict: Hold/Trade

5.  Stormbreath Dragon (Theros, Mythic) $20.01 to $18.11 (-9%)

Big red threats aren’t winning enough top tables, and when they are, they’re generally named Sarkhan. I’ve been dumping extra copies for a while, and we’d need to be facing down a significant metagame shift before I’d change my mind.

Verdict: Sell/Trade

Quick Hits:

  • Commander 2014 sets of 5 decks can easily be found for about $125, saving you some cash below MSRP. At an MTGFinance play however, these decks are weak. I’m still holding a ton of Commander 2013 product that isn’t likely to produce for another 1-2 years and that’s not where you want to be at this time next year. Cracking them for decks at lowered cost by ditching the banner cards is a fine collector value play, but it’s not a money maker when you consider your time spent. Steer clear.
  • I’m trading foil Treasure Cruise into foil Dig Through Time all day long. Cruise is too good, everyone knows it, and it will be banned in modern this winter without question. It will still see play in Legacy, but DTT has a brighter and broader future. Even better, trade either into foil Delver of Secrets. Those can still be had under $15, and that’s just not right given the current level of play and the fact that Innistrad is almost 3 years older than KTK.
  • If you’re looking for specs for next weekend, you should be figuring out what metagame calls will be made against UR Delver at GP New Jersey and buying accordingly. Folks will be finishing up decks this weekend and copies of key cards should result in some spikes shortly. We’re already seeing it with Forked Bolt, but that won’t be the last card.

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: NOV 1ST/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 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).

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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

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

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:

  • 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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