All posts by Travis Allen

Travis Allen has been playing Magic on and off since 1994, and got sucked into the financial side of the game after he started playing competitively during Zendikar. You can find his daily Magic chat on Twitter at @wizardbumpin. He currently resides in upstate NY, where he is a graduate student in applied ontology.

The Watchtower 4/23/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

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By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.


Dominaria’s prerelease brought players out in droves, and while we’ve got no official numbers on attendance (and I doubt we ever will), anecdotally it was a smashing success. Not only does the set have plenty of juice for the average player who’s joined within the last few years, it’s also a massive dump of nostalgia for the long time player. Not only have you got most of the crew of the Weatherlight in Karn, Jhoira, and Teferi, but there’s mountains of incidental references waiting to be gobbled up. One that struck me was Bloodtallow Candle, which includes the skull from Profane Momento, a forgettable uncommon artifact from Magic 2015. Who the heck needed that throwback? Nobody. But it was cool!

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The Watchtower 4/16/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy. And if you enjoy playing Magic, make sure to visit https://scry.land to find PPTQs, SCG Opens, and more events on an interactive map with worldwide coverage. Find Magic near you today.


If you blinked, you would have missed it — Inventions have been eaten up all over the place. It’s a fevered madness right now; even Planar Bridges are selling for nearly $100. And I don’t mean copies are listed for $100, I mean they’re selling for $100. If there are any Masterpieces you wanted that you haven’t acquired yet, stop waiting. I’m not promising that they’re all going to skyrocket in price, but I can promise that they’re not getting any cheaper.

Other than that, we’re all hanging around waiting for Dominaria’s prerelease this coming weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it break sales records, with many long-time players that are partially retired thinking about re-entering the fray. It’s basically Time Spiral 2, and nostalgia is a powerful motivating factor.

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Courser of Kruphix (Foil)

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $20

Courser is well understood by now, even if he was missed as hard as a card can be missed when he first came around. After shaping Standard for awhile he was called up to the big leagues, and is now a prominent feature in both Modern and EDH. In the former he’s a mainstay in value decks, with the latest iteration popularized by Todd Stevens. Meanwhile Gabe Nassif is on Twitter posting a similar style deck and calling it the best of the format.

Masters 25 brought a Courser reprint, adding a fresh chunk of foils to the supply. Not too many though, it would seem. There are only about twenty foil M25 copies available on TCG right now. There’s a few less BOG copies than that, and maybe thirty of the promo available. Consider what we know of the demand. It’s all coming from EDH (12,000+ decks) and Modern. Both formats are packed with fans of foils. Pair that with the Modern decks’ relatively inexpensive card set, and foiling out Value Town is more appealing than it may be if you’re playing something like Jund, or anything with Jace in it.

Foil prices depend on which edition you’re looking at, with the cheapest around $6. BOG foils are the most expensive right now (which is unsurprising). Promo foils are still quite cheap, and probably my favorite of the three. They’ve got different art, and are a better card stock than the M25 copies.


Krark-Clan Ironworks

Price Today: $10
Possible Price: $25

This is hardly going to strike anyone as a novel concept, given that the deck won the GP yesterday, but Krark-Clan Ironworks should be on your radar. Supply was low before, and as of this morning it doesn’t appear there’s been too deep a run on it yet. There’s maybe 15 copies on TCG right now, which I don’t think is much less than there was on Friday.

We’ve learned several times that weird Modern decks have trouble keeping prices up on key pieces (think Ad Nauseam). As such, I don’t expect Ironworks to spike and stay spiked after this weekend. However, that doesn’t mean we should discount it entirely. In Aether Revolt the deck picked up Scrap Trawler, which is an important inclusion. There’s now a demonstrable loop for basically infinite mana and card draw, which helps make piloting the deck a lot more manageable.

Another wrinkle is that this is basically the first time we’ve seen Ironworks hammer home an event, and part of that is because the deck is nigh unpilotable on MODO. People try, but I’m told it takes Conley around twenty minutes to execute. Given how unwieldly it is online, it’s remained a much larger question mark, since it can’t be put through the grinder in the space of a few weeks in the same way that most other lists can. Maybe the deck is insane and broken, and we just haven’t been able to get the reps in to figure that out yet?

That’s the angle for Ironworks, basically. That it’s actually busted, and is going to keep succeeding, and we just haven’t known about it because it’s too hard to play on MODO. A few more good placements and then people will start to pay attention, and prices will follow.


Mox Amber

Price Today: $30
Possible Price: $50

I don’t get much more speculative than this. Preorders for the new mythic Mox — the first since Mox Opal in Scars of Mirrodin, nearly eight years ago — are hanging around $25 to $30. That’s definitely a price point that offers the possibility of real returns.

While I’m not positive, I suspect Amber is going to be similar to Opal in the long run. It’s easy to quickly come to the conclusion that it’s too difficult to make use of. “How will you get three artifacts in play before turn three?” wasn’t an uncommon question back in the SOM days. Yet here we are, with Opal being one of the cards closest to the ban list in Modern.

Late last night a list (thanks Liz) popped up in my feed of a Standard combo deck using Paradoxical Outcome, Aetherflux Reservoir, Paradoxical Engine, Mox Amber, Baral, and some other artifacts. That’s the type of strategy that can potentially abuse the heck out of Mox Amber. And it’s definitely not something people were weighing the possibility of when they were complaining about the card four hours after it was spoiled.

Am I recommending you spec at $30? No. I’m not buying any yet myself. Be aware of it though, as it could go from zero to sixty real quick.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


 

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The Watchtower 4/9/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy. And if you enjoy playing Magic, make sure to visit https://scry.land to find PPTQs, SCG Opens, and more events on an interactive map with worldwide coverage. Find Magic near you today.


Magic fans got a treat this weekend, with a Standard GP, a Legacy GP, and a Modern Open. No matter how you enjoy your sixty card formats, there was an event for you to watch. Furthermore, each format looked healthy! In Standard you can play any Bomat Courier deck you want, in Legacy you can play any Deathrite Shaman deck you want, and in Modern you can play any Lightning Bolt deck you want. We haven’t been this spoiled since we all chose to drive black cars.

Gamble

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $15

For the longest time, Gamble was one of those “it’s how much?” cards. An otherwise innocuous card reached a staggering $30 on the back of Legacy play in Lands (who cares if you discard the card you tutor when you’ve got Life from the Loam too) and EDH, where concerns of having to discard the wrong card are often met with “just cast the damn card and take another drink.”

A printing in Eternal Masters brought the price down significantly, to the point that EDH players will actually purchase it. That’s great for people that wanted to make money on the card, since it’s infinitely easier to buy and sell a card at $4 and $6 respectively, rather than $25 and $30. It’s begun to climb from its just-printed lows, and is positioning itself to keep climbing.

Supply is healthy for now, as there isn’t dramatic demand. It’s ticking though. And it’s going to keep ticking, as these find their way into collections of players that had held off purchasing them before, becoming permanent fixtures in EDH binders everywhere. Is it going to double in two months? No. But later this year or next you could find these with a healthy appreciation.

Bring to Light (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $10

I may have written about this one in the past, but I don’t have an easy way to search for specific cards in my archives, so we all get to (possibly) enjoy this one again.

In the SCG Modern open, Scapeshift BTL made another appearance with a playset of said card. That’s great and all, but don’t expect a Tier 2 Modern combo deck to drive the price too wild. It will keep a steady demand up, for sure, but it’s not going to drain the entire foil supply over the course of a month.

Our best bet for price growth is EDH. Changes to the way mana works in the format with the release of…Battle for Zendikar? enabled some great tricks with this that I suspect haven’t been fully appreciated by the EDH crowd yet. Regardless of general, you can now generate all colors of mana. This means your Razaketh the Foulblooded deck can generate all five colors. While you’re not putting BTL in there, you can slide it into something like Kumena. So long as you’ve got a Chromatic Lantern in play, you can now BTL for all five colors in your UG deck. How’s that for nifty!

It’s been awhile since BFZ now, and supply is getting lowish. Once it bottoms out, I’d look for a restock in the $9 to $15 range.

The Other Inventions

Price Today: $25 – $125
Possible Price: $100 – $250

Over the last two weeks or so, Masterpieces Inventions have been on the move. Mox Opal, Aether Vial, Mana Vault — many of prices have moved significantly.

Amidst this buying frenzy, several others are going to move as well. We’ve seen it before, and we’re going to see it again. Everything is on the table — Defense Grid and Sphere of Resistance jumped, and demand for those is tiny — but competitive and EDH staples are more likely to stick once there’s a change. I outlined a few on MTG Fast Finance this weekend, so check that out if you want specific examples.

Overall they’re all probably gravy, and if you’ve got the funds to dump into these, I’d be surprised if you’re not happy with the move. If you’re working with a $200 bank roll I’d stay away, since it will eat basically all of that without an immediate promise of return, but if throwing several hundred dollars at this won’t impact your behavior otherwise, this is a rich vein at the moment.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.



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PROTRADER: The Watchtower 4/2/18

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy. And if you enjoy playing Magic, make sure to visit https://scry.land to find PPTQs, SCG Opens, and more events on an interactive map with worldwide coverage. Find Magic near you today.


Overall Easter weekend was on the quieter side of things in the world of Magic. There was a team limited grand prix overseas, which was fun for the people over there I’m sure, but as far as we’re concerned, it would have been more relevant to watch a stream of kitchen table Magic.

There was a Modern MOCS yesterday too, which had some less-than-predictable results. Hollow One and Humans were the decks to beat, with the best performances by a sizeable margin. Storm and Jund face planted. Ironworks…showed up? And Tron probably upset some people.

Tom Ross wrote an article on Friday about some cool Modern decks, and it’s worth knowing he wrote that. That ran on DailyMTG, which is a lot of eyeballs.

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Retract

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $10

Tom’s article over on the mothership certainly got people talking this week, because I sold four playsets of Puresteel Paladin in two days after not having sold any in who knows how long. If Magic players today are anything like I was ten years ago, seeing a fairly cheap combo deck like that got a lot of casual players excited to build it, especially since it’s “adaptable” to be affordable. (That means cutting the moxes, which of course ruins the entire deck, but that’s the type of detail those same players will happily overlook.)

Anyways, if this deck picks up steam, whether on kitchen tables or final tables, Retract is the weakest link. A single printing in Mirrodin means supply is as low as possible in Magic’s most popular competitive format, Modern. It’s a cornerstone card in the deck, and I’m not sure you could ever build the strategy without a full playset. It’s a just about the ripest confluence of factors around a card spiking you could ask for. (Save for the deck, being like, good.)

Supply is decently high right now, but that’s in part due to Retract having had the briefest of moments in the sun a year ago. That jump brought the card up from $2 into the $10+ range, which dredged every spare copy in existence up. That supply is now sitting around in the hands of some vendors and various market operators, and much of that is available online right now. In other words, there’s not really any supply beyond what’s visible in the market.

Diplomatic Immunity

Price Today: $.5
Possible Price: $4

If you poke around over at EDHREC, you’ll see that Zur the Enchanter has been popular the last few months. He’s an odd commander that pushes players into notable card choices. One of them that jumped out at me is Diplomatic Immunity. Immunity is from a different time period in Magic’s design history. It gives itself and the creature it enchants shroud. That’s it. An annoying enchantment. Truly, Magic is the greatest game.

Diplomatic Immunity is a gold standard in Zur, since it helps ensure he hangs around for more shenanigans on follow up turns. Not only can Zur fetch it, but there’s a whole enchantment subtheme with the deck, so it fits in well. Overall you’ll find Immunity in about 2,000 EDH decks, which isn’t a remarkably deep pool, but it’s not insignificant.

What catches my eye here is that like Retract, it’s a single printed card. It’s a common from Mercadian Masques with no second printing. If Zur continues to see new decks being built, supply is going to drain on Immunity. We’re not going to see a $20 card here, but a jump from pocket change to several dollars is possible. Selling these one at a time on TCGPlayer or eBay would be annoying, but buying in at $.45 and then dumping a stack to a buylist for $1.50 a few months later would be awfully sweet.

Rhystic Study

Price Today: $10
Possible Price: $20

Anyone that’s ever listed copies of Rhystic Study for sale on TCG knows how hot a commodity this is. It’s one of the most popular blue EDH cards, which is really saying something. It’s also basically a meme unto itself; “You pay one for that? Pay one for that? Pay one for that?”

Given how quickly these move, as 1-ofs, there’s no doubt that EDH players are vacuuming them up at an alarming rate. So far there’s been enough churn to keep the market liquid, but I wonder if we’re approaching a turning point on that. Players have to be getting rid of these pretty fast to keep up with the demand in the market right now. EDH players often like to stash their cards, not sell them, so I’d expect a healthy attrition on a staple like this. A constant upwards price movement for years supports my suspicions.

$10 for a common may seem crazy, but this has moved far beyond its printed rarity. There’s not a lot left out there at this price, or less than $20 in general. If this trend continues, this will be a blue EDH staple that’s at least a Jackson before too long.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


 

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