Category Archives: Casual Fridays

Should We Preorder Any Mythics?

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The whole set is revealed, and we’ve got some breathing room to think about the new set, instead of trying to cram it all together into that first weekend.

As a result, we can take our time on preorders, and decide if we want in or not. Mostly we won’t, but there’s a couple of cards that could be in line to go up significantly out of the gate.

Let’s get to the cards! This week, all the mythics. Next week, select rares.

Arclight Phoenix ($2.50): No. Not even a little. When you have to do work to get your Phoenix back, and fulfill specific conditions, the card is not good and not worth it. I expect this to be a bulk mythic, because even if you jump through the three-spell hoop, the payoff isn’t too strong and dies again pretty easily.

Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice ($10): This is super tempting, as by herself, she’s a 4/5 trample vigilance for four mana. That’s a pretty crazy rate, and given the abundance of Boros aggression it’s very possible for this card to take over games, just with Swiftblade Vindicator. Plus, she gives her bonus before Mentor triggers, meaning that she can help grow your army for a while. All that being said, she would need to be commonly played and also played a lot for her to go up much from this price. I suspect she will bump up a little at first, and then start to trickle down. Please note the current curve of Resplendent Angel – Aurelia – Lyra Dawnbringer and be amazed when that isn’t a top tier deck with that quality of creature.

Besties!

Chance for Glory ($4.50!): This early price is 100% due to the hopeful brewers out there. If Gideon of the Trials wasn’t rotating, then we could talk, but as it is I can’t imagine this being more expensive and I fully expect it to tank.

I will admit that when foils get down to the $4 range, I’m probably going to stock up, as that’s a fun line of text which doesn’t have an ‘end of turn’ deliberately.

Divine Visitation ($11): There’s no shortage of Commander decks that are frothing at the mouth to add this card. The new tokens have vigilance built in, which I believe is unique and just icing on the ‘Oh, okay, we’re all dead now’ cake. I fully expect this to hold its current price for a while, and if a token deck shows up in Standard it’ll be a $20 card.

I will badly want to buy foils of this for long-term holds but I don’t think there will be many. This would be a $2 rare but as a mythic, I suspect it’ll settle in the $6 range.

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Doom Whisperer ($13): Effects where you pay life and get an effect are very strong, and I’m not going to be shocked when this card gets broken in Modern. It’s also huge for the mana cost, big enough to take on Lyra, and the combination is very appealing. Even if the creature is immediately killed, the ability will give some value right away.

Maintaining this price will require being part of a Standard combo or instant success (or on-camera shenanigans) in Modern. It’s at least $20 if that happens, but the more likely event is that it drops below $10 and approaches $5. I have a suspicion that the broken combo will come along sooner, rather than later.

Dream Eater ($3.50): I think this will replace Torrential Gearhulk as a finisher for blue decks. It’s not the same level of value engine, but the combination of flash, a decent body, surveil 4 AND bounce a nonland is too much for the blue control decks to pass up. This is going to go higher at first, as it’ll be widely adopted in Teferi decks, and I think it’ll go as high as $10. I’ve preordered four, and I’m reassured that it’s not an expensive card.

It’s a more balanced Gearhulk.

Lazav, the Multifarious ($8): This is spot on for a legend with a janky ability. I’d expect a lot of Entomb/Buried Alive effects to play very well with him,

March of the Multitudes ($6): Absolutely not. It’s an instant, and that’s good, but Secure the Wastes is better in most situations. It’ll get played in a few Commander games, as doubling your creature count is a winner, but this is so much of a win-more card. It’ll end up as bulk.

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Mnemonic Betrayal ($6): Also no. Far too conditional, and while it’s going to make for some fun stories, it just can’t reach an efficient level unless your opponent is a fizzled Storm player. Also bulk.

Nullhide Ferox ($9): I respect Steel-Leaf Paladin into this into Gigantosaurus, but white decks just got the perfect card to answer big green in Citywide Bust. This is huge for four mana, and requires mana plus a kill spell just about immediately, and that’s good. Also good is that you’d likely run the full four if you’re playing with this card, but I don’t see him holding this price. Much more likely is a drop to the $4 range.

Ral, Izzet Viceroy ($13): So yeah, Ral does all you’d want for a control-oriented planeswalker. Draws cards, the plus ability feeds into the minus, and a backbreaking ultimate. I foresee many people trying to build Jeskai decks in Standard around him and Teferi. I think those decks will eventually get there; what I’m not sure about is how many they’ll play and what the market is for him otherwise. Teferi is sick because he gives you a card and the mana to use it right away, where Ral requires setup. Not impossible, though. I think his price will go up a little and settle a little, but $13 is close enough to the long-term price that I’m not pre-ordering him.

He’s got that Travis Allen ‘get me a razor that stops 2 mm above my skin’ look.

Thousand-Year Storm ($5): This is going to be one of those bulk nonfoils/$8 foils that see see occasionally. Super-mega-niche card, and it’s only going to make the durdling Commander decks durdle harder with a 20-minute turn that mercifully ends the game. Please don’t buy this.

Trostani Discordant ($6): This comes with two 2/2 lifelinkers, and that’s good. Pumps your horde of tokens, also good. They doesn’t enable a lot, and so I’m staying away, financially. I’m with you 100% if you’re adding this to your token-themed Commander deck, but this is going to be $1-$2 before long.

Underrealm Lich ($6.50): This is verrrrrrry intriguing. Vraska’s Contempt and Settle the Wreckage are both exile effects, which makes the activated ability lame as hell, but the draw replacement is VERY powerful. They don’t stack up well together, but I think this is going to grow a bit. I’m not sold enough to think that it’ll hit $20, but it’ll see enough play to get to $10. That’s not a big enough jump for me to want to preorder it, though.

Vraska, Golgari Queen ($18): I really want her to be awesome, but I just don’t see it. Her drawing a card is conditional, and while the -3 is great on turn four, it’s pretty terrible as a topdeck turn 8. I think she’ll fall in price some, down to the $10 range, but likely no lower. The bar for Planeswalkers is pretty high right now, given Teferi and Karn.

 

Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP (next up: Oakland in January!) and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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What Mythic Edition Means

If you listened to MTG Fast Finance last week (and you really ought to, it’s free money and scintillating conversation) then you heard James and I discussing the impact of the Mythic Edition of Guilds of Ravnica.

In the time since, I’ve been thinking about that set and what it means for players, and for collectors, and people who care about the financial aspects of this decision.

Come with me, and let’s talk about what they might be trying to do.

First, let’s talk about what the set is. From their page:

The product will be a Draft-sized (24 pack) box of Guilds of Ravnica, with the twist that eight packs (they’ll be clearly marked) will each come with one of these planeswalker cards inside the pack (plus the normal rare or mythic rare card). You will know which packs have these special planeswalkers, so this can make for an exciting Draft experience. Or just crack the whole box. You do you.

So you’re dropping $250 on a box, which is about double plus some for the average box. Maybe even triple, depending on the box and where it is in the price cycle.

The amazing part of this box is the eight packs which each has a different borderless Planeswalker, the first official ones of this kind, though there have been assorted borderless alterists and online artists who’ve made these ‘super-art’ styles for years and years. This is a lazy set of Masterpieces–This isn’t original. It’s not going somewhere new. I prefer Invocations  to these cards, and I don’t like Invocations much.

The art choices, aside, one thing is clear: If you can get this at the original MSRP, then you’re set. It’s a slam-dunk at that price, having 24 packs of Guilds of Ravnica, and 8 of those packs (they will be clearly marked, it seems) with the special Planeswalkers, so those packs will have an extra card. Shouldn’t be too much of a disruption, as you’ll still get a regular mythic or foil. It’s not clear if that’s replacing a common, or if the number is now one more.

If regular packs are $4, then this is $64 worth of packs. Even at $3 a pack, which is your price if you’re buying a box at $108, that’s $50 of value before we get to the main attraction.

You’re getting eight foil planeswalkers for $200. Only $25 each! Let’s look at these current foil prices before we get into anything else.

Name

Foil Price(s)

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Dominaria $95

Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Duel Deck $14

MM 2013 $35

Shards of Alara $43

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Liliana, the Last Hope

Eldritch Moon $99

SDCC 2016 ‘Zombies!’ $125

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

Duel Deck $7

Magic 2013 $22

Conflux $27

Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast

Conspiracy 2 $59

Ral, Izzet Viceroy

No foil prices yet, but the regular is preselling around $15, so likely $30 or so.

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

Mirrodin Besieged $68

Vraska, Golgari Queen (presumably)

None listed yet, but preselling for ~$25, so the foil should be $40-$50 easily.

With these prices, there’s a LOT going on. Will these be as valuable as the pack foil? Possibly. The only time we’ve seen something close to this as been the assorted SDCC promo planeswalkers, and that printing consistently represents the most expensive versions of those cards, even if the cards aren’t that pricey.

So with this in mind, at ~$200 for the set of eight, you’re looking at about $470 worth of pack foils. That’s ridiculous value, quite frankly, and it’s guaranteed. You’re not hunting for an Expedition or the like, you’re simply going to have to brave the website and the inevitable crashes. You know exactly what you’re getting, and even the worst of these (Ral) is going to be a $30 card.

He’s got that maybe $30 face too.

There are variables at play, like the website’s terrible interface and the fact that these can’t be shipped outside the USA at this point, but the primary one is going to be the total number made. If there’s a lot, if everyone gets as many as they want, then I’d still have a hard time believing that it’s not at least a break-even. Teferi has a year left to warp Standard, and he’s popping up in other formats too. Liliana sees some play, but a lot of her price is due to small-set mythic supply. Tezzeret is from forever ago. Daretti doesn’t have much demand either.

I can see a world where the Teferi is $75, Liliana is $40, and the rest are hovering in the $20 range. That’s still $235 just from the eight planeswalkers, and that’s the worst-case, mega-overprinted scenario.

Yep, still a whole year in Standard.

Wizards’ track record is to underprint things, and they’re right to do so here. These foils are the definition of a luxury item, as you could collect this set in nonfoil for around $150. When you are hunting special versions, you’re in luxury-goods territory, and keeping those scarce is good.

What I really don’t like is how this feels like a giant middle finger to local stores. The buy-a-box promos are an attempt to bring business to the stores that keep events and registration high, and this bypasses the stores entirely. This isn’t FTV, where stores got to have a markup that was pure profit for them. This is cutting out the middleman, and testing the waters of how much profit they can siphon away from those stores.

Using the local stores would have allowed for worldwide distribution, and it’s a shame that Wizards is neglecting the rest of the world this way.

Finally, I want to address resales. Should you buy this on eBay, if you can’t get through on the site? I’m going to lean in and say no unless you’re getting them for $300, but not as high as $350. Sure, these look fun, but aside from being borderless, they are the same cards with different art.

These are unlikely to spike, too. The planeswalker sets from SDCC show that their prices are super high early, and after the GIMMEGIMMEGIMME wave wears off, it tapers down. I bought an SDCC Liliana of the Dark Realms for $90 three years ago. She’s $87 now. There will be people making money on this set for a while if they got in at $250, but the best money is going to be in immediate flips. Don’t hang onto sealed sets of this product, if you happen to get your two.

Do you want your $90 now, or your $90 in three years?

I don’t mind Wizards doing this, selling the premium versions of this directly, except for how it takes potential profit away from local stores and hoses non-North Americans. These versions are lackluster Masterpieces to me, but I felt that way about Invocations too. For future releases of a product like this (and there’s very likely to be more of this) I’d expect them to slowly increase how many get sold, and hopefully figure out how to let international buyers get some too.

Please remember that these are promos of something that already exists for cheaper. Don’t freak out because there’s a more expensive version of a card. Get the one you need/want/can afford and move on.

 

Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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Previews and Shocklands

Guilds of Ravnica previews officially start next week, and while we have a smattering of cards, we also know that the shocklands are back.

Again.

I got this question three times over the weekend, in some form or another: “What should I do about shocklands?”

I’m here to answer that for you, along with a couple of cards that have potential to do very well in the new Standard.

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Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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Leaving Kaladesh

Hello everyone! We are likely two weeks away from previews for Guilds of Ravnica, and while I enjoy the experience of ‘will they really do a Ravnica sans shocklands?’ threads, that’s not the main thing on my mind.

Today, I’m thinking about the things that are about to rotate out of Standard, and I’m looking for the cards which have appeal in Modern, Legacy, Commander or Cube.

There’s no shortage of these cards, and that bodes quite well for opportunities. Some cards are already pretty high, due to extensive use (Fatal Push, for example) and while there might be some money made there it’ll either be too slow or too small.

Let’s talk about some cards!

Kaladesh

Spirebluff Canal ($7 regular/$15 foil)

Trending down, until it’ll begin trending up again!

The enemy fastlands are a terrific investment, but I’m only going to mention the top two. Spirebluff is the #33 most played land in Modern, appearing in about 8% of decks. It’s popular in explosive decks who need two colors right away, like Storm, and this price is low for both versions. I can easily see this being $10/$30, or even higher depending. I hope the price drops down a little, as people liquidate their current Standard decks, but this one and Blooming Marsh (#41 on that list, in roughly 5% of decks) are the ones I really want to stock up on. I prefer foils too, but given how common this can be, nonfoils appeal too. I find it unlikely we will get this in a booster pack again for a while–we haven’t gotten a reprint of the allied fastlands, and that was in late 2010!

Metallurgic Summonings ($1.30/$4)

Ponder with a 1/1 attached is just absurd right?

This seems woefully underpriced for a mythic, but it’s seen so little play. Considering how common ‘no creature’ decks are in Commander, this card is ridiculous. One of my other favorite interactions is that this plays extremely well with the new Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer, making artifact tokens that can be copied into other things, or be the source for other token copies. It’s in 5000 decks on EDHREC, so it’s not like this card is a secret. It’s going to be super solid for growth going forward.

Ceremonious Rejection (50¢/$5)

This is currently one of the most popular sideboard cards in Modern, given the utility against Tron, Affinity, KCI, and Eldrazi. If you play Modern, get your playset now of nonfoils, and feel free to get some foils when you can. There’s only about 100 on TCG right now, and given the large number of decks that are playing this as at least a two-of, I won’t be shocked when they jump to at least $15, uncommon or not.

Paradoxical Outcome (50¢/$6!)

It’s been a while since I saw a foil multiplier at 12, and this is due to the popularity of this card in Vintage. As you can imagine, this card plus a Mox or two, perhaps a Grim Monolith, means you draw a lot of cards very very fast. I was surprised to find that the foils are this cheap, considering that this deck has quickly become one of the most commonly played decks in that format.

I’ll give you that Vintage isn’t a big scene in paper, at least as compared to online, but when there’s only 32 copies on TCG and a handful on other big sites, it feels like a solid choice for a future buyout.

Dubious Challenge (bulk/$1)

The last card I’m targeting from Kaladesh is this crappy, terrible, no-good card. You don’t have to tell me that it’s not great. It’s actively bad, but there’s a deck waiting to break out. We already have Flickerwisp and Glimmerpoint Stag to flicker the Griselbrand or Emrakul, so there’s a base. One more flickering creature might put this over the top, though it’s a four-mana sorcery that is easily countered. The price for getting in is so low, though, that I don’t mind picking up a few foils and just being patient. I don’t know when it’ll blow up, but it’s unique and has great potential.

Aether Revolt

Paradox Engine ($17/$34/$120 for the Masterpiece Invention)

This card of a thousand combos is the perfect mythic, in that you don’t ever want to open it in Limited events. It’s a super-popular card in Commander: in print for about 20 months, already listed in more than 11,000 decks. That’s a lot of combos and shenanigans, and it’s why the Invention is so pricey.

Oh it stings, I knew better, why didn’t I buy any?

I can’t advocate picking up these Inventions as a value investment. They’re going to go up, but they’ve already spiked pretty hard and any further growth is going to be quite slow. Pack foils are a super-tasty target, as they ought to be about $45, considering the usual foil multiplier. The Invention presents a price ceiling, but know that the pack foil is below where it’s expected to be, and that means it’ll correct itself by $15-$20 before too long.

Mechanized Production ($3/$6)

Alternate win conditions are already something I pay attention to, but the assortment of cards that can make this amazing really put this over the top. Yes, it’s another awesome Brudiclad card, but it’s also great with other artifacts you’d be playing anyway. Churn out some mana rocks, or if you really want to get wild, Coveted Jewel. This is a small-set mythic that is niche so far but it’s got great potential to blow up in the right setting.

Planar Bridge ($3/$6/$60)

That’s not a typo. The Invention version is 20x the regular, and 10x the pack foil price. I love inventions, I do, but this is out of alignment. There’s 4500 people who’ve already put this into decks online, and the best thing about seeing this card on the other side of the table in a Commander game is the sure and certain knowledge that my suffering won’t last long. Hopefully.

Foil Scrap Trawler ($2-$4)

First of all, this was the Buy-a-Box card for Aether Revolt. There’s a lot of extra foils out there, so be aware that this might not hit the heights you’re hoping for.

That being said, this card enables all sorts of silly and grindy and annoying decks. It’s a staple of the Krark-Clan Ironworks deck, and there’s also an incredible Grinding Station deck (found here if you want) that abuses the interactions in order to win with Sword/Thopter, because dumping cards into the yard in such a deck is basically drawing them.

Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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