Category Archives: Casual Fridays

Be Patient

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Welcome to the new block and the new rotation. Khans is going to be legal for 18 months, not two years. I’ve preached patience before, because I have learned the hard way that prices are all at their highest on this prerelease weekend!

It bears repeating: Trade away everything you open at a release or prerelease. This even includes the promo cards. The value is going to go down in 95% of cases, so you want to get the most for your buck. Do not trade for anything from Khans this weekend, unless you absolutely have to have it this coming Friday for FNM. You’ll pay a premium this weekend and next.

We don’t track preorder prices here at MTGPrice, so if you find preorder prices different from my finds, feel free to leave comments or act accordingly.

I’m not going to go over everything from Khans, I’m going to list some preorder prices and what price I’ll be looking for in a few weeks/months.

Mythics:

The five Khans ($3-7 for everyone but Surrak, who is around $10-$15)

Surrak deserves his increased price. Each of these is a fun build-around, but five flash mana for a 6/6 that can’t be countered is pretty big game. If this shows the slightest sign of being Legacy playable, you’ll want to jump all over the foils too.

I don’t think Surrak will fall far, but the rest should keep their current price, at least to within a dollar or two. Pre-ordering them is not really necessary, but won’t hurt too badly. 

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Clever Impersonator ($10-$15)

It’s got the right converted mana cost and offers the greatest flexibility of any Clone effect ever. You’ll need a very good reason not to run this in any blue Commander deck, or any Cube. I would expect this to creep down to about $7-$10, don’t pay more than that. Foils are a different matter: If I could trade for a foil this weekend at $25 or $30, I’d do that but not more.

If we get this effect at four mana, could we possibly get a combination of this and Vesuvan Doppelganger at five or six mana? Every upkeep, it becomes a different nonland permanent!

See the Unwritten ($3-5)

I love this card too much! I don’t know if I can be logical and impartial about it. There’s no way to cheat the mana cost, as Chord of Calling or Summoning Trap can do. It’s a greed-testing card in Commander: Do you need one thing now, or are you going to wait until you’ve got a 4-power creature in order to get two more creatures? If you can get it under $3, that seems like a steal to me.

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I’ll admit, I’m likely going to be greedy with it, but the correct play will often be to cast it when your board is empty. Keep in mind that the leftovers go to your graveyard to be Delve fuel.

Empty the Pits ($1-5)

Speaking of Delve fuel! I plan on using this without Delving in EDH, but in Standard, this has a chance to be ridiculously powerful. I’m not yet ready to pay more than $2-$3 for it, though.

I will say, though, that as an instant-speed, end-of-turn finisher, I could easily see this hitting $10 or more. Heaven help us if Fate Reforged contains a permanent that lowers Delve costs, because this will be one of the primary beneficiaries.

Rares:

The Fetchlands ($15-$20)

I’ve said it, others have said it, read it again: This is going to be the best-selling set ever. The value will be there to crack boxes for value, and the fetches are a big reason for that. Think about the shocklands’ prices during Return to Ravnica block: They sometimes dipped below $10, went as high as $15.

Your first order of business will be to get all the ones you need for your decks. There will be a lot of people who simply get four of each and wait, but I’m not one of those people. If you want to get a playset of each because you brew a lot, that’s totally understandable and I understand the appeal of not wanting to trade for cards every time you have an idea.

I will be picking up a few for Commander, but for casual play, don’t try to hold these long-term for possible needs. Think about how tough it is to trade for a shockland right now. It isn’t! Especially right now as they rotate out of Standard, but there is an enormous supply of shocks out there, and there will be more fetches opened in Khans than shocks were opened in Return to Ravnica or Gatecrash. 

Keep in mind that Wizards put Verdant Catacombs in an event deck (Magic 2012’s Vampire Onslaught) so there’s a very good chance that event decks for the next 18 months might contain one, increasing supply even further!

The short version: I don’t believe that you’ll have a chance to gain a lot of monetary value by holding onto fetchlands. Shocklands didn’t get a big bump in their second year of Standard legality, and fetches will be in this format for six months less.

Foil fetches, though…that might be a different story. I don’t mind admitting it: I am going to trade for as many foil fetchlands as I can. I’ve gotten to a point where I’m content to wait on adding a card to an EDH deck until I get the foil version. Foil fetches, especially these, where the foils have two styles (Onslaught and Judge) and both are over $300, will represent a way for foil-hungry players to get what they want at a decent price.

When you have a foil fetchland available for trade, and you meet someone who wants it for their pimped-out deck, they will be ravenous for it. Feed their need.

Butcher of the Horde ($2)

Between Temples and Confluence and all sorts of things, I think that playing this on turn four is not unreasonable. Having a creature around to give it haste is just ridiculous. I think there’s a lot of potential here, at not a lot of risk. Bloodsoaked Champion is indeed the combo it appears to be, giving haste at first, and later on, allowing for vigilance or lifelink as needed.

Utter End ($2-$5)

This is going to be a sought-after Game Day Promo. It’s a very good card, useful in just about any situation, and this plus Hero’s Downfall and Thoughtseize is a strong pull for BW being a starting point for decks.

I’m going to trying very hard for the full-art versions, I’ll be somewhat into regular foils, and if the regulars get to $1 or less (remember: best-selling set ever!) then I’ll be eagerly on that too.

Join me next week as I take you through some things I really want to get now that they are out of Standard.

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Early Spoils

By: Cliff Daigle

The new wedge set is coming, and for those of us who lurk in casual circles, Cubing and Commanding until our fingers bleed, there’s a lot of good stuff!

Allied Fetchlands – Yes. Oh yes. Get them while they are in print, save a couple for yourself, and do not attempt to buy them up and hold them. You’d be looking at a very long-term hold, minimum three years. This set is likely going to be the best-selling set ever (again) and it cannot be overstated that there will be a lot of fetches in circulation. Being an all-time seller means that prices are mostly going to stay low, since supply is so high.

Shocklands were useful as trade bait: If you could trade five cards valued at $2 for one $10 shockland, you had something that was much easier to trade. Fetches are going to work the same way: these will be very easy to trade away, so pursue them accordingly.

A pair of side notes about these fetches: First of all, in EDH games, crack that fetchland immediately. Don’t wait until right before your turn. Don’t make everyone wait that extra minute for your shuffle. Secondly, if Wizards is willing to put allied fetches into Standard, they will do that for the enemy ones as well eventually. I doubt we’ll get them while these are Standard-legal, but my guess is that Modern Masters 2 will feature the filterlands. It’s been said that they made the mana too good, especially alongside Vivid lands. Remember, everyone could and did play Cryptic Command without much of an issue getting that triple blue, thanks to the filters.

The Khans (the five mythic legends): With the exception of Narset, they are all aggressive in their costs and sizes. As well they should be, for three colors of mana. I don’t see any of these as being super-expensive, but you’ll see Zurgo and Surrak Commander decks especially. surrakdragonclaw1

Surrak Dragonclaw and Animar, Soul of Elements work so well together, I feel myself building a Two-Headed Commander deck of some sort. Narset is stunning in how well she works with the Prowess mechanic, and everything else that cares about noncreature spells. That’s a deck I am looking forward to building.

Villainous Wealth – This is the newest game-ender X spell. No milling, this is exiling. Forget your Eldrazi or Gaea’s Blessing insurance. I will be looking to pick up foils of this, but the regular ones are going to be bulk.

Hardened Scales – I disagree with James on this one. It’s going to be bulk immediately, and bulk for a long time. If it were in Standard with evolve, then maybe, but even with the counters and tricks available, and this working well in multiples, it’s not going to be good enough. Maybe it’ll be $1 in a year. I don’t think I will run it in my Experiment Kraj EDH deck. I wouldn’t bother with it in an Animar deck. I recognize the potential, but I doubt it’s going to get there.

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Empty the Pits – It’s been mentioned a number of places: We love recurring things in casual formats, especially Commander. Delve cards are going to have to be very good in order to justify not playing things that bring back creatures. I think this is very good, and I’ll happily run one in my tribal Zombie deck, but remember, the XX mana cost is competing with token generators like Entreat the Angels and Gelatinous Genesis. The love of Zombies, though, will keep this at a couple of bucks.

seetheunrwitten

See the Unwritten – I’m calling it now. This is my Primeval Bounty, my Sliver Hivelord. The mythic that I don’t think will be worth much but will instead keep a surprising amount of value. I’m dying to cast this in my Jund all-creatures deck.

Clever Impersonator – When I read this, I was stunned. The flexibility on this card is just outstanding. This is another mythic that will keep a decent price despite not seeing a lot of Standard play.

End Hostilities – You’re going to want to play this in just about any white deck. This gets rid of so many annoying things! It will never cost you much to get, though. Supreme Verdict made it to $7 at one point, and I see this maxing out at $3.

Goblinslide – I would keep an eye on the foils of this card. This may be as good as, or better than, Young Pyromancer. Getting the tokens with haste is certainly big game, and anything that makes Goblin tokens has good potential.

We don’t even have the full spoiler, but we will soon! I’m really excited for this set. If you have the chance to draft it, remember that the trilands in Alara block became first picks by the end, because mana fixing is just that good. Enjoy!

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Value of a Symbol

By: Cliff Daigle

I have one all-foil Commander deck. It’s tribal Vampires, with Garza Zol, Plague Queen at its head. I didn’t plan to foil it out at first, it just sort of happened that almost all the creatures were foil and I kept finding good prices and trades for the lands and accessories. Eventually, I was 80% foil and took the plunge, swapping out things that could never be foil (Oh, how I miss having Shauku, Endbringer!) and trading for foil filterlands, scrylands, etc.

One thing I didn’t have until recently was a foil Reflecting Pool, because there was only one foil version from Shadowmoor. It has been super-pricey due to a printing error: all of the foils have a Plains watermark, increasing the collectibility. When Conspiracy came out, I knew this would be my chance to get a foil Pool at a reasonable price. 

Imagine my surprise, though, when I see that there’s a significant gap between the two foils, with the same text, art, and frame! There are indeed some people who feel strongly that they have to have the original (in this case, the first available foil, as the Tempest version has no foil) and are willing to pay a high price to have that. Wrong watermark or not, that’s a big jump in price due to collectors.

In honor of them, I’d like to share with you a few examples of how much value being ‘original pack foil’ can add. My goal here is just the cards that have an expansion symbol of difference, and I encourage you to add your own to this list in the comments. I’ve looked for them, but I am not perfect.

Akroma, Angel of Wrath – $20 for Timeshifted foil, $30 for Legions foil

Just $10 to get rid of the purple expansion symbol seems worth it. The Timeshifted sheet causes all sorts of collector headaches!

Eternal Witness – $25 for Fifth Dawn foil, $11 for Modern Masters foil

One of the most busted cards in Commander, the foil prices are surprising. There’s an FNM version with similar art by Terese Nielsen, but the easily-recurred way to reuse anything has massive casual appeal.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant: $89 for Shards of Alara foil, $65 for Modern Masters foil

Shards block foils have additional price pressure on them, thanks to the all-foil packs Wizards printed at the end of the block. This higher number of foils is mainly pushing prices on commons and uncommons down, and not that many people were willing to drop $15 on a single booster.

I once did a draft with these though, and it was a lot of fun to have all foils!

Blood Moon – $64 for 9th edition foil, $55 for 8th edition, $45 for Modern Masters

How I wish we had some hard sales numbers on the different sets. It’s entirely possible that there are a lot more MM foils out there, because 8th and 9th were close to the dark days of Magic. This was a surprise find, though, I thought these would be more expensive, considering how good they are in Eternal formats, and how often Legacy and Vintage like to foil out their decks.

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker – $27 for Conflux foil, $16 for M14 foil

Another card that had extras due to the foil Shards packs, there’s also a Duel Deck foil with very different art to be had for the same price as a nonfoil.

Progenitus – $39 for Conflux foil, $28 for Modern Masters foil

The FTV foil is frankly unappealing next to the original, which had great tricks with clouds to make it clear just how huge The Soul Of The World is. If you have the extra $11 for the original, go for it.

Glen Elendra Archmage – $65 for Eventide foil, $27 for Modern Masters foil

A gap of a few dollars doesn’t surprise me too much, but this being more than double is really surprising. Looking at the price history for the Eventide foil, the price went up when Modern Masters was around. To be fair, that summer, lots of things went up as the hype to join the format was at its peak. Things have stabilized since.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth – $53 for Planar Chaos, $19 for M15 or FTV

The FTV is the same art but it is also the same vertically shiny foiling process that turns some people off. If you wanted to skip that, I’d respect your choice. This was the only foil available for some time, which may be why the price is still so much more.

Woodfall Primus – $34 for Shadowmoor foil, $18 for Modern Masters foil

For a long while, this was a strong option for Reanimator decks, blasting lands and setting the other person back significantly. And perhaps to do it twice! Ashen Rider is just an upgrade on that process, though.

Jace Beleren – $29 for Lorwyn foil, $17 for M10, $19 for M11

Weirdly, this effect is in place for Garruk and Liliana as well, but not Ajani or Chandra. Ajani Goldmane has a Pro Tour foil that might be affecting the foil prices. Garruk and Liliana have Duel Deck promos, as well as Duels of the Planeswalker cards, but these are still showing big steps in price from set to set.

If you’re hardcore about getting the first foil, be my guest, but keep in mind that in a lot of cases, you’re paying a premium for it. That premium is on top of the premium you’re giving to have foils in the first place. I understand completely, though.

Join me next week as we explore some of the spoiled cards and see what you’ll be seeing at kitchen tables for a long time!

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Price Warps

By: Cliff Daigle

I’m trying to collect a foil set of the draft-altering Conspiracy cards. It’s slow going for someone who doesn’t want to just buy them off assorted vendors. I much prefer to save my money and accumulate through trading.

The rare foils are not just in demand, they are hard to find. Those who want them want them BADLY and when they are acquired, they leave circulation as they enter into Cubes.

With the number never being too high to start with, and the urge to acquire very strong, that leads to a lot of weird things happening when it comes to pricing a card.

Last week, I found someone with a foil Lore Seeker on deckbox.org. I opened a trade and thus began the dance. Deckbox has a pricing algorithm of its own, since it no longer takes directly from TCGPlayer’s mid. When I added foil Lore Seeker to the mix, the value went up by $200.

This trader wanted five foil shocklands and a Badlands from me for this Lore Seeker.

Feel free to do a double-take at that price. Naturally, I flip tabs to MTGPrice and there it is at $100…but only available at Amazon or HotSauce. Hmmm. Fishy.

When there is a small supply of something, the few data points available can really warp perception. We’re good, but we are prisoners of the data.

I decide to look at a few other places. TCG has four available, three at about $200 and one at $100. Wow. My first reaction is something like “Really?” TCG allows you to price cards at whatever you want, so usually, what’s listed is stuff that stores or individuals really want to sell. These strike me as ‘hopeful’ prices, from three vendors who are okay sitting on cards as long as it takes.

There’s one place that allows you to not only sell, but it lists what things have sold for: eBay. Let’s see…foil Lore Seeker…completed listings…sort by date….presto!

Here is what foil Lore Seeker is selling for. There’s a range of prices, some luck, but there’s certainly nothing that sold for triple digits, and only one over $50.

What’s really telling is that lots and lots of vendors do not have this in stock. I don’t think there’s an organized buyout–I simply think that Cubers want this card very badly. It’s getting snapped up when it shows up, because it allows for another booster pack when it is drafted.

The Seeker is getting a very overinflated treatment. Conspiracy foils (see the cards here and the Conspiracies here) are about where you’d expect, with the mythic and Legacy/Vintage foils commanding a real premium. Foil Dack Fayden, as an awesome Vintage card, is not a surprise in the $250 range. Foil Marchesa, the Black Rose, as a sweet Commander card, is not that shocking at $90.

There’s an outlier at the top of the Conspiracies list, though: Worldknit. This is another incredibly sweet card to put into your Cube, because now you get to play everything ever! It’s got a Fair Trade Price of $100…with one Amazon seller. Uh-oh. A little searching on that, though, shows us that plenty of those can be had for around $15, on eBay or other sellers we don’t list in the FTP.

So when someone quotes you a ridiculous price, or at least a price that feels ridiculous, check it. Check it several ways. If it still feels like too much to you, walk away. There might be a buyout happening, or a price warp. Don’t trade $200 worth of cards for something that sold on eBay last week for under $20.

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