Category Archives: Common Cents

Thursday: Common Cents with Aaron Dettmann

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Champion of the Parish. (c) 2013 Wizards of the Coast.
Champion of the Parish. (c) 2013 Wizards of the Coast.

This past weekend we saw what the Standard metagame looks like after the Pro Tour, at Grand Prix Quebec. A few new successful decks have emerged as options to play in Standard. There are many cards that normally I would be very keen on acquiring based on those decklists, but I feel I should temper my enthusiasm on the cards that happen to be in the preconstructed Gatecrash Event Decks.

Now, I don’t know for sure how much of an impact a card appearing in an Event Deck has on its price, but let’s take a look at some past cards:

Woodland Cemetery was the hot land as Return to Ravnica was nearing its release date. Everyone wanted to play Golgari, which resulted in that land outpacing its brethren in price. However, shortly after the November release of the Return to Ravnica event deck, Woodland Cemetery plummeted in price; it kept on falling, and it’s only been in the last month that it’s stabilized at around $9.

Thragtusk, on the other hand, is a card that proves that being printed in an event deck is not the death knell for its price. Indeed, this card was actually printed in two event decks (M13’s Repeat Performance, along with Ravnica’s Creep and Conquer), and still held steady at $25 until recently. It wasn’t until Thragtusk was reprinted yet again in a third event deck (Gatecrash’s Thrive and Thrash), that its price fell to its current $15. However, I attribute its resilient price to the factors that it was just that dominant in Standard at the time, along with not as many M13 packs being opened compared to other non-base sets.

Now, with all that information in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of cards that did well over the weekend, but were also printed in a Gatecrash Event Deck.

Based on the results from both last weekend, and at the Pro Tour, Champion of the Parish is normally a card I would really want to buy. It was a 4-of in the winning decklist at the pro-tour, and now it also won GP Quebec in a completely different decklist, along with three total decks in that top-8 playing them. Clearly, this is an extremely important card in an aggressive aggro deck.

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Champion of the Parish as of Feb 27, 2013
Champion of the Parish as of Feb 27, 2013

In addition, this is near the end of when you can buy Innistrad block cards cheaply, as people are going to start looking for cards from those sets as the Standard PTQ season is approaching very soon. However, I’m a little hesitant to buy in, as even if store are charging more than msrp for those event decks, it’s undeniable that there will be more copies of those cards floating around. Champion is still cheap enough that I may trade for a few copies, but I doubt it will define the format as Thragtusk did, so I don’t think it has a very high ceiling.

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Silverblade Paladin is in a similar situation as Champion of the Parish; it appears in the same Event Deck, and is also usually found in the same Standard decks as well. Silverblade Paladin has more casual appeal, as it is the flashier card that can lead to easy blowout wins, but Champion of the Parish is the card that is always played as a 4-of in tournament decks.

Silverblade Paladin as of Feb 27, 2013
Silverblade Paladin as of Feb 27, 2013

One card I would invest in based on this past weekend is Lotleth Troll. Did you know this card has fallen all the way to $2?! This card has just made the top-8 of a GP, and it has historical precedence of doing well too, as it made the top-8 of multiple SCG opens before R/B Zombies became the popular choice. This is still a very strong card that has many relevant abilities, that has simply been searching for a home. I would pick them up now before they find a popular one.

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Thursday: Common Cents with Aaron Dettmann

Sphinx's Revelation. (c) 2013 Wizards of the Coast
Sphinx’s Revelation. (c) 2013 Wizards of the Coast

Pro Tour Gatecrash happened this past weekend, and with it came a bevy of new and exciting Standard decks; and with these new decks come changing card prices and new cards to speculate on. A variety of decks made the top 8, and I’ll take a look at some of the common trends the decks share. The course has been set, so now is the time to be prepared so you aren’t caught unaware of what’s hot, and what’s not, in Standard.

An earlier article by Andrew Smith already covered Boros Reckoner and Falkenrath Aristocrat. I agree with his advice in that column, and thought his analogy comparing Boros Reckoner to Thragtusk was especially apt; both are rares that dominate Standard play, yet will see little use in other formats. Thragtusk peaked at $25 – $30 and stayed there until he was reprinted infinite times in event decks, so Reckoner should remain in that price range as well.

A card I would aggressively trade for is Sphinx’s Revelation. Half the decks in the top 8 of Pro Tour Gatecrash ran Sphinx’s Revelation, for a total of 14 copies. Whenever you see a card that fits into multiple decks that do well, you can expect that card price to go up a lot.

Sphinx's Revelation as of Feb 20, 2013
Sphinx’s Revelation as of Feb 20, 2013

Sphinx’s Revelation has already seen a small price bump since the Pro Tour, but I think it has even more room to grow. Remember, Thragtusk and Boros Reckoner are only rares, yet they reached the $25 – $30 threshold; as a mythic, Sphinx’s Revelation could soar past even that price point. There were only two fewer copies of Sphinx’s Revelation than Boros Reckoner in the top 8, so Sphinx’s Revelation is essentially just as oppressive as the Reckoner.

One card I would sell off as soon as possible is Hellrider. Its price has almost doubled in the past month, with much of the reason being due to Saito tweeting the Gruul and Naya decklists that utilize this card. However, those decks generally did poorly at the Pro Tour, and Hellrider in particular had a very poor showing at the Pro Tour with only one deck playing it in the top 8. There were multiple Jund and other decks in the top 8 that had the option to use this card, but chose to go in a different direction instead.

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Hellrider as of Feb 20, 2013
Hellrider as of Feb 20, 2013

Because of the low turnout of this card in the top 8, I expect Hellrider to go back down to the $8 – $10 range that it was at prior to the lead up to the Pro Tour.

One last note for now: Stomping Ground and Sacred Foundry have gone up to $20 at Starcity, so be aware that they’re currently worth $5 more than the other Gatecrash shocklands. If you don’t need them immediately for a deck, these two lands are also cards I would sell right away, as once supply increases, I fully expect them to fall in line with the $8 – $12 price point of the Ravnica lands.

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Common Cents

Hello, I’m Aaron Dettmann, and I’ll be writing finance articles mostly about which cards you should be looking to pick up or trade away. A little about me: I’ve been playing Magic for a little over ten years, and the past couple of years I’ve become more and more immersed into the financial side of Magic.

WotC recently announced that Dragon’s Maze will contain all ten shocklands from Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash. I’m here to tell you why you should still be trading for and accumulating shocklands from Return to Ravnica.

I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about the significance of the shocklands being reprinted in Dragon’s Maze. Some have suggested the supply of shocklands will be increasing by 50% (because they’re being printed in two sets instead of one), or by 33% (because Dragon’s Maze will be drafted in a 1-1-1 format, so will comprise 1/3 of the packs opened). The actual influx of shocklands from Dragon’s Maze will actually be much less than either of those percentages. Both theories fail to take into account that all ten shocklands are being reprinted in Dragon’s Maze, so that already halves the likelihood of seeing any one shockland compared to RTR or GTC. In addition, in Wizards of the Coast’s official announcement, they said that you are half as likely to open any shockland in Dragon’s Maze as in RTR or GTC. When you also factor in that a mere one pack of Dragon’s Maze is going to be opened during its drafting life compared to the three packs we’re used to with RTR and GTC, it becomes clear that the impact of Dragon’s Maze on shocklands will be minimal, at best.

Really, how low can these shocklands even go? The fair trade price for Steam Vents is at $8 right now, and both buyers and sellers tend to group these lands together at specific price data points. The dual lands in M13 which have now been reprinted three times are all currently $4 or higher, capping off at over $6 with Sunpetal Grove, and shocklands are much better than the M13 lands.

Sunpetal Grove as of Feb 2, 2013
Sunpetal Grove as of Feb 2, 2013

I’d bet that the absolute floor for shocklands is at $5, and even if they happen to reach that price, I highly doubt they’ll stay that low for very long. In fact, I could even see the Return to Ravnica lands getting a slight bump in price in the next few months as they stop being opened in drafts; people realize they need them for different Modern decks, and will start looking ahead to decks for Standard. Shocklands at $7-$8 are a low-risk investment; they have very little room to go down, and they could easily double or even triple in price just like the Scars and Innistrad lands did one to two years ago.

Thanks for reading this week’s article!

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