Category Archives: Watchtower

PROTRADER: The Watchtower 11/20/17

ADVERTISEMENT:


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.


Well, I did it. I got married. Whoo. Yes, thanks. My number one tip this week: Don’t spend money on the little things. Try and get food people will enjoy eating, have an open bar, replace the cake with donuts, and find a venue that doesn’t feel cheap. Everything else will fall to the periphery of people’s awareness.

Otherwise, this weekend’s Standard was a snore. There was a lot of Ramunap Red and Energy. Like, too much. Wizards is probably hoping we ignore those and focus on spoilers for Unstable (un…something?) and Rivals of Ixalan, which also had two released this morning.

ADVERTISEMENT:


Iconic Masters also came out. Did you know that? People that weren’t in an LGS this weekend and also don’t live on Twitter probably didn’t realize. Why would you have? Everyone is completely sleeping on it, and not unfairly. Wizards is releasing products left and right, so while one is hitting shelves we’re getting spoilers for another. It’s also not a terribly exciting set. You either need a few of the cards, so you pick them up, or you don’t, so you basically ignore it. And apparently draft sets are being sold at big box stores, such as Target, which is a major change from past masters sets. Why are they doing this? Your guess is as good as mine.

ADVERTISEMENT:


The rest of this content is only visible to ProTrader members.

To learn how ProTrader can benefit YOU, click here to watch our short video.

expensive cards

ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Track your collection's value over time, see which cards moved the most, track wishlists, tradelists and more. Sign up at MTGPrice.com - it's free!

ADVERTISEMENT:


Please follow and like us:

PROTRADER: The Watchtower 11/6/17

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.


With Pro Tour Ixalan, Wizards decided to try something different. Rather than have the Pro Tour two weeks after set release, they moved it back to five or six weeks after. On the surface it’s a reasonable idea. Pro Tours tend to “solve” a format, or at least move it much closer to that point than it has been up to that point. Having the PT so close to the set’s release means that the format ends up solved quickly. Pushing the PT out more than a month means that players get awhile to explore before the pros show up and streamline things. Overall, the goal is that a format has more of a natural evolution to it.

That is not what happened. Instead, the first weekend that Ixalan was legal, people showed up to the SCG Open with basically the same decks that top 8’d the Pro Tour. Turns out that energy is not only a parasitic mechanic, similar to infect, and most of the Kamigawa block, but it’s also more powerful than anything else people are doing much of in Standard. Between that and Hazoret, that was like 75% of the room or something. Rather than having the Pro Tour reshape and evolve Standard in the middle of the season, it just further solidified the format as is.

How little the Pro Tour had an impact is obvious early Monday morning. Browsing MTGPrice, or any other resource, finds only a single card with a price change worth noting (Angel of Invention). Nothing else really moved. Normally after a Pro Tour three or four cards have spiked. Nope. We saw no cards perform in a new way, so prices just didn’t budge. Oh well. Guess it’s back to EDH and maybe Modern until, uh, February?

ADVERTISEMENT:


The rest of this content is only visible to ProTrader members.

To learn how ProTrader can benefit YOU, click here to watch our short video.

expensive cards

ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Please follow and like us:

PROTRADER: The Watchtower 10/30/17

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.


Triple limited GP weekends are such a bummer, aren’t they? Not only are they objectively boring to watch (my uncle that works for Wizards told me so), they also don’t give us any financial tech. Zzzz. To make matters worse, SCG had a Legacy open this weekend. Since like nine people play that format it doesn’t really matter what decks show up, nothing is going to be worth anything. That leaves us with an SCG Modern classic, and MTGO I guess.

Thankfully the Modern classic had some spice. In an impressive repeat, Humans in fact won the whole dang thing. Now classics are just about the smallest event that we’re likely to care about, so it’s not like it won a PT or something, but even still, it says a lot about the deck that it can succeed with consistency like this. Flashes in the pan are exciting but they’re not worth investing in. New sustainable archetypes, however…

Fiend Hunter (Foil)

Price Today: $5
Possible Price: $10

Without a doubt, there’s a lot of interesting cards floating around the humans build. Even more so when you consider that the list is adaptable to meta changes. It may be playing zero of some human today that it will want four of a month from now (Magus of the Moon??) I’ve talked about a few of them over the months, and you’ve no doubt heard others covered elsewhere. Today I’m going to look somewhere else in the list though.

Fiend Hunter has been a permanent part of most Magic formats since he was printed. Various Modern decks keep a copy or three around, choosing to Chord for him, or Company into him, or whatever. Legacy sees him show up now and then. He’s in 6,500 EDH decks. I’d guess 90% of cubes contain him. He’s simply a useful creature anywhere players are tapping lands.

So far we’ve only seen him in the board of the Modern Humans list. Maybe he’ll move to the main, maybe he won’t Even if he doesn’t, it’s clear that he’s usually going to have space somewhere in the 75. And with foils at $5, I smell an opportunity. Supply is low across the board, across multiple US platforms as well as foreign markets. With only a single foil printing, $10 doesn’t seem like a stretch at all, and even $15 is reachable.

Eldrazi Temple (Foil)

Price Today: $15
Possible Price: $40

While it didn’t take home a trophy, Eldrazi still had a solid weekend, with a 3rd place Modern finish and 4th place Legacy finish. Another weekend, another impressive result in two formats from otherworldly lovecraftian horrors.

We aren’t looking for any breakout performances here. Humans is the new kid on the block angle everyone is excited about, and Eldrazi is the format workhorse that keeps quietly putting up results, with price tags that behave similarly. Specifically, it’s the foil Temples that are worth keeping an eye on.

At $15, these aren’t exactly cheap, but keep in mind just how popular — and consistent — this strategy is. Depending on how you measure it, the deck is six to nine percent of the Modern metagame, and only slightly less of the Legacy meta. Of course there’s also Eldrazi variants, like Eldrazi Death and Taxes, as well as EDH decks, casual sixty card decks, etc.

You’ve got a powerful, consistent tribe with demand across multiple formats. Their key absolutely-five-of-if-it-were-legal land has two foil printings. Pack foils are $50. MM2 foils are available around $15 today, but without any more copies, I’d expect this to keep turning upwards towards spring of next year.

Iroas, God of Victory (Foil)

Price Today: $22
Possible Price: $40

Dinosaurs have been a popular tribe over on EDHREC lately, so I figured I’d peek around their page and see what I could find. It’s mostly dinosaurs from Ixalan (obviously) but there’s only so many playable of those, and some cards make for strong support. Iroas is apparently one of those cards.

He wasn’t my first choice, actually. There was something else I was looking at that I figured was more interesting. That is, until I checked their play statistics. It turns out Iroas is in 8,200 decks, which is probably three times more than I had expected to find. 8,200 is a lot of dang decks. That may be top 100 cards in the format. Iroas! Who’d have guessed.

Anyways, despite his popularity, I don’t hear much of him. He seems to be one of those sleeper cards that’s popular but nobody really realizes. At the moment, you can find foils at $22 or so. There’s only 16 copies on TCG at the moment though, so there isn’t a deep well to draw from. We’ve got a surprisingly highly-played god with a twenty dollar foil and little supply. Looks like a gainer to me.


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.


 

Please follow and like us:

UNLOCKED: The Watchtower 10/23/17

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.


Standard mostly took the week off after last week’s bout of nationals. All we got was the Standard Classic, and there wasn’t too much exciting in there. Four energy decks, some Ramunap Red, and the whole thing rounded out with a Mardu Vehicles and an Abzan Tokens list. Wizards is hoping that delaying the Pro Tour means that Standard won’t be solved as quickly in the rotation, but it’s looking like that’s going to backfire, and rather than the Pro Tour solving Standard too fast, the rest of the world is going to solve Standard and the Pro Tour is just going to be an SCG Classic with more well-known players.

Sitting down at my computer, I was planning on telling you to take a look at foil copies of Kumena’s Speaker and Merfolk Branchwalker, since while supply would be on the higher side, I’d expect them to slowly move, given that UG seems to be the future of Merfolk. Imagine my surprise when I found zero copies of Speaker left and only four or five of Branchwalker. Oh well. Find them at your LGS maybe?

Harbinger of the Tides (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $13

While those Merfolk uncommon foils sold out, there’s still some other juice to be found in the list. Harbinger of the Tides showed up in Magic Origins two years ago, and was fairly quickly well-received by Merfolk players. While it’s not a lord, it does all sorts of useful things. You can play it as an instant natively, it flips blockers or otherwise problematic threats, and you get to cheat on mana with Aether Vial, similar to Silvergill Adept. Just yesterday we saw the UG Merfolk player use Merrow Reejery to tap a Fiend Hunter, then Harbinger the Hunter back to its owner’s hand in order to get back a lord he needed.

Harbinger looks to fill an important role in Merfolk, that is, it’s a threat with an a spell stapled to him. These dual-purpose creatures are extremely important for the deck, since a bunch of 2 mana 4/4’s probably wouldn’t be good enough on their own. Add in some “draw a card” and “Vapor Snag” onto the bodies though, and you’re in business.

Harbinger recently got a reprint in Commander 2017, but that’s fine by us, since we’re more interested in foils anyways. Supply is relatively deep, with 50 separate vendors on TCG right now for pack foils. Prices start at $3, and climb from there. We’re not expecting an overnight flip here or anything, but as a strategy that’s got an established fanbase, new Standard support, and recent tournament success, there’s a lot of ingredients in the pot for a strong growth pattern.

Ancient Ziggurat (Foil)

Price Today: $5
Possible Price: $12

UG Merfolk didn’t actually win this weekend, that honor goes to 5c Humans. It’s not called 5c, but between Mantis Rider, Mayor of Avabruck, and Xathrid Necromancer, well, it’s 5c. It’s a fun list to watch, and probably feels solid and agile at the table. I was particularly impressed with Mantis Rider in the few games I caught, as a Hierarch trigger and then a Thalia’s Lieutenant counter made it a serious threat in the air while still being able to play solid defense when the time came.

There’s lots of nifty cards in this list, and some of them I’ve written about before. I’m more interested in Ancient Ziggurat this week though, for a few reasons. First and foremost is that it’s a land, and lands are always good. Second, it’s basically mandatory for any 5c, or even 4c tribal deck. You’re going to want four every time you sleeve a deck like this up. Third, it’s got cross-deck appeal. Today it’s Humans. Tomorrow it may be Slivers. Then perhaps 4c Vampires. You get the idea. Regardless of what tribe you’re bringing to the table, Ancient Ziggurat is going to be a go-to.

There are roughly 35 pack foils on TCG right now, which is on the lower end of things. You’ll find plenty of those Duel Deck foils but holy moly those are terrible. Ugly, warpy, etc. Ziggurat had an FNM promo as well, and is already at $8.50 or $9 today, with maybe ten copies available. Both pack foils and FNM copies are posed to keep moving upwards with Humans’ recent success, and pack foils are certainly the cheaper ride up.

Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder

 

Price Today: $3.50
Possible Price: $10

Do you know what the sixth most built commander on EDHREC is? You probably know the first; it’s Atraxa. You also may know second and third belong to Meren and Breya, respectively. Not many will know sixth though. I didn’t before I looked today. Turns out, it’s Yidris. I was surprised by that, especially by how badly my own Yidris list went down in flames.

There’s not a lot of arithmetic necessary on this one. Atraxa has 4,000 decks on EDHREC, and the cheapest copy is $17. Yidris has 2,100 decks and the cheapest copy is $3.50. Why does the sixth most used general, with half the decks of the most built, have a price tag that’s one quarter of the price of Atraxa? It is, as they say, a mystery.

Yidris is an awesome looking commander, his popularity is obvious, he’s in great colors, and this is likely to be the only foil printing available for quite some time. I’d be shocked if picking these up sub-$4 didn’t result in some pleasant returns somewhere down the road.


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.


Please follow and like us: