Category Archives: Watchtower

PROTRADER: The Watchtower 3/26/18

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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. 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 Dominaria around the corner and tax refunds burning a hole in everyone’s pocket, there’s been a lot of activity in the marketplace. Returning tribes with a long history in Magic — goblins, merfolk, etc. — are getting people excited (I guess that’s the right word) to look back at some forgotten gems of the past. Skirk Fire Marshal comes to mind, an amusing goblin that I’ve put to good use in Zada. Foils from Onslaught were bought out a few days ago. Will the return of goblins in Dominaria get people playing with that card all of the sudden? I’m dubious. When you’re paying $.50 for foil copies and listing them for $15 though, you only need to be right once.

 

Tireless Tracker

Price Today: $13
Possible Price: $25

Tireless Tracker is hardly an unknown quantity. She was Shadow Over Innistrad’s sleeper, and since having woken up, has been on a tear. She spread through Standard quickly, and then moved on to Modern and EDH. Today she’s impressively the 11th most played creature in Modern, and can be found in 6,000 decks on EDHREC.

I shouldn’t need to sell you on the utility of Tracker. Everyone in the Magic community seems to be aware of it. Less than they should be, in fact? Browsing results from GP Phoenix I see a Bant Knightfall list isn’t bothering with Tracker. That’s an odd choice to me. Knightfall is a deck looking to turbocharge landfall triggers. Wouldn’t that be excellent with Tracker? What do I know, I”m just a finance writer.

Non-foil copies of Tracker have made it to $13, which is a respectable price tag indeed. It’s not often that I find myself writing about nearly-legal Standard rares already in the double digits, but I’ve got to say, there’s room to grow. She’s widespread in Modern, and as a value creature (rather than a combo piece), likely entrenched. There’s plenty of players taking her up in EDH with more to come, and even cubes are finding room for her. Before long Tracker’s going to be a $20 or $25 rare, and eventually we could be looking at a $30 or $40 card without reprints. (Although that will take several years, and is unlikely to come to pass.)

Bring to Light (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $10

GP Phoenix saw an occasionally forgotten archetype show up again, which was Bring to Light Scapeshift. Rather than hope to draw one of four Scapeshifts, the build uses Bring to Light to act as Scapeshifts 5-8. Or in this case, 4-7, as there were more BTLs than Scapeshifts. Since BTL can fetch not just Scapeshift, it provides the deck with some flexibility. Maybe it’s not the right time to cast Scapeshift, but you desperately need a wrath? BTL can do that!

I’ll be clear that a few people showing up with BTL Scapeshift each weekend isn’t going to send prices soaring. I learned that lesson with Ad Nauseam. I picked up a pile a year or so ago when it was building in popularity, but even holding the format’s position as the best true combo deck couldn’t budge the non-foils enough to turn a meaningful profit. Of course, BTL does more than combo in Modern, and I’m talking foils.

Foils are a richer vein, since every combo deck has its die hard fans, and they’ll eat all the foils out of the market given enough time. There’s also much less risk of them showing up again at a later date, since we’re not getting foils in Archenemy or whatever product is on the horizon any given month. There’s also EDH, which BTL is remarkably strong in.

That BTL isn’t as or more popular than Demonic Tutor is probably an indictment against the player base at large. Green and Blue are the two best colors in EDH, and with the rules change allowing decks to generate any color of mana, so long as BTL is legal in your deck, you should probably be playing it. Even three colors is a deal, since you’re tutoring and casting a three drop for five mana. At four colors it’s way above curve, and at five mana it’s basically cheating. Sure it doesn’t let you go get your Avenger of Zendikar, but it lets you get basically anything else.

Anyways, between nascent Modern demand and continued EDH support, foils will keep climbing towards $10 or so.

Aetherflux Reservoir (Foil)

Price Today: $10
Possible Price: $20

I wasn’t expecting to be able to recommend this, as I figured the price would be too high already, but I didn’t expect what I found.

What I found was almost no supply. Prices on foils have been slowly climbing since release, and took a tick up from about $7 to $10 at the start of the month. There’s now only a handful of vendors for pack foils left. The promo supply is basically empty too.

Even if I am just overlooking a buyout that happened last night or something, the price is still in good shape regardless. $7 to $10 for foils are well positioned for a card that’s already in 10,000 EDH decks. That level of penetration that fast is remarkable. And given how popular lifegain strategies tend to be — Oloro remains one of the most popular generals ever, years later — I expect that popularity to remain strong.


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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UNLOCKED: The Watchtower 3/19/18

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.


After an exciting few weeks with Masters 25 spoilers coming in fast and furious, and Dominaria spoilers immediately after, the past seven days have been a bit more quiet. Nothing new was released today on the Dominaria front, so we don’t know anything now that we didn’t a week ago.

Over on Tumblr Rosewater said that Unstable has been through three printings so far, and if it’s clear there’s enough demand, they’ll fire up a fourth, which got fans of the quirky set jazzed up. If there is such a printing, it’s likely to be the last. There will not be a better chance to get foil basics than the fourth run.

Masters 25 is finally in players hands, and aside from a suspect collation error, there doesn’t appear to be a “priceless treasures” set gimmick. No bonus’ or perks or anything exciting that we didn’t know prior to release. Which means what differentiates Masters 25 from every other masters set is a decrease in card quality, I guess. Happy 25th anniversary, Magic! Your cards are of worse quality today than they were in 1993.

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As Foretold (Foil & Non-Foil)

Price Today: $7/20
Possible Price: $15/50

Without a doubt I’ve mentioned As Foretold in the past. Yet I still feel compelled to bring your attention to it today, because I want to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on.

192 players showed up in Rome for an MKM event, and a Living End deck landed in the 3/4th place spot. What’s cool about this is that it wasn’t your typical Living End build. Rather than the Jund lists we’re familiar with, this was (basically) a mono-blue version. It’s got an Urborg, and some Collective Brutalities in the board, and of course Living End, but other than that, basically every spell the deck is going to cast is blue. It uses Street Wraith and 10 other Amonkhet block cycling creatures as the horde, and then uses As Foretold to cast the eponymous spell (and Ancestral Visions as well).

I’ve been a fan of As Foretold for awhile, and this is yet another use case. Is mono-blue Living End set to take over Modern? Who knows. Probably not. But it reinforces how good As Foretold is looking. Non-foils are hanging around $7, and supply is certainly moving downwards. I’ve no idea how long it will take to get into the sub-20 copy range, but it’s headed in that direction. Foils meanwhile are nearly gone, with scant few available at $20. They’re likely to pop first, possibly up to $50, with non-foils set to at least double up a few months later.

Desert Cerodon (Foil)

Price Today: $.75
Possible Price: $4

I’m talking about Living End a lot today. I’m allowed to.

Not only did a new mono-blue version pop up, but I’m seeing the standard version on mtgtop8.com here and there as well. I suspect that being able to cascade into Living End at instant speed will always be at least semi-relevant.

After Amonkhet, the deck went through some changes, particularly to its creature suite. Three of the cycling bodies are now from Amonkhet; Archfiend of Ifnir, Horror of the Broken Lands, and Desert Cerodon. Archfiend of Ifnir was a Buy-A-Box and also had prerelease foils, so supply is higher there than it would be on a normal rare. Horror was also just printed in Masters 25, so there’s an additional glut of supply. Now only two creatures remain unreprinted: Monstrous Carabid, which I’ve discussed here before, and Desert Cerodon. Which I’m discussing now.

At maybe $.50 to $.75 each, it wouldn’t take too much to triple or even quadruple. Normally I’m not a fan of $1 to $4 spikes, since so much of your profits is eaten by overhead (price of a stamp, the time, etc.). What’s nice here is that you get to sell playsets if you sell any at all. Paying $2 for a set that you then ship for $15 is much, much more appealing. “The Dream,” as they say.

Legion’s Landing

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $13

And now for something I do quite rarely — discuss Standard cards.

Recently it came to my attention that Dan Fournier brewed up his own Wescoe Check, making use of Sram’s Expertise and Legion’s Landing. He’s put the deck through at least two versions now, with a 5-0 in his first league, and those two cards have remained a steadfast playset in each.

Several of the cards in the list are set to rotate, such as Angel of Invention, but Legion’s Landing obviously won’t be. Rotation would kill the deck, of course, but that’s not actually a barrier to prices on Landing spiking. People recognize that the deck won’t make it past October, but Landing will, and if it’s good here and now, it will still probably be good (and importantly, Legal) later this fall.

If Dan’s got white lightning on his hands here, people could begin flocking to a cool token-based Standard strategy with Legion’s Landing at its core, with the hope that it will pivot to a new strategy in the Fall.

I promise nothing, nor am I telling you this is a home run. It’s an interesting card in an interesting deck, and worth keeping an eye on.


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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UNLOCKED: The Watchtower 3/12/18

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.


Boy, what a week in Magic, huh? Just as the Masters 25 spoilers wrap up and we all were taking an opportunity to complain about how underwhelming the set looks, we get a third of Dominaria dumped into our laps, immediately followed by Wizards verifying the authenticity. Then on top of that, a spicy meatball of a Modern Open this weekend in Dallas.

I’ll tell you this much, in my research for the article this week, I’m finding myself quite annoyed with Iconic Masters. Sure the set was unfocused and bland and severely overprinted. But it also included all sorts of odds and ends that I wasn’t speccing on, and generally you shouldn’t have been either, which are now completely dead as options. I woke up thinking about Serum Powder. IMA. Ponza won? I see a lot of Obstinate Baloths in SBs. IMA. Trinisphere? Ok well that wasn’t in IMA, but it was already bought out. Dang.

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Insolent Neonate (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $10

Have I talked about this card before? Maybe. Probably. Regardless, it’s still worth keeping an eye on. Hollow One scored 9th and 14th in the Open and Classic, regardless. Each week I’m finding this deck in the top standings. I figured it would be a flash in the pan the first time (which is the healthy and correct attitude towards this stuff), but it’s showing up regularly now. Of course we could still see it fade into oblivion for sure, as it’s only been a few weeks, but at the same time, it’s not worth fully discounting yet.

Most of this deck is quite fresh. The spell package is a bit older (specifically Goblin Lore), which were the first cards targeted when this list hit the community. You’ve got Vengevine, which was $25 to begin with, so not a lot to work with there either. Other than that it’s mostly a fresh set of dudes. That means you’ll be unlikely to see major gains on most of the cards in the list.

Given that, you’ve got to look a little deeper. If it really gets popular, prices will rise. Where will they go? Well, Insolent Neonate is as closed to a locked four-of that you can get in a strategy like this. He does everything the deck wants to do, and he does it quickly. Even better, he does it in several other decks as well. Dredge won the Classic, and you know what it played four of? That’s right. One extremely insolent neonate.

As it’s from Shadows Over Innistrad, supply is higher than some of the other cards we look at each week. Still, there’s demand from a lot of sources, and they all want the full four copies. Even an SOI common can see its price taxed if we’re looking at multi-format foils. Heck, just look at Tireless Tracker these days.

Sword of the Meek

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $20

Hiding out a little further down the standings is a Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas deck. We see these pop up every now and then, though none have stuck around long enough for anyone to really take notice. With Jace’s unbanning and the printing of Whir of Invention, have we moved into a new era of Tezzeret?

Whir of Invention of course is the Chord of Calling for Artifacts. Where this is especially useful is with Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek in the deck, a combo that used to be the scourge of Modern. Sword of the Meek was unbanned a year or so ago, and ultimately didn’t accomplish much. Modern was just a little too fast for the combo to be able to take over a game itself. Or perhaps the combo was strong enough, but the support wasn’t there for it? Hard to say at this point.

With Tezzeret in the news again, it’s worth looking over the list to see where opportunity lies. Tezzeret himself is hanging out at $20, and while I suspect success would push him to $40 quickly, that’s a big gamble to take for most. If you’re looking for some action though, it’s worth thinking about.

Anyways, Sword of the Meek is worth monitoring, as it it managed to dodge reprints in EMA and IMA and A25 and MMA and MM3 and the VMAs and whatever else. A single-printed Future Sight uncommon is definitely the type of thing that can jump hard with some provocation. Anyone remember $60 Mishra’s Baubles?

Serum Powder (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $10

Ok so I know I complained about IMA at the start of this post. We’re going to do an experiment though. If a here-to-fore unused card is printed in IMA and then suddenly gets popular, can the foils move?

On camera at 7-2 on Sunday morning players were treated to Serum Eldrazi. This is the deck that utilizes Eternal Scourge and Serum Powder to shoot for reasonable starting hands that also set up having 3/3s to cast for free out of your mulliganed hand. New players aren’t going to be confused by any of this at all. It was an especially rosy opener Sunday, when the pilot Powdered a Scourge, put a Gemstone Caverns into play for free, dropped an Eldrazi Temple, and then cast the Scourge on turn one. That sounds like the closest this deck gets to Magical Christmas Land, but who knows, maybe that’s not an uncommon opener.

In any case, this is an amusing deck built around the shell of the remarkably strong Oath of the Gatewatch Eldrazi. We know the core of the deck is solid. It’s really a question of whether this is better than the other Eldrazi variants. One advantage this list has at the moment is how much it’s going to infuriate Jund and UW control. Jund relies heavily on destroying every creature their opponents play, generating advantage with Bloodbraid Elf and Dark Confidant as it goes to eventually chip someone down. If the Eldrazi player can just keep casting Scourges from exile, and their Reality Smashers and Thought-Knot Seers also eat card advantage from Jund, perhaps it’s enough to turn the match in their favor? At the same time UW control is going to rely heavily on Path to Exile, which of course the Scourge is resistant to as well.

Is this deck the real deal? I’m not sure. Can foil IMA cards move? Also not sure. We should pay attention though, because this may be the first deck to give us an idea of how much muscle it takes to move an otherwise saturated product.


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 3/5/18

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.


While we got the MOCS this weekend, which is a Modern/Draft format, it’s important to remember that we can’t take too much away from it. It’s a small tournament, maybe 24 people, so the metagame gets wonky. This was evident in Bogles showing up as the second most-played deck in the room. This isn’t the type of strategy that professional players are typically inclined to select for major events, like a GP or a Pro Tour. It doesn’t give them enough space to make full use of their skill as a player, and the variance is likely to catch up with them over the course of sixteen rounds. However, in a room with so few other players, where everyone is an accomplished pro, things are a bit different. You’re playing fewer rounds, so it’s easier to get lucky. Everyone is a talented player, so you don’t necessarily have that edge over most of your opponents. And perhaps most importantly, if you’re able to peg the metagame, showing up with an otherwise odd deck that’s well positioned against the most common deck in the room is a huge advantage.

All of this means that just because there were so many Bogles at the event, it doesn’t mean you should think 20% of the Modern meta is going to turn into Bogles. There is value in the event as an indicator of the format though. Jund was the most popular deck, and that wouldn’t be the case if players didn’t think it was the most powerful strategy there.

Raging Ravine

Price Today: $25
Possible Price: $40

When Bloodbraid Elf and Jace were unbanned, there was a mini run on Celestial Colonnade. Players that wanted to play Jace knew they would need the land that has followed him through most constructed formats. People were hesitant to go too deep though, since Masters 25 was around the corner and a reprint would have sucked.

Once the full spoiler hit and the Worldwake manlands were confirmed absent, prices pushed harder on Colonnade, and non-foils are sitting around $60 today. Most importantly, copies are selling at that price point. Meanwhile, Raging Ravine got some attention as well, with the price having been hanging around at $10 in the middle of last month, and it’s at $25 today.

As wild as this is, I’m here to tell you I think it could keep going. Jund was a big part of the MOCS, and that’s no mistake. Whenever Bloodbraid has been legal, Jund has been a tier one strategy. Add in that it’s got a few new tools that weren’t there before, and it’s looking even better. And rare is the Jund deck without Raging Ravines. You’ll see four occasionally, while three copies is the most common quantity you’ll see show up.

Jund has already begun to show that it’s back in Modern and it’s a real contender. As players who haven’t been in the format since the last time Jund was legal begin to move into the deck, the few Raging Ravines left are going to continue to dry up. Ravine has no more stock out there than Colonnade — in fact, there are fewer copies, since it wasn’t a buy-a-box promo. Is $60 in Ravine’s future? Maybe. That’s a big jump. But $40? That doesn’t seem far fetched to me.

Kolaghan’s Command

Price Today: $20
Possible Price: $30

Remember thirty seconds ago when I said Jund has some new tools available to it? This is one of them. Kolaghan’s Command is on the very short list of best three drops in Modern to cascade into with BBE.

Shock? Well hey, that kills opposing BBEs, Dark Confidants, Oozes that haven’t eaten yet, Flameblade Adepts, Noble Hierarchs, you name it. Return a creature to your hand? Well how about your first BBE that got Bolted? Or a Confidant? Or a Tarmogoyf? Discard a card? I’m putting a 3/2 haste onto the battlefield, killing your guy, and making you discard a card. That’s a three-for-one for all you keeping track at home. And finally, artifact removal. More limited in its application, but when you need it, boy you’ll be glad you have it.

Kolaghan’s Command is always going to be valuable coming out of a Bloodbraid, even if you have to settle for discard and shock them. Since hey, if you’re casting BBE into Command and you haven’t had a creature die yet and they don’t have anything to shoot, the game sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

We’re not getting any more anytime soon, and nobody is rushing out to crack Dragons of Tarkir at the moment. We could easily see Kommand add on another $10 (or more) as one of the best spells in Jund over the next few months.

Mwonvuli Acid-Moss

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $10

This one is a bit stranger than the others, but it’s where we find ourselves.

RG Ponza, or for the uninformed, RG Land Destruction, is a strategy as old as time. Blow up some lands, attack with some dudes. A good time was had by all.

In the last few months the strategy has been slowly gaining ground after having been relegated to the tournament practice room on MTGO. It’s getting more and more popular though, and with a rise in Urza Land decks and Celestial Colonnade decks, hampering your opponent’s mana development is looking better than ever.

Most of the deck is familiar ground, or at least, familiar cards. Some Arbor Elves, Birds, Titans, Blood Moons, Stone Rains, etc. Everything here has been printed several times. Except for one particular spell that’s always a four-of — Mwonvuli Acid-Moss.

It’s probably not the first card you’d expect to see a strategy such as this play, as you might expect it to reach for Molten Rain or Fulminator Mage first. Apparently costing one extra isn’t an issue though, and fetching your own land as part of the deal means you get to go slam one of those Titans in your hand into play a little earlier — say, turn four.

Acid-Moss has a single printing from Time Spiral. It was a common, so there’s a fair supply out there, but we’re now 12 — yes, 12 — years past Time Spiral. Without another printing, and an existing casual demand for land destruction as it is, Acid-Moss copies have been draining for awhile. It was $2.5 to $3 a few weeks ago, and has recently started to push up towards $4 and $5. Where you can find them at $4 they’re likely a safe pickup. They’re not showing up in the Commander Anthology. They’re unlikely to show up in other products as well, since Wizards doesn’t care for land destruction much. It’s not to say it won’t, but it’s got to be low on their list of things to reprint, and it’s not something they’re eager to include anyways.

As this deck is going to have a smallish but dedicated fan base and is otherwise fairly inexpensive, Acid-Moss is positioned to keep riding the “hard to find common” train up towards $10. And if it shows up in pauper? Well then hey, the sky’s the limit.


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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