The Watchtower 10/8/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

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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.


While the MagicFest this weekend was limited, we still got plenty of Guilds Standard with an MTGO PTQ, an SCG Team Open, and a Classic. They couldn’t be much more different either. MTGO saw a strong performance by Golgari strategies, particularly explore. Selesnya tokens took the top two slots of SCG’s Team Open (the only place they even showed up), while the Classic was all about Boros Angels (and Mono-Blue Aggro?). There’s a lot of data here, and undoubtedly a lot of noise. I’m going to try and find some of the stronger threads for you guys, which is no easy feat. Given this variety of well-performing decks, there’s no doubt a lot of them will fall away in the next few weeks.

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Brainstorm Brewery #307 Brown Listed

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Early Movement of GLD

We’ve had our prereleases, and we’ve got some big changes to Organized Play, but the best weekend of a set is here: our first chance to play with the new cards!

Guilds of Ravnica has introduced a slew of new options, and with shocks plus allied checklands, you’ve got tremendous options when it comes to what colors you can play or even splash for.

There’s already been a few cards that have had hefty price movement before this Week 1 of New Standard, and it’s time to dive in and see where it goes.

A caveat, before we begin: a lot of these prices are for this magical week between prerelease and the actual set, so prices are most likely going to go down, except for the ones that look great on camera this weekend.

 

Mausoleum Secrets (Started out $8 in preorders, now $2, foils currently $10)

I’ve been part of a few conversations with this card, and I’m not yet sold that the hoops are worth jumping through to get this card. It’s pretty narrow, and has a real setup cost. Surveil helps a lot, and at least you get the card in hand after all the work of self-mill and wanting only black cards. I’m having trouble seeing it as a good card in any format.

More hoops to jump through than a 50’s movie!

However.

If the foils keep dropping and end up at $5 or less, I’m going to have to think about getting a stack. There’s not a lot of tutors which are Modern legal, and this might be a card that gets broken in the future.

For now, I’m staying away.

Beast Whisperer ($5, now $1, foils are $6)

An Elf who has Glimpse of Nature built in. This is Commander gold, as I’d said, and while I’d like for this to be a Standard player, there’s not a lot of immediate payoff for playing something so small on turn 4. If you untap with it in play, you’re in great shape, but getting there is the problem.

For comparison’s sake, Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice, is also four mana and immediately represents a big problem for the other player.

The foil demand is strong with this card, and I don’t expect that to cool down too much. I want this in every Commander deck ever, and I’ll be surprised if the foils get to $3, even if nonfoils are bulk.

Dream Eater ($3, now $7, foils $13)

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Proud to say I called this one as an underpriced mythic. I bought two playsets at a little under $3 each, and I’ve already resold one set to cover that whole cost. I’m keeping the other four, both as a freeroll and in case I want to build a sweet control deck.

I am not sold that the card is good enough to warp Standard, but it was underpriced at $3. Hope you got yours too.

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March of the Multitudes ($7, now $15, foils $27)

I’m not proud to say that I was way off on this card, at least for right now. My mistake was comparing it to Empty the Wastes in Modern, when we have to remember that this card is in Standard, where there’s less that can deal with it effectively. Yes, it’s a Goblin Chainwhirler’s dream to face a player packing this, and one little Negate does a lot of work to stop it.

The second one is just bananas after the first resolves.

It’s also an excellent test spell at the end of their turn to test for countermagic, and the way one of these feeds the second is like a far worse Sphinx’s Revelation.

Pelt Collector ($4, now $10, foils $20)

Thank goodness this isn’t a Human, else it would be a four-of in that deck too. It’s grown on the idea of the aggro decks of all flavors who want to get this card super big super fast. It’s hard to make this bad in a green deck which can go this into the following mana curve: Steel-Leaf Champion, Nullhide Ferox, Gigantosaur, Carnage Tyrant.

Just brutal. Needs a Temur Ascendancy though.

This was a card that Todd Stevens was very high on in the MTG Fast Finance from a couple weeks ago, and he was very right about the price of the card.

Risk Factor ($3, now $6, foils $9)

I want to see this card do well before I acknowledge defeat. I tried all sorts of ways to make Browbeat good, and this is less damage!

Plus it lacks the ‘bully’ art of the original Browbeat.

Having Jump-Start is sneaky brilliant for a card like this, though. Sure, they take four the first time, but if you’re being liberal with your aggressive creatures and direct damage, you’ll be ending the game very quickly.

Generally speaking, giving your opponent the choice is not a powerful thing to do. They will do what’s best for them, and that’s usually to take the damage, but they can’t do that twice if you’re drawing even half-decent. I’m hearing and reading that a lot of players are having success with this dealing eight damage to most opponents.

Divine Visitation ($10, now $6, foils $18)

It’s creeping downward and foils are passing the price I thought sure they’d keep. I didn’t buy any yet, so I’m really hoping that the foils stabilize soon. This seems like the easiest card ever to add to Commander decks that are full of tokens.

It’s possible that Cathar’s Crusade is even better for token matters, but that’s such a pain to keep track of. Plus I love the idea of using Serra Angel as tokens!

If the price continues downwards, it’ll crater out, and I’ll want to have a supply of these for long-term holdings.

 

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.

Unlocked Pro Trader: The Second Wave

People all seem to agree that a second wave of Battlebond is coming. I looked for a while and the only corroboration I could find was this bitchy tweet and, considering the source, I’m inclined to take it with a grain of salt, but if someone were going to dispute the facts, they would have already and so far no one has.

It would appear we’re getting a second wave of Battlebond that, for two reasons, excites me.

No, it excites me for ONE reason but there are two reasons it excites me for one reason. That’s confusing. There are two reasons it’s exciting for one reason? There are two FACTORS that contribute to it being exciting (for one reason) and here they are.

  1. It’s been a long time since we had Battlebond packs
  2. We didn’t know we were getting more

If you take the total amount of Battlebond packs over the two printings and released them at a steady rate until they were all gone, the prices would all equilibrate quite a bit lower than they are now. However, breaking it up into two waves with the second wave not even really announced (I suspect they realized they underprinted) and a curious thing will happen. The first wave will establish the price, high, based on the full demand and half of the supply. When the second wave of supply comes in, demand won’t really be satiated, most people won’t really be aware that the second wave is happening or that it’s as big as the first wave and the prices will mostly stay the same. The first wave gave us the $12 Morphic Pool, the second wave will give us hundreds and hundreds of Morphic Pools that we can sell at $12.

A perception of a smaller supply than exists can cause prices to go drastically above MSRP.

This is what happens when a small batch of $5 chips sell out quickly and end up on the secondary market. I only know these chips sell for so much because we wanted to eat one as a Patreon goal on Brainstorm Brewery. If you want to see Douglas Johnson almost die and Corbin Hosler embarrass himself by being a filthy cheater, check it out.  If you want to see Corbin have to redeem himself by eating a second hot-ass chip (they were so hot, seriously) then check it out.  If they released all of the chips at once, the price wouldn’t be so ridiculous on the secondary market with such a high supply of high price chips, but with release staggered and the total number available unclear, we see a high price that maintains itself.

If you don’t want a chip anecdote because the part of your brain that allows you to experience joy or whimsy is damaged, I can give you another example, and that’s Unstable. The example isn’t unstable, the example IS Unstable. The set.

Maro says they didn’t overprint Unstable and they broke it into multiple waves which meant that prices were allowed to get decently high on the important stuff like foil tokens, meme cards and the full-art lands. They learned how to make a set seem like it sold much better than previous Un-sets while selling less of it. The trick? Something they must have failed to do with Conspiracy 2 – they didn’t have a bunch of unsold boxes of a set that people were only interested in for a few weeks. Battlebond appears to have sold much better than Conspiracy 2 by sheer virtue of there not being loose boxes of Battlebond for dealer cost all over the internet.

With a second wave of Battlebond coming, what do we expect?

Discovered Demand

People are priced out of some of the Battlebond cards, if you ask me. Najeela is $8, the foil is $100 and the Battlebond lands, all 5 of which could go in the deck, are all above $10. A second stab at being able to open some Battlebond hotness saw 15 people make a Najeela deck on EDHREC this week, which is high. Is it that people are updating their list to incorporate Guilds of Ravnica cards?

I don’t think that’s the case because only 3 people have updated with Guilds cards and the cards they added aren’t exactly staples. It seems like the promise of more Battlebond boxes has people jazzed and thinking about the deck. More people built Najeela than Saheeli this week and the ink isn’t even dry on Saheeli.

If there is hype surrounding Najeela and other Battlebond stuff, we should briefly re-look at what’s going on in that deck.

For whatever reason, the Humans deck in Modern doesn’t care about this human. That said, this is also a Warrior, it’s unfair and it is coming off of a reprint and regaining ground fast. If this is left alone for a few years, which I anticipate, this is a $4-$5 card you can currently buy below $2. I don’t like this as much as other picks, but this is a great card to snag in trade or just get for a dime when you tell people you buy bulk rares and you let them tell you which rares they want to sell you for a dime (don’t be a scumbag and tell people their $2 cards are bulk rares). I buy stacks of bulk rares without looking through and when I get home I always find one or two of these and I can live with that.  That party won’t last forever.

I wouldn’t call what’s going to happen to this card a second “spike” per se but I would venture to guess that this tanks at rotation and approaches $5ish bucks. All of the cheap copies were ferreted out when it spiked the first time and it’s not like people are going to stop doing Helm of the Host stuff in EDH. Celebrant gives extra combat phases to everything and there are a lot of commanders that like to swing a few times and even more that haven’t been printed yet, but will and when they are, people will remember this mythic.

If this isn’t reprinted or made obsolete in the next 24 months, this will sell for $10 on Card Kingdom. I would stake money on that claim.

Since we have EDHREC data (some) for Guilds of Ravnica and my best advice regarding Battlebond singles is “buy boxes as close to dealer cost as you can and enjoy opening a set where there are 10 cards over $10 and multiple $100 foils,” I am going to close today’s piece out with a few GRN picks based on Lazav data.

Lazav Picks

This is also a $10 foil but this unreprintable uncommon from a set with $700 booster boxes (I’m guessing) isn’t getting any cheaper and with demand from both Lazav and Yuriko coming within weeks of each other, expect a brief ramp and then a violent cascade in this card’s price. I realize there are a lot of copies of this out there, but there are a lot of copies of a lot of cards that have been printed more than this and which cost more. This is a $3-$4 card that you’re going to pull out of bulk.

I know I mentioned this last week or the week before but, seriously, this is a matter of “when” and not “if” and you need to believe that.

This card is $3 some places and $0.50 others. Which of those two prices do you expect is going to be the one to correct?

Anyway, there’s some picks. I think if you have a line on cheap Battlebond boxes, I might look into getting a case because box EV is pretty nutty. EV is currently over $100 and if you can get $80ish boxes, you’re playing a lottery where every $1 ticket pays $1.20 and there are occasional jackpots. A case makes you reasonably sure to get cards that aren’t done going up like Brightling, Doubling Season, Diabolic Intent, Najeela, Morphic Pools cycle and Will and Rowan. That’s my plan, anyway. You do you.

Until next time!

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