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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The Watchtower 10/1/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen

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.

I’m back from a week in California, and californians, I’ve got some things to tell you. First of all, I’m convinced Los Angeles is a manifestation of hell on earth and its denizens souls that have been bound to it for an eternity of suffering. It took us forty damn five minutes to park one evening. Hell world.

San Diego was beautiful. Your zoo is cool and there’s a bunch of beaches. Restaurant service could be better and people on yelp rated something akin to Olive Garden 4.5 stars, so there’s some work to be done there, but overall, good city.


Anyways, Magic. I’ve been out of the loop a bit so I don’t know exactly what everyone is claiming to be the best sleepers at the moment. This is to your advantage though; I browsed through the Guilds cards and have picked out three that seem like they could be underpriced. If my guesses match up with others, then you’ll have a good reason to look closer.

Ritual of Soot

Price Today: $1.25
Possible Price: $7

Back in the days of Rise of Eldrazi, Consume the Meek was a powerful sweeper. Only taking out the small guys meant your bigger threats could remain uncontested, and doing that at instant speed was even better. With Ritual of Soot we lose the instant speed factor, but we shave a mana too, which is probably roughly a wash.

Back in Consume days you had access to Day of Judgment, so decks looking for a sweeper could go that route if they really needed one. We don’t have access to an unconditional four mana sweeper in Standard these days. Obviously Ritual isn’t one either, but it means there’s no directly better sweeper that it can be replaced by.

Our closest comparison is Settle the Wreckage, which started at $2, and is now $7, having peaked at $15. I’m not quite that optimistic about Ritual, but I do think that a four mana sweeper than can have its symmetry broken is a strong tool to consider. I’m not loading up TCGPlayer to pay $5 for a set — buying cards during prerelease weekend is wrong 98% of the time — but I’d take these in trade at $1 all day.

Beast Whisperer

Price Today: $1
Possible Price: $5

Is this the Dictate of Erebos of Guilds of Ravnica? Dictate was $.50 for awhile, and having been spared a reprint for quite some time, is a respectable $7. It took about two years to go from $.50 to $4, but if you had a large pile of them, that’s quite a healthy profit margin. Beast Whisperer could certainly swing that.

Drawing a card with each creature spell isn’t new, of course. You’ll find it on the banned Modern card Glimpse of Nature, and reasonably-popular EDH card Primordial Sage. Beast Whisperer is the latest iteration, and possibly the best. Glimpses problem in EDH is that it only last a single turn. While this isn’t an issue in Legacy and Modern, where you’re looking to play your entire deck in that turn, EDH is more interested in long-term card advantage than singular combo piece. Primordial Soul accomplishes that, albeit at six mana instead of four. I’m betting that’s a pretty big jump.

Many EDH decks should want Beast Whisperer, both today and in the future. If you’re green, you play creatures, and Beast Whisperer likes creatures. With a name like Beast Whisperer, how could he not? I’m expecting this to bottom out around $.50 or $.75 and then just keep rising in price in perpetuity.

Divine Visitation

Price Today: $6.50
Possible Price: $11

Divine Visitation is a fun card, both in execution and in form. (The flavor text is amusing.) It’s fairly easy to see where the appeal is here. Making a bunch of idiot bird tokens? (Birds are idiots.) Have some angel tokens instead. They’re four times bigger than idiot birds. Plus, they’re angels.

One only needs to look at Anointed Procession to see that there’s some real hunger for white token effects. Now, I’m not foolish. It’s possible that the doubling mechanic of Procession is going to be wildly more popular than the upgrade mechanic of Visitation. And that’s fine, really, so long as Visitation is anywhere near as popular. Most decks that will want Procession will want Visitation. And seeing as how Procession jumped from $1.50 to settle at $8 — immediately after release — that’s a lot of potential for a mythic. Some of that was based on Standard demand, but the possibility of that still exists in Standard. I’m inclined to say that turning your two 1/1s into two 4/4s is better than four 1/1s, but that depends on the meta I’d imagine.

Six dollars is still a little too high for me to be interested in purchasing copies. Hopefully we see this dip closer to the $2 to $3 bulk mythic range quickly, at which point snagging a good pile could be lucrative. You’ve got the short-term possibility of a Standard breakout, and even if you don’t get there, the long term EDH demand should easily catch this up to a $10 card or more.

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.



Golden Rarity

Last week was the mythics (I just bought 8 more Dream Eater, I’m not all-in but it’s a cheap spec) and now it’s time to dive into the rares.

Assassin’s Trophy ($25): It’s a good card, a good answer, and I have to say I’m glad that Modern now has several strong reasons to include some basics: Path to Exile, Ghost Quarter, Field of Ruin, and now this. Yes, it’s good. It’s super-versatile. It’s good enough for Standard but the drawback is very real in that format.

I don’t think it’s got legs in Commander, either. For one more mana, you’ve got Maelstrom Pulse with zero drawbacks and the potential to kill a token horde.

Sorcery vs instant, yeah, but EDH has a lot of answers that don’t come with big drawbacks.

I do think $25 is about right for this for now, I find it unlikely that it’s going to be a more expensive card.

Beast Whisperer ($1 regular/$8 foil): I can easily see this being a $10 foil, but that margin is so close that I’m not moving in yet. I will tell you that when this drops (and it will) I’m going to be gauging this closely. We have several variations of this effect for Modern and for Commander, but none this cheap as a creature and definitely none as an Elf. It’ll be a bulk rare in nonfoil, so be patient.

Chromatic Lantern ($5/$10): In a couple of weeks, it’ll be even cheaper. Get what you need for Commander and maybe a couple extra. It’s not going to dip too much further–I’d imagine that $3 is about the floor on here. This is the third foil printing (counting the super-sweet Invention) and so I’m not going to be hellbent on the foils.

Citywide Bust ($1/$4): This is cheap enough that I’d like to get a few in anticipation of a good UW control deck showing up in the next two years, as that’s how long Guilds of Ravnica will be in Standard. We have Cleansing Nova for a while, but this strikes be as a fantastic answer to the Green Stompy decks that will be running around–and one that Boros decks will mostly avoid being hit by. The great part about when this is four for $1 is that when it bumps to $4 and buylists for $2, you’ll get a lovely chunk of store credit.

Ionize ($2.50/$9): One thing I’ve learned over the years: don’t count out the value of incremental, free effects. Vapor Snag was brutally efficient in its day. Somehow, this price is higher than I thought it would be, meaning that more people are buying it than anticipated. Is this the replacement for Disallow’s rotation? We’re getting counter/surveil 1 in its place, but getting that damage in is real.

Knight of Autumn ($6/$25): Abrade kept all sorts of artifact strategies in check the whole time, much like Dromoka’s Command did for a range of plans. The Knight will fill a similar role, being good enough to maindeck in Standard, and being exactly what’s needed at the time. I think this nonfoil price is spot on, but the foil needs to fall some before I’m in.

Mission Briefing ($8/$36): I think this card is totally a player in Standard, but it’s pretty lame in the other formats. Snapcaster Mage being able to attack or block makes it tremendously better. It’s the difference between Regrowth and Eternal Witness, or Naturalize/Reclamation Sage. Having a body attached to an effect is just really good. Plus, the Mage is easier to cast than the Briefing. This will see play, but not enough to warrant this price. It’s already fallen from the initial $15 it was offered at.

Omnispell Adept (75¢/$7): This might as well have “COMMANDER GOLD” tattooed on its head. Thank goodness this is five mana, but it’s one of those ‘kill it before it wins the game’ cards. I will be targeting these foils when they fall back to the $3-$5 range.

Risk Factor ($3/$7.50): Folks, this card is bad. It is a bad card. This should be the bulkiest of rares. I’ll link you what Bill Stark wrote about Browbeat and giving the opponent choices. I’ve played Browbeat in assorted burn decks and it seems like it should be good but it isn’t. It just isn’t. Don’t play this card, and don’t let your friends play it either. It’s worse than Browbeat, and that’s barely fifty cents for being a rare 12 years ago.

Ritual of Soot ($1.50/$6): This is a fantastic sideboard card in Standard, and will never make you any money. Stay away.

Swiftblade Vindicator ($2/$5): So many things are good with this card. Mentor, combat tricks, Aurelia, etc. Thankfully, it’s not good enough for Modern Humans, but it’s going to be a big game in Boros for the next two years. I think this is a buy right now if you’re going to play the deck, because it’s going to do well at first, climbing to maybe $5 before settling back down for about a buck. Helpfully, you’ll never play just one or two of these; it’s the full four or none at all.

Six years to go up $6? Nope, we can do better with our money.

The Shocklands ($6-$10, foils about 3x the prices): These aren’t going to very far up or down. There’s a whole lot of these out there, as the third printing of the big fall set PLUS the Expedition versions floating around. These are the go-to lands in Modern, a very reasonable alternative to triple-digit dual land prices in Commander, and the cycle is good enough even for powered Cubes. Not much else to say, but I’ll add that I would not attempt to stock up on these when we move on to the next set. We’ve got the double whammy of people who already have a bunch of them from other sets and the extra inventory that exists in stores. One color pair would have to be backbreakingly overpowered if all that inventory was to be drained and raise a shockland’s price.


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.

Brainstorm Brewery #306 Guilds of Ravnica Set Review

Corbin’s (@CHosler88), DJ (@Rose0fThorns), and Jason (@jasonEalt) bring in the big guns, Jacob Van Lunen (@JVLTMS) to help with the Guilds of Ravnica Set review.

Make sure to check us out on Youtube for hidden easter eggs and facial reactions  https://www.youtube.com/user/BrainstormBrewery

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