The Watchtower 10/1/18 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.


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.

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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.

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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.


 

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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.

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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

Need to contact us? Hit up BrainstormBrew@gmail.com

 

Guilds of Ravnica Prerelease Weekend Pickup Guide.

Readers!

Lots of stuff is going to go down in price – it has to. The current prices are predicated a lot on guessing and the stuff that’s getting reprinted is going to really tank, there’s no way Assassin’s Trophy can maintain $63 or whatever it’s at right now ($25 Market price, which seems OK for now) and bulk rares are pre-selling for $2 because of course they are.

I haven’t done this before, but given the lack of EDHREC data and my total lack of enthusiasm for any of these commanders as build-arounds with the exception of like, Lazav, whose picks I already talked about, I have to do something worthwhile this week, so why not a guide for the prerelease weekend? If you go to the LGS, and you should, it’s an opportunity to grab the new cards before anyone else has them. It’s also a chance to think about which bulk rares are going to be a dime soon so you can try to get something out of them. An ideal scenario? Trading bulk rares out at $2 toward some future EDH staples. If you got rid of Aethersquall Ancient at $2 and picked up Panharmonicon at $2 on prerelease weekend, you look like a genius today.

Today Ancient is a bulk rare worth a thin dime and Panharmonicon is at $3 and climbing.

How can we try and set up trades like that? Thinking about what’s going where and going into the weekend forewarned and therefore forearmed. I mean forearmed in the sense that you’re armed with knowledge ahead of time, not in these sense that you, you know, have forearms. You don’t need forearms to make good trades, that’s ridiculous and ableist. You don’t need forearms to be forearmed. OK, I’m done. Let’s look at cards.

Inspiration

Last night we did the Brainstorm Brewery set review and if you read my articles but don’t listen to the free podcast where Corbin Hosler and Douglas Johnson and I give you free finance advice every week, that’s an option and you should take advantage of it for free. You clearly value my opinion.

Anyway, we always spend like 20 minutes talking about a $25 planeswalker that sucks and is only expensive because Jace the Mind Sculptor fooled everyone and we haven’t forgotten it all these years later. Instead of that noise, we decided to sort TCG Player by best selling rather than most expensive and it was a much better experience. Looking at best selling cards before the prerelease can help you predict what will get played in Standard and what will likely stay a bulk rare. After that experience, here are a few things I gathered based entirely on that metric alone.

Boros is Popular

The top cards are all Boros cards. It has no implications for EDH whatsoever – Tajic and Aurelia are complete trash as commanders and the only real assets they get are Deafening Clarion, Response//Resurgence and Boros Locket, a card I fully expect will see play. Foil Lockets are like $0.50 right now and I think any that see play could end up a buck or two, but I don’t know how juicy a target that is. I don’t like any of the other 9 lockets for EDH, but Boros could get there considering Boros decks play cards like Dreamstone Hedron which is way more awkward. Boros is going to run roughshod over Standard, though, so I expect those cards to be popular the first few weeks. I think, ironically, it may be Chainwhirler, a card that will be excellent in Boros decks, that could nip the deck in the bud before it’s a thing. Still, Boros staples will go out 4 at a time, are very cheap and will be highly sought.

Ferocidon last year demonstrated that $2 becomes $6 quickly if the deck takes off.

What I like from Boros – Tajic around $3, Vindicator around $1.50, Warboss around $3, but get out quickly.

For EDH, I like Response//Resurgence long-term and that’s about it. Maybe foil Cluestone. I don’t really like much else from Boros. I think the deck is likely to be a thing in Standard early since aggro sorts itself out first so I might try and pick up stuff like Tajic to flip in a week or two, but for the less nimble, see what EDH players like and trade straight across for stuff that won’t hold value as much. Don’t be afraid to trade stuff like Deafening Clarion for EDH cards from sets about to rotate now at their floor.

Lantern could hit $2-$3

This card tends to shrug off reprints and while this will give us way more copies than normal, this is likely a $7-$9 card in as little as a year and you’re going to feel like such a chump if you don’t pick up every single loose copy at your LGS. I think a 1-2 punch of reprint followed by another reprint is possible and they’ve done it in the past but it seems rather unlikely here. I think we can expect a year of growth and if these hit like $2, scoop em all. I would trade a $3 card that will be $0.75 in a month for a $3 lantern that will be $5 in 6 months. Just grab these.

Knight of Autumn may be the best card in the set

And Knight certainly goes up from like $4. It’s a $30 foil right now but it likely goes way down at peak supply. I don’t know how much I care about foils, but this card is a multi-format allstar. If it’s still $4 on Friday night, gobble as many copies as you can. Almost any pile worth $4 you trade toward a Knight of Autumn will look like a joke in 3 months when Knight is $10 and we all wonder how we missed it.

Mission Briefing is way overrated

I’m reminded of Pain Seer here. Remember how Pain Seer was the next Dark Confidant in Standard? This is the next Snapcaster Mage. Exceeeeept not. I’m getting out of every copy of these at $8-$10 immediately and trading for stacks of relevant cards. This is a trap, get out while you can.

Shocks are not cheap enough yet

I’m avoiding these. They are a great deal cheaper than they were a month ago but we haven’t come close to peak supply. I say out any you crack at full value and then buy back in for cash later.

Take a Crazy Risk

I don’t have any reason for thinking I’ll be glad later that I picked up Dream Eater at $3 but I’m going to do it. Remember, in 3 years when Dream Eater is sitting in my box of shame and some EDH precon makes a card that turns Dream Eater into a $15 card overnight and I can pay for a year of car insurance with a busted spec, I’ll repeat the mantra “there are no misses, only longer term specs.” I have been so analytical in my pickups lately that I forgot what it was like to gamble, and if I’m picking up Dream Eater with money I got buylisting a million Lorwyn block tokens or something silly like that, I’m playing with the house’s money and every hit is pure gravy.

Rares are too Cheap

With one exception, rares are too cheap. The mythics in the set are not super likely to impact Standard as much as the rares with few exceptions and that means there are a bunch of $6 mythics that shouldn’t be and a bunch of $1 rares that shouldn’t be. I think it will shake out differently. I think the following mythics go down.

Arclight Phoenix

Aurelia

Chance for Glory

Divine Visitation (but this card is nutty in EDH)

Doom Whisperer (but I bet this is the most expensive mythic)

Dream Eater

Lazav

March of the Multitudes

Mnemonic Betrayal

Nullhide Ferox

Ral(s)

Underrealm Lich

Vraska(s)

Accordingly, I think the following rares go up to pick up some slack

Chromatic Lantern

Citywide Bust

Deafening Clarion

Guildmage’s Forum (?)

Ionize

Legion Warboss

Quasiduplicate

Response//Resurgence

Thief of Sanity (?)

Venerated Loxodon

A lot of those are iffy and rely on a deck coming along to use them, but I would look to get out of inflated mythics, especially marquee stuff like the Planeswalkers as soon as you open it.

One major caveat is that there are 5 shocklands that will be soaking up a ton of value, and with MODO redemption being less of a factor to enforce box MSRP and with a glut of cheap boxes on Amazon, we could see a lot of good, $1 rares. It could take years for even cards with a lot of EDH demand on top of Standard playability to exceed $5. I’m not sure whether that will happen, but let’s be ready.

Here are a few EDH cards I like as a player and whether or not I like the price.

Affectionate Indrik, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

At under $1 for foils, this seems like a meme card and meme cards are collectible. It should be easy to get foils of this for cheap and watch them end up like $4 later because, lol, snugglyboi snuggled u over teh gardrayl lolzz >< so kawai!!!!!!!!11 yatta!

Burglar Rat, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

At under $1 for the foils of this as well, I think this is a steal. It’s the best Ravenous Rats variant ever created because it hits them and not you for the exact same stats as Ravenous Rats and for whatever reason, no one is talking about that. Grab these out of draft chaff because discard rats are always a pick until they’re printed 200 times. Chittering Rats are $1 retail and they sell a playset at a time and I get them in bulk for 4 tenths of a cent all day. Chittering Rats is also a $6 foil. It will take years for this to be a $5 foil, if ever, but this is bound to be a bulk foil at first and it shouldn’t be.

Conclave Tribunal, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This isn’t Fatal Push, but this is a card that will be in draft chaff for free the first week or so and shouldn’t be. It’s a $7 presale foil which means some people have caught on. I think if there is a Selesnya deck, and there better be, convoking is a real factor in the deck and this is a great thing to convoke for. Tapping Emmara to make a dork while you kill a blocker is what Convoke is all about. People won’t know this is a $7 foil when you booster draft the set so get with people after the draft and get these for whatever they think is fair.

Crush Contraband, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This isn’t as good as Return to Dust but you can do it as an instant and that means people will want to try it out. I don’t hate the single white, either. This is a $1 foil which I think has little downside and lots of potential upside at that price.

Discovery // Dispersal, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This was the EDHREC preview card so I have had more time to evaluate this card than the rest of the set. It’s not fair to call Discovery a Ponder since it’s 2 mana which is way more than 1 mana, but we also don’t have Ponder. This isn’t really a worse Ponder anyway, it’s a better Forbidden Alchemy that is way better drawn late since it has an excellent late-game mode. This is low downside and it’s getting buzz. Every Surveil card will get looked at because the mechanic is probably too good and probably a mistake.

Divine Visitation, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

I have to imagine this tanks from $8 but this is a nutso EDH card and basically any token deck runs this. Watch this price like a hawk and when it bottoms out and begins to rebound, be about it.

Emmara, Soul of the Accord, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

I think the Selesnya deck is going to be bad because of Chainwhirler. I also think people are going to try it and/or they may ban the Whirler. If Chainwhirler gets banned, I think this has a lot of upside but in a whirly world, this is really bad unless you get the Loxodon to buff your creatures. There’s no point not just playing a Tajic deck until then.

Guildmages' Forum, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This may be a way to beat Chainwhirler. You play a bit behind the curve but that lets you let them dump their greedy-ass Red player hand, then you play some buff dudes behind curve interspersed with removal, leave them topdecking and then swarm them. If this finds a home, it’s a $4 card, so watch these at bulk.

Hatchery Spider, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This is good. Is it too good to be a bulk rare? I don’t know! But I know I like it a lot.

Mausoleum Secrets, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

I think this is a fine EDH tutor but I don’t know if a format that has great tutors needs a fine one. I do know I personally like it in 75% builds and advocated for it accordingly but that’s narrow. This is better earlier in the game than you think.

Omnispell Adept, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This is as liable to make a bunch of other cards go up in price as are any of the boring commanders in this set.

Thief of Sanity, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This is a really good card, but I don’t know if there is too much red removal for you to lean into it. It doesn’t block and by the time you slam this, they have a Warboss and a few gobbos attacking for 6. I hope this ends up a card.

Thousand-Year Storm, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

Lol. I don’t know how long the foil stays $30 but this is a card I want to open as my guild rare in the worst way.

Venerated Loxodon, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

If there is a Selesnya deck, it will be because this card exists. It’s the only way you beat Chainwhirler, imo and it’s currently a bulk rare.

That’s all I think I want people to know. This is a good set so play as many prerelease events as you can. I’ll be back with some data-based action next week. Until then, grab those rising stars. Until next time!

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