Small Set Economics

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By: Cliff Daigle

The consensus at the moment is that Born of the Gods lacks punch, panache, and power for constructed formats. It’s being lumped in with Dragon’s Maze, which is not where you want to be. That set had one chase mythic and a lot of chaff. (How good is Ral Zarek and Inspired, though?)

Beyond the letdown, there’s something else at work we need to pay attention to: the size of the set and the block.

Unless you’ve been playing this game since 2009’s Scars of Mirrodin block, you might not know that the ‘traditional’ structure of a block is Big Set – Small Set – Small Set. It’s been four years since Wizards did a block with the structure they have said is ‘normal’. It’s fair to say that a large part of the current player base has started playing after that point. Karn Liberated

Scars block has seen a number of price spikes lately, especially mythics like Phyrexian Obliterator, Karn Liberated, and the popular casual cycle of the Praetors. Casual formats like EDH are also why Darksteel Plate is a $5 card. So many people have started playing Commander since 2009, it accounts for a large part of that price growth.

When the block structure changes, so does the draft environment and the economics of that set. Small sets can have cards that are highly sought after, but since only one of those packs is opened in a draft set, those cards are simply more scarce.

Let’s go to the numbers. For my examples, we’ll presume a small store that does three drafts in a month, and gets exactly eight people on those nights. We’ll talk about how the numbers scale in a moment.

Our model is a draft pod of eight people at one store, three drafts per month, three months per season. I’m not going to account for prize packs, since there’s such a wide range of prizes given out.

8 people in a draft

3 drafts per month

3 months in a season

3 packs of Theros

24 packs

72 packs

216 packs

This is exactly what happens with the big fall set: We open lots of it! But what happens when we add the second set in a traditional structure?

8 people/draft

3 drafts/month

3 months/season

1 pack of Born of the Gods

8 packs

24 packs

72 packs

2 packs of Theros

16 packs

48 packs

144 packs

The key here is not only are packs being opened at a 2:1 ratio for these three months, the big set was already exclusively opened for three months beforehand!

Now, the full block of Theros:

8 people/draft

3 drafts/month

3 months/season

1 pack of Journey Into Nyx

8 packs

24 packs

72 packs

1 pack of Born of the Gods

8 packs

24 packs

72 packs

1 pack of Theros

8 packs

24 packs

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72 packs

When we add it up the nine months of Theros block, the discrepancy is clear. In this basic example, this store will have opened 432 packs of Theros, 144 of Born of the Gods, and a mere 72 packs of Journey into Nyx.

Reducing that ratio (yes, let’s step back into middle school math) gives us a ratio of 6:2:1.

For every one pack of the third set, two of the middle set and six of the first are opened. Granted, this is only for draft, but sealed goes 3/3 and then 2/2/2, which isn’t a big swing, considering how many drafts happen vs. how many sealed events occur.

It doesn’t matter how many drafts are held, this ratio stays firm (so long as equal number of drafts occur during each season.) We will open three times as many Theros packs as we will of Born of the Gods, and we will open six times as many Theros packs as we will Journey into Nyx. Cards from those sets are much more likely to see big price spikes during their time in Standard – and beyond!

For comparison’s sake, let’s look at the ratio of the block we just finished:

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Draft season

Packs opened that season

Totals opened at the end

Return to Ravnica only

216 RTR packs opened

288 RTR packs

Gatecrash only

216 GTC packs opened

288 GTC packs

Full block (DGM-GTC-RTR)

72 of each opened

72 Dragon’s Maze packs

Our ratio is now 4:4:1, and explains how all the shocklands have a similar price right now: we opened equal amounts of each of those set. Return to Ravnica block draft had one more issue: Modern Masters showed up at the end, and everyone who could draft that instead of RtR block did so.

To counteract the small-set effect somewhat, small sets have less cards. That means the chance of getting a Brimaz in your Born of the Gods pack is higher than getting a Jace, AoT in your Return to Ravnica pack. The number of mythics in a small set is five less, but when combined with the smaller number of packs, the small-set cards don’t keep up. When a small-set Mythic is popular and powerful, we get Huntmaster of the Fells at $40 before the end of its time in Standard. A hot new build featuring Voice of Resurgence would have a similar outcome.

With small sets opened in that ratio through the life of the block, and the smaller number of rares/mythics, chase cards are exactly that: a target. As a rough estimate, specific small-set cards are three to four times less likely to be opened at events. It’s not going to feel that way at a PTQ or GP, where it will seem like Gods and Brimaz abound at the top tables, but there it is.

Aurelia, the Warleader

Born of the Gods will have an extra three months of it being drafted compared to Journey into Nyx, though. That set will be even more impacted! There will be twice as much Born of the Gods opened as Journey into Nyx.

I admit there are factors here that I can’t account for. We aren’t told how many redemptions occur via Magic Online. We aren’t given hard data on the number of boxes sold, nor are we able to estimate how many boxes are opened just for the packs.

So what does this mean? What benefit do we gain from this knowledge?

First of all, if it’s borne out that Brimaz is the chase mythic and all else is chaff. Stock up on the scry lands from these two small sets. They will be much harder find than their Theros counterparts, and will be sought after during their time in standard. Don’t sleep on how good the scry lands are in EDH either – that’s going to lower the supply available.

The Gods of BotG face a similar path. All of them are good casual cards and make interesting decks as generals or in the ninety-nine. I’m looking for a few of them myself. They may not see much Standard play, but the smaller numbers and casual appeal will keep their prices from dipping too far. I’d anticipate that the five Gods of Journey into Nyx will be similarly impacted, though they will be half as available! (Side note: I’m trying to trade for Aurelia, the Warleader right now because it’s a safe bet that the Boros god, Iroas, will do something good for attackers, and a curve of Iroas into Aurelia will only need one other red or white card to turn on devotion and double attacks.)

After that, though, I don’t see much in Born of the Gods that will have players going crazy. It’s a set with a little something for everyone, filling a lot of niches. There’s exchanging control, random destruction, legendary benefits, a less-than-overpowered planeswalker, and a five-color, dear-lord-why-aren’t-you-a-legend mega-Bestow. There’s a lot of fun cards to try, but not many that will have a huge financial impact.

In the event that I’m wrong, please keep in mind that everything in these two small sets will have a severely diminished supply. We’ve got three months of Born-Theros-Theros drafts in front of us, so we’ll keep opening Master of Waves and Hero’s Downfall, but we won’t crack open many of the new Gods or the new scrylands.

Have fun at the release this weekend!

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Brave New World

By: Travis AllenCapture

You don’t get a much bigger shakeup than this.

All three of those were recognized as possibilities, but not a single person dreamt that all three would occur. This is going to result in sweeping changes across the format, and prices will (and have) followed quickly. We’re going to look at what has happened so far, and what may happen in the future. Bitterblossom

We’ll start with the most obvious change: Bitterblossom. BB doubled in price in the last few weeks ahead of the B&R announcement, up to about $30. Immediately after the announcement went live and the market was drained, the first to hit TCG again were $100. They’re now in the $55-$60 range as of Tuesday afternoon, and they may slip even more by the time you read this Wednesday.

What’s the new “real” price for Bitterblossom? I’d guess it’s somewhere between $40-$50. What are the factors at work here?

  • It’s from Morningtide, which was six years ago this month. Remember how much the playerbase has increased in just the last four years. To give you an a sense of scale, I’d guess there are roughly 1/6th to 1/7th the number of Bitterblossoms as there are any of the Theros temples.

  • The card has a legacy, and with it, a bit of a price memory. People remember how powerful Fae were the last time around, and they remember how good this card was in that deck. Regardless of how good it actually ends up being now, it has quite a history backing it.

  • Many players, especially spikes, loved playing Fae. There’s a reasonable chance that anyone you know who played when BB was legal is going to want to run the deck again. Playing that type of deck is very appealing to certain personalities.

  • It was an auto-4x in every single deck that wanted it.

Given all of that, I really doubt we’ll see Bitterblossom below $40 before the Pro Tour. And given how popular the deck is with players like PVDDR, along with how good it was in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see it sub-$40 for a long time, barring a reprint. (There’s a lot of speculation around what the Modern event deck will be, and BW tokens is a popular theory. I wouldn’t expect it to have more than one BB, and even if it has two the price would likely only be suppressed in the short-term.)

So Bitterblossom went nuts. What else? As I’ve talked about in the past, Mistbind Clique went wild as well. It looks like NM copies are just under $20 at the moment, up from about $3. I was hoping people wouldn’t have caught on quite that fast, but maybe it means people were listening to me? Wishful thinking, probably. Secluded Glen

Mistbind is a Time Walk stapled to a 4/4 flyer, and is going to be a big part of the first wave of faeries. If it doesn’t pan out it will likely stabilize around $8-$10, but if its good, expect prices closer to $20. Remember that regardless of what we see at the Pro Tour, it’s entirely feasible that PVDDR and co. don’t figure out the optimal Fae build in time.

Secluded Glen is now about $15, up from the roughly $1.50 it was last week. I am seeing a lot of people talk about how this is absurd and the card is bad and blah blah blah. Why? Because none of the other ones are currently useful? Take a look at the last PTQ format Bitterblossom was legal in. There are four Glen in basically every single list. It’s essentially a painless dual land in a deck that A. wants to cast Cryptic Command and B. minimize bleeding, as it’s already playing Bitterblossom and Thoughtseize. As long as Fae is real, so will be Secluded Glen. The real price for this will be between $6 and $15, depending on how the deck does. Start digging through that bulk!

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Fae may even want to add white for Restoration Angel and Path to Exile. Resto was already a good medium-term pick, and her ascent may come sooner than later depending on how the format shakes out. Meanwhile, start watching out for Darkslick Shores, Sunken Ruins, Sower of Temptation, and Sword of Feast and Famine. Those all stand to benefit as well.

River of Tears seems awful to me, by the way. That doesn’t mean it won’t see a spike, but I can’t see Fae ever actually wanting this, especially more than a single copy.

Alright, so the Bitterblossom unban had a lot of immediate impacts on the market. How about the Deathrite Shaman ban? Well, Noble Hierarch is $55 now. Part of this is probably people “realizing” that Pod is about to be amazing, and hopping on the train.

Knight of the Reliquary too has moved a bit as a result of DRS and Wild Nacatl switching places, although not by much. This feels like a ‘tense’ card to me. The market is wary, but a good showing at the Pro Tour will push Knight hard. That Modern Masters reprint will only keep her in check for so long.

Foresight

Let’s look past the immediate impacts and try to get ahead of the market.

What does it mean if DRS is banned? Well, GB/x/x decks clearly take a hit. Straight GB is probably gone. DRS allowed the turn two Liliana as well as put insane pressure on your opponent four turns later. Without that, GB simply won’t have the power to keep up. Doran, the Siege Tower

Jund hasn’t been without both DRS and BBE before, so this is new ground for them. The core of Tarmogoyf / Dark Confidant / Liliana of the Veil / Thoughtseize is still going to be strong, but the question is what to do with it. Without Bloodbraid Elf, it feels like Jund will probably turn away from red for the time being. Red was only ever really popular for BBE and Bolt anyways, both of which can’t or don’t need to be included.

Those core four cards (“the core”) aren’t going to stick to two colors because for at least the time being there isn’t enough power there. We’ve still got fetches and shocks, so the question is what color to head to next? I’m guessing white. With Fae being an anticipated popular deck, the core will be looking for a way to deal with the flying menace. (An apt way to describe them, I assure you.) Voice of Resurgence and Loxodon Smiter are both going to be powerful threats against Fae, and white provides the best sideboard in Modern. The core will also get Path to Exile and Lingering Souls, both great cards in their own respect. They could even toss in a Blood Crypt if they still want to cast Ajani Vengeant. This puts Stirring Wildwood, Doran, Tidehollow Sculler, and Murmuring Bosk on the table as cards of interest. Don’t forget that extra pressure will be placed on Scavenging Ooze as well, as it’s now solely responsible for graveyard duty in game one.

DRS missing has quite a few other impacts on the format. There are a lot of cards that are suddenly worth considering now. Vengevine, Demigod of Revenge, Life from the Loam, Worm Harvest, Goryo’s Vengenace, Unburial Rites, and Raven’s Crime are suddenly worth checking out, along with every support card they bring with them.

I think Goryo’s Vengeance is particularly noteworthy here, as that card is way faster than the format is supposed to be, from a very underprinted set relative to the current market, and the type of card that really hates GY disruption. Meanwhile, my thirty second analysis is that Fae and Zoo are both favored against Tron, a deck that has four maindeck RelicsMagus of the Moon

The absence of DRS presents another vector that was previously weakened as well: Blood Moon strategies. It used to be that you’d cast Blood Moon, they’d float GB, and Abrupt Decay it after it resolved. When they didn’t have the Decay in hand, DRS would get them whatever color they were missing when they finally drew it (or Maelstrom Pulse). But without DRS, if the core moves into a three (or more) color build, they will be considerably more vulnerable to a resolved Moon effect. Fae also probably doesn’t want Moon effects around either, as they typically play a lot of nonbasics to ensure they can cast Cryptic Command.

If Blood Moon is good against the core, Fae, Tron, and maybe even Pod and Zoo, that opens up space for a deck that mains the effect. A card I’ve always felt wants some number of maindeck Moons is Through the Breach. That’s the type of card that doesn’t necessarily need to kill you immediately and is happy to play under a Moon. I already consider Through the Breach a spicy target, and this shift in the format seems like Breach may benefit.

Breach loves it some Simian Spirit Guide, a common from an old winter set with one printing. Are we going to see $6 Apes in the near future?

By the way, you know what pairs well with Through the Breach? Goryo’s Vengeance.

The return of Wild Nacatl has had the least impact so far, at least financially. Sacred Foundry and the Naya shocks stand to gain a little, and we already talked about Knight of the Reliquary. I think the biggest gainer here is probably Geist of Saint Traft. Zoo was already leaning towards Domain for Tribal Flames, and Geist is a heck of a three.

It’s tough to see what else stands to gain beyond that. Baneslayer Angel, maybe? Thalia? I’m no Zoo expert, and the deck could look a lot different this time around than it did last time. I’d wait for the Pro Tour to see what Kibler is casting and go from there. (Also, those $10 Wild Nacatl FNM promos are absurd. Don’t buy them. The art isn’t even that good.)

This B&R change is probably going to be responsible for the largest change in the Modern metagame since the format’s inception. There are going to be pitfalls and springboards all over the place in the coming weeks and months, so tread carefully and think critically. As for me, I’ll just be over here quietly casting Genesis Wave for fourteen.

Loaming About Legacy

By: Jared Yost

The results from the Starcity Baltimore legacy tournament intrigued me. On the one hand I hate playing against Lands, but on the other hand I would love to play the deck outside of having to dump a lot of my current stock to pick up a Tabernacle.  I also enjoyed seeing BUG Delver appear in the Top 8 at the hands of two players, as the deck is a running legacy classic that just never seems to go away; becoming more powerful over time.

I did notice that a few someones made a run on Dark Depths, and now they are $50+ from retail sites. There has to be a funny story behind this one right? Well, as you may have guessed it has to do with Starcitygames Baltimore. Lands was able to take down the tournament and I am interested in some of the pieces of the lands deck that have since seen an increase in price across the vendor websites.

 

Dark Depths

Dark Depths
Only two Dark Depths were in the decklist, so I’m not sure if $50 can be sustained. Buying out the market for Dark Depths at $30 seems wrong on so many levels. It’s banned in Modern and unless it is unbanned by the time they announce any changes (in which case I guess I’m eating my words) it is only ever going to matter in legacy. You can’t make a Legendary Snow Land your general in Commander, can you? Not even in French Commander, but that would be cool if you could.

What I’m trying to say is that you should ignore the Dark Depths spike and instead refocus your attention on some other cards that were included in that Lands decklist. Specifically those that appear as a playset in the main deck.

 

Grove of the Burnwillows

Grove of the Burnwillows
I think it is great that Grove is still played in playsets across different legacy archetypes. In addition to still being played extensively in Modern (Birthing Pod and G/R Tron decks), the original Grove 1-2 punch is being put to great use in Legacy by comboing with Punishing Fire. I would bet on slow, steady gains from Grove until it’s eventual reprinting since it still seeing Modern play, regardless of Punishing Fire being in the format. Similar to Thoughtseize, I expect the older, more unique version to maintain 75% of its original value once reprinted so don’t feel too bad if you really want to pick up a playset. Otherwise, I would hold off on this as a speculation target because of the chance of a reprint and the buy-in price already being so high.

 

Rishadan Port

Rishadan Port
So, apparently Starcity has now upped the ante for legacy again by raising their sell prices for many of the format staples over the past week. Rishadan Port did not escape this price rise, and now normal copies must be purchased for $100 apiece. In other words, just go to TCGPlayer or another vendor where you can still get them for around $70 which is still pretty close of their previous average of $60-$65.

I like Port as an investment in legacy because Death and Taxes seems to be an archetype that Wizards is pushing proactively – with the introduction of Spirit of the Labyrinth alongside Thalia, I can only see the deck becoming more and more popular. I expect some interest to start appearing for Enlightened Tutor in legacy to help assist in finding Spirit of the Labyrinth, so maybe pick up a few copies if you can find them for $15 or less.

 

Thespian's Stage

Thespian’s Stage
Wow, Thespian’s Stage is still a $1. Quite a bargain, considering that you need four of them in order to run Kurt’s Lands deck at your local legacy tournament.

Realistically though, I think that the main driver of Stage’s price in the future will be the casual crowd. It seems like a great addition to Vesuva in Commander decks. For $1, I would pick up as many as you can. Foils will especially be worth quite a bit in the future, and even right now they’re around $9. Both foil and non-foil will be see a price bump in the future, so for the serious legacy player it would be worth it to pick up a playset.

 

Mox Diamond

Mox Diamond
Mox Diamond has been very stable; not having seen much of a price change at all over the past year. Even prior to 2013 I remember seeing Mox Diamonds available for $30. I think this is because Mox Diamond is played in a lot of fringe decks like Lands that are a small portion of the metagame, but matters a great deal to the decks that want it.

Legacy decks normally don’t play a lot of lands. Having to discard a land to make this mox worth it is a considerable drawback. Mox Opal’s drawback of being Legendary was significantly reduced with the legend rules change a while back so now more people who originally might have considered Mox Diamond for a deck have a more reliable mox that doesn’t make them discard a card.

Mox Diamond has been relegated to the land-based strategies of legacy, which currently include lands control decks and Aggro Loam. What does this mean for its financial outlook? Well, from what we’ve seen in recent sets Wizards hasn’t been giving much love to land based strategies, which is why Mox Diamond hasn’t moved at all in the last several years. If you enjoy playing the card, feel free to pick up a few copies, as the effect is very powerful and new legacy strategies are being formed every year. You never know when a new card could break Mox Diamond, so having a playset in reserve can’t hurt, especially since the price is so stable.

 

Exploration
I’ve always like Exploration from a casual point-of-view because who doesn’t love playing two lands a turn as long as you are drawing a bunch of cards, right? Even though in legacy it is only played in one deck, I think Sneak Attack sets a good precedent here and that $40 is about right for Exploration. I’ve seen many copies under $40 gobbled up pretty quickly on TCGPlayer, so I wouldn’t be hesitant to trade or pick up any copies that others may have if you want to try out playing Lands in legacy (or even just to have a few extra ones for other Commander decks).

 

Gamble

Gamble
At $12, Gamble seems underpriced to me. In Lands it’s great because you honestly don’t care what you discard (so it is essentially a Demonic Tutor). It has applications in Commander, because large hands certainly aren’t out of the question and being able to tutor something from your deck for one red mana is really cheap, with the slight downside that sometimes you may not get to keep it. Outside of these risks, I like Gamble as a pickup and will be on the lookout for people that have extra copies that they are willing to trade. Who knows, maybe Gamble will even be played in decks other than Lands one day? You never really know with legacy, and that is the beauty of legacy finance – even if your card doesn’t move in price as fast as you want, the card’s rarity will still give it value. This way, you can easily trade them out into something else you want to play if you don’t really use them anymore.

BUG Delver – The Legacy Boogyman?

After reading this great piece by Bob Huang over at Starcity, I wanted to reiterate to players that yes, in fact Deathrite Shaman and Abrupt Decay are the real deal in legacy. Don’t hesitate to pick up extra copies here and there of either card, as even if Deathrite gets the banhammer in Modern he will be a staying force in legacy for a long time. Outside of True-Name Nemesis getting banned, I can only seeing BUG Delver (otherwise known as Team America) becoming more popular, especially after the recent finish in the top 8 of two BUG Delver decks.

Elves – Suppressed Yet Popular

Elves still need a bit more work in order to push themselves back to the top of the pile. After seeing the 9th and 10th place Elves list, I was a little heartbroken as this deck seems really fun to play to me. Oh, and guess what – Deathrite Shaman is a playset in this deck as well. Elves also happens to be the second most successful combo deck after Sneak and Show, so it may be worth it to delve into an Elves list to see if there is anything interesting that is underpriced.

9th Elves

10th Elves

Wow, after looking through those lists it appears a lot of the deck is underpriced. Some of the commons and uncommons that feel underpriced to me include Wirewood Symbiote, Nettle Sentinel, Quirion Ranger, and even Heritage Druid. The first three can be picked up quite cheaply, with Nettle Sentinel’s and Quirion Rangers even being throw-ins for trades. Other good targets at rare are the deck’s backbone – Glimpse of Nature, Green Sun’s Zenith, and Natural Order. Even though these are pricer targets, I can see Glimpse and Natural Order matching Sneak Attack’s price eventually, and Green Sun one day hitting $10. I guess what I’m saying is that if you want to build Elves in legacy, you better do it sooner rather than later – I don’t foresee the deck’s popularity going down, which means that even the uncommons and commons are bound to see price rises. If you don’t believe me, just check out Merfolk uncommon prices in Modern.

Also, keep in mind that these Elves lists do not play Priest of Titania. Gaea’s Cradle now being used twice in a turn has eliminated the need to play Priest in legacy. However, being a purely casual card will still mean that it holds value in the future. I just wouldn’t expect the value to rise from legacy.

Minor Devotion

By: Cliff Daigle

A while back, I said that the Gods of Theros make for terrible EDH generals. I stand by that statement and the rationale behind it.

I’m here to tell you that the gods of Born of the Gods (and probably the ones of Journey into Nyx) are quite the opposite and you should respect their value, especially in foils.

Purphoros, God of the Forge

The ‘minor’ gods in Born of the Gods are much more flavorful than the ‘major’ gods of Theros. The five mono-color gods had a static and an activated ability. Only Purphoros and Thassa have abilities worth triggering on their own, and those are less than stellar. Thassa getting there with a Mutavault in Standard is pretty amusing in a control shell, I have to say.

Our allied-color gods have only one ability, and have higher devotion requirements, but to make up for that they are much more “build around me” abilities. I could see myself building an EDH or casual deck around any of these legendary enchantment creatures because what they do is powerful and unique.

I am an advocate of patience. I would tell you to trade away any and all cards you open at the prerelease. I have been doing that for years and it’s served me well. That being said, I can’t wait for the prices on these gods to drop to the $5 range, at which point I’d snag all I could. I doubt they will all get that low though, especially Xenagos. I’d be happy to get him at $10.

My sneaky prediction is that Phenax ends up as the surprise card of the set. People love to mill! People really love to mill in lots of formats, and if you think I’m not going to work on a Doorkeeper, Wall of Frost, double Returned Phalanx, Phenax curve, you don’t know how much I love janky Standard decks. Maybe I need to add green for Prophet of Kruphix.

Quick aside: I’ve told you to get your Prophets while they are cheap. They are up $1 since Inspired was spoiled as a mechanic. I’m not kidding about how good this card is in casual formats. It’s still going to get opened but if you’re looking for a safe long-term speculation, here it is.

Prophet of Kruphix

Right now, you can pre-order Phenax on TCGplayer for $8 or so. That’s a decent price point and I suspect that’s where he will be for a while yet. With Born of the Gods being labeled as a comparison to Dragon’s Maze, there may not be a lot of incentive to bust open boxes for value. Travis just this week expressed his disappointment quite eloquently, but I think that these minor gods will be casual stars for a while.

Foils of Phenax will especially be in demand, and for the other gods too. EDH decks will love Karametra’s ramp into a huge Genesis Wave or some such. Mogis fits right into lots of aggressive decks AND attrition decks. Ephara plus Sacred Mesa is going to have me grinding my teeth in jealousy during four-player games.

I’m leery of price points on prerelease weekend, but if I cracked a foil God, I’d make sure everyone in the room knew it. Someone is going to want that card a bit too much and I’d ask at least $25 for any of them, and depending on how eager that someone was, I’d try to haggle for more. I’d aim for $40 if it’s Xenagos in foil. Hey, speaking of…

Dear lord, how many awesome haste enablers can I cram into a red/green deck? Is this timing restriction genius or what? I do wish he could target himself, but with Burning-Tree Emissary around I can see why that’s a touch too good.

I don’t think there has been a card that does what Xenagos does. There have been haste-granting cards in these colors before (Fires of Yavimaya, Sarkhan Vol) but none that were indestructible. He only grants haste to one creature,, but somewhat makes up for that with the power boost. I’m looking forward to trying him as part of my mostly-creature decks, though I’m not sure if I’d rather have him or Urabrask the Hidden.

So in short, if this does end up being a lightly-opened set (though it looks like a blast to draft!) then the gods will be even more valuable than their current prices indicate. I feel good comparing them to the Praetor cycle from New Phyrexia, even though that was a spring set and this is a winter. Their prices may be under $10 now, but they will creep up over time due to their casual impact.

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