Consuming Aberration is a $4 Card

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By: Travis Allen

Consuming Aberration is a $4 card. Consuming. Aberration. Is a $4 card. Are you really reading these words? Do you understand what they mean? Read them again. Think about them. Consuming Aberration is a $4 card. Huh. What does that mean?

Well, it means we should take it out of our bulk boxes.

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this. I remember plugging it into MTGPrice for some reason and seeing a price of $4.10. I assumed it was a mistake. The site is great, but there are always algorithmic problems and such. I flipped over to my magiccards.info tab. I plugged it in. $3.72 mid.

Huh.

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I flipped back to MTGPrice. The buylist was $2.32. ABU Will give you $2.32 for copies of Consuming Aberration. ABU Games will give you more than two American dollars for a copy of Consuming Aberration.

Huh.

Where is the demand for this card coming from? Who is driving the price up to $4? It’s not an old, out-of-print diamond-in-the-rough gem. It isn’t on the reserved list. It’s a Standard legal rare that sees absolutely zero play in any constructed format.

Think about your local store. Have you ever, since Gatecrash released, heard someone unironically ask if you had any Consuming Aberration for trade? 

Nobody wants this trash. It’s complete and utter garbage. It is the absolute worst kind of rare. 100% bulk. (Or so we thought.) The next time you’re at your LGS, yell out “does anyone want a free Consuming Aberration?” It is entirely possible that not a single person will want the free card. Think about that. In a room full of Magic players, you literally could not give this card away. This will not be true of every store, but it will certainly be true of some.

What else in Standard costs $4 right now? Supreme Verdict, sweeper du jour and playable in the four largest constructed formats, is $6. A bit more, yes, but it’s still in the same ballpark. It’s a lot closer than most of us would have guessed without looking. Desecration Demon, scourge of the skies and bane of green decks everywhere is $5. This is a card that has a good 70% chance to win any given Standard GP and it’s only $1 more than Consuming Aberration. Puzzled yet?

Most of the Scrylands are around $4 to $5 as well. Temple of Enlightenment isn’t, but the rest are hanging around there. The most important lands in the largest sanctioned format are about the same price as Consuming Aberration. That tells us something curious.

Price is a factor of supply and demand. For the most part we can assume that Consuming Aberration and any given Scryland should have the same supply. (Really, the Scrylands should be lower supply right now if anything. Gatecrash has come and gone, and there are virtually no new packs being opened. Theros and BOG are still being drafted, so there is still some flow of Scrylands.)

If you assume that the supply is equal between the two cards, and their prices are still just about equal, what does that mean for the rest of our equation? It means that the demand for the Scrylands is equivalent to the demand for Consuming Aberration. Consuming Aberration is just as desirable as the Scrylands. If everyone at your LGS is looking for Scrylands but nobody wants Aberration, just where is this demand coming from?

Welcome to the invisible majority. All of us – the tournament grinder and speculators, the heavy traders and constructed players – are the minority of Magic players. Of course, we FEEL like we’re the majority. We’re all loud, we talk on every form of social media, and we’re the ones represented on official coverage. Wizards isn’t broadcasting kitchen table “anything goes” four-Sol-Ring four-Tolarian-Academy Magic on their Twitch channel. But the reality of the situation is that you and I and everyone like us comprises a far smaller portion of the Magic world at large. 

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Obviously the price swings on tournament staples is nobody’s fault but our own. Casual players aren’t making Sphinx’s Revelation and Voice of Resurgence $30. But they are capable of making Consuming Aberration a $4 card, with absolutely no help from any of us. It requires some serious demand to move a Standard rare to $4, and by golly they did it. When the the casual market can push a bulk Standard card that hard, we need to be paying attention. The market force is bigger than any of us, but if we hop on the wave we maybe be able to ride it.

Price behavior is going to be quite different than we’re used to. Most of us have come to be familiar with the wild nature of constructed staples. Cards rise and fall by factors of ten semi-regularly. We understand rotation, we understand “constructed playable,” and we understand ban lists. This is all irrelevant when dealing with casual cards though. There are no rotations. There aren’t “staples” or fear of reprints or ban lists. There’s a large, quiet group of players and there are cool cards. Column A wants Column B. It doesn’t matter whether its March or September or whether the card is legal in Modern. Players want cards and they order them online or purchase at their LGS from the total finite pool available. Slowly the supply dwindles, and as it does, prices rise. Occasionally copies make it back into rotation if a player sells their collection to a friend, but for the most part the supply is evaporating. The result is a plodding, semi-smooth rise in price.

With the recent influx of players in the last few years, there’s going to be growing demand on old casual staples. This is why Vigor is $20. Yet there is stilll profit to be made. There’s plenty of other old casual cards that haven’t adjusted their price. While they may not spike as often, and they aren’t sexy, they’re going to be practically guaranteed profit. Buying quiet casual allstars means you can’t brag about looking like a genius because you bought ninety Heralds of Torment at $.40 before they jumped to $7. But you can fill your collection with $1-$5 casual cards that are virtual locks to double or triple (or more?) in price within a year or two.

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Born of the Gods from January until Now

This week I would like to take a look back on cards that I was watching before Born of the Gods was released to see where they are currently in price and what I expect from them moving forward. Before I start, I want to quickly mention that I’m now on Twitter and you can follow me @gildedgoblin.

Mythics

Brimaz, King of Oreskos

Presale Price in January: $23-25

Current Price: $27.50

Looking at the chart below, we can see that Brimaz started out around $30 retail once Born of the Gods was released (many presales were available on TCGPlayer for far less though, some as low as $23) then within a month of the set release he spiked to $42, and then throughout March and April he has been on a steady decline to current the retail price of $27.50.

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Many would consider him to be the best card in Born of the Gods so why is the price on Brimaz going down? If we browse the statistics on mtgtop8 for Standard cards we can see that he is played in only 4.4% of the current decks that are making Top 8 appearances. Even when he is played, he only averages three copies per deck. Clearly this didn’t warrant a $40+ price tag so Brimaz’s price has adjusted to reflect this demand.

My advice in January was to passively pick up Brimaz if you knew you wanted to play him but otherwise avoid him because he was a very risky target unless you knew you wanted to trade or sell back into the hype. Brimaz did spike yet it did not take long for him to come crashing down due to the commanding presence of devotion to black and devotion to blue decks that make up 33% of the current metagame. So far Brimaz has played out to my expectations however once Journey into Nyx comes out it could change the game again. Going forward, lookout for Brimaz to perform in any Standard decks throughout the summer and if he does well you should pick up your copies accordingly. If not, then wait until the set rotation because at that point Brimaz will be at his lowest and it will be the perfect time to pick him up. His board presence is very powerful so even if he isn’t played in RTR standard I expect he will almost certainly be played in THS Standard.

Kora, the Crashing Wave

Presale Price in January: $20

Current Price: $20

I expected Kiora to come crashing down to the single digit range but she has not done this yet. She is barely a presence in Standard, being in only 1% of the current Top 8 metagame, and yet still three months later her price hasn’t budged. My guess here is that the price will drop however not enough time has passed yet. Planeswalkers take more time to drop than other types of cards due to the awe factor, and I would say this one in particular has a lot of awe going on since it is the first UG Planeswalker that the game has seen. She is within the “Jace” casting cost range (the first sign of a good planeswalker) though I don’t think the abilities and starting loyalty will be enough to send her price soaring. Like Brimaz, wait this one out through Journey into Nyx and if she creates some buzz then try to capitalize on it. Otherwise pick her up in the fall for around $10 since she may see some play in the next Standard cycle.

 

 

     

Xenagos, God of Revels
Mogis, God of Slaughter
Phenax, God of Deception
Karametra, God of Harvests
Ephara, God of the Polis

Presale Prices in January:
Xenagos – $20
Mogis – $11
Phenax – $9
Karametra – $7
Ephara – $7

Current Prices:
Xenagos – $12
Mogis – $9
Phenax – $8.30
Karametra – $4
Ephara – $7.60

Xenagos has certainly dropped the most out of all the gods, going from as high as $25 retail in January to now $12 and less. png;base64a62ef6480e887d52

Based on what I said in January now would be the time to start picking up this version of Xenagos if you plan on playing Gruul Monsters or a similar build that will utilize him. He has dropped to that sweet spot of around $12 retail and can be picked up from TCGPlayer for less than $10. Though he is on the expensive side for a god his ability is really powerful and I can see him making a splash in Block constructed and the future THS dominated Standard.

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I believe that Ephara has maintained her price because she is the second best god from BNG. She creeped up a bit in price because of the expectation that someone will break her but honestly I think it is going to take a lot to make this happen. Stay away for now until results are present since she could go a little lower. I did say to actively pickup Ephara as I don’t think it will drop below $5 and I still believe this yet at the same time I do not think they would trade away easily.

The other three gods have dropped or are continuing to drop slowly as many people realize that they are not a strong force in Standard. I don’t think Karametra can go much lower than $4 – if she does, I would be looking to pick up a lot of copies just to hold them for the long term (2+ years) because she is a great casual target. Phenax is a great target for the same reasons. I think as time goes on he will continue to maintain his price or even go up regardless of Standard demand. Mogis is not as weak or linear as Karametra or Phenax, however since he isn’t relevant in Standard and doesn’t hold a lot of casual appeal I would avoid him unless B/R or B/R/x becomes a thing in Standard. All said I would continue to hold off on these three gods. The Journey into Nyx gods could be really good so I want to wait and see which of the 10 are the best.

Other Mythics

Presale Price in January:

Flame-Wreathed Phoenix: $7

Chromanticore: $2

Champion of Stray Souls: $2

Current Prices:

Flame-Wreathed Phoenix: $2.50

Chromanticore: $2

Champion of Stray Souls: $1.40

Like I predicted, these mythics haven’t moved upwards and are all trending towards $2 and less. Champion of Stray Souls is a great casual long term target, especially foil copies. I would otherwise avoid these mythics.

Rares

(I skipped over bulk cards from the January article unless they have spiked in price since.)

Spirit of the Labyrinth

Presale Price in January: $7
Current Price: $2.20

Wow, this rare really dived in price. It went even lower than I predicted it would. I guess Legacy doesn’t really do much to drive the price of Standard cards when that card is not Deathrite Shaman. On the plus side, I don’t think she can go much lower than $2. Keep an eye out and if it drops even lower than start buying in.

BNG Temples

Presale Price in January (ALL): $4.50
Current Price:
Temple of Enlightenment: $9.45
Temple of Malice: $5.25
Temple of Plenty: $5.25

This is miss for me, at least in terms of retail prices. On TCGPlayer you can find Temple of Malice and Temple of Plenty for less than $4 and Temple of Enlightenment for about $6. Regardless, these lands haven’t dropped at all in price and in the case of Temple of Enlightenment have doubled up. 

In retrospect, knowing the U/W control deck existed before the U/W scry land was released should have been a warning sign. I should have foreseen that a scry land that fits into those colors would be in high demand. When you play a control deck you want to play more lands than an aggro or tempo deck because your land drops are really important. Having lands that fix your mana and provide additional bonuses like scrying are really powerful for control decks. I should have noted Temple of Silence and Temple of Deceit, which have stayed near $5 while the other non-Esper Theros scry lands lagged behind. Esper Control and Orzhov control are also decks in Standard, even if seeing Devotion decks all day might make you think otherwise. Temple of Enlightenment not only goes in Esper but also U/W control which helps drive demand. Demand is also driven by the fact that Temple of Enlightenment is in a small set, so there are less copies of them out there.

Going forward, I would expect the scry lands to start trending down in price. I believe they are still in their “spiking” phase. Wait until mid summer to pick them up at this point because that is when they will be at, or near, their lowest prices.

Herald of Torment

Presale Price in January: $2.50
Current Price: $1.60

Herald is starting to hover near bulk prices so I believe the time to start picking them up is now. I have a feeling that this Demon will see Standard play once Desecration Demon rotates, as he is a very efficiently costed flyer that also has the benefit of bestowing itself onto creature if you draw him later in the game. He is less than $1 on TCGPlayer. I am not sure if he can go any lower. Pick up your copies now before he starts trending upwards in price.

Courser of Kruphix

Presale Price in January: $4
Current Price: $9.20

I mentioned Courser briefly in January as I could not find a price for it at the time I wrote the article. When I saw it I thought the card was good for casuals however I missed the mark on how excellently it fit into Standard. This is my biggest miss from Born of the Gods. I’m not sure if the price can rise much more as it doesn’t provide ramp but I would keep a close eye on this card moving forward into the next Standard.

Uncommons

None of the uncommons from my article in January have gone above $2 retail yet. Not to say that they won’t, however I believe that throughout the summer they will continue to decline in price as Theros block is drafted. Keep picking up extra copies of these until the draft format stops. Then later down the road in the fall and winter you will be able to trade them well as they will be harder to find.

Final Thoughts

While the set’s mythics have followed my predicted price trajectory, I did miss Courser of Kruphix and Temple of Enlightenment, which have doubled up in price. For the most part though, unless you are playing Standard you want to stay far away from Born of the Gods for some time. Many of the cards are still propped up in price based on a hunch or predicted success in the metagame. I have a feeling we still haven’t seen the lowest prices on many of these cards so unless you are really sure of a pick from this set hold off until the summer to pick it up. Since the Standard season has been moved to the beginning of this year it ended a month ago so keep in mind that later in the year there will be less demand for Standard cards than there was in years past. Sealed Deck season continues until June 1st and then we move on to Modern PTQ season. Keep this in mind as you move forward and hopefully you can get some good Standard deals during Modern season from June 7th through August 24th.

Weekend Recap 4/5/14

By: Jim Marsh

Every week cards from Magic the Gathering increase and decease in value based upon a number of factors.

Let’s take a look at some of the cards whose values have changed the most, and the factors behind why those changes occurred.

10 Big Winners of the Week

10. Worn Powerstone

$3.13 to $3.76 (20.1%)

Worn Powerstone is at an interesting place in its life. As an uncommon from Urza’s Saga, it was printed as a “fixed” Sol Ring.

A two mana jump in mana can be huge.

Cast it on turn three (or earlier if you have other ramp cards) and on turn four you are guaranteed to have five or six mana (if you hit your land drop.) 

That means you have enough to cast Nekusar, the Mindrazer or Aurelia, the Warleader. Or a Primeval Titan. You get the idea.

Sol Ring is obviously much more powerful, but market saturation due to the flood of Commander decks is depressing its price.

Worn Powerstone is on the way up. In formats where you can only have one of each card (Commander and Cube) the Powerstone can often be looked at as Sol Ring number 2.

It is also colorless, so you can run it nomatter what colors your commander is (you try to find good ramp in Grixis colors) or what colors you are drafting in the Cube.

Since its increase in price is based solely on Casual demand, I don’t know how much farther it has to go. Six weeks ago it was $2. Now it is climbing surely, but steadily towards $4.

Can it hit $5? $6?

I don’t know, but I suspect the time to get in would have been a couple of months ago when it was $1.

9. No Mercy

$9.50 to $11.63 (22.4%)

Here is another card that is behind held aloft based entirely upon casual formats, and from the looks of it, black control commander decks.

Nothing says “attack someone else” quite like a big sign that may as well read “Trespassers Will Be Shot.”

That’s the actual card text to No Mercy.

Maybe your commander is Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, the omnipresent Nekusar or Sol’kanar, the Swamp King.

Whatever your plan is, this is a fantastic “rattlesnake” card that just makes every player away that you are not a threat unless you are threatened.

It’s a rare from Urza’s Legacy and it has never been reprinted, so supplies are not that great.

It has jumped to almost $13, come down to $9 and jumped again to nearly $12. This is indicative of a card trying to find a new price floor, and sooner rather than later it will stick. This is no longer the $6 or $7 it has been for the past year. I would not be surprised to see it stick around $14 or $15 in the near future.

8. Kaalia of the Vast

$17.63 to $21.99 (24.7%)

Once again, the power of Commander compels us.

Kaalia has been printed twice. She can only be found in the exorbitantly priced Heavenly Inferno Commander deck (the cheapest English copy I can find is $150 on eBay) or the even more pricey Commander’s Arsenal ($250.)

She is one of three possible Commanders for a Newspaper Commander Deck (Black, White and Red all over) and she is by far the most powerful.

She is cheap to cast (only four mana!) which means that even if she falls in battle, she will be back again and again.

She only gets better as more Angels, Demons and Dragons are printed (have you seen her interaction with Master of Cruelties or Rakdos, Lord of Riots?)

That is saying nothing of the sheer soul crushing power of getting a free Angel of Serenity, Iona, Shield of Emeria or Linvala, Keeper of Silence.

I don’t see her coming down any time soon.

7. Tropical Island

$129.23 to $161.49 (25.0%)

Lo, and behold a card played in a competitive deck! The price of real estate in Magic is only going up for right now, at least as far as fetch lands and dual lands is concerned.

After Volcanic Island jumped $100 almost overnight recently, it is almost inevitable that every other dual land that is played in Legacy does the same.

Tropical Island is featured in BUG, BUG Delver, RUG Delver, Esper Stoneblade, ANT and more. Two of which (BUG and BUG Delver featured in the Top 8 in San Diego on 3/30.)

It is right at home helping players cast Brainstorm, Deathrite Shaman, Tarmogoyf, True-Name Nemesis and Vendilion Cliques alike. That is not to mention powerful Planeswalkers like Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

I have a feeling we have more growth to be seen.

6. Grafdigger’s Cage

$2.60 to $3.32 (27.7%)

Grafdigger’s Cage find itself as the sideboard card of choice in both Legacy and Modern.

It is featured in Esper Stoneblade, UWR Miracles, Death and Taxes, Sneak and Show, Imperial Painter’s, Jund, Faeries and more. 

It can easily and efficiently cut off  Narcomoeba, flashback cards like Cabal Therapy or anything that Snapcaster Mage is targeting. It makes reanimation decks look silly.

It makes Birthing Pod and Chord of Calling decks fair.

If you don’t rely on your graveyard (or pulling creatures straight from your library – sorry Dryad Arbor) then you can run this, hopefully play it on turn one and just make some decks scoop.

It’s hard to believe it has more than doubled in value in the past six weeks.

I don’t expect that trend to continue, but I do feel it is going to continue to climb and will probably be at least $5 before it stops.

5. Bayou

$115.00 to $148.41 (29.1%)

Remember everything I said about Tropical Island?

Repeat that, only this card helps enable Turn 1 Thoughtseize, Deathrite Shaman, Cabal Therapy, Green Sun’s Zenith for Dryad Arbor, mana elves and more.

It is featured in Esperstoneblade, UBG, Jund, Elves, Shardless BUG, Nic-Fit, Junk and more.

It is usually featured in multiples in the decks that run it, which is more than Tropical Island can say.

I will be a little surprised if this does not hit $200 in the next month or two.

4. Exploration

$33.45 to $43.76 (30.8%)

Lands! Legacy offers a wide variety of powerful lands and this turn 1 enabler lets you break parity and star slamming down Karakas, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Dark Depths and more.

Thoughtseize probably feels kind of silly when you are starting at a handful of lands.

The card was only printed as a rare in Urza’s Saga, so there are not many to go around.

The deck is not very prevalent in the metagame, but it is a viable option and can catch the opponent off guard by attacking from a different axis than most decks do.

It has been appearing in MTGO Top 8s and the increase in price is indicative of players putting the deck together to try it out.

It has been growing aggressively as of late (it was $27 as recently as Valentine’s Day) and it looks like it continue to grow.

3. Winds of Change

$1.50 to $2.25 (50.0%)

Back to Nekusar, the Mindrazer!

What is remarkable about this is that even with four different printings (and one as an uncommon, no less) every version of this card is being snatched up to play with the Grixis commander of choice. 

What else would you expect from a one mana Storm Seeker that hits every one of your opponents while reloading your hand?

It also makes it difficult for your opponents to stockpile answers in their hand.

Combine it with a few reanimation spells and you can look at all of those freshly stocked graveyards like a kid in a candy store.

I expect Wheel of Fate and Reforge the Soul to be increasing in popularity as well off the back of Nekusar. They both only have one printing.

2. Teferi’s Puzzle Box

$1.50 to $2.49 (66.0%)

What’s better than a Winds of Change?

How about a free Winds of Change every turn, forever?

Even with a staggering five printings, this card has room to grow.

I expect a lot people that even have this card in their binder consider it bulk, so I‘d say now is the time to strike.

Never before has a group hug card felt so mean.

1. Negate (Magic Players Textless Reward Card)

$3.92 to $12.35 (215.1%)

The rise in the popularity of Modern has given way to the inevitable pimping of decks.

As an eternal format, staple cards can be upgraded to their splashiest versions so that they look good on camera and impress your opponents while you stop their Scapeshifts and Splinter Twins

Negate is used in a variety of decks, including Splinter Twin, UR Delver, UWR Control, Azorius Midrange and others.

The card had been showing modest growth and had been holding at $4 as recently as a week ago.

I will be honest, I see the appeal, but for a card that usually is only seen as a couple of copies in the sideboard, I would be more excited about textless Lightning Bolt (already a considerable sum) or Lightning Helix.

It has been printed eight times, as a common and foils of each of those versions can be had for $1.50 each if the player is concerned about making their deck look as fancy as possible.

I think Negate just became victim of the latest internet buyout and will probably come crashing down to $6 to $8. I’d move mine if I had any.

5 Big Losers of the Week

5. Hinder (Magic Players Textless Reward Card)

$6.89 to $6.48 (-6.0%)

Ironically, I feel that is better positioned than Negate. It only has two printings. It is not played in Modern, but it used in Commander, as it can “tuck’ a commander or other problem card.

I don’t feel bad at all about the card settling. It was $4 and jumped to $7, and has been trying to find a home between $6 and $7.

I think in the long term this will see growth.

4. Ghostly Prison

$6.71 to $6.00 (-10.6%)

This card may be grouped with the losers, but it is still a big winner in my book. It is especially impressive for an uncommon card. 

It had been a $4 card that jumped to nearly $7 and is settling. Growing 50% in the past month is nothing to scoff at.

Not only is it popular in Commander decks that want their opponents to look the other way (like No Mercy) but it is now used in a variety of white control decks.

It sees play in Soul Sisters (in the sideboard), Death and Taxes, Martyr Proclamation decks, and I could not be surprised to see it in Azorius Control shells in the future.

It would also be interesting to see in Bant or Selesnya Hexproof.

3. Jace, Architect of Thought

$15.00 to $13.11 (-12.6%)

This was inevitable.

For $20 you get a Remand, Jace Architect of Thought and 118 other cards. (Sorry, Vraska, the Unseen.)

It is going to keep dropping too.

Sure, it’s used in Esper and Azorius Control decks in Standard, but there are sure to be shake ups in the metagame with the release of Journey Into Nyx, and then rotation will be upon us.

It is barely used in Modern and with the opening of many Duel Decks to get the Remand inside, supply will be flooding in as demand dwindles.

That is a sure recipe for a downward crash in price.

2. Ancient Tomb

$49.01 to $37.00 (-24.5%)

Let’s make no apologies here. Ancient Tomb is good.

It is used in Sneak and Show, to help race for a turn two Show and Tell into Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Griselbrand.

In Imperial Painter’s it can get you a quick Imperial Recruiter or Painter’s Servant.

It can give you a turn one Phyrexian Revoker, which can Stifle a lot of decks, if played correctly.

So why the drop?

Over the past month it jumped from $12 to $17 to almost $50 one after another.

It’s a powerful card, but is it a $50 card?

I think the market got a little carried away correcting itself and now it is destined to continue to drop down to a respectable $20 to $30 card.

It will still be powerful and valuable, but as an uncommon and a printing in a From the Vault, it cannot just decide to quadruple without tournament results to back it up.

1. Silent-Blade Oni

$8.79 to $6.46 (-26.5%)

Is it a $6 card? Is it a $9 card? It cannot decide and neither can the market.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

This card is only of use in casual formats. It is not a staple anywhere. It is a Johnny/Timmy’s delight, but is that enough?

I don’t expect any answer soon.

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