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Eternal Masters: The Mythics

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So we’ve had an eventful few days of Eternal Masters spoilers, and wow does this look like a set that’s worth $10 per pack…maybe. I need to see the whole list and even then I’m going to be leery.

Today I want to look at the mythics that have been spoiled so far and think about what they will be worth, even taking a stab at the foil prices. I want to organize myself with the printings it’s had before as well. I’m noting the current prices, too, in case they start to slide abruptly.

Editorial note: As of this writing, there’s only 14 mythics previewed. I’ll update this as more are revealed.

 

Karakas

Original printing: Legends ($170)

Other printings: Judge Promo in 2012 ($160)

Very important to note that this is banned in Commander but it is pretty amazing in Legacy when it comes to dealing with things like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. I think that there isn’t much demand for this card, to be honest. It’s not too amazing in Cube and it’s not played in high quantities in Legacy. I’m going to say that this ends up about $60 and $150 for the foil. Existing copies are not going to fall very far, since the supply is pretty small.

 

Chrome Mox

Original printing: Mirrodin ($15/$58 foil)

Other printings: Grand Prix promo in 2009 ($28)

This printing is going to be the nail in the coffin for its price. It’s played in some decks in Legacy but it’s banned in Modern and doesn’t see a lot of casual play. The price isn’t very high for a Mirrodin rare, and injecting more copies will lower the price by at least a third. This Mox will be about $10, but hit a high $50 or so in foil, because Volkan Baga is a real, honest, badass artist and this is gorgeous.

 

Mana Crypt 

Original Printing: Book promo in 1998 or so ($200)

Other printings: Judge Foil in 2011 ($233)

This is likely going to be the most expensive card from the set, in foil and not. Amazingly, this isn’t banned in Commander yet, and that’s despite one of the banning principles being ‘fast mana.’ I don’t know if you’ve ever played with one of these, but the 3 damage can add up. However, it’s two full turns ahead of what other people are doing, and that is why I’m leery. I think that this stays at $100/$250 foil, but I also think it gets the ban within a year. Not very many people have these in their Commander decks, and as that number goes up, so will the calls for a banning.

 

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Maelstrom Wanderer

Original Printing: Commander 2011 ($20)

Other Printings: Commander’s Arsenal ($28)

Oh, this card is busted right in half. It’s just so good. So very, very, amazingly good. It’s possible you can miss with one of the cascades, but your deck is still amazing and getting the first spell or two off the top plus the big hasty creature. Of special note is that this set has the top-of-the-library tutors for the Wanderer, or bounce it back to your hand with Karakas every turn to make your opponent cry. Value-wise, I expect this to settle at about the $15/$40 range.

 

Dack Fayden 

Original Printing: Conspiracy ($33/$395)

Other Printings: none

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Yes, you’re seeing the foil multiplier right. This is a $400 foil due to Vintage players who will pay anything for the foil version of something. The foil supply on this is super small (check out Marchesa, the Black Rose in foil too!) and that’s where the impact will be felt greatest, I think. Stealing a Mox or something is good, but don’t overlook the draw two, discard two. There’s a lot of decks that can use that effect, and Dack does pop up here and there in Legacy. The nonfoil will be about $20 and the foil will still be in the $150 range, and I’d expect the original foil to bottom out about $300, since there’s just so few copies out there.

 

Worldgorger Dragon

Original Printing: Judgment ($3/$30)

Other printings: none

This is one of the two really awful pulls for a mythic. It’s infinite mana with this and Animate Dead, so if you’ve got something to do with all that mana, great, it’s game over. If not, get back to your game. This is going to have a very low price, likely about $1/$5.

 

Necropotence

Original Printing: Ice Age ($13)

Other Printings: Deckmaster ($15), 5th edition ($9), FtV: Exiled ($20)

While this has had four times in print, including a special foil, I do not see this as being terribly expensive. It’s an amazing effect, and can draw a silly amount of cards at all points. This will be about $5/$30 at the end of the set.

 

Force of Will

Original Printing: Alliances ($78)

Other Printings: Judge Promo in 2014 ($500)

Oh, this is going to be interesting. Terese Nielsen has become one of the most iconic artists that Magic has to offer, and this piece is no exception. Force will always carry a high price in Legacy and Vintage, because it’s a playset or bust. Very few people run only three, and that’s always kept demand high. This should settle out in the $50 range, but I think foils are going to be in the $200 range, especially early on.

The presence of the special Judge version means that there’s both a ceiling and a competitor, price-wise. The part I’m unsure about is how much having this particular art is worth.

 

Sneak Attack

Original Printing: Urza’s Saga ($44)

Other Printings: Judge Promo in 2012 ($70)

Sneak Attack just wrecks face in a deck that can take advantage of it. Sacrifice for value, mass reanimate, do something unfair. This card enables a lot of that, but the price will stay reasonable, probably around $20/$50.

 

Vampiric Tutor

Original Printing: Visions ($35)

Other Printings: 6th Edition ($35), Judge Promo in 2000 ($100)

My only beef with this card is that the EMA art is a bit too close to the original art for Necropotence, but that’s me being nitpicky. I think this is gorgeous, and the foils will reflect that. $15 for the regular, $80 or so in foil.

 

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Original Printing: Worldwake ($90)

Other Printings: FtV: 20 ($75)

Ah, Jace. How many things contributed to your overblown power? How many people made mistakes with you? It’s iconic, and likely going to be the best planeswalker ever made. This will be about $30, with foils being near $100. The FtV version is lower because a lot of people don’t like the unusual foiling on those cards.

 

Balance

Original Printing: Alpha ($550)

Other Printings: Beta ($350), Unlimited ($40), Revised ($2), 4th edition ($2), Judge Promo ($27), FtV: Exiled ($9)

This is one of those cards that fills the ‘overpowered to busted in Limited, worth less than a bag of beans in person’ slot that every set needs. I think this will be just about bulk, and the foils might make it to $10.

 

Argothian Enchantress

Original Printing: Urza’s Saga ($16)

Other Printings: Judge Promo from 2003 ($55)

She’s best friends with Rabid Wombat, she can’t help you by herself, she was the most feared 0/1 until Noble Hierarch showed up…and she’s going to have a middling price, since she’s not played too much. I would expect her to settle about $10/$35.

 

Natural Order

Original Printing: Visions ($35)

Other Printings: Portal ($43) , Judge Promo in 2010 ($130)

This is Tinker for green creatures. Progenitus is the usual target, but you have options in Regal Force or Craterhoof Behemoth, depending on the board state. Thankfully, this is using the dignified art, but it’s not going to be that expensive. $15 for the regular, and about $40 for the foil.

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What is Patience Worth?

One of my basic tenets when it comes to Magic finance is patience. I don’t want to repeat a mistake I made, trading for a foil mythic the week it came out and paying far more than I needed to for the card.

Let’s be clear: I’m talking about cards for your Cube, your Commander deck, your non-competitive decks. If you need a card right away for Standard, well, you’ll pay what you need to for the card you want, and that is why Archangel Avacyn is a $50 card currently. She is seeing play in a range of strategies, she’s a double-faced mythic, and her casual appeal is very high too. The perfect storm of being expensive.

Avacyn-the-Purifier-MtG-Art

Her price has been one of the few that has ticked upwards since the set has come out. Our price tracker has her at $30 when released, and she’s been as high as $60. She is the outlier, though; lots of other cards have come down in price.

Today, though, I want to talk about those other cards, and evaluate two in particular.

It’s a truism that most cards get cheaper as time goes on and a set is opened more. You can see that in almost all of the cards from Shadows over Innistrad. Almost none have gone up in price, and some have come down quite quickly. It’s been a month and we can prices starting to stabilize, based on how much they have been played and been featured on camera.

Let’s look at Olivia, Mobilized for War, in foil because I have an all-foil Vampires deck.

Olivia

Now, I have the magpie curse. I love shiny versions of cards and I pick them up whenever I can. I accept this as part of who I am, and I curse that the regular version isn’t good enough for my Commander deck.

This Olivia is a house in Limited, a cheap and good-sized flyer who grants haste to your next plays without costing any mana. Being free of a mana cost is why Lightning Greaves is better than Swiftfoot Boots, even as hexproof is better than shroud.

I hesitated at first, thinking that I don’t always want to pitch a card to make things bigger and hasty, but then I realized that it’s no-downside. You don’t have to, unless you want to. So I decided I was going to add her to the deck, and then it became a waiting game.

If I had pulled the trigger right away, that is a $25 foil. Not unreasonable for what she does, and if she blows up Modern (not impossible) this could be more. Still, that was more than I wanted to spend, so I decided to wait.

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And wait, while it ticked downward.

And wait a little more, as the psychological need to acquire got stronger. I finally pulled the trigger Thursday morning, because it was down to $15 and I doubt it’s going to fall much further. I admit, the small tick downward in the buylist price has me thinking I should have waited, but frankly, I’m okay with a minor cost in order to get what I want now.

The same thing happened with Relentless Dead, where it’s dropped to about $15 in foil from highs of up to $40, but more interesting is that the spread (the difference between the highest buylist and the lowest vendor) is really close to zero.

Relentless

In each of these cases, waiting saved me significant money. Right now, I can get two for the price that one would have cost me at release.

One thing I find quite interesting is how close the foils and non-foils are to each other. Generally speaking, foils are two to three times as expensive as the nonfoil. These ‘should’ be about $20 or $25, but are a lot less right now.

This is true for a lot of Shadows over Innistrad. The foils are a little underpriced, for reasons that aren’t clear. Will MTGO redemptions play a part? Is the demand for all the cards still high enough that the nonfoils have caught up to the foils? For instance, Declaration in Stone is $15, with the foils at $20. I think that in this case, demand for the card is so high that being foil is only worth a small amount.

The same price pattern appears in Pyromancer’s Goggles, which spiked pretty hard the last few weeks, and the foil is only a few dollars more than the regular. Interestingly, there are foil versions of Dark Petition available for cheaper than the nonfoil, after the Pro Tour-induced spike.

I think that the small gap between foil and nonfoil is due to Standard demand. I’m going to be keeping a close eye on these cards to see where they end up, because if this is a new pattern, I want to learn it right away. I can’t recall a time where so many foils were so close to nonfoils in price. Perhaps I didn’t notice it before? Maybe it’s an effect of two blocks or 18-month rotation? I’m honestly not sure, but if this is the new normal, it’s a significant shift.

In the comments or the forums, come talk about the narrowing gap, and if there’s other trends I’ve missed.

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Money in the Box?

Well, Shadows over Innistrad is here, and while I have been wrong about a lot of things, I want to look at one of my most cherished ideas and see if that’s even applicable this time around: Not opening packs/boxes.

There’s 59 rares and 18 mythics, and that counts the double-faced cards. There’s not any strong or official information out there regarding the relative rarity of the double-faced mythics as opposed to regular mythics, but since two of the three double-face mythics are two of the three most expensive cards in the set, maybe there’s something to that.

Shadows over Innistrad

It’s time look at some cold numbers.

Here’s all the cards currently that have a Fair Trade Price over $2.50. I’m using that as a general cutoff, that means the box price is $90. I know you can beat that price, but that is a pretty optimistic box price.

Just in case you’re curious, though, I’ll note when we pass the MSRP of $4 and when we get to $3, which puts a box at $108, a better price than stores will give yet slightly higher than TCG.

Card Name and Fair Trade Price

Archangel Avacyn $57.49

Sorin, Grim Nemesis $23.99

Arlinn Kord $23.64

Declaration in Stone $17.99

Jace, Unraveler of Secrets ">Jace, Unraveler of Secrets $13.73

Westvale Abbey $12.73

Thing in the Ice $12.35

Relentless Dead $12.05

Olivia, Mobilized for War $11.85

Nahiri, the Harbinger $11.60

The Gitrog Monster $8.23

Tireless Tracker $7.23

Thalia’s Lieutenant $6.98

Mindwrack Demon $5.64

Ulvenwald Hydra $5.64

Anguished Unmaking $5.58

Startled Awake $5.14

Foreboding Ruins ">Foreboding Ruins $4.53

Sigarda, Heron’s Grace $4.38

Traverse the Ulvenwald $4.19

Port Town $4.17

Under MSRP

Only 21 cards at $4 or more, two weeks into the set. Now let’s see what’s under MSRP in value.

Game Trail ">Game Trail $3.98

Always Watching $3.97

Fortified Village ">Fortified Village $3.97

Goldnight Castigator $3.73

Sin Prodder ">Sin Prodder $3.60

Cryptolith Rite ">Cryptolith Rite $3.59

Choked Estuary $3.51

Descend upon the Sinful $3.04

 

Eight more cards have the average value of a pack. So if you happen to win a cheap eBay auction or something and get your box for $90, there’s an additional pair of cards that are worth the price of a pack:

Drownyard Temple ">Drownyard Temple $2.73

To the Slaughter $2.51

At the most optimistic price, you have a 31/77 chance of making the value of a pack. That’s 40%. Ouch. Not great but not awful? Would you push all-in on a 60/40 hand?

If you get your packs at the TCG price of $108 or so, then you have a 29/77 chance, and that’s a slight decrease to 37%, and at the full MSRP on boosters, it drops further to 27%.

Further Explanation

There’s a couple of flaws with my admittedly basic methodology, and it’s worth addressing them.

First of all, I don’t have any way to account for foils. That’s a random event and a nice bonus, but nothing that can be counted on. For every box with a foil Archangel Avacyn, there’s another box with no foil rare at all. If you get it, great! If you don’t, well, better luck next time.

Avacyn-the-Purifier-MtG-Art

Second, the distribution of double-faced cards is a little wonky, and you can have a double-faced mythic and a double-face uncommon in the same pack. That’s a weird way to go about collating the boosters but hey, that’s not my job. If this is the price we pay to no longer have box mapping be a thing, I’m all in favor of it.

With that said, though, I have to say that the value is just not there for me. Opening a box is a rush, one I know well. Pack after pack of potential, of going slowly to drag out the anticipation or just tearing into it all in a flurry of Mylar. It’s a great feeling…until it’s gone.

I am obligated to point out that not all mythics are equal. Three of them (Seasons Past, Geralf’s Masterpiece, and Wolf of Devil’s Breach) don’t even make this list. That’s not a surprise in the abstract, as we all know mythics can be powerful and yet still inexpensive, but with so little time in retail stores and draft settings…that’s a lot of value gone and fast.

We have a potential spike in front of us, though, with the Pro Tour starting today.This will begin the dance of ‘who will follow through with orders?’ and ‘I can’t sell this fast enough!’ and the popular ‘oh god the card spiked and I had it on my want list…’ and that’s all an extra layer of price complexity. What cards will be popular? Who will run the table with an unforeseen and effective metagame call?
Still, the advice remains solid: Don’t buy packs. Don’t buy boxes. Don’t buy cases. At this point, you’re going to be lucky to open even equivalent value.

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What To Pick Up This Weekend

By: Cliff Daigle (@WordofCommander)

I love this time in a set. Prices are wildly changing as preorder hype dies down and new pieces show up in familiar decks. This is the time to maximize both sides of the adage to “buy low, sell high.”

I remain a firm believer that prices in this set have nowhere to go but down. I’m starting to suspect that Archangel Avacyn may be the outlier, since she’s good in any deck that can cast her, control, aggro, anywhere. Plus, there’s a lot of people picking her up for casual decks, and that makes her supply even lower. Might be my biggest mistake in predicting this set, but we will see.

Avacyn-the-Purifier-MtG-Art

This week, I want to share with you some cards that I want to be picking up, either for the short term (unload in a few months) or the long term (sock them away and don’t think about them for at least 18 months) increase in value.

Some of these you’ve heard before, I imagine, but when great minds all think alike…

Blade of Selves ($9) – Now this carries a certain amount of risk. It’s a card that is popular in Commander, but I suspect that a foil version is lurking. Myriad is an ability that could show up in Conspiracy 2, for example, or this could be a judge printing in a year, as did happen with Dualcaster Mage.

Blade of Selves

That said, there’s nowhere for this to go but up. There’s not enough value in the RW deck to make it worth cracking for the singles, and we aren’t far from a new Commander set stealing the show. Picking these up now at $9, and I’m hoping that in about a year they are $15 or more. Remember that these can’t spike due to Legacy play, as Myriad is multiplayer-only.

Foil Alhammarret’s Archive ($9) – This is a card that will cause Commander players to go green with envy and also draw a giant target on someone’s head. You want these cards in long-term storage, because they are going to slowly creep upward in value. The name also makes it difficult to reprint easily.

Foil Dark Petition ($7) – This is a hunch of a card, but hear me out. This is a card that only can get better, as the cards around it improve. It’s much like how Birthing Pod got better with each set, as new and improved creatures were around. Dark Petition has potential, and if it spikes in Modern or Legacy, the foils will hit a higher value. If you’re into percentages, the nonfoil is just over a dollar and all you’ll need is one on-camera deck to spike it to $5, if not higher.

Dark Petition

Wasteland Strangler ($1.30) – Nice Ancestral Visions, bro! At that point, if you’re killing a creature and binning the Visions, that’s about a virtual 4-for-1. The nonfoil is not going to be as pricey, since it was a rare in Battle for Zendikar and not Oath of the Gatewatch, but this is a very good card in the right setting, and it’s cheap to pick up.

Kiora, Master of the Depths ($3) – A general rule of thumb is to pick up some planeswalkers when they drop below $5. This is Kiora’s second card and she’s still doing some very Simic things. I don’t see her spiking in Standard but I do see her growing over time. She’s terrible at protecting herself but awesome at gaining you value.

Foil Bring to Light ($7) – I don’t like the nonfoil as much, since it lacks appeal to non-magpie-type Commander players. It looks far sweeter in foil, too. This is a card that can find so many amazing plays, so many needed plays. Everything from that Hallowed Burial to wipe the board or to find Tajuru Warcaller in the five-color Allies deck.

It’s also worth mentioning that this card has gotten to this foil price just off of casual appeal so far. If it gets used in Modern (or heaven help us, Legacy) then the sky is the limit.

Foil and nonfoil Eldrazi Displacer ($3/$11) – I have to admit, I think this card is amazing in any format where creatures are good. It’s a small-set rare, so it’s got potential, and the possibilities with this card are fantastic. For one, it’s better than the Commander in a Roon of the Hidden Realm deck, and watch out if Training Grounds lands. At that point, it’s better than Deadeye Navigator!

We love our blinkers. I’m a little surprised no one tried to break this with Siege Rhino when they were legal together.

Eldrazi Displacer

Foil Zendikar Resurgent ($3.50) – I love this card so very much. I’ve expounded before on my love for decks that are heavy on creatures, and this solves one of the biggest problems with Soul of the Harvest: You run out of mana before you run out of creatures. I can only imagine the hijinks that are going to ensue with this in an Animar, Soul of Elements deck.

Foil Jori En, Ruin Diver ($3.50/$9) – This was in Todd Anderson’s U/R deck that also caused a spike in Pyromancer’s Goggles, and there’s a lot of potential here. The ability to tack ‘draw a card’ onto the second cheap spell each turn, particularly removal spells, is really good in Constructed formats.

Unsurprisingly, it’s also really good in Commander and Cube, which is why the full-art version is rather high as those promos go. It’s a color combination that can be played a lot of ways, and it doesn’t take much to be pure profit.

 

That’s all for this week, see you next Friday!

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