Tag Archives: hour of devastation

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Week One of HOU

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We’ve had one weekend of Hour of Devastation being legal for Standard, and there are some cards at surprising prices. I want to go over a few with you today and see what these trajectories tell us.

Something to note that’s a bit different about this set, as opposed to most other sets that have come out in the past few years: This set was regarded to be a little clunky when it was first revealed to the world, a bit underpowered as compared to what was already legal for us to play in Standard.

This led to some impressively low pre-order prices, and starting out that low has put more cards than usual on an upward trajectory.

On to the biggest gainer of the set so far, a card no one predicted would be selling for $4-$5 on eBay a week after release…

Fraying Sanity (up to $5 now, from a low of about $1 in prerelease season): So far, I’m super wrong about this card. People can’t get enough of it right now! It’s astounding, even though I know full well how popular mill cards are with the casual set. Yes, it’s an auto-win with Traumatize.  I was heavily dismissive of the card, I sold one for fifty cents on Cardsphere on prerelease weekend, and I told you to dump it at $2 a week ago after it had gone up from $1.

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I cannot find records of a mill deck getting there in an event or even on a stream so far. I can see no shortage of people posting decks that might be good with it, and Startled Awake is riding a big bump because people want to mill 26 cards, but the card hasn’t gotten there yet. This level of interest is pretty unique, and I don’t know who is buying this at $4. Every other card with a similar focus got cheap and stayed there for a while, though I honestly don’t recall how cheap Glimpse the Unthinkable got to. It was 2005, so it couldn’t have been too pricey?

There are going to be lots and lots and lots of this card out there. It’s not going to keep this price. I reserve the right to be shocked, but buylists are taking this at $3 right now and I don’t even know what to say.

Are we witnessing mass speculation at work? Are we seeing what happens when literally every FNM player decides to play the same wonky deck? I don’t know. I was comfortable getting my fifty cents, and I’d be comfortable getting $3 on a buylist right now.

Champion of Wits (up to $3 from about $0.75): This is what an on-camera spike looks like. The card fits very well into Emerge, and is showing a healthy bump due to helping two different players make the top 8 last weekend. So far it’s only shown up in this one style of deck, but it might keep this price. If there’s anything going on with graveyards in the next couple sets, this could spike again, though likely not above $5 or $6, even in a year.

Crested Sunmare (now at $5, up from $3.50): Yes, it’s fun to do silly things with this card, and there will always be people trying to make something like this work, but I’m going to blame this bump on the streaming effect and move on.

Solemnity (Still about $5): I’m actually very impressed at the price stability of this card. We haven’t had a Modern event where it makes waves yet, but it’s another combo piece that’s hard to deal with. The preorder price has proven sticky, and that’s a relatively rare feat.

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Hour of Devastation (up to $8.50 now): I think that not only does this keep Crested Sunmare decks in check, it’s going to define the Standard format quite well. There are very few decks that can take this hit and act like nothing happened, though Vehicles are the card type that can keep on chugging. I still like this to be a $10 card at the release of Ixalan, and tick up from there.

Finally, I want to call your attention to the uncommons that are making a financial splash and are worth snagging for the next few weeks at low prices or from draft chaff.

Supreme Will ($1): UR Control is going to be a good deck for a while, and this is exactly the sort of card that a permission deck loves to have. Normally, if someone leaves up three mana, you’re careful to play around this (or Metallic Rebuke or Cancel) but if you don’t make a play, their counter is now a card selection spell, getting what they need most out of the top four.

Abrade ($1.50): Flexibility is always something a card benefits from, and the heavy foil multiplier on this card indicates that it’s got some legs in the casual community. It was in a lot of the best-performing decks this past weekend, and while it’s going to be the participation promo for Game Day on the first weekend of August, I like this to be one of the most played cards from the set while it’s Standard legal. (Kaladesh and its Vehicles will rotate out along with Hour of Devastation in September 2018.)

Claim // Fame ($2): This is the one that I’m a little less enthused by. Yes, it’s amazing next to Snapcaster Mage, and Death’s Shadow, and on and on, but it’s not going to be a four-of. I’d be surprised if it was more popular than Kolaghan’s Command, a card with even more flexibility. I want to let this one cool off a little bit, let the foils get to the $7 range. Right now people are too eager and that doesn’t appeal to me.

Cliff has been writing about Magic in some format or another for six years now, a terrifying length of time. He has two kids, a full-time job, and an endless sense of humor about the fact that these pieces of cardboard keep being worth money! His goal is always to buy low and sell high, and is an avid user of Cardsphere. Follow him on Twitter @wordofcommander or tune in every Friday here on MTGPrice.

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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Price Movement on HOU

Hello and welcome to the new world of super-cheap cards that aren’t worth the cost of packs or boxes!

Well, that was at the beginning of this week, anyway. Not a lot has changed, either, but there are some cards that have changed price in surprising ways over the past few days, and I want to look at what’s happening.

A note: I’m not always sure why a card is moving, as we don’t have any tournament data to look at yet. We have a very small amount of 5-0 results from Magic Online, but the saga of Wizards and data suppression is its own lengthy article.

Still, price movements online and in paper can tell us some things, and I always like a clue on the first weekend.

The Scarab God ($15 now, up from $9 this week): Can we take a minute and reflect on how silly it is that no one bothered to give these Gods names? Is that part of the appeal or something? A testament to the power of the Moriarty-Dragon? It’s irksome to me, but I’m old and a curmudgeon.

The card has crept up about 50% this week probably because it’s a brutal EDH card and it doesn’t take much to have this be a game-defining effect. The ‘each opponent’ clause is pretty darn fantastic, and having a relevant graveyard ability is important in Commander as well. I think this price bump is not here to stay, as people will get their copies and the price will trickle back downwards.

Neheb, the Eternal ($4.50 now, was $2.50 this week): I cannot imagine a world where people are playing this over Glorybringer in Standard. Same mana cost, but one is far more impactful immediately than the other. I suspect this bump is due to the casual market as well, I’ve seen people trading for it at this price, and I’m staying away. Show me the combo in Standard, I know it’s capable of dumb things in Commander.

Razaketh, the Foulblooded ($6 now, was $10 a week ago): First off, the foil multiplier is nearing four on this card, so you can imagine it’s tearing up Commander games. I haven’t seen it in action myself, but it seems pretty degenerate and worst of all, it’s lots of tutoring and can be done at instant speed. I was really in on Griselbrand when it was printed, and that banning took a whole cycle to happen. If Razaketh survives the first banlist update from the EDH Rules Committee, then I’ll be listening, but for now, I’m staying away.

I don’t want to hear about reanimator decks playing this in Modern or Legacy either. The requirement of an additional creature just costs too much when you’re playing this on turn one. Griselbrand gets your seven back immediately.

Bontu’s Last Reckoning ($4.50 now, was $3 last week): Is this worth it? There is not a comparable card to look at, oddly, but I’m cautious. I suspect this is going to be a card that gets more play than we are first expecting…for the first couple of weeks. People are testing this card, and the price is going up. Usually that means it’s going to get played this first weekend, so I’ll be keeping track of events to see if it’s pulling its weight.

Fraying Sanity ($2 now, was less than a buck a week ago): You’ve heard it from a million writers: casual players love their mill cards. The list is long yet not consistent, though. Sure, Consuming Aberration is $2, but Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker is still $1. I would be dumping Fraying Sanity at $2 right now, in trade or in what you can get in cash.

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That’s my plan for right now. I’m expecting this card to drop like a rock, it ought to be fifty cents or less in a month. I don’t think the foils will ever drop below $5, though, and that’s where I would prefer to be. I get it that the effects stack, and the second is quad damage…but I can’t deny this:

Sometime in the next 18 months (this set rotates out in September 2018) there will be a mill deck featured someplace and this card will spike. I would plan on selling into that hype.

Hour of Devastation ($8 now, was $3 a week ago): This is the card that I first thought of. We already have some pretty good UR decks, and now those decks get a sweeper that can even deal with planeswalkers! This is going to make a big impact early and alongside Abrade, makes UR able to deal with the vehicle/walker cards that are usually so resilient to wrath effects.

I think this isn’t done going up. It’s going to break $10, and might even get close to $15 in the early hype. It won’t stay there, as this is too mana-intensive to be a four-of in the decks that want it, I’m expecting it to be a defining card of the format for some time, though. I’ll say that this stabilizes at a solid $10.

Ramunap Excavator (Now $7, was $4): Being the release weekend promo means that there will be more foil copies out there, but this card is just amazing in a format with fetchlands. I’m not sold that it’s Legacy-worthy, but I can see the appeal. Playing this alongside Wasteland is a repeated kick in the teeth. Yes, it’s amazing with Glacial Chasm too.

The thing is, though, I have a hard time believing that all the cards in this set are super-low-priced. Most cards are trending down, as they should, but it’s clear that the Excavator is getting enough value to invite purchases. I just can’t justify buying a promo rare at this price. I would be shocked if it bumped to $10, because it would have to start trending down from there.

The counterpoint is Sylvan Caryatid, a card which had a high points above $15 and is still $2. If the Excavator has legs in the eternal formats, that’s a possible price.  We will have to wait and see what the early adopters do. I won’t be shocked if it’s showing up in the eternal formats, and I won’t be shocked if it sees no play.

Cliff is an avid Cuber and Draft enthusiast. He believes in keeping one, maybe two playmats max and tends to enjoy the side events more than the main attraction at a GP. Ever since getting his first Revised packs in 1994, he’s sold cards for a new transmission, a sweet bed, and even the security deposit when moving into a new place. Find him on Twitter @wordofcommander or Fridays here at MTGPrice.

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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Devastating Preorders

Hopefully you’ve read enough of what we write here to know that pre-ordering cards is usually a bad idea.  Cards are overhyped and usually very overpriced, but there’s something kind of unusual going on with Hour of Devastation: The preorder prices are remarkably…sane.

Today I want to look at a couple of the reasons why that might be, and if that means we’ve turned a corner as Magic vendors and players. We don’t want $40 Day’s Undoing, or $50 Chandra, Torch of Defiance.

Idea #1: We are more patient

We all know that a set’s value goes down over time as more and more packs are opened. That’s true of any set, for any of its time as the set that’s being opened at FNM and Grand Prix events. Even the Masters-level sets that are only reprints, those follow the same curve most of the time.

We’ve learned that unless you’re going to be using these cards the very very first weekend, you’ve got time.  Even waiting a week or two can be worth a lot to someone who isn’t a pro player. Preordering cards is devastating from a feel-bad perspective, and hopefully people who have done that have learned their lesson.

Imagine being someone who looked at the Amonket previews, and saw Gideon of the Trials. You know he’s good with the Gideon, Ally of Zendikar deck you’re already playing. You think, “It must be worth this much or people wouldn’t be paying this much!” and you plunk down $160 for a playset.

That card, one of the banners of the set, a three-drop planeswalker, can be had for $40 a playset now. So that’s a painful lesson to learn.

Is this permanent: God, I hope so. I fervently want to believe that players will not break their bank trying to get out ahead of the new cards, but I doubt it in the long-term.  New players might not listen to others who have learned, and new cards are always going to sucker us in.

 

Idea #2: We are stretching our Magic dollars

This is something that Wizards/Hasbro has been doing to us for a couple of years now: We are getting more and more Magic products each year, each designed to suck our wallets dry.

Have you seen this list? That’s a murderer’s row later this year, and that’s before you take into account all the stuff we’ve already had this past seven months, which includes a Masters set, three regular sets (I’m including Hour of Devastation) and two different Anthology releases.

I don’t think there’s a market for those who buy every single product released, but that’s a lot to spend money on.

Is this permanent: Unless the company decides to slow it down, apparently this is the world we live in.  Let’s also not forget that the Magic Digital Next program is also coming, and that might be a whole new siphoning off of money. Heaven help us, they are going to keep making a zillion products a year.  Budget accordingly.

 

Idea #3: The cards aren’t that powerful

I’m not saying that they aren’t good, but they sure aren’t backbreaking. The set (so far, the full set should drop the day this article is published) has a cycle of undercosted ‘exert sorceries’ where your lands don’t untap for a turn, but everything else looks to cost a little too much for that effect.

Perhaps this is the overcompensation of stuff like Smuggler’s Copter being two mana? Perhaps this was meant to be part of an 18-month Standard which was more midrange-focused? I don’t know the answer, or if from time to time, we just get a slightly clunkier set.

I want to reiterate that point, though: Just because we don’t have a ‘pushed’ card doesn’t mean these aren’t going to be players in formats going forward. Right now, though, only a few of the mythics and none of the rares are preordering for more than the retail price of a Fatal Push.

Is this permanent: Likely not. There will be undercosted, overpowered cards again. None of them have been shown in this set, though.

Idea #4: The cards are just worth less due to Masterpieces

This is an idea that’s been explored several times, and the summary is as follows: When Masterpieces are in a set, they account for some of the value of the set. If cards have a total value that’s higher than the cost of a box at the distributor’s price, then retailers will crack those packs themselves and sell the singles.

We saw this recently at work, with Battle for Zendikar block and Shadows over Innistrad block.  The Expeditions helped push the prices of other cards down, except for Gideon and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Basically, more packs of BfZ block got opened to find those lands, and that meant a lot more of the other cards were released into the world. When the Masterpieces weren’t present, we had a more even distribution of value.

Is this permanent: We already know it isn’t. While the Masterpieces are helping make Standard be the cheapest it’s been in a while, they are running out of cards quickly. There’s some real clunkers in the Invocation series. Divert? Super niche. Diabolic Edict? Who was clamoring for more copies of this? They have already announced that Masterpieces won’t be in every single set going forward, so this effect will certainly vanish.

 

Cliff is an avid player and frugal financier. His love of unusual Cubes and formats is resulting in some very interesting Magic experiences, and Grand Prix events have been offering him all sorts of new ways to play this amazing game.

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