Tag Archives: jared yost

Looking Behind to Look Ahead

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It’s that time of year again. The time to look at the past to see where we might be headed into the future. I’m going to list all the articles I’ve written over the past year below that have generated a good discussion, so that we can review them one more time to know where we might be headed in the future. My hope by doing this is to see what predictions have gone wrong for me, which have gone better, and which we can learn from to see how we can approach Magic finance.

Battle for Fatpacks

This article takes the top spot for most comments of the articles I’ve authored in 2015. I’m not surprised that it generated so many comments – after all, we thought items like fatpacks were immutable to market pressure because Wizards could just print more of them… but we learned very quickly that wasn’t the case.

Looking at it again, the article was meant to highlight that this was a highly unusual case for fatpacks because they usually just sit on the shelves at your local game store, gathering dust until someone wants another box for their collection and also decides that they should get a few packs at the same time. Unfortunately, until we get more of the same type of fatpacks in Oath of the Gatewatch we’re still going to see $60+ prices on these guys. Even after more land packs are introduced, I’m not sure if the fatpacks from BFZ block will ever fall below retail due to the huge demand for full art lands.

Modern Masters 2015 Controversy

My next most commented article, this piece highlighted the extreme divergence from a value-centered Modern Masters 2013 set to a… let’s be generous and say limited centric experience for those opening Modern Masters 2015 boosters. Specifically, the rares of Modern Masters 2015 were a total trainwreck in terms of value. It had more than double the amount of bulk rares that Modern Masters 2013 included. Thus, many players were frustrated with the fact that pack prices increased while the value of opening single packs over boxes (basically, drafting the set) decreased.

Out takeaway here is that Modern Masters sets will keep giving us stuff like Tarmogoyf and Cryptic Command but otherwise will start focusing on limited more than the value of the rares included.

tarmogoyf

In Modern Masters’ Wake

This blurb was a catch-all of the comments I had concerning prices after the release of Modern Masters 2015 and leading into the Grand Prix that followed the release weekend. I noted that cards like Primeval Titan didn’t shift much in price after the release, while others were on their way up and up hard. As we all remember, Snapcaster Mage experienced a humungous spike because of the omission of Innistrad from the set. Other random cards, like foil Omniscience, also spiked at the time since they too managed a reprint dodge.

Of course, since then many of these cards have settled down from their post-release spikes but could yet again see another resurgence in price as the next Modern season approaches. Modern is quite an unpredictable beast, so it will be hard to tell which cards will spike the hardest but we’ll definitely be seeing higher prices on many Modern staples as the season approaches more closely.

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Modern Masters 2015 – Release Weekend Update

This article highlighted all the issues I researched concerning the release of Modern Masters 2015. I think this article, along with my one about the general value of rares you can expect to pull out of a pack, are quite telling in terms of the quality control of the set.

You can check out the article for specifics, but there were a ton of issues with the green packs that Wizards created for this Modern Masters release. Collation issues, in pack damage (something also seen with foil Expeditions *sigh*), and other mishaps like order allocation scares were enough to get people like myself to notice and comment. Hopefully this year we’ll experience less issues with premium set releases, though based on Expedition damage issues I’m not sure if the quality control measures have been fully implemented at this point.

Goodbye to Theros, Hello to Holds

Here I commented on which cards from Theros block were the best targets to hold moving forward. I still maintain that Thoughtseize is the strongest target since it is the best discard spell in the Modern format at rare. Foils are still a great pickup, since they haven’t moved in price since I commented and I believe that they have nowhere to go but up until the next reprinting.

Check out the article for more thoughts on where I think certain Theros staples are heading in the future.

thoughtseize

Magic Origins Clash Pack Review

My most exciting clash pack review to date, this review generated buzz since it contained Windswept Heath! Now that we know that precon products like clash packs will contain in-demand Standard staples, as well as event decks containing mythic rares, I think it is a wake up call to us all that Standard staples are not great speculation targets anymore – not unless you pick them up in preorders before the set is released, and it is always a difficult thing to predict the metagame.

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We all have our stories of failed speculation targets, and mine are also included among those. What this clash pack has taught me is that I need to be even more careful when picking up Standard cards for future gains, and I think instead I will need to think about their appeal in Modern and beyond (as well as foil pros and cons) before acquiring any Standard legal cards moving forward.

The Spread on Fate Reforged

Though I looked at Fate Reforged as a whole in this article, I’ve more highlighted the fact that Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is an unusually popular casual card – so much so that it continued to demand a $30 and higher retail tag even after the set had saturated the market. I’m not one to say I told you so but… Ugin is now a $50, and won’t go down until Fate Reforged rotates from Standard.

Foil Ugins, on the other hand, have dropped in price considerably since I wrote that article. Since Standard players rarely have need of foils, the initial Commander got-to-have-it-now hype has died down and you will be able to get a great deal on a foil Ugin over the coming months as Fate Reforged rotates from Standard.

The Timeless Adventures of Monastery Mentor

The other incredible mythic rare from Fate Reforged, Monastery Mentor, also deserved his own article from your’s truly since I believe that he has great eternal appeal based on early results from tournaments after Fate Reforged was released.

A nice win for me, my own copies that I procured back in April after I wrote the article have appreciated well. According to the price history, that was the low point for foil mentors and they’ve gone past $70 each retail since then. I hope you all were also able to pick up foil Mentors throughout the early stages of last year before they crossed $50 or even $60.

Jace, the $40 Origins Mythic

Here, I spent a great deal of time considering Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and why his price history was mirroring that of most broken planeswalker of all time, Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Even now, I fear that I underestimate the power of little Jace in eternal formats. He seems to keep exceeding all of my expectations for what a Standard legal card can become value-wise. Now, I’m thinking that his price will never go below $30 since the demand he sees in Modern (along with a short print run of Origins) will forever keep him in the low $30 range until the inevitable reprint happens.

Jace

Tradewind Rider – Riding the Tides of the Trade

Finally, the last article I want to talk about it has a more personal touch to it than many articles I release for MTGPrice. The article poses the question “Is it worth it to trade anymore?” based on several premises such as the time to trade, more cutthroat approach to trading, and condition-based trading that seems to be happening these days.

The piece probably strikes most of you as something that an old curmudgeon harpening back on the glory days of Magic trading would spew, and there certainly is quite a bit of complaining to back that up. Maybe I’ve been neglecting to fully utilize and learn the new tools of the trade that have been given to the player community. After looking at this article again I want to make it one of Magic related news years resolutions to finally not be frustrated with the way trading happens for me these days, and instead to embrace technology for the additional opportunities it grants me rather than the slow-down it seems to have become. Puca banning users from selling points hurts trading on that exchange somewhat, but even then I still think it is a great way to pick up Commander and Cube staples that I have a hard time finding locally.

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Unanswered Questions

Inspired by a recent article by our very own Douglas Johnson, I thought I might also take a stab at answering some unanswered questions from Reddit that are many #mtgfinancer’s minds.

Using the Weekly Ask MTGFinance Anything thread, I am going to try and answer all of the (currently) unanswered questions that may have been asked later in the week and got buried near the bottom. No question is a stupid question, so let’s dig our way up from the bottom and see what we have this week.

   

Mattscriv writes:

Alright guys, I decided to drop in and ask a few questions. Just to get this out of the way: I am in possession of a BFZ land brick. Is it okay to take off the plastic and use them, or will the value decrease a lot if I try to sell them later on? Second of all, I have a list of a few cards I was lucky enough to open in packs and I want to know whether I should keep, or get rid of:

Ruinous Path Shambling Vent – Foil Sunken Hollow Canopy Vista Liliana, Heretical Healer Archangel of Tithes Bloodstained Mire Dragonlord Ojutai Fathom Feeder – Promo Greenwarden of Murasa Sarkhan, the dragonspeaker Smothering Abomination – Promo Sword of the Animist

(Side note: I know that I should try to pick up ask many KTK fetches as possible, but what other lands around $10 or less should I try to pick up too? Pain lands?)

Thanks everyone that helps me out, but be warned, I may have further questions.

Land brick response:

Crack it and sell now. The only item that will maintain significant value in the future in terms of full art lands is the sealed Zendikar fat packs. The land packs won’t be worth much more than MSRP for all lands in the pack because players can get lands in boosters. Plus we also need to consider that Oath will contain full arts in many supplemental products as well.

Keep or Sell Questions:

Sell:

Sunken Hollow, Canopy Vista, Liliana, Heretical Healer, Archangel of Tithes, Dragonlord Ojutai, Greenwarden of Murasa, Promo Sword of the Animist, Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

These cards are all propped up by Standard currently. I recommend selling cards like Sunken Hollow, Canopy Vista, Liliana, Heretical Healer, and Greenwarden of Murasa sooner due to Pro Tour and new BFZ hype to maximize the price you sell at.

Keep:

Ruinous Path, Shambling Vent – Foil, Bloodstained Mire, Fathom Feeder, Smothering Abomination

I believe all of these cards will either maintain value or go up in time if cards like Runious Path and Smothering Abomination find a home in Standard.

Side note response:

The only other Standard lands worth picking up right now are Khans trilands, which if you can get for $0.25 to $0.40 you should stock away in bulk. These tri-ands will be in great demand in the future because of all the Wedge Commander decks that people build and they are going to want copies for fixing.

dwaynebank writes:

Do you guys believe holday giftboxes will affect the price of fatpacks? I understand they also come with land packs, but they’re packs of 20, where the fatpacks have packs of 80. The MRSP on the holday gift boxes is $24.99. Is it possible the giftboxes sell out everywhere and will sell for more than their MRSP, similar to the fatpacks?

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT – No,  holiday gift boxes will not affect the price of fat packs because the holiday gift boxes contain regular art lands, not full art lands. The gift boxes should sell at past or current levels of demand.

Adelysium writes:

Hey all! After some good trading on Gameday I managed to procure a Jace. My intention was that its easier to move 1 card than the 15 I traded to get him, when I eventually know what I want and find someone with the some stuff I want. My questions pertain to him.

For maximum value should I try to move now or keep?
If we assume relatively few packs of Origins will be opened between now and when he rotates, how much is there to lose and will he rebound after a slight dip considering his playability outside of this format?

The fact is, I have the standard deck I want and am happy with, sideboard and all. As far as immediate gratification, I’m fine without trying to move him. However, if he won’t be this high within a year of rotating I might as well move now. I don’t have the intention to acquire more of him, that’s for sure.

Thanks for the help guys!

Move the Jace. It is at peak price right now due to a confluence of factors, which is explained in great detail by my fellow write Corbin in this neat little video he made on the topic.

There is quite a bit to lose in terms of Jace’s price if you do not move him soon – Snapcaster was only around $30 at the time of his rotation from Standard, and I expect Jace to be at that price point or less by the time he rotates from Standard next year. My more precise prediction is that Jace lands between $20 to $25 at Origins rotation. If he still proves as popular in eternal format then as now, rotation would be the perfect time to pickup copies for future growth since double-faced walkers are going to be tough to print in the future. Otherwise, if you have extra copies around that you aren’t using than I recommend selling ASAP.

kogikogikogi writes:

Is it possible to link friends directly to my mtgprice.com collection? I’ve googled around and searched their site but I can’t find it at all. If not I’ll just use export and use deckbox but having a direct link on mtgprice would be super helpful.

No, unfortunately we don’t have that feature of our collection manager just yet. For the current iteration of the website you will need to export and then send the file. However, we’ve been working very diligently on a mobile application for the website that should have many features that will make collection sharing better – trading with nearby users and remote trading should alleviate parts of the collection list sharing process. Though, having a button/permalink to your collection is also a nice feature. We’ll have to add it to our feature queue in the future.

   

DatsRadMan writes:

I have a foil promo Zada, Hedron Grinder (TCG: $6.65) and a foil promo Beastcaller Savant (TCG: $5.49) that I’d like to know what to do with – should I sell/trade them now or sit on them?

What are these card’s potential long-term? I have heard Zada is useful EDH card and Beastcaller has potential in Modern Elves (whether that’s true or not)…what do you guys think these cards will be at post-Standard rotation?

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Thanks!

Zada and Beastcaller have gotten plenty of attention, Zada from the Commander crowd and Beastcaller from the constructed crowd. Personally, I believe that you should keep the promo Zada because even if he drops I don’t see it dropping too significantly over time. Foils in Commnader will always maintain value, and if he turns out to be a popular card in the format than the promo should also maintain value in the future.

Beastcaller I’m not so sure about. I would sell now while BFZ demand is still high and supply hasn’t crashed the prices. It doesn’t seem like a Commander auto-include and I don’t think it quite gets there in constructed.

G_Admiral writes

I have a bunch of sealed booster boxes from the Return to Ravnica block (mostly RTR and thankfully only a couple DM) and several boxes of Conspiracy. It seems like the price hasn’t moved since I bought any of them. Any thoughts on when it will move or if there’s an opportunity to open them and trade/sell singles?

Now this is an interesting question, where an entire article (or even series of articles) could be written about MTG sealed boxes and when is the best time to buy and sell sealed boxes .

First, let’s take a look at what I and others have said on this topic in the past. Sig and I have briefly discussed boxes as article subtopics, however James has focused two well written free articles on the value of sealed product and how booster boxes play a role in that.

Me:

http://blog.mtgprice.com/2014/09/08/ancestral-recall-casual-demand-and-why-its-important/

Sig:

Protrader – http://blog.mtgprice.com/2015/04/13/on-pro-tours-and-booster-boxes/

James:

http://blog.mtgprice.com/2015/09/25/is-magic-origins-the-next-innistrad/

http://blog.mtgprice.com/2015/05/21/best-bet-booster-packs-vs-fat-packs/

Now, the summary of all this information is that booster boxes will go up in value due to inflationary costs of packs at a normal rate except if they are extremely popular draft sets like Innistrad, which will go up even more over time. However, even if they are extremely popular to draft and have other in-demand eternal cards in the set, it will still take quite a while for you to get a turnaround on those boxes where it worth selling (factoring in shipping, fees, etc.). Sealed booster boxes are hard to move, and they don’t go up that much in value over the years especially if the set is post-Innistrad.

My advice to those who are packing away extra booster boxes of sets is not to crack them, not to sell them off en-masse now, but to play the waiting game. Eventually, these boxes will go up at some point, for one reason or another, if they contain eternal playable cards like shock lands or the new baby Jace. However, sets like Dragon’s Maze are a lost cause, similar to Saviors of Kamigawa. How old Saviors is compared to the price of those boxes is abysmal when considering the age. Unpopular sets will still be that the in future, and it’s the nature of the beast that some sets will be stinkers throughout Magic’s history.

CaptainKnusper writes:

What is your opinion on the filterlands (Twilight Mire etc.) ? Would you hold or sell them ?

Filter lands are extremely risky to hold onto long term at this point. Any reprint is going to cause the current prices of these lands to crash significantly. At least if they’re reprinted in a Standard set, they only drop by half initially since the reprint hype will be in full swing. But once the market is saturated? You can bet they’ll all be in the single digits (barring the more popular ones, of course).

However, for the short term the price should hold unless a surprise reprint happens in Commander 2015 which would be pretty unexpected. They will probably spike during the next Modern season next year, which will be the best time to get out. In summary, my advice is to hold until the next Modern spike next year and sell during the hype of the season.

   

VolcanicVaranus writes:

Does anyone think the Theros block temples will swing up in price eventually? I know that most stuff hits an all-time low at rotation, and many of the temples are sitting under $1. I know they likely won’t see much (if any) use in constructed formats, but do you think they’ll end up higher than they are now?

Yes, Theros temples will start going back up in price eventually, but it won’t be a swing but a slow crawl as the years go on. They have a high chance of being reprinted as well due to Scry now being an evergreen ability. So, they should go up slowly over time until the reprint. Many of them should go up past $1 (until the reprint) since they are all used in Commander in one way or another as budget lands but not enough that I would suggest picking them up en-masse.

DarthAbel writes:

You can get “Kiora, Master of the Depths” for $7 or less (TCGPlayer), is this a good time to pick a couple of Kioras or will she keep falling? Usually the floor for “meh” planeswalkers is around $5 but I am surprised about Kiora been close to the bottom so fast.

No, I don’t think now is the time to pickup Kioras. It was a no-show at the Pro Tour, so she should only go down in price more from here on out, especially if she makes another reappearance in the next duel deck product. If you want BFZ Kiora, I would suggest waiting until around December, when we start hitting peak BFZ supply.

Biohunter405 writes:

Hello everybody! My friend and I recently traded for a Mox, but due to inexperience and not understanding everything being said, we ended up with a “border inked” Unlimited Mox Sapphire. Now the border inking is not something we had taken into consideration, so we were wondering if getting it entirely altered through something like Klug alters would be a worthwhile endeavor? We’re just a little lost and would like some advice from some people with more knowledge than us. Thanks!

Very interesting question! I’m sure an article (or even series of articles) could be written on the value of alterations and what the market for alterations would look like. A great topic for this series would be your situation, where we have an HP/MP card that can be touched up and what the price of it would be after the alter.

I’m glad that this question was asked, because I have a friend that went ahead and did this for a foil Worldwake Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Here is the Klug posting for the story behind it and what it looks like after Klug touched it up. Now, this was a restoration-to-alteration rather than an alteration but I’m sure that this situation will be very close to what you want for the Mox. I’m sure if my friend tried to sell he would get a price very close to the current foil WWK Jace for the work that Klug did to the card.

Basically, the answer to your question is yes – I highly recommend that you get your card altered by Klug because it will look great and add value to the card. The waiting list is pretty long though, so be prepared to wait in the backlog for some time.

TheHat2 writes:

Knight of the Reliquary had a nice spike after BFZ was released, and has pretty well kept that high price in the weeks since. Where do you see this card going in the next six months?

I don’t see Knight of the Reliquary dropping until its next reprint. Retreat to Coralhelm is an awesome card with Knight that has spawned a new Modern deck, one that I don’t see being replaced anytime soon. I would say hold, and if you’re looking to get out of Knights to wait until peak Modern season next year. That way, if the deck does well at a huge event you can sell into the spike that Knight is sure to experience.

SOHC4 writes:

What’s Dragonlord Ojutai looking like? In the last week or so, I’ve seen it drop about $3. Doesn’t seem like Jeskai lists are running it anymore. Should I dump them now?

Yes, get rid of Dragonlord Ojutai if you’re not using him for Standard. He might experience another spike when Khans / Fate Reforged rotates from Standard but ultimately he will drop like a rock once Dragons rotates from Standard.


 

So there we are, as of Sunday night I’ve answered all of the unanswered questions for this week’s Ask MTGFinance Anything. I hope these answers provide some insight to everyone for my current thinking on several topics, and that they also continue to provide discussion on the future trends of topics in #mtgfinance. As always, thanks for reading.

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Goodbye to Theros, Hello to Holds

Over the weekend, the last Theros legal tournament was held at SCG: Milwaukee. Because of this, many players are going to be looking at getting rid of extraTheros cards that they will no longer need moving forward. Rotation is upon us, so it is time to look at what the future might hold for Theros cards and which ones will be worth holding over the long term.

Target number one, the best of the best from Theros block, is going to be Thoughtseize. I mean, take a look at this history just to get a picture of how in-demand this cards is even with tons of players looking to dump Theros in favor of Battle for Zendikar.

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 6.39.59 PM

Rotation hasn’t even made a dent in this card. One would argue that Goblin Rabblemaster is another powerful card from the current Standard, and look at what rotation is doing to it.

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 6.41.31 PM

Arguably one of the most powerful cards in Standard is getting kicked in the teeth because of rotation. What does this tell us about Thoughtseize moving forward, a card that we can expect to always see in Modern and Legacy?

  • We’re not going to see much cheaper copies of Thoughtseize around, at least not until the next Modern Masters set is revealed.
  • Players are holding this one, as we’ve been advising to them to do as #mtgfinanciers. The low point for Thoughtseize was $15, so if you bought in then you’re looking pretty good now. The next best time to get out will be during the hype of the next Modern season.
  • Foils are also going to be very in demand, since eternal players like to foil out the various parts of their deck. Surprisingly, the foil copies of Theros Thoughtseize are starting to reach a low point upon this rotation cycle. Check out the price history below:
  • Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 6.47.39 PM

We all have a pretty sweet chance to get in on a foil lull for the               card.

All in all, Thoughtseize is looking pretty good as a spec moving forward, as we all know it will be. But what about other maybe non-obvious pickups? Let’s review some of the more talked about cards from the Theros block in reverse order, since Journey into Nyx was opened less and therefore we can predict that cards from this set will be more valuable in the future since fewer packs were cracked for drafting.

Journey into Nyx Current Prices (Non-Foil Top 20)

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 6.51.34 PM

Eidolon of the Great Revel is the number one card from this set that you should be targeting if you play any Modern or Legacy. Burn was put back on the map due to the power of EotGR, so picking up copies for future value gains is a good move since players are looking for playsets that want to play them.

Keranos is looking to be the most valuable god from the sets, but I would pick up copies for Commander demand more than anything else. Yes, he does see play in Modern and sometimes Legacy, however I think his effect on these formats is marginal at best, and that most future demand for all the gods in general is going to come from the casual crowd. I would wait a bit to pick up all the gods, about three months from now when rotation prices are going to bottom out as more and more Standard players continue to dump cards like gods. All the gods from JIN are going to be great pickups at this point, as they are the rarest gods by numbers are JIN was the least opened of theTheros sets. A CAVEAT – The enemy colored Commander decks being released this fall could contain one copy of each of these gods. If that is the case, then the JIN gods are going to take a huge hit in value and be suppressed in price for quite some time. Keep this in mind while waiting to pickup gods. Foils are better targets for this reason, at least until we know if they’re in Commander 2015.

Dictate of Erebos is the final mention I’d like to make.  This card is going to be casual gold and is the bottom dollar slow gainer that will make waves over time. It is already almost up to $2 retail with no Standard play and rotation about to happen. Foils will be especially good targets moving forward.

Born of the Gods Current Prices (Non-Foil Top 20)

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 7.02.28 PM

Unfortunately there just isn’t anything appealing to me in BNG for pickups moving forward. Brimaz is a great card, it is very efficient for the mana cost, but right now white weenie strategies in Modern just aren’t that great. He will be an amazing Commander, and will even be great in Legacy Death and Taxes, but for Brimaz to carry the bulk of the set’s value is pretty sad and I don’t think he is going to be going over $10 for the foreseeable future.

Even Courser, a Standard powerhouse, is lackluster in eternal formats and is hardly worth picking up right now. Again, Commander applications and sometimes seeing the Courser in Modern/Legacy isn’t going to be enough to make it see significant gains anytime soon.

Since we’re not going to be getting enemy colored Commander decks in the near future, I would feel very comfortable going deep on some of the more popular gods from the set about three months from now. Even with Karametra, you can’t go wrong picking up copies at $2 or less since casuals love these types of big, splashy mythics.

Theros Current Prices (Non-Foil Top 20)

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 7.11.10 PM

We’ve already discussed Thoughtseize at length, so let’s take a look at some of the cards in the set with the knowledge that they are going to be the most suppressed since Theros was open the most of the sets in the Theros block.

Ashiok is a sweet card, one that has applicability both because of Modern and Battle for Zendikar’s Eldrazi Ingest theme. I don’t think the card is going to get much cheaper than $6-$7 per copy, since UB Mill is a thing with casual kitchen table Magic. Picking up plenty of copies in anticipation of future demand is a fine move. On the other hand, I’m not so keen on Theros Elspeth due to the Duel Deck printing so I would advise to avoid these cards since there are tons more Elspeths than Ashioks out there.

Both foil and non-foil versions of Nykthos have started seeing upward movement upon rotation, and for good reason – this card is a Cabal Coffers for any color that is also Modern legal. I mean, the foil has already spiked and it hasn’t even left Standard yet! Pick up your copies now before the next season’s Modern deck is going to make non-foils spike as well.

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 7.16.13 PM

Master of Waves has a great Modern advantage due to being featured in Merfolk, one the top decks of the format. Foils are great targets, but even nonfoils at $4 and less are going to look good a while from now.

Monocolored gods, like their BOG and JIN bretheren, are also going to be nice pickups for future gains. Some will gain more than others as we see how they fit into Commander moving forward, but foils of each should be nice collector’s items in the future. If you want foils to finish out Commander decks than rotation is going to be the best time to get deals on these cards.

Final Thoughts

So there you have my thoughts about Theros since rotation is upon us. Is there anything else you guys think I should be mentioning, or that I glossed over that has more applications than I think? What are you guys targeting for rotation, and how deep are you? Personally, I’m looking to start picking up foil Theros Thoughtseize since I think it will be one of the more solid places to park value, but maybe I’m overlooking a cheaper option. As always, let me know in the comments and thanks for reading.

 

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Catching up: Battle for Zendikar, Judge Promos Revealed and more!

A Much Needed Reprint

This weekend, we got a sneak preview of one of the upcoming Judge Gift Program promos that will be handed out. This is one of the first shots we received of one of the promos:

That’s right, Rishadan Port is finally getting a much needed reprint! Rishadan Port was all but confirmed in this Tweeted picture by @TokyoMTG and this is definitely a reprint that I and many players have been waiting for.

Historically, Rishadan Port’s price has been fairly stable at around $30 since it pretty much always saw play in the Legacy Goblins deck. This was the case for several years, before decks Death and Taxes and Lands became forces in their own rights in Legacy. Death and Taxes was better able to use the mana denial effect along with all of the tax and denial creatures that go introduced like Thalia, Spirit of the Labyrinth, and most recently Vryn Wingmare. After Legacy cards started spiking around the time of the Survival of the Fittest frenzy (thanks Vengevine), Port was one of the cards that started spiking along with original dual lands, Force of Will, and other Legacy staples. Since then, the card has creeped and spiked its way up to $100 per copy – which is pretty crazy for a card that only sees play in Death and Taxes, Goblin, and Lands, which only makes up a small portion of the Legacy metagame. With this reprint, the non-foil price should come down (though by how much, I’m not sure since Judge Foils are harder to get ahold of these days – honestly maybe only 10-20% at least initially) since more copies are about to enter the market.

What is also great about this reprint is that we finally get a foil version of the card that isn’t $500+. Masque’s foils are soooo rare, and with players needing four copies to foil out Legacy decks the supply quickly dries up for each person that wants to complete a playset. Now, there is a fine replacement out there (which also has amazing artwork, in my opinion)  that will be the same price as the non-foil copy! This is definitely a reprint that has been a long time coming, so kudos to Wizards for finally getting this one out to market.

Also, more Judge Promos were revealed by @ahalavais.

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So here, we’re also getting Temporal Manipulation  and Shardless Agent, both of which previously didn’t exist in foil! Just like Rishadan Port, Temporal Manipulation sorely needed a reprint – the card was previously over $100 when its equivalent Time Warp was only 1/10th of that price. It was ten times the price only due to scarcity. Now, that price should be significantly reduced since Temporal Manipulation only sees play in the Commander format.

While Shardless Agent didn’t necessarily have to be reprinted, I think it was still a fine choice to include as a Judge Promo. There isn’t any way to easily slide it into regular set, so Judge Foil printings are the only easy way of getting foil copies out there for Legacy players who play Shardless Sultai. I’m actually not sure where the price of this foil is going to wind up – it’s going to be more expensive than the regular, non-foil copies but exactly how much more expensive? Two times? Three times? Four or Five times!? (probably not). The final price, after copies have saturated the market, will probably settle in the 2x-3x range since Legacy players want foil copies and this is the only foil that is out there.

The Judge Foil spoilers so far are a pleasant surprise to us after the Damnation fiasco which was a lose-lose for everyone. It was lose for casuals, since they wanted a Damnation reprint but making a Judge Foil still made it unaffordable for the vast majority of players. It was a lose for collectors and more serious Commander / Eternal players, because it devalued Planar Chaos foils since now there is a new saturation of foil Damnations out in the market with the exact same art. Plus, they also printed Wasteland again as a Judge Promo in that same wave, so that further added to the “Why bother?” many players were thinking when that particular wave of Judge promos was released earlier this year.

I really think Wizards nailed these promos this time around. They did their market research before creating this batch of Judge Foils because all of them revealed so far have been spot on to what the market needs. If only all Judge Promos could follow similarly in the future…

In Other News

     

@Rose0fthorns gave us two gems of insight over the past week. The first is that (obviously) Shaman of Forgotten Ways has spiked hard. Going from $2.50 to $9 is some serious gains, and I agree with his advice to get out now while the gettin’s good. There is a huge difference between two (Rattleclaw Mystic) and three mana, especially when it comes to creatures that enable you to ramp up into bigger threats. Plus, the Shaman’s mana can only be used on creatures – something that may not seem like a drawback at first, but then you think about spells like Crater’s Claws and that extra two mana could mean the difference between ending the game on a critical turn or having to pass without having enough mana to Fireball your opponent’s face.

I feel like See the Unwritten has much more potential than Shaman to see significant Standard play. Mostly because with See the Unwritten, you’re getting a threat that needs to be dealt with while the Shaman’s ultimate isn’t coming online until the end game and you can easily predict when your opponent is setting up to activate the Formidable. The Pro’s will try to make StU work again – Jon Finkel was casting this bad boy on camera last time, and I expect to see it on camera again since Eldrazi are going to be so awesome to get off a pseudo-Tooth and Nail.

Second, we should start taking a closer look at Rise of the Eldrazi for more opportunities for pickups. Spawnsire of Ulamog was a fine example, and getting on foils before they spiked was a good call. There are plenty of other targets out there, including the recently reprinted Emrakul and Kozilek in Modern Masters 2015, that should also see nice gains over the next year. I highly suggest you check out DJ’s article from last week as it is a good primer of what cards are starting trend and what you should be looking out for if you’re trying to find the next casual hit that synergizes with Eldrazi.

   

Also, I would be remiss not to mention that @GoingMadlem released a wonderful piece describing what we can expect with the resurfacing of the “Priceless Treasures” Expeditions that are being distributed in packs of Battle for Zendikar. While I encourage you to read the article, the core theme is that Wizards needs to be careful releasing extremely desirable promos like these in regular MTG sets because it can have lasting and detrimental effects on the secondary market if done incorrectly (cough Yugioh cough).

Finally, @shormtg wrote a great Reddit post on Friday about the macro growth of Magic as a whole. It is a compelling read which tries to answer the essential question “Is Magic in a bubble?.” Shormtg argues that we aren’t in the bubble yet, using the example of the difference between comics and Magic in terms of exchange. We have multiple exchanges, like TCGPlayer and PucaTrade, to realize value with Magic cards than we do with comics and other antiques.

Now, another interesting thing about Magic in regards to bubbles is that there is more than one way to make money from the game – the latest example of this being the Art of Zendikar book that Wizards is releasing to accompany the Battle for Zendikar set. While this is one of many ways to get existing players to spend more money on the game they love and falls into Point Two of the posting, I think it is important that we’re starting to see products like this because it tells us that Wizards is thinking outside the box and will pursue multiple alternative routes for generating dollars than simply releasing more and more card based products every year. Though many of us roll our eyes at these products as “cash grabs”, Wizards/Hasbro are a company like any other – and if profits aren’t coming in as expected than budgets are cut and its going to be felt by everyone that plays. The macro economics of Magic are definitely something to consider as we move forward – like Sig always likes to say, it is definitely a viable strategy to make sure your primary collection value is tied up in the Reserve List.

 

 

 

 

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