Tag Archives: oath of the gatewatch spoilers

PROTRADER: Cube Watch, Oath of the Gatewatch Edition

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Greetings! We’ve got a sweet new set in Oath of the Gatewatch, and lots of potential cube cards to cover today, so let’s get right into it.

A couple quick notes: First, I’m saving everything with the new colorless mana symbol for the end, because that’s going to require some extra words. We’ll start with the traditional stuff. Second, while I might mention foils for commons and uncommons, my goal with my Cube articles is to keep costs down as much as possible, so the object here is not to find the cards that are going to go up the most, but to find the best time to buy the cards that we actually want to play with in our cubes. Got it? Let’s go.

Monocolored

Linvala, the Preserver

This is a powerful card, but I’m not sure it beats out cards like Sun Titan or Elesh Norn at the top of white’s curve in Cube. It’s definitely one to test, but I’m not convinced it will make anything but the most expansive lists.

As for its financial future, Standard could bring its price up in the short term, but there’s no way it sees play in any eternal competitive formats. It’s probably fine in Commander, but it doesn’t seem insane. While it could surprise us in the short term, this should be way less than its preorder price in the long term.

(Note: All TCGplayer mid prices cited in this article were pulled on the day of writing, January 15, 2016. They may have definitely changed since that date.)

TCGplayer mid: $7.49
Likelihood to get a cube slot: Medium-low
Verdict: Wait to buy

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Grinder Finance – “Taiga is a strictly worse Grove of the Burnwillows”

I’ll talk a little about Modern because it’s all the haps these days.  You know them hip kids and buying out the internet and whatever.

taiga

grove of the burnwillows

The worst part about these graphs is that the Grove of the Burnwillows one isn’t even as high as it should be.  Almost every store that MTGPrice.com pulls price information has stagnated because they are out of stock (it is common practice not to update the prices on sold-out cards).  Let’s look at the less steady but technically more accurate TCGPlayer prices.grove tcg

You know what’s really bad about this?  Convergent Mid and Low pricing.  With big shakeups like this even though the mid pricing seems to dip a little, copies are still being bought.  A steady price between mid and low indicates supply and demand are satisfied at this price point.  At the end of November that all changed and we haven’t settled since then.  It’s insane to think that the most expensive dual land in a pair of colors is not the ABUR dual.  Hence the title of my article, Grove of the Burnwillows is strictly better because of the formats it is legal in and it’s interaction with Punishing Fire.  Which brings me to my first point.

A Lot of F***ing People Play Modern

Excuse my French but that is the truth.  A lot of people are picking up Modern decks and playing them because of great strides to reduce the cost to play.

hallowed fountain

Do you remember the time when Hallowed Fountains were $45?  Modern was in it’s infancy and barely anyone played it.  Do you know how bad had they not reprinted them with such vigor 3 years ago?  If you think Modern is expensive now, let me tell you, it could have been so much worse.  Fetchland reprints in Khans of Tarkir also brought some needed reduction to the cost of Modern but that also made cards more expensive.

Bans and unbans make stuff more expensive

twin
Pour one out for my homies – my binder

People knew the writing was on the wall for Bloom.  The deck defied some ground rules for the Modern format but getting blindsided by a Splinter Twin ban is causing some really  bad panic buying.  Scapeshift is the easiest deck you can port Twin into (most of the shell is similar) but Scapeshift isn’t a card that got reprinted 6 months ago.  The original printing is from Morningtide which is even older (and smaller print run) than the original Splinter Twin printing.  The ripple effect will continue until probably a month after the Pro Tour as people try to figure out what to play now.  The security knowing the “pillars of the format” is lost in Modern now and we might see a cascade of price changes as people adjust their strategy.  At this point unless you need to play in a Modern event until Shadows over Innistrad, I would just stop buying Modern cards.

But this ban brings new brews!

Yeah, maybe?  To be quite honest, the Eldrazi deck is already bringing enough of a shake up to Modern I’m not sure we needed to ban Splinter Twin.  While it’s true the boogie man that was Twin allows for other decks to flourish, if you couldn’t beat Twin what makes you think your brew can beat the remaining decks?  I think people think that removing one of their bad matchups all of a sudden makes their deck playable.  What I am expecting is the opposite.  If your brew couldn’t beat a 3 mana 1/4 blue creature it probably can’t beat a lot of the decks in Modern.  While this is a finance column, I can not advocate people go out and buy a new deck right now because the format will be very unsettled.

Rise of the Rise of… Wait no – Oaths of Oath of the Gatewatch

kozilek's return 2world breaker

These two are likely to become a dynamic duo in Standard in the coming months.  They have both seen non-stop upward movement since their very early spoiling.  If you got in early you are probably feeling great but at this point I think I’d rather trade for them than buy copies.  Baring an unusually high finish (or large percentage of the top 8/16), they will likely not see a big jump next weekend.

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Kozilek, the Great Distortion

This guy has been gaining the past week also.  He probably won’t see as much play as Ulamog (Kozilek is much worse in multiples) which means he probably can’t maintain a $18-20 price tag for very long.  I expect him to dip in the coming months and I’m a buyer at $10-12.  Kozilek, the Great Distortion (like Kozilek, the Butcher of Truth) will likely retain a higher price tag than he should due to being a casual favorite.  The only thing I can think that may change this course is if some Tron team at the Pro Tour adopts a large number of Kozilek in the main deck.  That will probably lead him to disappear from the internet in a few hours.

Thought-Knot Seer

The best card in the set. I regret not pre-ordering these at $4, $7, or $8 because the internet thinks they are worth $15.  I’m not interested at that point.  I’m not sure it’s good enough for Standard and Modern demand likely won’t push it close to the price of the rares of the Eldrazi deck.  My rule of thumb is it can’t be more than Ulamog or Eye of Ugin.  If you need them for a deck, I’m sorry but you probably wont find a better deal at $15 so good luck.

realitysmasher

This is a potential “sleeper” of the set.  I’m not sure how much upside there is at $5 but if you like the cut of his jib I wouldn’t fault you for getting yours.  Outside of Cracking Doom, nobody is really set up to kill this guy.

wanderingfumaroleneedlespireshissingquagmire

I’m totally on board buying all of these lands.  They’re $2-3.50 each which is in the ball park that the lower man land (Lumbering Falls) from Battle for Zendikar dropped to.  If these get a lot of play in Modern and EDH… Well I guess really it’s “when” they get a lot of play, they will go up.  There are not a lot of choice of good enemy colored dual lands.

matterreshaper

Some people swear by this guy, and on paper he looks pretty good.  The reality is he’s actually pretty difficult to cast unless you reshape your mana a lot to support it.  I’m not sure people will and I’m not on board buying into a $7 rare.  This is one of those “I have to see it to believe it” kinda cards.  But I’m not always right, I felt that way about Collected Company before that was $15.

goblindarkdwellers

This is the last card I’ll touch on.  He’s great.  He’s $2.75 but he’s the buy a box promo.  I would not fault you for buying or trading for some.  I may have done it myself.  While this unlikely another Goblin Rabblemaster, he’s got enough value on a sturdy body to be around for a bit.

One last bone to pick

So you guys know I used to advocate Pucatrade.  It was a fantastic service.  Was.

puca point bonus

This is the current Pucatrade plan page.  They have tripled the bonuses you get for signing up for paid plans and have the same bonus for new referrals. That’s a huge amount of additional Pucapoints flowing into the market that will cause more inflation.  At this point I don’t think there is an upside to using Pucatrade because there is such a large possibility people just stop sending you cards.  The fact that at this point, your entire Puca subscription cost turns into pucapoints is VERY concerning.  Without a way to take them out of the market it’s possible pucapoints just turn into Zimbabwean Dollars.  It is just a really bad way to get caught with your pants down.  I don’t know if the new website will fix these issues but it should be pointed out as something to watch.

 

Thanks as always for reading, hopefully if my weekend goes to plan and you’re watching the StarCity open in Atlanta you will see me on camera!   Gotta keep up the facade that I play more Magic than every other writer on this website, right?

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Looking Behind to Look Ahead

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.

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.

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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PROTRADER: Modern Season Is Upon Us

The Modern hype is here and it’s very much for real. I am embarrassed for even momentarily suggesting Modern may be hitting a plateau as far as interest is concerned. Last week I went as far as to use wishy washy language surrounding my prediction for how Modern cards would perform come 2016. Clearly, Modern season is going to offer up significant opportunity. And with record breaking Star City Open attendance in Cincinnati this weekend (1,022 participants) it’s clear there’s more growth ahead.

All that said, it’s really interesting to see which cards have already began ascent and which have remained stagnant. Even with some metagame evolution, a large portion of the mainstays of Modern should still be relevant – Affinity, Tron, Splinter Twin, Infect, etc. Yet when I review the top movers so far in 2016, I’m seeing almost all the growth thus far occurring with Eldrazi cards, presumably due to the current block.

Eye of Ugin

Despite being narrow in scope, I believe the data out there is strong enough to conclude Modern will once again be a lucrative format to speculate on. But the train is already leaving the station – in fact, it’s already nearing its final destination on stuff like Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple. With that in mind, I’m going to look to a couple ideas that are still worth pursuing as the Modern hype rapidly approaches its peak for the first half of 2016.

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