Tag Archives: predictions

Invocation Predictions (Part 1)

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The Masterpieces are here! In Amonkhet, they are known as Invocations this time around. I have some beef with some specific choices for this special set, but I see what their goal was. Wizards wanted to give us a 3-D effect and something that was visually very different, and they got that. I don’t like the unreadable card name, and I think there’s a lot of spell bubbles, but I’m not an art critic. I’m a casual player and someone addicted to foils, but this design doesn’t have to be for me.

Even if you don’t like the look of these cards, these are valuable. Even the least of these will be worth about the same as the most expensive mythic, barring the very unforeseen.

This week, I want to look at these current prices and see where they will probably end up, price-wise. The preorder price is an amalgamation, between some sites, and eBay sales aren’t up yet.

 

Aggravated Assault – Original: $12, Set foil: $28, Preorder: $30 – If you like this you’re going to pay a little bit more, and that makes sense. I don’t think the demand is very high for this card, though. It’s rare that you activate this more than once, even if you’re a Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder player. This card doubled when his deck was released and hasn’t been printed since Onslaught.

Prediction: I think $30 is a perfect price here. It’s on par with the set foil, which lots of people find appealing.

Attrition – $9, $40, Preorder $35 – I want to like this. I really do. Attrition works so well with a number of casual strategies (Meren, tokens, Karador) and this has potential. It’s popular enough that I think the price is going to creep upward but not a lot.

Prediction: At the end, it’ll be about $45.

 

Austere Command – $12, $35, Preorder $50 – Lorwyn and original Commander are the only printings, and I think this price reflects the appropriate demand and the semi-small supply. It’s not played outside Commander and Cube, but it’s nicely flexible and worth playing in most casual decks.

Prediction: This is going to fall to about the same price as the set foil. It’s not pretty enough to be worth upgrading to if you already have a foil.

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Aven Mindcensor – $8, $53, Preorder $45 – We’ve had it spoiled that this is going to be a rare in Amonkhet, so that $8 isn’t going to last. It’s not widely played in Modern or Legacy, though it does pop up in sideboards. It needs to be said that the frame is going to play a big part, as those who like the Future Sight frame REALLY LOVE that frame and I don’t see the pack foil budging in price.

Prediction: The Invocation version will fall by a few bucks, but not terribly far.

 

Chain Lightning – $11, $3/$6 Eternal Masters, $6 for PDS foil, Preorder: $40 – This seems super duper and incredibly way off. This is played in one deck, Legacy Burn, and while it’s a four-of it’s not usually the market for these promo versions.

Prediction: This falls like a rock. It should drop down to the $20 range, which would be 3x the price of foils available. Ouch.

 

Consecrated Sphinx – $20, $60, Preorder: $50 – The card is bonkers insane in any format where it survives being cast and not being killed before the next draw step. There’s precious few cards that will get you attacked to death faster, and the single printing is why the price is so high.

Prediction: Against all my instincts, I think this is going to go up. It’s the only Sphinx so far in the Invocation set, and I think there will be enough casual players who want this to let it creep up by $10-$15 or so.

 

Containment Priest – $15, Preorder: $75 – This sees a small amount of play in Legacy and Vintage, and with no other choices for making unique versions of the card, I’m expecting big things out of this foil. That said, this is a 5x multiplier, and I think that’s just too high.

Prediction: This ends up at $50-$60, there’s just not enough demand, even though its only printing was a Commander precon three years ago.

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Counterbalance – $20, $115, Preorder: $65 – This is in demand because of the power it offers in formats where Sensei’s Divining Top is legal. I rarely see this in Commander, and its power in Cube is debatable. A foil multiplier of 6 is fascinating, though, and speaks to the income and the four-of nature of this card.

Prediction: I think this has room to fall. The pack foil is far superior in appearance, but those who want this will be few and far between. I expect this to land at $40-$50.

 

Counterspell – $1-$175 for nonfoils, $6-$32 for foils, Preorder: $60 – The Invocation version is the 25th entry we will have for this card, including the foil versions. You have a wide variety of art to choose from, and can go all the way back to being an Alpha rare. You can choose an FNM promo, or a Judge Foil, or a selection of special printings.

Prediction: I think this falls to $40 or under. Yes, Commanders and Cubes play this, but there’s rarer and older versions to chase.

 

Cryptic Command – $26-$30, $35-$110 foil, Preorder: $90 – The Lorwyn foil is way up there as the original foil, but the Modern Masters foils are intriguingly cheap. This is a great and powerful and often-played card, so I think it’ll have a premium.

Prediction: This version of the card will be bought in playsets, and supply will never have a chance to get too big. This will settle in the $75 range, bridging the gaps nicely.

 

Dark Ritual – $0.50-$80, $4-$53 foil, Preorder: $50 – I shouldn’t need to tell you that this is either a four-of or not played at all. You’re either desperate for the mana or you pay full price. I do love versions where this has the card type ‘Mana Source’ though.

Prediction: Those who want this will also be buying the full playset, but there are so few of those decks. The demand is low, as evidenced by the complete disregard by the market for the FTV version, so I think this will fall to about $30-$35.
Next week I’ll come back with the rest. Stay tuned!

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Checking the Sideboards

Today I want to look at some sideboard cards in Modern and Legacy, things which aren’t seeing a lot of play yet but if they are good enough to make the 75, it’s worth thinking about what might pop given a little time or a minor metagame shift.

Deck: Death’s Shadow

Collective Brutality – $10/$18 foil – This is a very intriguing card, since it’s a small set rare with a foil multiplier that’s under two. It’s not seeing play in Standard currently, so this price is mostly from the other formats. This is seeing play in a range of decks, but not in large numbers. Mostly, it’s a one-or-two-of, as befits such a flexible card.

Forecast: The number of decks this is played in, and none of those being Standard, means that this is unlikely to get lower when it rotates this fall. If it goes even to $8, I would be in on this, as being $15 or more in a year seems very likely.

Maelstrom Pulse – $16/$32 – While not a big card in Death’s Shadow decks, it’s also present in Jund and this is a fantastic card in Commander. It was a mythic a long time ago, in a third set, it was a rare in the first, underprinted Modern Masters, and then it was a Grand Prix promo. It’s around, but there’s also demand.

Forecast: The buy-in is high here, but the potential is big. Only a couple of decks play this, but casual demand has soaked up a lot of the available copies. It’ll break $20 if not reprinted soon.

Deck: Burn

Atarka’s Command – $9/$14 – This requires the three-color Burn list, and some players are content to be only Boros, because of access to Kor Firewalker. If you’re adding green, though, this is flexible and incredibly powerful.

Forecast: One of the Dragonlords is going to get a Duel Deck or a Commander appearance or something, and that’s the only thing I’m worried about. This is already on an upward trajectory, and it’s easy to see this gaining 50% or more in the next few months. If Burn wins a tournament, or performs well on camera, that could be a lot sooner.

Deflecting Palm – $0.75/$3.50 – This is from Khans of Tarkir, so there’s a lot more of it than there is for Atarka’s Command, but my goodness, this is exactly what I want in a sideboard card. It’s cheap, and incredibly swingy. When you draw this against a Death’s Shadow deck, you feel like you can’t lose. They are going to go for the win and you’re going to prevent your own loss and beat them with one play. It’s not widely played, though.

Forecast: Very slow growth. It’s not in enough decks, frankly. I don’t see this gaining a lot of value anytime soon, barring the unforeseen.

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Deck: Affinity

Ghirapur Aether Grid – $1/$13 – The foil multiplier here is truly impressive, as is the uncommon being at $1. There were two copies in the intro pack too! This is casual gold, and sees light play in Lantern Control as well.

Forecast: I’m in on the foils, to be frank. If this gets reprinted in a Commander product the nonfoils will take a hit, but they just printed an artifact Commander deck and didn’t include this. I think it’s safe for the next year, so picking up nonfoils is fine too.

Spire of Industry – $5/$13 – This is a maindeck card, but one worth attention as supply dries up and we move into Amonkhet. It sees a lot of play in Standard, but the casual appeal and the Modern usage has me eyeing this.

Forecast: I think this is a $10 card around Christmas of this year, and the foils are going to rise slowly but surely over time.

Deck: Abzan

Thrun, the Last Troll – $12/$34 – He’s dodged reprinting over and over again, and I don’t think he will end up in a Commander set. The supply from a middle-set mythic five years ago was never big, and without a supplementary printing, he’s due for a pop.

Forecast: This seems pretty safe to me. His value is a bit too high for easy reprints, and his next set would be Modern Masters 2019. I don’t know when he will spike, but spike he will. Sometime in the next 18 months, this will go up to at least $30.

Kitchen Finks – $12/$20-$30, depending on the foil version – This card is played a lot, as shown by its price. It’s resilient, catches you up, and can be played in white or green. Only two printings, plus the FNM promo.

Forecast: As an uncommon, it can be added to products easier. Its price has been quite low in the past, but it is also part of infinite life combos in Modern. I do not think the time is right to move in on this yet. I think it’s due for a reprint, and when that happens, I will want to be ready to pick them up. The exposure is too high here.

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Conspiracy 2 and You!

Two years after the original Conspiracy, the sequel is here and it looks badass. I’m super stoked to draft a bunch of it, and add some new sweet cards to all sorts of decks.

From a finance standpoint, I want to make something clear: While Kaya, Ghost Assassin took out Brago, King Eternal in the storyline, Conspiracy: Take the Crown is going to assassinate prices.

Here’s the current prices for the original Conspiracy. Plus, if you’re into that sort of thing, here’s the foils. Looking at these two lists, I want to bring up some data points that will inform my purchases for Take the Crown.

First of all, some of those foil multipliers are outlandish. Dack Fayden’s foil is thirteen times more expensive, and that’s even after being in Eternal Masters! Dack is one of the most powerful cards in Vintage and in Cube, so his price isn’t too shocking. Marchesa, the Black Rose is more than ten times as pricey in foil. Scourge of the Throne is big, as are lots of others. This tells me that the casual demand is pretty high for these cards, or in some cases, the Legacy/Vintage demand.

I do expect the foil demand to be high again for Take the Crown, and mostly, I’ll be going after foils for myself and for long-term value. Note that the value of Conspiracy foils have stayed pretty stable since about January 2015, so I don’t want to get foils right freaking now OMG shiny!! I do want to get them before Christmas. Generally speaking, the time to get cards in one set is after the next set has come out.

The print run of original Conspiracy was big enough to torpedo prices. Here’s the graph of Urza’s Saga Exploration:

Exploration

Note the dip around the time before/during Khans of Tarkir being released. The card was $50, and has stayed stable at $10-$15.

This has all the ingredients of a card that should be $50 or so. It’s a four-of in a powerful and effective Legacy deck (Lands) and only has two printings. But because one of them is a modern-day supplemental set, the price is quite reasonable. This loss of 75% of value is repeated elsewhere in the set. Misdirecton went from $30 to $5. Mirari’s Wake dived by half. Hydra Omnivore went from $15 to $3. And so on.

I’m going to treat Take the Crown as something that’s going to be printed a lot, and opened a lot. This has a lot of valuable cards, at a regular booster’s price. You cannot expect a Modern Masters-type effect here, you can only expect prices to take a bath. A big one.

With that in mind, here’s my list of things you need to trade away right now, send out via Pucatrade, whatever the case may be. These are going to fall and fall hard. I’m focusing today’s picks on the nonfoils, and I’ll be interested in seeing how the foil prices fluctuate.

Ghostly Prison – How much do we love these effects? This has been printed three times, plus a FNM promo, and still it’s this high. Granted, those three printings were Champions of Kamigawa, Commander 2011, and Planechase 2012, which are all three possibly not going to add up to the number of these that will be put into circulation. These will be lucky to keep half their value and likely end up in the $3 range.

Hallowed Burial – About to be a dollar rare.

Pariah – Buckle up, because you’re headed for the bulk bin.

Desertion – $6 for a foil or $9 for the Commander’s Arsenal version. Either way, this will hit $2 and stay there for a while. It’s an awesome spell and has long-term potential, but the market is about to be flooded.

Kami of the Crescent Moon – Smug little smile, less than a dollar in price.

Serum Visions – This might stay at $1.50, but that’s the highest. Again, we are about to get a big influx.

Show and Tell – This was $80 before the announcement. It’s not done falling, not nearly. I suspect that $30 is reasonable and $20 is in play. I don’t know if it has enough Commander appeal to soak up extra copies. Side note: I like picking up Griselbrand and Omniscience as the best things to put into play. More Show and Tell cards may lead to more Show and Tell decks.

Inquisition of Kozilek – Possibly the banner card for reprinting, It’s already down to $10 and I will be surprised if it stays above $5. I think two or three bucks.

Phyrexian Arena – Six printings, and three of those had foils too! It’s just so good in just about any deck, though it’s too slow for Modern or Legacy. The casual crowd is going to soak up a lot of these, and when it’s down to $2 or so, I’m going to start buying them.

Burning Wish – The demand for this card just isn’t very high. I think this struggles to stay above $4.

Gratuitous Violence – One of my all-time favorite cards, now destined to be bulk. People just don’t have the intestinal fortitude for this.

Kiln Fiend – I look like a genius, because two weeks ago, I sent out a dozen of these on Puca from old draft boxes. This price was due to scarcity, and it will be at a quarter, maybe fifty cents.

Beast Within – This has had a lot of supplementary printings, but those weren’t high volume. The volume of Take the Crown is going to be much higher, and it’s an uncommon, dropping it to a dollar or less.

Birds of Paradise – Doesn’t matter how many you print. This is going to fall, and then creep up over time. Again. Notably, this hasn’t been printed at all since Magic 2012 five years ago. It’ll fall to $2-$3 and stay there for a long while.

Berserk – Can you believe this is in the set? I still can’t. Printings are Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, FTV:Exiled, and now this. That is a tiny, tiny supply, and I suspect that a lot of Commander games are about to be ended by using this on someone else’s creature. I think the market gets pretty flooded, and this stabilizes around $25 in two weeks, but it could go lower.

Burgeoning – Exactly the path of Exploration. Huge hit to its value, likely to sub-$5.

Forgotten Ancient – We made this card! We will also see it hit bulk.

Platinum Angel – This mythic has been resilient to reprints, and I’m reluctant to forecast too much of a hit. Down to the $5 range seems about right.

Did I leave something off? Let me know in the comments or in the forums!

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Six Things to Expect from Magic in 2016

Yeah, I know, list-style articles are a bit clickbaity. That said, there’s a ton to cover as we head into 2016, and with so many other authors writing great pieces wrapping up 2015, this feels like the best way to lay the groundwork for a big year for Magic.

The year of 2015 wasn’t bad, exactly, but it certainly didn’t continue the momentum of previous years. In many ways, this was expected. You can keep up monstrous growth year-over-year forever, and with the power level on sets being cut back—which I’m a fan of in terms of what it means for the game’s sustainability—it’s not exactly easy to push Magic sets these days. That leads to gimmicks like Expeditions (a fun set), but it also doesn’t sell sets forever the way Snapcaster Mage, Delver of Secrets, and Liliana of the Veil do. It’s not a huge surprise, then, that the numbers so far this year haven’t lived up to years past.

That means 2016 has to, if not increase, at least sustain where Magic is at. Shadows over Innistrad seems like a great way to do that, and we’ll see how the rest goes. On that note, let’s begin.

The Rise of the Colorless (Eldrazi)

Whether it’s Standard, where Eldrazi ramp was already a deck and figures to be greatly helped by Oath of the Gatewatch, or Modern, where decks built around exiling graveyards for Blight Herder and Oblivion Sower are taking off, Eldrazi are everywhere these days.

There’s no reason to expect that to change anytime soon. Eldrazi are going to be a force in Standard until rotation, and possibly even more of one after. I think we can look forward to at least nine more months of Eldrazi in Standard, and possibly 15 before Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch leave the scene. The biggest beneficiary to this is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, who is up from $13 to $16 and shows no signs of slowing down, but the big guy is bringing along plenty in his wake. Awakening Zone, for instance, has been on absolute if predictable tear (I’m proud of how well the community here on MTGPrice got out ahead of that one), and now Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin are joining the fray (Edit: apparently these have spiked hard in the last two days. These will settle much higher than they were pre-spike, but the current inflated prices won’t hold, especially on Eye of Ugin).

Looking forward, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect Ulamog to top out around $30 if Eldrazi Ramp becomes top-tier, and Sanctum of Ugin and Shrine of the Forsaken Gods won’t stay bulk long. More long-term, From Beyond is a surefire bet for future gains.

From Beyond

The Summer 2016 Specialty Release Will Be Multiplayer-Focused

Let’s take a brief walk through history.

2009: Planechase

2010: Archenemy

2011: Commander

2012: Planechase 2012

2013: Modern Masters

2014: Conspiracy

2015: Modern Masters 2015

The Modern Masters sets throw it off over the past few years, but if you look back at the release history, it’s pretty clear that Wizards highly values a multiplayer-centric release during the summer. The annual Commander decks have taken some pressure off of this trend and made room for Modern reprints, but I have to believe that 2016 takes us back to multiplayer land.

My prediction? Archenemy 2. The inclusion of surge and other multiplayer-centric cards in Oath of the Gatewatch is not a coincidence, and I don’t believe that Matt Tabak’s seemingly random reference to the archenemy in this article is, either.

Archenemy 2016. Maybe.

The Price of Standard Will Fall

We know that it already is, as the price of Gideon falls and everything else evens out after the post-Battle for Zendikar spike. But while Jace will remain expensive, the other reason for an expensive 2015 Standard season—fetch lands—will rotate. Say what you want about WOTC’s design decisions over the past few years, but rarely have we seen a single dominant deck. Even Mono-Black Devotion, hated during its run in Standard, wasn’t the only deck to see success, just as Dark Jeskai isn’t the only deck doing so today. Of course, there’s another argument to be made that Modern-focused reprints (Thoughtseize, fetch lands) do Bad Things™ to Standard, but that’s a topic for another day.

Once fetch lands rotate, people won’t be able to put together whatever four colors they feel like playing, and that means more dissemination of the strongest cards in the format. When Shadows over Innistrad releases, I expect the two poles to be Jace decks and Ulamog decks. The difference between then and now is that neither deck will be running $200 in fetch lands just because it can. That should lead to a less-expensive Standard, and while it may not be low enough to satisfy everyone, it will be a step up from what we saw in the second half of 2015.

Emrakul Awaits on Innistrad

Fair warning: I’m not a flavor expert. But I do know storytelling, and it certainly seems like the Eldrazi are too all-encompassing to go away anytime soon. With Kozilek rising up to join Ulamog (RIP Lorthos), it certainly seems like the coalition to drive the Eldrazi off of Zendikar won’t be anything more than a stopgap. I don’t see our planeswalker buddies “killing” the Eldrazi in any way, and even if they do manage to force them off Zendikar, I doubt these monsters are gone forever. As Magic builds toward a coming blockbuster movie in the next few years, it makes sense for Wizards to keep the Eldrazi around—and notice that we haven’t heard from Emrakul in a while.

images

Furthermore, there’s speculation that Shadows over Innistrad is a reference to Shadows over Innsmouth, a Lovecraftian story that has Cthulhu—the baddest Eldrazi this side of the Multiverse—as its villain. I wouldn’t put it past Wizards to title the set after the novella on purpose, and have Emrakul fill the role of said shadow.

A Major Shakeup to the Modern Banlist

The announcement of the Stoneforge Mystic Grand Prix promo is the biggest giveaway here, if you want to read it that way. Personally, I could see it going either way. It wouldn’t shock me to see it included just as a “good promo” even if it wasn’t legal in Modern, thanks to its Legacy playability.

On the other hand, these cryptic words from the announcement article would seem to indicate otherwise: “I wonder how many promo Batterskulls we’ll see next to these new promo Mystics by springtime next year…” The ellipses was included in the original, and it’s no secret that Wizard likes to shake up the banlist before a Pro Tour. I think it’s probably better than 50-50 that Mystic sees an unban before Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch in February, and to answer Mike’s question about how many Batterskulls we’ll see: a lot.

Magic Will Gain Increased Acceptance as an eSport

This is a larger-picture issue, but one that is important to me and worth talking about. I work full-time in Magic, from managing the content on this website to working event coverage for Wizards. I also shoutcast League of Legends and other games regionally, and follow eSports as a whole pretty closely.

For those of you who may not know, eSports is blowing up. League is the largest video game in the world and is being injected with tons of money from venture capitalists right now. It’s sending salaries skyrocketing and quickly driving it toward the “only the big businesses can thrive.” Heroes of the Storm was on ESPN. CS:GO is getting a weekly league aired on TBS in 2016.

The field is, as a whole, going nuts right now. And there’s little reason to believe it will stop. With an incredibly young audience demographic right now, the money isn’t quite there yet. But as these people grow up watching competitive gaming instead of football or basketball, they’re going to retain those loyalties and preferences into adulthood. Ten years from now more, and more 30-year-olds will be watching videogames on TV, and the advertising money is going to truly start flowing.

Magic is doing its best to not be left behind. While video coverage won’t be as frequent in 2016, many people have characterized it as taking a step back to take a step up, and I hope that will be true. Magic may not be as visually exciting as some other games, but it has all the major attributes of other successful eSports, and the Pro Tour scene features both high-level play and a number of intriguing personalities. Viewership on Twitch has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years—both in professional play and streaming—and I have high hopes for the digital and professional future of Magic. The 2016 year will be a key one for the game’s growth, because eSports are no longer a thing of the future: they’re a thing of the now, and Magic needs to continue to grow in this regard.


A bit over my word limit this week, but there you go! This year was a big one for me personally, and as I enter my first full year working full-time in Magic—and with my first kid on the way in May—I have big hopes for 2016.

See you on the other side.

 

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter/Twitch/YouTube

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