Tag Archives: zendikar expeditions

PROTRADER: All About Expeditions

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Remember the first time we saw this?

Steam Vents

Disillusioned with a lack of enemy fetch lands coming in Battle for Zendikar, players already had their expectations set low. As the first few trickles of news came in, no one expected much to change.

Then we caught the surprise news, and the community was shaken out of its stupor. Zendikar Expeditions were coming, and fetching would never be the same.

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Developments from the Pro Tour Road

(It’s been a while since I wrote a freely-available article, so I wanted to take this opportunity to do so. I hope you enjoy! – Corbin)

By the time this article comes out, you’ll be knee-deep in Pro Tour speculation, with all the pros gathering in Wisconsin to battle it out for the plane of Zendikar (and up to $40,000 on the line). Personally, I’ve been on the road for a week at this point, from Grand Prix Madison to a bus and some downtime in Milwaukee. I’m not usually much of a story guy, but I can safely say that fun has been had, drafts have been drafted, and Canadian Highlander is the best new format I’ve encountered since EDH.

So how about one quick story: Marshall Sutcliffe and I were playing a game earlier today, and I—having not built my own deck for the format yet—was simply playing my Karador, Ghost Chieftain Commander deck with my commander shuffled in. It’s far from optimized for the format, but due to the grindy nature of the deck, it actually competes reasonably well with some of the decks in the Canadian Highlander. Anyway, there were some great games today, from Marshall Mind Twisting me for five only to see me shrug it off and go to town over the next ten turns with Life from the Loam and cycling lands on the way to a win.

But the best story is probably the following: I had to mulligan twice, and my hand by the fifth turn was Unburial Rites, Sun Titan, Karmic Guide, and Animate Dead, and I had just cast Oblivion Ring on Marshall’s Liliana of the Veil. With four lands in play and nothing else to do, my hand was completely dead. Luckily, Marshall had my back and Mind Twisted me for five off a Grim Monolith. I untapped, flashbacked Unburial Rites, returned Sun Titan, returning Animate Dead, returning Karmic Guide, returning Acidic Slime. Pretty sick.

After a few turns of battling like this, Marshall was at one life and had wiped the board. We both whiffed for a few turns, then I topdecked Birthing Pod. He followed by topdecking an answer. I topdecked Makeshift Mannequin, starting the chain over. Given that I had Swords to Plowshares in hand to Marshall’s no cards in hand and Grindstone in play, I felt fairly safe from Painter’s Servant combo. It would take an absurd topdeck to beat me.

Which means, of course, that Marshall ripped Dig Through Time to find Fabricate (to fetch Painter’s Servant), then had exactly enough mana to Muddle the Mixture my removal spell. That’s just one of the crazy awesome games I’ve seen out of this format, and I highly recommend giving it a look.

Could it be financially relevant? Maybe. The format has been around for a while, but hasn’t taken off, nor do I think it necessarily will, given that it appeals primarily to competitive players. I will say that it’s already more of a thing than Tiny Leaders, so I hope we don’t see a repeat of that debacle. If there’s interest (let me know!), I could revisit this topic in the coming weeks with a more financially based perspective. I tentatively have a retrospective on my post-rotation Standard picks slated for next week, so just let me know what you want to see!

Now, let’s get on to some more immediately-relevant matters.

Standard Spikes

We’ve seen some major movement over the last few weeks, and while much of it has been expected (and predicted in this column), there’s still plenty worth talking about.

Let’s start with Dragonlord Ojutai. Still the best finisher in Standard (and in Canadian Highlander if you’re Randy Buehler), Ojutai has doubled in price over the last two weeks. Truthfully, there’s not much to say here except that Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (which I wrote about in detail last week) will continue to be played across the field, and Ojutai will almost always accompany it. I don’t expect the price to crater anytime soon.

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Dragonlord Ojutai

The same goes for Den Protector, which just keeps going and going. I’m going to be honest: there’s not much reason to believe that Dragons of Tarkir cards won’t continue climbing, or at the least remain steady, for the next few weeks and months. The set was, unsurprisingly, a combination of not heavily opened and very, very good.

Which leads me to Ojutai’s Command, which as you saw in Monday’s Floor Report from LengthyXemit (related: I’m the content manager around these parts, so let me know if you want to see more of those). On topic, Ojutai’s Command was bought out on site at Grand Prix Madison at $3 and under, and the growth on this has been steady. I cannot stress enough that this returns Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, which seems to be the most important card in the format. I see this easily moving past $5 and maybe to $10 on a post-Pro Tour spike, and I love picking these up at Friday Night Magic.

Other cards that have shown strong movement are Mantis Rider and Dromoka’s Command. These were both major calls here a few weeks ago, and while another one, Rattleclaw Mystichas shown only marginal growth, these two are steadily rising and even exploding.

I’ve seen Event Decks come and go, and just like it has in the past, the printing hasn’t destroyed prices like many feared. Hangarback  Walker has shrugged it off, while Dromoka’s Command has in fact grown from $3 to $7.

dromokascommand

If you’re in on any of these from when we tagged them as pickups one to two months ago, the time to sell will be after the Pro Tour concludes this weekend. Sunday through Wednesday will be the peak for many of these prices. Remember when the time comes to not be greedy, and instead be happy to lock in profits.

Fetch Lands

Much has been made of how much many dealers are paying on-site for fetch lands, with prices on site for Polluted Delta and Flooded Strand going as high as $22. That’s nuts for a card with a price of $25 TCGplayer mid, and the truth is these may not come down for a while. With Standard stretching so much to four- or even five-color manabases—and even the aggressive decks being two colors with fetches—these could continue to climb over the next three months.

But don’t panic. These are being driven heavily by Standard, and while I imagine many players will hold onto these even after rotation, they will likely fall some before rotation hits. That’s what we saw with Zendikar fetches and with Return to Ravnica shock lands, and I expect the same trend to repeat. Still, there’s definitely value in having these in your binder right now. I’m also not definitively opposed to selling these at $20 or more now in cash, because there’s little reason to believe you won’t be able to reacquire them at at least $20 in six months. For reference, Misty Rainforest and Scalding Tarn fell to $10 to $12 in the same respective time period.

Zendikar Expeditions

These have certainly come down rather quickly. Remember that a large amount of product (I’m not applying a made-up percentage, just speaking in generalities), is opened within the first two weeks of a set’s lifetime. I don’t think we’re at the valley on these yet, but I also don’t think we’re that far off. People have been rushing to sell these because the majority of people would rather have hundreds of dollars over a single vanity item, and those who do want to splurge for them aren’t in any rush to pick them up as a result.

But if the behavior of fetch lands over the past two months tells us anything, it’s that sets become “old” very quickly, and something that was plentiful seemingly yesterday gets rare fast. Keep a close eye on Zendikar Expeditions if you think you might want to acquire them, because the floor can’t be that far away.

A Called Shot

I made this a Pick of the Week on Brainstorm Brewery a few weeks back (along with Wingmate Roc), but I want to reiterate it here. There are very few surprises left in cards at this point, as we haven’t seen any huge impact (yet) from Battle for Zendikar, and nearly everything that we expected to spike has spiked already.

Hidden Dragonslayer hasn’t yet. But you better believe it’s on the way. Look at this chart.

Hidden Dragonslayer chart

That’s the look of a card about to explode. There will be plenty of people playing Green-White Megamorph at the Pro Tour, and Dragonslayer is almost always at least a two-of. In addition to killing big things, it also is a fine lifelinking two-drop against Atarka Red. Combine that with a chart looking like this, and you have a recipe for a card you can trade for at $1 at FNM and sell for $5 next week. Warden of the First Tree is less exciting given that it’s showing no momentum at $3, but I’d also keep an eye on it this weekend, given its status as a mythic.

See You at the Pro Tour

That’s it for this week. I hope you tune into the Pro Tour this weekend (I’ll be the guy in the background typing on his laptop). Until next time, as always, thanks for reading!

–Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter/Twitch/YouTube

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PROTRADER: Pro Tour Prep: Battle for Zendikar

BRIEF PROGRAMMING NOTE: Today’s edition of Accumulated Knowledge is coming out a day early, so as to give the most time before the Pro Tour. As always, MTGPrice will be updating you over the weekend, so make sure you check in all weekend!

Good morning, and welcome back to Pro Tour Weekend! Hopefully you are reading this before the event starts (or during the first draft), which means you’ll still have plenty of time to get in on some cards. We are gonna get right down to business again, so this paragraph is going to end… now.

Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar: I’m starting to have the feeling that this weekend will be more like “Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir, part 2”. Atarka’s Command, Dragonlord Ojutai, and Den Protector have all had big rebounds, while cards like Deathmist Raptor, Kolaghan’s Command, and Dragonlord Atarka have stayed strong. Dromoka’s Command has sneakily risen back up to above $6 after the Event Deck printing, and remains one of the best cards in the format in terms of versatility. If you still haven’t played with Dromoka’s Command, you’re missing out- it’s an incredible skill-tester that is typically going to be a 4x in lists that play it. Likewise, Atarka’s Command is truly outrageous1 and is THE lynchpin in the red deck du jour.

BRIEF PROGRAMMING NOTE: We are going to break down a bunch of different decks and individual cards from here on out, starting with the ones listed at the top. I just wanted to let you know.

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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.

    Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 5.49.05 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 5.49.15 PM

    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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