This Week In Theros

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I’m really not a fan of the huge lag between the reveal of cards and the time when they can begin shipping. I also don’t enjoy that I can’t do paper drafts during prerelease weekend, or the time after prerelease. Making me wait a whole week for updates to my Commander decks, my Cube, and anything else I have going on is just plain cruel.

And now that I’m done yelling at clouds, let’s look at the things that jumped up in price this week!

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Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Theros Beyond Surprising

Readers,

This is the part of the spoiler season is where I check EDHREC data and do a double take. I could have taken a stab at guessing how the week one deck distributions would shake out but I would have been way off. For the set, my guess would have been.

  1. Uro
  2. Athreos
  3. Kroxa
  4. Thassa
  5. Klothys

I got exactly one of those right and the others were WAY off. If you’re guessing that I had the #1 deck in my Top 5 but just not in the #1 spot, YOU’RE way off. Here’s how it shook out.

I liked Siona, but Siona at number 1 is pretty breathtaking. Uro below Kroxa, Thassa below Dalakos and Athreos below Purphoros are all pretty big surprises, which is why my accuracy rate started going up when I based my picks on what people were doing and not what I assumed they would do.

What people ARE doing is building two Siona decks for every one Uro deck, so let’s dive into Siona, shall we?

Number one with a bullet is this auto-include. This is sold out on every site but TCG Player but it still hasn’t quite crested the $3 mark there. With copies in Commander, Explorers of Ixalan and Gideon’s spellbook, it’s going to be pretty tough for this card to get over $5 but I think with a potential feeding frenzy we could get there. I think this is a little volatile, too recent and too abundant to care about and while it may feel good to snag a forgotten $1 copy or two, I think your best case scenario is a buylist double up after fees and while that’s good, that’s unlikely to be something you do with more than a dozen or so copies at most. If you can buylist 100 of these and make a buck or two a copy, you’re going to feel OK but I think the potential to be left holding the bag is too high to recommend this. Cards like this are a target, though, especially older ones.

The time period where one store runs out and restocks and another store still has copies at the old price is fascinating because you can see jumps in real time if you check often enough. This card doesn’t know if it’s $2 or $10 but I suspect even if it’s played less than we think, it’s old enough to end up wedged between the pre- and post-spike price and that’s a nice payday for the quick and the witty. I like this a lot more than S.B.F. and I think this may be the best spec of the article if you can find these. Stores that aren’t super organized will still have these in their bulk rares, so check there first.

Old Theros was a while back and a second spike on a card that has less stock than people think is primed for movement. I’m a real champion of this as a spec and there aren’t cheap copies to ferret out like there were last time so this is going to be purely controlled by the supply on TCG Player hitting a tipping point or not.

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This is one of those specs that got away. I loved it, saw the price was flat forever, never said anything to anyone about it to prove I liked it, bought 0 copies on purpose and when it spiked, it seemed so obvious in hindsight. I have a tendency to second-guess myself even on specs that are super obvious and sometimes it’s just a matter of TCG Player restocking as fast as it sold out, something moderate, organic demand has a tendency to do. If there were a way to sort by cards that move briskly but don’t fluctuate in price much, I bet this would be among those. You had a chance to get in for half a buck and I bet no one recommended it and that feels pretty bad. I want to say this is done going up, but we’ve established I don’t know anything about this card.

I don’t love this as a spec. I do, however, want to point out that this was never affordable, 0 boats were missed, no one could have made more than a buck before fees here and that’s crazy. EDH cards that are this powerful don’t fly under the radar anymore. Is that partly my fault? Yeah, but we also have to address the reality we live in and the reality is that new cards aren’t usually great EDH specs. I like Siona making Rether $8 but I don’t like Siona, savez?

Crashing Drawbridge

This isn’t a spec but it’s hilarious because the deck makes infinite tokens at sorcery speed and this is the only way to win that turn in Green and White without using them to make infinite mana or gain a ton of life. When I brewed the deck for CoolStuff I was durdling by recasting Rancor and saccing the creature to Phyrexian Altar until I could kill them with Aetherflux Reservoir. This is neat.

Perhaps we should have had the “second spike” discussion last week but I was writing about something else. There’s still money to be made and all of the copies haven’t been accounted for yet.

That does it for me. This deck is being built twice as much as decks I thought would be built more and while that won’t necessarily hold (there could be an early spike due to excitement around the Shielded By Faith combo, a combo I’ll point out needs Crashing Drawbridge) it’s good to know what’s really getting built.

Until next time!

The Watchtower 01/20/20 – Specs Beyond Death

Theros Beyond Death is upon us, and despite the official set release not being for another four days, everyone is well underway trying out the new cards on Arena and MTGO. Now that we have sets coming out earlier on the online platforms than the paper release date, it’s more difficult for us as speculators to get in on the cards that perform well early on before they see a price spike, and that means that we need to be even more on our toes when it comes to evaluating and acquiring the new cards. With that said, I think there are a few cards from THB that are definitely worth paying close attention to.

Klothys, God of Destiny

Price today: $10
Possible price: $20

The first card I want to take a look at is Klothys, God of Destiny. At first glance she already looks pretty decent – an indestructible enchantment that can make you mana or drain your opponent each turn, and if you get up to the required seven devotion she can start throwing hands. But once you start thinking about the play patterns that this card can enable, I think it’s even better than it seems. Albeit costing two more mana, she’s rather reminiscent of our old friend Deathrite Shaman – she can exile lands from graveyards to make mana, and given enough resources can provide a four point life swing every turn. I’d pay 3 mana just for an enchantment that did that, so the fact that there’s also an indestructible 4/5 body attached to it that can smash face later in the game is just pure upside.

The one caveat with Klothys is that there isn’t really an obvious existing shell for her to slot into. Despite this, I think she’s more than powerful enough to see play in any or all of Standard, Modern and Pioneer; she made the Arena Decklists top 10 list for Standard play and has been talked up by the Pioneer Cast too. She’d be great in an aggressive Gruul shell in Standard or Pioneer, and could possibly even find a home in Modern Jund, feeding on fetchlands and offsetting Dark Confidant triggers.

There are plenty of copies available at $10, and the gorgeous non-foil showcase version is only $15 too. If Klothys sees decent Standard play she’ll be a $15-20 mythic, and if we get a multi-format star then I don’t think $30 is at all unreasonable.

Eat to Extinction

Price today: $2
Possible price: $8

Eat to Extinction is comparable to Vraska’s Contempt from back in Ixalan; both 4 mana black spells that exile a creature or planeswalker at instant speed, with a bonus effect tacked on. The two life gained from Contempt helped shore the midrange and control decks up against what was a very strong mono-red deck in Standard at the time, enabling slower strategies to battle on in a field of aggro. Effectively surveilling one probably isn’t as strong as that, but does still provide some additional value for you, particularly if you’re looking to enable Escape cards.

Vraska’s contempt was selling for a touch under $5 on release of the set, but saw a quick climb up to $10 and even flirted with $20 at its peak in Standard. It’s not hard to see Eat to Extinction following a similar pattern, especially seeing as exiling rather than destroying is going to be more important than ever in this Standard format. With the Escape mechanic looking to do some serious work (Uro appears to be one of the best cards in the set) and multiple indestructible Gods running around, instant speed exile effects are going to be necessary and powerful. The fact that it hits planeswalkers too is important – even though Oko no longer holds his crown, Nissa and Teferi are still hugely prevalent in Standard, and having answers to them is a must.

Woe Strider

Price today: $1.50
Possible price: $4

For the first time since Nantuko Husk was reprinted in Magic Origins, Wizards have given us a free sacrifice outlet strapped to a creature in Standard. The premise of that effect is powerful in and of itself, but Woe Strider gives us a lot more on top of that. A 3/2 for three mana that brings along a 0/1 Goat is fine, but giving the card Escape as well and coming back as a 5/4 makes it a hard card to deal with. Not having to pay any mana or life in order to sacrifice creatures can make for a strong engine – so what can we combine it with to gain value off the ability?

Mono-black has already shown to be one of the early decks to beat in this new Standard format, and one of the breakout cards from the deck has been Nightmare Shepherd. Shepherd has already seen sharp price movement, but Woe Strider is still being figured out in these decks and so is lagging behind a bit. Pairing Nightmare Shepherd with Woe Strider and creatures that have enter-the-battlefield triggers like Ayara, First of Locthwain and the old devotion cornerstone Gray Merchant of Asphodel can quickly get out of hand, resulting in some, uh, Recurring Nightmares. If even that’s not enough for you though, try throwing a Bolas’s Citadel into the mix too. You can play your black creatures off the top of your library and use Woe Strider to scry away anything you don’t want, and it gives an extra three pips of devotion for your Gray Merchants, so you’ll only need two or three Gray Merchant triggers before your opponent is really rather dead.

I wouldn’t be expecting a huge spike on this one, but seeing as it’s currently only $1.50 I’d want to be buying a few and looking for a buylist out here – could be a nice double or triple-up.


A final bit of advice: when it comes to evaluating new cards, listen to the pros. Watch their streams and read their articles; they’re generally a lot better than financiers at evaluating whether or not a card will do well or find a home in a particular format.


David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

Theros This Week

Here we are, prerelease weekend of Theros: Beyond Death and already we’re seeing some major price adjustments, which I’ll go over in more detail momentarily.

A freebie for everyone: The simplest way to increase the value of your collection is to trade away everything you open at the prerelease. Ask around, shout, check with everyone because that chase mythic is never going to be more chase than it is now, and you’ll get a lot of value from the rares as well. 

The Temples are resilient to this, because there is already a fair amount of them out in the world. If we were getting the other five color pairs of some brand-new cycle, those lands would be in super-high demand this weekend. 

Trading away everything you open is the most basic move in Magic finance because even if you’re trading away Oko at $20 before it gets to $40, you’re unloading so many other cards at their peak that they will never get to again. 

If you’re the type of person who likes examples, how about that other Planeswalker from Throne of Eldraine, Garruk, Cursed Huntsman:

Trading him away at $13 looks pretty genius, no? 

Can I interest you in trading away some Robber of the Rich at $10, before it began to drop like a coyote off of a cliff?

How about trading away the now-bulk and Limited all-star Harmonious Archon when it premiered at $4?

My point here is that trading away the brand-new cards is a shotgun approach, in that you do it to everything and don’t hold back. 

As for the big winners this week, remember that we don’t have any cards in hand yet. Dealers aren’t officially allowed to sell them, eBay orders aren’t allowed to ship until January 24th either. The price movement we’re seeing is all because of pre-orders, and a fear of missing out.

Thassa, Deep-Dwelling (TCG Market has gone from about $7 to about $20)

There have been some outlier sales happening that have messed with the pricing results, and that’s always a risk with TCGPlayer. Bad data or insane players can cause the listed median to vary quite wildly, or even just a buyout of the ten cheapest copies means that the median listing is weighted towards the most optimistic sellers.

The card is moving, though, don’t you doubt that. There’s a lot of reasons why, the most fun of which is that this version of Thassa has an exile clause that allows you blink creatures you’ve stolen and keep them permanently. This is official, straight from the Gatherer webpage for the card. 

It does a whole lot of other fun things, too. It’s true that you don’t want to flicker your Hydroid Krasis, but you’re tickled to death to flicker your Niv-Mizzet Reborn. Tapping things is just gravy, but a very tasty recipe.

I do not think Thassa will hold this $20 price. It’s not going to light up other Constructed formats, it’s not a four-of in any deck, and this is the ‘we don’t have cards in hand yet but this idea of a card is totally worth $20’ phase of life.

Heliod, Sun-Crowned (up to $23 from $17)

The big mover here is the assorted decks that want to do something infinitely, in Pioneer, Modern, or Commander. For the 100-card format, New Heliod is a redundant combo piece, but one that’s very difficult to deal with. For the other formats, it’s infinite life or damage, depending on the build and the ideas being cooked up. Will this avoid a ban in Pioneer or Modern? Is Walking Ballista/Heliod worse in Modern than Splinter Twin/Deceiver Exarch? I don’t know but I do like what White Devotion has going on in Standard to make Heliod good, just not this good by itself. 

If Heliod stays unbanned in Modern and Pioneer, then this is a pretty good price. If you don’t think he’ll survive, then stay away. I wish I could give you explicit instructions here, but that’s the situation.

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (up to $26 from $20)

The first casting is a bad Growth Spiral but you’re playing this for the long-term value. This is backbreaking and cheap and thank goodness you need to really focus on milling yourself to make this good. Even the good mill cards like Merfolk Secretkeeper and Wall of Lost Thoughts struggle to keep up. 

I think the Titans look powerful but the repeated Escape is really difficult to trigger without the help of good, cheap, repeated self-mill. There’s no equivalent to Hedron Crab (thank heaven!) but the closest I could come up with already went from bulk to $2.50 because of Secretkeeper: Drowned Secrets.

Sure, Hushbringer lets you just play the Titans into their own ignored triggers, but for two mana, this enchantment can fuel Uro like nothing else. I don’t think it’s worth investing into, but you’re going to see it creep up a little more in hopes of making this deck work.

Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis (down to $7 from a pre-order high of $35)

Now this…this might be too far gone. Yes, her escape is six mana and four cards, but $7 is too low. I think she’s got a rebound coming. Everyone is ignoring her in favor of Titans and seven-mana Sagas but this is just good, over and over again. Self-contained engines are not to be ignored lightly, and this is a huge drop when we haven’t tried her out yet. 

I want to be clear: I’m not planning on buying up a huge pile. There’s one TCG vendor with 48 copies at $7.28 and that’s a clear sign that at least one vendor doesn’t believe in Elspeth’s newest card. I will not be shocked when she’s a three-of in a lot of different decks, and rises back up to $15.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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