Weekend Update for 9/27/14

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By: Jim Marsh

Every week, some cards from Magic the Gathering increase and decease in value based upon a number of factors.

Let’s take a look at some of the cards whose values have changed the most and the factors behind why those changes have occurred.

10 Big Winners of the Week

10. Battlefield Forge (10th Edition)
From $5.13 to $5.56 (8.38%)

M15 drafting has officially come to an end. More packs will be opened of course but it will be a trickle compared to the past few months. Why open a core set when there are wedges and fetchlands to release into the wild?

Battlefield Forge will be used in decks that want consistent mana early on and do not intend the game to continue for long.

Mardu will want to use it in aggressive decks.

Jeskai will want it for the combo deck featuring Jeskai Ascendency that everyone is trying to make happen. I am kicking myself for not picking up a few play sets at $2 each but such is the life of a Magic financier.

Modern Boros Burn and Jeskai Twin decks have also used a couple copies to supplement their mana base so demand will never go to absolute zero.

This will keep the lands in demand but with so many printings it can only get to about $7 or so. This means you can hold onto copies you already own and wait for the price to creep up but there is not enough room to really advise trading for Forges.

9. Temple of Malice (Born of the Gods)
From $5.22 to $5.66 (8.43%)

Slower decks in Standard will want to forego the pain and can make use of the scry lands. Temple of Malice is better served for Mardu midrange or Grixis control strategies.

I have even seen some deck brewers tinker with Temple of Malice in Jund aggro and Burn strategies.

Temple of Malice comes from the much maligned Born of the Gods so there are very few of them compared to the Theros temples. This does not convince me that Malice is going to go much higher than $7.

I still feel the smart money would be going for the Journey into Nyx temples.

Temple of Epiphany would be for Jeskai Midrange or Control. Temple of Malady is perfect for a grindy Abzan deck.

8. Purphoros, God of the Forge (Theros)
From $6.31 to $6.90 (8.43%)

Purphoros is primed to make an impact in Standard. We now have Raise the Alarm, Triplicate Spirits, Hordeling Outburst and the potentially terrifying Empty the Pits. He also pairs up brutally well with Bloodsoaked Champion.

He already seems some play in variations on Boros Burn, Gruul Chord and Red Devotion decks.

Modern has seen him shoe horned into Soul Sisters and abusing Norin the Wary. Some Birthing Pod lists include him in the seventy five.

He is not only a legendary creature but a god and that is going to go a long way towards making him a staple of kitchen tables for a long time to come. I really do not see any downside to hoarding some copies and potentially some good upside.

7. Mikokoro, Center of the Sea (Saviors of Kamigawa)
From $10.69 to $11.74 (9.82%)

Mikokoro is a legendary land that is used sparsely. It is sometimes seen in Modern Hatebear, TurboFog and Enduring Ideal decks.

It is best utilized in decks that create situations where the extra cards cannot be used effectively.

It allows you to pile on the card advantage when paired with Spirit of the Labyrinth and activated on your opponent’s turn after their draw step.

It is yet another group hug card for every Nekusar, the Mindrazer deck.

The decks that run copies only need one or two copies. They are fairly fringe decks with the exception of HateBears but it has not really been making waves lately. This is going to continue to grow slowly but steadily but I do not see a reason to rush on getting copies.

6. Kiora, the Crashing Wave (Born of the Gods)
From $17.97 to $19.91 (10.80%)

Kiora wants to help midrange and control decks accelerate or buy enough turns to establish the battlefield.

It can be used in a wide variety of decks. Temur Chord and Monsters decks are the most likely. Sultai Mindrange and Control decks could used her in generating additional card advantage. It will require a skilled pilot but will be a powerful strategy.

Kiora has even seen very limited eternal play. Restore Balance in Modern and Punshing Sultai in Legacy have both played with it.

Foils have recently jumped from $36.36 to $47.79 over the past few weeks.

She does not have the power level of Xenagos, the Reveler so I do not see why she has the same price tag. Her supply is significantly lower but the decks that do want her are content with only one or two copies.

I would trade her away into the hype.

5. Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver (Theros)
From $9.82 to $11.00 (12.02%)

Ashiok had been a $7 card in the not too distant past. It can be a powerful finisher in decks that are grinding out victory with card advantage.

Ashiok will be used in Sultai and Grixis versions of Midrange and Control decks.

Its second ability will be well served by efficient wedge creatures whose power is much more efficient due to strenuous mana costs. Ashiok just sees a free Mantis Rider for three loyalty counters.

Ashiok has been a $20 card before. I think a few tournament results and some price memory will be able to push it back into that range.

I would trade for them given the opportunity. This is especially true if people still think of it as a $7 to $8 card.

4. Soldier of the Pantheon (Theros)
From $3.05 to $3.49 (14.43%)

Soldier of the Pantheon will be playing dual roles for the coming year.

As a 2/1 for one mana with quasi-evasion it is as aggressive a threat as you can possibly ask. The same protection combined with the life gain clause will allow midrange decks to hold off much larger threats once it becomes outclassed.

How many one mana creatures can endlessly hold back Savage Knuckleblade or Surrak Dragonclaw?

The focus on wedges will give Soldier of the Pantheon another chance to shine. This will help it get past $4 soon.

Soldier of the Pantheon was a rare in a heavily drafted large set and was included in an Event Deck. This will probably keep it from hitting $5.

Time your outs and trade them high. Hopefully you picked them up as toss ins when they were below $2.

3. Flames of the Blood Hand (Betrayers of Kamigawa)
From $5.08 to $5.97 (17.52%)

Can you believe these were under $2 only two months ago?

Eidolon of the Great Revel really put burn on the map.

Shocklands and fetchlands are as cheap as they re ever going to be. This has allowed more players to transition from Standard to Modern. New players in a format tend to gravitate towards budget decks and known archetypes while they get used to everything.

Burn decks are both. They are also a gateway deck from Modern into Legacy. Both versions of the deck rely on a lot of the same staples.

This has been pushing up the value of cards for the deck. You can still grab Fire and Lighting copies for the same price. Modern and Legacy players love foils so I would get those instead.

I would also keep my eyes open for foil copies of Skullcrack. It is only $5 and plays a similar role to Flames at one mana cheaper. Prices are down due to Standard players offloading them for rotation.

2. The Rack (Antiquities)
From $5.51 to $9.51 (72.60%)

Players have been trying to make The Rack work in Modern for a while. Liliana’s Caress was more efficient than Megrim but The Rack is often a Lava Spike with rebound that you only have to pay for once.

Return to Ravnica gave us Shrieking Affliction. Foils of it can still be found for $2 and you should jump on those.

Waste Not from M15 may have finally given us the critical mass of cheap effects that bump discard from a rogue deck to fringe play.

Who does not want free zombies, cards and mana for playing Raven’s Crime over and over?

The rack was $4 only a month ago.

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The only foil version of the card is from Time Spiral. I see it on eBay for $8 and I see vendors offering $10 for it. There is something there. Grab these. You will be glad you did.

I would also play both sides and grab some cheap Obstinate Baloths.

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1. Sorin, Solemn Visitor (Khans of Tarkir)
From $11.98 to $27.40 (128.71%)

We all know that pre-release prices are guaranteed to be inflated. This is especially the case with planeswalkers since retailers do not want to be sitting on the next Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

It is normal for Planeswalkers to pre-order high and to sink back down to reality as they are introduced to the rigors of actual play.

It is unusual for one to jump up like Sorin does. He can be a slower Talrand’s Invocation which is great in limited but not really that exciting in constructed play.

His +1 makes racing impossible and makes token decks happy. He provides a free Cruel Feeding for your entire team.

He is going to be seeing some experimentation in Mardu Tokens and Orzhov Midrange. He seems custom made to team up with Brimaz.

He is already $30 so how much higher do I think he can get? The answer is still the same as any other Planeswalker at release. Trade him away as soon as your draft is over.

There is a 90% chance you will thank me for that later.

5 Big Losers of the Week

5. Courser of Kruphix (Born of the Gods)
From $17.28 to $16.03 (-7.23%)

Courser is still a fantastic creature. He will be played in every single deck with access to green mana and he just makes fetchlands seem unfair.

He is going to be in Abzan Control, Sultai Midrange, Jund and Naya Monsters not no mention RG Chord and probably more.

He is even showing up in Modern Jund, Birthing Pod and GB Rock decks.

The problem is that he is in the Clash Pack. Courser cannot maintain a $20 price tag when you can go online and order a Clash Pack for $22 that gives you a Courser along with a lot of other good cards like Nykthos and Prophet of Kruphix.

I doubt he will go down much further because he does provide incredible value but his ceiling does not provide much room to grow. He is a fatnastic place to store value and will be very liquid if you are looking for something to trade for.

4. Tidespout Tyrant (Dissension)
From $7.25 to $6.67 (-8.00%)

Tidespout Tyrant was one of the top targets in Legacy Reanimtor and Food Chain decks.

Unfortunately those decks only need a single copy each and neither have really been doing very well in the metagame.

It is still a bomb in Commander but with so little play and so much competition at the top from Griselbrand and Emrakul I think Tidespout has had its day. I would trade these away.

3. Birds of Paradise (8th Edition)
From $5.45 to $4.84 (-11.19%)

Despite being one of the most printed rares in the history of Magic I still feel Birds are underpriced.

They are a staple in Modern Melira Pod and any green decks that want a variety of colors right off the bat. Its role has become diminished since the widespread adoption of Noble Hierarch but it is still one of the best one mana creatures ever printed.

It is a tremendous way to start enable Jeskai Ascendancy Storm to win on turn two.

It is a staple in Commander, Cubes and casual decks the world over.

Foils can command a premium. Did you know that the 7th Edition Foil buylists for $85?

You can still buy some cheap regular copies as low as $3.51. I would stock up. I think M16 will feature Birds of Paradise and really help the wedges shine.

Even if that is not the case the day will come when it will be back in standard and prices will jump to $10 for a copy. In the mean time you can always move them to your casual friends.

2. Blood Moon (8th Edition)
From $19.65 to $16.57 (-15.67%)

Blood Moon is a powerful sideboard card that punishes greedy manabases and shuts down powerful lands like Gavony Township and Tectonic Edge.

The printing of more fetchlands in Modern makes it slightly worse but it will still hold a place in powerful decks.

Modern uses it in Affinity, UR Delver, Twin, Red Deck Wins and Pyromancer decks.

Legacy uses it in Jeskai Miracles, Sneak and Show, Imperial Painter and it plays a crucial role in Goblin Stompy.

Copies from The Dark can be had on ebay for as little as $20. This is a steal considering some vendors are currently listing them for as much as $45.

1. Brainstorm (Friday Night Magic)
From $109.99 to $85.17 (-22.57%)

There used to be two ways to get foil Brainstorms and both had the same artwork.

Conspiracy came around and introduced a fresh new supply for a fraction of the cost of the older and scarcer copies.

Brainstom is still one of the best draw spells ever printed and is a frequent addition in decks that run blue.

Legacy uses it in OmniTell, Sultai Delver, UW Miracles, ANT and more.

The recent SCG Legacy Open in Atlanta on 9/14/2014 featured twenty four copies in the Top 8.

It is only a common but it is a staple that will be played until it is banned. Legacy players will need four copies and will want foils for their decks.

I think the Mercadian Masques foil will maintain much of its value for being an old frame foil of a set that was opened in such small numbers compared to the sets today.

FNM copies lost their luster as the Modern frame version. Conspiracy provides a ready and cheaper supply. I think it is instructive to see that earlier this year FNM foils were only $20. I do not think it is going back that low but you should get out before we find out how low it will go.

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6 thoughts on “Weekend Update for 9/27/14”

  1. i love the ending comment, since the people at my local store are always telling me to by sleeves instead of actual cards

  2. I wish I could take credit for it but I did not write the last paragraph.

    I will add a disclaimer that you should always have sleeves to protect the value of the cards you are playing with. Wear and tear make trading and selling cards more difficult.

  3. Birds in Standard again? That’s a bold assertion – I’ve gotten the feeling over the last ten years that Wizards doesn’t want 1 mana omnicolor fixing (Thus the Caryatids) in standard, although if they showed up as a rare in MM2 that would make some sense.

    However, I guess there IS a tricolored set, and if WotC wants to see these strategies thrive they’ll have to give slightly better fixing. I still don’t know if I fully expect to see birds in M16 – or standard- ever again; although I’d be very happy to see them. I loved them in standard, I loved shocking them; they’re a really iconic card to me. If I could run Birds and Llanowar Elvish Mystic in standard again it would be a hell of a throwback.

  4. There will be an m16, no core sets after that. Easily verifiable with a quick google search, wotc has a nice infographic about the next year of magic on the site somewhere

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