By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)
Fate Reforged continues to make its’ presence felt across Standard, Modern and even Legacy this week, with plenty of hits and misses arising from the latest set. Standard is awash with new and innovative deck ideas, resulting in plenty of card movement, and new format Tiny Leaders is also riding a hype wave, generating a handful of significant price spikes. Here’s the down low on the major price shifts in the world of paper Magic: The Gathering this week.
5 Winners of the Week
1. Temur Ascendancy (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $.38 to .$70 (84%)
There are few things more fun in the world of Magic: The Gathering than having a jank rare come out of nowhere late in the Standard season as the centerpiece in a brand new combo deck. If you haven’t heard, the deck is mono-green, leveraging Nykthos, Karametra’s Acolyte and Voyaging Satyr to generate infinite mana with Temur Sabertooth. Basically you need to be able to generate 1 more mana with whatever you’re tapping, bouncing and replaying than it’s costing you to bounce (1G) and play it (1G-3G). Temur Ascendancy gives the mana dork haste, enabling the whole combo, along with providing random cards off your big guys when you need to dig to go off. As a bulk rare, there is some upside still be to be had here if the deck continues to do well, but unlike Jeskai Ascendancy it isn’t likely to find a home in other decks, and it would be hard pressed to break $3 as a previously unloved and heavily opened rare. That being said, there may be locals who aren’t turned on to the card and will throw some into trades to add value to your trade binder.
Verdict: Acquire in Trades
2. Valorous Stance (Fate Reforged, Uncommon): $0.89 to $1.39 (+56%)
Many pros are saying that this flexible spell is the most important card in Fate Reforged for Standard purposes. That gives it an outside chance of achieving Stoke the Flames status as an overpriced uncommon from a small set, especially given the easy casting cost and plethora of decks in the format with access to a single white mana and the need to kill big guys and protect their own threats. It’s more likely that we see this settle around $2, but heading into the fall, I could see it boosting again because of the relatively scarcity of Fate Reforged (driven by the short period before the appearance of Dragons of Tarkir and then Modern Masters 2). I like this one as a throw-in target, but I won’t be buying any for now.
Verdict: Acquire in Trades
3. Yavimaya Coast (10th Edition, Rare): $4.72 to $6.03 (+28%)
With Sultai control/mid-range builds looking like the deck to beat in post-Fate Reforged Standard, plenty of players are looking to pick up lands that work in the deck. You should be selling or trading into this pricing, along with Shivan Reef, as the fall rotation of M15 will send painlands crashing back to $1-2.
4. Anafenza, the Foremost (Fate Reforged, Mythic): $5.82 to $6.72 (+15%)
In mid-December during the usual fall set price lulls, I was picking up copies of Anafenza around $2 in the hopes of long range Modern play and possible Tiny Leaders play. Both of these scenarios have become real, and sooner than expected, and this goat loving mythic dame is also looking pretty useful in Abzan decks increasingly interested in reducing graveyard card counts to hamper opponents delve strategies. Foils especially are on the rise, with a cresting wave of Tiny Leaders hype over the last 2 weeks, and I think you want to be snapping up any copies you can find locally at last week’s prices wherever possible and looking for options to cash out at $5-10+/copy, or just hold for mid-term gains. Non-foils may have a couple of dollars left in them, but if you got in around Nov/Dec, you may just want to out them and move into something overlooked for Tiny Leaders or Modern play.
Format: Standard/Modern/Tiny Leaders
Verdict: Sell/Trade (Buy/Trade For Foils At Lagging Prices)
5. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx (Theros, Rare): $2.91 to $3.25 (+12%)
I’m sitting on about 60 copies of this powerful mana generator so I’m always happy to see it’s prospects rise, even if they’re unlikely to impact the long term game I’m playing. In Standard, the increased interest is sourced from the sudden feasibility of both Red and Green devotion strategies, based on new cards in Fate Reforged that help get more mana symbols on the table in a hurry. Even so, both of those decks will need to put up results for this card to break $5-6, and I’m much more interested in continuing to acquire for a future $10+ sell point 2-3 years down the road, when the supply has dried up. There’s always the possibility of a reprint on this card, but it isn’t easily slapped into most supplemental products and won’t find a home in any main set releases for several years yet, so I like the odds that this finds a peak before a post-rotation trough.
Format: Standard/Modern/EDH/Tiny Leaders
Bonus Pick: Zirilian of the Claw (Mirage, Rare) $2.00 to ???
Zirilian of the Claw searches Dragons out of your library for 5-mana, an effect that is only ever going to see play at kitchen tables by Dragon-happy EDH players and little kids. Given that we’re headed into a heavily hyped set called Dragons of Tarkir however, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would try to spike this card by buying out the limited supply across the Internet. At the time of this writing there are a mere 9 copies left on TCGPlayer, with prices ranging from $10 to $18. This card going to $6 would have been reasonable on casual demand, but this price is bonkers, so dig up any copies you have in your bulk box and out them immediately to buylists or via Ebay/TCG to reap the rewards from the hype train, that is, assuming there are even buyers to milk.
3 Top Losers of the Week
1. Temporal Trespass (Fate Reforged, Mythic): $3.92 to $3.11 (-21%)
Time Walk sounds so sexy. In fact, some folks thought it sounded so sexy they were pre-ordering this card over $20. This is a sad time for those people, because the consensus is that this card is as unplayable as the last few similar cards. I fully expect this to show up in a Woo Brew in a few years, but until then, you should be dropping these like they’re hot.
Format(s): Casual/Modern (one day?)
2. Warden of the First Tree (Fate Reforged, Rare): $8.67 to $6.96 (-20%)
He’s not as good as we hoped, now get over it. Though he is seeing some play in Abzan decks, he’s not greatly improving those decks, they aren’t expanding in the format, and I fully expect this card to hit $3-4 within the month. Get out however you can and into something with more upside.
3. Torrent Elemental (Fate Reforged, Mythic): $5.58 to $4.78 (-14%)
This card was on my “sleepers” list a couple of weeks back when there were whispers that it would find a home in Sultai lists. That premise has come to pass, but even the decks that are playing it aren’t running more than a single copy typically, and many builds aren’t even bothering since those decks already have plenty to do each turn. I think this settles back around $3-4 for now, but watch for a breakout performance to pump it back up.
- Rings of Brighthearth is also spiking from a likely buyout, possibly related to Tiny Leaders hype. Time to sell.
- Tiny Leaders is well into hype engine mode, with a plethora of new #mtgfinance and strategy articles written by pros and finance writers over the last 2 weeks. Finding overlooked cards that are good in the format and stockpiling foils is looking like a solid play, even if the hype dies out longer term. Cards like Unearth, Varolz, the Scar-Striped and Doran, the Siege Tower have already spiked hard. Find a target.
- Tasigur did damage on camera in Legacy this weekend, attacking alongside Tarmogoyf and further increasing the likelihood that foils are a good buy. Remember Snapcaster Mage is a big set staple that hit $100+ on strong Modern/Legacy play. Tasigur is from a small set, but not quite as powerful, and also a legend. Even still, I can see his foils hitting $40 this year, from the current $21-$23. I’m buying.
James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.
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