Jace, the $40 Origins Mythic

Blue is Back in Standard

For a set that is still being drafted, I find it hard to believe that there is a mythic that is $40 and still rising within the set.

However, Jace, Vyrn’s Prodigy has spiked to levels (for blue mythics) we haven’t seen since the last time Jace spiked this hard in Standard. And last time he kept going, past $100 eventually.

Let’s be clear – Vryn’s Prodigy is no Mind Sculptor, nowhere even close. First of all, Prodigy is a creature – a Merfolk Looter that will flip into Telepath Unbound once yet get five cards into your graveyard. Granted, this is pretty easy to accomplish, especially in decks based mainly around spells like Jeskai Tempo or Esper Dragons.

Even once he is flipped, he still affects the game only in marginal ways for each ability. Giving creatures -2/-0 is not bouncing them, he isn’t Fatesealing your opponent out of the game, and he isn’t giving you direct card advantage and/or selection. So what’s the deal? Why is this new Jace’s price, whose power was initially dismissed out-of-hand initially by many players, starting to mirror the version so good that it was included in From the Vault: 20?

Let’s view this from another perspective, that of Nissa, Worldwaker.

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Nissa also started out very high, around $30, and eventually hit $50 while in Standard and stayed there for about two to three months. Then, the decline started happening. By January of this year, she dropped to around $20 and has slowly been decreasing ever since. Now, she is around $10 and will probably go lower once she rotates out of Standard. I think that the new Jace will follow a similar trend. But only because I have Nissa to base him off. Let’s compare how Jace is different than Nissa, and how that could affect his future price.

First, Nissa is green which is arguably one of the strongest colors in Standard. Blue has been argued to be on the weaker side of the spectrum these days, since counterspells, removal, and card draw have been getting worse and worse over time. The decks where Nissa was included were some of the strongest in the Standard metagame, and there were no shortage of Pro’s that extolled her virtues both on camera and through the written word. Her abilities are really good if you can get her online, especially against control decks as she can create an army out of your lands over time. Jace being blue means that if he continues to be amazing, he will be included in basically every blue deck since the options for blue have been limited these days. This will, of course, make the price go even crazier eventually.

Second, Nissa costs five mana while Vryn’s Prodigy is only two. There is a colossal difference between two and five mana, which is why we see Jace being included as a playset in all decks that play him as a card. Another reason Jace is included as multiples in the decks he is featured in is because he can enable decks with combos to initiate them faster since his primary function in the deck is to loot, loot, loot. He is also a great target to use up your opponent’s removal, as you really aren’t losing much if he gets killed early (he’s only a 0/2 after all) and you will gain big over time the more he is left alone. So, Nissa was limited to two copies max in the main decks (with one or two copies in sideboards if control was big in a particular metagame) and Jace will see more copies played in decks since opponents will remove him early, which means you want more copies to replace those that are going to bite the bullet early game.

Finally, the last difference between Vryn’s Prodigy and Nissa is eternal applications. Check out the following stats for recent decklists that have featured Vryn’s Prodigy.

  • Modern, Splinter Twin – 22% of decks
  • Legacy, Grixis Control – 25% of decks
  • Legacy, Esper Stoneblade – 29% of decks
  • Legacy, Sultai Delver – 50% of decks
  • Legacy, Jeskai Stoneblade – 25% of decks
  • Vintage, Mentor – 29% of decks

Granted, the number of copies per deck is mostly restricted to one or two copies, but there is a clear breakthrough of Vryn’s Prodigy into Legacy since he is seeing play in at least four different archetypes that we know. This explains why his foil version is already $90 and climbing. I expect that he will break through to Modern as well once more blue decks pop up over time. The most surprising is Vintage, which as we know only the best of the best break through to see play. For Jace to see play in Vintage, either it was very good tech for the moment (which could be the case, I’m not a Vintage expert by any means) or his looting and flip to pseudo-Yawgmoth’s Will is actually a nice addition to decks that want to continue flashing back cards from their graveyard. All in all, the eternal play could be a flash in the pan for something like Vintage but I really think that Jace has staying power in Legacy since he is seeing play across at least four different archetypes as another way to (cheaply) help control the game.

All in all, Vryn’s Prodigy is one of those cards that is deceptively powerful. He could be compared to cards like Pack Rat, where if you never played against it you might think it isn’t that good, but once you get beat because of it you’ll forever be changed.

How about Vryn’s Prodigy’s price moving forward? I think Vryn’s Prodigy is going to drop once Origins approaches rotation as all Standard rares will, though the foil isn’t going to move much in price if he is already seeing play across several different eternal decks. If we base his price off Nissa’s, but alter it to include the fact that he is being played as playset in Standard decks and blue needs all the powerful tools it can get to be good, I think this could be his price trajectory:

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My boldest prediction is that Jace could hit $60 while in Standard, but only because he is currently being utilized as a playset in many blue decks. If that changes, then $60 will look like a silly prediction. Right now though, no one’s laughing at his $40 price. Being featured as a playset in, say, a Pro Tour winning deck could seal the $60 deal through winter. Eventually though, by August of next year he should be back down to around $15, if not before then if his time in Standard dwindles prematurely.

Hung Up on Hangarback

I also wanted to mention how Magic Origins was a preorder bonanza based on the past and current prices of the chase cards. You had the chance to preorder Vryn’s Prodigy and Hangarback Walker at bottom dollar prices. That’s not something that we see happen very often. Nissa / Goblin Rabblemaster were the previous pair from the last core set, and Rabblemaster was cheap initially but Nissa was never below $10. Usually the cheap preorder is either one or the other. This time players had a chance to get both!

While I and many others missed out on these preorder opportunities (since they almost never work out favorably) we shouldn’t get hung up on what we missed out on. This is the fastest way to drive yourself crazy with Magic finance. The best way to get back on track is to figure out where the metagame is going and how we might prepare for it.

We know with Battle for Zendikar that we’re continuing to get strong multicolored cards – both Converge and Devoid multicolored cards have been spoiled and several of them seem spicy enough to see Standard play. With all the converging and devoiding that is going to be happening the future, we know that Hangarback is going to continue being good since it is a colorless creature that slots into everything from aggro to control. What other conclusions might we draw from multicolored still being supported heavily?

Khans Uncommon Tri-Lands

The Khans  tri-lands will continue, along with fetchlands, to support these multicolored combinations. I expect the price of these lands to hold strong through Battle for Zendikar, with the off chance that one or more might go up at least $1 due to heavy Standard play.

Aggro Champions

On the flip side, aggro cards will be great against these slower 3+ color strategies that emerge. Cards like Monastery Swiftspear should rise to meet demand for decks like Red Deck Wins that exploit slower formats. Aggro also tends to be good shortly after rotation, since the format is still being figured out and the aggro deck’s linear strategy is easier to pilot than the emerging midrange or control deck’s strategy.

Rotation Staples

If you don’t have the time or energy to try and figure out the format, why bother? Just get a list together of eternal playable staples that are about to rotate and start picking them during the next few months after rotation. With Thoughtseize leading the Theros pack of rotation cards that are definitely going to hold value and even increase over time, there are certainly multiple other cards from the Theros block (and M15) out there that will be good long term holds. Granted, these cards aren’t going to turn you a quick profit, but they will hold value long term which one of the primary strategies I advocate with #mtgfinance.

That’s all I have for this week! As always, let me know what you think in the comments and on Twitter @gildedgoblin.

11 thoughts on “Jace, the $40 Origins Mythic”

  1. I’m guessing you got those decklist numbers for Jace from mtggoldfish. I can assure you that it is not true that 25% of Jeskai Stoneblade decks are playing it.

    If you look at mtggoldfish’s example deck for Jeskai Stoneblade, you’ll see it’s not a stoneblade deck at all- there’s no Stoneforge Mystic. It’s more like Jeskai Control or Golddigger if you want. I don’t know how they get 25%, since I don’t see any other decks under that category (most of which are actually stoneblade decks) that were playing the flip Jace.

    1. Yes, I have noticed that with mtggoldfish. I think it’s because they don’t name some of the decks they enter correctly (I’ve noticed discrepancies between them and SCG decklist names, for example) so that would alter the percentages.

      Still though, even if there were some outliers in those percentages, Vryn’s Prodigy is still seeing ample Legacy and other eternal play. If not in Jeskai Stoneblade, than other decks, and we should take this into consideration accordingly.

  2. There are a few other factors as to why Nissa was a $40-$50 card:

    1) Standard was a lame-duck format for most of 2014. Jund Walkers popped up around the pro-tour and had a very strong finish. Suddenly everyone wanted Nissa because we could finally play a deck that WASN’T Black Devotion, U Devotion, and U/W Control.

    2) Nissa was the chase rare from M15, which, due to the aforementioned stale standard format, had fewer people opening it. Everyone was more excited for Khans so we could end the year-long dominance of Pack Rat and Sphinx’s Revelation.

    3) Nissa continued to stay relevant after rotation because it destroyed the post-rotation U/B Control single-handed. Their sweeper, Perilous Vault, didn’t Touch the 4/4 lands. She was a 2-of in a lot of green sideboards, including the pro-tour winning abzan list.

    That was about it. Standard moved into whip mode, new sets gave better sweepers, and suddenly Nissa went from “silver bullet” to “maybe there’s something better”. Her EDH playability and use in fringe modern decks (Genesis Wave Devotion, G/rTooth and Nail) should keep her at around $10 going forward.

    With all that being said, Jace will annihilate her in price, especially if Modern Grixis control keeps packing a playset.

    1. Thanks for the in-depth explanation on Nissa! These points also greatly help explain why she spiked so hard, for such a short period of time in Standard compared to other mythics.

  3. It’s not clear to me – you start by saying it’ll drop, but end by saying it could go up.

    I mean, yeah, it could do either. But you’re not exactly saying anything new.

    1. How isn’t it clear? He even drew you a chart. He thinks it will go up by for the rest of this year, and then drop hard in 2016.

      Disclaimer: I totally disagree with this assessment….this card has legs for years.

  4. Nissa has no Eternal legs and Jace does, so your comparison doesn’t hold a lot of water but I appreciate the effort. I don’t think Jace will drop as low as $15. Snapcaster dropped to around $18 maybe at his lowest…I don’t think Jace goes below $20 unless he becomes banned in a format which seems absurd at the moment and I don’t foresee happening. Also keeping Jace’s price high: kids started going back to school and people are already saving up for Battle for Zendikar thanks to the early Expedition lands spoiled.

    Foil Hardened Scales appears to have been bought out. I’m not sure that Scales is a viable Standard staple but it appears it will be experimented with. I got foils after prerelease and can’t recommend anyone buy in now. After all, it’s from Khans so there’s a billion copies out there.

    Torrent Elemental hasn’t seen play since Sidisi Whip fell out of favor. If the Eldrazi exile/Ingest mechanic is a thing Torrent Elemental could see some play or sideboard play as it can be cast from exile. It’s gotta be bulk mythic status now and if someone is digging around the bulk rare box this isn’t the worst target.

    Post rotation I think Red Aggro (as usual) and Abzan Aggro are going to be very popular along with Esper Dragons.Hero’s Downfall becoming a Sorcery speed version of itself is going to hurt the deck but the Dragonlords are very powerful and countering spells with Silumgar’s Scorn looks to be better than allowing things to resolve and then react as black based control typically does. Jeskai builds will also remain popular as skilled players seem to like the variety of which they can change their deck between games. Also, Ojutai’s Command and Jace is a phenomenal synergy, I just top 4’d a tourney with the combo. I also think there will be a return of the Whisperwood-Mastery of the Unseen combo. Without Polukranos and Gen Hydra and the loss of Nyxthos I’m not sure what the deck will look like, but the combo of Whisperwood and Mastery is a pain in the butt to play against and thus I think it will show up as a viable strategy even with Dromoka’s Command rolling around.

    I’m still advocating that Abzan will be strong. On curve you have Warden, Deathdealer, Den Protector, Raptor, Anafenza, Rhino, Wingmate Roc (and no pro-white Stormbreath Dragon), Sorin, Charm, and Dromoka’s Dromoka’s command. And Tragic Arrogance, End Hostilities and Crux of Fate if necessary or if Abzan Control is preferred. Utter End may become a premier removal spell if nothing has pro-white or pro-black. I think Temur may finally get some love as Rattleclaw Mystic looks to be the best mana producer, Nissa is easy to cast, Den Protector, Raptor, Stratus Dancer, and Rattleclaw synergize nicely, and Woodland Bellower can search up Savage Knucks or Deathmist. And both Sarkhan’s are likely to get some love, plus new Kiora’s -2 ability is outstanding! Oh and Jace is a nice 2 drop in this deck just like with Jeskai decks. He also works nicely with Sidisi to fill up a grave yard for Sultai. The stupid legendary 0/2 is pretty good 🙂

    Lastly, I’m very unimpressed with the spoiled cards thus far and don’t see many cards impacting Current Standard decks. There could be some new archetypes on the horizon involving the eldrazi, but thus far the spoiled cards look to make for a competitive limited format but I don’t see much effect on Standard. Still waiting for a mana dork and a burn spell that will impact standard. Haven’t seen a build around card like Jeskai Ascendancy. It’s early and the lands are pretty, but I don’t like the set for constructed at the moment. Take care man

    1. Hey Spencer, thanks for taking the time to write up your thoughts on the current Standard. Many of the things you’ve written about are pretty spot-on for the most part. I especially was interested in your thoughts on Woodland Bellower, as being able to search and put into play any three mana cost (or less) green creature is going to be important for consistency moving forward. Bellower might one of those sleeper mythics like Dragonlord Ojutai was.

      As an aside, one interesting trend I’ve noticed with this article is that many readers are saying that I’m underplaying Vryn’s Prodigy’s eternal applications and how that will affect the future price. I find this quite surprising, as I believe Monastery Mentor’s price is a good example of what an eternal playable mythic in Standard would cost, and without the significant Standard play in Standard blue decks I think Vryn’s Prodigy would still be around $10-$15. However, I ultimately believe that you all are right in terms of his eternal power, and I should have gone more in-depth on how exactly he helps the decks he is featured in. If he keeps breaking into eternal formats consistently, than we’re never going to see him go below $20 again.

    1. True, we also now have Planeswalkers that can be generals! I’m sure that’s also adding to the frenzy that is making Vryn’s Prodigy go insane in price.

  5. Hey Yost, yeah I can’t believe I typed up that much. Get me a job here! lol

    If someone is a high end investor Jace Prodigy foils seem like a great target. $80 is steep but he might never get lower. He’s played and playable in EDH, Tiny Leaders, Standard, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage….those are all good formats at driving the price of foil cards so his multiplier will be greater than 2x (well Vintage not as much but it speaks to his power). I do believe he’ll eventually fall from $40 but it might not be worth the risk for a player. For an investor I see no reason to buy in now…just look for the next money making card or hope he drops to $30. There’s always the duel decks in the Winter that are infamous for crushing the price of cards like Jace Architect and Elspeth. I don’t think we will see Ugin vs Jace, and Jace will decline some if he doesn’t get Standard love. I thought he stunk/sucked (I actually think I posted that he was the worst Origins walker cause he died to Searing Blood and Draconic Roar without doing a thing), but I built a UW tempo-control deck around him, and I can tell you he is the truth. He’s like Rabblemaster in that an unchecked Jace just runs away with the game. He doesn’t end it as quickly as Rabble, but the card advantage he provides is impressive and your opponent just can’t compete. Having access to 8 Dig Through Times is virtually unbeatable. And when your opponent Thoughtseizes your Dig you can still flash it back with Jace.

    The other incredible synergy in Standard is with Ojutai’s Command. There’s nothing better than countering a Siege Rhino and returning Jace to the battlefield giving him pseudo haste. Soulfire is also a solid Ojutai’s Command target and I’ve used Harbinger of the Tides to great effect as well. Considering there’s a buy-a-box promo (there was one for Rabblemaster too and that didn’t hold his price down) Ojutai’s Command is to Standard what Kolaghan’s Command is to Modern. I think we will continue to see Ojutai’s Command + Jace and maybe + Soulfire in Jeskai, UW, and Esper builds going forward.

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