Grinder Finance – Pre-release Spoils

With the Battle for Zendikar pre-release on the horizon the most asked question on the internet is “what do I do with my cards from the pre-release?”  There are a few groupings of cards and only a few things that can happen with cards.  Some cards go up, some cards go down, and some cards stay the same.  That’s pretty obvious, right?  What do we do to figure this out?


Mythic Rares

Mythics usually fall into 1 of two camps.  Either they’re over-priced and going to slowly dip starting shortly after the release of the set, or they’re priced correctly and will spike as soon as demand increases.  You should look to trade away all mythics you don’t intend to use in your decks the weekend of the pre-release or the weekend after the Pro Tour.  Some flashier mythics like planeswalkers can see steep spikes the weekend of the Pro Tour if they see a lot of camera time. Personally, I’ll be looking to hold Gideon, Kiora, Ob Nixilis, Undergrowth Champion, Drana, Ulamog, and Oblivion Sower until after the weekend of the Pro Tour.  I’ll be pretty excited if I can trade my Part the Waterveil, Akoum Firebird, and non-foil copies of Omnath, Locus of Rage at the pre-release.  These mythics have little upside from their current pre-order prices.  If you are not Pucatrading, you should look into it!  You can sign up for it through my referral link here.  Although your local play group might not have a guy that collects phoenixes, there are plenty of people on Pucatrade that will be happy to receive your Akoum Firebird.


Bulk Rares

Generally anything less than $1 is the kind of bargain bin stuff you’ll not need to keep.  For every sub $1 card that you keep past the pre-release instead of trading it for $0.50 – $0.75 worth of value is one more you are likely to only be able to sell for $0.11 to a buylist.  There are some exceptions to this idea, but generally you will lose a lot more if you hold these cards than you miss out if you don’t.


Low range rares $1-4

Some of these are criminally under-priced.  Do you remember Hangarback Walker’s pre-order price? $1.99 at most online stores.  Occasionally these cards can break out and become a force in standard but I like to trade them away because their price point likely can’t be sustained after the release date.  I recommend trying to pick them up in December for $0.50-$1 each.  Again, Pucatrade is a great way to spend your Monday after the pre-release to get some value from your winnings.

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High end Rares $5-10

A lot of these cards are likely to become format staples.  Right now, the only cards in this category are Ruinous Path (our Hero’s Downfall replacement), and lands.  Lots and lots of lands.  There are 7 dual lands and they’re all probably going to go spike once new decks start showing up but they will level out just like temples.  I expect most of these cards to movement during the Pro Tour weekend so at this point they aren’t a terrible thing to pre-order for your week 1 standard deck.  I wouldn’t want to trade these cards until the weekend of the Pro Tour.


Power Uncommons

Most of the $0.75-$1.50 uncommons will be valuable until they get printed as a FNM promo.  I would either trade them away immediately or hold them until Pro Tour weekend.  I’m really interested in picking up people’s extra copies of Crumble to Dust, Retreat to Coralhelm, Trangress the Mind, Statis Snare, Titan’s Presence, Zulaport Cutthroat, and Herald of Kozilek.



Foils can very hit or miss.  Honestly, if you find anyone interested in trading for your foils at a reasonable price it’s hard to fault you for getting rid of them.  There are a lot of foils that will not maintain their price (usually on mythic rares) after Magic Online redemption starts.  Standard legal foils are also a lot less likely to move up with the same speed and multiplier on standard only cards.  This is pretty evident on a card like Deathmist Raptor which at the time of this article has a fair trade price of $21.08 for non-foil copies, but only a price of $30.98 for foils.  A meager 1.5x multiplier on a foil Mythic Rare does not reflect the actual rarity of the card.  It is strictly a product of the extremely low demand for foils.  Cards that generally carry much higher multipliers are legendary creatures and lands.  If the multiplier on that foil you open is especially low you can consider holding it.


Pre-Release Foils

There are going to be a ton of different pre-release promo foils this time.  Every rare in the set is eligible for a foil printing.  This means less impact on the set version of the card but some of these pre-release foils are going to be extraordinarily rare.  I would hang onto any Mythic pre-release foil as there are a lot of collectors that will want it.  I know many people that collect every promo and some that only collect every pre-release promo.  Their has become a lot harder these last few years but they persevere.   I personally was able to trade a pre-release copy of Alhammarret, High Arbiter for $3 on Pucatrade.  That’s a ton for a card that is as bulk as bulk gets and has a $1 foil price.


Zendikar Expeditions

Yeah I know, you were all waiting for this at the end of the article, right?  Zendikar Expeditions are going to absolutely rock your local pre-release.  The first guy that opens it is going to hoot and holler and it will be a spectacle to see!  But what do you do after the initial shock wears off and it’s sitting in a perfect fit in your binder?  Honestly, I don’t know.  I would keep tabs on twitter and see how people are reacting to the surprise.  We don’t have enough information on store pricing or availability and we have no idea how common or rare they are.  A lot of theory crafting has gone into predicting the price but it won’t mean anything if our assumptions are wrong.  The only way to find out if they are correct is to open booster packs!  Personally, I will be looking at twitter and trying to gauge how often they are being opened.  If it seems like there are 2 or more per pre-release event, it may be time to dump them quickly.  If we hear about entire stores not opening a single one, well then it’s time to frame that beauty and put it on the mantle.  Zendikar Expeditions I expect will be the quickest moving commodity this weekend and the only way to stay ahead is to stay online.

14 thoughts on “Grinder Finance – Pre-release Spoils”

  1. My understanding is that we can expect about 1 expedition per approximately 2 cases. A prerelease kit is going to contain 1/3rd of a case. So theoretically, you should expect one Expedition per 6 people at your event.

    1. I think you’re quite a bit off here.

      Most of the calculations I have seen thus far indicate that *on average* you’re looking at 1 Expedition per case (216 boosters). Each prerelease kit contains 6 boosters. Therefore, you would expect that *on average* you’re going to see one expedition per 36 people.

      If we went with your numbers, that an expedition will be opened every two cases (432 boosters), then (obviously) we’re looking at one expedition per 72 players *on average*.

      1. Its going to be crazy once these things start being opened! I am stocking up on pucapoints like crazy in hopes of snagging some of these expeditions. Shameless plug: if you are grinding pucatrade, you should check out so you can trade faster, and automatically!

    2. 1 per 2 cases is the rumor, a case is 6 booster boxes. A booster box holds 36 packs. So 1 out of every 72 players should hit one.

      1. Well…well… You understand wrong Jim, and we are going to keep arguing based on wild speculations! /jk

      2. I’m just trying to spread the misinformation. Nothing burns more than blind assumptions that are just plain wrong. Fred could be correct but we do not know that right now. That is my caveat.

      3. I have it on good authority that there will be foil expeditions in every pack…so you get 216 per case…and people will start to use them as bookmarks, or shims to fix wobbly tables.

  2. WOTC released that they are about the same rarity as a foil mythic rare, which is one in every case

  3. I doubt that the seeded boosters can also contain an expedition. That leaves 5 regular boosters per attendant at a prerelease, and that would mean it would take about 45 attendants on average to open an expedition. (Assuming the 1 per 6 boxes is true).

    1. There are no seeded boosters this time around. You don’t get to choose a colour or anything like that – your kit contains 6 regular packs.

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