Good’s Not Good Enough

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It’s pretty easy to assess cards in terms of EDH when you read the spoilers. It’s even easier to think you’re assessing cards in terms of EDH if you don’t know anything about EDH because you look at a card you don’t see an application for in the formats you know and say “EDH card. Nailed it” and then go eat at Quizno’s or whatever dumb people do when they’re done being dumb. I mean, Jared Fogle breaking out of prison and murdering everyone who testified against him and then saying Hearthstone was better than Magic and the Detroit Red Wings were a great hockey team wouldn’t be enough to get me to eat at Quizno’s. How hard is it to not burn a sandwich? Potbelly doesn’t burn their sandwiches. They put them on the same little oven conveyor belt you do and they don’t come out smelling like an Emergency Room trash can full of finger parts on the Fourth of July (or whatever fireworks exploding holiday you celebrate in your country). Get your act together, Quizno’s. Card assessment in terms of strength in EDH is easy, assessment with respect to decks it can go in is easy. You know what’s hard? Judging if being good and powerful is going to be enough.

Good Enough For What?

That’s a good point to have me clarify, device I’m using to answer my own softball questions by pretending a third party asked them.

What do we mean by good enough? Put simply, we mean good enough to be worth money in a term. Whether that is the long-term or the short-term, assessing whether a card is going to be good enough to buy at some point for a price with the expectation that we’re going to be able to sell it for more later is what we’re after. I want to look at some historically “good enough” cards and the reasons why similar cards are not and see if we can’t predict what we should do about a few of the spoiled cards from Shadows Over Innistrad.

Some cards are obviously good.

feveredvisions

This card is very good in a Nekusar deck. You’re going to get an extra card and you’re going to Lightning Bolt your opponents because your opponents’ hands are going to be full because when you’re a Nekusar player, your one job is to make their hand be full of cards and to hurt them. That’s two jobs. Your two jobs are to keep their hands full of cards and hurt them. And keep the board clear of threat. Three jobs. My point is this is stupid good in Nekusar.

Why wouldn’t this card be a no-brainer buy-in? Nekusar has done a pretty good job of demonstrating it can spike cards.

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100% of the reason this went from $2 to $12 briefly before settling around 4 times its initial price is Nekusar. Forced Fruition forces your opponent to do what your whole deck wants them to do and it does it very efficiently. Forced Fruition is the perfect example of a card that’s good despite being sort of narrow( only good in one deck, really) and good enough to be an auto-include and therefore have upside.

Is Fevered Visions going to experience the same upside effect from Nekusar? I don’t think so and I think there are several reasons why.

It’s Too Narrow

Ideally we like to see cards go in a lot of different decks. If a card is a format staple, we can see a clear path to upside because there are so many different decks that need it. Even if every Nekusar player in the world bought a copy of Fevered Visions, they would still only need one copy because who has multiple Nekusar decks? Players need a million copies of Sol Ring but really only one of this and that’s if they’re even playing Nekusar, a super boring and linear commander that makes everyone hate you. As good as the card is in this deck, not many other decks are that excited.

It’s Too New

If you compare the number of copies of Forced Fruition to the likely number of copies of Fevered Visions out there, you’re going to notice that Lorwyn cards are pretty rare comparatively. Lorwyn was the set that basically started a new trend of a ton of new players joining at a huge rate because of Planeswalkers and Lorywn cards are more rare than you’d think. Not to mention everyone assumes Lorywn came out like 5 years ago but it was more like 10. 10 years is a long time. Fevered Visions is going to be all over because Shadows is going to sell a ton of boosters. Not as many as anything from new Zendikar with its expeditions and eldrazi, but maybe more with all of its zombies and angels. It’s hard to say. What we can say is narrow EDH non-mythic rares are going to end up bulk with a bajillion copies out there.

It Might Not Be As Good As You Think

People are already talking about how they might not want this in their Nekusar pile. I think they’re wrong, but people are going to accuse me of being super biassed toward this card because it was the Brainstorm Brewery preview card and we were happy to not only have a preview card but to have a rare. The card is good in Nekusar and it’s a Howling Mine with upside so I don’t think you want to not play this. Still, if people aren’t 100% convinced this is an auto-include in the one deck it seems tailor-made to go into, you got problems. Personally, I think those people who are saying nay don’t have a Nekusar deck, but this card isn’t good enough to convince them they need to make one.

So I have basically made up my mind about Fevered Visions, but what about some of the other cards in the set? Could they end up having a different fate? What should we look at to determine that?

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Mayael’s Aria is a pretty good example of a card that’s good enough. The growth is slow and steady and while it looks like it was made to be jammed in a Mayael deck with Mosswort Troll and other fatty fat fats, it can go in quite a few decks. It’s a rare from Alara Reborn, a set which had mythic rares and yet it’s $6. It seems like a shoo-in for Mayael decks, right? Well, so does Meglonoth.

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So why is one card $6 and the other card is a tenth of that? It’s fairly obvious when you think about it, but let’s humor me because it’s my article and run down the criteria I outlined earlier.

It Might Be Too Narrow

Aria gets played in a lot of decks and 35% of Mayael decks run it. 35% of Aria decks (Per EDHREC, a metric I’ve written extensively about why I think it’s fair to use ) also run Megnoloth. The difference in the Synergy Rating is also pretty negligible – 25% for Meglonoth versus 21% for Aria. Still, when you look at the decks that run it, Meglonoth is mostly relegated to decks that are Naya colored whereas Aria is run in decks like Progenitus where it’s a KO. I like cards that say “Win the game” and you can make room for Aria in a lot more decks than you can a big clunky creature, even one with sicko abilities like Meglonoth.

Most of the other creatures from this block that are shoo-ins in Mayael are reprinted in the various Commander sealed products so we don’t have a ton of other cards to compare it to, but I think we ┬ácan establish Meglonoth may suffer from being a little narrow.

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It Might Be Too New

I don’t know that this is the case with Meglonoth. It’s certainly newer than Lorwyn and while the Alara block broke sales records at the time, it’s not making anyon’e jaw drop when you see the sales numbers compared to other sets, even to original Zendikar. I don’t think it’s too new but it’s new enough that it looks like merit is making Aria’s price diverge from Meglonoth’s.

It Might Not Be Good Enough

It’s funny to look at this point because while Meglonoth gets played in the same percentage of Mayael decks as Aria does per EDHREC, it’s clearly not the same power level. I think there is some overlap with the “how narrow is it?” point here that can explain the price discrepency. Meglonoth is good enough for Mayael but it’s not good enough to go in decks where it’s less obvious. I feel the same way about Fevered Visions. It’s certainly good enough for Nekusar but is it good enough for Mizzix? Jori En? Narset? That’s less clear, and I think the fact that the answer to this question is most likely “I doubt it” means that we have limited upside for Visions and I’m personally staying away. I realize I am supposed to get people hyped about the set by getting them hyped about this card so I will say I think Visions is good enough to make me go into the pile of like 25 Nekusars I have lying around and build the stupid deck. I just wish I hadn’t sold all of my copies of Wheel and Deal and Forced Fruition into the hype.

Looking at the Rest of the Set

There are some other cards to look at using these criteria to see if how stupidly obvious they are for one deck will translate to monetary success given the other factors we’ve identified. I’m all about teaching people to fish and I’m gratified to see my readers citing things like EDHREC stats when they do their own analysis. Let’s look at a few cards and see if we can’t figure out if they’re good enough to buy.

seasonspast

Narrow?

Certainly not. A lot of big green decks want this.

Good Enough?

Seems powerful. It reminds me of some other big green mythics that do dumb stuff like this.

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This is going to be a little too new to make a real price impact, but I expect it will get somewhere eventually. It reminds me of some of these other big mana spells and if Seasons Past manages to dodge a reprinting in Commander sealed product, it should creep up to $5ish in a few years and maybe beyond. I think it’s as good as The Great Aurora, so that means they are a good price corollary and all of the other factors we’re controlling for seem to be the same so I’m calling this a “don’t buy”.

thegitrogmonster

This card is stupid.

Narrow?

I think this can be its own commander but also do a ton of work in other decks.

Good Enough?

I really think so. This is an $8 preorder, however, so is it that good? Do we have anything to compare it to – a mythic that is good as a Commander as well as in the 99 from a comparable set that is the same power level?

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This is about as close as I could get. Now, since the analogy breaks down a bit because Gitrog goes in more 99s than Omnath and Gitrog has potential to impact Standard while we’ve seen Omnath hasn’t, what we have here is a worst-case scenario. So what we have to do is ask ourselves the question – is Gitrog good enough for Standard? It’s obviously bugnutty in EDH, but so is Omnath and we’ve shown that Omnath is a great investment if you only want to keep 25% of your initial buy-in. Is Omnath good enough for Standard? No, it isn’t and its price has suffered. Is The Gitrog Monster good enough for Standard? That’s up to you to decide. Whatever you decide, that will be all you need to know when you ask yourself whether to wait or pre-order. For my money, I think the answer is probably no, as stupid good as The Gitrog Monster is. It’s good. I just don’t think it’s the kind of good that’s good enough. And that’s a callback to the name of the article. Roll credits.

 

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5 thoughts on “Good’s Not Good Enough”

  1. Seen i cannot wait to build some stupid deck out of Gitrog, it looks stupid and sweet!

    Love the rest of the article and i have been using the idea of EDHREC stats and synergy when buying my own EDH specs. So far so good!

  2. Jason,
    Sir,

    I am asking you, personally, because you seem to be in charge of supplying the most logical explanation to all things:

    What is the reason for this apparent price anomaly:
    Set: Oath of the Gatewatch
    Card: Wastes (2)
    Fair Trade Price: $30.95

    Why has this particular basic land been “Fair Trade” priced above $30 since 1 Feb 2016 on every single day except 21 Feb 2016? I have more than a dozen copies that I am ready to trade away for a single Avacyn, Angel of Hope, Archangel of Thune or even a Platinum Angel.

    1. My name isn’t Jason, and you didn’t ask me, so I will answer you anyway. There are many “guides” out there, and most use a unique algorithm or formula to arrive at the prices they do.

      In the case of MTGPrice, it is loosely, note I said loosely, based upon an average of the vendors that are tracked. Note that if you look at the card in question, there is one entry, from ebay, for that $30 tag. If there were more entries from the different vendors, the ftp would smooth itself out, and probably read as something closer to a dollar, and only that high because of the anomalous ebay information.

      Other sites, like MTGStocks, are attached to the price of TCGPlayer.

      Understanding how the various sites work is very advantageous, if not essential, to having a better understanding of the true value of any card.

      These are only my observations though, and I would stand corrected if someone supplied legitimate information contradictory to what I have said.

Comments are closed.