The Watchtower 11/19/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

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By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.


Two Grand Prixs hit the books this weekend, with a hometown hero taking one down, but there’s nothing there for us. Down under was sealed, so that’s really dead, and even the Standard one didn’t present anything new in the wake of the Pro Tour. While it appears to be a fun Standard format, I simply don’t think there’s any fertile soil there any longer. With no shakeups on the horizon until the next set in February, there’s no reason to think we’ll see any cards meaningfully change in value.

At the same time, the markets have been awfully quiet lately. We had possibly our fastest @mtgfastfinance ever last week, as there simply wasn’t much going on. Ultimate Masters spoilers are hitting today and tomorrow, with the full list due Wednesday, so we’ll have some brief excitement this week, but after that, it’s going to be all quiet on the western front until January most likely.

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The Mirari Conjecture (Foil)

 

Price Today: $1.75
Possible Price: $9

I’m starting this week off with a “feels good” pick. Mirari Conjecture feels good. It’s a cool card. It draws you two cards over two turns, and then sets you up for a bonkers third turn, especially in the mid to late game, where you have a pile of mana.

We haven’t seen it invade EDH yet, though there’s precedent. Take a gander at the top played blue cards on EDHREC and you’ll see that the seventh most popular blue creature is Archaeomancer, a four mana 1/2 that returns an instant or sorcery from the graveyard to your hand. He’s a well known face to anyone that’s been playing awhile. Mirari Conjecture basically does his job twice, then gives you that big payoff on turn three.

I’m not anticipating that Conjecture is going to end up a top ten blue card or anything. It’s a little too narrow, and a little too tough to abuse to get that much out of it. However, it’s certainly able to become a staple. I would imagine someone only has to get this to trigger on the third step once to become a convert. Once we start seeing enough ofo that, those $1.75 foils are going to begin disappearing. Supply is decent, as it’s an in-print Standard rare, but it’s not deep deep. It’s reasonable. Comfortable. Not excessive. Grab a copy of yourself now, and as you hit Black Friday sales this week, keep this one in mind as you’re looking for stuff to throw in the cart at a discount.

Rune-Scarred Demon (Foil)

 

Price Today: $3.75
Possible Price: $12

Occasionally I find a card that makes me do a double take. How is this card so affordable? It’s happened to me many times over the years. A popular card that should have very limited supply is inexplicably bountiful and cheap. I stare at it, wondering if I’m missing something, and don’t bother to buy any, because the supply is too great to bother right now. Sometimes I’ll bump into the same card multiple times over a span of months, each time having the same reaction. Eventually, I find myself looking at it with a price tag several times greater than it has been, and I kick myself for not having bought them. Happens without fail. I’m kind of having that now, with Rune-Scarred Demon.

Rune-Scarred Demon is in 16,000 EDH decks. More than 1 in 10 decks that made black mana play Demon. It’s not hard to imagine why, either. The number one most popular black card in the format is Demonic Tutor. Do you know what Demon does when he enters the battlefield? He Demonic Tutors. And he’s a 6/6. Show up, search for a card, punch people in the face. All good stuff. Especially if you’ve got any blinking going on, then you’re just a jerk.

Still, you can find several foils from both Magic 2012, his original foil printing, and Iconic Masters, his only other foil printing, under $4. And plenty below $6. How? Why? A card this popular should be way harder to find. I could understand if the M12 copies were $17 and the IMA ones were $4, sure. But the M12 ones too? Huh?

There’s nothing deep or clever about this. I look at Demon, and I can’t figure out why it isn’t more expensive. It’s got low supply, it’s quite popular, and it’s flexible. Why aren’t more people buying this card? Whatever. We should buy it, and then wait. Eventually it will catch up. They always do.

Worn Powerstone (Foil)

 

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $12

There are a lot of mana rocks in EDH, some better than others. Like Sol Ring. Mana Crypt is quite good. Mana Vault is solid too, though more “fair.” You’ve got the colorless ones too, like Chromatic Lantern, which don’t produce in volume, but produce in quality. Really though, once you get past the first two or three, you start making choices. What fits my build the best? If you want raw efficiency, there isn’t much better than Worn Powerstone.

Three on the way in and tapping for two is just about the best it gets after Sol Ring. Sure, the “enters tapped” part sucks, no arguing there. It’s not all that bad though. On turn three you probably weren’t using that two colorless mana anyways, so if you’re playing this on curve, it barely matters. And if you’ve got untap mechanics in your deck – e.g. Paradox Engine – it doesn’t even matter.

I don’t need to sell you on Powerstone though. It’s in 25,000 decks. It’s like, the 50th? Most popular card in EDH overall, depending on what metric you use. People play it. Heck, look at the reprint list. It’s been printed nine times. Nine is a lot of times. Five of the places it was reprinted have the word “Commander” in them. It’s popular in EDH, guys.

And it just so happens that out of all nine prints, only a single one is available in foil. Eternal Masters is the only place you can get a foil Worn Powerstone. It’s a bit surprising, but really, if they’re printing it every single year in the Commander precons, then they’re not going to feel the need to find space for it elsewhere. And then you end up with a very popular card only having one foil printing.

Supply is solid right now for sure. Plenty available around $4. But if this trend continues, with only Commander reprints, there’s going to be a lot fewer of these in the future than there are today, and then prices in the $10 to $15 range are going to start looking quite real.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.



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