What Does The Math of MH3 Tell Us?

Last week I went through the numbers and the slots and figured out the degree of difficulty for opening the most and least desired variants in MH3. So now that we know how hard it is to pull certain things from a Modern Horizons 3 Collector Booster…now what?

Well, there’s some big ideas we can take away, some comparisons worth making, and just how nuts can the serialized cards be?

As I mentioned last week, all the slots in a CB add up to about 30% to open any fetchland. That tracks with the 28% estimate I came up with three years ago when MH2 came out. We’re going to open a LOT of fetchlands, so let’s avoid buying any of those anytime soon. Go ahead and get personal copies if you want to, just know that the prices are going to head low and stay low for some time, which is what happened to the MH2 fetchlands.

Now, let’s start with the serialized Eldrazi. Then being xxx/250 instead of 500 helps keep those prices high, as it’s done for the Murders at Karlov Manor serialized cards. None of the six serialized cards from that set are super-popular in Standard or Commander, but they are all still near a grand each. That’s with their popularity level, and the price of their packs. The first serialized Eldrazi have sold on Facebook for nearly $3,000 and as the first sales, they get to set the pace. I expect these prices to come down, slowly, but in a few months I think the prices will be closer to $2k. It’s unlikely that they will go much lower than that. 

The foil concept Eldrazi and the foil borderless Kaalia of the Vast each require more than 400 Collector Boosters to be opened, and that’s about $13,000 in packs to get one of any of those. (That estimate comes from $400/box breaking down to $33.33 per pack.) Depending on the popularity of those cards, the price could move a lot. Right now, those versions have the current prices: Kaalia is $60, Emrakul is $130, Ulamog is $140, and Kozilek is $60. All of these have roughly the same distribution, and nearly the same amount of copies in circulation.

Kaalia is the #14 commander all time on EDHREC, and that’s because she’s got two things going for her: 1) there are three different groups of creatures who work well with her, telling you how to build the deck, and that’s always great. 2) Kaalia dates back to the first Commander releases, way back in 2011, and even has an oversized card to boot! There’s a lot of people who’ve built this deck over the years (including me) and the combos are extensive. Master of Cruelties is the big one, but there’s all sorts of additional combat steps to take and Isshin, Two Heavens as One is Kaalia’s bestie.

Kaalia has other premium copies in circulation, and there will be some division in that regard. The Eldrazi, though, are in a season where they are brand new and the hype couldn’t be stronger. Kaalia’s price, despite the renewed interest, will likely fall. I expect the Eldrazi titans, with this art and foiling, to move down in price but much slower. Eldrazi players have to either upgrade their Zhulodok decks, change it to Ulalek, or build a whole new deck. Either way, the new three will be sought after for a while yet. I do think the price comes down eventually, but it’ll take longer.

For Collector Boosters, there’s usually a category or treatment for rares that takes up a large chunk of available slots, but for these boosters, that isn’t the case. None of the special foils are easy to pull, with the ‘most common’ drop being 1 in 110 packs or so for several types of cards (FEA Rares, MH2 Foil Retro Rares, Foil-Etched Rares) in that slot. We’ll see those prices drop, make no mistake, but none of these are going to be rampantly available. I’m expecting a similar pattern for MH3 that we got for MH2: the most premium chase cards are going to hold high prices, and over time, all the others will drift downwards. Especially the nonfoils you’ll get in the Play Boosters, those are going to be all over the place and easy to find.

The super-cheap planeswalkers will come down in price, but much like the Elementals from MH2, I expect them to get high again if they start getting playset-popular. These have been tweaked to not be terribly powerful, as Wizards has learned from the Deathrite Shaman mistake. I want them to be good, but the conditions placed upon them are going to make the cards difficult to flip. Especially given the current meta and the number of packs that are about to be opened, these are going to fall in price. 

There’s going to be a few cards that I can’t wait to buy, and that’s a whole article in and of itself. For now, just know that these cards are going to be opened, are already getting opened, and the prices will reflect that. So far, there’s no one deck/card/strategy that appears to be taking over, but there’s still time for that to be discovered and played. 

Next week, the list of cards I can’t wait to buy!

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.