All posts by Cliff Daigle

I am a father, teacher, cuber and EDH fanatic. My joy is in Casual and Limited formats, though I dip a toe into Constructed when I find something fun to play. I play less than I want to and more than my schedule should really allow. I can easily be reached on Twitter @WordOfCommander. Try out my Busted Uncommons cube at http://www.cubetutor.com/viewcube/76330

A Moment of Silence

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Frankly, even calling it MODO is antiquated of me. ‘Mit-Go’ doesn’t sing the same way as shorthand for ‘Magic Online Digital Object’ or whatever it stood for.

I had a whole piece written about Ultimate Masters, ready to go, and then they drop the ten-million-dollar bombshell on us.

First of all, go read the announcement. It’s dense. Read it again.

Now, let’s talk what it means for the MTGfinance community.

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Buying up the Guilds

Here we are, the time that is often the doldrums of Magic news and sets. Thankfully, Ultimate Masters has been completely spoiled for a couple of weeks, the preorders are settling out, and I’m frothing at the mouth to get some drafts in.

What I don’t want to overlook is that we’re still in the first couple months of a new Standard, and specifically, Guilds of Ravnica cards have just short of two years to go up and down in price.

Generally speaking, cards from the big fall set tend to trickle downward in price for three to six months after their season ends. (Season meaning when it’s being opened at GPs and FNM drafts, etc.) That was with the Big Set-Small Set-Small Set model, though, when there was still a little of the big set being opened.

Now, with every set being its own block, the timeline appears to be accelerated. I don’t want to pick up cards that are rotating out next October, but GRN cards are in the sweet spot where the supply is nearly maxed (Ultimate Masters is going to suck the wind right out of those sails) and pretty soon we’ll all be ravenous for Ravnica Allegiance previews.

For example, Vraska’s Contempt:

The little removal spell that could.

This hit a low of about $5 at the end of Ixalan season and then bam, jumped up as a premier removal spell in the format.

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I want to identify those cards now, instead of waiting. I especially love getting them now, as there’s nearly two years for a deck to hit big. To the cards!

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Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, 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 (next up: Oakland in January!) and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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Crunching the Box Toppers, part 2

Welcome back, everyone. Last week I started going through predictions for all the Ultimate Box Toppers, and I stopped at 1500 words. Now for the rest of the cards!

Gaddock Teeg ($80): Did you know how frequently this big little guy shows up in Humans sideboards? And Bant Spirits? And Collected Company builds? I didn’t know he was this popular. Interestingly for his Boxterpiece price, he’s only in 400 EDH decks, and that’s the bigger surprise. All of the eBay auctions for him so far have ended up right at $80, but his non-promo price is much more due to the small supply than a great demand. This version has farther to fall, likely to $60.

Leovold, Emissary of Trest ($150): Much of his early listings were for obscene numbers and then offers were accepted, but some closed above $200, he’s settled down here into $150, and I don’t know where the demand will come from. Two things have knifed this Elf in the back: Getting the Commander ban in April of last year, or Deathrite Shaman being banned in Legacy this past July.

In fact, let’s take a look at his price graph:

Designed for Tiny Leaders. Press F to pay respects.

Ol’ Leo just isn’t popular, and I’m not sure who these folks are that are paying $150 for this version. Original Conspiracy 2 foils are super pricey due to a very small supply, but I don’t think there will be enough demand to keep his price over $75. The regular versions are going to take a beating, too, ending up at $10 or less.

Lord of Extinction ($50): This was one of my pet cards for the longest time in Commander, but it needs help. It’s potentially huge, yes, and awesome to sacrifice, but on its own it is quite meh. The good news is that it’s just popular enough to not be the cheapest of the Boxterpieces, and it’ll trickle down into the $40 range.

Maelstrom Pulse ($60): Let’s take a moment and reflect on how this was in Alara Reborn, and Modern Masters 2013, and then the GP promo, and an Invocation, and now this. That’s a lot of incidental supply over the years, and yet the value has stayed relatively steady. It’s going to end up around the Invocation price, but hopefully higher, because I despise the illegible Invocations.

Sigarda, Host of Herons ($70): Early auctions closed closer to $150, but there’s a copy of this still on TCG at $70…so it’s got farther to fall. It’s not huge in Commander, not used in Modern, and so I’d expect it to end up below $50.

Fulminator Mage ($80): Remarkably, people have kept their heads on eBay for this card, not letting it go much over $100. It was in Modern Masters 2015 as a mere rare, and the 2015 version put a lot more into circulation than the 2013 or 2017 editions. It’s a popular sideboard card in Modern, given that it’s a Stone Rain on legs, and I think $80 is going to hold.

Kitchen Finks ($70): Another very popular sideboard card, this one is also used in more than a few infinite-life combos, in Modern and Commander. This will be the third printing at uncommon, but this special version is used in enough places that I think $70 is a good and stable price.

Engineered Explosives ($140): One of the great tricks to this card is not just that it’s versatile, but it’s also precise at the same time. It goes into any deck, and many many decks take advantage of this. The regular versions have gotten up to $60-$70, but my attention is on the Invention version at $160. I’m willing to believe that there are going to be more Boxterpiece versions than Inventions printed, and I think that will lead to a slight decrease in this card’s price. I’d expect it to settle in between $100 and $120.

Mana Vault ($160): Again, we have an Invention for comparison’s sake, going for about $180. This is in 23,000 Commander decks online, a number I found stunning and then I realized that it’s fast, easy, combo-oriented mana. My bias as a player from early in the game shows here: I have trouble thinking of Fourth Edition cards as ever being valuable, but this one is more than $20. It’s the most valuable card in Fifth Edition! Here’s the graph:

It’s faster mana than Sol Ring, even if it’s not good more than once.

Where will this special promo end up price-wise? I’m not sure. It’ll be more common and less aesthetically pleasing than the Invention, so I’d expect it to be $125 or so.

Platinum Emperion ($75): This is not a terribly popular card, only found in 3k Commander decks online and one nifty Madcap Experiment combo in Modern. The price has slowly climbed over the years, but the early eBay sales of $75-$100 were the lucky ones. There’s a copy right now on TCG for $60, and the slide isn’t done. It’ll stabilize around $40-$50.

Ancient Tomb ($175): You can have the Expedition version, a likely rarer card, for $225, but there’s one Boxterpiece on TCG for $150. On EDHREC, a full 23,000 decks are running this, and your supply is surprisingly constrained: original Tempest. FTV: Realms, the Expedition, and now this. There’s some Legacy demand too, mainly from Eldrazi decks and Sneak and Show, decks trying to accelerate into broken spells. I like $150 for this, it sees enough play to hold a price that high.

Cavern of Souls ($200, though a wide range of sales, $180 and $260 being the two most recent): If you’d asked me which was more popular in Commander, this or Ancient Tomb, I would have said Cavern, as it’s amazing in every tribal deck ever…but it’s under 20k decks. Go figure. Two TCG sellers have this at $250, and clearly no one is biting there. It’s also in 10% of all Modern decks on top of that, and the combination of casual demand and Constructed playability (even Legacy and Vintage, to make sure Eldrazi aren’t getting countered) and you have a card that I think can hold at or near $200.

Celestial Colonnade ($150): The most recent sale was $120, but the rest were $150, and that forecasts what’s going to happen here. It’s in some Commander decks, it’s popular in Modern control decks that don’t want to waste deck space on attackers, but that leads to a problem with not very high demand. The regular nonfoils had made it to $60, but those hadn’t been printed since original Worldwake in 2010. It’s going to fall farther, and I expect it to settle around $75.

Creeping Tar Pit ($80): Every problem that Colonnade has, Tar Pit has worse. Low Commander demand, miniscule Modern demand, and a price that had been high because it hadn’t been reprinted since the small set of 2010. The ‘manlands’ are in for a rough time, and there’s just enough demand to keep this in third place. You’ll be able to buy the promo for $50.

Dark Depths ($200): This one confuses me, but that’s what small sample sizes do. The first couple went for $300, then down to $150, now back up to $200. Here’s the graph for the original from Coldsnap:

Let’s not forget: FTV is ugly as sin.

August 2016 was when FTV: Lore came out, and added copies to circulation. Depths is in about 10% of Legacy decks, and slightly more Commander decks than Colonnade or Tar Pit. The Legacy demand is going to be the main driver of prices, I imagine, and since decks won’t play just one (usually 3-4 copies) that will help with the price somewhat. TCG has one available at $175, but it’ll drop another $50 or so.

Karakas ($150): Once, the original Legends version was at $150, and the judge promo at $200. Now, no version is over $90, all thanks to Eternal Masters. This is going to get hammered as a nonfoil, dropping to $25ish, but the promo is a tricky question. Not a lot of Legacy players will be running out to get more copies, and it’s rightfully banned in Commander. It’s going to fall, but how far? Is this more or less common than the promo from 2012? How about the original in 1994? I think that novelty will keep it around $75-$100.

Lavaclaw Reaches ($40): The new version of ‘may you live in interesting times’ is ‘I hope all your Toppers are Lavaclaws!’ because this is the turd in the punchbowl. Someone’s got to be at the bottom, and you can get a playset on TCG for $120 right now. I hope $30 is the bottom, but I won’t be shocked it it’s $20. No one plays it!

Raging Ravine ($75): Modern Jund plays a couple of these, and that’s about it. It’s a useful land for that deck, after you’ve emptied them of resources your lands beat down quite effectively. That being said, it’s going to fall as well, to $40 or perhaps even $30.

Stirring Wildwood ($50): The eBay prices are misleading, as you can also get this playset on TCG for $120. It’s a race to the bottom between this and Lavaclaw. Godspeed, both of you.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth ($100): Planar Chaos, Magic 2015, FTV: Realms and now this. That’s a lot of printings, and none are over $60, even in foil. The most popular use, by far, is the combo with Cabal Coffers in Commander. The Tomb is in 45,000 decks online, and don’t forget its uses in Legacy, where it lets Eye of Ugin tap for mana. Still, with original pack foils at $60, I have a hard time seeing this keep this price. It’ll fall a little, maybe to $80.

Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, 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 (next up: Oakland in January!) and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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Crunching the Box Toppers

Ultimate Masters is the latest attempt by Wizards to find out how much we’ll pay for new cardboard. It’s well established that we’ll pay a lot for old cardboard, and they got a glimpse of our madness with Mythic Edition, but UMA is the logical next step.

What they mean by ‘It’s the last masters set for a while’ could mean any damn thing they want, but the Box Toppers are truly a well-designed attempt to drain our wallets dry.

This week, I want to go over the list of those cards and see where they are starting, and offer my thoughts about where they will go.

I do think there’s going to be more of each Box Topper (which I’m going to call a Boxterpiece from now on) than there was for each Mythic Edition planeswalker, but I also think that the demand for these will be much higher, since Wizards basically took the list of the most expensive cards in Modern, deducted Jace, Mox Opal, and the fetchlands, then reprinted the rest.

For current numbers, I’m looking at completed sales on eBay, as we only have a small trickle into the major card sellers.

So let’s talk cards!

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn – Selling for $150-$300 on eBay – Will eventually make it to $100-$150 range. Can’t be played in Commander, but is a 3-4 of in the Legacy decks that Sneak and Show.

Karn Liberated – Selling for $430-$200 – Going to hold in the $200 range, big mana and fabulous prizes are always going to be a big draw. Not the most popular in Commander but still sees a lot of play (8k decks on EDHREC).

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth – Selling for $100-$200 – This will settle into a $50-$75 range. Two people needed one REAL BAD early on and paid more than $300 on eBay. Others waited and got $100 or so.

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre – Selling for $90-$200 – The last three sales have all been sub-$100, indicating that there’s farther to fall, likely into Kozilek’s $50-$75 range. Keep in mind there’s FTV versions of this card, and not of the other two big Eldrazi. The trio is getting their third printing together, too.

Snapcaster Mage – Selling for $200 – I can see this keeping its price and even trending upwards. It’s one of the most popular creatures in Constructed Magic, in both Legacy and Modern, and is in 12,000 Commander decks online. I won’t be shocked when this is consistently the highest-value card out of all of them.

Temporal Manipulation – Selling for $80 – There’s only three sales, at $100, $80, and $56. The Judge Promo is at $90, and I’d be interested in knowing which there’s more of. I suspect this will stabilize in the $80 range.

Bitterblossom – Selling for $150 – Six copies have sold, five accepted best offers, and the one auction ended at $150. It’s not terribly popular in any format, so I think it’ll settle down and be $60 by Valentine’s Day. Yes, that’s less than the pack foil or the 2011 judge promo.

Demonic Tutor – Selling for $175-$300 – I’m very torn on this card. It’s super-iconic, but there’s also a Judge version (which was in the Helvault promo, if you were playing back then) that’s already at nearly $300. That’s a much scarcer version, so I think the Boxsterpiece will end up between $150 and $200.

Goryo’s Vengeance – Selling for $115 – $150 – A rare in Betrayers of Kamigawa, the pack foil is currently $70. I don’t think this will exceed that price, and given that demand is relatively small (There’s really only one deck that plays it) a price of $50ish sounds about right.

Liliana of the Veil – Selling for $300+ – Three people listed this card on eBay for $500 and took best offers. Her pack foil is $250, and the MM17 foil is a paltry $170. She’s not as widely played as Snapcaster but she’s never really had a strong supply. Keeping at $200+ sounds reasonable, and I think the Boxterpiece will end up near the pack foil’s price.

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed – Selling for $80 – $150 – I tried to trade for one of these at $150, knowing the price was high, and all I feel is relief that he found a bigger sucker than me. A super-awesome Commander card, this is his first reprinting. He’s got further to fall, though, and will be in the $40 range.

Reanimate – Selling for $60-170 – This is falling quite quickly, and that makes sense, since it’s only playable in Commander and Legacy Reanimate. There are no pack foils, just an FNM version from quite a while ago and the Graveborn Premium Deck. This will end up being one of the lowest-priced Boxterpieces at $30-$40.

I admit, I had no idea he had fallen this far, and now is not the time to buy!

Tasigur, the Golden Fang – Selling for $50-$175 – Oh ouch, to be the one who bought the first one on eBay for $175, and a week later, it’s sold for $50. I am stunned to see that pack foils are back down to the $15 range after hitting $40 as he did in 2015. Gurmag Angler hasn’t stolen that many slots away! With pack foils this low, and he’s about to be a rare in UMA, I’d expect this version to end up near $30.

Balefire Dragon – selling for $60-$70 – This has remarkably been the price for all the completed auctions. I think this is a good price, too, given that it’s a mythic again and the pack foil is about $30. Dragons are super popular right now! It’s going to drop a little, but not below $40.

Also, everyone forgets you can splice it onto Arcane!

Through the Breach – Selling for $200-$300 – My favorite new art, as it shows both a story moment AND a frequent tournament play. The first three auctions ended at or near $300, the more recent three took best offers under $250. It’s not popular enough to hold this price, and frankly, I don’t expect it to go much over $100. The people who need it need a playset, but no one else is going to be interested. The pack foil is $100, and the Invocation is $80.  This is so much more awesome in art than either of those, though.

Eternal Witness – Selling for $120-$150 – I’m pretty shocked at this price, given that the pack foil and the early FNM version are both near $40. This will be the most expensive Witness, that’s a given, but more like $75. It’s the most popular creature in EDHREC’s database, being in 43% of all the decks ever posted there. Fifty-five thousand and change.

Life from the Loam – Selling for $100-$150 – Dredge is ascendant in Modern right now, and Legacy Dredge is a thing of beauty too. Loam is also a delight in the Lands decks, and seeing enough play to spike the nonfoils to the $30 range. Pack foils are $100, MM13 foils are $50, and I’d expect this version to settle in between those.

Noble Hierarch – Selling for $150 – This is one of the most popular cards in Modern, and the most popular creature overall. There’s also a range of foils to choose from: the pack foil in Conflux, the MM15, the Pro Tour foil, and the sweet old-border Judge version. The good news is that if you’re playing this card, you don’t shave to three of them, you’re playing four or none, so demand is real. I think this price will tick downwards a little, but not too far.

Tarmogoyf – selling for $500ish – I believe this is the only card to be in all three Modern Masters sets, but if there’s others, do let me know in the comments or on Twitter. Three of these have been listed on eBay, all asking more than $500, but they all took a best offer. Pack foils are $700 or so, and the cheapest foil is the most recent, the MM17 at $100. Is this a $500 card? Maybe. I genuinely have no idea where this will end up, but it seems a given that it’ll be more than the $200 of the MM13 foil.

Vengevine – Selling for $75-$150 – The pack foil, from way back in Rise of the Eldrazi, is at $80 and the WMCQ foil is about $50. Vengevine has had a real renaissance lately, and this is another one that people tend to play the full set of. I think this will be neck-and-neck with its pack foil, around $75.

Come back next week for the other half!

 

Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, 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 (next up: Oakland in January!) and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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