All posts by David Sharman

The Watchtower 04/20/20 – Don’t Go Alone (But Stay Inside Though)

Social distancing is of the utmost importance right now, and yet everyone is running around with Companions? What’s going on??

Jokes aside, it looks like some peoples’ fears over the Companion mechanic being broken might not have been unfounded. Lurrus of the Dream-Den is EVERYWHERE, and Gyruda, Doom of Depths has actually been temporarily banned from all formats on MTGO because of a bug with its interaction with Leyline of the Void type effects – you should be able to return cards exiled with its effect but Magic Online isn’t letting you. On top of that, we’ve seen eight out of ten cats Companions top 8 online tournaments across all competitive constructed formats. It’s clear these cards are busted.

Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger

Price today: 16 tix
Possible price: 25 tix

The Standard Aristocrats deck has picked up a lot of new and powerful tools with Ikoria. Lurrus of the Dream-Den is obviously great and doing some crazy stuff all over the shop, but other cards like Fiend Artisan, Whisper Squad and Call of the Death-Dweller are putting in work too. A couple of different flavours of the deck have been tried out so far, with both Orzhov and Rakdos showing promise, and Kroxa is proving to be great in builds including red.

Kroxa fits the bill to play Lurrus as your companion, which is the first thing we need to be able to check off here, and so coupled with Lurrus you can be casting and triggering a Kroxa every turn without the need to Escape it. That’s some serious value, and doesn’t even take into account the fact that you might have a Witch’s Oven or Priest of Forgotten Gods in play.

Kroxa has already put up results over the weekend in Team Lotus Box’s Standard tournament, making a top 8 appearance in a Rakdos Aristocrats build. Although it doesn’t have quite the pedigree of its associate Uro, Kroxa does see a reasonable amount of play in Modern too, showing up in Jund and Death’s Shadow builds. This mythic from Theros is already seeing some upward movement and will be over 20 tix in short order, and I don’t think 25-30 is unreasonable.

The Ozolith

Price today: 1.3 tix
Possible price: 5 tix

Now onto quite a different card in the Ozolith. This hasn’t been seeing any standard play as far as I know, but it has been showing up in Pioneer. Hardened Scales is a deck that somewhat fell off the radar when Once Upon a Time got banned in the format, but this one mana artifact has given the deck new life. Lurrus (how many times am I going to have to mention that card?) has also been working some magic for the deck as a Companion, and combined with The Ozolith I think the deck really has some legs again.

In a Scales deck, The Ozolith just acts as a store for all of the +1/+1 counters from any of your creatures that die, and combined with Lurrus it’s a recipe for large, repeatable threats. Throw a Metallic Mimic in the mix and you can really start going crazy!

The Ozolith is fairly cheap online at 1.3 tix at the moment, and although it might be a bit of a narrow card, I think it has a lot of potential. It might even breathe life back into Modern Scales – although Mox Opal is no longer a part of the format (RIP), The Ozolith can do some serious work with an Arcbound Ravager, making for a very quick kill with an Inkmoth Nexus. A slightly more speculative pick, but there’s no doubting the potential of this card.

Seasoned Pyromancer

Price today: 19 tix
Possible price: 30 tix

Speaking of Modern, let’s have a look at what has been doing well recently. A couple of weeks ago I talked about Klothys with regard to the RG Midrange deck that has been popularised recently, and since then its metagame share has only gone up. Alongside Bant Uro and Niv to Light, these midrange decks are appealing to Magic players because they get to play a lot of Magic with them. It’s good old creature-based interaction, served with a small side of land destruction – just as Garfield intended, right?

Whether or not you’re a fan of this type of deck, it’s the most popular (and likely the best) thing to be doing in Modern right now. Combo decks are seemingly out of the picture for now (although that still hasn’t stopped Caleb Scherer top 8ing with Storm), and midrange is king.

Anyway, back to talking about this RG deck – Seasoned Pyromancer is one of the key value engines in the deck, providing card selection and extra bodies on the board. Since the Modern Horizons flashback draft the other week, Pyromancer has actually bottomed out slightly more and is now down to 19 tix, from a high of 30 less than a month ago. It’s a mythic and so supply is on the lower side, and with the increased popularity of this deck I expect to see it back up to 30 tix in the next couple of months or so.

Bonus Pick!

Go and buy Lurrus. Do it. Then sell it sharpish before it gets banned in everything.

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Watchtower 04/13/20 – MTGO Tix are the New World Currency

I had a bit of a think yesterday about something different I could do for this week’s article, but seeing as Cliff and Jason are still writing about real cardboard I thought I should continue talking about imaginary cardboard for y’all to buy. The strain on the USPS is starting to show, with warnings coming that it could shut down by June without significant financial aid. Losses have been increasing, and this has meant that it’s a bad time for us to be buying and selling physical cards – and that’s not even taking into account the potential danger of transmitting Coronavirus via mail. So it’s more MTGO picks from me for the foreseeable future, with maybe the odd special article here and there in between.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Price today: 11 tix
Possible price: 20 tix

Classic Tron has long been an unwavering mainstay in the Modern metagame. It’s had its ups and downs, but I don’t think this deck can, or will, ever die as long as Karn and his Tron lands are legal in the format. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger started to be played in the deck soon after its printing in Battle for Zendikar, and became more of a staple once Eye of Ugin was banned and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn got pushed out of the deck.

Albeit a pricier deck in paper (it’d run you around $600), Tron is much cheaper online. You can pick the deck up for as little as 200 tix, and that coupled with the fact that it can be a relatively straightforward deck to pilot to a reasonable proficiency makes it ideal for the players that are currently migrating to MTGO for their Magic fix. The deck has been sat in the top five for metagame share for the past few weeks, and I don’t think that’s going to dip down much.

Ulamog is a single print mythic from nearly five years ago, which means that supply online is on the low side. Until it sees another print or release online, I think that this is going to keep ticking upwards towards 20 tix again.

Fabled Passage

Price today: 9 tix
Possible price: 15 tix

Fabled Passage is currently being played in pretty much every deck playing more than one colour in Standard. It fixes all your colours painlessly, as well as having extra utility like providing food to cast cards for their Escape cost in Uro decks and enabling triggers for Mayhem Devil in the Rakdos Aristocrats deck.

As we approach the release of Ikoria, I think that Fabled Passage is going to be more in demand for Standard decks. With the new tri-colour Legendaries, Ultimatums and Mythos(es?), colour fixing is going to be more important than ever. The new tricycle lands (yes, that’s what they’re called, don’t @ me) will help a lot with this, but you’re going to need fixing that comes into play untapped as well.

One of the decks I want to focus on here is the Rakdos Aristocrats deck – it looks like the addition of Luminous Broodmoth could be a big boon for the archetype, effectively giving all your creatures twice the number of sacrifice triggers. Fabled Passage is already a four-of in the deck, both for mana fixing and to trigger Mayhem Devil, and I think that this deck could rise even higher than it already is with the incoming new tech.

Fabled Passage saw a spike up to 18 tix a couple of weeks ago and has since retraced to 9, so I think this is a great spot to be picking them up. Throne of Eldraine grows older by the day, and I like buying these now to sell into Ikoria hype, or even to hold until rotation in the fall if you’re happier to sit back on these for a while.

Thassa, Deep-Dwelling

Price today: 1.3 tix
Possible price: 5 tix+

This is by far my most speculative pick this week, but I think that Thassa, Deep-Dwelling is probably the most powerful of the Gods from Theros Beyond Death (if we set aside the Heliod/Ballista combo; Heliod isn’t great outside of that). 

Thassa had quite the hype around her when THB was first released. Flickering your creatures with powerful enter-the-battlefield triggers is great, and if you can turn on Thassa’s devotion then even better. We initially saw her being used in UG ramp/ETB shells, flicking things like Risen Reef and Agent of Treachery. Since the first couple of weeks of new Theros Standard, however, she’s fallen off the radar a bit, other than seeing a smattering of play in less competitive Flicker or Elementals decks.

As we move into Ikoria, there are definitely some more interesting enter-the-battlefield triggers that we could be repeating with Thassa. There are quite a few Companions that could work really well with her too – Keruga, the Macrosage and Yorion, Sky Nomad both spring to mind as cards that could be great to build a Thassa deck around. The Ozolith also seems like a card that could be busted with Thassa. I’ll leave it to better deckbuilders than me to figure the details out, but I feel like Thassa is a strong enough card that should definitely be more than 1.3 tix. I’m honestly not sure on what the ceiling could be for this card, but it’s one of the lowest priced Mythics from THB so I think that the only way is up from here.

A note of advice to finish: if you’re missing the feel of playing Magic irl, take out a deck a couple of times a day and give it a shuffle. Feel the sleeves slip through your fingers…take a card out and smell the cardboard, fondle your favourite Commander…okay nah this got weird, we’re done. Bye!

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Watchtower 04/06/20 – Very Online

Another week in isolation has passed, and I’m only really aware of it because my phone told me to write another article. Time isn’t real any more. But I’m back with more Magic Online picks this week, as online tournaments are in full swing now and will most likely stay that way for the foreseeable future. Short intro over, let’s go.

Modern Horizons – Various

Price today: $Some
Possible price: $More

Rather than picking just one card in particular here, I’d like to echo my sentiment from last week, in that a lot of MH1 cards are great pickups right now. Modern Horizons drafts have been up on MTGO since last Wednesday, and will come to a close this Wednesday in favour of the Modern Cube. With all this drafting, a lot of players have been selling the cards they’ve opened to recoup costs and play more drafts, and this has been pushing prices down online. With drafts coming to an end, players that need these cards are going to buy them and prices are going to creepy back up. I think the lowest point for most of these cards was on Saturday, but there’s still money to be made here.

Let’s take a look at some specifics. Wrenn & Six dipped down to 64 tix on Saturday, and is already back up to 84. I can see this heading back over 100 tix in the next few months. Ice-fang Coatl dipped to 14 over the weekend, and now back up to 24 – I think this will be headed to 40+ in the long run. Force of Negation, after hitting a high of 90 tix in the middle of March, is down to 57 – this will be 80+ in short order too.

As I said, I think the lowest point for all of these cards looks like it was on Saturday. There is probably a decent amount of speculator movement in here, but the online demand for these cards is real. Quarantine or not, online is the biggest place for Legacy play anyway, so cards like Wrenn & Six will be headed back upwards due to demand and price memory, and with Ice-Fang and Force of Negation both being key elements of the most popular Modern deck at the moment, they’re going to be moving in the same direction.

Klothys, God of Destiny

Price today: $7
Possible price: $12

I called Klothys as a paper pick back in January at $10, and unfortunately it hasn’t made too much of a showing since then – but I think that’s changing. I’m still a strong believer in the power of this card, and the online results are starting to back that up. Red Green Midrange is a deck that’s been putting great results up in Modern recently, usually playing 3 Klothys – it’s sort of a Ponza deck but with more midrange cards like Seasoned Pyromancer and Glorybringer, rather than ramping into bigger things like Inferno Titan. We still see plentiful Pillages and Magus of the Moons, but the power level of the whole deck has been upgraded.

As well as being a new player in Modern, the card is popping up in Pioneer too. Gruul Aggro is making some small waves in the meta, with a couple of variants showing up – one with and one without Collected Company. Both decks are mostly playing one or two Klothys along with a bunch of one and two drops to try and get your opponent dead as quickly as possible.

Theros Beyond Death is still ‘in print’ online, but this is a mythic from the set and seeing play in multiple formats. Klothys, after bottoming out at around 2.5 tix online, has moved back up to around 7 tix, but I think there’s a decent amount more runway to go. This could well end up being a longer hold, but I’m pretty confident that this will be a good one for the long-term.

Niv-Mizzet Reborn

Price today: $7
Possible price: $15

Niv to Light was a deck that first found real success in Pioneer, using a suite of Uros along with some wild singletons to accrue value. Apparently Niv’s power level is high enough that the deck has been ported over to Modern, putting up a Niv mirror match finals in the Team Lotus Box tournament over the weekend. Both decks were using a playset of Wrenn & Six and a couple of Teferi, Time Ravelers, backed up by powerful hand attack and removal spells.

A couple of interesting inclusions in this iteration of the deck are Kaya’s Guile (perhaps another MH1 card to pay attention to) and Glittering Wish. Guile has a good amount of flexibility, and Wish can go and find bullets from the sideboard as necessary. A solid core supported by some powerful one-ofs in this deck has really pushed it over the edge, beating out the popular Bant Snowblade and Uroza decks to take down the tournament.

Niv-Mizzet himself is obviously always played as a 3 to 4 of in the deck, these new versions playing 3 copies main and one side to fetch with Glittering Wish. The card has been on a downwards trend since the release of War of the Spark, but with no fresh supply of WAR on the horizon, I think that this multi-format card is ripe to turn around and head towards 15 tix.

Tune in next week for more MTGO picks, probably!

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Watchtower 03/30/20 – Changing Tack

With a lot of the world now in lockdown, game shops are closed and nobody’s playing paper Magic (other than over webcam etc). Tournaments have moved online – Channel Fireball are running Arena tournaments 24/7 and Team Lotus Box have started their own tournament series across Arena and Magic Online, amongst others doing similar things. Very few people are buying paper Magic cards right now, and have instead turned to playing on MTGO to get their (albeit virtual) cardboard fix, which in turn is having an effect on the MTGO economy. I’m sure that a large number of people reading this won’t be involved in the online side of Magic finance yet, but I think this is a great opportunity to take a look into it.

Ice-Fang Coatl

Price today: $23
Possible price: $50

Variants of the Bant Snowblade deck are taking up a large proportion of the Modern metagame at the moment – some playing more Uro and taking the midrange route, and others going for a more controlling Stoneforge and Cryptic Command build. No matter how it’s built, however, all the decks are playing four Ice-Fang Coatl. Turns out that an Ambush Viper that flies AND cantrips is pretty good – who knew?

Besides the fact that Ice-Fang is a staple in these decks, I’m singling it out because of the price movement on it recently. Having been on the rise since December, the card spiked up to a touch above 50 tix (MTGO tickets, roughly equal to dollars) online a couple of weeks ago, and has since retraced down to around 23 tix. I would say that this is a reasonable floor, but this Wednesday (04/01) the Vintage Cube is being replaced with Modern Horizons draft. This will be run as both a phantom and non-phantom event, so not as much ‘real’ product will be opened – but it will still provide downwards pressure on a lot of Modern Horizons cards.

My advice would be to keep an eye on the price of Ice-Fang and other Modern Horizons cards come Wednesday (Urza, Astrolabe etc.), and look out for downwards movement. Towards next Wednesday, when MH draft rotates off MTGO, I suspect we’ll see prices recover and Ice-Fang could be headed back towards 50 tix in no short order.

Jace, Wielder of Mysteries

Price today: $11
Possible price: $18

Over in Pioneer, Dimir Inverter is still topping the virtual tables again and again. Having dodged a ban earlier this month (yes, believe it or not that was in March), the deck has been proving its power since and putting up top finishes in multiple online tournaments.

Jace, Wielder of Mysteries is a keystone of the deck, and saw a nice run up to 18 tix after the deck survived another round of bans. Since then we’ve seen it retrace back to 11, but with more and more online play occurring I expect to see it turn around again for a steady gain over the next few weeks. WAR isn’t being drafted any more so the only fresh supply is coming from Treasure Chests, and I think now is a reasonable time to be picking these up.

Another thing to note is that this is a popular card in EDH, and because of the current lockdown EDH is seeing an uptick in play on MTGO. I wouldn’t be surprised to see EDH play have some impact on card prices online, so it’s worth keeping an eye on cheap staples.

Theros Beyond Death Scrylands

Price today: $0.08
Possible price: $0.50

Finally, let’s look at Standard to round off today’s picks. Although Magic Arena is where most Standard play happens, it’s not absent from MTGO, and it still moves prices. The Scrylands from Theros and M20 are staples in pretty much all the Standard decks that play more than one colour, and all of the Theros ones are under 0.1 tix at the moment. The most expensive is Temple of Enlightenment at 0.08 tix, and the cheapest are at 0.03 tix.

If we take a look at the Temples from Core Set 2020, they were all similarly low for a couple of months after the set release, but since then climbed and generally stayed over 0.5 tix. Some have briefly flirted with 1.5 tix or so, but I expect to see the same pattern from the THB Scrylands over the coming months too. Supply will drop off, and prices will climb to around 0.5 tix or more – so if you pick a bunch of these up now you should be in for a tidy profit down the road.

Picks like this normally aren’t worth it in paper unless you can buy a large quantity at once and can then sell them to a buylist when the card has made enough gains, but with buying and selling online it’s a bit different. There are no shipping costs, no waiting times and no fees to pay, which makes it a lot easier to make money on cheaper cards and smaller gains like this.

That’s all for this week; next week I might do more MTGO picks or find something else to write about instead…we’ll see. Til next time, stay indoors and stay safe!

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.