All posts by Jason Alt

Jason is the hardest working MTG Finance writer in the business. With a column appearing on Gathering Magic in addition to MTG Price, he is also a member of the Brainstorm Brewery finance podcast and a writer and administrator for Brainstorm Brewery's content website. Follow him on twitter @JasonEAlt

Pro Trader: Mo Data Mo Problems

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I’m seeing no I squandered this title gag on a potential future article called “Mo Mana Mo Problems” which may also be a past article, in which case I guess I didn’t squander the gag as much as fail to repeat it. Regardless, last week I wrote an article called “No Data No Problems” and I guessed at a lot of cards that would go up as a result of some of the Legenday creatures in Battlebond. I guessed pretty well. Let’s see how much better we do this week with (some) data. I bet we do better. Do you bet we do better? Better bet we do better.

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Brainstorm Brewery #293 Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

 

Corbin (@Chosler88), DJ (@Rose0fThorns), and Jason’s (@jasonEalt ) all host their Patreon guest Steven (@SteveMKestner) as they recap the weekend of Battle Bond, how to identify odd looking foreign cards and what really causes spikes. Also, we announce the winner of our first youtube giveaway!

Make sure to check us out on Youtube for hidden easter eggs and facial reactions  https://www.youtube.com/user/BrainstormBrewery

  • Battle Bond Experiences

  • Corbin thinks momentum is a thing in magic

  • Breaking Bulk

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  • Black Bordered Foreign Cards

  • Not In It To Get Rich

  • Evil Finance Community

  • Game Knights Effect

  • Pick of the Week

  • Outro

  • Oh crap the Winner… We had to announce the winner.

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Unlocked Pro Trader: No Data No Problems

EDHREC data for Battlebond isn’t available yet. I don’t have a problem with that and honestly, it might even be a bit premature at this point, anyway. All of the coin flip cards already went nuts because they were obvious to people who don’t play EDH and that kind of stuff is kittycatnip for the uninformed class of speculator. Thinking is hard and checking the Reserved List for cards that haven’t been bought out yet or searching for “flip a coin” in gatherer is easy and sometimes that makes people think they’re geniuses.

You did it!

The non-obvious stuff is just sitting in store inventories because, like I said, it’s not obvious and that means it could take a minute to go up. I’m going to make a few guesses this week based on no data, just like the rest of the lunatics still sitting on a million copies of Jazal Goldmane. Where do I get off doing that? Well, I sort of have to this week, I’m bored and I’ve done this long enough that I feel fairly confident in my ability to say a few obvious things about a few obvious other things. This article has no theme to it other than “not supported by any EDHREC data” which is not a very good theme. Oh well,  you know what they say; “mo data mo problems” (no one says that) so let’s wing it. If you want to argue with me, there’s a comment section below. Let’s do this!

Probably the Last Heading

This is going to be a few thoughts that I have thought and I will try to make convincing cases for these cards mattering.

Arena Rector

I stopped incorrectly guessing the prices of cards like Recruiter of the Guard and Arena Rector when I stopped making myself guess. I don’t care what Arena Rector ends up costing. I think the value of the set has to go somewhere and short term, a lot of the reprinted cards will tank a lot but the reprinted cards are almost all EDH staples so I bet they go up before it even matters. However, there will be a few weeks where cards like this need to pull their weight so this could maintain some of its value. I don’t care either way. If you want them, buy them at peak supply as long as the price graph has rebounded a bit. Don’t grab a falling knife, folks. But this card’s price bores me so let’s talk about the cards that this will affect.

The Chain Veil

There seems to be no shortage of opportunities to make money on this card. I like its a lot at $0.75 but I kind of don’t hate it right now. Arena Rector means more interest in Planeswalkers in general and Atraxa will be in Commander Anthology shortly which means you can pay like $120 for 4 decks, one of which is Atraxa versus paying $100 for Atraxa right now. This means you get 3 decks for $20 and people are about it. I expect cards like the Chain Veil that get jammed in Superfriends decks are extra buoyant in the future with those two things converging.

See the thing the arrow is pointing at? on EDHREC’s Atraxa page, you can click on themes and find the cards that are only in Atraxa Superfriends builds. That will let you filter through more relevant cards in a shorter time by eliminating infect and other cards and letting you see Superfriends staples. That will help you figure out what has upside with Arena Rector becoming a thing.

There are some interesting cards on that page and they don’t warrant a ton of explanation.

This is near a historic low after a recent brush with arbitrage. There are a lot of these but they’re also foil mythics and that means supply will eventually run out and drive the price up.

There are more of these but we’re in week 4 of arbitrage watch and I think it’s the dealers who have the right of it, here, not the low retail price. I can’t think of many places I’d rather park a few bucks at $1 per.

You’re seeing the inherent weakness in the ability of fringe EDH to move prices of non-mythic cards under 2 years old. That said, how can this get cheaper? It’s good in White Planeswalker decks and if you’re playing Arena Rector, there is a 100% chance you at least have access to Djeru.

Najeela, the Blade-Blossom

I will do a full article on this because I expect this to move a lot of dials, but the most popular way this is currently being built is a combo build and the combo pieces are already known to me because the people who are inclined to go super spiky with a commander like this are equally inclined to get their thoughts published on the internet first.  I think the combo pieces are worth a look.

Druids’ Repository

At 1,540 decks currently, this card isn’t exactly unknown. It’s also over half a decade old and supply of Innistrad isn’t exactly getting replenished with boxes being so expensive. This card is instrumental to the Najeela combo and if you’re buying in at like $1, you basically can’t lose. The combo needs this card in a few of its iterations and all of the ones that are fewer than 4 cards. I like this as a pick-up a lot.

Aggravated Assault

This back on an upswing after the Explorers of Ixalan printing, which isn’t that surprising. Two innovative ways to try an curb the price of this monster card, the Masterpiece and the Explorers printing, gave decent opportunity to buy low on these. Considering this is a way to do the Najeela combo without having WUBRG I think this is pretty important and anytime a “combat matters” commander comes out, this goes up. This is an EDH semi-staple basically from now on. Staple is a word that a lot of people throw around, but semi-staple should catch on because a card that’s in a lot of copies of a few builds isn’t a format staple but isn’t chopped liver, either. Auto-includes deserve a classification because their demand is less linear a curve and more a series of leaps and plateaus and that’s good to know.

Nature’s Will

These were $2 the first time I mentioned them in an MTGPrice article, so I hope you used those gains to buy a Pro Trader subscription for life. If not, that’s cool, just calling out my hits and ignoring my misses like everyone else.

Anyway, this card is usually worse than Bear Umbra because you have to connect with something to get the benefit but considering you’re farting out a ton of  tokens, you’ll be connecting for sure. Both Bear Umbra and Nature’s Will are like $10 now which makes me wary of a reprint but in the short term, they’re not exactly going down and Najeela has created more demand.

Cryptolith Rite

I don’t want to shoot my wad  and not have enough cards to cover when I do a Najeela article (if I even do one at this point) but Najeela has a lot going for it just vis-a-vis the combo wins I have seen online and this card features in a lot of them. Its days in Standard are over leaving us to speculate about how much EDH can prop it up, and considering how much Earthcraft costs these days, I think we’re pretty safe calling this at like $2. This is like Druids’ Repository in that it’s an easy pick and if you don’t buy these, some non-Pro Trader will on Thursday.

Champion of Lambholt

Not going to list too many Warriors here, but this looks pretty damn good to me.

This is what I could come up with off the top of my head based on what people have already built or said they were building. Normally my articles have more words but they don’t have fewer cards discussed and since a picture is worth 1,000 words, I’m way, way over my word count anyway. There’s a lot of digest here and if you felt this was too brief, here’s a homework assignment – take the 3 minutes you would have spent reading 3 more paragraphs and mess around on EDHREC. Get used to the filters like the one I pointed out that can be used to filter just the Superfriends cards and look at some of those cards. Which White Planeswalkers are always likely to be in decks with Arena Rector? Here’s a hint – you can use EDHREC to figure out which Planeswalkers get played the most overall and also use the Atraxa page to find the Superfriends ones. Maybe go to a Planeswalker card like The Chain Veil’s page to see which White ‘walkers (heh) correlate the most with that card. I’m teaching you to fish as much as I’m feeding you hand-cut sushi every week. Next week I’ll either have some EDHREC data to look at or I’ll be looking at speculating on stuff like Pir and Toothy and I hope to not have to do that. Until next time!

 

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Unlocked Pro Trader: BattleBoned Part 2 – Electric Battloo

I wrote an article last week and this article is part two of that article. I want to jump in and continue but that’s a pretty abrupt jump for some people. If you’re not ready to go from 0-60 in a few seconds, take a second to re-read the article from last week, get back into the thought process we were previously in and hit this one running because the transition from preamble paragraph to the body of the piece is going to be

The Rest of the Reprints

abrupt.

Nirkana Revenant – Class 2

Last night on Brainstorm Brewery, Corbin talked about how the graph of this wasn’t very promising and I guess he’s looking at a different graph than I am. All I see is the buy price about to converge with the retail price, which means a correction would have happened if the reprint hadn’t been announced and I see high dealer confidence in a card whose price has steadily increased for years. If you look at a very similar card, a card I won’t shut up about, you’ll see the effect of a reprint.

Ghast recovered nicely. It doesn’t hurt that Ghast is in 4 times as many decks as Revenant on EDHREC but there are several factors at play there. First is that Ghast is cheaper mana-wise. Second is that Ghast is cheaper money-wise and Revnant may have been previously priced out of collections. Thirdly, Ghast was in a precon so of course it’s going to be in more lists. More people have them and more people succumb to the precon effect and leave cards in the precons when they rebuild them if they’re good enough not to take out. Revenant will likely recover a lot of its value and I think we’ll see a nice, U-shaped graph similar to the one we see with Crypt Ghast, especially with a cheap price on Revenant enfranchising people that may have been priced out before.

War’s Toll – Class 1

This is a good card but it suffers from the fact that most of its growth was very recent as was more than likely predicated on scarcity. We have $4 booster packs with Doubling Season and Land Tax in them and people are going to want to draft these packs a lot. This set will dump a ton of War’s Tolls onto the market. This will tank to bulk and while it may recover, it will likely take a long time. This is in a mere 1,800 decks on EDHREC and that demand isn’t robust enough to cope with the coming influx. Some stuff will never recover and I think this is one of those cards. It likely creeps to $2 in a few years but we have so much time to see that coming, why do anything besides maybe set them aside when you buy them as bulk rares?

Angelic Chorus – Class 1

This is a White War’s Toll. It’s an old card in under 2,000 decks on EDHREC that sneakily crept to like $5 and mostly stayed there. This demand curve is much flatter than that of War’s Toll and it’s in closer to 1,000 decks than it is to 2,000 decks. Everything that happens to War’s Toll will happen to this to a lesser extent and that’s being charitable. The low demand and price predicated on scarcity can’t cope with the coming influx of copies. This is pre-selling for $1.87 and that’s too high.

Mystic Confluence – Class 1

Flat Demand is a bad sign for a card getting a reprint. This is going to tank, probably to $2 or $3 and it probably stays wherever it ends up.  This is in 8,000 EDHREC decks, but that number is juiced by the precon effect and its demand curve is basically flat. I think we’re about to get inundated with copies and I bet this takes 3 years to even flirt with $4, meanwhile a ton of other cards in the set are much better looking.

Nyxathid – Class 1

I don’t know which format is propping this up, but it isn’t EDH. This is in like 200 decks. I suspect this is a casual card and I have no idea how to predict what casual demand can do for this card, but I suspect a ton of supply dumped on the market being sniped one at a time by casual players who still buy boosters hoping to get individual cards like I did when I was 12 isn’t getting soaked up anytime soon.

Magmatic Force – Class 1

This card has very little demand and I suspect the price is predicated on scarcity since it’s from the original Commander set from 2011. 1,200 decks on EDHREC can’t really soak up these coming copies, especially since a lot of those decks are old decks like Rakdos, Lord of Riots and Horde of Notions. Newer decks don’t seem interested.

Noosegraf Mob – Class 1

Once a bulk rare, always a bulk rare.

Goblin Razrunners – Class 1

See “Noosegraf Mob”

Greater Good – Class 1.5

I think this has a pretty robust demand profile and I feel like the cheap copies will enfranchise some people who didn’t have access to a $10 card and will encourage them to build with it. Demand for this card was sort of flat but bumped and plateaued every time a new, hot commander was printed for it. Selvala, Angry Omnath. I think this recovers but I think it will take an impetus rather than the modest 6,900 decks it’s in. I think you snag these as cheap as you can, use them to shore up trades that are off by a buck or two and throw these in a box until they’re magically $6 apiece, which I think can happen. It’s Class 1.5 because I think it will get there but unlike Class 1 cards, it won’t get there on its own.

Kor Spiritdancer – Class 1

This card is likely toast. It’s like $5 after its precipitous decline (can a decline be precipitous? Yeah, I just looked it up and it can.) from bogles wanting it briefly in Modern and while it was showing signs of recovering slightly, I think the Modern demand drying up coupled with its very modest (1,671 decks on the ‘REC) EDH demand spells bulk status for this for a while and a pretty slow climb afterward.

Tidespout Tyrant – Class 1

Be honest – you had no idea this card was $8. It was something I noticed but never really found an excuse to talk about despite really liking it (and sometimes confusing it with Roil Elemental, which I like a lot more and you know why if you read my 75% series on Gathering Magic). This is a solid card and the fact that a lot of its demand seems recent makes me think the price is predicated on scarcity. I think this is similar to War’s Toll and I will only change my belief if this doesn’t tank as hard as Toll does. Why shouldn’t it? It has the same graph shape, it has the same tepid EDH demand and it is just as old. This does exactly what Toll does and its higher pre-sale price is puzzling but I think it will all shake out.

Magus of the Candelabra – Class 1

R.I.P. bulk rare

Mangara of Corondor – Class1*

*This card is toast, but the only caveat is that the Battlebond version has the new Legendary card border and it’s possible that foils of this could displace the older foils, not that anyone is trifling with Mangara combo these days. They SHOULD. Everyone talked about how Eternal and Iconic Masters made it possible to build Legacy Death and Taxes and if you run D&T without the iconic Mangara combo with the Karakas you just got from a booster, you’re doing it wrong. Mangara is included in 1,100 decks or so and there are 67 built around the card. That said, I think I might want to try a Mangara deck with a ton of ways to tutor for Helm of the Host and just make the slowest walking Vindicates ever. That doesn’t make this a better buy.

Sower of Temptation – Class 1

I hate to admit it, but this card’s goose might be cooked. I really didn’t think so just as a gut feeling when I saw Sower on the reprint list – I thought this was a good place to park money and it still feels wrong to classify this as class 1 but I literally can’t think of a reason not to based on the data. This is in a mere 2,300 decks on EDHREC, its Legacy demand is dwindling, its price is way down and it’s pre-selling for $3. This is going to tank hard and I don’t see a ton of impetus for this to go way back up. Like Greater Good, if this does go up, it won’t be based on current conditions, it will be based on something happening to change its current circumstances. If I had written about this last week, I would likely have classified it as a class 1 card without thinking, but I think this is likely about to take a beating.

Seedborn Muse – Class 2

This is in 12,000 EDHREC decks and with every new, busted Simic deck that’s possible, the need for these goes up. This is pre-selling for $14 on Card Kingdom which seems high but also indicates they’re aware that this won’t be down for long. For whatever reason, people weren’t playing this half as much before they got to play with Prophet of Kruphix for a few months but now that everyone seems to have gotten the message, they’re using this card, for better or worse. This likely goes to $7 or $8, maybe even lower given that it’s printed as a non-mythic, but this recovers a lot of value and you’re just going to stack cash buying these at the floor.

Apocalypse Hydra – Class 1

Modern Masters 2015 kicked the chair out from under this card and Battleborn will kick it in the throat before we even get a chance to see if it was going to be able to get back on its feet.

Evil Twin – Class 1

Bulk is bulk

Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer – Class 1

Ded.

What I said about Mangara may be true of this – people may want the foil in the new border but that doesn’t really do much for a card with such little demand as a commander.

Mycosynth Lattice – Class 2

Pre-selling for $12, this cut in half already but there’s good news. It’s reprinted in Battlebond as a Mythic, which means it’s not going to get quite the pantsing some other cards are. Secondly, it’s used in over 5,000 decks on EDHREC and a lot of those are recent given the printings of Breya and Jhoira et al recently. It’s a very good combo piece and its price graph shows pretty decent, sustained growth just on the back of being a very useful card and artifacts mattering in EDH basically the entire time there has been a format. This likely doesn’t shrug the reprint off per se but I bet the additional supply won’t do too much to attenuate this card’s growth, which should resume as soon as people start drafting whatever we’re going to draft after Battlebond.

Mind’s Eye – Class 1.5

This strikes me as a card like Duplicant or Solemn Simulacrum – we keep playing them without really ever asking ourselves why. These cards have always been played. They got masterpiece printings. They must be format staples. This is the 81st-most-played colorless card on EDHREC but I have a feeling that it’s on its way down in the rankings. Purely based on data, I don’t think the price growth is robust enough nor the demand (8,500 decks) strong enough to classify this as class 1. Regardless of what I think about its future, more copies getting into more hands and at the cheap rate of a $5 preorder that will almost certainly be too high isn’t going to bring its adoption down. I think this grows less than the juicier targets but I bet this does something.

That does it for this set. I think I at least made a data-based case for my picks but if you disagree on anything, let me know in the comments section. That does it for me – until next time!

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