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

Brainstorm Brewery #315 An Expanded Episode-lit

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Jason (@jasonEalt), Corbin (@CHosler88) and DJ (@Rose0fThorns) are back to talk about the fully spoiled UMA, the artist boycott and answer your emails.

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  • 12:00 UMA

  • 18:49 Breaking Bulk

  • 27:29 Artist Boycott

  • 41:22 Emails

  • 53:22 Pick of the Week

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Better Bargain to Buy Before the Bottom

Readers!

I was going to make a huge deal out of the fact that I got a comment on my last article pointing out that they found it informative and helpful and I usually get fewer than three comments on an article (not just here, but on Coolstuff, also) and then I read Adrian Sullivan’s primer from when he won a GP and it had two comments and then I thought “three comments is a lot.” The thing about being a large percentage of the comments I get by virtue of bothering to comment is that I overreact to what can honestly be both construed as “an overwhelming percentage of my feedback” and also “literally two comments” and do what those people say. After all, they wrote in. Accordingly, I’m going to write something I hope is pretty similar to last week’s article and if you don’t like it, blame the people who commented.

Last week I talked about cards that were bound to increase by virtue of having been ruled out of Ultimate Masters before the full set was printed. It was more valuable to Pro Traders on Tuesday than the general public on Thursday but isn’t much good to anyone, now. While I still think “act fast” articles have value because you’re working with information not everyone has if they didn’t sit and think about it and rather than sit and think about it, you paid me to do it for you, which I’m happy to do. However, longer-term forecasts are good, too, because if you know what you want long-term before you crack your first booster, buying, selling and trading will be a lot easier since you don’t have to plan, I planned for you. Let’s talk about the cards in the EDHREC top 100 that are in Ultimate Masters, their rank, their likelihood for another future reprinting and how much we expect their price to recover given those factors. We nailed cards like Rune-Scarred Demon and Austere Command in Iconic Masters, so let’s work the same magic on a set with lower supply. This will make you the least sexy money you’ll ever make, but sexy doesn’t pay the rent, desperate men pay sexy’s rent for sexy. Let’s pay our own rent, shall we?

THE EDHREC TOP 100

I realize that EDHREC has a few limitations and I wish people realized I realized that. I’ve been using EDHREC data to crush it at predictions for like 5 years, there’s not much about the site that you’re going to tell me that is going to make me go “Oh man, I’ve been doing it wrong all these years” so let’s assume that until EDHREC starts making me lose people a bunch of money, the data has things we can learn from it. If I say something derived from data that you think is wrong, A) argue with me in the comments and B) you’re under no obligation to buy. The best specs in my opinion are the ones where I say something and it jives with something you already thought but weren’t quite sure of. That’s a spec based on consensus. The Top 100 cards are the most-used cards and they’re ranked 1-100 on the basis of percentage inclusion in eligible decks rather than raw inclusion. Of course Sol Ring is in more decks than Chromanticore, for lots of reasons. However, Blasphemous Act is in 30.705 decks and Solemn Simulacrum is in 281,775 decks but Blasphemous Act is ranked two spots higher. Why? Because more decks could be playing Solemn and aren’t than could be playing Blasphemous Act but aren’t. Capiche? It’s a simple concept but people think I don’t know it so I’m pointing it out. Raw number of decks is very important but it doesn’t tell the whole story, otherwise we’d buy nothing but artifacts. So what from the Top 100 made it into Ultimate Masters?

 

Demonic Tutor

Rank – 20/100

Demonic Tutor is in a lot of decks. It’s the #1 most-played Black card in terms of raw numbers at over 46,000 which is like… all the black decks. Well, it’s a third of them, but, still. No other card is played in more than a third and this is a card that was $45 on Card Kingdom recently and selling for that price. There weren’t too many judge promo or other versions of the card and with this new art, I expect this to be highly coveted. This is a pretty insane inclusion as a rare in a set with $6 mythics and we’re lucky Wizards wanted us to have such a good set. So how long do we expect to wait for the price to do its thing? Well, if you consider Vampiric Tutor a decent analogue, take a look.

This took between 8 and 12 months to decrease and then rose pretty steadily. There wasn’t a whole ton of money to be made, but if you were buying at buylist or trading cards that didn’t recover as well, you did fine. If we’re talking in at retail, out at retail, someone who played it perfectly bought in around $26 on TCG Player and got out at around $46 on TCG Player, which is nothing to sneeze at. AND it was predictable. When the card his $26 after a few months of sliding, people were happy to sell for $15 cash at the LGS or trade for $25 worth of Modern stuff (so… one Manamorphose?). If you want a Tutor to play with, wait until it bottoms out, note if it starts to rebound and buy double because you’ll pay more if you wait longer and when it doubles up, you can always sell the spare copy and you got the play copy for free. That’s how I roll, anyway. Sexy doesn’t pay my rent, but sexy goes in decks. I think Demonic Tutor follows a similar trajectory, but has a slightly different demand profile.

Also, this will have the most affordable foil copies of this card we’ve ever seen, potentially. All in all, it’s a good look.

Eternal Witness

Rank – 5/100

There isn’t much excuse for not playing this card in a green deck and 42% of all builders couldn’t find one. 56,000 decks is a lot of demand and this card, despite being uncommon and in a precon and printed a ton, manages to shrug off every reprinting. After 7 printings (counting Commander Anthologies 1 and 2) with Terese Nielsen’s art, we get a new take on it and foils of this will be the only foil copies of Eternal Witness with this art in case people like it better. It’s also a box topper promo so not all of the demand for the card will be satiated by older copies which won’t help this shrug off the reprint a ton, but clearly Eternal Witness doesn’t need the help. Printed at uncommon again, I expect this to tank pretty deeply, although this is likely one of the smallest printings of this card to date and there’s a lot of demand.

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The cheapest the Fifth Dawn version ever got was the week Modern Masters 2017 came out, which was about a year and a half after the last time Eternal Witness got a reprint of any real size, in Commander 2015. It’s been a while but it didn’t take the price that long to climb back up to where it mostly equilibrated, although it peaked a bit, both times it wasn’t included in a set it probably should have been (Modern Masters 2 and Battlebond). This will be $8 again, and soon, and it will be dirt in the near term unless people overwhelmingly prefer the new art, which they might.

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Kodama’s Reach

Rank 10/100

The third and final card from the Top 100 in Ultimate Masters also has brand new art and also shrugs off reprints.  Even at common, foils of this will be desirable and the new art could end up displacing copies in other decks (it will in mine) meaning existing demand could be a booster. At common, this is getting a lot of new copies, but it’s always at common and it seems to recover. It’s at least always a pick, you can ship foils to people who like the new art and in general, it’s worth knowing that this should never be left in draft chaff although it probably will. I seriously get free copies of cards like this all the time by digging through cards players just leave on tables. Grab the good stuff, put the rest in neat piles, start a donation box for new players and look like a good person.

I finished… uh…early. I expected 5 cards and was a little surprised to find only 3. That means to give Pro Traders their money’s worth, I’m doing a bonus section.

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Crunch Time

Hello, Readers.

With Ultimate Masters mostly spoiled, people are waiting patiently to see on which cards they’re about to get their pants pulled down (R.I.P. Foil Thespians’ Stage) and which cards could see a surge in price as a result of not being printed. People tend to wait until the set is fully spoiled to make their buys on stuff that’s not in the set but the thing is, we don’t HAVE to wait on everything.

In Which I Introduce a Concept that is Not New

Magic cards are numbered.

Fascinating

Don’t interrupt me. Anyway, Magic cards are numbered. The bottom of the card has two numbers, one is the total cards in the set and the other is the number that card is in the order. Ultimate Masters has 254 cards, the first of which is All is Dust and the 254th of which is Urborg, Tomb Of Yawgmoth. How do we know this? Well, we’ve seen pictures of both of those cards and the number on All is Dust is 1/254 and the number on Urborg is 254/254/. This isn’t a new concept to most of you.

Another thing we know is that the cards are ordered alphabetically, subsected into colors which go Colorless, WUBRG, Gold, Lands. Fauna Shaman is before Snapcaster Mage alphabetically but its number in the set will be higher than Snapcaster Mage’s because Green comes after Blue. Don’t believe me? We can test this – Fauna Shaman is 164 and Snapcaster Mage is 71. Bam. Science.

What can this information tell us? Well, it can’t tell us what’s in the set as often as it can tell us what isn’t in the set, but the good news there is what isn’t in the set is more valuable to know right now than what is. If you get something in the set confirmed, you learn that you should have sold already because the price will tank. But if you learn something that’s ruled out, you can buy before the price goes up. Let’s see if we can figure out some sweet EDH staples that are ruled out.

First up, I pulled up the list of the Top 100 EDH cards in terms of deck inclusion for each color. Not all of them are money because, not surprisingly, a lot of them aren’t rare. However, there are some expensive ones that could go up if they’re not reprinted. I started with colorless/artifacts first. In the set, Eldrazi are up first in the colorless section and artifacts are later so we’re looking at two different spots on the number crunch.

Unfortunately, at the time I wrote this, we didn’t know many artifacts. Card #2 in the set can only be 7 different cards between All is Dust and Eldrazi Conscription and none of them really matter. In the artifacts section, though, we don’t know much.

Colorless/Artifacts

225 Fire//Ice

226 Probably Unknown Artifact

227 Engineered Explosives

228 Unknown Artifact

229 Mana Vault

230 Unknown Artifact

231 Unknown Artifact

232 Phyrexian Altar

233 Platinum Emperion

234 Unknown Artifact

There isn’t much we can come up with, here. I can’t rule out Paradox Engine, Urza’s Incubator, Mox Opal, Hangarback Walker, Sword of anything, Gauntlets of Power, Caged Sun, Darksteel Forge… I feel like this section is a waste of time. Let’s move on to another color.

White

8-10 Unknown White Cards

11 Containment Priest

12-13 Unknown White Cards

14 Daybreak Coronet

15-18 Unknown White Cards

19 Heliod’s Pilgrim

20-24 Unknown White Cards

25 Martyr of Sands

26-29 Unknown White Card

30 Resurrection

31 Reveillark

32-33 Unknown White Card

34 Runed Halo

35 Sigil of the New Dawn

36-37 Unknown White Cards

38 Sublime Archangel

39 Unknown White Card

40 Tethmos High Priest

41 Wall of Reverence

42-45 Unknown White and/or Blue Cards

White has a few big gaps but there are a few cards we can rule out.

Thalia, both Guardian of Thraben and Heretic Cathar can’t be between 40 and 41.

That’s basically it for now. We can’t rule out anything we’d like to – Teferi’s Protection, Worship, Act of Authority, Council’s Judment, any Elspeth, you name it, basically.

Blue

42-45 Unknown White /Blue Cards

46 Back to Basics (!)

47 Circular Logic

48-50 Unknown Blue Cards

51 Disrupting Shoal

52-54 Unknown Blue Cards

55 Foil

56 Unknown Blue Card

57 Frantic Search

58 Glen Elendra Archmage

59-60 Unknown Blue Cards

61 Laboratory Maniac

62 Living Lore

63 Magus of the Bazaar

64-67 Unknown Blue Cards

68 Rune Snag

69-70 Unknown Blue Cards

71 Snapcaster Mage

72-75 Unknown Blue Cards

76 Talrand

77 Temporal Manipulation

78 Unknown Blue Card

79 Treasure Cruise

80 Unknown Blue Card

81 Visions of Beyond

82-84 Unknown Blue/Black Cards

Leyline of Anticipation can’t be between Laboratory Maniac and Magus of the Bazaar, and given the tendency for the set to include cycles, I think that could rule out Leyline of the Void and Leyline of Sanctity, but I’m not betting money on it.

Tamiyo, Moon Sage can’t be between Talrand and Temporal Manipulation.

Bribery can’t be between Back to Basics and Circular Logic.

Time Warp isn’t ruled out per se, but with Temporal Manipulation in the set, it’s unlikely card 78 is Time Warp. I feel the same way about Time Stretch, which needs a reprint badly.

Teferi, Temporal Archmage can’t be between Talrand and Temporal Manipulation.

Baral, Chief of Compliance can’t be between Back to Basics and Circular Logic.

There are a lot of cards we can’t rule out, but there is a lot of value in the ones we can. Blue was a treasure trove of crunched-out cards.

Black

82-84 Unknown Blue/Black Cards

85 Bitterblossom

86-88 Unknown Black Cards

89 Chainer’s Edict

90-92 Unknown Black Cards

93 Demonic Tutor

94 Entomb

95-98 Unknown Black Cards

99 Goryo’s Vengeance

100-101 Unknown Black Cards

102 Gurmag Angler

103 Unknown Black Card

104 Liliana of the Veil

105 Unknown Black Card

106 Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

107-109 Unknown Black Cards

110  Reanimate

111 Unknown Black Card

112 Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker

113 Unknown Black Card

114 Slum Reaper

115 Unknown Black Card

116 Spoils of the Vault

117 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

118-123 Unknown Black/Red Cards

Liliana of the Veil all but rules out Liliana, Heretical Healer, which is creeping up in value.

Drana, Liberator of Malkir can’t be between Demonic Tutor and Entomb,

We can’t crunch much out of Black, but that’s fine since Black historically doesn’t have expensive EDH cards.

Red

118-123 Unknown Black/Red Cards

124 Balefire Dragon

125-127 Unknown Red Cards

128 Faithless Looting

129 Fiery Temper

130 Firewing Phoenix

131 Unknown Red Card

132 Gamble

133-135 Unknown Red Cards

136 Lava Spike

137 Unknown Red Card

138 Magmaw

139-143 Unknown Red Cards

144 Reckless Wurm

145 Unknown Red Card

146 Seismic Assault

147-149 Unknown Red Cards

150 Squee, Goblin Nabob

151 Unknown Red Card

152 Through the Breach

153 Unknown Red Card

154 Vexing Devil

155-156 Unknown Red/Green Cards

Fiery Confluence can’t be between Faithless Looting and Fiery Temper.

There isn’t much else, here. We can’t rule out anything we want to – Repercussion, Price of Glory, Mana Echoes, Wrath of Goad, Insurrection, Purphoros – the list is long. The important thing is Fiery Confluence is safe for a bit, goes in Legacy where it’s bought 4 copies at a time and is in that Kalemne deck with a bunch of other $20 cards.

Green

155-156 Unknown Red/Green Cards

157 Become Immense

158-162 Unknown Green Card

163 Eternal Witness

164 Fauna Shaman

165 Fecundity

166 Unknown Green Card

167 Golgari Grave-Troll

168 Unknown Green Card

169 Hero of Leina Tower

170-171 Unknown Green Cards

172 Life From The Loam

173 Miming Slime

174 Noble Hierarch

175 Nourishing Shoal

176 Pattern of Rebirth

177-183 Unknown Green Cards

184 Spider Umbra

185-186 Unknown Green Cards

187 Tarmogoyf

188 Travel Preparations

189 Vengevine

190-193 Unknown Green Cards

194 Wild Mongrel

195 Woodfall Primus

196-198 Unknown Green/Gold Cards

Mana Reflection can’t be between Life from the Loam and Miming Slime. That’s a pretty significant one. I would say that all but rules out Wound Reflection, also. It doesn’t exactly rule it out, but with the tendency toward cycles, I am betting my own personal money on it. I think Mana Reflection not being in the set is a gigantic punt and I also think they would have to know that so I could see a creative way to print Reflection in the next 12 months, so get in and get out. They seem too powerful for an EDH precon deck (Mana and Wound do, not so much the other 3 which are dirt cheap, anyway) so who knows what they’ll do? They surprised and delighted me with the Ixalan board game, the Guild Kits and other ways to reprint cards that need it.

Exploration can’t be between Eternal Witness and Fauna Shaman, and that’s very significant as well. Exploration seems to be trading printings off with Burgeoning, but Exploration seems like it’s too good for a set like Conspiracy/Battlebond (but so did Doubling Season) so we’ll see whether we have more than 6 months of growth on that.

Tooth and Nail can’t be between Tarmogoyf and Travel Preparations. Tempt With Discovery is in that same slot. Triumph of the Hordes is in the same 3 card block and is ruled out as well. Guess what else? Tireless Tracker. Guess what else? Titania, Protector of Argoth. Traverse the Outlands. Three Visits.

Mirri’s Guile can’t be between Miming Slime and Noble Hierarch and neither can’t Nature’s Will.

Gold

199 Gaddock Teeg

200-201 Unknown Gold Cards

202 Leovold

203 Lord of Extinction

204 Maelstrom Pulse

205 Unknown Gold Card

206 Sigarda, Host of Herons

207 Sovereigns of Lost Alara

208-212 Unknown Gold Cards

213 Dimir Guildmage

214 Unknown Gold Card

215 Fulminator Mage

216 Kitchen Finks

217-222 Unknown Gold Cards

223 Slippery Bogle

224 Unknown Gold Card

225 Fire//Ice

There isn’t much crunched out here, unfortunately.

Maelstrom Nexus can’t be between Lord of Extinction and Maelstrom Pulse, same with Maelstrom Archangel. I’m not excited.

236 Ancient Tomb

237 Cavern of Souls

238 Celestial Colonnade

239 Creeping Tar Pit

240 Unknown Land Card

241 Dark Depths

242 Unknown Land Card

243 Flagstone of Trokair

244 Karakas

245 Lavaclaw Reaches

246-247 Unknown Land Cards

248 Phyrexian Tower

249 Raging Ravine

250 Unknown Land Card

251 Stirring Wildwood

252-253 Unknown Land Cards

254 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.

 

A few unexciting cards like Kor Haven are ruled out but for the most part, the value here is in the large number of $10+ blue and green EDH staples that are crunched out. If you’re looking to buy cards bound to go up now that they dodged the reprinter’s metaphorical axe, those are your best bets. I really like Mana Reflection, Wound Reflection, Bribery and Exploration.

That does it for me. We’ll have a full spoiler next week and we can dig down some more. Until then!

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Brainstorm Brewery #313 Survivor

Corbin’s (@CHosler88) , DJ (@Rose0fThorns) and Jason (@jasonEalt) explore possible career paths for Corbin, the Pro Tour and the usefulness of number crunching like some kind of nerd.

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

 

Return info for TeeSpring: You can return the items to the following address:

 

Teespring

1201 Aviation Blvd

Dock Door 9

Hebron, KY 41048

 

Kindly leave a note with your order number/email address, or include the label from your original shipment.

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