All posts by Travis Allen

Travis Allen has been playing Magic on and off since 1994, and got sucked into the financial side of the game after he started playing competitively during Zendikar. You can find his daily Magic chat on Twitter at @wizardbumpin. He currently resides in upstate NY, where he is a graduate student in applied ontology.

The Watchtower 6/24/19 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

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By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.


Our endless spoiler season lurches ever forward, with a slew of Magic 2020 cards having come out in the last few days, between the MPL, the planeswalker decks, and assorted sources. So far the set looks decent enough, although it’s hardly capturing hearts and minds in the way that Dominaria, or War of the Spark, or Modern Horizons did. There’s not a lot of blood flowing for the new cavalier cycle, I’ll tell you that much. Will they be decent? Possibly. Will any of them become a top tier Standard staple? Conceivable. Is anyone eager to play with them today? Not at all. Your best bet is looking at them as plants for a forthcoming Theros set that will reward devotion again.

Seasoned Pyromancer

Price Today: $13
Possible Price: $30

Modern Horizons has remixed the format, if not in exactly the way we may have expected. I was looking forward to a new archetype or two, and a few more “pillar” cards that would do more to redevelop the landscape of the metagame. Mostly we didn’t get any of that, and instead got a lot of playable cards that are all adding ripples rather than waves. Of course it’s early yet, and Hogaaak is sort of ruining things at the moment, so perhaps in six months it will be like a rerelease for MH1.

Anyways, Seasoned Pyromancer. He’s a spicy meatball, which makes sense, because of the aforementioned seasoning. We’re seeing him in Mardu midrange builds, more aggressive Bedlam Reveler decks, Jund, and even Dreadhorde Arcanist strategies. I wasn’t particularly enamored with him on reveal, but he’s proven that there’s no shortage of slots that can make use of his abilities. For three mana you can have a 2/2, loot 2 cards, and 2 1/1s? Yeah alright. So long as you’re making the most of those discarded cards, that seems reasonable.

Pyromancer is doing solid duty in Modern, and it doesn’t feel like his price is matching that utility. I’m lacking a tool to tell me what cards from a specific set are doing the most work in Modern, but if I had to guess (which is what I’m doing right now), Pyromancer is one of the more useful cards from MH1. Supply is mediumish, as the set is still quite new. Many of the metrics are pointing at MH1 prices rising soon though, and I suspect Pyromancer will be one of the beneficiaries of that when it happens.

Nirkana Revenant

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $15

A superstar of black creatures, Nirkana Revenant has long been potent in both EDH and casual circles. It doubles mana production of swamps (of which all your lands are, thanks to Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, which will also be in the deck with Yawgmoth, which is weird), a relatively uncommon feature for black decks. It also pumps itself with that boatload of mana, but, nobody is using double their black mana to give Revenant +1/+1.

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One may notice that Revenant’s EDH numbers aren’t the most stunning. She’s clocking about 3400 decks, which is about as low as we tend to go when acknowledging cards for that format. The other numbers don’t lie though — Revenants were easily selling for north of $20 for two dang years. Clearly demand exists for this card outside of EDH, and enough so that it drove the price into solid $20+ territory. That’s quite good for casual demand.

Battlebond sunk prices to the current lows of roughly $6, where it seems to have bottomed out this spring. We’ll certainly see numbers on the non-foils climb over time regardless, and with Yawgmoth’s printing and a rush to mono-black decks, I expect a temporary surge as well. Plus, smart money is on Theros in the next year, which is also likely to push mono colored decks, and line up Revenant for another spike at that time.

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Urza’s Incubator

Price Today: $12
Possible Price: $25

Modern Horizons hit shelves and people started building Morontron in all its various flavors. (Which is like, a lot of flavors.) Tribal popularity comes and goes for the most part, with only a select few tribes maintaining sales a few months after a hot new commander, but Mophontrod has the unique property of getting to always be a popular tribal commander regardless of what tribe is popular what week. Did they print some cool dinosaurs again? Morpho can play that general. Slivers? To the Morpho deck. Allies? Ok nobody is playing allies, but you get the idea.

Tribal has a consistent general now, and people are going to move in that direction often. It’s great at reducing colored mana costs, but it can’t handle the pesky colorless mana. That’s where Urza’s Incubator comes in. Like Morpo, it’s colorless and tribe-agnostic, which means every single tribal deck is in the market. They were before, but now with Morpho, there’s even more of an incentive, especially since Incubator fills the other half of the equation. Between Mopo and Incubator, most of the creatures in your deck are free.

Incubator used to be fairly cheap; about $6. Then it jumped to $20 or $25; I forgot exactly why. It’s slowly lost ground since then, and appears to have bottomed out around January or February. It has since regained ground, and with the new all-purpose tribal commander, is slated to see a lot more play in the future. I can’t say for sure how fast they’ll turn around, but don’t sleep on Incubators, especially if you need any yourself.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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The Watchtower 6/17/19 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.


Magic 2020 spoilers started today, which uh, alright. Modern Horizons completed on May 31st, barely over two weeks ago. Then it wasn’t officially released until June 14th, which was three days ago? So a brand new Modern-themed set was released for sale three days ago and we’re getting spoilers for the next set? Gahh. But then once M20 is released in mid-July, we’re done until like September or October? I don’t know you guys. This release schedule is maddening.

Primal Beyond

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $10

A theme hinted at with the Chandra reveals last week, and basically confirmed today, is that there’s an elemental theme in RG. All three Chandras mentioned elementals in some manner, and there’s an uncommon elemental lord that’s obviously meant to support a draft archetype. How hard elementals are going to be pushed isn’t clear yet, though with one of red’s mythics an elemental knight, and a leaked green rare a basic elemental, I think it’s fairly clear.

With elementals returning in a seemingly big way, the first place to check is Lorwyn. A keen observer will notice that both Horde of Notions and Flamekin Harbinger foils, the two cards most likely to make it into an elemental EDH deck, have already been aggressively purchased. With almost no supply and a large gulf between the market price and the cheapest foil, it’s obvious someone went after those with a plan.

Primal Beyond has been chased down as well, with foil prices having sat at $10 for the last three years. You’ll pay about $20 for one as of Monday morning. If someone has already gone after all the foils of the most obvious elemental specs, including Primal Beyond, is there anything else we can do with it?

Sure, buy the non-foils. Primal Beyond is still going to be the first card written down under the ‘lands’ column of every single elemental EDH deck. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s a faultless 5c land. And for our purposes, supply is rough. While the foils are virtually gone, non-foils aren’t too far behind, with less than 25 vendors selling NM copies, and few have more than one. If elementals catch on this summer — and I want to stress the ‘if’ in that statement, since we do not know if they’re going to be popular yet — the last remaining Primal Beyonds will disappear quickly.

Vizier of Remedies (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $12

While Hogaak is the new hotness in Modern, the Vizier/Devoted combo keeps on trucking. It popped up in second place in a MTGO Modern Challenge a few days ago, and exists as the premier infinite mana combo in Modern. Plenty of cards are evaluated with this as a backbone behind a new strategy. Most recently Finale of Devastation out of War of the Spark was considered in light of the existence of these two, as it fills a role similar to Chord of Calling that could perhaps function better. We’ve also seen the Karn/Mycosynth combo used along with them, and other ideas that don’t always make it to a top eight.

Point being, Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid aren’t going anywhere. It’s a two card infinite mana combo that can win the game on turn three, and possibly turn two if you’ve got some help from a Simian Spirit Guide or Gemstone Caverns on turn one. Devoted Druid was just reprinted in UMA as an uncommon, and with nearly 200 vendors of non-foils and close to 100 for foils, not counting the Shadowmoor copies, it’s going to take some time to burn through that.

Vizier is looking different. There’s less than 40 foil vendors on TCG, with barely more copies than that. You’ll pay roughly $3 each, though with so few vendors carrying more than one copy, shipping is likely to push it above that. If you can find multiple from a single source, that’s going to be helpful. People are going to keep playing this combo, which is two four-ofs, for as long as its legal. And so long as it is, they’re going to keep buying sets of the foil uncommon. A few more people doing that this month is going to mean this isn’t a $3 card any longer.

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Diabolic Intent (Foil)

Price Today: $18
Possible Price: $35

Ahh, Battlebond. It was summer of 2018, the warm air a somnial blanket wending through our homes, and we were blissfully enjoying all these wild new EDH cards. Now, a long 365 days later, we’re blissfully enjoying all the wild new EDH cards in War of the Spark and Modern Horizons while Battlebond quietly disappears from shelves, binders, and crystal commerce inventories.

Diabolic Intent was a welcome reprint, with the last time the card had graced the inside of a booster pack (under normal distribution) was Planeshift. We saw it as a reviled Amonkhet Invocations, the card frame that ended the Magic community’s love affair with Masterpieces. Planeshift non-foils were pushing $15 at the time, and foils have been over $50 for nearly three years. The BBD copy came out of the gate to match that, bottomed out at $16 or $17, and is creeping upwards.

There are 27 foil NM BBD copies on TCG right now, with about half over the $20 mark. At 10,000 listings on EDHREC, there’s certainly demand for Diabolic Intent. The introduction of Yawgmoth has sent players to the drawing board for a new mono-black commander, and Diabolic Intent is a popular inclusion. PLA foils are sitting at $55 and Invocations are $35, so a double up for the BBD pack foils is certainly in the cards.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


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The Watchtower 6/10/19 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.


Validation comes in two forms; emotional and material. When I was telling my local GP-winning friend, MTG Fast Finance co-host James Chillcott, and pro Magic player Dan Fournier all that I thought Hogaak looked like something special, they were dubious all. “You guys,” I’d exclaim, “it’s an 8/8 trample for sort-of free. Somehow, that is going to matter.” Each one of them blew me off. Now, with Hogaak taking something like four of the top eight slots of this weekend’s Modern Challenge, I’m feeling quite validated. That’s the emotional side. The material side would have been buying them for $1 each five days ago and selling them for $20 or $40 or whatever nonsense they are today. Hindsight is 20/20, they say. I wish I were dead, they also say.

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Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


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The Watchtower 6/3/19 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.


An exciting day today for Magic fans, although not in the same way it’s been for the last three weeks. We got two announcements today. The “London” mulligan rule that was previewed at the last Pro Tour is becoming permanent, with no changes, across all formats starting this summer. (We’ll talk a little bit more about that below.) Second, Netflix has announced an anime MTG project, spearheaded by the Russo brothers, of Avengers fame. Making the London mulligan rule official is going to have a quick impact on several card prices, and more over the next few months, as it settles into place, but that’s nothing compared to what the Netflix announcement could mean if the series is popular and drives a swarm of new players into the game.

Splendid Reclamation (Foil)

Price Today: $6.50
Possible Price: $15

Modern Horizons brought a ‘lands matter’ theme to the table, which we haven’t seen in earnest since, uh, Zendikar? And on top of that, they juiced the theme. Rioters is a legit card that will kill people in one shot, Wrenn and Six is the very first playable two-mana walker, and some of the other cards will have applications across a variety of formats as well. Inclusion of ‘lands matter’ has been well received, and between that and the cycling lands, Life from the Loam nearly doubled in price, and Lord Windgrace took the top spot as the most popular commander of the week.

With Lord Windgrace having such a great week on the back of Modern Horizons spoilers, I went looking for opportunity there, and to no surprise, I found some. Splendid Reclamation is the mass reanimation spell for lands from Eldritch Moon, a card that tickled our collective fancies when it was spoiled a few years ago. I had daydreams of it being a new and better Scapeshift, and while that hasn’t come to pass, EDH has certainly adopted the card. You’ll find it in nearly 7,000 decks on EDHREC right now, and that number will assuredly grow with each passing day.

Supply on foil Splendid Reclamations is mediumish, with about 50 or so pack foils at TCGPlayer right now, and another 20 in prerelease foils. Of course, more than half of that is at $8 or more, so some of your work is already done for you if you’re getting in at $6 or $6.50. With Windgrace’s continued popularity in EDH, where he sits in the top five or ten most popular commanders every week, and the upcoming addition of more fun ‘lands matter’ cards in Horizons, supply should start to drain at a brisk rate.

Eldritch Evolution (Foil)

Price Today: $15
Possible Price: $30

As mentioned above, WotC officially announced that the London mulligan rule is going permanent. Almost immediately Dan Fournier, talented Magic pro, MTG Fast Finance guest, and comrade made a comment that he’s glad he already has his Allosaurus Riders. When I asked him about the Allosaurus Riders/Neoform deck, his exact response was “its pretty unplayable without, and pretty unbeatable with, the london mulligan [rule].” Well, ok. It sounds like Neoform decks are going to be at the tables in the near future, at least at the outset. Will they perform? Hard to say, but that’s a strong statement from a knowledgeable player.

Given that, where do we go? There’s several components of the deck worth considering, but this isn’t a brand new concept. Allosaurus Rider spiked when Neoform was spoiled. Copies are around $10 right now, and honestly are possibly going to double, but that’s a real big gamble to take. If you’re testing the deck and finding it as good as advertised with the London mulligan rule, then by all means, jump in, but without that sort of research, I’d stay away. Chancellor of the Tangle is another potential target, but the supply runs deep. I find Eldritch Evolution to be the most appealing at the moment. It’s one of the eight combo pieces required to go off, and has significant crossover appeal with both other Modern decks, and EDH, where it’s reported in over 6,000 lists.

As the demand for Evolution is distributed, this is sort of a split play. If the Neoform deck really does see any play, we can expect these relatively affordable foils to move. At the same time, people are going to keep wanting copies for EDH, and the supply isn’t deep at all. Between those two factors, I anticipate copies bleeding off somewhere between “overnight” and “a few months.”

Paradox Engine

Price Today: $35
Possible Price: $60

This is certainly the most speculative purchase on this list. Paradox Engine is absurdly popular in EDH, to the point that it may be in discussion as a possible ban target. Until it is banned though, it’s going to be in a lot of decks (13,000 as of today). It’s also a great casual card, where players perpetually live in magical christmas land.

Why talk about it today? Urza, Lord High Artificer. He well may be the strongest card in Modern Horizons for Modern, which is definitely saying something. Turning all your artifacts into mana rocks is no joke, and his Mind’s Desire ability stapled onto the card is a solid win condition, as it lets you cast every spell in your deck should you happen to find infinite mana. Oh, how do you make infinite mana? Well probably with several artifacts and Paradox Engine. It’s possible Urza may lead to another Eggs style deck, as a replacement for Krark-Clan Ironworks. Instead of building loops to sacrifice your artifacts to generate mana, you resolve Urza, tap all your Wellsprings for mana, cast Paradox Engine, resolve one more Bauble, and you’re off to the races.

On top of that there’s EDH, where Urza is going to draw a solid cross-section of Vorthos’ and Mels, who love that they finally get to have Magic’s in-universe grandfather, possibly the most iconic figure in all of Magic lore, as their commander; spikes, who see Urza as an inherently busted commander; and Johnnys, who see a cool combo card and were building some Rube Goldberg ass machines in their heads as soon as the spoiler popped up.

With a price tag of $35 to $40, buy-in is not cheap. At the same time, that price tag is supported completely on casual play and existing EDH demand. How much will Urza push Engine in two formats, one that it’s completely new to? I don’t know, but Doubling Season has been a $60+ card with a reprint or two in the past.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


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