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 5/21/18 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.


In what may be the strangest announcement day so far, we heard nothing about any future Masters sets and nothing about Commander. We did get a single spoiler for Battlebond — which has full spoilers starting today — news that there’s a three set Ravnica block this fall (which we all knew already), and finally that China is getting its own Standard format. Huh? Announcement day should be exciting and build hype for things to come. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that literally nothing here was set up to make people excited about the next six months of Magic.

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The Watchtower 5/14/18 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.


There was a common thread between the two Grand Prix; in one, the winner wept in a touching display of humanity, and in the other, everyone wept after seeing the top eight was nothing but vehicle decks. October is going to be fun, if for no other reason than we’re going to get a hard reset with the loss of Kaladesh block.

Birmingham was Legacy and, as a result, doesn’t mean anything to anyone, really. New Karn showed up in a couple of sideboards, which is cool, and bodes well for the card. Beyond that, there wasn’t anything in the lists that stood out as noteworthy, and even if something did, it would be hard pressed to move any needles hard. I was tempted to talk about picking up Lion’s Eye Diamonds, but they’re already $250, so forget it.

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The Gitrog Monster (Foil)

Price Today: $13
Possible Price: $30

Gitrog was, at the time of his spoiling, a card people were awfully excited to brew with. He did things players loved — drawing cards and putting lands into play — and he was also a giant frog. What’s not to be attracted to here? A frog, for god’s sake.

With Muldrotha’s release in Dominaria, and the subsequent popularity of….it, Gitrog has found another yet home. He fits right into the strategy of playing things from graveyards, and again, he’s a frog.

More importantly, he’s a single printed legend with dwindling supply. Shadows Over Innistrad isn’t an underprinted set, per se, though one look at stock on foil Gitrogs and you’ll see that doesn’t matter much. Given that his EDHREC numbers are actually a touch more anemic than I would have anticipated, it seems that there’s probably strong kitchen table demand for everyone’s favorite evil frog.

A couple copies remain below $15, and beyond that, there’s isn’t much left at all. People are going to keep adding Gitrog to their decks, whether as a commander, or as an include in Muldrotha, or anywhere else, and foils are going to hit $30 right along in the process.


Goblin Chainwhirler

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $10

Making sense of Standard results at this point in the format can be difficult, since it’s such a wide open brawl (heh). Once the fall and rotation comes, and card prices begin moving in the good direction, the format will be so different that it will be tough to figure out what cards will be important. Our best bet is to try and find strong cards in each color that are seeing play now, that could remain or improve their position after rotation.

Aggressive decks have remained popular after Dominaria, and they’ve come in two stripes, those with a heavy vehicle presence and those without. In all the decks without a vehicle component, Goblin Chainwhirler has been a key figure. Hitting everything on the other side for one damage can be a nuke depending on the board setup, and a 3/3 first strike is no joke either. Given that we can expect Llanowar Elves to remain a key card in the format regardless, Whirler will almost assuredly have targets.

Four dollars isn’t as cheap as we’d normally like our Standard picks. Ideally you can spot them in the $.25 range and then get out above $10, ala Nightveil Specter. They’re not all going to be that good though, and in the meantime, Chainwhirler may (I emphasize “may” over “will”) end up as a tier one card between now and the end of October.


Zendikar Resurgent (Foil)

Price Today: $8
Possible Price: $20

Of course I have to include at least one solid, slow burn spec. Resurgent was obvious in the same way a baseball bat to the temple is obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. It’s taken about two years to get there, and now we’re just about at the point where the price is poised to jump.

Resurgent is guaranteed to be reprinted at some point, if not this year, then next year is certainly on the table. And at the same time, it’s guaranteed not to be in an expansion set, since it’s so closely tied with the Zendikar plane and story. (Although the return of core sets changes that math a bit.) Most likely, we’d see it in a commander product — in non-foil, of course.

A few copies are floating around $8 or so, and it’s not a deep well after that. How could it be, when it’s in 13,000 decks on EDHREC? This will sit comfortably between $15 and $20 once it runs out the first time, and will keep creeping up after that until it shows up in foil again, whenever that is.


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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MTG Finance Unboxing #1 – Travis’ European Package

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.


Check out Travis’ unboxing of his latest package from Europe. There’s about two hundred cards worth several thousand dollars! It’s over on YouTube right here.

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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 5/7/18 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.


All anyone in Magic can talk about these last few weeks is the reserve list, and how everything there is going wild. Undoubtedly a few players with deep pockets are picking cards off left and right, with plenty of smaller time operations joining in the fun where they can. Is there any meat left on the bone at this point? Hard to say. I can’t imagine there are many reserve list cards that haven’t been targeted yet that you could actually sell after buying into, but who knows. Wilder things have happened.

I’m confident in two things at this point. One is that the prices on many of these won’t decrease too much, and in many cases will continue to improve, since reserve lists cards obviously aren’t showing up again. The second is that it’s almost definitely correct to sell most of them, since the rate of appreciation in most cases won’t keep up with the opportunity cost associated with holding them.

Growing Rites of Itlimoc (Buy-a-Box)

Price Today: $25
Possible Price: $100

So far it has remained unknown to most Magic players that there’s a fourth Masterpiece series. Inventions, Invocations, and Expeditions are the obvious ones. We know about those. The secret Masterpiece set is what I’ll dub Explorations, that is, the Ixalan Buy-A-Box promos. BaB promos from Ixalan, of which there were ten, were flip cards (e.g. Search for Azcanta) that had alternate art on the back. All ten form the map from Ixalan, which is a nifty Easter egg, and a reason to have all ten.

When purchasing a box of Ixalan you received one at random, which means each is fairly rare individually. It’s possible a lot of players have them in their trade binder and don’t even realize they’re different, since the front face is indistinguishable aside from the small “buy-a-box” text in the bottom left corner.

All of this is to say that cards like Rites and Search, which are already popular, have obscure, limited-run special editions. Without a doubt these will get picked up by people in the know while prices are low, and eventually they’re going to get real pricey. I’m thinking $75 to $100 or more for the real good ones, and $30 to $50 for the less popular ones.


Parallel Lives (Foil)

Price Today: $15
Possible Price: $30

The Weatherlight has had many passengers, but so far, only one stowaway. And he’s disgusting. That’d be Slimefoot (the stowaway). He unlocked quite a few saproling cards already, with prices on stuff like Elvish Farmer having gone bananas. (Which is like six bucks, which for Fallen Empires, is bananas.) Slimefoot also plays up well known favorites, which is where we are at the moment.

Parallel Lives isn’t new to anyone; if you’ve created a token in EDH before, you’ve tried to fit this into your deck. It’s the budget Doubling Season, if “budget” is even a fair term here. You’ll find it listed in over 13,000 decks on EDHREC, which is just about as good as it gets. Tokens are a popular strategy in that format, and this is basically the second best enabler out there.

Enterprising individuals will find a few foils at $15, but not many. We haven’t seen a price spike on these recently, which means there weren’t a bunch of sub-$15 copies that were just cleaned out and now supply appears lower than it is. There’s just not that many out there. With Slimefoots hitting binder sleeves now, and our knowledge of how slow to react the EDH population at large is, I expect additional demand to begin applying pressure to Parallel Lives in the near future.


Pyromancer’s Goggles (Foil)

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $15

Remember Firesong and Sunspeaker? The two Hurloon Minotaurs that are only available as a Dominaria buy-a-box promo right now? That if they’re accidentally good in Standard will cost $70? Excellent decision on that, WotC. Anyways, they’re also breathing new life into Boros EDH decks, since that color pair now has a general that isn’t some variation on “shove everything into the red zone.”

As a general that rewards you for playing red spells that do damage, there’s a newfound interest in all sorts of effects that were otherwise underwhelming in the format. Heck, even Lightning Bolt is playable in a Firesong deck. Deal three damage to a creature, gain three life, then deal another three, either to the same target in order to finish it off, or to remove something else? I imagine the deck is a bit one-trick pony, but it’s probably a fairly fun pony at least.

Anyways, one of the best cards in the deck is undoubtedly Pyromancer’s Goggles, which let you copy red spells when you use it to cast things. What’s better than one Star of Extinction? Two! Especially when you gain life from the first copy but nobody else does! Goggles are an all-star in this deck, and regardless of what you’re doubling, it’s going to be somewhere between “solid value” and “game-ending.”

At the moment you’ll find foil Goggles in the $6 range, but not many. They ramp up to $10 fairly quickly, then basically straight to $30. Magic Origins is three years old this July, which is definitely in the “EDH cards begin spiking” time frame. As a card that’s unlikely to be reprinted outside of Commander product, foils are an excellent bet.

Plus, if you own this card, you can use it to cast a white spell and then gleefully shout “the goggles, they do nothing!” before passing out from self-induced culture referenced euphoria.


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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