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.

Dallas the Tundra and Cheap Standard Cards

ADVERTISEMENT:


This past weekend was Grand Prix DFW, and the entire experience was marred by an Ice Storm. Roads were covered in sheets of ice, three hour drives dragged into the tenth and eleventh hour, and Twitter told the story of pro after pro giving up and going home after their umpteenth cancelled flight. It resulted in an abnormally small GP, warping the field to be considerably soft, as many professionals were unable to attend. Ice Storm

The top eight had the word “Mono” in it a bit less than previous GPs, but we still saw devotion to black make an appearance, as well as a nearly-mono red devotion list. The winner was Marlon Gutierrez’s Orzhov control deck, which looked a lot like Esper just without blue and a ton more removal and discard. He was packing the full set of Blood Barons in the main deck, hoping to capitalize on his resistance to much of the popular removal and significant lifegain capabilities.

Blood Baron was $7 at one point before everyone collectively realized what the card said and he was $20 almost overnight. He’s now down towards the $18 range, and hasn’t see any real bump from GPDFW. I think it’s possible we’ll see him tick up a little bit in the near future, but I would be surprised if he climbed above $22 or $23. He should crater pretty hard by the time rotation rolls around, at which point you should be willing to snag plenty of copies, as casual demand will keep him up for years to come.

Desecration Demon and Pack Rat made their usual appearances in both the winning list as well as the black devotion list, and continue to hold strong at $10 and $3 respectively. Don’t be afraid to ask for real cards in trade with Pack Rat these days. He’s in everything, and if people want to use it, they should expect to trade away relevant cardboard.

Hero’s Downfall was popular again, but like Blood Baron, didn’t see any real movement based on the results of the event. The next North American Standard GP is in late January, which is where many role-players like Downfall will see a rise in price if it’s going to happen this season. Trade for them now at $10, and don’t be in a rush to ship them.

Mutavault was everywhere again; no surprise there. Get used to it, as it’s going to be in 50% of top eight manabases until September. It’s now easily $25, a few dollar increase from the last time I mentioned it a few weeks ago. The ceiling is probably around $30, which I’m guessing we’ll brush our heads against during January or February. If it wasn’t rotating this fall I’d peg it to go even higher. At this point, that’s all that will keep it from being a $40 rare.

Supreme Verdict

While there wasn’t anything I would really call a breakout performance, UW certainly made an impressive showing after being rather quiet lately. Sphinx’s Revelation, Supreme Verdict, and Detention Sphere were out in force, with a healthy amount of Jace and Elspeth rounding out the package. Jace has rebounded to $20 after slipping as low as $14 after the JvV announcement, at which point people noticed the release date said “May” and stopped the firesale. Like Blood Baron, I can see him ticking up a few more dollars, but I don’t think we’ll see him crest $25, especially with a very clear date of auxiliary supply on the horizon. Elspeth has lost a ton of value lately, falling to $20-$22. To her credit, It took awhile for her to get there from her prerelease days of $35. I would guess we’ll see her continue to decline through the summer, and late next fall we’ll see a resurgence.

Sphinx’s Revelation should behave similar to Jace and Blood Baron at this point; that party has mostly come and gone. Keep in mind that it will probably drop of the face of the earth come September, as it’s not good enough for any other formats, and is hardly a “cool” card. Don’t get stuck holding the bag. Meanwhile Detention Sphere is also still seeing a lot of action, and I’m hoping its price reflects that in the near future, mostly because I bought 30 or 40 of them before they announced the event deck. I hate event decks.

Supreme Verdict seems low to me right now, especially given how much devotion decks play on the battlefield. By the way, did you happen to notice that MTGSalvation put the three Scrylands from Born of the Gods in their spoiler? It includes the UW land and the GW land. That bodes very well for Verdict, and Bant in general. On top of that, Verdict will continue to remain relevant in nearly every format even after rotation, so this is a strong pickup $4-$5. Even if it doesn’t hit $10 during this season, a number which seems entirely plausible, the floor shouldn’t be much lower than $3 or $4.

ADVERTISEMENT:


xenagos

Lately while keeping abreast of cards I’ve seen a lot of powerful effects that are considerably lower than I realized, and I want to put some of them on everyone’s radar. First of all, have you noticed that Xenagos can be had for as little as $8 on TCG? That is very low for a Planeswalker that just put two copies into a top eight that was very soft to a pile of satyrs. I’m not saying he’s going to pull a Domri, but there is no way he stays this low forever.

ADVERTISEMENT:


Continuing in the trend of underpriced Planeswalkers, Ashiok too is quite affordable, with plenty of copies under $9. He’s already proven his chops, so we know he’s at least capable. Given how popular both mill and Planeswalkers are with casual folk, there’s no way he doesn’t rebound at some point. Grab your copies and hang on. And if you’ve got a little extra cash this time of year, might I suggest some Korean copies? Visions of Meloku.

I see two copies of Chained to the Rocks available for $.44 cents each right now, with quite a few under a $1. That’s awfully cheap for a very powerful removal spell; just barely above bulk. Mizzium Mortars is a $3 card. Is Chained that much worse? It’s hard to say without knowing what the lands will be next fall, but I would be awfully surprised if those wrought iron chains don’t end up costing more than pocket change at some point. Purphoros, God of the Forge

Speaking of rocks, Purphoros is down in the $7-8 range. Ok, I wasn’t really speaking of rocks, but whatever. Overall he was the most expensive god during the prerelease season because of an obviously very powerful triggered ability. We haven’t seen much come of it yet, but there’s a whole lot of time for him to matter yet. Keep in mind too that not only could he become a legitimate force in Standard, that ETB trigger is ripe for bashing people with in more combo-oriented formats. How about a Genesis Wave deck? Or some sort of elf brew? I don’t claim to know the best way to go about it, but it’s possible we end up seeing him in decks that never plan on turning him on in the first place.

Speaking of gods (hey that time it worked), Anger of the Gods is easily purchasable under $2 these days. I wouldn’t be rushing out to purchase them at the moment, but this is a legitimate sweeper with a powerful clause. Firespout has seen a lot of play in Modern, and Anger may manage the same. That exile clause may be mostly irrelevant in Standard unless its sweeping away weird leaf-deer things, but it matters quite a bit in older formats where Deathrite Shaman, Tarmogoyf, and Scavenging Ooze are mainstays.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT:


Please follow and like us:

Real Value from Small Gains

By: Travis Allen

MTG writers are frequently telling you what cards to be on the lookout for, especially in Standard. Anticipated shifts in formats and mid-week articles can herald the coming of a previously-overlooked rare, resulting in both greater demand and greater price for the card by Monday morning. This happens all the time, and we don’t need to look too far back to see examples of it.

master

When Mono-blue exploded after the Pro Tour, the big winners were obviously Master of Waves, Thassa, and Nightveil Specter. Then there was Tidebinder Mage. Tidebinder jumped by a dollar or two. If you bought in Friday morning at ~$1.50, you saw a nice uptick to about $4 retail. Buylists didn’t move much though, and even if they did, it wasn’t for long.

ADVERTISEMENT:


More recently we experienced the same thing with Pack Rat and Underworld Connections. Both were under $1 before the Mono-black list exploded at Louisville the weekend before Halloween. After that, they jumped to a good $2-3 each, and thanks to black’s continued success, remain there today.

Let’s say you are excellent at speculating, and saw the Pack Rat/Underworld Connections jump coming. You likely would have looked at Nightveil Specter, saw a card gain $10 in two weeks, and had dollar signs in your eyes. You bought and traded for a bunch of copies of Rat and Connections, followed by spending some time adding all sorts of cool foils to a shopping cart, just waiting to make bank.

Your prescience paid off, and you indeed made profit. Well, kind of.

Pack Rat and Underworld Connections jumped, sure. But how much, really? The cards quadrupled in value, which sounds amazing on paper, but what is your actual rate on that? They went from $.50 or $.75 to $2 and $3? You definitely came out ahead, but realizing actual concrete profit on that is tough. A quick review of a few buylists shows that you may be able to get $1 to $1.50 on those now. That means if your cost was a true $.50 per copy (making sure to factor in tax and shipping), you may make a net profit of $.50 on each card sold back, minus the shipping fees to get the cards to the buylist. (If sending more than five or tend cards, your shipping could easily be $5+, which is ten cards worth of profit alone.)

That giant spike sadly only represents a $2 rise.
That giant spike sadly only represents a $2 rise.

How many cards would you have had to buy to see actual cash in your pocket? 200 copies of Pack Rat would net you somewhere around $90 in profit, assuming some store actually wanted 200 copies (or multiple stores were offering $1). That sounds nice and tidy, but you would have had to shell out $100 upfront for 200 copies of Pack Rat. How often are you that sure of your success? Sometimes you Just Know, like the guys that preordered huge piles of Deathrite Shamans, Bonfire of the Damneds, Sphinx’s Revelations, or Snapcaster Mages. It’s not uncommon for people to just buy several playsets though, hedging their bets in case the card doesn’t pan out the way they hoped. In a situation where you pick up four to twenty copies, it isn’t even worth your time to go to the post office to mail them to the buylist. What then?

One of the side effects of a card jumping like this is that not only did the price rise, but demand also rose as well. Because of the general floor of rare values, as well as a seemingly invisible casual market, many rares will hold a price of $.25-$.75 with only the remotest chance someone actually wants to trade for any. When they hit $2-3, not only did the value go up, but that means the demand at your local store will have went from a stone cold nothing to an appreciable amount. This is where your best opportunity is to capitalize on small-value cards with large percentage gains.

Imagine you bought four playsets of Underworld Connections for $.75 a card, hoping they’d spike. Your spec didn’t completely bomb, as they’re currently around $2.50 in trade, with a best buylist of $.90 as of 12/2. That’s hardly worth shipping to a buylist though. Instead, you should stick them front in center of your binder and head off to your LGS. With a trade value of $2.50, you can ask a good $10 in trade for the set. You can then utilize good trade practices and disparity of information to perhaps grab a Master of Waves from someone looking to move into black. Now, suddenly your $3 investment on a set of Connections has turned into a real card. If you can manage that three more times, you’ve managed to turn a mildly successful spec into a hot playset of Standard mythics.

You can further take advantage of this situation by identifying cards with a good buylist spread. The long and short of it is that the smaller the spread, the better positioned the card is on the market. If Card A sells for $10 but has a buylist of $3, it has a huge spread and is less appealing to trade into. If Card B is a $10 card with a buylist of $7 or $8, a considerably smaller spread, it will trade at the same value as Card A but will make you more than double if you decide to buylist it. Those are the types of things you really want to be aware of when making trades in search of profit.

This is physically painful for me to look at.
This is physically painful for me to look at.

Remember how I said Master of Waves is around a $10 card? As of 12/2, his best buylist is $4.18, and you may have a tough time getting one for a set of Underworld Connections anyways. Desecration Demon, meanwhile, has a slightly lower trade value, and has a best buylist of a whopping $6.30. If you sold those sixteen Underworld Connections at buylist for $.90 each, you would have made $2.40 in profit, which wouldn’t even cover shipping the cards to a store. Four Desecration Demons will make you $13.20 net cash profit from a buylist for the exact same trade value, whose trades you may even be able to get a throw-ins on. Smart trading indeed!

Buying a few playsets of a card with good a outlook is common practice in the Magic world for those with a keen eye and prudent sense. Sometimes they jump, but you aren’t quite sure how to actually make money if the gain isn’t large enough. Now you have the knowledge of how to profit from these meager market shifts. Happy trading! 

Please follow and like us:

A Pass Through Standard

By: Travis Allen

This week I’ll be discussing some recent Standard tournament results, as well as a few other items worthy of our attention.

@OwenTweetenwald’s win in Albuquerque gave him back-to-back GP wins, an exclusive club indeed. He took it down with Mono-black, which was a popular theme over the weekend. Paul Reitzel, who placed 8th, tweeted this on Monday afternoon. It was a good weekend to be putting swamps into play.

Capture

With a whopping four Mono-black decks in the top 8, alongside three Mono-blue, there was barely a Shockland in sight. What there was, though, was 46 Mutavaults in the top 16. That means that 71% of Mutavaults that could have been played, were played. This type of saturation of a single card in Standard is not common at all. I don’t even think Lightning Bolt reached that level of play when it was in M10 and M11 . Cards like Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor reach 70% saturation rate. Mutavault

What that means for your weekend is that the roughly $20 price tag is going to be very stable going forward. The card is as legitimate in Standard this time around as it was last time, so don’t be afraid to pick up a playset. If this changeling presence persists, expect a price uptick in a few weeks when PTQ season starts in earnest, or possibly even sooner.

While not nearly as heavily played, but still pervasive, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx snuck its way into many of the Mono-X lists. Most were committed to the full set of Mutavaults, with a single Nykthos rounding out the colorless-land package. That is the current soup-de-jour, but could easily be turned on its head depending on how things shake out. A 4-1 split tells me the deck can support 5 colorless lands, and right now Mutavault is the better choice.

How much would it take to shift that? Anything that pushes the deck to go a little larger would probably want Nykthos more than Mutavault. Anything with an X in the mana cost would certainly accomplish that. Rakdos’ Return? Gaze of Granite? Debt to the Deathless? Immortal Servitude? Mind Grind?

Return lets “mono” black fireball out opponents, as well as apply heavy pressure in the midgame against control decks and attrition mirrors. As a mythic it is set up to see a healthy price increase should it become popular. Mind Grind is spicy, basically being lethal when X is around 15, an easy number for Nykthos-fueled madness to reach. Grind could conceivably hit $3, being that the card is still $1 purely on casual mill demand. This makes me think that Mind Grind may not be bad throw-in material. Even if it totally whiffs in Standard, Nemesis of Reason is a $6 card today.

Even if nothing within the current card pool pushes the decks to go heavier on Nykthos, Born of the Gods may very well provide us with the necessary ingredients. We’ve got a lot of devotion enablers to go, as well as 10 lesser deities to appease, which means you’ve got plenty to be faithful to. With Cavern of Souls having been $20-30 in Standard, and Mutavault solidly at $20 right now with an expectation of growth, there is precedent for Nykthos to climb. We’ll return to it a little later on. Master of Waves

Beyond the Mutavault supremacy, what else is going on? Mono-blue is still packed to the gills with Masters of Waves and Thassas. Both have slipped in price recently, but I expect this to be temporary. I’m guessing one or both will be over $15 this time next fall, when Theros is no longer the current major set. I’ve started looking for Master of Waves in every trade binder I flip through.

Hero’s Downfall stubbornly remains at $10+. That a utility removal spell in a single format would command that high a price tag sort of amazes me, but I suppose when it’s the best removal in arguably the best color, it’s going to be more than pocket change. Perhaps I should be looking to Dreadbore to better understand how Murderbore will behave. Dreadbore has never managed to sink below $2-3, even with as close to zero relevant play as a card of that stripe could see. This would tell us that Murderbore’s floor should be about the same. If we think of Murderbore as having a floor of $3, then a $10 price tag while seeing play in nearly 50% of the top 8 decks doesn’t seem as unreasonable.

I advocated selling a few weeks ago when it was $15, but I think it’s low enough that you could trade for a set without feeling bad about it. Given that it’s only one color, and therefore considerably more versatile than Dreadbore, it’s possible the number we get aggressive is around $6-7. The number of Burning-Tree Emissarys in Standard necessary to make Murderbore bad would be quite high indeed.

The Naya deck in the top 8 showed that competitive Magic players haven’t forgotten about RtR block. It had a full compliment of a lovely singing voice, reminding everyone that at one point it may actually have been worth its current absurd price tag. At this point, if you still have any, I’d hold onto them. With the PTQ season around the corner, the card has a better chance of spiking again than fading away with no more price increases.

Advent of the Wurm was also four-of, a card I’m still carrying a torch for. Perhaps more interesting was the four Soldier of the Pantheon. Everyone has figured out by now that the card is good, but his price is pretty low all things considered. I’d be looking to snap these up in trade right now at ~$2. Champion of the Parish was $8 at one point, and I’d say Soldier has a better chance of seeing Modern play. Mind Grind

Boros Reckoner has been on a roller coaster ride lately. It was as high as $20 what feels like a week ago, and copies are available for under $11 again. I have to imagine this gets close to $20 once more before we sunset RtR. If you can trade for them at retail go for it, but good luck convincing someone they’re that cheap again.

Over on the Starcity side of things, Matt Costa rose to the top of the field piloting a Jund deck. Reaper of the Wilds as a three-of immediately jumped out to me, proving its capability as a strong midrange card. Both Pat Chapin and Kibler had mentioned it recently, but without tournament results it was hard to know if it was real. I doubt the card is going to reach $10 or anything, but $4-$6 doesn’t seem unreasonable. (Were you aware Cyclonic Rift is now $4?) This is another one that I wouldn’t dish out cash for, but you should be able to steal copies in trade for $1 or less. Look for an article in the future about how to turn small gains in trade binder value value into real profit.

Abrupt Decay was also out in full force. Can this card break $10 during Modern season? It may be tough, as the Standard PTQ season will have ended, and many will be willing to liquidate their inventory. Next Modern PTQ season should be a good time for Decay though. A few months ago I predicted that foil Decay would be $60 within one year of RtR rotating. Do you have your set?

Back to Nykthos, last week I talked about a Modern Mono-green deck that looked awfully spicy. It was even one of LSV’s daily decks recently. Included in that same link from Bing Luke was a Mono-Black deck. Since then, Phyrexian Obliterator has increased about 25%, and common sentiment is that it probably isn’t done yet. Apparently, the Magic community is willing to consider Nykthos a real thing in Modern.

With that in mind, I want to look at the green deck a little more closely. It’s got a lot going on we can be interested in. What stands out most to me is four Genesis Wave. Wave is about $2 on its own merit, with no competitive interest, putting it in a low tier of “casual cards with enough demand to raise the price above bulk.” If the deck catches fire, Wave could easily hit $5-6, and depending on how wild the speculation is, $10+ is possible, although that would be a very short term price unless the deck puts up results.

That brings me to an important aside: cards spike all the time. The ones that stay high are the ones in decks good enough to be worth it. If a card like Genesis Wave spikes, sell immediately. The likelihood that the deck is good enough to support whatever number it reaches, rather than being a flash-in-the-pan that trickles to $3 eventually, is very very low. Genesis Wave

Beyond Genesis Wave, there are three copies of Primeval Titan. He’s sitting at around $6-$7 at the moment. Seeing play in a deck like this could bump him up closer to $10, and with Nykthos in the format, he may eventually become a little more of a mainstay. Fetching Valakut is typically a better use of his trigger, but remember that having Valakut in your deck doesn’t get P Tats into play any faster, while Nykthos does. Maybe we see a Valakut/Nykthos deck? Who knows.

Cloudstone Curio is a big part of the deck as well, at $5-$6. The card popped to over $10 early this summer, so there’s precedent on a jump. I’d try and grab your set soon. Garruk Wildspeaker is also a major component, but he’s been printed six times, which will help suppress his value. He may see a small uptick, but with that much volume available, it will be tough for him to move too far.

Before I go, check out this completed eBay auction. How many of you even knew these existed, much less cost that much?

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.

Please follow and like us:

Grab Bag #1

Nothing has really struck me this week as a topic I want to devote an entire article to, but I’ve got a few small ideas floating around and some short-form questions on Twitter to answer. So today is the first in what will likely be an infrequently recurring series that are a collection of mostly-disparate topics.

 

True-Name Nemesis

As was expected, TNN put up solid results at Grand Prix DC this weekend. He was all over the winning grinder lists and X-0 day one records, with 9 copies in the Top 8 and 3 in Owen’s winning list. Not surprisingly, his price has now reached a comfortable $40. Remember last week when he was ~$33 and I told you not to sell until after DC? Hey, well look at that! True-Name Nemesis

He’s absolutely the real deal, so don’t expect him to fade away anytime soon. Demand from Legacy players will persist, and he’s a three-of or four-of type of card, which helps significantly. I doubt he gets below $30 anytime before a second printing, and I would guess $35 is a soft floor. Copies are still flowing from people that snatched up cheap decks at Target which will keep him from inflating too much in the coming weeks, but after a few months there will be a far less liquid supply. At that point, his price will begin to rise more reliably once everyone that wanted to sell theirs has. If you want to profit, feel free to sell, as his price may slip a bit in the short term. Don’t feel bad about holding on though, especially if you may actually play with him, as I don’t believe we’ve reached his ceiling yet. A limited-run card that’s a four-of in Legacy with tremendous casual appeal (protection from players is a really nifty ability) is a conflux of valuable factors.

 

Magic the Gathering Offline

The MTGO partial shutdown will have far reaching ramifications that will take months to unfold and see the full implications of. I will try my best to make a guess at what the immediate impact will be though.

Capture

That tweet is showing the prices to complete a full set (1x) on MTGO before and after the announcement. At this point, there has been a 10-20% drop in prices on Theros and RTR block cards. Players apparently don’t expect premier constructed events to be returning in a week or two, which is why prices are taking such a hit. If the expectation was that events will only be gone for a few weeks, then prices wouldn’t have seen much of an impact. But with the announcement about how long of a downtime to expect not being promised until sometime before the end of the year, it’s safe to assume that this is a several month – or, Worth forbid, a several year – project.

With a significant drop in value of cards online, as well as the upcoming Standard PTQ season in meatspace, we may see an above-average amount of redemptions occurring. This means a greater number of Standard cards becoming available in paper, suppressing card values in the real world by some amount. I would especially expect a greater supply of RTR block cards relative to Theros, as Theros will remain relevant beyond the summer, while RTR mostly will not. It’s also worth noting that apparently cards for Modern, Legacy, etc have not dropped much/at all in value, meaning players don’t expect this to be the death of MTGO, but rather a medium-term disruption in service. They may not know what Standard format we’ll be in when dailies return, but they know Modern ones won’t have changed much.

As per how much redemption will occur, we really don’t know, and Wizards won’t be in a rush to tell us either. I don’t expect it to have a severe effect. A (very, very) rough guesstimate is that the extra redemptions may account for a percentage point or two of additional product in the real world, but I wouldn’t fault a knowledgeable party for expecting the impact to be ten times that. It’s just very difficult to get a bead on it.

An interesting side effect of all of this is that RTR block cards may hold their value quite well on MTGO going long. If a large percentage of RTR cards get taken out of MTGO during this period, in two years there will be a lot less digital Supreme Verdicts, Abrupt Decays, and Deathrite Shamans running around.

 

What Happened with FTV:Twenty?

When FTV:20 was announced, preorders were in the ~$150-250 range. That was typical for a new FTV. Hype was high, as this FTV had five extra cards compared to previous years, as well as an air of excitement surrounding it, as players were eager to see what the 20th anniversary of Magic would bring. We hadn’t seen much marking this year as a celebration, so players were hoping FTV:20 would be something special.

I don’t recall at which event Jace was spoiled, but I seem to remember he was among the first three cards. Imagine the excitement at the time – three cards into twenty, and Jace is in there?! Preorders skyrocketed to $450. Who cares what else is in the other 17 cards? They can’t all be bad, and Jace! Don’t you understand? JACE! JAAAAACE! JAAAAAASGghghhhhhhh Fyndhorn Elves

Then the other 17 cards trickled in, and whoops, turns out they’re all boring. Which other cards were people supposed to get excited about? Kessig Wolf Run, a $2 land that was just in Standard? Or perhaps Char, which approximately zero people have cast in 2013? The third printing of Cruel Ultimatum not doing it for you? Well, check out Dark Ritual! Sure, it’s had roughly 80 printings, was foil twice, and this is terrible art, but DARK RITUAL! Guys? Where are you all going?

FTV:20 preorders hit $450 on a swirling mixture of hype, expectations, and the thrill of the unknown. Once the veil was parted, all of that dissipated and we were left with Jace and 19 other cards that were mostly entirely unexciting. By the time FTV:20 finally hit shelves, it was maybe $150. Today, sealed copies can be had for ~$125 on eBay, and Jace:20 is about $90, $10 less than WWK Jace.

What’s going to happen with Jace in the long term? Well, probably not a lot. His peak came and went this past summer. The amount of play he is seeing hasn’t increased at all, he’s absolutely not getting unbanned in Modern, and a slew of new copies were added to the market for anyone that really wanted them. Pack foils will stay absurd as a collector’s item, but that’s about it.

 

What Standard playsets should I pick up now?

I can’t tell you every Standard card you should own today, but I can give you a few pointers.

master

Master of Waves

Our new Merfolk overlord has proven he’s here to stay. Variants of blue devotion continue to put up strong results week after week in Standard, he’s revitalized merfolk in Modern, and I’ve even seen him pop up in Legacy. Despite all of this, he’s snuck down to ~$12, and I spy a few retail copies for under $10. I would not hesitate to trade for this guy, and don’t be afraid to pick up more than just a playset. His floor can’t be much lower than $7 or $8, and his ceiling is in the ballpark of $20-$25.

 

Chandra, Pyromaster

Chandra, Pyromaster

Immediately after release Chandra burned all the heretics at the stake, but since then has been relatively quiet. Devotion decks and various forms of control have taken the spotlight, leaving Chandra without much to do. She’s now around $20-25, nearly half of what she once was.

I’m optimistic about Chandra’s future. Keep in mind that she’s got two red symbols in her mana cost, which is good for Nykthos fans. That middle ability also plays well with Nykthos, as generating big mana is a lot easier than it used to be. We certainly haven’t seen the last of her.

Pick up a playset, but don’t go much deeper than that. While $20 is close to her floor, breaking $30 again will be very tough. She’s also as close to a guaranteed reprint in M15 as a card could be at this stage (along with Garruk), so you don’t want to end up too deep when the inevitable price drop comes. Pick up your four ahead of PTQ season, but remember that any you keep past March will become a liability.

 

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Have you figured out this land is legit as hell yet? Because it is. It is legit as hell. Wizards has been telling us for years that they want us to play on the board, not on the stack, and Nykthos pays you hard for doing such. There are plenty of adorable combos floating around out there that haven’t broken into the mainstream yet either, meaning there is a lot of untapped (heh) potential in the card. Just this week MTGO personality Bing Luke (@prolepsis9) linked an event with Nykthos in Modern doing dirty business with Genesis Wave, which I can absolutely get behind. MTGPrice is showing the card around $10, and there are a few purchasable copies out there for under $9. Any that you can pick up in trade under $10 should be golden. Nykthos feels like a $15-$20 card to me.

Please follow and like us: