Category Archives: Finding Value

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: My Bets for GP Charlotte

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By: Guo Heng

So much for taking notes during last weekend’s Star City Games’s first ever Modern Invitational in Columbus. Two of the cards that were sorely undervalued upon the conclusion of the Invitational—Olivia Voldaren and Huntmaster of the Fellsspiked fast and hard over the last few days, forcing me to change my initial plan for today’s column. Instead of discussing four cards I think will emerge more expensive by this time next week, I am going to talk about two things today:

  1. Will Olivia and Huntmaster remain at their lofty new prices?
  2. My bet for the archetype that would be performing the best at Grand Prix Charlotte and the card that would spike with it.

The New Jund Overlords

One creature to rule them all.

First off, we have a new queen in Jund. Olivia Voldaren saw some play back when the deck dominated the format, in an era when Birthing Pod was legal, but she wasn’t as powerful back then as she is today in a metagame full of grindy creatures and Lingering Souls. An unanswered Olivia takes over any creature-based matchup and she is not exactly easy to answer if deployed properly (a.k.a. with 1R open to grow her toughness to four in response to Lightning Bolt).

Olivia was hovering at $6.60 when the Invitational concluded and spiked hard over the next few days to the $17.32 she is at today. Is her $17 price tag justified for a card that sees play as a two-of in the 75 of Jund and occasionally as a one-of in Grixis Twin‘s sideboard?

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My answer is yes. She is a mythic from Innistrad, which was opened nearly four years ago (how time has passed!), so it’s probably about time that Olivia’s price hits double-digits as a mythic that sees Modern play. Olivia seems to be a trump card in grindy creature matchups and fits in any decks that runs BR and wants to grind out the long game.

I don’t think $17 is the ceiling for Olivia if Jund continues to perform this weekend or if Grixis Twin starts to adopt her as a sideboard mainstay. On the other hand, Olivia is at most played in twos and that limits her price ceiling. I’d say $25 is the highest she could go in best-case scenario.

The hunt is on again. We’re hunting fair decks this time.

Huntmaster of the Fells is a wholly different beast. Like Olivia, Huntmaster spiked from the $6 to $18 within days following the Invitational. Remember, Jund made top eight of both the Invitational and Modern Open. However, I don’t think Huntmaster’s price is done spiking yet.

While he was just found as a two-of in Jund’s sideboard, Huntmaster sees play in a larger variety of decks compared with Olivia. While Olivia’s role is to break open creature mirrors, Huntmaster serves as instant value in a format where removal is generally one-for-one. He is a bit like a planeswalker in the fact that he is a card that does multiple things: create board position, gains life, takes out small creatures, and domes the opponent.

While Huntmaster can be found in a variety of midrange lists that runs his colors, his current surge in price is solely driven by Jund’s recent performance.

However, I think that he has yet to hit his ceiling. Huntmaster was present as a four-of in the sideboard of a variant of an archetype that I think is very well-positioned for this weekend’s Grand Prix, which segues perfectly into the next segment:

Next-Level Delver

Check out this new take on Delver that took down a 273-player StarCityGames Modern Premier IQ in the weekend before Modern Masters 2015 weekend:

Temur Delver by Jordan Boisvert
Temur Delver by Jordan Boisvert

While Delver decks went down the Grixis route to get access to the black Tarmogoyf, Kolaghan’s Command, and efficient creature removal suites resulting in an overall better midrange game, Jordan Boisvert took Delver down a whole different road. He shifted the deck’s gear to tempo and went full speed ahead.

His version of Temur Delver plays the protect-the-queen strategy to the max. The playset of Disrupting Shoal protect your turn-one Delver of Secrets or turn two-Tarmogoyf or Hooting Mandrills. Stubborn Denial adds another three copies of an efficient counterspell to ensure the survival of your early, undercosted threats.

Instead of looking for an improved mid-to-long game capability, Boisvert’s Temur Delver just aims to deploy multiple undercosted threats within the first few turns of the game and protect them with highly efficient counterspells. Disrupting Shoal transforms card advantage into tempo, playing a similar role in Modern as with Force of Will in Legacy Temur Delver. With the most popular Modern removal spells costing one mana (Path to Exile and Lightning Bolt) and half the spells in the deck consisting of one-mana blue spells, there is no shortage of cards to pitch to Force of Will Disrupting Shoal.

Jordan Boisvert’s write-up on how he came to the list and the decks choice of cards is well worth a read. In his article, Jordan mentioned that Huntmaster of the Fells excels in any matchups against fair decks. Based on his individual matchup analysis, Huntmaster seems to be brought in post-board the majority of the time, even against aggro decks like Burn and Affinity, against Grixis Delver, and even Twin decks in anticipation of grindy post-board games.

The question now is: was the deck merely a one-hit wonder?

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Adam Fronsee, impressed with Jordan’s list, brought a Delver deck that runs the same core as Jordan’s Temur Delver list (delve creatures, Disrupting Shoal, and Stubborn Denial), but contains black instead of red, which gave him access to more Delve creatures and Abrupt DecayHis list was one of the best-performing decks in the Modern portion of the Invitational. Adam Fronsee finished 12th, probably let down by his Standard showing.

Sultai Delver by Adam Fronsee.
Sultai Delver by Adam Fronsee.

It looks like the pure tempo version of Delver running the Disrupting Shoal and Stubborn Denial core may be the next direction of Delver’s evolution. It’s hard for Delver to play the midrange game with Jund and Abzan doing it much better. The addition of powerful Delve creatures like Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Hooting Mandrills gave Delver more options for undercosted creatures, improving the archetype’s tempo game.

The Modern Force of Will, Finally?

Should Delver move towards a tempo-centric build, Disrupting Shoal would be the card that stands to gain the most price-wise.

Disrupting Shoal Price
Finally fulfilling its destiny as Modern’s Force of Will?

Disrupting Shoal is not the Force of Will that Modern needs, but the Force of Will that Modern deserves. Having dodged reprint in both Modern Masters, the supply of Disrupting Shoal is dangerously low. I dare not even posit its ceiling shall Delver decks move towards the Boisvert’s tempo core that runs a full four Shoals. After a spike in January 2014 due to Travis Woo’s ephemeral Ninja Bear Delver, it is now back down to $6. I think it is a safe bet to buy in a this price, or at least pick up your own playset if you ever intend on playing Delver in Modern.

Delver for Charlotte

One of the reason why I am bullish on cards related to new Delver tech is that Delver, be it Grixis, Temur, or Sultai, seems to be in a good position for Grand Prix Charlotte, assuming the metagame shifts in response to last week’s Star City Games Invitational and Modern Open results.

At level zero, we could expect more Green-Red Tron decks, seeing that Green-Red Tron took down both the Invitational and Modern Open. Delver decks have a great matchup against any deck that attempts to resolve seven- and eight-mana spells. Temur and Sultai Delver probably just eat Tron for breakfast with their slew of undercosted threats that survive Pyroclasm.

The Tron decks would probably eat up the fairest-of-the-fair Jund and Abzan decks. While Delver can handle Jund, Abzan is an atrocious matchup, so having to face less of those decks improves the odds for Delver. Luckily, Abzan is falling out of favor and players are opting for Jund once again, which is good news for the tempo-oriented Delver builds: no more Path to Exile and Siege Rhino, the best answers to Delver’s undercosted fatties. Abrupt Decay is plain useless against Delve creatures.

At level one, we can expect more Twin and Infect, two natural predators of the Tron decks that can scarcely interact with them in game one. Delver has a favorable matchup against both these decks, as Boisvert explained in his write-up.

Based on the above, I think there is a good chance we will see at least one Delver deck finally make top eight of a large event in the post-Treasure Cruise-and-Pod landscape. It’s hard to predict which build would be the one to make it all the way, but after watching Boisvert’s Temur Delver demolish the popular Grixis Delver in Jeff Hoogland and Mat Bimonte’s Crash Test series, I think the tempo-based Delver decks running Disrupting Shoal stand a better chance. After all, if Delver decks are king at the Grand Prix, the Delver that eats other Delvers would be emperor.

Thanks for reading today. Do share your thoughts and predictions for Grand Prix Charlotte in the comments section below or catch me on Twitter at @theguoheng.


 

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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Picks for the Modern Season

By: Guo Heng

Modern Masters 2015 is out this weekend and may the odds of cracking mythics be ever in your favor if you are celebrating the set’s release with a draft, a sealed pool or a whole booster box. There is something else around the corner, albeit slightly further away, but very relevant to the Modern format.

The next PPTQ season, from 6 June to 16 August, is slated to be Modern. Hurrah Modern fans! Combined with the buzz for the format generated by Modern Masters 2015, it looks like we would be seeing an increase in demand for Modern cards soon. It has been a while since the format was under the competitive spotlight and there has been plenty of changes in the format. Which means a number of cards that could potentially spike when the Modern PPTQ season swings around.

There are a couple of cards that I think have a good chance of spiking come the Modern season as they are part of the new developments in Modern.

 

Before I go on to discuss picks, I am going to talk about a new archetype that has been making waves in the Modern metagame as two of the picks discussed below are tied to it. After all, this is a deck that is currently occupying 10% of the Magic Online metagame, tied with Abzan for the most dominant deck in the online field and has been starting to make waves in the StarCityGames Modern Premier IQ circuit.

The Rise of Grixis Delver

After Treasure Cruise sunk under the weight of the banhammer in late January, Blue-Red Delver’s grip on the Modern metagame relented. The void in the meta left by the disappearance of both Blue-Red Delver and Birthing Pod decks was filled with Abzan Midrange and Burn. Delver decks went under the radar since Pro Tour Fate Reforged (surfacing sporadically in the StarCityGames Modern Premier IQ top 8). Treasure Cruise was Delver’s answer to Abzan’s incessant card advantage, and without Treasure Cruise, Delver’s propensity to run out of gas left it once again a tier 1.5 deck.

In late March the Delver decks evolved. They adopted a new color, black, for Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Murderous Cut and Terminate. Here’s a sample Grixis Delver list, the list piloted by Nate Kahovec all the way to the finals of a recent StarCityGames Modern Premier IQ:

Nate Kahovec Grixis Delver

Murderous Cut and Terminate shored up one of the major drawback of Blue-Red Delver:  creatures with a toughness larger than three. In the old days, answering those creatures meant spending two Lightning Bolts, or a Bolt and a Snapcaster, both of which were huge setbacks in card advantage and tempo. Vapor Snag was never an ideal solution: it worked best only if you had threats on board to apply pressure. Topdecking Snags when you were behind felt miserable. Murderous Cut and Terminate were the single-card answers Delver needed and the deck felt so much better with those cards.

Tasigur on the other hand, transformed Delver decks into a whole new beast. Blue-Red Delver splashing green for Tarmogoyf was an old tech that did not really take off. I am not sure why myself as I have not tried that build of Delver due to the fact that I only have one copy of the big green monster. It is tempting to pass off Tasigur as another Goyf, but once I brought Grixis Delver out for a spin, I realized that Tasigur was on a whole new level of awesome.

A turn two Tarmogoyf is not always impressive but a turn two Tasigur is always 4/5. One of the things I really like about Grixis Delver is the deck’s ability to churn out a turn two Tasigur consistently. With the number of cantrips, fetch lands and Thought Scours, I’ve managed to resolve a turn two Tasigur more often than I had imagined. And sometimes even for just one mana, leaving you with another open mana for another cantrip, or a Delver of Secrets. I’ve had my fair share of free wins off the back of an unanswered turn two Tasigur (turn two Tasigur may not be the right choice against decks with access to Path to Exile).

Of course, resolving a mid-to-late game Tasigur is equally powerful. Buying back a Murderous Cut is backbreaking. Not to mention Tasigur is a threat you could sneak onto the board and keep up counterspell mana easily. Personally I think that the addition of Tasigur ramped up the power level of Delver decks more than the addition of Treasure Cruise. Tasigur imbued Delver decks with an explosiveness not seen before in the archetype, is a resilient threat and allows the deck to grind the mid-to-late game, which conveniently segues into our first pick:

Tasigur, the Golden Boy of Modern

Tasigur, the Golden Fang Price Graph

We are approaching peak supply for Fate Reforged as the number of DTK-DTK-FRF drafts will dwindle significantly in the face of Modern Masters 2015 drafts. Tasigur, the Golden Fang, currently at $5.71 with a spread of 39%, is probably the card from the set, and the Khans of Tarkir block to assert the most impact on the Modern metagame.

Tasigur sees more play than Siege Rhino in Modern. Tasigur is found in Abzan, Grixis Delver, Grixis Twin and even non-mainstream decks like Sultai Control and Jund. Tasigur is present in pretty much any non-combo deck that runs at least two of Tasigur’s color (in terms of color identity). Mtgtop8.com statistics shows that Tasigur is the 11th most played card in Modern, present in 22.4% of Modern decks in an average of 2.1 copies. Contrast that with Siege Rhino, who is the 53rd most played card, found in only 10.4% of Modern decks, but is of course played in 4 copies in every deck she is found in.  Siege Rhino is $4.92 and is from a large set. Tasigur is just $5.71 and is from a small(ish) set.

Granted, Siege Rhino’s price is probably propped up by her demand in Standard, where Tasigur is merely a sideboard card. Nevertheless $5.71 seems a tad bit cheap for a card that is already a multi-archetype staple in Modern. There is a distinct possibility that Tasigur will break $10 on the back of Modern play. Lots of Modern play. And some Legacy play too. I don’t think you could go wrong picking up Tasigur at his price right now, which is close to the bottom or already at the bottom.

The Modern Dragons Command

Once Dragons of Tarkir rotated in, Grixis Delver picked up Kolaghan’s Command and never looked back.

Kolaghan's Command Price Graph

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Kolaghan’s Command is present in one to two copies in the 75 of Grixis Delver and Grixis Twin (Rolaund Hinajosa’s winning list from last weekend’s StarCityGames Premier IQ even ran three in its 75). It seems that any deck that have access to red and black in Modern will run Kolaghan’s Command. Kolaghan’s Command seems a little pricey at three mana for its abilities, but as we’ve seen in Vintage staple, Legacy-playable Fire/Ice, its flexibility more than makes up for its mana cost. Most of the modes in Kolaghan’s Command are relevant in Modern, and the card is downright disgusting against Affinity. It also shines in decks with Snapcaster Mage: Kolaghan’s Command to return a Snapcaster to rebuy the very same Command.

Kolaghan’s Command moved a little since last week. I am not sure what triggered Kolaghan’s Command’s recent bump in price. It could either be the increasing popularity of Mardu Dragons in Standard (which I doubt is much of a factor as they only run one copy of Kolaghan’s Command) or perhaps the card’s Modern demand is already making itself felt. Furthermore, with Dragons of Tarkir approaching peak supply I am not sure how much more Kolaghan’s Command could drop. $2.28 is pretty good buy-in for a card that looks to be a mainstay in Modern.

Jace’s Return?

No, I am not talking about the possibility of a Jace, the Mind Sculptor unban however much I wish to see it, but rather I am talking about the neutered version of Jace:

Has Jace faded from our thoughts?

I did not give much thought to Jace, Architect of Thought since he rotated out of Standard besides a forlorn yearning for my Fact or Fiction on a stick. Jace surfaced on my mind recently when Gerard Fabiano took down a StarCityGames Modern Open at the end of February with his innovative Sultai Control list (a slightly modified version took down last weekend’s Modern Premier IQ in the hands of Matthew Tickal as well). In his top 8 interview, Jace was the first card that Gerard mentioned in response to the question on cards that should see more Modern play. I forgot about Jace after the event as there was no major Modern tournament since then and the Dragons of Tarkir spoilers started streaming in.

Then a couple of weeks back I was building a Gifts Tron and I was devouring all the information I could get on the archetype. I stumbled upon a Gifts Tron video by Sam Pardee. He was experimenting with a singleton Jace, Architect of Thought in the mainboard of his Gifts Tron build. His argument for Jace caught my attention.

Sam explained that he was really really impressed with Jace in his Splinter Twin deck, which prompted him to try out Jace in Gifts Tron. He mentioned that Jace blanks Lingering Souls, shuts down one half of the Splinter Twin combo and is a way to battle Liliana of the Veil‘s hand disruption. I was excited. I thought the one-of Jace was a fluke in Gerard’s list. I trawled through Magic Online deck lists and it turns out that Splinter Twin has been running a singleton Jace in their sideboard since Abzan became the dominant deck in the Modern metagame.

Now why would a card that is found as a one-of in every list that runs him worth taking a look at?

Jace, Architect of Thought

I could not believe my eyes when I first saw Jace’s price. The once mighty Architect of Standard is going for a measly $2.86! I understand that cards drop a lot after they rotate out of Standard, but casual demand usual keeps planeswalkers from dropping too low. As long as he or she is does not have a ‘Tibalt‘ in his or her name.

Which is why I was surprised to see  a planeswalker of Jace’s caliber stooping below $5. Heck, at $2.86, the Architect of Thought is about the same price as Tibalt! Looks like the Jace vs. Vraska duel deck reprint really killed Jace’s price.

I am in no position to argue that Jace should see more play in Modern. But I am confident that a card that sees play in multiple archetypes in Modern, even if he is a singleton, should not be $2.86. I am confident he would not remain at this price when Modern season swings in and Twin, Sultai and Gifts Tron players start to look for their single Jace, Architect of Thought. Pick him up now.

That is all for today’s article. Thank you for reading and do share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below, or catch me on Twitter at @theguoheng.


 

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Gods Part II: The Born of the Gods Pantheon

By: Guo Heng

A month-and-a-half ago, I wrote about the long-term potential of the Theros gods. Today we are going to cover the five gods in the set that comes after Theros, aptly named Born of the Gods.

The Theros block gods are financially interesting because they are splashy, unique cards exclusive to that block. They are popular in EDH, both as commanders and in main decks, and a couple of them rank among the most popular commanders in the format. The recent no-tuck ruling also bolstered the gods’ prospects as commanders.

In short, the gods are cards with immense casual appeal and are unlikely to be reprinted due to their quintessential  flavor and Theros block-exclusive Nyx-ified frame, ingredients for a rosy long-term growth recipe. I could not describe the gods better than Corbin (@chosler88) did in his column two weeks ago:

Either way, these are basically mini-Eldrazi that will see growth over time, even if it’s not the momentous growth that Emrakul and friends saw.

-Corbin Hosler

We have scryed what the future potentially holds for the Theros gods in the first part of this series, and today, we are going to take a look at the five gods in the Born of the Gods pantheon.

Ephara, God of the Polis

Ephara Price

Ephara, God of the Polis is the cheapest god among the Born of the Gods crew. Ephara’s ability is unassuming and requires a deck to be built around it, which narrows the number of decks that can run her as one of the 99.

However, Ephara does make up for her shortcomings by being a pretty fun commander to build around. Her draw-a-card ability triggers every upkeep, which allows for a slew of ways to exploit the ability, be it using flicker effects—a popular effect among the casual crowd—flash creatures, or token generators, like a fellow god in the Theros pantheon, Heliod, God of the Sun. Ephara also happens to be in a color identity with the highest number of wrath effects, which synergises well with her indestructibility and the fact that she is an enchantment. Check out Danny West and David McDarby’s deck tech and Versus video featuring Ephara on Star City Games from a while back to get an idea of the plethora of ways you could play around with Ephara’s ability.

Non-foil Epharas are a good pickup at $1.45, which is pretty close to bulk price for a Standard-legal mythic. The high multiplier on her foils, currently sitting at $13.01, points towards her EDH demand. I would probably wait until rotation or at least later in summer to pick up foil Epharas.

Karametra, God of the Harvest

Karametra Price Graph

Karametra, God of Harvests is unbelievably cheap at $2.02 for a second-set card with EDH and casual appeal. Creatures and ramp are popular strategies in EDH and Karametra embodies the best of both.

Non-foil Karametras are certainly a good pick-up at $2.02. Foils at $11.56 are a bit more steep, and as with Ephara, I would wait until the summer lull or rotation to pick up my copies. Foil Karametras have a moderate level of demand, reflected in her current spread of just 35 percent, unlike the 54 percent spread of foil Epharas.

Karametra has the potential to end up as one of the more expensive Born of the Gods gods in the long run. She is easy to build around and fits into a wide range of decks. Oh, Karametra is quite a fun commander to pilot, too.

Mogis, God of Slaughter

Mogis Price Graph

The price for Mogis, God of Slaughter baffles me. Mogis does not strikes me as a particularly popular commander, nor does he seem to fit in a large variety of decks. Yet, Mogis is tied with Xenagos, God of Revels for the most expensive god in the set, sitting at a price of $4.74 with a spread of just 30 percent!

Unless Mogis decks are more popular than I expected, I am honestly stumped as to why the card commands this price. I was expecting him to be at the very least cheaper than Karametra. At the moment, I would steer clear of picking up non-foils and foils ($14.60) and wait until rotation to see how Mogis’s future price fares.

Phenax, God of Deception

Phenax Price Graph

Phenax, God of Deception‘s reception within the EDH community was lukewarm. While milling is a popular casual mechanic, and Phenax is the God of Mill™, his ability requires a deck to be constructed in a way that would be absolutely powerless (walls can’t attack) without Phenax, but insane with Phenax on board. Granted, Phenax decks do get better with the removal of tuck (Phenax players were probably happy to hear that tuck is exiled from EDH rules), but he may be better off being in Lazav, Dimir Mastermind or The Mimeoplasm decks as Redditors in the r/EDH thread above suggested.

It seems that Phenax’s price of $3.95 is buoyed solely by casual demand, but the intensity of the demand is questionable with Phenax’s spread of 49 percent. I certainly don’t think Phenax is worth picking up right now. I am not even sure if he is a god you want to invest in for the long run come rotation.

Xenagos, God of the Revels

Xenagos Price Graph

Last but not least, we have the newest member of the pantheon, Xenagos, God of Revels. As I expected, Xenagos is one of the most expensive gods in the Born of the Gods pantheon, by which I mean he has a non-foil price of $4.63. Xenagod has an explosive ability that appeals to Timmies, Johnnies, and Spikes, is a powerful commander himself, and also works well in Prossh, Skyraider of Kher, and Atarka, World Render decks for one-turn-kills with commander damage. Putting all those together, it is not surprising that Xenagod is one of the most popular commander cards from Born of the Gods, second only to Courser of Kruphix. Xenagod’s EDH and casual demand is reflected in his foil price of $18.19, the most expensive among the Born of the Gods pantheon.

Again, non-foils are at $4.63 with a 38 percent spread as of writing. I think the window to pick Xenagod is not here yet. There is a chance that he may drop further closer to rotation, which would make him a very good pickup then. However, if he retains this price at rotation, just snap up whatever copies of Xenagod you can find at that time. He is the best Born of the Gods god in terms of EDH and casual appeal and I suspect he will be the most expensive of the pantheon a few years down the road. The rest of the Born of the Gods pantheon is playable (maybe except Phenax), but none has the wow factor Xenagod evokes.

The same approach applies to Xenagod foils, which have a spread of 34 percent at the moment.

TL;DR

In summary, I think both non-foil Ephara, God of the Polis and Karametra, God of Harvests are good pickups from right now until rotation. I am curious about the source of Mogis, God of Slaughter’s demand, which propped up his price to the level of the resoundingly popular Xenagos, God of Revels, and I would stay away from him for now, lest my specs get slaughtered. Phenax, God of Deception seems to be the least popular of the pantheon and that makes him an unattractive pickup. Xenagos, God of Revels seems destined to be the most expensive of the lot, but the window to pick up foil and non-foil copies has yet to arrive.

Echoing Corbin, I don’t think the gods’ prices will hit Eldrazi heights, but I am confident most of them will not remain below $10 in the long run—and some may even break the $20 mark on the back of EDH and casual demand.

Thank you for reading. Share your thoughts below or catch me on Twitter at @theguoheng.

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Game Day Promos, Part II

By: Guo Heng

Last week, we went through the list of Game Day top eight promos from the beginning of the program up through Mirrodin Besieged. Today, we are going to look at the remaining Game Day top eight promos on the list.

For those who did not read last week’s article (which I highly recommend), the hype surrounding the top eight promo for Dragons of Tarkir Game Day events piqued my interest in reviewing the long-term value of Game Day top eight promos. After all, they are limited in supply, special, and some possess casual appeal. So I dug through the annals of Magic Game Day promos and checked the price of the foil full art promos that were awarded to Game Day top eight players.

New Phyrexia Game Day: Myr Superion

Myr Superion Full Art FoilThe metal Tarmogoyf‘s Game Day promo is cheap, with a TCGplayer-mid of $2.27. I wonder why nobody has broke Myr Superion in Modern. Imagine the card in a Grand Architect deck: turn-three Grand Architect, tap for a Myr Superion. The deck can even go infinite with the Grand Architect and Pili-Pala combo!

I am just kidding, by the way—that is a recipe for a junk deck (as opposed to Junk, as Abzan decks were called before there was Abzan).

Magic 2012 Game Day: Dungrove Elder

Dungrove Elder Game Day

If I recall correctly, Dungrove Elder was Corbin Hosler‘s pick of the week on an episode of Brainstorm Brewery a few weeks back. He touted it as a casual pick-up, and the price of Dungrove Elder concurred. It’s a card that sees no eternal play, yet its non-foils are $2.79.  Set foils are only $3.27 and the foil full-art has a TCGplayer-mid of $4.43. As Corbin pointed out, Dungrove Elder’s foil multiplier is rather low for a card with casual appeal. The full-art foil looks like it has room to grow.

Innistrad Game Day: Elite Inquisitor

Elite Inquisitor Game Day
More swag than substance.

Sometimes cards are bestowed a lofty name. Sometimes they live up to it. Sometimes they don’t. Elite Inquisitor is not elite at all in any format, unless it’s a custom format like humans versus werewolves. And FNMs could be whatever format we want it to be these days right?

Dark Ascension Game Day: Zombie Apocalypse

Brains...
Brains…

I was surprised that the foil full art Zombie Apocalypse is only worth a TCGplayer-mid of $3.06. It surely must be a staple in any zombie tribal EDH or casual deck? I had a look at my own copy, and it dawned on me that the last four words in its rules text made the card crap. It’s a shame. Volkan Baga‘s art was sweet.

Avacyn Restored Game Day: Killing Wave

Wizards' The Killing Joke
Wizards: The Killing Joke

Wizards of the Coast’s choices for Game Day top eight promos for Innistrad block is killing me. Another lamentable reward for making top eight at your local Game Day, Killing Wave is worth only a TCGplayer-mid of $3.77. A little higher than Elite Inquisitor, but nowhere close to some of the earlier promos that are actually worth something. Yet another sweet piece of art wasted.

Magic 2013: Magmaquake

Magmaquake Game Day

At this point, Wizards seemed to have decided that Game Day top eight promos deserve an exceptional piece of art, and I wholeheartedly commend Wizards for making that decision. My commendation does not extend to their card selection. If only artwork was a significant factor in card prices (compared to printing).

Return to Ravnica: Cryptborn Horror

Cryptborn Horror

Is it too mean to call it Crapborn Horror? Cryptborn Horror‘s bulk price has granted this the status of being one of the cheapest Game Day top eight promos ever.

Gatecrash: Firemane Avenger

Firemane Avenger Game Day

Finally, we get a card that has the potential to be worth something! Alas, though Firemane Avenger is an angel, her foil full-art promo only commands a TCGplayer-mid of $3.99. Perhaps her casual appeal is not as high as I expected it to be, but surely an angel who is a Lightning Helix on a stick and is in colors that generate a significant amount of tokens could command significant casual interest? Maybe I am thinking with my Spike cap on rather than my Johnny or Timmy cap.

Dragon’s Maze Game Day: Melek, Izzet Paragon

Melek, Izzet Paragon Game DayNow this is a Game Day top eight promo that I think is undervalued. The low price of the promo Melek, Izzet Paragon is every bit as baffling as his creature type. Melek is a very popular general, and I find it weird that the limited edition, foil full-art version of him commands just a TCGplayer-mid of $3.87. We are talking about a foil full-art general here. Unless there is something I am missing, like the discovery of a container full of Melek promos, I think that this card is a good pick-up.

Magic 2014 Game Day: Goblin Diplomats

Goblin Diplomats Game Day

Tom Cruise Oblivion Confused

It was as if Wizards was trolling Game Day players by choosing a card like Goblin Diplomats as the prize for the players who fought their way to the top eight of the Magic 2014 Game Day. The jeering goblin kind of rubbed that in. A foil full-art of an uncommon like, say, Young Pyromancer would have been a much better choice.

Theros Game Day: Nighthowler

Nighthowler Game Day

The Game Day Nighthowler has my vote for the most gorgeous Game Day promo. Too bad it’s not one of the expensive ones, with a TCGplayer-mid of $3.52.

In this case, I can understand WOTC’s logic in selecting Nighthowler as the top eight promo. Nighthowler saw a good amount of play  in Theros Block Constructed, and it’s a shame that the horsey horror did not manage to find a home in Standard. Nighthowler is quite a decent card.

Born of the Gods Game Day: Pain Seer

Pain Seer Game Day

The Pain Seer Game Day promo was the first one for which I went out of my way to obtain multiple copies. I played in multiple Game Days and traded for it, too. Pain Seer is no Dark Confidant, but it was a staple in Theros Block Constructed Mono-Black Aggro, which was a tier-1.5 deck, and I had high hopes for that deck to translate into Standard. Alas, the archetype did not end up performing, save for a brief appearance in the hands of Tomoharu Saito right before Dragons of Tarkir kicked in. Currently, Mono-Black Aggro occasionally graces the MTGO daily events as a super budget tier-two deck.

The Pain Seer Game Day promo has a TCGplayer-mid of $3.49. I am tempted to ascribe long-term value to Pain Seer’s promo as a pauper’s Dark Confidant (sometimes the cost of greatness is just too much to bear solely for EDH or Tiny Leaders), but having played with Pain Seer, I think he is a very different creature from The Great One.

Journey into Nyx Game Day: Dictate of Kruphix

Dictate of Kruphix Game Day

While not as popular as Dictate of Erebos, Dictate of Kruphix does see play in EDH as a Howling Mine that bestows the extra card on its controller first. The Game Day promo Dictate of Kruphix has a TCGplayer-mid of $3.01. I would not buy it, but I would not mind trading for a couple of copies at this price. Dictate of Kruphix has casual appeal and the promo version could see slow growth over the years.

Magic 2015 Game Day: Chief Engineer

Chief Engineer Game Day

I’m still waiting for Chief Engineer to make artifacts broken in Modern. In the meantime, I’ll just cast my turn-three Wurmcoil Engine off the Urzatron lands, as there’s less risk of getting my board scoured in the process. Chief Engineer’s Game Day promo is hovering at a TCGplayer-mid of $3.04, as it should be.

Khans of Tarkir Game Day: Utter End

Utter End Game Day Promo

Finally, we reach a Game Day promo that is worth more than $5, in this article at least (in part one, I went through quite a few promos that have a TCGplayer-mid higher than $10). Utter End sees play in Standard Abzan builds as a catch-all answer, which contributes to the promo’s price of $6.18 TCGplayer-mid.

Utter End also oozes casual appeal as a modern-day Vindicate (lands are no-go in this era of Magic design—apparently it feels bad to have your lands blown up). Utter End has the potential for long-term growth, especially the foil full-art version with limited supply.

I would not get in at $6, but would instead wait for its price to drop when Khans of Tarkir is about to rotate, at which point I could see getting multiple playsets. Have you seen the price of foil Vindicates? While Utter End could easily be reprinted, the Game Day foil full-art version is probably I’ll we’ll see of this version.

Fate Reforged Game Day: Supplant Form

Supplant Form Game Day

Supplant Form was not an exciting Game Day top eight promo, but I doubt many were gunning for the Supplant Form promo at the Fate Reforged Game Day. Supplant Form is a card that was geared towards the casual crowd and at a TCGplayer-mid of only $2.36, it may be worth trading for a few copies as long-term holds. Supplant Form is not a Mind Control effect, but it’s pretty close, and it’s instant speed.

Dragons of Tarkir Game Day: Thunderbreak Regent

Finally, we get to the Game Day promo that puts other Game Day promos to a shame. With a TCGplayer-mid of $21.98, the Game Day promo Thunderbreak Regent is the most expensive one to date. The red dragon regent is a heady combination of being both a dragon and a Standard staple.

It remains to be seen if Thunderbreak Regent  will make the cut in Modern. Nevertheless, I do not see the price of the Regent’s Game Day promo going down anytime soon. It’s too bad we could not redeem this promo off of Magic Online. I guess I will have to wait until Dragons of Tarkir rotates to pick up the remaining three copies required to complete my playset.

A Wrap

This concludes the Game Day Promos series. I hope you have found something useful from these articles, or at least found them interesting (or if you’re really lucky, you discovered that one of your old Game Day promos is worth more than you thought).

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, or catch me on Twitter at @theguoheng.

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