Category Archives: The Gilded Goblin

OGW Spoilers I’m Excited About

The first card I want to talk about that I’m really excited for from Oath of the Gatewatch is Nissa, Voice of Zendikar. I haven’t seen too many mentions of this planeswalker yet but I want to point out that she is a perfect slot into the previous Pro Tour breakout deck, Bant Tokens from Pro Tour BFZ.

As you might recall, Sam Black and crew piloted this deck to amazing success at the last Standard Pro Tour. Now, I’m not saying that this deck is going to take down a huge tournament right out of the gate again – that is presuming too much on my part, where right now really I’m just trying to get a feel where the metagame might be going. Dark Jeskai is a much faster and more consistent deck than Bant Tokens, which is why it has fallen out of favor since the release of Magic Origins and the ubiquitous adoption of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (the little Jace that could). However, Nissa adds some versatility and stall to the deck that is desperately needed.

Putting out 0/1 plant tokens and having the ability to pump your whole team is nothing to scoff at. She fits right into the curve at three mana, with a four mana followup Gideon being extra special.

Plus, since we’re playing eight planeswalkers in a deck like this there might even be room for the new Oath of Nissa enchantment. At one mana, we can’t discount the usefulness of this enchantment since it acts practically as a one mana land tutor (and if there are better cards than lands well so much the better!) and then on top of that provides perfect mana for the three mana Nissa into the four mana Gideon, which normally would be somewhat difficult at the best of times due to needing two green for Nissa and two white for Gideon. Being Legendary for this enchantment isn’t even a drawback – you’ll never need more than one in play at a time, so feel free to keep casting more to continue digging for cards you might need off the top of your deck. I really like this enchantment a ton, since it feels like a fixed Sylvan Library or Sensei’s Divining Top that is still fine for a format like Standard.

Nissa is currently preselling for $20, which I think is extremely cheap for a planeswalker that could definitely have four copies in the updated deck. Again, along with cards like Hangarback Walker and Gideon, Nissa adds another element of ongoing token generation and threat that needs to be dealt with. Typically, three mana planeswalkers have proven to be powerful and I would not be surprised at all for Nissa to help new and existing archetypes as the OGW Standard metagame pans out.

Oath of Nissa is preselling for a bit more at $6-$7, which I think is pricey for a Standard rare. Remember, we are in a totally new era for Standard rare card prices, so I’m not expecting Oath of Nissa (even if it is found in a playset in a Tier 1 deck) to ever stay above $5 for long. There are just too many Standard rares out there these days, and if you consider the amount of product that will be opened for Expeditions in this set, you have a recipe for long term lower prices across the board on all set rares. I mean, if Siege Rhino could never break $5 for long, I certainly don’t expect this enchantment to.

Next, I want to talk about this guy, Reflector Mage. This card seems really good to me. Obviously since it is an uncommon, the price ceiling is going to be something like $2, especially since it is a multicolor… but wow is that effect nice! I mean, this card could even see play in Modern or Legacy. Not being able to cast the card again during your opponent’s next turn is devastating, especially for combo-oriented decks. Plus, you don’t even have to cast this guy to get the effect – all you have to do is have him enter the battlefield, so the trigger still works with stuff like Aether Vial. Just wow, very excited for this card and the possibilities it has in Standard and beyond.

OK, now this card is what I think that Snapcaster Mage was supposed to be. Now, this card has limits that Snapcaster does not – first, it doesn’t have flash and it will always cost at least five mana to cast. So we’re not going to see any four mana Anticipates with a body being cast in Standard. Even though this is a terrible Snapcaster for eternal, you are getting a ton of value for you mana when playing this in Standard. It provides a 4/4 body with (some form of) evasion that primarily allows you to flashback an instant or sorcery card from your graveyard. Just because this isn’t Snapcaster Mage doesn’t mean that we should count the Dark-Dwellers out – on the contrary, I think this card will be great in Standard and I expect to see Atarka Red or other decks adapt it quickly in the new metagame.

Also, Commander is a Thing…

Along with some awesome new Standard tools, we’re getting some great Commander staples that I’m sure have been causing some buzz since their release.

Obviously leading the wave is Kozilek, the Great Distortion, which is the big nasty Eldrazi that all the casuals have been swooning over ever since #Oathgate happened where key pieces of the set were spoiled on /r/magictcg. This guy is going to have casual appeal for years and years to come, so the play here is to wait about three months after the set’s release and then pick up your copies for stocking away for a rainy day. Like the past Eldrazi bretheren (and even the new Ulamog, which is starting to rise in price again…) this will be a great addition to your portfolio for years to come. The key is to time the market right and try to get in on the low point, hopefully when it hasn’t found a home in Standard and the set has reached market saturation.

Holy crap is this Sphinx bonkers in Commander! As if blue wasn’t oppressive enough as it is! If this “resolves” (since there are ways of getting rid of this on the stack that aren’t counterspells) it is going to be so, so difficult to stop the combo player that just dropped this thing on the table.

This card has to be the one of the most protected cards in Magic, and that is saying something. Yes, you can still wipe this with something like Wrath of God, but you’re playing against a blue player! Who is almost always going to have countermagic to back this up. Sure, it costs a ton of mana, but in more casual playgroups I can totally see this thing running away with the game.

I’m actually really glad this card isn’t Legendary, because having this as your general would be super oppressive. Geist of Saint Traft is pretty bad but this would be even worse since you can’t counter it. Just my two cents, maybe I’m overrating this card, but when I first saw it I couldn’t believe that Wizards made a card that is such a potential lockdown against you.

Finally, the last card I want to mention is Thought-Knot Seer, which has been getting a ton of buzz from the Commander crowd. A four mana 4/4 with Thoughtseize+exile attached is really, really good. The fact that you get to let an opponent draw a card is irrelevant in multiplayer, since you can make an ally or other opponent that isn’t a combo player have a card.

Since most Commander decks play lands that generate colorless mana, this is an easy slot into many decks. I for one can’t wait to update my Karn, Silver Golem deck with all the great new toys in the set, including putting basic Wastes into there so I don’t get blown out by cards like Ruination or Wave of Vitriol!

Final Thoughts

All in all, I’m really excited for OGW for both Standard, Commander, and beyond. This set is much more exciting than Battle for Zendikar, because not only do we get Wastes and add a brand new Basic Land to the game, but we also get much more powerful Eldrazi and Allies (along with an Ally Commander, which has a five color Commander identity and is easy to cast!) that many players are going to desire.

Not sure if I’m onboard with whole 2HG theme for the release or whatever – personally, just always give me one-on-one matches. For those that enjoy that, though, you have something else on top of all the new cards to look forward to!

Looking Behind to Look Ahead

It’s that time of year again. The time to look at the past to see where we might be headed into the future. I’m going to list all the articles I’ve written over the past year below that have generated a good discussion, so that we can review them one more time to know where we might be headed in the future. My hope by doing this is to see what predictions have gone wrong for me, which have gone better, and which we can learn from to see how we can approach Magic finance.

Battle for Fatpacks

This article takes the top spot for most comments of the articles I’ve authored in 2015. I’m not surprised that it generated so many comments – after all, we thought items like fatpacks were immutable to market pressure because Wizards could just print more of them… but we learned very quickly that wasn’t the case.

Looking at it again, the article was meant to highlight that this was a highly unusual case for fatpacks because they usually just sit on the shelves at your local game store, gathering dust until someone wants another box for their collection and also decides that they should get a few packs at the same time. Unfortunately, until we get more of the same type of fatpacks in Oath of the Gatewatch we’re still going to see $60+ prices on these guys. Even after more land packs are introduced, I’m not sure if the fatpacks from BFZ block will ever fall below retail due to the huge demand for full art lands.

Modern Masters 2015 Controversy

My next most commented article, this piece highlighted the extreme divergence from a value-centered Modern Masters 2013 set to a… let’s be generous and say limited centric experience for those opening Modern Masters 2015 boosters. Specifically, the rares of Modern Masters 2015 were a total trainwreck in terms of value. It had more than double the amount of bulk rares that Modern Masters 2013 included. Thus, many players were frustrated with the fact that pack prices increased while the value of opening single packs over boxes (basically, drafting the set) decreased.

Out takeaway here is that Modern Masters sets will keep giving us stuff like Tarmogoyf and Cryptic Command but otherwise will start focusing on limited more than the value of the rares included.


In Modern Masters’ Wake

This blurb was a catch-all of the comments I had concerning prices after the release of Modern Masters 2015 and leading into the Grand Prix that followed the release weekend. I noted that cards like Primeval Titan didn’t shift much in price after the release, while others were on their way up and up hard. As we all remember, Snapcaster Mage experienced a humungous spike because of the omission of Innistrad from the set. Other random cards, like foil Omniscience, also spiked at the time since they too managed a reprint dodge.

Of course, since then many of these cards have settled down from their post-release spikes but could yet again see another resurgence in price as the next Modern season approaches. Modern is quite an unpredictable beast, so it will be hard to tell which cards will spike the hardest but we’ll definitely be seeing higher prices on many Modern staples as the season approaches more closely.

Modern Masters 2015 – Release Weekend Update

This article highlighted all the issues I researched concerning the release of Modern Masters 2015. I think this article, along with my one about the general value of rares you can expect to pull out of a pack, are quite telling in terms of the quality control of the set.

You can check out the article for specifics, but there were a ton of issues with the green packs that Wizards created for this Modern Masters release. Collation issues, in pack damage (something also seen with foil Expeditions *sigh*), and other mishaps like order allocation scares were enough to get people like myself to notice and comment. Hopefully this year we’ll experience less issues with premium set releases, though based on Expedition damage issues I’m not sure if the quality control measures have been fully implemented at this point.

Goodbye to Theros, Hello to Holds

Here I commented on which cards from Theros block were the best targets to hold moving forward. I still maintain that Thoughtseize is the strongest target since it is the best discard spell in the Modern format at rare. Foils are still a great pickup, since they haven’t moved in price since I commented and I believe that they have nowhere to go but up until the next reprinting.

Check out the article for more thoughts on where I think certain Theros staples are heading in the future.


Magic Origins Clash Pack Review

My most exciting clash pack review to date, this review generated buzz since it contained Windswept Heath! Now that we know that precon products like clash packs will contain in-demand Standard staples, as well as event decks containing mythic rares, I think it is a wake up call to us all that Standard staples are not great speculation targets anymore – not unless you pick them up in preorders before the set is released, and it is always a difficult thing to predict the metagame.

We all have our stories of failed speculation targets, and mine are also included among those. What this clash pack has taught me is that I need to be even more careful when picking up Standard cards for future gains, and I think instead I will need to think about their appeal in Modern and beyond (as well as foil pros and cons) before acquiring any Standard legal cards moving forward.

The Spread on Fate Reforged

Though I looked at Fate Reforged as a whole in this article, I’ve more highlighted the fact that Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is an unusually popular casual card – so much so that it continued to demand a $30 and higher retail tag even after the set had saturated the market. I’m not one to say I told you so but… Ugin is now a $50, and won’t go down until Fate Reforged rotates from Standard.

Foil Ugins, on the other hand, have dropped in price considerably since I wrote that article. Since Standard players rarely have need of foils, the initial Commander got-to-have-it-now hype has died down and you will be able to get a great deal on a foil Ugin over the coming months as Fate Reforged rotates from Standard.

The Timeless Adventures of Monastery Mentor

The other incredible mythic rare from Fate Reforged, Monastery Mentor, also deserved his own article from your’s truly since I believe that he has great eternal appeal based on early results from tournaments after Fate Reforged was released.

A nice win for me, my own copies that I procured back in April after I wrote the article have appreciated well. According to the price history, that was the low point for foil mentors and they’ve gone past $70 each retail since then. I hope you all were also able to pick up foil Mentors throughout the early stages of last year before they crossed $50 or even $60.

Jace, the $40 Origins Mythic

Here, I spent a great deal of time considering Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and why his price history was mirroring that of most broken planeswalker of all time, Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Even now, I fear that I underestimate the power of little Jace in eternal formats. He seems to keep exceeding all of my expectations for what a Standard legal card can become value-wise. Now, I’m thinking that his price will never go below $30 since the demand he sees in Modern (along with a short print run of Origins) will forever keep him in the low $30 range until the inevitable reprint happens.


Tradewind Rider – Riding the Tides of the Trade

Finally, the last article I want to talk about it has a more personal touch to it than many articles I release for MTGPrice. The article poses the question “Is it worth it to trade anymore?” based on several premises such as the time to trade, more cutthroat approach to trading, and condition-based trading that seems to be happening these days.

The piece probably strikes most of you as something that an old curmudgeon harpening back on the glory days of Magic trading would spew, and there certainly is quite a bit of complaining to back that up. Maybe I’ve been neglecting to fully utilize and learn the new tools of the trade that have been given to the player community. After looking at this article again I want to make it one of Magic related news years resolutions to finally not be frustrated with the way trading happens for me these days, and instead to embrace technology for the additional opportunities it grants me rather than the slow-down it seems to have become. Puca banning users from selling points hurts trading on that exchange somewhat, but even then I still think it is a great way to pick up Commander and Cube staples that I have a hard time finding locally.

First Looks at Oath of the Gatewatch

We’ve slowly been seeing more and more pieces of OGW flow in and they have been very interesting, especially from a financial perspective. Let’s take a look at the spoilers that have been revealed so far and see what possibilities lie in store for us as January approaches.

New Basic Land

First and most importantly, we are now receiving a new basic land (not type, just land – your Tribal Flames are still going to be burning people for only five damage max) – the Wastes.

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This land means a whole, whole lot from a financial perspective. Since this is a basic land, nearly ever Magic player out there is going to want to have some of these, and the only way for them to get them is going to be be in Oath packs, Fat Packs, and other products. Looks like we could be seeing a fat packs fiasco all over again. At least initially.

I’m not trying to be the bringer of doom and gloom here of Wastes’ future price, but what if Wizards starts printing these lands in land packs that are distributed at tournaments along with the rest of the other basic lands? Right now I think that many of us are under the impression that we will only be able to get these through OGW products, but since this is basically the “purple” color that everyone has theorized that Wizards was ultimately going release I think that they are going to heavily support it moving forward so that players aren’t shelling out multiple dollars per copy of basic land that they need for a deck. This could just be wishful thinking on my part, but I’m not sure if I’m going to go out of my way to pick up massive amounts of Wastes for $0.25 or more a piece.

Foils on the other hand are a totally different story. For all the people that want to make fully colorless Commander decks a thing (which they have been in the past, however you couldn’t play any basic lands in the deck which makes it significantly harder to build especially for newer players) foils are going to have a decent premium going forward, and with the different arts for the Wastes I think that the more popular arts will easily maintain their value through the years. I’m not going to be looking to pick up the foils immediately after the set comes out but as soon as I sense that a lull has been reached I’ll be sure to pick up my own copies of foil wastes for the Karn, Silver Golem Commander deck that I run.

Early Expedition Information

Expedition information has slowly been trickling in and we have pictures of Mystic Gate, Forbidden Orchard, and Ancient Tomb as revealed cards.

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What this tells us is that we’re going to have the filter land cycle, but also that Wizards is throwing in one-off’s of lands that they wanted to include as part of the elusive expedition collectables. I mean, no-one was really clamoring for Forbidden Orchard (even though the art is really, really sweet in the expedition!) but Ancient Tomb is a welcome sight and means that we might get a few more Vintage and Legacy playable expeditions… could we even see a Wasteland spoiler eventually?*(12/14 Edit – Yes, we do have Wasteland! And Strip Mine! see the full reveal here) Is asking for a Rishadan Port, Dark Depths, or Grove of the Burnwillows too much? Probably, though to to keep selling more and more packs I wouldn’t be surprised to see popular Legacy/Commander lands being included as expedition in this set.

In terms of price and collectability, I think we’ll see the same trend in the new expeditions as we did with the Battle for Zendikar ones. BFZ expeditions hit their lows in November and October, a few months after the set was released, but now that Oath is approaching shortly the supply for BFZ is going to dry up and the prices of expeditions will also go up since they won’t be getting cracked in packs as often anymore. I also expect Oath lands to follow this trend, and maybe even accelerate it a little bit since Shadows Over Innistrad is also closely approaching on the horizon.

All in all, expeditions will be collectable for years to come, as they were included specifically in Battle for Zendikar block as a way for Wizards to sell more packs while also providing players with awesome Cube and Commander collectables that the player base has always gravitated towards. First in the form of judge foils, but now that judge foils are getting rarer it seems that special foils like expeditions are going to replace them. Yes, this reminds us of the Secret Rarity of Yu-gi-oh!, but at least here it is only reprints and the cards are not required for Standard or other tournament play.

Continuing Spoilers

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Kozilek, the Great Distortion is the premier card that Wizards gave us showcasing the new Wastes mana. I think they’re just calling it colorless? It will be produced by all spells moving forward and any other ability that taps for colorless mana will produce the diamond symboled mana that is displayed on Wastes. For example, the first ability of Shivan Reef will be able to be tapped for diamond mana.

All in all, it could be an interesting card for Standard since it rewards you for ramping and dumping your hand since when you cast him you can refill back up to seven cards. Having Menace and free counterspells available is also a huge bonus, so at the very least he will be hugely popular in the casual crowds for years to come.

Like Ulamog, initial prices will be high (especially in light of the Wastes release) so wait a bit for prices to die down to pick up your copies.

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While this card is somewhat underwhelming by itself, the Surge mechanic is going to either be extremely dull or entirely broken, similar to Delve. As long as they don’t go crazy with Surge in the set I think it will border on boring rather than format defining. Still, keep an eye out for any interesting Surge cards since they might have a ton of casual appeal for players like to play a ton of 2HG.

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This card has great applications for Standard. There is already a sacrifice deck that exists, and this card will slot very nicely into that shell since it already is a cheap 2/3 with deathtouch for only two mana. I’ll be watching the price, especially foils, since I believe this will be very popular in Commander too since the cmc is sooooooo low for the stats and it is a legend.

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This land… is gonna wreck people in Commander, and nowhere else. I mean, sure it could see Standard play, but I think it is really slow and would take too long to get online. Looks for foils, and wait for the price to drop a bit before picking them up. I think that since this land isn’t legendary, it could fare nicely in Modern and other eternal formats as well since being able to copy instants, sorceries, or creatures is versatile. However, I believe that versatility is better suited to casual formats since the time and mana investment it takes to get this land online is quite steep.

That’s all this week. Let me know what you all are looking out for as OGW approaches.

Uncommonly Valuable

When you’re sitting there, sifting through those bulk collections that I know (almost) all of you are buying throughout the year, one of the key types of cards that you should be looking for are uncommons. Yes, commons are important too in these bulk searches for treasure, however the uncommons are going to be what surprises you most in terms of value when you go to cash out your findings to the highest paying buylist.

My goal today is twofold. First, I’m going to quickly review what the most valuable uncommons are that you should be looking for when sifting through the bulk of bought collections. Most of these cards will be obvious, but I’m betting that some of them might be a surprise.

Then, I’m going to take this a step further and point out which foils you should also be looking for. Foils, as you’ll find, are quite an interesting market, and the amount of a play a foil receives in Modern, Commander, Legacy, or even Vintage could drastically alter the price. Many of the uncommon foils that I’ve found are actually are individual buylist line items despite their rare use, and you want to make sure that they aren’t being accidentally thrown in with the rest of bulk foils. Albeit, not that many collections will have a large amount of foils, especially foils that are from older sets, however foil picking shouldn’t be discounted either. Now is as good a time as ever for checking to see which uncommon foils are demanding the highest buylist and eBay prices in the market.

With that out of the way, let’s review the nonfoil uncommons that are valuable to see if there might be any surprises in there.

Figure 1 – Most Valuable Recent Set Nonfoil Uncommons $2 or More eBay Sorted By Highest Buylist


No suprise that Aether Vial, Top, and Duel Deck Demonic Tutor are at the top of the list. Essential staples in their respective formats, they carry the highest eBay price and buylist prices. Arbitrage is particularly close on Aether Vial – I could see this one jumping in price in the near future, especially with the next wave of Modern tournaments coming up early next year.

Shardless Agent, Enlightened Tutor, and Cabal Coffers are all great uncommons with a ton of casual appeal. Shardless Sultai seems to come in and out of favor in Legacy, so there is demand there for the Agent but I think that is mainly coming from casual players. Enlightened Tutor and Cabal Coffers are still $10 even with reprints, which bodes well for their futures. I expect we’ll see reprints of these cards soon enough, but even with a reprint I could see them do a Ghostly Prison and still stubbornly maintain a price above $5 due to the “discovery” effect where newer players who just started playing the game see their power and move to pick them up for Commander.

Mishra’s Bauble still surprises me – where is this played again? If anyone picks up a collection with Coldsnap, look for these guys among the bulk. Sterling Grove is another uncommon that is valuable to vendors especially since the Daxos deck, though lacking green, could sway players to start creating enchantment based decks with green in them since Magic’s history is full of great green cards that support enchantments.

Mother of Runes has a high eBay but low buylist price, which indicates to me that the eBay price is going to start going down. Mom’s should be traded to players looking for them, as buylist is fine for this uncommon but you will get more bang for you buck if you move them over a medium like Pucatrade.

Ancient Ziggurat, Footsteps of the Goryo, and Guttural Response are the final uncommons I would like to mention. These uncommons are surprisingly valuable due casual and Modern appeal. Footseps and Response have their niche in Modern, while Ancient Ziggurat has a huge casual appeal and is an uncommon with only one nonfoil printing.

All in all, I don’t think you guys will find this uncommon list that surprising. Let’s move on to the foils, which are certainly more interesting.

Figure 2 – Most Valuable Recent Set Foil Uncommons $4 or More eBay Sorted by Highest Buylist


Right away, I’m sure you noticed that this list is waaaay longer than the previous list. Suffice to say, there are plenty of foil uncommons that have gained value over the years. We see that Goblin Matron is currently commanding the highest buylist price – even with Top being sold at $110 eBay, Matron still eeks it out by a margin of $6. Bare in mind, this is one vendor who is offering the noted buylist price, so for other vendors the buy on Matron could very well be lower. Still though, it shows that the demand for foils is a totally different market than nonfoils since Matron didn’t even show up on the nonfoil list!

So, apparently foil Choke is being sold at $80 on eBay! This is crazy to me, as it is a purely sideboard card that will almost certainly be reprinted at a future date. This indicates to me that unless you’re playing a totally Russian foiled Merfolk, maybe you should consider moving this foil…

Foil prices drastically reduce from there, where most are $30 each or lower on eBay. The obvious outliter here is 9th Ed. Urza’s Mine, but the eBay data is skewed since the buylist is only $25.

Aven Mindcensor is still a sought-after foil, being present in both Legacy and Modern in D&T and Hatebears builds. With only one printing in Future Sight, I don’t see this foil dropping until a reprint in a Modern Masters type set.


As we move down the list, we start seeing strange foils such as Boil, Crypt Rats, Serra Advocate, Reprisal, Mistveil Plains, and Breath of Life pop up. Did you guys even know these cards existed? Well, if you have foil copies then someone out there is looking for them, and finding stuff like this in collections is always a treat.

Some interesting eBay foil prices include Izzet Staticaster, Sustainer of the Realm, Blood Artist, and Victimize. All of these on eBay are being sold at a fairly high price for a foil uncommon yet buylists are quite low compared to eBay prices. This tells me that players are seeking them, but stores aren’t – probably because they are very hard to move. Cards like these should probably be sold at eBay or TCG since even after fees you are going to get more for them than you would just outing to a buylist. Something to keep in mind in case you come across a few of these types of uncommon foils.

Final Thoughts

I’ll be using these lists in the future when looking through collections, to try and maximize the amount I can get out of them. I hope you guys find the lists useful as well, since there are plenty of eye popping numbers in the data especially concerning uncommon foils.

Let me know if I missed any uncommons from recent sets, nonfoil or foil, that you have your eyes on for value moving forward. I used the MTGPrice ProTrader data collection methods to aggregate this data, so if you become a ProTrader you too can get easy, current access to this data at your fingertips.