Category Archives: Watchtower

The Watchtower 11/5/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

ADVERTISEMENT:


By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


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


Magic’s community is awash in discussion of Ultimate Masters this week. Box toppers started showing up in mailboxes late last week as a PR stunt slash apology for how horrible the Guilds of Ravnica purchasing experience was. We didn’t have to wait long to find out what they were, as Ultimate Masters was announced just today. With an MSRP of $335 it’s going to scare a lot of players away, but the value of those box toppers is no joke.

The rest of this content is only visible to ProTrader members.

To learn how ProTrader can benefit YOU, click here to watch our short video.

expensive cards

ADVERTISEMENT:


ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Track your collection's value over time, see which cards moved the most, track wishlists, tradelists and more. Sign up at MTGPrice.com - it's free!

ADVERTISEMENT:


Please follow and like us:

The Watchtower 10/29/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


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


Triple Primeval Titan decks in the top three of the Modern Open, eh? Modern is all over the place at the moment. Which is a good thing, to be clear. Lots of fun looking decks, plenty of variety, and no sense that the format is stifled by an overpowered strategy. I’m jealous of the people that get to sit down and play it on a weekly basis.

Arclight Phoenix, the latest talk of the town, had a reasonably successful weekend. Its best place in Modern was 30th, in a list similar to what we’ve seen already. Phoenix fared better in Standard, cracking the top 8 in both America and Europe. You can get $21 for your copies right now, and I wouldn’t wait any longer to sell. What price could you possibly hope to sell out at? You likely paid $2 to $3 each, so get while the gettin’s good.

ADVERTISEMENT:


Patron of the Vein

Price Today: $2
Possible Price: $8

Twilight never lost popularity with Magic players, it would seem. Edgar Markov, a vampire that farts out vampires, has been a top weekly and monthly commander for quite some time. He hasn’t cracked the “all time” rankings yet, but I suspect he will by the end of the month. And while what feels like half of the cards in that deck are in the precon, and the other half were printed within the last year, there’s still some opportunities if you look closely.

Patron of the Vein is one of those precon cards. He’s the most popular though — no other new card introduced in that precon is more popular than Patron. About 80% of Edgar decks use Patron, which is about as high as those numbers typically get. Of course, on the flip side, that also means that about 20% of Patron’s use is in other strategies. Presumably vampire strategies. Overall, if you’re playing a vampire-focused deck, you’re very likely to be in the market for Patron. Our takeaway then is that virtually every person building Edgar is going to be tracking one of these down, and anyone else building a vampire deck will too. But there’s only one of these for every Edgar Markov that exists, so a tension exists there. That’s the tension that will push Patron’s price higher.

You can score copies in the $1 to $2 range today, depending on quantity and shipping. While there’s more than a handful available, there aren’t a lot. And as new Edgar decks spring up every week — which we’ve been seeing happen for months — people will continue to snag those copies one or two at a time. Before long Patron will have crept up to $8 on the back of dwindling supply, and nobody will really notice or care, except those that had picked up a pile at $2.

Whir of Invention (Foil)

Price Today: $7.50
Possible Price: $20

If you scrolled down far enough to see the Arclight Phoenix deck in the Modern Open, you would have passed the “Grixis Whir” list. It’s sort of a Lantern deck, except instead of emptying its hand in order to raise the Ensnaring Bridge, it finds Bottled Cloister, a fun four-mana artifact from Ravnica that removes your own hand from the game during an opponent’s turn that then draws you a bonus card on your turn. Typically the whole “no hand on your opponent’s turn” thing is a drawback, but with Ensnaring Bridge in play, it’s not too shabby.

Cloister is amusing for sure, but for sure the meat here is Whir of Invention. This build uses all sorts of silver bullets, from Damping Sphere to Grafdigger’s Cage, and in addition, as with most decks of this stripe, there’s only a single copy of the various win conditions. (Loop Ipnu Rivulet with Crucible of Worlds to mill your opponent.) Finding that Crucible is another of Whir’s various duties.

This is hardly a format-shaking performance. One copy in 26th place isn’t sending the hordes to start whirring themselves at FNM. It is, however, a perfectly good proof of concept that demonstrates that Whir of Invention really can be played like the blue Chord of Calling, a card with a long and irrefutable legacy in Modern. If it isn’t this Bottled Cloister/Ipnu Rivulet build, it will be some other list that twists Whir to great effect. Of course, it’s also in 6,000 EDH decks too.

Foils at $7.50 aren’t dirt cheap, though I don’t think that matters. It’s growing rapidly in EDH, and is making a real go of it in Modern. I expect we’ll find these between $20 to $30 relatively soon.

Cryptolith Rite (Foil)

Price Today: $10
Possible Price: $20

I’ve absolutely talked about Cryptolith Rite foils before, so I won’t go on and on about it. It’s a legit card, and I like it as much at $10 as whatever it was when I wrote about it a few months ago. 11,000 EDH decks, including as a staple in one of the top weekly and monthly decks, Narjeela, is no joke. Add that it should be in so many decks — Sidisi, Brood Tyrant chief among them — and you’ve got a recipe for a card that is going to end up in short supply.

There are still foils available for $10, and I definitely still like them at that price. Getting them at $5 or $7 or whatever it was before was absolutely correct, and it’s still correct at $10. There’s fewer than 30 under $15 on TCGPlayer, and a single $15 copy at SCG. Make sure you’ve got a few before the inevitable jump.


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


 

[/hide]

Please follow and like us:

The Watchtower 10/22/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


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


With no GP’s to check out, and the SCG website down for maintenance, we’re flying slightly blind. I do know that Jadelight Ranger has been bought out, with the only non-foil copies available on TCGPlayer right now Russian. I’m feeling pretty good about having written of a $7 to $15 spike in this space two weeks ago to the day. We’re in prime Standard Is Happening territory, so if anything you’ve picked up over the summer is going to move, now’s your best bet.

Guilds of Ravnica Mythic Edition fervor has settled, with sealed copies selling for between $400 and $450. I’d expect that to trend slightly lower for the next few weeks, as GP supply continues to hit the market. It could be quite a different story in February though.

ADVERTISEMENT:


Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (Foil)

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $18

A favorite general of mine, Sidisi makes for some great EDH games. Pouring out zombie tokens is gratifying, plus it lands directly within the “what we want EDH to be” bounds. Spew tokens, do cool things with/to them, try to recover from sweepers, and generally play interactive Magic. (Some people play Sidisi slightly different. They’re wrong.) Perhaps my favorite interaction in the deck is Mesmeric Orb, which not only supercharges your Sidisi, but annoys the absolute hell out of opponents, to the point that a T2 Orb has decked more than one opponent.

Sidisi is an awesome commander, but that’s not the only place she shines. Since Muldrotha was printed the deck has been remarkably popular, and I’ve no doubt we’ll see it in the top 10 of all time list next year. Sidisi is a frequent component of the deck, since it so often is trying to shovel cards into its graveyard. If you’re going to be doing that anyways, why not get paid for it?

Khans of Tarkir is sort of a breakpoint for MTG supply, and is considered a high water mark. Still, it’s several years old at this point, and time marches on. In fact, supply is quite low by now, with only a single digit number of copies left on TCGPlayer, and not many more elsewhere. Overall supply should be gone before Christmas, and when they start reposting, I’d wager we’ll see them between $15 and $20.

Notion Thief (M25 Foil)

Price Today: $2.50
Possible Price: $10

This little sneaker from Gatecrash, who first gained notoriety when he was flashed in against an opposing Jace, the Mind Sculptor activation in Vintage, has since been relatively quiet. He’s not the core of any particular strategy, though you’ll find him peppered all over the place in sideboards. He’s not a considerable thorn in the side of EDH players, though he’s in over 7,000 decks. Basically, he’s always around and doing things, just not aggressively enough that it feels like people notice.

Gatecrash foil copies were making good headway for awhile. They climbed above $10 briefly, floated around $6 for awhile, spiked to $25 just before Masters 25 for some reason, then dropped back down to $5 or $6. M25 copies have mostly just sat below $3 so far, as they’re so new.

Even with a printing just a few months ago, M25 supply isn’t excessive. We’re not talking 400 copies here. There’s only about 60 on TCG right now, and far fewer GTC foils. Snagging M25 foils for under $3 sets you up for what’s looking like solid double or triple up down the road.


Expansion//Explosion

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $8

Poking around Standard PTQs on MTGO, you’ll see Expansion//Explosion sneaking into plenty of main decks and sideboards. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m sort of bewildered by this. I guess you can T1 Opt, T2 counter, T3 Opt Epansion? I don’t know. I do know you’ll find it in virtually every control deck right now, albeit not as a full playset.

Yet, I’m seeing several good-opinion-havers talk about how they think there will be a time not long from now when we’re all having a good laugh about how we used to not slam four E//E into every control deck. That’s worth taking note of, for two reasons. One, control decks are virtually always in Standard, especially with Teferi hanging around. So if E//E is always in control decks, and control decks are always being played, then E//E is always being played. Two, control decks tend to be light on rares. There’s typically one rare or mythic that’s a core four-of (Teferi, Sphinx’s Revelation, etc.) and then a mountain of C/UC counters, draw spells, removal, etc. Often times there isn’t a lot of places to make money on those strategies. E//E, should it become a staple, would give the deck another card it could inflate the value thereof.

Of course, we already know there’s been something of a buyout on E//E. It jumped from $1 to the $3 you’ll pay for it just within the last week. What I’m telling you is that it’s not unreasonable that it could keep climbing up towards $10. Am I guaranteeing that? Absolutely not. Am I even strongly confident that it may? Nope. But I see it as a respectable possibility, with enough individuals remarking on its power level, that I’d be remiss not to bring it to your attention.


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


 

[/hide]

Please follow and like us:

The Watchtower 10/8/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


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


While the MagicFest this weekend was limited, we still got plenty of Guilds Standard with an MTGO PTQ, an SCG Team Open, and a Classic. They couldn’t be much more different either. MTGO saw a strong performance by Golgari strategies, particularly explore. Selesnya tokens took the top two slots of SCG’s Team Open (the only place they even showed up), while the Classic was all about Boros Angels (and Mono-Blue Aggro?). There’s a lot of data here, and undoubtedly a lot of noise. I’m going to try and find some of the stronger threads for you guys, which is no easy feat. Given this variety of well-performing decks, there’s no doubt a lot of them will fall away in the next few weeks.

Jadelight Ranger

Price Today: $7
Possible Price: $15

Few Golgari lists didn’t bring along Jadelight Ranger for the weekend. She does a lot of work for the strategy, either functioning as a strong threat or a card drawing engine. Either way you’re not upset. Add in Wildgrowth Walker and Merfolk Branchwalker and you’re getting a lot of payoff early in the game. Will it be good enough six weeks from now? That’s hard to say, but it sure seemed to be this weekend.

Jadelight Ranger is a known quantity, and was “the next Tireless Tracker” at release. Reception cooled thereafter, with the card having dropped from $12 at its peak to about $6.50 or $7 today. Should Golgari Explore continue to succeed as a strategy, especially into the Pro Tour, we could see prices above the past peak, and possibly upwards of $15 to $20. Ixalan is the senior set these days, which is always good for prices up through January or so. A second surge in price would almost certainly exceed the past peak.

I of course can’t tell you whether Golgari Explore has legs. That’s up for the metagame to decide. I can tell you that Jadelight Ranger was everywhere this weekend, and if that sort of action keeps up, she won’t stay $7.

Resplendent Angel

Price Today: $12
Possible Price: $25

Golgari Explore felt like the most common theme I saw across the three events this weekend. If it wasn’t, then Boros Angels was. It strikes me as an odd strategy admittedly, playing eight 2’s, eight 3’s, six 4’s, and four 5’s. For a curve with no fixing, no ramp, and no real card advantage, I’m left wondering what their strategy is other than “draw an ideal mix of lands and spells.” Clearly it worked, because it did so well overall. Still though. Odd setup.

Of all the cards in Boros Angels, Resplendent Angel looks the best positioned. She’s what I would consider a relative unknown, in she’s hasn’t been a flashy or hyped card prior to this. While Lyra Dawnbringer was getting a lot of traction during late Dominaria spoiler season, I don’t really remember having heard much about Resplendent Angel at all since Core 19’s release. Her price curve supports my theory, with basically a consistent decline since release.

Should Midrange Angels (Call it “Boros Midrangels” you cowards) continue to perform, Resplendent seems the most likely to rise in price. She’s likely one of the most important parts of the strategy, since she fills in a lower place on the mana curve that angels typically don’t hang out in. $12 is a high buy in for a Standard card, but there’s a metagame where she’s easily $25, so it’s worth at least keeping an eye on.

Jace’s Sanctum (Foil)

Price Today: $2
Possible Price: $8

Standard isn’t the only format where Ravnica is making its presence known. A popular commander this week is the new Niv Mizzet, Parun. He’s all about drawing cards and playing instants and sorceries, just like every other Niv Mizzet. Each has a slightly different ideal trigger condition, and in Parun’s case, it’s casting an instant or sorcery. The more you cast, the more you draw, the more damage you deal.

There’s a well known suite of blue and red spells-matter cards in EDH, so this isn’t completely fresh territory in the way that some of our other new Commanders may be, such as Aminatou. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities. While browsing the popular cards for Niv Mizzet, Parun, I found Jace’s Sanctum. We all would have noticed it at release as a good pickup for EDH,  but at the time it was too early to act. Not any longer.

Foils are sitting at about $2, which is the same price they’ve been for about three years. Why do we care today, as opposed to three years ago? Well for one thing, there are only five NM copies on TCGPlayer. There are zero on ABU. SCG has 19, but they’re $3 instead of $2. Overall Sanctum feels ripe to hit $6 to $8 in six to twelve months.


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



[/hide]

Please follow and like us: