Category Archives: Watchtower

The Watchtower 7/15/19 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

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By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


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


A week later and Modern is settling nicely, with plenty of variety in the metagame. MTGO’s most recent Modern League gives us eight distinct decks, with a surprising victory by Goblins. It’s hard to imagine Goblins becoming a pillar of Modern, given that they’re lacking the two best Goblins cards, Wasteland and Rishadan Port, but this isn’t the first appearance of the little red menace at the top of the standings. Another two victories like this and I’m going to be writing about Goblin Matron. Two weeks from now is PT Barcelona, a Modern event, which should give us a firmer perspective on where things are headed. I’d be surprised if Izzet Phoenix isn’t the most popular deck, and also the best performing by the numbers, short of a new combo deck arising.

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


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.

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The Watchtower 7/8/19 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.


None of us should be too surprised to have seen Bridge from Below get the axe this morning. Hogaak was running rampant in Modern, and even without Ian’s statistics to back it up, it didn’t take long on MTGO to get a feel for how dominant the deck had become. Altar of Dementia and Hogaak are both new to the format courtesy of Modern Horizons, so it would be surprising to see Wizards remove brand new cards that have existed for barely a month. Bridge from Below, on the other hand, has been a key component every time Dredge has been a problem before, likely because it’s so unlike most other Magic cards. It’s a smart choice, and I’m happy they made it, since we’ll get a new era of graveyard decks that previously had no point in existing so long as Bridge was around.

Of course, it’s a lot tougher to make picks based around a ban than an unban, so nuts to that.

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Allosaurus Rider

Price Today: $10
Possible Price: $20

Hogaak and Altar of Dementia are still legal, but significantly weakened. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they maintain a significant presence in a revamped shell, especially Altar. That is not a fair Magic card. For the meantime though, the metagame has space to breathe, and some of the marginally-less-degenerate decks will get their opportunity to annoy the hell out of everyone. I was skeptical at first, but the Neoform deck has been posting results since it hit the block, and in conjunction with the pros getting a little hand-wringy over it, I suspect there’s more to come.

I’ve mentioned before that this was a tricky deck to find opportunity in. At that time, I was considering it still a fringe strategy that was unsafe to throw too much money at. My opinion has shifted since then, to the point that I’m willing to think about Allosaurus Rider itself. This is It, the single key piece in the strategy. This deck does literal nothing without Rider, and it’s important enough that beyond the core play set, Summoner’s Pact is typically present as a four-of in order to provide redundancy. Additional iterations and refinement to the general concept may shift numbers of other components, but it’s tough to imagine how you could play anything resembling the Neoform deck without a set of Riders.

While you’ll find there’s several printings of Allosaurus Rider out there, all are old and of limited distribution. There’s maybe 20 playsets of Rider left on TCG at this point? And that’s probably quite high. Before this morning this was already reasonably poised, and with today’s changes, is looking even better.

Dark Petition (Foil)

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $15

The other news that I didn’t cover in the intro was the EDH changes: out with Paradox Engine and Iona, Shield of Emeria, and in with Painter’s Servant. Anyone lamenting Engine’s departure was never truly your friend, and you should disassociate with them immediately. Iona is a bit puzzling, but really, not exactly a card that exemplifies EDH’s intended game experience. If you’ve got an issue with it, take it up with Sheldon. Painter’s Servant is the real story, and while I’d love to give you some great picks based on it, that list is short, and was picked clean within ten minutes of the announcement. All the cheap Servants are gone, as are the Grindstones. Beyond that, what’s left? If you know the answer to that, well, you probably just made a few hundred dollars.

Instead I’m picking through Yawgmoth here, since he’s quite popular at the moment. A lot of his bread and butter cards simply aren’t quite popular enough yet, like Nest of Scarabs, or are surprisingly popular, like Pitiless Plunderer. Dark Petition is hiding out further down the page, and while it’s not exclusively a Yawgmoth card, it’s still great, and the fact that it isn’t a Yawgmoth card proves that it’s just a generally good black card. It’s essentially Demonic Tutor in EDH, where the five mana up front is typically trivial, as is the spell mastery condition. In fact, one could even look at the mana cost as a minor upside, as it gives you the ability to filter colorless or useless colors into black mana. Is Demonic Tutor popular in EDH? Well, Doubling Season, perhaps the face of EDH, is found in 10% of all green decks. Tutor is in 30% of all black decks.

Anyone looking for foil Dark Petitions can only look to Magic Origins for now, meaning supply is aging and limited. There’s maybe 30 vendors, between original and pack foils, with copies below $8 (and there aren’t too many above that either). At an entry of $6 to $7, I’d anticipate a solid 100% return in the next few months, maybe a year.

Aetherflux Reservoir (Foil)

Price Today: $18
Possible Price: $35

Magic 2020 brought several new wedge commanders, and rather surprisingly, Kykar is in the lead as the most popular by slim margins. Most would have expected Yarok I’m sure, and while he’ll take over eventually, it looks like veterans of the format are trying to spread their wings with Kykar’s more novel play style. 

Casting as many spells as you can is the name of the game with Kykar, and while that’s hardly a new goal in EDH, the requirement that they’re non-creature, and the payoff of building your own mana engine is something new. It’s not often that players sit down to the EDH table with a deck full of cantrips and their ilk. In a build like that, where does one turn to get rewarded? Well, it looks like the answer is Aetherflux Reservoir. Reservoir will certainly be a staple in Kykar decks, since it provides a pseudo-line of defense in a deck that may have trouble softening an opponent’s offenses, and more importantly, turns into a gigantic cannon that will one-shot players if given some room to flex. 

Reservoir is from Kaladesh, an absolutely stacked set with a pile of staples for Modern, EDH, and the kitchen table. Even still, Reservoir is the third-most popular EDH card in the set, beyond Inventor’s Fair, a colorless land, and Panharmonicon, another banner EDH card and effect. Foils are priced as one may expect, with an entry point around $18. Prices climb into the mid-twenties rapidly, and then supply runs out, with only 28 copies total available on TCG between pack foils and promos. This is on a timer regardless, and with Kykar adding additional demand, you’ll be able to sell these for over $30 by the time school is back in session.


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


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The Watchtower 7/1/19 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.


Alright guys, hang on here. All of the Magic 2020 spoilers are out, the set releases this weekend or something, and then we can breathe free and easy for at least a few weeks. Commander 2019 is due out August 23rd, and if we get two weeks of spoilers, that means we’ve got possibly a full six weeks without any spoilers. Six whole weeks without checking Twitter compulsively (yeah right), six whole weeks without arguing about whether a new combo works (as if), six whole weeks without needing to scurry to buy new cards (sure). We even got the SDCC promos revealed last week, so we don’t have that hanging over our heads either. Enjoy your summer! You’re free!

Goblin Engineer

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $15

SCG hosted a Team Modern Open this past weekend, which brought out plenty of Modern Horizons brewing. What quickly caught my eye was seeing Grixis Urza in both the second place team’s stable, as well as fourth place’s. Grixis Urza is the abhorrently named, latest iteration of Lantern Control, a deck which strays further from its roots and god’s light with every passing tournament. To be fair to the naming convention, I’m not even sure you can consider this deck anything other than a cousin to Latern[less] Control, as other than the archetype-agnostic staples of Mox Opal and Mishra’s Bauble, the only real card in common is a single copy of Ensnaring Bridge. 

Of course, with four Goblin Engineers, that one copy of Bridge plays more like five. And even more than that, honestly, since Engineer will let you recur it should your one copy be destroyed. It’s in this way that a single copy of Bridge feels, to opponent and pilot both, to have a nearly limitless number of copies in the list. That’s the more understated half of Goblin Engineer; you’re able to recur a specific artifact over and over, typically after having tutored for it, granting pilot far more mileage out of a single copy than would otherwise be able. Expanding on this, you’re able to cut Bridge slots for other powerful artifacts, and each becomes fetchable during each game, representing a major hurdle should your deck be stymied by Ensnaring Bridge, Pithing Needle, Grafdigger’s Cage, or whatever else.

Grixis Urza (ugh) is just the beginning for Engineer. We’re going to see a lot of this card in Modern over the coming months and years. It’s flexible, cheap, fast, and has two relevant abilities. Prices are down in the $3 to $4 range at the moment, which is sort of surprising, given that this is perhaps the most Modern playable rare of the set. Supply is deep, which isn’t surprising, as vendors are still trying to liquidate their initial inventory that was only put on shelves a few weeks ago. Come the fall it’s not going to look like this, and there won’t be too much more added to the global stocks, as player money is going to be tied up with Magic 2020, Commander 2019, the fall set, all while dissuaded by Modern Horizon’s higher pack prices. There will be a day that Goblin Engineer is $10 or $15, and it’s only a question of when.

Tatyova, Benthic Druid (Foil)

Price Today: $5
Possible Price: $15

Magic 2020 brings with it several new wedge commanders, and each is going to spur price movement. I’m inclined to believe the leader of the pack, at least in terms of overall popularity, will be Yarok, the Desecrated. It’s not hard to understand why; he is literally Panharmonicon on a stick. Like, the exact same wording. Foil Panharmonicons as a result have been quite liquid, and TCG low is up to $22. That’s a health gain from the $10 you would have paid for them this time last year. Once Yarok has actually hit the street and is in players hands, supply is going to start to feel the real pinch of players building it. That’s Panharmonicon though, and not what we’re talking about.

Rather, I’m looking into Tatyova this week. Tatyova is an uncommon — yes, uncommon — from Dominaria. There are few cards that are such a clear distillate of their color pair. A merfolk Druid, every time you put a land into play — not play, but put into play — you  gain a life and draw a card. That’s blue and green to a T. This utility hasn’t gone unnoticed, making Tatyova one of the most popular cards from Dominaria, and seating her at a respectable 52nd rank of popular commanders over at EDHREC. That’s no small feat, considering how long many of those commanders have been available. She’s only going to improve her position from here, as what Yarok deck isn’t going to play Tatyova? None of them, that’s how many.

Dominaria has a few seasons under its belt, and as a result, inventory isn’t quite as robust as MH1. There’s maybe 30 vendors on TCG with foil copies, and for the most part, those are sold as singles or pairs. It’s a similar story with the buy-a-box promos. As players start to build Yarok, expect inventories to drain and prices to rise.

Reki, the History of Kamigawa

Price Today: $9
Possible Price: $18

Kethis, the Hidden Hand is a commander that plays in a space that’s otherwise sparsely populated. He rewards and encourages players that stuff their deck full of legendary spells. There’s a few payoffs for this out there, though not as many as tribal, or artifacts, or whathaveyou.

Immediately I went to Reki, a card that has stuck with me for no particular reason. I’ve never sleeved up the card a single time, yet I recalled it instantly when looking at Kethis. Reki is an old card from an old set; Saviors of Kamigawa specifically. You can’t pick a card better suited for Kethis. He’s going to reduce the cost of virtually every card in your deck by one, and cantrip each time you cast any of those spells? Yeah that sounds perfect. If you’re building Kethis, you’re including Reki.

Typically I’d want to search out foils here, but those jumped a year or two ago and now cost upwards of $50. There’s possibly room for those to grow from here, but it’s going to be tough selling these for $80 or $90. Instead I’d rather focus on the non-foils, which you can find scattered copies of in the $8 to $9 range. They’ve been hanging out there for awhile, so this price isn’t the result of Kethis’ reveal. Once players start cracking Kethis in their M20 packs and begin crafting their 99, Reki is going to be one of the first cards into the shopping cart. It’s not going to take long at all to eat the remaining inventory out there.


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


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The Watchtower 6/24/19 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.


Our endless spoiler season lurches ever forward, with a slew of Magic 2020 cards having come out in the last few days, between the MPL, the planeswalker decks, and assorted sources. So far the set looks decent enough, although it’s hardly capturing hearts and minds in the way that Dominaria, or War of the Spark, or Modern Horizons did. There’s not a lot of blood flowing for the new cavalier cycle, I’ll tell you that much. Will they be decent? Possibly. Will any of them become a top tier Standard staple? Conceivable. Is anyone eager to play with them today? Not at all. Your best bet is looking at them as plants for a forthcoming Theros set that will reward devotion again.

Seasoned Pyromancer

Price Today: $13
Possible Price: $30

Modern Horizons has remixed the format, if not in exactly the way we may have expected. I was looking forward to a new archetype or two, and a few more “pillar” cards that would do more to redevelop the landscape of the metagame. Mostly we didn’t get any of that, and instead got a lot of playable cards that are all adding ripples rather than waves. Of course it’s early yet, and Hogaaak is sort of ruining things at the moment, so perhaps in six months it will be like a rerelease for MH1.

Anyways, Seasoned Pyromancer. He’s a spicy meatball, which makes sense, because of the aforementioned seasoning. We’re seeing him in Mardu midrange builds, more aggressive Bedlam Reveler decks, Jund, and even Dreadhorde Arcanist strategies. I wasn’t particularly enamored with him on reveal, but he’s proven that there’s no shortage of slots that can make use of his abilities. For three mana you can have a 2/2, loot 2 cards, and 2 1/1s? Yeah alright. So long as you’re making the most of those discarded cards, that seems reasonable.

Pyromancer is doing solid duty in Modern, and it doesn’t feel like his price is matching that utility. I’m lacking a tool to tell me what cards from a specific set are doing the most work in Modern, but if I had to guess (which is what I’m doing right now), Pyromancer is one of the more useful cards from MH1. Supply is mediumish, as the set is still quite new. Many of the metrics are pointing at MH1 prices rising soon though, and I suspect Pyromancer will be one of the beneficiaries of that when it happens.

Nirkana Revenant

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $15

A superstar of black creatures, Nirkana Revenant has long been potent in both EDH and casual circles. It doubles mana production of swamps (of which all your lands are, thanks to Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, which will also be in the deck with Yawgmoth, which is weird), a relatively uncommon feature for black decks. It also pumps itself with that boatload of mana, but, nobody is using double their black mana to give Revenant +1/+1.

One may notice that Revenant’s EDH numbers aren’t the most stunning. She’s clocking about 3400 decks, which is about as low as we tend to go when acknowledging cards for that format. The other numbers don’t lie though — Revenants were easily selling for north of $20 for two dang years. Clearly demand exists for this card outside of EDH, and enough so that it drove the price into solid $20+ territory. That’s quite good for casual demand.

Battlebond sunk prices to the current lows of roughly $6, where it seems to have bottomed out this spring. We’ll certainly see numbers on the non-foils climb over time regardless, and with Yawgmoth’s printing and a rush to mono-black decks, I expect a temporary surge as well. Plus, smart money is on Theros in the next year, which is also likely to push mono colored decks, and line up Revenant for another spike at that time.

Urza’s Incubator

Price Today: $12
Possible Price: $25

Modern Horizons hit shelves and people started building Morontron in all its various flavors. (Which is like, a lot of flavors.) Tribal popularity comes and goes for the most part, with only a select few tribes maintaining sales a few months after a hot new commander, but Mophontrod has the unique property of getting to always be a popular tribal commander regardless of what tribe is popular what week. Did they print some cool dinosaurs again? Morpho can play that general. Slivers? To the Morpho deck. Allies? Ok nobody is playing allies, but you get the idea.

Tribal has a consistent general now, and people are going to move in that direction often. It’s great at reducing colored mana costs, but it can’t handle the pesky colorless mana. That’s where Urza’s Incubator comes in. Like Morpo, it’s colorless and tribe-agnostic, which means every single tribal deck is in the market. They were before, but now with Morpho, there’s even more of an incentive, especially since Incubator fills the other half of the equation. Between Mopo and Incubator, most of the creatures in your deck are free.

Incubator used to be fairly cheap; about $6. Then it jumped to $20 or $25; I forgot exactly why. It’s slowly lost ground since then, and appears to have bottomed out around January or February. It has since regained ground, and with the new all-purpose tribal commander, is slated to see a lot more play in the future. I can’t say for sure how fast they’ll turn around, but don’t sleep on Incubators, especially if you need any yourself.


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


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