Category Archives: Watchtower

The Watchtower 4/22/19 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.


MFNF, which isn’t a metal band but was in fact Magic Fest Niagara Falls, went well enough. Players showed up, played Legacy, sold Magic cards, and ate chicken wings. On that note, I did manage to get our good buddy Corbin in front of some genuine Buffalo chicken wings, although they weren’t at one of the local hotspots. I have to advocate for attending GPs in your backyard, not that most of you will need that pressure. Having been one of the most active players in the city some 12 or 13 years ago, but less so in the last few, it was something akin to a high school reunion to attend. When the GP is within 20 minutes, players that would never bother to drive two hours to a major city still find their way. It’s a lot of fun to see faces that you remember from your LGS from seven years past. Given that the most lasting appeal of Magic is the community, this is where the true dividends lie.

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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.


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The Watchtower 4/15/19 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.


War of the Spark spoilers keep rolling on, and we’re all having a grand ol’ time with them. Flavorwise it’s exciting, as we’ve seen the Amonkhet gods die and suffer (?) zombification, Domri Rade got de-sparked, and it’s looking like several more aren’t going to make it out of the fray unharmed. Mechanically, planeswalkers are sending everyone into a tizzy. EDH channels are thrilled about all the new toys, and Fethers specifically has gotten people’s attention as a general that just looks, well, fun. Modern is joining in on the fun too, though that’s complicated, as Modern Horizons spoilers are going to start shortly after WAR is on shelves, and that’s going to upend the entire format anyways.  

Fell the Mighty

Price Today: $5
Possible Price: $10

If there’s one commander that’s caught everyone’s attention in the WAR spoilers, it’s without a doubt Feather. As of today, April 15th, it is the most popular commander this week. And she’s not even available yet! Fethers lets players do something fun and cool, which the format is glad to have in a Boros commander. (Secretly Mono-Red and Boros might have the highest average ‘fun’ rating across all legendary creatures, but they’re lower on the ‘power’ level, which makes them less popular colors. Shame.)

Anyone who has ever played Sidar Kondo knows the value of Fell the Mighty. Casting this on a two power creature is awfully close to a Plague Wind in most situations. Sure you won’t wipe their tokens, but you will hit all those creatures they sunk a ton of mana into. Then you go ahead and chip with all your small boys while they’re left with nothing. Nothing. The fools.

In Feather this is even funnier, since you get back the card the following turn, which means you can fire it off every turn. Go ahead and play your Sun Titan after I wipe the board. I’m going to fell some mighty creatures every turn until you’re all dead.

Despite having been printed in two separate Commander decks, supply on Fell is surprisingly sparse. You’ll find about 30 NM English copies of the original 2014 printing, and roughly that number of the follow-up 2017 printing. For a card that’s been printed in two Commander product and only has a reported 4,200 copies on EDHREC, that’s sort of surprising. One wonders.

In any case, barring a reprint in this year’s Commander product, things are looking rosy for Fell the Mighty. Every Feather player is going to be after a copy, and I see no reason this would be in Horizons. At $5 today, before Feathers players start grabbing theirs, I think $10 is certainly within reason before the summer is over.

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Aurelia, the Warleader (Guild Kit)

Price Today: $7
Possible Price: $20

Checking Aurelia’s EDHREC page, you’ll see she’s not necessarily the most popular commander, with about 1,000 decks attributed to her. Flip over to her stats as a card in the 99 though, and things change. She’s in nearly 10,000 decks as a supporting member. That’s some potatoes. There’s no doubt she’s going to end up in the bulk of Feather lists, as she does an excellent job of letting you double dip on all those damage-improving spells you’ve played. She can get even sillier if you’ve got a Cloudshift in your hand, as you can attack with the team, trigger the second combat phase, blink Aurelia, and on the second attack phase, Aurelia will trigger AGAIN, giving you a third swing. I’m sure you can figure out a way to keep it going as well.

It’s hard to imagine Aurelia won’t make it into nearly every Feather list. My suspicion is that the play here is the new Guilds of Ravnica Guild Kits that came out in September of last year, of which the new art, new border Aurelia headlined the Boros boxes. The art is great, the border is cool, and the supply is low. There are fewer than 25 copies on TCG right now, with zero at SCG. It’s only going to take a handful of Feather players to snag a copy to push this limited edition copy into the high teens.

Tithe

Price Today: $18
Possible Price: $35

Our last stop on the Feather train this week is Tithe, and I’m not talking about the smothering variety. No, the original Tithe all the way back from Visions. This has been a staple of white EDH lists — for those aware of its existence — since basically the format’s inception. Each color that isn’t green has to do work to keep up with the mana production offered by that strategy. Tithe is a simple, powerful solution that fits just about everywhere. So long as you aren’t taking the first turn, Tithe lets you tutor up two plains — not basic plains, but plains — on turn two. Even though you don’t get to put them into play, putting two additional lands into your hand helps ensure you’ll keep making land drops as the game goes on. Tithe isn’t dead in the mid game either. Casting this when you’re on six or seven is great, as that’s when making a drop every turn slows down. Tithe gets you two more guaranteed plays, getting you into the eight and nine land territory in which you can play two spells a turn. It will also help color fix on whatever you’re shy on, since now you know whether to fetch your Sacred Foundry or your Scrubland or whatever. It’s a useful card at most stages of the game.

Tithe also happens to be on the Reserve List, which is no doubt an appealing aspect. Not having to worry about Commander reprints means we can comfortably hang onto these bad boys and if they don’t spike in a month, hey, that’s ok. We’re not in danger of getting hit by an ill-timed rerelease. They’re safe to mature at their own rate, without constant babysitting.

You’ll pay about $18 a copy right now on TCGPlayer, and there’s roughly 35. Fethers is going to draw more people to it for sure, but they aren’t deeply synergetic, so it won’t be dramatic. That’s ok though, because just 10 or 20 people picking a copy up is going to push the price, and with supply dwindling, it won’t take many to sell before this is a $30+ EDH “legacy” card.


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 4/8/19 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.


With a full week’s worth of spoilers behind us, everyone is sufficiently excited for War of the Spark. Static abilities are a big hit, with plenty of players eager to see that become a more permanent part of planeswalker design space. At the same time, there’s been a lot of chatter about formally making planeswalkers a legal commander, which while available as a casual option at friendly kitchen tables, isn’t something you can technically do at FNM, GP side events, and what have you. This change would be meaningful for our interests of course, as that would mean a massive influx of new commander decks centered around old walkers, and there would be a newfound reason to play counter support, proliferate, and the like in virtually all of those strategies. Something to keep in mind at least.

Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner (Foil)

Price Today: $2?
Possible Price: $8

One of the first cards that jumped off the page at me when browsing through the spoilers earlier last week was Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner. Longtime players will recognize the rules text here as a faint nod to Mayael the Anima, one of the very first mythic cards ever printed, and a popular early commander. Mayael wasn’t the originating point of this effect though, as that distinction belongs to Kavu Lair. Since then it has been repeated in form several times. Garruk’s Packleader, Elemental Bond, Temur Ascendancy, and now, Kiora. Kiora will perhaps stand as the strongest iteration of this effect for quite some time.

While the power cost has been turned up 33%, one imagines that is for the most part addressable during deck creation. Shift your mana curve up a hair to accommodate more four power creatures, keep the three or lesses you absolutely need, and accept you’ll draw an average of one less card per game than you would have with Packleader. (Packleader is certainly easier to kill though, which is good for Kiora.) Landing Kiora and turn three and then churning out a sizable creature every turn is going to pay off in spades, keeping your hand full and your board dense. Of course, this is before we even take note of her -1 ability, which lets her untap a permanent. An ability she can use seven entire times before finally heading home. Seven is a lot of turns in EDH, assuming no pressure and no counter manipulation. And what permanent would you be untapping? Probably not Avenger of Zendikar for psuedo-vigilance. How about Vannifar for a second activation? Or, uh Gaea’s Cradle? Is that one good to tap twice in a turn?

I haven’t found any foil preorders for Kiora yet. Most vendors wait until the full set is revealed, I believe. Once they start, look for any especially cheap foil sources, maybe $1.50 or less. Garruk’s Packleader is in 7700 decks, and Kiora is going to be a tempting upgrade for virtually any list that can use it, and then some. Foil Kioras could quietly sneak towards the upper end of single digit prices within a few months of release.

Butcher of Malakir (Foil)

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $10

First thing’s first: I’ve got about ten copies of these. That said, I don’t think that inhibits this as a card to watch. Have you gandered at that supply? While Butcher has been printed something like seven times, the original Worldwake copies remain the only foils. And at the moment, there are eight total foil English NM copies available on TCGPlayer. And, if you’ll gander at the EDHREC page for Butcher, she’s found in over 17,000 decks. I feel like I could probably stop writing, but I’ve got a soft word count to hit, so let’s see.

Butcher is a Grave Pact on a body. Grave Pact is actually only in just under 17,000 decks, attributable to the price difference between the cards, I imagine. As a creature rather than an enchantment, Butcher isn’t quite as resilient, but she’s much easier to apply cost reductions to, easier to cheat into play, easier to reanimate, easier to tutor for, easier to copy, and is capable of getting in for damage on her own occasionally.

I’m not sure why Butcher hasn’t hopped up into the $10+ region already honestly, but it really couldn’t look any better. It will happen eventually, and when it does, you’ll be happy you own some.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury (Foil)

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $9

Gonti snuck in with Kaladesh, and while we were all excited about the Inventions and vehicles and Smuggler’s Copter, he quietly set up shop in EDH as a powerful option for stealing other people’s resources. Whether you’re just grabbing their Sol Ring, or you got lucky and hit some card whose effect would be excellent in your deck but you just aren’t allowed the colors, he always seems to have an application.

If you find Gonti to be a touch underwhelming, well, don’t take my word for it.  He’s clocking on on EDHREC at over 7k, which is solid for a card that’s fairly fresh. Panharmonicon, the EDHest card since Doubling Season, is around 17k for reference. Holding not quite half as many decks as Panharmonicon is no mean feat.

What really drives Gonti home is the supply. Aside from the now-familiar CFB wall of 50 copies, there’s few remaining. 17 vendors, 1 of which is CFB, and 8 of whom are selling for $5 or more. And if you’re hoping to score cheap prerelease foils, you’re out of luck. There isn’t a single NM copy left on TCG.


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 4/1/19 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.


Wizards’ Mythic Invitational was their biggest swing for the furthest fences so far, and the flagship event for the new OP structure to which they’ve spent the last six months pivoting. All reports are in, and it was a…well, maybe not exactly rousing, but still a motivating success. It wouldn’t be a WotC event without a series of technical glitches that felt even more embarrassing given the money at play, and the Twitch viewership numbers are highly dubious in thanks to embedding the stream in a variety of Curse websites (I was “watching” the Invitational because it was embedded in a Path of Exile wiki page I pulled up), but players overall enjoyed the higher production values, the spectacle, and the general excitement of the event. Of course, most germane are the fifteen or so spoilers we also got to enjoy.

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expensive cards ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.


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