Category Archives: Watchtower

The Watchtower 11/13/18 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.


On the whole, Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica was a mixed bag. LSV took second, and everyone got to enjoy rooting for the good guy the whole time. Of course, the event was full of nothing but white weenie decks, so unless you’re Craig Wescoe, the deck diversity didn’t really do a lot for you.

With no real breakout decks or cards, there’s nowhere else for us to turn in Standard. The best time to ditch any Standard inventory you may have had was somewhere over the last 30 days, so make sure you finish clearing out your stash now. That way you’ll have plenty of spare resources when holiday sales and a general buying drought set in.

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The Watchtower 11/5/18 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.


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.

Drogskol Captain

Price Today: $2.50
Possible Price: $9

With Grand Prix Atlanta in the books and another win for Bant Spirits, it’s clear that this deck is the real deal. We weren’t sure what to think of Humans when that first showed up, and it has shown that it’s capable of getting the job done. Now here we are with Spirits taking down back to back GPs and we should start talking about what things are going to look like in this list in a few months.

Prices aren’t dirt cheap the way they were a few months ago when we all wondered if this was just a fluke. We can’t pick up foil Drogskol Captains for $3 any longer. That ship has sailed. Instead, we should be looking at non-foils. Early adoption of the deck is going to put pressure on foils immediately, as people dash to get the limited supply that’s out there. Once that initial wave disappears, if the deck keeps putting up results, you’ll see the copies needed for average people that just want to jam the deck start to thin out. That’s the stage we’re in now, and a key piece is Drogskol Captain. He’s a virtual lock in every iteration, which is great for moving copies.

Today you’ll find a little under 60 vendors with copies, and many have several, so we’re not looking at running out this week. Instead, we’re looking into the spring, and possibly beyond for this to start to move. Barring an unexpected reprint in some ancillary product (since with the name Drogskol he’s not coming back in Ravnica any time soon), there’s nowhere to go but up. The cheapest copies are going to be getting snagged by players looking to play the deck, loose copies will filter out of collections as prices are hit $4 to $5, there will be a lull as the new supply is chewed through, and then the price increase will continue again.

Spell Queller

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $15

 

Long-time readers (and especially listeners of @mtgfastfinance) will have heard this name a few times before. Back when Spell Queller was spooking Standard and just barely beginning to make ripples in Modern I began to take notice, and recommended foils. I pushed them again maybe a year or so, after the card had firmly situated itself in Modern. And now here we are, with Bant Spirits the latest rage, and I think we can start looking at non-foils.

Spell Queller has only two printings; the original pack copies, and the prerelease foils. Like Drogskol Captain, supply is healthy right now. That’s fine. We’re early in the period where there will be a sustained collective interest in the card since the deck is doing so well. Even if Bant Spirits the strategy begins to fade, Spell Queller has proven it has the chops to compete in the format, and future deck builders will be likely to consider it as a serious option.

With prices starting at $5 to $6, it isn’t going to be hard to pick these up out of trade binders or during sales. Keep stashing them away and forget you have them. These could pull up above $10 easily, and you’ll be glad you did when that time comes.


Razaketh, the Foulblooded

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $13

We can’t do a Watchtower without touching on the greatest format, EDH. A constant source of price pressure, there’s always something to turn our attention to.

When he was released, I was all about Razaketh. One of Griselbrand’s companions, Razaketh has Demonic Tutor as an activated ability. Spicy! Today EDHREC is reporting Razaketh in about 4,500 decks, which is a healthy number given the time elapsed since his release. Foils have been maturing well, with initial buy-ins of $7 to $8 now seeing 100% gains and low supply.

Today we’re talking about non-foils though. While there are still some foil opportunities under $15 if you scour the internet that should still payoff nicely, non-foils are getting attractive. Like our other two cards this week, we aren’t looking at a card that’s got seven copies on the market. No, there’s still a healthy supply of Razaketh. (CFB has fifty in stock alone.) Our time of departure on Razaketh isn’t this year. It’s probably middle to late next year, after attrition has drained all the copies under $10, there’s fewer on the market, and larger price gaps between the copies that are out there.

Razaketh lets players fire off Demonic Tutors as quickly as they can generate thrull or elf tokens. Demonic Tutor is the most popular black card in EDH. Razaketh is going to keep finding his way into nearly any deck that can cast him.


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 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.

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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.


 

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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.

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.


 

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