Category Archives: Watchtower

The Watchtower 5/20/19 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.


Now is what we’ve all been waiting for. War of the Spark was a fun diversion, what with the story culmination and pile of planeswalkers, but we all knew that was the appetizer. WAR was for cosplayers and kitchen table games. Modern Horizons is the entree, the real meat and potatoes. 254 cards are about to get dumped into Modern, and what sets this apart from every Standard set is that those 254 cards are specifically for Modern. Not “we crafted this Standard set and also the cards are legal elsewhere,” but “here are 254 new tools chosen exactly for this specific format.” Modern is in for an upheaval, and it’s going to be fun. (Especially if they reprint Upheaval.)

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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 5/13/19 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 is proving to be fairly exciting set, wouldn’t you say? Standard has seen quite a few cards make an impact, an impressive feat for a spring set. Teferi, Time Raveler is leading the charge, with his static text frequently managing to have an impact, and both his activated options finding opportunities to shine. At the same time he’s getting it done in Modern too, where his static ability is arguably stronger, especially in control mirrors, and his +1 letting you get value out of late-game discard spells by casting them in your opponent’s draw step is likely to be explored further. He’s not the only card from WAR to matter of course, just the one leading the charge. Mostly though we’re all just eager for next week, when Horizons spoilers start, which should open countless doors.  

Merciless Eviction (Foil)

Price Today: $12
Possible Price: $25

Feather is inarguably the most popular commander from WAR, and I expect the bane of stock pickers everywhere, cursing the need to find 25 garbage commons from 25 different sets for every jerk that decides to build the list, all for $11. Meanwhile, in second place, is Niv-Mizzet Reborn. Now, why are people rushing to build Niv-Mizzet? That I couldn’t tell you. “Draw a few cards” isn’t what I’d consider appealing on a commander, even if you get cute and blink him. Muldrotha draws you your entire graveyard every turn. Meren draws the best creature in your graveyard and casts it for you every turn. Niv-Mizzet…draws you three cards? Once? Whatever guys.

Regardless, Niv’s momentary popularity gives me a chance to shine a light on an excellent spec. I liked this bad boy a few months ago, and while it hasn’t popped yet, I’m confident it will soon enough. Merciless Eviction shows up in over 26,000 EDHREC lists, which lands it at third place on the “most popular multicolored cards” list. There’s no way a card ranks that highly in EDH without finding itself in multiple decks within a single person’s collection. You’ll want a copy for your Niv-Mizzet deck, your Teysa deck, your Oloro deck, and so on.

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A few copies are floating around at $11 and $12, but not many. After that it’s a quick ride up towards $20. Snag your cheap copies now, because these are going to be $25 before middle schools are out on summer break.

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter (Foil)

Price Today: $10
Possible Price: $20

Another strong card that I noticed while browsing Niv-Mizzet lists, Rashmi is cascade-on-a-stick. Whereas Yidris gives all your spells cascade, which is awesome, it’s a lot harder to make it work. Rashmi doesn’t give you quite as much power, as you can’t cascade multiple times a turn, but her effect is consistent and useful. Cast a spell for free, or draw a card. Every turn, including your opponents. Hard to complain about that. She’s a fun commander or a powerful inclusion in the 99.

As a commander, she’s of middling popularity. EDHREC shows about 1,300 lists. For reference, the 30th most popular commander has almost twice that. She ends up the third most popular Simic commander, which I didn’t realize, and there doesn’t appear to be a lot of direct competition for that type of deck. Surprisingly, each of the popular Simic commanders seems to want to do something a bit different.

At the same time Rashmi lands in over 6,000 EDHREC lists, and again, I can see players wanting more than one of these. Since Rashmi is generically useful, if you’re the type of player to want her in one list, you’d want her in each. Contrast that with, say, Sieze the Day, the type of card that’s going to find homes in only specific lists.

What drives Rashmi home is the price and supply. You can find a few for $10 to $12, and then they’re $16, and then they’re $20+. Rashmi is still relatively new to EDH, releasing a little over two years ago. We know that two years tends to be a rough breaking point for supply/demand, and it’s looking like she’s going to tip into the twenties in short order.

Fell the Mighty

Price Today: $7
Possible Price: $15

Fell the Mighty is a cool card. You cast it, a bunch of big stuff dies, and your small stuff survives. Fairly straightforward, and something approaching a one-sided wrath, given appropriate application. As a commander-only release supply hasn’t been deep at any point, though it’s been overall sufficient. Prices stayed low, typically under a dollar. Then people started getting on the train this past fall, with Guilds of Ravnica’s release, and prices haven’t stopped moving yet. There’s no reason to expect them to slow down either, with supply not growing, any reperint likely at least six months off, and a new commander, Feather, to drive further sales.

Using Fell in Feather is obvious. Cast Fell targeting Feather, kill everything with more than three power. Do whatever else to make Feather stronger, attack, hurt people. Next turn, oh hey, Fell is still in your hand. Cast it again why not? Destroy their idiot blockers again, and hey, why not next turn too? While Feather isn’t the only good deck for Fell — I love it in my Sidar Kondo build — she’s certainly the latest to apply the tool well.

There are no foils, so that isn’t even an option. As such, non-foils have been eaten away, with supply lower than you’d expect for a twice-printed Commander card. At the very least you’ll want to find your own copy, and I’d be surprised if paying $7 or $8 each didn’t work out for you in the future.


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 4/29/19 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.


Without a doubt, the topic on everyone’s mind this last week was War of the Spark Mythic Edition. Despite teaming with eBay to sell the product via their platform, WotC still ran afoul of, well, the internet. eBay’s counter indicated something like 48,000 orders had been placed, a curious number considering WotC was only releasing 12,000. Doing the math here, you’ll realize only about a quarter of the orders were accepted, with the remaining 75% getting “rip ur order” emails. The self-righteousness takes were flying fast and furious on Twitter in response. One of the more fascinating aspects of all of this is that this type of event isn’t uncommon whatsoever in other collector’s markets. Sneakers, toys, albums, admission tickets, whatever. An low supply is put up for sale at one exact time, everyone jams on their “submit order” button hoping to get lucky, and those that don’t are bummed. Why Magic players think they’re alone in this ultra-capitalistic occurrence is beyond me, and why they felt they’re owed compensation is even more bewildering.

Supreme Verdict (Foil)

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $15

Anyone sitting down to play a game of EDH is undoubtedly going to, at some point, hope they draw a wrath this turn. Nearly every game has that moment, or more likely moments, in which you’re desperately looking to find a wrath to bring an opponent’s game-ending board state under control. They’re an eternal aspect of the format. And at the moment, one of the best ones out there is Supreme Verdict. Four mana. Two colors. No counters. (It doesn’t exile, but nothing’s perfect.)

Verdict was a ripe choice about two years ago, in the middle of 2017. Then Iconic Masters strolled along and buried the price in the ground for awhile. Anyone that had picked up a few sets shoved it in the back of their spec box, and the rest of us just sort of forgot it existed. Here we are now, some 24 months later, and Verdict is positioned well again.

At almost 25,000 decks, Verdict is absurdly popular. It’s the fourth-most popular gold card in the format, in fact, and the gap between Verdict and first place is maybe 10%. Clearly there’s demand. And given that it’s such a universally popular effect, it’s not the type of card you own a single copy of. You might need an Accelerate for your Feather deck, but you aren’t going to need more than one. Verdict should probably find a slot in the 99 of every single deck with the requisite mana colors.

You’ll pay $6 to $7 for a foil today, with IMA and RTR copies relatively close in price. A few playsets later you’re up to $10 or more, and then prices are hitting $15 to $20. SCG has basically zero in stock, and I don’t see 50 CFB copies anywhere, which means TCG is likely a lion’s share of the liquid inventory. I don’t think you’ll go wrong picking up any of the foils — IMA, RTR, or the promo — and waiting a few months.

Venser, the Sojourner (Both)

 

Price Today: $15/$30
Possible Price: $25/$60

With planeswalkers everywhere in WAR, old walkers are seeing their utility and applicability increased across the board. Once you’ve got three or four in a deck, there’s a reward for adding more, and a reward for adding support. Proliferate effects, etc. become better the more walkers are in the deck of course. Having a walker sub-theme is easier now than it was a month ago, simply because of how many more choices there are, and the fact that the static abilities add a vector that didn’t previously exist.

All of this is to say that there’s 36? new reasons to consider adding Venser, the Sojourner to your deck. If you’re building in a walker theme, he’s an appealing target. Especially his +1, which is even better now than it used to be. Most walkers prior to WAR were able to control their own loyalty via addition and subtraction abilities. This new slate often finds themselves without addition abilities, meaning you get two to three shots of their minus, and then they die to any random damage. With Venser on the table, you can use those walkers twice and then blink them, bringing them back to full life. Of course, that ability is still good on 187 creatures. His -1 is also still great, enabling massive alpha strikes, and now also working to give a few assassins the ability to sneak past blockers and take out opposing walkers.

At about 11,000 decks, Venser is fairly popular. He’s no Supreme Verdict, but most aren’t. Notably, his price hasn’t jumped from WAR yet, which we’ve already seen in several other cards. Both copies look good here. Non-foils are in short supply at $15, with no deep inventory anywhere. Twenty people picking up a copy for a new deck will just about empty what’s left of the NM supply. As for foils, well, there’s three. Yes. Three. What do you think those pack foils will look like in price soon?

 

Commander’s Sphere (Foil)

Price Today: $16
Possible Price: $35

It’s been just about a year since the judge Commander’s Sphere was first released, which puts us at the end of its lifecycle. I can’t promise you no more will appear, since, well, Wizards, but if there are any left in the pipeline, it shouldn’t be many. This is the tail end of the run.

With that, we’re going to have the only foil copy for what I imagine is a while of Sphere, a card which is found in, oh, 68,000 EDHREC lists. Yes, 68,000. That makes it the 10th most popular card in the format, I believe. The only foil of the 10th most popular EDH card? Which is a colorless mana rock that fits in every commander deck ever built? I’m on board friends.

Sphere’s raw popularity does most of the selling for me here. I’ll follow up by pointing out that supply isn’t deep, with less than 40 on TCGPlayer and none on SCG. You’ll be able to get a few copies around $16, and there are several below $20. So long as the supply pipe is drained you’ll see those prices started climbing rapidly, and I’d expect $30 to $40 foils in fairly short order.


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 4/29/19 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 MFLondon in the books, we have a clearer view of the London mulligan rule than we did a week prior. Conclusively, the result is “inconclusive.” While it didn’t appear to have a major impact on the decks at the top tables, with a familiar pack spearheading the best performing decks of the weekend, there was plenty of input from pros that it had impacts even before sitting down to the tables. These included main deck and sideboard choices, which some felt was inappropriate for the mulligan rule to inform. At the same time, it also reduced variance and made for more repetition in game states, as you less commonly had to skillfully navigate out of mana issues. My guess is that we won’t see the mulligan rule implemented as-is across all formats.

Cavern of Souls


 

Price Today: $60
Possible Price: $90

As I mentioned a paragraph ago, the top decks of London were a familiar group. Right there among them, with I believe the most successful archetype by raw match points, was Humans. Not only did it have the most pilots with 24 points or more (excluding Limited results), it put three into the top 8, including the eventual winner. Overall, one would have a difficult time making the point that Humans didn’t have a good weekend.

Front and central of Humans is one of the key lands that makes the machine work; Cavern of Souls. Cavern makes any color of mana, allowing the Humans player to slot in any meatsack they so choose, prevents said human from getting countered, and even has the courtesy to tap for a colorless mana should you need to cast something less fleshy, such as an Aether Vial. And, should the day ever come, it will even tap for Eldrazi.

Cavern was an excellent pick-up roughly eight or nine months ago. Basically right before Ultimate Masters was revealed, and its contents shown to include Cavern. (On that note, I should mention I own several copies of Cavern.) UMA’s reprinting slowed down Cavern considerably, to no surprise. Supply had juuuuust dwindled down to maybe a playset or two, and whammo, here’s another several hundred copies on TCGPlayer.

Here we are roughly six months later, and the numbers are getting lower again. They’re not low low, with maybe 200 NM copies between Avacyn Restored, Modern Masters 2017, and Ultimate Masters. Supply is shrinking though, and while prices debuted close to $50, there’s a small number available at $60 before climbing to $70. With Modern Horizons unlikely to make Humans any less relevant, no chance for a reprint in the set, and the possibility of support for additional tribes appearing, now seems as good a time as any to begin sneaking $60 Caverns into your carts in anticipation.

Requiem Angel (Foil)

Price Today: $1
Possible Price: $5

As Modern prepares for a big shakeup, EDH keeps on trucking along, same as it has for years. Feather is War of the Spark’s biggest name in the Commander world. The rest of Ravnica’s generals haven’t been sleeping though, and Teysa remains, and is set to remain, with no other generals providing as clear a path as Teysa does, remarkably popular.

One of the most popular cards in Teysa is undoubtedly Requiem Angel. After all, making a new body — and ideally two — as you march your legions of disposable creatures into the meat grinder for profit is one of the best things you can be doing. It replaces a blocker and provides additional food for whatever ability is next on the list. So long as players are building Teysa, they’ll be building Requiem Angel.

Angel has seen a single reprint since her initial run in Dark Ascension, and that reprint was in a Commander product. With only foils from Dark Ascension on the market, it’s a small wonder these aren’t cleaned out already. I know I’ve put together EDH lists that made use of her before, so she isn’t without utility. Overall demand today is still mild I guess, with about 3500 reported decks making use. Still, there’s less than 50 NM copies on TCG right now, and fewer still at $1 or less. You’re not going to get to charge $9 a copy here anytime soon, but getting in at $1 will give you chances to sell singletons on TCG at $5 or buylist a pile at $2 or $3 each, likely this year.

 

The Gitrog Monster (Foil)

Price Today: $22
Possible Price: $40

Everyone’s favorite frog (I suspect, anyways) isn’t any less popular than he was when Shadows Over Innistrad rolled out. You’ll find Kermit here headlining nearly 2,000 EDH decks, and finding room in another 5,000 more. More are added daily as well, with Lord Windgrace having taken a top seat in the “Top Commanders of the Month” group for quite some time now. The long and short of it is, if you’re going to seek to do heavy duty with your lands in EDH, you’re going to be hard pressed to put together a deck that doesn’t want to find room for Gitrog.

You won’t be the only one going down that path, which is obvious when you take a look at the supply numbers. There’s six — yes, six — prerelease copies out there, and barely more than twice that in pack foils. Other than that, there’s no other supply, and as a named character from Innistrad, with rumors of Theros on the horizon, he’s not looking to see many more copies in the near future.

Prices spiked on Gitrog from $10 to $20 right around this time last year, I believe due to Lord Windgrace’s spoiling. (Or at least the theme.) I’m not anticipating a major increase again in the next three weeks as a result of any particular announcement. I think instead that copies are going to continue to be bought, supply is going to continue to wane, and with so few copies on the market as it is, with most already over $25, it won’t be long before it will be forty dollars a frog.


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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