Category Archives: Watchtower

The Watchtower 6/17/19 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.


Magic 2020 spoilers started today, which uh, alright. Modern Horizons completed on May 31st, barely over two weeks ago. Then it wasn’t officially released until June 14th, which was three days ago? So a brand new Modern-themed set was released for sale three days ago and we’re getting spoilers for the next set? Gahh. But then once M20 is released in mid-July, we’re done until like September or October? I don’t know you guys. This release schedule is maddening.

Primal Beyond

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $10

A theme hinted at with the Chandra reveals last week, and basically confirmed today, is that there’s an elemental theme in RG. All three Chandras mentioned elementals in some manner, and there’s an uncommon elemental lord that’s obviously meant to support a draft archetype. How hard elementals are going to be pushed isn’t clear yet, though with one of red’s mythics an elemental knight, and a leaked green rare a basic elemental, I think it’s fairly clear.

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With elementals returning in a seemingly big way, the first place to check is Lorwyn. A keen observer will notice that both Horde of Notions and Flamekin Harbinger foils, the two cards most likely to make it into an elemental EDH deck, have already been aggressively purchased. With almost no supply and a large gulf between the market price and the cheapest foil, it’s obvious someone went after those with a plan.

Primal Beyond has been chased down as well, with foil prices having sat at $10 for the last three years. You’ll pay about $20 for one as of Monday morning. If someone has already gone after all the foils of the most obvious elemental specs, including Primal Beyond, is there anything else we can do with it?

Sure, buy the non-foils. Primal Beyond is still going to be the first card written down under the ‘lands’ column of every single elemental EDH deck. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s a faultless 5c land. And for our purposes, supply is rough. While the foils are virtually gone, non-foils aren’t too far behind, with less than 25 vendors selling NM copies, and few have more than one. If elementals catch on this summer — and I want to stress the ‘if’ in that statement, since we do not know if they’re going to be popular yet — the last remaining Primal Beyonds will disappear quickly.

Vizier of Remedies (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $12

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While Hogaak is the new hotness in Modern, the Vizier/Devoted combo keeps on trucking. It popped up in second place in a MTGO Modern Challenge a few days ago, and exists as the premier infinite mana combo in Modern. Plenty of cards are evaluated with this as a backbone behind a new strategy. Most recently Finale of Devastation out of War of the Spark was considered in light of the existence of these two, as it fills a role similar to Chord of Calling that could perhaps function better. We’ve also seen the Karn/Mycosynth combo used along with them, and other ideas that don’t always make it to a top eight.

Point being, Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid aren’t going anywhere. It’s a two card infinite mana combo that can win the game on turn three, and possibly turn two if you’ve got some help from a Simian Spirit Guide or Gemstone Caverns on turn one. Devoted Druid was just reprinted in UMA as an uncommon, and with nearly 200 vendors of non-foils and close to 100 for foils, not counting the Shadowmoor copies, it’s going to take some time to burn through that.

Vizier is looking different. There’s less than 40 foil vendors on TCG, with barely more copies than that. You’ll pay roughly $3 each, though with so few vendors carrying more than one copy, shipping is likely to push it above that. If you can find multiple from a single source, that’s going to be helpful. People are going to keep playing this combo, which is two four-ofs, for as long as its legal. And so long as it is, they’re going to keep buying sets of the foil uncommon. A few more people doing that this month is going to mean this isn’t a $3 card any longer.

Diabolic Intent (Foil)

Price Today: $18
Possible Price: $35

Ahh, Battlebond. It was summer of 2018, the warm air a somnial blanket wending through our homes, and we were blissfully enjoying all these wild new EDH cards. Now, a long 365 days later, we’re blissfully enjoying all the wild new EDH cards in War of the Spark and Modern Horizons while Battlebond quietly disappears from shelves, binders, and crystal commerce inventories.

Diabolic Intent was a welcome reprint, with the last time the card had graced the inside of a booster pack (under normal distribution) was Planeshift. We saw it as a reviled Amonkhet Invocations, the card frame that ended the Magic community’s love affair with Masterpieces. Planeshift non-foils were pushing $15 at the time, and foils have been over $50 for nearly three years. The BBD copy came out of the gate to match that, bottomed out at $16 or $17, and is creeping upwards.

There are 27 foil NM BBD copies on TCG right now, with about half over the $20 mark. At 10,000 listings on EDHREC, there’s certainly demand for Diabolic Intent. The introduction of Yawgmoth has sent players to the drawing board for a new mono-black commander, and Diabolic Intent is a popular inclusion. PLA foils are sitting at $55 and Invocations are $35, so a double up for the BBD pack foils is certainly in the cards.


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 6/10/19 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.


Validation comes in two forms; emotional and material. When I was telling my local GP-winning friend, MTG Fast Finance co-host James Chillcott, and pro Magic player Dan Fournier all that I thought Hogaak looked like something special, they were dubious all. “You guys,” I’d exclaim, “it’s an 8/8 trample for sort-of free. Somehow, that is going to matter.” Each one of them blew me off. Now, with Hogaak taking something like four of the top eight slots of this weekend’s Modern Challenge, I’m feeling quite validated. That’s the emotional side. The material side would have been buying them for $1 each five days ago and selling them for $20 or $40 or whatever nonsense they are today. Hindsight is 20/20, they say. I wish I were dead, they also say.

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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 6/3/19 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.


An exciting day today for Magic fans, although not in the same way it’s been for the last three weeks. We got two announcements today. The “London” mulligan rule that was previewed at the last Pro Tour is becoming permanent, with no changes, across all formats starting this summer. (We’ll talk a little bit more about that below.) Second, Netflix has announced an anime MTG project, spearheaded by the Russo brothers, of Avengers fame. Making the London mulligan rule official is going to have a quick impact on several card prices, and more over the next few months, as it settles into place, but that’s nothing compared to what the Netflix announcement could mean if the series is popular and drives a swarm of new players into the game.

Splendid Reclamation (Foil)

Price Today: $6.50
Possible Price: $15

Modern Horizons brought a ‘lands matter’ theme to the table, which we haven’t seen in earnest since, uh, Zendikar? And on top of that, they juiced the theme. Rioters is a legit card that will kill people in one shot, Wrenn and Six is the very first playable two-mana walker, and some of the other cards will have applications across a variety of formats as well. Inclusion of ‘lands matter’ has been well received, and between that and the cycling lands, Life from the Loam nearly doubled in price, and Lord Windgrace took the top spot as the most popular commander of the week.

With Lord Windgrace having such a great week on the back of Modern Horizons spoilers, I went looking for opportunity there, and to no surprise, I found some. Splendid Reclamation is the mass reanimation spell for lands from Eldritch Moon, a card that tickled our collective fancies when it was spoiled a few years ago. I had daydreams of it being a new and better Scapeshift, and while that hasn’t come to pass, EDH has certainly adopted the card. You’ll find it in nearly 7,000 decks on EDHREC right now, and that number will assuredly grow with each passing day.

Supply on foil Splendid Reclamations is mediumish, with about 50 or so pack foils at TCGPlayer right now, and another 20 in prerelease foils. Of course, more than half of that is at $8 or more, so some of your work is already done for you if you’re getting in at $6 or $6.50. With Windgrace’s continued popularity in EDH, where he sits in the top five or ten most popular commanders every week, and the upcoming addition of more fun ‘lands matter’ cards in Horizons, supply should start to drain at a brisk rate.

Eldritch Evolution (Foil)

Price Today: $15
Possible Price: $30

As mentioned above, WotC officially announced that the London mulligan rule is going permanent. Almost immediately Dan Fournier, talented Magic pro, MTG Fast Finance guest, and comrade made a comment that he’s glad he already has his Allosaurus Riders. When I asked him about the Allosaurus Riders/Neoform deck, his exact response was “its pretty unplayable without, and pretty unbeatable with, the london mulligan [rule].” Well, ok. It sounds like Neoform decks are going to be at the tables in the near future, at least at the outset. Will they perform? Hard to say, but that’s a strong statement from a knowledgeable player.

Given that, where do we go? There’s several components of the deck worth considering, but this isn’t a brand new concept. Allosaurus Rider spiked when Neoform was spoiled. Copies are around $10 right now, and honestly are possibly going to double, but that’s a real big gamble to take. If you’re testing the deck and finding it as good as advertised with the London mulligan rule, then by all means, jump in, but without that sort of research, I’d stay away. Chancellor of the Tangle is another potential target, but the supply runs deep. I find Eldritch Evolution to be the most appealing at the moment. It’s one of the eight combo pieces required to go off, and has significant crossover appeal with both other Modern decks, and EDH, where it’s reported in over 6,000 lists.

As the demand for Evolution is distributed, this is sort of a split play. If the Neoform deck really does see any play, we can expect these relatively affordable foils to move. At the same time, people are going to keep wanting copies for EDH, and the supply isn’t deep at all. Between those two factors, I anticipate copies bleeding off somewhere between “overnight” and “a few months.”

Paradox Engine

Price Today: $35
Possible Price: $60

This is certainly the most speculative purchase on this list. Paradox Engine is absurdly popular in EDH, to the point that it may be in discussion as a possible ban target. Until it is banned though, it’s going to be in a lot of decks (13,000 as of today). It’s also a great casual card, where players perpetually live in magical christmas land.

Why talk about it today? Urza, Lord High Artificer. He well may be the strongest card in Modern Horizons for Modern, which is definitely saying something. Turning all your artifacts into mana rocks is no joke, and his Mind’s Desire ability stapled onto the card is a solid win condition, as it lets you cast every spell in your deck should you happen to find infinite mana. Oh, how do you make infinite mana? Well probably with several artifacts and Paradox Engine. It’s possible Urza may lead to another Eggs style deck, as a replacement for Krark-Clan Ironworks. Instead of building loops to sacrifice your artifacts to generate mana, you resolve Urza, tap all your Wellsprings for mana, cast Paradox Engine, resolve one more Bauble, and you’re off to the races.

On top of that there’s EDH, where Urza is going to draw a solid cross-section of Vorthos’ and Mels, who love that they finally get to have Magic’s in-universe grandfather, possibly the most iconic figure in all of Magic lore, as their commander; spikes, who see Urza as an inherently busted commander; and Johnnys, who see a cool combo card and were building some Rube Goldberg ass machines in their heads as soon as the spoiler popped up.

With a price tag of $35 to $40, buy-in is not cheap. At the same time, that price tag is supported completely on casual play and existing EDH demand. How much will Urza push Engine in two formats, one that it’s completely new to? I don’t know, but Doubling Season has been a $60+ card with a reprint or two in the past.


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 5/28/19 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.


Modern Horizons spoilers have been going bananas. This set is not disappointing. Wizards has managed to include cards for both Urza and Yawgmoth, two new allied color swords, the return of snow, squirrels, and ninjas, forty-something keywords, an insane new Sliver legend, and plenty more. Specs have been going bananas too, and we’re going to have way too many cards to discuss while recording @mtgfastfinance tonight. And this is just the beginning. Once the set is fully spoiled, there will be months of people finding and exploring deck designs that unlock even more cards.

Second Chance

Price Today: $8
Possible Price: $25

Disclosure: I’ve got a chunk of these laying around.

Many of the new cards have caught my attention. Some are intriguing, but I’m not sure what to make of them. Some I can plainly tell are quite powerful, but I haven’t found the other half of the equation. And some I find the answer on social media almost immediately, and just say “yep.”

Hall of Heliod’s Generosity is a great utility land that’s going to find homes in EDH right off the bat. For two mana you get to put an enchantment card back on top of your library. People are going to be flipping Ghostly Prisons and Doubling Seasons and Omnisciences left and right. Why wouldn’t they be? You always have the choice to, instead of drawing a random card, draw the best enchantment in your graveyard each turn. That’s going to come up often.

The juice comes from Second Chance, an enchantment that sacrifices itself. To what end? Why, to get you an extra turn. And what do you do on that extra turn? Why, put Second Chance back on top of your library! Once you’re fateful hour’d, you can recur Second Chance every turn for a hard lock. From there, you can win at your leisure.

Second Chance’s biggest barrier is that it’s not legal in Modern. Our applications are limited to EDH, Legacy, and the kitchen table. And at 127 current decks in EDH, there isn’t exactly seething demand for it there. In this case, I see that as a silver lining though. There’s virtually no EDH demand for Second Chance right now. What about after a land has been printed that a huge percent of white decks will want to include anyways, that happens to set up an infinite-turn combo under specific circumstances? People that would have passed on it before may swing back around and toss it in, since while it wasn’t good enough on its own, it’s definitely above the cut once you can accidentally walk backwards into a combo.

With supply low and prices in the $7 to $8 range, there’s already some latent demand. Adding this land may fuel the fires in a few spots, and it doesn’t take much to kick Reserve List cards off.

Academy Rector

Price Today: $55
Possible Price: $100

I stumbled upon Rector while looking for cards related to Heliod’s land, and while it’s not exactly going to pop in response, our old buddy the rector is still well positioned. Heliod’s Hall will make its way into plenty of decks where its marginal, and in response, pilots may be inclined to shore up the enchantment theme. It won’t take much either; if you’ve got three decent enchantments in your deck and you want to play Hall, but don’t want it to feel like a waste most of the time, what can you do without adding nine more enchantments? How about you toss in Rector? It’s a single card, but now all your tools for searching for and recurring creatures apply to one that then goes on to find one of your three great enchantments. You’ll go from playing roughly one a game to playing your three enchantments six times a game, just by adding Hall and Rector.

Rector rates at about half the popularity of Grim Monolith, a card of similar age. Grim Monolith is colorless, so of course is viable in every EDH deck that exists, relative to Rector, which can only land in white decks. They both end up at roughly 3% usage, which I’m a bit surprised by. That tells me a two things. Despite costing nearly $200, Grim Monolith sees just as much play as a card that costs less than $60. And Monolith, a generic mana rock, currently costs nearly three times as much as Rector. Both of these point to Rector being underpriced at $60, especially with a new tool for enchantment decks coming shortly.

Also good luck with foils, they’re nearly a grand. If that upsets you, consider how I feel, having found a TCG email stating that I sold four foil Rectors for $80 each three years ago.

Worm Harvest (Foil)

Price Today: $1
Possible Price: $8

One card that’s wrinkling my brain today is Ruination Rioter. His on-death trigger targets anyone with damage, and if you do some work, a LOT of damage. Imagine you’ve got five, nine, or even fifteen lands in your graveyard. You put Rioter on the stack. Without a counterspell in hand, what’s your opponent’s choice? Once it resolves it’s a ticking time bomb, and their only outs are exiling your graveyard and pathing it. Threatening a bolt the whole time reminds me of playing with Shrine of Burning Rage, a card that constantly gave me conniptions during Scars of Mirrodin Standard.

Anyways, I like Rioter, and went looking for ways to make it work. Along the way I stopped on Lord Windgrace’s EDH page, and felt compelled to check out Worm Harvest. The numbers on this guy are tempting. Eventide foils are completely out of stock on TCGPlayer, with the last sold copy at $10. Modern Masters, the only other foil reprint, has less than 20 copies available, most around $1 to $2. It’s going to take one person doing a pass on this to empty inventory and set prices on MMA foils at $6 or more.


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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