Category Archives: Watchtower

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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The Watchtower 6/17/19 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.


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.

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

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.


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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.


Please follow and like us: