Theros This Week

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Here we are, prerelease weekend of Theros: Beyond Death and already we’re seeing some major price adjustments, which I’ll go over in more detail momentarily.

A freebie for everyone: The simplest way to increase the value of your collection is to trade away everything you open at the prerelease. Ask around, shout, check with everyone because that chase mythic is never going to be more chase than it is now, and you’ll get a lot of value from the rares as well. 

The Temples are resilient to this, because there is already a fair amount of them out in the world. If we were getting the other five color pairs of some brand-new cycle, those lands would be in super-high demand this weekend. 

Trading away everything you open is the most basic move in Magic finance because even if you’re trading away Oko at $20 before it gets to $40, you’re unloading so many other cards at their peak that they will never get to again. 

If you’re the type of person who likes examples, how about that other Planeswalker from Throne of Eldraine, Garruk, Cursed Huntsman:

Trading him away at $13 looks pretty genius, no? 

Can I interest you in trading away some Robber of the Rich at $10, before it began to drop like a coyote off of a cliff?

How about trading away the now-bulk and Limited all-star Harmonious Archon when it premiered at $4?

My point here is that trading away the brand-new cards is a shotgun approach, in that you do it to everything and don’t hold back. 

As for the big winners this week, remember that we don’t have any cards in hand yet. Dealers aren’t officially allowed to sell them, eBay orders aren’t allowed to ship until January 24th either. The price movement we’re seeing is all because of pre-orders, and a fear of missing out.

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Thassa, Deep-Dwelling (TCG Market has gone from about $7 to about $20)

There have been some outlier sales happening that have messed with the pricing results, and that’s always a risk with TCGPlayer. Bad data or insane players can cause the listed median to vary quite wildly, or even just a buyout of the ten cheapest copies means that the median listing is weighted towards the most optimistic sellers.

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The card is moving, though, don’t you doubt that. There’s a lot of reasons why, the most fun of which is that this version of Thassa has an exile clause that allows you blink creatures you’ve stolen and keep them permanently. This is official, straight from the Gatherer webpage for the card. 

It does a whole lot of other fun things, too. It’s true that you don’t want to flicker your Hydroid Krasis, but you’re tickled to death to flicker your Niv-Mizzet Reborn. Tapping things is just gravy, but a very tasty recipe.

I do not think Thassa will hold this $20 price. It’s not going to light up other Constructed formats, it’s not a four-of in any deck, and this is the ‘we don’t have cards in hand yet but this idea of a card is totally worth $20’ phase of life.

Heliod, Sun-Crowned (up to $23 from $17)

The big mover here is the assorted decks that want to do something infinitely, in Pioneer, Modern, or Commander. For the 100-card format, New Heliod is a redundant combo piece, but one that’s very difficult to deal with. For the other formats, it’s infinite life or damage, depending on the build and the ideas being cooked up. Will this avoid a ban in Pioneer or Modern? Is Walking Ballista/Heliod worse in Modern than Splinter Twin/Deceiver Exarch? I don’t know but I do like what White Devotion has going on in Standard to make Heliod good, just not this good by itself. 

If Heliod stays unbanned in Modern and Pioneer, then this is a pretty good price. If you don’t think he’ll survive, then stay away. I wish I could give you explicit instructions here, but that’s the situation.

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (up to $26 from $20)

The first casting is a bad Growth Spiral but you’re playing this for the long-term value. This is backbreaking and cheap and thank goodness you need to really focus on milling yourself to make this good. Even the good mill cards like Merfolk Secretkeeper and Wall of Lost Thoughts struggle to keep up. 

I think the Titans look powerful but the repeated Escape is really difficult to trigger without the help of good, cheap, repeated self-mill. There’s no equivalent to Hedron Crab (thank heaven!) but the closest I could come up with already went from bulk to $2.50 because of Secretkeeper: Drowned Secrets.

Sure, Hushbringer lets you just play the Titans into their own ignored triggers, but for two mana, this enchantment can fuel Uro like nothing else. I don’t think it’s worth investing into, but you’re going to see it creep up a little more in hopes of making this deck work.

Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis (down to $7 from a pre-order high of $35)

Now this…this might be too far gone. Yes, her escape is six mana and four cards, but $7 is too low. I think she’s got a rebound coming. Everyone is ignoring her in favor of Titans and seven-mana Sagas but this is just good, over and over again. Self-contained engines are not to be ignored lightly, and this is a huge drop when we haven’t tried her out yet. 

I want to be clear: I’m not planning on buying up a huge pile. There’s one TCG vendor with 48 copies at $7.28 and that’s a clear sign that at least one vendor doesn’t believe in Elspeth’s newest card. I will not be shocked when she’s a three-of in a lot of different decks, and rises back up to $15.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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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Pro Trader: Titanic Growth

Readers!

We’re at my least favorite part of the preview week – where there isn’t enough data to really know any information but we can’t talk about the spoilers anymore now that the set is fully spoiled. I am going to make calls that are wrong more often than usual, but this is the time to make real money since it’s the wild west of finance. People know what they like but haven’t bought the decks yet. It’s funny that a commander not being available to buy makes people hold off on buying the rest of the deck, but if you think about it, why make two orders? They’ll buy what they need next week when they can buy the commander, too. Let’s make sure they buy the rest of the deck from us, or from a site who just raised their buylist prices. Let’s make 5 pronouncements hoping 2 are dead wrong, are right and one of them is such a slam-dunk I’m still patting myself on the back in December when I do my 2020 wrap-up article (I’m going to call it Hindsight 2020, just warning you).

I think Uro is the most exciting card in the set and so does everyone else. It’s the most expensive card in the set right now and with Modern players interested in it for unfair Primeval Titan deck scenarios, it’s likely Uro gets a look in a lot of formats. It hasn’t had much of a look in EDH yet but the data we do have at least tells me how people are building. Let’s read some tea leaves, shall we?

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The Watchtower 01/13/20 – Pioneer Specs for a Post-Oko World

It’s now been almost a month since the long-awaited ban hammer finally came down on Oko, Thief of Crowns in Pioneer. Nexus of Fate also hit the chopping block, with Wizards citing it as the deck with the second highest win rate behind Simic Food, as well as Simic Food being one of its “only unfavorable matchups among top decks” – perhaps a somewhat preemptive banning similar to that of Reflector Mage back in EMN Standard. However, with no bannings lately and a fresh switch to a six week window for future bannings in Pioneer (outside of emergency bans), it looks like the format is really starting to settle down. That being the case, let’s take a look at handful of cards that might benefit from the current scenario, shall we?

Lotus Field

Price today: $6
Possible price: $12

Sitting tied with Izzet Phoenix at number six in the Pioneer metagame on MTG Goldfish, Lotus Storm is quickly becoming a popular deck. The storm master Caleb Scherer has been having good success piloting the deck through Magic Online leagues, and it’s been starting to put up paper results as well, placing 9th in the recent SCG Columbus Classic. Any deck playing 4 copies of Dig Through Time is bound to be doing unfair things with them – Dig is definitely in the running for the most powerful card in the format now that Oko is gone, and must certainly be on Wizard’s watchlist.

Lotus Field is the namesake of this deck for a reason – the deck functions by using a plethora of different cards to untap the land and produce a bunch of mana, winning with Expansion//Explosion or Aetherflux Reservoir, or sometimes using a combination of Omniscience, Enter the Infinite and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries to draw your entire deck. Whatever the chosen win condition, one thing is for sure: the deck always plays 4 Lotus Fields and can’t function without them.

Inventory is still relatively medium with around 100 listings on TCG Player, but it’s a steady climb from $6 up to $10, and the card will be bought playsets at a time for Pioneer decks – that means that as the deck continues to rise in popularity, we could see supply dwindle pretty quickly. Most of the listings on TCG are single copies, so it doesn’t take many players picking the deck up to drain the cheaper copies out of the market. In addition to Pioneer, Lotus Field has seen some play in the modern variant of the deck – Twiddle Storm – and is registered in almost 3k decks on EDHREC. A reprint doesn’t seem likely in the near future, so I’d advise picking your copies up sooner rather than later.

Mutavault (Morningtide)

Price today: $20
Possible price: $35

If you had to take a guess at what the top five lands played in Pioneer are, you’d probably think that they’d be the five basic land types – and you’d almost be right. But beating out Plains to the fifth slot is actually Mutavault!

Due to the lack of fetchlands in Pioneer, or mana dorks like Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch (although Gilded Goose is doing its best), mana fixing isn’t quite up to scratch like it is in Modern. This has meant that as the format is settling down, some of the most powerful decks are just straight mono-colour – in fact the top three decks in the metagame are currently mono-red, mono-black and mono-green. The less stringent mana requirements in these single colour decks have allowed space for more utility lands to power them up, and Mutavault is increasingly seeing play as the main land of choice. It’s colourless, so slots right into all of them, and even synergises with cards like Goblin Rabblemaster and Pack Rat.

I’m specifically looking at the Morningtide version of the card, because despite being the same art as its M14 counterpart, Morningtide was comparatively a very low print-run set, and as such that version has a much lower supply and steeper ramp. There are currently only 13 NM copies on TCG, with a steep ramp from $20 up to $35, and some people (myself included) have a penchant for the original printings of cards. Once the sub $25 copies disappear, $30-35 could easily be the new floor for this emerging staple and you’ll be rewarded for paying a few dollars over the M14 price.

Prized Amalgam (Foil)

Price today: $9
Possible price: $20

I’m sure that Prized Amalgam foils were an MTGPrice pick back down the road, but it looks like we’ve finally reached that tipping point due to their additional use in Pioneer. It’s a card that’s been a solid 4-of in Modern Dredge decks since its printing in Shadows Over Innistrad, but despite Dredge spiking a few GPs a couple of years ago and ultimately getting Golgari Grave-Troll banned (again), Prized Amalgam has never really taken off in price.

The new home however is the Pioneer ‘Dredgeless Dredge’ deck, which follows similar play patterns to the Modern deck but without any actual Dredge cards. Tools like Stitcher’s Supplier and Grisly Salvage are used to mill your library over, hoping to hit freebies like Narcomoeba or cheap creatures to return to play like Scrapheap Scrounger and Haunted Dead. These then trigger your Prized Amalgams to bring them back for free at the end of the turn.

The foils of this card are in super low supply right now – there are only 8 sellers with NM foils on TCG and other retailers have a few in stock as well, but that’s it. I think we’ve reached the point where the Pioneer format has settled down enough that people are comfortable to start foiling their decks out, and we’re getting even more graveyard interaction being printed in Theros Beyond Death, so the deck could definitely see another bump in power level. A reprint is also pretty unlikely in 2020, though the unknown LGS Mystery Boosters foils do represent some risk.


David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

Beyond Preorder Prices

Oh how I love preview season.

Let’s get right into it, shall we? Most of the big cards are known (The full spoiler should drop today/this weekend, if previous patterns hold) and there’s the possibility of buying cards at preorder prices.

Most preorder prices are a trap, the product of zero supply and infinite demand. Once it’s in our hands, things will have time to settle down. But will they?

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

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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