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.

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.

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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.

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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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Brainstorm Brewery #343 Dual Forked Reason

Corbin (@CHosler88), DJ (@Rose0fThorns) and Jason (@jasonEalt) are back to talk to you about what to look out for after the Modern Horizons post pre release as well as Finance 101 and a new segment 5 under $5.

Make sure to check us out on Youtube because everything is better with video. https://www.youtube.com/user/BrainstormBrewery

Ixalan at Rotation

Preview Season is upon us! Again!

I am rather burned out on trying to chase spikes before they happen, having missed the opportunities based on Hogaak, and I’d like to take a breather, a calmer look at other value sitting right in front of us: rotating cards.

That’s right, rotation is just three months away. All of Ixalan block, Dominaria, and Core 2019 are going to leave Standard, and that represents some real opportunities to maximize value. There’s a large group of players who are Standard-focused, who want to always move to the new hot deck, and who, like clockwork, sell off their decks when rotation happens or is soon to happen.

We can see that decline on a couple of cards already:

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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.

Pro Trader: New Format, New Resources

Readers!

I’m not here to tell you how to feel about Oathbreaker. Is it a silly thing or is it a real thing? I don’t know. Is it Brawl which failed despite support from WotC or is it Tiny Leaders which failed all on its own? Oathbreaker proponents swear it’s the future, but they said that about formats in the past.

Either Oathbreaker is the new frontier or it’s the new Frontier. It’s actually not up to me to decide. I deride Tiny Leaders for being a wacky thing no one cared about long enough for it to sustain itself but the thing is, I recgonized there was short-term money to be made in that format and I loaded up on Sunforger and made that money. I regret nothing. Whether or not we ever build a Oathbreaker deck of our own or the format takes off long-term, there is short-term money to be made.

Don’t understand the format? Don’t worry!

WE BUILT A SCRAPER!

EDHREC is now in the beta of OathbreakerREC which will possibly outlive the format, we’ll see. It’s a trove of information already and to the extent that things here are actionable, they’re worth looking into for sure. Let’s look at the front page, shall we?

We include both the Oathbreaker and the signature spell together, making it easy to browse visually. You can click in the upper right hand corner to browse by name if you want, but I like the pictures because seeing the images and names together helps me remember. Clicking on any given one takes you to the deck just like with an EDH deck on EDHREC. It’s the same thing but with 60 cards and Sol Ring is banned.

A few things popped out at me just doing a cursory glance at this page and I am happy to share them.

Of the 18 top decks, only one signature spell is repeated.

Triumph sees fringe EDH play but is pretty pushed in this format where it’s quite easy to make sure you have a Nissa planeswalker in play because you always have access to one.

Here are the EDHREC stats.

And here are the stats from the burgeoning Oathbreaker section. 1.3% of the decks isn’t exactly melting faces, but I don’t know what an impressive percentage would be. I DO know that this is in multiple decks and that means if either one takes off (I assume this is a solveable format like Tiny Leaders was) then there is real upside.

Could the price on the foil copy climbing even as more packs get opened (I mean, War of the Spark was 5 expansion sets ago, we’re already on to Core 2020) be due in part to Oathbreaker? I don’t know how high this gets on the basis of that set and I don’t think you buy in at $2.50 under any circumstances, but we’re working a process here, letting the data talk to us. The data said “Here’s a thing!’ but it seems like we’re late to the party. We won’t always be!

Let’s look at a card that has crossover appeal with EDH.

Windfall has much stronger EDH adoption due to decks like Nekusar and The Locust God.

It’s $7 too high a buy-in? What is the ceiling on a card like this? Will they continue to do sets like Modern Horizons and avoid printing cards that would be too good in Modern? If so, Windfall likely doesn’t get reprinted again anytime soon. But for a $7 buy-in, you’re looking for it to hit like $15 before you’re happy. $15 for an uncommon? It’s possible and it’s already doubled from around $4 to around high $7.

Compared to something like Nissa’s Triumph, this seems a lot more like the power level we expect to see in the format. Once you stick Wrenn and Six, say on turn 2, you can cast Crop Rotation for G and then again for 2G to get Dark Depths and Thespians’ Stage. I think that’s how this works. In any case, Crop Rotation is busted.

A $200 buy-in seems pretty reasonable to me given the fact that Crop Rotation could be reprinted in a Masters-esque set any minute. Yikes.

The $6 Crop Rotation from the Nissa vs. Ob Nixilis deck makes me want to look at the value of the rest of it. Looks like this, $4 Nissa, $3 Ob Nixilis and the fourth most expensive card is… Wood Elves. That’s not great, but there are 2 decks and if you add up all the nickels and dimes, you get about $28 in value. I think some of the cards in that deck can rebound given cards like Leechridden Swamp, Smallpox, Cloudthresher and Abudance being basically free right now. eBay doesn’t have the decks under $25, but it’s always worth looking when one card in a Duel deck spikes. If you can still find Izzet vs. Golgari for sticker price, you double up, for example.

I think all of us predicted what the number one deck would be.

Moonmist bumped when they printed a (terrible) Werewolf Commander, could it be due for another bump?

Probably some money to be made here, second spikes and all that. The foil plummeted from $6 to $2 but is hanging around $4 now. I think if this does catch on, it goes to $8 or $10 fairly easily. Let’s look at the rest of the deck.

There’s no money to be made, here. It’s all dumb tribal wolf stuff with rares and uncommon from the post-mythic era that 60 card casual, EDH and Oathbreaker combined will labor to move up.

So far our foray into Oathbreaker is looking pretty fruitless.

The one deck I do think benefits from the format the most is a degenerate Saheeli deck.

Thoughtcast makes the deck very consistent, playing a mana rock makes a 1/1 creature and enough of those creatures allows you to reduce the commander tax on Thoughtcast because it has Affinity. If I were to build an Oathbreaker deck, this is the one I’d build. These 5 cards speak for themselves so they won’t get a paragraph. Here’s 5,000 words to end the article.

Until next time!

MAGIC: THE GATHERING FINANCE ARTICLES AND COMMUNITY

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