The Watchtower 4/29/19 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.


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)

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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.

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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.


 

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 #337 Buy, Sell, or Doors

Corbin (@CHosler88) is gone again, but DJ (@Rose0fThorns) and Jason (@jasonEalt) have brought in Judge Max Khan (@MaxPlaysMTG) to talk about Prerelease and the new set, Meatballs, AP Bio, War of the Spark and the perks of judging.

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

TeeSpring:https://teespring.com/shop/bsbTshirt18?aid=marketplace&tsmac=marketplace&tsmic=search#pid=2&cid=2397&sid=front

Despicable ME3 Distribution

You can name any number of words in the English language to delineate an activity that should be organized but isn’t. The flaw can be fundamental, or accidental, and all those words apply to such a situation.

The sale on Wednesday of War of the Spark Mythic Edition was all of those words and then some.

Let’s recap what happened, and then think about where the prices might go, and toss in a few ideas that clearly no one at Wizards is going to listen to but I’ll feel better for screaming into the void.

 

I knew it would be bad, let’s get that straight. ME1 was atrocious because Hasbro’s site went down every time the SDCC planeswalker sets went up, and that wasn’t nearly the demand of this set.

ME2 was done via eBay, a platform designed to take all the slings and arrows, robust architecture and proven to hold up in the face of Internet swarms.

I hoped that it would be a simple process. Log on at 11:55, cross my fingers that it sold out in minutes and not seconds. The 12,000 promised units would sell out, and I’d get mine or I wouldn’t. Concert tickets are often this way, and while I didn’t like it…it made sense.

What we got was:

The Hasbro Toy Shop crashed as an eBay page. I don’t know which part of the infrastructure failed on that, but it did and I’m sure they are figuring out why.

I had a tab open set to a search for the product with that particular seller, so when it came up, I was ready. I had my order in within 30 seconds.

I got the confirmation screen but no confirmation email.
The product was marked as sold out by 12:03.

Now let’s pause and reflect on how I felt. Disappointed, yes. I’d liquidated my last Ultimate Masters box, I’d moved some other things, I was ready and it didn’t matter. The bots beat me, I guess? C’est la vie.

And then, a few minutes later, courtesy of the MTGPrice Discord, which was full of “I got it…didn’t I?” posts:

With permission from Papa, of course

So it was restocked and I got there on two boxes. Victory!

Five minutes later, orders can still be placed. So I got in there for two more! DOUBLE KILL

Email confirmations arrived, Paypal took my money, and no one paid attention to the page that said 40,000+ had been sold.

Then came Thursday and the waves of RIP and ‘F’ posts as cancellations started flying. I got my cancellation emails about 26 hours after payment went through. I hope you get yours, I truly do.

One more layer to go: the cancellation emails have a quippy bit about ‘Jace and his buddies crashing the internet’ and this is not the time, not with $500+ of product you’re cancelling on me. The other type of email, the ‘We think you’re still getting one, just be patient’ is less gallows humor but still nervewracking.

I said it twenty times yesterday: Nothing is confirmed until it’s in hand.

I truly hope that all of you get what you ordered. I wrote it before, that these are luxury goods and just upgraded versions of cards that exist, but let’s take a moment and examine why this is worse as a customer experience than just about anything else: That rollercoaster of emotions.

It is stressful to have an experience like this. To go from disappointment to euphoria to cautiously hopeful to utterly crushed takes a lot out of someone. We’re all breathlessly waiting for what eBay and WotC are going to give us to make us less outraged, but it likely won’t be on the level of the Box Toppers as with ME1.

When someone is unable to get a thing, they are disappointed and move on without too much fuss. If you give that same someone that thing and then take it away, that’s a whole other level of anger and betrayal.

A metaphor: Imagine a child at the park. Kid sees the ice cream truck go by and says, “I want ice cream!” and sees other kids going to the truck too. You don’t have any cash, so you tell them no, they cry some and you console them, but life goes on.

Now imagine that the kid goes and buys an ice cream sandwich, takes a couple bites, and then like a monster you swoop in, take their ice cream and give it to another kid right there. You’d have a nuclear-level tantrum, and you might get the cops called on you because your child is screaming up a storm in the middle of the park.

We thought we had this, and it’s been taken away. That’s the terrible customer experience, and it’s the first thing to avoid.

How could this be done better?

Well, lots of ways. First off, improve the web experience so that we don’t get sold-not sold-sold-not sold loops. That’s basic level.

We can do better, and frankly this is a topic that has been explored more than once on MTG Fast Finance: Wizards has a trove of data about customer habits but can’t/won’t use that data. The only thing you get from looking at your DCI history is a set of points worth approximately as much as a Schrute Buck.

Because this is exactly what PWP are worth now.

I apparently have to accept that Wizards isn’t going back to the Magic Player Rewards system, but why not use our data in good ways? Let us link online accounts to physical DCI numbers. Reward us with one free Arena draft for every five live ones, or vice versa.

The best idea came from our own Travis Allen:

Are you following him on Twitter? You should be. Me too, while you’re at it.

Everyone who’s played in an event in the last six months is automatically entered and given a chance to buy ONE box. If they don’t reply to the congratulatory email within 48 hours, move on to the next person till they are all sold.

Know what makes this great? You draw out the experience. Rather than everything happening today, you get a week or two of people exclaiming their good fortune AND you get an extended rollout of people opening their product. Instead, next week, we’re going to be treated to the sight of some extremely lucky people all getting it within a day of each other. Sigh.

Let’s pick ourselves up here. We didn’t lose anything but future nebulous profit or a chance to play with some of the sweetest versions of awesome cards…I’m not helping you or myself. Let’s move on.

There was a LOT of money chasing this set. 12,000 at $250 each, but let’s be conservative and say they accidentally oversold that to the tune of 24k. Could easily be more, especially if eBay’s counter said 48k, either way that’s a boatload of money. Will Wizards print more next time? Possibly. Twelve thousand sets in in line with the other ME editions.

The price trajectory on this is going to follow this pattern: In a week, people will be dumping their copies in the $450 range, to make the quick buck. Selling one in that price just about pays for two, leaving the second box to appreciate or be opened. I would be a buyer if I saw copies at $400. Very unlikely.

I think a lot of collectors, not speculators, are going to push this high, though. The first wave will sell fast and you’re going to see a few $550-$600 sales in about 10 days. I’m much less sanguine about buying in there, because you’re going to have quite a wait to get to flip that box.

I’m a much bigger fan of moving in on the individual planeswalkers. Ugin and Jace are going to get all the attention, and you’re going to see a glut of the lower-end ‘walkers as people crack a set, keep the ones for their Commander deck, and sell the rest.

I don’t want to use the current sales data to predict prices, as the waves of cancellations impact the downstream resellers who aren’t getting a set after all, but two weeks ago I talked about this exact topic.

If you got cancelled on, take a breath, put the money aside for War of the Spark specs, or the many goodies that are coming for Modern Horizons. Buy the planeswalker singles you want, they are solid and should hold value.

Be pissed, be upset, leave some godawful feedback and then take a breath. And try not to loathe the still-lucky ones.

Unlocked Pro Trader – War of the Spark Surprises

Readers,

There have been a few surprises gleaned from the (admittedly preliminary) data from EDHREC. Things you may not have predicted have panned out and it’s worth exploring things we might not have considered. For example, if I asked you to, without scrolling down, name the Top 3 commanders on EDHREC based on the first few hundred decks with War of the Spark cards submitted, I’m confident you’d get at least 1 if not two wrong. The obvious cards have popped already but there is stuff no one is even thinking about except for people building decks. Got your Top 3 in your head? Here’s the big reveal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprised? Yeah, you’re surprised. You probably nailed Feather – it’s #1 with a bullet. Niv you maybe got. But Tolsimir in the Top 3? Above Ilharg, Roalesk, Massacre Girl, Krenko, Fblthp, Oketra and Kefnet? There’s no way you guessed that. But if Tolsimir is going to be a Top 5 commander in the set, built half as much as Niv-Mizzet and twice as much as Oketra if current trends hold true, we should take a look at what’s in the deck because there could be some cards to get no play that are about to see some.

Here’s the page for all of War of the Spark ranked by raw number of inclusions. If you want to learn to find it yourself, go to EDHREC’s homepage, click on “sets” up top and select War of the Spark from the dropdown. You can also click on the full list to bring up a page with every set. You should take an hour to look at every single set some day to see which cards are used more or less than you thought. Everyone makes assumptions based on their limited experience, their own playgroup and their biases, but having data to re-center your point of view is useful and we’d be silly to ignore it. The War of the Spark page tells you the commanders with the most decks as well as how many decks each card is in as a part of the 99. As more data comes in, the picture will become clearer but for right now, let’s focus on Tolsimir decks and what go in them.

 Tolsimir Deets

I’m not super impressed with how everyone is building these decks and that’s likely a result of only casuals building the decks. That said, casuals tend to shop at Card Kingdom and if the cards sell out at Card Kingdom, they’ll raise their buylist price so it’s worth it to pull out any of these wolves you have in bulk or especially bulk rares. You were lucky to get a dime for Wolfbriar Elemental last week but if CK sells out at $0.35 or whatever they’re charging now, they’re cranking the price to $2 and they’ll be buying for $0.50 so it’s worth it to yank all bulk wolves and set them aside to see what happens to to them. Per the decklists I’m seeing, I’d yank the following bulk cards.

Commons

Rot Wolf (this shouldn’t be in your bulk, anyway, it has infect)

Young Wolf

Sacred Wolf

Nyxborn Wolf

Darkthicket Wolf

Uncommon

Wolfir Avenger

Watchwolf (FNM promos aren’t in bulk but have upside)

Briarpack Alpha

Fang of the Pack

Pack Guardian

Wolf-Skull Shaman

Raised by Wolves

Howl of the Night Pack

Bulk Rares

Wolfcaller’s Howl

Silverfur Partisan

Feed the Pack

Kessig Cagebreakers

Wolfir Silverheart

Wolfbriar Elemental

Spirit of the Hunt

Tolsimir Wolfblood

Wren’s Run Packmaster

Witchstalker

Skalla Wolf

If Tolsimir gets played as much as early data indicates, this stuff won’t be bulk in a while. Tribal decks are a draw for casual players and the deck is surprisingly potent, especially if you Ghostway your whole team in response to some removal and it all comes back and fights everything that survived.

I said I wasn’t too impressed with the builds because people aren’t trying to flicker their wolves, preferring to go heavy into tokens. I think tokens are pretty good because Green and White are the two colors that benefit the most with their Annointed Processions and their Cathar’s Crusades. There’s another reason it’s good to be in White if you’re both creating a lot of medium creatures and fighting a lot. You don’t have to fight fair.

Mark is a card that is on a second spike, a concept I talk about a lot. It means that the first time it spiked, rather than pay the new retail, people were able to find old copies at the old price at their LGS or trade them from people or just find them in their bulk rares. The market ferreted out all of the hidden copies and people buylisted them or sold them to players. When the card goes up again, there won’t be loose copies to satiate the sudden demand and people will have no choice but to pay retail, which will go up harder and faster. It’s a concept we see play out often, and given how brutal Mark is with Tolsimir, I expect this card to be tied to Tolsimir’s trajectory. You win every fight with Mark in play and that’s basically cheating.

Foils are below their historic high as well. The buylist is pretty funky-looking which happens when someone spikes the buy price to restock then drops it again when they get enough copies. I think both the foil and non-foils are a play because here at MTG Price, we like EDH foils. I think they’re a pain and take too long to sell, but if you’re dealing with 10 copies, you should have a fairly easy time outing 10 copies. Besides, the buylist price at one point got to what the retail price is today and if these go up again, you could make a few bucks per copy just selling them back to the buylist. I’m not touching foils but if you’re into that, these are like $4, which is basically what the non-foil spiked to.

Obelisk has been holding steady for a while and I think it’s due for a bump. Tolsimir is a pretty good deck for Obelisk – you don’t mind tapping tokens to cast it, your tokens power and toughness matter more than in most decks since they’ll be fighting the second they come in and it’s likely a budget deck so this is going to get the nod over more expensive buffs. This is also a 5 year old card at this point, is tough to reprint given its convoke ability and it’s an artifact which means it can go in any color tribal deck in the future. That’s all a recipe for decent value. I like this as a pickup now, especially if you trade for it.

Look at this crazy graph. Not only that, look at the fact that Door is like $5.50 on TCG Player. Want to know what’s almost $5.50?

Card Kingdom’s buy price. CK has these at $9, Strike Zone (yellow line on the graph) has them at $10, TCG Player has them  for basically CK’s buy price. If that doesn’t scream “impending price correction” I don’t know what does. I think if TCG Player sells out of Door, it gets relisted at $8.50-$9, which means CK sells out next and then the buy price goes up even more. If you’re into CK credit, I bet you can arb these pretty soon. I mean, you ALMOST can right now.

You know what almost never happens? This.

Do you see it? Keep looking until you see what I see. Give up?

It’s cheaper on Card Kingdom than it is on TCG Player. That’s weird. I checked – it’s legit.

It’s rare that this happens and hard to know why it happened or what to do about it. The Guild Kits were cracked to a much greater extent by people on TCG Player than by CK. I think the prices will converge but I don’t know which will change. All I know is that this card was printed 3 times and it’s still approaching $2 and that’s worth knowing about. If you’re heavy on tokens (and you likely are if you’re abusing Voja’s CIP ability with token doublers to KO a 12 toughness creature or 4 3/3s when you summon Tolsimir), this is a wrath that basically wins you the game. It also basically costs 3 mana if you have tokens galore, so remember that.

Tolsimir being in the Top 3 was a surprise and even if it doesn’t hold, it helped us identify a few cards that we should be thinking about and reminded us to yank wolves out of our bulk, so that’s a worthwhile endeavor to be sure. Keep checking EDHREC and stores like Card Kingdom which has a price integration deal with EDHREC so that people can buy directly from the site with one click for more price discrepancies like these.  Until next time!

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