Tag Archives: From the Vault

From the Vault: Random Stuff Laying Around

The new FTV is out and it’s… full of cards? I don’t know, what do you want me to say about it? Usually they have a theme and this has to be the loosest possible theme ever. Literally anything could be in FTV: Lore. There’s lore behind Joven’s Ferrets and those have never been foil. The worst part is there are going to be people who wanted the lore they like in here and it didn’t make the cut. “No Helvault? This is bullshit” I’m sure at least one person has said. Can you imagine?  Everyone thinks the stupid lore crap they like is the most important which is why doing this particular FTV is bound to be fraught. The people who don’t give a hot fart about lore won’t care about the flavor of the junk you jam in here, we’ll just be upset that we’re paying our LGS $80 for a set that has Near-Death Experience in it. The people who give all of the farts (of every temperature) about the lore are going to be upset that you didn’t include Argus Kos, Wojek Veteran because they were reading the Ravnica book the first time they touched a pair of boobs or whatever reason people get nostalgiac for M:tG Lore.

Luckily, we have additional metrics for judging the success or failure of FTV sets apart from “Do we care about cards with terrible foiling?” and “Do we care about Vorthos crap?” and that is “dollar sign question mark” which is all we should be caring about. Should I write this article with at least a bit of an eye toward EDH? I guess, sure. Fine. I can’t imagine writing this from an EDH perspective without a finance bent and I can’t imagine writing this from a finance perspective and being entirely agnostic to EDH. Either approach is going to result in roughly the same article, anyway. Let’s just talk about these stupid cards and get it over with, shall we? I mean, I’m getting it over with, You’re being entertained and educated so I guess you’re trying to savor this experience. Just remember this took hours to write and will take minutes to read. What do you care about? EDH playability? Accessibility? Finance? I’ll try to talk about everything I think is relevant. Let’s light this candle.

Cabal Ritual


Traditionally, FTV printings tend to affect the non-foil price way more than the foil price, especially if no foil was available before. This is a $1 card with a $13 foil and I don’t see a garbage, curly FTV foil dragging the foil price down a ton when it’s hardly a credible alternative. People who like foil cards do so because they like the best version of the card and an FTV foil hardly qualifies. I imagine the FTV foil doesn’t do much to the foil price. If this had never been foil before, this would be closer to Hymn to Tourach but even then we got a set foil very soon after and people couldn’t wait to not have to play it.


Cabal Ritual has a good foil already and there’s not much reason to expect the FTV version, even for people who prefer the new art, to replace them. If anything, this is close to Kird Ape which had been foil once before. We don’t have pricing data that goes back that far but assuredly, the FTV foil wasn’t a threat the the 9th Edition version.


Especially not long-term.

Ultimately I think the foil may get dinged a few bucks but will go back up, unless we get a reprinting of Cabal Therapy in a future set that doesn’t have FTV foiling. If it has this same new art, all bets are off. For now, I don’t expect much movement, nor for EDH players to care much.



This is a different ballgame. EDH players are less antagonistic toward FTV foils than Legacy players, especially given the fact that sometimes FTV or Commander’s Arsenal foils are the only foils we have. That’s not the case here with Conflux foils fetching $15, which is a decent multiplier for such a weird card. I think the $15 price tag of the foil could take a minor hit and I bet a lot of the new foil Confluxes end up in decks and may keep the price from recovering. This saw a bump in Legacy Dream Halls a while back and that obscures the price a bit. I think it’s possible that new supply could reveal that there’s not as much demand as anticipated, although Conflux is getting a decent amount of play in EDH per EDHREC.

A good corollary is a recent FTV card from the same set and same price point, though a different rarity, something there being a set proportion of FTV cards smooths out a bit.


I’d compare Conflux to Martial Coup, though Coup’s drop is obscured by Commander 2014 and FTV: Annihilation reprinting the card twice within months of each other. You see the big hit to the non-foil price, so let’s see what happened to the foil price since C14 didn’t do any of that.


No change. You’d swear FTV Annihilation never even came out in August 2014. That’s something to bear in mind. It did seem to reverse some growth and hurt the long-term prospects of the set foil despite being a garbage FTV foil, though, so if you have money tied up in foil Conflux, maybe get out, though it seems like you have some time.

Dark Depths


This won’t do as much as we want, I fear. This may give some people a chance to buy a $58 card at MSRP if they’re very lucky, a set with a $58 card in it plus some other cards for like $80 in a lot more cases and could see people upgrade to a foil affordably. At $215, the Dark Depths foil is sure to take a bit of a hit, or a big one. The FTV foil is obviously less desirable. This is the money shot for this FTV so let’s really try and accurately predict what this will do.


This is an awkward corollary. FTV: Realms came out in August of 2012 where I drew the arrow, but demand in Modern Tron that people didn’t anticipate when Punishing Fire was banned saw this card still being purchased 4 copies at a time. I don’t see Dark Depths maintaining the same insane growth curve as Grove, but this does show how little of an effect the FTV can have on price if there is sufficient demand. I think the FTV copies can smooth out the growth curve of Dark Depths and dampen it a bit but the copies won’t be enough to hold the card back if it continues to be as good a card. Banning it in Modern attenuated its price to a great extent and Modern demand ultimately made it go nuts, something I’m less convinced will happen to Dark Depths with demand from Legacy and EDH, 1-of formats for the most part.


Again, the FTV printing barely had an effect, although Ancient Tomb was a sleeper in Legacy (which was weird because City of Traitors spiked twice in the time Tomb was doing nothing). It could be argued the FTV printing delayed its price explosion, but demand couldn’t be staved off for long. I think we could see Dark Depths’ price flatten a bit, but ultimately I think another reprinting in another venue will be needed.

Glissa, the Traitor


$3 card with an $11 foil? Seems pretty straightforward. This should attenuate but not entirely inhibit growth. Douglas Johnson cares a lot about this but I don’t expect anyone else to. They didn’t even give it new art.



Wait, Helvault IS in this set? Gross. I was just making a joke earlier about how Vorthos people care about dumb cards like this. You know what? I’m leaving it. I don’t care if it makes me look dumb for reading the list of cards in this set and forgetting I saw Helvault in it and then making a joke about how Helvault wasn’t in it. That’s how little I care about a $0.60 card with a $2 foil that’s getting a printing with a bad foiling process that no one will care about.



$8 card despite an Archenemy printing? $30 foil? Popular EDH General? It’s going to be tough to find a corollary for this to predict what will happen. Even with a whole FTV: Legends to look at, are there any cards around $8 with 2 non-foil printings and 2 foil printings? I guess the best we can do is look at what FTV: Legends did to $8-$10 cards that were growing steadily before the FTV.


Oona was still growing after the FTV printing and it only fell off with its reprinting in Modern Masters. The foil took a hit from Modern Masters, also.


Oona cost roughly the same as Memnarch does now right after her FTV printing and while I don’t have data, I can speculate the numbers were very similar. Modern Masters brough Oona’s price down in a way the FTV didn’t seem to be able to. Oona might have stayed an $8 card with a $30 foil even after FTV if not for Modern Masters, so I think Memnarch’s price will remain relatively stable.

Mind’s Desire


A bulk rare with an 18x multiplier? Have we seen something like that in a previous FTV set? How about Upheaval? Bulk rare, $15 foil, small amount of demand from cube weirdos. What did the FTV do to that price?


It reversed some modest growth on the non-foil (I’m not sure what the growth was predicated on, honestly).


It likely held back a little growth in the foil, though it’s obscured by some shenanigans. Honestly, foil Upheaval is going in cubes and cube players don’t want an ugly FTV foil if they can avoid it. I think Mind’s Desire likely has the same fate, although maybe Mizzix or something goofy like that wants it in EDH? I think Mind’s Desire likely has a similar trajectory as we saw with Upheaval. Mind’s Desire isn’t banned in EDH the way Upheaval is, and that helps, but otherwise the cards are eerily similar.

Momir Vig


Momir has new art and all bets are off. If the card sits in your Command Zone the FTV foiling process is less worrying and the new art could see Momir players upgrading.


Momir was seeing very positive trending and his plateau preceded his annoucement in FTV: Lore so I imagine it could reverse itself a bit, although I’m not sure. The new and different art is a bit of a game-changer. Nothing in FTV:Legends quite compares but let’s take a look.


Rafiq more then recovered from its lowest point on our graph, which was months after FTV: Legends came out. The set foil is a bit above where it was also, but not a ton. I feel like the new art may have helped Rafiq out and I predict pretty similar price trajectories for Momir based on what we saw for Rafiq.

Near-Death Experience


Bulk gets bulkier. I want to like this card but can’t, even in a pillowfort deck with Worship.



If I had to guess, the Invasion version is so much more expensive than the 8th edition version is someone guessed people hated white borders and they bought out TCGPlayer and the other dealers updated their prices because they do it with an automatic algorithm instead of a human brain which lets this stuff happen. Whatever the case, this is a $4 card in my view and the FTV won’t change that given how much price shock can be absorbed by a lot of copies floating around and this being the third time they printed the card foil. 8th foils have a black border, also, so any appeal Invasion has over 8th for non-foils is gone. Ultimately, this won’t matter.

Phyrexian Processor


This has never been foil before! Too bad no one plays it in anything.

Tolaria West


$8 uncommon with a  $25 foil.  This card is going to be tough to nail down, but if I had to guess, I’d predict price drops for both and the plateau in the price means that demand needs to catch up to supply before the price moves, and additional supply will only put that day off.


If the price dips for Tolaria West the way it did for Dryad Arbor, I think you want to buy in. Arbor isn’t played nearly as much as it used to be and its price is nutty. With Tolaria West able to tutor for 0 cost stuff it will always have a place in the game and barring another reprinting, I think it’s a solid pickup if it drops. For reference, here’s the foil trajectory for Arbor, also.



Demand overall is clearly up, so if Tolaria West’s FTV graph looks like this did at the beginning then tanks, buy at the floor, clearly. Tolaria West is a good card and it’s only getting better as more people find uses for it in Modern.

Umezawa’s Jitte


Jammed in a $12 precon, reprinted as a GP foil, banned in Modern – nothing can hold this card down. I don’t think the ugly FTV foil will hurt this card much and there won’t be a ton of demand for the ugly FTV foils. Could the $240 set foils suffer? They could, a bit. Foil Jitte is out of proportion with non-foil Jitte because the precon copies diluted the number of total copies a bit which explains the multiplier. This is a Legacy and cube and EDH staple and the price will go up over time unless they keep reprinting it. I don’t see this dipping much even in the short term, but if it does, there’s opportunity there.



A $4 card with  $30 card seems like the exact profile of a card that an FTV printing won’t do much to. The non-foil can’t go down much more and the foil is clearly demanded by people who will pay extra for a nice foil and don’t care about an ugly FTV foil. I imagine the FTV one ends up almost exactly the same price as the non-foil and that’s all I have to say about that.

Well, that’s all. Come back next week, I guess.

Grinder Finance – Not Everything is for You

Man, does it feel like there is a lot of stuff coming out this year?  I immediately realized after tons of announcements in a very short period of time, that we’re in for an exceptional year of Magic.

How exceptional?

mtg calendar

As of right now, this is this year’s release calendar.  This doesn’t include a 2nd duel deck and a From the Vault set [announced to be FTV: Lore].  FTVs usually come out in August so I have no idea where it will be now [Ed note: it still will].  It’s clear based on this release schedule that Wizards of the Coast is trying to release more products that appeal to more niche groups.  A lot of players have already realized “not everything is for me” but this summer will have some of the toughest choices for players in a long time.

eternal masters

Eternal Masters

This sets off a 3 month period of back to back set releases.  Obviously Wizards wants to lead with this one because it has the highest MSRP.  If it sells out (which it probably will) it will be great for their parent company.

Without any kind of spoilers it is hard to tell who this set is really for.  If you assume based on it’s name its to support Legacy and Vintage players with some reprints then it makes a lot of sense.  The reality of those players is the vast majority of them have already owned their deck and the cards needed for a long time.  I think this set is the biggest trap and biggest potential for people to waste money.  If your LGS supports a large community of Standard and Modern players (which is most common around the US), then this set will likely not provide a ton of value to those players.

There may be some overlap cards that are good in both Eternal formats and Modern (ie Cavern of Souls, Chalice of the Void, Tarmogoyf, Cursecatcher), it likely won’t include very many in the interest of including format staples that are generally outside of Modern (Wasteland, Force of Will, Ancient Tomb, Cabal Therapy, etc).  The reality of the reserve list is even if you buy a case of Eternal Masters you’re probably no closer to making a Legacy or Vintage deck than you are just spending that money on a Modern Burn deck.

Leading with the set is obviously a play by Wizards to try to get as much of your impulse spending money as possible.  It will be hard for people to resist buying booster packs that could contain a Foil Force of Will, which will assuredly be a few hundred dollars.

Eldritch Liliana

Eldritch Moon

I am calling it now.  This set will have the most expensive new cards all year.  This set will not sell nearly well enough to keep the best cards in Standard low enough.  It’s being sandwiched between two presumably exceptional draft formats.  Oh yeah, 3 draftable sets in a row, which one do you think people will skip?  Has Wizards solved the second set by jamming two sets worth of playables into it?  Is Oath of the Gatewatch setting the standard for small sets of the future?  There are a lot of questions but there is also some precedents we can look to.

Show of hands, how many people bought a ton of Magic Origins? No?  Why not?  Did you perhaps by too much Modern Masters 2015?  I have a feeling this same problem will happen again.  Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon will occupy the same slots as Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins did last year.  Did you know a box of Dragons of Tarkir has the highest EV of any set in Standard right now?  Magic Origins is only a few dollars behind Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged booster boxes which can contain the most powerful lands in the game.  The reason DTK and ORI are so expensive is because those two sets are the bun that surrounded the  Modern Masters 2015 Hamburger.  Their short draft time has lead to supply problems with some of the most popular cards in the set.

If Eldritch Moon is another set of similar quality to Born of the Gods then we might not have a lot to worry about.  On the other hand, if we get another Oath of the Gatewatch then we will have some really expensive cards.  If you play a lot of Standard this will be the best set to invest your money in.  I can’t see a world where the player base opens enough of this set to satisfy competitive players.

conspiracy take the crown

Conspiracy: Take the Crown

I’ll start out by saying I’m the most surprised by this set coming out this year.  I don’t know how Wizards got the resources to test 3 different draft formats all for release on the same summer but more power to them.  Due to the fact that this is a draft heavy format I don’t expect a ton of valuable cards to come out of it.  It won’t be used to hold any Legacy or Vintage style reprints (since those will help sell Eternal Masters).  It probably won’t contain a lot of reprints from Conspiracy because the set is only 221 cards.  With that in mind, Conspiracy 1 only had 210 cards but without a bigger breakdown of the number of uncommons, rares, and mythics we won’t know where the extra cards went.  What I will expect from this set is very expensive foils and Commander cards.

My short list of the Commander style of cards that can probably be in Conspiracy:

What I don’t expect is actual the actual legendary creature printings in foil because they have been doing those as Judge foils.

The point of all this

Be careful this summer.  There are a lot of Magic sets being released this summer, a lot more than usual.  Make sure you realize which sets are for you and spend your money appropriately.  Really take a hard look at what you’re buying because if you end up needing stuff from one of the other sets it will be very expensive.