Tag Archives: ftv angels

Collector’s Corner – From the Vault: Angels

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Let’s take a look at From the Vault: Angels this week to see if the average $75 price for the box is worth it for picking up what could be a gem of a collector’s item.

Past History – The first From the Vault (Dragons)

First though, I want to talk about From the Vault: Dragons for a little bit. We can all agree that this FTV is the rarest one out there – it was the first, Wizards didn’t know how the product would be received, so I imagine there was some hesitation in releasing mass quantities of this product. That being said, let’s take a look at what the sealed and single prices of the cards from the set go for in the current market.

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Sealed Box – These currently go for $200 BIN on eBay.

Singles

Card Name Fair Trade Price Best Buylist Price
Nicol Bolas $56.29 $36.03
Kokusho, the Evening Star $20.99 $12.75
Form of the Dragon $13.65 $6.93
Rith, the Awakener $13.48 $13.02
Hellkite Overlord $11.49 $5.01
Draco $9.99 $4.31
Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind $7.99 $1.62
Bladewing the Risen $7.23 $5.47
Dragonstorm $5.35 $3.01
Ebon Dragon $5.10 $2.51
Two-Headed Dragon $4.99 $0.39
Bogardan Hellkite $4.64 $2.51
Thunder Dragon $4.60 $2.87
Shivan Dragon $4.55 $1.66
Dragon Whelp $0.84 $0.25

Nicol Bolas is killing it here, commanding the large majority of the value of the first FTV. Even though this form of Bolas is only a dragon creature rather than planeswalker, the iconic card still holds collector value from this set because he is Magic’s biggest baddy. Next up in value is Kokusho, the Evening Star because of how insane he is in Commander (remember, for a long time he was on the Commander banlist!) and how much players love to foil out their Commander decks. All told, the value of the singles is about $171.18 if purchased separately. That’s kind of a lot, considering the likes of Shivan Dragon and Ebon Dragon are in this package, which may have been iconic to the game but otherwise are basically unplayable cards in today’s Magic.

The reason I want to talk about FTV Dragons and its prices is because Dragons are one of Magics most popular creature types, so I’m thinking that the trajectory of FTV Angels will match that of FTV Dragons, especially considering that some of the more iconic Angels are also getting makeovers to add to the collectability. FTV Dragons was released in 2008, seven years ago at this point. Let’s keep this mind when reviewing the Angels product.

From the Vault: Angels Details

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Sealed Box – These currently go for $75 BIN on eBay.

Singles

Card Price
Avacyn, Angel of Hope $29.14
Entreat the Angels $15.01
Akroma, Angel of Fury $13.55
Iona, Shield of Emeria $11.15
Baneslayer Angel $10.99
Akroma, Angel of Wrath $9.33
Aurelia, the Warleader $8.99
Platinum Angel $8.11
Tariel, Reckoner of Souls $6.60
Jenara, Asura of War $6.59
Exalted Angel $5.50
Serra Angel $3.32
Iridescent Angel $3.30
Archangel of Strife $3.24
Lightning Angel $1.25

Already, we can see that the singles prices of the angels are significantly more than sealed boxes, clocking in at $136.07 for the singles rather than $75 for a sealed box. Honestly, this price for a sealed box looks like a steal compared to buying singles, especially seeing that the sealed price of a similar product FTV Dragons has appreciated to $200 over the years. Realistically though, I would not want to be waiting around more than half a decade to get a return on this sealed box. I’m surprised that Dragons hasn’t creeped up higher, but compared to Vintage collectibles I think people would rather pick up their Lotuses, Moxes, Recalls, Timewalks, and other extremely rare Vintage staples rather than pick up the more casual FTV sets. This can clearly be seen by the trend upwards that Power and other similar Vintage staples have been experiencing over the same seven years as the FTV Dragons product.

OK, looking at the singles themselves I think it’s no surprise that Avacyn is number one on the list. Unfortunately, she did not receive alternate artwork for this set, which means that she was merely included in order to reduce the market price on other Avacyn’s. Not that this a bad thing – my own opinion is that reprints like Modern Masters should happen more often, and given a wider release so that more players have a chance to pick up pricier casual staples. However, for a special release product like this, where they had to know that Akroma already has a reprint with alternate art, that Avacyn would be the headliner angel and thus should have given her alternate art. Yes, Furious Akroma also has alternate artwork  (which is awesome) but I think from what we’ve seen from these types of products that players are looking to pick them up to collect rather than play with them. I mean, not that Nicol Bolas is trash or anything, but he certainly isn’t the strongest Dragon out there these days and definitely isn’t an auto-include in every Grixis Commander deck.

I’m really glad that Iona got the alternate art treatment, however I’m not sure that Iona needed to be included in this product since she was just reprinted in Modern Masters 2015. This reprint will further suppress Iona’s price for the time being. Yet, due to the alternate art I have a feeling that in the long run she will rebound in price as casual players start picking up foil copies in order to complete their un-fun Commander decks that cheat her out on turn two.

Other interesting includes were Aurelia and Platinum Angel. Did these cards necessarily need a reprint, with one being so close to its Standard rotation and the other having multiple previous reprints? Again, I’m not sure if this was to add value to the product or to try and reduce the price of foil copies of the cards that are already out there. However, I am glad that Tariel, Reckoner of Souls finally has a foil which great for those who have her as a Commander or want to finally foil out a Mardu Angels Commander deck.

Even though the rest of the angels are pretty cheap, I have to say that I like the new art on Exalted Angel. It’s quite a difference between the iconic Onslaught art but I think that Tyler Jacobson really knocked the art out of the park. Sure, we have a Judge Foil version of the card too, but I think Wizards was looking at reprinting popular angels without caring about which cards haven’t gotten reprints yet (like the Powerpuff Girls from Avacyn Restored).

Final Thoughts

I think FTV Angels has some really cool includes, but I think that there just isn’t enough in here to justify buying the singles. The package deal is $75, and I think that ultimately the singles will lower enough to match this package entry point. And unfortunately, if FTV Dragons has anything to tell us it’s that even seven years out this package won’t be much more expensive than it is now. That means you’ll have plenty of time to pickup these premium Angels folks, so I suggest in the meantime to start picking up things like Khans fetchlands instead because we can all agree that those are going to be getting us profits in a quicker, more efficient manner.

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PROTRADER: Angel Armada

Magic Origins has become a bit of a dry well lately. There are only so many good cards in a set. I am sure we can find some more stuff poised to move later on, but right now we don’t have any Battle for Zendikar spoilers really worth discussing. Besides, there is something else I would rather discuss:

EN_qe4shzt18z

Boom. Angels. For all you angelphiles out there, you’re already fully aware that angels are hot right now, so pipe down while I school the rest of these nerds.

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Going Mad – Stay Classy Grand Prix San Diego

By: Derek Madlem

It’s the week after a Pro Tour and we’ve seen the decks that are sure to dominate the Standard format until rotation, the format is solved and it’s pretty obvious where to place our bets. We’ve had a couple weeks of SCG Opens and then the culminating tournament to solidify the metagame and declare a public enemy #1. Now we’re just coasting to the finish line as we wait for a new set to be released and we can start this process all over again. Right? Right.

Well… wrong

Skimming through the top 32 decklists, I was expecting to see a good percentage of the field rocking the Ensoul Artifact Thopter deck that took Pro Tour Magic Origins by storm, after all it was clearly “the next Caw-Blade” if you listened to the Pros and the parrots in the coverage booth. What happened in San Diego is a testament to R&D’s ability to create a variety of flexible cards to combat a variety of threats; and by variety of cards, I am actually just referring to exactly one card – Dromoka’s Command.

Dromoka's

Dromoka’s Command may be the first card printed as a utility spell to have an entire archetype form up around it. Dromoka’s Command is the backbone that the entirety of the Green-White Megamorph deck builds around. Not only does Dromoka’s Command effectively remove enchantments from the board, it is also does pumps creatures, prevents damage, and removes opposing blockers… three things that seem to be relevant in most games of Magic, killing enchantments is just a bonus. But it’s power was not relgated solely to the Megamorph decks, it also showed up heavily in a variety of Abzan decks. This all proved to be bad bad news for those Thopter decks; as it turns out, a deck that’s built around a couple key enchantments is vulnerable to enchantment removal +1.

Dromoka’s Command showed up in 17 of the top 32 decks, pretty much the only non-land cards that saw more action were Courser of Kruphix (19 decks) and Den Protector (18 decks). The most surprising bit in all of this? Dromoka’s Command is somehow still under $4. Dromoka’s Command is one of those cards that’s going to see play for years, it’s not quite Abrupt Decay level of utility in older formats, but it’s rarely a card that you’ll disappointed to draw. This also seems like a great long-term pickup in FOIL as it’s currently sitting at a very meager $11.

I am also an advocate of picking up at least a playset of Dromoka’s Command because it has roughly 14 months until rotation, which makes it a fine card to buy purely for play value (dividends) and there’s ample opportunity for it to creep up in price this October as the format shifts.

The Card that Isn’t

A really spicy brew took down the title in San Diego, this deck relied heavily on one card: Sphinx’s Tutelage. The deck featured an array of cheap draw spells that allow you to essentially burn through your deck grabbing more and more draw spells and dumping more and more cards into your opponent’s graveyard, looking at the decklist I have a hard time figuring out how this deck came out on top after 18 rounds of Magic… but even a ham sandwich can win a tournament if it draws the right pairings each round.

Sphinx's Tutelage

Sphinx’s Tutelage is a card you can invest in… I guess. But I’ll offer you a reality check: this is a niche strategy uncommon in a core set; this is NOT Stoke the Flames. Sphinx’s Tutelage is NOT Path to Exile or Murderous Cut or Bile Blight or any of the diverse playable uncommons we’ve seen crest $2 in the last few years. Sphinx’s Tutelage is a Hedron Crab or a Mind Funeral… it’s a card that in a couple years you might make a dollar off of. You’d probably be better served buying up copies of Alhammaret’s Archive, a card that should also hold onto some long-term heavy appeal in Commander.

While I am extremely skeptical about a deck featuring Sphinx’s Tutelage gaining traction in Modern, if it does you can expect Visions of Beyond to be the big winner… not a mass printed core-set uncommon. Being a cheap draw spell coupled with the Ancestral Recall payoff makes Visions an absolute all star alongside any conceivable Sphinx’s Tutelage build IF such a thing ever comes to fruition, which I’m currently doubtful of.

That Vastwood Seer

Nissa, Vastwood Seer continues her run as the most prevalent flipwalker, showing up in a stunning 15 of the top 32 decks compared to a paltry 6 decks for the former financial frontrunner Jace. Nissa is clearly here to stay as a heavily played Mythic staple and Jace is establishing himself as an all star role player. Expect their prices to continue diverging as Nissa hovers around $25 with a slow decline and Jace continues to adjust downward at a much faster rate.Nissa

The rest of this pantheon is performing much more in line with my previous expectations: ie, not at all. There isn’t a single copy of Kytheon, Chandra, or Liliana in the top 32 decks and that should put the writing on the wall as far as these cards go. While we’ve likely not seen the last of Liliana, Heretical Healer thanks to her inclusion in those Modern Collected Company decks, the outlook is grim for the other two.

The Card that Wasn’t There

On the breaking news front (at the time of writing this article) we have the full spoiler for FTV: Angels and it doesn’t include Linvala, Keeper of Silence. While this would have mattered a lot more before they banned Birthing Pod than it does now, it still puts a lot of pressure on this Mythic Modern staple. At the time I’m writing this Linvala is hovering around $35… but you’re probably looking at $50+ Linvalas today as you read this. Special thanks to the finance community for that one guys! In reality this card was likely to go up either way, people just have a psychological disconnect when it comes to FTV printings. A card like Linvala will stop climbing for fear of a reprint and then once that fear is confirmed or denied, it will adjust accordingly. This was a good card to pick up either way as FTV printings are traditionally disliked by most players because the FOILs look fairly atrocious.

Linvala

While it’s disappointing to see Linvala absent from this product, she can probably just go ahead and join the club alongside Damnation as a card that desperately needs a reprint and somehow dodges it time and time again despite numerous glaring opportunities to do so and we’ll now start the yearly tradition of excluding only the most obvious choices from the From the Vault releases. But if you look on the bright side, we finally have that Iridescent Angel reprint that we’ve all been waiting for! Now’s your chance to buy in.

There is still the outside chance that with the new block structure we’ll see a Linvala reprint in Battle for Zendikar. The absence of a Core Set means that a lot of reprints will need to be implemented within regular sets. This will essentially tie reprints of legendary creatures to their home planes as non-planeswalkers don’t really get to experience interplanar travel yet. Yet.

Fetchland Insanity

I have a proposal for most of you that are taken aback by the recent upswing in fetch land prices: don’t buy them. At this point it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN the Zendikar fetches will be reprinted. Wizards seems to be pushing enemy colored pairs over the next year with the reinclusion of the opposing painlands, enemy colored Commander decks, and the likely inclusion of the long-awaited enemy colored manlands as the flagship duals for Battle for Zendikar. That push, plus the acknowledgement that Modern card availability is an issue should be enough to sooth fears that these cards are just never going to be available ever again.

Whether those fetches show up in a supplementary product (unlikely) or the next large set (April, as the other fetchlands rotate out of Standard), they ARE going to be reprinted – it’s only a matter of time.

Misty

Now’s the time for some tough love. Dad talk, have a seat children. There’s been a lot of outrage about the new price of fetches being unaffordable… but were they really affordable before? I’m going to say that for those outraged at the new price that these fetchlands were never truly affordable. If they were – you would have afforded them. YOU WOULD ALREADY OWN THEM. Now they are just STILL unaffordable; functionally, nothing has changed.

In reality there are only a handful of decks that really NEED the exact fetch land for their deck, most decks are perfectly able to get by on Khans fetches with only a fractional percentage of a decrease in efficiency. What does that percentage mean for the average Modern player in weekly tournaments at the local shop? You’re going to lose, at most, one or two games per month, and those games are not necessarily going to mean the match. Does that percentage point matter more elsewhere? Only if you’re going to be playing in competitive level events that span nine to fifteen rounds on a regular basis.

The real question that you should be asking yourself is: if you have serious issues with card affordability, how do you justify spending $40-70 a pop to play in an SCG Open or a Grand Prix? Competitive Magic is expensive. It’s always going to be expensive and the rewards are a rarely going to be cover the buy-in. The entire game is built on the foundation that players will continuously buy more and more cards and that a subsection of those cards being worth money.

Transparency: I bought zero copies of Linvala or the fetch lands this week

Stay classy #mtgfinance

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