Tag Archives: inventions

Inventions: Time to Buy

Time to speak some truth: I’ve been buying Inventions and Expeditions whenever I can.

Part of it is that I have a magpie’s eye for shiny and unique things. I have written before that I think foiling out a deck is a worthy quest and a good financial plan at the same time. The Masterpiece series has grown on me and I think it’s worth acquiring.

Especially right now.

The market has set the price on these relatively quickly, and while the prices all started super high on the Expeditions, they settled to a more reasonable level within a few weeks. To be fair, we didn’t know exactly how many would be printed and how many people would want them. Some of the preorder prices turned out to be comically high, but that’s the nature of things showing up for the first time.

Let’s look at Polluted Delta.


What I love most about that graph is the dip at the end of 2016, when the Standard Showdown packs were announced and started being opened. Given the frequency of having an Expedition or Invention in those, the amount of supply added was probably not 20% more, but that’s how far it has fallen at that news.

To buy low and sell high is a prime tenent of Magic finance, and the slight falling of values means that I want to get in on some lands. I’m a bit more optimistic on the enemy fetches, but I’m also aware that the player base is clamoring for a reprint of those.

Intellectually, I know that the pack foil of Twilight Mire is more expensive than the Expedition version. I know that the pack foil versions of cards are almost always the most expensive foils, depending on reprints and arts.

It doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of owning these cards with the unique frame and appearance, which is why I pick up as many of them as I can.

The most important detail about the Masterpieces is this: They do not circulate a lot. People get them and put them in decks and leave them there. High-end foils are like that, and while the supply might be large, the number in circulation isn’t. Cubes and Commander decks soak up Masterpieces that get opened, and I don’t think they have a chance to lose that freshly-opened-pack smell before being double-sleeved and given a place of pride.

Normally, this is a good time to buy cards, at the tail end of a season. I wrote last week about some pickups I really like from Kaladesh. What makes this a good time for Inventions especially is that it’s going to take truly special circumstances for more of them to get into circulation.

I’m not ruling out a future edition that Wizards does, I think it’s super unlikely for them to release a significant amount of these again. It would be analogous to releasing a new batch of SDCC black planeswalkers, to my mind.

We are about to start spoilers for Modern Masters 2017, and I have a strong suspicion that it’s going to lower the amount of drafts done at local stores for AER-AER-KLD. We don’t know enough about the set or what’s in it, but players are fickle. We like new things, especially the chance to open something super expensive. Cutting back on the drafts done means that the supply isn’t going to go up very much, and so there’s a few Inventions with strong casual appeal that I really want in on:

Solemn Simulacrum – $66 – Universally good and has been reprinted a ton, yet still holding some value. The pack foils are not visually striking, while this is, and I like this to grow nicely over time.

Rings of Brighthearth – $55 – The card in regular nonfoil has apready risen recently, at at about $10 more than the pack foil, I’ve gotten two of these for different decks. There are not a lot of decks that want this effect, but it’s amazing when it’s good.

Chromatic Lantern – $55 – The gold standard of mana fixing, a card very popular in casual formats, and something that ought to go up over time.

Cloudstone Curio – $30 – Have you seen an Animar deck go off with this? Or an Elf deck? It’s a combo enabler, and those are the things that can really spike when a new card makes them good.

Gauntlet of Power – $31 – I’m not ruling out weird Infinity War crossovers or stuff like that, but with the nonfoil at $15, this is a great price for an auto-include in single-color decks.

Paradox Engine – $45 – Again, this is just a silly card that does silly things and is breakable even now. It’s also gorgeous, which is important.

Planar Bridge – $36 – It can’t go find the sorcery or instant you need to win the game, but it does tutor up a ridiculous number of broken things and that’s at the heart of Commander games. I love having these in long-term storage, because it’s got excellent potential.

Something that hasn’t happened yet to the Inventions or Expeditions is a spike in those prices. They have dipped a little and recovered to within a few percent, but they represent at least steady long-term growth, and the potential for a huge payoff should they ever spike. It might even be a Reserved List buyout, which we saw a few times this past summer, as some people attempted to clear out the market.

Torrential Gearhulk has seen a bump already, in all versions including the Masterpiece:


The bump from Pro Tour play affected all versions of this card, and that’s helpful to know if someone breaks Paradox Engine during Hour of Devastation.

Any chance you get to trade for a Masterpiece, you should at least consider. Depends on the trade and the percentage that someone is asking for, but they are fantastic trade bait, a sweet target for people to aim for and a financially stable card that you should seek to add to your portfolio.

Expeditions Begetting Inventions

So I have to say that the Invention series is gorgeous. I am entranced by all of them and I want to pick up all of them. Mostly. I don’t have a use for the mana accelerants, but they are all beautiful and shiny and really appeal to the showing-off aspect of playing Commander.

I have many direct wants for different decks when it comes to Inventions, and I know that right now is not the time for buying Inventions. Supply is too low, demand is sky-high. They are getting opened in droves, which means volatility in prices.

What I want to do today is look back at the Expeditions and see if there are price trends that I should be paying attention to. I wrote a year ago about what to do if you opened an Expedition, and while the principles still apply, I want to focus on the Expeditions and how they relate to what I think will happen in the end with Inventions.

Let’s look at one of the high-end Expeditions: Scalding Tarn.


So it started CRAZY high, at $450 when this was first introduced, but it swung down to nearly $200 and then back over three, which is about where it’s settled in now.

This graph makes a lot of sense. We didn’t know how many of these there would be, and we didn’t know what the pricing would be. As the numbers came out (more copies than expected) the price dropped, but recovered well. Most importantly, it’s been relatively stable for this year, and that’s what I want to know.

How about a mid-level Expedition? Here’s Steam Vents:


This is an interesting graph as well. We have the same fluctuation at first, but there is a distinct downward trend. It’s a slow trend, but it’s there, with the drop in buylist pricing is there in July for almost all of the Expeditions, even if the price is creeping upwards.

How about the low-end ones? Cinder Glade:


These are also trending slowly downwards, and that’s important to note with the Gearhulks and whatever the newer Inventions will be. When Aether Revolt lands, I will look at those Inventions alongside the Oath of the Gatewatch Expeditions.

So in general, these have trended downwards slightly. That’s super important to keep in mind going forward, indicating that patience is my keyword when it comes to the Inventions I want.

It’s not universal, though. For one, Overgrown Tomb has gone up, perhaps matching the recent rise of Abzan decks in Modern. Not every Expedition has followed the same track, and it’s worth noting that there were no first-time foils in the Expeditions, where we have our first foil Mana Vault.

Other writers have noted that the presence of Inventions will lower the price of every other card in the set, and that looks true for Battle of Zendikar. Prices for that set are extremely low, even considering that the set only has six months to rotation. In general, I expect all prices to drop over time, but what I want to know, and what only time will tell me, is how patience will pay off for the Inventions as well as the Expeditions.

Full disclosure: I’ve put a couple of Inventions on my Puca want list, with a bonus of 15%, and I am confident that I’m going to get at least one of the ones I want. I know that a lot of people are down on PucaTrade at this point, so I want to be clear that I still have points and I still have faith.