Tag Archives: oath of the gatewatch prices

OGW Spoilers I’m Excited About

The first card I want to talk about that I’m really excited for from Oath of the Gatewatch is Nissa, Voice of Zendikar. I haven’t seen too many mentions of this planeswalker yet but I want to point out that she is a perfect slot into the previous Pro Tour breakout deck, Bant Tokens from Pro Tour BFZ.

As you might recall, Sam Black and crew piloted this deck to amazing success at the last Standard Pro Tour. Now, I’m not saying that this deck is going to take down a huge tournament right out of the gate again – that is presuming too much on my part, where right now really I’m just trying to get a feel where the metagame might be going. Dark Jeskai is a much faster and more consistent deck than Bant Tokens, which is why it has fallen out of favor since the release of Magic Origins and the ubiquitous adoption of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (the little Jace that could). However, Nissa adds some versatility and stall to the deck that is desperately needed.

Putting out 0/1 plant tokens and having the ability to pump your whole team is nothing to scoff at. She fits right into the curve at three mana, with a four mana followup Gideon being extra special.

Plus, since we’re playing eight planeswalkers in a deck like this there might even be room for the new Oath of Nissa enchantment. At one mana, we can’t discount the usefulness of this enchantment since it acts practically as a one mana land tutor (and if there are better cards than lands well so much the better!) and then on top of that provides perfect mana for the three mana Nissa into the four mana Gideon, which normally would be somewhat difficult at the best of times due to needing two green for Nissa and two white for Gideon. Being Legendary for this enchantment isn’t even a drawback – you’ll never need more than one in play at a time, so feel free to keep casting more to continue digging for cards you might need off the top of your deck. I really like this enchantment a ton, since it feels like a fixed Sylvan Library or Sensei’s Divining Top that is still fine for a format like Standard.

Nissa is currently preselling for $20, which I think is extremely cheap for a planeswalker that could definitely have four copies in the updated deck. Again, along with cards like Hangarback Walker and Gideon, Nissa adds another element of ongoing token generation and threat that needs to be dealt with. Typically, three mana planeswalkers have proven to be powerful and I would not be surprised at all for Nissa to help new and existing archetypes as the OGW Standard metagame pans out.

Oath of Nissa is preselling for a bit more at $6-$7, which I think is pricey for a Standard rare. Remember, we are in a totally new era for Standard rare card prices, so I’m not expecting Oath of Nissa (even if it is found in a playset in a Tier 1 deck) to ever stay above $5 for long. There are just too many Standard rares out there these days, and if you consider the amount of product that will be opened for Expeditions in this set, you have a recipe for long term lower prices across the board on all set rares. I mean, if Siege Rhino could never break $5 for long, I certainly don’t expect this enchantment to.

Next, I want to talk about this guy, Reflector Mage. This card seems really good to me. Obviously since it is an uncommon, the price ceiling is going to be something like $2, especially since it is a multicolor… but wow is that effect nice! I mean, this card could even see play in Modern or Legacy. Not being able to cast the card again during your opponent’s next turn is devastating, especially for combo-oriented decks. Plus, you don’t even have to cast this guy to get the effect – all you have to do is have him enter the battlefield, so the trigger still works with stuff like Aether Vial. Just wow, very excited for this card and the possibilities it has in Standard and beyond.

OK, now this card is what I think that Snapcaster Mage was supposed to be. Now, this card has limits that Snapcaster does not – first, it doesn’t have flash and it will always cost at least five mana to cast. So we’re not going to see any four mana Anticipates with a body being cast in Standard. Even though this is a terrible Snapcaster for eternal, you are getting a ton of value for you mana when playing this in Standard. It provides a 4/4 body with (some form of) evasion that primarily allows you to flashback an instant or sorcery card from your graveyard. Just because this isn’t Snapcaster Mage doesn’t mean that we should count the Dark-Dwellers out – on the contrary, I think this card will be great in Standard and I expect to see Atarka Red or other decks adapt it quickly in the new metagame.

Also, Commander is a Thing…

Along with some awesome new Standard tools, we’re getting some great Commander staples that I’m sure have been causing some buzz since their release.

Obviously leading the wave is Kozilek, the Great Distortion, which is the big nasty Eldrazi that all the casuals have been swooning over ever since #Oathgate happened where key pieces of the set were spoiled on /r/magictcg. This guy is going to have casual appeal for years and years to come, so the play here is to wait about three months after the set’s release and then pick up your copies for stocking away for a rainy day. Like the past Eldrazi bretheren (and even the new Ulamog, which is starting to rise in price again…) this will be a great addition to your portfolio for years to come. The key is to time the market right and try to get in on the low point, hopefully when it hasn’t found a home in Standard and the set has reached market saturation.

Holy crap is this Sphinx bonkers in Commander! As if blue wasn’t oppressive enough as it is! If this “resolves” (since there are ways of getting rid of this on the stack that aren’t counterspells) it is going to be so, so difficult to stop the combo player that just dropped this thing on the table.

This card has to be the one of the most protected cards in Magic, and that is saying something. Yes, you can still wipe this with something like Wrath of God, but you’re playing against a blue player! Who is almost always going to have countermagic to back this up. Sure, it costs a ton of mana, but in more casual playgroups I can totally see this thing running away with the game.

I’m actually really glad this card isn’t Legendary, because having this as your general would be super oppressive. Geist of Saint Traft is pretty bad but this would be even worse since you can’t counter it. Just my two cents, maybe I’m overrating this card, but when I first saw it I couldn’t believe that Wizards made a card that is such a potential lockdown against you.

Finally, the last card I want to mention is Thought-Knot Seer, which has been getting a ton of buzz from the Commander crowd. A four mana 4/4 with Thoughtseize+exile attached is really, really good. The fact that you get to let an opponent draw a card is irrelevant in multiplayer, since you can make an ally or other opponent that isn’t a combo player have a card.

Since most Commander decks play lands that generate colorless mana, this is an easy slot into many decks. I for one can’t wait to update my Karn, Silver Golem deck with all the great new toys in the set, including putting basic Wastes into there so I don’t get blown out by cards like Ruination or Wave of Vitriol!

Final Thoughts

All in all, I’m really excited for OGW for both Standard, Commander, and beyond. This set is much more exciting than Battle for Zendikar, because not only do we get Wastes and add a brand new Basic Land to the game, but we also get much more powerful Eldrazi and Allies (along with an Ally Commander, which has a five color Commander identity and is easy to cast!) that many players are going to desire.

Not sure if I’m onboard with whole 2HG theme for the release or whatever – personally, just always give me one-on-one matches. For those that enjoy that, though, you have something else on top of all the new cards to look forward to!

PROTRADER: Modern Season Is Upon Us

The Modern hype is here and it’s very much for real. I am embarrassed for even momentarily suggesting Modern may be hitting a plateau as far as interest is concerned. Last week I went as far as to use wishy washy language surrounding my prediction for how Modern cards would perform come 2016. Clearly, Modern season is going to offer up significant opportunity. And with record breaking Star City Open attendance in Cincinnati this weekend (1,022 participants) it’s clear there’s more growth ahead.

All that said, it’s really interesting to see which cards have already began ascent and which have remained stagnant. Even with some metagame evolution, a large portion of the mainstays of Modern should still be relevant – Affinity, Tron, Splinter Twin, Infect, etc. Yet when I review the top movers so far in 2016, I’m seeing almost all the growth thus far occurring with Eldrazi cards, presumably due to the current block.

Eye of Ugin

Despite being narrow in scope, I believe the data out there is strong enough to conclude Modern will once again be a lucrative format to speculate on. But the train is already leaving the station – in fact, it’s already nearing its final destination on stuff like Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple. With that in mind, I’m going to look to a couple ideas that are still worth pursuing as the Modern hype rapidly approaches its peak for the first half of 2016.

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Grinder Finance – A New Frontier

Last week we looked into the year that was.  This week I want to take a look at the year that may be.  This year will be uncharted territory for the Magic community and especially for MTG Finance.  There have been golden rules related to the time of year.  There was one rotation per year in September and the summer before ushered in a huge sell off in the oldest Standard cards.  Now we have two rotations, once in September and one in April.  How will that affect the normal trends of card prices?  There is also another elephant in the room.  There isn’t significant growth in the size of the player base.  For the past year it has been pretty clear to me that Wizards is trying to sell more product to the same number of people.  This may have some impacts on otherwise “safe” picks from the past year’s standard.


We learned about the new rotation over a year ago.  Let’s revisit it to refresh everyone’s mind.

Source http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/mm/metamorphosis
Source http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/mm/metamorphosis

This is the old rotation.  Blocks were 3 sets and then a core set was released and then the following set caused a rotation.  This meant that fall sets had 2 years in standard and that amount of time decreased until the core set (which spent the least amount of time in standard).

Source http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/mm/metamorphosis
Source http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/mm/metamorphosis

The new Standard has a rotation every other set.  Every beginning of a block causes two sets to rotate out and one set to rotate in.  This means there will be an increased significance of the spring and summer set (as they stay in Standard just as long as the fall and winter sets).  The real question for us is when do people begin to sell off their cards?

sphinx's rev

Let’s take a look a card who’s price was entirely impacted by Standard.  If you wanted to get rid of your Revelations before they made their final descent, you needed to sell them in March of 2014.  That card did not rotate out of Standard until September, meaning people began selling off a full 6 months before rotation.

Khans of Tarkir cards rotate with the release of Shadows Over Innistrad in April.  If cards followed that same trajectory then I’d have to assume we’re already almost two months too late.

crackling doom mantis rider

I’m inclined to believe the boat is missed.  While these cards are almost bulk rares at this point,  I don’t advocate holding onto anything that has value left from Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged.  There is almost no upside in the release of Oath of the Gatewatch.

abrupt decay

Look at Abrupt Decay.  It rotated at around $13.  Right now you can find copies at retail for $11.50 (Strike Zone).  While there was a period in between you could have got out at a profit, it’s clear that dealer confidence is low and buylists reflect that.  There was also never a point where the best buylist was above the retail cost at rotation.  Now there is the possibility this is just part of the end of year slump and we see $20 Abrupt Decays July.


This is the year of the Thoughtseize.  What happens to it?  Buy price is plummeting, now out of even double digits.  Are there just too many Thoughtseizes?  Is its rotation out of Standard actually detrimental to it’s long-term price?  It’s hard to tell but it’s something to watch.  We might see a lot more seasonal ebbs and flows with Modern legal cards printed in Return to Ravnica and newer sets.  So much sealed product of those sets was available that it’s impossible for cards to retain their pre-rotation value even if they are eternal playable if there are just too many of them.  It’s possible the card will never recover to it’s $25 height-of-Standard price tag.


I haven’t done anything but eyeball it, but fellow MTG Finance writer Saffron Olive says Legacy staples are down (for the first time ever) 0.4% year over year (Source).  I’m not expecting that to change.  With the increase support of Modern and the decreased support of Legacy at a local and global level it’s hard for people to justify thousands of dollars in decks they can play maybe three times per year.  Wizards has only announced one Legacy GP and Star City Games has announced one Legacy open in the first third of the year.  Assuming there are two more opens in 2016, that gives North America only four major Legacy events in the year compared to six Opens and one Grand Prix last year.  This doesn’t count international Grands Prix (which were not on the same date as they are this year) and the Invitational or Player’s Championship.  I foresee drops to continue as long as support for the format drops nationally.  While it may be thriving in your local area, it is so hard to start grass roots support for such an expensive format.  I don’t really want to elaborate anymore on my feelings but I think we will see another year of Modern replacing Legacy as the non-rotating format of choice for a lot of players.

The Future of Making Money

With the print runs of recent sets, it’s hard to find a reason these days to invest in a Standard legal pack.  When you look at the difference between sealed boxes of Return to Ravnicai versus sealed boxes of Innistrad it’s easy to see where things changed.  Conventional wisdom of sitting on any kind of sealed product is no longer true.  I would by proxy say holding most singles from those sets is also a poor idea.  My interests now are in limited print run products.  Modern Masters sets, From the Vaults and promotions like Zendikar Expeditions are the safest places to hold money because we don’t know what the future will hold.  If you really want to trade Standard cards into other Standard cards I would suggest looking into foils.  Those are similar to limited print run products in terms of scope.  The buy and sell prices of Foil Thoughtseizes have been basically flat since July which is a start contrast to the rise and fall of non-foil Thoughtseizes that may just never recover.

Into the Unknown

I don’t think anyone could factually back up any claims on the future.  I am suggesting we consider our options and look to the past for some theories.  I don’t know how players will enjoy or dislike the new rotation but it will definitely be a defining part of the 2016 Magic landscape.