Greetings! We’ve got a sweet new set in Oath of the Gatewatch, and lots of potential cube cards to cover today, so let’s get right into it.
A couple quick notes: First, I’m saving everything with the new colorless mana symbol for the end, because that’s going to require some extra words. We’ll start with the traditional stuff. Second, while I might mention foils for commons and uncommons, my goal with my Cube articles is to keep costs down as much as possible, so the object here is not to find the cards that are going to go up the most, but to find the best time to buy the cards that we actually want to play with in our cubes. Got it? Let’s go.
This is a powerful card, but I’m not sure it beats out cards like Sun Titanor Elesh Nornat the top of white’s curve in Cube. It’s definitely one to test, but I’m not convinced it will make anything but the most expansive lists.
As for its financial future, Standard could bring its price up in the short term, but there’s no way it sees play in any eternal competitive formats. It’s probably fine in Commander, but it doesn’t seem insane. While it could surprise us in the short term, this should be way less than its preorder price in the long term.
(Note: All TCGplayer mid prices cited in this article were pulled on the day of writing, January 15, 2016. They may have definitely changed since that date.)
TCGplayer mid: $7.49 Likelihood to get a cube slot: Medium-low Verdict: Wait to buy
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I’ll talk a little about Modern because it’s all the haps these days. You know them hip kids and buying out the internet and whatever.
The worst part about these graphs is that the Grove of the Burnwillows one isn’t even as high as it should be. Almost every store that MTGPrice.com pulls price information has stagnated because they are out of stock (it is common practice not to update the prices on sold-out cards). Let’s look at the less steady but technically more accurate TCGPlayer prices.
You know what’s really bad about this? Convergent Mid and Low pricing. With big shakeups like this even though the mid pricing seems to dip a little, copies are still being bought. A steady price between mid and low indicates supply and demand are satisfied at this price point. At the end of November that all changed and we haven’t settled since then. It’s insane to think that the most expensive dual land in a pair of colors is not the ABUR dual. Hence the title of my article, Grove of the Burnwillows is strictly better because of the formats it is legal in and it’s interaction with Punishing Fire. Which brings me to my first point.
A Lot of F***ing People Play Modern
Excuse my French but that is the truth. A lot of people are picking up Modern decks and playing them because of great strides to reduce the cost to play.
Do you remember the time when Hallowed Fountains were $45? Modern was in it’s infancy and barely anyone played it. Do you know how bad had they not reprinted them with such vigor 3 years ago? If you think Modern is expensive now, let me tell you, it could have been so much worse. Fetchland reprints in Khans of Tarkir also brought some needed reduction to the cost of Modern but that also made cards more expensive.
Bans and unbans make stuff more expensive
People knew the writing was on the wall for Bloom. The deck defied some ground rules for the Modern format but getting blindsided by a Splinter Twin ban is causing some really bad panic buying. Scapeshift is the easiest deck you can port Twin into (most of the shell is similar) but Scapeshift isn’t a card that got reprinted 6 months ago. The original printing is from Morningtide which is even older (and smaller print run) than the original Splinter Twin printing. The ripple effect will continue until probably a month after the Pro Tour as people try to figure out what to play now. The security knowing the “pillars of the format” is lost in Modern now and we might see a cascade of price changes as people adjust their strategy. At this point unless you need to play in a Modern event until Shadows over Innistrad, I would just stop buying Modern cards.
But this ban brings new brews!
Yeah, maybe? To be quite honest, the Eldrazi deck is already bringing enough of a shake up to Modern I’m not sure we needed to ban Splinter Twin. While it’s true the boogie man that was Twin allows for other decks to flourish, if you couldn’t beat Twin what makes you think your brew can beat the remaining decks? I think people think that removing one of their bad matchups all of a sudden makes their deck playable. What I am expecting is the opposite. If your brew couldn’t beat a 3 mana 1/4 blue creature it probably can’t beat a lot of the decks in Modern. While this is a finance column, I can not advocate people go out and buy a new deck right now because the format will be very unsettled.
Rise of the Rise of… Wait no – Oaths of Oath of the Gatewatch
These two are likely to become a dynamic duo in Standard in the coming months. They have both seen non-stop upward movement since their very early spoiling. If you got in early you are probably feeling great but at this point I think I’d rather trade for them than buy copies. Baring an unusually high finish (or large percentage of the top 8/16), they will likely not see a big jump next weekend.
This guy has been gaining the past week also. He probably won’t see as much play as Ulamog (Kozilek is much worse in multiples) which means he probably can’t maintain a $18-20 price tag for very long. I expect him to dip in the coming months and I’m a buyer at $10-12. Kozilek, the Great Distortion (like Kozilek, the Butcher of Truth) will likely retain a higher price tag than he should due to being a casual favorite. The only thing I can think that may change this course is if some Tron team at the Pro Tour adopts a large number of Kozilek in the main deck. That will probably lead him to disappear from the internet in a few hours.
The best card in the set. I regret not pre-ordering these at $4, $7, or $8 because the internet thinks they are worth $15. I’m not interested at that point. I’m not sure it’s good enough for Standard and Modern demand likely won’t push it close to the price of the rares of the Eldrazi deck. My rule of thumb is it can’t be more than Ulamog or Eye of Ugin. If you need them for a deck, I’m sorry but you probably wont find a better deal at $15 so good luck.
This is a potential “sleeper” of the set. I’m not sure how much upside there is at $5 but if you like the cut of his jib I wouldn’t fault you for getting yours. Outside of Cracking Doom, nobody is really set up to kill this guy.
I’m totally on board buying all of these lands. They’re $2-3.50 each which is in the ball park that the lower man land (Lumbering Falls) from Battle for Zendikar dropped to. If these get a lot of play in Modern and EDH… Well I guess really it’s “when” they get a lot of play, they will go up. There are not a lot of choice of good enemy colored dual lands.
Some people swear by this guy, and on paper he looks pretty good. The reality is he’s actually pretty difficult to cast unless you reshape your mana a lot to support it. I’m not sure people will and I’m not on board buying into a $7 rare. This is one of those “I have to see it to believe it” kinda cards. But I’m not always right, I felt that way about Collected Company before that was $15.
This is the last card I’ll touch on. He’s great. He’s $2.75 but he’s the buy a box promo. I would not fault you for buying or trading for some. I may have done it myself. While this unlikely another Goblin Rabblemaster, he’s got enough value on a sturdy body to be around for a bit.
One last bone to pick
So you guys know I used to advocate Pucatrade. It was a fantastic service. Was.
This is the current Pucatrade plan page. They have tripled the bonuses you get for signing up for paid plans and have the same bonus for new referrals. That’s a huge amount of additional Pucapoints flowing into the market that will cause more inflation. At this point I don’t think there is an upside to using Pucatrade because there is such a large possibility people just stop sending you cards. The fact that at this point, your entire Puca subscription cost turns into pucapoints is VERY concerning. Without a way to take them out of the market it’s possible pucapoints just turn into Zimbabwean Dollars. It is just a really bad way to get caught with your pants down. I don’t know if the new website will fix these issues but it should be pointed out as something to watch.
Thanks as always for reading, hopefully if my weekend goes to plan and you’re watching the StarCity open in Atlanta you will see me on camera! Gotta keep up the facade that I play more Magic than every other writer on this website, right?
Another Eldrazi Titan has entered the mix. The one they called “Cosi” finally joins the battle. What does he bring with him? A wealth of options.
Ok real talk, since everyone else on MTGprice is probably going to cover the expeditions I’m gonna take some time to talk about some Standard cards. My column is for the player, by a player. As I jokingly said during our impromptu podcast (found here) with fellow MTGprice.com writers, Jeremy Aaranson, Travis Allen, and Douglas Johnson, not a lot of MTG Finance people play a ton of Magic. There is some extra value in owning cards when you play with them.
Bad news blue players. We probably have 2 bulk mythic rares right here. Crush of Tentacles looks a lot like an Upheaval but the reality is it’s almost always worse to cast than Ugin. Until Shadows over Innistrad this is likely to be a bulk rare. Part the Waterveil sees “some” play and is still barely breaking the bulk bins at $2. I won’t waste too many words because Sphinx of the Final Word does not deserve many words.
Now we’re cooking with gasoline. I think Nissa might be in an awkward spot because on it’s face value, it’s probably worse than Nissa, Vastwood Seer at the moment. They are the same mana cost and this Nissa is more difficult to cast. That being said, I’m pretty sure there will be some Nissa/Gideon deck coming in the fall of 2016 so we will want to look at the summer as the time to pick her up. As with most Planeswalkers, this card will probably start pre-ordering for too much and be half the price by the next set.
World Breaker. It’s simple, elegant, powerful. This card looks like a literal Giant Spider Eldrazi but it’s really a lot more than that. There is a high demand for 7+ mana colorless creatures (especially Eldrazi). Despite the green mana symbol this guy is immune to the same removal that Kozilek himself dodges. This mini-Ulamog plays a lot like a Pearl Lake Ancient that also plays pretty good defense. I’m certain there are a lot of Eldrazi ramp decks that are fine trading a land for one of their opponent’s every turn. All in all I think this guy will be too good to be $3 but probably not good enough to be $10. Maybe if I get some camera time in Atlanta after the set comes out I can show you how good he will be.
You remember how I said 7 mana Eldrazi are a big deal? The Eldrazi ramp deck really wants to ramp once on 3 and twice on 4 giving you access to 7-8 mana on turn 5. This card can nicely fit into your 4th turn after a Hedron Archive and then can be “flashed back” to finish up any non-Eldrazi threats your opponents may have. Being an instant is a big deal because it allows you to deal with some otherwise awkward threats. This can kill dash creatures like Zurgo and Lightning Berserker and smaller manlands like the new R/W manland. It’s also an answer to Jace that can also kill Dragonlord Ojutai and Dragonlord Silumgar. It can also sweep up Thopter tokens that are otherwise particularly difficult for Ugin to kill. I expect this card to be very popular even after Ugin rotates. This card could pre-order for as much as $15 and that would be really unfortunate because I think longer term it’s probably a $5-8 card for it’s life in Standard.
Yeah this isn’t Elspeth Sun’s Champion. While we are more likely to take off the CMC Glasses now on 6+ mana planeswalkers, this one just doesn’t do enough right now to justify playing. I am, however, a big fan of foils. This card’s 0 ability has a lot of application in EDH and works great in a host of popular Izzet commander decks (Niv-Mizzet the Firemind is where she shines the most). I dont think this card has “what it takes” to get it done in standard. I’m pretty miffed the elementals aren’t even real Spark Elementals. They don’t have trample. Over all I think this is a card you want to avoid for more than $6 or $15 for foils.
I’d say traitor-schmaitor but this guy looks like the real deal. He should be able to single handedly bring Roast back into the fold and propel flying creatures to the front of play. While the 4 drop spot is pretty hard to get into, I think this guy following a Drana will be an unsual 1-2 punch that will leave Black aggro decks able to pull ahead of removal efficient Red aggro decks. With the addition of more Zombies and Vampires in Shadows over Innistrad I think this guy has a lot of upside. We’ll have to wait for preorder pricing to start tricking in but I’m a believer at $10 or less. Without more spoilers, it’s hard to tell if this guy will be good enough without additional tribal support.
Cards that get better with the Spoilers:
Oh hey, you remember this bulk mythic? Well with Kalitas asking you to play more Zombies and Shadows over Innistrad due to bring more competitive Zombies into the fold, this guy might get a lot better. As I’ve said earlier, there is a lot of competition at the 4 drop slot so maybe he doesn’t quite get there right away but it’s early enough that you can get in him trades or dig him out of bulk boxes in preparation for Shadows over Innistrad.
Oh yeah. Eldrazi is a fringe playable deck (it’s actually bonkers if your local meta game isn’t swarming with Atarka Red) that will survive two rotations. I find it hard to believe these 2 lands will continue to stay sub $1 as color fixing continues to get worse and colorless cards continue to get better.
The Painful Truth
This card is the real deal. Showing up in Standard (when your other card draw options are Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise – Both of which are banned in Modern and Legacy), Modern, and Legacy is a key to long term success. This card is a buck now and if you ever intend to play black, I can’t imagine not owning a set.
The Modern lands
Do you own all of these yet? What are you waiting for? I don’t know if this is the year they go up but I can’t imagine they continue to fall from here. I might write this again in July with a big “I told you so” but even if I don’t, you don’t lose anything by buying now. If buying all 4 is too much, you can look at Derek Madlem‘s article describing the minimum number you need to stay competitive.
That’s all Folks
With the culmination of this article, I think we have 1-2 weeks of solid downward pressure on prices and then the bottom will become apparent. I can’t recommend enough making sure you have purchased all that you need before this lull is over.
Next week (or the week after) I will be interviewing a local player turned card shop owner. Do you have any questions you’d like to ask a binder grinder that has taken the step into a business owner? Leave them in the comments below!
MAGIC: THE GATHERING FINANCE ARTICLES AND COMMUNITY