Tag Archives: tribal

Mayor of Wrongsville

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“Haha DJ! You were wrong about Mayor of Avabruck! You broke the cardinal sin of Magic finance, and underestimated the demand of casual players. I’m never going to trust you for financial advice again!” – Me

mayor

Yeahh……. This one’s on me. Sometimes you’re the Spawnsire, sometimes you’re the Zendikar. On the bright side it hasn’t increased by a billion percent, so anyone looking to buy their copies to play with still has a chance to buy a playset for $10-12 and avoid any further risk of the card becoming $5. I’m accepting the fact that I missed the train, so I’m not buying in at all at this point. By the way, are there any actual non-competitive players who read my articles? The kind of players who actually buy copies of Mayor of Avabruck to play with? I’m curious, because I tend to throw around the “there’s still time to buy this card if you want it to play with, but I don’t think you should buy in for profit” line a lot, but I’m not sure if that suggestion actually holds any value for you guys and gals.

On the Other Brighter Side

moonmist\

That was some sort of joke about the full moon being bright, so there’s a brighter side because foil Moonmist jumped, and… you know what? Forget it. I’m not being paid to be the comedian here. I’m being paid to tell you that I have no idea which psychopath felt the need to bathe in foil copies of a green common from Innistrad. All of the historical evidence points towards casual 60-card players being hesitant to foil out decks, and I never would have suggested this as a pick based on that evidence. If you happen to have foils of this card stocked away with a pile of other bulk foil commons, I highly recommend releasing them back into the wild and getting whatever real dollars you can.

Undead Perspective

 

Okay, so let’s forget about werewolves for the moment. Let’s talk about a more proven tribal archetype, and some of the cards that I’m fairly bullish on. I’ll channel my inner Jason Alt, maybe fart out some fart jokes, and talk about why old and dusty Innistrad cards are probably going to see a few percentage point increases thanks to an old pair of pals.

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Grimgrin and Friends

grimgrin

zombies

Thrax and Friends

thrax

thraxfriends

 

Grimgrin is no longer a bulk mythic. He’s been a fairly popular Commander for a while, at least according to EDHrec. He just barely misses the top 25 Commanders of all-time with 278 decks as of 3/29/2016, and is easily in the top 10 two-color Commanders.  Thraxi is almost certainly doomed to the bulk bin, considering he was caught in the True-Name Nemesis crossfire of 2013.

roofto

Do you see that $.04 increase? Obviously that means the card is going to be $6 in a week, so you should all mortgage your homes and buy into Rooftop Storm. There will literally be thousands of Zombie Commander players (one might say there would be Endless Ranks of these players at your doorstep), and you’ll be able to afford every Legacy deck you could ever want. All thanks to non-foil Rooftop Storms.

In all seriousness, this is not a card that will be going anywhere soon. Similarly to how I thought Mayor was a trap, this will be an open grave for anyone who tries to walk into it. There are over 220 copies on TCGplayer alone, and its’ a bulk rare that I’m happy to shove in the “four years from now” box on the happy occasions when I pick up a few at a time for a dime each. Oh, but did you know foils have a billion percent multiplier?

storm

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Yeah, so that’s a thing. I wonder if Geralf can build a time machine so I can go back like four weeks and tell you all to buy foils. Anyway, let’s go back to me being at least somewhat useful and suggest cards that I actually believe are a solid buy at the price point they’re at now.

endlessranks

Unlike our six-drop blue enchantment, Endless Ranks is a bit more versatile in 60-card land. You can actually play multiples without feeling like a fool, and there’s the insane art synergy between this and Relentless Dead. Add in a few Shards of Broken Glass and just wait six more years for stained-glass tribal. We’ll get rich from that eventually. I do think Endless Ranks is a strong buy at $3, and that you can expect to unload these by the end of SOI block at around $6-7. I’m in for about seven copies, and I expect to move these by throwing them in the display case and listing them on TCGplayer.

army of the damned

As much as I want to tell you all to buy eighty copies of this card, I can’t do so in good faith. While I picked up a few dozen at $.25-$.50 each, I’m accepting the fact that it will take at least a couple more years to creep up to the $4-5 range that I think it deserves. My personal love for this card continues to try and distract me from the fact that it suffered the same fate as Thraximundar by being in that deck, and my win-more stories of how I combo it with Phyrexian Altar are not going to push the price any further. The card is freakin’ sweet, but just throw them in the $2 box and nod at the people who buy them and call you an idiot.

End Step

  • Remember how Avaricious Dragon was going to be a big deal? It turns out that Fiery Temper was the only real card worth casting off his discard trigger, with Avacyn’s Judgment being the next at bat. I’d sell out of the dragon at this point and be happy with my triple up to $3, and save the next harrowing spell of disappointment for the next guy. If you’re a gambling enthusiast, go ahead and hold onto them and prove me wrong.
  • The Battle lands (I swear to god if I see the word “tango” used in a Magic context one more time..) popped up on the Interests page, all showing between 10-15% increase over the past week. This is your last warning at this point; buy them if you need them for Standard, or eat a $10 bill for each one you failed to purchase in two months.

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Still No Full Moon

So a couple weeks ago, I talked about why I really didn’t like Mayor of Avabruck as a spec target. Back then, my logic was based on the extremely small space for werewolves as shown on the checklist card. If we put ourselves in the shoes of the player type that we’re not, then we can try to shine some moonlight as to why this tribe that’s seemingly dripping with flavor and non-competitive appeal has been so much of a financial letdown over the past four and a half years.

I’ve seen a decent number of people suggesting that the puppy patrol will see a rise in popularity in the wake of a potential new legendary werewolf creature to lead the Commander deck. Now that the second checklist card has been proven to be a reality, we have a bit more clues to narrow down the possibilities of what can and cannot be in the set.

checklist

With two of the white and blue slots being taken up by Archangel Avacyn and Marit Lage, she’s on Innistrad and going to fight Emrakul in a 1v1 duel to save the Multiverse, we only have one red, one green, and one gold double-faced card at rare or mythic. I’m going to go out on a limb here and take a guesstimate that the werewolf ‘walker takes up one slot there, and the legendary werewolf Commander is the other.

checklist

That makes the total number of double-faced werewolves in Shadows Over Innistrad an approximate grand total of fifteen. Yep, fifteen flip doggies, give or take one or two (I can’t really tell if Breakneck Rider is the name of a werewolf or not, and it’s possible that the mono-red double faced card is not a werewolf). Let’s compare that to the number of Allies in Battle for Zendikar that managed to spark a couple of the decks’ core components.

Ally2

jwari

harabaz

As you can see, Allies got a lot more support in BFZ than Werewolves are likely to get in SOI. There are a couple explanations for this; the word Ally got slapped on at least a dozen or so random creatures that would have likely been the exact same without it, and BFZ wasn’t really competing within itself for any other non-Eldrazi tribes. Innistrad is full of Angels, Vampires, Zombies, Humans, and Spirits, all fighting to get a piece of the tribal pie.

Instead of the new Allies being any good at all for the competitive player, they managed to spark a fire in the casual players heart. People started to look back at some of the older (and better) Allies that they could combine with their pack-fresh durdles, and we saw a lot of the  reasonably powerful ones creep up in price. The mana dork, clone, and protection engine are the most prominent of that group. The kind of player who enjoys Magic without sleeves eats those cards up, and you should always be happy to find that person and do business with them.

I said something important back there. Remember that all-important article by Ross Lennon that I always reference, called Mastery of the Invisible? You know that they exist, which is good. You also have a general idea of what kinds of cards these players enjoy playing with. Mill. Angels. Demons. Dragons. Zombies. Relentless Rats. All deck themes that are time-honored favorites in the unspoken majority of the player base. Why aren’t werewolves a part of this? Well, my friend; I have a theory (and it’s just that, a theory) that one of the reasons for the unpopularity of werewolves is the requirement for additional hardware; either in the form of checklist cards or protective sleeves.

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“But DJ! Checklist cards are only like 25 cents on TCGplayer, or 10 cents on SCG!” Yep, but they’re an additional hoop that the player has to jump through to build their deck. While anecdotal evidence is far from fact, I thought about this while at the shop one day when a customer came in to buy one of the 1,000 count boxes of commons/uncommons that I sell for $7. He pulled out one of the double-faced werewolf cards and questioned how you were supposed to play in in the deck if you could see it coming, which is a fair question if you’ve been playing Magic for less than a month. I explained the concepts of both checklists and sleeves to him, and was met with the following response:

“Oh. That seems like would take more work to keep track of if I had a deck full of two-sided cards. Can I just trade it for a different card in another box?”

So what are your thoughts on casual players disliking a high volume of double-faced cards in their deck because of the requirement of additional checklists/sleeves? I’ve had no trouble selling Bloodline Keepers in the past, but maybe that’s because it is usually the only DFC in the deck. I’m curious if anyone has had a similar experience as I have, and if the need for a high volume of checklists has had an effect on the suppressed demand of werewolves as a casual archetype.

Were Else Should we Look?

If we’re not buying into werewolves as a casual spec, what kind of cards should we be looking into? Well, I like Vampires and Zombies as a starting point. Contrary to our furry friends, we can put our hard-earned cash dollars into cards that, like the werewolves, won’t be reprinted anytime soon, but also have the benefit of already being proven over time.

endless ranks

Now that the windows are broken, this card is practically on the reserved list. There is no way that the cathars of Avacyn can rebuild with all those undead walking around. All jokes aside, this has managed to shamble its way to a solid $3 over the past few years, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hanging around the $7-8 mark in a few months. If all else fails, this will be a much easier sell at the $3ish it’s at now than a pile of 47 Mayor of Avabruck.

Let’s wrap all that up in a neat bow; Even though there will likely be a double-sided werewolf planeswalker and legendary werewolf creature in Shadows over Innistrad, I do not expect werewolf cards to increase Mayor of Avabruck or any of his werewolf buddies to increase in price significantly enough such that it would be worth buying in now for profit. If you’re one of the few Invisibles that keeps their finger on the pulse of the finance market by reading these articles, and you want to build werewolves, then I don’t think there’s downside in buying now because you plan on playing with them.

 

End Step

Rest in Peace is fighting the good fight against the undead hordes, and wants a bigger paycheck because of it. He’s not arguing for a $15 minimum wage, just a $2 raise per copy. What a goddamned socialist hippie. Even at $4, I don’t think this card is a bad buy if you need copies or expect to require them in the future. Remember all those players who thought Stony Silence had reached its’ peak at $5? Exactly, you don’t remember them because they shut up real quick.

 

 

 

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PROTRADER: Tribal Trials

By: Travis Allen

Last week, I began my article by discussing the PAX spoiler show that had happened over the weekend, hosted by Wil Wheaton and Ashly Burch. I used descriptive language, partly because my goal was to be evocative in describing the broadcast, and partly because my finance content doesn’t typically allow for that style of writing. The result was a divisive article for sure, with more comments than any other article I’ve published here at MTGPrice. I’ve read all your feedback both here and on Twitter, and I thank everyone who took the time to tell me how they felt, whether you told me that you hated it or loved it. Even among those who disliked what I wrote, there was a remarkably low volume of personal attacks, an event akin to February 29th.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind my readers that at no point have I ever called myself a journalist. Neither myself or any of the other writers here can be considered journalists when writing for this website. Journalists gather and share news, typically with little analysis or value judgments. Here at MTGPrice, that is the opposite of our goal. Yes, we gather and share news, but the reason people pay for a subscription here is exactly because of the analysis and judgment we provide regarding that news. Each of us is an individual person provided with a platform to share our perspectives on a topic. We are bound together through a URL, not by editorial control or a unified message. That’s why this is the MTGPrice Blog, not the MTGPrice News Blotter or the Fox News MTG Finance Zone.

Dry recitation of data with colorless analysis may get the point across, but it doesn’t endear readers to authors. Each week, my goal is to put myself into the work. As you read my weekly article, my hope is that you hear my voice in the words and recognize my style as distinct from others. This personal touch is why readers come to enjoy specific writers. When you read Jonathan Medina’s articles on SCG years ago, you could definitely hear his voice in the words. Jason Alt carries that same heavy fingerprint today. You would be hard pressed to read one of Jason’s articles and not recognize it as his work, a quality I admire and respect. Sharing my personal experiences and opinions on events we all partake in together is my way of sharing myself with each of you every week. Even if you don’t necessarily agree with my perspective on an issue, you come to recognize me as a person within those words.

What I wrote last week was an addendum to my already full-length article. The free side was my impression of a performance; the paid content was all about the lands that were spoiled. If you are not a ProTrader member, please recognize that what you read was not a fair representation of the Magic content contained within. There were another 2,000 words regarding the news of the weekend. If you’re a ProTrader member, please recognize that I provided you with a content-packed article, and that my preface did not in any way subtract from the volume of words you expect. I hope that everyone recognizes that each half of my article last week was just that: a half, distinct from the other.

Thank you all for reading. I appreciate all the feedback. What’s say we get on with the Magic now, shall we?

Sitting down to write this, it’s the middle of round 15 at the SCG Modern Open, and there’s some definite spice in this weekend’s brew. A Slivers deck is in 14th place after having apparently taken a game loss in round one due to tardiness and having ended up short a Sedge Sliver. That a slivers deck is doing that well, even saddled with an early loss, is remarkable. Long have many of us wondered about four- and five-color tribal decks in Modern. After Mana Confluence showed up, Sam Black (and many others) spent some time brainstorming a Modern humans list. Not much came of it, but it was clear that the archetype was close. Not quite there, but close. Around the same time, there were some efforts to brew a sliver deck as well, though that ended up in the same graveyard as the humans list.

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