Friday, February 15, 2013

Gatecrash Financial Follow-Up

I’m bored today, so I thought I’d do a follow-up on the post I did a couple weeks back about the value of certain Gatecrash cards. The financial landscape of Gatecrash has shifted in a few surprising ways (and several unsurprising ways as well).

Like the last article, I’ll start off talking about the Mythics.


Only one Mythic has seen an increase in the last couple of weeks, and it’s a pretty surprising one: Master Biomancer. The Biomancer is a pretty damn good card, though so it might not be as surprising if it weren’t for the fact that Zegana, the Simic’s other Mythic, fell 3 bucks, from $15 to $12. Meanwhile, Biomancer rose by 3 bucks, going from $10 to $13. That seems a bit odd to me, but if either card was likely to see Standard play it’d probably be the Biomancer, simply because it’s a 4-mana bomb rather than a 6 drop.

What does this mean for EDH players? Probably not a whole lot. If you wanted one of these cards, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll want both. If that’s the case, the total price of both cards is unchanged. All in all, it’s not a very big impact for us. Zegana’s slight drop, though, indicates she might not be quite as popular in the EDH crowd as expected, but $12 is still a formidable price to command, so she’s obviously getting some attention.

The biggest drops in Mythic-land are a bit more eyebrow-raising. Aurelia’s Fury droped by 33% to settle at $20.00.  I’d be surprised to see this drop much more. It seems like it has far too much potential to be written off at this point.

Duskmantle Seer and Gideon both saw their value cut in half. Seer went from $20 to $10, Gideon fell to $15 from the lofty $30 he commanded two weeks ago. I’m hardly surprised at either development, but I think the Seer is a big X-factor. No one really knows what to do with him yet. He might take time to catch on, like Sphinx’s Revelation did in the last set, or he might never make a dent in any competitive format. Neither Gideon nor the Seer are likely to be big hits with the EDH crowd either, so I still suggest trading these as soon as you open them, but if you wanted to hang onto them just to see if maybe they take off later, I wouldn’t fault you for it.

Most of the minor EDH-able Mythics have stayed put or dropped a little. Borborygmos went from $6 to $3, which is a big fat “Duh” because he’s not even that good in EDH. He’s an interesting General, but very niche. He's playable in a few decks, but not widely appealing.

Domri and Obzedat have stayed put at $25 each, which is a good sign. I still rank these as “keep one if you have a deck for it, trade the rest”. I dislike speculating on Planeswalkers, but Domri seems to have potential to climb higher, or at least hold onto his value.


Kicking off the Rare discussion, it’s impossible not to start with Boros Reckoner. What is it with this guy? He’s now $25.00 on and most other places he’s sold out. That’s a $15.00 jump from two weeks ago – a 150% increase. (By the way, I have 2x of these guys for trade…) 25 bucks seems like the upper limit on this guy, folks. I can’t see him going higher, and holding this price can only last so long. It might take time for his heat to cool, but in the end, there’s only one way to go from here: down. If you aren’t a Standard player, trade these ASAP!

Other, more reasonable increases include Blind Obedience and Legion Loyalist. Both gained $2, with Blind Obedience weighing in at $7 and the goblin pulling a respectable $6. I think there’s more room for growth for both cards, but not a lot of room. Either could potentiall hit $10 at some point, but I don’t think it’s worth speculating on. The goblin is pretty worthless in EDH so he’s definitely a “trade” but the Obedience does have some potential in the format. I think I’ve managed to slot it into three of my EDH decks already. I’d hang onto one or two at the very least, but they may bring you more value as trade fodder.

Other rares have just had minor ups and downs, but a couple worth mentioning are Thespian’s Stage and Firemane Avenger. Firemane dropped from 6.00 to 4.00 which is exactly what I expected, given that she’s a precon rare. The slight increase two weeks ago struck me as odd, so this decline now makes a lot more sense. You also have to factor in that Boros Reckoner is basically hogging the entire Boros spotlight right now, so pretty much every Boros card that isn’t Reckoner is dropping.

Thespian’s Stage continues to slowly drop, and is now a $3.00 card, with the foil dropping to $12. This is prime real estate for EDH and this thing could still pull a Vesuva on us down the road. If you’re an avid EDH player, snatch these up now while they’re dirt cheap.

One last thing to note: Sylvan Primordial dropped from $3 to $2, but the foil version has remained unchanged at $10 – which lends credence to my assertion two weeks ago that you should be snatching up Primordials, especially the foils. They aren’t likely to ever appreciate in value while in-print, but in a couple years when Gatecrash is just a memory to most players, foil Primordials will likely still be in much demand with the EDH crowd. And obviously the green one is the surest bet. I wouldn’t shell out cash for these but I’d definetly trade for them pretty aggressively, and if I crack any I’ll be hanging onto them for a while.


At uncommon, Boros Charm still leads the pack by a mile, hanging in there at $13.00 for a foil. Foil Skullcrack comes in at #2 with a $6 price tag. Guildmages and Charms all clock in at $3 to $4 each. Other notables are: Burning Tree Emissary, Experiment One, Ghor-Clan Rampager, and Rapid Hybridization all at $4.00.


My Trade/Keep recommendations from two weeks ago remain largely unchanged, which makes me feel good about my picks. There are a few changes, though.

High Priest of Penance,  Glaring Spotlight, and Spark Trooper all lost enough value that they’re not quite definite “Trades” anymore, so if you took my advice two weeks ago and offloaded them then, great call! If you still have any at this point, you might be stuck with them for a while. I do think I made the right call at the time, but at this point, I might just hang onto these.

As for the “keeps”, only Blind Obedience I’m not so sure about now. It was the right call then to keep, as the card has appreciated somewhat, but I’m not sure if it’s reached its ceiling yet  or not. It’s also pretty playable in EDH, so that complicates matters. Basically, I have to hedge on this one. I wouldn’t be in any hurry to trade these off, but I also wouldn’t turn down a good trade offer either. 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Nin, the Pain Artist

Holy crap, a new decklist! I haven’t posted one of these in a while, but to be fair this deck was a bitch to get into working order. It’s still a long way from “perfect” if such a state can even be said to exist in this format, but I have finally managed to win exactly ONE game with it. It was a hard-fought battle, uphill all the way, and required some of the tightest play I could pull off to get that one win. In short, I had to play like I was in the Top 8 of a high-level tournament with fat stacks of cash on the line. I had to focus and play the best Magic I’m capable of, but in the end I got there.

The only problem is, I play EDH to avoid having to play tight, optimal games. I play to relax and have fun, so eking out such a grueling, hard-fought win is satisfying but not the experience I was hoping to craft.

That said, I knew the deck was far from perfect, and was going to be one of my weaker decks, and I was specifically playing it to “stress test” it to really find out what it was made of, so to speak. And I got a really good sense of that. I played another game with it that I came fairly close to winning but couldn’t quite get there. With just those two games, I got enough data to make a few more changes to the deck and now I think it is finally ready to be shared with the world.

Again, it’s still not “complete” but it’s definitely playable at this point. I expect it to undergo quite a few more changes over the next few months, and depending on what happens in Dragon’s Maze it may wind up being drastically altered… but that’s mere speculation at this point. The gist is, there are obviously some existing kinks that still need to be addresses, but at least it’s not a steaming pile of garbage.

Few decks have puzzled and plagued me the way this one did. I’ve actually had it sleeved up since shortly after AVR came out, but it was just basically an unplayable piece of crap until the Return to Ravnica brought new Izzet cards. In the end, I didn’t actually include that many RtR cards, but regardless, the set did inspire a shift in direction and helped guide me to the point it’s at today. In the end I had to make some really tough choices and abandon a bunch of really cool ideas, but there was no way to make the deck do everything I wanted it to do. I needed to narrow down the focus to make it good at executing a plan, rather than being capable of half-assing a variety of different plans.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the current list:

So, as you can see, it’s a bit ugly. I am still struggling to make Nin more important and useful, and to make winning a bit easier without the game turning into a gruelingly long and grindy ordeal. Stuff like Insurrection should help with that, but Insurrection is notoriously unreliable in my group due to the high popularity of sac outlets in my group. Stuffy Doll is cute and can kill of one player but is unlikely to outright win games. I think the best win con at the moment is Blasphemous Act + Repercussion, but that has to be timed just right – when you have few or no creatures, and you opponents have several. And, again, they have to not have sac outlets.

No clue yet if Epic Experiment is going to be any good, or a total dud. I haven’t even drawn it yet.

There are a few notable cards that I really think need to be in here, but haven’t yet acquired:

Chamber of Manipulation seems incredibly useful here. Constipated Sphinx is an over-played “good stuff” card, but you have to admit, the synergy with Nin is irresistible. Plagiarize is a cute trick and nothing more, but I have to try it out. Venser’s Journal actually seems pretty good here, or at least has potential. The deck definitely needs more Reliquary Tower effects, and the lifegain from the Journal should also be very relevant as this is an incredibly slow deck.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Quick Update

Edit: Just added some Rav shock duals to the binder!

Yesterday, I updated my Trade Binder page, which can be found here.

Will update decklists soon - have to buy some more Gatecrash stuff first. Actually, the first step is to have money. Working on it now. Literally - I am on the clock as I write this post. Shhh... that's between you and me.

Epic game story: Three way game between myself (Edric), vs. The Mimeoplasm and Thraximundar. Game goes on for quite a while, and Mimeo tries to set up a Lab Maniac win, exploiting the hell out of a Greater Good to do so. Thankfully my Scavenging Ooze exiles the Maniac after Thrax kills it. So now most of Mimeo's deck is in his graveyard but he's still got a strong position.

A bunch of big swingy plays get made, but each one gets answered in turn, netting none of us a real advantage for some time. Eventually, Mimeo gets a Kessig Cagebreakers online and wipes out Thraximundar quite definitively.

When Mimeo comes at me with the Cagebreaker and an army of wolves, but I have Evacuation in hand. On my next turn, I use Vendilion Clique to put the Cagebreakers back on bottom of his library, which at this point only has about 5 or 6 cards.

Somewhere around this time, I make a critical error. I had Jace Beleren in play, and at one point I used his -1 ability so that I would draw a card. If I had used his +2 ability instead I almost certainly would have won. But I didn't know that at the time.

Anyway, I play defensively to stay alive and start +2-ing Jace to try and deck Mimeoplasm. He does a bunch of stuff but I defend myself successfully, and I start to realize that the only card he has left that can beat me is the Cagebreaker, which is his last card. He also has Lightning Greaves in play, so I have a very narrow window to answer them when they finally arrive.

I need to topdeck any Fog effect, Bribery, or anything that will kill the Greaves. So I have about 6 or 7 cards I could top deck that would automatically win me the game. I'm playing Edric, too, so I am going to be drawing extra cards each turn.

In the end, he manages to draw the last card in his Library, which we both know is the Cagebreakers. I have not topdecked any of the possible outs, so I try to bluff him into making a misplay. I count my mana in several different ways and act like I'm trying to figure out a sequence of plays and it stresses my opponent out badly... but he knows that there is EXACTLY one play he can possibly make to win - ANY other play and he loses. So he has no choice but to call my bluff and attacks for well above lethal with about 26 Wolves, plus the Cagebraker.

He wins the game with ZERO cards left in his Library. It was an epic and well-deserved win, and the last 3 or 4 turns we were both on the edge of our seats. Ultimately I was a bit upset to realize that the one and only time I was "selfish" with my Jace cost me the game, but the last leg of that game was so damned intense that I can't realy complain. Losing to Kessig Cagebreakers of all things is a pretty cool way to lose. You don't see that one coming... except when you do.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cash Rules Everything Around Me


Wherein our Humble Author pretends he knows jack shit about the Financial side of Magic.

So, I don't really do financial articles here, because frankly I'm not really "qualified" to do so. Meaning, I don't do Excel spreadsheets or analyze tons of card prices from all over the net to see what's "trending" right now. That said, I do keep an eye on current Standard cards likely to be valuable and I look for random old cards that are cheap that suddenly become Legacy staples and skyrocket in price overnight.

For example, I was aware that Daybreak Coronet went from a $1.00 card to a $20.00 card quite suddenly, and this is the kind of thing I'm looking to cash in on. I have some Coronets, so when the price spiked I made note to add a few to my trade binder, and if I happened to see any copies at an LGS that hadn't caught wind of the price spike, I'd pick them up.

Serra Ascendant is another example - it went from about 5 bucks to 20 bucks almost overnight, and the next day I picked up an extra copy at an LGS that was still marked at $5. But, I'm not a speculator. I don't try to predict what's going to happen, I just wait for it to happen and try to get in on the action. If a store doesn't update their pricing on singles and keep up with the market, well, that's their problem.

That said I'm not going to go buy 50 copies of a 1.00 rare that is expected to go up to 4.00 just to make a tiny little profit. For one thing I don't have a big enough Magic community in my town to be able to unload 50 copies of ANY card! For another, I'm not trying to make a living doing this shit.

I just want to have good cards in my binder to make trading with other players compelling and rewarding. I want to have a page or two of cards that are at least $20 at all times. And I want to know if some jank bargain rare that has been in my binder for years is suddenly worth $10.00 for some reason, so I don't get ripped off.

Anyway, none of that really has anything to do with what I want to talk about, which is Gatecrash and what is currently worth trading away, or trading for. My data is based solely on prices, because I'm too lazy to look elsewhere, just FYI. And take any predictions on my part with a grain of salt, because, again, I'm not a money wizard.


The top five most valuable cards in Gatecrash are:

1. Aurelia's Fury                            $30
2. Gideon, Champion of Justice      $30
3. Obzedat, Ghost Council             $25
4. Aurelia, the Warleader               $25
5. Domri Rade                               $25

Before the Prerelease, Aurelia was preordering at $15.00 but now she's jumped $10 in price to knock the $20 Duskmantle Seer off the bottom of the list. Not sure what all the buzz is around Aurelia, but her X Spell, Aurelia's Fury is definitely going to be an important card in Standard, so maybe it's a combination of that, plus hype from the prerelease where Boros seems to have exceeded most people's expectations.

The rest of the mythics have not changed from their preorder prices now that they're actually on sale. I won't even try to predict the planeswalkers, as they are still a big x-factor. Most of them start out very high, then when they fail to set any competative formats on fire, they drop off sharply.

I plan to keep any Domri Rade's I open and will aggressively trade away any and all Gideons I crack, mostly due to personal preference. I think Gideon sucks but if he holds his value I'll be happy because he'll be great trade fodder for my binder.

On the other end of the spectrum, Lord of the Void and Giant Adaphage are both $3.00 which is a GREAT deal for Mythics that are certainly EDH playables. I don't expect them to be worth investing in - neither are likely to appreciate, but on the other hand they don't have a lot of room to drop either. So if you're just looking for cool new toys for your EDH decks, both are solid picks at a great budget-friendly pricepoint.


The biggest mover in the Rare category is Boros Reckoner, which jumped a full six bucks, going from $4.00 to $10.00. Personally I think $4 made more sense, and I expect it to settle back down at around $5.00 but clearly someone knows something I don't because a six dollar jump is a big deal for a non-Mythic rare.

I traded for one at the prerelease, getting it for about a $3 value, so I feel good about that - but now I'm wondering if I should try to trade it off again, or just hang on to it and wait. Well, actually, I've already put it into my Gisela deck, so I guess it's a keeper.

Other increases of note: Crypt Ghast and Firemane Avenger, both went up by $1.00. Not surprising in the Ghast's case, as it is clearly a strong card. Even without a home in Standard, it will be a popular casual and EDH card.

Firemane Avenger suprises me a little, simply because it is available in the Boros precon deck. As a precon rare, it should drop off soon now that the set is widely available. But if it becomes a key Standard card, it may hold it's value or even rise, despite being a precon rare.

Similarly, High Preist of Pennance is holding steady at $6 despite also being a precon rare. This makes the Orzhov and Boros precon decks fairly compelling purchases. Both have playable foil rares, but it's the other rare in both cases that is the more valuable. If your going to buy one of the intro decks, I'd go with one of those two.

The Primordial cycle is very inexpensive right now. The green one is 3 bucks, and the rest are all $2.00 or less. Makes sense, as the Green one has echoes of Primeval Titan (though he's clearly less broken). EDH players will be grabbing these up right and left, so after Gatecrash has been out of print a while, these might wind up increasing in value somewhat. I wouldn't expect to profit much off the regular ones, but the foils will definitely be worth picking up if you see them. The Green one is already $10.00 in foil, and I wouldn't be surprised if it climbed to $20.00 eventually, once Gatecrash has been out of print a while.

The only card in the set to DROP in price from preorder to sale is, surprisingly, Thespian's Stage. This is destined to become an EDH staple, and so dropping from $6 to $5 was not the movement I expected to see. I'd definitely suggest snatching these up while they're cheap, especially the foils ($15 for a foil is not cheap to some, but for an EDH staple non-basic it is likely to only ever go up from here).

Finally, I wanted to mention Merciless Eviction, a card that isn't particularly valuable right now, but could potentially take off. It's definetly one of the most EDH-worthy cards in the set, outside of the Primordials. Foils are cheap, regular ones are rock bottom. I'll be snaging a few of these, mostly to play them, but I wouldn't mind having a few for trade as well.


A foil Boros Charm is $10 to $12 right now. This likely has a ton of crossover appeal right now, because Standard players seem to be favoring Boros heavily right now, and it's the best Charm in the cycle for EDH as well. Unless you really, really need it for your deck, I'd trade it ASAP. Who knows if it'll hold or not, but if Boros doesn't dominate Standard it might depriciate quite a bit.

Some other valuable uncommons:
Burning Tree Emissary (Foil) - $4
Dimir Charm (Foil) - $5
Experiment One (Foil) - $4
Ghor-Clan Rampager (Foil) - $4
Rapid Hybridization (Foil) - $4
Simic Charm (Foil) - $5
Skullcrack (Foil) - $6
Urban Evolution (Foil) - $4
Vizkopa Guildmage (Foil) - $4

There aren't really any commons that are valued above the norm. Guildgates are usually about $2.00 for foil versions, so those seem like an okay purchase. They're not as good as the original Ravnica block's common bounce lands, though, so they're unlikely to ever appreciate significantly.


Below I will list my recommendations of "trade" or "keep". Of course this is based solely off EDH, and if you play competatively in addition to EDH, this won't really apply to you.


Obzedat, Ghost Council (keep one if you like, trade additional copies)
Duskmantle Seer
Gideon, Champion of Justice
Domri Rade (unless you have a Stonebrow deck or something)
Aurelia's Fury (Keep 1 if you have a deck for it, trade the rest)
Glaring Spotlight
Frontline Medic
Boros Reckoner
High Priest of Penance
Legion Loyalist
Spark Trooper
Boros Charm (Foil)

The Guild Leaders (besides Obzedat)
Any and all dual lands (unless you're trading dual for dual)
Any Mythic under $10
Thespian's Stage
Mind Grind
Merciless Eviction
Crypt Ghast
Clan Defiance
Blind Obedience
Any Primoridals, especially if they're foil