Eldritch Moon Finance Review: Part One

You can never have too many marketplace minds when it comes to Magic’s turbulent economy! Chas Andres talks realistic outcomes for Eldritch Moon prices, awkward recent buyouts, and of course, answers some questions from last week’s comments!

Welcome to Part One of my Eldritch Moon set review! Since Eldritch Moon is a small set, I’ll try to cover all the mythics and rares officially revealed through last Thursday, 6/30. If all goes well, I’ll review the second half of the set a week from today.

If you remember from my Shadows over Innistrad financial set review, I decided to include a price ceiling, price floor, and a realistic outcome for each new card.

The price ceiling is what I expect the value of the card to be if its realistic best-case scenario is met—think Archangel Avacyn right after Shadows came out, or Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy last fall.

The price floor is what I expect the value of the card to be if it ends up seeing little to no competitive play whatsoever.

The realistic outcome is my best guess at the card’s future price given current known information.

Not only should this method of analysis helps you determine the appropriate risk level for your buys, but it should let everyone who disagrees with aspects of my analysis make better decisions about which cards to buy. If you think I’ve totally missed the boat on a card, you can ignore my “realistic outcome” prediction and move right to the ceiling prediction.

Looking back at Shadows, I did a pretty good job estimating price floors. Almost all of the mythics that didn’t pan out ended up within a dollar or two of my estimated figures for them. I wildly underestimated the price ceilings for the set’s two breakout mythics, however. I gave Nahiri, the Harbinger a ceiling of $20 and Archangel Avacyn a ceiling of just $25. Yikes! Nahiri’s turn in Modern was hard to see coming, but I should have anticipated at least the possibility of a major Avacyn breakout. I’ll try to adjust my analysis this time around to account for higher ceilings on the set’s most impactful mythic rares. Speaking of which…

Mythic Rares

Gisela, the Broken Blade – $34.99

Gisela has already jumped from $15 to $35, but her upside is even higher. If she ends up seeing as much play as Archangel Avacyn, she could hit $50 for a hot second before dropping back into the $20-$30 range. I’m not sure the current white-based aggro decks want to run a four-mana card without haste, but Gisela might be good enough to see play in those as well. Another bonus: every causal player who opens a Bruna is going to want to trade for one of these, keeping her floor pretty high.

I worry that Gisela is being overrated primarily because Avacyn was a tad underrated at launch and they’re both mythic white angels. She is so clearly powerful that I doubt it, though. White is also the best color in Standard by a lot, so she won’t have to look hard to find a home.

· Ceiling: A $50 staple in the two best Standard decks. The most annoyingly expensive and ubiquitous card in the format.

· Floor: A $12-$15 casual favorite that is easy to trade away.

· Realistic Outcome: A slow decline after release toward $20-$25 by September. May spike if it’s played a ton at the Pro Tour, but shouldn’t drop below the second or third most valuable mythic rare in the set at any point.

Emrakul, the Promised End – $19.99

I still think there’s a very real shot that we’re all underrating Emrakul. She wins combat every time, even pseudo-Mindslavers are powerful when they come stapled to a giant monster, and she’s going to cost far less than thirteen to cast most of the time. Cards with hard-to-analyze cost reductions (like Treasure Cruise) have been underrated in the past.

Most of the pros I’ve talked to are split on Emrakul, though, and it remains to be seen whether she’ll end up replacing Ulamog in the decks that use him, create a more Eldrazi-heavy metagame, or end up being as useless as Kozilek, the Great Distortion. I’m bullish, but I don’t blame anyone who thinks that Emrakul is just too expensive to be good. The one thing I do agree with the naysayers about: I doubt Emrakul makes the cut outside of Standard. Show and Tell strategies still want the old Emrakul, and Tron players have any number of better colorless finishers to ramp into.

· Ceiling: $40 with peaks to $50 as an under-costed finisher in control and turbo-delirium. Makes the transition to Eternal play as well.

· Floor: Kozilek, the Great Distortion is $6 right now, so Emrakul’s floor is probably $7-$8.

· Realistic Outcome: Drops to $15, then breaks out at the Pro Tour. Spikes to $35 before slowly dropping off toward $20 again.

Decimator of the Provinces – $11.99

Let’s talk a little about emerge, because it’s pretty darned good on cards like this. If you’re ahead on the battlefield or stuck in a stall, you can play this on turn 5(!) provided you are willing to sacrifice your four-drop. That’s not going to happen most games—you’ll two-for-one yourself if Decimator dies to removal, the triple-green color requirement is hard to fulfill, and the pseudo-Overrun isn’t great unless you’ve got a bunch of creatures on the battlefield already—but you have to respect a card that can let you win the game immediately if you curve out correctly.

Green-based go wide strategies are incredibly good right now, and Decimator could realistically act as a curve-topper in multiple Tier 1 decks. This won’t kill from out of nowhere quite as much as Craterhoof Behemoth did, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly powerful.

· Ceiling: $20-$25 finisher in Cryptolith Rite and multiple G/X Tokens decks.

· Floor: $4 Commander staple

· Realistic Outcome: $8-$10 finisher in a single Tier 1 deck with peaks to $15.

Ulrich of the Krallenhorde / Ulrich, Uncontested Alpha – $7.99

I like that Ulrich puts pressure on your opponent right away, and he’s no joke if he can flip a couple of times and pick off some creatures. The +4/+4 really doesn’t match up well in the current Standard environment, though, and if the far superior Arlinn Kord isn’t seeing much play I’m not sure how Ulrich does. Commander players will want foils of this, and it’s going to smash many a face in Limited, but it’s a long shot to make a major impact in competitive Standard.

· Ceiling: $25-$30 as this plays way more like a Huntmaster of the Fells / Wolfir Silverheart hybrid than we all think.

· Floor: $3 near-bulk mythic.

· Realistic Outcome: $3 near-bulk mythic.

Gisa and Geralf – $5.99

Gisa and Geralf is a Commander all-star, but I have serious doubts about how playable this is in Standard. It might end up as a two-of in one of the Zombie brews, but Reflector Mage is going to prevent it from making too big an impact and I’m always skeptical of creatures that don’t do much the turn they hit the battlefield. The fact that Gisa and Geralf is only potentially playable in one top-tier deck hurts as well.

· Ceiling: $15 staple in a Tier 1 Standard Zombies list.

· Floor: $3 near-bulk mythic.

· Realistic Outcome: $3 near-bulk mythic.

Tree of Perdition – $4.99

Tree of Perdition will see Standard play, likely out of the sideboard in some sort of control vs. control matchup. Tree of Redemption saw a tiny bit of play last time around, and Tree of Perdition is both better in a vacuum and in a better control color. A 0/13 is no joke, and a deck with the right amount of finishing speed can use this to drop their opponent to thirteen in a hurry and then finish the game with fliers.

What about Tree of Perdition’s interactions with Triskaidekaphobia? That’s a two-card kill combo in Standard, so we shouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. It’s a very slow kill, though, and I think we probably have to wait until the Origins painlands are out of Standard before it’s worth considering in some sort of Seasons Past package. It is powerful, though, and I can envision a metagame where this ends up being viable. I just don’t think it’s particularly likely.

Wacky combos aside, this is the low-value mythic most likely to make an impact in competitive play. It’s mostly being ignored because it’s similar to the mediocre Tree of Redemption, but there’s a real chance that this card is better than we think. I still think the realistic outcome is bulk mythic, but I’d bet one this over both Gisa and Geralf and Ulrich of the Krallenhorde.

· Ceiling: $15-$18 three-of in a control deck and a maindeck combo card in another.

· Floor: Bulk mythic.

· Realistic Outcome: $3 near-bulk mythic.


Eldritch Evolution – $12.99

In all likelihood, Eldritch Evolution will end up being the most impactful card in Eldritch Moon. Its power level is obvious, and it’s similar enough to cards like Birthing Pod and Green Sun’s Zenith that it’s not hard to see what sort of deck this might be good in. The sacrifice requirement and self-exile are going to keep it from being totally bonkers, but it could realistically see play in multiple Standard and Modern decks.

I rarely recommend pre-ordering non-mythic rares for more than $10, though, and this won’t be an exception to that rule. If Eldritch Evolution is what we think it is and it finds multiple homes immediately and the rest of the set disappoints, it’s a $25 card that will slowly drop toward $18-$20 by the fall. If one or more of those things don’t happen, it could drop as low as $4-$5 for a while before starting to rise again. By all means preorder these if you have an immediate home for them and you don’t mind taking on the potential risk, but I’m holding off for a couple of months.

· Ceiling: $20-$25 mutli-format staple—think Collected Company.

· Floor: $3-$4 fringe playable combo card.

· Realistic Outcome: $7-$10 three-of in one good Standard deck and staple in Modern. Good long-term upside.

Thalia, Heretic Cathar – $7.99

Thalia, Heretic Cathar is incredibly powerful. She’s a good threat all on her own, and against certain decks she’s going to provide enough pressure to turn the corner or gain the advantage in a midrange battle.

In Standard, Thalia is mostly hurt by the fact that the W/X Aggro decks don’t want that many three-drops. Those decks live and die on the ones and twos, and I don’t see Thalia changing that. Collected Company decks are going to want her, though, and I expect her to show up in Bant and G/W.

Thalia might be playable in Eternal formats as well. She gets better when your opponent has lots of nonbasic lands, and she’s at least worth considering in Legacy Death and Taxes. I’d say you should get foils, but Thalia is the buy-a-box promo, so there will be plenty of those lying around. Also, three-drop creatures need to be amazing to make that leap, and it’s not like Legacy is full of Hushwing Gryffs—or even Vryn Wigmares, for that matter. I’ll believe it when I see it.

$8 is a lot for a rare in Standard, especially when I don’t think she’ll be played outside one or two decks. She’ll get worse when Collected Company rotates, too, so if you need these for Modern or Legacy I’d hold off another couple of months. She’s a very good card, though, so if you need your copies right away buying in now isn’t the worst. I just don’t think she has much upside.

· Ceiling: $10-$12 staple in multiple white aggro and midrange lists.

· Floor: $2-$3 powerful card that just can’t find a home

· Realistic Outcome: $5 staple in one of the better decks in Standard with fringe play in others

Hanweir Garrison – $3.99

Hanweir Garrison seems like one of the most obviously playable cards in the set. A 2/3 for 2R isn’t the most embarrassing thing in the world (that third point of toughness helps) and the fact that your 1/1s get to attack immediately is nice in a deck that wants to apply pressure. The only worry I have is the playability of red (are we sure it will pair well enough with white to be good?) and the fact that this is probably a single-deck card at best.

· Ceiling: $5-$6 single deck staple with peaks to $8-$10 if it’s a Pro Tour breakout

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $5-$6 single deck staple

Hanweir Battlements – $2.99

Hanweir Battlements is playable on its own, but the fact that this and Hanweir Garrison are both good elevates both of them beyond where they would be otherwise. I don’t think you want to run more than two or three of these (four Garrisons is probably fine) and I still think it’s a single deck staple. Regardless, both of these cards are very safe buys at current retail as long as you think red aggro will be a playable strategy.

· Ceiling: $4-$5 single deck staple with peaks to $7-$8 if it’s a Pro Tour breakout

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $3-$4 single deck staple

Elder Deep-Fiend – $2.99

Curving Matter Reshaper on turn 3 into Elder Deep-Fiend on turn 4 is a pretty big game, and that’s when it happens in your main phase. Elder Deep-Fiend has flash on top of everything else, so it can come out on your opponent’s upkeep and tap four of their lands for the pseudo-Time Walk. Oh—and it triggers Kozilek’s Return if you want it to.

Are the Eldrazi just Faeries in disguise? Did we finally get our Mistbind Clique to go with our Vendilion Clique (Thought-Knot Seer)? I don’t know, but I think emerge is great and the fact that this has flash (allowing you to sacrifice a creature about to die as part of the cost) makes it potentially the most powerful of the emerge creatures. It might never find a home, but I’m a believer in the power level for sure.

· Ceiling: $5-$8 Standard staple that shows up in older formats as well, e.g. Thought-Knot Seer

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $2-$5 Standard role-player

Stromkirk Condemned – $2.99

Vampires certainly needed a two-drop like this, but I’m still not sure the deck can go wide enough to make this work. Unless you’re playing Call the Bloodline (or some new card that hasn’t been spoiled as of this writing), will you have enough Vampires to make this work? If it didn’t have the “Activate this ability only once each turn” clause I’d be all over it as the new Wild Mongrel, but right now this is looking like a creature without a home.

· Ceiling: $5-$8 role player in a Tier 1 Vampires list that finally breaks through

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $0.75-$1 near-bulk rare

Geier Reach Sanitarium – $2.49

Geier Reach Sanitarium is great for us crazies who believe that looting is almost always correct. It helps your opponent out too, though…unless you’re getting value off a madness card or they decide not to keep a card in their hand and you can end up using this as a loot for yourself and a mill for them.

This is probably a fringe card in Modern (not as good as Desolate Lighthouse but more versatile) and it’s worth considering in Standard madness and control. You probably can’t run too many of these, though, and it doesn’t have the sort of obvious power that leads to expensive cards. Desolate Lighthouse saw a decent amount of play, and that one was rarely above $2. Long term, the casual Megrim folks are going to want these so it has some upside. I’d just rather not buy in anywhere near $2.50.

· Ceiling: $5-$6 if this catches on in Modern and it’s very good in a Standard madness deck that doesn’t exist yet

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $1-$1.50 one-of and two-of in a couple of Standard decks

Eternal Scourge – $1.99

Eternal Scourge is a pest, but at the end of the day it’s a 3/3 for three without any on-battlefield abilities. If Standard were an endless control war, this might be decent, but it seems too slow for Modern and not impactful enough for Standard. It could see some sideboard play, and it’s possible I’m totally underestimating the amount of sheer card advantage this can potentially generate, but at the end of the day it’s a 3/3 that can be blocked and killed like any other 3/3. I’m not impressed.

· Ceiling: $3-$4 card that ends up enabling some odd Eternal combo… Food Chain?

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: Bulk rare

Bruna, the Fading Light – $1.99

Much like how Gisela’s price will stay high because of casual Brisela interest, I think the fusion will keep Bruna fairly cheap. That one casual guy in your store who complains about stuff all day is going to open six of these before he opens a single Gisela, and he’s going to make sure that everyone hears about it.

That said, Bruna is great in Commander and solid as a one-of or two-of in a potential control deck. Her utility should increase once the Elder Dragons leave, so don’t give up on her if she doesn’t see play right away, but her upside is pretty limited regardless. Focus on foils.

· Ceiling: $3-$4 Standard role-player and causal darling

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $1-$1.50 near-bulk rare

Coax from the Blind Eternities – $1.99

I have no idea if Coax from the Blind Eternities is any good, and I haven’t read any analysis that has persuaded me much in either direction. My gut tells me that paying three mana and having to give up a bunch of sideboard slots is something that one deck might want to try, but I doubt it’ll end up being busted or anything. Versatility is nice, but is there really that big a difference between the mid-game or late-game Eldrazi that you’ll want to spend the extra three mana all the time?

Regardless, this is a narrow card even in the best-case scenario. If you’re a believer, buy foils—the Eldrazi are all over the Eternal formats right now, and if this is good enough in Standard it’ll probably see some play there as well.

· Ceiling: $5-$6 Standard staple with some play in eternal formats

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $0.75-$1 near-bulk rare

Bloodhall Priest – $1.99

How often are you going to have no cards in hand? Bloodhall Priest is pretty awful otherwise, and I think I’d rather have Voldaren Pariah most of the time. The three- and four-drop slots are pretty clogged in this hypothetical Vampires deck, too. It could be great if it ends up as a key piece of that strategy, but I’m not sure it’ll happen at this point.

· Ceiling: $5-$6 archetype staple

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: Bulk rare

Harmless Offering– $1.99

Harmless Offering is my favorite card in the set on art alone, though I’m not sure if there’s much we can do with it in either Standard or Modern. Some people are trying it out with Demonic Pact, but that seems more cute than good. Colfenor’s Plans? Aggressive Mining? Blood Funnel? All of these cards might see weird spikes as people think they’ve made Harmless Offering work, but I’m not sure if it ever will.

Ultimately, I think this is a casual card with some potential game in Legacy as Donate five through eight. Grab foils, as both of those audiences will prefer them and the supply of non-foils should more than meet demand regardless. It’s also a fun, unique combo card, so it has some long term causal potential. Of course, my several dozen copies of Bazaar Trader are still worth just $0.59 each…

· Ceiling: $3 combo piece in some weird Modern deck

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: Bulk rare

Wharf Infiltrator – $1.99

The most underrated card in the set? I know we all underestimated “just a Merfolk Looter” last year when Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy was spoiled, but an unchecked Warf Infiltrator can do some serious work. Assuming your opponent doesn’t have a creature with zero or one power, this can let you three-for-one when you discard a creature with madness—you get the card drawn off the loot, the card you madness onto the battlefield, and the 3/2 Eldrazi Horror creature. If there is going to be any sort of U/B Zombies deck, it’s going to want this. Other decks might want it, too—even without madness, the card advantage is very good here.

It’s possible that Wharf Infiltrator doesn’t see any play thanks to Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (who isn’t going anywhere) or that it will be blanked by too many one-power creatures for the entirety of its time as a Standard-legal card. But if you’re looking for a versatile and powerful sleeper, look no further.

· Ceiling: $10-$15 ubiquitous two-drop in multiple tier one Standard decks

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $5-$6 staple in at least one very good Standard deck

Lupine Prototype – $1.99

Lupine Prototype is another card with a tantalizing amount of upside. Remember: this card only cares if either you or your opponent is hellbent—if your deck is aggro enough, you can start smashing for five right away.

I’ve heard some hype about this in Modern Affinity, but I don’t see it – the two-drops in that deck are already good enough without randomly not being able to attack sometimes. I think Lupine Prototype’s best shot is in Standard, where it might just be a two-drop that R/B or even W/X Humans wants. Being totally blank until you have no cards in your hand is probably too much of a drawback for this to ever do anything, and cards like this rarely seem to pan out, but if it does it will be a format-defining card.

Another not worth considering: the fact that this is a Construct might mean something once we hit Kaladesh. I’ll likely grab a set at bulk if they make it that low.

· Ceiling: $10-$15 crucial two-drop in multiple great aggro decks

· Floor: Bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: Bulk rare

Thalia’s Lancers – $1.49

This is a five-mana 4/4 with an ability and a flickerable tutor trigger in Standard’s best color, so I don’t want to sell it short. There is a chance that this will combine well enough with Eldrazi Displacer to form a midrange foundation for some sort of G/W or Bant deck. Realistically, though, it’s just a little too expensive to see play as more than a one-of or two-of here and there. It’s fantastic in Commander, though, so grab foils and don’t forget that it can grab any legendary permanent, not just creatures.

· Ceiling: $3-$4 midrange staple

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $0.75-$1 just-above-bulk rare

Voldaren Pariah – $1.49

Did the madness cost really have to be BBB here? 1BB was too good? I wonder if Voldaren Pariah was taking over the Future Future League or something – I’d love to see the development notes here.

Regardless, this still might be better than Incorrigible Youths in R/B Madness Vampires, and it has potential in Cryptolith Rite decks as well. Getting this killed with the trigger on the stack is brutal, but the upside is quite good. If the best instant-speed removal ends up not being able to hit black creatures or non-attacking creatures or something, Voldaren Pariah might end up being quite good if the format breaks its way. I was all over this at $0.50 each, but even at $1.50 there’s some upside here.

· Ceiling: $5-$8 staple in tandem with Madness Vampires or Cryptolith Rite

· Floor: Bulk rare.

· Realistic Outcome: $3-$4 three-of in a reasonable Standard deck

Docent of Perfection – $0.99

There are a reasonable number of Wizards in Standard, including Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy; Reflector Mage; Jori En, Ruin Diver; Stormchaser Mage; and Halimar Tidecaller. Is this the finisher that U/R “Delver” needs in Standard? Anything is possible, but a five-drop creature that only works in a very spell-heavy deck doesn’t exactly scream “Standard sleeper” to me.

· Ceiling: $4-$5 finisher in some sort of U/R deck with a bunch of cantrips and some Wizards. Maybe Kaladesh will bring us what we need?

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Identity Thief – $0.99

The good news: not only does this creature take out your opponent’s best blocker, it turns into your opponent’s best blocker when it attacks.

The bad news: it’s a 0/3 for 2UU that does nothing unless it attacks and your opponent has a good creature on the battlefield and combat is favorable for you and it doesn’t just die to something random.

Cards like Identity Thief haven’t been good for a very long time, and I can’t see this being the Clone to finally break through.

· Ceiling: $2-$3 role-player against all odds

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Soul Separator – $0.99

Hey, another janky combo with Tree of Perdition!

I really liked this as a Commander staple back when I didn’t see the “sacrifice Soul Separator” part of the activation cost, but as-is I can’t see it as anything more than a future bulk rare. Oh well—at least the flavor is absolutely top notch.

· Ceiling: $2-$3 role-player in the surprising “everything combos with this Tree” deck.

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Stitcher’s Graft – $0.99

Will four copies of Always Watching and four copies of Sylvan Advocate be enough? It’s certainly possible. Stitcher’s Graft is quite powerful if you can stick it on a vigilance creature in a deck that really wants to attack, and G/W Tokens might provide exactly that opportunity. I can’t imagine the card doing much outside of that specific scenario, but it just might be enough.

· Ceiling: $3-$4 role-player in most G/W Aggro lists

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $1-$2 role-player in some builds of G/W Aggro

Bulk Rares

Of the current crop of bulk rares, I think Niblis of Frost is the only one that has a shot at seeing play in Standard. Rattlechains is still a good card, and evasive finishers that provide strong tempo advantages are always worth a second look. I think it’s probably a tad underpowered still, but at $2 for a playset you should grab a few of these just in case. Ulvenwald Observer is reasonable in Commander as well—a bulk rare for sure, but one I’ll be happy to own a few dozen of a couple of years from now.

This Week’s Trends

Allosaurus Rider saw a buyout last week thanks to hype surrounding Eldritch Evolution in Modern. I can’t find many true believers, though—everyone seems convinced that someone else is going to want this for a crazy deck with a turn 1 Iona or whatever. Feel free to sell into the spike if you can. I think Myr Enforcer or the good delve creatures have a more realistic shot of combining with Eldritch Evolution, though its likely future is probably as a “fair” tutor in a post-Birthing Pod Pod-style deck.

Also up last week: Triskaidekaphobia, mostly on the strength of the recently-spoiled Tree of Perdition. While I imagine this will be a sought-after casual combo, it’s worth remembering the one of these cards is a small set mythic and the other is a large set rare. There will be many, many copies of Triskaidekaphobia for every copy of Tree of Perdition. Don’t get scared into buying the wrong card!

Most Standard cards continue to drop or remain stagnant, though Day’s Undoing continues to buck the trend. Relentless Dead has also started climbing in value, likely thanks to renewed Zombie hype in Eldritch Moon. At this point, I’d keep my eyes on Diregraf Colossus and Prized Amalgam as well. If there’s a Zombie deck in Standard, it will probably run all three of those. I do expect more cards will be rising in Standard once the full impact of Eldritch Moon is known, but we’re still about a week away from that. Consider this your last chance to buy any undervalued Standard staples you’ve been putting off!

In the Eternal formats, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben; Bridge from Below; Pithing Needle; Mesmeric Orb; Elvish Champion; and the Revised dual lands are all up. Elvish Champion is the only real surprise here, and that’s probably because of the Modern Elves deck that has been doing well lately. This feels like more fire than smoke, so I wouldn’t sell into the hype here – the card is quite good, and it could continue to rise in price.

Comments from Last Week

How do we find accurate prices on Reserved List cards like [Moat and Library of Alexandria, which were bought out and experienced a major price spike last week]? What do you think about using buylist prices plus a percentage [of the current market value] as a price guide instead of over-inflated offers to sell?

-Brian Rowe

Buylist prices are certainly worth looking at when a really expensive card experiences an artificial price spike. Most of the time, dealers proceed with extreme caution and will not raise their buylist price much (or at all) until they see how real the spike ends up being. If the buylist price goes up, that means that the dealers have confidence in the spike being maintained to some degree and you can adjust your own mental price accordingly. Smart dealers, the ones that stick around, don’t raise their buy prices unless they’re certain they can find a seller and make a profit.

What if the buylist price doesn’t go up at all, though? Does that mean that the spiked card will drop back down to its pre-spike price? Not necessarily. Like I said, most dealers are conservative, especially when it comes to their buy prices. If the buy price doesn’t budge, you might want to consider splitting the difference between the pre-spike price and the post-spike price as a rule of thumb. I still wouldn’t buy any copies of the spiked card at this new price point, but it’s a decent target for you to try to hit if you want to sell into hype but can’t get current retail.

What do you think of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy’s value over the next six months? I’d eventually like to get a set for Modern.

-Eric Castle

Eric, I don’t think Jace has hit bottom yet and I think you’ll have ample opportunity to buy in once it does. I’m not sure when Jace will bottom out, but it will probably happen in either August (if lots of people want to buy cheap copies at rotation) or December (if we’re all too excited about Kaladesh to care).

There’s also a small chance that Jace will be in the best Standard deck once Eldritch Moon is legal and see another pre-rotation bounce. If this happens, don’t feel pressured to buy—it should drop again at rotation. The important thing is to hold off for now. I suspect a lot of people are interested in the answer to your question, so I’ll try to track the price closely and mention something in my column when I think Jace has hit bottom and it’s time to buy at set for Modern.

Deals of the Week

Hey, look, another new section! Let me know if you like the column additions—I’m trying to find new ways to provide you with some new kinds of finance content without a quality reduction in any of the stuff you already know and love about my articles.

Since my article goes live at the same time as the StarCityGames.com Sale of the Week, I decided to ask my editors if they could clue me in on what they were planning to discount a couple of days ahead of time. That way, I could provide you with my picks for the best deals of the week. If you read my articles right when they go up (11 AM Eastern on Mondays), you should be able to snag these cards before they sell out.

I hope you don’t feel like this section is just an advertisement—these deals won’t be right for everyone, and I’m only going to post them when I think that the prices are legitimately good. As someone who builds their collection shrewdly and incrementally, I’m always on the lookout for good sales. If you’ve been on the fence about buying a card on this list for a while, the information in this section might give you the chance to save some cash.

Blood Crypt and Hallowed FountainReturn to Ravnica – NM – $8.49

The cheapest shocklands are about $1.50 cheaper than they usually are at the moment. There hasn’t been much Modern movement in a while, and I do think that these cards will eventually start going up in price. If you’ve been putting off grabbing a set of these, now is a decent time to pull the trigger.

Steam VentsReturn to Ravnica – SP – FOIL – $35.99

All the foil shocklands are on sale at the moment, including a $9 discount on this one. StarCityGames.com’s SP foils are generally really nic- looking, and this is one of the most important cards in Modern and Legacy. Buy one if you play U/R in Modern and like shiny things.

Polluted DeltaOnslaught – MP – FOIL – $239.99

I’m personally not a big fan of MP foils, but it’s rare to see this version of a foil Polluted Delta selling for under $250 regardless of condition. If you’ve been wanting an OG foil Delta and you’re not picky about it, this is your chance to get one below market price. Keep in mind that SCG is notorious for being the best in the business on grading, so you may find a lot of their MPs to be well within your quality standards for SPs.