Jason’s Archives: Seriously, Where Are You Getting These Numbers?

Greetings, Speculators!

I’m here to talk to you about pretend money.

Let’s Keep This Short

I had a lot of ideas I wanted to get to today, but let’s talk about Boros Reckoner. There was a lot of talk on Twitter today about how this card was $15. “Awwww yeah” I said to myself, since I had managed to trade some cards into my LGS and get paid partly in a box. Great deal for him and pretty miserable deal for me on bad EV sets, but the EV on Gatecrash is actually decent. In any case, I was happy to help my LGS get started.

My new home LGS, Odyssey Games in Kalamazoo Michigan, is the store I had in mind when I wrote this masterpiece. It just opened with new ownership and is quickly becoming the best place to hang out in the area (unless you hate smaller FNMs and Limited).

Being paid in boxes actually helped me out when I got stuck with a case and decided to bust a bunch of boxes. Since I had extra boxes in the mix, I broke even on what I paid for my case very quickly and took to eBay to sell the excess before everything went down (I think 95% of the set is on a downward trajectory.) I listed Boros Reckoner for $9.45 with free shipping and listed the quantity at 4. And waited. And waited. As of this afternoon, they hadn’t sold so I took them down to get on some of this $15 action everyone’s talking about.

If people want to take them at $15 in trade because a few retail sites say that’s reasonable, I’m all about trading them out. But let’s be real — the cards aren’t $15 retail if you can snag a playset on the ‘bay for under $38. That’s just science. Don’t get me started on sites being sold out of Twilight Mire at $25 when I could buy 11 of them for $10 each and all that was required of me was eight seconds of my time and access to the internet.

If you’re paying full retail and not doing your homework, you need to stop that right meow. You guys can pretend some of these retail sites have the real price, and I welcome you to exploit this disconnect with reality to your advantage in trades, but let’s be real — a card isn’t $15 until the last playset listed at $9.45 each is gone. That’s just…science. Or something.

The Year Both Event Decks Didn’t Suck

Read ‘em and Weep

Sweet Jews for Jesus, those are some tasty decklists! Thragtusk has now appeared in more iterations of the duel deck series than he has booster packs of M13 [citation needed]. With Wolfir Silverheart, Gruul Ragebeast and Mist Raven machine-gunning off of Deadeye Navigator blinks, this deck is surprisingly an unplayable piece of shit. Still, it will be flooding the markets (to an extent) with cheap playable cards. And for once the weaker of the two decks is still worth picking up for MSRP, if anywhere will sell them to you for that.

The Boros pile has [card Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]Thalia[/card], [card Champion of the Parish]Champ[/card], [card Ash Zealot]Zealot[/card] and Clifftop Retreat along with $73 worth of Boros Charms. It’s clearly the better of the two; I think it’s about eight cards off of a decklist Craig Wescoe won an SCG Open with [citation needed]. Champion of the Parish hasn’t spiked post-Gatecrash, and now it might not at all. Still, they trade well and should continue to do so even with a small amount of additional copies hitting the streets.

These decks are both all of the value, so try to get as many as you can. I expect sealed copies to buylist for more than MSRP in a few months. But I’ve been wrong before; I laughed when someone suggested Thragtusk might be in a duel deck a third time. In my defense, he was tickling me at the time.

Play Along and Let’s All Pretend I Found This on Reddit

Missed Trigger Update

I didn’t, but I could have. You don’t know.

Even though I have a habit of explaining the self-explanatory, I’m not so inclined this evening. I’m not even really sure of the ramifications of this cleaned-up trigger policy. Chad Havas seems to have a handle on it, and if you’re not following Chad on Twitter, seriously, what up with that? Even if the free articles are the only ones you read on QS and thus don’t have access to Chad’s ideas, it’s free to follow him on Twitter. Here, it literally couldn’t be easier. Just click this link.

Follow a bunch of other judges on Twitter, too. They are a wealth of good information about rules changes and sometimes they want to unload some of their awesome foils. Plus, like Soylent Green, Magic judges are people. So have a heart; follow Art (Halavais) on Twitter. He told me he’d get more followers if I threw in a rhyme, but I really don’t think that one landed.

Atlanta Drops It Like a Series of Unsuccessful Hockey Teams

SCG Atlanta coverage was much more watchable than the 96-hour Super Bowl preamble on every medium (even my Twitter feed blew up about sportsball and I only follow Magic people.) And it could have made you some money. Did you snag any Grove of the Burnwillows for El Cheapo? Are you going to pay the $15 they are now? (I say $15 because they’re even $15 on eBay. That may be an actual price). Why is Grove spiking? Don’t skip ahead, yahoo. Let’s get the boring Standard out of the way, first.

SCG Hotlanta Standard Decks

This winning Naya Humans deck looks an awful lot like a pre-Gatecrash list with access to Stomping Ground and Sacred Foundry. I’m happy to see the whole gang presided over by the [card Mayor of Avabruck]Mayor[/card] of the people’s Werewolfacratic Republic of Avabruck, but where are the Boros Charms? Where’s Boros Reckoner? Where’s that [card Aurelia, the Warleader]Aurelia[/card] I was called a monkey for not calling a $20 card? (It SO isn’t). It looks like Frontline Medic alone made the cut, but I like this list and it clearly gets there.

Cartel Aristocrat gives the Humans Reanimator deck the sac outlet it needed to be truly explosive and/or unfair. For the time being, all Gatecrash is really doing is improving existing decks’ mana bases, but fret not, brewing will occur.

Devour Flesh is popping up in a few sideboards. “I ain’t afraid of no Geist,” says the field. (Let Ray Parker Jr. try to sue me; he stole that beat from Huey Lewis. He knows it, Huey knows it, the judge that presided over Huey’s lawsuit knows it.) The hexproof deck could be on its way out of Standard in any case. That deck sure likes to mull to five. Ask me how I know.

One interesting development is Domri Rade showing up in the Peddle to the Metal list. I called Domri way after Ryan Bushard did, but still early enough that I could have snagged $10 copies if I’d elected to do so. You can’t get them for $10 now, but you may get newer players to trade him off, especially if you offer them [card Gideon, Champion of Justice]Gideon[/card]. That’s a trade that will look even more lopsided in a few weeks, mark my words.

RDW jammed a set of Reckoners, and even a few Skullcracks to boot. I don’t know that Crackalacks is the best burn spell in a format ruled by creatures, but if you’re goldfishing against the number twenty like red decks tend to, maindecking a spell that deals the caster of a Thragtusk a virtual 8 damage for two mana is probably the play. RDW deals 18 damage very very well. It’s dealing 30 that gives it fits.

Look, Standard is too new. Give it a week and we’ll see some real exciting developments. It took us nine months to figure out we liked Nightshade Peddler after all.

An Actual Exciting Legacy Event

So back to Grove of the Burnwillows. I was in the QS forums yesterday and saw a post from Ken McFarland saying he snagged a pile of these for $4. While I was plotting a way to sneak into his frat house and beat him to death with a tube sock full of four-sided dice so I could help myself to his Groves, I noticed the post was from over a year and a half ago. Ken gets to live after all.

The reason I was in the QS forums in the first place was to find the thread where I said Punishing Maverick could make a comeback with Deathrite Shaman and everyone disagreed. Their reasoning that Deathrite Shaman was really good at getting rid of Punishing Fire, I thought, was trumped by my logic of “No it isn’t,” and also, “It is Punishing Fire that is efficient at getting rid of Deathrite Shaman.” He only has two toughness; he’s practically asking for it. Kills [card Dark Confidant]Bob[/card], kills Deathrite and kills faces. Punishing Fire is well-positioned right now, and I don’t care who in the QS forums disagrees.

Imagine how good I felt when a Punishing Jund deck ran roughshod over the fair decks in Atlanta. Grove has been printed twice, Fire has been printed twice. These will be hot trading commodities. I wish I could say I ignored all the naysayers and bought a ton of cheap Groves, but, alas and alack. You may have about a week until the general populace catches on, so use it well.

Other tech from this event was a ridiculous cartoon of a deck that we at Brainstorm Brewery had mocked: using Omniscience to cast Enter the Infinite. Sure, EtI lets you get your whole deck and cast it with Omniscience, but we weren’t under the impression that Omniscience needed any help being badass. With Omniscience ostensibly castable, EtI puts you all in on the Show and Tell plan. Still the deck looked like a hell of a lot of fun to play. Playing double [card Emrakul, the Aeons Torn]Emrakul[/card] to shuffle the graveyard in so you don’t die to decking is hilarious, and who couldn’t use three turns in a row? I know I could.

The Belcher deck that got there wasn’t a silly Balustrade Spy variant, but rather good, old-fashioned, all-in Belcher with Tinder Walls and all. Corbin will be upset if I don’t talk about the Merfolk deck in the top eight, so I won’t. Suck it, Hosler.

Oh, boy. Three Jund decks in the top eight. I always dreamed that one day Legacy could be just like Standard and Modern. So much for the healthiest format. And they’re jamming Bloodbraid Elf, because any card too good for Modern must be good in Legacy. With approximately zero spells it isn’t happy to hit for free, Elf is just bananas in this deck. Makes me want to try to play 4-color and hit Bloodbraid -> Shardless Agent -> [card Baleful Strix]Strix[/card] and really live the card advantage dream. I feel like Mono-Planechase can be a thing.

Scroll way the hell down. Mike Jacobs wasn’t playing Death and Taxes. He was playing honest-to-God Mono White Aggro. I feel like this is an above-average cube deck, but I wouldn’t have imagined it would get there in Legacy. No Hate Bears, it packs Hate Lions in the form of Dryad Militant and Mother of Runes (not a lion). Also regular lions, because apparently [card Isamaru, Hound of Konda]Isamaru[/card] is a bad choice. The extra toughness is probably relevant less often than the legendary status. Or maybe he threw something together with the back pages of a trade binder and managed to get prizes. Either way, it looks fun, and apart from some equipment, it looks cheap. Not a bad way to start Legacy if you don’t want to play RDW.

That’s All I Wrote

I’ll be honest. I’m about mentally checked out right now. I’m in podcast mode now and I can’t think of a good ending. So I’ll leave you abruptly mid se

Jason Alt

Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on Gatheringmagic.com. He is also the Community Manager at BrainstormBrewery.com and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

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