Mythic Madness

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No, it's not a new deck featuring Wild Mongrel and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.  A lot of people have been talking about Mythic Rares lately, in the (world)Wake of Jace, Gideon, Elspeth and Ajani Vengeant appearing in great quantity in the same deck.  I've held off talking about this for a while now, but I think I'm ready to leave my opinion.

When I first cracked a Shards pack, I saw Sarkhan Vol staring back at me.  I didn't play a whole lot during Lorwyn, so he was my first Planeswalker.  What were the odds?  I knew Mythic Rares were scarce, so I was really, really excited.  My inner Timmy came out for the first time in ages.

As time wore on, it got old.  The appeal of busting some sick Mythic quickly faded as they became a normal part of opening packs.  Conflux and Alara Reborn didn't have the same feel.  The financial impact wasn't fully felt until Rise of the Eldrazi was released.  Think about it - some of the best cards printed lately have been Mythic Rares.  When Lorwyn was legal, the best cards were Mythics.  Do you think they would have considered printing the Commands as Mythics?  Maybe.  How about Mistbind Clique or Vendilion Clique?  Seems plausable.  So, we had the luxury of our staple rares seeing $25 price tags, not $70. 

Now that RoE is out, we have a full house in Standard, and then some.  Rise adds about 150 cards to the depth chart in this season's Standard, and with it, a host of great Mythics.  That means that naturally, the best cards will gravitate towards the Mythic rarity, as demonstrated when Lewis Laskin mortgaged his house, sold his Wife's wedding ring, and traded his Bentley for a Vespa scooter to build his 5k winning deck.  It's kind of screwed up when the deck costs half of the first-place prize purse at a Star City 5k.  Nice EV.  Hope you got friends that are dealers, and don't ask me.  Mine are already betrothed elsewhere.

I like Mythics in the sense that I like the money they bring into my store.  However, my main goal is to grow the community, not make a quick buck.  I believe firmly that what is good for the community will eventually pay for itself, so if a quick buck will be to the detriment of the community, it's hardly worth it.  That's where I stand on Mythics. 

I think that $30 for a single, Standard-legal card is too much.  Players are used to $20 cards.  Each set has had one for ages now.  To see Jace, the Mind Sculptor at $60-70 on major sites is awful for the game.  I know MTG Color Pie's Robby Rothe is going to put up an article on this issue later in the week, in which I believe I am quoted extensively, but for now, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Kelly Reid

Founder & Product Manager

View More By Kelly Reid

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6 thoughts on “Mythic Madness

  1. The situation is getting worse because the rares of the sets are getting so much worse for constructed formats, especially eternal ones.Look at the situation in Zendikar singles: the prices for the Mythics are held in check by the demand for the fetchlands, demand that is not just driven by Standard but also driven by Legacy players needing singles. It helps also that the Mythics are not ridiculous in power creep, but even if there was one it would be held in check by the secondary market due the appealing EV of opening a box of Zendikar thanks to the numerous rares that command decent prices and are easily sold.Now look at Worldwank. There's Jace, a clearly improved version of the Lorwyn walker, and then there's a series of manlands that will never see constructed play outside of T2, a lot of mostly unplayable other mythics, and Stoneforge Mystic (the only other money card beside Jace in the entire set that sees play outside of Standard). The EV for this set is terrible, opening packs is a miserable lottery experience that makes you wonder why you aren't scratching tickets at a gas station instead, and dealers are trying to unload their boxes now that ROE is out.M10 is little better-a set of lands that are terrible outside of T2/casual, a round of now-obselete planeswalkers save Garruk, two money mythics including Bankslayer, and a handful of $2-$4 reprint rares. The craziest thing is that there is literally no reason for an eternal format player to ever open a pack of M10 unless it is for draft and what a GREAT limited format that was lolz.ROE looks equally bad, with tons of goofball/overhyped flavor Mythics, a huge helping of garbage rares and very few utility rares, and basically only one or two cards that will see play outside of Standard. We really need to have a situation where each set has 6-10 rares (not Mythic rares) that command a $10-$15 price tag. This will act as a regulator on the secondary market for a chase Mythic from going into the $40+ range since at that point the EV for opening boxes starts to get really appealing for both players and dealers alike. To get to that many rares, the burden lies on R&D; to make cards that will see demand as constructed playables (with a huge bonus if they are playable in Legacy, which can drive secondary market demand).

  2. You couldn't be more right, Kelly. Remember Rosewater's justification for Mythics, and that they wouldn't be printing cards that are 4-of deckbuilding staples at that rarity?Hello, Vengevine. How's tricks? :PI can understand a.) Planeswalkers and b.) Legendary permanents at Mythic. Or, say, Eldrazi Monument. Things that you don't typically WANT four of in your deck! But cards that only become optimal when you're running 4x of them? Mythic wrath effects? This is getting ridiculous.I am ready to see WotC start following the guidelines they themselves laid down about what sort of cards would be printed at the Mythic rarity. I don't plan on holding my breath though.

  3. Comment from Email (don't email me! post here instead, that way everyone can be involved in the discussion!)1) Planeswalkers are far and away the best card type in Standard right now. With the starting loyalty numbers skyrocketing on them, it has gotten incredibly difficult to remove them the moment they hit the field, and they nearly always 2 for 1 removal. 2) Crap rares @ the Rare rarity are BAD BAD BAD for the health of the game. If Gideon had been in Zendikar, he would NOT be a $50 card, simply because the cost of opening boxes was dispersed by the fetchlands. Worldwake and Rise have abysmally poor overall rare quality- if part of the reason for smaller sets was to eliminated the "55 crap rares and 5 good ones" problem from sets like Future Sight, that's fine. But if the only good rares are now 5 Mythics, you haven't solved the problem at all! The $50 card problem was here long before the Mythic rarity- Mutavault/Bitterblossom were evidence of that. The real problem is that they're not generating enough demand for a variety of cards in the set- and that truly boils down to power level issues. They can say "oh, these cards aren't for spike" – but really, who are they kidding. Doubling Season is an anomaly. Powerful tournament stapes generate the highest secondary prices. If they balance the format more (see: Invasion Block Constructed, where every f'n color combo under the sun saw play.) then singles prices are less of an issue because there's a large demand for a variety of cards.

  4. I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations where I changed the set sizes back to the way that they were in the Ravnica through Lorwyn days, and then assumed that the prices of cards would change proportionately (obviously, this is an assumption) based on how much more or less rare they became. This made the prices adjust as follows:large set rare x 1.455large set mythic x .727large set uncommon x 1.467small set rare x 1.375small set mythic x .688small set uncommon x 1.375M10 rare x 2M10 mythic x 1reprints = previous pricerelease foils x 1commons = previous priceOne thing that I realized quickly that is very awkward is that M10 mythics are exactly as rare as 10E rares were. This means, of course, that Baneslayer Angel would be just as rare assuming that M10 would be the same size as 10E and would also have new cards in it, requiring players to crack packs rather than playing with ones from older sets. That heavily skews what the "old" prices for decks would be.Then I plugged in the prices from SCG for the recent lists there for Laskin's planeswalker deck, Tap Out Blue, Jund, mono-red, and both versions of Mythic.Planeswalkers: 3% moreTap-Out: 6% lessEldrazi Mythic: 6% lessMythic: 18% lessMono-red: 20% lessJund: 29% less1) If the deck has relatively few rares but lots of expensive mythics, like Laskin's deck, it is SLIGHTLY (like 3-5%) more expensive2) If the deck has lots of expensive mythics, but also lots of rares, it is slightly but stil noticeably (5-10%) cheaper. This was the case for Eldrazi Mythic3) If the deck has some mythic rares and lots of rares, it is noticeably cheaper4) If the deck has no expensive mythics, it is significantly cheaper.In other words, even the reduced price mythics are still wayyyyyyyy too expensive ($50 Jace, $40 Baneslayer assuming smaller base sets, etc.), any good new M10 mythics would still be wayyyyyyyy too expensive, and any savings from mythics are quickly offset by things like power uncommons that start creeping up on $10 each or needing a dozen $20 lands for your deck.One thing that I don't know how to handle is the effect of inflation. Packs prices tick up each year almost exactly in line with inflation, but for the most part card prices had the same $30 ceiling from like 1995 until 2007 and card values have often depreciated as a whole. That $30 Cursed Scroll in 1997 was really more like $40 in today's dollars, yet we never really saw the ceiling increase over $30 until Tarmogoyf blew past the inflation-adjusted ceiling. Meanwhile, I feel like we've gone from dealers having a dollar rare bin to have a 50 cent rare bin when it "should" have become like a $1.25 bin.

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