The Scars of Mirrodin prerelease is in a week, and everyone is excited about the new cards coming out. They need to find four Etched Champion, and you need to use this opportunity to make yourself some good trades.
Today I want to talk about one older card in particular you should look to pick up at your prerelease, Eldrazi Monument, and share some of my practices on speculating through discussion of the Monument.
First, let’s start with the basics. The Monument is at $16 on Coolstuffinc.com, $10 (sold out) on StarCityGames.com and $13 on TrollandToad.com. We’re going to value it for the purposes of this article at $10, with the expectation of it rising. What this means is when you try to pick these up this weekend, you should value this card in that range and want to trade off some $6-8 cards for them.
There are a few reasons you can make the trade at that price. For starters, pricing is subjective. Just because we’re valuing the Monument at $10 doesn’t mean our trading partners will, it just means we don’t want to let them value it over $10 unless they are also “overpricing” their own cards. Players are going to be trying to pick up some of the new Mirrodin goodies, and will be more willing to part with cards like Monument if it means getting new cards.
Why we want to aggressively trade for Monuments
For the TLDR crowd, the short answer is “it’s good and likely to rise in price.”
With that out of the way, let’s look at the longer explanation.
As I’ve talked about before, one of the best ways to prep for the upcoming Standard season is to look back at the last Block season, which in this case is best encapsulated by Pro Tour: San Juan (which I was a game away from qualifying for, grumble, grumble). At the Pro Tour, a number of the top decks were mono-green Beastmaster Ascension and Eldrazi Monument decks. This is a good indicator that people will play some type of Monument deck, since they’ll have something to build from.
This is the basis of our evaluation of Monument. Moving into the next Standard season, I expect the metagame to be filled with U/W Control decks (as they lose very little), ramp decks, Monument/Vengevine decks, and something coming at us from Scars of Mirrodin.
Another metric to look at is how much play the card saw last season. Looking back a few months, the red/green Monument deck was always on the fringe of tier 1 playability. While that particular iteration of the deck may be dead due to the loss of Bloodbraid Elf, it shows that Monument has a strong enough effect to build around.
Based on historical evidence, these are valid indicators of coming decks. Faeries and Jund didn’t spring into existence overnight. They began in Block seasons and then continued on to dominate Standard for a number of months. There’s no reason that this trend won’t continue, barring any overpowered strategies like Affinity of old coming out of new Mirrodin.
The most important thing to take from these last few paragraphs is that you don’t need to be Conley Woods or a master of the game to spot the trends important to speculating on cards like Eldrazi Monument. When trading for profit, we only care about how good card X is insomuch as it affects the price of said card. Looking at evidence readily available today we can be reasonably sure that investing in Eldrazi Monuments is likely to pay off at some point in the next few months.
The impact of the mythic rare
So why are we looking to pick up the Monument and not Beastmaster Ascension, which was just as instrumental in the success of those Block season decks? We can thank Wizards of the Coast for that. Introducing mythic rares like Eldrazi Monument into sets has had a few drastic effects, exemplified by $70 Jace, the Mind Sculptors.
But the little gold rarity symbol has caused a side effect that most people ignore – they’ve depressed the price of normal rares. Case in point is Summoning Trap. The card has started to see some heavy play, including placing Conrad Kolos on the US national team, but its price has remained relatively unchanged. It’s likely that in the days before mythic rares the Trap would be a $5-6 card, rather than $2. What this means to us is that if we want to make any real profit speculating we’re better off banking on the mythic Eldrazi Monument.
Understanding the process that led me to the conclusion that Eldrazi Monument is worth picking up will increase your ability to successfully speculate on cards and stay one step ahead of the game, whether you’re into buying and reselling cards or prefer to accrue value through trading.
Now is the perfect time to pick up speculative cards because there is sure to be a host of casual players and collectors looking to pick up new cards like Geth, Lord of the Vault, which is unlikely to carry a large pricetag in a few months.
The bottom line is that you make better trades when you’re in a position of power. That means having the cards other players want. The first few weeks of a set are a great time to put yourself in that position, and understanding this concept is a great way to pick up value in your personal trading.
We’re just a week away from the Scars prerelease (Sept. 25-26), and I know I’m looking forward to killing my first player with Poison counters. I hope you do the same!
@Chosler88 on Twitter