Picking and Choosing

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Hey everyone, and how nice to see you again on QuietSpec’s corner of the interwebs. We’re back this week with more Whinston’s Whisdom, revamped to take some reader feedback into account. Today’s article is less theory oriented, and more about looking at specific cards that you, as the savvy traders that you are, might want to keep an eye on. By keeping track of these cards, you’ll be able to respond to any rapid shifts in a metagame, or more recent tournament results, and profit based on your foresight.

I think the first thing that has to be covered in any card price specific article, is what I think of the new Tezzeret. Though others have disagreed, some even on this very site, I do not believe that Tezzeret is currently worth the $25-$30 that he sells for on Ebay, let alone the higher price that online superstores sell him at. Why? Because he simply will not see enough play to merit such a price. Yes, artifacts are very powerful. Yes, he may very well see play in Block Constructed, or in Eternal artifact based decks, but this doesn’t mean he’s a good choice for the newer and more profitable Extended or Standard formats. Every artifact decklist I’ve seen for Extended or Type 2 has tried to warp itself around Tezzeret. Take Open the Vaults combo. Everyone and their mother have jammed 4 copies of Tezz into it because they assume it will be good. And guess what? It will be! But building a decklist around a planeswalker is not a good way to show how widely playable it is. Any FNM scrub can build a discard deck and shove Liliana in it. A Blue deck with Jace? So original! But the value of a planeswalker is determined by the ability of that planeswalker to be good even in situations, which are not optimized for it. Jace is good because in any Blue deck, of any strategy, he will always be good, but Tezzeret requires a bare minimum of 12+ artifacts to even be playable, let alone optimal. Tezzerret will fall in price, briefly spiking if anyone manages to win a PTQ with an artifact deck, but at the moment, his price tag is far too high for its affect.

A card I’m a bit more optimistic about though is Shape Anew. The “Artifact Polymorph” recently became a legitimate possibility in Standard because of the printing of a monstrous target, Blightsteel Colossus. Big Bad Blightsteel kills in one hit, through a 1 power blocker, and represents a massive powercreep from the original Darksteel variety. Shape Anew is in the current position of a dollar rare, but stands to spike dramatically if a deck based around it ever puts up numbers. And I think the numbers will be put up. Why? Because of the reduction in effective removal being played at the moment. Aggressive Kuldotha Red strategies may have burn, but if they’re afraid of tapping out in the first 4 turns, you’ll buy enough time to take the game fully under your control. Journey to Nowhere has almost disappeared from view. Control decks have turned to playing Go for the Throat, which can neither stop a Shape Anew from resolving, nor deal with a Colossus after it’s been plunked on the battlefield, though you may need to be careful of opposing Jaces. I’ve even been investigating Shape Anew variations for Extended, though I’ve realized that Open the Vaults, as combo decks go, is probably just a better choice. But overall, Shape Anew still shows huge potential, and is still cheap. Don’t be left behind in the dust later on! With a minute amount of risk, you can pick up a few playsets now for $15, then sell them if the card peaks.

Finally, we turn to the world of Extended, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. OH WON’T YOU PLEEEAAASE TAKE ME HOOOOOOOME! Here, I have less card specific advice for you, and more archetype specific. I have recently been picking up cards for Elf combo on MTGO. I feel that with the release of Mirrodin Besieged, G/W Elf combo with Ranger of Eos is a very strong contender in the current environment. The results from the last MTGO Extended PTQ show Faeries as the most popular archetype, closely followed by RDW. And while the Fae may seem to be a poor matchup, the addition of Green Sun's Zenith, making copies 5-8 of any creature in the deck, will make the matchup much better for the little Green men. Against Red, a combination of Fauna Shaman and Ranger of Eos to tutor up multiple Burrenton Forgetenders will shut down pretty much any game plan, and you can even throw a few Kor Firewalker or Basilisk Collar in the sideboard if you feel that they’re necessary. Vengevine makes the deck resilient to removal, and Regal Force gives it gas. Another direction to go in might be more based off of Travis Woo’s recent list that he published in an article on, talking about a Druid based Elf combo list using Gilt-Leaf Archdruid as a card drawing engine, which eventually culminated in stealing his opponent’s lands many games in a row. Whatever floats your boat, Elf combo is a major contender in the Extended PTQ season, so once again, don’t let an opportunity pass you by.

I’ve been hearing pretty consistent requests for some kind of “financial tip of the week” to cap off my articles, and as a more specific piece of advice for my readers. And who am I to deny the people what they want? Welcome, to the Whinston’s Whisdom Oracle®. Though today’s article was almost entirely composed of similar tips, I decided to separate one out just to establish a precedent. Now, I want to talk about a card that I have talked about elsewhere, and that I have not been the only one to notice significant potential from. Contested Warzone has become a fantastically strong card in aggressive decks, providing them a late or mid-game mana sink. Also, because the opponent will usually need to keep his creatures back as blockers, the War Zone’s downside very rarely comes into play. Though War Zone has already seen a significant price increase in the past week, it’s still a card to watch (along with Shape Anew) going into the later rounds of Pro Tour Paris.

Let’s round out this week’s article with the comment contest. Congratulations to our winner: zrbrt, so please send me your mailing address and I’ll get your cards out to you. Participation was significantly lower this week, maybe because of the topic of the last article, but I hope it picks up again for this week’s edition. Remember, to be entered in the comment contest, comment under this article or send me a message on twitter (@NWhinston) containing one positive comment, one constructive criticism, and one future article idea. I’ll pick what I feel is the best answer, and award you absolutely FREE cards. This week’s prize is an MP Foil Rude Awakening, so get your comments in!

Signing off,

--Noah Whinston

nwhinston on Twitter

Arcadefire on MTGO

Baldr7mtgstore on ebay

4 thoughts on “Picking and Choosing

  1. There are a few Tezzeret decks floating around the top tables at PT: Paris right now, we'll have to see how that pans out. If you're interested in a different opinion on Tezzeret, my article from last week predicts that he will rise in value, especially after rotation. Time will tell!

  2. I like the detail going into the Shape Anew speculation. It's not just "There's a big dude, it'll be good" but you go into details about the current meta and explain why it might actually work. I hadn't actually thought of GftT actually making this card better before.

    I would like it if you were more specific with the elf speculation. Is your advice "Go get elves!" Or are there specific cards in such a deck that you think will have the biggest changes in value? I also think that the Warzone watch is coming to a close, it's starting to enter the over $5 dollar range, and I don't think there's much profit to be made in acquiring them now. I just wish I could have gotten more than one for a buck last week at FNM…

    I just signed up for the site, so I'm not sure if I have any great ideas for future articles, but I do enjoy it when speculation writers give a 'pick of the week' type ending to their articles. Especially if they keep track and update the readers on the successes/failures of the past month or so of picks.

  3. It might make me a jerk for pointing it out, but Tezz has almost doubled since the publishing of this article. He's been in several decks that have 5-0'd in Paris and is almost $50 right now. And rising…

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