A few weeks ago, I talked about how important it is to take ownership of your predictions if you’re a financial writer. That means admitting when you’re wrong (also see this by QS Editor-in-Chief Kelly Reid).
Luckily, that’s not what I have to do this week. If not for this week’s column, though, I likely would be apologizing to you for my call on a certain Planeswalker in a few short months. The Planeswalker in question?
For reference, here’s what I said about Tezzy in my column last week.
“I think the presale price of $35 is high, but Dark Tezzy does have a ton of utility. The ultimate factor in his price is going to be whether or not he finds a home in Standard, which he might well do before his run in Standard ends. That said, I don’t see such a deck existing right now in Standard. Tezz is nuts in Vintage, though that doesn’t drive demand that much. I’m going to put a call of $20-25 BlackLotusProject.com average on him after a few months. Same thing as above applies, keep an eye out for any winning decks sporting Tezzeret, because if he jumps, he’s going to jump big.”
I still think the pre-release price is high, for now, since they are available for $25 apiece on Ebay. But I think a few months down the road this guy can easily eclipse $35-40, even on Ebay.
Why have I changed my stance? The short answer is testing. The longer answer means taking a look at the environment Tezz 2.0 exists in.
Let’s start by looking at the things the card has going for it already:
- It costs four mana. This can’t be overstated. There’s a reason Elspeth 1.0 was insane, and version 2.0 is underwhelming, and it has a lot to do with that extra mana symbol floating around in the top right. Tezz 2.0 will nearly always hit play on Turn 3, since he’s going to be played with Everflowing Chalice and Sphere of the Suns.
- He immediately leaves Bolt range. This is huge for Jace 2.0, and the ability can be even more relevant on Tezz. Whereas Jace would sometimes Fateseal and leave the card on top, just to have them Jace rule you out on their turn, leaving you with no value, Tezz doesn’t have that problem. He leaves Bolt range and immediately nets you a card, often one that will help to protect him.
- His Ultimate takes only one turn to use. This makes him incredibly powerful in the mid-to-late game, as well as the early game. Where Jace threatens to end the game within a few turns by providing you with massive amounts of card advantage, Tezz can simply end the game.
- He can also immediately protect himself by “kinging” a random artifact, providing a 5/5 beater or defender. This means that a Tezz topdeck can represent an immediate 5 damage to the face while hanging around.
As you can see, Tezz has all the attributes of a great Planeswalker, provided you jump through the one hoop he presents – playing with Artifacts. I think it’s pretty clear at this point that isn’t such a drawback.
Now onto why I think Tezz represents not just a good card, but a good financial pickup.
To understand fully why Tezz is going to impact Constructed in a serious way, we have to take into account the following factors that are true about the environment he is entering.
- Control decks are king. Outside of a spare performance by Boros or Elves, control (particularly U/B) continues to reign supreme, flip-flopping with Valakut as the top deck. U/B also happens to be Tezz’s colors, and he fits perfectly into Control decks. There is going to be an explosion of U/B control decks working Tezz in, and most of them are going to be substandard. But sooner or later (and possibly at Pro Tour: Paris next weekend) a good U/B Tezz list is going to post a good finish, and the card is going spike.
- We’re living in Mirrodin right now. There’s another full set to put out cards to work with Tezz, and he’s already got a few nice tools to work with.
- Looking forward down the road to rotation, we’re going to be left with Block decks from Mirrodin. Safe to say Tezz is going to play a large part in many of those.
- Against your worst matchup, all-out aggro, this guy digs for a handy card known as Wurmcoil Engine. Consider the following sequence against a deck like RDW.
- Turn 1: Creeping Tar Pit
- Turn 2: Sphere of the Suns/Everflowing Chalice
- Turn 3: Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and dig for Wurmcoil.
- Turn 4: Chances are Tezz eats some damage from their dudes and you have some combination of two removal spells, which in this deck could be something like Tumble Magnet and Go for the Throat.
- Turn 5: Drop Wurmcoil. I understand this isn’t insane or anything, but in addition to the other ways U/B has to handle aggro decks, it’s a pretty reasonable scenario that a Tezz deck can present.
- Proliferate exists. While we haven’t seen anything insane out of Proliferate yet, there are certainly constructed-playable cards. Maybe in a dedicated deck something like Thrummingbird does work, but a more likely scenario for a U/B Tezz deck is Contagion Clasp. In a test game against an updated U/B Control deck with no Tezzeret, I had the following occur. It’s Turn 10-12, we’ve done a lot of Jace and manland trading and we’re both topdecking. I rip Tezzeret, immediately proliferate, and kill him from 17. How often do Control mirrors boil down to who can keep the biggest bomb on the table? Tezz is about the best thing you can have in these situations outside of maybe Grave Titan.
- There are naturally some open slots in U/B Control decks. Many lists are still playing cards like Sea Gate Oracle, which is most aptly described as “meh.” No one is clamoring to draw the Oracle, and it can easily be cut to help clear room for the artifact engine.
- Looking outside of Standard, it’s possible Tezzeret makes a splash in Vintage, and possibly Extended as well before it rotates out of Standard.
I’m not a pro deckbuilder, but I do think I’m pretty solid. I don’t want to give away the list I’ve been working on with a few other writers (because it’s not primarily mine), but playing with the deck has made me a believer that Tezz is going to be extremely powerful, whether that’s in two weeks, three months or after the rotation.
As far as profiting from this goes, I have a few suggestions. First, trade for the new Besieged cards before the whole set begins to drop, and turn them into Tezzerets. For current trade purposes, I’m valuing Tezz at $25-30, which is pretty easily justified by pointing at Ebay prices. Many people are willing to accept an Ebay price on a card without looking up all the other cards involved on Ebay. This is primarily laziness on the part of these traders, but I’ve been able to sweeten a lot of deals with this technique, since most people don’t know Ebay prices off the top of their head (BlackLotusProject.com isn’t a widely-known commodity), and they don’t want to spend their time pulling up Ebay auctions on their phone.
The majority of Besieged cards are going to suffer the typical drop after the set releases, but Tezzeret is the one that is going to be able to best rebound at some point in the future. Right now, I see it being a $40-50 card on major sites like Star City, and $30-35 on Ebay in a few months, with the potential to jump to even higher heights if things work out for the Tezz deck.
That’s all the space I have for this week. Make sure to leave a comment and let me know if you think I’m on the right track or you think Tezz is going to disappoint.
@Chosler88 on Twitter