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Calling Besieged – A Progress Report

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If you’ve read much of my past work, you know I’m a big fan of writers holding themselves accountable, especially for financial calls. So when I got an e-mail from the Powers-That-Be at QS about grading calls on Mirrodin Besieged, I was quick to take the suggestion and run with it.

As such, I’ll be reviewing this article on Besieged cards written just before the prerelease. In addition, I’ll be looking way back at this piece, The Top 10 post-Alara Uncommons, which I wrote nearly 8 months ago. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to keep the grading system simple. Good calls are going to be a “WIN,” missed call are a “FAIL,” and I’m going to apply an “inconclusive” to cards that are still up in the air as to where they’ll end up.

Prices are going to be SCG prices, since that’s what I used when I wrote the original articles. Let’s get started.

Hero of Bladehold

What I said then: A nice Mythic and a prerelease card. This might enable some new strategies, but so far I’m not seeing it, in Standard or Extended. A cost of 4 and no haste makes it likely too slow for Extended, and I don’t think it has the tools it needs to work with in Standard. A well-timed Consume the Meek takes care of the Hero’s buddies, and that spells the end of the theoretical deck it goes into. It will still appeal to a lot of players, so I see it ending up in the $5-7 range.”

Now: The card is going for $7.99 on SCG, which is about what I projected, though a little higher. The card is going to continue settling down as more packs are opened, and unless it begins to see heavy play, stay where I predicted.

Call: WIN

Mirran Crusader

What I said then: Sweet card, and it’s a Knight, which means it apparently has some casual value (see Knight of Exemplar at $6 on SCG). Its use in Standard probably relates directly to the possibility of Infect becoming a real deck. $3-5.”

Now: $6.99. Apparently having Protection from Target Extended Format will help a card’s price. Again, it’s around what I predicted and will settle down as we move out of Extended season.

Call: WIN

Consecrated Sphinx

What I said then: I’m addressing this because it’s a Mythic, but it’s pretty clearly a bulk Mythic that might go into Casual/EDH decks. $2.”

Now: $4.99 on SCG. Oops. This thing might have applications in Block, I’ve heard very faint rumors of it appearing in Standard, and it’s as popular casually as I thought. You could have picked these up cheap near release time, and made some money later. In fact, you probably still can. This thing screams “bulk” at you, but it’s a $5 card anyway.

Call: FAIL

Go for the Throat

What I said then: This is a stellar card that is sure to see competitive play (almost always better than Doom Blade at this point in the meta). Speaking of Doom Blade, did you know it will cost you 50 cents to pick one of these up on SCG, and $3 for a foil? I see the same thing happening with Go For the Throat, especially since it’s an uncommon, so make sure to look through the cards people leave on the table to find these.”

Now: All right, this one was obvious, but I’ll take the wins where I can get them. This is now $2.50 on SCG, in line with what we knew would happen.

Call: WIN

Phyrexian Crusader

What I said then: I’m really on the fence about these new Infect cards. I think the deck is a one-drop away from actually being competitive, and if it gets there cards like the Crusader are going to go for $6-9 apiece. Infect has insane popularity among casual players (see Hand of the Praetors at $5 apiece on SCG). With even a hint of playability attached to Infect, the Crusader can hang around $7-9 for a good while. Pick these up at $4 if you can. It’s preselling at $5 on SCG, and while I think you can get value out of trading for it on prerelease day at $4-5, I wouldn’t clean out SCG’s inventory.”

Now: Picking up play in Kibler’s UB Infect list, the card is going for $6.99 on SCG, right in line with my call. Saying to not clean out SCG’s inventory at $5 apiece is close to looking suspect, since the BlackLotusProject price of the card is actually over $4 and rising.

Call: WIN

Phyrexian Vatmother

What I said then: Same as above. I haven’t tested the theoretical Infect deck at all, but this card could have a place in it. Pick up as bulk this weekend, and it might pay off down the road. It’s preselling at $2, so there’s not much risk associated with this.”

Now: $1.49 on SCG, but a sliver of hope still lies with the Vatmother. Originally in Kibler’s maindeck, it has since moved to the sideboard, but as the Dragonmaster said, it’s a very good card against a deck like RDW. As I pointed out before, this is a purely speculative investment, and isn’t likely going to make you a ton of money, but it is a possibility.

Call: Inconclusive

Hero of Oxid Ridge

What I said then: If there’s going to be a Battle Cry deck, this guy has a realistic shot of having a place in it, due to haste. I don’t advise picking these up at the (now $8) presell price, but it’s a card to keep an eye on moving forward.”

Now: When I originally wrote the article, Hero was priced at something like $5, and I advised picking him up then. Apparently SCG hacked into the QS WordPress account and stole my column, because they raised their price before publication (that’s my theory, anyway). Now selling for $9.99 on SCG, it’s unfortunate that I saw his potential and use but failed to have enough faith in myself to up the call.

Call: FAIL

Green Suns Zenith

What I said then: This is my vote for best in the cycle. It has a number of decks it already slots in – Elves of pretty much any format, Ramp decks and basically every Green EDH deck with lots of mana and big monsters (so, most of them). It was pre-selling at $5 (now $8). I think it ends up as a $5-7 card. I’ll be looking to pick this card up as much as possible in trades this weekend, especially foils.

*Note: This also went up to $8 after originally starting much lower. Pick them up all day at $4-5, and sell at $7-8.”

Now: Now $9.99. I wish the card had stayed at $5 until I published the article, it would have been the easiest call ever. Moving it up to $8 actually made me reconsider my stance on it, but it looks like the Legacy scene stepped up to bolster the Zenith’s price enough for me to call this a…

Call: WIN

Thrun, the Last Troll

What I said then: I really think this guy is going to be a house, especially teaming up with Great Sable Stag to beat up on Faeries in Extended. As such, I think it will hang around $20 for awhile before slipping to $15ish as we move out of Extended season and more copies become available.”

Now: $9.99 on SCG. Easily my worst call of the lot, but at least I wasn’t alone, since pretty much everyone thought he was going to be insane (You did, don’t lie). Thrun is still an incredibly powerful card, but he just doesn’t have a home yet. If Infect isn’t big post-rotation, Thrun might find somewhere to slot in.

Call: FAIL

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

What I said then: 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.”

Now: Luckily, I very quickly realized my mistake on Tezzeret after playing a few matches with him, and wrote this column the following week about how insane he was. I was still ahead of the price spike by a good month, so I’m chalking this one up to a win.

Call: WIN

Phyrexian Revoker

What I said then: I’m not sold on this card, since most of the time you want your Pithing Needle to stay alive, which the 1 toughness makes difficult. It’s likely it will find it’s place in a variety of formats, but I don’t think it will hold its presale price of $4. I think it will eventually settle around $2-3.”

Now: $2.99 on SCG. Pretty much spot-on here. It’s awesome having a beater of a Pithing Needle, but the Revoker is just too fragile to make an impact.

Call: WIN

[card]Sword of Feast and Famine [card]

What I said then: Decks sporting Stoneforge Mystic are getting yet another option with this card. I think it’s primary use is going to be for bashing through Tarmogoyfs in Legacy, where the Mystic is starting to see more regular play. It also gives Boros another good target to search for when playing against U/B or a theoretical B/G Infect deck. I see this being on the level of Sword of Body and Mind, though protection from Black might take it a bit further. $8-10 when it’s all said and done.”

Now: Um, that’s kind of like predicting the rise of CawBlade, right? In my defense, this card was one of the last spoiled, and I didn’t have a lot of time to evaluate it, and the general rise of all the Mythic Swords hadn’t happened yet. On second thought, forget that. No excuse is even possible here. Just an…

Call: EPIC FAIL

Inkmoth Nexus

What I said then: This is one of my favorite cards spoiled so far, and it provides the theoretical Infect deck valuable reach. I’m not convinced it will see play in Control decks like Mike Flores suggested on his article on the mothership, but it’s going to be very popular nonetheless. I can see this holding its presale price of $8 (now $10). I love lands, so I’ll be trading aggressively for them anyway, but you should probably do the same. You can flip these at $10-12 all day long, and probably can pick them up at $7-8 from traders who still think Poison cards are jokes.

*Note: This has gone up to a $10 pre-sell price since the first draft of this article.”

Now: $11.99 on SCG. I wrote my initial review before Flores’ Mothership article, and there actually was a lot of skepticism going around as to where Inkie would end up. Luckily, I think I pegged pretty much exactly where the card was going. It has seen play outside of some Infect decks, but not in every Control deck ever as MJ originally suggested.

Call: WIN

That’s the end of the cards I put calls on before the Pre-release. Looking back over the results, we have:

8 WINS

3 FAILS

1 Inconclusive

1 EPIC FAIL

Considering I only put calls on the more controversial cards before the Prerelease, I think getting 8 out of 12 right is pretty acceptable. While I certainly wish I had gotten Thrun and Sword correct, not everyone can bat 1.000 (which is perfect, for you non-Baseball people)

Now moving on to this piece, which was my first foray into video content (which could come back, if there was interest for it), I listed the Top 10 Uncommons to hold onto after the rotation of Alara. Keep in mind that Scars wasn’t even being previewed at the time I did this. Again, I’ll use SCG prices.

Top 10

10. Pelakka Wurm

Then: $.25

Now: $.50

I tagged this card as viable because of the lifegain aspect, which I thought would make it good tech in ramp decks against aggro. It turns out that after playing a Turn 6 Primeval Titan it was better to follow it up with an Eldrazi. The Wurm has seen some sideboard play, which is what I expected. Also, they went and printed Wurmcoil Engine, so there’s that.

9. Oust

Then: $.50

Now: $.50

No change to the price, and Oust has seen some play, though not near as much as I thought it would.

8. Goblin Ruinblaster

Then: $.50

Now: $.99

Modest increase in the Ruinblaster, as I expected. He still blows up Valakuts pretty well.

7. Joraga Treespeaker

Then: $1

Now: $2

The Lorax was only #7 on my list because he already commanded a dollar bill. Now he pulls $2 apiece and is just as insane as I thought he would be.

6. Combust

Then: $.50

Now: $.50

A theme in this Top 10, you’ll notice I overrated Baneslayer Angel and underrated the Titan cycle, which has had a huge impact on the playability of a few cards on this list.

5. Autumn's Veil

Then: $.25

Now: $.50

The Veil has seen (very) modest play in a few different formats, but hasn’t really caught on anywhere. At the time of this article, I was predicting UW Control to be the dominant deck moving forward, and I thought Veil would have more a role for Green decks moving forward. Summoning Trap is superior in nearly every way, which also helped cause the demise of Veil.

4. Everflowing Chalice

Then: $1

Now: $2

This was a pretty easy call, as scalable mana ramp is always good.

3. Condemn

Then: $.75

Now: $.99

Though I do actually show a “win” on this call, Condemn hasn’t been anywhere near as played as I thought it would. It seemed like the best Path to Exile replacement, but again, underestimating the Titan cycle caused me to misrank this card.

2. Crystal Ball

Then: $1

Now: $.50

This is my biggest miss. I thought the Crystal Ball would see some Standard play as a 1 or 2-of, but obviously that didn’t pan out. I also expected its EDH/Casual appeal to keep it at a dollar, but obviously not.

1. Wall of Omens

Then: $2.50

Now: $1.99

This is partially another victim of my misconception that a traditional UW Control build would be dominant, but the removal of Bloodbraid Elf and Blightning from the format made Wall a lot less useful. It is still playable if the metagame shifts correctly, so it’s still safe to hold onto these.

I hope you enjoyed this look back at my metagame predictions and enjoyed laughing at me!  I’ve learned a few lessons from cards like Thrun (good cards need to be more than good – they need to fit in a deck) and Sword (card AND mana advantage on a card is pretty good), and I hope this look back helps you when you’re evaluating new sets.

Thanks,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

5 thoughts on “Calling Besieged – A Progress Report

  1. This is what I love about QS. Being able to look back and see the Wins and Fails. This is an interesting set that potentially you could EPICALLY win because of the next set. I think I am one of the few people that wasn't blown away by Thrun, I guess it's because of the Legendary part. I figured he would probably never see 4 in a deck so that should help keep his value down a little. Although I really thought I think you could pull out a HUGE win with the Vatmother before she is out of standard. I definitely went along with a lot of your predictions and it either protected me from losing money or made me a little, so thanks! Look forward to the next predictions!

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