(Note – The Prediction Tracker update will now be added to my column every week, and it will appear on Fridays from now on).
It’s been a busy week in the Magic world. We’ve had the Star City Invitational, GP Singapore, an upcoming Pro Tour, and M12 and Commander spoilers everywhere!
Last week was also one of the first times I’ve truly traveled for an event, and it’s safe to say I have a better understanding of the grind than I used to.
I also didn’t get to trade as much as I would have liked at the Invitational, on account of Top 32’ing and cashing at the event, but I was able to work in a little. While trading, I was able to consistently pick up Consecrated Sphinx at low prices, and at least one dealer on site was buying them at $4. I also saw a number of Sphinx at the top tables of the tournament.
All of this makes it seem like the Sphinx is a sick pickup right now, doesn’t it? Well, yes and no. On the positive side, it’s seeing more and more play and its price is steadily increasing. The only bad news to temper its rise?
This brings me to the focus of this week’s column. With spoilers flying at us from M12, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate what it is going to do to the market.
I’ll start with the reprints that are going to have the biggest impact.
With this picture, we have confirmation of what we have expected for a while – the Titan cycle is coming back.
Personally, I’m not excited about what this does to the metagame. It pushes almost any other expensive drop out of consideration (Sheoldred, I’m looking at you), it stifles creativity in deckbuilding, and I’m just tired of the cycle in general at this point.
But what does this mean for the market? The short answer is to get rid of your Titans now. If you’re looking to acquire Titans on the cheap for post-rotation, I think Inferno Titan is the easy pick. I suggested picking them up in February, and they’ve continued to prove their worth since then, doubling in price before holding steady now.
Aggro strategies would appear to be more viable post-rotation (or post-Stoneforge banning), and the Red titan is the most well-positioned to remain viable. Wurmcoil Engine also stands to gain prominence, though its price will be tempered by being a release promo.
Looking outside of the cycle, it’s likely that the reprinting of the Titans will lower the ceiling on Consecrated Sphinx. While the card still has room to grow, since it’s seeing play already, it isn’t as likely to climb as high as it otherwise might have.
It also means that you can pretty much write off any other six or seven drop, sorry Sheoldred, Whispering One, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, and the entire Chancellor cycle. Plenty of interesting decks could be built around these cards, but instead it looks like games are going to end in a flurry of 6/6s.
Nothing to see here, you know what to do.
It certainly appears the Angel is gone, with so many of the Mythic slots already accounted for (5 Titans, 5 Planeswalkers, the new Dragon and the new Vampire), this leaves very little room for more Mythics. It’s unlikely they’ll waste a spot on a reprint that doesn’t see any play, especially considering the points Mark Rosewater raised in this article.
This means to dump Angels if you have a way to get decent value out of them. It also means to pick them up dirt-cheap after the fall rotation, since you can still find Angel collectors who want her. In addition, it’s not impossible that she’ll be back at a later date in a format not dominated by 6/6s.
Bolt is out of M12, and Shock is in. But, being Lightning Bolt, the card is going to continue to be valuable and sought after. Dealers frequently buy Bolts at a quarter. Pick them up from the huge number of players who don’t value them worth anything, especially since they’ll be rotating.
In all, Magic 2012 appears to mean relatively little to the current Standard environment. As of yet, there’s no big reveal to “sell” the set. I think this means Wizards is holding something exciting they expect to sell the set with, probably at the rare slot. Some people have speculated it will be a reprint of the Ravnica shocklands, but I don’t see that happening with fetchlands currently legal in Standard. But I think we can be pretty sure there will be something exciting and new to sink our teeth into.
The real question is whether or not anything is going to be banned on June 20th. I still think it’s unlikely, but I would welcome it if it were to occur. I really don’t see a reason to hold onto any extra Stoneforge Mystics right now, so if you haven’t already, you should unload them in case they get the banhammer.
Now let’s move on to the Prediction Tracker.
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With Consecrated Sphinx seeing heavy play in the last week, you’re unlikely to be able to pick them up any lower than the $4 most people agree you should look for. I also lowered her target price due to the Titan reprints being confirmed. If you bought in early, I don’t think it’s a terrible idea to sell out a few now at $4 cash, and hold onto some and wait out the market.
Another popular pickup this week is Caged Sun. I know for a fact that Ryan Bushard and I were able to pick them up as throw-ins all weekend long at the Invitational. Gauntlet of Power is a $7 card, and foil prices on it are insane. There’s no reason to think Caged Sun won’t go the same way in a year or two, especially with Commander product about to hit the market. Pick these up as throw-ins (especially foils) and hoard them. You’ll profit later.
Spikeshot Elder is also picking up some love, and it appears like it’s a solid card to watch. It’s going to be an incredibly important one-drop after rotation, and the reprinting of Goblin Grenade is going to ensure that it doesn’t lose value late in the game.
The other trend this week is the call to watch for Scars dual lands. These are criminally undervalued right now, with many traders valuing them at a dollar. They are going to be a very important part of the Standard and Extended manabases for the next few years, and they stand to gain a few dollars in that time.
That’s all the major changes from this week. Let me know how you think we’re doing with the Tracker and any suggestions you have to improve it!
@Chosler88 on Twitter