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Insider: For the Win(nistrad)

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Innistrad Pre-Release is less than a month away, and so the cycle continues. About 1/5 of the spoiler has been released as of this writing, and we've all got our strong opinions about Dual-Faced Cards and what they'll mean to gameplay, especially drafting. To drafters, card evaulation is one of the most important tools, and the analytical process is valuable whether looking at a card from a limited-play perspective, or a financial one. As usual, we're going to discuss what it means to break down a card based on a partial spoiler alone, and give ourselves tools to evaluate any new card that comes our way. Upon the spoiling of Karn Liberated, I discussed card evaluation, and used the colorless 'walker as an example. He's dipped very slightly outside the range I predicted, but the analysis and conclusion were all solid.

The First card I want to look at is the new Liliana of the Veil that was just revealed this week. Always start with the easy stuff; She's a Mythic, as all Planeswalkers are. This tells us that if she's a 3-4x copy in a tier 1 deck, she can see prices shoot up pretty high. We do want to keep in mind, that Innistrad is of course a large set, being the first set of the block, and over the course of the next year boosters will be opened in draft continuously. The first set gets the most exposure, so availability of these cards continues to rise as the block develops. The real question with this one: Is she playable, and what type of deck wants her? She's a 3 CMC 'walker, only the 2nd to fit this mold, and we all know how playable Jace Beleren has been. He remains approximately $10, very close to rotation, after a handful of printings, including one pre-dating the existence of Mythic Rarity. While this may not seem like a huge number, keep in mind it's been printed in 3 sets, as well as in a Duel Deck and other Promos. The low mana cost almost assures she has a slot in some deck, and we haven't even discussed her abilities.

+1: Each Player Discards a Card
-2: Target Player Sacrifices a Creature
-6: Separate all permanents target player controls into two piles. That player sacrifices one of them.
[Loyalty 3]

This is certainly no 'pretend' walker, like Nissa. The forum buzz seems to be kind of Low on her, feeling like the +1 isn't strong enough to want to use it, while the -2 ability depletes too much of her loyalty. I think both of these abilities are extremely strong against control and combo decks, but fairly weak against aggro. Most aggro decks will be able to kill her the turn after she hits play, where the use of activating her once is simply not enough value. If it is a maindeckable card, it will likely just be an edict against aggro, that will also absorb one attacker. Against control, it will continuously pressure their hand until they drop their fatty that you can edict. Alternatively, if the game goes long, she'll deplete all of your opponents development in a snap. Her ability to decimate a control deck seems very strong, and any way to mitigate the discard effect is only going to make her stronger. Her home is likely in a Mono-Black or a U/B Control. If the Flashback cards are strong enough, perhaps she'll be used as an enabler to get things to the bin, but nothing revealed so far is exciting. She'll likely be a 1x or 2x in a control deck, that potentially has more available in the board for control mirrors. This moves her range down to approximately Koth status. $15-$25. Koth is extremely powerful, but there's not many types of decks that can run him. Liliana seems the same in that way to me.

Lastly, is casual appeal. Not only is the art on this card amazing, but Liliana has a bit of a following already, and fans are going to gobble this card up. I can see her being a combo enabler in EDH, this leans a little bit higher than the minimum on the range, and I'm putting her Standard life price between $18-$23. Starcitygames.com currently has the lady listed at $35, which is a bit too high. It will probably be a while before they underprice any walker before we can see what it can do. If people aren't ordering it, however, the price will come down. They count on recovering a chunk of money on Pre-Sales, and they'll want to get the numbers they need.

Did I miss any key aspects on Liliana? Anyone have a contrarian call? Post it here, or in the forums, and claim your glory when it comes out true. Over the next couple weeks we'll pick out some more Innistrad cards to analyze, as more of the set is spoiled to us, and discuss which cards from Scars Block and M12 have the best synergy with the new Block.

Before I go, I want to scold each and every one of you. I told you guys about this weeks ago, when I talked about potential activities to add to your business plan, and one of them was seeking out misspelled listings. I even gave you the single search term ("duel") that has brought me the most success. (I actually regretted doing this for some time, as I figured I'd now be competeting with my readers on the same auctions) I also reminded everyone about this last week, and Corbin mentioned in the comments he was going to try and figure it out. I found a seller that had 2 different Dual lands listed as "Duel Lands". Luckily for him, he at least kept a minimum bid on them high enough where he couldn't get screwed too hard, but I watched the auctions all week, and they never moved a bit. One was a Scrubland, which ultimately, another person found and outbid me on (hopefully it was one of you!). The second was a Bayou. The auction ended earlier this week. I was the first bidder with an opening bid of $40, i set my max bid at $45, knowing I could resell to ChannelFireball.com for $55, and likely trade it much higher around $70+. With only 11 minutes to go, another person also bid $45, putting me in the lead at $45. Either this person happened upon the auction last minute, or was waiting to snipe it, they didn't move their bid after that, and I won. I realize that by informing everyone about my secret search terms, that I'd have competition on these auctions as a result. But seriously, this is a good activity to add to your plan. My Ebay style is one of volume. I bid extremely low on tons of auctions, and I just let them sit. I don't wait to snipe, I don't revisit it daily, I just enter my price and keep searching. Looking for anomolies in listing titles and irregular postings. If I find an auction I like with higher shipping costs, I'll hunt that sellers inventory for more listings to bid on to attempt to combine shipping once I'm close to winnning. There is a ton of inventory on Ebay, and if you're patient, and persistent, you'll get what you're looking for.

Best of luck this week, and happy hunting!

Chad Havas

Chad has been with Quiet Speculation since January of 2011. He uses price speculation to cover all his costs to keep playing. Follow his journey from format to format and be prepared to make moves at the right times.

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7 thoughts on “Insider: For the Win(nistrad)

  1. Good article, and I think you're pretty spot-on with Liliana in the long-term, though short-term I can see her hovering around $25-30, as we can reasonably expect more graveyard cards.
    As for the auctions, good work and I didn't end up with much time to go digging due to starting a new job! It's still game on, though 😉
    On another note about that, is your goal to resell or to keep? It's a great deal for the latter, but if its the former you're basically just breaking even after paying shipping twice, right?

    1. You never pay shipping twice. Ever. If i was going to dump to CFB, i can pick up a quick $10, and if i was in a hurry that's what I'd do, but i'd likely combine multiple things to sell in one shipment to CFB or other buy lists to keep that shipping cost spread over multiple items. I'll likely stick it in my binder for trading, but if I were going to sell it, i'd turn it right around on EBay Buy It Now at $65-70. It would eventually sell, and that buyer would pay shipping that time (while i'd be stuck with paypal fees). Sellers should ONLY sell singles on Buy it now… There's no reason to let people have a shot at it cheaper, and as long as you're priced fairly, provide good scans of condition, and label your listing properly, it will move.

      I agree that she'll be valued high early on, as all walkers are, but I'm never buying in on a card when you don't know when the bottom will fall out. I like saying, the safe play is around $20, so if/when I can get them cheaper, I'll do that. If not, maybe i'll bust some in a draft… PTQ San Diego the weekend after Innistrad Release! W00T!

  2. RE: Bayou – I was referring to if you moved it to CFB, since you'd be paying shipping on the Ebay sell and the CFB sell. Just wanted to give you a chance to elaborate on the next step and tips for moving good deals like this when you find them.
    Really enjoyed getting a good analysis of Liliana's price right after she's spoiled.

    1. Yeah, good point! I guess I should have said, You /should/ never pay shipping twice. I'll add a bit more, because you're right, this is something I could have addressed further. I use CFB and SCG buylists as my /CAP/ for bidding, including shipping. And usually I like to fall beneath it by about 10-15%. If you're not in a rush to recoup the spent $, then Buy it Now is always the way to go, as I mentioned above. But the good ting about buying below buylist prices, is if your listing doesn't sell, or situation changes, you can always recover your money fairly quickly. I never gamble on ebay with buys or sells. That's where stable-priced staples can be listed. Check recently closed listings for similar cards, and take the 2nd highest one. That's what I post mine at. Anything that is a speculation on prices moving, I like to have immediate outlets, both in person and online. Online, is the known suspects of Buy it Nows and retailers (I like card kingdom, not an advertisment, just a personal reccomendation). To sell, you have to rely on buylists.

  3. What about the possibility of using her in an agro black deck. One drop, two drop, liliana -2 sack your blocker, then +1 to start stripping their gas or lands in hand? Use cemetery reaper to make more zombies when you discard your cards to her +1. thoughts?

    1. I like this thinking. Sure, and aggro deck definitely wants to clear the way, but in this case I dont see that being possible. On Turn 3 you could Doom Blade (or dismember, or Go for the Throat etc), /and/ cast another creature. 3 mana is a ton in an aggro deck, and needs to apply immediate pressure. As you describe, Liliana would fall to 1 loyalty, and easily die on the crackback. Killing a blocker for 3 mana is useful against pro-black or shroud/hexproof, but is fairly narrow. I suppose its worth mentioning, in the case that Mirran Crusader starts running all over the format, then black would need an edict of some sort to deal with it. It's an option, but not a good one for those types of decks, IMHO.

  4. 3 can be a high cost you’re right. And yes there are other, better removal spells. Ideally on turn three, especially on the play there wouldn’t be a crack back unless they had played a one drop since their 2 drop would het eaten by liliana. And on the note of better removal spells, a removal spell is a 1 for 1 while liliana gives you the chance for further card advantage being a planeswalker and better than just a 1 for 1. Of course testing would be needed to see if this ends up actually being good. I just wanted to suggest the use of the card in a strategy other than control. Thanks for the response! : )

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