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Insider: I called that! (Revisiting Innistrad Predictions)

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We’re finally getting a good flow of Innistrad spoilers, and we’ve covered them all pretty extensively here on QS. Rather than go over the same cards you’ve seen a dozen times, I’m going to do something a little more fun this week – look back at some fearless predictions I made a while back.

After Innistrad was first announced, all we knew was that it was horror-themed and to expect Vampires. A little early speculation on sets never hurts, and it ‘s always enjoyable to look back and brag about being right (or failing miserably, one of the two).

Here’s the original article I wrote. I will forewarn you that certain parts of this article make me look like an absolute genius (or maybe I got a little lucky). Let’s see how I did.

What I said then:

Of course we know nothing about this set yet, other than the announcement and tagline Wizards announced. But from that tiny sample, I can tell you I’m very excited about the set. I love horror movies and the flavor of the set seems sweet. As Kelly suggested, I think it’s likely we’ll see plenty of Vamps and I’m hoping to see some Werewolves, or at least some Zombies.

If you’re scoring at home, that’s 3-for-3. Of course, making predictions like this are actually completely useless (though fun) unless there’s financial incentives to act on said predictions.

There’s been a lot of discussion on Twitter about the price and possible reprinting of Vampire Nocturnus. I really don’t have any idea if it’s going to be reprinted or not, but I don’t think it’s a bad investment right now if you can get it under $10. I think it’s probable that it will show up in M12 in June, and it was a $20 Mythic during its time in Standard, despite seeing almost no play at all. I’m not sure if it will be viable next season, since his buddies from Zendikar will be gone, but by the end of the Innistrad block he may have found a home. And if more good Vamps are printed (something I think we can count on), then Nocturnus will still have two years in Extended with his pals from Zendikar and Innistrad.

So many things are wrong with this paragraph that it’s kind of depressing. While the Nocturnus call was fine, as it’s gone up a few dollars since then, the fact is it hasn’t been reprinted, and is probably destined to forever be a casual card. There’s still some time for a reprint, but with the new Vampire lord in M12 it doesn’t look good.

The takeaway here is that making educated speculation about upcoming sets can net you solid profits, and yet you’d be surprised how many just fail to do so. They wait until a card is spoiled to look back at the old cards it interacts with. This is reactionary thinking that leads to huge run-ups on things like Splinter Twin.

It’s very difficult to get completely ahead of the curve on these things, but by identifying the speculative cards before spoilers actually come out you can get ahead in the market. This is basically the concept I explored last week, and taking a chance and investing in these cards before their enabling pieces come out is the best way to profit.

While I’m on the subject, what kind of mechanics would we expect from a horror-themed set? Surprises and scares around every corner, and certainly a strong theme of death. As such, I’m going to make some fearless predictions on the upcoming mechanics.

What’s a fan-favorite mechanic that perfectly embodies something jumping out at you? Morph. I hope we can see some face-down cards flipping up to scare you in the future.

Another possibility? Something along the lines of Demon of Deaths Gate. The sacrifice mechanic (or something else to allow “Free” casting of spells) plays right into the theme of scary monsters jumping out at you from nowhere.

Wow. I’m so wrong, and yet so right at the same time. The “death matters” thing was just too easy to give myself much credit for the keyword Morbid, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be quoting the sentence “I hope we can see some face-down cards flipping up to scare you in the future” for the rest of my life and claiming I called the Day/Night mechanic.

What is the most important thing about this Sword? To me, it’s clearly the name. I’ve seen a ton of suggestions, ranging from Sword of Chaos and Order to Sword of Flame and Air. I have my money in on Sword of War and Peace. There will be plenty of people on this site trying to sell you speculation on the new set, but remember the most important piece of speculation is #NameThatSword (That’s the Twitter hashtag for the topic).

This is pretty much the definition of win. Just had to throw that out there.

Buying into Innistrad

For some meatier stuff, we’re presented with an interesting dichotomy with the “flip,” or more properly termed, “double-face cards” from Innistrad. Namely, the Werewolves, and now Garruk as well.

For the first time (to my knowledge) we have cards that players will love to play, but hate to play with. The logistical problems the cards present are not insurmountable, but neither are they negligible. This has been covered in great detail already, so I’m here to talk about a more pertinent issue – What impact will this have on card prices?

As of right now, my answer is this – None whatsoever. And it all comes down the Magic psychographic map. It’s the Spike/Timmy/Johnny mentality, a concept created by Mark Rosewater and something I explored in relation to trading here.

Look at it this way. What group of players has been the most vocal in pointing out the problems with these cards? The hardcore Spike group. Which is also known (colloquially) by Wizards as the “they’ll buy whatever the hell we print” group. Let’s be honest. If Werewolves.dec becomes the spice of the new format, 98 percent of self-respecting tournament players are going to buy the cards, logistics be damned. And since I expect them to push tournament-playable cards in their new mechanic, it’s safe to say we’re going to see a few of these cards push decent prices.

So we can safely eliminate the Spike group from dragging down the prices of these cards due to a real or perceived logistics issue.

Looking at the other two groups, sometimes referred to (derisively by many) as “the casuals.” How will these cards score with this group?

Well, we’ve seen what happens there and it’s called Vampire Nocturnus, as established in this article. In short, I fully expect casual players to go nuts over this set, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it break the record for best-selling set of all-time from Zendikar (or whatever set holds that distinction, I’ve seen multiple claims).

#FinkelDate probably doesn’t hurt as far as introducing the game to a new group of people either. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you must not know what a Google is. (Or you don’t read Twitter. Or CFB. Or SCG. Or the Mothership. Anyway).

Add it all up, and I think we’re going to be looking a higher average price for casual staple rares than we’ve seen in a while. Captivating Vampire and Vampire Nocturnus will likely see a re-surge in tradability, if not price.

I’ll have my usual prerelease guide in a few weeks, and I imagine there are going to be plenty of casual cards worth picking up on Prerelease Day.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

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