Insider: Updating Innistrad

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I seriously have not been able to pull myself away from cracking Innistrad boosters and drafting with them. I know I know, it's still the Honeymoon phase, and eventually I'll grow tired of it, but I'm thinking this may rival ROE as my favorite limited set (I've been drafting since Alara Reborn). So what is it about Innistrad that's so captivating? Is it the horror theme? The Dual-Faced Cards? Reappearance of Flashback, and the one and only Snapcaster Mage? Or is it something completely different?

First update of Innistrad, Liliana is making a huge splash. She's hitting heights of up to $60 on EBay, and has since dipped back to the 45-55 range, with playsets selling around $215. Upon spoiling, I predicted Liliana to be in the $18-23 range once all the pre-release dust has settled. Although it was still a bit unclear what sort of enabling she'd be doing at that time, I am not so sure if this is a missed call yet. I have a feeling it will come back to earth quite a bit, once more product hits the marketplace. Liliana is certainly an amazing card, and I'll be sleeving her up myself. Obvious Standard staple and I'd say my initial prediction is more like a floor. Before everyone shouts at me at once for predicting her so low, remember Tezzeret? Started at 30, sprung up to 50, and now sits comfortably at 20 with no signs of movement. Sadly, I might have to wait a while to pick up my Lilianas, but wait I shall.

Next, Snapcaster Mage. I will say, that I have a pretty serious stake in this guy, so my thoughts on him should be clear. I have reason to want him to do well. He's already making splashes in Legacy and Standard alike, and I don't think that will change much. (EDIT: I had stated that the GP Promo was Snapcaster, it was a misinformed rumor, my apologies. It is indeed a Maelstrom Pulse). He hasn't moved much from the $22-23 he's pulling on EBay, and I'm hoping that sticks for a short while. Ultimately, we can expect this card to decline to some degree, as it's only a rare, and will be hitting the market more and more each week. I'm on the side of the fence that believes this price movement may take a couple months to come down to the $15 range.

More hot-stuff: Daybreak Ranger // Nightfall Predator. "The sleeper everyone missed." according to Brian Kibler. I saw him at a local Legacy event recently, where he bragged about his 200+ copies which had tripled in price since he'd bought them. I'm not sure how much of that price jump was his promotion of the card, and how much is the cards actual merit in standard, but it's something to keep an eye on. I'm sure it will be played, but at the rate people are cracking packs to chase after Lilianas and Snapcasters, I just don't see this card climbing any farther, and if you did pick up any, moving them promptly is recommended.

Skaab Ruinator- *Cues Price is Right Loser Music* I really missed the call on this guy. I thought he'd sit around $19+ for a while, and he just didn't. My reasoning still seems sound to me, but I know Doug didn't agree, and clearly the market as a whole didn't either. Maybe something will change, but until then, I'll call this pick flat out wrong.

Stormkirk Noble- *Ding* In the same week I talked about Ruinator, I recommended preordering this guy under $3. Hopefully some of you did. He's way up now, move yours out, and rebuy when it comes back down.

There's more to Innistrad than just these guys though. Packs themselves are flying off the shelves at my LGS, with attendance at sealed and draft events skyrocketing. What's in the packs? And what are they worth?

I got some quick data from Sean, who helped us with the info about EBay stores a few weeks ago, regarding the cases he opened.

The thing everyone wants to know, is does the rarity of DFC equate to regular rares? And what Sean found, was yes, it does. Over 7 cases (42 boxes, or 1,512 packs) he opened 23 Snapcasters and 22 Daybreak Rangers, for example. He also indicated that there wasn't much fluctuation in that, only a couple cards had a higher/lower frequency in his 7 cases, which can be attributed to the somewhat small size of his sample. When you crack a full case of Innistrad, what you can expect to see is: 3.5x of each rare, just less than 2x of each Mythic, and just over 8x of each uncommon. Each case will have approximately 8 foil rares in it, and 1 foil mythic.

If you plan on busting packs to sell off singles, consider this math, and combine it with what we discussed about Expected Value a few weeks back. Take the price you think you can get for each individual single, and multiply it by the values given above. Add up your grand total, and that will be your expected revenue from the case. Then subtract any costs (EBay fees, or other relevant costs from your particular sales method) and also subtract your cost of the case (About $540 on EBay). If this number is enough for you to feel like its worth your time to crack/sort/list the cards, go for it. Otherwise, don't. The other motivating factor, for someone like me, is Sealed PTQ season. Cracking 6 packs at a time, and writing them down, will give you an opportunity to practice building sealed pools. I don't recommend actually playing with the cards if you want to sell them as minty as possible. But write down the pool, build it, and if you have a friend to test with, you can proxy the decks you build. Then swap pools, and rebuild. Seeing other people's builds and working on your own is a great way to sharpen your Sealed skills.

My PTQ season starts this Saturday, and I'm confident it will be a great event. If the sealed doesn't treat me well, I'll be grinding drafts and trade tables, and making the most of it. Based on the size of the Sealed events we had for pre-release, I'm guessing these may be some of the largest PTQ's I've seen anywhere but MTGO. As I've indicated in a number of articles, PTQs are some of the best places to trade as you get to meet people you don't normally see at your LGS, who have a different trade stock and different needs.

Happy Haunting,
Chad Havas
@torerotutor on twitter.

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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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