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Insider: Checking in on Innistrad Predictions

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We’ve come to that time. We’re 3-5 months out from the release of the groundbreaking (both in terms of flavor and mechanics) Innistrad. You know what that means: it’s time to see how I did when predicting the value of the set!

The State of Financial Writing

The “set review” is in an interesting place. When I started doing them more than a year ago, it was pretty difficult to find a financial review on the internet. Now we’re completely inundated with them and you have 5-10 guys all telling you that “Bulk Rare X” is, in fact, a bulk rare. You can now even compare how your favorite finance guru did against a Magic 8-Ball or a pair of Dice.

I, for one, am not really impressed with the gimmicks. The concept of the set review is to disseminate important financial information, and people should want to read your reviews because you are correct more often than not, not because your set review makes them laugh.

And to be honest, the term “set review” also bugs me a little — done properly, it’s a set of predictions rather than a review (which implies looking into the past). Anyway, that’s why I always title a “Prerelease Primer,” rather than a “set review,” and I take them very seriously. It’s also why I don’t list every card. You shouldn’t need someone to tell you for the tenth time that Dearly Departed is a bulk rare. I try to hit on the important or hyped cards and impart my thoughts on just those instead.

Enough of my rant on the state of financial writing. Let’s see how I did with Innistrad! As usual, I’ll use a WIN/FAIL/INCONCLUSIVE scale.

Win / Fail / Inconclusive

Angelic Overseer

What I said then: "Selling at $6 presale on SCG, I see that being not too far off from where this cards goes. It’s a Mythic and is an Angel, so there will always be some demand. The real question is whether this thing can top the curve in a Human-based deck that is actually good. If it does, it will spike early, but this set is going to be opened for a very long time, and it will come back down to Earth."

Now: Pretty much nailed this one. Believe it or not now, this card was pretty hyped when it was spoiled, but it didn’t make the cut even with Human decks being a thing and has come down to $3.

Call: WIN

Champion of the Parish

What I said then: "I’m pretty sure this guy is just worse than Hada Freeblade[/card], but is a Rare because of the Human theme they are pushing. I really don’t think Humans are that far off from being playable with either Black or Green as the supporting color. There are some legitimately powerful cards in the archetype, and they have a few ways to gain card advantage, though they seem weak to Gideon and Wrath. If the deck is real, it will need a 1-drop, and this guy could rise from his $2.50 pricetag to $4-5."

Now: $5 on SCG now. Called this one, and I found my comparison to the Freeblade interesting. It’s true on the surface, of course (1/2 compared to a 1/1), but the environment supports Humans much better now than Allies were supported then.

Call: WIN

Divine Reckoning

What I said then: "Like Monomania, I don’t see leaving your opponent with their best card being a good thing. This could see play for a few reasons, though. It does a reasonable job of clearing out the board on Turn 4 and then doing so again on Turn 7 after you have a Sun Titan out. Flashback cards like this can be hard to evaluate, but I’m not betting on this outclassing old-fashioned Wraths."

Now: Another card that’s interesting to see in retrospect, since it seems obviously bad now. But that wasn’t always the case, though I managed to not make myself look silly by betting on it.

Call: WIN

Fiend Hunter

What I said then: "Now here’s an uncommon with some potential. It removes a blocker for the Human deck to bash, and it has the more important 3-toughness thing going for it, with Bolt leaving. Pick these up off the draft tables."

Now: It’s interesting that this is only 50 cents on SCG right now. The card hasn’t caught on as much as I thought it would, though it’s obviously good. There’s still plenty of time for these to make a bigger impact and it’s one of those cards that always trades way above its actual price when trading. Pretty easy call on this one.

Call: WIN

Intangible Virtue

What I said then: "Seems like another uncommon could hold some casual value. Make sure to hold onto yours."

Now: Turns out this was the better Uncommon to pick, since it’s $1.50 on SCG. No one could have predicted the rise of Token decks to the extent that’s occurred, but at least I suggested picking these up, even if it turned out to be more for competitive play than casual.

Call: WIN

Midnight Haunting

What I said then: "I’ve seen rumors of Neo-Caw lists running this. It provides bodies for Swords and can be flashed back later with Snapcaster. Keep an eye on it."

Now: $1 on SCG. It’s popped up some but certainly hasn’t lit the world on fire and is now completely outclassed by Lingering Souls.  It’s hard to call this a WIN or a FAIL since all I really wanted to do was tell people to keep an eye on it.

Call: INCONCLUSIVE

Stony Silence

What I said then: "While this answers Pod decks, it’s not like they won’t have a fair number of cards to draw that can naturally deal with it. I think there are probably better hate cards than this, though its compatibility with Null Rod can’t be overlooked in older formats. Hold onto yours, but don’t go too deep here."

Now: Turns out the real place for this card was in Vintage, which I missed. It’s not anything special and I certainly didn’t cost anyone much money here, but I did completely miss its Vintage appeal.

Call: FAIL

Dream Twist

What I said then: "Yes, it’s just a common. But check out the price on Memory Sluice. Just letting you know not to throw yours away."

Now: Still seems true.

Call: WIN

Mirror-Mad Phantasm

What I said then: The only time this is ever going to do anything is probably in a combo deck; it’s just so slow to play and protect. Move yours quickly.

Now: Again, this was an easy for me since I had no faith in the card at all, glad it worked out.

Call: WIN

Skaab Ruinator

What I said then: "This is one of the big ones, so let’s dig into it. It’s never going to be cast on Turn 3, and at this moment appears to only have a place in Pod decks. That said, it’s pretty solid there as a 1-2 of, since you will be able to cast it from the Graveyard in the late game. I’m pretty certain it is not a $20+ card, though I can see up to $15 holding for a while."

Now: We’re getting into the most-hyped cards of the set here, and I definitely called this one right. Didn’t expect it to drop as far as it has, down to $3 on SCG (and it’s not a bad spec target now at that price), but I’m glad I didn’t screw this one up.

Call: WIN

Snapcaster Mage

What I said then: "Yes, this card is awesome in Eternal formats. Yes, it’s probably playable in Standard. No, it is not a $30 card. Rares just don’t hit this point from current sets. Even Stoneforge Mystic never went this high.

Snapcaster will likely stay high for a while, then slowly come down to a normal price. I don’t see this thing being more than $13-16 by the time we’re done busting Innistrad packs, and more likely will be in the $9-12 range. From its rotation from Standard on, if it continues to be Legacy-playable we will see its price inch back up over time."

Now: Still incredibly $30 on SCG, though it went to $25 for a while. Frankly, I’m astounded this card hasn’t dropped more (though it is down to $20 on Ebay).

The thing is, we are literally seeing uncharted territory here. No rare in the post-Mythic era has held its price like this, and it’s still hard to believe. In a bit of defense, I would have changed my price projection if I had known Avacyn Restored would be a stand-alone set. Not in my defense, it wouldn’t have been by much.

If Tiago gets to a point where he isn’t as good in Standard (which seems pretty unlikely at this point), his price will drop off. As is, I still think you have some time to wait him out before actively picking them up. After all, the price hasn’t gone any higher, and I doubt it will until possibly next year.

Call: FAIL

Moorland Haunt

What I said then: "This card hasn’t been “officially” spoiled yet, but I’m pretty sure this card is insane. I haven’t seen much press about it yet, but this thing fits right into Neo-Cawblade lists to replace Tectonic Edge. Infinite Sword carriers seem pretty good. Keep an eye on what this thing presells for when it becomes available, because it could very well be too low."

Now: $3.50, and as insane as I predicted. This seems like a pretty can’t-miss target in trades right now, and if it goes the way of the Scars lands (which it could, though likely not to that extent), we could see this thing double in price in a year or so.

Call: WIN

Army of the Damned

What I said then: "Preselling at $3. While that price will probably be correct going on down the road, supply of this won’t be unlimited due to its rarity and picking up a few to flip to casual Zombie/EDH players will pay off for you."

Now: Recently up to $5 from $4 on SCG now. This card has been a gold mine for me, and for you too if you took my advice.

Call: WIN

Bloodline Keeper // Lord of Lineage

What I said then: "Speaking of popular casual cards, check out our buddy Vampire Nocturnus and get back to me. Stock a few of these at all times."

Now: $6 on SCG. This has bordered on being Constructed playable a few times, but I have to believe the casual appeal is chiefly behind the price tag.

Call: WIN

Liliana of the Veil

What I said then: "In my limited testing, Liliana has been insane. She comes and edicts a player, then sticks around to accumulate value as you make them discard things they care about while you pitch something like a Vengeful Pharaoh. She probably won’t be staying at $35, but I see her staying pretty relevant as we move forward and price increases are possible. I’m interested in picking up as many of these as possible for reasonable prices."

Now: Still $35 on SCG. We saw a brief spike to $60+ in the first few weeks and since came back down but has stayed, as I predicted “pretty relevant.” Another call I’m proud of. It’s interesting that she did stay at $35 and not the $25-30 I was expecting, but combined with the fact I even called the price spike I have to consider this a…

Call: WIN

Reaper from the Abyss

What I said then: "Pretty sure this guy is actually just insane in Pod decks, and it will trade with a Titan (or just fly over it). Seems like the real deal here, and it’s a Mythic. It’s $5 right now, and keep a close eye on it as tournaments start rolling in, because it could explode quickly."

Now: $1.50 now. Pod decks never became the force we expected them to be, and this guy (and my call) appears to be a casualty of that.

Call: FAIL

Past in Flames

What I said then: "If and when this hits, it’s going to do so in Legacy, so you shouldn’t have much of a problem getting it cheaply from Standard players. No reason not to do so."

Now: It turns out this card actually hit in Modern (which wasn’t a thing at the time), and it did hit big, rocketing up to $8-10 for a month or so before settling back down. Made pretty good money off stocking these myself, and I hope you did too.

Call: WIN

Garruk Relentless // Garruk, the Veil-Cursed

What I said then: "Not impressed. The idea for a flip Planeswalker is cool, but this guy does very little. If the meta becomes a ground-based board stall, Garruk is pretty reasonable, but the problem is going to be flipping him and then untapping again. Making deathtouch wolves is probably great in some matchups, but he’s just not high-powered enough to be Tier 1 in a lot decks. If the meta evolves right he’ll be very good on Turn 3, but his raw power level just isn’t there. $20-25 in the end."

Now: $18 on SCG. Pretty close to nailing this one perfectly. Relentless goes in and out of favor, so this guy could have a pretty roller-coaster ride throughout the rest of his time in Standard.

Call: WIN

Mayor of Avabruck // Howlpack Alpha

What I said then: "This guy is very good, but being a promo will keep his price down. Still, I’m in favor of trading aggressively for this guy on the cheap."

Now: $3.50 on SCG despite not seeing a ton of play, which is interesting. I called this one right price-wise even if thus far I’m not spot-on playability-rise. I think post-rotation this guy is going to get another shot.

Call: WIN

Parallel Lives

What I said then: "It will be very interesting to see if this catches on casually as Doubling Season did. There are going to be a lot of copies floating around by the end of next year, but once it bottoms out this is a pretty low-risk investment that could see some big gains in a few years."

Now: $2.50 on SCG. Considering you could (and still can) get this thing at a dollar in trade, this will continue to be free money for the next year or so before it starts drying up in binders.

Call: WIN

Tree of Redemption

What I said then: "This card does literally everything you want against Red except block against a Hero of Oxid Ridge-led team. It blocks all day against anything else, and eventually gives you 8-10 life and leaves you with a small blocker. A very popular Pod target, it’s possible that his $4 price tag is too low, though I suspect it will be about right. It all depends on how much aggro infiltrates the format."

Now: $2.50 on SCG. With Red falling out of the meta (at least burn-based Red), the $4 was a bit optimistic, though in the end I was more or less correct with its usage.

Call: INCONCLUSIVE

Geist of Saint Traft

What I said then: "I think there’s a lot to like here. A lot of naysayers are saying “Well, I’ll just block.” This is misunderstanding the deck the Saint is going in. It’s going to be followed up by a Sword, an Angelic Destiny, or something else to take advantage of Hexproof. The question, then, is whether or not a UW deck can tap out and turns 3 and 4 without dying. It’s a pretty aggressive slant for UW in the post-Hawk era, but this card will be good if such a deck exists.

$15 seems high, but $6-9 sounds reasonable if he finds a good home. Being legendary hurts him as well, but Hexproof is a powerful enough ability that it can be abused in the right deck."

Now: $25 on SCG. I was pretty much right there with his usage, but I didn’t expect him to become as widespread as he has across so many formats, which caused me to miss him price-wise. Close, but pretty much a…

Call: FAIL

Olivia Voldaren

What I said then: "As many have said, this is going to be a hugely popular card for both casual and EDH players, and $8 sounds pretty reasonable in the short-term, though I think $4-6 long-term is more likely. Foils, on the other hand, are going to be pretty nuts as she catches on as a Commander."

Now: $10 on SCG, though most of this is still the holdover from the spike from Chapin’s Worlds deck. Nailed the foil call, though, as it is $25 right now. I think my price target ends up being correct in a few months, so coupled with my correct call on the foils I’ll for now consider this…

Call: INCONCLUSIVE

Lands

What I said then: "Like the Fastlands from Scars, I see the M10 Enemy Duals (Dueling Duals?) dropping down to $2-3 in trade before coming back up some later. These will, however, be in pretty large demand as the format develops, so I see you being able to move these quickly.

As for the specialty lands, the best one seems to be Moorland Haunt. If anything resembling UW Caw with Swords is Tier 1, this card is going to spike. It’s basically “Free” in a two-color deck and eventually provides you a very steady stream of Sword carriers. Nephalia Drownyard will probably have some casual appeal, and the whole cycle minus the Drownyard could see some serious Standard play.

That’s all for the primer. These are the  cards I’ll be keeping an eye on as I go to the prerelease, and don’t be afraid to trade your Innistrad cards off for other goodies as well, since all the Innistrad cards will be overvalued for a few weeks. I expect I’ll be picking up a lot of Fetchlands at the prerelease by moving Innistrad stuff."

Now: Seems pretty much right. It’s about time to start snapping these up out of binders and hoard them for the cyclical spikes in a year or so.

Call: WIN

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my performance for Innistrad. It’s particularly hard to make calls when there is no format to base predictions off of, but I think I did pretty decent here, with the only major mistake being Snapcaster Mage, which (I believe) no one predicted to stay at $30. Either way, it’s not like you lost any money by trading away Snaps at $30.

When I review my predictions, my biggest hope is that I haven’t told people to buy into a card that turns into a bust, because that actually loses you money, whereas something like Snapcaster is more or less a break-even. I know I made money acting on the advice I gave above, and I hope you did.

Until next week, don’t be afraid to make your own predictions and act on them!

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler
@Chosler88 on Twitter

7 thoughts on “Insider: Checking in on Innistrad Predictions

  1. Corbin,

    I saw the twitter exchange with Noah Winston today. His criticism has some merit. I think part of it stems from trying to attach an objective judgement (win/fail) to subjective observations. The volume of observations also tends to bog things down. Maybe there is a framework for set primers and these types of articles that might better align these two things? I think that set release primers are well trod on ground and that a direct translation to a financial perspective might not be the best thing.

    For instance, just spitballing ideas here, but for a new set you could make 4 or 5 detailed calls on the picks you feel strongest about, and another writer could do the same. Down the road both writers could do a follow up and critique the other's picks. This might sharpen up the predictions and be an interesting tool for improvement.

    1. I really do like this suggestion. We should try this with Avacyn Restored. We can each write a detailed prediction on 5 cards, and then evaluate the successes/failures of another writer.

  2. What about a Top 10 Avacyn Restorder speculation wise? This way we'll have more overlapping cards and can check the initial thoughts about some cards according to different writers as well. After sharing feedback and suggestions, writers can adjust their initial thoughts. Together we stand stronger! =)

    1. There's no system in place that requires us to approve comments before they're posted. In addition, I receive an e-mail every time one is posted, and received no such e-mail for your prior comment. So whatever the problem with it being posted did not come from our end, I can promise you that.
      And I welcome all feedback, good or bad, so feel free to repost your thoughts.

    1. Here was my thought process on Ruinator – When it came out, some people were saying it was the best card ever and was going to hit $40-50. Instead, I called for it to drop, which I considered correct. I didn't predict it to fall as low as it has, but then again, no one else did either, so I thought I came out correct on the card.
      Perhaps this was too generous, but it's a fact that if people took my advice and got rid of any copies of the card they opened like I suggested they would be ahead quite a bit in the deal. I considered that a win.
      What are your thoughts?

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