Insider: Grading My Avacyn Restored Predictions

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It’s that time again. M13 spoilers are already rolling in even though we’re still a ways off from the set’s release. That means we are in a position to look back at my predictions from Avacyn Restored and see how I did.

The first thing to come to mind is that I was dead wrong in my evaluation of the set as a whole for Limited. I thought what seemed like some strong defensive cards and expensive Angels meant it would be a slow format that allowed you to leverage skill. Of course, that turned out to be completely untrue, as the set is actually very fast and incredibly swingy. I’ve only drafted it a few times because I hated it from Day 1, when I won my local prerelease and still hated the format. That’s a bad sign.

But the set has been a hit for Constructed, and it’s time to see how I did in my price predictions.

Cavern of Souls

Then: “There are a few things to know about this card. The first is that it is actually insane in any format where people play creatures. It’s that good, and is probably a 4-of in any deck that wants it (which is quite a few).

The second is that everyone inside Wizards of the Coast knows this. That means, while the $22.50 pre-sell price is probably going to actually be correct moving forward (think of a better Inkmoth Nexus), I wouldn’t be surprised to see this pop up in an Event Deck or a Planechase product or two, which will exert some downward pressure on the price.

By the way, this thing is going to be an absolute hit among casual players. Throw in the fact that this set will only be drafted for a few months, and it’s a perfect storm for an absurdly high price tag. Pick your playset up and hold on to them, and demand a premium for any you get past that.”

Now: $25 on SCG. Pretty much nailed this one, since other than a brief spike to $30 it’s stayed right around where it debuted. I am surprised it hasn’t come in an ancillary product yet, though.

Entreat the Angels

Then: “LSV says this is huge in Esper, and I can’t imagine he’s wrong. Most importantly, it’s a Mythic so the upside is going to be there, especially in the first few weeks of the set being released. It’s $6 right now, and a spike to over $10 is not going to be at all surprising if it shows up at the first tournament post-release.”

Now: Sitting at $25 on SCG, I can’t say I called this one very well, even though I did predict upward price movement. This hasn’t seen much play since the Pro Tour, though, and is only popping up sporadically in Legacy, so it may slowly head down.

Restoration Angel

Then: “People have been talking about this, and I think it’s going to live up to the hype. It’s at $5 and it’s the release promo, so that will hold the price down. That said, I think this is a pretty safe target during the prerelease weekend, especially if you can get value on the regular one by the fact that there will be fancy prerelease copy easily available.”

Now: $10 on SCG, and out of stock. I really liked this card when the set was spoiled, and only the fact that it was a prerelease promo kept me from predicting a rise to $15. Still, glad I was on board with this.

Temporal Mastery

Then: “I called this Time Reversal 2.0 on the latest episode of Brainstorm Brewery. As we discussed on the cast, that’s not quite true, since EDH players will want this and it’s actually somewhat playable across formats. But with Mastery selling at $40 right now, it’s an apt comparison.

When all is said and done, this is probably $8-14. It may take a while to fall to that point, but if you don’t think it will get there, here’s a little story from testing. I’m playing RG Werewolves because it’s fun, and my opponent is playing stock Delver with a playset of Masteries. He proceeded to Miracle cast all four Masteries against me, taking four extra turns and doing his thing with Delvers.

I won that game.”

Now: $16 on SCG, having steadily come down. Looks like it’s gonna end up exactly where I put it. Glad I didn’t cost anyone money here.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

Then: “Preselling at $40 on SCG, which feels high to me. I think this card is pretty solid, but its place in the upcoming metagame is still a little unclear. Does this play well with Gideon? Can your deck handle two five-mana Planeswalkers? These are questions I legitimately don’t know, but I think it’s safe to say Tamiyo will be $18-25 in a few months.”

Now: $30 on SCG, but likely headed for the $20-25 mark I set for it, and then post-rotation play will determine what it does from there. I do like Tamiyo, but the problem is that she isn’t a 4-of in most decks, so it would take a Delver-like dominance of the metagame for her to push up to $40.

Disciple of Griselbrand

Then: “$10 presale. This is high, but it will be a solid pickup once it drops. It’s a huge EDH and possibly Legacy card, and foils of this ($35) on SCG should be your target.”

Now: $18, and sold out foils at $50. This is my biggest miss of the set, even though I was right about it not seeing much Standard play. Here’s the thing, though. It says “Draw seven cards” in the text box, so… yeah. This thing is blowing up Legacy and probably going to get Show and Tell banned one of these days. A big miss here on my part.

As for moving forward, I don’t love picking them up at retail, at least not until the next B/R announcement. People are gunning for it in Legacy now, and EDH players will get theirs and move on.

Vexing Devil

Then: “$15 is way too high. Think Goblin Guide. Like the Guide, it will have a place in Standard and probably find a home in Legacy. Unlike the Guide, it has to compete against Timely Reinforcements. Guide was $6-8 for its life in Standard, and this won’t be higher.”

Now: $8. Nice recovery here, with the Devil coming in where we expected it to.

Zealous Conscripts

Then: “Probably the most underpriced card in the set at a dollar on SCG, and the only one I would even think about buying for cash. Get in on this thing this weekend; it’s going to be in Standard. This thing will easily fit into Red decks and, more likely, will be huge in RG Ramp mirrors. $4-6 is not at all out of the question.

Grab these all weekend, and you won’t regret it. It represents nine points of damage at least with a Primeval Titan or 12 with an Inferno Titan. Probably going to be the most important card in the mirror, and I’ll be stocking up.”

Now: $5 on SCG. I feel very good about this one. I identified it when it was $.50 and picked up as many at the prerelease I could for a dollar, which paid off nicely. True sleepers like this are rarer and rarer in sets today, and it’s nice to call one like this.

Wolfir Silverheart

Then: …

Now: $7 on SCG. I missed the boat on this entirely, mostly because I underestimated Soulbond as a mechanic. It’s the “pseudo-haste” the effect gives that makes it viable on the biggest, baddest Wolf, and there was solid money to be made here. That said, I did call this on a tip a few days before the Pro Tour, so there was money to be made.

Another card I didn’t touch on originally was Bonfired of the Damned. Much like Entreat, the Miracles were just hard to evaluate. Again, I was able to rectify this a little by telling you to pick them up at $15, and the card is now out of stock at $30 on SCG.

Overall, I’m very happy with my calls for the set. While I left a little bit of money on the table by missing some big movers, Griselbrand was the only card I outright called wrong. I can handle missing a sleeper like Silverheart, especially since I was correct in every card I called for doubling up (or more with Conscripts). All in all, a very profitable set of predictions for myself and anyone who played along at home.

On a personal note – I’m back from my honeymoon, and it was awesome! I’m happily married to a beautiful wife who’s gracious enough to let me go to the SCG Invitational in Indianapolis this weekend. I’ll be playing in the main event and trading, so I should have a full report next week.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

14 thoughts on “Insider: Grading My Avacyn Restored Predictions

  1. Once again not a word about the online world… greatly disappointed about that and seriously asking myself why I still pay for this…
    Cavern of souls : 6 tic, Vexing devil : 1 tic…
    So your predictions are worthless in the online environment, wich means they are worthless to a lot of your readers.
    Do we really ask that much ?
    Or just admit you don't care about mtgo so at least we don't get disappointed anymore !

  2. Avacyn Restored was the first set I've ever speculated on during prerelease/spoiler season, and I bought in on Bonfire of the Damned for a sizeable amount of cash when they were $6.50 a piece. Feeling pretty smart about that one right now.
    Also traded for a tonne of Restoration Angels at $4 on prerelease weekend, that turned out well.
    Things I called poorly; Reforge The Soul. I still think this card has mega potential if the right supporting mechanics get printed for the R/x guilds (assuming they're back) in RTR, but we'll see.

  3. I don’t care about mtgo and enjoy reading Corbin’s articles. So, he didn’t tell you what tics to buy at? Did you need specfics that badly? Why not use his speculation as your jumping off point? Or don’t expect someone to write on mtgo when that’s not what they do.

  4. "did you need specifics" ??? Of course, why else bother reading this articles and pay for it ?
    It's obvious you don't care about online otherwise you wouldn't make the assumption we could follow the guidelines for the real card environment; as I stated with 2 examples there are a lot of differences.
    Perhaps it's not this writer but several promised during the past 2 months to take care of the online environment but nothing happens, and that is just really irritating for a paying consumer !

    1. Point taken. If you feel like you've been promised content on something specific then I can understand your frustration. You also point out that I don't understand MTGO which is fine. Can you explain how speculation for MTGO would be different than for MTG paper though? Conceptually, I would think that you'd still be going after the same cards so I honestly don't understand how the speculation doesn't translate. Please elaborate.

  5. I don't use MTGO, but I do feel this is an untapped market in the realm of MTG FInance writing. I agree with stric9 that it would be really interesting to hear how MTGO and paper Magic differ financially. In theory, cards used more often should still be more valuable, right? Especially with Standard.

  6. Generally speaking, card recommendations are a good starting point for evaluating the speculative potential for cards on modo. However, if the market understands a cards fundamental value, then most set reviews are a bad guide for speculating on digital objects because most will fall in price over time due to the amount of supply created by 24 hour drafting. This is even more true of rares and uncommons as these cards are worth so much less compared to their cardboard counter parts.

    However, picking out under valued cards like Consecrated Sphinx can still net you nice profits though, which was sub 3 tix and widely available after release. Also, junk or near junk rares that are under valued by the market can be profitable if something changes to make them playable in Standard. Set reviews can be useful in mining this area of speculation.

  7. Well, when i started using this site i just took over all information and tips i got and bought the cards online… but modern especially and standard also doesn't seem to follow the same price changes as in the real card world. This costed me a lot of tix (aka dollars/euros)… i was hoping, like everyone else, to break at least even between the subscription fee and the profit we make, but so far i haven't been able to take advantage of the articles on this site._The only card i made good money of so far was Tooth and nail (28 tix won on 13 copies)

  8. but i made a lot of losses also, for instance i'm still sitting on 47 Visions from beyond and 31 champion of the parish (allthough these still are the same price as when i purchased them); the Skaab Ruinator fiasco cost me 52 tix so far :(…

    My lesson learned : do NOT follow the guidelines for paper cards into the online environment. Almost all paper cards are worth a lot more then their online copies, and you can not count on doing good business with someone who really needs a card cause they can be purchased anywhere so easy.
    So it's very important to me to know in advance if a card is gonna rocket online, like primeval titan and the swords…
    Perhaps now you understand my sadness about the lack of tips in this direction (and most of them are found on the forum but those are not as trustworthy to me because anyone can give tips there).

  9. Nice read Corbin. It is very refreshing to see a financial writer own up to his mistakes. Thats why you and Chas Andres are my two favorite financial writers.
    I agreed with a lot of your calls except for Entreat. I was unimpressed with the card and instead went in with Bonfires at 7.00. I think that card is just insane at the Miracle cost and I felt it had potential in the older formats, where Entreat doesn't.

  10. @knx I don't know much about MODO, nor have I ever offered or promised any advice on how to get into it. I'm sorry I can't help you more there, it's simply not a market I know or have the time to learn well enough to offer advice on. What I do know very well is the paper market, and I know our forums are very helpful when it comes to MODO specs.

    @Gervinho Good idea, I'll make sure to do that next time.

    @John & Steve Thanks! Watching "financial" writers a while back talk about how awesome their calls were without mentioning the negative ones is why I started both this series and the prediction tracker in the first place. I feel that accountability in this area is hugely important, since people spend their hard-earned money on your suggestions, so I'm glad to see it come across well. I know Chas agrees with me, and he's very good about this as well.

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