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Insider: Finding Value in RtR Mythics

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This weekend will be the last big push for release events, after which player demand for tix will drop off. Instead of dumping any and all mythics and rares to the bots, drafters will start holding onto the odd card. They might even start thinking about playing Constructed as the high payout release events finish. On top of this, redemption for RtR is expected to start, which will upwardly bias the price of mythic rares. For more info on MTGO redemption and its impact on the digital Magic economy, see my previous article.

The novel block structure of the new Ravnica will impact availability of cards. In an ordinary block year, say with a large-small-small set structure, the first set is opened throughout the year in limited play. This would lead to the bottoming of junk mythic prices around third set release events, as that is the last big supply push from the Fall set.

This year there is an unprecedented new block structure of large-large-small, meaning a gap in opening RtR after the release of Gatecrash but before the release of 'Sinker', the as-of-yet unnamed third set. RtR junk mythics will be less available during this gap, so they should support higher price floors than past blocks' junk mythics.

On top of this, the presence of the shocklands means that demand from redeemers should be high. This presents a good motivation for buying RtR junk mythics while they are cheap, which generally coincides with release events. (Below are also presented my thoughts on purchasing the other mythic rares.)

If you are curious as to why I'm not considering any of the normal rares such as Lotleth Troll or Steam Vents, it is because the economics of MTGO do not favor buying these right now. There will be good opportunities to speculate on these down the road, but for now the mythic rares are the place to park your speculative capital.

The Rating System

Each mythic is followed by the current price and a rating, either Good Value, Fully Priced or Borderline. There are also two top picks presented, one for Top Junk Mythic Pick and another for Top Overall Pick.

  • Good Value -- At current prices or in the given price range, this card is a buy and I expect it to see higher prices in the medium- to long-term. These cards are the best speculative targets from a value perspective. They might never make a splash in competitive constructed formats, but the risk of loss, if bought at the suggested prices, is very low.
  • Fully Priced -- This is the other end of the spectrum, where downside risks are high. Fully Priced cards might maintain a high price, but further gains are doubtful. Do not buy these to speculate on at current prices.
  • Borderline -- This is somewhere in the middle of the other two, with some possibility of moving up or down in price. For cards with this rating, further scrutiny is required beyond just the price. If you have a large amount of capital, buy some amount of these cards and scoop up more if the price falls.

All prices are taken from cardbotmtgo.com and are current as of October 25th, 2012.

The Guild Leaders

All the guild leaders have playable stats and abilities for their casting cost. Most are good buy opportunities as they will probably not get any cheaper. None of them have made a dent in Constructed yet, meaning they still have potential for large price increases from current levels.

Isperia, Supreme Judge: The Azorius guild leader has fallen close to junk levels but a 6/4 flier for six mana should not be discounted from Standard play. This is a buy at 1 ticket or less. 1.00 tix and Good Value.

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord: I've been buying this one at 1.3 to 1.8 tix and will gladly keep doing so. The possibility of a 'graveyard matters' deck emerging can't be ignored. 1.64 tix and Good Value.

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius: This dragon has hovered around 2.5 tix during release events. It's a buy for 3 tix or less. 3.00 tix and Good Value.

Rakdos, Lord of Riots: This one has dipped below 2 tix. It has the most impressive natural stats compared to casting cost of any of the guild leaders and it's my best guess for the one most likely to impact Standard in the near future. 1.95 tix and Good Value.

Trostani, Selesnya's Voice: Among the guild leaders, this card has held the highest price, probably due to the appeal of the populate mechanic. Buy this one in the 2 to 3 tix range, but steer clear at higher prices. 3.82 tix and Borderline.

The Fatties

Angel of Serenity: One of the breakout mythics from RtR. Buy this one if you are looking to play Standard but otherwise look elsewhere for value. 16.86 tix and Fully Priced.

Armada Wurm: This card's restrictive casting cost limits what decks it can be played in. On top of that, it's not clear you even want this effect in Standard at the 6+cc slot. 8.08 tix and Fully Priced.

Necropolis Regent: I am a big advocate of this card as a speculative target. It's from a popular tribe, has stats and casting cost close to a titan, and can affect the board the turn it comes into play. Its current price indicates the market is treating it as a junk mythic with no other potential. This is incorrect as the card does have some small potential for constructed play. If you had to buy one junk mythic, but this one at prices up to 0.8 tix. 0.71 tix, Good Value and Top Junk Mythic Pick.

Utvara Hellkite: Large red dragons at the mythic rarity have a long history of ending up as junk mythics with value only to redeemers. It's worthwhile getting this at 0.4 tix and paying up to 0.6 tix is OK. 0.64 tix and Good Value.

Worldspine Wurm: The fact that this card cannot be reanimated removes one of the only ways it might have seen constructed play. This is a junk mythic with value only to redeemers. Worth getting at 0.4 tix, paying up to 0.6 tix is OK. 0.65 tix and Good Value.

X-Spells

Epic Experiment: Recent buzz on this card has driven up the price. I really liked this one at 2 tix or less, but at 3-5 tix, I'd be hesitant to buy without further evidence of it spawning a successful archetype. If it drops down to 1.5-3 tix over the coming months, put this back on the buy list. 3.38 tix and Borderline.

Rakdos's Return: At 6.5 tix it's not clear whether this card matters enough to Standard to hold its price. 6.98 tix and Borderline.

Sphinx's Revelation: This card looks like it will be a staple in control decks as a one- or two-of. This suggests it will carry a higher price floor than the other two x-spells. Buy this one in the 4-6 tix range. 6.48 tix and Good Value.

Planeswalkers

Jace, Architect of Thought: Buy this one if you are interested in playing it in Standard as it appears to be one of the top cards from RtR and should remain a part of the metagame for the next two years. In terms of value, look elsewhere. 28.86 tix and Fully Priced.

Vraska the Unseen: This planeswalker has seen little play in Standard as of yet but looks powerful in the abstract. A somewhat reasonable comparison could be made to Venser, the Sojourner as another 5cc, multi-coloured planeswalker whose name starts with the letter 'v'. Venser's floor, shown in this chart, suggests that Vraska will have a difficult time going below 6 tix. Based on this analysis, paying 6 to 7 tix for this card is a good bet with little downside risk. If I had to pick one card to speculate on out of all the RtR mythics, this would be it. 8.03 tix, Good Value and Top Overall Pick.

Outlook

Avoid buying the Fully Priced mythics as speculative targets but keep your eyes on the Borderline ones. For any of the Good Value mythics presented here, one should be willing to buy and hold these cards for 12+ months. It's possible that they never break out in Constructed, but purchasing at current low prices ensures that risk is kept to a minimum. Any price spikes due to an uptick in Standard play should be taken as opportunities to sell. Otherwise, redemption will support the price of all junk or near-junk mythics moving forward.

14 thoughts on “Insider: Finding Value in RtR Mythics

  1. “Sphinx’s Revelation” => I agree.. I said it once and will say it again, this card may went up. It feels like an improvement to stroke of genius a card that i used to like a lot. However, give it time…this kind of cards usually do not get love right away.

    “Angel of Serenity” => I still see room for this card to go higher. It is simply amazing and it plays in multiple decks. However, on the other hand, the RTR stocks will get bigger…

    “Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius” => Some other speculators already point out this card as a sleeper and I agree. The card is amazing.

    “Rakdos, Lord of Riots” => Good call. I must not forget to keep my eye on it :).

    “Vraska the Unseen” => Great standard planeswalker with a price tag which only had went down and down….so it is more or less where i want it 🙂

    “Isperia, Supreme Judge” => Some of my playmates like this card..however, the only thing i like in it is it’s low price. However, still, I do not feel very comfortable to invest in it.

    Overral,

    There might be some good RTR calls, but in general, I think currently modern is a safer call.

    1. Thanks for your comments!

      In regards to Sphinx’s Revelation and Rakdos’s Return, I find these 2 cards to be the hardest to evaluate, and thus I feel my calls on these are the shakiest amongst all the mythics. Part of my thinking did indeed compare Revelation to Stroke of Genius.

      Speculators should definitely be on the lookout for cheap Modern staples, particularly ones from Scars block, but the price trend for mythics is clear. There is a bottom for the average mythic price during release events and prior to redemption starting so speculate accordingly. =)

  2. Nice to see someone else on board with Necropolis Regent also. I think it has huge potential for increase as well as potential to see play in Standard. It was one of the cards I wrote about last week. Great article. I look forward to a similar one for Gatecrash.

    -mike-

    1. Forgot Necropolis Regent :). I also like it and prior to the release of RTR I saw it in action in some of gerry and brad playtest videos and… it was awesome.

  3. i like this article and only recently started playing seriously on mtgo’s limited formats. Niv, Necro and the unseen are all good pickups imo. but until i find a way to grind out more value online (gonna check out pauper and looking for other suggestions) i think it is easier to make money with paper cards. i am interested in how others compare the two.

    ultimately i will use both if i can grind out profits, esp. as mtgo games are great when i want to learn something (much more competitive than an average FNM) even if mtgo remains a lower margin thing for me.

    it would also be useful i think to have a list of mtgo handles on the forums for people that buy tix for cash (with pricing info).

    1. Thanks for your comment! I can’t say whether paper or digital is easier to speculate on but in terms of mtgo I do like the lack of physical inventory and the 24/7 nature of the market.

      In terms of tix buyers, this isn’t something I’ve ever explored. My instinct would be to go with private transactions with people you know or to go with the reputable dealers.

      1. hmm, well for now if i want to cash out i’ll try the exchange section of the QS forums. digital is easier to speculate on because pricing is so much more competitive, but the currency restriction is going to cap how much money i sink into currency: tix. i speculate to make money, not just stay infinite although i think “going infinite” would be the first step in that process.

        also, i don’t place top 2 enough to run 8-4 drafts. what are the reasons people play swiss versus 4-3-2-2 and vice versa?

        is there ever a reason to open packs, or should i always use them to play in drafts?

        why not create a cheat cheat for money picks in a draft? like take X because you pay for your draft with it outright. set the threshold as assuming you will win 2 packs every time you draft.

        i do like that many of these specs are lower risk than paper specs because of redemption cycles.

        1. When you play a swiss draft, you are guaranteed to be play 3 rounds, while 4-3-3-2 is single elimination. There has been a healthy debate around why people play 4-3-2-2 at all, given that it pays out 1 less pack than either Swiss or 8-4. At this point the debate is unresolved but people continue to play every prize structure. If I was learning a format, I would play sealed deck or swiss so that I could be guaranteed to play more games.

          1. One of the really annoying things about Swiss is that people drop all the time, so you regularly get byes after losing a round. The marginal extra EV in the prize structure doesn’t help much when you’re trying to practice a new format and have to wait an hour for your next round.

  4. Last night I:

    Sold 4x Sublime for 68 (17ea)

    Bought 10 NiMi Dr @ 2.4-2.75

    Bought 10 Nec Reg @ 0.51-0.63

    Bought 8 Rakdos, Lord @ 1.5-1.61

    Bought 12 Isperia @ 0.63-0.76

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