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Insider: Week Two of Return to Ravnica

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Yesterday I was brainstorming some ideas for what to write about this week. A few readily popped into my mind and I began planning out the flow of the article.

Then I noticed something.

Terminus is sold out at Star City Games at the steep price of $9.99! You may be wondering why this would cause me to hesitate and reconsider my article for the week. Basically, much like last week, I’ve noticed some movement both on eBay and at retail that I feel is valuable to share with you.

Therefore I will postpone my creative and lasting article topics for the urgent and evanescent. In one to two week’s time, this article will only be useful for a pleasant lookback. But because of all the market momentum of the last week, I feel it is best if I summarize what’s been moving recently as this will be more valuable to the readers.

Besides, I’m selling many cards and I believe you will benefit to consider doing the same.

Major Card Shifts

Miracles (again)

Personally, I feel Terminus is the most notable mover recently. It seems like just a couple weeks ago these could be had for under $4. Now these are consistently selling at $8 each on eBay, and I just tested the waters by listing an auction for four copies last night with a buy it now price of $31.98. They sold in under 24 hours.

The card must have spiked drastically and quickly because the blacklotusproject.com chart hasn’t even caught up to this one’s movement.

This card is on fire and it sees play at both Standard and Legacy top tables. If you can acquire these at the old price I would trade for as many as you can get. While Avacyn Restored was opened significantly less than other sets, I still feel like board sweepers have a barrier. Not many, if any, can break through $10 while in Standard, and this non-mythic rare is no exception.

I’m moving my copies now and I’d suggest you consider the same. It would take a lot to move this card much higher (see: Snapcaster Mage, which warped Standard and Legacy).

There is another Miracle card that is sold out on Star City Games, powerful in both Standard and Legacy, and is on a rapid rise: Entreat the Angels. I mentioned this card last week in my article and this card has continued to go up. Auctions are ending near $20 each and Star City Games is sold out at $24.99. I expect another price bump on this Mythic.

Once again, blacklotusproject.com hasn’t caught up yet:

I was listening to the Star City Games commentators on Saturday and they kept referring to this card as “Encheat the Angels” because of how broken it is. If there’s a viable control strategy in Standard, this card will have a home. But I don’t see this one breaking $30 so I’m thinking of moving my copies very soon.

Not all Miracles are moving favorably. There is one in particular that seems to have been partially forgotten in the new Standard…(chart from blacklotusproject.com)

Talk about a card passing their peak. After retailing and selling out at $49.99, this card has done nothing but tumble down in price. Star City Games has ample copies in stock at… get this… $34.99!

I sold my last copy at this price a couple months ago and I hope you did as well. Some people ask me where this card will go from here. I feel the direction will continue to be down. There may come a time when this becomes a buy target again but we have a ways to go.

Creatures

I took a quick look at the rares and mythic rares that appeared in the SCG Providence Open Top 8. Here’s a quick summary:

  1. Thragtusk – 17 copies
  2. Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells – 8 copies
  3. Geist of Saint Traft – 8 copies
  4. Angel of Serenity – 7 copies
  5. Olivia Voldaren – 6 copies

Even being in an event deck, Thragtusk has still moved very high in price. It’s an M13 rare in an event deck and it is still sold out at Star City Games at $19.99. Who would have guessed that this splashable creature, which will likely see no play in Legacy (outside of fringe Nic Fit slots), can rival a card like Snapcaster Mage in price?

I will state the obvious: if you have extra copies, you probably want to sell them.

What baffles me is the price discrepancy between Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells and Geist of Saint Traft. The former is $17.99 at Star City Games with a few dozen in stock. The latter, on the other hand, is sold out at $29.99. Of course one tournament should not dictate a card’s price, but I do find it interesting that both cards have become ancillary components in Tier 1 Standard decks rather than the backbone.

Either way, I think Geist is a sell here while Huntmaster is a hold.

That brings us to the fourth card on the list, which happens to be my favorite for biased reasons: Angel of Serenity. This card has definitely shifted the metagame and is now retailing for $24.99. Many people have warmed up to this creature’s power, and after seeing it in action at another SCG Open it is hard to argue otherwise. Will this Angel reach the heights of Baneslayer Angel? No, not likely. Will this Angel see play in Standard moving forward, justifying its current price tag? I certainly believe so.

That being said, I do feel compelled to sell a couple of the copies I preordered for $6. If you can double or triple up on this pickup, holding for additional gains is a bit greedy. I’m going to take my profits and invest elsewhere, even if I feel SCG may eventually up the price to $29.99.

But there are some other creatures I’m more bearish on. Olivia Voldaren has proven her playability multiple times now. The last time she ran up this high, she could not sustain her price. (chart from blacklotusproject.com)

She won’t drop below $4 again, but I see her having a tough time breaking the $20 mark. If you’ve profited handily on these, I’d sell them.

I’d also sell some creatures who didn’t crack the Top 5. Falkenrath Aristocrat seems less exciting and her price $20 retail price seems overinflated. Also at $20, Armada Wurm may not hold this high without more of a presence in Standard. And Trostani, Selesnyas Voice, which once retailed for $20 and didn’t even show up in the Top 8, has now come back down to earth and is selling at Star City Games for $16.

Return to Ravnica Bubble

The release of Return to Ravnica and rotation of Standard has driven a great deal of price movement in the market. During this volatile time, I’m quick to buy but also quick to sell if profitable. Some speculations may have potential to increase in price even further, but one wrong gamble and you could be left selling at a loss.

This is especially true for Return to Ravnica cards. These are all very hyped right now due to their newness and also their short supply. Until enough product can be opened to stabilize prices, many Return to Ravnica cards will remain expensive. Some, like Angel of Serenity, may have justifiably high prices. Others like Trostani will likely come back to earth as more product is opened.

I just want to caution everyone of this point. There will be opportunities for more speculation in the future. Selling some cards now, especially if significant profit is made, will enable you to rinse and repeat for next time.

Sigbits

  • Jace, the Mind Sculptor has been on quite the run. Star City Games now sells NM copies for $80 and Channel Fireball buys them at $55. I’d wager you could post on MOTL that you’re buying Jace at $55 each and you’re likely to get responses. (Amusing aside: if you open a foil Jace, the Mind Sculptor, you could complete a “pack to power” immediately as the card retails for $300).
  • I lost an auction for a NM English Diaochan, Artful Beauty the other day. The eBay auction ended over $90! I’m beginning to wonder if other Portal 3 Kingdoms cards will follow suit. While you’re browsing sales lists and trade binders, keep this in mind.
  • Nice copies of Mountain retail for $30! Of course, I’m talking about Arabian Nights Mountain, but this figure is pretty impressive. It’s amazing how high desired basic lands can go in price. And with their everlasting utility, they seem like fool-proof investments. This hints at one of my future article topics…

-Sigmund Ausfresser
@sigfig8

10 thoughts on “Insider: Week Two of Return to Ravnica

  1. Mountain is a C1, like Maze of Ith in The Dark, though about 10x more rare. There have been an estimated 31.000 in existence (http://www.usc.edu/dept/Deckmasters/archive/mtg/printrun.txt). Now imagine you were playing when Arabian Nights was released. You had no idea of rarity and this was just a basic land, sleeves were a rare sight and you probably did not envision Magic to stick around for nearly 20 years so when you were done with it, how likely were you to not just throw away the cards? What is the likelihood of any Mountains you opened surviving to this day in NM condition? (If at all) I reckon at least a lot less likely than something as special as a Library of Alexandria that is equally rare. The price of this card is more a reflection of its rarity than anything else.

    As far as rarity is concerned, P3K rares are generally estimated to be in the same ballpark for all 4 languages it was printed in together. I find that a little hard to believe, but I would not be surprised if the print run for English only was indeed that small (and if the other estiates are right it just strengthens my point). P3K being a starter level product and from a set not made tournament legal for years after makes it similarly likely that cards were lost or damaged over the years. Considering this you would expect any P3K rare that’s remotely playable to go pretty high. Just consider how high Imperial Recruiters have gone by now and that’s an uncommon… Almost any P3K investment I’ve made over the years can now be easily sold for double if not more. Diaochan is a great card for EDH both as a general or as part of the main deck. Many people like the diplomatic aspects of multiplayer and that’s where she shines.

    I wonder what inspired you to mention P3K ;-).

    1. Haha, you know you were the one who brought P3K cards into my focus. I am still amazed at the price growth some of these cards have gone through. I just wish I was on board when you were!

      As for the rarity of AN Mountain, you’re absolutely right that rarity is a key price driver. People perceive AN Mountains as “pimp” too due to their rarity. Often times I see Legacy burn decks running all AN Mountains to show off. I used to have one about 8 years ago and at that time, it was my most valuable card. But it’s long gone now.

      1. I own 1 Mountain. I play it too, as the lonely basic mountain in my Mayael deck :-). I certainly agree that it’s pimp, but so are Zendikar basics to many people. Playing the anthologies white borded Mountain with Arabian Nights symbol is pretty cool too ;-).

        I’ve read in the past that BLP graphs are generally a couple of weeks behind due to the MOTL numbers they are based on (which take into account not just that day, but previous values as well). It’s the reason I’ve moved away from looking at those for recent cards that undergo quick price shifts. I think you might want to consider whether they’re good for illustrating your point as they always seem to be lagging behind on what you’re trying to argue.

        1. I view the lagginess of BLP as another indicator, actually. When BLP’s price catches up to the actual price of a given hyped card, I know the hyped card has plateaued in value and may have peaked (in the case of Standard). I think Bonfire’s curve illustrates this nicely. As the slope decreased in early September, it was a clear indicator to get out if you hadn’t already.

          I could use TCG Player numbers for future reference, but I just love the curves of BLP (as you can see :)).

    1. Well done! Do you think the price has stabilized at $26? I’m wondering if they may drop a little further, to be on part with Entreat the Angels, for example.

  2. I don’t think you’re giving Geist of Saint Traft enough credit. If you also look at the data from last weeks tcg player tournament the card was in I believe 4 top 8 decks (u/w control and u/w aggro). Reid Duke wrote an article about how the entire modern format revolves around that card.It also sees play in u/w miracles and esper stoneblade in legacy as well as being a popular edh general. Mythics that see play in every format generally hold their value.

    However,being legendary and generally not a 4 of I do agree that it won’t hold a $30 pricetag until after it rotates.

    1. You very well may be correct. I admittedly have been focusing on SCG Open events and not others, and I did hear that Geist had a larger presence at the TCG tournament. And Geist does see ample Modern play.

      So the card should be more valuable than Huntmaster based on the above argument. But then again, Dark Ascension was opened much less than Innistrad so this should also be taken into account. But the lack of Legacy playability of Huntmaster may be keeping his price down. Still, if I had to make my guess, I’d expect Geist to drop more than Huntmaster in the next 6 months. But it is just a guess.

  3. Thanks for the confirmation ; I am moving my Bonfires & ”overhyped” RtR cards out for stable Standard, Forgotten Modern or Awesome EDH cards. I do think GoST is somewhat stable so trading new cards for that if you do not have a playset is also a good move

    1. It sounds like we are on the same page. I don’t have many RtR cards right now. I have a set of Angel of Serenity and 1 Trostani that I haven’t sold yet. Angel keeps creeping up in price though, with eBay auctions now ending in the $20 range. Love it!

      I may pick up a set of Geists at some point, they’re just not priority for me since I do think $30 retail is a bit steep.

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