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Insider: Looking Back at Corbin’s Set Review

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Quiet Spec’s own Corbin Hosler contacted me last week with an amazing idea that I hope we continue to do from season to season. Taking each other’s Pre-release predictions and giving them a post-hoc review. I’m anxious to see what Corbin says about mine, I made some great calls during those periods, however my most successful ones weren’t actually from the new set. It’s always interesting to try and remember what we thought of things without all the context of how formats have changed since then. We can objectively look at our speculations and judge our performance. This helps us identify problems and improve.

Corbin had a consolidated set review for RTR, Linked here.

Looking at the Evidence

I’m going to go over each call he made and talk about it’s life cycle from then to now.

Shocklands- Corbin pretty much nailed these on the head, stating buying in at $10 wasn’t a profitable longterm move. What he and I both missed on these, is that many of them did spike up for a bit in the first weeks of the format. There may have been an opportunity for a quick flip, but if you ended up unable to move them in time you’d be stuck with a loss by now. Corbin hit the bulls-eye on this one.

Angel of Serenity- His article went up after the craze shot pre-order pricing up to $15, where Corbin said it’d bounce between $10-20, and as such wasn’t suggesting a buy. He was pretty dead on, but left a wide window. And the card has followed the path he described. I took this same logic in a recent article, now that the Angel has fallen to $12 as a good pick up for the upswing.

Martial Law- A bulk rare spec that he wanted to keep his eye on. While not yet reccomending a buy, he identified a card worth a glance. While Martial Law is still a bulk-rare, these sorts of things are very low risk. Especially given his advice was to watch it closely. Corbin isolated an interesting card, but didn’t so much as go all in too early.

Rest in Peace- Corbin said the pre-order price on this card at $4 was fair, and would likely sit around that price for some time. I felt the same way at the time, but this card has fallen well below $1. Thus far, the biggest miss, but his logic was reasonable, and I arrived and a similar conclusion myself.

Jace, Architect of Thought- “Not the right time to buy” and he was right. It’s come down a handful of dollars since then, even more than he predicted. This being said, this could be a good target for speculation going forward now that it’s come down quite a bit.

Desecration Demon- He expected it to hover around its pre-order price of $4, yet it’s fallen to less than half that price. He did however correctly identify that it wasn’t a good target. Knowing how bad a bad target is, is not nearly as important as knowing how good a good target will be. Incorrectly predicting the floor on a card you think is overpriced doesn’t end up costing you money, and is just a learning opportunity. While overpredicting a card’s ceiling is the dangerous one that can actually cost you money.

Pack Rat- He liked it as a long-term call as a casual favorite, to get in at $1. It hasn’t moved much yet, so only time will tell how accurate that prediction was. I don’t expect it to change too much in future years, but it will likely hold its existing value at least for the reasonably near term.

Ash Zealot- Like me, Corbin expected RDW to get some hype in Standard, but the closest we got was Rakdos. Zealot is still $3. Corbin didn’t pick a specific price point for it, but did compare it to how Stromkirk Noble hit $10 the previous year. It just wasn’t the right time for Ash Zealot.

Armada Wurm- Corbin was not excited about this card at $15, and right he was. This card is now about $6 and doesn’t see much play. His assessment that it won't see play in many decks was right on and he nailed this on on the button.

Collective Blessing- Its another rare he didn’t set a price point on but said he wanted to watch. It still sits just above bulk level, and it sees some fringe play in Standard. If that fringe play starts to pick up, being prepared to buy in is a good move.

Detention Sphere- He did not suggest a buy here, and said the card would fall to $5-7. It did, and then it kept falling to about $3-4 range. Overall, Corbin suggested staying away from this card, and he was right.

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius- Corbin says this guy is a good buy at $10 as he could shoot up to $15. Unfortunately for everyone’s favorite dragon, he hasn’t seen any competetive play, and can now be found for around $3. Corbin’s reasoning was sound here, but the format just didn’t cooperate with him.

Chromatic Lantern- Good to know I wasn’t the only one who thought this card was a good buy. I’m still not conviced it isn’t going forward, but thus far has borne no fruits. Corbin said it would have a $4-6 price tag, and it unfortunately is just under that range.

Judgment

On the whole, Corbin was fairly accurate, and his misses were mostly on cards he didn’t suggest investing in, so his end-result advice was accurate. Overall, out of all the cards here, he did a pretty good job assessing the format and predicting where things would fall. This was a great exercise and I look forward to doing it again next season.

7 thoughts on “Insider: Looking Back at Corbin’s Set Review

  1. I remember a time when Olivia was $3.Then it spiked to $15. Now it’s cooled to around $8-9. Niv-mizzet is now $3 (and sometimes less). Could we see the same history for Niv-mizzet?

    1. Wouldn’t be surprised. The problem is, which I didn’t foresee at the time, was that Sphinx’s Revelation just filled the “control finisher” role much better. But if Frontline Medic or other answers to non-creatures become popular that could change, especially after rotation. Basically, the power level on Niv is so high that it’s hard to imagine it not get played somewhere. And at $3, it would spike hardish.

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