Insider: Finding Value in Gatecrash

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Gatecrash (GTC) has been available online for a couple of weeks now, and the market prices on cards from this set have settled down enough to make analysis possible. With the new, higher redemption fee attached to GTC, there should be an expectation of lower price floors and lower price ceilings for cards from this set. However, there is value in the set as a whole at the moment.

The Rating System

I used this rating system in the Fall to look at Return to Ravnica (RtR) mythic rares. I feel the system has utility and is a good way to assess whether or not cards are worth buying. Each mythic is followed by the current price and a rating, either Good Value, Fully Priced or Borderline. I also present a 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. Some of these cards might never make a splash in competitive constructed formats, but the risk of loss, if bought at the suggested prices, is 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 at current prices to speculate on.
  • 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 mtgotraders and are current as of February 28th, 2013.

The Guild Leaders

The GTC guild leaders have a much higher power level than their RtR counterparts. [card Isperia, Supreme Judge]Isperia[/card] and [card Rakdos, Lord of Riots]Rakdos[/card] are just about junk, [card Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord]Jarad[/card] and [card Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius]Niv-Mizzet[/card] have settled into the 2 to 3 tix range, while Trostani is the only guild leader to maintain a price higher than 3 tix. If there was a guild leader scrap between the RtR and GTC factions, my money would be on Obzedat, Ghost Council and friends.

Aurelia, the Warleader: This card has seen some application in Standard and is not far off in terms of stats from being a flying titan. Bonus points for being a legendary angel which broadens the appeal. The early price floor on this is around 4 tix, and at that price there's value in this card. Sigarda, Host of Herons is not a bad comparison and Aurelia seems to have more utility than that card. Buy this in the 4-4.5 tix range. Current price is 4.33 tix and Good Value.

Borborygmos Enraged: The Gruul leader sees fringe play as a reanimation target, but is priced at near junk levels. Current price is 0.82, stay away from this one unless it gets down to 0.5 tix or less. Current price is 0.82 tix and Borderline.

Lazav, Dimir Mastermind: Lazav would have fit in nicely with the RtR guild leaders and is priced accordingly. Buy this card at 1.0 tix or less. Current price is 1.3 tix and Borderline.

Obzedat, Ghost Council: Ghost Dad returns and the sequel hits hard! I don't think this card has found its home yet, but this hard-to-deal-with creature is a fine card to tap out for in controlling and aggressive strategies. However, it seems suited to be a two- or three-of at most, and the Orzhov shell doesn't appear to be quite there in comparison to other strategies in Standard at the moment. The priciest of all the leaders, it found an early price floor of around 10 tix. This card doesn't present much value. Current price is 11.37 tix and Fully Priced.

Prime Speaker Zegana: The Simic guild seems to be very under represented in Standard at the moment, and the effect on this card can potentially be quite powerful. Buy this card in the 2.5 to 3.5 tix range. Current price is 3.23 tix and Good Value.

The Fatties

Most of these will have a similar theme as they are all destined to see lower prices with the release of Dragon's Maze (DGM) when players are in need of tix. This will result in a flood of supply hitting the market and lower prices. Redemption will support the price of these a little, but they don't represent much value in GTC as a set. These are all junk and should only be picked up for 0.45 tix or less, which is a probable price once DGM hits. Prices have been dropping, but they should continue to drop into the Spring.

Deathpact Angel: Current price is 0.69 tix and Fully Priced.

Enter the Infinite: The fatty of sorceries, current price is 0.94 tix and Fully Priced.

Giant Adephage: Current price is 0.64 tix and Fully Priced.

Hellkite Tyrant: Current price is 0.63 tix and Fully Priced.

Lord of the Void: Current price is 0.74 tix and Fully Priced.

The Rest

Aurelia's Fury: Powerful X-spells are all over Standard but it's not clear whether this is one of them. The X's in Rakdos's Return and Sphinx's Revelation both translate into card advantage, while the X in this card is more situational and harder to judge. Dealing with three-toughness creatures is a theme of Standard in the early turns, and this card needs five mana to do that. Avoid this card. Current price is 4.28 tix and Fully Priced.

Domri Rade: This planeswalker was spoiled early and consequently didn't hit spoiler season with a lot of fanfare. It's currently the priciest card from GTC, and is appearing as a three-of or four-of in some Naya and Gruul builds in Standard, often the best card in the deck. I expect this card to at least maintain its price going forward, and should creep up to into the 15-20 tix range by the end of the year. Current price is 13.25 tix and Good Value.

Duskmantle Seer: Although this one was initially intriguing to me, at its price right now and lack of impact early on in Standard, I don't see much value in this card. Look for this one to drift down to 2 tix or less. At that price, it would be a borderline pick up. Current price is 3.96 tix and Fully Priced.

Gideon, Champion of Justice: During spoiler season, there was no consensus on this card as assessments on its power level were all over the map. It hasn't really found much application in Standard yet, but a planewalker can't be fully counted out this early on. It's price floor appears to be around 4 tix, buying this card at that price if you can is not a mistake. Current price is 4.34 tix and Borderline.

Master Biomancer: This creature doesn't really have the stats you want in a four drop, but it can block Flinthoof Boar and company and is non-legendary so playing four copies in a deck is possible. It has found an early price floor of around 4 tix but hasn't seen any success yet in Standard. Buy this at 3 tix or less, though this might not be possible until Dragon's Maze. Current price is 4.37 tix and Borderline.

Top Overall Pick

Build-around-me planeswalkers like Domri Rade have a history of not living up to their potential. Two of the recent planeswalkers of this type were Koth of the Hammer and Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. The long term price trend on these cards while they were in Standard was down. They started at high levels of expectation and price, and never really found their footing in the Standard metagame. Fortunately Domri Rade is starting out at a much lower level of expectation, so historically this suggests the card has upside potential.

Also, the build-around aspect of Domri Rade revolves around creatures, a notable difference from Koth and Tezzeret. Creatures are being pushed to be exciting and powerful cards by WoTC. As a restriction, it's a good place to be. In comparison, Koth and Tezzeret both suffered due to their restrictions. Playing with Koth restricted you to basically playing with one colour, at a time in Standard when there were quality dual lands pushing the most powerful decks into two or more colours.

As for Tezzeret, WoTC seems to be cautious around how powerful it makes artifacts these days due to their ability to appear in any deck. Even though Tezzeret appeared in an artifact block, it never really made a big splash in Standard and it looks like it needs the artifact lands from the original Mirrodin block to be effective.

Usually going with the highest priced card as a top pick is a recipe for losses, but after testing a Naya build this week, I am convinced that Domri Rade is the real deal in Standard. I think this card will have a price trajectory similar to Deathrite Shaman. A deeper understanding and appreciation of Domri Rade as a card will occur over time, and it will eventually settle at a higher price. I feel this card is a strong buy at current prices. If it gets to 16 tix in the short term, I'd hold off buying until Dragon's Maze release events.

5 thoughts on “Insider: Finding Value in Gatecrash

  1. Comparing this article against the one you made after RtR release was over, I see you got to be a lot more cautious. Investing in RtR then was a big mistake (except for Sphinx revelation) and I still haven’t recovered from that, so I’m not planning on going deep into any GTC-card. Domri, to me, seems overhyped and I fear it will go where Vraska boldly went before… down the hill ! It’s not good in agressive decks cause it costs them their turn 3, and after that, if Domri hits a land twice it’s just disastrous. I don’t see decks that want to kill on turns 4 or 5 make room for this, and other decks just don’t play enough creatures to make it worthwile…

    But time will tell if my predictions are worth more then the ink they’re written with :p.

    1. It’s true, most of my ‘Good Value’ calls from RtR haven’t panned out. Don’t look now though, but Vraska has been moving up lately, =)

      1. Yes, it bottomed at 4.5 and is now going to 6… but still far away from the 8.5 tix at which i bought them lol (and just opened another one in an RtR-draft).

        thanks for the articles !

  2. The 2nd ability from Domri is almost as good, if not better in some occasions, as the 1st ability. With Boros reckoner or, why not, High Priest of Penance, Domri 2nd ability can create big holes in your pop lines. The 1st ability being simply a way to reload the 2nd one.

    I’m not a big fan of Domri but I can see why it could be good.

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