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Insider: Impacts of ZZW Queues

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The most recent round of Cube drafting on MTGO awarded Zendikar (ZEN) and Worldwake (WWK) packs as prizes. Concurrently Zendikar-Zendikar-Worldwake (ZZW) draft queues were up and running in order to give players a chance to use their prizes from Cube. With the Zendikar fetchlands as well as the pricey Jace, the Mind Sculptor available to be opened, ZZW turned out to be very popular. This resulted in an increase of the supply of rares and mythic rares from ZEN and WWK.

Worldwake Mythics

The above chart shows Eye of Ugin staying consistently in the 9-11 tix range for most of the past year. It's a staple in R/G Urzatron in Modern, but only a one-of in that deck. The price drop from the end of January to the beginning of March is steep and deep as a result of the ZZW queues spitting out a number of copies onto the market.

 

The chart for Jace, The Mind Sculptor shows a very similar recent pattern. Although banned in Modern, Jace is a staple of both Legacy and Classic/Vintage, and is from a lightly opened and heavily redeemed set.

At this point, you should ask yourself: are Eye of Ugin and Jace, The Mind Sculptor good buys due to their recent price drops or is the market just horribly flooded with excess ZEN and WWK mythic rares? If the market is simply flooded, then prices might continue to fall. Some further investigating should shed a little light on this question.

The Fetchlands

In the chart for the ZEN fetchlands index we can see that they too saw a steep and deep decline due to firing of ZZW queues, going from around 10 tix to about 6 tix on average. It's not the 70% drop of Eye of Ugin, but still a solid 40% decrease.

However, the subsequent rebound of the fetchlands has been surprising. There was a lull in the Modern PTQ season to be sure, but did a bunch of new Modern players enter the market, snapping up available supply of the fetch lands? Possibly, but maybe it's speculators who bought out the fresh supply.

It's basically impossible to say with any certainty where the price rebound came from, but it's enough to suggest two things. First, that Modern is a popular and growing format online, but more importantly that the recent increase in supply relative to the Modern player base was small.

What's Next?

The Modern PTQ season is near an end and prices on the ZEN fetchlands as well as other modern staples should begin to drift down in the coming months. Players will shift their focus to Standard and they'll also start looking outside at the improving weather. As attention on Modern drifts to other things, prices should slide. The recent price drop and rebound gives us an approximate price floor of around 6 tix for the average fetchland.

Check back in with the index to see where it is in around the release of Dragon's Maze online. Last year the prices on the ZEN fetchlands bottomed out during the release of Avacyn Restored, so it's reasonable to expect something similar to happen this year. At that time, if Scalding Tarn and Misty Rainforest are in the 6-7 tix range, then I'll be a buyer. Also look out for Celestial Colonnade, Creeping Tar Pit, Raging Ravine, Goblin Guide, and Pyromancer Ascension. All of these cards have uses in Modern and have been money makers for me in the past two Modern seasons.

As for Eye of Ugin and Jace, The Mind Sculptor, both are reasonable buys right now with different time horizons. The legendary land should be a useful card in Modern as long as the Urza lands are legal. The bounce back in the price of the fetchlands suggests that supply did not increase as much as was suggested by the initial price drop. With that in mind, and an eye to the next Modern season, buying Eye of Ugin today is a low-risk strategy that should yield a decent profit by this time next year. This play takes patience, but there's value in Eye of Ugin at around 3 tix.

As for Jace 2.0, over the years I have made quite a bit of profit buying and selling this card at different times on MTGO. In a column from early February, I discussed the motivation for buying into Jace. See the analysis here. At that time, I suggested a price range of 50-55 tix would be a reasonable entry point, and currently Jace sits at 46.66 tix on Cardbot. If you've been considering stepping up and buying higher priced cards in your specs, right now would be a good time to start.

On the downside, reprints of both of these cards are possible, with special mention of the possibility of Jace, the Mind Sculptor showing up in FTV:20. If that ends up being the case, an immediate dump would be required to minimize losses. Be vigilant for this type of reprint as well as the reappearance of ZZW queues.

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