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Insider: Beneath the Veil

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Liliana of the Veil has been an extremely interesting card to watch. The emergence of Jund in Legacy really flipped the switch on this card, turning it into a $50 ‘walker. Just this week foils began to spike out of control.

Many have attributed the price increase to the large influx of new players. But today I want to walk through Liliana’s price history to see if we can draw any other conclusions, and form a strategy for the card.

First Impressions

Let’s start at the beginning. Here’s what I wrote about Liliana in my Innistrad set review:

“In my limited testing, Liliana has been insane. She comes and edicts a player, then sticks around to accumulate value as you make them discard things they care about while you pitch something like a Vengeful Pharaoh. She probably won’t be staying at $35, but I see her staying pretty relevant as we move forward and price increases are possible. I’m interested in picking up as many of these as possible for reasonable prices.”

After the release, the price increase I talked about came to pass as players realized Solar Flare was the best-positioned deck heading into States, and Liliana rose to $60 or $70 for a couple weeks.

People began asking if we had the next Jace, the Mind Sculptor on our hands, which I addressed in an article detailing why Liliana wasn't as good as Jace.

While I was right at the time, and for the most part still am, it seems like things have changed since then. Liliana did in fact settle back down to $20 or so, and hung around there for a while. But the emergence of Jund in Modern kept the price high and the recent transition to Legacy has caused the run on Liliana. It’s gone from a pretty consistent $20-25 to $50 all of a sudden, with foils fetching $150.

The first question, of course, is can it maintain that price?

The short answer, for now, is yes. But I assume you didn’t come here for the short answer.

Sculpting Minds Beneath the Veil

At this point, the most relevant comparison is obviously the Mind Sculptor, who has seen a pretty substantial rise himself in the last few months. The reason this is such a good comparison is because, like Jace, Liliana’s appeal comes primarily from Eternal formats. She is played in Standard some, but not enough to justify the big jump.

Looking at Jace, we see it’s at $100 or so, where it’s been for the last few months after a big jump from $60. The most important thing to note from Jace's price is how steady it has been since it went up again. $60 Jaces turned into $100 Jaces pretty quickly, but unlike a ton of other flash-in-the-pan risers, it has since held steady as a c-note.

That’s good news for Liliana. While the card may settle down some from its current price tag, we have yet to see a mythic since Big Jace sustain more than $50 while in Standard. That said, I can’t think offhand of any others with the Eternal appeal of Liliana, so it some aspects we’re looking at a new standard-bearer here.

A lot of MTG finance is about using good heuristics, which means an established precedent from which to draw future conclusions. That’s why finding the right comparison is so important, and that’s why Big Jace is so important here.

With that in mind, it’s easy to call a “ceiling” of sorts for Liliana. It can’t go higher than Jace because even if demand were equal (which I don't think is the case), supply for Liliana is much greater. So if Liliana continues to rise, you can feel comfortable in the knowledge that there’s not much farther it can go.

So what’s our play on Liliana right now, at $50? To be honest, I’m not interested in acquiring at that price because it seems to have leveled off the last week, suggesting that for the time being the rise is over.

With that said, I do think it is a safe hold. While the upside may not be huge compared to the entry point right now, I don’t think the downside, especially over the long-term, is too much. It’s likely we’ll see a bit of a drop-off come rotation, but since we’ve already establish Standard isn’t the main driver here I’m not sure how much of an effect that will have.

Lili's Future

What about long-term? The risk of a reprint at this point doesn’t seem too high and it’s not eligible for inclusion in Modern Masters, so we can eliminate that. So there are really three questions to ask to determine a long-term plan.

  1. Will Eternal demand go down?
  2. What is the risk of a reprint?
  3. How much of a drop-off will Standard rotation create?

We’ve already answered the second on that list, and Eternal demand doesn’t seem to be moving either. The last question is probably the most relevant one, and while I think the impact won’t be huge, I do think it will exist.

That means you may be able to get in on cheaper Lilianas in a few months, but not so much cheaper that if you want your playset now you should wait. I think the current price tag is reasonable if you need them to play.

Once we see that rotation dip, whatever it is, it becomes time to buy unless we have new information about questions 1 or 2. Assuming everything else stays constant, we’ll have the low point of the card’s lifetime and can expect incremental gains from then on out, making an attractive target to both pick up and hold onto.

Wrapping Up

Of course, this is just my opinion of the card’s future. What do you guys think? Is my analysis useful; or overly aggressive or conservative? I know I’ll be acting on my own advice here, so I’m interested to see if anyone else has a different take!

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

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Corbin Hosler

Corbin Hosler is a journalist living in Norman, Oklahoma (also known as the hotbed of Magic). He started playing in Shadowmoor and chased the Pro Tour dream for a few years, culminating in a Star City Games Legacy Open finals appearance in 2011 before deciding to turn to trading and speculation full-time. He writes weekly at QuietSpeculation.com and biweekly for LegitMTG. He also cohosts Brainstorm Brewery, the only financial podcast on the net. He can best be reached @Chosler88 on Twitter.

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Posted in Buying, Feature, Finance, Free Insider, PredictionsTagged , , , , , , ,

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13 thoughts on “Insider: Beneath the Veil

  1. The foil hit $150 this week. That seems to imply most of the demand is coming from eternal, and seems like it indicates that may have a stabilizing effect on the price through rotation. I still think $50 is the ceiling.

  2. Hey again Corbin great article as usual, I actually agree with most except on the reprint aspect, I think she could potentially could show up in m15 or m16 because she is mono colored and even though she is a really good walker she didn’t really dominate standard like jace or gideon did and gideon/ nicol bolas showed up in core, mind sculptor probably would have too if he wasn’t broken. With that in mind what are the chances we see elspeth in core?

    1. First off, thanks! I think that’s a fair point, and we could see her at some point in Core. I think the veil is tied to Innistrad story-wise though, so I’m not sure if this would stop them or not.

      1. The veil is not really tied to Innistrad, though in the storyline Liliana visits Innistrad while she has the veil.

        The veil’s origins are covered in the webcomics.

        That being said, the only cases of non-lorwyn planeswalkers being printed in a core set are Sorin and Gideon, both of which were used in the storyline of their block. (As opposed to someone like Tamiyo or Tibalt, who are very loosely involved in the storyline, though this could be due to Innistrad not having a novel of any kind (at least that I could find)). I don’t think the “of the veil” prefix to Liliana necessarily places her on Innistrad, but so far we also have no precedent for a reprint in a core set of a newer version of a planeswalker that was originally reprinted outside of a core set. That rule is the one Liliana has to overcome.

        I think it’s possible if she gets too abhorrently high in price. With MM, Wizards has shown a desire to lower black market prices to increase the influx of players to older formats. If Liliana is played in every deck that plays black, much like most every blue deck would play Jace 2.0 if it could, reprinting her in a core set seems like a good way to dramatically increase supply. She never warped the standard format like Jace did.

        1. “so far we also have no precedent for a reprint in a core set of a newer version of a planeswalker that was originally reprinted outside of a core set.”

          While accurate we haven’t had all that much time for this to have occured. The first “new planeswalker” from the originals was Ajani Vengeant in Shards block which was only a few years ago. The fact that they reprinted the Lorwyn block ones in a core set (M2010), actually shows that they’ll print planeswalkers from an Expansion in a core set (I realize that it was the first time they’d been printed, but it does set a precedent). Liliana of the Veil was from an Expansion so reprinting her in a core set would be similar to reprinting Garruk Wildspeaker, Chandra Nalaar, Ajani Goldmane, Liliana Vess in a core set (which as I said has been done)

  3. I hate to be harsh but how is this article other then retrospectively patting yourself on the back and telling people there is no speculative play here? I am only being critical because this is paid content.

    1. It’s analytical breakdown of the rise of a card, the factors that led to it and how those factors affect the price moving forward by someone who’s followed the rise of this and similar cards closely. If I’m not here to critically analyze movements like this and chart an investment course moving forward, what am I here on the paid side to do?

      I see where your comment is coming from, but the only reason I included what I wrote about it was to have a starting point for the card’s history and what followed, and is not especially relevant to the main crux of the article, which is determining the card’s future.

  4. Good Analysis Corbin. The question is: Is the Time to buy into Liliana again when the Set is about to rotate but is still Standard legal and everyone is in panic about Standard Prices or will she hit her bottom shortly after Rotation?

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