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Insider: Finding Value in Dragon’s Maze

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Dragon's Maze (DGM) 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 early analysis possible. Keep in mind that DGM is a 3rd set, which historically has meant higher prices on average. If there's going to be a 45+ tix card in the latest Ravnica block, chances are it will be from this set. Let's dive in and look at the latest expansion.

The Rating System

I use this rating system to think about the value of 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 May 23rd, 2013.

Fully Priced

Blood Baron of Vizkopa: I think we'll be seeing more of this card in the future, but I expect further price weakness over the coming months. I'd be a buyer in the 4-5 tix range, but the current price is 9.14 tix and so it's Fully Priced.

Legion's Initiative: Expect this card to continue to drop in price. Comparable anthem effects have been printed that don't see much use in Standard, such as Intangible Virtue. Stay away from this card. Current price is 3.92 tix and Fully Priced.

Maze's End: Its use in Block Constructed has pulled this card up from pure junk into the overpriced range. Also, prereleases were popular online and everybody who participated in those events got a date-stamped copy. Current price is 3.14 tix and Fully Priced.

Ral Zarek: Planeswalkers get a bit better with the latest rule changes, allowing you to refresh the loyalty counters by casting a second copy of your favorite planeswalker. Looking at the power level of recent ones such as Vraska, I think it's somewhat obvious these rule changes have been costed into the more recent 'walkers. My sense for this card is that it will be a solid role player in Standard but the price should continue to drop in the short term. I'd be a buyer in the 6-7 tix range, but the current price is 9.75 tix and thus it's Fully Priced.

Reap Intellect: Pure junk with value only to redeemers. This card is already down to 0.85 tix and will be going lower, but should hold 1+ tix in the Fall. Buy this one for 0.5 tix or less. At the moment though, this is Fully Priced.

Borderline

Deadbridge Chant: This card has seen some application in Standard Jund lists, but I am skeptical of its staying power. Current price is 3.14 tix and Borderline.

Master of Cruelties: Never-before-seen abilities are tough to evaluate in a vacuum and this card features one. This means that this card is probably mispriced at the moment. Although it might not ever warrant use in a constructed format, don't count it out. At 1 ticket or less, I'd aggressively load up on this card. Current price is 1.57 tix and Borderline.

Voice of Resurgence: The early constructed star of the set, this card was in Craig Wescoe's PT Dragon's Maze winning Block Constructed list. It also made made an impact on Modern showing up in Pod lists at GP Portland the previous week. Sam Black was even musing about it's application in Legacy in his latest article at SCG. At its current price of 37 tix, I find it very difficult to recommend a buy on this card, but if there's going to be a 45+ tix card in DGM, this is it. I'd be a buyer in the 25-30 tix range, but at current prices this card is Borderline.

Good Value

Council of the Absolute: Cards like this have a good chance of being used in predictable metagames. Fighting through a sea of artifact hate, Pierre Canali won Pro Tour Columbus in 2005 with a Vial Affinity list featuring Meddling Mage as a key four-of. Once Standard settles down, this card could see more application. I like this card a lot at 2 tix or less. Current price is 1.26 tix and Good Value.

Progenitor Mimic: This saw a price bump overnight as a result of the legendary rule changes. For clone variants like this one, I don't think it's clear yet whether the changes are positive or negative overall. I think this card has a decent chance of making an impact on Standard. Current price is 2.98 tix, and I'd be a buyer at up to 4 tix. Good Value.

Savageborn Hydra: At first I just assumed this was destined to be junk, but after casting my eye on the chart of Primordial Hydra, I was forced to take a closer look. The core set hydra has seen two printings with the M13 version going for 5 tix and the M12 version for 6+ tix. I think it's safe to assume that redemption and casual appeal are what keep that card at such a lofty price for a junkish mythic. This suggests to me that Savageborn Hydra is a good deal right now as it is comparable to Primordial Hydra. Also, I think it has an outside chance at showing up in Standard. Current price is 0.93 tix and Good Value.

Top Overall Pick(s)

Looking back at my picks from Return to Ravnica (RTR) and Gatecrash (GTC), my two top picks of Vraska the Unseen and Domri Rade are still languishing at or below the range where I felt they were good value. I still believe that Domri Rade will get a chance to shine in Constructed (possibly in Modern), but Vraska looks to be fringe playable at best.

This shows to me that suggesting a top pick and focusing exclusively on that is a poor way to speculate on the latest mythics. Predicting how a given card's price will fluctuate is difficult, but somewhere in the latest set there is always some value to be found. Thus, diversifying over a few picks seems to be prudent and in hindsight this is borne out, as buying a basket of the Good Value cards would have included Sphinx's Revelation from RTR and Prime Speaker Zegana from GTC. Both of these saw large price jumps (100%+) in the weeks following my mythic rare reviews.

For this reason, I'd suggest buying a basket of Progenitor Mimic, Council of the Absolute and Savageborn Hydra. These three cards are the ones I think hold Good Value at current prices. Buying a basket of these is a low-risk speculative bet. I'll be accumulating these cards for my own portfolio this weekend and over the coming weeks.

12 thoughts on “Insider: Finding Value in Dragon’s Maze

  1. These would be a lot easier to read if you grouped them by classification. List all the “Fully Priced”, then all the “Good Buys,” and so on.

    1. My previous mythic rundowns I roughly grouped them by type of card. This time, I was a bit stymied as to a good grouping, so I just did them alphabetically. You make a good point!

  2. I think you should include the rares. Maybe not all of them but at least the noteworthy ones. Especially with this being a small set, rares can spike rather drastically.

    1. The trends are so bad for online rares from sets that are being drafted that I haven’t even started evaluating what rares are worth going deep on. Right now, the list of rares I’m interested in is very short, and it starts and ends with Advent of the Wurm. I’ll be buying this in July.

      I like Catch/Release at 0.05 or less too.

      1. That’s true, maybe an article down the line? I’m personally going to be buying alot of the rares later on as I can afford to widen my margin of error.

  3. After reading your article and looking at some charts of other Mythic Hydras I feel like I want to buy all the Savageborn Hydra of the market!

    To me it’s almost playable in constructed format and definitely playable in casual format: double strike + pump super easily with any downside.

    With a 500% profit potential in 2 years at max, give me 10 lbs of it!

    I also like a lot Beck/Call, especially 1 step away from total junk.

    At 0.05 I’ll also grab some Breaking/Entering.

  4. I’m also buying in on the Hydra’s, aiming to keep Goatbots and Supernova out of stock; I would also like to get your opinion on Aetherling and Sire.

    Thanks for the advice; with the tix i made from the GTC-boosters I’m finally getting the idea my subscription here is no lost money !

    1. Not sure about Aetherling and Sire of Insanity. They don’t strike me as 4-ofs, which would limit their upside. I see that sire is down to around 1 tix on Nova. At that price, I feel their is some value. Aetherling at over 3 tix doesn’t have much value.

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting! Your comments have always helped me to develop my ideas more fully.

  5. Hi there, new to Quiet Speculation. Great Article, just picked up a few of the good value cards. Just wondering what your thoughts about Varolz is since I see a few people trying to make it work in a few different formats

    1. Thanks for reading!

      Varolz seems like it will be a card that will be played, and 3rd set rares often carry some of the highest price tags once they stop being drafted. I’d be patient though and wait till the middle of July before I started buying. If you follow this strategy though, you have to be ready to accept that you might miss the big price spike if Varolz breaks out.

      The other thing you could do is to start buying the card now, but allocate some tix to continue to buy over the summer, ie spreading out your purchases. This often reduces the negative feelings that come from missing out on a card you liked. Having a system for accumulating cards removes the decision making process.

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