menu

Insider: Digging out of Dragon’s Maze

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Time to look back at Dragon’s Maze. I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that I hit some of the right notes in my initial set review, but the bad news is I completed missed on one card in particular.

This set does have one important aspect I didn’t take into account while reviewing it, which is the impact of Modern Masters. Because Modern Masters came out just weeks after the Maze it cut significantly into the drafting of the set. And because it was already a third set that was destined to be opened just a little, it was instead basically not opened at all.

That’s a recipe for cards to do nothing but get expensive and go up over time. That’s both an opportunity for us as well as a factor that will increase the price of those Voices you need to play.

Let’s find out what’s what.

Blood Baron of Vizkopa

Then:

“At a $12 preorder on Star City Games, there’s not much to like here. I think the card is powerful, of course, and it will likely compete with Obzedat for that 5-drop spot once Thragtusk rotates. I have no idea right now which of those will win out, so there may be an opportunity down the line, but it’s certainly coming down from $12.

If this does reach near-bulk status I like picking it up because it’s a powerful vampire at the mythic rarity. That’s good for its long-term prices.”

Now: $8 on SCG. The card was as powerful as I thought, and the large amount of play it saw at the Block Pro Tour kept its price from going too low. That said, I routinely see dealers pay $5 on these, which is already a good margin. Combine that with the fact it’s a mythic and I think this is a good place to park some equity in for the next few months.

Deadbridge Chant

Then:

“This is, by far, the card I most like at its $4 preorder price, for a few reasons.

Firstly, Standard. This card provides so much value I can see it immediately becoming a two-of in Jund decks. That may not do much to its price, but it doesn’t exactly have far to drop either. Secondly, Block and/or Standard decks that start with four Abrupt Decay, four Putrefy and some number of Vraska the Unseen/Chant are probably a thing.

And on top of that, it’s a very solid Commander card for any reanimator deck or simply one that likes value. With all of that in mind, I highly suggest picking this up at your prerelease this weekend.”

Now: $2.50 on SCG. What that doesn’t tell you, though, is that this card jumped to $8-10 a week or two after the release, and I advocated selling them then. I made good money off of this card, and I hope you did as well.

Legions Initiative

Then:

“No way this stays $12. Even if its played I don’t think it will be played a ton, so something like $3-4 seems more right in a few months.”

Now: $4 on SCG. Yup, I thought this was an easy call, but there was some hype back when the set came out.

Ral Zarek

Then:

“I’m sure this surprises no one, but this card is insanely overpriced at $35. It’s hard to imagine common scenarios where the first ability is something you actively look for, and while the second ability is really good and people obviously want to take extra turns, I’m just not sure that translates into a lot of Standard play.

The guy obviously does have a following though, so I expect Ral to end up at something like $8-12 four to six months down the line. And I expect Jace, Architect of Thought to be the 4-drop planeswalker of choice and rise in price accordingly from the $10 it’s at right now.”

Now: $13 on SCG, and well on its way to the $8-12 in six months that I predicted. Likewise, Jace hit $20 on SCG for awhile, and is now $13 both on SCG and TCGPlayer, indicating that it will continue to rise.

Savageborn Hydra

Then:

“When I first saw this card, I got excited about its casual potential down the line, à la Primordial Hydra. Then I saw it’s $8, which I think is absurd because the card is unlikely to see any real competitive play, at least before next year.

Let this drop down to near-bulk and scoop them up then.”

Now: $3. It’s probably safe to pick these up now as I suggested. And, while I don’t expect a huge upside, it’s sure to rise since that’s what all mythic hydras seem to do.

Voice of Resurgence

Then:

"This is one of the cards people are really divided over. Some think it’s the best thing ever while others are pretty 'meh' about it and its $20 preorder price.

I’m somewhere in between. I think the card is solid but don’t see it going nuts any time soon, and leaving behind a 1/1 isn’t exactly the best Wrath defense we’ve ever seen.

In summation, then, $6-9 card."

Now: $50 on SCG. I blew this one pretty badly, though there were a couple factors I didn’t see coming. Namely, the Modern Masters impact and the fact that Voice would go on to win the Pro Tour and a Modern Grand Prix.

That’s a lot of factors that conspire to keep a card expensive, and while it will likely behave similarly to Bonfire of the Damned and come down quite a bit by this time next year, that doesn’t change the fact I missed the call on this one.

Aetherling

Then:

“I’m addressing this one (preselling at $6) because I’ve heard a few people say it’s going to be the next big control finisher. Personally, I don’t see that at all. In order to protect it you have to play it at seven mana, and then attack with it at least five turns in a row to win.

That’s too much for my tastes when the alternatives have a larger impact on the board. As such, I don’t really see much hope for this card, and I think it’s $2-4 down the line.”

Now: $5 on SCG. I undersold the card at first, and I actually think it’s way better than I initially gave it credit for. That said, the price has behaved to this point more or less as I thought it would.

Now, after seeing M14 and the way the format seems to look post-rotation, I like picking up the new Morphling as I think it will hit $8-10 after rotation.

Notion Thief

Then:

“This is the Dragon’s Maze card most akin to Boros Reckoner in my opinion.

What I mean by that is it could see a large spike the first week or two it’s out because I’m pretty sure this will be big against the Sphinx’s Revelation decks. Obviously we all know this, but people jamming this in the first week could easily spike it to $10+ from its current $6. I wouldn’t expect it to stay there though; chances are it comes back down to $5 or so.”

Now: $1.50 on SCG. The card did see some play out of the gates before settling down, but the biggest reason why the price has moved has nothing to do with Notion Thief itself. Rather, it’s Voice of Resurgence and the aggro decks making Revelation mirrors less common, therefore less sideboard slots are needed to combat it.

This could change after rotation, and at a buck fifty it’s hard to lose. That said, I doubt the upside is all that high.

Sire of Insanity

Then:

"This is already up to $3 from a buck, but I don’t even hate trading for it at that $2-3 price point this weekend. A solid showing next weekend spikes this to $5+, and you’ll have no problem outing them at that time for a nice double-up.

I don’t see it ever being a four-of, though, so it will likely settle to $3-5 even if it does see play, and more like $1-2 if it doesn’t.”

Now: $2 on SCG. This is another card that spiked from its initial price point before coming back down as expected.

The Grade

Overall, I feel bad about missing so hard on Voice but I feel pretty satisfied with how I called the rest of the set. As I’ve said before, I’d rather miss out on a card going up than tell you to invest in Ral Zarek at $35 and have it plummet, so I guess I screwed up in the best possible way.

But that’s why we do these set reviews, to learn from our mistakes and adjust moving forward. For instance, the Modern Masters thing had way more of an effect that I planned for, and it’s a good lesson to learn the next time something like this comes around.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

6 thoughts on “Insider: Digging out of Dragon’s Maze

  1. You make a great point regarding missing a card going up rather than missing and a card going down. With up you have simply lost potential gains…with going down you lose actual money. It seems wise to air on the side of caution doing set reviews for this exact purpose. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype, it’s much harder to remove your bias when making your calls.

    1. Thanks! I mean, while a missed call is a missed call, I try to look at the things I write on this site through the prism of someone investing money based on my advice, and I’d rather someone not lose money than possibly gain some. Risk, and all that.

      But next time I just won’t miss 😉

    1. I’m not sure. For instance, we don’t with Gatecrash, do we? Or M14? It’s possible there’s some advanced math that could provide a yield that could be applied to each set (I do know, for instance, that’s there a cap on how valuable an in-print set can become), but I think sets vary too much to say there will definitely be a $30+ card.

      It’s likely that in a year Avacyn Restored will have two $30+ cards in Avacyn and Griselbrand, whereas I doubt that Gatecrash will be in the same boat.

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.


Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.