Insider: Breaking Down FTV: 20

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Welcome back readers! This week I will be breaking down FTV: 20. I feel this is necessary given the current going rate on eBay for this product, around $200-$240. What everyone jumps to is the foil JTMS and many people assume that a FTV Foil is close to a pack foil. In reality, they are typically more equivalent to the regular version.

A lot of stores are using the current price of the contents to hype it to players, failing to account for the fact that prices will drop across the board for every card in it. But how much do we expect them to drop? For this we'll look over previous card values for comparison.

Past Chase Cards

The following cards were considered the "chase" cards of the previous FTV series. Each card is accompanied by its price trajectory. (As usual all price data came from Black Lotus Project.)

Card Name FTV Release Date Price Before Spoiler Price at FTV Release Current Price
Nicol Bolas (Legends) August 29, 2008 $8 $8 $14
Aerathi Berserker August 28, 2009 Not Available Not Available $43
Mox Diamond August 27, 2010 $37.50 $32.18 $18.33
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker August 26, 2011 $5 $7 $17.50
Maze of Ith August 31, 2012 $27 $27 $21.60


First of all, there are a few issues with these cards that make analysis tricky. The main one is that we can't disassociate the change in value due to playability. What I mean by this is that if I have a $10 card and it gets reprinted, we expect a price drop (for ease of math let's say its reprint puts exactly twice as many into the market place). Assuming constant demand, that would imply the price should drop by about one half (to $5).

But what happens if that card suddenly becomes the secret tech in some top tier deck and demand doubles, thus jumping it right back to $10? Because we are looking for the trend of what the reprinting does to the value, looking solely at the price at time A and comparing to time B we'd say well reprinting has no effect on value, which is not only counter-intuitive but known to be incorrect (see the entire Chronicles set).

On the flip side, metagames change and cards that used to be highly sought after fall by the wayside as better cards get printed or decks fall out of favor. Thus, you ideally want to use cards whose value was disassociated with their actual playability.

The best one on this list for that is Mox Diamond. While it saw some play in Legacy (mainly Lands) that deck was never highly played enough to constitute it having played a significant role in Mox Diamond's value. I don't like to determine trends from one data point however.

Luckily, I already wrote an article on how reprints affect price. My data indicated roughly a 27.66% price drop when regular cards were reprinted in a major set (i.e. not specialty product). Comparing that with Mox Diamond we actually see that Mox Diamond dropped by about 43%.

That being said, I believe the demand for Jace the Mind Sculptors will remain considerably higher than the demand for Mox Diamonds, and thus expect less drastic of a drop. Still, it's good to see them side by side. So assuming we use only the 27.66% price drop that means our $135 Jace drops to just over $99.

Parsing Out FTV: 20

Our own store was nice enough to compile a list of current values for the full FTV 20 list.

1. Dark Ritual $0.84**
2. Swords to Plowshares $3.57**
3. Hymn to Tourach $1.45
4. Fyndhorn Elves $0.96
5. Act on Impulse $0.55
6. Wall of Blossoms $1.61
7. Thran Dynamo $5.43
8. Tangle Wire $4.80
9. Fact or Fiction $1.75
10. Chainer's Edict $1.15
11. Akroma's Vengeance $1.54
12. Gilded Lotus $2.87
13. Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni $6.83
14. A-Cabaretti Charm $0.60
15. Venser, Shaper Savant $17.59
16. Chameleon Colossus $2.71
17. Cruel Ultimatum $0.88
18. Jace, the Mind Sculptor $135
19. Green Sun's Zenith $4.51
20. Kessig Wolf Run $1.50

**These two come with a caveat, as existing foil prints are quite valuable and hard to find, whereas non-foil ones are cheap. FNM foil Swords to Plowshares go for upwards of $100 each, the Judge promos closer to $30. Foil Dark Rituals are in a similar boat with pack foils in the $25-$35 range, judge foils in the $50-$75. I do expect these existing prices to take a hit, but the type of person who wants to foil out their Legacy deck is unlikely to want FTV foils over the long term. (They will likely trade for them, but will likely move towards the originals.)

If you add them up you get $196.14. Multiplying by the expected value (73.4%) you get roughly $144. The good news is that a few of the FTV cards will likely be worth more as they are either the first foils (Hymn to Tourach) or simply much cheaper alternatives to pack/judge foils (Swords/Dark Ritual).

However, the value of several cards was predominantly due to a complete lack of availability that will for the most part be solved by this printing (Thran Dynamo, Fyndhorn Elves). These cards are the ones which will take a much larger hit.

The last factor to consider is that with most of the FTVs there's a few "chaff" cards that will languish in your trade binder and won't be able to unload at their current value (Char, Impulse, Wall of Blossoms, Chainer's Edict, Fact or Fiction, Cruel Ultimatum, Kessig Wolf-Run, Akroma's Vengeance). These are by no means bad cards, but the little existing demand for them will be satiated by this printing.

The last card I want to touch on is Venser, Shaper Savant because I feel he will take the biggest price hit of the entire printing. His current price is dictated by a lack of availability and demand as a one-of by Legacy control players (usually Miracles). This printing I expect will drop his price considerably, and I won't be suprised if he ends up in the $6-9 range.

Having said all this, I wouldn't recommend picking up an FTV:20 as a financial investment unless you can get it for under $120. Personally, I don't need any of the cards in it so I'm setting my buy price at $100 or less as a financial investment. However, inversely I do recommend trading for these singles out of it, should they trade anywhere near their existing price:

  • Swords to Plowshares
  • Dark Ritual
  • Hymn to Tourach
  • Gilded Lotus
  • Green Sun's Zenith

All five have a lot of potential as foils; the first two for Legacy players who want to foil their deck but can't afford pack foil versions. Hymn is the only foil version available (and with new artwork). The last two are great EDH staples.

11 thoughts on “Insider: Breaking Down FTV: 20

  1. Akroma’s Vengeance trades quite well to EDH players for me and the new art is likable. While I don’t think it’ll be really expensive I do think it will go a little beyond “chaff”.

    Otherwise I tend to agree, this set is not something I want to get in on unless I can get in at MSRP.

    1. That’s a good point. Even when I typed it, I was concerned that “chaff” wasn’t a good term, but couldn’t think of a better one. The point is, that while it will be tradeable and the artwork is nice, the market will have plenty of them and demand will likely be less than supply, thus keeping the price low.

      1. I imagine it would move well at about $5-$6, maybe $8 at the top end if people really seem to like the art. I find I play the card in just about any EDH deck with white in it and while I am not into foils and would want the original anyway, many are less picky.

  2. What’s your opinion on just keeping these ftv’s as long term investments, lets say around 1-2 years from now? I got four boxes at around $176 each and i plan on just sitting down on them.

    1. Honestly…I’m not a big fan. Looking at the FTV sets on ebay, you’re near the top of the cost of ones that have been out for several years. (Exiled is around $170 max), sure you get a few more cards in this one..and one is a JTMS, but people keep looking at it like you’re buying a Jace (some at 34.99), which means his price will drop…as I mentioned I expect it to go down to $100 (if not lower). You may be able to sell them 3 years from now for $200-$220, but in 3 years you could have invested your $176 dollars much better than to turn a 25% profit (it’s sad but in the world of MTG…3 years for 25% isn’t all that great)

      1. Can you find any correlation between a card like Aether vial and Jace TMS in terms of pricing? I know that Aether vial has seen a lot of modern and legacy play but it has also been reprinted a couple of times already including ftv and mm and yet the ftv version has almost the same price as the foil mm version. Can we also see this happen with JTMS? What are your thoughts?

        1. The FTV vial and the foil modern master’s vial are both have the same art (which some love over the originals and others don’t). The FTV: Vial came out with Relics a few years ago. The foil modern master’s vial is the same as the FTV vial I believe because they are both foil reprints (and honestly demand isn’t super high on that card right now, as only a few legacy decks run it (goblins, death and taxes, merfolk). Comparing with JTMS is flawed though in that it’s only had the 1 printing so a pack foil JTMS will ALWAYS be more valuable than a FTV foil one…as we’ve seen numerous times the FTV Foil is usually equivalent to a regular one (in fact when Relics first came out the vials were about even as I recall)…the other big difference is that in darksteel vial was uncommon so there were a LOT of them printed, thus the total # in the supply compared to the FTV Foil is much higher. Whereas, JTMS was a mythic from an under-opened set; thus there are a LOT fewer in the supply (hence the massive price).

  3. I think you are underestimating the desireablility of the cards for cube. Every single card is going in my cube. I expect that will be the same for most players who have a cube. The edh community plus legacy community will add additional demand that you have not accounted for. I’m surprised your price expectations are so low for these cards. I like the long term value of this set quite a bit.

    1. I can understand your take on that (we have 1 cube in our area…and it’s not pimped out), however, the big thing to take away…is that every store gets 20 of them…20…in my area alone that means 140 FTV : 20’s (possibly 160 as one store is MIA at the moment)…My point of view may be skewed because of the plethora of boxes we’ll have here, but quite honestly your same arguement could be made for quite a few From the Vaults (easily Relics or Exiled) which can be purchased on ebay for $120-140 and $150-170 respectfully…And those guys have been out of print for a couple years. I’m not saying that I don’t think it’ll be valued in this range in a couple of years…what I’m saying is that the fact that these sets are very prevalent, there are more stores now then there where back then, and that many players will piece out the set (most I’ve talked to only want the Jace), means that cubers will have an easy time picking up all the cards (except the Jace). The FTV foiling process is honestly the least desirable foils of any card, so as I mentioned the legacy players who want to foil out their decks..won’t be happy long with the FTV foils. And there honestly aren’t a whole lot of EDH specific cards in this set…for reference look how poorly FTV: Legends was percieved and that one is almost a strictly “EDH”-centric FTV print run.

      1. This amuses me, I actually traded most of the ‘unwantables’ for shocks to someone that wanted them for his cube. He happily sleeved them up and put them in his cube right afterwards. So it’s definitely not unheard of.

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