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Insider: Finding Value in M14

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Magic 2014 (M14) 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. Last week I went over the case for buying the reprinted planeswalkers, and this week I'll expand to cover each of the mythic rares.

Briefly though, M14 has a few staple rares in Lifebane Zombie, Mutavault and Scavenging Ooze. Regular rares that start at a high price are bound to head lower due to the amount that comes into the market from limited play.

At some point prior to the release of Theros in the Fall these will be worth picking up. Look for these to head lower in the weeks ahead, possibly bottoming out in the last week of September during the week of online Cube draft that coincides with the paper release of the new set. But for the moment, steer clear of speculating on regular rares.

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 August 8th, 2013.

Fully Priced

Darksteel Forge: This card has an extremely narrow effect with a high casting cost, about as pure junk as you can get. Nevertheless, due to the redemption value of mythic rares, this can be a buy at the right price. At prices up to 0.35 tix, any mythic rare from a redeemable set is a snap buy. Current price is 0.65 tix and so it's Fully Priced.

Devout Invocation: This is another spell with too high a casting cost and too little impact to make a dent in competitive play. Pure junk. Current price is 0.79 tix and Fully Priced.

Garruk, Caller of Beasts: Seeing early play in combination with Craterhoof Behemoth and other green creatures, this card feels like it will lose a lot with Fall rotation. We haven't seen a six-casting cost planeswalker hold a price higher than 10 tix for very long, and I don't think this one will turn out differently. Keep your eyes out for a green creature like the 'hoof that can be cheated into play to win the game on the spot. Sell these now. Current price is 10.56 tix and Fully Priced.

Kalonian Hydra: This big dumb green monster will win the game quickly if left alone. It's getting some early play in Zvi's Elves deck, but without haste or a way to impact the board in some way, I can't see it holding the near 10 tix price that it has so far. If this fell into the 4-5 tix range, it might get me interested. Current price is 9.96 tix and Fully Priced.

Ring of Three Wishes: Pure junk. Move along. Nothing to see here. Snap buy at 0.35 tix or less, but at the current price of 0.49 tix, this card is Fully Priced.

Rise of the Dark Realms: Nine mana is just too much to expect this to do anything in Standard. It has some casual appeal I think, so it's not pure junk, but I'd be more interested at 0.5 tix or less. At the current price of 0.69 tix, this card is Fully Priced.

Shadowborn Demon: I want this card to work, but it's going to have to overcome the splash damage from the maindeck graveyard hate provided by the all-star Scavenging Ooze. I think this one is destined to drift down in price over time. In the 1.0-1.5 tix range, I'd think about it. Current price is 3.08 tix and this card is Fully Priced.

Borderline

Archangel of Thune: Triggering the Gavony Township ability of this card without using the combat phase can have a large impact on the game. Domri Rade does it for zero mana and Scavenging Ooze does it for {G}. Both of these cards will be played in Fall Standard, and while they might not all show up together, Naya is the right shard to make the mana work.

This card briefly touched 10 tix earlier this week, but has since firmed up in price. It's a tough call. It could go to 25+ tix if it finds a home in a top deck, but it could also drift down to 5 tix over time. If it was back down in the 8-9 tix range, I'd be a buyer, but at the current price of 13.31. tix it's Borderline.

Jace, Memory Adept: Older versions of this card command a price in the 7-8 tix range, so I'm going to hazard a guess that its price will converge with the M13 version in the 5.0-5.5 tix range. This might be a little conservative, but among the reprinted planeswalkers this one has seen the most play and thus has some downside. Ajani and Liliana can't see less play, but this card might. I have been buying this card at below 4 tix, but the current price is 4.48 tix which means this is Borderline.

Primeval Bounty: Like Deadbridge Chant, this is a six-casting cost enchantment that will not impact the game state right away but will provide a long term advantage. It's not clear to me which is better, but unlike the Dragon's Maze enchantment this card is splashable. It's most certainly a card to keep an eye on; if it drifts down into the 2.0-2.5 tix range I'd be more interested in accumulating these. Current price is 3.81 tix and Borderline.

Scourge of Valkas: Being compared to Thundermaw Hellkite is probably a little unfair, but people will do it as this is the heir to the throne in terms of core set dragons. Unlike most dragons that show up in the mythic slot, this one might actually see play in Standard. It's got a small comes into play effect which can do worse than sending Lifebane Zombie in the yard. I think this is one to target on the dips, so if it gets back down into the 0.7-1.0 tix range, make sure to grab a few copies. Current price though is 1.11 tix, so this card is Borderline.

Windreader Sphinx: This one looks like pure junk, but it's teetering on the edge of being a buy right now due to its low price. If you can find copies in the 0.3 to 0.4 tix range, there's zero risk in picking up a few copies due to the redemption value of mythic rares. Current price though is 0.43 tix, so this card is Borderline.

Good Value

Ajani, Caller of the Pride: In the multi-coloured world that the combination of the shock lands and the check lands has created, mono-colour planeswalkers have been mostly left on the bench. In last week's article I explained why I like the reprinted planeswalkers from M14 at certain price points. I anticipate that the M13 and M14 versions will converge in price in the 3.5 to 3.8 tix range by October.

This means Ajani is a definite buy in the 2.5 to 2.8 tix range (where it was at last week), with almost no risk and plenty of upside heading into the a new Fall Standard. The current price of 3.11 tix is just a little above my comfort zone, but this card is still Good Value.

Chandra, Pyromaster: The last new version of Chandra was from M12 and arrived with more interest and held a 6 ticket price floor for months after release. I also suspect that WoTC wouldn't make Chandra the face of the set without pushing the power level of this card. I anticipate we'll see this card played at some point, which points to a 10+ tix price when that happens. Current price is 5.47 tix and Good Value.

Liliana of the Dark Realms: Similar to Ajani, this is another planeswalker without a home and thus little to no downside. If Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded didn't exit, I'd be talking about this card as the lowest-priced planeswalker ever on MTGO. I'm expecting this to converge in price with the M13 version in the 3.0 to 3.5 tix range. Current price is 2.52 tix which means this represents Good Value.

Wrapping Up

There was a large buying opportunity on many of the M14 mythic rares last weekend as the big push of release events flooded the market with supply. As always, value is dependent on price, so last week's 'good buy' turns into this week's 'not touching that with a 10 foot pole'. However, the reprinted planeswalkers still hold good value, and I think Chandra will show up in Standard at some point.

It's difficult to predict what the metagame of Fall Standard will bring, but if we can make a few low-risk bets, we get cheap upside heading into a period which sees the most turnover in card use.

It wouldn't take much use in Standard for any of Ajani, Chandra or Liliana to reach 10+ tix. Jace is close, but his application is largely determined at this point as as a useful tool in some control builds. Archangel of Thune also is very intriguing but the price and the hype seem too high at the moment.

2 thoughts on “Insider: Finding Value in M14

  1. I’m personally a big fan of Lifebane Zombie. I’m not a MODO person, but real life I’m been trading for them at 5 each, and flipping them for their 10 dollar value. I don’t know if they are going to go up, I feel like they could, which is why i’m holding onto a playset.

    1. I like Lifebane Zombie a lot too! But the amount of drafting on modo means that rares are basically always falling in price while they are being drafted. I will look to buy Lifebane Zombie and other rares in September, just before Theros draft starts up.

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