The M15 spoilers list is out. There's no surprise the core set contains fifteen mythics, as usual.
Compared to all the other core set mythics, M15 mythics are unique. M15 mythics have the lowest number of reprints in any core sets, and I have hard time identifying the obvious junk mythic(s). On the top of that, add the fact that this year we'll have a Pro Tour M15 in Standard (the 2nd Standard Pro Tour this year) and you have a very unique situation for investors and speculators.
By comparing M15 mythics to previous core set mythics, particularly M12, M13 and M14 (the ones which we have an entire price history of on MtgGoldfish), I'll discuss today what could be the financial expectations from the M15 mythics.
13 New Prints, Only 2 Reprints
In M12 and M13, eight of the fifteen mythics were reprints, and in M14 four of fifteen mythics were reprints--Jace, Memory Adept having been printed twice before. In M15, only two mythics are reprints.
This is the fourth print of Liliana Vess and, considering the limited playability of this Planeswalker, it might considerably limit her value.
The other reprint is Chandra, Pyromaster, and she is arguably the best red Planeswalker to date. This version of Chandra has proven to be playable in Standard, Modern and Legacy. Sure, Thundermaw Hellkite could have been reprinted, but I'm pretty happy about Chandra, especially from a speculation point of view.
See how lucky we are? These two Planeswalker have moderate (for Liliana) and high (for Chandra) chances to be played in competitive decks. I'm not the king of deck building, but it doesn't seem absurd to me to pack one or two Liliana Vess into Mono Black devotion and tutor for Gray Merchant of Asphodel or Pack Rat.
Where Are The Junk Mythics?
Since Magic is Magic, all sets of all time have had their share of good rares and junk rares, good mythics and junk mythics. Core sets are no exceptions. Since M10, all the core sets have had between two and five junk mythics among the fifteen.
What do I consider junk mythic? To me, a junk mythic is a mythic that is worth less than 1 tix within the first few weeks of release. The price of a junk mythic can go as low as 0.25 tix and will barely make it over 1 tix, only for redemption purposes. A junk mythic doesn't have any serious constructed applications--at best a feature in Travis Woo's brews. Often, a junk mythic doesn't even have any limited application either, and is barely playable in casual decks. Finally, a common trait of junk mythics is an overly expensive casting cost.
Based on these criteria, M14 was the worse core set ever with four true junk mythics: Devout Invocation, Windreader Sphinx, Ring of Three Wishes and Darksteel Forge. Rise of the Dark Realms and Scrouge of Valkas were also on the fence of being true junk mythics, with prices always around 1 tix and no constructed applications.
This being said, where are the junk mythics in M15?
To start with, there's no junk mythic reprint. No Time Reversal, no Darksteel Forge and not a Serra Avatar in sight. No obvious junk, such as Worldfire or Windreader Sphinx either. And no nine-mana sorcery that does crazy stuff.
What do we have in M15?
Six Planeswalkers. Four new and two reprints. Whether you like Jace, the Living Guildpact or not, no Planeswalker has ever been valued under 1.9 tix within the first weeks of release (among M12, M13 and M14 Planeswalkers, the only available on MtgGoldfish), new or reprints.
And for a new Planeswalker, the record low is held by Chandra, Pyromaster, which was at 5 tix two week after the release of M14. 5 tix that became 25 two months later...
The same reasoning is true for the other Planeswalkers of M15. Even if it is the fourth print of Liliana Vess, the margin between her and a junk mythic is still too large. I just don't see any of the M15 Planeswalkers being a junk, and I actually see a lot of speculative value in them. All of them.
Six Souls. These guys are not the new Titans, and they don't need to be. According to your preferences, you may or may not like them, or may only enjoy some of them. You may think that their abilities are uneven or not. Here again, I would be very cautious to form any judgment.
All of them seem very playable to me. Without any further deck building debates, I will only remind us that the PT Journey Into Nyx left us with a very 3-color midrange taste, where all colors had their share of the pie. Now we have 6/6 for 6 mana creatures that brew the coffee for you whether they are dead or alive. How sweet!
I have trouble seeing any one of these cards being priced at 0.5 tix. I'm not saying that they are all going to be a 10-tix mythics, but it's hard to imagine that any of these Souls is going to be a junk mythic.
A new Sliver lord. I don't see a lot of competitive applications for this, especially competing with Chromanticore in the five-color monster category. But for anything else, including speculations, this guy is all we need and will never be a junk mythic for sure.
Perilous Vault. Depending on your perspective, this is a better or a worse Oblivion Stone. Having a fair cost for a destructive effect, I think we are going to see this in Standard decks, and maybe in Modern. This is not a junk mythic for me.
So we are left with The Chain Veil. A very unique effect for a legendary artifact that should be casual hero and a potential competitive contender in the right deck. With actual potential, how could this be valued 0.5 tix in the first weeks?
… And that's it! To me, all fifteen mythics of M15 have competitive casting costs and effects that could see play in constructed decks or should be casual super stars. Without a doubt, the most potent set of core set mythics we have ever seen.
We all know that as good as these mythics are, however, not all of them are going to be played. It's also impossible for financial balance between individual cards and booster packs where all mythics are valued at 20 tix.
From a speculative stand point, though, it doesn't really matter after all. Here is what I think.
Reprints in core sets generally offer great speculation opportunities. Based on the observations I made while doing my experiment with the M14 mythics, reprints are almost always under estimated and under priced. This effect may even be accentuated when a mythic appears in two (or three) consecutive core sets and/or didn't perform well during its first season in Standard.
For instance, Ajani, Caller of the Pride and Liliana of the Dark Realms ] didn't leave a great impression after their M13 era. Their starting prices in M13 were 10 tix and 7 tix respectively. In M14, they started much lower at around 2.5 tix for both, allowing for much more amplitude between that starting price and potential highest. While Liliana doubled at its best, Ajani quadrupled!
Garruk, Primal Hunter is also another great example. First printed in M12, this version of Garruk more than doubled (+116%) right after Innistrad's release, from 11.2 tix to 25.5 tix. Reprinted in M13, Garruk, Primal Hunter started this time around 4 tix to reach about 20 tix the next spring. A 400% increase this time around!
I believe that Chandra, Pyromaster and Liliana Vess will start rather low, and should therefore hold good value as we are heading to a new Standard season. Chandra is still a great Planeswalker and I don't see why she could not reach 20 tix again, especially being potentially playable in Modern and Legacy.
I think she may be valued as low as 3 tix in the beginning, especially if nothing puts her under the spotlight at the Pro Tour.
As for Liliana, with a fourth print, she might be the first Planeswalker to touch 1 tix during the first week.
Being new, the other Planeswalkers should be priced between 6 and 10 tix. M13 Ajani, Caller of the Pride was the only Planeswalker that clearly decreased in value during its Standard era. I expect the four first print Planeswalkers to increase in value at some point this year.
The six souls look promising and playable to me. However, I can imagine that for metagame reasons, one or more of them won't be played a lot. I would make sure that they hit a solid bottom before buying some. A bottom usually occurs within the two first weeks after release. If a Soul sees no play at all, it could reach a price close to a junk mythic by being priced under 1 tix.
With no real junk mythics at first sight, I think prices will be less spread out than any other core set. And if more mythics than usual have their shot in a constructed competitive format, I suspect metagame changes will create more rises and falls in price with those mythics.
This scenario sounds rather good to me, as any of my speculations may have a shot someday in our next Standard format. The goal being to make sure you sell these mythics after their spike and not expecting them to hit 30 tix.
Regarding the benefits of selling early whenever you see some profit, see my last article.
Evolving the Strategy
Pro Tour M15 being in Standard right after the online release will make things slightly different from M14. Using the buy all the mythics strategy will be more challenging, as the few mythics that are going to be played at the Pro Tour are going to be artificially high online. The strategy was initially to buy everything two weeks after the release of the set, but it's no longer applicable as is.
I will keep using this strategy for every mythic that doesn't see play at the Pro Tour, hopefully Chandra, Pyromaster and Liliana Vess will be among them. As reprints, I have great speculative expectations for them.
I will keep an eye on cards that may behave like junks, with low prices from the beginning, no play at the Pro Tour and a constant decrease approaching 1 tix or less. For these mythics, I'll wait longer and make sure they hit their bottom before buying.
For mythics that are going to be played at the Pro Tour, they are likely to behave like Master of Waves, Thassa, God of the Sea or Polukranos, World Eater--a big spike and one more month to stabilize. I will not touch these cards at all and I'll probably wait to Khans of Tarkir release events to buy some.
All of this may also depend on a how the MTGO community reacts. I'm particularly curious to see how speculations will work out, knowing that our current Standard format is on the loose and waiting for rotation. How many people are going to go bananas on M15 mythics that are playable in Standard decks for only two more months?
Finally, in October, the Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir will be played in Standard (again!). This will be a first big occasion to sell your M15 mythics specs. As we have seen last year with the Pro Tour Theros, many M14 mythics hit their first and/or only peak at that point.
Make sure to take the opportunity to sell, especially the cards that see an increase in value but are not showing any play at the Pro Tour.
Overall, I'm pretty excited about this mythic crop. Diversified and playable mythics offer many opportunities to yield positive returns over many investments.
Thank you for reading,