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This is the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.
says the song from R.E.M. The Standard environment as we know it comes to an end very soon. Great!
I'm not really a player any more, but for some reason I feel excited about Khans of Tarkir and the possibility of playing heavy multicolored decks. With Gods, Temples and Devotion from Theros block, players and deck brewers should enjoy a variety of options available. This has the potential to be a good situation for speculators, as any novel deck, competitive or not, is likely to generate spikes.
Waiting for the Khan of Tarkir release, the upcoming rotation of M14 and Return to Ravnica block out of Standard provides us good buying opportunities now and for the weeks to come. The goal is to invest into discounted cards that currently have a limited interest by players.
Despite a rebound mostly due to Pro Tour M15, Return to Ravnica block cards are now fairly depreciated compared to three months ago. The need of Tix for Khans of Tarkir release events will drag prices even lower soon, especially for rares.
By the end of fall, prices should rise again as redeemers collect cards to benefit from the price gap between online and paper cards, and players start (re)buying cards for Eternal formats. The goal here, as for many of our moves, is to be ahead of the curve--buy cheap when everyone else is selling, then wait for better times.
In this article I'll focus on mythics from M14 and Return to Ravnica block. I'll talk about rares next week. Today I'll discuss what cards I consider to have the most potential with redemption and Eternal formats (mostly Modern) as main price drivers. Some of them may also have a casual appeal that is not necessarily as negligible as we think on MTGO.
Picking up Mythics
Prior to rotation, rares always experience a rather marked decline in price and usually hit a lowest by October-November. Even the cream of the crop and cards with great potential in Eternal formats (Snapcaster Mage, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, the ISD Lands, Grafdigger's Cage, Restoration Angel and Cavern of Souls) bottomed in October-November and not before.
For mythics, this is a different story. If you look at the ISD, DKA, AVR and M13 mythic indexes, they all seem to bottom around late September-early October. However, if you look at individual cards, they don't all behave the same. If mythics don't have a minimal appeal for causal and/or minimal applications for Eternal formats, there's almost no chance to make any profit even in the long run.
Some mythics simply never bottomed, but instead kept rising and quickly got more expensive than when they were Standard playable. Among these, Liliana of the Veil, Griselbrand and Avacyn, Angel of Hope are higher than ever before now.
Other mythics, such as Past in Flames, Drogskol Reaver and Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, bottomed earlier, as early as April, while other bottomed, later such as Bonfire of the Damned in January.
Finally, some mythics, especially junk mythics, have a much more chaotic price trajectory, making the absolute bottom very tricky to correctly time.
In summary, September/October is probably the optimal time for picking up mythics that rotate out of Standard, but it's good to start paying attention sooner to any cards you may consider buying.
Core set mythics are a tiny bit different as some of them may be reprinted in the next core set. If so, they are likely to rebound simply because they are Standard playable. In addition to Thundermaw Hellkite and Omniscience, Ajani, Caller of the Pride and Liliana of the Dark Realms in M13 bounced back in October 2013 due to being Standard playable and not because of Modern implications.
With this in mind, and because she is still Standard playable, in my opinion Chandra, Pyromaster is probably the M14 mythic that has the best chance of bouncing back.
When looking at other Planeswalkers that have been printed in two or more core sets, all versions follow fairly closely to the same price trend. Now that both M14 and M15 Chandras have converged at a similar price, which version you buy isn't likely to matter. If you decide to go for the M14 Chandra, Pyromaster, make sure you're not paying more than its M15 counterpart. Alternatively, it could be an opportunity for additional profit if the M14 version becomes significantly cheaper than M15.
The other M14 mythic that presents an interest for me is Archangel of Thune. It has restricted applications in Modern and being an Angel might help from the casual side. Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Avacyn, Angel of Hope are living examples that casual does have a word to say on MTGO.
Beside Chandra and the Archangel, the only other mythic I would be willing to put some Tix on is Garruk, Caller of Beasts. So far this version of Garruk doesn't see any play outside of Standard, but its ability to cheat into play big green monsters should have casual fans. Garruk bounced back from 6 Tix to 10 Tix with M15 and the hype around Mono Green decks. I will wait until October and until Garruk comes back to 5-6 Tix before making any move though.
All the other M14 mythics have pretty much no interest for me, as their fate is much more uncertain and I would be afraid to put any Tix on these for very uncertain returns.
Return to Ravnica
One of the only, if not the only, mythic from Return to Ravnica that has good chances to see play post Standard is Sphinx's Revelation. This card is very attractive from a casual stand point and also sees some play in Modern. Its price is still relatively high at the moment and I hope the Revelation will be under 10 Tix by October. I'll be watching it to grab few copies at the best price.
I don't really see any other RTR cards being consistently tournament playable for now. On the casual side, however, several cards from Return to Ravnica may have a decent future ahead.
Worldspine Wurm is currently sitting at 2.5 Tix and seems to have definitely risen above the junk mythic status. Its price trend is actually pretty much upward since October 2012 and the Wurm may have actually bottomed about two months ago. It is a sideboard card for Elves in Legacy and is among the big fatties you want to cheat into play. With a certain casual appeal, I can surely see this Wurm having a price trend similar to Mikaeus, the Unhallowed or Primordial Hydra. I'll probably buy couple of playsets now and more in one month is it gets cheaper.
Angel of Serenity has an extremely singular price history. This Angel has been so high and is now so low that I have a hard time believing it will stay this low forever. Once 25 Tix, the Angel hit 1 Tix two weeks ago. Pretty unreal. I haven't found any other mythic that has dropped so low after being high like that. Because 1 Tix is simply too low for a mythic Angel, I'm buying some Angel of Serenity now.
Finally, I'll be happy to buy few copies of Rakdos's Return and Vraska the Unseen if their price settles down significantly. They both jumped because of Pro Tour M15 and were previously around 4 Tix. I'll wait until late September for these two.
Here, Domri Rade is certainly the main mythic you want to keep an eye on. Thanks to no recent play and after a bump earlier in June, the three mana Planeswalker has kept dipping and is now around 7 Tix. Domri Rade is seeing occasional play in Modern Pod and Midrange Zoo decks. I'm going to let Domri ride this downward trend for couple of more weeks before acquiring it.
Another card that I think will bring potential gains post rotation is Enter the Infinite. A unique effect for a card that sees play in combo decks, such as Omnitell in Legacy. Not much is necessarily missing to make it Modern playable. Currently at 1.5 Tix in a somehow upward trend for about a year, I'm starting to grab some playsets now and I'll buy even more if its price comes back to 1 Tix. I'm convinced that Enter the Infinite has a strong upside for virtually zero risk.
More on the casual side, Obzedat, Ghost Council, Prime Speaker Zegana and Aurelia, the Warleader have probably no future in competitive decks but might be still casual favorites. They are all quite low now, although Zegana probably rebounded for the last time few weeks ago. I might pick some of these but only if prices get lower later this September.
After Standard rotation, Dragon's Maze doesn't have much to offer beyond Voice of Resurgence. The Voice is played as a 2- or 3-of in Pod decks and sometimes in GW Hatebears decks. This card may also see fringe appearances in Legacy and Vintage lists as well. Being pretty much the only valuable mythic, and probably the only valuable card in this set, may help it sustain a high price in the future. Voice of Resurgence did get a bump recently thanks to a comeback of the GW deck in Standard. I'll definitely wait for the Voice to get cheaper before buying any copies.
Another card I would be willing to consider here is Ral Zarek, and I know this guy doesn't do much. Nevertheless, I have seen him played in some version of the Modern Restored Balance deck and he is currently a Planeswalker from a third set and under 2 Tix. Even the somewhat useless Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded got a little bump once he rotated out of Standard. For these reasons I'll probably give Ral Zarek a chance and will probably wait until late September to collect few copies.
Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Progenitor Mimic and Master of Cruelties could have some casual interest, but I don't feel particularly enthusiast buying these. I have the feeling that all of them, including the Baron, are going to go in the junk mythics pile of Dragon's Maze. At their current price I'm not ready to buy at all.
Thank you for reading!
7 thoughts on “Insider: [MTGO] M14 and Return to Ravnica Block Post Rotation – Part 1”
Great article, I know I’ll be looking to pick up some Sphinx’s Rev this september..
Question: I’m sitting on a big stack of tix, looking to buy back into Modern during the Khans release (hoping for fetches, staples etc to drop). Is there anywhere you think I should put my money to get the best return by Khans release? Or should I just hold onto the tix?
Lets say right now my portfolio is 30% VMA duals/staples, 10% Standard specs, 10% modern, 50% liquid tix
By the PT Khans of Tarkir, so about 1.5 week after the release of KtK online, I expect to sell many of my THS block and M15 (rares and mythics) specs.
Some buying opportunities with THS block and M15 have passed (Courser of Kruphix, and Nissa for instance) but for others it’s still time to get in.
In THS, in my opinion all the temples are still worth buying. I’m still buying them all (except Temple of Malady right now that is quiet high) currently. I think Soldier of the Pantheon will be a great spec, even buying now at 0.7-0.9 Tix. Mana confluence is still a very likely winner, even with its current price you are likely to make some tix out of it.
The Standard spec from that have not risen too much since this article are still valid : https://www.quietspeculation.com/2014/07/insider-w…
In M15, for the mythics, apart from Nissa everything else is still quite cheap (even cheaper in average from what I paid 1-2 weeks ago). You can still buy a basket of mythics if you don’t have any yet. I would recommend to buy all of them in an equal amount of tix so you even your chances of success.
In about 2 weeks I plan on buying M15 rares, based on the strategy discussed here : https://www.quietspeculation.com/2014/08/insider-i…
According to the result of the PT KtK I will sell everything that have had moved up.
I would keep ~20% of my bankroll in free Tix fro Quick Flips during the PT.
The temples should also be sold during the PT would be better if they go up or save for later?
Here is how I plan to use the result of the PT:
– For the cards that are heavily played, made top8 and several camera appearances. They are likely to spike since they will be under the PT influence, I’ll probably sell them within a week after the PT. They might keep going up, but I want to make sure I make the most of the spike.
For ex: Garruk, Caller of Beast spiked and rise for about a week after PT Theros, then stabilized and even dipped later on.
– For cards that are played but stayed under the radar. I’ll watch them and may or may not sell them right away.
For ex: Pack Rate and Desecration Demon spiked after PT Theros but kept rising after. Although selling after their “PT spike” would have been good anyway.
– For cards that would see no play at all. If they have risen before the PT, I would sell them for sure. If they had stayed flat before I’ll keep them waiting for a metagame shift.
Ex: Archangel of Thune and Kalonian Hydra rose before PT Theros and then see no play, they dipped shortly after the PT. Domri race and other M14 rares were not played and stayed flat during and after the PT, but rose nicely after.
I would apply the same thing for my THS and M15 spec, for mythics and rares and for Temples and others.
Cards that would disappoint and drop after the PT may constitute a good opportunity to rebut later on, that was the case for Archangel of Thune for instance.
Wow that’s a meaty post. I will heed your advice, thank you!
Great article, as always. So much valuable info for both the short and the longer term. Nice work.