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Insider: Predicting Prices for Zendikar Expeditions

Mike-Lanigan QS Magic the Gathering MTG

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Earlier in the week, Ryan wrote a snippet about the potential price point of Zendikar Expeditions. That was convenient because it matched up directly with what I wanted to discuss this week. We are going to be low on data until the set comes out but that doesn’t mean there isn’t previous data to pull from.

Zendikar Expeditions is the name of the 25-card land set that will be included in Battle for Zendikar booster packs. This marketing ploy is similar to the last time we visited Zendikar when they gave us priceless treasures. There were many extra Zendikar boosters opened because the possibility to open an amazing old card was too much to pass up.

Due to the fact that there were only treasures in the first wave of boxes, these cards being in the packs didn’t alter the price projection of the cards in the set. All it accomplished was massive availability issue of boxes from wave one. With Zendikar Expeditions, that is not the case.

What we know so far is that in every pack of this new set will contain giant monsters like I spoke about earlier in the week with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. In addition to that, you can also open a foil, full art land that will likely be worth tons of money. Here are the ones we know about so far.

Expeditions

steamvents1

hallowedfountain

Check them out. I’m sure you have seen them already because they’ve generated more buzz than anything in the recent history of the game. Within minutes of them showing up at the presentation at Pax Prime, the whole internet also knew and was telling the rest of the people hiding in the shadows of the web. I know my friends and I were talking about the implications of this announcement all night and I assume other groups were the same.

We are going to have the opportunity to open the five new dual lands with actual basic land types, all ten shocklands, and for the kicker all ten fetches! Talk about selling packs. I’ve heard multiple times now that because of this marketing all-star that Battle for Zendikar should be the highest grossing set of all time.

The key factor with these beauties is not just how amazing they look. We only know three of the cards and I already know I’ll be searching for them to beautify my cube even further. There are a million reasons why players would want these sweet new cards but their monetary value will be among the most prevalent.

Comparative Rarity

Each of these cards has the possibility to show up about the same amount as a normal foil mythic rare. The math surrounding this new rarity says that we should be getting one awesome full art foil land per case. Fortunately, a small detail eluded the masses. The presentation said that the Zendikar Expeditions cycle will show up more frequently than a foil mythic rare. That tells me that we are likely to see 2-3 per case.

If I am correct, then the value of this cycle will be drastically altered. You should still purchase a full case if that is feasible for you to do because you are almost guaranteed at least one cool card. Changing from a one per case to multiple per case average though adds significantly more cards to the available pool.

Even though we don’t know the specifics of this new rarity, we can base our initial inquiry on foil mythics and their price trajectory. We need to take into account the price of prerelease cards as well. Prerelease foils keep the price of foil mythics down some, but there will be no prerelease foils of these new full art foil lands. Another caveat is that demand for these cards will be exceptionally high.

Let’s take a look at the top foil mythics from recent sets to help us in our pursuit of knowledge.

Magic Origins Top 3 Mythic Foils

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy $100 ($37 regular)
Nissa, Vastwood Seer $38 ($25 regular)
Liliana, Heretical Healer $32 ($20 regular)

Dragons of Tarkir Top 3 Mythic Foils

Deathmist Raptor $26 (regular $17)
Dragonlord Ojutai $22 (regular $15)
Dragonlord Atarka $15 (regular $7)

Fate Reforged Top 3 Mythic Foils

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon $75 ($25 regular)
Monastery Mentor $50 ($15 regular)
Soulfire Grand Master $15 ($8 regular)

Khans of Tarkir Top 3 Mythic Foils

See the Unwritten $18 ($8 regular)
Sorin, Solemn Visitor $15 ($8 regular)
Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker $13 ($5 regular)

Foil fetches $35-$75

Note that I included foil fetches in the discussion of Khans of Tarkir because they have affected the price of all the rest of the cards in the set.

When we inspect these numbers one conclusion is almost immediately apparent for me. With the exception of a couple anomalies, the recent foil mythics are following a pattern close to doubling the price of the original version. If that pattern held true, we could look at the current prices of the cards from Expeditions and predict their future price.

Let’s do just that and use TCG mid to help us out. After the name in the first column, I will put the current price (preorder price for the new duals) and then double that for the proposed value.

Scalding Tarn 80 160
Misty Rainforest 65 130
Polluted Delta 24 48
Flooded Strand 19 38
Verdant Catacombs 58 116
Arid Mesa 45 90
Wooded Foothills 17 34
Windswept Heath 11 22
Marsh Flats 39 78
Bloodstained Mire 13 26

Steam Vents 14 28
Hallowed Fountain 8 16
Overgrown Tomb 9 18
Breeding Pool 12 24
Sacred Foundry 13 26
Godless Shrine 10 20
Watery Grave 11 22
Stomping Ground 10 20
Temple Garden 9 18
Blood Crypt 8 16

Prairie Stream 10 20
Sunken Hollow 10 20
Canopy Vista 10 20
Cinder Gale 10 20
Smoldering Marsh 10 20

It should be apparent looking at these numbers that there are some problems with the data.

$28 as the highest full art shockland is not close to what I was expecting, but the prices on these foils are similar so it is possible, though unlikely. The new duals should be the lowest of the bunch and require the least demand to go along with them so their numbers seem reasonable as well.

Where it starts to fall apart is with the fetches. Because the allied fetches were reprinted in Khans that new price point does not accurately depict what the foil price will be. For example, the non-blue foil Khans fetches are $40+ and the blue ones are $65+ and those should be a better indicator of what the price could be.

If we examine our original data to help direct this thought exercise, some of the more in-demand cards like Ugin and Jace are close to triple their original price. That is close to accurate for the foil fetches in comparison to their counterparts as well. Take a look once I add in the number for triple the original.

Scalding Tarn 80 160 240
Misty Rainforest 65 130 195
Polluted Delta 24 48 72
Flooded Strand 19 38 57
Verdant Catacombs 58 116 174
Arid Mesa 45 90 135
Wooded Foothills 17 34 51
Windswept Heath 11 22 33
Marsh Flats 39 78 117
Bloodstained Mire 13 26 39

Steam Vents 14 28 42
Hallowed Fountain 8 16 24
Overgrown Tomb 9 18 27
Breeding Pool 12 24 36
Sacred Foundry 13 26 39
Godless Shrine 10 20 30
Watery Grave 11 22 33
Stomping Ground 10 20 30
Temple Garden 9 18 27
Blood Crypt 8 16 24

Prairie Stream 10 20 30
Sunken Hollow 10 20 30
Canopy Vista 10 20 30
Cinder Gale 10 20 30
Smoldering Marsh 10 20 30

That third column is finally starting to resemble some real possibilities. Some financiers think that 200+ is a real possibility for these lands but I am not among them. If the prices of the cards are that high, more boxes will just be opened. Part of the discrepancy that this process is not taking into account is that players and the Magic economy are not always logical and rational. These lands are going to drive sales in an unprecedented way because players will feel like they need to have them. Legacy and Cube players are known for their foil addictions but lots of players will do drastic things to acquire these cards.

My Predictions

One conclusion that I think is obvious is that there will be a clear price structure to this cycle. The new duals will of course be the cheapest because they aren’t very good in Eternal play. The shocks will be in the middle because they’re good in multiple places. Logically that leaves fetches, the most desirable and widespread lands, at the top of the real estate market.

Using all this data, I have made my own final conclusion about what these prices will look like. Here’s where I stand. Current price first and my prediction second.

Scalding Tarn 80 150
Misty Rainforest 65 150
Polluted Delta 24 150
Flooded Strand 19 150
Verdant Catacombs 58 100
Arid Mesa 45 100
Wooded Foothills 17 100
Windswept Heath 11 100
Marsh Flats 39 75
Bloodstained Mire 13 75

Steam Vents 14 75
Hallowed Fountain 8 75
Breeding Pool 12 75
Overgrown Tomb 9 50
Sacred Foundry 13 50
Godless Shrine 10 50
Watery Grave 11 50
Stomping Ground 10 40
Temple Garden 9 40
Blood Crypt 8 35

Prairie Stream 10 25
Sunken Hollow 10 25
Canopy Vista 10 25
Cinder Gale 10 25
Smoldering Marsh 10 25

As you can see, my prediction not only differs from what I’ve heard in social media but also from what you saw earlier in this article. Now, my question to you, the readers, what is your prediction? Early eBay auctions are ending above my estimates but I think once we have more information to go on that the prices will trend towards what I’ve outlined here. Post your predictions below and let the discussion begin!

9 thoughts on “Insider: Predicting Prices for Zendikar Expeditions

  1. Foil RTR Steam vents is $45 on TCG Mid….I think the premise of “double the regular value” is where the prediction falls short, which is why your shockland estimated value was so surprising. It looks like foil shocks have about a 4x multiplier from the base price.

  2. I don’t recall the presentation saying they will be anything more than “slightly” more common than foil mythics. and i was there in person. can you cite that and correct me if i’m wrong?

  3. Great article, good to see people running mathematical models.

    One point that came up was that if you’re buying a case, don’t buy an unsealed case of six boxes. The idea being, an unscrupulous dealer could buy a few cases. For each case, they crack packs until they hit the Expedition. Then they take the other unopened boxes from that case and reassemble them into a new, unsealed case to sell to unsuspecting buyers.

  4. Yeah…they definitely said “slightly more common than a premium (foil) mythic rare”. The prices for these should be higher than your prediction, especially for blue fetches.

  5. While I see they will be slightly more common then foil mythics. The question I have is if the case has a foil mythic will it still have expeditions. I can picture cases with no expeditions, and some with 2. I think the lands will be very high. Somewhere over the current 1st print foil value, below jappanese foil.

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