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Insider: Virtually Infinite – Picks of the Week and Slowing the Bleed

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I am so stoked to crack some Eternal Masters packs. No chance to catch a paper draft this week so MTGO is going to have to do. Check out last week's article (Part 1 and Part 2) for some drafting tips.

Fortunately, we’ve got on-demand draft and sealed for the next three weeks. Unfortunately, the EV is super low and dropping.

This article is going to focus on how to get the most out of EMA drafts to slow the bleed. But first let’s start with a few picks of the week so you can recoup the tix you’re burning, with a vengeance, on this set.

Fulminator Mage (SHM)

Fulminator Mage

Current: 10.5 tix
Target: 16 tix

In February, Fulminator hit 22 tix and had a baseline of 15 until the Shadows over Innistrad release. Shadowmoor drafts plus the EMA release is putting pressure on this. I think 16 is a pretty sure bet and 20+ is probable for the patient.

Kitchen Finks (SHM)

Kitchen Finks

Current: 2.9 tix
Target: 5 tix

This one has seen a steady cycle of dips and rises. Same story as Fulminator. A persistent Modern staple that will make it back to the top shelf.

Eye of Ugin (MM2)

Eye of Ugin

Current: 2 tix
Target: 4 tix

This is a key part of the Legacy Eldrazi deck. Not sure why it has seen such a steep drop—I suspect that this is the result of a speculator who got impatient. Their loss is our gain, as I see this hitting 4+ tix in a few weeks when Legacy picks up.

Bitterblossom

Bitterblossom

Current: 10 tix
Target: 15 tix

I had my eye on this at 9 tix but failed to pull the trigger. It’s still a relative bargain at 10. The risk here is that this is not a staple and is reliant on price memory more than performance. But it’s a low-supply rare that is likely to gain.

Cavern of Souls

Cavern of Souls

Current: 29.6 tix
Target: 38 tix

Not as sure about this one, but it is part of the Legacy Eldrazi deck and was at 40 a week ago. It will probably bounce back, but to cover the margin and make this worthwhile it will need to go from its current price to 35+ tix. Likely, but not a slam dunk. I don’t think this spec is quite ripe as it has some room to drop, but keep an eye on this one.

Languish

Languish

Current: 4 tix
Target: 7 tix

The window on this is tight, as it is for all Magic Origins cards, which are not far from rotation. We are looking at three weeks of EMA draft followed by the Eldritch Moon release in late July. That said, this is one of the cornerstone cards in Standard in a set that was not heavily drafted. It was recently 8 tix, and it has a decent shot of getting back there. Higher-risk because of rotation.

Manamorphose

Manamorphose

Current: 0.5 tix
Target: 2.5 tix

This one has hit 2.8 twice in the past three months. A relatively low-risk spec since this is a very low price for a card which sees occasional spikes.

Slowing the Bleed

If you’ve read my previous articles (or have any firsthand experience with the MTGO economy) you know that drafting is a bleed. That’s especially true with high-cost sets like EMA. The key is to slow that bleed. Here are some of the keys to doing that:

  • Play phantom. Playing phantom is almost certainly a losing proposition, but it substantially limits the amount you can lose in each draft.
  • Play Swiss. The payout for Swiss is the same as an 8-4 (6-2-2-2) but you are guaranteed three matches for your effort. Unless you're a truly top-caliber player this will give you more gaming for your money. Yes, it’s not for the impatient but it will slow your losses. It’s also a great way to ensure you get some reps in early in the format.
  • Value-draft. Rare drafting has a bad name, so let's rebrand it... In EMA, as with many flashback sets, some of the more valuable cards aren't rares, anyway. Here's what I wrote about rare drafting a while back:

"Unless you are practicing for a Pro Tour (or are a reclusive billionaire on your wifi-eqipped yacht) it makes sense to rare-draft. The logic to rare drafting is that you’re playing the long game. Even the best card in your deck only marginally increases your win percentage, whereas a rare in your pile is money in the bank.

I always keep a browser tab open with a pricelist from the set I’m drafting. When drafting Standard-legal sets, I prefer Goatbots because they list buy and sell prices for every card in the set, including money uncommons, and it’s super fast to Ctrl-F a card. For flashbacks I use MTGO Traders, which doesn’t show buy prices, or MTGOWikiprice.com."

  • Sell your cards as soon as your draft concludes. While there are occasional exceptions, it almost always makes sense to sell your rares as soon as the draft is done during release events. In the first 24 hours, prices are in free fall; when they firm up varies, but I usually don't risk it.
  • Don’t hesitate to report bugs. It goes without saying, but if anything related to Wizard’s infrastructure causes you distress, you should file a compensation request. Even if it doesn’t directly lead to a game loss, if it’s an ordeal that impinges on your enjoyment you are entitled to reimbursement for your entry fee. Make sure not to bleed value because of technical difficulties. Wizards currently has a fairly generous policy on reimbursements—be honest and don’t abuse it or you will ruin it for everyone.
  • Open Wasteland. I recommend opening as many Wastelands as you can. I got a lucky pull on my first draft which will cover a couple forays in the queues.

You saw my article last week on what's theoretically possible with EMA. But what works? Here's a few 3-0 draft decks pulled from Twitter. Take these with a grain of salt, of course, since we don't know whether these folks were drafting at Finkel's pad or at the FNM in Duluth. Nevertheless, it's always cool to see what is winning.

Watkins2
Matthew Watkins went 3-0 with Green White: "Just kind of followed my own advice and went 3-0, 6-0. Opponents weren't in archetype decks, played bad cards."
Watkins1
Watkins's deck, part two

GlareTrenches
Jacob Fusco ‏(@thereservasian) paired Glare of Subdual with Goblin Trenches and other token generators to lock things down. Don't pass this combo!
Burning Vengeance
Adam Victor Klesh ‏(@madolaf) went 3-0 with an Izzet deck splashing Rally the Peasants, noting, "Burning Vengeance is the real deal."

WU
Griselbrand's Goryo (‏@TankofJank) went 3-0, noting, "My deck is straight fire." Said 8.5 Tails is underrated.
GBU Deck
Archie Owen ‏(@Owen_AC) took the #saitodecklistchallenge after going 3-0 with a "literally all the value" Abzan deck.
Erik Peters ‏(@ESP_MTG) forgot to take a picture, but here's a recreation of his 3-0 mono-blue #MTGEMA Midnight release draft deck. Nice if it's open!
Bobby B. ‏@Yammedup  Jun 11 3-0 deck was AWESOME! Set is a blast to draft, wish all my draft decks were this fun and good. #MTGEMA
Bobby B. (‏@Yammedup) with G/W Midrange: "3-0 deck was AWESOME! Set is a blast to draft, wish all my draft decks were this fun and good."
Esper Blood Artist
Serena Quinn (‏@RestoBunny) posted her 3-0 Esper build, noting, "Blood artist is one hell of a card."
BR
Max Kahn (‏@MaxPlaysMTG) went 3-0 with this Rakdos reanimator strategy.
Boros
Anthony Avitollo ‏(@Antknee42) rode his Boros two-drops to victory.
BorosVerhey
Gavin Verhey (‏@GavinVerhey) also pursued the Boros two-drop strategy (with 15 lands) to an undefeated record at the employee #MTGEMA prerelease.

2 thoughts on “Insider: Virtually Infinite – Picks of the Week and Slowing the Bleed

  1. Is that a slam on the Duluth mtg community? Probably well warranted I once watched a guy first pick brindle boar over lightning bolt and doom blade

    1. Hi Brandon, Really just picked the first random city that came to mind…apologies to the fine citizens of Duluth! (Especially those that force Gruul.) Hope you enjoyed the article.

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