Insider: Ixalan MTGO Speculation, Part I

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I believe we've now reached open season for Ixalan speculation, so it's time to break out our rifles and take aim at some of the better speculation targets available to us.

Ixalan's set value has now risen to $71.97 after bottoming out at $66.69 more than a week ago, and I don't expect the set's overall value to continue declining. This floor is in keeping with my predictions in earlier articles. Even still, it feels strange to say it given that we are only one month into Ixalan's digital release. I don't think we MTGO players are used to the fall set bottoming out so soon (look at Theros's and Khans of Tarkir's price histories), but if you recall, Kaladesh bottomed out six weeks after its digital release.

There are some other factors that lead me to believe that it is safe to begin investing in Ixalan cards now. Redemption for Ixalan begins in just a few short days. Already, the drafting for Ixalan has receded from peak levels – no longer does the Competitive League have more than 800 players, nor does the Intermediate Swiss League have more than 7,000 players – and soon MTGO players will have other ways to do Limited without infusing the market with more Ixalan supply. Innistrad Draft will be available starting this week in honor of Halloween, and Iconic Masters will be released in mid-November. All of this, plus a strong redemption multiplier of 3.72, indicates that Ixalan's set value is more likely to rise than decline moving forward.

This week I plan to tackle the mythics, next week the rares, and the following week the uncommons. Let's get started.

(1) The Most Valuable Cards

I'm more than a bit flummoxed by Vraska and Carnage Tyrant's abilities to command a price tag north of $10. Right now, Vraska, Relic Seeker is selling for 12.98 tix and Carnage Tyrant for 12.06 tix. Yet neither is seeing enough play to merit price tags above 10 tix for a card currently being opened in Draft. Carnage Tyrant has begun to see play as a singleton in some Temur Energy lists, and Vraska is a powerful three-of finisher in the Token archetype flirting with top-tier status. Tyrant in particular feels overvalued relative to the amount of play it is seeing. I'm buying neither in the near future and selling any copies of them I open in Draft.

To put in a word about Vraska: she is definitely more powerful than she looks. Although not on Elspeth, Sun's Champion's level, she definitely feels like a six-mana card that has the power necessary to see Standard play moving forward. Nonetheless, I'd be happier buying her closer to 5.00 tix, not 12.00.

(2) Jace, Cunning Castaway

Jace, Cunning Castaway, I believe, is the best high-dollar speculation target in Ixalan. Currently sitting at 3.60 tix, Jace offers us a speculation opportunity that bears some risk but also has a very high ceiling. In Draft, Jace has impressed me, and I believe he is powerful enough to see Standard play if the right aggressive blue cards can be found to complement him. The reason Jace is deceptively powerful is that it only takes two ticks up to reach a powerful ultimate, making him very good on the play.

If Jace never sees play, we can expect a slow decline toward 2.00 tix starting in the spring. If Jace does see competitive play, I'd expect it to be in the form of full playsets, commanding a price at least in the 15.00- to 20.00-tix range, if not more. The price ceiling for Jace should be lower than for Liliana, the Last Hope because Liliana is more generic and can slot into a wider variety of decks. But Jace doesn't need to rise to 50.00 tix like Liliana to be a good speculation.

Price at Which I'm Buying Jace: 3.00-4.00 tix

(3) The Flagship Tribal Commanders

These four cards as a class are overvalued right now, all sitting between 0.50 and 1.50 tix. Vona, Butcher of Magan has steadily climbed over the past two weeks, rising from 0.60 tix to its current 1.48 tix due to seeing play in a minority of Esper Gift decks. The other three are seeing no play.

I could see myself investing in only one of these cards – Tishana, Voice of Thunder – but definitely not at the current price of 0.96 tix. Tishana strikes me as the sort of card that could be powerful in a brew if the right sort of shell appeared in Standard, and being a favorite of SaffronOlive brings with it a good amount of spike potential. The other three strike me as particularly weak speculation targets. Vona looks good, and indeed many of us have lost many games of Ixalan Limited to an opposing Vona, but requiring a fragile five-mana card to untap to net value is not the mark of a Constructed staple. Gishath requires the opponent to lack too many sorts of answers, and the Admiral is a really expensive and hard-to-cast Lord of the Accursed.

Price at Which I'm Buying Vona: 0.10 tix
Price at Which I'm Buying Tishana: 0.15 tix

(4) Rowdy Crew

Rowdy Crew is a bit of a sleeper pick, admittedly, but I think the card has merit as a speculation target. To minimize risk, I'd want to buy lower than its current price of 0.37 tix, but I think the potential upside of the card is quite high. It might not have a chance to shine until Hazoret the Fervent and Chandra, Torch of Defiance leave Standard, but I like its potential as a midrange or aggressive card that replaces itself.

Price at Which I'm Buying Rowdy Crew: 0.20-0.30 tix

Signing Off

A copy of my investment portfolio can be found here. As you can see, I've begun to invest in Ixalan and am beginning to reap some of the rewards from my Amonkhet season purchases. My two favorite speculations last season were Rishkar, Peema Renegade and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, and I'm happy selling a few of the Siphoners for 4.00 tix. I expect the card to go higher, so I'm going to wait to sell the majority of them, and I'm hopeful that Rishkar will see more play in the future and rise beyond 2.00 tix. Also of note is that I've created two new tabs, one to log my investment purchase transactions and another to log my sell transactions. For those of you wishing to make the log of your individual transactions generate the data found on the main sheet of my portfolio, feel free to copy the formulas on the main sheet. Per the request of one Insider, I've made the portfolio require less manual tabulation.

What cards are you interested in seeing me discuss over the next two articles? What are some of your favorite speculation targets for Ixalan? Have any of you begun investing in Ixalan yet? Let me know in the comments below!

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