menu

Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em #14

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Guilds of Ravnica jump-started the new metagame this past weekend as we saw a lot of cool stuff going on at the SCG Columbus Open. Both before and during this event, I did a lot of buying—probably more than any other time in my Magic career. So this article will have a heavy focus on my recent buys.

Moreover, I’m diving into these purchases to stay true to the premise of this article series:

  • Cards that you should hold on to or pick up for tournaments if you need them before they rise in price. These cards are either seeing increased play in one or more formats, the supply is drying up, or they’re pretty far from the next reprint.
  • Cards that you should consider selling or trading away. Their prices are pretty much at the ceiling owing to inflation from speculation, reprint inevitability in the near future, a lull in tournament play, or some combination of these.

Recent Buys

Maximize Velocity - Guilds of Ravnica (Foil)


Purchased Price
$0.25 & $0.35

This might seem like a Standard-only card, but it has quite a few things going for it. It’s a one-mana spell with a little bit of additional value via jump-start. Red decks can often flood out with lands or cards that might end up a bit too situational; thus, this card gives the deck some flexibility since you can discard those cards. And this card could also work pretty nicely with Runaway Steam-Kin, which had a pretty good showing at the SCG Columbus Open.

I don’t know yet if Runaway Steam-Kin will make bigger waves in Modern outside of the Turn One Boom or 8-Whack decks. But Maximize Velocity could also see play alongside Steam-Kin there too. Or it could potentially see play in some other type of deck altogether. The price was right so I bought 16 copies.

Viashino Pyromancer - Core 2019 (Foil)

There was an error retrieving a chart for Viashino Pyromancer

Purchased Price
$1.49

This is also a Standard-only card right now, so I’d be cautious with this one too. However, this is a Wizard. So even though it might be a long-shot, it could start popping up in the UR Wizards list in Modern. It also sees play in Pauper, so you can’t go too wrong at that price.

Goblin Chainwhirler - Guilds of Ravnica (Prerelease Foil)


Purchased Price
$8.99

This card just hasn’t gone away in Standard. And it’s starting to rear its Goblin head in Modern and even Legacy. This card will just keep getting better as Wizards keeps printing powerful and useful Goblins like Goblin Cratermaker.

Here’s a twist by Morbid28 on the Skred Dragons deck mentioned in article #3.

[deck title=Modern Red by Morbid28]
[Creatures]
2 Bloodrage Brawler
4 Flamewake Phoenix
2 Glorybringer
1 Hazoret the Fervent
4 Hollow One
4 Simian Spirit Guide
1 Squee, Goblin Nabob
1 Stormbreath Dragon
4 Street Wraith
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
1 Fiery Temper
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Faithless Looting
3 Blood Moon
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3 Sarkhan, Fireblood
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
3 Gemstone Caverns
17 Mountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Anger of the Gods
1 Boil
2 Damping Sphere
2 Goblin Chainwhirler
1 Lightning Axe
2 Mindbreak Trap
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Shattering Spree
1 Skullcrack
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

[deck title=Modern Goblins by Albertus Law]
[Creatures]
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Fanatical Firebrand
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Guide
4 Legion Loyalist
1 Mogg Fanatic
4 Reckless Bushwhacker
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
1 Smuggler's Copter
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Devastating Summons
3 Goblin Grenade
2 The Flame of Keld
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
15 Mountain
4 Ramunap Ruins
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Aethersphere Harvester
2 Damping Sphere
2 Dismember
2 Goblin Chainwhirler
3 Searing Blood
1 Shattering Spree
2 Smash to Smithereens
1 Smuggler's Copter
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

[deck title=Legacy Goblins by Guilherme Figueira]
[Creatures]
3 Gempalm Incinerator
1 Goblin Chainwhirler
1 Goblin Chieftain
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Goblin Matron
2 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Ringleader
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
1 Goblin Trashmaster
3 Goblin Warchief
3 Mogg War Marshal
2 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Skirk Prospector
1 Stingscourger
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
2 Tarfire
4 Aether Vial
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
3 Gemstone Caverns
17 Mountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
4 Cavern of Souls
1 Karakas
11 Mountain
3 Rishadan Port
4 Wasteland
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Since there’s just a smattering of Goblin Chainwhirler in Modern and Legacy, I think it’s better to pick up foil copies over non-foil ones, especially because they’re not that much more expensive.

Although these decks are more fringe-playable than anything right now, it’s still important to keep an eye on them. People may start to innovate by slotting Guilds of Ravnica cards like Runaway Steam-Kin into a Goblins deck like Albertus Law’s, to transform it into an updated 8-Whack. Take a look at Corbin Hosler’s list from TCGplayer for example.

[deck title=Modern 8-Whack by Corbin Hosler]
[Creatures]
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
3 Fanatical Firebrand
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Guide
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Reckless Bushwhacker
3 Runaway Steam-Kin
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
2 Devastating Summons
3 Goblin Grenade
4 Lightning Bolt
2 The Flame of Keld
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
15 Mountain
4 Ramunap Ruins
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Alpine Moon
3 Damping Sphere
2 Dismember
2 Risk Factor
4 Searing Blood
2 Shattering Spree
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Shock - FNM Promos


Purchased Price
EX: $6.39
VG: $5.59

Here’s yet another Standard card—sorry about that. But as I’ve said multiple times in previous articles, a good number of playable promos are pretty low-risk. Especially ones like this with only one foil printing of the original artwork in the original card border.

But the real reason this is low-risk is because of how many times it’s been printed in a Core set. It sure doesn’t look like Wizards is afraid to keep printing this card.

Also, this sees play in Premodern. But I wouldn’t count on any spikes from that format. It’s just a cool printing of the card that can be played in a cool format that revolves around a lot of Magic nostalgia.

If you want to go even further down the "cool" route, you might want to pick up the last four copies of the rare 7th Edition foils from Card Kingdom. I would’ve gotten these instead if I paid a little more attention to all the different foil printings.

Choke - Masterpiece Series: Amonkhet Invocations


Purchased Price
$49.99

I mentioned this as a Hold in article #12 with a target price under $40. But the reason I got a couple of these at $50 was because I used my store credit from the cards I sold to Star City Games from the order I featured in article #13.

Mutavault - Grand Prix Promos

There was an error retrieving a chart for Mutavault

Purchased Price
$11.99

This was another Hold I mentioned in article #12, so I put my money where my mouth was. I also followed my own advice by selling my non-foil Magic 2014 playset to get a set of these.

Thought Erasure - FNM Promos


Purchased Price
$4

I placed this on the Watch List in article #9. When I found a playset on eBay for $1 more than my original target price, I didn’t hesitate and just got them. As I mentioned in the article, this could see play alongside Force of Will, which Lejay has done with OmniTell.

And it will probably be just a matter of time before we see this start to pop up in Modern. It plays well with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Search for Azcanta // Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, owing to its two-mana casting cost and the surveil mechanic.

[deck title=Legacy OmniTell by Lejay]
[Creatures]
2 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
3 Baleful Strix
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
1 Intuition
3 Force of Will
4 Cunning Wish
4 Brainstorm
1 Thought Erasure
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
3 Thoughtseize
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
4 Show and Tell
4 Omniscience
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
2 Swamp
2 Underground Sea
2 Bloodstained Mire
3 Scalding Tarn
4 Polluted Delta
6 Island
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
3 Surgical Extraction
1 Spell Pierce
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Release the Ants
1 Noxious Revival
1 Murderous Cut
1 Mindblade Render
1 Firemind's Foresight
1 Eladamri's Call
1 Echoing Decay
1 Cryptic Command
1 Force of Will
1 Baleful Strix
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Risk Factor - Guilds of Ravnica (Foil)


Purchased Price
$10

$10 is a bit steep for this, but I might play it in Standard. And as you probably know by now, this article series is all about helping you get the best value when you buy and sell cards you need for tournaments.

We’ve seen Charcoal Diamond and Browbeat before. But what makes this different? Two things. It’s an instant compared to Browbeat. But more importantly, the jump-start mechanic makes this card much more playable than either card, even though it can’t target creatures like Charcoal Diamond. The card helps with variance in flooding out on land or turning bad topdecks into something a bit more useful.

For the most part, this is a Standard card. But it could also make its way into some Modern decks in the near future as discarding cards with flashback and/or combined with delve cards make Risk Factor a bit more appealing.

Chromium, the Mutable - Core Set 2019 (Foil)

There was an error retrieving a chart for Chromium, the Mutable

Purchased Price
$11

This is a seven-mana 7/7 with four very powerful abilities, making it a highly viable finisher for blue decks. Not only did we see this in Jonathan Rosum’s Top 8 Esper Control deck at the SCG Columbus Open, but we also saw Jeremy Dezani run two of these in the sideboard of his Modern UW Control deck that he took to a 16th place finish at Grand Prix Prague.

[deck title=Standard Esper Control by Jonathan Rosum]
[Creatures]
1 Chromium, the Mutable
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
1 Disdainful Stroke
2 Essence Scatter
3 Vraska's Contempt
3 Cast Down
3 Moment of Craving
3 Syncopate
4 Chemister's Insight
4 Sinister Sabotage
3 Ritual of Soot
2 Search for Azcanta
4 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
1 Plains
2 Field of Ruin
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Watery Grave
4 Swamp
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Island
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
3 Duress
1 Profane Procession
2 Vona, Butcher of Magan
1 Negate
1 Moment of Craving
2 Invoke the Divine
2 Fungal Infection
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 The Eldest Reborn
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

[deck title=Modern UW Control by Jeremy Dezani]
[Creatures]
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Snapcaster Mage
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
2 Logic Knot
2 Negate
3 Opt
3 Cryptic Command
4 Path to Exile
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Oust
2 Serum Visions
4 Terminus
1 Detention Sphere
2 Search for Azcanta
2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
1 Swamp
2 Hallowed Fountain
2 Glacial Fortress
2 Plains
4 Flooded Strand
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Field of Ruin
6 Island
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Timely Reinforcements
2 Stony Silence
3 Rest in Peace
1 Porphyry Nodes
1 Lyra Dawnbringer
1 Dispel
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Damping Sphere
2 Chromium, the Mutable
1 Negate
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

If foils ever drop below $10, I doubt they’ll stay there for very long. And supply has already passed its peak point, so I think now is the time to pick these up if you need them.

Kird Ape - FNM Promos


Purchased Price
$4.05

Pelt Collector’s spike has already happened, and so has Vexing Devil’s. But I think Kird Ape has some growth potential again—particular the FNM printing, because it’s the only foil version of the original artwork.

If you haven’t seen the updated Modern Zoo deck, take a look at Bringerofrain75’s list.

[deck title=Modern Zoo by Bringerofrain75]
[Creatures]
4 Wild Nacatl
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Experiment One
4 Goblin Guide
4 Kird Ape
4 Pelt Collector
4 Reckless Bushwhacker
4 Vexing Devil
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
4 Atarka's Command
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Devastating Summons
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
1 Temple Garden
1 Copperline Gorge
1 Forest
1 Mountain
2 Stomping Ground
2 Sacred Foundry
3 Windswept Heath
4 Arid Mesa
4 Wooded Foothills
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Stony Silence
1 Rest in Peace
1 Remorseful Cleric
2 Path to Exile
1 Kataki, War's Wage
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Forked Bolt
3 Destructive Revelry
1 Burrenton Forge-Tender
2 Alpine Moon
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Another card to keep on your radar when thinking about similar lists to this one is Narnam Renegade. It works well with Burning-Tree Emissary, Vexing Devil, and the fetchlands. It also just rotated out of Standard, so now is a good time to pick up $1-2 foils if you can find them.

Hissing Quagmire - Oath of the Gatewatch (Foil)


Purchased Price
$4.99

Assassin's Trophy strikes again? Yes. Take a look at Jeff Hoogland’s 13th place finish at the SCG Columbus Open.

[deck title=Modern Golgari Midrange by Jeff Hoogland]
[Creatures]
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
3 Scavenging Ooze
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Tireless Tracker
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
1 Abrupt Decay
4 Fatal Push
4 Assassin's Trophy
2 Collective Brutality
3 Thoughtseize
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Liliana, the Last Hope
3 Liliana of the Veil
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Treetop Village
2 Forest
3 Field of Ruin
3 Hissing Quagmire
4 Blooming Marsh
4 Verdant Catacombs
5 Swamp
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Languish
2 Duress
1 Collective Brutality
2 Nissa, Vital Force
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Dismember
2 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Damping Sphere
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

This has essentially hit its all-time low, and now is the time to buy as it begins its slow but steady climb.

Arclight Phoenix - Guilds of Ravnica (Foil)


Purchased Price
$7.99

I might want to play this card in Standard, and it looked like a Standard-only card when I decided to buy it. But then I came across this Modern list by Archangelic76's on Magic Online.

[deck title=Modern Mono-Red by Archangelic76]
[Creatures]
4 Arclight Phoenix
4 Bedlam Reveler
4 Runaway Steam-Kin
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
4 Faithless Looting
2 Insult // Injury
4 Desperate Ritual
4 Fiery Temper
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Manamorphose
4 Pyretic Ritual
3 Risk Factor
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
19 Mountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Risk Factor
2 Abrade
3 Anger of the Gods
3 Blood Moon
3 Shrine of Burning Rage
3 Surgical Extraction
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

I'm not sure how viable this list is yet for the longer term; we'll just have to monitor it going forward. But I'd also like to point out that Runaway Steam-Kin also pops up in this list. So we're definitely already starting to see people get pretty creative with that card outside of Standard.

Folds

Gemstone Caverns - Time Spiral (Non-Foil & Foil)


Target Sell Prices
Non-Foil: $20
Foil: $80

As I was doing research on Goblin Chainwhirler and saw it in Guilherme Figueira’s Goblins list above, I stumbled upon this card’s chart. It’s not looking too good for the only printing of this card. If you have these and aren’t using them, I’d dump them now. You can get back in when Wizards reprints them in some Masters or supplemental set in the future.

History of Benalia - Dominaria (Non-Foil & Foil)


Target Sell Prices
Non-Foil: $20
Foil: $30

Eric Shoopman just won the SCG Columbus Open with this. Sell into the hype now! A friend of mine who plays more casually than competitively told me he wish he bought this before the spike. And I told him to just wait till it rotates out of Standard late next year, and pick up a foil if he still wants it then. This is probably the worst time to buy if you don’t need the card.

[deck title=Standard Selesnya Tokens by Eric Shoopman]
[Creatures]
2 District Guide
4 Venerated Loxodon
4 Emmara, Soul of the Accord
2 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
2 Trostani Discordant
[/Creatures]
[Non-Creature Spells]
4 Conclave Tribunal
4 History of Benalia
4 March of the Multitudes
4 Legion's Landing
4 Flower
4 Saproling Migration
[/Non-Creature Spells]
[Lands]
4 Forest
9 Plains
1 Arch of Orazca
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
2 Shield Mare
1 Tendershoot Dryad
2 Seal Away
2 Settle the Wreckage
1 The Immortal Sun
3 Lyra Dawnbringer
2 Vivien Reid
1 Cleansing Nova
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Office Hours

I’ll be co-hosting Quiet Speculation’s Office Hours again. This will be the second time. You can catch the audio of the inaugural session with Sigmund Ausfresser and me here in case you missed it. Christopher Martin will be joining me for the second session. It’s tentatively set for Thursday, October 25 at 8pm Central, so mark your calendars and join us in the Discord channel.

Public Spreadsheet

There were a lot of Recent Buys discussed this week. And I didn’t even list some of them. But you can find all of them in the Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em - Public MTG Finance Spreadsheet. Don’t forget to bookmark it! I update it on the fly, so you can see what’s going on as the market moves and before articles about certain cards are published.

Summary

Recent Buys

Folds

Public Spreadsheet

Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em Spreadsheet

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Agree? Disagree? Why? You can also connect with me on Twitter at @edwardeng. I’m also open to suggestions on how to make this series more valuable. Hit me up.

Have fun,
Eddie

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.


Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.