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What To Trade Your Narset for at the Prerelease

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By Guo Heng

The clock struck twelve midnight. The sound of hundreds of Dragons of Tarkir booster packs being cracked rippled through the room as players began to open the contents of their clan packs. The first wave of Tarkir dragons have arrived. You join the throngs of Magic players around the world in being the first to get a taste of Dragons of Tarkir. 

As you open you Ojutai clan pack, you were mildly stoked that your seeded booster rare is Ojutai’s Command. Not exactly an expensive rare nor the Elder Dragon you were looking to use as a Commander, but at least its playable in your sealed pool. 

You pop open your first Dragons of Tarkir pack. Obscuring Aether. To the bulk stack. Second pack. Dragonlord’s Perogative. Not exactly a money card, but it may be playable in your pool. Third pack. Volcanic Vision. Dammit, is this going to be another sealed pool with not a single money card? You began to wonder if you should have just saved your money to buy singles instead. 

Of course you would not open money cards. The odds are always against you when you are opening packs. If they are not, everybody would be cracking packs instead of buying singles. You berate yourself for that lapse in judgement. Oh well, at least you are supporting your local game store. 

As you crack your fourth and last Dragons of Tarkir booster pack, you decided to slowly reveal the card on the rare slot. You slide the card to unveil its top left corner. It’s a gold card. Could it be another Command?

You slide it a little further to reveal the mana pips. Blue and white. Could it be another Ojutai’s Commande? Or perhaps a Pristine Skywise, who would be sweet in your Ojutai deck. You take out the card. 

Bam. It’s this bad girl:

Narset's planeswalker spark ignited after she mastered the notorious Flying Crane Technique.
Narset’s planeswalker spark ignited after she mastered the notorious Flying Crane Technique.

You are overjoyed. It looks like you would not only make back your prerelease entry fee, but you have a good chance at taking down the prerelease too, having opened one of the best bombs in the set. 

The question that pops into your head right now is this: Do you keep your Narset Transcendent after the prerelease, or do you trade her off at the next available opportunity?

What to Do With My Narset Transcendent?

A question that inadvertently pop up the week after a prerelease is “Do I keep the chase mythic planeswalker I opened at my prerelease?”

I wrote this piece as an answer to the question that would undoubtedly arise regarding Narset Transcendent, currently the most expensive card in Dragons of Tarkir at $42. However, the content that follows would also apply for whatever chase card you pop this weekend that you think are overpriced and would like to get rid of.

First off, congratulations if you are one of the few lucky prereleasers to open a Narset Transcendent. If you are planning to play with her frequently over the next month or so, it would not hurt to just keep that copy for your own use. Look at your prerelease fortune as having saved you some cash off your quest to acquire the Narsets you need for your deck.

Personally, I fall under this camp. I am looking forward to get back into control and there are a couple of brews I am keen building for a PPTQ next week: William Jensen’s Narset Control or Shaheen Soorani’s Esper brew, which I would probably end up building. Sweet as Jensen’s build look, I am not willing to splash for four Narset Transcendents on release weekend. Plus Soorani’s deck runs Dragonlord Ojutai as a finisher, a card I am really bullish on.

However if you do not plan on playing with her right now, the best thing to do is to trade her off as soon as possible. While the planeswalker tax may not be as ubiquitous as before, Narset Transcendent does not have the makings of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, who after nearly two months, is still $5 – $7 more than his preorder price.

Narset is undoubtedly a powerhouse in Standard, but multicolored planeswalkers have a lower theoretical ceiling compared with their single-colored counterparts. Call it the multicolored ceiling, Magic Finance’s variant of the glass ceiling.

Narset’s situational, build-around-me abilities do her price no justice as well. They limit her potential homes in all formats and as an extension her price.

Those factors combined convinced me that Narset is overpriced right now at $42 and if you have no intentions of running decks that would want to play her, it may be best to cash out on her inflated value.

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So what cards are good pick-ups to trade your Narset Transcendent into?

Khans of Tarkir Fetchlands

Flooded StrandPolluted DeltaWooded FoothillsWindswept HeathBloodstained Mire

Flooded Strand: $14

Polluted Delta: $14

Windswept Heath: $11

Wooded Foothills: $10

Bloodstained Mire: $9

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We have hit peak supply for Khans of Tarkir. In a week’s time, the supply of Khans of Tarkir would grind to a trickle. I can’t say for sure if we are at the price bottom for the the Khans fetches as the Return to Ravnice shocklands bottomed out only at May and the Theros temples during July and AugustThe difference of a few months could also be attributed to the different draft structures of the sets.

However, the fetchlands should be pretty damn close after their dip in the middle of February.

Windswept Heath Graph

Flooded Strand Graph

Fancy taking a dip in a strand or delta?
Fancy taking a dip in a strand or delta?

If you have yet to complete your playsets of fetchlands, there are not many things better to trade your overpriced Narset Transcendent into than helping you complete your playsets of fetches.

If you are looking for fetches as long-term investments, the appreciation you stand to gain from the fetches, especially the blue ones, far outweigh that of Narset Transcendent.

Seeing that we are at the peak supply of Khans of Tarkir, what other Khans of Tarkir cards are worth picking up with your Narset Transcendent?

Foil Non-planeswalker Narset

In this timeline, Narset's planeswalker spark was shaken, not stirred.
In this timeline, Narset’s planeswalker spark was shaken, but not stirred.

Since the release of Khans of Tarkir, Narset, Enlightened Master quickly rose among the ranks of the Khans to become one of the most popular commander (mirroring her rise to prominence among Ojutai’s clan in the new timeline. Vorthos alert).

It’s easy to see why: in a format that revels in resolving grand spells with prohibitively high mana cost, the possibilities are endless for a card that allows you to play spells without paying for them. It’s even better when you can play up to four of them.

Taking extra turns is one of the most popular thing to do with Narset. The Beacon of Tomorrows spike last November was attributed to Narset’s popularity. Narset also cheats in planeswalkers, which mean players could jam in all the best white, blue or red planeswalkers, including the new kid dragon planeswalker on the block, Ugin. Taking extra turns and manifesting a board of planeswalkers at the same time is one of the most fun thing to do in Commander, for the Narset player at least. Personally, I prefer to Long-term Plans for an Omniscience with my Narset, Enlightened Master trigger on the stack.

Narset has also been gaining traction in the Duel Commander scene.

Foil Narset, Enlightened Master is only $12 at the moment. With her popularity as a commander, foils at $12 would not be a bad investment. It definitely has more room to appreciate compared with Narset Planeswalker at $42.

Speaking of Khans…

Foil Anafenza, the Foremost

First and foremost, in Tiny Leaders and Duel Commander.
First and foremost, in Tiny Leaders and Duel Commander.

Now this is a more controversial pick. $14 seems steep for foil Anafenza, the Foremost. But I think she has a lot of potential to grow for the following reasons.

Anafenza is an immensely popular leader in Tiny Leaders. The majority of Abzan decks run Anafenzas their leader. Her +1/+1 counter has a wide range of synergies, and her second ability hoses a myriad of other popular leaders like Alesha, Who Smiles at Death and Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (running Anafenza against them felt close to cheating. True story).

On top of her popularity in Tiny Leaders, Anafenza is also the most played aggro commander in Duel Commander.

On the other hand, since Birthing Pod got the axe in Modern, Anafenza had all but disappeared from the Modern scene. Nevertheless, Tiny Leaders and Duel Commander demand should be sufficient to boost her price beyond her current $14. While she would not hit the $60s heights of foil Zur the Enchanter (whose foil price continued on a gradual hike even after Zur was banned in Duel Commander) as the supply of Khans of Tarkir is substantially higher than Coldsnap’s, it would not be hard to imagine foil Anafenza to hit at least $30 in the long run, especially when she has higher demand than Zur.

Foils Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, the most popular control commander for Duel Commander on top of being a popular fun police casual commander spiked up to $75 before he was reprinted in Modern Masters.

$14 is a safe entry point for foil Anafenza, the Foremost as her foil price is likely to be remain around that through her life in Standard, buoyed by tremendous casual demand.

Foil Dragonlords

Dragonlord OjutaiDragonlord SilumgarDragonlord DromokaDragonlord Atarka

Courtesy of the seeded prerelease packs, there will be plenty of players opening foil Dragonlords during the prerelease. As of writing, foil Dragonlord prices have yet to settle. Major retailers either do not stock them yet, or have sold out of them and eBay winning bids ranged from $10 to $20 per Dragonlord.

With the exception of Dragonlord Kolaghan (and I may even be wrong about foil Kolaghans), I would be happy to trade my $42 Narset Transcendent for a couple of foil Dragonlords.

I do not know if that exchange would yield profit in the short-term, foils of Dragonlords who does not see Standard play within the month may even drop in price when more Dragons of Tarkir hit the market. However, Narset Transcendent’s short and long-term trajectory are very likely to be downwards and even though foils of the Dragonlords-not-played-in-Standard may tank in the short run, you can bet they would be spike in the long run driven by casual and Commander demand, as I’ve advocated in my analysis of the Dragonlords. After all, they are the only foil Elder Dragons besides the From the Vaults: Dragons Nicol Bolas.

Finally, you reach for your single Fate Reforged pack, still giddy from ripping that Narset Transcendent. You have already covered your prerelease entry cost and ‘made a profit’. It doesn’t matter what you get in your last pack. 

You tear the Fate Reforged pack open with abandon. Straight to the rare slot, no slow reveal this time. 

It’s a foil Ugin, the Spirit Dragon


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Legacy Hero #11

Magic is hard.

I forgot how fast the Standard format can change. I had my Jeskai Heroic combo deck (http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/04-11-14-heroic-combo/) sleeved up and ready to go. I probably should have checked the meta game or at least updated my deck with some Fate Reforged cards. Not that there are any Fate Reforged cards that would’ve helped me.    I miss the days of Caw Blade or UW Delver. I tried to play in FNM this past week. 0-2 drop isn’t something I have had hanging over my head in a long time. I tried to rebound from the crushing blow of the 0-2 with some trades, but sadly that just wasn’t in the cards.

I’ve stopped bringing my personal trade stock into the local game store in an effort to try and focus on the Legacy Hero grind. In the Spirit of fairness, I don’t trade with myself either. The local players are starting to realize what I’m doing but the new people that walk in the door don’t seem to get it.

The story always starts the same way. New guy (let’s call him Richard) asks me why I’m not playing and I explained that I managed to rack up a quick 0-2 record and quickly dropped. Richard quickly asked if I had any trades with me. I slid over my binder for him to take a look at.

Quick aside here. I’ve had a lot of wannabe “Sharks” try and grind me for value. When I called them out on it, they’ve always knocked off the shenanigans and played it straight. There isn’t anything wrong with trying to get that value, it’s about how they try and do it. You don’t push anyone around. You don’t berate them for having bad cards that you’re ‘willing to take off of their hands.’ I could go on… I’m sure you get the idea.

I don’t think Richard got to the second page of my binder before he started in on me. “Where are your good cards at?” “I thought you said you had some cards for trade?” This guy tried every trick in the book. Insulting my prices, knocking my conditions, insulting my collection, insulting my knowledge of mtg finance and my ability to play this game. Funny thing is that while he’s doing this, he’s pulling out cards he wants but that didn’t stop him from offering me $100 cash for everything since I’m “too old for this game”. I just turned 32 on March fifth. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t old enough to drink. I haven’t been berated like that since my ex came to my office to yell at me for trying to sell some cards I picked up for someone that drove 2 hours to meet up with me, but that’s another story for another time. I tried to ignore it and focus on my goals. Sure, he was picking my stuff apart but he had some stuff in his binder that wasn’t priced correctly that I was hoping to pick up. I ignored my instincts. I should have packed it in and moved on but I haven’t had much luck trading lately so I was determined to make something work. I laughed at his banter. I asked him if he’s had a lot of luck with his approach after all I was a grizzled old man who didn’t have a lot of luck. That led him to say one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. “You should watch me trade at a big event. I’m one of the best traders you’ve ever seen but I don’t have time to teach you, unless you want to pay me.” Seriously. That happened. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Jason Alt but at that moment in time I wanted to be able to snap my fingers and have him appear and explain to this kid why he was wrong.  I laughed and asked him how he compared to the other titans of the trade floor. He didn’t answer me, instead he insulted the condition of my foils and offered to get them for $.10 each in bulk since, you know, they’re pretty beat. As I was asking him if he was serious, one of the locals came up and asked me why I was bothering trying to trade with this guy. Richard said “You should be asking me why I’m bothering trying to trade with him.” This was my cue to start picking up my cards and putting them back in the binder and move on. I was done ignoring my instincts. Richard had the gall to grab my hand, with MY cards in it, and tell me “We aren’t done yet!” This was my breaking point. I’ve let this kid berate and insult me long enough. I kept myself from losing my temper completely but I explained that he was exactly what was wrong with magic finance. He was the walking reason why normal players are intimidated by traders and he needed to evaluated his life and grow up. I was only putting up with his toddler antics because I was working on a project for a website and if I wasn’t I would have sent him packing in the first 3 minutes. My tirade wasn’t nearly this nice or watered down. I might have used language that isn’t suitable to print here but I didn’t resort to name calling. I’m still asking myself what he was expecting to gain by treating me like that?

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I was able to salvage the night with an amazing Innistrad, Innistrad, Conspiracy draft. Innistrad is by far my favorite draft set by a large margin. How can you make the best draft set better? Adding Swords to Plowshares and Fact or Fiction is a great start! I was lucky enough to open a foil Brainstorm (taken over a Brago, King Eternal) and a Geist of Saint Traft. Easy 4-0 with the UW aggro deck. Playing with a pair of Doomed Traveler from Conspiracy instead of Innistrad was the talk of the table for some reason.

I had the foil Brainstorm for less than 5 minutes before it found a new home. I traded the foil Brainstorm ($60) for a judge promo Command Tower ($25 this was before the spike) a Stoneforge Mystic ($30) and a playset of Jace, Architect of Thought ($8). I’ve been picking Jace, Architect of Thought up since I noticed it in some of the Pro Tour decks and in Caleb Durward’s BUG deck he’s been streaming and writing about. At two to three bucks a copy I feel like it can only go up. Have I ever mentioned that I’m a sucker for penny stocks?

I planned on keeping the Command Tower for my judge promo collection until I saw the price spike after someone was nice enough to post on twitter that there was only five copies left on tcgplayer.com. I traded the Command Tower ($45) and a pair of Conspiracy Swords to Plowshares ($5 for the pair) for a playset of Polluted Deltas from Khans. This is a trade that I plan on looking at in a year from now. I bought a judge Survival of the Fittest sometime around Return to Ravnica for $85 and now it’s almost $300. I doubt Command Tower will see that kind of jump but these promos always seem to surprise me. Khans fetchlands are pretty much the cheapest they’re going to get right now. It will be interesting to see how fast they go back up in price considering Khans was the most opened set in Magic’s history.

I finally had the chance to spend my store credit with Channel Fireball. They’re having a month long Yard Sale and some of the deals were okay. I had $189.15 in credit and here is what I picked up.

  • Judge Promo Flusterstorm $79.99
  • Textless Nameless Inversion x5 $4.95
  • Judge Promo Doubling Season $31.49
  • Flooded Strand (Khans) x3 $41.97
  • Wooded Foothills (Khans) $9.99
  • True-Name Nemesis $19.99

The judge promo Doubling Season is interesting because it was cheaper than the set foil. It is the new art but it shouldn’t be that way. I think there is a lot less Judge promos then there are set foils but I don’t have the data to verify that.

My pick of the judge promo Flusterstorm looks like I really know what I’m doing with this finance stuff but in reality I just got really lucky. I’m a sucker for promos and the price gap wasn’t enough to scare me away. That decision made me roughly twenty dollars in value. I will try and move this promo for a normal, non foil version and use the gained value to help with my deck. It isn’t worth leaving the value on the table in this instance.

Textless Nameless Inversion was a flier based on some combo I read about for Modern that I can’t even remember. They can always sit in my trade binder. New players always seem to enjoy the textless cards as a throw in and they were a buck each.

As for the rest, I was able to complete my two playsets of fetchlands (Flooded Strand and Wooded Foothills) and pick up a True-Name Nemesis for my deck.

Originally I wanted to use my store credit on speculation targets but I felt that sitting on the credit for too long was a waste of resources. Titania dropped $3 a copy but Chalice went up to $10. I haven’t looked at the entire order again to compare but a quick glance at a couple cards showed enough. I feel that I made more without waiting. I will compare everything and show you guys next week.

That’s it for this week. It looked bleak for our hero but in the end it worked out pretty well. Some great trades have really helped lately. I’m super excited to finally have the time to get back to the grind here. I’m thankful that this site gives me the platform to share it with you guys. The feedback I get really helps too. Keep it coming!

mtglegacyhero at the gmail

@somethingsays on twitter

Shout out to my friend Reynaldo Rivera for the sweet art. Check him out at rtype1.net

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Hall of the Dragonlords

By Guo Heng

Dragons. Elder Dragons. Dragonlords. 

Dragons of Tarkir is a Timmy’s and Vorthos’ dream come true. The definitive dragon set, Dragons of Tarkir contains the highest number of dragons we have ever seen in a Magic set and by extension also the highest as-fan of dragons.

And as if that was not enough, we were spoiled with the return of the Elder Dragon subtype, one of the most iconic creature type in Magic. They were the progenitor of the Commander format, and they were integral characters in early Magic lore. Well, modern Magic lore as well, if you consider Nicol Bolas an Elder Dragon even after his planeswalker spark ignited.

The excitement surrounding the introduction of five new Elder Dragons was palpable.  Elder Dragon was a rather rare creature type, appearing in only five cards throughout the twenty-two years of Magic’s existence. There are more Gods than there are Elder Dragons in the Magic universe.

Let’s take a look at the new Elder Dragons through our Magic finance monocles. Starting alphabetically we get have our largest of Dragonlords:

Atarka, Dragonlord Hodor

Mother of Bogardan Hellkites.
Mother of Bogardan Hellkites.

StarCityGames Presale: $9.99

ChannelFireball Presale: $6.99

TCG-Mid: $5.88

As you can see, I am not particularly fond of Dragonlord Atarka.

Standard: Dragonlord Atarka is the Magic dictionary’s definition of clunky. Yes, her enter the battlefield trigger will take down at least one creature in the current metagame of Siege Rhino, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Polukranos, World Eater and Stormbreath Dragon. She may even take down a relatively fresh-on-the-board Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, or a ticked down Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.

However, if you are going to tap for seven, you would want more than just a two-for-one. Think Hornet Queen, who usually nets you at least a three-for-one, or at least turn the tides and stabilize your board. Dragonlord Atarka could stabilize your board by taking out a creature and being a 8/8 blocking body, but her board presence is less resilient than Hornet Queen.

Dragonlord Atarka is one mana cheaper than the iconic Bogardan Hellkite but her enter the battlefield trigger does not target players. Which is a shame, because you could not finish off opponents merely resolving a Dragonlord Atarka.

It waits to be seen if Dragonlord Atarka will see play side-by-side with Frontier Siege as Cedric Philips proposed in his article spoiling Dragonlord Atarka.

Modern: Don’t even think about it. You can’t even Dragonstorm Dragonlord Atarka for the win. Not that Dragonstorm is a deck in Modern anyway.

Commander: Her rare version was more interesting, as /r/EDH noted. I concur with them; I would rather have a seven mana commander that renders my dragons double strike (Thundermaw Hellkite for ten).

Plus, Dragonlord Atarka’s enter the battlefield trigger of five damage is nothing to fete about in Commander games.

Verdict: Dragonlord Atarka is what happens when you attach a pair of wings on Hodor. Or give him a can of Red Bull. Dragonlord Atarka’s price would drop from her preorder price, and experience a slow rise through the years buoyed by casual demand.

Predictions:

1 month: $5 – $6

Peak supply at the release of Magic Origins (3 months, 3 weeks): Under $5

Long-term: $5 – $10

Invest in foils if you are looking to make some long-term dough off Dragonlord Atarka.

Dromoka, Dragonlord-in-Chief

Dragonlord she may be, Dromoka still does lookout duty from time to time.
Dragonlord she may be, Dromoka still does lookout duty from time to time.

StarCityGames Presale: $7.99

ChannelFireball Presale: $6.99

TCG-Mid: $6.25

When a card was spoiled in the Mothership’s Command Tower column, it probably makes a good commander.

Standard: Dragonlord Dromoka may be the second most playable Dragonlord in Standard. An uncounterable 5/7 flying lifelinker for six mana is already playable as the top-of-the-curve for GW decks or even Abzan decks.

The Grand Abolisher clause is mere icing on the cake. I imagine the opponent can’t cast spells during your turn ability to be not too useful when you hit six mana most of the time except maybe that time where your control opponent has no answer to Dragonlord Dromoka for a few turns.

Her 5/7 flying body walls the majority of popular creatures in the metagame, and with lifelink, she could turn the tide when you are behind in board position.

True to her clan’s roots, Dragonlord Dromoka is the epitome of grindy. Imagine Siege Rhino and Dragonlord Dromoka in the same deck.

Modern: Dragonlord Dromoka has the makings to cut it in Modern, but her six casting cost makes her chance slim. A resolved Dromoka could block Tarmogoyfs, Tasigurs and Lingering Souls all day long and turn the tide of grindy midrange mirrors with her lifelink, but tapping six mana for a threat vulnerable to Path to Exile is setting yourself up for tempo loss.

If she does see play in Modern, she would probably be a one-off in the sideboard of midrange decks or Zoo variants.

Commander: Here’s where Dragonlord Dromoka truly shines. Dragonlord Dromoka excels both as a commander and one of the 99.

The two most popular GW commanders as of writing are Captain Sisay and Karametra, God of Harvests. Being legendary herself, I have a feeling Dragonlord Dromoka would be an auto-include in Captain Sisay decks as a tutorable hatebear hatedragon with upsides.

I do not play a lot of multiplayer Commander, so I can’t tell if Dragonlord Dromoka is better than Karametra as a multiplayer commander. To be fair, they both cater to different builds.

Besides ramping, Karametra decks could abuse the top of their decks with Karametra’s ability to trigger a shuffle. A Dragonlord Dromoka deck have me giddy at the thought of resolving an uncontested Genesis Wave or any of the GW hard lock combos available.

Verdict: I am excited about Dragonlord Dromoka both financially and as a player. She has cross-format potential and could be one of the Dragonlords to end up with double-digit figures in the medium to long-term.

Predictions:

1 month: $8 – $10, up to $15 if she sees significant play during Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir.

Peak supply at the release of Magic Origins (3 months, 3 weeks): $10

Long-term: $15 – $20

I’m keeping an eye for foils of Dragonlord Dromoka when foils drop to slightly above $10. The current price of foil Narset, Enlightened Master, one of the most popular commanders from Khans of Tarkir which will be opened  more than Dragons of Tarkir (and presumably redeemed more as well, because foil fetches) is $10 – $12 right now, and with Dragons of Tarkir opened less, I would imagine foil Dragonlord Dromoka to drop to a slightly higher price at peak supply.

Kolaghan, Dragonlord Disappointment

Dragonlord Kolaghan

StarCityGames Presale: $3.99

ChannelFireball Presale: $3.99

TCG-Mid: $3.93

The cheapest of the Dragonlord in preorder price, Dragonlord Kolaghan was the most difficult to evaluate using theorycrafting. She could be decent, or totally crap.

At best, Dragonlord Kolaghan turns a few cards in your opponent’s hand into dead cards, that is until they draw into their Hero’s Downfall, Murderous Cut, Chained to the Rocks or Valorous Stance.

Without testing her out in real life, it is difficult to evaluate how triggerable her target opponent loses ten life clause is. Theorycrafting alone says that it would not be that often: it’s not often that control opponents resolve the same planeswalker twice, and the creature clause works best against creature-centric decks, but you don’t really want a six drop against those decks. Plus with the prevalence of Delve, you opponents could easily Delve away creatures in their graveyard to fuel a Murderous Cut.

Standard: RB is not a color combination that sees much play in the current Standard meta and unless an aggressive RB shell becomes a thing in Dragons of Tarkir Standard, I am pessimistic about the financial future of Dragonlord Kolaghan.

Plus, she gets picked out by fellow Dragonlord Atarka.

Modern: Nope.

Commander: Dragonlord Kolaghan seems to be designed with Commander in mind.

Verdict: I am tempted to put down Dragonlord Kolaghan as a bulk mythic. The only format she has any chance to make a break in is Standard and even if she does, she would unlikely be a four-of.

Predictions:

1 month: $2

Peak supply at the release of Magic Origins (3 months, 3 weeks): $2

Long-term: $5, on the merit of being an Elder Dragon.

I am not even sure if foil Dragonlord Kolaghan are good investments. Maybe if you can get them at bulk price, but she is an Elder Dragon and kitchen table demand may prevent her foil prices from descending to bulk.

Ojutai, Dragonlord Playable

It's a bird...it's a planeswalker...it's Ojutai!
It’s a bird…it’s a planeswalker…it’s Ojutai?

StarCityGames Presale: $5.99

ChannelFireball Presale: $5.99

TCG-Mid: $4.95

Dragonlord Ojutai has my vote as the most undervalued Dragonlord. True to his clan’s reverence of cunning, Dragonlord Ojutai is one of those cards that would probably turn to be much better than he looks once we get to play with him in our decks.

You can jam out Dragonlord Ojutai on turn five with impunity, knowing well he would survive to the next turn barring an End Hostilities or Crux of Fate. You can untap the turn after and have removals or protection up as you ride Dragonlord Ojutai to victory.

In the right build, I doubt it would be hard to connect once or twice with Dragonlord Ojutai to reap his value.

Standard: There are so many archetypes Dragonlord Ojutai could find a home in. He looks to be a good curve-topper for Jeskai burn where you could protect him with counterspells and clear the skies with burn to ride Ojutai’s value train.

Dragonlord Ojutai has synergy with Jeskai Ascendancy, and while the interaction looks cute, I am wary of discounting any Jeskai Ascendancy interactions as Jeskai Ascendancy has proven over and over again during Khans of Tarkir Standard that it is a powerful value engine that fits in a swath of Jeskai builds.

On a side note, you also get Vorthos points for the irony of running Dragonlord Ojutai in a Jeskai deck.

Dragonlord Ojutai could also find a perch as a finisher in UW or Esper Control decks. His mini-Brainstorm Ponder trigger digs you more gas, answers or Dig Through Time.

I do not know if Mono-Blue Devotion would be as viable as hyped once we enter Dragons of Tarkir Standard, but it would not be far-fetched to imagine Mono-Blue Devotion splashing white for Valorous Stance, Ephara, God of the Polis or Dragonlord Ojutai.

If needs be, Dragonlord Ojutai is able to trade with Siege Rhino and Tasigur, the Golden Fang. He is also the only Dragonlord immune to Dragonlord Silumgar’s charisma, which may be useful in control mirrors. Speaking of which, control mirrors may be a matchup where Dragonlord Ojutai excels as a pesky threat.

Unfortunately, Dragonlord Ojutai does not fare well against Stormbreath Dragon and if there is a factor that represses the playability of Dragonlord Ojutai, it would be the pervasiveness of Strombreath Dragon.

If that happens, I wouldn’t fret. Remember when Thundermaw Hellkite was cheap because he was unplayable in a Vapor Snag and Snapcaster Mage Standard?

Modern: Dragonlord Ojutai’s five casting cost puts him at the fringe of Modern playability. UW is not really a thing in Modern and I imagine Jeskai builds would rather run Keranos, God of Storms, or just plain Stormbreath Dragon over Dragonlord Ojutai.

Commander: Dragonlord Ojutai has the potential to be a control or stax commander, being relatively cheap and having in-built protection which plays well with the veritable selection of enchantments and artifacts that grants vigilance.

It would also be easier to trigger Dragonlord Ojutai’s ability in a multiplayer game.

Verdict: I think Dragonlord Ojutai is tied with Dragonlord Silumgar as the most playable Dragonlord. He is chock-full of potential in Standard and is Commander-playable.

Predictions:

1 month: $10 – $15

Peak supply at the release of Magic Origins (3 months, 3 weeks): $10 – $15

Long-term: It depends on how popular Dragonlord Ojutai is as a commander and if anyone breaks him in Modern (what are the odds? Low in my opinion).

Dragonlord Ojutai is one of the few cards I am preordering. It baffles me that he is preordering for less than Dragonlord Atarka.

Silumgar, Dragonlord Charisma

From Reddit: Draw me like one of your Dragonlords.
From Reddit: Draw me like one of your Dragonlords.

StarCityGames Presale: $7.99

ChannelFireball Presale: $6.99

TCG-Mid: $5.12

Reid Duke ran a good piece analysing Dragonlord Silumgar last week (his verdict: 7/10). I wrote extensively about Dragonlord Silumgar in my previous article (mainly praises). Without rehashing too much from both articles, Dragonlord Silumgar is easily the best of the Dragonlords.

Standard: UB and Sultai Control are obvious homes for Dragonlord Silumgar. Whether he belongs in the sideboard or mainboard is more contentious. I am of opinion Dragonlord Silumgar is good enough to see mainboard play.

Dragonlord Silumgar stabilizes the board  with his Charisma trigger and five toughness which allows him to wall Siege Rhinos, Tasigurs and Stormbreath Dragon all day long. Not that they usually come back for a second encounter seeing that Dragonlord Silumgar has deathtouch.

Due to his very convenient three power, Dragonlord Silumgar is the only Dragonlord who does not die to Elspeth, Sun’s Champion.

Dragonlord Silumgar excels in control match ups as well, being an answer to opposing planes walkers that would steal the game if your opponent does not have an answer to Dragonlord Silumgar in return. Or conveniently ultimating your opponent’s planeswalker, but I imagine players would be playing around that possibility shall he becomes a mainstay of the Standard meta.

Modern: Sower of Temptation barely sees play in Modern and Sower only costs four. I doubt Dragonlord Silumgar would cut it in the current Modern meta where Path to Exile is so pervasive.

Perhaps if the meta shifts towards less Path of Exile, Dragonlord Silumgar may have a chance, but I highly doubt it. Six mana is prohibitive unless it’s  a Primeval Titan.

Commander: In my previous article, I mentioned that Dragonlord Silumgar seems to be designed with Standard rather than Commander in mind, but better Commander minds think Dragonlord Silumgar may have a spot as one of the 99. I can’t argue with that.

Come to think of it, stealing big creatures or opposing Jace, the Mind Sculptor, would be quite fun in Commander. Dragonlord Silumgar is just not cut as a Commander himself.

Verdict: Dragonlord Silumgar, alongside with Dragonlord Ojutai would probably be the two Elder Dragons that see the most play in Standard. 7/10 in Reid Duke’s assessment is a pretty good, and I would venture to say Dragonlord Silumgar looks to be pushed in design.

Prediction:

1 month: $10 – $12

Peak supply at the release of Magic Origins (3 months, 3 weeks): $10 – $12

Long-term: Dragonlord Silumgar will probably maintain a mid $10s price tag through the majority of his Standard life.

Dragonlord Silumgar is a fine preorder if you want to play with him. While I think Dragonlord Silumgar has potential in Standard, I doubt he would be a four-of like Whisperwood Elemental, which is currently $14.

Also, a Dragonlord who wears the highly playable Tasigur as a necklace can’t be bad right?

All Hail the Dragonlords

Regardless of how much play they see in Standard, the Dragonlords will be casual hits. Kitchen table demand may actually be a strong driver for the price of the Dragonlords  due to their immense casual appeal.

Casual demand is the invisible hand (I am totally misusing Adam Smith’s term) that drove up the price of angels and dragons and I would imagine the Elder Dragons to be the primary chase cards among the kitchen table crowd.

The kitchen table is where Dragonlord Atarka and Dragonlord Kolaghan have the best chance of being a hit. Dragonlord Atarka is the embodiment of the ultimate Timmy dragon. Kitchen table players are more likely than spikes to attempt abusing Dragonlord Kolaghan’s very situational ten damage clause.

It baffles me as to why Dragonlord Ojutai is one of the cheapest Dragonlord to preorder. Perhaps his prowess on the board would be better than what he looks like on the computer screen.

If the price trajectory of the foil Avacyn Restored angels – Avacyn, Gisela, Sigarda and Bruna –  are anything to go by, Dragonlord foils would make for good long-term investments due to their immense casual and Commander appeal.

Of course, the month or two after release is not the best time to amass your foil Elder Dragons. Wait for Dragons of Tarkir to hit peak supply when Magic Origins is release when Dragons of Tarkir would have been drafted for nearly four months and redemption is in full swing.

In my previous article I mentioned that Dragons of Tarkir – Fate Reforged would ‘grind to a halt when Modern Masters 2015 is released’. I may be wrong about that.

While Wizards is ramping up the print run for Modern Masters 2015, the price of one Modern Masters 2015 pack would be three times the price of a Dragons of Tarkir booster pack. I don’t imagine the casual crowd to switch over to just drafting Modern Masters 2015 for the month between the release of Modern Masters 2015 and Magic Origins.

I suspect the supply of Dragons of Tarkir card would still trickle into the market after the release of Modern Masters 2015 and would only grind to a halt except for redemption once Magic Origin comes out.

Comments are more than welcomed, drop one below or catch me on Twitter at @theguoheng. Till then, may the Dragonlords be with you.

Edit: An earlier version of this article cited that Dragonlord Silumgar does not die to Valorous Stance, which is not true. A reader pointed out that Valorous stance actually checks the creature’s toughness, not power.

My bad. Running foreign language copies of Valorous Stance in my deck, I’ve always read it as “Destroy target Siege Rhino or Tasigur, the Golden Fang”.


 

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WEEKLY MTGPRICE.COM MOVERS: March 15th/15

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

5 Winners of the Week

Most of the movement this week is coming from the ever-shifting Theros/Khans standard format, with new cards ascending and some old favorites slowly falling from grace. Let’s have a look at what’s up:

1. Master of the Unseen (Fate Reforged, Rare): $2.00 to $3.73 (87%)

It should come as no surprise that the week after this card dominated the finals of Grand Prix Miami it is suddenly in high demand. Some are worried that the G/W Manifest deck is the new boogeyman of standard, but I suspect that the metagame rolling into the release of Dragons of Tarkir will keep shifting and ensure that variety is still the defining element of the season. That being said, this is a winter small set rare, it fits into a bunch of decks, and therefore may be able to hit $4-5 before it rotates in winter 2016. As such, I’m ignoring the voices calling to sell and advocating a clear hold on this card looking for further profits. Of course if you were smart enough to stockpile at $.50, by all means do as you will.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

2. Citadel Siege (Fate Reforged, Rare): $0.62 to $1.04 (68%)

Add this one to the list of underrated Fate Reforged rares that are just going to work in Standard lately. The ability to tap something down on the attack or drive home more points of damage via the application of counters provides a ton of versatility, though in the U/W Control builds that are running it, the tap function is king. I have no interest in outing cards under $3-4 period, so I’d recommend holding this one for a while if you are sitting on them as U/W could just be getting started in Standard.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

3. See the Unwritten (KTK, Mythic): $3.00 to $4.70 (57%)

As noted last week, this is rising on the premise that either Dragons or Eldrazi will make it an essential component of a deck before it rotates next winter. I’m holding until September and you should likely do the same unless this pushes into the $6-8 range early, in which case, go for it since it won’t ever find a home beyond Standard play anyway.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

4. Thassa God of the Sea (Theros, Mythic Rare):  $4.81 to $7.08 (47%) 

As detailed last week, Thassa and Master of Waves have both gained well in anticipation that Blue Devotion will once again be a deck. Depending on how early you got in on your copies, you could easily be looking to out by now, but I’m holding because I believe the deck will make a Top 8 before it rotates and lock in stronger profits.  As one of the better Theros gods I’m also fine holding these for the longer term as necessary.

Format(s): Standard/Modern/EDH/Tiny Leaders

Verdict: Hold

5. Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Alara Reborn, Mythic): $11.91 to $15.24 (28%)

With all the dragon hype leading into the release of Dragons of Tarkir, it’s hardly surprising to see some of the better casual dragons rising. Karrthus is one of the baddest of the bunch, and I’d feel comfortable selling into the hype if I had any lying around as it’s unlikely to enjoy much more of a bump once the summer doldrums hit.

Format(s): Casual/EDH

Verdict: Hold

 

 3 Top Losers of the Week

1. Soul of Theros: $7.82 to $3.61 (-54%)

Soul of Theros got its’ moment in the sun in the Soul/Whip decks earlier this season, but the deck isn’t seeing much play these days, and rotation for M15 isn’t too far off, so I’d expect this to keep sliding down towards bulk heading into summer. Time to sell.

Verdict: Sell

 

2. Stoke the Flames: $4.95 to $4.42 (-11%)

Don’t get it twisted. This is still the best spell in Standard, and will be for a few more months, but it’s natural for it to be shedding some value heading towards rotation. Unload your extras soon, because this doesn’t have a future beyond Standard.

Verdict: Sell

3. Monastery Mentor: $25.28 to $22.89 (-9%)

This card is seeing play in multiple formats, but it’s not dominating anywhere. I think foils are still the key play, but I’m also hoping for a moment of weakness this summer shortly after the release of MM2 when we can swoop in and scoop up regular copies in the $12-15 range for future returns above $30 a few years down the road. The card is very, very good and just needs the right pieces to pair it with in any given format to be a great move.

Verdict: Sell (to buy in later)

 

Quick Hits

  • I’m having trouble imaging a better spec than Abrupt Decay at present. There are plenty of copies around $12 lying around. Sure, it was $6 a year ago, but it will likely be $20-25 by next year and there isn’t a reprint coming until at least MM3 which may or may not appear in summer 2016, depending on how the MM2 release goes. Either way, if you’re fooling around with long shots (as I tend to) and don’t have many of these stashed away yet (As I do) you might want to rethink where you’re parking your money.
  • Snapcaster Mage is appreciating VERY nicely and pretty much right on schedule. Many of us were stockpiling around $20 at rotation, and now have easy outs for a double up. This was the last Abrupt Decay, get it? If you’re holding, you can wait for a possible $70-80 peak within the year, or just get out now and reinvest into something with a bigger upside, like say Abrupt Decay.
  • With the currency shifts between the USD, Euro and Canadian dollar, there really are a lot of arbitrage opportunities to be had on big ticket items if you’re willing to do some math and shop by phone across borders. Get to it.
  • If I have to choose between the Dragons of Tarkir planeswalkers I think you’ve got way more upside trying to snag Sarkhan around $20 than you will buying into Narset above $30.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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