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Breaking Down the Complete List of Intro Pack Foils


In the past week I've had conversations with multiple people about Rune-Scarred Demon, specifically about the wisdom of buying foils copies. Basically a Demonic Tutor stapled to a huge evasive body, Rune-Scarred Demon is a legitimate Commander staple which sees play on par with Sylvan Library, Consecrated Sphix, and Thran Dynamo in the format. It also has an obscenely low foil multiplier of 1.6 (the norm is between 2 and 4, sometimes higher for eternal/EDH staples), and the spread on foils is on the low 30s, which is fairly solid for a casual card. So why was I arguing that buying foil Rune-Scarred Demons was foolish? Simply because it was a foil rare from an Intro Pack. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Non-foil on left, foil on right.

Products like Clash Packs, prerelease promos, and the From the Vault series reprint foils with alternate art or other unique characteristics (e.g. a date stamp, different foiling process). However, foils from Intro Packs are indistinguishable from pack foils (although this has recently changed with Khans block Intro Packs). The foiling is the same, the card number is the same, the art is the same. Once these cards are released into the wild, there is literally no way of knowing if the cards were opened from a pack during a draft or pulled from the front of an Intro Pack. 

Because of this, the supply of foils that are released in Intro Packs is significantly higher than cards that are only opened from packs. I wish I could tell you just how much higher, but like other production numbers, Wizards does not release this information to the public. In my very subjective experience of buying collections, players do buy Intro Packs, especially casual players or Wal-Mart wizards (players who build their entire collection from big box stores). 

As a result, like foils from Shards block (which were released in those god-awful all foils packs that my local gaming store couldn't give away), my impression of Intro Pack foils is that they are worthless, at least compared to other foils and are generally just horrible investments. But, as you've probably realized by now, I'm not one to let my gut or subjective experiences get in the way, so I decided to do some research on Intro Pack foils, specifically the differences between non-foil and foil prices (the multiplier).

Once I started my research, I quickly realized that I couldn't find a simple list of Intro Pack foils. Seriously, it's 2015, how could this not be a thing?

Does anyone have/know of a complete list of Intro Pack foils? Real google is failing me so I guess it's time to #kiblergoogle.

— Saffron Olive (@SaffronOlive) March 26, 2015

Unfortunately, #kiblergoogle was a bust as well and I knew what this meant: I would have to make the list myself. I mean, I can't be the first person to want this information, right? I'm telling you all this as a warning, we are about to enter a very long list. If you're not here looking for a complete list of Intro Pack foils, feel free to skip down to the discussion. If long lists of mostly bulk rares happens to be your thing, enjoy!

The Complete List of Intro Pack Foils

Card Set Notes
Pristine Skywise DTK Alt Art 
Necromaster Dragon DTK Alt Art 
Boltwing Marauder DTK Alt Art 
Harbinger of the Hunt DTK Alt Art 
Arashin Sovereign DTK Alt Art 
Dragonscale General FRF Alt Art 
Sage-Eye Avengers FRF Alt Art 
Archfiend of Depravity FRF Alt Art 
Flamerush Rider FRF Alt Art 
Temur War Shaman FRF Alt Art 
Ivorytusk Fortress KTK Alt Art 
Sage of the Inward Eye KTK Alt Art 
Rakshasa Vizier KTK Alt Art 
Ankle Shanker KTK Alt Art 
Avalanche Tusker KTK Alt Art 
Resolute Archangel M15 Prerelease Foil
Mercurial Pretender M15 Prerelease Foil
Indulgent Tormentor M15 Prerelease Foil
Siege Dragon M15 Prerelease Foil
Phytotitan M15 Prerelease Foil
Dawnbringer Charioteers JOU Prerelease Foil
Scourge of Fleets JOU Prerelease Foil
Doomwake Giant JOU Prerelease Foil
Spawn of Thraxes JOU Prerelease Foil
Heroes' Bane JOU Prerelease Foil
Silent Sentinel BNG Prerelease Foil
Arbiter of the Ideal BNG Prerelease Foil
Eater of Hope BNG Prerelease Foil
Forgestoker Dragon BNG Prerelease Foil
Nessian Wilds Ravager BNG Prerelease Foil
Celestial Archon THS Prerelease Foil
Shipbreaker Kraken THS Prerelease Foil
Abhorrent Overlord THS Prerelease Foil
Ember Swallower THS Prerelease Foil
Anthousa, Setessan Hero THS Prerelease Foil
Ajani's Chosen M14  
Jace's Mindseeker M14  
Liliana's Reaver M14  
Chandra's Phoenix M14  
Garruk's Horde M14  
Lavinia of the Tenth DGM Prerelease Foil
Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts DGM Prerelease Foil
Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch DGM Prerelease Foil
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed DGM Prerelease Foil
Vorel of the Hull Clad DGM Prerelease Foil
Treasury Thrull GCT Prerelease Foil
Consuming Aberration GCT Prerelease Foil
Rubblehulk GCT Prerelease Foil
Foundry Champion GCT Prerelease Foil
Fathom Mage GCT Prerelease Foil
Archon of the Triumvirate RTR Prerelease Foil
Hypersonic Dragon RTR Prerelease Foil
Carnival Hellsteed RTR Prerelease Foil
Corpsejack Menace RTR Prerelease Foil
Grove of the Guardian RTR Prerelease Foil
Odric, Master Tactician M13  
Talrand, Sky Summoner M13  
Nefarox, Overlord of Gixis M13  
Krenko, Mob Boss M13  
Yeva, Nature's Herald M13  
Herald of War AVR  
Lone Revenant AVR  
Harvester of Souls AVR  
Zealous Conscripts AVR  
Wolfir Silverheart AVR  
Requiem Angel DKA  
Havengul Runebinder DKA  
Fiend of the Shadows DKA  
Flayer of the Hatebound DKA  
Ghoultree DKA  
Angel of Flight Alabaster INN  
Sturmgeist INN  
Skirsdag High Priest INN  
Falkenrath Marauders INN  
Elder of Laurels INN  
Aegis Angel M12  
Sphinx of Uthuun M12  
Rune-Scarred Demon M12  
Flameblast Dragon M12  
Arachnus Spinner M12  
Blade Splicer NPH  
Phyrexian Swarmlord NPH  
Chancellor of the Dross NPH  
Moltensteel Dragon NPH  
Phyrexian Ingester NPH  
Victory's Herald MBS  
Galvanoth MBS  
Psychosis Crawler MBS  
Phyrexian Hydra MBS  
Sunblast Angel SOM  
Argent Sphinx SOM  
Carnifex Demon SOM  
Hoard-Smelter Dragon SOM  
Putrefax SOM  
Angelic Arbiter M11  
Conundrum Sphinx M11  
Captivating Vampire M11  
Ancient Hellkite M11  
Overwhelming Stampede M11  
Student of Warfare ROE  
Sphinx of Magosi ROE  
Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief ROE  
Conquering Manticore ROE  
Gigantomancer ROE  
Archon of Redemption WWK  
Goliath Sphinx WWK  
Butcher of Malakir WWK  
Mordant Dragon WWK  
Wolfbriar Elemental WWK  
Armament Master ZEN  
Sphinx of Jwar Isle ZEN  
Malakir Bloodwitch ZEN  
Hellkite Charger ZEN  
Turntimber Ranger ZEN  
Lightwielder Paladin M10  
Djinn of Wishes M10  
Nightmare M10  
Shivan Dragon M10  
Kalonian Behemoth M10  
Dauntless Escort ARB  
Filigree Angel ARB  
Lich Lord of Unx ARB  
Deathbringer Thoctar ARB  
Spearbreaker Behemoth ARB  
Giltspire Avenger CON  
Magister Sphinx CON  
Blood Tyrant CON  
Charnelhoard Wurm CON  
Paleoloth CON  
Battlegrace Angel ALA  
Master of Etherium ALA  
Vein Drinker ALA  

Before Shards of Alara, there were theme decks instead of Intro Packs. While there are many similarities between the two products, theme decks did not include a foil rare. Since we are specifically interested in foil prices, we'll be ending our list here. I might work on a list of theme deck non-foil rares in the future. 

Individual Card Discussion

Before we got distracted by our list, we were trying to determine the wisdom of speculating on Intro Pack foils. Since there are so many cards in our sample and because so many of them are bulk rares, it's not really worth going through every single card and examining the price difference between foil and non-foil versions. So instead, we will be looking at a few specific cards that are staples of either casual or competitive play. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Non-foil to left, foil to right.

Master of Etherium might not be the best example for our study, simply because its pack foil has been released not only in an Intro Pack, but also in the all-foil Alara block packs I mentioned earlier. So even compared to other Alara block rares, the artifact lord has a lot of copies in the market. The card is close to a Modern staple though, generally being a four-of in Affinity builds. Although it doesn't see heavy play in EDH, it does likely have some demand from kitchen table casuals — artifact and lords are both pretty sweet.

Unfortunately, foil copies of Master of Etherium are not really worth any more than non-foils. A foil multiplier of 1 means that the foil version and non-foil version are worth the exact same price. Master of Etherium has a foil multiplier of 1.13. To put this in perspective, take a peak at Steel Overseer, a very similar card. Steel Overseer is played as a four-of in the very same deck as Master of Etherium, also has one supplemental printing, and comes from a (relatively) similar era. The only real difference is that there are not an abnormally large number of foil copies floating around. As such, a foil Steel Overseer is worth a bit over $18, compared to its $8 non-foil, giving the rare a multiplier of 2.31. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Non-foil to left, foil to right.

Unlike Master of Etherium, Captivating Vampire only has one printing. But if you look at the multiplier, it really doesn't make a difference. A foil version costs less than $0.25 more than the non-foil, giving the vampire lord a multiplier of 1.03, even though it has been several years since any copies have entered the market. While the card doesn't see any competitive play, vampire tribal is a thing in casual and apparently now in the Magic Online Legacy Cube (because nothing says Legacy like Captivating Vampire). 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Non-foil to left, foil to right.

One of the reasons I wanted to highlight Doomwake Giant is because it is (or at least was, a few months ago) a Standard staple, which is relatively unusual for Intro Pack rares (especially recent ones). While Standard staples don't often manage to push past the x4 foil multiplier, pretty much all of these cards fall into the typical range between x2 and x4. Doomwake Giant, on the other hand, at the very peak of its price and play was $2.40 for a regular copy and $3.50 for a foil. This makes its multiplier better that some of the other cards we talked about, but still significantly lower than average at 1.48. So even being on the list of most played cards in Standard doesn't seem to be enough to save Intro Pack foil (although to be fair, Doomwake Giant was also released as a prerelease foil with alternate art, which might also affect the multiplier).

I should mention that even though Doomwake Giant now appears to have a relatively normal multiplier, this isn't really all that telling. Foil prices tend to be stickier than non-foil prices, so while regular copies of Doomwake Giant have lost significant value over the past few months, foils have yet to follow. Don't worry though, as the rest of the cards on this list suggest, they will very likely follow eventually.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Non-foil to left, foil to right.

The main place I see Student of Warfare these days is in cubes, and outside of the EDH crowd, if there is one group of players that love their foils it's cubers. As the old joke goes, there are three things you can count on in life: death, taxes, and white weenie. Cube is no exception. Basically every cube I've every played has an aggressive white deck, and Student of Warfare might be the best aggressive white one-drop ever printed. So is being a staple in a (somewhat) fringe but foil-loving format enough to save an Intro Pack foil? The answer here is a resounding no. If you want a Student of Warfare, you can get a foil copy for basically the same prices as a non-foil with its 1.03 multiplier. I could go on listing cards, but I'm not sure how many different paragraphs I can write that all say the same thing: "Intro Pack rares have horrible multipliers, they often cost only pennies more than the non-foil printing, and even in the best case the multiplier is in the 1.5 range." So instead of goldfishing my way through ten more paragraphs, here's a visual representation of the some of the highest value Intro Pack foils. For all these pairs the non-foil is on the left and the foil is on the right.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

General Discussion

Based on all of this information, I think my worry about buying in on Rune-Scarred Demon is justified. While having a foil multiplier of 1.6 might be abnormally low for a random Magic card, looking at these other Intro Pack foils suggests it is actually abnormally high. Out of the 14 cards we looked at, the average foil multiplier is somewhere around 1.3, ranging from a low of 1.03 to a high of 1.6. If anything, the play might be to buy non-foil Rune-Scarred Demons with the expectation that they will increase in price to get the multiplier back into the normal range for intro foils. Remember too that some of these cards are five or six years old; it seems likely if any of the foils were going to explode in value due to casual play, it would have happened by now.

It seems likely that at the beginning of Khans block, Wizards realized that giving away pack foils in Intro Packs wasn't a great idea, so they started producing the alternate art foils that are in Intro Packs today. Thus far, none of these alt art foils have significant value, with most being priced comparably to a pack foil. At the same time, all of the Intro Pack foils from Khans block are the definition of bulk rares, so we haven't had a good card like Student of Warfare or Doomwake Giant as a test case for this new method.  I'll be interested in revisiting this issue ago in a year or two to see what impact putting alternate art foils in Intro Packs has on their prices, as well as the prices of the original pack foils. 

Until then, I wouldn't want to buy a foil copy of any of the cards on the list, barring a crazy situation where the foil is actually less expensive than the non-foil. Even then, I wouldn't be certain that buying in is correct.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Hopefully this list is useful as a reference for at least some of you. As always, leave any thoughts, opinions and criticisms in the comments or you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive. 


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