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Rough Drafts: Full Block Mirrodin and Price Review


Hello everyone! It's time for another edition of Rough Drafts! As you know, 2016 is the year of the Modern flashbacks on Magic Online. Each and every week, outside of release periods for Standard legal sets, there will be a new flashback draft format on Magic Online. One of my New Years resolutions is to record at least one draft for each format and get it uploaded quickly so you all can have a peak at the format before jumping into a queue and trying out the format yourself.

This week, after two weeks of drafting parts of Mirrodin block, we finally get to play the whole set in Mirrodin / Darksteel / Fifth Dawn (MD5), which is both good and bad. On one hand, Fifth Dawn is by far the most valuable set in the block, which in turns makes MD5 one of the most profitable Modern flashback formats, beind Triple Coldsnap. On the other hand, there is widespread agreement that MD5 is a worse format than Triple Mirrodin or Mirrodin / Mirrodin / Darksteel (MMD), mostly because the five-color theme of Fifth Dawn is really at odds with the rest of the block. For instance, I had a draft where I made it through the first two packs with a really solid Mono-Red deck. Then Fifth Dawn came and offered me nothing, so I ended up playing a two-pack deck.

Let's get to the videos, then we'll do a brief review of the finances of the flashback formats we've drafted so far. A quick reminder. If you enjoy the Rough Drafts series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Full Block Mirrodin: Drafting

Full Block Mirrodin: Round 1

Full Block Mirrodin: Round 2

Full Block Mirrodin: Finals (Round 3)

Catching Up

Since I'm a little late to the party with the full block Mirrodin flashback (thanks to getting distracted by the Auto-Picked Legacy Cube last week), instead of talking about the format (which has already been taken down from Magic Online) let's review the first four weeks of 2016: The Year of Modern Flashbacks.

8th Edition

Before flashbacks started, a complete set of 8th Edition cost between 105 and 111 tix. Events went live on December 30th, with three packs being drafted for one week. The set hit a low from January 3rd through January 6th — days four through seven of the flashback format — at 90.1 tix, which amounts to an 18.8% decrease over the pre-draft high. Since then, the set has recovered slightly to 95 tix (4.9% increase). However, individual cards tell a much different story.

Blood Moon, as you can see on the chart, hit a low on January 3rd, just like the rest of the set, started to recover, then plunged a couple weeks later around the time of the Banned and Restricted (B&R) announcement. While my gut says that Blood Moon would have continued to rise had the B&R been less impactful. we can't say for sure. However, the price chart of Blood Moon does illuminate one problem with our analysis, namely, the huge prices swings from the B&R announcement makes it difficult to parse through what is "normal," and what is related to the banning of Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom.

On the other hand, Ensnaring Bridge is quite the opposite. It hit a low on January 3rd like everything else at 20.8 tix, but recovered almost immediately. It went back to its pre-flashback high of 28 tix within a week. 

As I mentioned a moment ago, predicting card values is complicated by the massive shakeup in Modern. For instance, Tron lands lost nearly half of their value during the flashbacks, but then the B&R announcement brought with it the idea that Tron is the new deck to beat in Modern. Today the land cycle is worth more than their pre-flashback high. As such, you would have done quite well buying in on January 3rd (the one thing that remains constant), but if it wasn't for the Twin banning it's unlikely you'd have seen big gains. 

The biggest losers are the fringe Rares like Howling Mine and Seismic Assault, which dropped from nearly a tix pre-flashback to 0.4 tix. They really aren't showing any signs of recovery. Typically, the demand is so low for these cards that it will take months, or even a year, for prices to recover, and this is assuming they don't get reprinted in the meantime. 

Mirrodin

Mirrodin is a unique case. It was drafted three times one week, two times the next week, and once the final week. Everything else being equal (i.e. the same number of drafts fired), it should have twice the supply of 8th Edition. When drafts started on January 6th a complete set of Mirrodin was worth about 98 tix. Six days later it hit a low of 55.4 tix, a massive 43% decrease. That drop is roughly in line with the idea that the supply increase is double, and likely more than double. Mirrodin is a more popular format and a better draft environment than 8th Edition. However, aided by the B&R announcement, Mirrodin started to recover quickly even while the set was still being drafted in MMD and MD5. While it is nowhere near its previous price, today a complete set of Mirrodin will set you back about 65 tix, 33% less than its pre-flashback peak, but 18% more than its January 12th low. 

For me, the biggest finance story of the Triple Mirrodin flashback are the Commons. Take Ancient Den. It crashed all the way down to 0.1 tix on January 8th, but has already rebounded to nearly 1 tix, a massive 820% gain in a couple weeks. If you had the foresight to buy some copies of Ancient Den at the low, you could have traded your way into an entire tier one Pauper deck. And this gain isn't unique to Ancient Den. Great Furnace dropped to 0.2 tix and is back to 0.9, Seat of the Synod hit 0.1 tix and is back to 0.56, and Molten Rain hit 0.1 and recovered back to a tix within a week. 

The Commons story suggest Pauper is a real player on Magic Online, considering these cards aren't really played in other formats. I'll definitely be keeping my eye on pauper staples that drop during future flashbacks because they seem to crash hard but recover just as fast. 

Darksteel

Being drafted twice one week and once the other, Darksteel should have about the same supply increase as 8th Edition. The set peaked at 75 tix about a week before the flashbacks started, and dropped all the way to 53 tix, where it sits today, a decrease of 29%. However, looking over the price charts, it appears the set is ready to rebound, with several of the playable cards like Arcbound Ravager, Serum Powder, and Aether Vial showing gains in the last 24 hours (on January 28th). More importantly, the chase cards didn't even drop much, or at all, to begin with thanks to the B&R announcement. 

Fifth Dawn

Fifth Dawn was only drafted once for a week, which means it saw a significantly lower supply increase than the other flashbacks sets. While it hasn't had any time to recover, a complete set dropped from a peak of 106 tix to 92.2 tix throughout the course of draft week, representing a rather small 13.0% decrease. The chase cards in the set like Auriok Champion, Engineered Explosives, and Crucible of Worlds dropped at pretty much the same rate as the set as a whole, decreasing between 10 and 20% each. Some are just now starting to show the first signs of recovery. 

The biggest take away from Fifth Dawn is that a pack being drafted once for a week doesn't really do much to card prices. As 2016: The Year of Modern Flashbacks continues, I wouldn't worry too much about selling cards in third sets or plan on picking up cards from these sets at a significant discount. The supply increase just isn't enough to cause major price decreases. 

The Future

We are now on a three week break from flashbacks with the release of Oath of the Gatewatch on Magic Online. When we return in mid-February. We'll be heading to Kamigawa block, which should play out much the same as Mirrodin block. Expect to see big decreases from Champions, decreases from Betrayers, and very little decreases from Saviors. As such, preemptively sell your Champions of Kamigawa cards, and probably your Betrayers cards too. You should be able to buy them back within a week at a meaningful discount. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive.


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