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Archive for March, 2010

During the Worldwake spoiler season, I mentioned in my article, Money Mythics, that Starcity Games was selling singles as they were being spoiled.  I also talked about how this affected prices.

More like Kozilek, Butcher of Wallets. Maybe he's a good control finisher. Terrible reanimator target though.

More like Kozilek, Butcher of Wallets. Maybe he's a good control finisher. Terrible reanimator target though.

Well, now that a few Rise of the Eldrazi cards have been spoiled, most notably Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, I am starting to think I was correct . In fact, I just e-mailed Starcity Games to ask them a few questions and make my opinion known, whatever good that will do.

Just in case you didn’t know, Kozilek is selling for $30 on Starcity Games right now.

I don’t like the idea of cards being sold as spoiled for a couple of reasons. First and foremost; prices only go up. Prices for spoiled singles are usually set according to (mostly) baseless speculation, new card hype and maybe a little bit of precedent (which usually doesn’t take into account changing game environments). Sometimes a card is just damn good in a vaccuum, and that helps to inflate prices as well. Finally, when a card pre-sells as spoiled, if it has a slight chance of being a staple, people buy it up, which also causes the price to rise, which in turn, makes people think it is a hot-item, so they buy it. You can see how this loops.

Want to see proof? Look how much Abyssal Persecutor was selling for before it actually hit the shelves.  $39.99. It didn’t even get a lot of good press, Timmy  just thought it was good and bought it up like crazy. Jace, the Mind Sculptor was at $59.99 before the pre-release, and hasn’t dropped yet, despite the fact he hasn’t made a huge impact on any meta yet. Patrick Chapin likes him, so I guess that still makes him worth $240 a playset.  

Ouch.

It used to be just eBay sellers and some of the “other” online shops that sold singles as spoiled, but now the big guys are  doing it too, which means now you have to buy early and buy often if you want to get a card with potential at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, it was one of the reasons I didn’t buy at the other places.

The second reason I don’t like Starcity Games selling cards as spoiled is their pre-sale policy, which prohibits combining orders for pre-sale items. I guess if you want to lock in good prices on spoiled cards, you better like paying shipping for each playset you order.

Of course you could always wait until the cards are actually released like I did. By then I decided I didn’t really want Jace, the Mind Sculptor; at least not at $60 a pop for something that hasn’t proven itself yet.

Here is a copy of my letter

I was wondering if Starcity Games might consider allowing customers to consolidate multiple pre-orders now that singles are being sold as spoiled. In order to get the best prices, customers will have to buy early and buy often, which will lead to multiple shipping costs.

I am also curious; why you are selling singles as spoiled? I know the eBay market does this, but I also don’t pre-order product on e-bay because the prices are driven by mostly baseless speculation and new-card hype. I would hate to see the same at Starcity Games.

Being able to buy new product as early as possible may appeal to some, but I think it was just fine when pre-order day was after the pre-release.   

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Over at MTG Salvation, six Rise of the Eldrazi cards were spoiled today; one for each color and one colorless card. 

 Go check it out. 

 While the cards themselves may not be all that cool, getting to see some of the new mechanics to be included in the set definitely is. 

 Lets take a look: 

 Annihilator x: Whenever this creature attacks, defending player sacrifices x permanents.
It appears Annihilator was sussed a while ago, judging by the comments on various forums. The idea of making an opponent sacrifice a permanent each time a creature merely attacks is intoxicating. The varying value of is interesting too. We’ve already seen it in staggering values of 3 and 4, both of which are likely to swing the game in the attackers favor in a single turn. However, it could be powerful enough in values of 1 and 2 as well, if printed on the right creature. So far, both on colorless Eldrazi creatures, but it is unknown to me at this point whether or not they will appear on creatures of color.    

Totem Armor: If enchanted creature would be destroyed, instead remove all damage from it and destroy this Aura.
Totem Armor seems to be a combination of the guide auras (Elephant Guide, Griffon Guide) and the phantom creatures of the Odyssey block’s Judgement. However, instead of getting a bonus and a new creature when the enchanted beast dies, you save the creature and lose the bonus. Totem Armors could make for a good insurance policy, but history shows creature enchantments don’t usually see a lot of play.  

Rebound: If you cast this spell from your hand, exile it as it resolves. At the beginning of your next upkeep, you may cast this card from exile without paying its mana cost.
Rebound is a bit like Flashback, but for free. Graveyard removal doesn’t touch Rebound either. The drawback is you must use the spell during your next upkeep, or lose it forever, so you cannot wait for the most opportune time to re-cast.    

Another thing of interest is the colorless theme. So far, only the colorless spells seen are the Eldrazi creatures, but if the future-sighted Ghostfire is any indication of things to come, other colorless spells with effects traditioanlly associated with a specific color will appear. The good news, is this adds a unprecidented flexibility to any kind of deck, provided the colorless cards are useful. The downside is if a colorless card is good enough and every deck in the format (possibly multiple formats) wants it, expect to pay out the nose. 

The Eldrazi creatures are interesting too. So far, the spoiled Kozilek and Pathrazer look pretty intimidating. However, with their ridiculous power comes a ridiculous casting cost. Several things seem to be working to help speed the appearance of the mammoth beasts on the battlefield though. Eye of Ungin not only helps you dig a colorless spell out of your library, but it lowers the cost of those spells by 2. Chalice of the void is a good colorless mana accelerator. Also, if Corpsehatch is any indicator of what is to come, future card will also help in speeding Eldrazi to player’s sides. A

As always, more cards will have to be seen to determine whether these new mechanics will change formats. The forums will undoubtedly be alight with speculation on how each will impact the game, but we’ll have to wait a while to start making an opinion outside of a vacuum.

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