We get to finish out the Year of Modern Flashbacks with a ban......err, a whimper. Time to dive into another core set and see what Magic 2014 has in store. The set is pretty much the same as the previous core sets, so the queues probably won't fire too heavily. Anyway, let's dive in and get going.
Over the course of this year, Wizards will run flashback drafts that are from the Modern sets. One week for each format. The flashbacks will stop when there is a prerelease or release going on. More info here.
This is the end of the flashbacks! Wizards announced that the last flashback will be Magic 2014, so the flashbacks--and these articles--are coming to a close soon.
First, I will do a fiscal analysis. While a lot of players will play just for the fun of it, knowing what cards are worth something is a good plan. Since none of these formats are competitively valued anymore, there really is no reason to pass on a $30 card. Even if it is terrible and useless in limited. Further, knowing what common and uncommons are worth the effort to sell could be useful.
However, just a rote listing of pricing is only so helpful. A lot of the cards, particularly core sets and the older sets, just don't have the supply to adequately meet demand. That means some of the cards might tank quickly when there is a sudden surge of supply. Some of these sets have probably never had flashbacks, or it has been many years. That means the market reaction might be extreme or subtle. It is also unknown how many cards will enter the system—if the drafts are popular, the effect is greater.
To give the most useful information, I am going to track the value of the sets already given a flashback as well as the time just prior to the flashback. Hopefully this will give some idea of the fiscal value of the flashback draft. Of course, it is still going to be a lottery most of the time.
Second, I will give some very brief drafting advice and provide links to other articles from those better experienced.
Story and flavor wise, Magic 2014 centered on Chandra Nalaar, giving her the new version in Chandra, Pyromaster. The new Chandra, Pyromaster signaled a new addition to Red's color pie--impulsive versions of other color's abilities. Chandra, Pyromaster is red card draw in a sense, and other red cards followed, such as Felhide Spiritbinder. The background story involves Mark Rosewater's tumblr, Blogatog. One of the recurring themes was the overall weakness of red, and the small share of the color pie it had. Through discussions on the blog, the idea of red impulses came about, and eventually lead to Chandra, Pyromaster. Alas, I was unable to determine the original card with that ability that inspired it!
The rules changes primarily affected Legendary permanents. There is a long history to Legendary permanents. At first, there could only be one copy of a legend in play for all players. So, if I dropped Akroma, Angel of Wrath, and you had one in hand, you could not play yours until mine was gone. Before Kamigawa, the rules changed so that if I had a Teysa, Orzhov Scion in play, and you played one, they both died. Not ideal, but better than doing nothing. For a while, some sideboard tech was adding your own copies of a legend just to kill an opponent's copy. With Magic 2014, legends came under the same rules as planeswalkers, and became what they are now. Also, the 0 or 15 sideboard rule became 'up to 15' and you no longer had to one for one exchange.
In the world of MTGO, Wizards introduced phantom points, a precursor to play points. Wizards also introduced new player points.
Fiscal Value of the Flashback
Prices are from MTGOtraders and MTGgoldfish as the afternoon on the 20th.
This time around there are a few options for recovering some funds, instead of the one in Dragon's Maze. The steep drop off in rares is a bit sad, as it's Scavenging Ooze, Mutavault or bust. Galerider Sliver is powerful, but niche, so it may be rather down in price after the flashback, and may not really recover. Sadly, we continue the long streak of no worthwhile uncommons or commons. So, again, draft because you like it, not because you hope to make any money with luck.
These charts show the inflection points of the mythics and rares--here, between the 3rd and 4th mythic and between the 3rd and 4th rare. That means that 3 mythics and 3 rares in the set are priced higher than the averages ($1.47 and $0.28, respectively). Both mythics and rares drop pretty steeply, so the averages are fairly skewed as normal.
A lottery rate of 0% will mean the set is balanced, and 100% will mean a single card accounting for ~70% of the rares total value (70% is an approximation of the percentage of drafts that will not have the top value rare). The same is applied for mythics. The blended rate below is 7/8 rare rate and 1/8 Mythic.
Magic 2014's Rare Lottery Rate: 96.2%
Magic 2014's Mythic Lottery Rate: 73.3%
Magic 2014's Blended Lottery Rate: 93.4%
The rates are better than the last several flashbacks, but still not actually that great. At least this time, there are several cards with more than a pack. So, it shouldn't be uncommon to get some value.
Average Draft Value
Magic 2014 has dropped about 1/3 since last year, a fairly steady decline--no in demand cards.
The pack value isn't great, but it is about what is normal for the recent core sets. So again, it's probably more about wanting to draft the set, which means these probably won't fire all that much.
This will probably be the last regular trend table, as going forward the flashbacks will be sporadic. Without a constant stream, it would be difficult to really tie any of the change in prices to the flashbacks, particularly with a sense of the time. I might add periodic updates, and maybe do a few longer term looks that revive the table. But, for now, enjoy the last trend table.
The earlier set sell off continues. It seems the most likely explanation at this point is the Treasure Chest. With those being tradable, it's possible that bots are opening them in mass to restock, so the cards pushed up primarily by supply constraints are falling. Now, if only that could translate to cards like Blood Moon that I missed the boat on.
Other than the early sets, the most interesting change is Rest in Peace. The Modern metagame hasn't shifted that much in the last week, and Rest in Peace is a card that should be likely to remain important in the format. The most likely reason is that DGR fired enough to push even more supply, though the drop for just a single pack seems quite large.
Future Flashback Articles:
Magic 2014 is the last in the Year of Modern Flashbacks. Going forward, the flashbacks will occur more sporadically, interspersed with the Standard Throwback Gauntlet. The flashbacks will still let you keep cards, are going to leagues and slightly increasing in cost. They will also be swiss.
So, my plan will be to release an article for each Flashback that occurs, but what precisely I write will largely depend on the format. For instance, first up we have triple Zendikar. It was not that long ago that I did a history and background of Zendikar, so it would seem strange to rehash it. I might just paste it in there for reference, or I might just do an abbreviated financial look.
After triple Zendikar, the next flashback is Invasion, Planeshift, Apocolypse. Likely, I will just do an abbreviated financial look at each set and the draft as a whole, and skip any history of background. If you want me to include a block-wide background section for IPA or other not-yet-covered blocks, I will, just let me know in the comments!
Should you want other flashback articles, here's a search link! There's a few articles back to look at, it's back to being a rather lengthy list.
Here's an article by Jim Storrie at Gathering Magic