This week we finish out probably the worst three week stretch in Modern flashbacks (two core sets and Avacyn Restored). Magic 2013 has two notable cards--Omniscience and Thragtusk. Both see constructed play on the fringes, one in combo and the other in control and sometimes beatdown. It also has two new planeswalkers: Liliana of the Dark Realms and Ajani, Caller of the Pride. Let's get to it!
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.
Wizards has updated the schedule. They haven't announced the next year's schedule, if any, so this is what we have for now. As of 11/22, there is not an update on this.
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.
With that, let's get started:
Magic 2013 History and Background
Magic 2013's gimmick is centering around Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker (sadly no return of just Nicol Bolas. The inclusion of Little Nicky marked the first gold card in a core set (and one of the only three ever, including Garruk, Apex Predator and Sliver Hivelord from Magic 2015). Magic 2013 is also when Wizards really pushed integration and mirroring with Duels of the Planeswalkers. Released around the same time, that game included theme decks for each of the planeswalkers and legendary creatures in the set while providing Big Nicky as the end boss.
Exalted made its return in this Core set, creating interesting black/white exalted decks. Even a year and a half after Magic 2013, Mark Rosewater gave it a 3 on the storm scale (and he earlier this year gave it a 3 again). So, we'll see it again. Magic 2013 also included several cycles, such as the rings (Ring of Evos Isle), off-color buff creatures (Prized Elephant), and legendary pseudo-support cards (Krenko's Command).
Sadly, Magic 2013 marked the death of Giant Spider. Prior to Magic 2013, Giant Spider had remained in the core set since Alpha, and was the last card to go.
Nothing really remarkable in the MTGO world, although the dark cloud of the community cup loomed...
Fiscal Value of the Flashback
Prices are from MTGOtraders and MTGgoldfish as the evening on the 22nd.
As you can see, Magic 2013 does not offer anything astounding. The mythics are low, but not completely terrible. Then, there's the rares, which basically come down to Thragtusk. At least Master of the Pearl Trident will likely keep some value, and may rise over time because of the Modern Merfolk deck. If that deck breaks through and reaches Tier 1, Master of the Pearl Trident will likely jump quite a bit. Rancor is a classic that will probably continue to hold its value. It's also unlikely to be reprinted in standard anytime soon, as standard seems quite toned down from this time.
These charts show the inflection points of the mythics and rares--here, between the 6th and 7th mythic and between the 6th and 8th rare (Mutilate is at the average). That means that 6 mythics and 6 rares in the set are priced higher than the averages ($1.86 and $0.16, respectively).
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 2013's Rare Lottery Rate: 92.5%
Magic 2013's Mythic Lottery Rate: 33.3%
Magic 2013's Blended Lottery Rate: 85.1%
The rates are fairly standard. The rare rate isn't as high as other sets primarily because the most valuable rare isn't that valuable in context.
Average Draft Value
Magic 2013 is unremarkable here--it has some rises and falls, but it where it started this adventure.
The pack price here is pretty abysmal. Like most core sets, only draft this if you like Magic 2013. I doubt many will fire, as the draft environment is relatively unremarkable.
I had a save/cloud issue this week, so my data for the numbers does not work with last week's data. So the reference point this time is two weeks ago, on 11/10.
Overall, most sets went positive, some fairly substantially. Especially the sets from months ago (minus Saviors, Guildpact, Dissension, and Coldsnap) seem to be in decent recovery and returning to normal. The overall trend seems to indicate that sets with relatively low value to start with are not recovering--e.g. the sets with cards no one wanted are not recovering. While this might be alarming for collectors (you know, the 12 or so that exist on MTGO), it's not a bad sign for players. Even with the flashbacks, cards that see play regain their value, even in the face of treasure chests as well.
AEther Vial climbed some more, as creatures became a bit stronger in Modern. However, it would not be surprising for AEther Vial to appear in Modern Masters 2017. If you are holding Vials for value, you might start thinking about dumping them sometime soon.
Mishra's Bauble came back down to earth this week, at least somewhat. It dropped about 25% from last week, which might indicate it was being toyed with as opposed to played suddenly.
Avacyn Restored's drop was not as pronounced as other large sets, which have commonly dropped 25-35%. However, Cavern of Souls fell more than the set, which would point to people selling it immediately. Based on that, the drop was likely smaller because of fewer players as there was more incentive to gamble than to actually play the format.
Should you want other flashback articles, here's a search link! There's a few articles back to look at, though it's not as deep as other sets.
Here's an article from Melissa De Tora at TCG player.
Here's an article from Darwin Castle at Gathering Magic.