There's only a few weeks of Modern Flashbacks left, and we get to hit up some Triple Gatecrash! We get the remainder of the guilds this time around, though the value is a fair bit less than the first five guilds. So, jump in these drafts if you like Gatecrash, but probably avoid it if you're hoping to make up value in the cards..
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.
With that, let's get started:
Gatecrash History and Background
Gatecrash brings the other five guilds into the block. So, we have Boros, Dimir, Gruul, Orzhov, and Simic to draft this time. Wizards changed up the block structure for Return to Ravnica block, going large-large-small, so the second set is drafting on its own. We have another set to wait for before all 10 guilds jump in together.
Gatecrash brought five new mechanics: Battalion for Boros (Legion Loyalist), Cipher for Dimir (Shadow Slice), Bloodrush for Gruul (Skinbrand Goblin), Extort for Orzhov (Kingpin's Pet), and Evolve for Simic (Fathom Mage). These mechanics are much better than the originals. Battalion is a 4 on the Storm Scale, Cipher is a 9, Bloodrush is a 6, Extort is a 6, and finally, Evolve is a 5. So, we'll probably see most, Cipher is probably too wonky to make a return.
Around the time of Gatecrash, Wizards did substantial damage to the MTGO economy. Right around the release, Wizards quintupled the redemption fee from $5 to $25. Overnight, there was a huge decline, and many people sold out and there was a lot of protest and upset players. The protest and upset players did nothing though, as we still have that same fee.
Fiscal Value of the Flashback
Prices are from MTGOtraders and MTGgoldfish as the afternoon on the 6th.
The mythics are pretty terrible this time around. None worth more than $2. The rares are better, and are buoyed by the shocklands, which barring another reprint, should hold some value over the long term. It's nice to see two uncommons with value, which should be very slightly helpful. While not hugely valuable, they are both critical for burn decks in Modern, so they should keep value.
These charts show the inflection points of the mythics and rares--here, between the 6th and 7th mythic and between the 6th and 7th rare. That means that 6 mythics and 6 rares in the set are priced higher than the averages ($0.69 and $0.38, respectively). Both averages are quite low, which is a large part of the reasons this set is bad, financially. There just aren't many high value cards.
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.
Gatecrash's Rare Lottery Rate: 88.7%
Gatecrash's Mythic Lottery Rate: 33.3%
Gatecrash's Blended Lottery Rate: 81.8%
The rates are misleading--while it may not be hard to get a relatively "high value" card, it's not going to have a high absolute value. It's just high compared to other, low value cards.
Average Draft Value
Gatecrash has fallen quite a bit since these started, about 40%.
What's probably most shocking here is the very large drop in value of Gatecrash. Since the flashbacks started in December, Gatecrash has fallen about 40% in value, one of the worst overall trajectories.
There seems to have been somewhat of a sell off this week, as more cards have dropped than typical, especially for some of the older cards. Lands in particular seem to have dropped a fair bit. Grove of the Burnwillows was hit hardest, but Twilight Mire, Scalding Tarn, and Celestial Colonnade all also dropped this week. Could just be part of some selling off, as lands are a commonly held speculation target.
Speaking of speculation, Serum Visions has tumbled quite a bit, again showing its volatility as a speculation target. If you were holding on it, hopefully you were able to drop your supply before it tumbled again. I don't know if I'll ever personally feel comfortable using Serum Visions as a speculation target, it's just too wild and unpredictable. It's been 10 months and there's only been a handful of times where Serum Visions climbed above its pre-flashback value.
There seems to have been some residual effects of some of the more recent sets, particularly the core sets: Thragtusk and Visions of Beyond both feel quite a bit. I wouldn't be surprised if people who had been holding them, they may have just dumped them at this point. Neither are heavily used, and both were some of the more valuable from their drafts, it's entirely plausible that people just lost patience.
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 from Melissa De Tora at TCGplayer.
Here's an article from Josh Silvestri at Channel Fireball.
Four of the charms are quite powerful, and the last can be useful. Orzhov Charm is probably the most versatile, as all three modes can be very useful, and the destroy effect is nearly unrestricted.