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By: xger, Xger
Dec 29 2015 1:00pm
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Wizards is running a year of Modern Flashback drafts, but seeing as the 8th Edition was last drafted just after Netscape died in 2003, players probably aren't keen on how it worked. So, we must go

Eighth Edition isn't a particularly exciting set. It was one of the last reprint only core setsWizards for a long time believed that core sets should only have reprints as it was supposedly easier for new players. Over time that got changed, and core sets became about resonance, with easily understandable cards such as Silence. Now, Wizards is dropping core sets and the ill-informed idea that new players would only buy the 'new player' set.

So, what was Eighth Edition about? One major change and one community event, really. The first change was the card frames to what we know now:

 giant growth

 

 

à

 giant growth  boomerang

 

 

à

 boomerang
 abyssal specter

 

 

à

 abyssal specter

The other event was "Selecting Eighth Edition." Here, the community got to vote on cards to be placed in the set and art used on some cards. Players also got to submit flavor text and then vote out of a selection by Wizards. One of the cards votes usurped Wizards thoughts:

Glorious Anthem

 

 

 Defeated 

crusade

In fact, that defeat was so stunning to Wizards that they researched why. The answer leads to the change in lords and slivers to only affect your creatures. If you are curious about the results of the single combat and the almost-flavor text, here is the summary link.

Of course, all of that has little to do with the flashback week. So, let's dive into how I will analyze the flashback formats.

Introduction to the Article Series:

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 brief drafting advice. This will come either from my own experience and memory (if I actively drafted the set) or from what articles I can dredge up. Likely, it will be both, but will probably lean more towards the articles. 

With that, let's get started:

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices for the individual cards are from MTGOtraders sell price on Monday night the 28th. Set trends are from MTG goldfish.

Eighth Edition:

Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Blood Moon $37.39
Ensnaring Bridge $27.83
Bribery $4.34
Defense Grid $4.23
Wrath of God) $3.82
Phyrexian Arena $3.79
City of Brass $2.75
Worship $2.48
Intruder Alarm $1.59
Birds of Paradise $1.21
Top 5 Uncommons
Name Price
Choke  $1.96
Urza's Power Plant $1.15
Urza's Tower $0.99
Circle of Protection: Red $0.87
Merchant Scroll $0.73
Worthwhile Commons
None this time!  

So 8ED/8ED/8ED is really a lottery. With 111 rares, there is less than a 1 in 50 chance of opening one of the money cards Here is the set trend and average pack/draft value:

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
In the few days after the announcement, the set fell a little over 5%, then held steady. $1.20 With Commons $3.60
$1.07 Without Commons $3.21
$0.62 Without lottery rares $1.86

As for the value cards, Blood Moon has been reprinted a number of times so its value isn't likely to budge that much. Ensnaring Bridge on the other hand has only had 3 printings, and Eighth Edition was the most opened set it was in. While it is used in Modern sideboards, this could be a case of supply just being too low. I would advise selling any you draft that you aren't going to use quickly. Choke is in a similar spot to bridge, as are Intruder Alarm and Bribery. The rest have seen enough printings to probably not crash with the new influx of cards.

Flashback Trend - Champions of Kamigawa

Since this is the first of the series, I had to dig way back to find an appropriate comparison. There was a Kamigawa block flashback draft at the end of May 2013. This was real cards and pre-mythics, so that is why I chose it. In the future, this will be a more in depth analysis.

Before Price After Price Percent Change
$54.50 $50.80 -6.8%

So, the chosen set's decline was just shy of 7%. Keep in mind this was a block draft, so only one of the packs was Champions. So 8th might fall by 20%, but we will see.

Draft Strategy

My take:

White is very durdly. There is Crossbow Infantry, Master Decoy, and Angelic Page. It has defensive cards and it not as aggressive as we are currently used to. It also has several complete dud rares such as Rolling Stones and Sacred Ground. This is also the time when Serra Angel was still a rare. Ew.

 

 

 

 

Blue is close to the same, though the creatures are weaker. Confiscate is a huge bomb at uncommon. Blue's color hosing is particularly bad with Hibernation and Wrath of Marit Lage. While Lage does hurt red a bit, it is slow and allows red creatures to come in untapped.

 

Black is more aggressive with removal than we are used to. Dark Banishing would be a dream these days at common. Nekrataal is, as always, amazing. Black has more discard than we are used to as well, so the overall quality is lower as there are a number of spots for discard. It could be helpful, but you wouldn't want to overload.

 

Red has the best finishers. Between Blaze, Enrage, and the pile of burn, red can close out games. Do not underestimate Panic Attack. Timed well, it is great for an alpha strike. You could also pick up all the Demolishs and Stone Rains to see if that works. Reds color hosers are the best with Boil and Flashfires destroying all Islands and Plains respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Green is the typical hulk smash plan, though the creatures aren't as good as current ones. Both (Blanchwood Armor) and Lure are auras well worth playing as either can win a game by itself left unchecked or just well timed. Plow Under is brutal. Eighth is also in the era when green had no answers for creatures.  

Overall, I typically tried to be red and then added green or black. With enough burn, green or black creatures could power through.

Other's opinions

I've pulled mostly from here and here; an old Wizards article and an old Star City Games article. Here is the just of those in a convenient bullet point list:

  • The format is slow and creature stalemates are common. Evasion and bombs or other pushes are golden.
  • The only combat tricks worth thinking about are Giant Growth and Enrage. The others are either bad or inconsequential.
  • Green is probably a desirable color to be in because it allows splashing and has big creatures to break stales.
  • White is good if you can get enough fliers since evasion is strong.
  • Paying attention to fellow drafters is probably more important than normal. None of the colors are as deep as typical and so fighting a neighbor for colors is likely to result in a pretty subpar deck.
  • Similar to above, the commons are all relatively balanced, so paying attention means a high likelihood of getting cards that are able to break the mold of predictable but unexciting.

Wrap-up

So, I think that about covers it. Remember to pick those Blood Moons and Ensnaring Bridges and be ready for creature stalls. Next week, I'll look at triple Mirridon and will have some analysis of the impact of this, new type of flashback will have on the value of the cards. 

As always, feel free to leave a comment!

xger

xger21 on MTGO