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By: xger, Xger
Mar 31 2016 10:00am
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Dissension--the guilds are in disarray, the guildpact is no more, and the struggle for power starts. The drafting changes quite a bit now that no guild is in two pacts, so shards are the way to go. Fiscally, Dissension has nearly half of its value in one card: Infernal Tutor. Time to jump in and look at Dissension! If you want to jump past the introduction, click here. To jump to the fiscal analysis, click here. 

Introduction to the Article Series:

To jump to the set background, click here. To jump to the fiscal analysis, click here.

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.

Ravnica Block: Ravnica, Guildpact.

Here is the upcoming schedule:

Format Dates
Ravnica-Guildpact-Dissension 3/30-4/6
Triple Coldsnap 4/6-4/13
Break for Shadows over Innistrad 4/13-5/4
Triple Time Spiral 5/4-5/11
Time Spiral, Time Spiral, Planar Chaos 5/11-5/18

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:

Dissension History and Background:

Dissension rounds out Ravnica block and brings us to the remaining three guilds. The Azorius handle the legislative and judicial aspects of Ravnican society and are known for their love of bureaucracy. The Rakdos are thrill seekers that offer little to the citizenry that can be publicly discussed. Every decade or so the Rakdos surge from their den and wreak havoc in a wild pillaging party. The Simic are similar to the Izzet, but instead of artificial machinery, they focus on natural machines and evolution. They create and combine many different creatures.

Mechanics wise, the Azorius come with Forecast, a reusable ability when you reveal a card from your hand. It is a bit clunky and repetitive, plus not pushed all that hard, so it isn't a highly regarded mechanic. The Rakdos, fittingly, fight with Hellbent, giving you a bonus if you have an empty hand. It plays quite well with Red/Black, and is probably the best theme fit for a mechanic. Finally, the Simic allow you to Graft, using one creature to grow future entrants to the battlefield. You can graft your opponent's creatures, so make sure you double check, I have seen a number of Momir Vig Basic players mess that up.

sky hussarjagged poppetplaxcaster frogling

The set also brought the completion of many block cycles--the lands, signets, guildmages, guild champions, and guildmasters. It also brought new hybrid cards to the mix, most notably Avatar of Discord. It also was the first appearance of Ghost Quarter.

hallowed fountainrakdos the defileravatar of discordghost quarter

The set also brought with it new split cards! Not seen since Invasion block, the reintroduction was quite fitting given Invasion's influence on Ravnica. This time the split cards were all two guilds, which makes some of them exceptionally good for some players in draft. 


As for MTGO, Dissension might be one of the most impactful sets in MTGO's history. When Dissension was released, the Vanguard format still existed. The format had each player play with an avatar that had an ability and modified the starting hand size and life total. That format is not really played, and was never heavily played. But, Dissension's avatar was Avatar - Momir Vig, Simic Visionary. The avatar allows a format that can only be played on MTGO--Momir basic. You have 60 basic lands, and once per turn you can pay X to get a random creature of casting cost X. What other format will you have dueling Blightsteel Colossus's collide 4 or 5 times? The format thrived for a long time, but recently, for reasons unknown, it is not featured in many tournaments. I've asked several times about when it will come back, as I think the format is a lot of fun and can actually be quite skill testing. If you are interested in the format, here is a link to a guide I wrote back when I was first writing articles.

momir vig, simic visionary

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices for the individual cards are from MTGOTraders sell price on Tuesday the 29th. Set trends are from MTG goldfish. 


Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Infernal Tutor $36.66
Breeding Pool $5.71
Hallowed Fountain $5.59
Proclamation of Rebirth $3.75
Blood Crypt $2.92
Voidslime $2.19
Pillar of the Paruns $1.77
Protean Hulk $1.51
Tidespout Tyrant $1.47
Rain of Gore $1.20


Top Uncommons
Spell Snare $2.02
Ghost Quarter $0.41
Condemn $0.07
Court Hussar $0.05
Rise/Fall $0.05
Worthwhile Commons
Utopia Sprawl $1.46

Dissension is very much a lottery. Not only does one rare account for nearly 50%, the first 4 rares account for 70% of the value (meaning that one of those likely won't be opened in any given draft), but Spell Snare is the 7th most valuable card and Utopia Sprawl is the 11th most valuable. I guess that the common will fall a fair bit, but Spell Snare may stay relatively high given the low number of packs opened and the card's playability.


This chart shows the inflection point of the rares--here, between the 4th and 5th rares! That means that 4 rares in the set are priced higher than the average rare ($1.15), which is quite high, but 60 cents of that value is in Infernal Tutor. This is closer to the Kamigawa block issues where the value is tied up in just the top. This is even more problematic form a card supply standpoint because with so little Dissension being opened (relative to Ravnica or Guildpact) the price will not likely drop much. That is also good for the fiscally concerned as the price probably will not fall too drastically.

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).

Dissension's Lottery Rate: 90%

If people are interested in the math, I can add it in the comment or in future articles. Here, the top 5 rares hold more than 70% of the value. At least with the shocklands accounting for three of those slots, the overall price shouldn't be too strongly affected, as historically, the shocklands have maintained a decent value.

Dissension will likely have very little drop, as it will be opened relatively little. Not only is it the third set and only up for a week, this weekend is the paper Shadows over Innistrad prerelease. It will be interesting to watch how the set goes given those, and the general popularity of Ravnica block.

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
Dissension is nearly unchanged from the time of the announcement, though it had a drop and return to normal. $1.77 With Commons $3.25
$1.31 Without Commons $2.47
$1.17 Without lottery rares $2.65

Since Infernal Tutor accounts for nearly 50% of the value, I counted just it as the lottery rare. So the value drops there about 60 cents, which puts Dissension more in line with other sets' pack value. Enjoy your lottery!

Flashback Trends:

  Before Price After Price Percent Change Change Since Last Article
Eighth Edition $101.20 $107.21 5.9% -6.8%
Blood Moon $35.00 $24.74 -29.3% 2.0%
Mirrodin $94.90 $68.19 -28.1% 4.2%
Oblivion Stone $35.00 $17.91 -48.8% 3.0%
Darksteel $68.60 $59.21 -13.7% -4.4%
Aether Vial $5.60 $4.71 -15.9% 0.2%
Fifth Dawn $106.00 $93.76 -11.5% 3.8%
Serum Visions $2.80 $2.67 -4.6% 7.2%
Champions $75.50 $55.21 -26.9% 2.2%
Sensei's Divining Top $3.50 $3.58 2.3% -1.1%
Betrayers $63.20 $50.09 -20.7% 1.9%
Goryo's Vengeance $28.86 $18.79 -34.9% 1.8%
Saviors $61.10 $59.86 -2.0% -0.1%
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds $15.50 $10.03 -35.3% -9.1%
Ninth Edition $102.40 $75.07 -26.7% -0.6%
Adarkar Wastes $12.96 $5.59 -56.9% -6.1%
Ravnica $78.20 $49.62 -36.5% -6.1%
Dark Confidant $12.59 $9.61 -23.7% -4.9%
Guildpact $41.60 $29.86 -28.2% N/A
Orzhov Pontiff $8.40 $6.35 -24.4% N/A

The older flashbacks seem to be starting an upward trend, perhaps to a more historically normal. Eighth is still in a weird flux, just due to Ensnaring Bridge and Blood Moon. Serum Visions starting back up is particularly good because a common can serve as a good bellwether card for how the flashblacks impact value long term. If it continues to return to a higher price, the flashbacks might reasonably not have had too drastic an impact. Guildpact fell probably a little more than expected, but that is likely due to the low desirability of the cards, so supply probably played an outsized role in their price previously.


Don't forget to look at articles here on PureMTGO. Here is a search link for Dissension articles. Old articles on the draft format: 

  • Here's an article from SCG by Nick Eisel
  • Here's an article from TCG player by Josh Ravitz

There's really only one consistent option with the full block--pick a shard. Figure out what shard gives you a guild in each pack and go for that. There are alternatives, such as going for mono-colored or focusing on a Dissension guild and picking up the non-guild cards. Those decks can be powerful, but they can also be a disaster, so it is high risk, high reward.

As always, I appreciate any comments! Still working on the card pop-ups. Unfortunately, I am quite busy and not an HTML expert, so it is posing quite a problem for me. I'll keep at it though.


xger21 on MTGO.