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By: xger, Xger
May 11 2016 11:00am
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Well, we went from the worst set fiscally thus far in the Modern flashback to a set even worse. At least Planar Chaos has a number of fun cards and enough to make an interesting format, allowing some strategies that might otherwise not work. Well, let's see what's in store! 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.

Here is the upcoming schedule:

Format Dates
Time Spiral, Time Spiral, Planar Chaos 5/11-5/18
Time Spiral, Planar Chaos, Future Sight 5/18-5/25
Tenth Edition 5/25-6/1
Triple Lorwyn* 6/1-6/8*
Lorwyn, Lorwyn, Morningtide* 6/8-6/15*

*These dates are my extrapolations. Again, as of 5/10/16, I was unable to find confirmation that these are correct. The LLM draft is very possibly wrong, as Eternal Masters releases on MTGO on June 17, which might indicate pre-releases earlier that might preempt the flashback.

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:

Planar Chaos History and Background:

Planar Chaos continued the Time Spiral block time theme, this time by considering the alternate Magic universe. Wizards showed this universe through a "plane-shifted" sheet consisting of 45 cards--10 rares, 15 uncommons, and 20 commons. The shifted cards have an interesting distribution; 3 shifted commons replace normal commons, and one shifted uncommon or rare replace one normal uncommon. With two sets of uncommons printed for every set of rare, three uncommons are opened for each rare. The shifted cards take old cards and makes them new:


akroma, angel of wrath











akroma, angel of fury


Planar Chaos continued with Time Sprial's mechanics, but introduced some twists. Planar Chaos showed off the first cards where the echo cost is not the mana cost: Stingscourger and Uktabi Drake, for example. Some of the shifted cards are still quite popular and powerul; ranging from relatively innocous Mesa Enchantress to the very powerful Damnation. Some even became reprint staples--Prodigal Pyromancer.

stingscourgerdamnationprodigal pyromancer

Strangely, Planar Chaos had zero artifacts, one of only a handful of sets with no artifacts, and the only Modern legal set with no artifacts. In their place, players got more shifted cards--such as Elder Dragons of the wedges instead of the shards. The modern Elder Dragon also have the luxury of much more reasonable costing and abilities for creatures, making them much more friendly to players.

Nicol bolasvorosh, the hunteroros, the avengerpAlladia-mors

Generally, the shifted cards tried to make sense. It's doubtful anyone would think Gaea's Anthem is particularly out of place in green or that Damnation is a huge stretch for black. Some are more arguable, such as Brute Force--red pumps, but practically never toughness as much as power. Mana Tithe is actually within the color pie because White is second in counters and best at taxing, which is what Mana Tithe mixes. Most players don't realize White has access though, because Wizards rarely gives white access. Here are some of the most questionable shifts:

harmonizerathi trappersunlancegroundbreaker

Time Spiral block was fairly powerful, and Planar Chaos is no slouch there either. Black probably makes out best with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Damnation, and Extirpate. Slivers gets a large boon with Sinew Sliver, adding another cheap lord to the arsenal. The same color split cards also are powerful, particularly Boom/Bust.

sinew sliverurborg, tomb of yawgmothboom/bust

MTGO starts gearing up for V3 beta, after a long day. Dark days loom...

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices for the individual cards are from MTGOTraders sell price on Tuesday the 10th. Set trends are from MTG goldfish. 

Planar Chaos:

Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Damnation $14.32
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth $1.86
Boom/Bust $1.74
Extirpate $1.36
Akroma, Angel of Fury $0.33
Porphyry Nodes $0.32
Body Double $0.30
Mirri the Cursed $0.29
Gaea's Anthem $0.24
Groundbreaker $0.24
Top Uncommons
Harmonize $0.39
Big Game Hunter $0.07
Keen Sense $0.07
Pongify $0.05
Necrotic Sliver $0.04
Worthwhile Commons
Simian Spirit Guide $1.02
Sinew Sliver $0.55
Keldon Marauders $0.16

Again, we have a really low value set. Only a handful of cards are worth more than a buck. The shifted sheet also makes calculating prices much more difficult. Damnation is on the shifted sheet, which means it should appear at the same frequency of a normal rare (1 in 40 packs either way*) but it might double up. Simian Spirit Guide should be interesting to follow--it is a combo mainstay and a causal favorite, so it might be able to hold its water better than a lot of the expensive commons from prior sets have.

*I am not very familiar with the printing of Planar Chaos, so I could be off here. As far as I can tell there are 40 normal rares and 40 cards for 1 slot, 30 uncommon and 10 rare of which Damnation is one.


This chart shows the inflection point of the rares--here, between the 4th and 5th rares. That means that only 4 rares in the set are priced higher than the average rare ($0.45), which is lowest yet, and a rather pitiful spread. An issue here is the shifted sheet makes finding an average more difficult, because the value is really the 40 rares not on the sheet, but one uncommon spot is increased by 1/4 the value of the 10 remaining rares. For my analysis, considering this is of short lived usefulness, I simply treated this as a normal set for fiscal calculations. 

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).

Time Spiral's Lottery Rate: 96%

Planar Chaos barely edges past Time Spiral to gain the worst lottery rate crown. Over half of the entire set is in Damnation,

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
Surprisingly, Planar Chaos is about a buck higher than it was at announcement of the series. $1.00 With Commons $2.25
$0.51 Without Commons $1.35
$0.71 Without lottery rares $1.86

Again we have one card holding a considerable amount of the value. Again, the result is that you should not play these drafts expecting to make any money or to even recoup losses, the set value just is not there.

Flashback Trends:

  Before Price After Price Percent Change Change Since Last Article
Eighth Edition $101.20 $90.93 -10.1% -1.5%
Blood Moon $35.00 $21.30 -39.1% -4.1%
Mirrodin $94.90 $66.99 -29.4% 15.7%
Oblivion Stone $35.00 $18.99 -45.7% 19.0%
Darksteel $68.60 $52.00 -24.2% 0.3%
Aether Vial $5.60 $6.85 22.3% 1.6%
Fifth Dawn $106.00 $102.69 -3.1% -0.5%
Serum Visions $2.80 $1.69 -39.6% -21.0%
Champions $75.50 $50.04 -33.7% 5.2%
Sensei's Divining Top $3.50 $2.94 -16.0% 16.2%
Betrayers $63.20 $42.83 -32.2% 1.8%
Goryo's Vengeance $28.86 $15.10 -47.7% -4.1%
Saviors $61.10 $59.68 -2.3% 1.3%
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds $15.50 $8.79 -43.3% 1.3%
Ninth Edition $102.40 $69.38 -32.2% 7.0%
Phyrexian Arena $5.20 $4.60 -11.5% N/A
Ravnica $78.20 $59.03 -24.5% 12.1%
Dark Confidant $12.59 $10.57 -16.0% 4.3%
Guildpact $41.60 $29.43 -29.3% 9.3%
Orzhov Pontiff $8.40 $4.41 -47.5% -0.2%
Dissension $74.50 $60.36 -19.0% 2.4%
Infernal Tutor $36.66 $32.45 -11.5% 0.7%
Coldsnap $74.70 $42.48 -43.1% 14.2%
Dark Depths $25.09 $17.42 -30.6% 29.1%
Time Spiral $44.90 34.21 -23.8% N/A
Ancestral Vision $21.01 15.63 -25.6% N/A

So, it seems nearly everything is coming back from last week's sell off. The fear about Modern phasing out is subsiding for now and there is no new set to play, so players are not as anxious about keeping Modern cards. The big outlier this week is Serum Visions. I am not sure what has caused it lose a quarter of its price, but it's entirely possible that players who had hoarded them finally gave up and dumped them since the price was not climbing. It's also possible I'm out of the loop on a format or deck shift against Visions.

I added Phyrexian Arena and removed Adarkar Wastes wastes because the spike I talked about last week. Blood Moon still holds most of 9th's value, but there is already one moon on the list, so I decided against another.


Don't forget to look at articles here on PureMTGO. Here is a search link for Planar Chaos articles. If you go to that link, you'll notice that some old Planar Chaos articles are picked up. They might be helpful, or you might just want to skip to the new ones. Old articles on the draft format: 

  • Here's an article from SCG by Nick Eisel.
  • Here's an article from Pojo's, by Jeff Zandi, discussing the value of the Planar Chaos commons.

Planar Chaos doesn't have a huge impact, simply because it is one pack at the end of a draft. Just keep unique cards like Brute Force in mind, a mindful player can really round out a deck if they know what to expect in Planar Chaos.

As always, I appreciate any comments! 


xger21 on MTGO.