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By: xger, Xger
May 25 2016 11:00am
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Time to look at the last reprint only, and mostly flavorless, core set. Tenth had its gimmicks, including more votes to select cards, aesthetic differences between regular and foil versions, the first core set since Beta to have black borders, and the first set to have a Game Day. Most of that had little impact on MTGO, however. Well, time to dig in and get started! 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
Tenth Edition 5/25-6/1
Triple Lorwyn 6/1-6/8
Lorwyn, Lorwyn, Morningtide 6/8-6/15
Triple Shadowmoor 6/15-6/22
Shadowmoor, Shadowmoor, Eventide 6/22-6/29
Triple Shards of Alara 6/29-7/6
Shards of Alara, Shards of Alara, Conflux 7/6-7/13
Shards of Alara, Conflux, Alara Reborn 7/13-7/20
Magic 2010 7/20-7/27
Break for Eldritch Moon 7/27-8/17

Wizards has updated the schedule, so these are confirmed dates (they've even included dates beyond what I have here).

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:

Tenth Edition History and Background:

Ah, Tenth, the last core set that was reprint only. In a short time, Wizards reshapes the cores sets in something much more thrilling, but that story will be for another time. First, similar to Eighth and Ninth Edition, Tenth allowed the players to vote on different aspects of the set. This included picking out 11 cards, with battles such as Mogg Fanatic versus Kird Ape and Nantuko Husk versus Fallen Angel. Here are some other card inclusion battles:

 loxodon warhammer




empyrial plate 
 crucible of worlds




forgotten ancient 
 platinum angel condemned  worship 
 paladin en-vec skewered  auriok champion 


Other votes were on flavor text, land art, and the expansion symbol.

Tenth is the set where wizards finally abandoned the old white borders, and from Tenth onward, everything was black border. Wizards finally realized that players just liked the looked of black border better

One of the some player's favorite things about Tenth has never been repeated and doesn't even appear in MTGO. On Tenth Edition foils, reminder text was removed, flavor text was added, and some card boxes were redesigned to be more visually pleasing. Despite the popularity, it was too much work to justify. It required two work ups of the set for printing and was not worth the cost. On MTGO, the cards are not different, because....reasons I guess.

time stoprobe of mirrors

Sorry for the lower quality photo, it was pretty difficult to find even that because gatherer (which is where the vast majority of card images come from) does not show the difference in the image. Tenth also included legends for the first time in a core, having gems like Mirri, Cat Warrior and Arcanis the Omnipotent. There were several cycles brought back: the Lucky Charms (Dragon's Claw et al.), enemy hoser cards (Flashfreeze and its ilk), and the painlands (Brushland and friends).

squee, goblin nabobreya dawnbringerdeathmarkbattlefield forge

For MTGO, Masters Edition 1 was announced, including the inclusion of Force of Will. Shortly before Lorwyn would launch on MTGO, MED hit, and Force quickly rose to be the most expensive card on MTGO for many years.

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices for the individual cards are from MTGOTraders sell price on Tuesday the 24th. Set trends are from MTG goldfish. 

Tenth Edition:

Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Crucible of Worlds $25.77
Hurkyl's Recall $13.36
Brushland $6.04
Wrath of God $5.03
Caves of Koilos $2.97
Karplusan Forest $2.83
Howling Mine $2.68
Shivan Reef $2.58
Llanowar Wastes $2.54
Birds of Paradise $1.88
Top Uncommons
Shatterstorm $2.22
Spark Elemental $0.73
Treetop Village $0.66
Mind Stone $0.61
Mogg Fanatic $0.56
Worthwhile Commons
Incinerate $0.05

Here's the first glance of the flat spread of the rare value. Twenty-one rares are worth more than a buck! No other set has come close to that so far. The uncommons are also really nice, particularly for a core set. The list only has the top five, but Faerie Conclave and Chromatic Star are both


This chart shows the inflection point of the rares--here, between the 26th and 27th rares. That means that 26 rares in the set are priced higher than the average rare ($0.79), which is around the average, and is not too bad for a core set. Tenth is by far the flattest set we've had so far. Nearly a quarter of the rares are above the average price. So, while there are relatively few super valuable cards, there are plenty to at least get a ticket out of. In fact, there is only a 1% chance of a draft pod having zero rares worth a buck.

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).

Tenth Edition's Lottery Rate: 83%

The lottery rate is the best we've seen, but that is expected with such a flat spread. Only two cards are worth more than the cost of the draft, but the value overall is spread much better than normal!

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
Interestingly, Tenth has climbed about 40% since December. That bodes well for the long term value. $1.14 With Commons $3.41
$0.99 Without Commons $2.96
$0.81 Without lottery rares $2.44

Here, lottery rares are Crucible of Worlds and Hurkyl's Recall. While the overall rare spread is flat, the two lottery rares are considerably higher than the other rares, hence the somewhat large drop in pack and draft value with their removal.

Flashback Trends:

  Before Price After Price Percent Change Change Since Last Article
Eighth Edition $101.20 $99.83 -1.4% 5.7%
Blood Moon $35.00 $25.51 -27.1% 4.8%
Mirrodin $94.90 $70.47 -25.7% 1.4%
Oblivion Stone $35.00 $18.63 -46.8% 7.1%
Darksteel $68.60 $54.37 -20.7% 4.3%
Aether Vial $5.60 $6.92 23.6% 10.7%
Fifth Dawn $106.00 $106.92 0.9% 2.5%
Serum Visions $2.80 $2.79 -0.4% 10.3%
Champions $75.50 $50.04 -33.7% -6.9%
Sensei's Divining Top $3.50 $1.45 -58.6% -61.2%
Betrayers $63.20 $44.32 -29.9% -1.4%
Goryo's Vengeance $28.86 $14.11 -51.1% -8.1%
Saviors $61.10 $62.69 2.6% 2.6%
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds $15.50 $9.02 -41.8% 1.7%
Ninth Edition $102.40 $74.54 -27.2% 5.6%
Phyrexian Arena $5.20 $4.81 -7.5% 1.7%
Ravnica $78.20 $66.74 -14.7% 11.4%
Dark Confidant $12.59 $13.01 3.3% 9.6%
Guildpact $41.60 $33.46 -19.6% 5.4%
Orzhov Pontiff $8.40 $5.17 -38.5% 4.0%
Dissension $74.50 $63.42 -14.9% 0.3%
Infernal Tutor $36.66 $33.38 -8.9% -4.2%
Coldsnap $74.70 $44.08 -41.0% -1.3%
Dark Depths $25.09 $13.46 -46.4% -11.9%
Time Spiral $44.90 $39.73 -11.5% -4.8%
Ancestral Vision $21.01 $19.17 -8.8% -0.4%
Planar Chaos $26.20 $20.47 -21.9% -2.2%
Damnation $14.32 $10.68 -25.4% 7.0%
Future Sight $203.60 $167.12 -17.9% N/A
Grove of the Burnwillows $39.02 $30.71 -21.3% N/A

Well, the big takeaway is that prices are slowly rising again on the sets a few out from their flashback. This is a good sign, not only for the long term value of flashbacks, but also for the overall value of the MTGO economy. The big divergent case is Sensei's Divining Top. However, its crash is very likely solely due to the announcement that it will be in Eternal Masters, even if a rare.

Another interesting takeaway: a lot of the sets' value lost is in some of the top cards. In a number of cases, other cards values have climbed since then. That seems pretty good evidence that a lot of the value of some of these older cards was in the lack of supply overall. Magic in general has grown considerably, and so has MTGO. That leaves a lot of players wanting cards opened at a fraction of the current rate. If this works to even out prices, hopefully it will be a boon overall to MTGO.


Don't forget to look at articles here on PureMTGO. Here is a search link for Tenth Edition articles. If you go to that link, you'll notice there are a number of old articles, which could be helpful or just interesting reads. It's possible this link missing some articles because it could be Tenth or 10th. The latter picks up any State of the Program that lands on the 10th though. Old articles on the draft format: 

  • Here's an article from SCG by Josh Silverstri
  • Here's an article from this site, by Pete (One Million Words)

Tenth has some of the usual core set issues: it is slower and filled with a lot of basic creatures and spells, so the games can drag. So, evasion, and particularly evasive bombs will be crucial!

As always, I appreciate any comments! 


xger21 on MTGO.