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By: xger, Xger
Jun 02 2016 11:00am
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Time to live in Magic's fairy tale! Lorwyn is an idyllic world with a different feel than most other Magic sets. Fiscally, the set is the most balanced we've seen so far. Hopefully, the flashbacks will be worthwhile. 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
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 very brief drafting advice and provide links to other articles from those better experienced. 

With that, let's get started:

Lorwyn History and Background:

Well, the nearly necessary starting point for Lorwyn is the introduction of Planeswalker. Originally intended for release with Future Sight, Planeswalkers required much more time to tune and present correctly. Wizards knew it had to get them right, not only for them to be popular but also, for them to be the protagonists of the Magic universe. Some trends from the walkers started early and have stayed around--Jace is nearly always the best, Garruk is sometimes better, Lilliana rocks in a dedicated black deck, Ajani exists, and Chandra is overcosted and underwhelming.

ajani goldmanejace belerenliliana vess

chandra nalaargarruk wildspeaker

Lorwyn is the first set in a mini-block, in a year with two mini-blocks. Interestingly, we are now living in that set-up on a regular basis. The reason it is particualrly interesting is that Lorwyn was not a popular plane of block--but the structure prevailed. Players didn't really like the fairy tale theme and thought that Lorwyn was simply too light hearted. Lorwyn is all about the idyllic setting and the pristine world view of nature in fairy tale.

hoofprints of the stagcairn wandererfaultgrinderfertile ground

Lorwyn brought Champion, Clash, Evoke, and Hideaway. The only one that has really lasted is evoke, largely due to its combo centric nature. Evoke is also the most to return as none of the other three are likely to return. Champion wasn't really liked or really disliked. Clash wasn't liked by the players, probably because of its high variance. Mark Rosewater stated that he thought hideaway was unnecessary and he wouldn't print it again given the chance.

wren's run vanquisheradder-staff boggartshriekmawwindbrisk heights

Perhaps one of the nicest things about Lorwyn is the large number of fun and casual cards. There are unique cards like Nameless Inversion and Doran, the Siege Tower. It also includes the common cycle of vivid lands that have been reprinted way too many times. It also left an old casual favorite on the sideline: Mistform Ultimus.Lorwyn keyworded the Ultimus ability--Changeling means the creature is every creature type--but for various reasons, Ol' Misty was not updated, so now it's the strange outlier.

doran, the siege towervivid groveblades of velis velmistform ultimus

In the world of MTGO, about all that happened was Wizards started a countdown to V3 between Lorwyn and Morningtide. Of course, it was a 38 day counter that went on for more than fifty days longer than originally planned.

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices for the individual cards are from MTGOTraders sell price on Tuesday the 31st. Set trends are from MTG goldfish. 


Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Wanderwine Hub $8.43
Thoughtseize $6.45
Garruk Wildspeaker $5.96
Thorn of Amethyst $5.67
Primal Command $5.36
Doran, the Siege Tower $5.24
Cryptic Command $5.04
Gaddock Teeg $5.04
Windbrisk Heights $4.67
Gilt-Leaf Palace $2.67
Top Uncommons
Burrenton Forge-Tender $0.36
Silvergill Adept $0.07
Merrow Reejerey $0.06
Worthwhile Commons
Mulldrifter $0.53
Spellstutter Sprite $0.06

Lowryn is even better than Tenth in terms of spreading the value out. While there is no rare worth more than the draft, there is a decent number worth more than the typical pack. However, the commons and uncommons are not particularly heartening this time around. At least Mulldrifter is very likely to keep its value long term. It has been reprinted many times and still holds value. Overall, this should be a relatively decent flashback draft.


This chart shows the inflection point of the rares--here, between the 18th and 19th rares. That means that 18 rares in the set are priced higher than the average rare ($0.94), 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).

Lorwyn's Lottery Rate: 78%

Lorwyn, unsurprisingly after seeing the top value lists, has the best lottery rate yet. The vast majority of pods will have at least one card worth more than a typical pack (about 95% of pods) and many will have multiple. Hopefully, that makes train wreck drafts more bearable on average.

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
Nothing new here: Lorwyn climbed until the Pro Tour and Modern changes and dropped afterward. $1.21 With Commons $3.63
$1.00 Without Commons $2.99
N/A Without lottery rares N/A

The patterns of Modern sets seem pretty standard--a slow climb until something shakes faith in the economic long term value, such as removing modern as a Pro Tour format.

Flashback Trends:

  Before Price After Price Percent Change Change Since Last Article
Eighth Edition $101.20 $102.11 0.9% 2.3%
Blood Moon $35.00 $27.22 -22.2% 6.7%
Mirrodin $94.90 $73.30 -22.8% 4.0%
Oblivion Stone $35.00 $16.70 -52.3% -10.4%
Darksteel $68.60 $58.31 -15.0% 7.2%
Aether Vial $5.60 $6.34 13.2% -8.4%
Fifth Dawn $106.00 $103.68 -2.2% -3.0%
Serum Visions $2.80 $2.52 -10.0% -9.7%
Champions $75.50 $53.72 -28.8% 7.4%
Sensei's Divining Top $3.50 $2.53 -27.7% 74.5%
Betrayers $63.20 $48.48 -23.3% 9.4%
Goryo's Vengeance $28.86 $17.15 -40.6% 21.5%
Saviors $61.10 $63.49 3.9% 1.3%
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds $15.50 $9.49 -38.8% 5.2%
Ninth Edition $102.40 $76.61 -25.2% 2.8%
Phyrexian Arena $5.20 $5.03 -3.3% 4.6%
Ravnica $78.20 $66.35 -15.2% -0.6%
Dark Confidant $12.59 $12.46 -1.0% -4.2%
Guildpact $41.60 $31.02 -25.4% -7.3%
Orzhov Pontiff $8.40 $4.56 -45.7% -11.8%
Dissension $74.50 $76.00 2.0% 19.8%
Infernal Tutor $36.66 $45.03 22.8% 34.9%
Coldsnap $74.70 $55.73 -25.4% 26.4%
Dark Depths $25.09 $18.98 -24.4% 41.0%
Time Spiral $44.90 $44.21 -1.5% 11.3%
Ancestral Vision $21.01 $22.74 8.2% 18.6%
Planar Chaos $26.20 $22.73 -13.2% 11.0%
Damnation $14.32 $11.11 -22.4% 4.0%
Future Sight $203.60 $175.30 -13.9% 4.9%
Grove of the Burnwillows $39.02 $36.62 -6.2% 19.2%
Tenth Edition $104.40 $83.75 -19.8% N/A
Crucible of Worlds $25.77 $19.96 -22.5% N/A

Tenth fell much less than other sets, particuarly Ninth. Ninth is currently lower percentage value than Tenth fell in its initial week. It would be interesting to see the difference in how many Ninth and Tenth flashbacks fired. The good news is that even the recent flashback cards are generally recovering decently from week to week.


Don't forget to look at articles here on PureMTGO. Here is a search link for Lorwyn articles. There are now a healthy number of PureMTGO articles from years back. It seems to sort by date, so the new ones should be at the top, but feel free to peruse some old articles. Old articles on the draft format: 

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

Lorwyn has a lot of on board tricks and cards to pay attention to, so a vigilant eye will go a long. This also means Momir Basic veterans should have an easier time, since that format is all about on-board tricks and strange interactions.

As always, I appreciate any comments! 


xger21 on MTGO.