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By: xger, Xger
Jul 13 2016 11:00am
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Alara Reborn is an all gold set, evoking a similar gimmick used in Legions (all creatures). This makes for a somewhat strange draft environment, as a larger than normal percent of the cards will be unusable, or would really strain you mana. The real dilemma is the very low value of Alara Reborn. Only Planar Chaos was worth less as a set. And that rounds out a block with really poor value. Regardless, let's dive in. 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
Shards of Alara, Conflux, Alara Reborn 7/13-7/20
Magic 2010 7/20-7/27
Break for Eldritch Moon 7/27-8/16
Triple Zendikar 8/17-8/23
Zendikar, Zendikar, Worldwake 8/24-8/30
Triple Rise of the Eldrazi 8/31-9/6

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:

Alara Reborn History and Background:

Alara Reborn's only real claim to fame is being all multicolored. It wraps up Alara block by showing what happens when a plane filled with so much mana reunites. Logistically, it caused some issues, such as a very different arrangement for the collector's number. This made guessing at card names much harder than normal, even if Wizards had some semblance of reasoning to its ordering. Alara Reborn has other unique characteristics--it has no lands, no colorless artifacts, and no planeswalker (the only set with mythics to not have any planeswalkers).

Mechanically, Alara Reborn introduces a 'mechanic' of fixing hybrid symbols with normal symbols, on cards such as Arsenal Thresher. Of course, Alara Reborn also introduced Cascade, a popular mechanic with a relatively high chance of returning. However, Cascade also brought the Jund menace to full strength, because it is hard to beat a turn three Bloodbraid Elf which cascades into a Blightning. Otherwise, Alara Reborn continued the mechanics of Alara block.

As far as cycles go, Alara Reborn only has two of real significance. There are the Borderposts, such as Veinfire Borderpost, which are used in an obscure Modern combo deck based around Restore Balance and Greater Gargadon. Otherwise, there is a casual friendly cycle of dual landcycling creatures, such as Sanctum Plowbeast and Igneous Pouncer.

Now to Naya. Naya is a land where nature ran wild, producing great hulking beasts and races that worshiped and revered the beasts.  Nature went far enough that there is the birthplace of Progenitus, which woke when Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker forcibly reunited the shards. Naya is filled with familar nature races, such as elves, leonin, and minotaurs. Once blue magic came into Naya, vedalken pilgrams created a blasphemous race of coatl snakes. Ajani Goldmane comes from Naya.

In MTGO, the only thing that happened was the Magic Online Live series.

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices are from MTG Goldfish, from Tuesday evening July 12th.

Alara Reborn:

Top Mythics
Name Price
Lord of Extinction $3.46
Sen Triplets $3.05
Maelstrom Nexus $2.89
Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund $1.61
Uril, the Miststalker $1.46
Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Maelstrom Pulse $5.07
Wargate $0.85
Meddling Mage $0.72
Lich Lord of Unx $0.60
Dauntless Escort $0.51
Time Sieve $0.48
Sovereigns of Lost Alara $0.35
Nemesis of Reason $0.30
Mayael's Aria $0.27
Spellbreaker Behemoth $0.27
Top Uncommons
Thopter Foundry $0.15
Bloodbraid Elf $0.10
Zealous Persecution $0.10
Worthwhile Commons
Terminate $0.77
Qasali Pridemage $0.12
Violent Outburst $0.06

Really, the only good news is that there is a valuable common in Terminate, which has seen some minor reprints. That means that its value should last a bit longer, and have a better shot of recovering as it sees enough play to keep value after some reprints. Other than that, there really is not good news, there's not a single card that will pay for a draft singlehandedly. Play only if you want to play the format, not for any hope of lucky value.

 

These charts show the inflection points of the mythics and rares--here, between the 7th and 8th mythic and between the 8th and 9th rare. That means that 7 mythics and 8 rares in the set are priced higher than the averages ($1.22 and $0.28, respectively). The inflection point for the mythics is right down the middle, meaning this is the first time we've have mythics or rares be evenly split. The rares, however, are pretty bad this time.

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). The same is applied for mythics. The blended rate below is 7/8 rare rate and 1/8 Mythic. I will probably continue to tinker with the blended rate.

Conflux's Rare Lottery Rate: 89%

Conflux's Mythic Lottery Rate: 33%

Conflux's Blended Lottery Rate: 82%

The mythic rate is again the lowest rate yet. However, in the same manner that Conflux's rate was low, this is mainly because none of the mythics have any real value to speak of.

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
Alara Reborn has climbed about 20%, but that is only about $5.00, for the whole set. $0.90 Normal Pack

$3.13

$0.52 Without Commons $2.29
$0.72 Without Mythics $2.18

The full block value here is really low. There just are not any real money cards in the whole block. Noble Hierarch is the only card in the whole block worth more than a draft at this point. That is abysmal, so do not draft this set unless you like Alara block drafts. There isn't even any hope in foils, as the Alara Block foil packs depressed those values as well.

Flashback Trends:

  Before Price After Price Percent Change Change Since Last Article
Eighth Edition $101.20 $109.99 8.7% -3.7%
Blood Moon $35.00 $33.82 -3.4% -8.1%
Mirrodin $94.90 $71.39 -24.8% -2.8%
Oblivion Stone $35.00 $16.98 -51.5% 1.6%
Darksteel $68.60 $58.43 -14.8% -4.0%
AEther Vial $5.60 $5.84 4.3% -10.4%
Fifth Dawn $106.00 $122.47 15.5% 0.7%
Serum Visions $2.80 $2.75 -1.8% 1.1%
Champions $75.50 $53.10 -29.7% -6.0%
Sensei's Divining Top $3.50 $1.80 -48.6% -13.0%
Betrayers $63.20 $49.09 -22.3% -4.5%
Goryo's Vengeance $28.86 $14.40 -50.1% -9.9%
Saviors $61.10 $72.65 18.9% 0.9%
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds $15.50 $12.75 -17.7% 8.0%
Ninth Edition $102.40 $80.82 -21.1% -4.8%
Phyrexian Arena $5.20 $4.48 -13.8% -1.5%
Ravnica $78.20 $73.68 -5.8% 2.1%
Dark Confidant $12.59 $12.11 -3.8% -3.7%
Guildpact $41.60 $34.14 -17.9% 1.3%
Orzhov Pontiff $8.40 $3.31 -60.6% -9.8%
Dissension $74.50 $83.03 11.4% -3.4%
Infernal Tutor $36.66 $46.78 27.6% -4.7%
Coldsnap $74.70 $49.62 -33.6% -17.2%
Dark Depths $25.09 $15.34 -38.9% -23.1%
Time Spiral $44.90 $61.93 37.9% -22.5%
Ancestral Vision $21.01 $38.93 85.3% -29.8%
Planar Chaos $26.20 $25.89 -1.2% -0.9%
Damnation $14.32 $9.41 -34.3% -7.9%
Future Sight $203.60 $182.20 -10.5% -0.4%
Grove of the Burnwillows $39.02 $33.26 -14.8% -1.2%
Tenth Edition $104.40 $88.25 -15.5% 3.4%
Crucible of Worlds $25.77 $21.48 -16.6% -0.9%
Lorwyn $78.70 $63.85 -18.9% 7.4%
Thoughtseize $6.45 $5.98 -7.3% -0.7%
Morningtide $99.10 $81.56 -17.7% -2.6%
Scapeshift $30.16 $24.76 -17.9% -7.5%
Shadowmoor $108.40 $73.20 -32.5% 5.6%
Fulminator Mage $12.62 $13.25 5.0% 2.7%
Eventide $118.00 $94.45 -20.0% -5.2%
Twilight Mire $15.90 $14.57 -8.4% 2.7%
Shards of Alara $46.60 $30.13 -35.3% -8.6%
Ajani Vengeant $14.47 $9.41 -35.0% 3.4%
Conflux $49.10 $45.64 -7.0% N/A
Noble Hierarch $21.48 $21.71 1.1% N/A

Probably the most shocking development is that Noble Hierarch climbed, presumably after copies hit the market. My assumption here is that people were waiting for this time to pick up copies, and there just wasn't enough to counteract the influx of demand. The value small drop of Conflux supports this as well--there just was not many of the drafts firing, at least compared to normal.

While I don't have them listed above, I thought it was interesting that Counterbalance has fallen about 30% to $9.84 and Mishra's Bauble is closing on it at $9.24, a rise of about 50%. Those might be the most expensive uncommons in the game. And it doesn't seem that Coldsnap flashback helped enough to change that tide.

Whatever weirdness that pushed Ancestral Vision sky high also seems to have subsided, somewhat. Much more decline than usual, but I would not be surprised if that was due to the upcoming set.

Wrap-up

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

  • Here's an article from Gerard Fabiano at SCG.
  • Here's a primer from oraymw at reddit.

Full Alara block really just requires getting solid fixing. Without that, it'll be hard to have enough cards to build a strong deck.

As always, I appreciate any comments! 

xger

xger21 on MTGO.