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By: xger, Xger
Sep 14 2016 11:00am
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This week we see what has been occurring on Mirrodin in our absence. The set brings back poison after over a decade of absence. The return of poison was fairly controversial, and some players still adamantly dislike it. To an extent, infect and poison wrap Modern. Financially, the set isn't bad, but not great either. 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 Scars of Mirrodin 9/14-9/20
Mirrodin Besieged, Scars of Mirrodin, Scars of Mirrodin 9/21-9/27
New Phyrexia, Mirrodin Besieged, Scars of Mirrodin 9/28-10/4
Break for Kaladesh 10/5-10/25
Triple Innistrad 10/26-11/1
Dark Ascension, Innistrad, Innistrad 11/2-11/8
Triple Magic 2012 11/9-11/15
Triple Avacyn Restored 11/16-11/22

Wizards has updated the schedule, so these are confirmed dates (they've even included dates beyond what I have here). The schedule probably looks a bit off this time. That is pulled from the Wizards website, so I'm assuming that it is an error that will be corrected. If it is not an error, I am unaware of any reasoning given for odd placement of Magic 2012.

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:

Scars of Mirrodin History and Background:

Scars of Mirrodin begins at the early stages of an invasive war. Back when Karn, Silver Golem travelled to Mirrodin (then called Argentum) and created Memnarch, Memnarch was just a lowly golem. When Karn left, he granted, in a round-about way, sentience to Memnarch. Shortly before Karn left the plane, Memnarch noticed a stain and cleaned it up with his fingers. Little did he know, Memnarch gave the teeniest amount of Phyrexian Oil a foothold. And so, it began.

So, what does the Phyrexian Oil mean? Phyrexia is attempting to come roaring back and is trying to take over the plane. This is the war: Mirrans versus Phyrexians. Sometimes, the Phyrexians were obvious, such as Contagious Nim and Blight Mamba, while other times, the Phyrexians were more crafty Tel-Jilad Fallen (which came from a once revered organization). We see Phyrexians anywhere there is infect or -1/-1 counters. Nothing lasts long on Mirrodin anymore.

Mechanically, Scars of Mirrodin brought us infect, proliferate, and metalcraft, and brought back imprint from the original Mirrodin. Infect and proliferate are the Phyrexian mechanics, while metalcraft and imprint were the Mirran mechanics. Originally, Wizards tried to bring back Affinity, working rather hard trying to do so. However, in the end, Wizards was not confident that it would be able to successfully manage it, and the risk was simply too high. Too much chance that affinity would burn players again. Proliferate is the only mechanic below 5 on the storm scale, the other three are 5, 6, 7 (Imprint, Infect, and Metalcraft).

The dry spell in MTGO news during this period continues. The players wait for news of the new version and leagues, though they get nothing.

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices are from MTG Goldfish, from Tuesday the 13th.

Scars of Mirrodin:

Top 5 Mythics
Name Price
Mox Opal $29.53
Wurmcoil Engine $7.87
Koth of the Hammer $7.45
Venser, the Sojourner $6.41
Sword of Body and Mind $3.28
Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Copperline Gorge $5.32
Blackcleave Cliffs $4.57
Darkslick Shores $2.90
Razorverge Thicket $2.33
Seachrome Coast $2.16
Ezuri, Renegade Leader $1.20
Leonin Arbiter $1.17
Etched Champion $0.87
Genesis Wave $0.37
Tempered Steel $0.27
Top Uncommons
Worthwhile Commons
Grasp of Darkness $0.06

Mox Opal is the most valuable mythic we've seen and only Scalding Tarn was worth more since we've been in mythic territory. At least with the top rares and mythics, they are generally strong cards tournament wise, meaning they are more likely to hold or regain their value. With the upcoming enemy fastlands, there may be renewed interest in the allied versions for Modern. Sadly, the uncommon and common options are essentially non-existent, because Grasp of Darkness is not likely to stay above the 5¢ threshold for meaningful commons.


These charts show the inflection points of the mythics and rares--here, between the 4th and 5th mythic and between the 8th and 9th rare. That means that 4 mythics and 8 rares in the set are priced higher than the averages ($4.58 and $0.42, respectively). The average values are carried by a few cards here, namely Mox Opal and the fastlands. The overall mythic value is fairly decent, however. 

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.

Scars of Mirrodin's Rare Lottery Rate: 89%

Scars of Mirrodin's Mythic Lottery Rate: 60%

Scars of Mirrodin's Blended Lottery Rate: 85%

The rates are not that good this time. The Mythic rate is likely the worst we've seen at this point.

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
Scars' trend has been mostly normal, and it has fallen about 10% from its December price. $1.17 Normal Pack


$0.98 Without Commons $2.95
$0.57 Without Mythics $1.72

The pack value is fairly standard, although the Mythics make up more than half the pack value, which is a bit unusual compared to other Mythic sets.

Flashback Trends:

  Before Price After Price Percent Change Change Since Last Article
Eighth Edition $101.20 $104.57 3.3% 3.3%
Blood Moon $35.00 $36.19 3.4% 4.3%
Mirrodin $94.90 $74.27 -21.7% -0.4%
Oblivion Stone $35.00 $14.51 -58.5% -6.7%
Darksteel $68.60 $56.51 -17.6% 1.7%
AEther Vial $5.60 $7.25 29.5% 12.2%
Fifth Dawn $106.00 $137.18 29.4% 7.6%
Serum Visions $2.80 $3.11 11.1% -4.3%
Champions $75.50 $61.18 -19.0% -6.8%
Through the Breach $13.33 $19.47 46.1% -18.5%
Betrayers $63.20 $51.92 -17.8% 0.8%
Goryo's Vengeance $28.86 $17.99 -37.7% 5.6%
Saviors $61.10 $78.34 28.2% 3.7%
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds $15.50 $16.15 4.2% 0.6%
Ninth Edition $102.40 $93.38 -8.8% 4.3%
Phyrexian Arena $5.20 $3.89 -25.2% 2.1%
Ravnica $78.20 $73.31 -6.3% 6.3%
Dark Confidant $12.59 $9.30 -26.1% -13.6%
Guildpact $41.60 $35.14 -15.5% -2.6%
Orzhov Pontiff $8.40 $1.95 -76.8% -1.0%
Dissension $74.50 $85.11 14.2% 5.6%
Infernal Tutor $36.66 $46.69 27.4% 7.1%
Coldsnap $74.70 $51.86 -30.6% -1.6%
Mishra's Bauble $6.15 $11.66 89.6% -10.3%
Time Spiral $44.90 $49.62 10.5% -4.4%
Ancestral Vision $21.01 $24.53 16.8% -14.1%
Planar Chaos $26.20 $25.39 -3.1% 7.3%
Damnation $14.32 $11.63 -18.8% 8.5%
Future Sight $203.60 $198.10 -2.7% 4.4%
Grove of the Burnwillows $39.02 $34.13 -12.5% -5.4%
Tenth Edition $104.40 $95.76 -8.3% 2.5%
Crucible of Worlds $25.77 $18.56 -28.0% 1.4%
Lorwyn $78.70 $55.66 -29.3% 5.2%
Thoughtseize $6.45 $5.96 -7.6% 3.7%
Morningtide $99.10 $90.99 -8.2% 13.0%
Scapeshift $30.16 $36.05 19.5% 32.3%
Shadowmoor $108.40 $78.64 -27.5% 5.2%
Fulminator Mage $12.62 $11.29 -10.5% 0.2%
Eventide $118.00 $104.19 -11.7% 4.4%
Twilight Mire $15.90 $21.96 38.1% 12.3%
Shards of Alara $46.60 $32.00 -31.3% 1.0%
Ajani Vengeant $14.47 $8.04 -44.4% -5.4%
Conflux $49.10 $50.96 3.8% 9.1%
Noble Hierarch $21.48 $29.93 39.3% 9.3%
Alara Reborn $30.10 $28.53 -5.2% 4.2%
Maelstrom Pulse $5.07 $4.33 -14.6% 9.1%
Magic 2010 $46.40 $39.54 -14.8% 4.1%
Time Warp $7.63 $7.21 -5.5% 16.3%
Zendikar $157.70 $116.87 -25.9% -9.5%
Scalding Tarn $31.78 $30.73 -3.3% -9.6%
Worldwake $100.30 $75.78 -24.4% -4.2%
Celestial Colonnade $26.97 $23.35 -13.4% -2.9%
Rise of the Eldrazi $50.00 $36.25 -27.5% -1.5%
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn $12.30 $9.27 -24.6% -10.4%
Magic 2011 $81.60 $66.19 -18.9% N/A
Primeval Titan $12.66 $11.37 -10.2% N/A

Instead of my normal commentary here, I'm going to discuss the impact of the Masterpiece Series and Kaladesh Inventions. So, what do these cards mean, financially:

First, I need to note that how these enter MTGO is currently unknown. In paper, they will be like the Zendikar Expeditions and come slightly more frequently than foil Mythics. All we have for MTGO is a cryptic 'we'll tell you more later.' 

For MTGO, the question of impact will largely revolve around how many enter the system. If it's a low number, the impact will only be on cards whose price is driven by scarcity instead of demand. So, a future Rishadan Port would potentially lower the value a lot more than a future Liliana of the Veil. I believe that most of the time, the 'bling' value of the Masterpiece Series will be non-existent online, where foils and a number of treatments simply don't show.

With this coming every block, the really important question is what will this mean for the wider value. Some investment and speculation value will likely be lost because any non-reserved card is fair game. I would be much more hesitant to speculate higher demand or higher value cards. Once we find out how the new AEther Vial gets distributed it may not be worth as much. Similarly, the new Lotus Petal could throw a considerable amount of volatility into the price. 

Of course, there is the possibility that these become bling worthy even on MTGO. If that is the case, I doubt it'll affect the normal versions too much. Right now, I think the art is outstanding, so that might just be enough for invested players. As usual, only time will tell.


Don't forget to look at articles here on PureMTGO. Here is a search link for Scars of Mirrodin articles. Per usual, this includes several old articles that might be helpful anyway. Old articles on the draft format: 

  • Here's an article from Josh Silverestri at Channel Fireball
  • Here's an article from Conrad Kolos at TCG Player

I enjoyed Scars of Mirrodin quite a bit. I think the format had good depth. An example is the red green dinosaurs deck--a lot of people passed on it to go for other options, but cards like Alpha Tyrranax and Flameborn Hellion can present considerable pressure. Also, Bellowing Tanglewurm wins games, quickly.

As always, I appreciate any comments! 


xger21 on MTGO.