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By: xger, Xger
Sep 21 2016 11:00am
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The war wears on, and as a result, we have the first pure lottery set. More than 80% of the rare value and about 40% of the set's value is in Inkmoth Nexus! Hope that you open one! Otherwise, Mirrodin Besieged is rather standard fare, so let's get going. 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
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. I have asked the MTGO blog, we'll see if it gets an answer.

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:

Mirrodin Besieged History and Background:

Mirrodin Besieged was Wizards take at showing a war through a card set. The set is split nearly perfectly between the two warring factions, and even the events for Mirrodin Besieged, both online and in paper, played up the war theme. The paper prerelease involved players picking one of the factions and getting 3 packs of were only of that faction (although foils could appear in opposing side boosters). The players then battled it and each store tracked to see which side won. Each faction had its own prerelease foil as well: Glissa, the Traitor and Hero of Bladehold.

On Magic Online, the tournaments were run with 'War Marks' (more on those later). The Mirran War Mark gave the player the Mirran pre-release equivalent from paper, same for Phyrexian. There was not a grander tracking for which side won, and the War Marks started a trend of using digital objects to enter preleases alongside tickets, which created its own problems. Originally, it was difficult to get rid or return purchased, but unused, objects. 

Mirrodin Besieged brought two new mechanics, while also continuing Scars' mechanics. The Mirran mechanic is Battle Cry, a straight forward and flavorful mechanic, however underwhelming. Battle Cry will likely come back again, being a 3 on the storm scale, with Rosewater saying "We'll see it again." Living Weapon is another flavorful mechanic, though more complex. It also created the only 0/0 token in Magic. Living Weapon is less likely to come back, at a 6 on the scale, but not impossible. Mirrodin Besieged continued the trend of Phyrexian mechanics being better than Mirran, overall.

signal pestmortarpod

In the MTGO world, we get the burden of the War Marks and more disappointment regarding leagues. The War Marks remained in player's collections for years, with no way to remove them, until Wizards finally cleared them all out. Leagues were discussed, though it was stated that Leagues were behind two other large projects. We also get the first real inkling that leagues needed a new version, as Wizards was developing them for the new infrastructure.

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices are from MTG Goldfish, from Tuesday the 20th.

Mirrodin Besieged:

Top 5 Mythics
Name Price
Thrun, the Last Troll $14.59
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas $13.31
Blightsteel Colossus $7.15
Sword of Feast and Famine $4.46
Consecrated Sphinx $3.87
Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Inkmoth Nexus $32.78
Creeping Corrosion $0.92
Phyrexian Crusader $0.80
Spine of Ish Sah $0.67
Darksteel Plate $0.55
Green Sun's Zenith $0.51
Blue Sun's Zenith $0.36
Phyrexian Revoker $0.21
Black Sun's Zenith $0.20
Contested War Zone $0.19
Top Uncommons
Worthwhile Commons

As I noted in the intro, Inkmoth Nexus accounts for nearly all of the rare value and a good chunk of the sets entire value. For the mythics, 3 of the 10 option are less than a buck, and 2 are between $2 and $3. So, if you hit a mythic, you more likely than not should be able to recover some value. Unfortunately, this is really the first set where the uncommons and commons are adding no real value at all, so it further pushed Inkmoth Nexus into the lottery feel. Signal Pest is the closest to being worth for an uncommon, and Fangren Marauder is the closest to a valuable common. Neither is heavily played, so the flashback will likely push the price back down.


These charts show the inflection points of the mythics and rares--here, between the 4th and 5th mythic and between the 1st and 2nd rare! That means that 4 mythics and just 1 rare in the set are priced higher than the averages ($4.92 and $1.08, respectively). The average rare value here is quite deceptive. If you look at the 34 rares other than Inkmoth Nexus, their average is about 14 ¢. The mythic average is more reliable 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.

Mirrodin Besieged's Rare Lottery Rate: 100%

Mirrodin Besieged's Mythic Lottery Rate: 73.3%

Mirrodin Besieged's Blended Lottery Rate: 97%

As I've stated, Mirrodin Besieged is the first pure lottery set. Note that the 100% rare lottery rare means that 70% of draft pods will not have an Inkmoth Nexus. That means 70% of draft pods will have a value 25% lower than the other thirty solely because of missing out on an Inkmoth Nexus. God speed, drafters!

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
Mirrodin Besieged has climbed about 10% and followed mostly normal fluctuations. $1.76 Normal Pack


$1.61 Without Commons $3.89
$1.14 Without Mythics $2.04

The pack values are similarly deceptive. If you remove Inkmoth Nexus, which adds around 90 ¢ to the pack value, and you discount mythics, the packs would be worth about a quarter. Again, god speed.

Flashback Trends:

  Before Price After Price Percent Change Change Since Last Article
Eighth Edition $101.20 $109.51 8.2% 4.7%
Blood Moon $35.00 $39.61 13.2% 9.5%
Mirrodin $94.90 $75.17 -20.8% 1.2%
Oblivion Stone $35.00 $12.73 -63.6% -12.3%
Darksteel $68.60 $59.53 -13.2% 5.3%
AEther Vial $5.60 $7.53 34.5% 3.9%
Fifth Dawn $106.00 $140.61 32.7% 2.5%
Serum Visions $2.80 $2.74 -2.1% -11.9%
Champions $75.50 $62.74 -16.9% 2.5%
Through the Breach $13.33 $20.35 52.7% 4.5%
Betrayers $63.20 $51.95 -17.8% 0.1%
Goryo's Vengeance $28.86 $18.56 -35.7% 3.2%
Saviors $61.10 $78.65 28.7% 0.4%
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds $15.50 $16.30 5.2% 0.9%
Ninth Edition $102.40 $98.93 -3.4% 5.9%
Phyrexian Arena $5.20 $3.84 -26.2% -1.3%
Ravnica $78.20 $81.48 4.2% 11.1%
Dark Confidant $12.59 $9.12 -27.6% -1.9%
Guildpact $41.60 $34.61 -16.8% -1.5%
Orzhov Pontiff $8.40 $1.67 -80.1% -14.4%
Dissension $74.50 $83.19 11.7% -2.3%
Infernal Tutor $36.66 $44.44 21.2% -4.8%
Coldsnap $74.70 $54.73 -26.7% 5.5%
Mishra's Bauble $6.15 $11.40 85.4% -2.2%
Time Spiral $44.90 $44.44 -1.0% -10.4%
Ancestral Vision $21.01 $19.86 -5.5% -19.0%
Planar Chaos $26.20 $23.85 -9.0% -6.1%
Damnation $14.32 $11.34 -20.8% -2.5%
Future Sight $203.60 $197.67 -2.9% -0.2%
Grove of the Burnwillows $39.02 $34.06 -12.7% -0.2%
Tenth Edition $104.40 $97.10 -7.0% 1.4%
Crucible of Worlds $25.77 $18.53 -28.1% -0.2%
Lorwyn $78.70 $54.49 -30.8% -2.1%
Thoughtseize $6.45 $5.87 -9.0% -1.5%
Morningtide $99.10 $89.63 -9.6% -1.5%
Scapeshift $30.16 $35.05 16.2% -2.8%
Shadowmoor $108.40 $78.54 -27.5% -0.1%
Fulminator Mage $12.62 $10.42 -17.4% -7.7%
Eventide $118.00 $104.59 -11.4% 0.4%
Twilight Mire $15.90 $23.62 48.6% 7.6%
Shards of Alara $46.60 $32.84 -29.5% 2.6%
Ajani Vengeant $14.47 $9.45 -34.7% 17.5%
Conflux $49.10 $50.37 2.6% -1.2%
Noble Hierarch $21.48 $29.42 37.0% -1.7%
Alara Reborn $30.10 $28.06 -6.8% -1.6%
Maelstrom Pulse $5.07 $4.60 -9.3% 6.2%
Magic 2010 $46.40 $38.85 -16.3% -1.7%
Time Warp $7.63 $7.28 -4.6% 1.0%
Zendikar $157.70 $117.98 -25.2% 0.9%
Scalding Tarn $31.78 $30.16 -5.1% -1.9%
Worldwake $100.30 $78.30 -21.9% 3.3%
Celestial Colonnade $26.97 $24.68 -8.5% 5.7%
Rise of the Eldrazi $50.00 $35.32 -29.4% -2.6%
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn $12.30 $8.44 -31.4% -9.0%
Magic 2011 $81.60 $68.62 -15.9% 3.7%
Primeval Titan $12.66 $12.40 -2.1% 9.1%
Scars of Mirrodin $94.18 $69.53 -26.2% N/A
Mox Opal $29.53 $26.05 -11.8% N/A

The outliers this week are Oblivion Stone, Orzhov Pontiff, and Ancestral Vision. My guess for the Pontiff would be people giving up on it recovering value, as there seems to be little reason for a greater than 10% drop. However, it could just be the Pontiff's low price making normal swings from an absolute sense seem large percentage wise. Ancestral Vision is likely just returning to a more historical and sustainable normal. Additionally, Ancestral Vision might be suffering because it hasn't been nearly as explosive as many hoped when unbanned. 

Serum Visions continues its wild swinging, again falling below the starting value. As I've stated, it might be time to abandon Serum Visions as a default investment card. It's becoming high risk for medium reward. Keep in mind that even if it increases 35%, you would still have to unload 20 to make $20. Finding buyers for 20 copies could be problematic, particular after the advent of dynamic pricing with bots.

As for increases, Ajani Vengeant gained quite a bit, while Blood Moon has continued its climb. Ajani Vengeant is more likely returning to a historical norm as it is a solid card with fringe to mainstream play in Modern, uses in Commander, and popularity with causal players. I suspect Blood Moon's rise is at least somewhat related to Chandra, Torch of Defiance and her potential in modern.

All in all, a fairly typical week for the prices. What is nice--the prices are, by and large, not being decimated, and overall the flashback effect seems good. At some point, I'll try to tease out what the effect actually means, but that will come much later.


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

  • Here's an article from David Ochoa at Channel Fireball
  • Here's an article from Adam Yurchick at TCG Player

Again, I think Green Red Dinosaurs is a strong and underrated archetype. Fangren Marauder is always awesome, but it fits exceedingly well in Dinos. Don't underestimate Koth's Courier and Glissa's Courier, both can be outstanding and neither is terrible when their abilities are blanked.

As always, I appreciate any comments! 


xger21 on MTGO.