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By: xger, Xger
Mar 02 2016 12:00pm
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We've made it through two blocks now, so it will be interesting to compare the results of the blocks. First though, let's take a look at Saviors of Kamigawa and see what it adds to the flashback as well as what cards to grab and resell. 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.

Kamigawa block articles: Champions and Betrayers.

Here is the upcoming schedule:

Format Dates
Champions-Betrayers-Saviors of Kamigawa 3/2-3/9 
Triple Ninth Edition 3/9-3/16
Triple Ravnica 3/16-3/23
Ravnica-Ravnica-Guildpact 3/23-3/30
Ravnica-Guildpact-Dissension 3/30-4/6

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:

Saviors of Kamigawa History and Background:

Saviors continued the trends of the Kamigawa block, with a niche story and mediocre constructed cards. However, Saviors was the first set to try and flourish in an affinity-free environment. The sweeping ban came in March and Saviors followed in May. Despite that, Saviors still had the traditionally third and small set doldrums. Saviors did shake up Kamigawa block constructed by allow aggro decks to finally play a role--previously it was a control environment.

Hand of crueltyhand of honorraving oni-slave

Another interesting aspect of Saviors was the collection of sideboard cards and attempts at answers to affinity. Pithing Needle has long served its narrow purpose very well--even getting a creature version in Phyrexian Revoker. Next, Kataki, War's Wage aimed to help rein in affinity, even if it was so late to the party originally. It still can be useful in sideboards today, but more so in commander or against decks that play a lot of non-creature artifacts. 

pithing needlekataki, war's wage

One thing that Saviors is not short on, however, is combo potential. Ideas Unbound, Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, Maga, Traitor to Mortals, Glitterfang, Reki, the History of Kamigawa, and all of the epic spells. 

Enduring IdealMaga, Traitor to MortalsReki, the History of KamigawaUndying Flames

MTGO chugged along, with assurances of wizards that by the end of the year, V3 would come out. Nothing particularly major happened.

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices for the individual cards are from MTGOTraders sell price on Tuesday afternoon the 1st. The set prices are from a little later in the day. Set trends are from MTG goldfish. 

Saviors of Kamigawa:

Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds $15.49
Kataki, War's Wage $8.37
Enduring Ideal $8.30
Mikokoro, Center of the Sea $7.73
Erayo, Soratami Ascendant $4.38
Pithing Needle $3.07
Kami of the Crescent Moon $2.62
Miren, the Moaning Well $1.43
Sakashima the Impostor $1.20
Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant $0.95
Top Uncommons
Name Price
Footsteps of the Goryo $0.04
Worthwhile Commons
Ideas Unbound $0.60

This time, the rare values are flatter, which is helpful. On the other hand, there is not much value in the uncommons or commons, each with only one card over a nickel in value.


This chart shows the inflection point of the rares--here, between the 10th and 11th rares. That means that 10 rares in the set are priced higher than the average rare ($1.06), which is somewhat flat, especially after Betrayers. 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).

Saviors of Kamigawa's Lottery Rate: 85%

If people are interested in the math, I can add it in the comment or in future articles. So the top 5 rares account for 70+% of the rare value, Depending on your perceptions, that is either flat or not, but it seems better than other sets so far.

As for the predicted value, Saviors of Kamigawa should follow a path similar to Fifth Dawn. However, this time around, the sets might be more comparable than previous small sets. Fifth Dawn wasn't popular in limited so its conceivable that the number of packs opened of the two sets is similar.

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
It has increased 40% since announcement. However, that is almost solely (Goryo's Vengence:bok) $1.44 With Commons $3.58
$1.13 Without Commons $2.66
N/A Without lottery rares N/A

Saviors was flatter, so there is no lottery rares here, at least not enough to greatly impact the numbers. 

Flashback Trends:

  Before Price After Price Percent Change Change Since Last Article
8ed $101.20 $127.07 25.6% 7.4%
Blood Moon $35.00 $30.98 -11.5% -2.4%
Mirrodin $94.90 $71.65 -24.5% 0.7%
Oblivion Stone $35.00 $17.10 -51.1% -2.1%
Glimmervoid $10.20 $7.96 -22.0% -2.5%
Darksteel $68.60 $65.20 -5.0% 2.7%
Arcbound Ravager $9.10 $10.94 20.2% 0.3%
Aether Vial $5.60 $5.26 -6.1% 11.4%
Fifth Dawn $106.00 $88.93 -16.1% -1.8%
Auriok Champion $27.10 $23.89 -11.8% -0.9%
Serum Visions $2.80 $2.64 -5.7% 6.5%
Champions of Kamigawa $75.50 $49.93 -33.9% 0.7%
Sensei's Divining Top $3.50 $2.98 -14.6% 0.0%
Betrayers of Kamigawa $63.20 $48.94 -22.6% N/A
Goryo's Vengeance $28.86 $21.13 -26.8% N/A

The trends are interesting. Once again, Ensnaring Bridge is making Eighth continue to climb. The cards are recovering, if a bit slowly. What is most interesting to see, and most promising from a long term economic health perspective, is the Uncommons and Common on the list are returning to a more normal value after their drafts are over. Since uncommons and commons are prone to more fluctuation due to the larger entering supply, they make interesting bellwether cards. So, let's hope Serum Visions and Aether Vial continue to normalize.


Don't forget to look at articles here on PureMTGO. Here's a search link for "Saviors" in the title--hopefully it will bring up the articles, if any! Old articles on the draft format: A TCGPlayer article and a SCG article.

There is the no draft strategy this week for a few reasons. First, I was considerably low on time again. Second, this is the third set, so its impact is relatively low. Finally, there are other articles that are more about the strategy that are probably better than mine, as this is the point where I did not draft much for a long stretch. As such, it seems more useful to remind people to look for the other articles on this site and dig up some old articles. I can always do bullet points from the old articles if readers want! Let me know what you think about this change!

As always, I appreciate any comments! Sorry again for the lateness and shortness, next week should return to normal.


xger21 on MTGO.


It is nice to keep track of by jenneth2016 at Fri, 03/04/2016 - 11:32
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It is nice to keep track of it. As everybody else wants to take it seriously. - Bobby Price

Serum Visions by GainsBanding at Sat, 03/05/2016 - 17:24
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I'm surprised Serum Visions barely changed price at all. For many years I've made a few bucks off of money commons and flashback drafts. Cards like Snap and Cloud of Faeries used to go down to .50 during flashback week and then back up to like $2 over time. Serum didn't change price at all. It was $2ish before its flashback week and it's still the same, if not lower. I bought a ton at $2.21-$2.65 right at the end of the flashbacks and currently the best buy price I see is $2.07. Is it because of the change to play points with flashback drafts? Is it coincidentally not getting played as much in the last few months? Did people hoard them all as soon as they came into the system? Is the economics of Modern different and most of my experience with this is with Pauper & Legacy cards?

Serum Visions is in a strange by xger at Tue, 03/08/2016 - 10:23
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Serum Visions is in a strange spot. Around the time the flashback drafts were announced, it was a $5 card. It may just be a popular speculation target.

Then there is the current modern landscape. Serum Visions was most prominently played in UR, which is just bad in modern because of Eldrazi. I think those factors contribute to its historically strange price. I might discuss it a bit this next week.