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By: xger, Xger
Mar 17 2016 11:00am
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Ravnica! One of the best sets, a great story and awesome cards! Among the favorite draft formats of many people. Let's dive in!

If you want to jump past the introduction, click here. To jump to the fiscal analysis, click here. I'm working on a new way to display card images, but it is considerably more challenging than I expected. Any assistance would be appreciated. One issue is there are limitations, so some of the suggestions last week were unworkable due to the limitations of the article writer program for the website.

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 Ravnica 3/16-3/23
Ravnica-Ravnica-Guildpact 3/23-3/30
Ravnica-Guildpact-Dissension 3/30-4/6
Triple Coldsnap 4/6-4/13
Break for Shadows over Innistrad 4/13-5/4

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:

Ravnica History and Background:

Ravnica, the City of Guilds, was the result of the success of Invasion block. More particularly, the success of the fully embraced multi-colored theme of Invasion block. However, the new block needed to be different than Invasion--instead of a focus on playing as many colors as possible, the focus was on playing two colors. This block is also one of the first times Wizards balanced the ally and enemy pairs, as there are all ten color pairs represented in the block. So, we went from five color bonanzas to two color synergy.

coalition victory




Lead to:

szadek, lord of secrets

Ravnica, as the large set in the block, had 4 of the ten guilds: Boros, Dimir, Golgari, and Selesnya.


Ravnica also introduced a popular and pseudo-evergreen mechanic of hybrid mana. Though limited to small numbers in the set, hybrid is a fun mechanic, giving gems such as Gleancrawler, Master Warcraft, and Privileged Position. Hybrid makes drafting interesting by allowing 'multi-color' cards to go in more decks. Hybrid also made limited much more difficult for deck building and drafting because of the possible decks that the cards can go into. Mark Rosewater stated several times that the reason there is so little hybrid is because even the most experienced players had difficulty handling the 30 or so piles possible when determining a deck.

shadow of doubtboros recruitgolgari guildmage

Ravnica also had an invitational card: Dark Confidant. Often referred to as 'Bob' after the invitational winner--Bob Maher--Dark Confidant is a multi-format all-star. Ravnica also have many other notable cards, including Glimpse the Unthinkable, Shadow of Doubt, Lightning Helix, and Watchwolf. Of course, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the lands. Both the 'karoos' and the shocklands started in Ravnica.

Watery GraveBoros Garrisondoubling seasonselesnya signetsunforgercharstinkweed impfaith's fetters

Ravnica was so packed there is still plenty to mention, including many cycles not mentioned. As for MTGO, the release of old sets started, with Mirage in late 2005, a few months after Ravnica. Nothing else major for MTGO.

Fiscal Value of the Flashback

Prices for the individual cards are from MTGOTraders sell price on Monday evening the 7th. Set trends are from MTG goldfish. 


Top 10 Rares
Name Price
Dark Confidant $12.59
Golgari Grave-Troll $11.03
Glimpse the Unthinkable $8.35
Life from the Loam $6.45
Chord of Calling $4.40
Sacred Foundry $4.05
Cloudstone Curio $3.53
Temple Garden $3.45
Watery Grave $3.42
Doubling Season $3.08
Top Uncommons
Name Price
Remand $2.14
Darkblast $0.23
Lightning Helix $0.14
Suppression Field $0.07
Golgari Thug $0.05
Worthwhile Commons
Dimir Signet $0.05
Dimir Aqueduct $0.05

This time, there are a good number of rares worth something, which looks good. There is really only one valuable uncommon and no valuable commons, so that doesn't make for the best value, if you consider those values to start with.


This chart shows the inflection point of the rares--here, between the 15th and 16th rares. That means that 15 rares in the set are priced higher than the average rare ($0.84), which is the better than most we've seen so far. Compared to Ninth, the rares are much less weighted at the top this time, which should be helpful. 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).

Ravnica's Lottery Rate: 84%

If people are interested in the math, I can add it in the comment or in future articles. So, again, the top 8 rares account for 70+% of the rare value, This time at least the value is spread more evenly--we are not overly reliant on Blood Moon-style lottery value.

As for the predicted value, Ravnica is in an odd posture. My first thought would be that it would follow a path similar to Mirrodin, a popular fall set. But, Ravnica was probably opened considerably more than Mirrodin, it has cards used in a lot wider variety of decks, and we recently had Return to Ravnica. I don't know follow what having Return to Ravnica only a few years ago means. Likely, it could get a number of newer players to try a flashback when they normally do not. It might also mean players are more burnt out on Ravnica. Given the cards, I would venture that the prices won't drop too dramatically, and will likely rebound to historically normal levels.

Set Trend Pack Value Average Draft Value
The set took a little dive upon the announcement, but has bounced up about 7% over its prior value. $1.14 With Commons $3.42
$0.97 Without Commons $2.90
N/A Without lottery rares N/A

Since the top rares are relatively flat, particularly compared to previous sets, I have not included any as lottery. The reason the commons contain so much value is because there are a lot of 3 to 5 cent commons with the signets and karoos, among others.

Flashback Trends:

  Before Price After Price Percent Change Change Since Last Article
8ed $101.20 $118.54 17.1% -8.3%
Blood Moon $35.00 $25.81 -26.3% -13.8%
Mirrodin $94.90 $67.45 -28.9% 1.2%
Oblivion Stone $35.00 $16.90 -51.7% 1.1%
Glimmervoid $10.20 $5.97 -41.5% -47.1%
Darksteel $68.60 $60.99 -11.1% -4.3%
Arcbound Ravager $9.10 $7.70 -15.4% -15.9%
Aether Vial $5.60 $4.32 -22.9% -18.6%
Fifth Dawn $106.00 $89.44 -15.6% 2.4%
Auriok Champion $27.10 $22.69 -16.3% 1.4%
Serum Visions $2.80 $2.31 -17.5% -11.2%
Champions $75.50 $55.14 -27.0% 5.9%
Sensei's Divining Top $3.50 $3.53 0.9% 30.7%
Betrayers $63.20 $48.98 -22.5% 1.9%
Goryo's Vengeance $28.86 $19.00 -34.2% -9.4%
Saviors $61.10 $59.65 -2.4% 3.2%
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds $15.50 $11.71 -24.5% -11.2%
Ninth Edition $102.4 $75.89 -25.9% N/A
Adarkar Wastes $12.96 $5.33 -58.9% N/A

The most interesting changes this week are the fall of affinity and the relatively small drop for Ninth. The affinity changes, and really all of the Modern playable card changes, points out that the flashbacks probably aren't going to have the largest effects on prices. Tournament results and seasons will probably drive those cards, which are typically the value cards in a set. Ninth didn't drop that much, which is a promising sign if you're optimistic, or irrelevant otherwise. The issue with Ninth is that it is a core set, so flashbacks were lower. It also isn't that dissimilar from Eighth (which also explains why Eighth dipped this week). I know there is novelty in going through each format, but the core sets just aren't going to be a good highlight of the past. Interesting that Adarkar Wastes crashed as hard as it did--seems that card's value was more about limited supply than anything else.


Don't forget to look at articles here on PureMTGO. I would put a search link for this week's Ravnica articles, but it would catch lots of Return to Ravnica which is not helpful here. Old articles on the draft format: 

In general, if you can draft a one guild deck, it'll probably be better than the 3-color decks. However, the 3-color ones are easier to actually draft.

As always, I appreciate any comments! Hopefully next week I will have some new card pop-up tech to show off.


xger21 on MTGO.