Hello everyone, and welcome to the final Financial Value of Theros article! This article will be divided into three parts – the spreadsheet with my current thoughts on card values (for use at your prerelease!), my thoughts about preorder prices in general, and then specific thoughts about Theros cards.
First, the spreadsheet!
|Card||Rarity||Current||1 Month (11/1)||Journey into Nix Release||Fall 2014 Release|
|Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver||M||$25.00||$15.00||$10.00||$10.00|
|Elspeth, Sun's Champion||M||$30.00||$25.00||$20.00||$25.00|
|Erebos, God of the Dead||M||$15.00||$10.00||$15.00||$15.00|
|Heliod, God of the Sun||M||$10.00||$10.00||$10.00||$10.00|
|Hythonia the Cruel||M||$4.00||$2.00||$2.00||$2.00|
|Master of Waves||M||$10.00||$6.00||$4.00||$5.00|
|Medomai the Ageless||M||$8.00||$4.00||$3.00||$4.00|
|Nylea, God of the Hunt||M||$15.00||$10.00||$10.00||$10.00|
|Polukranos, World Eater||M||$8.00||$5.00||$4.00||$4.00|
|Purphoros, God of the Forge||M||$30.00||$25.00||$20.00||$30.00|
|Thassa, God of the Sea||M||$25.00||$20.00||$15.00||$20.00|
|Xenagos, the Reveler||M||$40.00||$20.00||$15.00||$20.00|
|Agent of the Fates||R||$4.00||$2.00||$1.00||$1.00|
|Anax and Cymede||R||$2.00||$1.00||$1.00||$1.00|
|Anger of the Gods||R||$5.00||$5.00||$4.00||$3.00|
|Anthousa, Setessan Hero||R||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50|
|Artisan of Forms||R||$2.00||$0.75||$0.50||$0.50|
|Bident of Thassa||R||$1.50||$1.00||$1.00||$1.00|
|Bow of Nylea||R||$3.00||$2.00||$2.00||$2.00|
|Chained to the Rocks||R||$4.00||$3.00||$3.00||$3.00|
|Colossus of Akros||R||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50|
|Curse of the Swine||R||$3.00||$1.00||$1.00||$1.00|
|Daxos of Meletis||R||$4.00||$2.00||$1.00||$1.50|
|Gift of Immortality||R||$2.00||$1.50||$1.00||$2.00|
|Hammer of Purphoros||R||$3.00||$3.00||$3.00||$4.00|
|Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx||R||$10.00||$8.00||$6.00||$8.00|
|Prophet of Kruphix||R||$4.00||$2.00||$1.50||$2.00|
|Pyxis of Pandemonium||R||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50|
|Reaper of the Wilds||R||$3.00||$4.00||$5.00||$5.00|
|Soldier of the Pantheon||R||$4.00||$4.00||$4.00||$4.00|
|Spear of Heliod||R||$3.00||$2.00||$2.00||$2.00|
|Temple of Abandon||R||$6.00||$6.00||$5.00||$8.00|
|Temple of Deceit||R||$6.00||$6.00||$5.00||$8.00|
|Temple of Mystery||R||$6.00||$5.00||$4.00||$6.00|
|Temple of Silence||R||$6.00||$6.00||$5.00||$8.00|
|Temple of Triumph||R||$6.00||$8.00||$6.00||$10.00|
|Titan of Eternal Fire||R||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50|
|Triad of Fates||R||$1.00||$0.50||$0.50||$0.50|
|Tymaret, the Murder King||R||$2.00||$1.00||$0.50||$0.75|
|Whip of Erebos||R||$4.00||$2.50||$2.00||$3.00|
|Total Set Value Per Box||$183.87||$95.65||$117.52||$139.98|
|Formula = ((2R+M)/121) *36|
This table is a little over-full, so if you'd prefer to download it in spreadsheet form and manipulate it as you see fit, the link to do that is right here. (Right Click - Save Link As...)
Second: Thoughts about preorder prices!
I've seen countless people commenting, all across the internet, that cards devalue from preorder pricing almost across the board. I agree with this; I have very few cards in Theros retaining the full value by November 1st. What I don't see discussed is the reason this happens – so let me talk about this now!
The lowest supply of a set will be when it's initially released. The only opportunity to get singles will be from prerelease product and first-wave shipments of Theros. The first-wave shipments of Theros are highly allocated (contrary to popular belief, almost no retailers, ourselves included, can order as much as they want!). There is also a very small window in which to get individual singles ready for sale – so demand on the cards (which are tournament legal on the day of release) is at its across-the-board highest while supply of the cards are at their lowest.
Over time, a greater supply of cards hits the market – there is more time for pack opening, lots of drafts happen, and MTGO set redemptions start shipping in earnest. It's the increased supply of the product that is the single greatest factor to price deflation.
The second largest factor is realistic play value of the cards, aka “the hype machine”. A lot of the pricing on cards is based on potential value, not on play value. Once the cards see actual play, theoretical-play pricing falls by the wayside, and cards either are in demand or they are not.
I cannot understate though that the gulf between the first factor (supply) versus the second factor (demand) is hugely in favor of supply. I use Modern Masters as an example. This is a set that had only one wave of product and then immediately went out of print. It was not able to be redeemed via Magic Online. Because of this, the price of Modern Masters singles has not deflated to anywhere near the degree of other sets – and believe me, reprint sets (like Commander, M14, and Duel Decks) tend to deflate the value of the cards reprinted by a significant degree. Yes, Modern Masters has a higher MSRP but I'd wager there's just as much Modern Masters opened within the first week of release as there was M14. The difference is, people redeem M14 online, and M14 continues in print for the next 9 months.
Third, let's talk specific thoughts about Theros!
- I believe Damnation will be reprinted somewhere in this block. It thematically fits the idea of going to the Underworld. It was a glaring omission from Modern Masters. WOTC really has still not been able to get Mono-Black Control (or black-based control) as a winning archetype. Also, Indestructible is being pushed really hard in this block (versus regeneration), so Damnation would be less effective in this environment than in most others.
- Because of this, I'm bullish on any cards that would be bonus points in Mono-Black (or primarily Black-based) control. This particularly affects Erebos.
- I think that Underworld Cerberus is a great card that has no particular deck, use, or reason in the current (or soon-to-be-current) constructed metagame. It's efficient, but not at doing anything that is super-useful to the Standard player.
- Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver is probably the card on my list that I could see being most wrong about.
- I believe all five of the Gods will be viewed in the same way as the Eldrazi 2+ years down the road, and will become iconic types of cards rather than bulk Mythics. They have special appeal as Commander Generals.
- Supply on this set will be through the roof for the first six months after set release. It'll take until the next fall set for supply on singles to start drying up. We're just starting to see Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash singles starts to rise from their basement valuation.
- I'd rate Whip of Erebos higher except it's one of the Intro Pack Rares, so the supply on it will be higher than other Rares.
- Despite being both the Buy-A-Box promo and a Rare, Sylvan Caryatid looks to me to be the card in this set that will have the most stable value over the next year. It's one of the few cards I could recommend buying now that I don't think runs much risk of dropping value anytime soon.
- Elspeth, Sun's Champion is a playable Planeswalker, Ashiok will be either really good, or really bad, with no in-between. Xenagos, the Reveler is good, but probably not as good as Elspeth (Xenagos's first ability can be a complete swing-and-miss. Elspeth's first ability is always a solid double).
- Agent of the Fates is the big headscratcher for me from this preorder period. I have no clue why it's being valued so highly, except that maybe people misunderstand how heroic works. I've seen a lot of people think that if your opponent target Agent of Fates with a kill spell, then that opponent sacrifices a creature. It doesn't work that way – Heroic only triggers off your own spells. Agent of Fates seems like a worse choice than Lifebane Zombie right now.
- I believe that M14 will be the least-opened/drafted Core set respective to product opened of the Fall set in recent memory. I think all playable M14 cards (Chandra, Pyromaster in particular) will start shooting up in value over the next month. Now's the time to buy cards like Chandra, Kalonian Hydra, or anything else you think will see Standard play from M14.
- Thoughtseize will go down in value (Look at the Shocklands!), but Thoughtseize has Legacy implications that shocklands do not. Also, Shocklands saw an extra print run in Dragon's Maze. Because of this, I do not think Thoughtseize will drop as precariously low as Shocklands did – it will be more like Scavenging Ooze and Mutavault in retaining value from the original printing.
Hope everyone has fun at the prerelease, and I'll see you in January for the Financial Value of Born of the Gods!
- Ben Bleiweiss
- General Manager, StarCityGames.com
Previous Daily Financial Value Of Theros Articles
September 2, Monday: Artisan of Forms; Bident of Thassa; Chained to the Rocks; Curse of the Swine; Daxos of Meletis; Elspeth, Sun's Champion; Gift of Immortality; Hammer of Purphoros; Heliod, God of the Sun; Hundred-Handed One; Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx; Nylea, God of the Hunt; Polis Crusher; Rageblood Shaman; Reverent Hunter; Thassa, God of the Sea; Thoughtseize; Titan of Eternal Fire; Underworld Cerberus