A Thorough Look into Ultimate Masters - Part 3
Ultimate Masters is going to be the last event release celebrating 25 years of Magic in 2018, and possibly the final set in the Masters series. We're looking at all these reprints to see what they bring to the UMA experience and the secondary market; now it's time to end the exploration with green and colorless.
Ultimate Masters is with us now, both digitally and physically. In the previous installments, we directed our thorough look at first toward white and blue cards, then toward the red and black ones (all including multicolored). Now let's establish what's noteworthy in green and amidst the colorless bunch.
Cards: 54 (40 G, 4 B/G, 4 W/G, 3 U/G, 2 R/G, 1 U/B/G)
New Art: 12 (9 G, 1 G/W, 1 U/G, 1 R/G)
Box Toppers: 11 (5 G, 3 W/G, 2 B/G, 1 U/B/G)
It's official, green has won the UMA lottery, being the color with the largest number of featured cards and the most pieces of new artwork. Among the latter we find one of the creatures that came to define green in the Modern era, Tarmogoyf, here at its fourth reprint and still commanding a 35 € price for the original Future Sight version in paper, while those released with each of the three Modern Masters reprints, therefore free of the weird Future Sight frame, are currently all priced higher. On MTGO, the coveted hulk was at one point a mind-boggling phenomenon sold for even 100 tickets apiece; it's now possible to get our hands on any of its incarnations for about 10 or 11 tickets.
A few other historical green cards got the art renovation too. New clothes came both for dredge enabler Life from the Loam, which can't be had for less than 9 € in paper and 4 tix online, and for recursion queen Eternal Witness, who's however worth much less: little more than 1 € for a physical version, little less than 1 tix for a digital one. Other combo-oriented cards with new artwork include Golgari Grave-Troll, Devoted Druid, and Fecundity. The less reliable yet less conditional Natural Order variant Pattern of Rebirth is just 1,5 € in paper and half a ticket on MTGO, but the new Terese Nielsen art is particularly sweet.
Besides the Tarmo, the most awaited reprint in green has to be the supreme mana dork Noble Hierarch, which is sold at 30 € for her Conflux printing, albeit for some reason the price of an Ultimate Masters copy (which shows the same exact art) goes up to 35 €, the same amount one has to pay to own the Modern Masters 2015 version. On MTGO she's a bit past the 12-ticket threshold.
Aggro-combo finisher Vengevine is a 10 € card in paper, though that cost decreases to just 2 tix online. On the other hand, one of its enablers, Fauna Shaman, costs next to nothing online, yet still requires 4 € to grab a physical version of her Magic 2011 printing.
As for the most prominent multicolored cards involving green, Selesnya has three Box Toppers of some renown. Elusive finisher Sigarda, Host of Herons is still a 7 € card in paper, the same price as wide-range hoser Gaddock Teeg, who's come down a bit since we first mentioned him two weeks ago while discussing the white UMA cards. As an uncommon, Kitchen Finks was never worth too much neither in physical nor in digital form (1,5 € and half a tix, respectively), but it's certainly a great card to open in a booster during a draft.
Among the Golgari cards, the powerful Maelstrom Pulse is now down to 4 € in paper (it was twice as much last week) and 80 cents online, while Lord of Extinction managed to maintain its 4 € paper value, though it's increasingly close to bulk rare status on MTGO.
Similarly, lone three-colored card Leovold, Emissary of Trest retains a 13 € price tag in paper form, but lost 50% of its recent value online, where it's down to just two tickets.
Cards: 37 (19 Lands, 10 Artifacts, 7 Eldrazi, 1 Planeswalker)
New Art: 11 (5 Artifacts, 5 Lands, 1 Eldrazi)
Box Toppers: 17 (10 Lands, 3 Artifacts, 3 Eldrazi, 1 Planeswalker)
Colorless takes the lion's share of the Box Toppers, thanks mostly to the always crucial lands, which amount to exactly one quarter of the whole Toppers. However, what immediately catches the eye of a paper player is the presence of Limited Edition Alpha's Mana Vault, one of the game's original (and broken) mana rocks, which, granted, can be acquired for just 9 € if you're happy with a shamelessly white-bordered copy from 5th Edition, which is why the Ultimate Masters version is currently priced at 16 € (otherwise you'd need at least 640 € for a Beta); online, Vintage Masters made it extremely cheap, and it's not worth more than a single tix. That's where the new art comes from, by the way, now debuting in physical form as well, and looking more like something that could actually be called a "vault," as opposed to the bizarre Lemarchand's Box originally depicted by Mark Tedin.
But we were stressing how lands are a vital component of the colorless department in Ultimate Masters, and there are three of them worth 15 € a piece, so more than the cost of a UMA booster: fast mana provider Ancient Tomb, sacrifice outlet Phyrexian Tower, and Modern-era combo piece Dark Depths, whose more affordable version comes from the From the Vault: Lore special set. Online they're unsurprisingly all a lot cheaper, with the Tomb available for less than 4 tix via Vintage Masters, the Tower for no more than 1.5 tix, and the submerged lair of the fearsome Marit Lage for 5 tix in the original Coldsnap printing. All these have new art to sport, and the same goes for Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, whose Magic 15 incarnation was previously sold at 6,5 € in paper but for just 80 cents on MTGO. This same digital cost is shared by the ultimate Swamp with other colorless new art bearers like Phyrexian Altar (which in paper is worth 9 €) and Platinum Emperion (5 € for the physical version).
One card that didn't get any artistic reworking but it's likely the one that people wish to find in their boosters more than any other is clearly Karn Liberated. The robotic planeswalker demands 43 € for the New Phyrexia original, and 17 tickets online for the Modern Masters 2015 version.
Tron-related is also one of Modern's best ways of blowing up things, All Is Dust, which is worth 6 € or, once again, 80 cents online; for decks with access to more than one type of mana, there's also Engineered Explosives, another booster-making card at 22 € or 12-13 tix.
There's quite a number of Eldrazi cards in Ultimate Masters, also featuring Ulamog's Crusher with new art and Eldrazi Conscription, which elsewhere in the set meets its combo partner Sovereigns of Lost Alara – being both rares, it's pretty unlikely to end up with both in the same draft pod, but a drafter can dream.
The highest point of the Eldrazi delegation, which exclusively draws from Rise of the Eldrazi, is the original trio of annihilator Titans: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, which is going to be worth around 17 €, or 4 tix on MTGO; Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, 10 € and 1 tix; Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, 15 € and still 1 tix.
Back on land… territory, old glory Karakas is sold in paper at 24 € through Eternal Masters, while online there's a Theme Deck version with the Legends art that can be bought for less than one ticket. Crucial enabler of tribal strategies Cavern of Souls earns a whopping 35 € to its seller, 12,5 tix if they're operating on MTGO. Both rank high on the wish list of any UMA booster opener.
Last but not least, the entire cycle of manlands from Worldwake is back. Control's best friend Celestial Colonnade is the most sought-after, being worth 16 € in paper, 6,5 tix in digital form. The others are all of little value on MTGO, but on the paper side of things, Creeping Tar Pit still sells for 5,5 € and Raging Ravine for 4 €. Not exactly giving you back the money you invested in the booster, but better than finding the rare slot occupied by Flagstones of Trokair, which is not going to be worth more than a couple euros.
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