- Dr. Hans Joachim Höh
It has been a while since the last funset was released. Will Unstable be a hit or miss?
Sets, sets, sets! We have large sets, core sets, reprint sets, a bunch of other products and of course Un-sets! Unstable is the third installment of crazy silver bordered shenanigans – ideal for your less serious spell casting days.
We are still in the preorder phase for both Iconic Masters and From the Vault: Transform, but that doesn't stop Wizards from already promoting the next product in line – the product output has become completely unreal at the end of this year. My guess is that the other people at Wizards could not contain Mark Rosewater any longer. He was getting so annoying that they had to allow him to make a (f)un-set once again. They came up with a devious plan though: By releasing it at the same time as a million other products they could make sure the unset would become a financial fail again, shutting Mark up for another decade.
While this sounded like a reasonable plan to trick and contain the mad MaRo, it might actually not work out that way. First of all the upcoming holiday season might convince a lot of players to do some Unstable drafts. They played enough boring Ixalan Limited by now and it is a lot cheaper than using Iconic Masters booster packs. Of course, most of the silver cards will be worth close to nothing in the end (as you can see by looking at Unglued and Unhinged card prices), but each pack will contain one extremely beautiful full art basic land (unless the basic land is replaced by Steamflogger Boss in some rare cases). Those basic lands currently pay for most of the pack, with the Island actually selling for more than a pack!
So if you were looking to upgrade the look of your basic lands in your constructed decks anyway, you will be happy. Otherwise you can sell those lands and some tokens or foils to get some crazy fun hours for free with strange silver bordered cards. Of course, with the currently falling box prices for Iconic Masters you might draft that set for free as well by selling a few money cards, but you will definitely face a much higher variance. Even at 6 to 7 Euro per pack you will sometimes look at a bunch of valuable cards and sometimes at three crappy rares, which you can only hope to sell to a Commander player before the value of those cards has completely bottomed. If you like these kinds of gambles, and seven of your friends do so as well, Iconic Masters will be your winter draft format. If you are more of a Pai Gow Poker player, you should rather draft Unstable. Pai Gow Poker is the most “forgiving” form of Poker. You won't win much, and you won't lose much. It is the perfect game to play in Las Vegas if you don't have a clue what you are doing. You will get to enjoy some drinks on the house with your friends, see some upswings and some downswings, but in the end your stack of chips should look similar in size to the one you sat down with. Unstable will deliver exactly that experience: a good time at a very low cost.
Tomorrow I will do a price analysis for Iconic Masters to prepare you for Friday's release. Let's dive into some other single card movement for today:
Nissa has become a 2-of in most Energy sideboards. She doesn't only show up in Temur and 4-color variants though. She is also showing up in the sideboards of the much more aggressive Sultai Energy decks based on Winding Constrictor. Sideboard cards have a tendency to stay cheaper than main deck cards, but when everybody agrees that the card is a must have for two of the absolute top decks, the price could keep rising for a while. Pick up your copies now if you haven't done so, yet. It is still cheap for a mythic rare planeswalker seeing play.
Cards from the Arabian Nights set have been gaining value in the last years, as more and more investors tried to move their Magical investment into the wonderland of the reserved list. The very first sets ever printed also have that mysterious allure of childhood memories and dreams for those old enough to remember the smell of a freshly opened Arabian Nights Booster pack. Therefore, players of the Old School format have helped increasing prices from the first sets as well – even on cards which never were reasonable inclusions in the best decks back in the day. Repentant Blacksmith is one of those. What looks like a crappy common at first glance was printed at U2 - making it just as rare as a Juzám Djinn (there was no rare slot in those 8 card packs, just commons and uncommons varying in the amount how often they showed up on those print sheets). Protection from Red isn't making it worth including a Squire in a deck that could cast Time Walk or Balance for the same amount of mana. If you kept any original Blacksmiths sitting in a binder somewhere, you could soon be rewarded with an unexpected amount of money.