This is going to come as a surprise to many of you, but there are cards in Standard besides Baneslayer Angel and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
When mythic rares were introduced, they were met with mixed feelings. For many, they were seen as a desperate cash grab by Wizards to make people buy more packs. For others, they seemed long overdue, and why not? Every pack you opened, barring sorting errors, had a rare in it. Sometimes it was a money rare, which always felt really good to open. Well Wizards finally decided, “What if we could give people that feeling in every 8.07 packs they open?” Seriously, it’s time to be honest with yourself: don’t you feel pretty damn good when you open a mythic rare in a draft, even if it’s just a Nirkana Revenant or Felidar Sovereign? That is much of the rationale behind making mythic rares: opening them makes people happy, and a company wants customers to be happy with their product.
When Shards of Alara came out, the most expensive mythic was Sarkhan Vol at $30-35. Sure, it was expensive, but it also plummeted quickly. Elspeth is expensive now, but EVERYONE had the chance to buy her at $8 when the set debuted. Really, none of the mythic rares in Alara block are outrageously priced. Many of them are cool and flashy, but none of them are an automatic four-of in any deck running a particular color the way Path to Exile is.
Where it all went wrong was with M10 and Baneslayer Angel. Out of the gates, she was $30-35. The price started slipping, and life was good. Sure it was still like $15-20, but that’s not really unreasonable for a mythic rare angel that was potentially constructed playable. Then some asshole had to go and win Worlds with a deck running four Baneslayers, and she shot up faster than Bob Dole on Viagra. Suddenly, there was a $50 card in Standard, and according to the interwebs, the sky was falling. Then Jace came along and went up to $65-70 with Gideon Jura chasing behind at $40-45. With this many cards in Standard worth $40 or more, players made the only logical assumption: the world was ending, and mythic rares were to blame.
Yeah, too bad that assumption is moronic because this isn’t unprecedented. Tarmogoyf was upwards of $50 while it was in Standard, and that wasn’t a mythic rare. Hell, that was downright COMMON at 1 in every 40 packs, compared to Baneslayer at 1 in every 121 packs. When Faeries started dominating, Bitterblossom briefly reached $35-40 and Mutavault hit $45-50. Those prices were very short-lived and occurred at the height of Standard season, but there were still multiple cards with potentially unwieldy monetary costs. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a good thing, but what I am saying is that mythic rares are not what caused this. Is it more common now? Absolutely not. Time Spiral had one prohibitively expensive card in Tarmogoyf, and Lorwyn had two with Bitterblossom and Mutavault. Similarly, Shards of Alara has Elspeth and Zendikar has Jace and Gideon. The price point of the mythics is admittedly higher, but in the time between Lorwyn and Zendikar, Magic experienced an unprecedented rate of growth, as evident by tournament attendance and product shortages. Higher demand, relatively stagnant supply.
So how about you quit whining about how terrible everything is and look at the actual good that’s coming out of mythics? Aside from that warm, fuzzy feeling of opening Mythics that I described earlier, there are still very positive effects on the singles market resulting from the mythic rarity. Magic players have a limited supply of money to spend on each set, which makes singles from every set have roughly the same total value. What this means is that since Jace is eating up $70 of the value that can be found in Worldwake, the prices on other good cards have to be lower. You can easily find any of the five manlands for $3-5. Do you have any idea how much those things would be worth if Jace didn’t exist? As highly sought after dual lands, $10-12 is a very realistic, if not conservative, estimate. That would put them at roughly the same price as the less popular Ravnica shock lands or the more popular Shadowmoor filter lands. Despite being chase rares, these new manlands carry a price tag similar to that of chase uncommons from the pre-mythic era like Treetop Village ($2-3 when it was in Standard) and Eternal Witness ($5-7 when it was in Standard). You can thank mythic rares for that price drop.
And finally, the most important thing that could be said about these expensive Mythic rares: if you don’t want to pay $50 for a Baneslayer, don’t fucking buy it! Seriously, do you NEED four Baneslayer Angels to win a tournament? With an eternity of Jund dominating Standard, it seems that you don’t need Baneslayer to win. In fact, according to Jund (until VERY recently), you didn’t need ANY mythic rares to win. And oh, did Jund win. Until recently, hearing that six of the top eight decks at a high level event were Jund wasn’t even considered news. You will never need expensive mythic rares to win at FNM or at a PTQ.
Oh, and one more thing… /Columbo>
Chances are, cards aren’t as expensive as you think. If you read this at thought that $70 for Jace and $3 for Lavaclaw Reaches are really low prices, you’re looking in the wrong place. There is one, and only one, source online that I trust as an accurate measure of what cards are worth: completed auction listings on eBay. Anyone with a website can charge whatever they want. Just because Star City says that Jace is worth $80 doesn’t mean that it actually is; it also doesn’t mean they’re selling any at that price. By looking at completed auctions only, you can see what buyers are actually willing to pay for cards, not what sellers think they can sucker out of you.
In conclusion, mythic rares have done absolutely nothing to hurt Magic. Perhaps the prohibitively expensive rares are slightly more prohibitively expensive, but the chase rares are now extraordinarily affordable. And remember: there will ALWAYS be inexpensive tier one alternatives to the Baneslayers of the world. Don’t like the current inexpensive tier one deck? Then quit netdecking and design your own damn deck, douchebag.
© 2010 by Dr. Jeebus