The purpose of this article is not to give you sealed deck strategy or preview the set. What we’ll be doing is using Mtggen.net to generate 6 random Battlebond packs. What this will do is give us an idea of the value we hope to receive. With cards at inflated market prices due to not actually being released yet, we can examine just how much hype affects card prices. Through this exercise, we can learn lessons about how to handle non-Standard set prereleases from a financial perspective. What cards should we look to sell or trade and which should we keep?
Without further ado, here are the packs:
Champion of Arashin
Peace Strider (FOIL)
Pack #1 already has a hit with the Green/White dual land, Bountiful Promenade, worth a good $6 at this writing. We’re very happy with this. Plus, other value in Unflinching Courage. The foil isn’t much.
Return to the Earth
Prakhata Club Security
Bathe in Dragonfire
I like this pack even more than number 1. A decent rare and two strong uncommons. War’s Toll is $2, Chain Lightning $1.5 (though TCGPlayer market price is close to $3 before preview events), and Peregrine Drake is $0.50 - $1 depending on who you ask.
Not crazy like pack 1 and 2. But Genesis Chamber is a great card. Sentinel Tower is a fun chaotic card. Decent rare, even if it’s $1. There’s at least $2 in trade here.
Hand of Silumgar
Two great blue spells here. Spell Snare is $2.50 preorder on Card Kingdom, but close to $4 TCGPlayer market price. Mystic Confluence is around $8 either way.
Night Market Guard’
Take Up Arms
The Battlebond printing will destroy Mind’s Eye’s price from $10 to at least $5. Card Kingdom already has copies listed for preorder at $4.99. This is a great EDH card, though, and easy to move. Battle Mastery is useful, too
Fill with Fright
Liturgy of Blood (Foil)
True-Name Nemesis is the big card here but he’s not worth as much as he was. Still, $18 before prerelease is good. Elvish Visionary is a common people always want and there’s other good cards for your sealed deck here.
If you opened these packs for real, you’d be really excited. A prerelease event usually costs between $25-30. You’re talking $40+ in real value here. If these are the beginning of a new Magic collection, this is a great way to start! Also, you can build a pretty sweet deck with all of these cards. You may win a few matches, meaning you get more packs to crack!
What Battlebond Cards Should I Look to Sell Or Trade?
The big cards here are Bountiful Promenade, Mind’s Eye, Mystic Confluence, and True-Name Nemesis. Chain Lightning and Spell Snare are secondary. War’s Toll isn’t bad, either. If it were me, I’d try to get cash for True-Name Nemesis right away. I’m also looking to trade Mind’s Eye, Chain Lightning and Spell Snare right away. Mind’s Eye has a $10 market price, Chai Lightning $3 and Spell Snare $4. I’m looking to use that potentially $9 premium right away to my advantage.
Where does this premium come from? The market will take time to adjust to the new prices, so while you may not get $10 for Mind’s Eye or $3-4 for the Lightning and Snare, you’ll likely get decent Standard cards from Ixalan on for them. You’re looking to turn these into cards that are rotation-proof. That is, unless you actually need them right now.
The other thing to keep in mind is that people go to these preview events to catch people off-guard and get trades in their favor. So, know your prices before you go and always check your phone or with the store if you have to.
What Battlebond Cards From These Packs Should I Hold?
I’d be keeping the Bountiful Promenade and Mystic Confluence. Bountiful Promenade will likely be played in every Green/White commander deck in existence, because most Commander games have at least two opponents. Mystic Confluence is likewise awesome in Commander. It has three modes and you choose three, but you can choose one of them more than once. That’s a ton of value for 5 mana. Its value may dip a bit, but this was a $15 card at one time and the Commander 2015 version still holds at $10. People aren’t really selling them because this is a card that can fit in a lot of decks.
I’m also holding War’s Toll unless someone is willing to hand me $2 cash or a playset of a playable low-end Standard card. This card was rare enough before that players newly discovering it may want to give it a try, but it’s not a slam dunk to hold. So if I get $2 value I’m letting it go.
If we get even $15 cash for the Nemesis, we’re already in profit. It’s just not seeing play anymore. If we gt trade for $18 even better. Whether you want to trade Spell Snare, Chain Lightning or Mind’s Eye is up to you. They are all playable and people will always want them, but after the set is opened enough, you’ll lose value quickly. That’s the lesson here, trade or sell what’s still up on the market before the set actually releases. Even if you only get $5 for Mind’s Eye, $1.50 for Chain Lightning or $2 for Spell Snare, you’re still up.
Of course, you can trade these cards if you want. The idea is to hold them unless you get the right price for them. Whenever you have cards that are showing a steady market, especially with a reprint like Mystic Confluence, you want to hold fast on value. Likewise, if vendors are already pricing cards below market price, that’s a warning sign to get out quickly. You can always buy them or reacquire them again later as supply increases.
What About The Other Stuff?
We’re holding two great cards with solid value and a bunch of $0.50 - $1 binder filler. Whatever you decide to keep from the cards on the bubble only adds to the profit.
Sentinel Tower is probably a $1 card at best but it’s a fun card. It should see Commander play, and being as symmetrical as it is could cause a lot of ruckus. But it’s a fun card and a spellslinger type deck can really take advantage of it. It’s a great card to hold.
Genesis chamber has been part of great combos in the past. While its value was mostly based on scarcity, it’s still sought after in multiples. I’d take $1 cash for it but otherwise I’m holding.
Peregrine Drake still sees tons of play in Commander but getting banned in pauper and multiple reprints have creamed its price. It’s probably $0.50 now. But it’s a nice card to just have and someone who needs it badly may trade you something else useful for it later.
Unflinching Courage is just a good card. The value is minimal but people want it. Same with Battle Mastery. These are the sorts of cards that can make trades happen.
What Have We Learned?
Battlebond is oozing with value. It doesn’t take much more than looking at the card list to know that. But half that value is going to disappear from a lot of the reprints, especially Chain Lightning and Spell Snare and the Commander only cards like Mind’s Eye that aren’t obvious staples like Bountiful Promenade and Mystic Confluence.
Most preview packs aren’t going to look like this. We made out well with a lot of playable cards that we can use in the event and that are worth money. Nemesis, Spell Snare, and Mystic Confluence are going in the deck, of course. The rest depends on what your teammate has.
The real lessons we’ve learned apply to any prerelease or preview event. What you do is trade at the top of the market for those big cards that have nowhere to go but down and any new cards with big hype that aren’t obvious staples. Then, hold the cards clearly holding ground and keep the obvious. Then, the “draft chaff,” or commons and uncommons - even some rares - you’re not going to use, donate to newer players. Or, you can throw them in a pile to hopefully sell for $3-5 per thousand later, but what fun is that?
Here’s to a great Battlebond preview event for everyone!