Category: Articles

#CheckThisOut: Magic Finance 102


A solid overview of some major factors that drive Magic card prices.


Prices for individual Magic cards rise and fall over time, creating opportunities for profit – or loss. Here we’ll look at the important drivers of price. Demand for cards can be split into three broad groups: competitive demand from players in tournaments and other organised events; casual demand from players who like to have […]

via Magic finance 102: price drivers — Scent of a Gamer

There seem to be some unwarranted spoilers going around that I (and everyone else) assume to be fake, so I’m going to mention the most (or least) believable of them; Jace, Advisor to the Firemind. You can find the blog here.

Here’s the text they’re supplying for the spoiler:

Jace, Adviser to the Firemind {U}{R}
Planeswalker – Jace (Mythic Rare)
+2: Put a card from your hand on top of your library.
0: Look at target player’s hand.
-7: You get an emblem with “Whenever you draw a card, Jace, Adviser to the Firemind deals 2 damage to target creature or player.”
Loyalty: 1

Taking a hint from Tibalt, he’s an extremely under-powered 2-drop planeswalker that’s completely unbalanced. Starting at only 1 loyalty leaves him open to a un-transformed delver or an exalted bird of paradise. His +2 is rather bad, putting a card from your hand to the top of your library. Perhaps if a UR Delver deck develops without Ponder in format, it may see some play. Also, his 0 gives you quite a bit of information; their entire hand. However, the fact that his ultimate is a -7 assumes that he’s going to live long enough for you to get an emblem that apparently needs him on the board to use.

Due to the wording of the -7, Jace, Adviser to the Firemind would have to be present on the board in order to inflict damage to an opponent when a card is drawn. The rest of the time, the emblem would sit there uselessly.

Hopefully, this is not our real jace that’s being released, as that would simply be depressing after Jace Beleren and Jace the Mind Sculptor. Flavorfully, it would make sense for this Jace to be Red and Blue, as the Izzet League seems to be a place where Jace would want to be, especially if Niv-Mizzet truly is a planeswalker. However, only time will tell if this is a real spoiler, but I’m certainly hoping it isn’t.


Game and Mechanics – Fateful Hour

Fateful Hour is a mechanic introduced in Dark Ascension that exists only on 7 cards, 5 white and 2 green.


Fateful Hour triggers when you have 5 or less life. The list of cards with Fateful Hour is here. Personally, I find it to be an interesting mechanic, but it’s not very consistent, and most of the cards with Fateful Hour aren’t very impressive. The only ones that see play are Thraben Doomsayer and Gather the Townsfolk.

First Strike was the first game mechanic that I actually encountered when I started playing, aside from Flying. Very simply, the reminder text reads:

 “This creature deals combat damage before creatures without first strike.”

Simple enough, right? a 6/1 first strike would kill a 1/1 without dying because he does his damage first.

As for some background, First Strike has been around since the beginning of Magic with Alpha, and is focused mainly in White and Red, though it’s in all colors.

So, yeah. Easy mechanic, right?

And then I ran into this card.



Double strike. And that is?

Well, a creature with Double Strike deals combat damage both during first strike and regular combat damage. For example, a 2/2 with double strike would deal 2 damage to a 4/4, and then deal an additional 2 damage, killing it in the second combat step.

Double Strike began in Legions and has seen some existence in every block since then.

Notable cards with first strike:

  • Akroma, Angel of Wrath
  • Baneslayer Angel
  • Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
  • Porcelain Legionnaire
  • Phyrexian Crusader

Notable cards with double strike:

  • Mirran Crusader
  • Drogskol Reaver
  • Warren Instigator

I was on r/mtg, and I stumbled upon this; a player admitting that he liked the banding mechanic.

Banding is considered a dark point in Magic’s history, mainly because of how horribly complicated the ability is.

Look at this:

From the Comprehensive Rules

  • 702.20. Banding
    • 702.20a Banding is a static ability that modifies the rules for combat.
    • 702.20b “Bands with other” is a special form of banding. If an effect causes a permanent to lose banding, the permanent loses all “bands with other” abilities as well.
    • 702.20c As a player declares attackers, he or she may declare that one or more attacking creatures with banding and up to one attacking creature without banding (even if it has “bands with other”) are all in a “band.” He or she may also declare that one or more attacking [quality] creatures with “bands with other [quality]” and any number of other attacking [quality] creatures are all in a band. A player may declare as many attacking bands as he or she wants, but each creature may be a member of only one of them. (Defending players can’t declare bands but may use banding in a different way; see rule 702.20j.)
    • 702.20d All creatures in an attacking band must attack the same player or planeswalker.
    • 702.20e Once an attacking band has been announced, it lasts for the rest of combat, even if something later removes banding or “bands with other” from one or more of the creatures in the band.
    • 702.20f An attacking creature that’s removed from combat is also removed from the band it was in.
    • 702.20g Banding doesn’t cause attacking creatures to share abilities, nor does it remove any abilities. The attacking creatures in a band are separate permanents.
    • 702.20h If an attacking creature becomes blocked by a creature, each other creature in the same band as the attacking creature becomes blocked by that same blocking creature.
      • Example
        A player attacks with a band consisting of a creature with flying and a creature with swampwalk. The defending player, who controls a Swamp, can block the flying creature if able. If he or she does, then the creature with swampwalk will also become blocked by the blocking creature(s).
    • 702.20i If one member of a band would become blocked due to an effect, the entire band becomes blocked.
    • 702.20j During the combat damage step, if an attacking creature is being blocked by a creature with banding, or by both a [quality] creature with “bands with other [quality]” and another [quality] creature, the defending player (rather than the active player) chooses how the attacking creature’s damage is assigned. That player can divide that creature’s combat damage as he or she chooses among any number of creatures blocking it. This is an exception to the procedure described in rule 510.1c.
    • 702.20k During the combat damage step, if a blocking creature is blocking a creature with banding, or both a [quality] creature with “bands with other [quality]” and another [quality] creature, the active player (rather than the defending player) chooses how the blocking creature’s damage is assigned. That player can divide that creature’s combat damage as he or she chooses among any number of creatures it’s blocking. This is an exception to the procedure described in rule 510.1d.
    • 702.20m Multiple instances of banding on the same creature are redundant. Multiple instances of bands with other of the same kind on the same creature are redundant.

That’s the comprehensive rules of Banding. No other ability (to my knowledge, correct me if I’m wrong) has nearly as many rulings on it.

But the actual “reminder text” for banding is this:

“Any creatures with banding, and up to one without, can attack in a band. Bands are blocked as a group. If any creatures with banding you control are blocking or being blocked by a creature, you divide that creature’s combat damage, not its controller, among any of the creatures it’s being blocked by or is blocking.”

So, essentially, combat damage is distributed backwards; when you attack with, say, 15 1/1 creatures all in a band, you get to distribute the blocking damage. A good player would have their 14/14 deal one damage to 14 of 15 of those creatures. But a player with banding would cause that 14 damage to be taken by a single 1/1. The same thing occurs when blocking; if your opponent attacks with a 6/6 but you block with two 3/3 creatures, usually the 6/6 would kill both 3/3 creatures; but instead, one of those 3/3 creatures would take all 6 damage for his comrade, but they would still kill that 6/6.

This ability has been admittedly removed from ever seeing play again, for essentially what this one redditor said:

“I am not a closet banding fan; I’m am open!! I emailed MaRo to ask why they got rid of it? (I stopped playing while it was still around; came back in M10). He gave me an explanation: basically it was too complicated and clunky.”

For some actual background on the mechanic, Banding began in Alpha, the first set in MTG, and was last (legally) printed in Weatherlight. If you want to understand Wizards of the Coast’s stance on Banding, take a look at Old Fogey from Unhinged. There’s a reason he has “banding with others” along with his other retired abilities.

Game and Mechanics – Flash

Flash is a mechanic that allows you to play a card any time you would be able to cast an instant (essentially, whenever you want in most circumstances). As stated on MTG Salvation, King Cheetah was the first card released with flash.

Originally from Visions, King Cheetah really isn’t a very impressive card, but being a 3/2 with Flash for 3G isn’t terrible during that time, though it’s not a card I recommend now. The actual mechanic wasn’t called flash until Time Spiral, which included significant cards such as Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir.

Flash is an evergreen concept, being used in almost every set, though the best known card of this would be the famous Snapcaster Mage.

Notable cards with Flash:

  • Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
  • Snapcaster Mage
  • Ambush Viper
  • Yeva, Nature’s Herald
  • Jin-Gitaxis, Core Augur
  • Aven Mindcensor

Game and Mechanics – Horsemanship

Horsemanship is a mechanic that exists on only 36 cards, all of which came from the Portal Three Kingdoms set.


I originally went over Horsemanship in my review of From the Vault: Legends, and he’s still an amazing card now due to his ability to give all of your creatures Horsemanship. Like Flying, Horsemanship can only be blocked by creatures that also have Horsemanship. Due to the fact this ability only exists on 36 cards in all of Magic, this would make your entire army unblockable.

You can find more information on Horsemanship here.

Game and Mechanics – Vigilance

With the large number of white cards in M13 and Avacyn Restored, I thought I’d briefly talk about Vigilance; it is a virtue, after all.

Vigilance is one of the older mechanics in Magic, originally introduced in the first set ever, Alpha. However, its ruling was simply written out prior to Champions of Kamigawa, where it was introduced as an actual keyword.

Vigilance was originally written (and the ruling is still written) as: Attacking doesn’t cause this creature to tap.

As seen here, this is a Serra Angel from Unlimited right next to a newer Serra Angel from M12, the last core set. These are the same card, but the original does not have the Vigilance keyword.

Vigilance is a very basic ability, but still very important. It’s present on many cards in our current format, such as Sun Titan.

Well, SolemnParty is back. I’ve decided that I’m returning to write a few series of my own.

As of right now, my first new addition to the site is Game and Mechanics. Seeing the return of Exalted, I’ve decided I’ll mention a few things and eventually cover everything from Horsemanship to flying, from banding to wither. All of this will reveal itself in time, of course.

Exalted as MTGSalvation states, was originally introduced in the realm of Alara, starting with Shards of Alara and continued through Conflux and Alara Reborn. As of Magic: 2013, Exalted is returning in full force.

“”Exalted” means “Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.”

While the ability doesn’t make it self evident, if multiple cards have exalted and one creature attacks, each card gives that creature +1/+1 until the end of the turn. For example, a 1/1 attacks, but you have 7 cards with exalted on the board, that 1/1 becomes a 8/8 because it is attacking alone.

Here’s one of the best examples for the fact that even non-creatures can have exalted. With this land in play, any creature that attacks alone will have that +1/+1 bonus until the end of the turn. Even though it comes into play tapped, that isn’t really a huge deal due to the fact that it doesn’t need to be untapped to have exalted, it’s an instant +1/+1 when it hits the board as long as you attack alone.

Pretty Sure Everyone Called This

If you would draw a card while your library has no cards in it, you win the game instead. He’s not exactly expensive to drop, he’s only 2U. He is a 2/2 though, so it wouldn’t be surprising to go to win and get dismembered before you win the game and lose; it’s a hilarious win-condition, but I feel that disruption could catch up with him too fast.

Blue gets some ramp! Deranged Assistant for 1U gives you a 1/1 that can tap to mill yourself 1 and add 1 to your mana pool. Not as good as birds, which adds 1 of anyway, but one mana is always helpful. As a common, he isn’t bad.

Avacyn’s Pilgrim is basically a 1/1 green Plains. He gives us 1 white for his tap, and costs 1 green to play. I was hoping when they made something like this, he’d provide either green or white, not just white, but still, not a bad common.


%d bloggers like this: