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Finance in a Flash: Chandra Appraise

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Finance, Magic Culture

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I do not like the new Chandra very much.

She seems very mediocre in aggressive strategies despite the “can’t block” part of her +1 ability, because four mana is just too much for a combination of Stun and Zap. Aggressive decks have better options at four mana like Falkenrath Aristocrat and Hellrider. Even though both will be rotating come October, cards like Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch (which feels like a great pickup for postrotation now that we’ve seen Chandra) and Gruul War Chant are the type of high-impact cards those decks are looking for at the top of their curve.

I could see a Jund “Super Friends” list being particularly sweet by teaming up Chandra, Pyromaster with Garruk, Primal Hunter and Liliana of the Veil. In general, she is probably fine in Farseek decks, though her inability to realistically defend herself often makes her a poor play the turn you hit four mana. I like Domri Rade and Garruk Relentless much more as sideboard options for midrange strategies vs. control strategies because of the pressure they put on the opponent, though Chandra could easily replace Garruk in that role postrotation.

Chandra’s Standard niche feels like some combination of Garruk Relentless and Staff of Nin (card advantage engine and weenie population control), though she is probably worse than either of them given her inherent vulnerabilities as a planeswalker and double-red casting cost.

It’s not all bad on that end, however, because five loyalty for for mana is a pretty good deal. Killing Chandra is going to be a very real opportunity cost for your opponent; it’s pretty insane Chandra doesn’t trade one-for-one with known planeswalker assassins Boros Charm and Warleader’s Helix.

Star City Games opened Chandra, Pyromaster preorders at $25, and completed eBay listings are everywhere from $20 to $27 before dipping as low as $17. It is encouraging that the initial wave of purchases hasn’t spiked the price out of control, and SCG still has copies in stock at its initial price. All of this has set a more realistic price ceiling than we have seen in past spoiler seasons.

The new trend of spoiler season prices being remotely based in reality limits our data and options for price history comparisons going forward. I think Ral Zarek is the best price comparison for Chandra because their sets are near each other chronologically and are only being opened a limited amount.

Take a look at how Ral Zarek has tanked in just a few months:

Ral Zarek
(Images courtesy of BlackLotusProject.com)

I think Chandra will follow a similar path and be very intriguing if she is less than $10 before October (for that matter, Ral would also be intriguing).

She’s probably going to be a solid pickup in September even if her price hasn’t dropped as hard as I hope it will. Players will be looking to ship their copies after trying her in an eight-set Standard when her new car smell has worn off, and opportunistic speculators will be happy to take them.. Remember, after its initial drop Garruk, Primal Hunter hit $30-plus in the fall after M12 was released. It was the hottest card in Standard for almost a month because of the supply issues that single-printing Core Set cards inevitably have. (Flinthoof Board anyone?)

Chandra, Pyromaster is not the type of card that will shake things up in Standard when the format is at its largest (and most powerful); she just doesn’t do enough when there are so many other options available. Her best hope for consistent competitive play — and real demand beyond her set’s initial release — will come with the October rotation when Standard’s card pool shrinks by nearly 40 percent.

Quick Hits

Door of Destinies is back! Casuals rejoice! Now get rid of yours immediately. Check out what happened to Gilded Lotus when it got reprinted last year in M13.

Gilded Lotus

How about Akroma’s Memorial?

Akroma's Memorial

That’s what I like to call falling off a cliff.

Door of Destinies feels like a massive hint about Theros’s potential themes (read: tribal) if we want to read that deeply into this. Then again, nothing really came along in Return to Ravnica block to validate Master of the Pearl Trident in M12, so maybe this is wishful thinking.

We’ve already seen Didgeridoo spike based on speculation about Theros’s potential tribal nature, and I doubt it will be an isolated incident. Can you think of any others? Leave your ideas in the comments, and maybe we can all learn something.

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