I’ve been playing Magic Online for far too long. So much so that my collection of cards is looking pretty stupid considering I rarely use them to play any constructed formats. Why the hell do I have four Linvala, Keeper of Silence? And why does the option to sell them for four tickets feel so bad (she’s only $30 in real life!)?
Well, since it seems unlikely that Magic Online prices will ever be close to real life prices, the best option for cranking value seems to be completing sets. I’ve done this a few times before, and have a few full sets filling my shelves (though I stupidly sold the Innistrad and Rise of the Eldrazi sets for pennies on the dollar. I am dumb!)
Thankfully, I have been having a lot of luck with Magic Origins. Occasionally there’s a set that clicks with my brain, and this has definitely been one! I actually went infinite for my first sixteen drafts (managing to somehow open zero Planeswalkers…)
Anyhow, I wanted to try an experiment, and see just how much money it will cost to acquire a full set, drafting at my medium-high level of skill. I’m no pro, but I at least know how to evaluate cards and put decent plays together. A set of Magic Origins right now goes for about $150. Since the redemption fee is $25, if I can collect a full set for under $125, I’ll actually be making money!
Is it possible? Let’s find out!
Open a Tragic Arrogance. A bomb of that nature puts me chasing white for sure. If you haven’t played with it yet, it’s easy to set up. Let your opponent play a bunch of creatures, then leave them with a goblin token and you keep your biggest thing. It rules.
Grasp of the Hieromancer is not enough to convince me to chase after my white bomb right now. Eyeblight Massacre is not usually main deckable, but can be a blowout against many decks. In retrospect, Foundry of the Consuls was probably a better pick.
Must’ve forgotten to screenshot, but my second pick was a Sigil of the Empty Throne. Sometimes you can try and wheel that sort of thing, but I figured that since I was already chasing the WB enchantment deck I might as well go all in.
Shit, missed two screenshots in a row. First of them was a Knight of the White Orchid over a Celestial Flare. Second was Gideon’s Phalanx which was probably greedy since we’re already running a seven drop.
So here’s the deck. Actually looks decent despite us struggling to find playables, and not being able to run the Sigil of the Empty Throne we were trying to set up (just not enough enchantments to be worth it). Two slot is stocked full of goodies, some kill spells, Tragic Arrogance to win games. We also have both Knight and Meteorite to help ramp us towards the 7 slot, which is greedy, but hopefully our early game gives them enough trouble that we can afford to have a bomb clogging the hand.
Eighteen lands rounds us out. 10 plains to try and hit those early first strikers. Let’s give it our all!
I start game one on the draw, happily dropping my Topan Freeblade, only for him to put Call of the Full Moon on Thornbow Archer! Beating for 5 turn two is… pretty good!
I bring down a Deadbridge Shaman and together with Freeblade they get the double block, knocking a swamp from his hand. He follows up with two Gnarlroot Trapper.
I’m stuck on three lands with Arrogance in hand, deciding to go for Read the Bones and take the hit down to 11. Luckily, I nab two lands off the Bones. Next turn I drop Nantuko Husk, now trying to bait out the rest of his slowly-depleting hand so I can go Arrogance into the Mage-Ring Responder I’ve just drawn.
Nantuko Husk comes down on his side of the board. I drop Ghoul and Auramancer hoping to stem the beats. He has nothing else, so next turn I get to play Arrogance. Unluckily for him he forgets to sacrifice the useless Gnarlroots to his Husk as I play it, leaving the board with a lowly trapper facing off against Shambling Ghoul.
7th land shows up, I drop Mage-Ring, he immediately scoops it up.
On the draw, I’m shown 6 lands and a Griffin, which after a mulligan becomes one swamp with Shambling Ghoul. Ugh. I go for it.
He convinces me to bring in Yoked Ox next game by immediately curving Thornbow Archer into Dragon Fodder, into Nantuko Husk. Incredibly I don’t stumble on lands, dropping Ghoul and my own Husk, but an Enthralling Victor forces me to eat my own ghoul, lest my Husk get stolen and eaten by his.
I draw Consul’s Liutennant with only one plains, throw a Grasp on Husk and ship the turn. Call of the Full Moon on his Enthralling Victor and I’m forced to pack it up.
I decide to cut Mage-Ring Responder, Gideon’s Phalanx and Grasp of the Heiromancer. From what I’ve seen, all I need to do is survive his initial onslaught and I’ll be fine. In comes Yoked Ox, Cleric of the Forward Order and Eyeblight Massacre.
On the play, my hand is 2 plains, Ox and some black cards. I go for it.
I find my Swamp right away, but am soon facing down Archer and Dragon Fodder already. Deadbridge Shaman joins the board, taking out the Thornbow and stripping a Gnarlroot Trapper from his hand, letting the Eyeblight Massacre I sided in be a possible contender.
Read the Bones finds Graveblade Marauder and Plains, which will seemingly put me in a good position, as he is on three lands doing nothing. He drops another Thornbow Archer, I reply with Charging Griffin.
Then, things start to suck. Enthralling Victor stealing my Griffin lets him get in for 6, dropping me to 9. I spend Weight of the Underworld to take out the Victor, only for him to drop a second! He takes Griffin again and beats me down to three.
I look at the board, not sure what to do. I go on the defensive, hoping I can rebound somehow. His Dark Petition assures me that this will soon be over, and sure enough a Chandra’s Fury lets him take it home.
Well, we got blown out by a bad dorks deck. Bad beats but it happens!
That being said, we end up with positive value simply due to opening that Hangarback Walker ($20 IRL, $14 MTGO). As long as we do that in every event, we’ll end up on top! (And now that I have a playset, hopefully I can build some dumb artifact deck and grind a bit of extra value as well).
We also picked up a stack of bulk rares. Not worth anything on Magic Online now, but you never know. Some breakout deck might end up running 4x Tragic Arrogance and let us cash in on any extras we open later:
Knight of the White Orchid
Sigil of the Empty Throne
Talent of the Telepath
Check back soon for the next installment of our quest for a set. Trust me, the value is coming!