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 Post subject: Re: Format at risk of getting too expensive?
AgePosted: 2017-Nov-07 6:33 am 

Joined: 2008-Jan-25 8:26 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Calgary
Marit Lage wrote:
Phyrexian Altar is by no means a must play card.

Agreed.

Quote:
In fact, I'd argue that most decks could care less that it even exists.

Agreed.

Quote:
but there are enough good alternatives that I honestly don't miss it.

Not trying to tell you what you do or don't miss, but I don't really agree here. It's pretty close to mechanically unique. It's not a must-play but it's also not a niche card. A number of decks (nowhere near a majority) would be happy to have it.

There are plenty of times that Ashnod's Altar, etc, aren't a suitable substitute. If Phyrexian Altar is the only thing that does what you need (something that's more likely in one / two colour decks) then maybe you won't be able to build a certain synergy or combo in a deck. That's a Certified Feel Bad (tm).

Not really here to argue with anything you're saying, just saying that it makes sense that this card is worth something.

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 Post subject: Re: Format at risk of getting too expensive?
AgePosted: 2017-Nov-07 10:06 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
tarnar wrote:
It's pretty close to mechanically unique...
There are plenty of times that Ashnod's Altar, etc, aren't a suitable substitute.


While I agree that there are few free sac-for-mana effects (Thermopod being the only one not mentioned yet that I can recall), I would posit the vast majority of players running the Altars (since I haven't seen anybody else play Thermopod) aren't grabbing them up for the mana so much as for the sac outlet that doesn't tap.

There are a decent amount of sac effects that don't tap. Many have no other cost. They are just overlooked when a player wants a sac outlet, because ....Altar. It's the well-known, easy answer.

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 Post subject: Re: Format at risk of getting too expensive?
AgePosted: 2017-Nov-07 3:04 pm 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Bruticus wrote:
Just because a card is good does not mean it should cost lots of money, it has had several price spikes, Here's the link for those interested: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/price/Invas ... ltar#paper

I see 4 different price spikes in the recorded history of the card, the first three jumped the price upward around $4 each time (Avacyn Restored, Born of the Gods, Fate reforged)

So you mean when new cards come out?

Jumping $4 dollars a few times over the years is not a real or significant buyout. Buyouts do not make diagonal lines over a month. Look at Wheel of Fortune, Foil Grim Monolith (and other foil RL), Mox Diamond, Transmute Artifact, Power Artifact.

Altar on the other hand was 3.9 beginning of March, 4.3 beginning of April, 6.1 beginning of May, 6.4 beginning of June, etc.
I'm awful at tags and i messed up, so editing out spoiler for image and just dropping this: https://imgur.com/a/2wkPP

It's biggest surge was January last year, but it quickly leveled off at 30 and slowly dropped to 25, then crept back up to 35 and down to 30. This is organic. Not sure if the spike at Gatewatch was or not, but vastly unlike the other cards that were truly bought out, this card stabilized around it's current price for a while.

And yes being a good card does not mean it should cost lots of money. But when a card is good AND the supply is drying up as the format booms in popularity over the last 5 years is a very good reason for a 17 year old card to cost $30.

For a mere $4 this can also be explained by card printings anyway. Note when Gravecrawler was printed and this Altar spiked, for example. Could feasibly be related.

They are just overlooked when a player wants a sac outlet, because ....Altar. It's the well-known, easy answer.[/quote]

Is that really a reason? I mean, it's a good card. It's not likely that it's "not the best but just common because someone saw someone else use it".


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 Post subject: Re: Format at risk of getting too expensive?
AgePosted: 2017-Nov-08 1:09 am 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Quote:
Quote:
They are just overlooked when a player wants a sac outlet, because ....Altar. It's the well-known, easy answer.


Is that really a reason? I mean, it's a good card. It's not likely that it's "not the best but just common because someone saw someone else use it".

I think the point is that while Altar is really good, it isn't necessary. A lot of people aren't specifically looking for a card with its effect; they're looking for an unbounded sac outlet and Altar happens to be (one of) the best. A good analogy would be comparing something like Counterspell and Mana Drain. Nobody runs Mana Drain specifically because they want a counterspell that ramps them. No, they want a counterspell and Mana Drain happens to be (one of) the best. However, even if you can't afford a Mana Drain, Counterspell will still get the job done just fine.

Same deal with Altar and something else like Ashnod's or Viscera Seer. Most of the time the Altar is the best choice if you're trying to optimize your deck's power level, but cards like Seer or Thermopod will still fulfill the role more than adequately.

For me personally I rarely run Altar anyway. It seems any time I build a deck that can utilize it, something stupid or cheesy happens with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Format at risk of getting too expensive?
AgePosted: 2017-Nov-08 1:14 am 
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Joined: 2008-Dec-26 7:50 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Amsterdam, Holland
Altar has been on a steady incline since at least 2012. If you ignore the spikes and just look at the trend it actually gets pretty close to being a steady and predictable riser. No reliable information exist on the print run of Invasion, but the set was printed for a playerbase significantly smaller than the one we have now. New cards can cost as much as it does while being considerably more common. Copies being destroyed or other being removed from circulation add to its rarity. Basically any playable and unreprinted Rare from Invasion should be around its price and anything in high demand would likely clock in higher.

On to the spikes themselves then. Spikes happen and they can have several causes. It's absolutely possible that a card gets bought out causing a spike, however, when this happens the price tends to either drop back down again quite hard as the buyers unload, or the price makes a small drop and then sticks as copies are selling. In the former case you would see much higher peaks than for the Altar so I strongly doubt that happened. The latter case is a possibility, however, the reason it sticks is because the card is actually selling at that price and so the people buying it out correctly identified that the market would bear a higher price and though they caused the increase artificially the new price is real and something players will pay. Besides this spikes can also be caused by a rare card selling a few copies (many old cards simply "spike" because after someone buys a playset only some expensive copies are left) or by actual demand increasing (likely because of a favorable interaction with a new card). Of these the former is easily identified by a price bouncing around a lot, while the latter tends to produce a fairly smooth upwards line. The buyout that leads to a higher sustainable price and the naturally increasing demand can be hard to distinguish, but distinguishing them is irrelevant as in both cases players are willing to pay the new price. Looking at the Altar's price progressing it looks like there may have maybe been a buyout late 2015, though this is far from certain. We could try to identify a Legend that was printed around that time that works particularly well with it, but the price is sustainable by the looks of it, so that really doesn't make much of a difference.

As for the format being at risk of getting too expensive? Every format that allows cards printed for a smaller playerbase is going to face a natural increase in prices of those cards that don't get reprinted. Fortunately this format also allows newer cards that bring down the average. Basically the format only gets too expensive if you feel you must optimize decks but are unwilling / unable to purchase the optimal cards because of their increasing prices. The question should not be weather the format is getting too expensive (average card value changes little over time*), the question should be something like "is the desire to optimize increasing?" as the more people there are who want cards from a finite pool the more those increase in price.

* I write for QuietSpeculation.com, I wrote about the average buylist price if you were to sell a full set of Magic:
- http://www.quietspeculation.com/wp-cont ... -12-16.png
- Red is the cheapest version for every card, green the most expensive version, both ignoring foils. This includes only cards that have a buylist price, which is about half the Magic cards, but those not on there would likely be very cheap cards, reducing the variation even more if anything.
- You can see that the average MIN price has been stable for about 2 years. Looking at the MAX price would not be fair in this case unless you have a desire to also pimp out decks in addition to a desire to optimize, but then you probably know things will get expensive.

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 Post subject: Re: Format at risk of getting too expensive?
AgePosted: 2017-Nov-08 10:45 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Sovarius wrote:
Quote:
They are just overlooked when a player wants a sac outlet, because ....Altar. It's the well-known, easy answer.


Is that really a reason? I mean, it's a good card. It's not likely that it's "not the best but just common because someone saw someone else use it".


It's not just about Player A seeing Player B use it. It's the culture of the game in person and online. When a new player asks a friend for recommendations, they are more likely to recommend a well-known card. If a new payer looks up decks online, they are more likely to see builds with the well known card. Playgroups would have to actively advocate searches based on card function, with an eye to look at those "hidden gems." New players may need to be shown how to find those "hidden gems" as well.

Example: Deck X, lets say a GB Snake tribal, has a slight weakness against Flying evasion. Friends or searched decks will likely reveal the "go to" options, things like Gravity well, Akroma's Memorial, Spidersilk Armor maybe even Predator, Flagship (with lots of variables from removal, gaining flying, mitigating fliers, whatever). But and without digging deeper, they'll miss things like Phyrexian Splicer (politics anyone?), Bower passage, and Raking Canopy.

I'm not saying it is necessarily a bad thing (tm), just a consideration as to why some cards are ubiquitous and how to break that mold if you want to do something different or avoid expensive options when possible.

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V/R

HK

Hazezon Tamar - Manland theme
Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
Jedit Ojanen of Efrava - Cat and Warrior Dual Tribal
Doran, the Seige Tower - Wall Tribal
Progenitus - Hydra themed Proliferate Deck
Karona, the False God - Backstabbing Hug


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