Market Watch Top 10: Magicians Surge

Jason Grabher-Meyer

11/3/2017 11:00:00 AM
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The release of the F&L List update immediately raised the question of which decks take more tableshare in tournaments, and now we seem to have the answer: Pendulum Magicians were the big winner this week in the TCGplayer Marketplace.

The former deck-to-beat prior to the release of SPYRAL Double Helix, Pendulum Magicians lost little to nothing in the update, and after disappearing from the top tables at YCS Dallas the strategy returned to Top Cut action at YCS London . While there are quite a few candidates for now-viable strategies – stuff like ABC's, Dinosaurs, Invoked, Trickstar, and Burning Abyss are all probably strong enough to make an impact – Pendulum Magicians is certainly the most obvious.

The result was a resurgence of Magician cards from Monday to Friday, with Pendulum Magicians taking four spots in the Top 10 as players flocked (back) to the deck. In addition, Youtube-driven hype pushed a potential floodgate hit back into the Top 10 once again; two cards saw continued demand in the wake of Set Rotation's Limiting; and three flexible power-cards rounded out the Top 10.

It's a pretty simple list this time around, so let's get right into it. After, we'll look at the cards that rounded out the Number 11 to Number 15 spots to see what other decks are top candidates in the eyes of the secondary market.

First up, the pepertually popular…

#10: Duelist Alliance

It's a three-of. It's wildly powerful. It used to be really expensive. Duelist Alliance has been a huge pick since it was reissued in Legendary Dragon Decks, dropping Pendulum Magicians into the reach of many budget players. If there's one big factor pushing Pendulum Magicians in the refreshed format aside from their previous track record, it's the deck's ease of access due to recent reprints.

 Duelist Alliance
$7.43
$1.50
$1.00
Duelist Alliance147080
Set Legendary Dragon Decks
Number LEDD-ENC17
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Common
Card Text

If there is a card in the Pendulum Zone: Add 1 "Pendulum" Pendulum Monster or "Pendulum" Spell/Trap from your Deck to your hand. You can only activate 1 "Duelist Alliance" per turn.


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#9: Black Fang Magician

Also back in the Top 10, the sometimes-two-of, sometimes-three-of Black Fang Magician.

Demand for Black Fang tends to grow and recede like the tides, perhaps because some players under-purchase it and then decide they want a playset after all. For what it's worth, it's definitely seen more Top 32 play in full playsets over the past weeks than as a two-of. Regardless, if history repeats itself we won't see it on the Top 10 by Monday.

 Black Fang Magician
$2.22
$0.86
$0.60
Black Fang Magician134951
Set Pendulum Evolution
Number PEVO-EN004
Level 4
Type Pendulum/Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute DARK 
A / D 1700 / 800
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Pendulum Effect : Once per turn: You can target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; its ATK becomes half its current ATK (until the end of this turn), then destroy this card.
Monster Effect : (This card is always treated as an "Xyz Dragon" card.) If this card is destroyed by battle or card effect: You can target 1 DARK Spellcaster-Type monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon it.


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#8: Quiet Life

Is Quiet Life worth playing? Is its popularity just a product of Yugitube hype? At a market price of often less than 25 cents, that question might not matter to the people snapping up their copies.

Quiet Life was one of the biggest cards from Circuit Break when it first hit retail, and it was back this week as opinions differed on what the next big strategies might be. Initially popularized to fight SPYRALS' pattern of mixing Normal Summons and Special Summons, it seems effective against almost everything, which begs the question of what exactly can play it.

A deck that can run Quiet Life may see a big benefit using it, but as of now it has zero proven efficacy and may be a tough sell in a format where Twin Twisters has stolen significant tableshare from Cosmic Cyclone.

 Quiet Life
$1.26
$0.36
$0.14
Quiet Life148402
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN096
Type Continuous Spell
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Activate this card at the start of your Main Phase 1, if you control no monsters. If any player Normal Summons/Sets a monster, that player cannot Special Summon that turn. If any player Special Summons a monster, that player cannot Normal Summon/Set that turn.


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#7: Purple Poison Magician

As one of the most important Pendulum Magician Scales, Purple Poison Magician always soars in demand when the strategy spikes. Demand may be a little higher than usual now too, after Oscar Renderos stole the spotlight at the YCS Dallas STS public event with a build that used Purple Poison Magician as a 2000+ DEF dark for Full Force Virus.

 Purple Poison Magician
$2.66
$1.13
$0.20
Purple Poison Magician134953
Set Pendulum Evolution
Number PEVO-EN006
Level 4
Type Pendulum/Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute DARK 
A / D 1200 / 2100
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Pendulum Effect : Once per turn, if your DARK Spellcaster-Type monster battles, before damage calculation: You can activate this effect; that monster gains 1200 ATK (until the end of the Damage Step), then destroy this card.
Monster Effect : (This card is always treated as a "Fusion Dragon" card.) If this card is destroyed by battle or card effect: You can target 1 face-up card on the field; destroy it.


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#6: Astrograph Sorcerer

All of the Pendulum Magician decks I've seen from the Top 32 of YCS London dropped Astrograph Sorcerer to make room for the hand traps needed to stop SPYRALS, but with SPYRALS now slowed by the F&L update, it could be time for a comeback. Astrograph Sorcerer plays better in metagames where it can be combo'd with Wavering Eyes, but even without it, the Sorcerer's a big beatstick that clogs the field and works wonders toward building wins, adding body and longevity to your position.

It's straight-up boss-y-ness has always made it a big seller too, and at some point we have to recognize that curb appeal is a factor. It's an impressive card that does impressive things, and it's not surprising to see it on top of the Pendulum pile this week.

 Astrograph Sorcerer
$3.40
$2.35
$1.17
Astrograph Sorcerer134948
Set Pendulum Evolution
Number PEVO-EN001
Level 7
Type Pendulum/Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute DARK 
A / D 2500 / 2000
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Pendulum Effect : During your Main Phase: You can destroy this card, and if you do, take 1 "Stargazer Magician" from your hand or Deck, and either place it in your Pendulum Zone or Special Summon it. You can only use this effect of "Astrograph Sorcerer" once per turn.
Monster Effect : If a card(s) you control is destroyed by battle or card effect: You can Special Summon this card from your hand, then you can choose 1 monster in the Graveyard, Extra Deck, or that is banished, and that was destroyed this turn, and add 1 monster with the same name from your Deck to your hand. You can banish this card you control, plus 4 monsters from your hand, field, and/or Graveyard (1 each with "Pendulum Dragon", "Xyz Dragon", "Synchro Dragon", and "Fusion Dragon" in their names); Special Summon 1 "Supreme King Z-ARC" from your Extra Deck. (This is treated as a Fusion Summon.)


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#5: Solemn Strike

A consistent winner since its reprinting inCode of the Duelist: Special Edition, Solemn Strike is no longer a barrier to entry for competition, now readily accessible to budget players.

It stuck its landing at the $5-$6 mark for going on a month and a half, and it's especially attractive as a generic backrow option in undefined formats. Like the one we're now in. Not much explanation needed – like Pot of Desires, Solemn Strike's a must-own at three; the kind of card that just doesn't get printed often, and remains viable for years.

 Solemn Strike
Price N/A
Solemn Strike145917
Set Code of the Duelist
Number COTD-ENSE2
Type Counter Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

When a monster(s) would be Special Summoned, or a monster effect is activated: Pay 1500 LP; negate the Summon or activation, and if you do, destroy that card.


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#4: Destrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson

With Set Rotation now far more difficult to play, and with just one copy offering much lower reliability, we can probably expect more players to run Destrudo in an effort to see their Field Spells consistently.

While the hefty LP cost of its ability made Destrudo a point of debate coming out of YCS Dallas, its sheer power level in combination with Dragon Ravine and Ancient Fairy Dragon can't be ignored, and the sustained demand continues to suggest that we'll see more of it in tournament competition.

 Destrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson
$2.99
$1.86
$0.72
Destrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson148319
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN038
Level 7
Type Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute DARK 
A / D 1000 / 3000
Rarity Rare
Card Text

If this card is in your hand or GY: You can pay half your LP, then target 1 Level 6 or lower monster you control; Special Summon this card, and if you do, this card's Level is reduced by the Level of the targeted monster, also place this card on the bottom of the Deck if it leaves the field. You can only use this effect of "Destrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson" once per turn.


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#3: Metaverse

…And yet, Destrudo was outsold by “Slower Terraforming: The Trap Card.” The hefty interest in Metaverse made some sense when duelists suspected that Terraforming could be on the chopping block for November, but now that we know it's safe until at least January, the surge of interest seems to be the result of a sort of spiral effect: as more copies of Metaverse are sold, the more expensive it gets, and at a Market Price of 75 cents it has all the symptoms of a hot Rare card that could easily double in value.

On one hand, it's tempting to make statements like, “This card is nowhere near as important as cards in similar positions, like D/D Savant Thomas.” But on the other, the long-sustained price point for that card was never justified with tournament results either: Different Dimension Demons virtually never panned out in Regional Top Cuts, let alone YCS tournaments. So it's possible that Metaverse could fall into a similar category of hype and continue to rise in price.

But if it does, it's likely more the product of cascading hype than actual tournament potential.

 Metaverse
$2.00
$0.79
$0.51
Metaverse148376
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN076
Type Normal Trap
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Rare
Card Text

Take 1 Field Spell from your Deck, and either activate it or add it to your hand.


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#2: Number 41: Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir

Meanwhile, the huge appeal of Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir will likely be more than justified, as Pendulum Magicians begin to run multiple copies. It's another huge factor in the competitive potential of Pendulums, and one of the most powerful Rank 4's ever printed. Bagooska was moving units when it was being played in SPYRALS alone – a deck where it was usually unplayable in the first place. Now that Pendulum Magicians are poised to take center stage? It's going to be way bigger.

 Number 41: Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir
$5.97
$2.99
$0.25
Number 41: Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir148403
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN097
Level 4
Type Xyz/Effect Monster
Monster Fiend
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 2100 / 2000
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

2 Level 4 monsters
Once per turn, during your Standby Phase, detach 1 material from this card. If you cannot, destroy it. This Attack Position card cannot be destroyed by your opponent's card effects. Your opponent cannot target this Attack Position card with card effects. While this card is in face-up Defense Position, change all face-up monsters on the field to Defense Position, also negate the activated effects of monsters that were in Defense Position when that effect was activated.


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#1: Pot of Desires

And once again, Pot of Desires was on top. When a wildly powerful card slides from 80 dollars to three bucks, a card-of-the-year candidate is born. Pot of Desires has been the single most popular card on TCGplayer since its reprinting, and time and again, we see that demand just doesn't slow down. With no Limiting or Forbidding in sight, Pot of Desires is going to continue to be a staple for any deck that can run it; and any deck that can't run it, isn't going to see play.

 Pot of Desires
$60.99
$14.64
$11.30
Pot of Desires121323
Set The Dark Illusion
Number TDIL-EN066
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Banish 10 cards from the top of your Deck, face-down; draw 2 cards. You can only activate 1 "Pot of Desires" per turn.


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So what else saw big sales beyond the Top 10? Pendulum Magicians continued down the line, with Harmonizing Magician coming in at Number 13. Evenly Matched took the Number 12 spot, and Proxy Dragon took Number 15; two strong, splashable picks that almost any player wants to own. Evenly Matched is especially notable, still sitting at a price point over 60 dollars and garnering more praise as players figure out how best to use it.

Finally, perhaps the biggest surprise this week and the most important takeaway: Trickstar Candina and Trickstar Light Stage took the Number 11 and Number 14 spots, demonstrating a strong runner-up position for Trickstars that many might not have anticipated. If you're going to be playing in tournaments the next couple of weeks, Trickstars are definitely a matchup you'll want to prepare for.

We also saw very high niche interest in Artifact Lancea – a card that sold in huge numbers, but only to a small group of buyers. That's likely a response to the rising interest in Evenly Matched, with Lancea shuts down played independently or as part of an Artifact engine with Artifact Sanctum and potentially Artifact Scythe. Right now that demand is clearly coming from speculators trying to get ahead of the market, but the move is understandable – it's a great card to pick up and could become a common sight in competition this winter.

That's it for now, but join us on Monday to see the market responses to Regional results in the new format. See you then!

-Jason Grabher-Meyer


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