Market Watch Top 10: Theseus Memes
Jason Grabher-Meyer

Our second Market Watch of the New Year looked a lot like the end of 2017, except for one notable difference…

Sea Monster of Theseus was the topic of discussion the past week, in part because players are hoping to see the much-anticipated Crystron Needlefiber in the upcoming Extreme Force release, and because the hype surrounding the card's original reveal became a point of merrymaking toward the end of the year.

It was kind of tough to tell where the competitive speculation ended and the memes began. On one hand, Sea Monster of Theseus is a pretty cool card that fills some unique roles. On the other hand, it didn't really do anything in 2017, factoring into some niche Dark Synchro builds and not much else. And then, on a third hideous mutant hand of some sort, people are insanely hyped for Needlefiber and anything that might help them play it.

But spoiler: those conflicting dialogues wound up generating so much interest in the card that it rocketed into the Top 10 this week, as sales surged from Monday to Friday morning. We'll show you the exact placement of the card in a bit, but for now let's start at the top of the countdown and go from there.

…What's that? You want to scroll down and skip ahead to see just how crazy the Sea Monster of Theseus sales were, without waiting? Well then picture my eyes narrowing with disgust at your impatience as I say the following to YOU, sir or ma'am.

Maybe YOU'RE the monster. (Fistshake.)

#10: Astrograph Sorcerer

Just kidding! Scroll wherever you want! You're probably tired of hearing about Astrograph Sorcerer anyways, since it's been such a consistent Top 10 card this year.

While Astrograph Sorcerer's not always played in Pendulum Magicians, it still outsold every other card in the Magician theme last year, to come in at Number 7 for the final year-long tally for 2017.

A mix of high utility, flashy effects, cool art design, and general boss monster curb appeal made it happen, and it's not slowing down much now that we're in 2018. If SPYRALs get nailed on our next F&L List, we can expect an utter legion of Pendulum Magician players to be ready to rush in and fill the gap.

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#9: Solemn Strike

One of the most splashable power cards in the game today, Solemn Strike's become more and more important for decks that want to go first, as an increasing number of players have looked to crack Turn 1 setups with Go-Second strategies.

Still hovering around the six dollar mark from its latest reprinting, Solemn Strike's become one of the most popular Special Edition promos of all time. It represents one of the greatest boons to budget players in all of 2017, and its sheer value still drives Code of the Duelist: Special Edition displays into sold out territory on a regular basis here on TCGplayer.

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#8: Duelist Alliance

Long missing from the Top 10, Duelist Alliance was another hot riches-to-rags reprint, dropping from over $25 at its peak to less than two bucks thanks to the Legendary Dragon Decks release. Pendulum Magicians were massive this year thanks in large part to the price collapse of Duelist Alliance; taking five slots in the Top 20 for 2017 , they were insanely popular because they were so accessible. That wouldn't have been the case without this reprint.

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#7: Number 41: Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir

Returning to the Top 10, Bagooska's come to be defined as the most important Rank 4 in the game, with an effect that can swerve duels into sudden wins or losses at the drop of a hat. It doesn't see as much actual table time as one might have expected, but it's the go-to Xyz anybody who can make Rank 4 Summons, and it's omnipresent in the Extra Decks of numerous top strategies this format.

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#6: Sea Monster of Theseus

Aaaaaaaand here we are. For better or worse, the mixed dialogue of competitive discussion and “most powerful monster of the year” jokes drove huge awareness for Sea Monster of Theseus this week, and the result was an upward Price Trend for the Mega Pack reprint and an absolute ton of sales – enough to take Theseus to Number 6 in the TCGplayer Marketplace.

And all chuckles aside, Theseus makes sense as a target for investment and speculation. We don't know if we'll see Crystron Needlefiber in Extreme Force, and every passing day where it's not promoted for that set makes its release there less likely. But it's coming some time, and if players end up running Sea Monster of Theseus and Instant Fusion to play it, Theseus will go up in value.

As it stands it's a scarce Secret Rare with only one also-Secret-Rare reprint, and you can still find lots of copies for less than a buck. Given Needlefiber's potential to become a must-play when it does arrive, we could easily see Theseus jump to $5 or $10 if it becomes competitive. While the payoff might be a long ways off, the point of entry to Gamble on that opportunity is about as low as it gets, so now's not a bad time to go in on a few dozen copies.

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#5: Link Spider

The Number 25 bestselling card of 2017 continues to gain steam, as Scapegoat continues to see more and more play in different decks. I look at Link Spider the way I look at ads for milk from your state's Dairy Board.

Like, what. Are you gonna try to bake a cake without it?

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#4: Abyss Actor – Curtain Raiser

It's surprising to see Abyss Actor – Curtain Raiser with this level of lasting demand.

A breakout tech choice in the OCG's latest Pendulum Magician variants, it's the kind of card that usually gets attention for a week and then drops off the map. But anything to do with Magicians sets off a firestorm of demand right now, and like most of those cards, Curtain Raiser's wildly affordable.

I'm not sure if anyone's actually trying to play it right now, or if they're just getting their copies in anticipation of a new F&L List and Odd-Eyes Revolution Dragon, but the market's clearly got an almost shocking level of awareness about it right now.

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#3: Proxy Dragon

Proxy Dragon is currently the bestselling Link Monster of all time, filling a fundamental role that no other card can, in a wide array of strategies. And it's doing it for less than a buck. The only head scratcher here is that there's still demand when so many players already have their copies.

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#2: Harmonizing Magician

No stranger to the Number 2 spot, Harmonizing Magician's done especially well the past few weeks and has proven to be a standout amongst standouts. With some of the smartest card economy of 2017, a huge toolbox of generic Synchros, and access to some cool themed ones like Enlightenment Paladin and Beelze of the Diabolic Dragons, it's a fantastic card for what could be the dominant strategy of the next format, whenever it arrives.

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#1: Pot of Desires

And yes, Pot of Desires has once again claimed its throne as the most in-demand card in the game. Players who chose to be early adopters and invested into Secret Rares in 2016 got a full year of use out of their Pots before they were reprinted, and now that everybody can draw two cards for free, everybody wants to. Even stuff like SPYRALs – decks that really, really don't want to banish key combo cards they only run one copy of – are getting in on the action on a slowly increasing basis.

We saw the same thing happen with Zoodiacs in their sunset phase; time and time again, we've seen players try to jam Pot of Desires into everything they can. And with good reason: it's insanely powerful and as long as it isn't losing you the game, it's probably winning you the game.

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Beyond that there were few really big standouts in the TCGplayer Marketplace this week: Black Fang Magician and Lonefire Blossom narrowly missed the Top 10, the latter being kind of interesting, and the former being axiomatic. Players are clearly gearing up for Magicians, suggesting that a preemptive hit may be required if SPYRALs take a tumble under the new F&L List.

I'd say “keep that risk in mind,” but Magicians are so affordable, you might as well pick up your playsets if you don't have them already. Worst case scenario, you put together a viable budget deck for tournament competition.

Stick with us this weekend, because we'll be wrapping up our retrospective of the year with a two-part look at the Top 10 cards from every booster released in 2017.

See you then!

-Jason Grabher-Meyer