Tag: value

Avatar Bruce Gray - October 27, 2016

Gonti, Lord of Luxury is Awesome

Casual Encounters- Gonti, Lord of Luxury is Awesome


Folks… something got my attention.  I found my new favorite casual card and it is awesome.  It feels SOOO good to cast this guy.  It does everything I want in a Magic card. I have found Gonti, Lord of Luxury and I am pumped!

Let’s get out in front of this: yes, I played at the Kaladesh pre-release and followed all the spoilers so I knew he was good.  Heck, I even picked Gonti as one of my top 10 Casual cards in the set.  Anyway, I was already aware that the guy was good, but HOW good was he?  Oh, he’s awesome.

Let’s fast forward to the other night when I got the nerve to step back into MTGO and draft Kaladesh. Well, my draft was largely uneventful and I had a B/R artifact deck that was no great shake.  However, Pack 3 revealed Gonti and I snapped him up.  As the draft unfolded he was by far the best card in my deck and was exactly what I wanted to cast every time.  I had a Diabolic Tutor in my deck and found myself often searching out Gonti even if I had larger creatures in my deck.  Gonti was too good to pass up and was a house for me all league long.  

After the event was all finished I sat back and thought about WHY I wanted to cast Gonti with such regularity.  I mean, his body isn’t great at 2/3 .  He’s not hyper efficient at 4 mana, and double black at that.  Deathtouch is usually just an annoyance and rarely a truly defining ability.  His ETB ability is interesting but not game breaking… right?  Wrong.  The ability is EXACTLY what I wanted.  His trigger to mess around with your opponent’s deck is just the sort of thing I want.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury, is quietly a 3 for 1 in most instances and leads to nasty stuff that really intrigues me.  Wait… yes I said a 3 for 1… at LEAST.  Let’s think about it: You cast Gonti and you get a 2/3 body on board, which is certainly a thing.  He attacks ok, is a nuisance if your opponent attacks you, and is generally just a solid creature. Next, Gonti lets you look at your opponent’s top 4 cards and exile one and can play it.  This often means you get to deprive your opponent of a key resource at the very least, and, at best, have the chance to use it against your opponent yourself. That is a powerful reversal of fortunes if you turn up something like a Gearhulk, Eliminate the Competition,  or some other powerful effect. So everyone can admit that, to date, this is a 2 for 1  easily enough because for casting this single card I get two cards worth of value.  Getting a 3 for 1 isn’t hard if the card you get off of Gonti trades for 2 cards itself.  So a 3 for 1 is pretty easy to get, but I would make the case that you could even get a 4 for 1 out of this scenario if you put a further good card on the bottom of their library further depriving them a chance to play it.  This isn’t fool proof if they have a “shuffle” effect, but making them put useful resources on the bottom of their deck is often as good as depriving them of the resource out-right because you are rarely going to have a shot to play a card on the bottom of your library. So, for 4 mana you get pretty close to 4 for 1 and can seriously chop your opponent down to size.

So, Gonti is a ridiculous Limited card.  Perhaps fringe playable in Constructed.  However, in Casual play the guy is just silly.  Let’s face it, in Casual formats people are likely to push for one effect and look to take it to an extreme either because their deck is themed around a given ability or because they enjoy causing their opponents grief. Regardless of what camp you are in, the chance to re-use Gonti’s ability in a Casual format is mind boggling.  

In a 60 card casual format you get to play multiples of this guy.  That is insane!  In Commander, where you can build this sort of card into the theme of your deck, the options are endless, and too appealing to turn up.  

So, Gonti is good…Blink him, mill him and re-animate him, make him your commander…and see for yourself.  My mind immediately took him to my Smuggler’s Copter Commander deck and he fits in perfectly.  Alesha wants to trigger her ability on creatures with power 2 or less and Gonti is a prime target. Triggering Gonti’s ability multiple times in the same game sounds awesome.     

Here’s the best part, Gonti is essentially a bulk rare.  You can find him at Three King’s Loot for $1.49*.  In a set where there are pricier cards like Smuggler’s Copter or Torrential Gearhulk or a Masterpiece, $1.49* feels pretty affordable.  You can likely pick one up in trade somewhere reasonably inexpensively making him a great bargain AND a really good addition to your deck.

So, what is the appeal?  I’m not 100 % sure WHY I like trying to make Gonti really good, but to me he feels like a slight variation on one of my other pet cards: Villainous Wealth.   I just love the idea of playing with my opponent’s deck and anything that let’s me do that is awesome. It feels deliciously filthy to beat them to death with their own things.  

As always, thanks for taking the time to stop in and read and please check back again next time for another Casual Encounter.

Bruce Gray


*Editor’s note: All prices are subject to change according to the whims of the multiverse.

Dan Erickson Dan Erickson - June 9, 2016

Eternal Masters unboxing Booster Case

Eternal Masters unboxing Booster case 

Eternal Masters unboxing

Join the Three Kings Loot team as they do their official Eternal Masters Unboxing Booster Case ! We dive into this set head first with draft analysis, draft picks, value (both in play and money) and other typical TKL shenanigans. Enjoy! Check out the full card list and gallery.



As an added bonus, check out the official Eternal Masters unboxing of the freight case. #boxinaboxinabox

Avatar Bruce Gray - May 18, 2016

MTG Standard Bargain Hunting

Casual Encounters- Bargain Hunting in Standard

treasure hunt

    Every once in awhile I like to stop and take stock of some prices of cards of this game and hunt down some of the diamonds in the rough.  What I mean is that there are a number of cards out there in any set that play really well, but yet are worth very little from a financial point of view. In short, I go bargain hunting.  Sometimes the low prices on some cards are a product of a superior version of a card being available in another set.  Sometimes the set is opened in such abundance that prices tank apart from a few mythics.  Sometimes the set is slated for rotation soon and the prices take a steep nose dive. Regardless of the reason behind these cards being worth so little, the fact remains they can offer excellent value to players looking to keep their costs down.  Today, I’ve picked out 10 cards for you to keep an eye on and to help you keep your costs down without compromising game play.

*Editor’s note: All prices are subject to change according to the whims of the multiverse.

#10- Deathbringer Regent- Dragons of Tarkir

This is an amazing pickup for anyone who plays any sort of multiplayer game.  This has a conditional wrath pasted to 5/6  flying body.  What isn’t to love?  In a multiplayer game it seems pretty straight forward to have 5 or more other creatures on the battlefield, so triggering this seems easy.  It has synergy with all the “ Dragons Matter” cards from Dragons of Tarkir including Silumgar’s Scorn, Dragonlord’s Prerogative, or Draconic Roar meaning it is just good value and plays nicely with a number of other colours.  To top it all off, this is retailing on Three Kings Loot for $0.45 making it a real bargain.  


#9 Endbringer- Oath of the Gatewatch

This is a ridiculous card in a multiplayer game because this can untap on EACH player’s turn meaning you can use it again and again.  The number of different abilities on this thing is pretty amazing and can just work away to grind you all sorts of small advantages.  It can block, neutralize big scary threats, draw cards, ping for damage,  and is basically always a force to be reckoned with because it is always untapped and ready to be used.  At a mere $0.71 at 3KL you can’t go wrong and every Commander deck will be wanting one of these things.


#8 Brutal Expulsion- Battle For Zendikar

Ok, so we didn’t get a Charm or Command cycle in BFZ, but we did get a pretty awesome card that has as much versatility as we can realistically expect in a set.  I was initially a little down on Brutal Expulsion because it really doesn’t seem to be that exciting a card, but once you cast it the only way you can use to describe it is “oh…THAT’s why that is at Rare”.  It is just a very powerful tempo play to zap something small and/or bounce something big…at instant speed.  You just can’t complain about that sort of flexibility. It checks in at a very reasonable $0.44 making it a bargain that plays like it is a much more expensive card.

#7 From Beyond- Battle for Zendikar

I’ve been big on this one for a while now.  Awakening Zone is analogous to this from Rise of the Eldrazi that is an astonishing $7.48.  However, this slightly more expensive reprint not only gets you better tokens, but it can also serve as a tutor to go and find that big, bad, Eldrazi you have packed in your deck.  The tutoring really makes this card highly desirable for singleton formats to help you go find what you need, but for some reason you can pick it up for $1.13 on Three Kings Loot. 


#6 Zendikar Resurgent- Oath of the Gatewatch

I had this in my pre-release for OGW and have to admit that I was tempted to cut it because it was a 7 mana card that did very little on the board. However, I was very glad I didn’t cut it because it is an absolute engine to power up a deck.  If you get to untap and have a creature or two in hand to play you can start to chain together all sorts of things.  The mana ramp is also one sided meaning that unlike a spell like Mana Flare (still a classic) you can reap the benefits while your opponents can only gnash their teeth.   And who doesn’t love a card that enables all sorts of silly huge critters.  Or maybe just a big Fireball.  Whatever.  Oh, and did I mention it is a mere $0.69.  Yeah. That’s a bargain.

# 5 Greenwarden of Murasa- Battle for Zendikar

So, Eternal Witness is a thing.  Yes at 3 mana it is a fringe playable Modern card, but if you are in to EDH you might not be interested in a three mana creature.  Maybe you want something bigger like a 5/4 for 6 that is really a double regrowth.  Sound slightly appealing?  Umm…yes please.  Any deck that can play green will be looking for this thing (and it’s even a reasonable card to include in your cube) so why not grab it now for $1.83?  I don’t have a reason either…so I’m picking up a few.


#4 Crush of Tentacles- Oath of the Gatewatch

Another powerful mythic that is a Blue board wipe.  Ok, so maybe you aren’t really a big fan of mass bounce, but it wipes out tokens and likely nets you mana because you will invariably spend less on this spell than your opponent will pay in order to replay those creatures.  The added bonus of the Crush is that 8/8 octopus.  In a casual game that is totally achievable and is is absolutely something to be reckoned with.  This checks in at a mere $2.53 for a Mythic from a small set and will only go up from there.

#3 Zada, Hedron Grinder- Battle for Zendikar

At $0.81 cents you can’t go wrong with this one of a kind Goblin with massive casual appeal.  I mean, really, what combat trick could you play on Zada that pumps your whole team and wrecks your opponent?  I can think of plenty of options…and they ALL make Zada look really appealing.  This is unique, too good to pass up, and super cheap to make for a great bargain.

#2 Smothering Abomination- Battle for Zendikar

Yet another heavily discounted creature that is 4/3 flier for 4 mana with upside.  I can imagine a deck with lots of tokens that uses this as an engine to power through their deck…maybe a deck packing From Beyond…and can really leverage this to great effect.  At $0.41 it is well worth a gamble and if you have a couple of these guys sitting in a box, hold on to them because I would expect that these will only go up as time marches on.


#1 Sire of Stagnation- Battle for Zendikar

Much like Greenwarden of Murasa, this is a very under-priced mythic that can be a huge piece to try and lock out your opponent. Plus this is templated very well for multiplayer games making it a Casual all-star.  At $1.76 this is a steal for a card that could be hugely impactful.  It hasn’t dipped in price much in the last many weeks so this is likely rock bottom, but I would fully expect that it will start to inch up soon.


Well, there we have 10 of the cards that I figure offer excellent value, can offer some extremely powerful abilities, and are super budget friendly right now.  I’m sure that there are plenty of other cards that could have made this list, but these are the 10 that have caught my eye recently.  What have you been eyeing out there?  Leave a comment down below or hit me up on Twitter. As always, thanks for stopping in for a visit and be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.


Bruce Gray

@bgray8791 on Twitter


Avatar Bruce Gray - April 1, 2016

Christmas in April

Casual Encounters – Christmas in April



Eldrazi Menace = Affordable MTG?

Usually I get excited for new sets during spoiler season, but something has got me super excited. Sure, going back to Innistrad seems cool and I can’t wait to find some more sweet werewolves for a deck I built 4-years ago…but that isn’t what got me truly excited. No, I’m super excited right now for the MTG world in which we live right now. Things are sweet and I want to tell you why.

Most people are bemoaning the fact that Modern sucks right now as we are overrun by Eldrazi and silly lands like Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple. The pro tour was a bit of a train-wreck if you like to see a super diverse Top 8 because the format kind of got busted. Legacy hasn’t been far behind with the Eldrazi deck sliding over and giving everyone fits with super fast decks. I mean, any deck running an Endbringer and casting it on turn 3 tells me things are broken. The Eldrazi Winter is truly a thing and lots of players are pretty upset. These eternal formats aren’t supposed to be broken so easily…and yet thanks to Oath of the Gatewatch that is exactly what has happened.

Now, I’m not relishing the state of these formats, but I am super pleased that the MTG world has been so preoccupied with the Eldrazi and non-rotating formats that they have allowed Standard playable cards to tank in value. I don’t think I have ever seen so many excellent cards cost so little. Thanks to a focus on acquiring Modern staples and things that can port to Eternal formats, players have opened piles of OGW, (not to mention looking for the Expeditions,) and in the process helped depress the prices of OGW and BFZ. We’ll look at a few examples in a bit, but to a fringe constructed player or someone who plays casually this is music to our ears. Affordable MTG? Yes please!

A similar effect has happened with Battle for Zendikar and prices have been seriously reduced because everyone has been hunting furiously for the Expeditions and opened up tons of product. Mythics and highly sought after rare cards are affordable making rotation seem almost palatable.  C’mon, who doesn’t like having access to things like Drana or Undergrowth Champion at reasonable prices?  Right now these cards are indeed things that can be acquired without much trouble making piecing together what you want for a future deck much easier than in the past.

Similar effects are being felt in other Standard legal sets that are going through the usual pre-rotation lull before they leave Standard, but even in Dragons of Tarkir, a set that is NOT rotating out in a few short weeks, we are seeing prices drop to a point where they are reasonable. When premium, Standard playable powerhouses are falling to very reasonable prices you know something kind of cool is going on.

The one exception is Magic: Origins where prices have stayed high and continue to soar upwards.  Jace, Vrynn’s Prodigy alone continues to skyrocket and is listed at close to $90 a card! However, Pia and Kiran Nalaar, Liliana, Heretical Healer, and Abbot of Keral Keep are all quite expensive.  Some of the pressure on Origins  is tied to the fact that it was released mid-summer, historically a low time for sales, meaning not as much of it has been opened as some of the other sets and that is forcing the prices to be higher.  

So, what does it mean?  The combination of a focus on Eternal Formats, an over abundance of some sets on account of the “Expedition Effect”, and the Modern season with a number of GP’s has really helped to force the price of Standard cards down a lot. This is great news for budget-conscious players who play casually because you can jump in and grab a number of really powerful Mythics and Rares without putting a hole in your bank book.  Check out this list of Mythics from Battle for Zendikar Block that cost ~$3!

*Please note that the price information I am using is in Canadian dollars and is subject to change according to the whims of the multiverse. 

Crush of Tentacles 2.15
General Tazri 1.03
Inverter of Truth 1.51


Akoum Firebird 0.80


Greenwarden of Murasa 1.85


Omnath, Locus of Rage 2.54
Part the Waterveil 2.29
Quarantine Field 1.86
Sire of Stagnation 1.81


There is a whole lot of casual appeal to these cards!  And this trend seems to buck a trend even for kind of janky Mythics.  If you go and pull up a set from the last 4 years, like Gatecrash for example, you will see that the price of Mythics rarely sunk this low. Now, I know Gatecrash had no Expeditions, but in many regards it was a fine set that even had Shocklands making it fairly sought after, and was drafted as a stand alone set 3 packs at a time meaning it was opened in good quantity. Despite this,  Aurelia didn’t fall below $4 while she was in Standard.  Master Biomancer was a house and held good value! Even things like Lord of the Void seemed to hold more value.  Something wonderful is happening right now that is making BFZ block much cheaper for those of us looking to play casually or on a tight budget.  

Will it stay like this for long?  No.  I can’t imagine we’ll be able to grab these sorts of cards at this price for much longer.  Once Shadows over Innistrad starts to get spoiled everyone will start to focus back in on Standard again as players look to rebound from the new Spring rotation.  However, in the meantime we have the chance to grab a strong number of very playable cards to help settle your casual appetite and get you brewing all sorts of funky decks.

So, if you are a casual player, take advantage now while the prices are good and get the cards you’ve always wanted!  This is a pretty special time, almost like Christmas, and now is the time to jump in a get what you need.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.


Bruce Gray

@bgray8791 on Twitter



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