Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sweet Pain: Dual Lands Part II

As mentioned in my last post, the Dual Land concept, having a single Land that could produce more than one type of mana, was a very popular one, but they were deemed too powerful and taken out of circulation. However, the idea has been revisited many times, with limitations added to the cards to take them down a notch.

SIDE NOTE: For purposes of this discussion, to save typing, I will use the same mana conventions I use in my listings. Therefore:
  • "W" means "one White mana"
  • "U" means "one Blue mana"
  • "B" means "one Black mana"
  • "R" means "one Red mana"
  • "G" means "one Green mana"
The first of these attempts was in the Ice Age expansion. This introduced two types of Dual Lands. The first type became known as "Pain Lands", because when they are tapped for a colored mana they also deal 1 damage to you, although they can be tapped for one colorless mana with no damage dealt. An example is the Adarkar Wastes that can produce W or U (this link is for a 9th Edition version of this card). The second type are known as "Depletion Lands"; when they are tapped for colored mana they get a "depletion counter" on them. If they have a depletion counter on them at the beginning of your turn, you can't untap them, but remove a depletion counter instead. Essentially this means you could only use these lands every other turn. An example is the River Delta that can produce U or B. So both types had a limitation - take a point of damage, or only use every other turn.

In addition to the limitations, a striking difference between these and the original Dual Lands is that there were only 5 of each type of these - only the allied color combinations were made. So there is no Ice Age Pain Land that can make either Red or Blue mana, since Red and Blue are enemy colors. Another important difference is that these lands do not count as both of the basic Land types they mimic. In other words, a River Delta is not an Island or a Swamp, although it can be used to make U or B. The Ice Age Pain Lands were reprinted in 5th Edition, 6th Edition, 7th Edition and 9th Edition (I'm not sure why they were dropped for 8th Edition). All of these lands were Rare cards in Ice Age, as well as when reprinted in the Core Sets.

Homelands had perhaps the least popular of all attempts at making multi-color lands. It had 5 uncommon lands that could be tapped to add one colorless mana to your mana pool, or to turn one mana of any color into a specific colored mana, or to turn 2 mana of any color into an allied color of that specific color. So, for example, Koskun Keep can be tapped to turn 1 mana into R, or to turn two mana into B or G.

In Tempest, the Pain Lands idea was picked up again for a set of Rare cards. This time two significant changes were made compared to the original ones in Ice Age. First of all, an additional limitation was added. These Pain Lands comes into play tapped, so you can't use them immediately upon putting them down. Secondly, again only 5 were made, but this time in the 5 possible enemy color combinations. An example of the Tempest Pain Lands is the Scabland that can produce R or W. Tempest also had 5 uncommon Lands that could be tapped for one colorless mana, or for one of two possible colored manas. If the colored mana was chosen, the Land would not untap the next turn. These are functionally the same as the Depletion Lands from Ice Age without the confusion of dealing with depletion counters. An example is the Mogg Hollows that can add either R or G to your mana pool, but then doesn't untap your on next turn.
The expansion called Invasion introduced two new types of Dual Lands. First there were 5 common lands that could be tapped add one mana of a given color to your mana pool, or be sacrificed to add one each of the two ally colors of that given color to your mana pool. For example the Ancient Spring can be tapped to add one U to your mana pool, or can be tapped and sacrificed to add WB to your mana pool. The second set of lands was a set of 5 uncommon cards that could produce either of two allied colors, but came into play tapped as a limitation. For example the Urborg Volcano comes into play tapped, but thereafter can be tapped to add B or R to your mana pool. These 5 uncommon cards were reprinted in 8th Edition as uncommon cards (for example this 8th Edition Salt Marsh that can produce U or B), I guess to replace the Pain Lands that were taken out after 7th Edition only to be added back in for 9th Edition.

In Apocalypse, it was apparently decided that the additional limitation of coming into play tapped added to the Pain Lands in Tempest was unnecessary, so a new set of 5 enemy color combination Pain Lands was introduced. These are functionally identical to the 5 Pain Lands in Ice Age, except that they combine non-allied colors together. An example is Shivan Reef that can produce either R or U. These 5 Pain Lands have been reprinted in 9th Edition (such as this Yavimaya Coast that can produce G or U). So 9th Edition has a complete set of all 10 possible two-color combination Pain Lands, making it the first Core Set since Revised Edition to have all 10 combinations represented.

Planeshift had an odd twist on the dual land idea. It introduced 5 "Trio Lands", the Lairs of five Legendary Dragons. These Lands required you to return a non-Lair Land you control to its owner's hand when you play them, but they can be tapped to add one of any of the three colors of mana needed to summon that particular Dragon. For example, Crosis' Catacombs can be tapped to add U, B, or R to your mana pool. Crosis, the Purger is a Legendary Dragon that has a casting cost of 3UBR.

An interesting variation of the Dual Land concept was introduced in Odyssey. This set included 5 lands that could be tapped to turn one mana of any color into two mana of allied colors. For example the Darkwater Catacombs could be tapped for one mana of any color (even colorless) to make UB.

Champions of Kamigawa introduced 5 uncommon Lands that were functionally identical to the 5 uncommon lands in Tempest. These lands can produce a colorless mana with no penalty, or one of two allied color manas at a cost of not untapping the next turn. This means that the Pinecrest Ridge from Champions of Kamigawa does exactly the same thing as Mogg Hollows from Tempest.

Now in the Ravnica block of expansions (Ravnica: City of Guilds, Guidpact and Dissension) the whole underlying concept involved 10 Guilds, each representing a melding of two colors of magic. Each Guild had a special rare Dual land that comes close to mimicking the original Dual Lands. Like the originals, each counts as two different basic Lands, and can produce either of the appropriate two mana colors. As a limitation, however, each comes into play tapped unless you pay 2 life when you play it - a nasty upfront cost, but cheaper in the long run than a Pain Land if you use it more than twice. And if you can afford to wait a turn before you use it, then no life cost at all! A good example is the Overgrown Tomb, a Land from Ravnica: City of Guilds that is a Swamp Forest, so can be tapped to add either B or G to your mana pool. Judging by current prices these cards are even more popular than the Pain Lands, and I wouldn't be too surprised if they make their way into a Core Set (maybe 10th Edition?), replacing the Pain Lands in that set.

Each Guild in the Ravnica block sets also had a common Land that was interesting. They come into play tapped, and you have to return a Land you control to its owner's hand when you play it. But thereafter it can be tapped to add two mana to your mana pool, one of each of the Guild's two colors. For example the Izzet Boilerworks from Guildpact adds RU to your mana pool when tapped for mana.

The Time Spiral expansion added 5 new "Mana Battery Dual Lands." This combined two concepts. The Dual Land idea I've been talking about was melded to the "Mana Battery" Land idea first introduced in Fallen Empires. The basic idea here is that these Lands can be tapped at a cost of 1 mana to add a storage counter to them. They can then later be tapped for a price of one mana and you can remove any number of storage counters you want (call it "X"). You can then add X mana to your mana pool, in any combination of two allied mana colors. So, for example, the Calciform Pools can be used to store up mana of any color, and then release the stored mana as either W or U.

Finally, the newest set to be released, Future Sight, introduced five new varieties of "Dual Land", one for each ally-color combination. Each one does something different. Graven Cairns can turn either R or B into RR, BB or a RB. Grove of the Burnwillows can add R or G to your mana pool, but each opponent gains one life (almost the opposite effect as a Pain Land). Horizon Canopy can add G or W to your mana pool, but you have to pay 1 life for the privilege (functionally the same as a Pain Land, but the wording makes the life loss unpreventable). Nimbus Maze can add W to your mana pool only if you control an Island, and U only if you control a Plains. And River of Tears can be tapped to add U to your mana pool, or B instead if you played a Land this turn.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How's Bayou? A look at the Dual Lands.

Okay, at long last, the promised post on the Dual Lands! When I got done writing this, I realized it was WAY too long, so I have split it up into two posts.

Our saga starts way back in the very first edition of Magic, Alpha. In this original set were introduced 10 rare cards, know collectively as the Dual Lands. Each of these land cards counted as two basic Land types, and could be used to produce mana of two different colors. For example, the Bayou (of which I have one up for auction this week) counts as both a Forest and a Swamp, and could be used to make Green mana (G) or Black mana (B).

Since there are five colors of mana possible (see my previous post on the subject), that's 10 possible combinations, and thus the 10 original Dual Lands. These lands are:
  • Badlands (Swamp Mountain)
  • Bayou (Forest Swamp)
  • Plateau (Plains Mountain)
  • Savannah (Plains Forest)
  • Scrubland (Plains Swamp)
  • Taiga (Mountain Forest)
  • Tropical Island (Island Forest)
  • Tundra (Plains Island)
  • Underground Sea (Island Swamp)
  • Volcanic Island (Island Mountain)

These 10 Lands survived through Revised Edition before they were declared too powerful, and taken out of print. They remain immensely popular, however, and the most recent versions from Revised Edition sell right now in the $25-$30 range; ones from Unlimited Edition in the $30-$45 range; and ones from Alpha Edition and Beta Edition sell in excess of $100.

Since they have been taken out of the set, however, several attempts have been made to create Lands that could make multiple colors of mana, with some limitation to them to make them a little less powerful. I'll look at these other attempts in my next post, Dual Lands Part II

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Colors of Magic

I have promised to write a post talking about the Dual Lands for a while now, but I think that in order for that post to make complete sense, a little bit of Magic background is necessary. So, I am going to first present this mini-Magic lesson on the Five Colors of Magic.

If you look at the back of a Magic card you'll see a symbol made of five colored dots (the symbol appears in the extreme left-hand side of my Store logo). These dots represent the five colors of Magic. Starting at the top and working clockwise you have White (although it looks a bit yellowish in the symbol), Blue, Black (appears more brown than Black), Red and Green.

Each of the five colors has its own strengths and weaknesses, its own specialties, if you will, in the type of Spells and Creatures that are available to it. Each has two colors that tend to ally with it, and two that tend to be its enemies. In the symbol, the five colors are arranged so that their allies are adjacent to them (one clockwise, one counterclockwise) and the enemies are across from them. And each color has a basic Land type associated with it, the simplest source of mana (magical energy) of that color.

For example, the color White has specialties in Order and Good. It is allied with Blue (which has a specialty of Reason/Thought, a good companion to Order) and with Green (which has a specialty of Life, a good companion to Good). Its enemies are Red (Chaos) and Black (Evil). White's basic Land type is the Plains.

The table below sums up the five colors and their attributes. Especially relevant to the coming Dual Land discussion is the idea of each color having 2 ally and 2 enemy colors.

ColorBasic LandSpecialtiesAlly ColorsEnemy Colors
White (W)
Order, Good
Blue, Green
Black, Red
Blue (U)
Reason/Thought, Water
Black, White
Red, Green
Black (B)
Death, Evil
Red, Blue
Green, White
Red (R)
Chaos, Fire
Green, Black
White, Blue
Green (G)
Life, Nature
White, Red
Blue, Black

As seen in the Wall Street Journal...

Okay - odd little story for you. It came to my attention that recently a person found this Blog through a link on a Wall Street Journal online article. The article is about a person whose workout regimen involves turning over playing cards to know how many reps of push ups to do. At the very bottom of the page are links to "related Blog articles." I believe this is a rotating thing, so there may no longer be a link to my Blog there, but at one point there was a link to my last store update - I think because the word "card(s)" got used so many times in that post. I was, to say the least, very amused to see "Don's Magic and Sundry" get a mention in the Wall Street Journal.

In other news...the Damnation that I wrote about earlier ended up selling for $16. Not bad. And the winner has already purchased one additional card and may add more to the order. Very nice.

A lot update:

Lot 18 has come in and was VERY disappointing. This was the 1000 card "unsearched" group of cards that the seller was going to add "some rares" to. I think "some" ended up equalling 5. And the rest of the 1000 cards were pretty much all commons and basic lands, no uncommons even. A great waste, and now I know not to buy from that seller again.

Lot 19 has still not arrived form Canada.

Lot 20 showed up - VERY nice. I think 6 of the cards will pay for the Lot, with the remainder being profit. I'm pleased with this one. The cards were not shipped very securely (all three large plastic boxes broke open in the cardboard box, and the cards had spilled out all over). Thankfully there wasn't any noticeable damage to any of the cards.

And there have been three additional Lots added since the last update.

Lot 21 was a couple of hundred cards that I got for the minimum bid of $5 plus $5 shipping. Included were two Foil 7th Edition Thorn Elementals. One was still in the plastic sleeve it came in originally as part of the 7th Edition Starter Pack. This one is up for auction this week. [I also have two cards from Lot 13 up this week: an oversized Starter 1999 Thorn Elemental and a Revised Edition Bayou, one of the Dual Lands that I promise to write about soon.]

Lot 22 looks to be a good deal. Someone had up a set of 1005 rares and 1000 uncommons, with a Buy It Now price of $425, "or best offer". I offered $350. He accepted. At that level he was willing to through in some bonuses as well. I have decided that I need to be much more choosy in my Lot purchases, as I am getting WAY too many common cards that just aren't selling at the new Store. I think I need to put together some Complete Common Sets from the various expansions and auction them off to reduce my stock.

Lot 23 is a group of 80 uncommons from Prophecy purchased from a seller in Las Vegas who has herself purchased from me in the past.

My Future Sight packs have come in, and I got enough cards to have at least one of every common and uncommon card, and well over half of the rares. Those will get up in the store eventually.

So, basically, I am busy, busy, busy right now. Thousands upon thousands of cards to process and get up in the two stores.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The USPS and shipping changes

On May 14, the United States Postal Service (USPS) changed a good deal about their shipping policies. What's very well known (at least here in the states) is that the basic first class stamp price went up two cents from $0.39 to $0.41. Still a far cry cheaper than any postage system anywhere else in the world, from what I understand, but since the rate went up from $0.37 to $0.39 just over a year ago (in January 2006) you can understand why there's some grumbling.

But more significantly, at least for me, were some major changes that affect how I ship things.

First of all, international shipping has been completely revamped. There no longer is such a thing as "Airmail Letter Post", which is how I used to send my cards to non-US customers. Now there is what they call "USPS International First Class". It's slightly more expensive (that rate went up as did all the others), but more importantly it means that EVERY SINGLE EBAY LISTING I HAVE IS MESSED UP! Every card I had up in the store listed "Airmail Letter Post" as a shipping option. Now that this does not exist, I have to edit every one of these listings and add the new International First Class option. I would think it would be easy enough for eBay to just edit this automatically, but NO, that's not how they do things. To make matters worse, if I have listed say 10 copies of a card as a single listing, and one has sold, I can no longer edit anything except the quantity and price of the item. So anything like this I have to end the listing and relist (being hit with a listing fee again). And remember that I have in excess of 3000 cards listed, so this is going to take a while. eBay's bulk editor doesn't really do me too much good because of the number of cards that have to be taken down and relisted. One bright note is that because of all the recent stock I've added to the store (see my previous post), I have to edit a lot of these listings any way to add the new inventory, so it's just one more thing to edit.

The other major pain is that in addition to raising the rate for first class mail, the USPS has also changed how they charge for items. Now your postage depends not just on the weight of the item, but it's size as well. There's a postcard rate, a regular envelope rate, a large envelope rate and a parcel rate - all for first class. If I send a single card in a puffy envelope, it's less than one ounce. But I can't send it for $0.41 - it's classified as a "large envelope" because it's larger than 1/4 inch thick. If it were over 3/4 inch thick it's classified as a parcel - even if it's under 1 ounce! And to add insult to injury, in order to get the nifty tracking number I get when I print shipping labels through PayPal, I have to send it at the parcel rate even though it isn't that thick(technically you can't get a tracking number for first class large envelope). So what used to cost me $0.66 to mail ($0.39 for postage, $0.13 for a "nonstandard envelope" and $0.14 for a tracking number) now costs me $1.31 ($1.13 for the first class parcel rate and $0.18 for a tracking number). Basically my shipping doubled!

Now, I only charge my customers what it costs me to mail these cards, so I'm not a seller who gouges on shipping to make money. But it certainly seems that way now to a potential buyer, I'm afraid! I may have to decide to do away with the PayPal labels and tracking numbers and drop down to hand-addressed "first class large envelope" rates. That would only be $0.80 for an envelope under one ounce.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Damnation - the Black Wrath of God

One of the really cool things about the latest sets of Magic, the Time Spiral block (Time Spiral, Planar Chaos and Future Sight) is the Timeshifted cards each set has. I think I'll save a more detailed explanation for another time, but suffice to say that in Planar Chaos we were introduced to versions of cards that might have been, in some alternate reality.

One of the most popular is called Damnation. What makes it so popular is that it is not only an alternate version of one of the more popular cards in the game, Wrath of God, but it's also in what is arguably the most popular color to play, Black.

Damnation is identical to Wrath of God in all ways except the mana needed to cast it. Instead of 2WW (2 mana of any color plus two White mana) it costs 2BB (2 of any color plus two Black). The artwork is even fitting - it is essentially a negative image of the Wrath of God artwork first introduced in 7th Edition. And it should be - it's by the same artist, Kev Walker.

Both cards destroy all Creatures in play, and they can't be Regenerated. It's a great way to clear the battlefield and then launch a bunch of your own Creatures (preferably ones with Haste so they can attack right away). And in a Black deck this is even better because Black has all sorts of Spells that manipulate the graveyard, either requiring that you remove a Creature there from the game, or allowing you to reanimate it. Nothing like obliterating your opponent's nastiest Creature, then taking control of it for yourself using something like Animate Dead.

So, of course, if I'm highlighting this card there must be a reason, right? You guessed it - I've got one up for auction right now. It should, I hope, end up going for over $10, maybe upwards of $15 or so. I will of course report back after the auction closes on Sunday (May 27).

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Lot 11, where are you????

Okay, I promised a Store update for those who really get into these things (of course, I promised the "Create your own Dragon Cycle" as well, and we see how well THAT'S gone!).

The truth is that I've been extraordinarily busy of late. First it was with class stuff - my last week of classes had two take-home tests, two research papers, a lab notebook for two courses and then studying for two finals in the same day. Oy! But I got A's in both classes, so I can't complain too much, I suppose.

Anyway, what with all of that and not getting my contract renewed with my writing gig, I'm back to having lots of free time and no regular source of income. So, why not try to make this store stuff really work I think to myself. How to do that? Better advertising for one (thus the return to the Blog, and the recent more search engine friendly URLs at but also....MORE STOCK! That's right - I decided that getting in more cards that would draw in customers would help. So, I went on a little bit of a buying spree. Here's how it happened...

It actually started with a 5000+ card lot from someone in New York. Lot 11, as it was to be called, included many unopened booster packs and what looked to be very nice cards. So, I bid that sucker up to like $314 and won (it included free shipping), and paid immediately. I waited. And waited. No word from the seller. Finally, after two weeks and several unanswered emails, I filed a complaint with PayPal. That then led to a claim (or is it the other way around?). Anyway, I finally got my money back from PayPal so at least nothing was lost. But Lot 11 will never be.

BUT, this freed up money which I had, in my mind at least, already spent. SO, off to look for more bargains.

First I found a whole bunch of cards from a variety of sets by this one guy. I put in minimal bids, figuring if I lost, no big deal. Instead, I won several, and got lots of good cards from Ice Age, Alliances, and Mirage that have been dubbed Lot 12.

Next I found a group that had two sets of 1000+ cards each, who obviously knew nothing about Magic. They had bought a Scrye magazine to identify the cards, and had misidentified cards in the reprint series Chronicles as being from the original sets Arabian Nights, Antiquities Legends, and The Dark. They did, however, have an (almost?) entire set of the Deckmasters special boxed set (including the metal tin it originally came in). These cards are in Near Mint condition and very hard to find. Lot 13 also included one of the Revised Edition dual lands, Bayou. I think the dual lands will be the subject of their own Blog entry someday...

Lot 14 was a set of 460 Rare cards that someone was trying to sell for the second time. He had a reserve price on the thing, but someone had asked him how much it was, and he published the answer - $100. I bid high enough to be the "high bidder" but not win it. I hoped he'd extend to me a Second Chance Offer for my high bid - and he did. Woo-hoo! This is the Lot that produced the two Flash cards I wrote about last time.

I found a guy who was selling his collection of Coldsnap cards. He basically had the contents of an entire booster box worth of these, up for sale as three lots - one of all the commons and uncommons, and two for rares. No-one had bid on any of them, so I was able to get them for the minimum bids. With shipping the whole thing (around 540 cards, including 30 rares) came to about $17. So the commons from Lot 15 are up at the new store and the rares and uncommons are up on eBay. This included a copy of a card called Ohran Viper that should hopefully sell for $14, almost paying for the entire set by itself.

Lot 16 was a huge collection of over 4500 cards that I got for a little over $60 plus $30 for shipping. FedEx delivered these babies from California, and I'm still working on sorting them all out. LOTS of Black cards, and lots of repeats. Many are in obviously played condition and may not be sellable in my opinion. These often go to my older son, who is loving learning to play Magic and even beats his Dad sometimes.

When a new set is released these days, Wizards of the Coast likes to set up and sell pre-made "Theme Decks" that you can open up, shuffle, and play right away. You are guaranteed to get the same batch of cards in every box of the same Theme Deck, so there's no surprises. I bought a box of unopened Planar Chaos theme decks, broke them open and am selling them individually. Except for two I set aside for my son and I to play with :-) This was Lot 17.

Lot 18 is a set of 1000 cards which hasn't come in yet. I have emailed the seller and he apologized for the delay - he had said in the listing that he was selling an "unsearched" collection for a friend (meaning he supposedly hadn't pick through and gotten all the best stuff out), and to make sure that there were rares included he was going to through in some from his own collection. He had almost mailed them without remembering those, he says, so he had to break out his binders and pull those. Thus the delay. I hope there's some goodies in there when it gets here.

Lot 19 is a set of 310 rares from someone in Canada. They also haven't yet arrived, but given that they're from out of the country, this isn't a panic area yet.

And, finally, Lot 20 is a whole bunch of cards which includes a Chaos Orb (a very cool long out of print card) and some others, judging by the photo, that should turn a nice profit. However, they were supposedly sent out from New York on Friday 5/11 and still aren't here by Saturday 5/19 - over a week to travel halfway down the east coast? Seems excessive....

In addition to Lots 12-20, I've also purchased over 250 unopened booster packs that I have lumped into "Lot 7" for bookkeeping purposes. This includes a whole box of 8th Edition and an unopened box of the brand new (just released in early May) set called Future Sight.

So, in other words, now that I tally it up, I have purchased in the last two weeks around about 10,000 additional cards for the Stores.

Hulk Flash! A new deck that has some older cards suddenly worth something!

I'll later get to a post getting everyone up to date on recent happenings here at The Sundry (short version: I'm now up to Lot 20, and am currently buried in 6000+ new cards that need to be processed and added to the inventory) but first I wanted to share an oddity that I discovered while processing Lot 14.

Lot 14 consisted of 460 rare cards - a nice little set. In there were included two copies of a card card Flash - one of the original copies from Mirage, and another copy of the reprinted version in Sixth Edition. When I went to list these two I was very surprised to find a feeding frenzy of sorts going on with this card right now. So, being as curious as George I decided to investigate.

It turns out that the official errata to the card, which made it a good deal less effective with certain combinations, has been revoked, allowing someone to find a combination that can, typically, result in a win on the first or second turn of the game.

The deck hinges upon two cards, the above-mentioned Flash and Protean Hulk from Dissension, thus the name Hulk Flash (a take off on the immortal "Hulk smash!" battle-cry of the green Goliath in Marvel Comics, presumably). Other important cards in the deck are Phyrexian Marauder from Visions, Shifting Wall from Stronghold and Disciple of the Vault from Mirrodin.

The basic gist of the deck is that you cast Flash, which allows you to pay the casting cost of a Creature -2 mana as an instant, and puts the Creature into the graveyard if you do not. You use Flash to cast Protean Hulk, but do not pay the mana cost. When Protean Hulk goes to your graveyard, you are allowed to find any number of Creature cards in your library with total casting cost no greater than 6 and put them into play. You grab four Disciples of the Vault (total casting cost 4) and four Shifting Walls and 4 Phyrexian Marauders (both are Artifact Creatures that have casting costs equal to X - any amount of mana you wish). When Creatures with X in the casting cost are brought into play in this manner, X is equal to 0. Since both of these are 0/0 Creatures that come into play with X +1/+1 counter on them, and X is 0, they therefore get zero +1/+1 counters, die immediately and go to your graveyard. Disciple of the Vault allows you to have target player lose 1 life whenever an Artifact is put into a graveyard from play. You just put in 8 Artifact Creatures, and you have 4 Disciples of the Vault in play...BAM! Your opponent loses 32 life right there. Since you start the game with only 20 life....

Incredibly nasty, incredibly fast and also incredibly difficult to stop. Ergo, everybody wants one! So the key pieces of the engine have become very popular, with prices to match. Mystery solved. If you'd like to read a bit more on this deck, here's the article I read when researching the thing.