The Watchtower 4/23/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs


By: Travis Allen

Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.

Dominaria’s prerelease brought players out in droves, and while we’ve got no official numbers on attendance (and I doubt we ever will), anecdotally it was a smashing success. Not only does the set have plenty of juice for the average player who’s joined within the last few years, it’s also a massive dump of nostalgia for the long time player. Not only have you got most of the crew of the Weatherlight in Karn, Jhoira, and Teferi, but there’s mountains of incidental references waiting to be gobbled up. One that struck me was Bloodtallow Candle, which includes the skull from Profane Momento, a forgettable uncommon artifact from Magic 2015. Who the heck needed that throwback? Nobody. But it was cool!

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Early Movement on Dominaria

The week between the full set being previewed and prereleases happening is the time when prices start to move.

The earliest adopters are trying hard to get their cards in hand for the very first events, but one thing to note recently is that now prereleases happen at the same time for both online and in paper.

That means this week, we will start to see what’s in demand. What are people eager to build? Keep an eye on the online world, and be ready.

As for prereleases, I stand by this advice: Trade away everything you open. Most of it’s going down in price, but there’s some that are bucking the trend.


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Cliff is an avid Cuber and Commander player, and has a deep love for weird ways to play this amazing game, as well as being guest host on MTGFF when needed. His current project is a light-up sign for attracting Cubers at GPs, so get his attention @wordofcommander on Twitter if you’ve got ideas or designs.

Unlocked Pro Trader: We Don’t Have to Guess

There are so many cards in this set that I think have the power to move prices based on brand new archetypes being built but I think we can take a week off of trying to get that far ahead of the crowd. I’m gambling that Reddit is wrong when it says that speculators have figured out EDH and now we don’t have the luxury of waiting for data from EDHREC, Yeah, sure, speculators bought a lot of copies of Raksha, Golden Cub, so congrats on being ahead of the curve. You even bought foils so you wouldn’t get blown out by the reprint. Did they predict that 40% of decks running Mirri as the commander would run Leonin Abunas? Did they forsee a 33% spike in the price of Reconnaissance? Or did they just buy a bunch of kitty cats and I made money on cards like Hateflayer, Shakuu, Endbringer and Tree of Perdition because I waited to see what people were actually going to play?

The downside to this approach is we need to kill some time waiting for people to brew, build and register and since the set isn’t out until this weekend, they haven’t done any of that, yet. Do we twiddle out thumbs in the mean time? I maintain that we do not actually do that, because we have some data to look at already. It’s not even based on the printing of a new commander either, but rather a lowly common, non-Legendary creature that happens to be special because it’s only the third card like it ever. We don’t have to guess what’s going to happen because it’s already happened twice. Let’s drill down.

The Card in Question


This is a card that in a lot of situations seems better than Relentless Rats. Its toughness doesn’t get a buff, but that’s secondary to the fact that this scales off of all rats meaning its lower casting cost is more important than the toughness boost. Accordingly, this is good in both a Ripple Rats build but also a more general Rats build and the cards for both likely have upside given the new interest. Making a ton of Pack Rats boosts Rat Colony as well, something you can’t say for Relentless Rats opening up potential hybrid builds. I think there is a lot that could have upside, here.

First but not least –

Thrumming Stone

Reluctant to go up much, this card is snagged as a 4-of by 60-card casual players and is unlikely to see a reprinting anytime soon given how narrow and specialized it is. It’s got a bad ability in EDH except for in this very rare instance. Could you print this in an EDH precon? I’m not paying $40 MSRP for a precon with 30 Relentless Rats in it, personally, though some might. This also has spillover into Shadowborn Apostle decks which get a new Demon every once in a while, most recently (A year ago? Wow. That was the last time I got a preview card, last year in Vegas.) Razaketh. Really, though, there are a finite number of these and Arcum Dagsson shows how quickly Coldsnap cards can disappear when there is renewed interest. I think this can’t stay below $10 much longer.

Coat of Arms

I shudder to think how much this card would need to be printed for it to go under $5 and stay there. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, fortunately, and while this card has been quiet for a while, recent interested in tribal decks should give it some upside. Tribal is always going to be a thing and it’s hard to imagine this getting printed hard enough to completely tank it or becoming obsolete. Every Coat variant that comes along tries to give you some additional value but nothing really comes close to being good enough that you won’t run this in your deck. It’s going some printings but it’s also got some upside regardless of whether a single Rats deck gets built.

Patriarch’s Bidding

This is a card that is going to cycle until it’s reprinted. Is there any hurry to reprint it? There doesn’t seem to be, and that’s an issue. This is going to go up again next time there is a juicy chance to reprint it, maybe even as soon as Commander 2018 and it’s not reprinted. I don’t like paying $18 hoping to get out at $25 especially with a non-zero amount of reprint risk, but much like the people who buy Stoneforge Mystic every year before B&R and sell into the B&R hype for free money, you can probably get these at their floor and make money on them one more time when this is inevitably not in Commander 2018. I don’t expect a tribal theme in Commander 2018 per se, but this card will go back up next time there’s a whiff of tribal stuff happening and if you think it won’t get reprinted at the same time, that’s free money. This is risky but so is all MTG Finance speculation and I just felt I would be remiss if I didn’t remind us all that this is a thing that happens.

Soul Foundry

My favorite use for this is putting Biovisionary into play, but you can make rats in a pinch. Combine with untap effects for more hilarity.  Not much to say other than that the graph for this looks awful and I’m not sure why. It could be renewed interest in Ripple Rats that kicks this in the ass because it sure needs it.

The Relentless Rats EDHREC Page yielded these interesting cards. I could spend next week checking out the Shadowborn Apostle page but I think next week I want to get into a deck like Jodah with some data. In the mean time, feel free to find some interesting cards I missed and ask me about them in the comments. That does it for me this week – it feels like we’re in a bit of a holding pattern but that doesn’t mean we can’t use our time wisely and think to the future a bit. That does it for me this week. Until next time!

The Watchtower 4/16/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen

Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy. And if you enjoy playing Magic, make sure to visit to find PPTQs, SCG Opens, and more events on an interactive map with worldwide coverage. Find Magic near you today.

If you blinked, you would have missed it — Inventions have been eaten up all over the place. It’s a fevered madness right now; even Planar Bridges are selling for nearly $100. And I don’t mean copies are listed for $100, I mean they’re selling for $100. If there are any Masterpieces you wanted that you haven’t acquired yet, stop waiting. I’m not promising that they’re all going to skyrocket in price, but I can promise that they’re not getting any cheaper.

Other than that, we’re all hanging around waiting for Dominaria’s prerelease this coming weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it break sales records, with many long-time players that are partially retired thinking about re-entering the fray. It’s basically Time Spiral 2, and nostalgia is a powerful motivating factor.

Courser of Kruphix (Foil)

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $20

Courser is well understood by now, even if he was missed as hard as a card can be missed when he first came around. After shaping Standard for awhile he was called up to the big leagues, and is now a prominent feature in both Modern and EDH. In the former he’s a mainstay in value decks, with the latest iteration popularized by Todd Stevens. Meanwhile Gabe Nassif is on Twitter posting a similar style deck and calling it the best of the format.

Masters 25 brought a Courser reprint, adding a fresh chunk of foils to the supply. Not too many though, it would seem. There are only about twenty foil M25 copies available on TCG right now. There’s a few less BOG copies than that, and maybe thirty of the promo available. Consider what we know of the demand. It’s all coming from EDH (12,000+ decks) and Modern. Both formats are packed with fans of foils. Pair that with the Modern decks’ relatively inexpensive card set, and foiling out Value Town is more appealing than it may be if you’re playing something like Jund, or anything with Jace in it.

Foil prices depend on which edition you’re looking at, with the cheapest around $6. BOG foils are the most expensive right now (which is unsurprising). Promo foils are still quite cheap, and probably my favorite of the three. They’ve got different art, and are a better card stock than the M25 copies.

Krark-Clan Ironworks

Price Today: $10
Possible Price: $25

This is hardly going to strike anyone as a novel concept, given that the deck won the GP yesterday, but Krark-Clan Ironworks should be on your radar. Supply was low before, and as of this morning it doesn’t appear there’s been too deep a run on it yet. There’s maybe 15 copies on TCG right now, which I don’t think is much less than there was on Friday.

We’ve learned several times that weird Modern decks have trouble keeping prices up on key pieces (think Ad Nauseam). As such, I don’t expect Ironworks to spike and stay spiked after this weekend. However, that doesn’t mean we should discount it entirely. In Aether Revolt the deck picked up Scrap Trawler, which is an important inclusion. There’s now a demonstrable loop for basically infinite mana and card draw, which helps make piloting the deck a lot more manageable.

Another wrinkle is that this is basically the first time we’ve seen Ironworks hammer home an event, and part of that is because the deck is nigh unpilotable on MODO. People try, but I’m told it takes Conley around twenty minutes to execute. Given how unwieldly it is online, it’s remained a much larger question mark, since it can’t be put through the grinder in the space of a few weeks in the same way that most other lists can. Maybe the deck is insane and broken, and we just haven’t been able to get the reps in to figure that out yet?

That’s the angle for Ironworks, basically. That it’s actually busted, and is going to keep succeeding, and we just haven’t known about it because it’s too hard to play on MODO. A few more good placements and then people will start to pay attention, and prices will follow.

Mox Amber

Price Today: $30
Possible Price: $50

I don’t get much more speculative than this. Preorders for the new mythic Mox — the first since Mox Opal in Scars of Mirrodin, nearly eight years ago — are hanging around $25 to $30. That’s definitely a price point that offers the possibility of real returns.

While I’m not positive, I suspect Amber is going to be similar to Opal in the long run. It’s easy to quickly come to the conclusion that it’s too difficult to make use of. “How will you get three artifacts in play before turn three?” wasn’t an uncommon question back in the SOM days. Yet here we are, with Opal being one of the cards closest to the ban list in Modern.

Late last night a list (thanks Liz) popped up in my feed of a Standard combo deck using Paradoxical Outcome, Aetherflux Reservoir, Paradoxical Engine, Mox Amber, Baral, and some other artifacts. That’s the type of strategy that can potentially abuse the heck out of Mox Amber. And it’s definitely not something people were weighing the possibility of when they were complaining about the card four hours after it was spoiled.

Am I recommending you spec at $30? No. I’m not buying any yet myself. Be aware of it though, as it could go from zero to sixty real quick.

Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.