More Mistakes Were Made

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Last week I cleverly hid the card I wanted to talk about from you so you would have to scroll down to see which card I thought was probably a mistake in the set. This week I promised to talk about the other card I think was a mistake. I could hide the pic and make you scroll, but that would be totally pointless. I already told you I think Kydele, Prophet of Kruphix on steroids was the other mistake last week. I can’t imagine telling you that information and then reminding you in this paragraph that I told you that information will leave any doubt in anyone’s mind that we’re going to talk about Kydele today. If I remember to do it, I’m going to make the thumbnail for the article a picture of Kydele, also. Why am I even doing any of this? Oh well, here goes.

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kydelechosenofkruphix

ARE YOU SURPRISED?!
ACT SURPRISED.

Yeah, we’re going to talk about this card because while this card may not have been a huge mistake, it certainly seems pushed in terms of power level just because the ability to tap for hella mana is a real thing and there is already an infrastructure set up to take advantage of this card that will only get better. Do you add one or two other colors? Do you pair Kydele with Thraisos? That would certainly be potent. Access to other colors would be cool but so would channeling that dirty colorless mana into vomiting all of your land onto the battlefield. I think Kydele has a lot to offer and we’ll be using EDHREC again to see what people are doing and what they will be doing. We’ll have a bit of time to pick these cards up so let’s dig in now to make sure we’re ahead of the curve, shall we? How do we win games with Kydele?

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This is the most obvious card. I’ve been bullish on gods for a minute, and this was in my top 5 (Purphoros, Xenagos, Heliod and Erebos were the others I liked, for the record). This serves as a mana battery for your mana generated by Kydele, it’s in your colors, it doesn’t die to basically any removal and it lets you draw with the same reckless abandon you generate mana with, which is good since you need to draw a lot of cards at once to make Kydele worth it and that means you’ll draw them faster than you can use them. This card and Kydele were designed to work hand-in-hand so there’s no reason why Kydele getting built won’t result in more Kruphixes being sold. This card has already doubled in price since its low point at rotation and is one of the most popular EDH commanders out of the cycle of gods, not to mention a popular addition in the 99 of other decks. You could build Kruphix as a deck and jam Kydele in it or vice versa. Any card that’s a good general as well as being a good addition to the 99 of other decks have additional upside that other cards don’t have. This card does literally everything you want to have done in a Kydele deck and you’re insane if you don’t play it. Is $6 a good entry point for this card? That depends – how likely is a reprint? I don’t think it’s all that likely, personally, and I’m pretty bullish. I’m less bullish at $6 than I was at $3, but that’s OK because this card has upside moving forward and upside means $6 is probably OK. Worst case scenario this doesn’t go beyond like $8 and you end up having to trade it for a pile of specs. Best case scenario, Kruphix goes to like $12 and you’re happy if you bought in at $6 or ecstatic that you bought in at $3. This is a must-have card for this deck.

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Oh, hai infinite manas. How are joo? I’m preddy gud, I’m jus builden deck. You go in deck? Gud, you do that.

Look at this graph. None of this very healthy-looking growth was predicated on the face that they were going to print another creature that could potentially tap for more than 3 mana. Bloom Tender did that already, but that was pretty difficult to put together. Compare that to the “Did you manage to play a Brainstorm this turn?” checklist you get with Kydele. Play a Brainstorm, get infinite mana with Umbral Mantle. You can’t beat that with a Thornbite Staff. No, seriously, you can’t. Umbral Mantle is way better with Kydele than Thornbite Staff is, unless you have infinite mana already, then I guess it’s an OK way to kill every creature and player at the table.

So if none of this growth is predicated on Kydele, does that mean this card was going to grow steadily anyway? Pretty much. Untap symbol stuff is reprint-resistant and Shadowmoor has a ton of expensive uncommons because Wizards didn’t anticipate the player base would grow as much as it did when they introduced Planeswalkers. They printed a Future Sight amount of cards for a Lorwyn amount of demand and players at the cards up. Cursecatcher is $10 for crying out loud. Mantle is lowish supply relative to cards that came out even a year later, it was already growing because it did degenerate things and the supply is relatively low on TCG Player. $3 may feel like an awkward entry point for an uncommon, but I assure you, it’s a good buy. It almost has to be. Without Kydele, this card was headed to $6 or $7 so with Kydele, expect it to get there much earlier. Earlier means we can cash out earlier and use the profit for other specs. Or put the profit up your nose, I’m not the police. You want to know what’s even harder to reprint than this card?

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The foil is basically sold out everywhere. The cheapest I see them is like $8 and there are very few of them. You have a few good opportunities, here. This card makes infinite mana and is part of a two card combo, the other half of which starts the game in your command zone. There are myriad ways to use the mana and we don’t need to go into mana sinks too much since there are so many cheap ones that the expensive ones aren’t a necessity unless they’re very good and hard to deal with (more on that later) but the ways to generate a lot of mana are harder to come by and deserve a look. Mantle is a slam dunk, here. Kydele is giving us a lot of obvious cards, but that’s only because Kydele shouldn’t have been printed.

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For whatever reason, this card isn’t as popular as Umbral Mantle when you’re almost always using it the exact same way. Is Umbral Mantle that much better because we want to make it huge and attack with it? Probably not, meaning Sword here is another copy of Mantle. That’s good because this one is under a buck, and that’s not entirely because of its recent Commander set printing. This card just got overlooked. If it becomes less overlooked later, there is some upside. I’m obviously less encouraged by its price trend than I am by that of Umbral Mantle, but the buy-in is lower and the foils didn’t get reprinted.

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The spread has been relatively low here and maybe this was the minor boot in the ass the foil price needed to get moving. Supply is lowish on these and this could be just the impetus the card was waiting for. It plateaued because there was no real reason to play this but now I’d argue there is. Because, you know, infinite mana.

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A strategy I have developed for EDH players who aren’t really interested in finance but wish the format were more affordable is to buy double orders of everything. You want a Perolous Forays? Buy two so you don’t have to buy later when the price might be higher and you have to repay shipping. Like the idea of using Debtors’ Knell? Buy two and keep one to trade or sell later. If you double your order you make out like a bandit if the card goes up and you’re picking specs based on your own needs which means at least someone has confidence in the card. It’s a good way to realize instead of buying one copy of Helix Pinnacle for $3 and not wanting to take it out of the deck when it hits $8, you have a free Helix Pinnacle and $10 profit. I didn’t develop this strategy for my own use years ago when I bought my wife her Pinnacle for her Omnath deck. I don’t like having to pay $8 for these, now, but I also know it will be more later. Pinnacle is tricky to reprint and is a casual player’s wet dream. The foil has a 3x multiplier and that’s even tougher to reprint but since Pinnacle seems a little more casual, I feel like you’ll have a tough time selling a $24 foil to a guy with a $24 deck and no sleeves. Obviously there is demand, and a 3x multiplier means the price of the foil will diverge a little as time goes on, a lot if there is new demand for the card, and a lot a lot if the non-foil is in a Commander set and the foil is not. Buy at your own risk, obviously, but Pinnacle is dope and it’s a great way to win the game just by generating a ton of mana.

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This has so much combo potential that it’s going to grow eventually. This is far from an EDH staple. In fact, this is an interesting card to look at on EDHREC and see if there is a way we can see how people are using it.

Here is the link to click. Open it in a new tab so you don’t close this article. Look at me, telling you how to click links. There is a lot of information on this page and a lot more we can glean just by knowing a little bit about this format.

First and foremost, Narset and Mizzix and Niv-Mizzet are the main decks using this card. Jhoira and Kruphix use it, also. Those seem like two classifications of deck – Jhoira and Narset are cheating this card onto the stack and Mizzix is reducing the cost, meaning these decks aren’t trying to pay 11 mana for this spell. Niv-Mizzet is casting it for its mana cost as is Kruphix. Those decks don’t care about paying the full cost because it’s part of a combo – Niv-Mizzet shotgun blasts opponents in the face with each card drawn and Kruphix find the combo pieces it needs or wins with Lab Maniac. We figured out several ways to win with this card we might or might not have known before literally by looking at the list of which commanders run this card the most.

Scrolling down, we see that 49% of the decks that run Enter the Infinite also run Laboratory Maniac. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Enter the Infinite will increase in price just because Laboratory Maniac will, but we have established a correlation between the two cards and their prices likely will at least be correlated in increasing. Even if we don’t glean anything else from this page, we got a lot of information in under a minute. I’d recommend you check the page for a card if you see it start to increase in price and don’t know why from non-EDH formats. Chances are the answer will stare you in the face.

Enter the Infinite also has a 5x foil multiplier which means people are aware this card has potential. Being a mythic from a terrible set like Gatecrash also helps put upward pressure on the price. I would grab these in every trade I can. What I like to do is have a list of $1 cards to target when the trade is off by $1. Sometimes I grab the same one in every binder I see. If they have 4 copies of the card I will pull it out and try to get it in the trade but if they have 1 copy, I’ll try and grab it if the trade is off by $1. You can make a stack of these for basically nothing since people value this at “throw-in” and when this is $5 in a year and everyone is surprised, you have 20 or 30 of them that you got basically for free.

Anyway, the Kydele EDHREC page has a full accounting of the cards people are using most often alongside Kydele. Be advised – it skews heavily toward cards in the same precon deck, and that’s to be expected. Look for the unexpected cards. Anything that isn’t being played in a ton of decks but is very good is an opportunity to get it before anyone else notices.

I don’t know what we’ll talk about next week, but I’m pretty sure we’ll all make a ton of money. Until then!

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3 thoughts on “More Mistakes Were Made”

  1. Great article, as always, Jason! Do you think that MM2017 could have an untap theme for Limited purposes (like they did with Arcane or Metalcraft) that might see an Umbral Mantle reprint?

  2. Okay, so I finally got to build a Kydele deck… And it is no joke how busted she is. Not only does she come partnered with someone who allows to use all the mana (spoiler: it’s Thrasios), but there are so many ways to abuse her, it is not even funny anymore. Apart from Umbral Mantle, Sword of the Paruns and Staff of Domination, you could use stuff like Aphetto Alchemist + Illusionist’s Bracers (clunky) or (and this is waaaay better) Retreat to Coralhelm (which is awesome with Thrasios, believe me). Add some ramp and card-draw and you will be playing your whole deck more often than not.

    I can not say if she is competitive or not (especially in Duel Commander) since my list if far from tuned, but the games I have played so far were ridiculous. Even if you gang up on her, there is almost no stopping this.

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