Untap Tribal

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Tap abilities are pretty common on cards. A gatherer search for cards with tap abilities annoys the actual bejesus out of gatherer and it sends you a bunch of viruses instead of your search results because go $^%& yourself trying to search for every card with a tap ability, you nerd. There are 16,505 unique Magic cards and probably a third of them are permanents with tap abilities. That seems high. Even if it’s a fifth, that’s still 3,300 cards with tap abilities and searching through all of them would be super annoying. Why are we even bothering to think about doing that, anyway?

Well, Wizards went and printed a card that makes you take a second look at cards that tap because it untaps them. It untaps them well, and it untaps them often. What’s that? Do I mean Prophet of Kruphix? No, suckers. I mean a card that untaps all of your non-land cards way more often. Try every time you play a spell.  You all know the card I mean. A few weeks I said I didn’t think it was bannable but now I’m not so sure. Have you played with this card? You know the one I mean.

This sucker.

I didn’t think Standard would be as keen on this card as they were Panharmonicon and I think I may have underestimated how much Standard seems to love jamming seemingly EDH cards. You may have to wait longer than we’d anticipated for these to get cheaper (they almost assuredly will and they will almost assuredly go back up, also) but that’s OK because speculating on the price of Paradox Engine isn’t really what we do here. I’m way more interested in what it’s going to do to the price of other cards and I think I have a few excellent candidates.

While Prophet of Kruphix annoyed people by letting us take every turn by virtue of untapping our mana and letting us play spells as though they had flash, Engine doesn’t aim to stick around, necessarily. Prophet was a card you played, fought over and hoped to stick so you could get a small advantage on their turns. Engine plays a lot differently. You almost never play it until you’re ready to go off and when you do, you win on the spot, usually. If you don’t, you aim to cripple their resources so badly that they never recover. There are a lot of ways to win with Paradox Engine, and they’re all going to get a boost if Engine isn’t banned.

I don’t see this as super reprintable for whatever reason. I feel like we discussed this before Commander 2016 and it didn’t get reprinted in C16 so we have AT LEAST another year on this. I am bullish on this going without reprint for quite a while and if it does, it’s going to continue going up a few bucks a year, possibly at an accelerating rate. This card wins the game with infinite mana, something that we can easily achieve with Kydele. Did we discuss this when Kydele was spoiled? Well, I still like it at its current price. Let’s move on to some less obvious cards in the same vein, possibly ones that don’t require infinite mana.

Do you remember why this hit $30? I consider myself a pretty decent MTG Finance historian but for the life of me I can’t remember what happened here. That goofy spike makes it pretty tough to see what’s up lately.

That is clearer, but it’s also a little disappointing. Whatever made the card spike, it’s clearly done happening. The card is going lower and lower as dealers left holding the bag try to sell out. The good news is that Paradox Engine lets you steal everyone at the table’s lands which is hilarious. Druid decks aren’t that bad considering a lot of good elves are both elves and druids, meaning you can basically be an elf deck that randomly takes all of their lands. You’re mana ramping a ton with all of your elf druid mana dorks and you can generate a lot of mana, meaning you will be able to play spell after spell. With all of their lands under your control, you can either sac them or use them for mana – it’s up to you. The important thing is that supply of this card is beginning to wiggle and after the wiggle comes the waggle and after that comes the “When did this become $7?” which is where this could easily go.

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Remember, this is a second spike on a card that people convinced themselves they could buy at $15 and still profit. When a card spikes this profoundly, lots of people notice and lots of people noticing means lots of people root the loose copies out of their hiding places. They cruise by a ton of LGSs and find them in binders and boxes and flip them to a buylist for $8 or whatever which is fine since they paid $2 each. Dealers who paid $8 each gradually lower the price when they can’t even out them at retail for a profit. If this card does get renewed interest off of Paradox Engine toomfoolery, a second spike will be harder and faster and you’ll have less time to react. I recommend being proactive, here. I think this could end up being a real mover based on Engine decks and elves being nutty in general. There is another factor to the rise of mono green, if you ask me.

This is giving a lot of decks that were a little inconsistent a second look because this smooths a lot of draws out and gets you a lot of extra cards. If you’re dumping your hand and untapping all of your mana dorks, this keeps the party going. This pairs very nicely with Paradox Engine and I think this is one of the best ways to spend $1 right now. I want roughly 1,000 of these so I can throw them at buylists when this is suddenly $6 in a year or two because of how stupid it is. I don’t know how likely a reprint is, so this seems like a great card to trade for. I’m not inclined to pay cash, yet, but I feel like if you can out a Standard card  that’s like $4 and bound to go down for a set of these, these can retain value better and if they really go up quickly, you quadruple your gains because you have four times the exposure to upside.  I’m sure I recommend this course of action a lot. There’s a reason for it. It makes money. Bestiary is a good card in its own right, but with green having the most mana dorks, I feel like it also has the best Paradox Engine synergy. Other colors surely do, also, but this has the best if you ask me. It’s good since other colors get buyback spells and all green has is Wurmcalling.

Speaking of which, here’s another potential second spike.  Buyback spells are very good with Engine and this is probably the best of them. It’s something non-green. If I am recommending other colors, blue has a $12 DCI foil Capsize and a $6 foil Timeshifted Whispers of the Muse to pair with Paradox Engine. White has… Evangelize? Also, like no mana dorks, so good luck going off with Evangelize and, like, Marble Diamond. I built a Kydele and Thraisos deck with Paradox Engine and Capsize is the dirtiest way to go off, ever. If they can’t stop you, you bounce them back to the stone age. Whispers lets you draw your whole deck and win with Laboratory Maniac. It’s kind of boring in how consistent it is.

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With Paradox Engine, it basically doesn’t matter what you put on this, you can go off with 2 colorless from non-land sources and Engine. Lightning Bolt, Brainstorm; even Healing Salve is a winner when you combo like that. I prefer to kill them, but even if you’re just playing a spell for the untap trigger you can go off with Aetherflux Reservoir. Scepter is a must-have in Engine decks. I even run Dramatic Reversal (a steal at $1 for foils considering how much competitive EDH players love this combo) in case I need to go off without Paradox Engine.

Scepter was in the Izzet v. Golgari decks that were popped aggressively for a minute to get out the sweet, sweet Golgari Grave-Troll. With its banning, the EV of the decks either drops a lot or the value gets shifted to other cards. There is a Scetper, a Life from the Loam, a few signets, a Brainstorm, a Putrefy – even a Sadistic Hypnotist which as enjoyed a resurgence after people realized it was nuts with Nath. With Grave-Troll’s banning, Scepter could see a bit of a price raise as there is less impetus to pop the decks and free up loose copies and with Modern shenanigans conspiring with The Gitrog Monster to make Life From the Loam expensive again, Scepter could see some upshot despite its many printings. I like Scepter paired with Engine a lot.

OK, so two things here. First of all, wow, a common (meaning in multiple decks) from Commander 2015 got up to $3. Secondly, wow, this is so reprintable it makes my teeth itch. This just seems like a teetering house of cards of a price, but it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. I don’t think Commander Anthology is going to free up that many copies of anything (who’s paying that much money to bust it for singles and sell them off?) so this probably has a while to grow. This isn’t THAT good with Engine since it only taps for 1 mana, but it does untap every iteration (unlike lands) and it lets you draw very aggressively and keep a fat mitt full of goods. I like this card a lot but even I didn’t anticipate this doubling in a year. Good for it. Dealers finally seem on-board with the price – it spiked to $3 before and came back down and the buy price didn’t even move. Well, it’s moving now. This card is the real deal. I hate how badly a reprinting would blow it out and I’m loathe to pay $3 for something that will get super cheap if it’s in Commander 2017, but this is a card, that’s for sure.

This is what a Commander 2014 followed by a Commander 2016 printing looks like, graphically. I anticipate a similar shape of a Commander 2015 and subsequent Commander 2017 printing on Vessel.

Look at this tank. This keeps shrugging reprints off. I love this card and it taps for SO MUCH mana. It’s just as good as Gilded Lotus in my limited experience going off with Paradox Engine in a 2-color deck (which you wouldn’t think, but it’s true. You need very little colored mana to keep going and ultimately win) and with it being cheaper to buy and cheaper to play, I think this could have some real upside. I wish Gilded Lotus would get a reprint because I don’t like buying it at its current price. A reprinting would knock it down to a buyable level and since we all know the price would recover, make us all a lot of money. Or would it? Dynamo isn’t very impressed with reprints, is it? It dipped about $2, though, and if you bought at the cheaper price, you had some room to make money in the recovery (which isn’t over, and with Breya running around, isn’t all that likely to end soon).

This is what happens when people basically don’t really open boosters. I anticipated the price of this card would go down as more packs were opened, but basically day 1 was peak supply. People drafted this for like 2 weeks and then boxes began to rot. People bought some around $70ish which is pretty good considering the high EV and the high price of some foils – a foil Leovold pays for like half a case, for example. Foil Selvala pays for a whole $70 box. There are a lot of $20 boxes of Conspiracy, 2, I am sure, but I could see a lot of $100+ as well considering the Legacy reprints mixed with Commander goodies. What makes the price of this card go down? How likely is a reprint? Where would it happen? I think this is powerful, expensive and safe. My kind of card.

This card only gets better in a world with Paradox Engine. I realize I have a lot of mono-green in this article but that’s because green is very good at having stuff to untap with Paradox Engine.

I hope I didn’t talk about too many cards I’ve talked about before. Paradox Engine has so many implications that even cards I consider a bad buy-in at their current price (Bloom Tender, anyone?) will likely experience some upside.

Is Engine bannable? I am changing my answer from “no” to “maybe” but I still think the card can be dealt with. You have to be very careful not to play it until you go off because it will get killed on sight otherwise, meaning it won’t help make every turn good like Prophet of Kruphix did. It’s a combo piece – a powerful one, but still a combo piece. We’ll see what the committee thinks. Until then, brew with this, buy double orders on anything you want to use with it so your cards are free if they go up and watch EDHREC to see what’s popping up. If you can’t win fairly, remember to play elves and steal all of their lands. Until next week!

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8 thoughts on “Untap Tribal”

  1. I am already on Bestiary, but it is still dropping here in Europe, whereas Engine is climbing. I was hoping to get in under 2€, but now it is at 4€. Just got one copy to play with. Isochrone Scepter is a strange one. I have the feeling, it will never truly climb above 3€, because there are so many copies. Archdruid was not on my radar, but is awesome indeed. Lorwyn blocks have many good tribal cards and this is no exception. Thank you!

  2. Anyone going deep Lifecrafter’s Bestiary should think about Tangleroot too; they seem practically made for eachother. (OR it may also serve as a proper reality check…what did THAT card ever do, financially?)

    1. Is Lifecrafter’s Bestiary symmetrical? No.
      Does Tangleroot draw you cards? Does it scry? No.

      So even if there is a synergy, why should you compare the financial perspective of those two??

      1. I believe he is pointing out that tangle root lets you use lifecrafter’s draw ability for “free,” since it give you a green mana.

  3. Cards I’m not seeing mentioned here: Shrieking Drake, Cloudstone Curio, Phenax, Nin da Pain Artiste, Gilder Bairn, Merfolk Looter, Jace Vryn’s Prodigy, Mana Crypt/Vault/Sol Ring, Silver Myr, Dimir Signet, All da signets in fact, Untappy Tezzeret / The Chain Veil, Fabricate (to go get it)
    Paradox engine is a beast and will hopefully not be banned in edh!

  4. The original selvala can draw an alarming amount of cards with the engine in play. I fear engine may get banned due to the ease of it’s ability.

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