Unlocked Pro Trader: The Value Has To Go Somewhere Part 2

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Last week I wrote an article. If you’re guessing it was called “The Value Has To Go Somewhere Part 1” that’s a good guess. If you remember from reading it last week, good, thanks for doing that. If you didn’t read it, I cleverly linked it and you should do it now. I’m serious, last week was like a 2,200 word preamble to this one and I’m going to drop HARD into data analysis. Like, real hard. Like, I won’t even fini

DATA ANALYSIS

Last week we talked about the factors that influence the price of a card in a deck. I’m going to look at the decks from Commander 2018 and tell you what I think the cards are going to do. I won’t spend too much time on justification because I feel like I set out my thought process last week. Maybe pull that up in another tab because you might need to refer to it more than once. Let’s not screw around this week and just do picks, these cards are out Friday.

Saheeli

Goldfish was kind enough to look up a bunch of prices and display them on here. Thanks! It’s higher than Market Price a lot of the time but it does tell us what’s under a buck, which we need so we can ignore those cards.

Right now, Saheeli is like $8.50 Market Price and I think that’s probably OK.  For reference;

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Teferi’s usage is probably under-reported because try-hards build that deck with The Chain Veil and they don’t register their lists somewhere EDHREC scrapes. Also, his deck was pretty bad and he was the best card in it (although it also had a Cyc Rift). If Saheeli is played roughly most or second-most, which I predict, her price is probably fine with a buck or two of $10 for a while, maybe forever.

Sculptor, Chief, Eye, Engineer, Whirler, Juggurnaut, Thopterist, Crawler, Doom Engine, Sphinx, Soul, Hellkite, Assembly, Igniter, Battlesphere, Bosh and Inky are all probably cooked. I don’t think any of them will be above $1 in a year and this is not the first reprinting for a lot of them.

Tawnos is currently like $4.50 and he reminds me a lot of Taigam from last year’s decks. He’s sort of exciting and could get his own deck but he seems mostly sort of out of place in the deck he’s in which could hurt him. He’s also a bit like Inalla and Mairsil who are both $1.50 and really, there is a pretty big gap between “Really good general” and “bulk, basically.” Since I don’t expect Tawnos to be as good as Mirri, I think he’s a sell at $4.50.

I don’t hate Treasure Nabber at $10 as I keep saying, but $5 would have been better. This deck is really relying on new cards to take up most of the value and I think Geode Golem will go down.

Varchild likely ends up about as popular as Wasitora.

I realize I am mixing TCG Player and Card Kingdom prices, but consider how much extra CK charges which means $1.99 there is like $1.50 on TCG Player and you might want to pass on Varchild, even around $2.

I think Vedalken Humiliator ends up bulk, probably.

Where does the value go? I think Brudiclad could end up being in between $1.50 and $9 because while it ‘s not quite as splashy as Mirri, I think it ends up built more than Saheeli. I also think with Geode Golem tanking in price and Nabber going up a bit, there is room for Ancient Stone Idol to approach $5. Now just because some creatures go up others don’t have to necessarily go down – there are more cards to look at in the deck.

Saheeli’s Directive can go up and I bet Blasphemous Act recovers a bit. Echo Storm seems bad to me and I bet it ends up closer to $1 in a year. Chaos Warp can recover, probably.

Things look dire now, but remember, 25,983 is a big number and ubiquity is a hell of a drug. Chaos Warp is the 16th-most-played Instant. Not RED instant. Instant. It’s between Mystical Tutor and Return to Dust. I think if you get these for under a buck, they recover, even though it’s looking like they’ll be reprinted next year and that’s a hard “sell by” date and may make you think twice.

I was accused of (in a nice way) undervaluing Atlas in my set review. That’s a card that has some use for Red and White decks that can’t really draw cards very well. It would need to be pretty ubiquitous to be $5 so I am still shying away for now but watch this card. Thought Vessel is $6 after all and this is only in one deck.

Vat has created some demand for itself and I think if this hits $0.50, you will get these in bulk and set them aside and suddenly one day they’ll be on a buylist for $3.50 and you’ll cash in.

Clock is expected to soak up a lot of value but a bit of its price was predicated on sudden scarcity and people assuming they’d use it more than they ended up using it. I think this will recover less than Vat, all things being equal and I didn’t expect to think that. It could be that EDHREC has a bit of a competitive blind spot but both cards have the same number of printings and are from the same block but one gets played 50% more.

Is Breya to blame here? Breya players not registering their decks? All I know is that Clock is expected to soak a lot of value and I’m not sure if it can.

I don’t know what to say about Coveted Jewel. I think it’s a terrible card and can only guess about its future price. We have  weeks and weeks to watch what it does but it was initially listed at $4 on a few sites and never sold out. Here’s what reddit is saying.  This is a gamble and I don’t have the data to back any conjecture so, enjoy, it’s a chance to try and leverage your card analysis skills. I could be wrong.

Enchanter’s Bane is really brutal but also seems so narrow. If EDH had sideboards, this would be better. I also think people are underrating it for two reasons. 1 is the precon effect we talk about on EDHREC and EDHRECast which is that a card that’s good enough to not take out when you build from a precon can get left in and not replaced even though it wouldn’t get added if you started from 0 cards. Building from a precon means this gets played in more decks than it should, meaning fewer copies hit the market and the effect of the actual demand is increased. I think $2 is a low-risk bet but there are quite a few bulk rares from Commander 2017. I think Bane is better than $2 Kindred Boon from last year so I think this is a potential grower.

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The real question mark is Forge of Heroes. Lands that are in every deck can still go for $5+ but is this good enough? I’m not sure it is since it doesn’t really fix mana in formats outside of Commander. Past Commander deck lands that hit $5 were also playable in 60 card casual and pauper etc. I think Forge is too narrow.  I could be wrong, so keep an eye out.

That was a lot of writing. I hope by now I can streamline the process a bit and not have to repeat some of the things I already said.

Aminatou

Aminatou is currently $11 on TCG Player and the only scenario where I think you’ll be glad you paid $11 is if it goes to $20 like Teferi did. Is the cute copycat combo with Felidar Guardian enough to make this the try-hard combo deck of choice or is copycat a kittycat, obvious but bad? Hard to say. I don’t think you make money buying at $11, but I don’t think you lose a ton, either. If you’re buying to play with and don’t want the whole deck, $11 seems reasonable but I bet you can get this for $7 later.

I think Boreas Charger can go up. It’s in a lot of ways much better than Knight of the White Orchid and that card sees considerable play.

I would not be at all surprised to see Boreas Charger eat some of the value inevitably shed by Yuriko, an $18 card that will be the Commander of a deck that needs ninjas. There are 10 ninjas unless you count Unstable. Yuriko can’t stay this high.

Varina, Lich Queen, Magic, Commander 2018

Varina has already cut in half since this price list updated. At $3 I am still not a buyer. This seems like Wasitora to me and likely ends up around the same price, but I could be wrong. If this does get considerable play or gets play in Legacy (it could happen) like Kess did (I doubt that, just giving you a best case) then this could hit $7 or $8. You think this is worse than Kess? Then you can’t make much buying at $3.

Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign, Magic, Commander 2018

The race to the bottom caught Yennett going from like $12 to $3.50. I think Yannett is this set’s Mirri. I think that’s a $10 card waiting to happen. It’s a dirty, ruthless, grindy card and try-hards will latch on. I think Yannett is a card to watch. It’s at least Kess-tier which makes it a future $7 card so at least double up on these.

Sower of Discord, Magic, Commander 2018

I like Sower more than most people. I think it’s ultimately very tough for a card to get above $1.50 and I don’t this this has the ubiquity juice to get there. I’m not a buyer at $1.50.

This had an ugly graph before this reprinting. I’m not sure it can stay afloat with new copies en route.

Half of Oni’s current demand is from just 2 decks and they’re both unlikely to be built soon. With no real ninja deck, not much demand appearing and a bunch of copies inbound, I think the Planechase effect is about to be watered down significantly and Oni is doomed.

Entreat the Angels likely has a downward trajectory due to modest demand being satiated and competition with a bunch of other cards that do the same thing in EDH. Entreat the Dead seems like the opposite – we could see it gain ground and it’s already caused cards like Insidious Dreams to go up. We’ll see.

Nothing else seems to matter here much. Skull Storm is pretty bad in the Aminatou deck and I don’t know which deck wants it. For 9 mana, just cast Rise of the Dark Realms and win the game.

Aminatou’s Augury is the only real card with surprise potential. I don’t like it personally but you could hit up to 8 cards off of it and people are playing spells this expensive already. Ultimately, I think it loses value which begs the question – does Yuriko maintain the value or will it go somewhere else? Where? If not Yannett and even if not Yannett, if not ONLY Yannett, where?

None of this matters. Primordial Mist seems like trash to me.

I actually kind of like Isolated Watchtower

Isolated Watchtower, Magic, Commander 2018

It’s like $2.50 on TCG Player and if it’s at all good (it’s a bad Scrying Sheets sometimes) then I think it can go up. Ultimately, forcing you to tap 3 lands, have fewer lands than them and need a basic and need it in the top 2 makes this clunky and hard to use it to get ahead.  I’m not willing to be money this goes up, but watch it.

Lord Windgrace

Most weeks I would cut it off here but I am giving you a double article because the stuff comes out Friday.

Lord Windgrace is like $10 and I think that’s OK. I don’t know who will want to build around him but he’s also the best commander in the whole precon so either this doesn’t sell AT ALL or something happens.

Gross. This is all trash. Avenger of Zendikar could recover some value and probably will because it always does.

Gyrus, Waker of Corpses, Magic, Commander 2018

I think Gyrus is pretty unexciting, personally and I don’t know if it will get built around but even if it does, that likely makes it like $1.50 if Inalla and Mairsil are any indication.

Xantcha, Sleeper Agent, Magic, Commander 2018

Xantcha is still hanging on in there at almost $8 and while she should give some of that value up because she’s not that good, she probably won’t because, what’s this article called again?

Thantis, the Warweaver, Magic, Commander 2018

Thantis is pretty good but I don’t know if this is enough of a deterrent to them attacking you and it may just accelerate your demise. Can you see this hitting $7? Then don’t pay $4.

Whiptongue Hydra, Magic, Commander 2018

At like $1.50, I am kind of OK with Whippyboi. 6 mana is a lot but getting a 6/6 or 7/7 after taking care of a few problems creatures without targeting them in a color you can tutor easily for silver bullet creatures, I think this could be a $5 card pretty easily. Stonehoof Chieftain didn’t look like much at first, either.

Crash of Rhino Beetles, Magic, Commander 2018

Speaking of Stonehoof Chieftain, this sort of reminds me of it, too. Timmies will love this card and Timmies can play EDH cards in 60 card casual which means there is even more demand as they can play multiple copies. I think big, splashy stuff has a tendency to be sneered at by “serious” players and that means stores undervalue cards like this at first. The value has to go somewhere and I bet in a few months, its price may triple just like its power.

This is a lot of hot gahbage but there is a bright spot – Windgrace’s Judgment.

Windgrace's Judgment, Magic, Commander 2018

It’s currently $5 and I think it actually has upside given how radioactive the rest of the deck is. This is very much this year’s Kalemne deck only it doesn’t have multiple cards I think are worth $10.  This could honestly end up a $20 card and everyone will be surprised that this was ever worth less. Paying 5 mana to get this much value seems fantastic and while it looks like a bad Putrefy, this may be a better Decimate. I think this is a card everyone will want to play in these colors to slow the rest of the table down by blowing up their mana rocks and problem enchantments and this stays in every precon deck built plus goes in a ton of existing decks. If this isn’t the set’s Teferi’s Protection, I’m not sure what is.

Not much to say here. I don’t think any of this can recover, which is too bad for Deathreap Ritual, which was sort of a mix of Fecundity and Phyrexian Arena without the downside of either but with limited upside.

The lands aren’t even worth discussing. This is an atrocious manabase and they should be embarrassed that they raised the MSRP on this. If Forge does nothing, this is a $5 manabase in the “lands matter” deck.

The deck’s one bright spot beyond Windgrace’s Judgment is this guy.

Nesting Dragon, Magic, Commander 2018

I think this has the potential to go up quite a bit. It’s not quite as splashy as Avenger of Zendikar but it shrugs off wrath effects better and this can also go in existing dragon decks. I think it’s currently too cheap.

Estrid

Here’s your money shot. They actually put decent reprints in here and good new cards. I am glad I saved this for last, though even this one could have been much better.

Estrid herself is currently $8 and I expect her to be the most built. In fact, I think Estrid will be the 3rd-most-played Planeswalker commander of all, coming in behind only Teferi and Daretti. Estrid does it all and the fact that she is currently less expensive then Aminatou says more about the cards in that bad Esper deck than it does Estrid. Or I could be tired and biased and talking complete nonsense at this point. I don’t think I am, though. I think Estrid is just good and could be a $12 card.

Being in 2 decks doesn’t hurt Loyal Drake, I don’t think, considering Thought Vessel was in more than that. I think Drake is a card I initially undervalued and I think blue tends to be able to keep its commander around and therefore trigger Drake. I don’t mind a flying Phyrexian Arena per se and at under a buck, this seems like a card you will get in bulk for a while.

Ravenous Slime, Magic, Commander 2018

Slime is at $2.50 and I think it could go up. Just the graveyard hate alone on this card make it very appealing. It almost assuredly gets yanked right out of the Estrid deck and is only in here because you suit it up since it’s hard to block but people aren’t likely primarily building Voltron. Tuvasa could be popular, though but I still don’t think this goes in that. This is good in a lot of decks but not also being good in the deck it came in could hurt its upside. This has no pressure on it to take value and it might now, but it’s a good card so don’t sleep on it.

Tuvasa the Sunlit, Magic, Commander 2018

At $7, I think this goes down a bit but I also think everything being said about her as a negative is wrong. Only one draw trigger per turn is fine, not having Merfolk synergy is a bizarre criticism and hardly merits mentioning and its synergy with non-card enchantment cards like the clerics made by Heliod make this a potential KO commander. I still like Bruna and Sigarda but this marries those two color combos and gives you the advantages of each. I think this gets built but $7 is a lot.

Kestia, the Cultivator, Magic, Commander 2018

I don’t know how to feel at $4. I think this benefits from the precon effect which means loose copies will be hard to come by the way loose copies of Slime will be easy to come by, but I think this ends up around $1.50 like so many new Legendary creatures from Commander 2017 did.

Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle, Magic, Commander 2018

I think this comes down from $7 also, but only because every Legendary creature in the deck can’t be $7 (or can it?) and this seems clunky to build around as much as people like it. Buy Thespian’s Stages to instantly turn this on, I guess. I think this ends up above $3 but I am not paying $7 personally.

Heavenly Blademaster, Magic, Commander 2018

It’s annoying that so many of the new cards in the Enchantment deck are creatures.  I think this has some odd potential and in decks like Sram, this could turn a pile of small creatures into KO machines. I think this could go up from $3 given how many Voltron decks are white that this could go in.

Nylea's Colossus, Magic, Commander 2018

This is a bulk rare currently but I don’t know if that’s correct. I didn’t like this at first but then I remembered that Replenish is a card and you could make a creature like a 512/512 pretty easily. This is a real low-risk spec at bulk.

Marital Coup could regain a bit of value but this isn’t its first or last reprint and that makes it pretty risky and I’m not interested.

Genesis Storm is an odd card. In general, I sort of hate the Commanderstorm mechanic and I think if you are getting that number up at all, what are you doing that you need to cast your commander so much? I think all of this is likely where value goes to die.

Enchantress’ Presence may go back up in price slower than we’d like given its limited utility in Legacy and its current EDH ubiquity,

This isn’t a great rating but I expect it to change given the new demand from Estrid and its ilk. I think the price could be depressed quite a bit below $8 for a long time, however, and I think the value may have to come from elsewhere. This was a scarcity price, not a demand price.

Estrid's Invocation, Magic, Commander 2018

I think this could go to $8-$10 under the right circumstances. This may be the best card in the deck and it’s going to get played a lot but it’s hard to see how much of that play will be outside Estrid decks. There isn’t a ton of pressure for this to go up but all we really have to base things on now is a card with way lower supply.

This hasn’t gone much above $10 on TCG Player (though Card Kingdom is sold out at that $9.50) despite the renewed interest in enchantments so it’s hard to imagine this not hitting $30 before Estrid’s Invocation hits $10. This is a Ravnica rare which means supply is pretty low. I think this staying at $10 strands Invocation at $5 and if Invocation hits $10, this has to correct up. Watch both cards, I guess.

Myth Unbound, Magic, Commander 2018

I don’t like this card much but I have misevaluated cards in the past just because I wouldn’t likely play them myself. I think this could catch on and if it does, $10 isn’t out of the question which is a nice double-up if you buy now. This could also end up $2. I don’t think this ever goes to $0 so it’s really like you can make as much as $5.50 per copy or lose $3 per copy. That’s more upside than downside if you accept my high and low points. What do you want me to say about this card? I think it’s a win-more in Food Chain decks and I think if you’re not playing Food Chain and you draw cards with this, you’re losing. I don’t like it.

Octopus Umbra, Magic, Commander 2018

This will likely end life as it began – a bulk rare.

Speaking of Umbras, I think Bear Umbra can tank one reprint and recover.

We don’t have a numerical cut-off where the number of decks above said number can survive a reprint but if we did, 4,000 for a card this new seems reasonable. I think this goes down to like $2 or $3 and can be $5-$7 again, especially with discovered demand from people who are seeing it for the first time in Estrid.

The lands are worthless and we only have Forge of Heroes as a potential mitigating factor. All in all, this is the best deck but probably won’t be worth the most or even second most in two years.

This was too long. If you have any specific questions before the set goes on sale on Friday, tweet me @jasonealt. I’m going to bed now. This was two articles so thanks for reading all of it. Feel free to argue with me in the comments section – everyone benefits from more viewpoints. Until next time!

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4 thoughts on “Unlocked Pro Trader: The Value Has To Go Somewhere Part 2”

  1. I gotta ask do you think the newer precons will continue to sell at msrp in the next few months or if only one deck has value will lgs’s stop reordering them and these will only be at Target and Walmart in a couple months.

    Also when do you think peak supply will be?

    1. I think people are cancelling orders and stores will likely have to drop their process below MSRP just to sell them, probably. It’s hard to justify MSRP given the contents.

      I don’t know when peak supply will be. There used to be a bump at Christmas but now the set is released so far from Christmas, people buy something else. I feel like these will sell for longer, maybe 6 months compared to 3 months for a Standard set that gets replaced quicker.

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