All posts by Cliff Daigle

I am a husband, father, teacher, and EDH fanatic. My joy is in Casual and Limited formats, though I dip a toe into Constructed when I find something fun to play. I play less than I want to and more than my schedule should really allow. I write intermittently at wordofcommander.blogspot.com and can easily be reached on Twitter @WordOfCommander.

Hitting Bottom

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Modern Masters drops today! It’s so awesome! Value all over the place, depending on the amount opened. We will be keeping an eye on the prices, but drops of 30-50% should be expected. A lot of cards have fallen that far already, and as time passes we will have to keep an eye on the value of MM3 cards.

Today, though, I want to focus on Kaladesh and Aether Revolt cards that are good targets for increasing in value later on. Some stores are going to keep opening those in drafts and events, but all the hype is on Modern Masters, and we are about a month away from Amonkhet prerelease events.

Prices for the Kaladesh block are at their lowest right now. Supply has been maximized, and those who need cards have gotten them. We are now at the point where if a card gets popular in Standard, it’ll spike, because they aren’t getting opened anymore.

This is also when I want to get cards that I think are good long-term investments, due to casual appeal or playability in Eternal formats.

Lifecrafter’s Bestiary – $1.20/$4 foil – This is one of the easiest picks around. Have you played with this card? It’s amazing in any format where you can resolve it without dying, and you play creatures. Commander loves this card, and a scry 1 might help this be good enough in Standard. Creature decks run out of gas, and drawing a card per creature cast is rather phenomenal. I’m advocating this due to the casual appeal, but I am not ruling out that this spikes anytime before the big set of Fall 2018. My low end of this is $3-$4 in two years, but Standard could push that issue sooner.

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Foils are awfully appealing at a mere $4. They started out at $10 on release, and it’s a card that you have to come up with a good reason against if you’re a green Commander player. I want all of these at $4. Just all of them. They are going to be leeched out of the market as time passes, so be ready when they slowly climb back to $10 or more.

Whir of Invention – $1/$5 – This is a card looking to be broken. Brewers are trying hard with this and Inspiring Statuary, but I feel the Whir will get broken first. It’s also a card you can put into a deck that’s almost all artifacts, where the Statuary needs both lots of artifacts AND big spells that aren’t artifacts. Whir is also much better in casual formats, being something that I can easily see every Commander deck playing to go find that Darksteel Forge or whatever you need. I love getting in on a dollar card with upside we haven’t found yet. It’s quite possible that either of the blocks coming have artifacts worth tutoring for. I think this will find a home in some decks in Modern at some point, and doubling will be conservative.

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The foils are also super appealing. It’s very easy to add this card to a deck with a few choice artifacts in Commander, so seeing the foil go up to $10-$15 within a couple years is a very believable idea.

Release the Gremlins – $0.75 – I’m surprised that this isn’t seeing more play in sideboards, but it’s such a cheap card and we are so lacking in artifact removal in Standard that I want to have some of these around just for the scalable potential. It’s not going to blow up Modern or Legacy, not when Shatterstorm is legal, but this might have Commander appeal too. This is more likely to be a Standard spike, and otherwise might need a very long timeline to pay off in casual circles.

Planar Bridge – $2.50/$11.50/$43 for the Invention – For an in-print mythic, this is surprisingly low. There is the Invention version that soaks up some of the demand from Commander players that have to have it, but it’s still a card that the format desires. I want to have some of these around, and frankly most of my Commander decks should be playing it, but my hesitance is all due to the reprint risk. This is super reprintable, and as long as the value stays low, it can be added to a preconstructed Commander deck pretty easily. I think this risk is present in all of my picks today, but the fact that this is totally colorless gives an extra layer of risk.

Personally, I’m in favor of you getting the Invention right now if you want it, and have some foils for speculation. I think that the casual demand will have this foil up to $20 by the end of the year. I’m not expecting Tron decks to blow this up, it would be a one-of at best and that wouldn’t bump things hugely.

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The Ground Floor

The spoiler for Modern Masters 2017 is here, and while it’s full of juicy speculative goodness, I’ll get to some safe picks in a moment.

I want you to understand that next weekend, when we can draft with this set, is going to suck the air out of Kaladesh block drafting, and Amonkhet is only six weeks away from prerelease events, so preview season for that starts in about three weeks.

Stay disciplined. Get your Whir of Inventions for pennies. Stock up on foil Metallurgic Summonings. Trade for all the Panharmonicons you can at $4 or less. If you don’t have them already, get your Fatal Push playset now, instead of waiting and watching the price go up. Don’t let the new shiny things distract you from what you should be doing: Getting all the last Kaladesh block cards you want now.

When a new set comes out, I have a two-step process. I figure out what cards I want to have, and the price I want to pay for them, cash or trade. That’s how I try to make sure I’m growing my collection’s value, by not overpaying when I get in on cards.

The sheer number of once-pricey rares in this set has me a little spooked about going too deep on a card. Going forward, I don’t want to be in on too many copies of a card, it’ll be better served to diversify what I’m holding.

For this set, I want to look not at the cards being played in Modern, but the casual stars that have been reprinted. For the most part, these are cards that can own the table in Commander or Cube, and since they are being printed right now, I think they are likely safe from being in Commander 2017 or some other supplementary product.

Probably.

These are the cards that I want to pick up, in anticipation of solid, steady growth.

Cavern of Souls – I need this to get cheaper. It’s not played in a lot of decks but it tends to be an all-star in a playset. This is the land that Sliver decks and Ally decks and tribal decks love most. I sold every one out of my Commander decks when it broke $40, and I’m really hoping this drops to the $25 range. At that point, I would get one for each of my tribal decks and I would absolutely sell them again when the prices go back up again.

Craterhoof Behemoth – Right now you can get these for $10 or less on preorder, and that’s a price I already like. If it drops lower, to $8 or god forbid $5, I’ll be all over this and sorely tempting my new ‘don’t go deep’ philosophy. This is a game-ender card, a stellar casual creature, and something that goes in lots of decks.

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Temporal Mastery – Extra-turn cards are always going to have legs. This is a card I want to make sure I pick up a couple of sets of, and it can be had for $3 in preorders. I don’t think it will fall much farther, and this is why I love the card:

A couple of times there was an extra-turns deck that would pop up, but this graph is what I want to see. It’s in consistent demand, so I want plenty at a low buy-in.

Cyclonic Rift – I had expected this to be in another Commander printing before long, but being here means I want some at $4 or less just to hold. I hate the existence of this card, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it got banned in Commander.

Phantasmal Image – I’m hoping this makes it down to $1 or so, and I would pick up quite a few. I’ve seen it be recurred too often and do too much work to stay that low for long.

Venser, Shaper Savant – My target for him is $5. The FTV version didn’t dent him too hard, but this is too good in too many ways to stay $5 forever. He almost never shows up in constructed formats, but he’s very powerful in casual settings and I do think his price will go back up over time.

Stay away from:

Griselbrand – Being banned in Commander is the big strike against him. He’s one of the premier cards to cheat into play, making him a four-of in combos, but the supply is too high for me to get in.

Sphinx’s Revelation – No price movement for years and years. Observe.

That’s a card that isn’t going to recover from this printing.

Past in Flames – Nope, nope, never.

Thragtusk – Solid, dependable, reprinted into oblivion.

Zur the Enchanter – Before the judge promo, before this, I could have been talked into him, but now I think he’s going to drop to near-bulk status. I don’t even want to get in on foils.

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Fetches and the Future

Today, the complete list of Modern Masters 2017 goes up, and I’m busy refreshing pages and going crazy just like you.

I’m keenly aware of some truly amazing cards and the higher distribution, and I can’t wait to find out how overpriced my shop is going to hold drafts at, but I want to focus on the fetches in MM17 and what the future holds for them.

We have a baseline for what’s going to happen to the enemy fetches from Zendikar, with their inclusion in MM17: The allied fetches in Khans of Tarkir.

Let’s look at Polluted Delta.

This was at more than $100, just from Legacy and casual demand. Going from Onslaught to Khans is an enormous jump in availability, but there was a new demand as Modern players could now add these to decks. A loss of half was immediate, and it’s halved again.

Notably, the demand hasn’t spiked since the KTK printing, though this is the Onslaught version we are looking at, the original. It’s lost a lot of value and hasn’t recovered, which is a bit of a surprise to me.

Let’s look at what the Khans version has done.

First of all, it’s at half the price of the Onslaught version. It’s much more common, yes, but this is a big gap for a card between its two printings. I think that with such a big difference in art and frame, I’m not surprised that there is a gap, which is consistent across all five of the fetches. People are willing to pay more for the old version.

I am surprised that the gap has held. We’ve got six versions of allied fetches for you to choose from, allowing you to balance your budget with your desire for the shiny or unique.

What this means for the enemy fetches is this: I’m expecting them to lose value immediately, down to the $15-$20 range. I expect them to recover somewhat at the start of Amonkhet, and start an upward creep…but not very far.

Reusing the art is a big deal for the fetchlands. These are going to be the same as the originals, except for the expansion symbol and other small frame tweaks, and that means the originals are going to be dragged down in price significantly.

If I had them, I might try to move extras but buylists might not be honored now, and I can’t imagine eBay sales are going to happen much. It couldn’t hurt trying to sell them now, but I don’t think you’ll get very far.

If you’re holding nonfoils, I think you’re going to simply have to hold onto them and accept that you’re going to have to wait some time to get much of your value back.

Foils, though, that’s a different matter. I doubt that the foils are going to recover effectively, given that there’s a super-chase-mega-rare one to go get, but my guess is that the foils take a hit of about 40% and then stabilize. Having the new foils look almost the same as the old ones is going to mean that the older ones come down toward the newer ones.

Modern Masters 2017 has a truly ridiculous number of chase cards, and I want to address what Wizards is trying to do: make the format cheaper and sell a bunch of packs. I don’t think this is a move of the desperate, but they are trying to goose player interest in the format.

Modern as a format has looked flat, but my goodness, we have a lot of toys to play with in this set, some of which harken back to other amazing formats, e.g. Mystical Teachings.

While I think that the fetches are going to stay stable, I suspect that this is going to lead to growth if the player base grows. Fetches are going to be the canary in the coal mine for Modern: If the players come to the format, the prices of the lands will be the first to show it. This set is gas and it’s going to get a lot of people playing the format because the cards will be cheap.

Make no mistake, this is going to torpedo some prices significantly. Stores have more product. Some stores are selling boxes for less than the MSRP of $240, and that’s a sign for how much product they want to move. There’s going to be a lot of Liliana of the Veil running around, a lot more Damnation and Blood Moon, and people want to play with their awesome new and expensive cards.

I think that Wizards is sending another signal here: Anything not on the Reserved List is fair game. The EV on a MM17 pack is ridiculously high, at least for right now. That won’t last, though, as packs get opened and prices crash. Remember that stores get boxes from distributors for less than retail, and they will open boxes if the price is right on singles. That pressure will keep the price of the non-chase cards super duper low.

In previous sets, they decided to cap the values of boxes, by only reprinting so many valuable cards. This is not the case in 2017, instead they chose both low-print-run cards (Liliana) to cards they have goosed a bunch (Tarmogoyf) and so on. Going forward, nothing’s safe. Please keep that in mind as we go forward into this brave new world.

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Midranging Wild and Free

When a set comes out, it’s easy to say that everything is going to go down in price. And it will. I aggressively trade/sell/rid myself of cards early in a set’s life.

Today I want to look at Aether Revolt cards, but instead of trying to pick the lowest, or the highest, I want to focus in the middle and see which of these cards are going to go up or down in value.

I’m picking Aether Revolt today, because the supply is much smaller on this set than Kaladesh, and we are all about to go crazy with Modern Masters 2017 spoilers.

Tezzeret the Schemer – $8.50 – He hasn’t fallen far enough to be an auto-pickup, but the deck that wants him is so very narrow. Also, he’s going to be 2UB to kill two creatures over two turns if you have enough artifacts (not a given). The plus ability and the ultimate seem underpowered to me, so I think he’s going to keep trending downward.

Ajani Unyielding – $6.50 – This is going to be his price for the length of his stay in Standard, I think. I like how clearly defined each of his modes are, but six mana means he’s never going to be a four-of as newest Tezzeret might be. Just leave him alone for now.

Disallow – $7.50 – What an interesting graph. This has gone up since release, and the reason is primarily the assorted Saheeli decks playing 2-4 copies of the card.

Playing this card in one of the rock-paper-scissors of this format means that it’s going to be pretty stable. The problem is that this deck is built around a two-card combo, and I’m not sure that the combo is going to survive until it rotates in the fall of 2018.

This card is an excellent control card, versatile enough to answer something that I thought was going to dominate Standard: an ultimate from Liliana, the Last Hope. It seems so easy to play her before counters are ready and protect her for a few turns, then let the Zombies take over. Disallow lets you not worry about that ultimate, or other problematic things.

I think this price should go down, considering it’s only a rare, but there are a lot of factors at play and I’m not going to get any of these right now. If control gets some new toys, then this is going to benefit mightily, but that seems unlikely at this time.

Fatal Push – $5.51 – Here’s my hot take: This is going to go up. I think the foils are a steady bet to stay around $30 for some time, but the nonfoils are seeing a tremendous amount of play in a range of formats, and this promises to be heavily played for the next 18 months. You can get them on eBay for a touch under $4 if you get it by the playset, and I am expecting this to creep upward now that are in the final weeks of opening the set.

I’m picking these up as I can, and I’m expecting to out them in nine months or so.

Rishkar, Peema Renegade – $5.37 – I also like this to go up, as value, as an enabler, and as a casually fantastic card. Please pay attention to how small the spread has gotten, because either the buylist needs to go down or the retail needs to go upward.

I love accelerating into a six-drop on turn four, and the fact that Standard doesn’t have a premier six means Verdurous Gearhulk gets to come down the following turn and you’ll be able to attack with one of those creatures. This is a card that’s also gained value due to the change to Planeswalker decks over Intro Packs, as this whole cycle of legends would have been contenders to be the foil.

As it stands, this is an excellent contender to be $8 or so by Christmas, and $10 in 12 months is possible.

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner – $2.48 – This is not Dark Confidant, it’s both better and worse. If you have alternate ways to make energy, this is a fantastic way to spend that energy. I’ve been really surprised at the decks which have so much energy laying around and nothing to do with it, but this is clearly designed to be an aggro card. If there was another energy set available, I would be all over it, but I need this to be closer to a dollar before I’m comfortable moving in.

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