All posts by Cliff Daigle

I am a father, teacher, cuber 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 can easily be reached on Twitter @WordOfCommander. Try out my Busted Uncommons cube at http://www.cubetutor.com/viewcube/76330

The Floor on Masters 25

ADVERTISEMENT:


I know we are all going crazy with excitement for Battlebond, whose full card list I believe drops this morning, but our most recent special set is much more on my mind.

You’re thinking that the packs are super-overpriced at $10 and you’re right, but there’s a deeper idea: We are so done opening Masters 25 that it’s time to assess what the bottom of the market is.

We don’t have a lot of hard data, but we have some strong anecdotal data. Boxes are still available for a close-to-distributor-cost of $150 shipped on eBay, off of an MSRP of $240. Currently, 13 of the 68 rares and mythics have a retail value of $10 or more, making the packs a terrible gamble. If you buy at the eBay price, you’re at $6 a pack, but that’s still only 18/68 which make your money back per pack. I don’t like those odds at all, a 26% chance. Yuck.

A much safer alternative is to look at where prices used to be and where they have gotten to, then figure out if that’s someplace to park value until it goes up. So let’s get to the cards!

One caveat, though. All of these are reprints and are not safe from showing up in a Commander deck or some other special set. If they get hit again, you’re going to have to be patient till it comes back, and that might take a long time indeed.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben nonfoil ($11, was $21 at peak)

In a lot of ways Thalia is the poster child for what a special release reprint wants to do. She’s very commonly played, across Cube, Modern, and Legacy, and had only been a WMCQ promo since her original printing in 2012. Her stock had been super-high, but it’s dropped by half and I think now is the time to get in.

Her pedigree is above reproach, and the only question is how many copies of her are out there. She’s a three-or-four-of in Modern Humans, a deck that might not be Tier 1 by all definitions but it’s very popular to play and that’s good enough for me. I’m not terribly interested in the foils at around $20-$25, because there’s original foils and the super-awesome close-up version from the WMCQ.

This was exactly the printing she needed to make her price reasonable, and picking her up now in the $10 range means that in a year to 18 months, I’ll be looking to get out in the $20 range.

Eidolon of the Great Revel foil ($17, was $40 once)

Now this one carries a bit more risk, but hear me out. Eidolon’s surge in price, especially in foil, was 100% due to the combination of the 4-of inclusion in every flavor of Burn deck but also that Journey into Nyx was not opened in very large amounts, even by the standards of back then. Eidolon’s price has been trending downwards too, but the conditions are there for this to bounce back. It’s not in Legacy much but it’s a four-of in the deck that just won’t go away. I don’t think it’s going to ever spike, but I do think it’s worth getting at this price and waiting patiently. There isn’t going to be another foil printing for some time, and when Burn gets good again, you’ll be ready to sell for $35+.

Cascade Bluffs nonfoil ($7, was $30 once)

Quite frankly, I’m a fan of all of the filterlands. They are high on the list for the cards I want to have most in Commander games, because one land enables intensive mana costs. Rugged Prairie is besties with both Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and True Conviction.

With all of the filters below $10, except Twilight Mire at $11 or so, now’s the time to buy the ones you need for your Commander decks and a few extras for the spec box/your future decks. The value is going to grow slowly on this, and they will likely reprint this in another five years, but there we are.

ADVERTISEMENT:


Foils are not a target for me, as the original foils are high in value and there’s also Expeditions to go chasing after.

Rest in Peace nonfoil ($5, was $9)

I’ve written about RIP before as a fantastic Commander card and one of the best sideboard options in Modern. Yes, it turns off your own graveyard shenanigans, but it hoses some very popular decks and strategies. It’s unconditional, cheap to cast, and has effects that are both immediate and long-term.

Yeah, you could have gotten this at under $2. Those days are gone though.

The foils have about a $10 gap between original Return to Ravnica and the Masters 25 version, and while I expect that gap to close, I think there’s more to be gained by going in on these at sub-$5 and then just waiting. It made $10 once before, and it’ll get back there thanks to Modern.

Eladamri’s Call ($3, was $11)

A reprint we haven’t seen since Planeshift, this card took a bath and while there’s a lot of inventory now…that won’t be the case forever. It’s already in 7500 Commander decks on EDHREC and it’s as good as you want it to be. An instant, puts into the hand instead of on top of the library as Worldly Tutor does, but it is two colors.

ADVERTISEMENT:


This sees enough play that I like getting in cheap. I don’t want to chase the foils here, as someone who wants foils is probably going to go drooling over the original border foil, and that’s as it should be.

Mikokoro, Center of the Sea ($3, was $14, A25 foils are $10)

Who doesn’t love to draw cards?

Here’s another card that had a high price only due to the low stock. Saviors of Kamigawa was forever ago, and while this is only in 4500 Commaner decks it’s also a fun-of in the assorted flavors of Taking Turns decks in Modern. There’s a big gap on these, between the Masters 25 version and the originals, likely just due to price memory. No one who bought foils for $20 is going to sell them cheaper, they are going to wait. Same thing for the nonfoils, but a gap this bi9g won’t last forever. The card is underpriced, and you should buy a couple.

Bonus BattleBond Information: The coin-flipping cards are spiking as people realize that some people really, really, REALLY love flipping coins and now we have a legendary set of Partners who love flipping coins. One that hasn’t moved–yet–is Goblin Bomb, which is also on the reserved list. I haven’t bought any–I have a playset left over from when I had an actual coin-flipping deck in 1999–but there’s 45 copies on TCG as of Thursday night and they aren’t going to last long below $5, and I’d expect a spike to at least $10 is not $20, which is what you sell into because the Bomb only deals 20 damage. Quaint, no?

Cliff has been writing for MTGPrice for nearly five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. He’s the official substitute teacher of MTG Fast Finance, and if you’re going to be at GP Vegas, look for the guy under the giant flashing ‘Cube Draft’ sign and he’ll have you drafting in no time!

Track your collection's value over time, see which cards moved the most, track wishlists, tradelists and more. Sign up at MTGPrice.com - it's free!

ADVERTISEMENT:


Please follow and like us:

Ixalan Ascending

If you blinked this week, you missed out on Thrashing Brontodon going from a buck to $4. Granted, he’s the new hotness as a great answer to the Vehicles lists popping up, and a Disenchant on a stick is really good in a world full of Seal Away, Cast Out, Ixalan’s Binding, and Search for Azcanta.

Ixalan has a lot of good cards that are due to go up, now that we are all opening Dominaria like mad, trying to win the Karn, Scion of Urza sweepstakes. We saw Vraska’s Contempt go up dramatically, and earlier than I would have thought. What else is a contender to experience a spike sometime in the next 14 months?

A caveat, before we go further: There’s going to be Challenger decks announced in something like nine months. If any of these jump in price before then, sell immediately. Let someone else get that extra few percent. You’re in this to buy low, and sell high. The risk you run at trying to ‘sell higher’ isn’t worth it if you get caught flat by the next batch of ‘soon-to-exit-Standard’ reprints, like Chandra, Torch of Defiance. She’s down $10 since February, even though she’s seeing Modern play and is a two-of in prison strategies in Legacy.

With that in mind, let’s see what we can see.

Sorcerous Spyglass ($1 nonfoil/$9 foil)

It’s a $9 foil because it is all over the place in Vintage and Legacy. Turn off Deathrite Shaman. Lock down the two Polluted Delta in their hand. Prevent Sneak Attack, Moxen, or Griselbrand activations. It’s a lot to do for two mana, and especially in formats where two artifact mana on turn one isn’t a huge barrier to overcome.

ADVERTISEMENT:


In addition to that, it’s a popular card in UW control lists, turning off Vehicles or Planeswalkers as needed. We are still living in an Abrade world, but that’s going to end in a few short months. Fiery Intervention is not good enough for Standard, so I fully expect to see this go through a major upward swing.

The foils are quite intriguing too. Sure, they are $9 now, but we just passed peak supply and Vintage/Legacy players aren’t the type to get a card, and then trade it away immediately if it goes up to $15. They are more likely to hang on in case the card becomes good tech again, taking a lot of the foils out of circulation. It’s not bad in Commander, but almost everyone can deal with a problematic artifact. Your hope here is to spike the nonfoils around Christmas, and I’d expect them to go to $4 or $5.

Chart a Course ($0.50/$4)

I’m pretty shocked that this card is this cheap, but it’s because neither the Merfolk or Pirates decks have gotten there. This ought to be a four-of in some aggro deck, yet somehow we aren’t in that world. This is a $4 foil because it’s played as a one-of in some Vintage and Legacy strategies. I’d really like to see a blue aggro deck become viable, Warkite Marauder seems super amazing but in a world where Goblin Chainwhirler exists, that might not happen.

Drawing two for two mana is an amazing deal, even if you have to discard one it’s not terrible. Here’s hoping this can claw back to $2.

Storm the Vault ($1/$7)

I have to admit that I like the foils of this a lot more. It’s only in 300 EDHREC decks so far, but people have barely started to build around Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. These two cards go together like peanut butter and chocolate, all you need to do is devour the goodness. Storm the Vault is a card that won’t immediately get people to concede a game the way Tolarian Academy would, but it’s still going to enable all sorts of shenanigans in the right deck.

Starting to tick upwards as it is…

This is not a card that I think can be broken in Standard, but I love the foils as a long-term spec, and they will never be cheaper than they are right now. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the new Academy needs a red/blue Commander deck and then we get a red/blue artifact-enabling Legend.

Tendershoot Dryad ($7/$15)

Fourteen! That’s a lot of slimy feet!

14 copies on TCG right now! For a card that they could still print if they weren’t busy shipping Dominaria all over the place! We don’t have a good replacement for Fumigate yet. Rivals of Ixalan had Slaughter the Strong, and Dominaria has Urza’s Ruinous Blast, both of which are conditional and just not good. Yes, we have Settle the Wreckage but no one actually attacks with their Tendershoot Dryad, and you don’t want to give the token deck free mana over and over again.

Yes, it’s an expensive card, but if Slimefoot can cause Elvish Farmer to be $10, this is loads better. They stack really well together, if the go-wide plan becomes viable in Standard. Given that the casual market has soaked up a lot of the copies of this card, if it hits in Standard it’ll hit pretty big, likely going over $20 for a brief, shining, cash-it-in-right-now moment.

Profane Procession ($1/$4)

There is little that feels as good as being the control player with one of these in play. Now your opponent has to wonder if the creature they want to play is good enough to be a threat but not good enough to be exiled with the Procession. Mixing this card with counters and spot removal is truly a marvelous experience, and I fully encourage you to try it out.

There’s no casual demand for this card, or any demand…yet. It’ll never be a four-of, given the mana-hungry nature of the card, but we will see this get to $6 or so. Plan accordingly.

Arch of Orazca ($1/$5)

Finally, let’s talk about the utility land to end all utility lands. Goes in any Commander deck, is a one-of in every control list currently, and is poised to grow delightfully over time? I’m sold.

I’m so into this card that I added one to my five-color The Ur-Dragon deck, and while it’s not my favorite early draw, I love knowing that when I run out of huge fliers to cast, my lands still have stuff to do. It will never be a four-of in any list, ever, but the foils are a super solid pickup for long-term growth.

Please follow and like us:

The Curious Case of Karn

We are at week 3 of Dominaria being legal and some of these prices are just bananas.

I will mea maxima culpa: I vastly underestimated Karn, Scion of Urza.

I thought Karn wasnt good enough by himself, and while I saw the Teferi-Seal Away synergy, I underestimated how many people wanted to play these cards. I also didn’t give enough credit to the idea of Karn as a colorless card, meaning that I didn’t make the mental leap to how he goes in EVERY deck. Literally every deck can play this, from aggro to control.

Today I want to look at where Karn’s price is, some historical comparisons, and where he might be going. There’s some printing and distribution factors at play too.

The rest of this content is only visible to ProTrader members.

To learn how ProTrader can benefit YOU, click here to watch our short video.

expensive cards

ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

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.

Please follow and like us:

RL Freakouts, yet again!

Magic finance has been good to me over the years.

I’ve been at this a while, and not just writing about Magic. I’ve done precious little buying of cards (until recently–one of my New Year’s resolutions was to buy more of my own advice) and done really well through targeted trading.

I’ve also sold cards for assorted life expenses along the way, including in 2001 when I needed a new transmission and felt blessed to get $200 for my playsets of Tropical Island and Force of Will.

All that being said, recent events in Magic card pricing are just mindblowing, and I’ve got some advice for you to weather the storm.

There are a range of factors pushing at prices right now. Let’s look at one example, a card which recently made it over two grand, pushing towards $3,000, and is more expensive than Unlimited Power: The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale.

Let’s also take a minute and see who needs this card. Legacy Lands players need one copy (and that one copy makes up ~50% of the deck’s price, the playset of Mox Diamond is another ~30%), people who like to play the super-niche format 93-94 want it, and collectors of Legends cards want it.

When you need it, you need it!

Is that a big group of people? Not really. The issue is the low supply of the card, and that means there’s a battle to get the few copies available.

So this one card is worth two months’ rent, or a semi-decent used car. Use the analogy you like, but respect that people are paying that much for this card for one or more reasons.

What we also need to consider is that fear is moving a lot of these prices. People are afraid of missing out (FOMO is the acronym) on the next spike, and identifying such cards is becoming less of a skill over time, because not all prices are holding.

Here’s an example: Rainbow Vale

You have the land, then you have the land!

It went from under a buck, up to $9, and now down to $3 because no one was buying it at the $9 level. The card is AMAZING in Zedruu the Greathearted decks, and I’m forced to wonder: Given that there was enough demand to get Zedruu up to nearly $10 at one point…are there more Legacy Lands players than Zedruu players? And if not, what’s going on?

The Reserved List is not a bad thing. I said it. I mean it.

I’d like dual lands for all my Commander decks, but really, I don’t need them. I’ve got fetchable shocks and bicycle lands and other variants, plus stuff like Command Tower. Duals would be a nice upgrade but they are not a necessity. Masterpieces are in the same space, given that the MSP Sol Ring is now above $300 and pushing at $400. That’s more than a Beta Sol Ring and within $100 of an Alpha!

Magic benefits from having aspirational levels. If you master Standard, there’s Modern. Then Legacy, then Vintage. Other formats come into play, like new draft environments, build your own Cube, or get into 93-94.

None of those are necessary to enjoy the game. They are all fun, in different ways, and if you really want to get into Vintage dive in online for about $500 to buy Ravager Shops.

The Reserved List is mostly terrible cards anyway, a clear overreaction to Chronicles. Here’s a couple of example cards:

Look at that pristine arm!

My point in all of this is that for years now, there’s been a combination of factors causing cards to go up. Speculators, collectors, people who want the cards, and people who are scared of having to buy at the high price when they could have bought at the old price.

For almost all of us, it doesn’t matter. Would your tokens deck be better with a Gaea’s Cradle? Absolutely. Would it be almost as good with Growing Rites of Itlimoc, or Mana Echoes, or a range of other cards that will be plenty busted.

In terms of financial advice, I’d suggest you look at the Reserved List and cross that with the cards you might actually play. For example, Winding Canyons is in the midst of an upward spike, it was available for $10 for quite a while and the frenzy has moved to this card, pushing it past $20. It might stabilize at $30, and then trickle downwards as people realize the new price isn’t here to stay…but the price will have gone up.

Here’s a great example of the principle at work: Sandals of Abdallah.

Just worse than Whispersilk ot Trailblazer’s Boots?

Sub $5 for the longest time, spiking to $30, now at about $15 for a card that is objectively terrible. The card is just bad, but it’s being collected, it’s not getting played. You have to understand that distinction and you have to embrace how the spikes will be worse for the playable cards.

So here’s a couple of RL cards that are decent candidates for a spike:

Hand of Justice at fifty cents, because I think a lot of people destroyed their Fallen Empires cards. I remember how worthless these were for the longest time.

Autumn Willow at a buck, because early hexproof is bah-roken.

Kaysa at about $4, because anthems are good.

Thawing Glaciers at sub-$20, because the judge promo is about $60, and colorless land find is always helpful.

Varchild’s War-Riders at or below $4, because sometimes the other players need creatures.

Tombstone Stairwell because lots of Zombies coming and going is exactly what some decks want.

These are just a few examples, not intended to be a prediction or a guide, but my ideas on cards that are at the nexus of the Reserved List and playability. I don’t know what collectors will do, or speculators (remember, Narwhal spiked to $10 once based on buyouts) but I know that playable RL cards have a low supply, due to the number already in decks.

If you need such cards for your EDH deck, better move fast. This wave of spikes isn’t done.

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.

Please follow and like us: