All posts by Jason Alt

Jason is the hardest working MTG Finance writer in the business. With a column appearing on Gathering Magic in addition to MTG Price, he is also a member of the Brainstorm Brewery finance podcast and a writer and administrator for Brainstorm Brewery's content website. Follow him on twitter @JasonEAlt

Brainstorm Brewery #252: Corbin’s Heart Grew Three Sizes That Day

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Josh Lee Kwai returns to discuss Commander 2017 and push DJ to the #2 guest spot.   The cast discusses the make-up of the new decks and which cards might grow in value.   Corbin gives a rundown of modern, and the crew covers breaking bulk and pick of the week with their guest.

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Corbin Hosler – E-mail – Twitter – Facebook – TCGPlayer

Jason E Alt – E-mail – Twitter – Facebook – MTGPrice

Douglas Johnson is and will forever be merely a guest.

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Your Kess is as Good as Mine

We have EDHREC data, finally!

People are building their decks, they’re putting them online to be scraped and they’re being scraped.

 

Having that sweet, sweet data means I don’t have to pull an article topic out of my ass this week and it also means that we’re going to make. Every. Money. Immediately.

The Wizards cards all seem like they are doing nutty things, as predicted. Inalla, Archmage Ritualist is causing people to take a long, hard look at Wanderwine Prophets, for example.

This was honestly the largest pic of this card I could find that didn’t look like it was photographed with the Camera from a Game Boy Color. If I had a dollar for every pixel on the picture on MythicSpoiler.com I’d have enough money to sleeve my copy of Inalla when I get it. Hopefully you can read that Eminence ability and hopefully you can figure out that copying Wanderwine Prophets means you always have a Merfolk to sac because the token Champions the original Merfolk, blah blah blah. Taking infinite turns is always a good thing. What’s Wanderwine Prophets look like right now?

There are still copies under $1 but I don’t expect them to last long. You’re basically not getting it on the ground floor at this point unless you’re reading Twitter early in the day or this article the minute it’s published. Should you chase this? If you buy at $3 or $5 it will still be fine when the card hits $10, right?

Let’s see if we can remember whether there was another blue creature that gave you infinite turns with a new Commander and look at the price trajectory of that card.

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Remember us? The neato interaction between Ezuri and Sage was enough for the price of Sage of Hours to skyrocket from $2 to $3, a price it didn’t manage to maintain. Soooooo go to town and buy those Wanderwine Prophets so you have a combo that’s more confusing and worse than this one since you have to manage to deal them damage with a creature for it to work. I’m going to stay pat, frankly. I’m sure everyone will make Prophets a $30 card just to make me look like an idiot. This is a time when Stone Calendar is $25 so I guess what do I know about MTG Finance? I guess nothing. Buy those Martyr’s Cry while they’re hot, I guess. Is Inalla a a better commander than Ezuri? Yes, probably. But the combo is worse and there is still a non-zero chance Prophets gets blown out by a reprinting in Monkeys versus Merfolk or whichever deck is coming out soon. Donald Trump is President, I saw Zima at a grocery store the other day and Sigil Tracer is a $4 card, now. Nothing has to make sense anymore. Go buy Wanderwine Prophets, I guess.

Kess is the card I wanted to talk about today and with limited EDHREC data, I’m not able to really talk about which cards are in a high percentage of decks played. However, if they’re registering at all, that means there is at least a degree of synergy between Kess and that card which makes it worth mentioning. Early adopters aren’t usually super wrong about cards and even if they are, the cards they register are seen by people who build decks subsequently which means they are more likely to get included than cards that are just in a vacuum and take some work for someone to find. That’s not right or wrong, it’s just how it is in the internet age. Let’s look at what Kess players are registering so far and see if anything emerges as a good target.

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River Kelpie

Here’s a card that’s growing in price by quite a bit lately. This isn’t that great a reprint target, frankly given its limited applicability (As opposed to Limited applicability. Good luck finding enough people who want to pay $60 a person to draft Shadowmoor) and set-specific keyword ability. You can reprint Persist cards, but Persist cards that are only good if you have Flashback spells? Good luck. Despite clunky ability synergy, this card is a shoo-in in Kess decks and I expect the new attention it gets to put a little more pressure on the price. Remember, it doesn’t need to go up THAT much for you to make some money. It can stay around $3 and if you snag all the $ copies that are out there, loose, you can make money trading them out at $3 or outing them at retail. If the price doesn’t move but the new attention causes the copies below market price to dry up, we still did fine. That’s not a great finance plan but it’s a worst case scenario I can live with. I expect Kelpie to get a bump and I don’t expect a reprint. If you agree with both of those things, be a buddy and snag those last 3 copies on Troll and Toad.

Gamble

No Gamble, no future, I always say (I never say that). Gamble is a card that is perfect for Kess decks. Sometimes you want to play this with an empty hand, making it an Emtomb for spells, but even if you discard the “wrong” card with a full grip, you can usually end up having it be a spell you can play. Getting another crack at your Gamble and tutoring for a spell you can play once or twice means Kess decks and Gamble go together like anime wall scrolls and virginity. When there are more data points to sift through, I actually see the synergy percentage increasing. Most decks that run Gamble are decks that use it as a “better than nothing” tutor because they’re mostly red, but the card is insanely good in a Kess deck and people are going to very quickly figure that out. At its current price, it’s a little above its floor but since Eternal Masters didn’t give us that many copies in the grand scheme of things, the price drop was largely predicated on a very modest demand for the very limited number of Saga copies being satiated very easily. Its current price can’t satisfy increased demand and I think now’s a great time to buy what could easily end up $10 or $12 very soon. This card’s exactly what I was hoping to find when I started probing these lists.

Beacon of Unrest

Beacon has been pretty stable for the last few months and I think while Commander 2016 gave us a lot of copies, what black EDH doesn’t want to run it? EDHREC has it listed in nearly 7,000 decks currently and at a little over a buck, this seems like a great candidate for “Going way up in price as people start to pay attention to it”. The best part about Beacons is if they get countered, discarded, pitched to gamble, pitched to… Sickening Shoal? Look, if they end up in the yard, you can play them with Kess then shuffle them back into the deck since Kess isn’t true flashback but rather says if the card would go to the graveyard, exile it, which means the replacement effect on the Beacon precedes that. I’m not a judge but I’m pretty sure that’s how that works. If not, ummm, at least Beacon lets you get a free shuffle, so that’s cool. Check the comments section where some nerd will confirm how Beacons work with Kess.

This card is basically at its floor. Commander 2017 coming out means it’s time to celebrate the one year anniversary of this latest Beacon reprinting and I want to celebrate by snagging the sexy new copies with the foil dot and the good art. I bet all that purple looks great in foil. This gets reprinted in a lot of supplementary product but it recovered before and it will recover again.

The Locust God Stuff

Kess is great because I like the ability, it could impact Legacy or Vintage (could, I didn’t originate that thought, so if you’re planning to write “ZOMG LURN HOW TO PLAY VINTIGE” instead use that energy to cram impulses like that deep down until you unleash them on the umpire at your kid’s Tee Ball game like the rest of us) and because it makes you able to play your Locust God deck with a new commander and black cards. You won’t port the whole deck over and I still recommend building and playing a The Locust God deck with wheels and everything separately, but a lot of the same cards including the Locust God itself go nicely in Kess. Let those Tolarian Winds blow – you just doubled your hand size. Don’t give your opponents the benefit of a wheel so keep those Puzzle Boxes in their… larger box? What do you store a Puzzle Box in? What do I look like, pinhead? Keep them in whatever you keep them in because you don’t want them wheeling, just you. As long as they aren’t removing your yard from the game, a wheel means you have access to a grip full of new hotness plus you can play spells from the grave with flashback like a boss.

I think there’s enough money to be made here. I might even talk about Innala next week- who knows? I don’t! A lot can happen between now and then, so in the mean time, read my tweets, listen to my podcasts and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Until next time!

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All of My C17 Thoughts Fit to Print

Commander 2017 has mostly shown us the cards we’re getting. I figured I’d write my article on Thursday this week because by then we will have had the full spoilers, my logic being that Monday showing us all of the cats meant that the rest of the week would progress with a deck a day until everything was fully revealed today. I’m not sure that happened. This set is mostly reprints but there are supposed to be 56 new cards and there are only 50 revealed. I could be misunderstanding the phrase “56 cards across 4 decks” and Path of Ancestry being in every deck plus Herald’s Horn and Heirloom Blade being in multiple decks could account for it, but I think we’re short a few Wizards and they may be saving stuff for tomorrow. If they do spoil anything worth talking about tomorrow, check back because I’ll likely do an addendum to this piece.

I don’t know how to organize this other than to just have it be a list of my thoughts, so here goes.

1) The Wizards Deck Is the New Breed Lethality

Based solely on the new cards and not the reprints, the deck with the Wizards in it is the deck that has the most exciting commanders and it’s the one I expect to get bought more predominantly. It could be they struck a nice balance and all of the decks sell roughly equally, but I don’t know if that’s the case. It’s possible people are nerdy enough to go for Dargons or lonely enough to go for Kittycats or Hot Topic goth enough to go for Vampires (a deck with 3 terrible commanders), but I have a feeling Wizards will outsell the rest. It has not one but three good commanders, four if you count the Marchesa reprint as a potential commander. Barring some very spicy reprints in the other decks, something we won’t know for a minute, the Wizards deck is the one I expect to be hot. That said, I didn’t think Atraxa was that compelling last time so it’s anyone’s guess, technically.

2) Mirri is Possibly the Best Non-Wizard Card in the Set

Mirri is very good. At a $4 preorder, I think it’s possible that you could make some money pre-ordering. However, $4 feels about right since she won’t be good in every deck with access to Green and White. However, in the decks that play her, she’s going to do WORK. Good as a commander in her own right as well as a part of the 99, Mirri is actually more unfair than she might look at first blush. First of all, if you come through with a swarm, they can’t effectively block and you’ll end up forcing them to try and block and kill Mirri, letting you dome them for a ton of damage. Also, if Mirri survives combat, you don’t even have to worry about a swing-back. Green-White decks are the best at generating tokens so you can see where I’m going here. Even if Mirri isn’t the best card in the set, she’s currently cheaper than this list of cards from Commander 2016, and I think she could go up, based on that.

3) Path of Ancestry is Too Good

Path of Ancestry is a $3 preorder despite being in every deck. Why? This card is bugnutty. Additionally, there is net demand for this card that supply can’t touch initially. Not only will this never get taken out of any precon deck that’s purchased with the intention of making it into a deck based around its contents, anyone with a tribal deck built already would be crazy not to include this so there will be demand right out of the gate for just the single card. With the high demand profile, inclusion in all four decks is almost irrelevant.

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Coupled with that, this card isn’t all that easy for them to reprint in future Commander product if it’s not tribal-themed meaning it’s unlikely to get a Commander 2018 printing. That gives us 2 years minimum of growth. I expect these to be below $3 at peak supply and I am buying in, then. Take a look at some other graphs of more reprintable cards for reference.

Myriad Landscape was done in by a reprinting and subsequent obsolescence as Wizards shifted away from monochromatic Commander supplements for the forseeable future but there was still plenty of opportunity to make plenty of money. The lands in these decks are good, they’re not easy to reprint anywhere else, and in the case of Path of Ancestry, they’re almost impossible to reprint easily. This is a no-brainer scoop-up. These will trade out like crazy and players will likely need more than one. Do you see someone buying a deck just for this card? Likely they’re buying the deck to build around it meaning that copy is spoken for and doesn’t help them with the tribal decks they already have. This card is money, plain and simple – there won’t ever be enough supply.

4) Chances Are Bad Interactions Won’t Matter

Divinity counters? You know what else have Divinity counters? Myojin! Buy all of the Myojin!!!!!!!11onehundredandeleven

I think we can all calm down a bit. Yes, you’re very clever for having seen the name of a counter on a card and remembered seeing it somewhere before. No, I don’t think Mathas, Fiend Seeker is going to spike the price of the Tempest card Bounty Hunter. I don’t even think a dedicated cat deck being printed is going to raise the price on cards like Fleecemane Lion, so I certainly don’t think bad interactions are going to spike bad cards. Not all interactions are created equal, after all. The printing of a durdly enchantment to make your Myojin of Night’s Reach a little better isn’t exactly the printing of Nekusar to make Forced Fruition a game-ending card. The Myojin barely get EDH play right now for a reason, this isn’t a reason for them to start and not all of the Myojin are even good with this. Bad interactions aren’t going to drive prices of old, bad cards up. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean people will. Take those Bounty Hunters out of your shopping cart and spend that money better elsewhere.

5) Did I Mention the Wizards Deck is Stupid Good?

I’m trying to keep up with the fact that cards are being spoiled as I write this, so when I got halfway through this article, I noticed that they spoiled the final Wizard commander and I had to go edit a few of the earlier paragraphs referencing how many cards were spoiled and how many Wizard commanders were good (all of them, it’s ridiculous).

Now I don’t know if this card is Legacy-playable but if it is, good job making this deck Grixis colors, Wizards, because you got yourself Mind Seize 2.0. It was already the best deck before all of the hype surrounding these ridiculous Wizards started. All of Twitter is talking about today is which cards to clone with Mairsil the Pretender, what to do if you have multiple copies of Magus of the Mind and Shallow Grave in your deck, whether Kess is playable in Legacy. As excited as people pretended they were for Kittycats, the hype around Wizards is real and when it spills out of EDH into competitive formats, the hype translates to real money.

This card is money either way, frankly, if it ends up being this set’s Atraxa. The trick here is that all of the commanders are going to be good so there won’t be one, monolithic, “obvious” card like Atraxa to be the deck’s value lightning rod and to be the reason the deck is impossible to find for under $80 on eBay like the Atraxa deck. This may or may not be $25 like Atraxa, but even if the 3 Wizard commanders are $30 between the three of them, the deck is still going to be in high demand.

What do we exile with this? It hardly matters – this is a card that doesn’t need to “remember” which card it exiled meaning you can cast and recast this and still keep all of the benefit of exiling cards, building a big, stupid monster of a card with a ton of useful abilities. That’s the kind of stuff EDH players want to be doing. If this were the only good Wizard in the deck, I’d be inclined to say this was money but it’s not, they’re all good. I recommend hitting Walmart stores the night before these decks go on sale. Sometimes they stock these overnight since they’re Walmart and they don’t give a hot fart in a pair of too-tight Victoria’s Secret pink sweatpants that say “juicy” on them with the fabric stretched so tight that you can see the slogan on the camo thong underneath about the street date, they’re open all night and you can hit a half dozen stores in an hour or two if you plan your route and/or don’t live in the middle of nowhere.

6) Redundancy Matters

I think we may spend a little too much time talking about the raw power of cards and we miss the bigger picture. Take Traverse the Outlands for example.

This is a great card in decks like Angry Omnath. You have a 5/5 commander and it makes angry elemental tokens meaning you’ll have a pretty good chance of getting X=5 or more when you cast this. If X is “only 5 then you played the best Cultivate ever printed for 5 mana. You got 5 Omnath triggers, thinned your deck out to give you better draws, gave you better mana to play your spells and you did it all for one card. Boundless Realms gets you more lands and it’s not dependent on you having any creatures, though. It costs more mana, but the effect is so much more powerful. While you’re debating the pros and cons between Traverse and Boundless Realms, the Angry Omnath player has already decided to buy a copy of Traverse because he’s going to play both because why wouldn’t you play both? If two cards, an old one and a new one, usually, both give you the same effect, it’s usually not important to play the better one. If a card warrants a spot in your 99 it stands to reason that a very similar card also warrants inclusion. If the effect is important, it’s worth having redundancy. Don’t waste analysis time worrying about whether a new card with an effect is the best one ever, worry about how many decks could play it. Boundless Realms is in over 5,500 decks and it’s above $3, now. Traverse isn’t a card to replace Boundless Realms, it’s a card to supplement it and there are over 5,500 people with registered decks on EDHREC who are going to take a look at Traverse and try to find a slot for it. Which card is better is largely irrelevant when it’s close because close means you play both.

7) Here’s a List of Cards I Like For the Current Presale Price

These could go down but I think it’s low risk enough that you just buy more if they do and then your average cost is very reasonable and you make money when they go up. Nothing is jumping out at me like Deepglow Skate and Curtains’ Call did before but once we have some data that shows how people are building, we’ll know more. I generally shy away from preordering unless we’re talking Blade of Selves for $1 like we were a couple of years ago.

One card that I think is too expensive but which might go up in the short term before it goes down is this one.

This is getting a lot of hype because you can make your whole library disappear with The Locust God, a card that’s already hot right now. I think the hype around this is unsustainable but I think it could lead to a run on this card. Remember, presale prices are guesses and while they usually skew high, sometimes they misprice something. I have a feeling the mispriced card will be a Wizard that is “only” pre-selling for $8 rather than a card that shouldn’t be $1 like usual.

That does it for me this week. I’ll be back on my normal day next week with lots to talk about. Until next time!

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Brainstorm Brewery #250: A New Mayor In Town

This week Corbin returns and Jason finds himself in his first political office.  Doug tries to remain awake through a pro-tour recap, and then wakes up with two red-hot breaking bulk picks.  Listener emails cover the impact of finance “thought-leaders” on the market and how to adjust your EDH buying habits in light of more speculation on that format.  Pick of the week covers an invocation that can be targeted.

Douglas Johnson is our guest (@Rose0fthorns)

Contact Us!

Brainstorm Brewery – Website – E-mail – Twitter – Facebook – RSS – iTunes – Stitcher

Corbin Hosler – E-mail – Twitter – Facebook – TCGPlayer

Jason E Alt – E-mail – Twitter – Facebook – MTGPrice

Douglas Johnson is and will forever be merely a guest.

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