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

Unlocked Pro Trader: The Amonkhet Stuff EDH Cares About – Part 1

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The set isn’t fully spoiled and I imagine there will be stuff spoiled between this article and the end of spoilers that will be relevant. Instead of waiting for that, I’m just going to get started and we’ll wrap up later. First, though, let’s take a look at how Aether Revolt is doing financially.

17 cards over $2. This is what we’re hoping the Invocation Masterpieces will do to prices in Amonkhet but it’s hard to say. Also, I was surprised to find that the 4th most expensive card is not even in regular boosters – it’s a durdly Planeswalker from the Planeswalker packs. Its high price is only surprising because I didn’t think it was that good – being in the Planeswalker deck means Masterpieces had no effect on its price.

 

So what I’m seeing is that basically 25% of the people who preordered Walking Ballista and hardly anyone else made money pre-ordering. Prices go down on just about everything 3 months later due to more boxes than ever being opened. Does it make sense to have a $7 uncommon in that context? Maybe, maybe not. What is EDH going to do?

Looking at Aether Revolt prices, we see Paradox Engine, Planar Bridge, Baral and Mechanized Production which seem to be expensive solely because of EDH. In the case of Paradox Engine, we have a card that’s one of the most expensive in the set solely because it’s bannably good in EDH and is basically warping that format. Could it be banned? Maybe. But until it is, it’s going to continue to be one of the most valuable cards in the set. Everything else got smashed down to like a buck and while that is good long-term, you’re looking to see what to pre-order (if anything ) and/or how much of a bath you’re going to take on the stuff you buy early. Do you need cards to play with right away? Then suck it, up; you’re going to lose some money, it happens. Are you willing to wait a minute? I think I can help you, there. Let’s look at what we should care about and what it will be worth in a few months.

Annointed Procession

This card is pre-selling for $3 on SCG and I think that may be too little and too much. Long-term, I think this has chops and can really get there because it’s a carbon copy of a card that is already expensive. I also think this goes down before it goes up.

Parallel Lives was under $3 for a minute and that was a while after it was printed. Parallel Lives is also in more appropriate colors for this effect. That said, lots of white token-based decks that never had access to green have been waiting for this. I think Parallel Lives’ price helped establish the preliminary price for this card but it can’t maintain it. At peak supply for this card, it will be very hard-pressed to maintain even $1 unless it’s directly impacting Standard, which I doubt. This is this set’s Dictate of Erebos, which means we’ll have time to get these for cheap and we’ll be getting $3-$5 for these in a year or two. This is a great opportunity, just don’t buy in too early.

Cast Out

I don’t see this being quite as expensive as Fatal Push (or as secretly rare – I have seen boxes of Aether Revolt with 2 copies of multiple rares and only one Fatal Push) so I think a good target for this is “free in draft chaff” if you can get them. EDH plays effects like this and tacking cycling onto it makes this pretty attractive. Get foils while the base price and multiplier are both low.

Regal Caracal

Cat lord. Maybe EDH doesn’t want this (a non-zero number of people absolutely will) but 60-card casual overlaps with EDH sometimes and obscures where the demand is coming from. The advantage of appealing to 60-card casual is that they can snap four of these up at a time. I think once this is bulk, you set it aside when you process bulk rares and that’s all you need to do. Forget these in a box and find them in two years when you can buylist these for like $1.50 each and use the proceeds to buy your family’s freedom from the marauding gangs of paramilitary thugs or Spam or air filters or whatever we’ll need money for in two years.

It’s going to look like I’m omitting “As Foretold” but since that’s not EDH-exclusive, the price won’t be affected by anything we do so it’s not really worth discussing. $25 is probably too much, but I don’t know if it will ever get so cheap that we’ll be glad later we paid that price. This card is just going to straight ruin prices on a lot of cards for a minute.

Kefnet the Mindful

This card is better than anyone thinks, probably. Still, it’s going to have a tougher time finding a home than most Sea Drake variants. I don’t want to pay $6 for this for sure. In general, these gods are way worse than the Theros ones and those prices are still low on some of them. I don’t expect this to ever be worth enough that we’re glad we bought in before these rotate out of Standard.

New Perspectives

This is just another bulk rare which likely languishes at bulk for a minute, but currently Lifecrafter’s Bestiary is a bulk rare and we know that can’t stay cheap forever. This card is good, albeit narrow. I feel like EDH will use its first ability as often as its second, especially in decks like Roon and Brago. Pull this out of bulk and box it up and wait.

Pull from Tomorrow

The marginal upside of being “allowed” to discard a card for certain decks isn’t enough to pay $3 for this right now. This will be bulk eventually but it will also be worth getting because it’s got more utility than some other cards that do this (though you can’t make them draw out like you can with Stroke of Genius, etc). In a world with a ton of cards that do this exact thing, this differentiates itself slightly by letting decks like The Mimeoplasm discard and that gives it longterm upside that Standard players won’t understand. Get these at bulk.

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Liliana’s Mastery

How long do we expect casual gold like this to be a bulk rare? I sound like a broken record, but get these in bulk and hold onto them. It’s fine to sound like a broken record during preview season considering there are only one or two cards that won’t go down in price, and usually one of those cards only reveals itself after pro players have done significant testing.

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Lord of the Accursed

“Why is an uncommon worth $4?” – Someone on reddit in two years

Champion of Rhonas

No, I didn’t forget red, I just don’t have any red cards to talk about because, like always, there are no good red EDH cards in sets other than Commander

This is better than Elvish Piper in some situations. It’s also not worth $6. I think this will probably get very cheap. Will this be one of the 17 cards worth more than $2 in a few months? I tend to doubt it. Here’s what I do – I ask myself “Am I more excited about this card than I was Aethersphere Harvester” and when the answer is inevitably “No” I decide that I don’t want to pay more than $2 for it.

Channeler Initiate

At $3, this may actually be underpriced, I don’t know yet. What I do know is that this can put -1/-1 counters on creatures other than itself which is not always a bad thing and this can grow itself while it helps your mana.  This card is really stupid. Then I remember that Somberwald Sage is stupid in EDH and that’s like $1.50. Who knows? If this goes up before like 3 years, it’s probably because Standard wanted it, which I can see. This is a better Werebear.

Shefet Monitor

This is not a 6 mana creature. This is a 4 mana spell that says “Search your library for a basic land or, I guess, a Desert, put it into play untapped, shuffle up then draw a card. Put a dead lizard in your graveyard that you may end up putting back in your hand or accidentally reanimating.” and that’s a pretty decent spell.

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons 

This could be a sweet general, but I expect it to get played less than Baral. What’s Baral going for? Scroll up and check, then buy accordingly.

Neheb the Worthy

Whether you try to buy this guy or buy other Minotaur cards that might go up, I think you’re screwed no matter what you didgeridoo.

I may or may not write the second part to this before next week if they wrap up the spoilers, soon. To review, I think there is probably one slam-dunk opportunity in the set so far and that’s Annointed Procession. The good thing about there only being one sicko target is that we can all focus on it and ruin the price for everyone like the dirty finance mafiosos that we are. Got a card you’d like me to discuss that I omitted? Leave it in the comments section. Until next (week?) time!

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Big Mana, no Whammies

Sometimes whammies happen. I have an entire box full of them – copies of Nivmagus Elemental, Scion of Vhitu-Ghazi and a bunch of Deadbridge Chants I didn’t unload quickly enough. A whammy isn’t a spec that will never make you any money, it’s just a spec that is going to take much longer to pay off in the long-term. Sometimes your spec gets reprinted, making it an even longer-term spec (The reprinting of Seance means that one won’t pay off until the coming nuclear apocalypse forces us to use bulk rares as money, luckily I already broke even) but there is always a chance your spec will pay off eventually.

I’m not here to talk about whammies, though, because I think there is a class of card that’s always going to be an eventual hit. While meta choices fall in and out of favor based on the changing tastes of players, one thing will never change – EDH players are always going to like big mana and the spells that let them get that big mana. The good thing about mana is that it never goes out of style, functional reprints just let players build redundancy rather than cause obsolescence and it appears durdly enough to spikey players that they give it up for nothing. Cards that seem too slow, symmetrical or goofy for Standard will always be undervalued. And while functional reprints don’t bring prices down, actual reprints don’t even do it, either. Observe.

 

Want to know what that red arrow indicates? That’s Caged Sun’s reprinting in Commander 2014. Not only did Caged Sun recover, it exceeded its previous price. This buffs creatures, too, but let’s not ignore the fact that this card is primarily included in decks to double your mana from certain sources and let you do dumb, Timmy stuff. Considering this comes down at 6 mana, you already have quite a bit of mana to work with so imagine what you’re doing now that you’re tapping for extra. This card recovered very nicely and it got me thinking about the future of other big mana cards.

 

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Gauntlet of Power

The non-foil card continues to grow while the Masterpiece appears to be sinking, approaching the price of the regular set foil which is itself kind of stagnant. This seems pretty consistent with EDH players generally being less excited by foils than everyone thinks. The Masterpiece, however, I think shouldn’t be on parity with the set foil and the closer it gets, the juicier it looks as a buy-in. Gauntlet of Power is another Caged Sun and while it’s silly to pay $40 for it, I think that’s exactly what people will do in a year, and probably $50. The cheaper the Masterpiece gets, the more I like it. That’s not really the sexiest card I thought of when I started thinking about big mana, though.

Braid of Fire

This card piqued my interest in particular when I started diving into stuff. I’ll admit it took me writing a fake article on April Fool’s Day to remember I hadn’t checked this price in a minute and I’m left to conclude others are sleeping on this as well. In general, red mana is the least desirable of all of the manas in EDH but that’s no excuse for this card to not continue its precipitous growth into the next few years. Coldsnap is criminally under-opened and accordingly, desirable cards from the set, especially ones that are tougher to reprint, are doing very well. Was it the release of Breya or was it me gently reminding people that caused Arcum Daggson to spike? I know which I think is more likely but if you want to say I did it and made you all a lot of money, I accept your praise and offers to hoist me onto your shoulders.

This is the kind of growth that can happen overnight when a ton of people suddenly remember that a card exists and that it’s super busted all of a sudden. Printing Breya and Paradox Engine on top of each other was a best case scenario for this card and anyone who bought in at $5 was probably stoked. Braid of Fire could hit $20 if there is a reason to need red mana or if we just wait for a while. There aren’t too many places they’ll be inclined to reprint a card with Cumulative Upkeep, especially since the power level of the card used to be tempered by your tendency to get scorched by Braid if you couldn’t find an outlet for the mana which isn’t a thing anymore. If you get in now, you’ll be in a position to sell into the hype of a spike or in a position to just ship for the new high price in a year or two. Braid of Fire is in a set where we have a $50 uncommon. Modern demand is currently much greater than EDH demand, and every deck with Bauble needs 4 compared to every deck with Braid needing one, but that just means $20 is reasonable on Braid and if you buy in under $10, you’ll be more than pleased with those gains.

This was part to remind people that this card exists and part to tell people I see a card that has age counters (that you can double, though not with Atraxa, usually) that accumulate and give you mana being useful in EDH forever and being pricier than it is now down the line.

Doubling Cube

Cards with “doubling” in their name are very strong EDH picks, such as “Doubling Season”, “Doubling Cube” and “the only other card with ‘doubling’ in the name is Doubling Chant which is unplayable in EDH so it’s basically just those two that are good and you didn’t need me to tell you Doubling Season was good, it already went up like $40 this year because of Atraxa if you were paying attention.”

Doubling Cube doubles the mana in your mana pool, which, if you’re counting, is exactly twice as much mana as was there before. This is the kind of math that appeals to people who build decks like Hydra tribal. People build Hydra tribal decks, by the way. They’re like vegans about it – I had a guy tell me, at a comedy show at a bar, that he was building a Hydra tribal deck within literally 90 seconds of meeting me. Hydra tribal players want to cast big Hydras and this card helps accomplish that aim. It’s already going up and all it takes is someone reminding people that this is a card. Remember, someone sees a Magic card for the first time every day. There is someone out there that has never seen this card before. They’re going to find out about it today. I mean, statistically. Anyway, have these cards when other people want to buy them, that’s what I’m saying.

Boundless Realms

This is a card that does serious work. You clear the rest of the basics out of your deck, usually, giving you smooth draws. It also gives you hella landfall triggers. This is quietly going up to $5 and those of us who bought a ton at under $1 are gleefully watching it climb. There is moderate reprint risk which is why I’m not deeper on this card, but fortune favors the bold among you and there is still some juice to be wrung from the pulp of this pick before we’re done. Even at $3 this card is a great pickup and anyone who has ever resolved this spell will tell you the impact it has. You have to play more basics than you might normally, but that’s cool. With land about to matter more now that we have cycling lands that tap for 2 colors which has caused people to remember Life from the Loam, Crucible of Worlds and Splendid Reclamation are cards, Boundless Realms is going along for the ride. It gives you a basic for each land you control, not each basic, meaning you can really pull every basic out of your deck on turn 6 or 7, usually, especially if you have been playing spells like Cultivate to ramp up to this point.

New Frontiers

In a similar vein, New Frontiers is also rewarding players for having basics by letting them strip all of them out of their deck. This lets your opponent do it, too, but you’re set up to play this card which means you will likely benefit from it more and you will also have enough basics to not fail to find a bunch like they will. This is on its way up and gets a little boost every time someone remembers it’s a card. This is symmetrical, however, which is why it’s as cheap as it is. EDH players tend to like cards that are asymmetrical which leads me to my last pick.

Zendikar Resurgent

This is not an “if” this is a “when” and while we don’t know when when is, we know it’s bound to happen. This card is part personal mana flare, part Lifecrafter’s Bestiary. It costs a lot of mana to get it into play, but so does Caged Sun. While this isn’t as ubiquitous as Sun due to its inability to be played outside of green, the color that needs the least help with mana ramping, I still know that this card has legs and while it will take a minute for EDH demand to soak the huge number of loose copies out there, it will happen. This card is too good not to go up. It does so very many things you want a card to do and does them unfairly. Unlike with Heartbeat of Spring, your opponent gets no extra mana and unlike the formats where Heartbeat of Spring is mainly being played, you don’t need to cast this on 4 mana symmetrically because you wouldn’t live to see 7 mana. You can be a cheater and play this as a personal mana pump, and that’s pretty rad. Foils are already $3.50 which is a nice, 5x multiplier meaning EDH players are already very aware of this card. Be aware of this, yourself.

That does it for me this week. I’m sorry about the prank article on Saturday, but, no I’m not. If I got you for even a second, it was all worth it. The best part of it was, I took it seriously and wrote it up like it was a real spike that I was trying to decode and ended up remembering Braid of Fire was a thing and that got me thinking about what to write this article about. I don’t know what it all means, but I do know why kids love the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I’ll tell you why next week. Until then!

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Could This Spike BE Any Better?

As many of you know, I’m the content manager at EDHREC.com. I am in charge of hiring writers, making sure they meet their deadlines, assigning articles topics, managing social media, etc. It’s a good thing, too because if I hadn’t been reviewing article drafts there this week, I might have missed the latest trend.

If you’ve never used EDHREC, I rec it to everyone as a resource not only for EDH deck building but also for mtg finance. It is a huge database full of decks submitted to sites like Tapped Out that keeps track of cards being played in any given deck and reports how those decks are composed. The most popular decks are tracked and categorized by popularity and that’s important because the most popular decks tend to have profound effects on prices. Atraxa was instrumental in moving the price of Doubling Season, a card that was already pretty expensive. Breya has moved the price on cards ranging from Nim Deathmantle to Krak Clan Ironworks to every card with “Darksteel” in its name. Normally we try to talk about cards that are affected by new printings or price spikes because I don’t like buying cards after they go up. With that in mind, I want to discuss a trend I noticed this week.

EDHREC tracks commanders by popularity and graphs them based on how many times people looked them up. For commanders that have been popular forever, the graph is always very high. Here’s the graph for Atraxa.

As you can see, Atraxa is #1 or close to it almost every day since it was printed. Less popular commanders don’t have as good a day as Atraxa does every day. Here’s a mid-tier commander like Jolrael.

As you can see, how much Jolrael is looked up varies widely by day and it could be a dozens of views that make up the dramatic swings between being ranked in the 600s and 400s. There are a lot of eyeballs on a lot of decks. So what do we do when we notice a card getting popular very quickly? I noticed a card trend very sharply upward this week.

This is the graph of a card that has rocketed in popularity over the last few weeks. It’s so popular, in fact that it knocked Atraxa out of the #1 spot, which was no easy feat. The card, of course (You saw the picture I used for the article after all, there’s no point in pretending we don’t both know the card this is) is Chandler. Some of you might have to look it up, so I’ll save you the trouble.

I had heard some rumblings about this card in EDH forums online but didn’t expect this kind of a spike in popularity. A friend brought a copy of his Chandler deck to the shop for EDH night and I got to see the deck work first-hand and I finally get the hype. Built in response to decks like Breya and Arcum Daggson, Chandler decks control the board with cards like Liquimetal Coating to keep their regular creatures in line and Umbral Mantle to get multiple Chandler activations in a turn cycle. The deck was too slow and inconsistent, though, until very recently. The printing of one card we’re all very familiar with was the last piece the deck needed. You know the card I’m talking about.

Paradox Engine turned a relatively inconsistent deck into a murder machine, untapping Chandler for multiple activations a turn and keeping the board clear of troublesome artifact creatures. Over the course of a few hours, my friend’s Chandler deck demolished Arcum, Daretti, Zedruu and even my Maelstrom Wanderer deck as well as a turned Karador deck. Eventually we asked him to play a different deck so someone else had a chance of winning.

As with all cards we write about in this series, I don’t see much of a point in trying to buy copies of Chandler. While we were drafting Modern Masters and Aether Revolt and talking about the best time to buy Scalding Tarn, Chandler has quietly disappeared from the internet.

Paying $20 to get a copy of this from TCG Player seems ridiculous at this point. You missed the boat and that’s OK. However, there are a few key cards in the deck that  I have to imagine are going to go up based on people wanting to brew Chandler.

Joven

Doesn’t this guy just look like he smells like he owns a lot of ferrets? Despite dressing like he’s at a leather party after an Alice Cooper concert, Joven is a key component in the Chandler deck, keeping them off of non-creature artifacts as well. There are plenty of targets for Joven and he benefits from the same Paradox Engine and Umbral Mantle er… engine. The deck is built to take advantage of a very similar card in Chandler and Joven does serious work in the deck. The price hasn’t really budged on Joven, yet so there’s real buying opportunity here. With people buying Homelands boxes trying to avoid having to shell out $20 for Chandler, the supply of loose copies of Joven is drying up. This is also very unlikely to get reprinted because even if they do a judge foil for Chandler to bring the price down, it’s unlikely they’d do the same for Joven. The sky is basically the limit on this.

Speaking of Homelands boxes, I think we missed the boat on those, too.

The recent price spike of Merchant Scroll combined with relative scarcity of old, sealed product and the recent increase in interest in Chandler has basically dried up a lot of the affordable Homelands boxes. If your LGS has a few loose packs, go ahead and try your luck, but stay away from boxes. It’s too late to get these affordably.

Braid of Fire

This is the mana engine that really powers the deck. Giving you a ton of red mana to power the activations as well as use Umbral Mantle and Staff of Domination getting counters on Braid of Fire is your #1 goal. Use Gamble and other tutors to dig for this as quickly as possible because the sooner it’s online, the sooner you can start going off.

Rustmouth Ogre

This is already spiking a bit but I think there’s a lot more money to be made on this. Despite being uncommon, I think this has a pretty high ceiling given the price we’ve seen on other highly-played uncommons from Mirrodin. Think Isochron Scepter, for example. Unlike Scepter, I think this is not very likely to get reprinted, making it a safer place to park some money. Use Whispersilk Cloak and Rogue’s Passage to make sure you connect with Ogre. I run Fireshrieker and Grappling Hook so I get multiple triggers per hit. There’s no wrong way to hit them with Rustmouth Ogre, just do it early and often.

Toymaker

Everyone knows to use Liquimetal Coating to turn your non-artifact creatures into artifact creatures so that Chandler can obliterate them, but not many people knew about this hidden gem. Toymaker turns their non-creature artifacts into real boys, Pinnochio-style. I guess Gepetto-style, really. Unless Pinnochio was making dolls come to life, too, in some sort of marionette-based Skynet self-awareness scenario. There has to be a way to make a Portmanteau of “Skynet” and “Marionette” that’s funny but I can’t figure it out. What I can figure out is that Toymaker is not likely to be reprinted soon, foils are a very healthy 3x multiplier (which could grow) and this is a key component of the most popular deck on EDHREC. You do the math.

Ashnod’s Transmogrifant

I think this may be a bad spec since it’s been printed three times (Antiquities, Chronicles, 5th) but if this does start to take off, Antiquities is where you want your money parked. You can use it in a pinch to make your own creatures bigger to screw with their combat math or just make theirs eligible for being murdered by Chandler. Could this card BE any more flexible?

I think there are quite a few possible targets that I didn’t get to in this piece. Feel free to peruse the Chandler commander page for more ideas.

That does it for me this week. If there’s any possible spec target you think I missed, leave it for me in the comments section and we’ll discuss it there. Until next week!

 

 

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Unlocked Pro Trader: French is Greek to Me

I’m going to be honest, the research for this article didn’t lead me where I thought it was going to at all. I started out with a request from my readers (and my boss, someone I’m even more inclined to listen to) that I talk about how the adoption of 1v1 Commander on Magic Online will affect that format and prices. It’s Commander and I write about Commander, so I should know about it, right? That was the theory, anyway. It was a theory I even accepted myself. “How different could it be?” I asked myself, not doing really any research between last week and today. “After all, it’s not like 1v1 Commander is Tiny Leaders.” You want to know what I learned right off the bat?

Actually, I will get to that in a second, but first there’s something I want to cover. What do I mean by the adoption of 1v1 Commander by Magic Online? Well, last week, they made this post to a few places including their Tumblr which is where I cribbed it from.

30 LIFE FOR 1V1 COMMANDER

The Modern Masters 2017Edition deployment today contained a change which moved the starting life total from 40 to 30 for 1v1 Commander games.  (Games with 3 or 4 players remain at a starting life total of 40.)

We have plans to introduce more support for 1v1 Commander.  As part of this, R&D determined that format is better off with a starting life total of 30. At one point we had planned to introduce this change as well as league support and a modified banned list today, but later decided to instead introduce it during Amonkhet season.

Unfortunately, in this process the life total change did not get taken out of this build, and so today it is live. Now that it is live, since it is a change we were planning on making anyway in the future, our intent is to simply leave it in place.

Stay tuned for an article about what support we plan to offer for 1v1 Commander leagues moving forward!

– Lee

This was exciting news for a non-zero number of people. I think the move to 30 life from 40 is more significant than the fact that they can play on MTGO, but regardless of why people are happy, this could mean more people adopting the format and therefore some money could be made for some people. Why not have your EDH writer talk about it? After all, like I said, it’s not like 1v1 is Tiny Leaders. You want to know what I learned in my research?

1v1 Commander is EXACTLY Tiny Leaders

There aren’t the same restrictions on casting cost, but there might as well be because people are not playing EDH cards, they’re playing 100 card Legacy singleton. The first place I headed was MTG Top8 to take a look at the list of most-played cards in 1v1 tournaments so I could get an idea of what the staples in that format were. I did a double take.

Oh, man. This is a Legacy list. I must have clicked on the wrong banner or something. Just to be sure, I navigated to the Legacy tab to check out their list and it wasn’t the same.

Here was the Legacy list and while it was obviously different off the bat because the first list didn’t include lands, adding lands to the 1v1 Commander list didn’t change much, it just pushed everything down.

This has to be for 1v1 Commander. Either that or people started playing Command Tower in Legacy when I wasn’t looking. What’s going on? There is a lot of cheap, basic card draw, 1-for-1 removal spells and a ton of blue cards. This is nothing like the Commander I know anything about. And where’s Sol Ring? To answer that question, we need to get into the next biggest difference between 1v1 Commander and traditional EDH.

Their Banlist is Insane

It’s actually sort of sane given the things you can do in a format with such a gigantic cardpool but it’s a weird amalgam of the EDH and Legacy banlists. It’s pretty clear they don’t want someone to get so far ahead on turn 1 that the other person can’t ever catch up and they banned cards like Sol Ring, Tolarian Academy and Mishra’s Workshop accordingly. Naturally Nectoric Ooze is banned (my hope in that typing that sentence it would be clear to the people who understand why Necrotic Ooze is banned that I have a deep understanding of the format and they would nod in assent, their respect for me deepening) because a combo that was in a fringe Legacy deck for 6 months until everyone got bored of it is pretty oppressive.

The full list is on their site but I’ll paste it here anyway.

Ancestral Recall
Ancient Tomb
Back to Basics
Black Lotus
Channel
Chaos Orb
Dig Through Time
Entomb
Falling Star
Fastbond
Food Chain
Gaea’s Cradle
Gifts Ungiven
Grim Monolith
Hermit Druid
Humility
Imperial Seal
Karakas
Library of Alexandria
Loyal Retainers
Mana Crypt
Mana Drain
Mana Vault
Mind Twist
Mishra’s Workshop
Mox Emerald
Mox Jet
Mox Pearl
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Mystical Tutor
Natural Order
Necrotic Ooze
Oath of Druids
Protean Hulk
Sensei’s Divning Top
Shahrazad
Sol Ring
Strip Mine
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Time Vault
Time Walk
Tinker
Tolarian Academy
Treasure Cruise
Vampiric Tutor
Ante cards are also banned.
The following cards are also banned from being played as a commander :
Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
Marath, Will of the Wild
Oloro, Ageless Ascetic
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
Zur the Enchanter

That’s a really big banlist, and the banned as a commander list is probably necessary. I don’t play this format, I can’t stress that enough, but I read what the people who play that format write online when they are in the mood for complaining about Magic and they didn’t like how oppressive Derevi was or how consistent Yisan was or the fact that no one wants to play 1v1 EDH with them because it misses the entire point of EDH.

Still, Wizards supporting the format more, changing the official rules to reflect that 30 life is better than 40 if you want games to finish in a timely manner and signaling that they’re willing to have more input on the future bannings and rules applications for this format (something people are largely in favor of for a reason I can’t fathom) at least hints at some more legitimacy for this. It’s not Tiny Leaders in this regard – Wizards has more than acknowledged it and is signalling that they plan to support it, even if it’s relegated to Magic Online (not that they could stop people if they wanted to play it elsewhere, could they?). What does any of this mean for prices, if anything at all?

Prices online of some staples could be disproportionately affected, but which ones? I set out to find cards that were played in 1v1 Commander but not regular EDH and instead I found that it’s going to be tougher to find cards that are played in 1v1 Commander but not Legacy and Vintage.

What I found when I scoured 10 pages of their top cards played in 1v1 is that when I finally got out of Legacy staples I ended up with cards that were in fewer than 10% of the decks. 10% of the decks in a fringe format that don’t get additional support from Legacy or Vintage or EDH aren’t good spec targets. Is 1v1 support on MODO going to bump the price on Sudden Demise, Evasive Maneuvers or a bunch of other cards you may or may not have to look up because you don’t know what they do?

I set out to highlight some targets that 1v1 could push up but there’s nothing. 1v1 could create additional demand for cards already played in Legacy and for stagnant Legacy cards, this is pretty important. Legacy is plateauing a bit and if another format comes in and picks up the slack, some of the cards tailing off could head back up and the cards flat could see a bump. This could be the best thing for Legacy rather than EDH and while that’s not what I set out to prove, I don’t mind pivoting a bit and getting you guys some picks.

Mental Misstep

This is a Vintage card but it’s banned in Legacy which has been disastrous for its price. It’s buyable for $0.50 right now which is pretty brutal for a once-proud card. Foils seem much sexier at $15 right now and while Vintage is propping that up, there is still possible movement. One interesting thing to note is that this is even cheaper on MODO – around 0.15 tickets, in fact. This is a card that is in almost 30% of 1v1 decks putting up results (in some ways this is a better measure than EDHREC’s “here is what a bunch of lunatics built” but in some ways, not so much since EDHREC can forecast future demand better) and will get played in 30% of new 1v1 decks on MODO. Both paper and MODO seem like cheap, low-risk buys. Misstep never really got a chance to get lost in dollar boxes since it started out very valuable and tailed off, rather than the other way around. This could have the same bounce as a “second spike” card.

True-Name Nemesis

Nemesis is ticking back up and it’s time to ride the wave as it were. Legacy and Vintage fish decks are all about this card since it gets merfolk buffs and for a while people were using it just to hold swords in neo-squawk builds. This is in 25% of the builds which isn’t surprising because it’s much, much better in 1v1 commander than it is in multiplayer. This is already cresting and I think given how unlikely a reprint anytime soon feels, this is a great target.

Green Sun’s Zenith

This is a graph shape I can get behind. The printing in Eternal Masters (it’s banned in Modern) tanked the price but EDH and now 1v1 could give it the demand it needs to get back up. In any case, this is basically historically cheap and as good as this card is in as many formats where it’s still legal, I can get behind this. I might not have noticed this is still cratering if I hadn’t started this fools’ errand of an article so, hooray, I… guess? This is a silly card that does silly, unfair things and it’s good enough to be banned in Modern, so why not buy it at its floor? Seems like that’s what we try to do, here.

Misdirection

Misdirection is a card I’m not super duper confident about but based on the metrics we usually use, this is a low-risk high-reward target. It won’t get as expensive as it was when it was a Legacy staple in low supply but Conspiracy didn’t add quite as many copies as it would need to add to suppress the price forever, so it’s clear that a lack of demand is what’s hurting this once-proud card. Increased demand could help us get there. I’m not as confident about this as I am the others and this is in a scant 20% of decks currently, but we could see a lot more demand if 1v1 picks up, both in paper and on MODO.

I didn’t end up coming up with the targets I thought I might when I set out to write this piece but we did identify some cards that are likely to go up even if nothing happens so there will be some real upside possible if 1v1 starts pushing prices up. More demand is always good for staples and these cards are staples for sure. Next week we’ll have Amonkhet to talk about and I’m much happier about that, so make sure to come back next week. Thanks for reading. Until next time!

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