Category Archives: James Chillcott

Hot Specs: Early August 2017

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By: James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

Hey folks. I know what you’re here for, so let me cut out most of the preamble and share some of my most recent targets for reasonable gains as of early August, 2018.

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James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994. He is also co-host of MTGFastFinance, our weekly MTGFinance podcast.

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Hour of Devastation Pro Tour Coverage: Day 1 Lessons/Day 2

Welcome back. Day 1 of Pro Tour Hour of Devastation in Kyoto, Japan is now in the books and it’s time to take stock of what we’ve learned and see if there’s still any fresh money to be made or saved.

Heading into this tournament there was plenty of chatter on social media suggesting that ramp or UW God-Pharoah’s Gift or Vizier of the Menagerie might be the top secret tech for the tournament. With that in mind, let’s review how the meta actually shaped up at the start of Day 1:

The first point worth making is that many of the best pros clearly came out of their testing regiments believing that aggressive Ramunap Red decks were even better positioned than they had seemed heading into last week. Whereas the deck was already a significant 10% of the online meta (as best as anyone could tell), at the Pro Tour we see a whopping 25% of the players on the punishing, low slung red deck that attacks opponents from multiple angles.

Now just because the red deck was set up for success, didn’t mean it was going to plow through the field. In the last few Pro Tour stops decks that showed up in even larger quantities ended up butting up against the wall of fresh tech only to fail out of Day 2. This time however, at the end of eight rounds of play (including five rounds of Standard) the top tables were showcasing an even higher percentage of red decks than the Round 1 meta count would have suggested. Paul Cheon went so far as to name Ramunap Ruins as the card of the day, citing the reach that a nearly unanswerable late game damage source gives the red decks.

Ramunap Ruins

So where did all the cool combo/control decks go that were being heralded as approaching dooms? Day 2 coverage is now up and running, and control decks are being called out tonight as being largely relegated to the lower tables. With nearly 60% of the players on aggro decks at this tournament, the odds were already low that the rogue decks were going to find their footing and drive deep, but a day later we can now clearly see that many of the fancier brews just weren’t ready for prime time.

Instead, our top tables are largely crimson, with occasional sightings of zombies decks. Financially speaking, the likely dominance of red and black aggro decks doesn’t leave us with many targets since many of the zombie cards have already spiked and the red decks are running relatively few relevant mythics and rares. I have noticed that Falkenrath Gorger inventory is draining, and at $2 this has a solid shot at $5-6 if red fills up the Top 8 overnight. Hazoret the Fervent has inched up closer to $7 than $5, but many of the red pilots aren’t running enough copies to make clear this is even a valid target to accelerate.

Falkenrath Gorger

Champion of Wits, Gate to the Afterlife, Angel of Sanctions and Cataclysmic Gearhulk seem very unlikely to earn some price action this weekend, but keep an eye out for a rogue deck to navigate the aggro gauntlet and excite some purchasing power Saturday morning. The tournament location and timing is also likely to dampen financial speculation this weekend, since by the time many interested parties see something sexy happen over their breakfast cereal tomorrow morning, they will be able to reality check their ideas.

So far this tournament looks like a washout for specs, but I’ll be posting notes of interest through the night to flag any changes to that evaluation.

10PM EST: Donald Smith of Team Lingering Souls calls out Hazoret as the card that allows mono red to plow past the meta. Started testing three copies, moved up to the full four. Spec might not be dead.

1am: Cheon just ran us through the baseline lists for the most prevalent archetypes at the tournament:

 

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Paul spent some time detailing that Abrade & Ramunap Ruins are the two cards that ultimately moved a quarter of the field away from some of the other Tier 1/2 options.

5am: We are facing a murder’s row in the Top 8 with PVDDR making his 12th (!) Pro Tour T8, and Sam Black, Sam Pardee, and Seth Manfield along for the ride. Five of the eight decks are Ramunap Red, and there’s one RB deck as well, all with a total of 20 copies of Hazoret, the Fervant. There are also 24 copies each of Falkenrath Gorger. Earthshaker Kenra (coverage Day 2 Card of the Day) and Bomat Courier so may see some some action on those rares, though Kenra has already spiked.

Here is the Top 8 participant list:

1st Place – Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa – Ramunap Red
2nd Place – Sam Pardee – BG Constrictor
3rd Place – Sam Black – Ramunap Red
4th Place – Wing Chun Yam – Ramunap Red
5th Place – Shintaro Kurata – BR Aggro
6th Place – Felix Leong – Ramunap Red
7th Place – Yusuke Sasabe – Mono B Zombies
8th Place – Seth Manfield – Ramunap Red

6am: The single B/G Constrictor deck in the Top 8 is pretty stock at unlikely to move much on the finance side. Ditto the single instance of mono black zombies. Might be time to start thinking about the control cards that address this meta appropriately.

7am: Overnight hype has pushed Hazoret, the Fervant copies very close to $10. Will be interested to see if they can push for $15 this week or whether the meta will immediately react by trying to hate RDW out of the format.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

 

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Pro Tour Hour of Devestation: Financial Preview

The third Pro Tour of 2017 is about to go down in Kyoto, Japan.  Mercifully, the oncoming festival of excellence lands just as the Standard format has finally escaped the shadow of recent card bannings.  After two seasons ended up requiring the banning of cards, the entire community wants to see a diverse and balanced metagame emerge at this tournament.  With Emrakul, the Promised End, Reflector Mage, Smuggler’s Copter, Aetherworks Marvel and Felidar Guardian[/mtg_Card] all banned, the format is by all accounts in a pretty diverse and health spot heading into the weekend.

As per usual the world’s best players have been hunkered down in their various Oni dens in Kyoto, Japan for the last week or two, all seeking to answer the only query that matters: is there a fresh deck or reconfiguration of existing archetypes out there that will allow them to catch the field off balance while offering consistent play against the known quantities in the field?

With $250,000 USD on the line, and  $40,000 for the champ, players looking to Top 8 need to marshall both luck and skill to lock down the trophy.

Taking a look at the results from the last major StarCityGames Tour Standard tournament, the Top 8 field features elements both familiar and relatively recent. Here was the Top 8 from SCG Open Cincinnati.

  1. Four-Color Control
  2. W/U Monument
  3. Four-Color Emerge
  4. B/G Energy
  5. W/U Monument
  6. Mono-Red Aggro
  7. Mono-Black Zombies
  8. Temur Energy

Meanwhile over on Magic Online, the meta seems to be featuring variations on the following decks:

  • Mardu Vehicles (11%)
  • UR Control (11%)
  • Mono-Red Aggro (10%)
  • W/U Monument (8.5%)
  • Temur Energy (8%)
  • GB Energy (6%)
  • G/R Pummeler (5%)
  • Mono-Black Zombies (3.5%)
  • U/B Zombies (2.5%)

For we finance types, this is not a super exciting scenario. With a wide open field, play skill and nuanced sideboard choices + luck may carry the day, and that’s without accounting for the six rounds of draft factor. All of that adds up to an event that is likely to generate the usual number of hypes spikes, but may not be able to sustain those prices heading into next week unless a truly dominant strategy emerges.

‘As per usual, it is worth noting that the Pro Tour currently requires that players succeed in a mixed schedule of booster draft (HOU/HOU/AMK) and Standard play with 3 rounds of draft Thurs night , followed by 5 rounds of Standard starting around 2pm EST/11am PST, Friday.

Will any of the teams find a way to unlock a hot new deck with solid game against the entire field? Will a fringe deck from the early weeks of the format suddenly end up perfectly positioned to take off? Will there be a chance to get in on a must-have card that shows early promise or will the hype train leave the bandwagon speculators out in the cold without enough buyers come Monday morning? Follow along as we explore Pro Tour Hour of Devestation all weekend!

Editor’s Note: We will not be providing round by round coverage this weekend, due to vacation scheduling but we will provide relevant notes as the weekend progresses. 

Cards to Watch

Heading into this Pro Tour stop, many of the most obvious specs have already played out and plenty of advance speculation has been going down. The potential for further spikes is still on deck, but so is the strong likelihood that some of these specs will collapse when they inevitably fail to join the central meta narrative of the weekend.

Here are a few of the interesting cards that seem like they should be on our radar this weekend:

God-Pharoah’s Gift: Grind King?

Gate to the AfterlifeGod-Pharaoh's Gift

There are at least a few versions of the God-Pharoah’s Gift decks floating around and they all look like a ball to play. Basically, you get a bunch of good creatures in your yard and then start overwhelming your opponent by bringing them back more often than they can find removal or good blocks to deal with them. If the format isn’t dominated by aggro, this might be a great place to be and at $3 (up from $0.50 or less), there’s still some room to grow here. I won’t be surprised if this pairing of cards makes the Top 8, but I will be surprised if they dominate the tournament. As such, the spec seems too risky in the fact of better options, and I think I’ll sit this one out.

Current Price: $3
Predicted Price Monday: $4-5
Odds to Top 8: 2 to 1

Champion of Wits: Good to Go

Champion of Wits

Originally underestimated and available under $1 during pre-order season, actual play with this flexible card selection/card draw spell sandwiched between two different bodies has proven it out as one of the better cards in the format. Four-color emerge decks run the full four in the main, alongside play sets of Elder Deep-Fiend, Grim Flayer, Haunted Dead and Prized Amalgam.  From a financial perspective, as a rare from a new set that is already close to $10, this one feels like an auto-sell to me. There could be a few more dollars left to reap here, but if you were in early I think you need to be happy with $24 play set exits and move on.

Current Price: $7
Predicted Price Monday: $8-10
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 1

Hazoret, the Fervant: Ripping Red

Hazoret the Fervent

Mono-red aggro decks make up a solid 10% of the online meta, and their most promising spec (now that Earthshaker Khenra has popped) is likely the hasty god from Amonkhet. This will end up more promising if the decks that show up at the Pro Tour are running more than the usual two copies. with a full 15 months left in it’s Standard life, this is a solid spec with multiple possible inflection points given how frequently we see this deck post up in the meta. Alternatively you might look at Falkenrath Gorger, but generally mythics will beat rares for gains.

Current Price: $5
Predicted Price Monday: $10+
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 1

Torrential Gearhulk: Can Control Get it Done?

Torrential Gearhulk

It’s hard to believe we had a shot at this card around $8 when it first released last fall. The power level on Snapcaster Mage’s big brother is undeniable, and the number of good control cards to flash back has only gotten better between all of the card draw, kill spells and counter spells now in the format. U/R Control is the most likely home for the big blue brute this weekend. This card featured a $30+ price tag a few months back but the weak interest in Standard in combination with a broadening format has weakened it’s ability to hold a higher price tier. There is an argument to be made to pick up a few playsets looking to unload them in the fall closer to $120 per play set, since it’s hard to imagine a shrunken Standard card pool not leaving this card near the top of the creature heap, but I’m going to stay away from this until I’m certain the format is regaining some of the bodies that were lost in the first half of the year.

Current Price: $20
Predicted Price Monday: $20
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 1

Cataclysmic Gearhulk: Emergent Tech?

Cataclysmic Gearhulk

With U/W Oketra’s Monument decks spewing out a ton of tokens, there has been some early chatter that this card might show up in a God Phraoah’s Gift build that looks to reset the board in the mid-game and take over with a heap of Eternalized creatures. This deck is still emerging, but has been gaining momentum over the last couple of weeks, and the only problem is that the Cataclysmic Gearhulk slot is not necessarily a lock, given that there are multiple ways to build the deck.

Current Price: $2
Predicted Price Monday: $8+ (on a Top 8 presence or strong early camera time)
Predicted Price Monday: $2 (on a muted presence or absence)
Odds to Top 8: 6 to 1

Fatal Push: Nowhere to go but down?

Fatal Push

The price of Fatal Push has fallen a bit since the last Pro Tour, but it’s future in Modern and Legacy is super secure for the foreseeable future. In Standard things have been getting very grindy and mid-game focused, and as a result there are likely to be less copies of the card in the Top 8 versus last time. That being said, your first play set is an easy hold since you’ll be using them for years. Beyond that, trading out next fall or early winter may be your best bet, but remember that there is a sweet FNM promo that may head off your road to profit.

Current Price: 7
Predicted Price Monday: $7
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 2

Heart of Kiran: Dominating the Skies

Heart of Kiran

Through all the bannings Mardu Vehicles has remained a very steady presence in the Standard meta, especially at the local level, where many players who started on the deck are likely still on it. Some versions of the deck have taken to running Gideon of the Trials instead of the Zendikar version, but otherwise all the usual suspects are still in attendance in most lists. Heart of Kiran is still a four-of, but with the deck likely to represent a much more muted presence at this event, I think this card is likely to stall until rotation gives it a shot at being a strong gainer as the fall meta shapes up.

Current Price: $7
Predicted Price Monday: $7 ($15+ possible by Nov)
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 1

Angel of Sanctions: Ready to fly?

Angel of Sanctions

U/W Monument may not be running this main most of the time, but they certainly enjoy pulling three or four copies out of the board in their grindier matchups. This powerful angel is just $2 at present, so any kind of significant showing could easily push it up over $6 on a hype spike, with your resale potential strongly dependent on how many copies make the Top 8. This is a risky pick, but in a field this open, most of your options are.

Current Price: $2
Monday Price: $5
Odds to Top 8: 1 to 2

 

Stay tuned for our MTGFinance coverage of Pro Tour: Hour of Devastation throughout the weekend!

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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PRO TRADER: Digging for Dollars: Amonkhet

By: James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

The release of Amonkhet this spring found Magic: The Gathering in a pretty strange place. After having committed to 8 ban announcements per year, WoTC declined to ban Felidar Guardian when the infinite combo was first discovered, citing lack of data. After it became clear the deck was narrowing the format and limiting player participation, the ban hammer still didn’t drop five weeks after Pro Tour Aether Revolt. This brought us to one fateful monday, when the company again declined to ban any cards in Standard, only to change their minds a couple of days later, completely outside the set schedule for such announcements, and ban Felidar Guardian after all. Fast forward a month or so and Aetherworks Marvel decks posted up as the new dominant archtype, leading to yet another ban.

Between this crazy sequence of events and the (at best) mixed reaction to the Amonkhet Masterpiece card frames, the very positive reactions to the limited format makes the debut of the set a tangled web indeed.

So now that the dust has settled and the set has reached something close to peak supply, how does one go about trying to make some money on Amonkhet cards?

Well, as per usual if you planned to crack cases and sell singles, you should already have done so, since just a couple of weeks after release you were already facing a saturated market and singles prices that fell to lows as much as 80% below starting prices. At present there are just three mythics over $10 (Gideon, Rhonas and Liliana) and just two rares over $4 (Anointed Procession & Glorybringer). In other words, the set is cheap and still getting cheaper as early hype fades into a more realistic picture of which cards are actually playable in the near term.

Secondly, as a large spring set with several unique cards, Amonkhet is likely to end up with a bunch of cards that don’t quite have the necessary pieces to make it in Standard, only to show up in other formats down the road as folks figure out the most efficient deck shells or new combo partners appear.

Finally, with the Masterpiece Innvocations present in Amonkhet, the Expected Value of the rest of the set is similarly impacted as it was with the Kaladesh and Zendikar blocks, though to a lesser extent since only Force of Will, Cryptic Command and Daze are holding over $50 thus far.

There are also several interesting cards in the set for Commander and a few for Modern, but it’s not certain which are traps and which aren’t.

Now, Digging for Dollars is about looking for opportunities that aren’t played out yet, not identifying the most powerful cards in the set, or the obvious cards most likely to see the biggest gains. Many of these picks need planets to align to earn you money, so make sure you’ve exhausted your best options before you go digging folks. Where a card has not yet found it’s bottom, or has been hyped above it’s value, I will try to identify the proper entry point.

For Amonkhet we’re going to break up our specs into three categories: Standard Breakout Targets, Potential Eternal Staples, Long Term Casual Targets, and the Invocations. The first group generally needs to find a home within the year in multiple standard decks to do well for you. The latter two groups are mid to long term holds that you should be aiming to acquire at their forthcoming peak supply lows for solid potential future gains.

FUTURE STANDARD STAPLES?

When considering potential standard staples, you first need to be cognizant that Standard has had a pretty rough year, lost a bunch of players and doesn’t yet show definitive signs of recovery. As such, I’ll be steering clear of Standard specs for a while, especially with such fertile ground in Modern, EDH and via European arbitrage, but if you’re aiming to accumulate some staples you might need later it can’t hurt to consider your options.

1. Bontu the Glorified

Bontu the Glorified

Now: $3.50 ($8 foil)
Target Buy Price: $3.00 ($8 foil)
Target Sell Price: $8 (+167%)/$20 foil (+150%)
Timeline: Short to Long Term (0-12+ months)

So a 4/6 indestructible creature with menace for 3cc is clearly a pretty good rate. Sure, you need to make sure one of your creatures dies this turn to get him into the red zone, but he does carry that on-board ability to make sure things will line up so long as you have some filling fodder on board. In Standard some of the Embalm creatures interact positively with this play pattern, and Sultai brews have been spotted, but I haven’t seen a truly great list yet.

In Modern, cards like Hangarback Walker, Walking Ballista, Kitchen Finks and Lingering Souls all set this up reasonably well, but it’s not clear that the payoff is worthwhile when Tarmogoyf and Death’s Shadow are setting the standard for creature rates in Modern. I am testing Bontu in B/W tokens for Modern as a 1/2 of instead of a planeswalker, and it’s possible he could be useful in some kind of Aristocrats style brew, but it’s pretty unlikely he becomes a real Modern staple. Most of the gods carry some casual and Commander appeal, so under $3 I’ll start picking up a few sets for the long haul, with an eye to getting out earlier if Standard gives him a quicker boost. Foils may turn out better down the road, especially if Meren EDH players catch on to the synergies.

2. Approach of the Second Sun

Approach of the Second Sun

The question here is whether there is life for this card in Standard without Aetherworks Marvel. The odds are not good, but at $.50, it’s not going to make or break your bankroll either way. Mostly a personal play set option I think.

MODERN/ETERNAL PLAYABLE?

3. Harsh Mentor

Harsh Mentor

When this was first revealed, people seemed pretty excited at the prospect of punishing their opponents in Modern and Legacy whenever they cracked a fetch land, spun their top, or activated their Arcbound Ravager, but the excitement seems to have cooled and many pros seem to have decided the card isn’t such a big deal after all.  Mentor doesn’t punish planeswalker activations, and there aren’t any fetches in the format, so unless vehicles stays dominant I have a feeling we’re going to see the bottom drop out on this card by summer, opening the door for a decent buy-in price.

Personally I feel that Harsh Mentor is likely to see at least occasional play in Modern, with long term potential to break out as a staple in the right meta. I was considering testing the card alongside Eidolon of the Great Revel in a revised burn shell, perhaps something like Josh Silvestri recently wrote up over on Channel Fireball. Craig Wescoe, on the other hand, has been looking at Mentor in R/W Hatebears for Modern. Both of these concepts could end up as little more than thought experiments, so commit accordingly.

In Commander, this effects all opponents in a format with a ton of on board triggers, so foils may have some legs from that angle.

Now: $1.50 ($7 foil)
Target Buy Price: $1 ($5 foil)
Target Sell/Trade Price: $5 (400%+)/$20 foil (+300%)
Timeline: Long-Term (12-36 months+)

4. Glorious End

Glorious End

Now: $3 ($7 foil)
Target Buy Price: $2 ($4 foil)
Target Sell Price: $10 (+400%)/$10 foil (+150%)
Timeline: Mid to Long (12-24+ months)

Glorious End is a classic trap card. In the right circumstances it can be a time walk that cancels your opponent’s turn and and gives you the one extra casting or attack step you need to put the game away. If you can chain them, you can take multiple turns in a row without your opponent being able to do much. (You’d like to Snapcaster Mage this back to really get rolling, but you can’t because Glorious End exiles itself from the stack.) If you play cards like Gideon of the Trials, Platinum Angel or Angel’s Grace you can dodge your fate, but the question is whether someone will find the right shell to make all this durdling worthwhile.

I’d put the odds somewhere around 30/70 that this makes a splash in Modern somewhere down the line but I don’t think you need to rush into owning any, so feel free to keep an eye out for interesting deck lists and snap some up during a summer sale if you’re excited to try and break it.

 

5. Bone Picker

Bone Picker

Now: $4 foil
Target Buy Price: ($3 foil)
Target Sell Price: $10 foil (+333%)
Timeline: Long Term (24 months+)

This guy doesn’t quite look like Delver of Secrets now that we’ve had some time to put him to the test, but there is still potential for him to slot into a very quick aggro strategy in Modern if the right combination of ways to activate him reliably appear. I’ve seen him tested in Legacy.

As an Uncommon, I’m not interested in non-foils, but a few sets of foils around $3 seem fine as a low priority target that may or may not get there in the next few years.

6. Shadow of the Grave

Shadow of the Grave

Now: $0.50 ($4 foil)
Target Buy Price: $4 foil
Target Sell Price: $10+ foil (+250%)
Timeline: Long Term (12+ months)

Here we have the poster child for open ended synergy, a card that works with both cycling and discard, both of which have plenty of support now, and will only gain additional options down the road. As a two-mana instant this has the potential to set up really nasty combo turns, and whether that ends up being with Seismic Assault, Dredge cards or Life from the Loam doesn’t matter much to me. I only care that this card is only going to gain momentum as time goes on and is unlikely to see frequent reprints given the mechanical focus. I love these foils at $4, and intend to stock up this summer and await the inevitable spike.

7. As Foretold

As Foretold

Now: $5 (Foils: $20)
Target Buy Price: $4 (Foils $20)
Target Sell Price: $10+ (+150%)/Foils: $40 (+100%)
Timeline: Long to Very Long Term (12-36 months+)

The As Foretold hype machine was running hot during spoiler season, with the card charging out of the gates close to $20. With no home in Standard and none of the Modern brews making major waves yet, the hype has cooled and I think there’s a good chance you can pick up a pile of these for $4 or so this summer and stock them away for down the road when someone outright breaks the card.

It’s important to keep in mind that despite the fact that this card does nothing when it hits the board, it immediately starts letting you cast up to two extra spells per turn cycle including Living Death (Living End), Wheel of Fortune (Wheel of Fate), Balance (Restore Balance) and Ancestral Recall (Ancestral Vision) effects. The card has open ended synergy with similar future cards that might appear, as well as with mana denial strategies, and in EDH it can potentially allow you to cast X spells per turn cycle, where X is the number of opponents, assuming you have a way of keeping your hand full. That’s enough for me to grab twenty to thirty copies.

Foil supply is already relatively low at $20, and as a mythic rare that is going to be played as a four-of if it’s played at all, I’m happy to pick up a dozen at that price as well.

8. Gideon of the Trials

Gideon of the Trials

The latest incarnation of the Gatewatch’s resident bruiser has been in steep decline since he was pre-ordering at $40. Now available for just $10, the card has shown up in a few Modern control lists including UW and RW strategies, usually as a 1 or 2 of. Those aren’t the kind of numbers that are likely to cause a major spike, but I’d keep your eye out for foils closer to $20 than $30, because foil supply is relatively modest and they could end up over $40 down the road.

I’ll be picking up a play set of non-foils this summer, but will mostly focus on getting six to eight copies of the foils as cheaply as possible as a longer term hold.

Now: $10 ($22 foil)
Target Buy Price: $6 ($20 foil)
Target Sell Price: $12 ($40 foil)
Timeline: Short to Very Long-Term (6-36+ months)

9. Hope of Ghirapur

Hope of Ghirapur

Now:  $3 (foil)
Target Buy Price: $2 (foil)
Target Sell Price: $10 (+400%)
Timeline: Long Term (24+ months)

It’s a total trap, so just ignore me. For this to ever be a thing, a few things need to line up. You need a meta where you can consistently get a 1/1 flyer in for damage and where stealing your opponents ability to cast non-creature spells is powerful. You’re really doing it if you figure out how to recurse this thing and give it Haste, perhaps via Thopter Engineer. Trinket Mage and Ranger of Eos can go find this card, and Leonin Squire can bring it back. Master Trinketeer makes it bigger, and Silence and Isochron Scepter could form the nucleus of a soft lock. I only listed the foil prices above because the formats I can see this being most useful are Legacy and Vintage, where Xantid Swarm has been useful out of the sideboard. This one is a definite long shot, but it sets off my spidey senses and I’ll likely pick a few up once they get cheap for a casual Thopters deck if nothing else.

Long Term Casual Targets

10. Cascading Cataracts

Cascading Cataracts

Now: $.75 ($5 foil)
Target Buy Price: $0.50 ($4 foil)
Target Sell Price: $4 (+700%)/$16 foil (+300%)
Timeline: Long Term (24+ months)

In a few months we’re getting at least one new five color Commander deck (Dragons), and possibly others as well. That aside, 5-color EDH decks are only going to get more robust as time goes on and this land is  an auto include in all of them. Foils should be the play here, and they’re dead cheap if you’re comfortable with a longer hold. I already bought some experimental Japanese foils, and I’ll definitely be stashing some more of these away once I see a solid deal on English copies.

11. Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Rishkar has already seen plenty of play in Standard, but I’m more interested in his long term usefulness in EDH. The strong utility of both buffing creatures and turning them into Llanowar Elves is going to be popular in casual circles for years to come and being both an Elf and a Druid is a boon for Commander. Interactions with Atraxa, the other “cares about counters” commanders, and Hardened Scales/Doubling Season only bolster the appeal. I’d focus on foils here, since there are likely to be plenty of non-foils lying around once he wraps his tenure in Standard.

Now: $4 foil
Target Buy Price: $4 foil
Target Sell Price: $12 foil
Timeline: Long Term (24+ months)

12. Throne of the God Pharoah

Throne of the God-Pharaoh

Yeah, that says “each opponent” all right. Attack or tap your creatures in EDH to hit all your buddies at once. That’s enough to get me on board here, but I suspect this cheap and deadly artifact will find a home in Modern and/or Legacy at some point as a finisher that doesn’t have to attack through blockers to win. Legendary status holds it back some, so I’ll focus on foils here as well, expecting modest growth, but allowing for more exciting results if someone figures out how to break out of the pack on the back of this card. At just a quarter for regular copies, hard to go wrong with those either.

Now: $0.25 ($3.50 foil)
Target Buy Price: $0.25 ($3 foil)
Target Sell Price: $4 ($10 foil)
Timeline: Long Term (12+ months)

13. Pyramid of the Pantheon

Pyramid of the Pantheon

Now: $0.25 ($2 foils)
Target Buy Price: $0.25 ($2 foils)
Target Sell Price: $3 (+1200%)/$8 foils (+300%)
Timeline: Long Term (24+ months)

No one seems very excited about this card, but in Atraxa EDH decks, this “Builded Lotus” can get rolling pretty quick and ramp you into more shenanigans. It’s unlikely to escape the range of mediocre to medium good in that format, and is likely unplayable everywhere else, but at $2 for foil rares, I’m willing to throw $20 at this and see where it lands in a few years.

 

So there you have it. Anything I missed that you’re on top of? Logic to kill one of the specs? Share your thoughts for the benefit of all in the comments.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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