Category Archives: Jason Alt

Unlocked Pro Trader: Hanna are you OK? Are you OK Hanna?

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I was going to continue the “Things I learned” miniseries this week since it was a hit last week but today’s article in an emergency article and I want to get it out as quickly as possible since time is of the essence for some of these picks. I am mostly going to focus on one new card and the financial consequences of such. I mentioned Hanna in the title because that’s a deck I can see jamming this new combo, but Brago can’t be ruled or, nor can Grand Arbiter Augustin or Lavinia or any number of UW commanders. OK, let’s stop talking about talking about it and talk about it already.

Solemnity is a card that’s going to impact a lot. In Standard, it’s going to make it miserable to play Walking Ballista and that snek that gives stuff counters and… look, Standard is lame, I don’t care about the names of Standard cards. Here’s what could be a thing based on this card.

Decree of Silence

This card is under a buck and foils are around $7. This is the first card I thought of when I read Solemnity, so naturally this is where I am directing people first. The foil has more potential to pop, but Scourge is in pretty low supply and this card has real potential. A few decks were running it already, which is also good because people who brewed with it before will be aware of its power. I used to use Hex Parasite to remove counters but this is way better.  This is perhaps the best combo with Solemnity, but is far from the only one.

Phyrexian Unlife

Not requiring any blue, this card is even more flexible making damage turn into counters which can’t be applied to you. It’s not that much of a chore to pair Solemnity with blue cards, especially since a lot of the decks that want this combo will be Azorius. People ran Rest in Peace and Energy Field, for example, and the tutors to get that combo and the counters to protect it make Azorius the place to be. However, other color combinations love stupid combos like this and now they have one they can play. Phyrexian Unlife is basically hitting a second spike so expect fewer loose copies than usual.

Celestial Convergence

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This is another Mono-White pick that I think is saucy. If you have Solemnity out, the player with the highest life total wins the game when you cast this. Hot damn. Decks were running this before, a little, but it’s a lot easier to cheat with cards that come into play with 0 counters and accumulate them rather than the other way around. Too many cumulative upkeep counters on Mystic Remora? Brago that $^#&. Since we couldn’t do that with this (Brago loads it up with counters, which is not cool) people weren’t bothering as much. This is a card that hasn’t spiked before so expect a lot of copies in dollar boxes at the LGS. This will take longer to climb than second spike cards like Phyrexian Unlife, so don’t fee like you missed the boat if other cards dry up faster.

Glacial Chasm

Speaking of Cumulative Upkeep counters, this card can’t get those anymore. Great googily moogily, do we have a lot of ways to not take any damage! Suddenly Azor’s Elecutors and Luminarch Ascension are looking even sexier. I like this already since The Gitrog Monster is a deck and they just printed a Crucible of Worlds with feet. This was good before, it’s extra good now. Solemnity is going to get us more advantage than Mystic Remora. Speaking of Mystic Remora,

Mystic Remora

Of all the cards with a Cumulative Upkeep, this was getting the most play before. This gets a lot better with Solemnity, obviously, so combine how it’s starting to creep up a bit with how good it is when it’s a Rhystic Study that no one pays mana for and you have a recipe for a pretty good card advantage stew. It’s stupid that all of these cards are in the same colors. Either they’re blue like Mystic Remora, or they’re white like

Sustaining Spirit

This is as risky as Phyrexian Unlife, basically requiring you to got to 0 life before this kicks in, you still don’t die and that’s good. This can lead to hilarious games with you dead and fighting counterspell wars over enchantment removal. Being dead to Krosan Grip is risky and this deck will be fun.

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Elephant Grass

This card used to be fair. It’s worth less than a dollar as a fair card. What could this be worth as an unfair card? It’s Ghostly Prison with upside for a mana with Solemnity out, and that’s not bad for a card that’s already playable.

There are several decks likely to jam Solemnity shenanigans in them, and those cards have upside, too, if Solemnity decks take off.

Enlightened Tutor

Not that this was ever not a good pickup, but this could be a better pickup soon. It’s down from its historic high and this could be just the push it needs to make you glad you bought at the floor.

Plea for Guidance

Search for Solemnity and any combo piece? K. I’m down.

Hanna, Ship’s Navigator Judge Foil

This could be at its floor. If this starts to tail upward based on hype from Solemnity and its myriad cheaty combos, Hanna could be a buy at its current price. Watch it to see if it stays flat or heads down a bit more, though. I think it’s worth waiting a bit and paying a little extra for some assurance that the card is on the way up. This is the deck most likely to run Solemnity, although a lot of the cards likely to be in the new build are already run by Brago. Brago’s worth nothing, but hte EDHREC pages for both Hanna and Brago are required reading. There are a ton more specs on those pages.

I’m sure people are going to discover a ton more combos with Solemnity over the next day or two, so keep an eye on twitter for clues. If you’re a Pro Trader, congratulations on getting this a few days early – that could make all the difference on hot specs like these. Thanks for reading. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: 5 Things I Learned Sorting By Color – Green

I am going to launch a bit of a sub-series here because there isn’t much to talk about this week. We don’t know much about Commander 2017 beyond the fact that we know an awful lot about one deck and nothing about the others. Everything obvious vis-a-vis Dragons has been done by everyone and the non-obvious stuff won’t pay off for months. Hour of Devastation spoilers will start in earnest soon and we’ll have some spicy EDH tech to glean from that, but for now, EDH is sort of quiet. It was with that in mind that I started screwing around on EDHREC even more and went a lot deeper.

While it’s not perfect (for example, Raging River comes up under colorless enchantments, likely due to someone outside of EDHREC’s error since the data is all scraped from elsewhere) using EDHREC reports for top cards rather than using the advanced filters (Something else I can get into if people want) or typing in the name of the card lets you eyeball something that was sort of tough to eyeball before. A while back, I was asked to write about the top 10 cards that were relevant in EDH and I did it the hard way, guessing mostly until I discovered that I could just go to a page for that. Seeing the top 100 cards in the format wasn’t super surprising, although the way the cards were ranked was. I got a lot of surprises going through the data and I enjoyed the process immensely.

I’m going to go through each color and talk about things I find surprising and which could potentially have financial consequences. I’ll probably eventually do each color and since there’s no rush on this, I’ll get to it when nothing else is going on. I think Green is going to be the sexiest one so I’m going to start with Green just so you all can pick up what I’m putting down. First of all, how do you access this by yourself?

At the top of the page, any page, click the “cards” dropdown.

Click by color and pick the color (or lack thereof) and it takes you to the page where it first lists the Top 100 over all then breaks it down into subcategories. All of this is displayed on the one page and seeing the cards sorted by percentage inclusion is great. That’s how you do this, so let’s get into what surprised me in the green stuff and what I think might be relevant.

  1. Eternal Witness Gets Played. A Lot.

If you had asked me to guess the Top 5 Green creatures in terms of inclusion, I would have done very well. I would have said Sakura-Tribe Elder was played most and then in no particular order, the rest of the Top 5 was Acidic Slime, Birds of Paradise, Reclamation Sage and Llanowar Elves. That’s not bad for guessing based on what I see played but I whiffed on number 1. Eternal Witness is played in an astonishing 45% of the decks on EDHREC. Sakura-Tribe Elder is in 32% and the slide really begins with Acidic Slime finishing 3rd with 27%. 45% is unreal inclusion and it shows there’s a big difference between “Beast Within (28% of decks that can include green cards) can really shrug off reprints” and “Eternal Witness can really shrug off reprints. Eternal Witness really has shrugged off reprints, too. It’s been in 3 Commander deck printings, a Duel deck and Modern Masters and maintains a healthy $6 price tag. The price cycles but it never seems like it gets truly blown out.

Relative inclusion has to be a metric we pay better attention to going forward. Just saying “It’s an EDH staple” is fine but it’s sort of lazy and it really obscures the truth. Lots of Green cards are “Staples” but none of them are Eternal Witness. The second-most-played card isn’t even Eternal Witness- It’s Cultivate which is played in 38% of decks (2% more than Kodama’s Reach – go figure. Guess there’s a lot of Minamo’s Meddling in their meta) and while it’s a buck, it’s not a finance juggernaut like E Wit. This is a safe buy if it’s reprinted again.

2. EDHREC Doesn’t Appear to Show Cards Being “Priced Out”

EDHREC measure what people report they’re building and that includes a non-zero number of wishlists. Unlike tournament sites which report the cards that a player managed to track down and register in their deck, EDHREC can sometimes pick up lists that people register wishing they could afford. I think this is good to note because while that is a potential weakness, we don’t see people registering a ton of decks with ABU duals in the manabase for shits and giggles – sites like Tappedout seem more like schematics than fantasy projections. If a player registers something like Oracle of Mul Daya, they’re pretty likely to pick it up. Besides, all things being equal, any $20 card will be similarly out of reach to the people who can’t afford $20 for a card so it should be a wash. They’ll register the same number of Oracles they can’t afford and Consecrated Sphinxes they can’t afford so relative demand should still be a fair metric for determining demand from within the format. There are plenty of $20+ cards in the Top 100 and while there aren’t as many people playing Vorinclex as there are playing Birds of Paradise, that says more about the latter’s ubiquity than it does the former’s affordability. It’s very likely we’re seeing the “Top 100 Green cards, money is no object” list, or damn near it. It’s not like people are lining up to play Drop of Honey but can’t because of how expensive it is. More likely people want the less obscure stuff because they’ve seen it played, know what it can do and have a reasonable chance of obtaining it. Whether or not these are the 100 “best” cards is irrelevant because we’re trying to predict what people will buy and what they’ll buy are the cards on this list.

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3. Mana Matters

Obviously mana matters, but when you isolate just the green cards from the rest of the cards, you really start to see how many deal with mana. EDH is a big mana format and mana thirst drives a lot of card inclusion. Green is put into decks because it can get dead stuff out of the graveyard and deal with artifacts and enchantments, but mostly it’s there for mana purposes. In the Top 100 Green cards, a whopping 38 of them, over a third (you knew that 38 was more than 33, I’m not sure why I felt compelled to put that, or leave it after I typed this, or leave this after I typed this) deal with mana. That seems obvious, but it helps more than you think. Everyone knew Sylvan Caryatid would be good and would help Standard. What we didn’t think about at the time was how EDH inclusion could help smooth the price crash out at rotation time given its inclusion in 7% of EDH decks. I used to run Utopia Tree – I knew full well we’d want Caryatid in our decks. That 7% inclusion is good enough to keep the price steady at about $2.50, which is way down from its ridiculous Standard-fueled peak of $15, but it never truly hit bulk. You can use that as a baseline to compare to future mana dorks. What if we get a creature that’s closer to Bloom Tender than it is to Caryatid? Basically every mana dork ever except pretty obscure ones are in the Top 100 Green cards and a lot more show up in the Top 48 creatures. Knowing this helps us a ton when they print new mana creatures. Did you see this being $3 and climbing? Maybe we should have.

4. Bad Removal is More than OK

Green is great when coupled with other colors because Green lets other colors do what they were going to do faster. But since Green is the best color in EDH, people are going to run mono-Green decks and that means you need to run goofy removal. People love Terastodon and Woodfall Primus but they even love ways to deal with creatures like Desert Twister. Green players love Desert Twister. 6 mana isn’t a problem in EDH – what else was the Green player going to do on Turn 3? Goofy removal becomes necessary for Green decks and therefore ends up in demand.

Did anyone see this happening? A really mediocre removal spell from a $35 MSRP deck that has approximately $97 worth of elves in it flirts with $10? How? Well, it may be bad, but it’s the best Green has, and sometimes you can do stupid crap like copy their creature with a Vesuva. Hey, they printed a card that’s a lot like this, didn’t they? How’s that card doing?

Wow, it’s under a buck. BRB, filling up a shopping cart full of these at under $1 because the ceiling for this is $10, right?

No, of course not. This card is Blue, and Blue doesn’t need to trifle with goofy-ass removal spells. Blue has Treachery and Blue has Cyclonic Rift. Green doesn’t have Cyclonic Rift, Green has Cyclone and Cyclone is never going to be Cyclonic Rift. Song of the Dryads is goofy but goofy is good enough and the next time Green gets some goofy removal, we need to give it a second thought, especially if it’s in supplemental product. Spells that do what Green does best are represented in the Top 100 but spells that do what Green does terribly are over-represented and we need to take note of that.

5. Fair Play is for Suckers

You win Magic games by getting ahead and one way to do that is cheat. If you aren’t inclined to cheat in a game of EDH because you’re likely with friends and there are likely no stakes, congratulations. You’ve hurdled the bare minimum requirements for being a non-scumbag. What do you want, a parade? If you have to cheat, cheat legally. Of the Top 100 Green cards, 15 of them deal with cheating things into play. The bigger the better, as evidenced by Genesis Wave surpassing Birthing Pod in price in the last few years. Granted one of them is banned in Modern and the other is ostensibly playable in a deck one guy played one time, and also Birthing Pod is still played more and its price is being pulled down by being a two-of in an event deck… where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, Genesis Wave is great and Genesis Hydra is also a good card. Maybe Genesis Hydra can go up longer term. Maybe we look at Lurking Predators and see how that recovers. Maybe Yisan finally starts to be worth money as a non-foil. As long as there is cheating going on, Green is about it because Green has expensive creatures and paying mana costs is for suckers.

Do we want me to do this for the rest of the colors? I feel like there is a lot to unpack and there are some valuable insights. What surprised you when you looked through and saw which cards were played more than others? Any surprises? Do you use data like this to try and predict future card prices? Let me know in the comments section. Hopefully next week we’ll have some spoilers to dissect. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Why Wait?

I’m doing a very good job of presenting EDH finance to people who are either antipathetic or even hostile to EDH as a format. I’m probably the best at it, and that could be because basically no one else is bothering. Whatever the case is, I’ve noticed that my accuracy rate on specs went way up when I started focusing on EDH finance a lot more because EDH is predictable. Sure, you still get the same event-based and printing-based spikes that you get with other formats, but you also get the “This is obviously going to be $5 in 2 years” stuff that other formats don’t necessarily promise. Buying stuff as bulk rares that are going to be $5 in a few years is the easiest way to make money at this and since those cards are usually obvious, why park your money anywhere else? And when I say “This bulk rare will be $5 in 2 years” I really mean stuff like that happens.

$2 isn’t exactly bulk, but it isn’t exactly the $6 it is, now. Should we sell out if we got these for cheap when they were $2? I would snap take that triple up, especially since we’ve seen that there are people out there who will spoil an entire tribal deck at a time. I think the $11 foils of this are much safer since there are several scenarios and the foil is better in most of them.

  • There isn’t a C17 Sliver deck and the foil grows steadily as we get farther from its print date. It’s probably just as good as the non-foil here.
  • There is a C17 sliver deck and Sliver Hive isn’t reprinted. The foil has more growth potential because it’s scarcer and people will be buying copies of both to make new sliver decks.
  • There is a C17 sliver deck and non-foil Sliver Hive is reprinted.

As good as that is to review before we get more spoilers, it’s not great advice for someone who doesn’t have any Sliver Hives. I’m not advocating running out and getting any right now (if you do, get the foils) but maybe there is something we can do if we don’t have cards going into spoiler season. We can wait. Waiting to park a portion of your money can be a great play and I’m going to talk about why.

Why Wait?

 

Mtg Finance is opportunism, guys. It just is. We see a price discrepancy and exploit it. Or we serve customers by providing cards they need, which is still opportunism. I think there is opportunity in waiting until the last second to see if something is going to pop based on not being reprinted. The cards that make the best targets for this kind of buying are older cards that really should be getting reprinted because if they’re not, the price is going to be out of control. Remember back when we talked about how they needed to print Phyrexian Altar in Commander 2015? Remember how they didn’t?

Not reprinting Phyrexian Altar when it was $15 signaled that at the very least we were in for another year of growth and people bought in. The new price is double what it was and it’s basically out of reach for a lot of people and those who need it are willing to pay the new price. If you bought these at $15, you probably feel pretty good. Now had this gotten reprinted, it would have tanked substantially. You would probably be breaking even right about now, having to wait for money sunk into a spec that was blown out. The good news is the card would have recovered in price, the bad news is you wouldn’t be able to count that as a win, and there are wins out there.

Here’s a card that was around the same price as Phyrexian Altar and got the reprint. It might recover, it might not, but it will be years before we know. So what can we learn from Phyrexian Altar, a $15 card that became $30 quickly when it wasn’t reprinted and Urza’s Incubator, a $15 card that became $5 very quickly when it was reprinted? Did the Incubator holders lose a coin flip and Altar buyers win it? I think the real lesson here is that you can wait until the spoilers are out, and you should. You’ll have time, maybe only a day, but you’ll have time to pounce on stuff that isn’t reprinted and I think I have a few excellent candidates.

Patriarch’s Bidding

Recognize this graph shape?

How about now?

How about now?

Patriarch’s Bidding looks exactly like those other two cards did right before their “do or die” moment with a reprinting one of them got and one of them didn’t. This year is Bidding’s do or die moment – will it be included in the most obvious place to reprint it or will WotC signal that they’re basically never interested in reprinting it? We get at least a year of growth and I plan to buy Bidding at $15 and sell as close to $30 as I can.

While we’re talking about bidding, how do I feel about the reprint odds? I actually don’t think they’re as good as everyone might think. I still advocate waiting, but I think they’re not likely to put Patriarch’s Bidding in C17. Why do I say that? After all, these decks are tribal. However, all of the decks are tribal, and if these decks are meant to be purchased at the same time and played against each other, Bidding is pretty terrible if everyone has tribal decks. I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. I read a Bennie Smith article awhile back and thinking about the Altar/Incubator graph shape reminded me that he has similar feelings about bidding.

Bennie thinks these “obvious” tribal cards are unlikely to be reprinted due to how symmetrical they are. Tribal cards likely to be included are ones that help your deck more than they help the other decks – think Urza’s Incubator over Patriarch’s Bidding, Belbe’s Portal over Coat of Arms, Sliver Hive over Peer Pressure.

The fact that Bidding isn’t an obvious slam dunk in C17 the way you may have thought at first means that C17 exclusion isn’t necessarily a signal that it will never be in a Commander set. However, you do get at least a year of growth and with the card likely to double in that period and grow pretty slowly or go back down a bit like Altar did, either way you’re looking to get in at $15 and get out at $30 within a year. While I think it’s unlikely that Bidding gets a reprint, I also think you can afford to wait until its inclusion or exclusion is confirmed. If you notice, there was a bit of a lag in Altar’s price spike and I think we’ll get a similar grace period this time. On the other side of the coin, I want to talk about a similar card that may be a little more likely to get reprinted than Bidding due to its asymmetry and inclusion in a lot of sliver decks, slivers being a tribe I expect to be one of the four.

Mana Echoes

This is a card that may get jammed in the Sliver deck, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? This is an article about how we’re waiting, so if it isn’t reprinted, it’s a good idea to think about jumping on a bunch of copies of this stupid, unfair card for cheaters. This really gets out of hand, and generating all that mana is very good in a deck where you can use colorless mana to make sliver tokens. This goes infinite with Sliver Queen, a card that will not be the commander of the C17 deck (Reserved List for the win), but which maybe should be once you buy it and reconfigure stuff. Mana Echoes is not good with any other sliver commander, especially – it can help you search with Legion, I guess, but with Queen you get to go infinite. Does that mean that since Queen can’t be in the deck Mana Echoes is a safe reprint or does it mean there isn’t much point in putting it in without Queen? Here’s something to ponder – it’s the Mana Echoes EDHREC page, of course!

Mana Echoes is in way more Sliver Overlord decks than Sliver Queen decks, which means that although it’s more disgusting in Queen decks, it isn’t necessarily only in Queen decks and could get a reprint.

Now, if Mana Echoes doesn’t get a reprint, you can bet that the price is going up based on 4 new tribal decks, all of which I’m assuming will be 5 color until I hear otherwise, wanting to add mana to their mana pool when they play a creature. Mana Echoes could end up not in the sliver deck but still be in C17.  We don’t know that much for sure at this point but we know that much. I say watch spoilers and when Echoes is ruled out, pizzounce.

Shared Animosity

One more before I put a bow on this article. I don’t have anything insightful to say about the likelihood of a reprinting of this card the way I did about the others, but I will say that while this is played in fewer EDH decks than Mana Echoes, this does get a non-zero amount of play in other formats, which could give it more chances to spike on top of the bump it will get from C17 exclusion.

I have to imagine that’s enough value. I wouldn’t buy specs when we can wait and throw a ton of money at some of these cards that are going to pull a Phyrexian Altar for sure as soon as they’re ruled out. Wait for confirmation, buy copies, sell in a year and make it rain. This is a very easy double up and when you’re talking about $15 a card, shipping and fees hit you way less than doubling up on 100 copies of a $2 card so you’re keeping more of your profits. Next week I’m sure I’ll be inspired to write another amazing piece, but until then, read my other stuff for more EDH insight. Until then!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Here There Be Dargons

What a week it’s been. Fortunately for David Leavitt, someone else came along and grabbed the mantle of “Person the Magic Community is most mad at” which is probably too little too late considering even my local morning zoo radio program DJs (I don’t listen to the fart noises that pass for local radio, but a buddy with less taste does and he told me about it) was talking about his joke (which barely qualifies as a joke, not because it was offensive but because it was lazy) leaving the Magic community to focus on who we don’t like this week. And we don’t like the person who leaked pictures of the Dragons from the Commander 2017 dragon deck. At all.

I wanted to post the silly post he tried to make on twitter about how he isn’t responsible for the leaks, he just had a friend give him the pictures to share. The whole thing is really funny to me on top of how annoyed I am that some human parasite leaked a bunch of card images early and forced us to talk about them. Pasting your Instagram name on the leaks seems like a bad way to escape Wizards’ inevitable wrath coming down on you and is hilarious. Saying you’re not responsible for the leaks while being 100% responsible for the leaks is hilarious. Changing your Instagram name to “Turn 1 Thoughtseize” when there is already a Magic podcast with that name and pissing them off on top of everything else is hilarious. As much as this dude sucks for leaking the cards, at least he had the common decency to turn the entire affair into a gigantic comedy of errors for my amusement. It’s put me in such a good mood that I’m writing my article for next week super early so you can get in on this giant gamble we’re all going to be in on. Let’s look at what was leaked and what will matter.

 

The Ur-Dragon

This is a mythic that really feels mythic. That’s not necessarily saying it feels good, it just feels mythic. Learning nothing from how annoying Oloro, Ageless Ascetic is to play against, Wizards has come out with another creature that affects the board from the Command Zone. Let me assure you that “one or more Dragons you control attack” is correct grammatically and the fact that it isn’t “attacks” does not prove this is fake.

I’m not sure if this card is going to spike anything on its own. The fact that it’s the commander of a 5 color dragon deck likely makes a lot of stuff go up but I don’t want to recommend a bunch of cards that are likely to be reprinted so I’m going to stick to stuff I think is very safe.

What is very safe? First up, I would say stuff from Commander 2016. I expect Chromatic Lantern to be safe, which means it seems very, very likely to me that Coalition Relic is in these decks. Stay away from that, but if we get a full spoiler and still no relic, that’s a signal that they never intend to reprint that card again ever because they don’t know what they’re doing. Crystalline Crawler and Conquerer’s Flail would be great targets if they both hadn’t gone up already. There is a card from C16 that I do like, though.

Prismatic Geoscope

This is a “worse” Gilded Lotus that can sometimes tap for 5 mana which makes it very good. I like things that are very good in 5 color decks and this is it. I can’t imagine this stays below $5 over the next week or two. It was already a card I had my eye on and with a 5 color deck being spoiled, mana fixing will be at a premium and this has such a low likelihood of being reprinted this soon that I am all over this card, whose price is trending down and therefore seems like a great bargain. Yes, coming into play tapped sucks. But tapping for 5 mana does not suck and this is going to tap for 5 a lot. It’s going to tap for 2 a lot, also, but the kind of person who builds a tribal Dargon deck isn’t thinking about that.

You know what a person who builds Ur-Dargon IS thinking about?

Zirilian of the Claw

You know what’s safer than safe? Cards on the Reserved List, that’s what. This card is safe on the Reserved List, nestled between Yare and Zuberi Golden Feather. The buylist price for this never quite got as excited as the pretend retail price did in January of 2015 when someone bought a copy of this off of TCG Player and everyone pretended the entire internet was out of stock. If terrible dragons like Kolaghan getting printed can spike this card, imagine what the second spike is going to look like on the back of an actual dragon deck being printed without this card inside it. This is a no-brainer. Sell this to people with no brains. I don’t think any of this good will is going to extend to Hivis of the Scale, which is too bad, since stealing dragons seems very spicy in the wake of them printing new dragons. Zirilian isn’t getting play in Scion decks right now, though, so get out quickly.

Edit – Or not. This is basically gone from the internet. I told you it was a no-brainer. Don’t chase this spec, let everyone else deal with trying to offload copies.

There isn’t a whole lot else that’s really spicy that I don’t think has a decent shot of being in the deck. Urza’s Incubator seems like it’s on the table, Dragon Arch seems like a shoo-in, etc. I am tending to avoid obvious tribal stuff. Not every good card is a dargon, and I’ll get to that in a minute.

O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami

Yes, that’s right, THE O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami, from all of those Kamigawa block flavor texts and novels.

This seems really underwhelming. It’s not always easy to hit them with a creature and if you do, the reward should be better than “Maybe destroy a permanent” but that might just be me. I’m not excited about putting this at the helm of its own deck. I’m sure you will get to summon this a lot more often than Ur-Dragon, but I just don’t like this card much. It’s not going to make anything that the 5-color dragon deck just existing won’t spike already so I’m not going to waste too much more ink on this card.

Wasitora, Nekoru Queen

Finally, the Jund-colored Cat Dragon that makes Cat Dragon tokens we’ve all been begging for.

I could see this getting its own deck built around it, actually. I don’t know how popular it would be, but this is very aggressive. Things that double your attack phases or the number of tokens you produce will get played, but I don’t know how much upside they have. Saskia basically already spiked everything this would spike and I don’t know if this adds enough additional demand for any of it to go up again. This just feels a little weak for multiplayer. Only getting the token if they don’t have a creature to sac feels durdly. If you die both things every time this might feel more playable. This also has no white so you couldn’t even play any of the other cat cards basically making this card’s tribal identity as a cat worthless.

Ramos, Dragon Engine

I hate to have to post a pic with dumdum’s Instagram account slapped on it, but this is the picture we have so we’re going with it. I was joking before but this actually is THE Ramos from Mercadian Masques era lore. I don’t know if you want this as your commander as opposed to Ur-Dragon, but this is pretty sweet. With the amount of Proliferate and cards like Doubling Season running around, this could potentially get out of hand quickly. Only being able to activate his ability once a turn keeps this from getting completely bonkers, but this is a great mana battery and I expect people to build something around him. I don’t think this spikes anything that Atraxa, a commander still bound to be more popular than anything from the dragon deck a year from now, hasn’t spiked already.

Taigam, Ojutai Master

Finally, a card that isn’t 100% a dragon card. This could spawn its own deck, rebounding cards like Time Warp, which this makes uncounterable. This is the most exciting card we’ve seen for sure and this, while it references dragons, need not be played with them at all, unless you really want to jam Ojutai(s) which you probably should do because, why not?

There is no real rush on this card so I’m going to give it its own article because there are so many relevant cards based on the deck that will creep up around this. People have dargon fever today so I want to finish out by addressing the rest of the dragon stuff I think has upside.

Foil Everything

We want to buy cards that are safe from reprint and in addition to stuff on the Reserved List, foils are safe. Only the new cards are getting the foil treatment meaning even stuff we know is being reprinted can be a buy in foil, especially if it plays nicely in the decks.

Haven and Crucible of the Spirit Dragon seem like decent moves to make in foil. They will be staples of Dargon tribal decks forever and aren’t very easy at all to reprint in foil. People are going to treat the non-foils like radioactive waste now that they’re spoiled but have months to go before they’re reprinted which means some people might use the intervening time to upgrade. Cavern of Souls is already plenty expensive, but cheaper, tribal lands that pertain to Dragons seem like cheap foil pickups that are going to fly off of shelves.

Stuff From Scion Decks

We don’t have to really guess what’s going to get played in Ur-Dragon 5-color dragons because people are already playing that deck, basically. Scion of the Ur-Dragon has a very detailed EDHREC page full of the cards that are going to get played in the deck and that’s pretty good intel. We can see that cards like Crux of Fate and Quicksilver Amulet are staples in decks like this and will probably be good moves going forward (I’d avoid non-foils on Crux).

Here’s an example of a card that’s languishing a bit and could get the kick in the ass it needs to reverse course and shape up a bit. The reprint tanked the price, even on foils, but it’s unlikely this card is ever reprinted in foil. What’s out there is what’s out there. I like this pickup and this card has already demonstrated it can be $8, so its current price of $1.50 foil on Coolstuff is pretty damn tempting.

Similarly, this has been printed 3 times (Archenemy and a Duel Deck) but only once in foil. I would say there is a decent likelihood this is in the deck but not in foil. I also like foils of this card’s wimpier Khans block corollary – Dragonlord’s Servent. Foils seem safe and with the price pretty flat (although the buylist price is showing signs of life, maybe) any increase in demand is going to be reflected in the price right away.

Check the EDHREC page because there is a lot there. Sarkhan’s Triumph? Dragonstorm? Belbe’s Portal? There are a ton of cards already associated with 5-color Dragons that are ready to go when we get this deck in the fall.

Next time I will dig into what I like in a Taigam deck, but for now, enjoy this early edition brought on by the leaks. You suck, MTG Noobie and I’m glad you deleted your Twitter account between the time I started writing this article and finished it. Still, we can’t pretend the leaks didn’t happen, so let’s get out there and buy accordingly. Until next time!

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