Category Archives: Jason Alt

Unlocked Pro Trader: We’re Going To Need A Bigger Boat


I like to try and predict the future and that’s not easy. Predicting the future allows us to buy tomorrow’s expensive cards at today’s cheap prices and if it were easy or obvious, everyone would be doing it already. Some obvious stuff has popped already.

Some (I think) equally obvious stuff that goes in the same deck has not popped yet.

The important thing to know if we’re not just sniping Kittycats like Phyrexian Dreadnought, a card that’s good in a deck that may or may not get built at all, is which decks will actually get built. I can try and rank them in terms of how good I think they are but that’s a little bit tainted by bias and while one man’s “bias” is another man’s “you know more about this than I do, I don’t even play this durdle format and I’m reading an article for your opinion” I think when we can use a stats-based, analytical approach, we should. Is there a way to develop a new statistical metric or find some other numbers-based approach to try and rank the 8 new Legendary creatures spoiled in the last week to try and see if one of them is going to do some more heavy lifting than the rest? Knowing which one to cover first will help me figure out which cards will go the fastest. When I guess, I’m not always right so if we can avoid that, let’s avoid it.

First off, I’m going to rank the 8 new commanders from best to worst based on my opinion just to give us a baseline. I don’t expect to be 100% correct on which commanders will have the most decks built around them, but I expect to be quite close considering this is my only job and I’ve been the only one doing this for a while so I should know what I’m doing.  If I had to guess the ranking of the 8 creatures from most built to least built, here is what I would guess.

  1. Lazav
  2. Etrata
  3. Izoni
  4. Emmara
  5. Niv-Mizzet
  6. Aurelia
  7. Trostani
  8. Tajic

The other two are Planeswalkers and aren’t eligible to be your commander.

This was actually a little harder to do than I had anticipated. Lazav and Etrata could easily swap positions and Izoni and the rest of the top 3 could swap. The middle few were tougher to rank with Niv-Mizzet being almost exactly like commanders that already exist. Meanwhile Gerry T said Tajic was the best card in the set and I have him after Trostani who goes in every deck Emmara is in, probably but I have her ranked way lower. Both Emmara and Trostani aren’t likely to bump Rhys or other Trostani from their respective dekcs. This is tough. Aurelia may very well be the 4th best – it’s hard to know. Boros goes wide better than it goes tall but if you wanted to build Voltron, she could be good although there are 10 other better Voltron angels.

If you told me to rerank these tomorrow, my ranking probably changes. We need some more data.

Wisdom of the Crowds

One way to rank the buzz concerning these commanders in a world with no EDHREC data yet is to see how many comments are on the reddit posts for each commander. Reddit is a place where people go out of their way to be negative, so it’s possible that the worst ones will get the most comments but since we’re not making any decisions based on this data, but are merely looking at it to see if it tells us anything (and is therefore usable next time out) I say we give it a shot.


I may have done goofed, or maybe not. Tajic was only released today but has a ton of wind at his back with huge numbers in both subs despite only have been posted for 8 hours at the time of publication. Last week I thought Niv-Mizzet was worth his own focus article before the others despite the fact that he is very similar to a few Nivs Mizzet that were published before. I liked it but ranked it lower on my list to due its lack of novelty. I think there’s a chance if it’s the number 1 deck in a few weeks, it could be people updating old lists to reflect a new commander.

I didn’t take into account who spoiled the cards until I had already ranked mine and I think it’s interesting that the four I had ranked at the top were spoiled by heavy hitters in the community or were the PAX exclusive and the other four, it wasn’t clear who spoiled the card. That didn’t influence my vote because I didn’t know who spoiled what since I don’t pay attention to that sort of thing and didn’t even check until I was on reddit tallying scores. If those four don’t end up being the most popular, they’re certainly the 4 that WotC thought would be the most exciting to people hence the content providers they had spoil the cards. If you don’t think there is a pecking order, consider the fact that Tolarian Community College was given Lazav to spoil and when I asked for a card for EDHREC, I was given Discovery//Disperal.

The ranking based on number of upvotes to the post is different, but it’s odd comparing weeks-old cards to Tajic, which is 8 hours old (although how long does anything stay on the front page of the main sub? A day at most). Tajic also benefits from being Standard-playable, as does maybe Lazav and probably Etrata and maybe one or two others. It’s hard to compare apples to oranges like that, but we can try ranking by subreddit.

Clearly I way overvalue Izoni. In fairness, there was no one thread spoiling Izoni in the EDH sub, but 3 deckbuilding threads, the most for any commander. However, it’s possible everyone is less excited than I am. It’s also possible this metric is meaningless.

If you compare what I thought to what the EDH sub thought, I didn’t do too bad. I was a little iffy about a few in the middle, but both the EDH sub and I thought Lazav and Etrata were the most interesting, and that  Niv-Mizzet was less exciting than the main sub did given that he doesn’t create a novel deck archetype but rather just updates an old one and we both liked Tajic less than the main sub.

Am I insane in thinking Izoni is amazing? Sure, lots of Golgari commanders are better and Izoni only benefits from having stuff in the yard and can’t bring things back like they like to do in Golgari, but I think Izoni is going to be in the top 3 built decks of the 8 when EDHREC starts getting in data. If I’m wrong, we’ll know to trust me less and if I’m right, we’ll know that my gut is better at filtering a ton of conflicting factors better than merely ranking raw numbers. There are a lot of possible explanations for the number of comments in the main sub for Niv-Mizzet, for example, considering all of them are dumb memes. No memes for Izoni, a new character, just people trying to build.

This was an interesting exercise and we’ll come back to it when we have data to see how I did. For now, though, you want picks and I guess it’s up to me to give them to you. I am going to assume I know what I’m doing and that reddit buzz means less than my years of experience and give you Izoni picks. There is no EDHREC data, but there may be a few kittycat tier cards that no one is scooping because he isn’t as obvious to non-EDH players as Lazav is. I could do Lazav, but I think the lowest-hanging fruit (Dreadnought) is scooped and the cards that are in the rest of the deck are commons and uncommons like Vector Asp or they won’t come clear until people start to build the deck. I think we have some time on Izoni stuff and maybe I’ll do Lazav next week when we have the full set. Anyway, here we go.

Ugh. It’s been 20 minutes since I typed the paragraph “here we go” and I haven’t found anything all that exciting.


It looks like every deck is a pretty generic “Golgari Goodstuff” deck and Izoni is just a chance to draw some extra cards, trigger Grave Pact, get recast for a bunch of tokens late in the game and generally just… be boring. Boring is fine because what I call boring, other people call “consistent” and they think it’s a good thing and there are more of them than there are of me which would make someone with less self confidence think they’re wrong but I’m NOT wrong, everyone else is wrong, consistent is boring. It’s also boring from a finance perspective because there is no real new tech here. You know which cards are good with Izoni’s ETB ability? Primal Vigor, Doubling Season and Parallel Lives, the cheapest of which is like $15.

Grave Pact, Deathreap Ritual, Fecundity, Beastmaster Ascension, Craterhoof… the deck basically builds itself. Want to get spicy? Add dredge cards. Add Deadebridge Chant. If Izoni hits, you might get 5 or 10% on cards already in tens of thousands of decks. If it doesn’t hit, there weren’t any good targets anyway. Gross.

Then I found my Coolstuff colleague Stephen Johnson had brewed with Izoni already and included this pic at the end.

Fine. Here’s some damn Lazav picks, sheesh.

Necrotic Ooze is to Lazav what Quicksilver Elemental was to Mairsil.

Expect a bigger jump for Ooze since it’s a known entity meaning there aren’t copies lying around in $0.25 boxes. Ooze is already concentrated in dealers’ hands from the last time it popped based on being a combo card. I think Ooze hits $5 minimum and stays there and if you spend $100 on Ooze and don’t double it, I’ll be pretty surprised. That would mean Lazav didn’t hit (like Mairsil didn’t) but it somehow hit less than Mairsil. Quicksilver Elemental wasn’t a kittycat, it was a card only brewers figured out the same as Ooze. I can’t fathom you not making obvious, slam dunk money on Ooze. I will give you all a week to buy copies then I’m buying in – how’s that sound?

Similarly, this is declining a bit and I expect it to perk back up a bit. It’s not as tasty a buy as Ooze, but people will want this card, too. Lazav is going to be pretty similar to a lot of decks from the past and we can already see people putting the pieces together. This is one of the pieces. It’s less useful than Ooze, has a higher buy-in but it’s also on the Reserved List and that means Team Rudy is interested.

Not much to say here. Lots of copies given the number of printings, but they’re around $2. At that price, I prefer Ooze.

There will probably be more picks once we get EDHREC data, but for now, this is my opinion on the non-kitty cats in Lazav decks, a topic you watched me try not to write about then settle for in real time, you lucky so and so’s. Enjoy your triple up on Ooze and use some of your money to pay for Pro Trader access, will ya? Thanks for reading, nerds. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Everything Old is New Again


I know in this series we like to use data in the weeks that it begins to trickle in to try and predict the future. It’s been working out pretty well for us and it makes us look particularly prescient when someone says “Did you realize Squandered Resources was  $25?” and you show them a big stack of them, or at least the Legacy duals you bought with the profits of your 10,000% gains. It doesn’t always work out like that, obviously. Sometimes this is way harder and the tea leaves are way tougher to read. Sometimes, though, stuff is way easier because sometimes we get a new commander for an entire deck archetype that already exists.

Why Would a Deck People Already Have Built Help Us?

It’s worth addressing this point because if I don’t, it threatens to fundamentally undermine the entire thesis of this piece (which, I guess, is “lol, look how easy it’s going to be to figure out all these cards that are going to pop by looking at what popped the last time this deck was a thing”). Are people going to run out and buy a bunch of cards when the thrust of the deck isn’t really all that new? Is someone who bought the cards for the deck going to buy new copies if they like this new commander better, or will they just change their old deck up a few cards, jam the new commander, put the old one in the 99 and call it a day?

I think there are a few things going on here. Obviously, yes, if someone is going to dust off an old deck with a new commander, they already have most of what they need and they aren’t likely to need to buy all new copies. The more similar the deck is (and we’re discussing very similar stuff today) the less likely it is that they need anything at all but that’s not that bad a thing for us, actually. If they sold the cards, they need to buy them again. If they didn’t sell the cards, they took them out of circulation.

When Nekusar decks first hit, they launched a ton of cards from the $0.50 range to the $5-$10 range by virtue of being the first deck to really incorporate them. I made a ton of money off of cards like Teferi’s Puzzle Box due to Nekusar decks and other cards like Forced Fruition, Windfall and Tolarian Winds became interesting. You could find $1 copies of Forced Fruition in dollar boxes, shops that didn’t update their prices often, trade binders, shoe boxes – what I call “the woodwork.” Copies aren’t coming out of the woodwork anymore meaning anyone who comes along and wants to build the deck is fighting for copies with the people who already have them. So while at first, we may think that the decks existing already means there isn’t as much demand for the cards as before, I think we’ll see more second spikes. The first spikes ferreted the copies out of the woodwork and now everyone who wants a Puzzle Box for a new deck can’t get one from a dollar bin – their only recourse is to pay retail. When everyone has to pay retail and buy from a small number of sources with finite copies rather than myriad sources all over, price go up quickly.

What New Card Is Doing Old Things?

Niv-Mizzet looks pretty similar to older Niv Mizzets but he also seems to be the most popular. He’s a bit of a combination of the Old Niv-Mizzet Curiosity decks and Nekusar. The spellslinger clause is interesting because it helps mete out even more damage when you do what I assume you want to do, which is cast wheels and recycle your deck. Here’s what I am looking at based on the following EDHREC pages.


The Locust God

Niv-Mizzet, The Firemind

Arjun. The Shifting Flame

Puzzle Box is the queen of all kittycats here and while the overall price trend is up and up, I have had a few opportunities to buy cheaper copies of these when the demand seemed to have died down a bit. Nekusar into Leovold (briefly) into The Locust God into the new Niv-Mizzet, though, has given us a lot of chances to make money here and I think this new Niv-Mizzet is another chance.

Arjun seems like a low-risk buy-in with some decent upside. Mindmoil effects in general are good right now because rather than deck yourself you’re just shuffling your cards back in so you can tutor for them (except not Mystical or Personal, I guess) or just draw into them again rather than throw them in the bin so you can keep the pain going longer. Arjun is good as the commander of a deck and also as an inclusion and Psychic Corrosion may be a good inclusion for it but with Niv-Mizzet, we want to just keep pinging them a ton. There are hundreds of $1.50 copies on TCG Player to slog through but once that happens, I think this could get there and at least getting these when you’re $1 off in a trade and socking a few away for when we’re another year removed from the Mizzix deck’s printing and we hit a tipping point on Arjun, I think you won’t be disappointed. It may take a few more Niv-Mizzets to push this but I am patient.


 Moileyboi on the other hand has demonstrated a willingness to flirt with $7 on the basis of other factors and this second spike which could be incoming is likely to stick. This is a Ravnica rare and while its inclusion in 1984 decks hardly makes it a staple, it’s in over half of the registered Arjun decks and it’s a good bet that if either card catches on they both will. This is going to dome people for significant damage with a Niv-Mizzet deck and also find you the Curiosity or whatever you need to win the game on the spot. This deck isn’t fun but that hasn’t stopped it, ever.

Magus really took a bath when a Masters 25 printing cut it down from $12 to $2, which really nerfed all the RW precons I bought because I could flip them for basically double. Magus has demonstrated it can be $12 with the huge supply from a Commander deck and while there were a lot more copies injected from Masters 25, that’s still a $10 booster pack set that isn’t being opened anymore and Magus likely claws its way back up. It’s a good idea to buy Masters set stuff at its floor anyway so I think this would make sense even if they hadn’t printed another juicy commander for it.

What is taking meltyboi so long to pop? It may not be super apparent from the graph, but do you see that little region of daylight below the blue line in the middle there? That’s an arbitrage opportunity – for a brief period of time, buylist was actually above retail. The price went up after so the dealers were clearly right. This is a rare I still get for a dime when I buy bulk rares from people, which is a surprise. I think a second spike on this goes to $5 but I don’t know if Niv-Mizzet does it. Still, this is hard to reprint given its metalcraft ability and while it feels like the 8th, uncecessary wheel in the deck, it’s actually pretty savage if you get the metalcraft boost and you plan to wheel some more. You even get to draw another card when you play this off of Niv-Mizzet.

In conclusion, I think while Niv-Mizzet is sort of boring like the other one where you just slapped a Curiosity on him and won , I still expect there to be building around him and if there is, a lot of stuff that is in low supply goes to no supply. I think there are a bunch of kittycats that you buy before people get wise and sell on the basis of hype and if a sexier-looking commander gets spoiled next week, you best believe I’ll talk about it. Until then, keep buying cards, keep asking me questions and see if you can help me buy all of the Mindmoils on TCG Player. That’s a big domino and if it falls, so do a lot of other sites. I think if you scrutinize the pages of the commanders I linked, you may find a few more cards that pair nicely with the new Niv-Mizzet. If not, I’ll be back next week, probably with an article called “Everything Old is New Again Again.” Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Into The Ocean Part 2: October Bluegaloo

Did you read my article last week?

I realize it’s probably a good idea to make the articles evergreen so that someone can come along and read them and have them be relevant at any time but this week I’m literally predicting the future and if I’m right, seeing price increase predictions after they happen is useless and if I’m wrong, I don’t want someone coming around after the fact and pointing that out. I want to count my hits and ignore my misses like everyone else.

So, yeah, I’m going to link last week’s article and since this is part 2, you should really read it if you haven’t already so I don’t have to re-explain what I’m doing and can just jump into picks. I mean, leap- it’s going to be abrup

Lord Windgrace

Lord Windgrace is the most popular deck this week as people seem to have shaken off their initial disappointment at how bad the precon is and have moved on to how good the one card is. There are opportunities for foil buys here for sure.

Splendid Reclamation

$6 is way too cheap for this for a ton of reasons. First of all, and I hate to list this as a factor because I think saying this leads to really intellectually lazy thinking, but it’s insulated from some reprint risk given that it’s much tougher to reprint foils and EDH cards tend to end up in the precon decks where only the new commanders are foil. The fact that this is $3 on Card Kingdom means that people have identified it as an EDH card. However, typically when a card is identified as an EDH card, the multiplier is higher than 2x.

For perspective, while this is bumped out of the Top 100 Green cards, it’s the #1 most-played Green Sorcery not in the Top 100. This is in more decks than Natural Order, Primal Command and Primal Surge. 2x means either the foil is too cheap or the non-foil is too expensive and one of those numbers will equilibrate barring a reprint. If you think it’s unlikely that a card in more decks than Primal Surge is going to go down in price barring a reprint, maybe scoop those last 2 $6 copies off of Card Kingdom and wait for it to hit $10, $12 or even $15 in the next year. Seems like free money to me.

Ramunap Excavator

At $4.49, Card Kingdom wants the exact same amount for the non-foil as they do for the Gameday Promo. That points to a lot of supply and they list 8 for sale with potentially more in stock. Prices are dead even for all 3 version on TCG Player. Clearly there is a lot of supply. Do we expect a price divergence based on what we have seen with other cards that got a Gameday promo? Kiora’s follower is worth $0.50 more as a set foil. Promo Ghalta is worth $2 less than the set foil but the set foil is only $2 more than the non-foil. It seems like we have to go back a bit further. The set foil Wurmcoil Engine is worth twice the promo, a promo which is barely worth more than any non-foil copy of Wurmcoil despite multiple printings. Promo foils are pretty confusing. What I do know is that set foils are the most desirable and at $8, set foil Ramunap Excavator without the prerelease stamp is leading the pack but with the same art, I think $7 for the prerelease stamped Excavator is a good buy. Again, we have a 2x multiplier and while we expect that to diverge, we’re not seeing that even with a card that shrugged off multiple printings like Wurmcoil Engine. Curious. While foils are usually very desirable because when a 2x multiplier grows to 4x or so at the same time the base price doubles, you end up with an 8 fold increase in the difference between the prices which means it was four times as smart to buy the foil. The Gameday promo seems to confound that somewhat. I think Excavator will continue to be a player in EDH and likely gets a reprint in the next 5 years but I am not such a huge fan of anything but the set foil – leave the promos alone.

Horn of Greed

Conspiracy 2 is basically at peak supply and with boxes not moving at cost on eBay, it would take something like Leovold getting unbanned to move these. Meanwhile we have a pi x multiplier on a card that goes in every lands-matter deck built including Tatyova and whatever ends up coming out of Guilds of Ravnica with a bunch of Golgari junk filling our yards and letting us do powerful stuff with Crucible of Worlds. This seems like it has upside to me. $6ish is a high buy-in but I like this card a lot.


Obviously this isn’t as good as Ninja of Deep Hours but the thing about Ninja of Deep Hours is that while Mistbalde Shinobi should be in every deck Ninja of Deep Hours is in when it comes to EDH, outside of EDH, Ninja of Deep Hours is better. 5 times better if the price difference is to be believed. I think Mistblade Shinobi is as good in Yuriko decks and besides, you need every ninja you can get.  Mistblade has some room to go up whereas I am not excited about a $16 buy-in for Ninja of Deep Hours. If Yuriko continues to be a big deal, expect big things here.

Invisible Stalker

It’s funny to me that Invisible Stalker’s Hexproof may give it protection from reprints. Hexproof is a pretty annoying ability and I think they will use it very sparingly going forward in sets that will be played Limited and since we already returned to Innistrad and aren’t likely to again for 3 or 4 more years, I think outside of a core set, this is really safe and inside a core set, I don’t know if this get printed. I think we’re looking at a pretty decent insulation from reprinting and a card that enables Yuriko in a big way. Not much to say here other than that I think there is upside and not a lot of reprint risk.

I will caution you by saying this is a bit more narrow than most of the picks I am advocating last week and this week. This belongs in every Yuriko deck but it’s only in 2,758 decks as of today. That puts it way at the bottom of the Top 50 Blue creatures, wedged between Perplexing Chimera and Roil Elemental. I think there is upside but I like this less than, for example, my call of $2 Arcane Denial from last week.

Stolen Identity

There has been a bit more emphasis on tokens that are copies of creatures lately and this not only works well with Yuriko (you don’t have to copy the ciphered creature, you can copy anything) it also slots well into Brudiclad dekcs. It’s a card people know about, it’s nearly impossible to reprint in foil and people know about it already.

That’s more decks than Invisible Stalker and it has a 1.5x multiplier, which was a value we flagged last time we plotted all of the most popular EDH cards and tagged them with their multiplier. Not only is this in a lot of decks, but most of them are older.

I think the appeal only goes up from here. Older commander are the primary reason this is about to crest 5k decks and with a ton of new reasons to make copies of creatures  that are tokens, this card’s future is so bright it has to wear shades. At nearly the same price as the non-foil, this seems good to me.

Key to the City

There are approximately a million of these foils lying around but at $1, the risk couldn’t be lower and hitting people with creatures, drawing cards and having a discard outlet all in one card is very appealing. Look, I clearly don’t know much about foils, but I like stuff like Stolen Identity and Key to the City that surprised me by how much past demand it had because I estimated the balance of its demand to be more recent. If its price is predicated on past demand, ample though it may be, future demand is about to run smack into it and shake things up. That’s what we want.

That does it for me. If you want me to not do a part 3 next week, let me know now otherwise I’m inclined to. I had fun doing this and having to think about foils is forcing me to get better as a financier. My method takes it easy on my brain sometimes since everyone else is providing concrete numbers so I don’t have to rely on conjecture, so adding a new dimension to my game to keep me honed is important.

Disagree with me? Agree with me? Leave some comments, nerds. Thanks for reading and if you want me to write about something specific next week, speak in the comments or forever be sad about it. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Into the Ocean

I feel like 5 or 6 years ago I wrote an article called “Foiled” with a bunch of Blue October references in it and the biggest difference between now and then isn’t that back then I would argue if someone said Blue October sucked and now I won’t and it’s less that I don’t think they suck (they probably suck) but now I am not going to bat for bands I like that apparently I’m not supposed to (Can you imagine if I took time out of my day to engage every person who said 311 sucks? Whatever, I like 311 for some reason and I’m too old to care what some 23-year-old hipster with a tattoo of Jeff Magnum lyrics or some other pretentious BS thinks) and it’s more that I just don’t have the energy to try to fit a bunch of Blue October references that no one is going to catch into an article.

I wrote an article about Mairsil on Gathering Magic (sorry, Coolstuffinc) a year ago where I jammed like 25 references to Pretenders songs into it and no one caught on and that felt like a huge waste of time, so screw it. You don’t read my articles because you find me clever, and that’s the second biggest difference between me now and me 5 years ago. I used to think people read my articles because they thought I was smart and good at finance and now I realize you just want me to think thoughts so you don’t have to and you’re paying me a small portion of the money you make using your time more wisely and I’m actually super OK with that. So, yeah. No song lyric references (I mean, not that you’d try to catch them either way), just cards I think this year’s crop of EDH decks could nudge in the right direction. This will go quickly and I’ll probably cover more than one commander but I think there’s value here which is how I get away with how I structure my articles.

I normally am not a huge fan of foils because I think the demand for EDH foils is overstated but when there is a large multiplier already, I think it’s fair to assume that there is room to grow. Let’s look at some I like predicated on C18.


Oath of Teferi

I catch a lot of heat for referencing Card Kingdom prices and I do it for several reasons.

  1. If a card sells out on Card Kingdom, I don’t care if it sold for more than it sold for on TCG Player. There is a segment of the population that only knows about Card Kingdom and their demand matters, too, and this is a way to study it in isolation.
  2. EDHREC uses Card Kingdom prices and has an affiliate linking deal. Everyone who browses EDHREC sees a Card Kingdom price on every card and those numbers get embedded in their unconscious mind and are used as a reference. Also, they click the links on the cards and are taken right to the sales portal which is convenient and a non-trivial number of people do this daily. Again, not everyone knows about TCG Player.
  3. If a card sells out on Card Kingdom, it doesn’t matter if it was cheaper on SCG or TCG Player or freaking Card Shark, Card Kingdom now needs to restock which means they’re raising their buylist price. Card Kingdom has a very competitive buylist and almost always pays the most PLUS they have a high trade-in bonus and are generous with grading (though that may be changing).  I like to know what they’re low on stock of.

Card Kingdom isn’t TCG Player but they’re down to their last $4 copy of a card that goes in Atraxa, which should be enough. The fact that it’s a good fit in Aminatou, also is great news. Nearly 2/3 of the decks registered run it.

Now a bulk, non-mythic rare in the best-selling Magic set of all time isn’t super exciting, but there are significantly fewer foils and this has a 16x multiplier already and is still selling out. I predict this could hit $10 in a year or two and $4 seems like a pretty reasonable entry point to me. I don’t know foils as well as James does so I’m not going to tell you what I think of Combustible Gearhulk Masterpieces (Actually, no, I will tell you. Combustible is in a mere 800 decks fewer than Noxius Gearhulk’s 6,350 decks [just under Massacre Wurm and just above Painful Quandary in the EDHREC Top 100 Black cards] and Noxius Masterpieces popped already, so I guess I do have an opinion) but I will tell you Oath of Teferi is in 685 decks between Aminatou and Atraxa and that’s not bad for a card that was printed AFTER Atraxa. This has legs.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury

This is a double threat given its efficacy as a standalone commander as well as an inclusion in many decks.

I like the underlying metrics here, I don’t think Gonti is particularly reprintable and even less so in foil and I think $4 is pretty cheap for something like this. Again, it’s a 16x multiplier but we’ve seen wider divergences than that and I think this has real legs. If I’m totally off base, I’m sure I’ll hear about it but despite my relative inexperience with EDH foils, I think this is pretty solid.

Arcane Denial

Can you try to guess how many decks this card is it? It’s a Counterspell you have to pay mana for and it draws your opponent  cards. Probably not too many, right?

It turns out a lot of people like this card. It’s the 12th-highest-played Blue CARD on EDHREC. Not Instant, CARD. At $2 for a foil from a set that’s at peak supply currently that was the first time to print this card in foil despite there being 5 other versions of it, I think we could see a 2.5x increase pretty trivially. I am surprised it’s this low. I know it’s common but this is also the only foil version of an insanely popular spell from a set with expensive boosters.

I know I am dogging my abilities a tad here, but I made a call at around a buck based on its combo potential with Isochron Scepter in competitive decks a while back and it was pretty controversial and I figured I whiffed and forgot about it. Then I checked today.

Guess this method has some legs. Speaking of legs, we saw Dramatic Reversal go from $1 to $4 in under a year, how many decks is Reversal in compared to 20k for Arcane Denial?

Lol. Ok, then. So we have confirmed 400% growth on a card in a fifth as many decks? That would seem to indicate $8-$10 for Arcane Denial in about a year is pretty reasonable but I don’t really know what foils do. I do think there is a 0% chance you don’t make money buying foil Arcane Denial at $2 and I don’t care that there’s a foil in every M25 pack. I don’t think you can lose at all here. I’m inclined to throw a couple hundred  bucks at this just because I always forget to buy my own specs. If my articles had the power to spike cards on their own, Seance would be $10 and I could afford to retire.

Let’s look at another commander.


Plea for Guidance

This isn’t all that likely to get a reprint in foil and I don’t even know about a non-foil reprint either. All of this could get nerfed by them deciding that there is no good reason not to do a Commander’s Arsenal every year at Christmas but until they come to their senses, this seems safe, it’s in both Estrid and Tuvasa, tutors for Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood in decks with access to Black and White and generally does work.

That’s not exactly 20K, but it is pretty close to what we saw for Dramatic Reversal and that showed some nice gains. CK has 1 copy left and as much as I want to buy it, I’ll leave it for one of you. They can only increase their buylist so much before it becomes possible to arbitrage from TCG Player and if it gets even close, the price will adjust. This seems like an obvious buy at $3.

Cleansing Meditation

This used to be more than a 2x multiplier but with more people playing Enchanted Evening (which spiked to $35 based on its status as a kittycat more than anything else) the non-foil went up so much the multiplier is 2x. One of those prices will correct. Let’s try and guess which one.

This is old, low supply, powerful, part of a try-hard combo played by people more likely to do shenanigans like this and also foil their decks and in general, seems underpriced at 2x. Card Kingdom’s last copy being EX rather than NM may be the only thing keeping the price from changing already – TCG Player has one seller trying to get $25 from a NM foil. If you can get there around $10 in good shape, which may not be possible anymore, I would.

Starfield of Nyx

This is pricey a bit but it’s also barely a 2x and with the reprint risk of this being very low, I think this climbs. I don’t know how much – I can’t imagine someone shelling out $50 for this, but I sold a Ydwen Efreet for $100 this week so I don’t even know what to think anymore.

Foils. They’re harder to reprint, WAY harder to sell and really hard to predict. I can pick boxes of commons and uncommons all the way down to a nickel without having to refer to the sheet more than a few times a minute and I look up every. Single. Foil. Good stuff is usually worth a lot in foil, but it’s the stuff I had no idea about that really gets me. Foil Sea’s Claim is worth more than foil Thirst for Knowledge? OK, then. Until I learn a bit more about foils, I’m going to continue to challenge myself to find these picks using my traditional method. In the mean time, hitting on a 3x gain on 15 copies of Arcane Denial will pay for a year of Pro Trader and I think it’s a really low risk scenario. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next week with some Jund and Izzet picks. Until next time!

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