Category Archives: Jason Alt

Unlocked Pro Trader: Battle Boned

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Readers,

I have some good news for buyers and bad news for sellers regarding Battlebond. Some of the cards are about to tumble pretty hard in value. A lot of them will recover but the cards whose high price is more predicated on scarcity and not playability are going to lose some value. With a small portion of the set spoiled, I’m going to go through a few cards and try to put them into different classifications to help you evaluate what to do with cards as they’re spoiled, help you figure out what to buylist immediately so you don’t take a bath (though it’s probably too late for some stuff) and help you figure out what recovers and therefore you can probably hold. We can also look at good times to buy into reprinted cards to catch the full benefit of that U-shaped graph.

Battlebond looks nuts so far with a ton of cards that are not only good in Battlebond but, unlike Conspiracy’s draft-specific cards that are useless outside of a few lunatics’ cubes, they’re useful in EDH which means packs of Battlebond won’t be hot garbage the way packs of Conspiracy are. We’re not likely to see cards on the level of Expropriate and Leovold but I expect a lot of value to be in the set and more spread out. Let’s take a look at the classes of reprints.

Class 1 – Stifle

Stifle was riding high at $40. It was a staple in Legacy decks like Canadian Threshold which became a deck again with the printing of Delver of Secrets and people used it to stop everything from fetches cracking to Stoneforges fetching to a third thing in Legacy and since it’s from Scourge, it’s plenty old and there aren’t a ton of copies. With Eternal popular all around the globe, surely there was enough demand for Stifle to justify the $40 price tag and help the card recover after a reprinting in Conspiracy, a set basically no one bought.

Look at that graph. Not only did Stifle tank from $40 to like $5, it’s basically not recovering. It’s been almost 4 years to the day since Conspiracy 1 and Stifle has taken a permanent dirt nap. Class 1 cards are predicated on low supply but there isn’t enough demand outside of the kind of Eternal formats that aren’t really adding new players to justify the price going back up. EDH and Modern are growing, Legacy and Vintage are shrinking and that means that not all reprints are created equal.

Class 2 – Mirari’s Wake

I zoomed in to show the price right before Conspiracy’s reprinting and right before Commander 2017’s printing. Mirari’s Wake did a very good job recovering from the Conspiracy printing, which I think will be analogous to the Battlebond printing we’re about to see. Wake is EDH-playable and it needed another reprinting in Commander 2017 to get the price back down to post-Conspiracy levels and even with that, it’s starting to recover a little.

Class 2 cards are much healthier, and identifying which class a Battlebond card is will help us figure out what to trade out of and what to pick up and help keep us from flushing our money down the terlet by picking up a bunch of Stifles. Let’s look at what’s been reprinted so far. Next week when we have the full spoiler, I’ll do this again with the rest of the reprints.

Class 1.5 – Altar of Dementia

I’m calling this class 1.5 rather than class 3 because I want to make it clear that this will end up doing something between classes 1 and 2. It won’t sit there flat like Stifle did because all of its price was predicated on scarcity and a shrinking format like Legacy and it won’t recover super quickly because it’s an EDH staple and was reprinted at mythic (even if it was printed in a pre-mythic era). Cards that are printed at rare in Battlebond will have a tougher time recovering than stuff reprinted at mythic, irrespective of the demand profile.

Battlebond!

Doubling Season – Class 2

Doubling Season! This card has had quite a roller coaster.

The first Modern Masters printing what, 5 years ago brought it down and demand from EDH brought it back up and demand from boring Atraxa decks brought it WAY up. Doubling Season is going to recover and when we’re at peak supply of this set (basically when people stop drafting it) I think you go in hard. If they’re going to go 5 years between printings of Doubling Season, it’s a pretty safe pickup at its floor and being in a set with $4 booster packs like Conspiracy rather than a set with $10 boosters like Modern Masters will bring it down more than it was brought down before. I don’t know if this will ever be $100 again, but I think however low it goes, it will recover. EDH demand is huge for this card.

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Land Tax – Class 1.5

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This is a weird hybrid of Stifle and Mirari’s Wake and the price should end up somewhere between those two extremes. Land Tax is a card that’s pretty useful in EDH.

However, the huge price spike wasn’t predicated on that slow, steady EDH demand, it was predicated on its unbanning in Legacy which ended up not really mattering since no one plays Legacy anymore because apparently playing with Watery Grave and Hallowed Fountain will make people catch fire and die so they can’t play the format at all because they don’t have duals. Also, SCG stopped having Legacy events and since they were the only ones doing them, the format is shrinking. It’s still played, but it’s played like Arcade DDR or that weird Russian Roulette from The Deer Hunter, in small pockets of the country that not many people know about. Land Tax will recover more than Stifle did due to its inclusion in 10,000 EDH decks even at its current price of like $25 for a 4th edition copy. Land Tax will drop more than Mirari’s Wake did, most likely, because a lot of its current price is predicated on that huge spike and the associated price memory so even if it recovers a decent chunk of value, it won’t recover as much of a percentage of its current price. That really only means something if you’re holding them now and want them to recover to the price they are now.  You will likely make a decent amount if you buy at the floor and let it recover. This only has about 2/3 of the demand Wake does and its price is predicated on a false spike and some scarcity but you can still make money buying at the floor, but it’s not a slam dunk Class 2 card, either.

True-Name Nemesis – Class 1

True-Name Nemesis is basically worthless in EDH despite having been printed in an EDH product. The card was designed to be used in Legacy and it was put in EDH product to help it sell, as if the Nekusar deck needed the help. Nekusar became a very popular commander and the Strix printing should be been sufficient, but if they were going to give people Legacy staples, why not give them all of the Legacy staples? Anyway, Battlebond printing this, even at mythic, basically dooms it to a life at its new price. Legacy demand really isn’t enough to cope with all of the new supply and that’s factoring in its recent price correction upward. I think the lack of demand outside of Legacy, which really isn’t getting played that much, means the current demand can’t really handle the new supply and I don’t expect this to recover. It may not be the same price for 5 years like Stifle but it’s not going to recover robustly enough to trifle with it when there are better choices in Battlebond.

One caveat is that foils of this are probably going to be pretty expensive, so bear that in mind.

Vigor – Class 1.5

Vigor is one of those cards that was a bulk rare for years until EDH came along and said “This is what we’re about and that mana cost is no object” and its price has reflected that. Even with that weird Garruk/Liliana deck printing, Vigor has maintained $20 for basically 5 years and flirted with $30 at one point. This is likely to tank quite a bit being reprinted at non-mythic rare but it’s going to recover some value. If you buy at the floor and sell when it stops growing, you’ll make money – it’s that simple. Vigor will recover.

Demand is not as robust as it is for other Class 2 cards, but it’s also a $20 card that was priced out of a lot of players’ decks. If it’s available for $5, even for a few months, this gets priced back into decks and players will become more enfranchised (the stated goal of reprints) which should help its demand profile. People who never dreamed of owning Vigor before join the demand pool, pushing it up. This demand still won’t be as robust as it will be for cards like Land Tax and it’s also being printed way more than those cards being printed at Mythic, so make sure this really hits bottom before you buy in and expect a bit of a longer wait. This is still a card I like as a pickup at its floor.

Diabolic Intent – Class 1.5

This was a goofy buy, predicated on there not being a smooth way to reprint this and it having dodged a bunch of Commander deck reprintings. Oops. It’s also played about as much as Vigor, which is to say half as much as Land Tax.

As much as I think the current price is predicated on false pretenses, I also think it has enough of a demand profile to recover in price after it tanks. Whether it’s pre-reprint price is predicated on false pretenses or not is irrelevant to its ability to recover after the reprinting. I think this will do better than Stifle because it’s played in a growing format, a cheaper price like $5 will enfranchise people who were priced out at the $28 Card Kingdom wanted for this card and this is similar in demand to Vigor which I think will recover. I also think this won’t do as well as a true Class 2 card like Wake since it’s being printed at rare. I think this makes you some money and I think you should trade off Class 1 cards for them if you can.

I think that’s all the news fit to print today. I expect a lot more high-impact reprints in this set and I expect it to sell well because it’s amazing and fun. I also have seen dealers are getting heavily allocated. Maybe that’s so they don’t run out and have no resupply like they saw for Unstable. Maybe it’s because they looked at Conspiracy sales numbers and don’t expect it to do well so they aren’t printing as much. Either way, low supply could mean prices recover a lot faster and/or tank less than anticipated. Either way, there’s free money to be made, so let’s make it. Until next time!

 

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Unlocked Pro Trader: A Super Boring Followup

Last week I wrote a boring article and you hated it and this week I’m going to do the rest of the boring work I did last week that is three times as boring for me to do as it is for you to read it and you’re going to be upset that I made you read something boring even though, like I said, it’s three times worse for me and I’m complaining less about it than you are. I’m not saying I’m better than you are or anything. I am, but I’m not saying that. Anyway, if you forgot about last week’s piece because it was so horrendously boring that you blocked it from your memory, go read it here and refresh that memory. I’m going to very abruptly pick up where that piece left off. I’m serious.

 

You Were Warned

Built From Scratch

Wurmcoil Engine

Currently – $24

In a Year? – $30

I think Wurmcoil is headed up and this reprinting won’t do much for the price but could get some more $25 Wurmcoils in some more people’s hands. This card is up $10 over this time a year ago and even if the Anthology reprinting attenuates some of the growth (nothing’s impossible) then we’ll still see some gains over the next year. If these dip at all, I’d trade for them. Turn a bunch of cards that will be flat or go down for something I think has upside. It has little to do with what the Anthology will or won’t do and everything to do with how the card looked already.

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The retail price is back tied at a historic high but the buylist price has never been higher. Dealer confidence continues to climb despite the announced reprinting. I would say trade anything you can for Wurmcoil if anyone is coming off of them when Anthology II comes out. I mean, that is if you feel you have to do anything. I’m likely trying to buy these for cost with my LGS hookup and put them on TCG Player but I’m out if I have to pay MSRP. Wurmcoil looks healthy, that’s my point, and it’s probably the impetus for the inclusion in the Anthology.

Caged Sun

Currently – $10

In a Year? – $12

Again, undeterred by the reprinting, this card is on an upswing and it’s a beautiful-looking graph to behold for someone like me who bought a load of these for $1 each when New Phyrexia first came out.

The stuff in the Devour for Power (The Mimeoplasm) deck that’s over $5 is goofy and predicated on low supply, but this Daretti deck has a few heavy hitters that the market will never get enough of no matter how many $150 specialty collections WotC jams them in. Caged Sun is an EDH staple (16th-most-played artifact in over 26,000 decks) and it’s going to take a more serious reprint to throw this growth train off its tracks. I’m liking the Daretti deck because it has two more EDH staples.

Ruby Medallion

Currently – $8

In a year? – $10

Woah. I have to admit I didn’t see this coming. It’s not EDH per se doing this so I’m not sure what the deal is but all of them started climbing last summer with the order of prices being about what you’d expect with the spellslinger colors, Red and Blue, being the most expensive. I don’t know how much more these can climb but I also know the Tempest supply of these was pretty minuscule. This is going to add an equally-paltry supply and I think the pronounced demand that has this price growing this precipitously won’t be cowed by this minor reprinting.

Reliquary Tower

Currently – $5.50

In a Year? – $7

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Printing in Commanders 2014, 2015 and 2016, this Tower of power is a rocket headed straight to the moon. I’m not saying it will always shrug off reprints the way Eternal Witness or other EDH staples do, but Tower is the 31st-most-played land in all of EDHdom and I think that’s a pretty strong pedigree. More decks need Tower than contain Tower which means most EDH precons opened leave the Tower in them because it’s a deck and a deck needs Tower. Loose Towers will only pop up  if they end up in a core set, which is possible, or to the extent that someone buys a precon deck and shreds it for singles, which is  thing I do but not on the scale necessary to bring the price down.

Wade Into Battle

These decks are pretty good at MSRP right now because they’re like $90 in singles and that owes a lot to Urza’s Incubator going right back up on the basis of a Tribal EDH set following after the printing of Incubator and Blade of Selves being in this deck and not one of the “better” ones and every Legacy burn player wanting 4 copies of Fiery Confluence. I am making the decision not to buylist the remaining copies I have, preferring to take my chances with TCG Player. If I thought we were about to get pantsed, my advice would be different.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight

Currently – $5 (barely)

In a year? – $5

Gisela is going through some hard times. I think she may recover, especially if she doesn’t get re-reprinted for a minute, but it doesn’t look like anyone is inclined to let up on her. It’s currently in the midst of a price downswing, down $0.50 over the last few months which is about 10% of her total value and therefore pretty significant. If this bottoms out more, I’m a buyer, but even though Anthology won’t be what does it, this is currently radioactive.

Fiery Confluence

Currently – $27

In a Year? – $35-$40 (barring another reprint)

Confluence is up 100% over the last 12 months and that’s even with people buying all of the formerly-worthless Wade into Battle decks left over on shelves an busting them for the $100 worth of singles inside. Anthology won’t get enough copies into enough hands and anyone who wants one needs four. I think this continues to grow barring a more serious reprinting than a Commander Anthology. Where, though?

Blade of Selves 

Currently – $11

In a year? – $15

This card is dumb and it should never have gotten as cheap as it did. I bought a few copies a little while before it stopped going down but not enough. The deck it was in was the “bad” one (it’s the best one financially, now). I don’t think the reprint is going to do much (dealer confidence seems wounded for this card in particular, which could mean they don’t see it at $15 again) and I think this continues to grow. Helm of the Host has people fetching more equipment and I think throwing this on a Godo is hilarious. Even if this doesn’t go up much, I don’t think this is ever getting cheaper. Myriad makes this tough to reprint and this is a solid piece of equipment so take advantage of what appears to be a temporary glut in supply and load up if you can shave a few bucks off the $11 asking.

Urza’s Incubator

Currently – $18

In a Year – $18 or less

Here’s a hot take – I think this card is overpriced. With tribal fever mostly over, I don’t know how much pent-up demand there is. I think the retail price goes down as people realize this basically only goes in Tribal decks where it’s an OK card. A tribal EDH set naturally spiked these but a lot were bought by team “Waiting in the Weeds” who thought they were geniuses for buying Tribal cards when a Tribal set came out. Yes, people are still going to use a mediocre card like this in their Tribal decks. People are playing Belbe’s Portal ffs. I just don’t think you rely on bad players making bad decisions to drive your financial decisions. Bad people aren’t valuable for a reason – it’s not that their decisions are bad, it’s that their decisions are unpredictable. If bad players always did the bad thing, you could predict it. My hot take is leave this alone.

Thought Vessel

Currently – $8.50

In a Year? – $10 barring a reprint

This card makes me nervous. Lands are a little easier to reprint and they SMASHED the price of Ash Barrens. I’m not holding these – they rose too fast and I think they are about to learn the lesson of Icarus.

Breed Lethality

Atraxa 

Currently – $30

In a Year? – $40

This needs a proper reprinting and this isn’t going to do it. This is the #1 deck for people who fundamentally lack imagination but think they have the most imagination. “You can build this infect, planeswalkers, beefy creatures – the possibilities are endless” – a guy who listed, exhaustively, all of the possibilities. The sheer idiotic power level of the deck combined with the masterful ego stroke to unimaginative Magic players is the perfect storm and this deck is hard to get under $100. Funny enough, it’s easy to grab Wade into Battle for $45 online (or it was) and have $120 in cards but you can barely find Breed Lethality for under $100 to get its $100 worth of cards. Atraxa herself is doing most of the heavy lifting here, too, since there aren’t too many other cards worth above $5.

Reyhan, Last of the Abzan

Currently – $10 (lol wut)

In a year? – $15

Admit it. You had no idea how much this card was worth. This would be $3 if it were in the Saskia deck but instead this is in the Atraxa deck and, suffering from the precon effect where people see it and think it’s just good enough not to take out, people are not taking this card out of the deck like they should and selling it like they should. As a result, a $5 card approaches $15 just because this is the only way to get it. I don’t see what can stop the growth of this card. It has 700 decks built around it on EDHREC but it’s also in 35% of the registered Atraxa lists meaning there is a ton of demand because people just won’t take the card out of the deck. This is worth Deepglow Skate money because, ironically, it has more demand than Deepglow Skate, a sentence that would have made me laugh 2 years ago. A lot can change in 2 years.

Deepglow Skate

Currently – $8.50

In a Year? $12

I wasn’t sure what this would do until I saw two things.

Thing the first –

Those lines are about to intersect in what I call “this kiss of arbitrage” which is a beautiful thing.

Thing the second –

If Reyhan suffered from the precon effect, this card INVENTED it. 72% is a big number. If you want a Deepglow Skate, you’re either paying $12 while you still can or you’re paying $165 for the Commander Anthology. If Breed Lethality is going for $100 on eBay, for $65 you get the 3 other decks, essentially. That’s starting to look pretty juicy, even at MSRP.  I think the price corrects upward, and dealers think so, too because even with the reprints incoming they’re still hurtling their buy price toward current retail with reckless abandon. If dealers are voting a certain way, at leas pay attention.

Crystalline Crawler 

Currently – $5

In a Year? – $3 or less

I don’t like this graph or this stupid card. Sure, Jodah has come along and made everyone fall in love with 5-color again, and my tendency to want to jam Paradox Engine into every deck should make me love this card but I DON’T. I think WotC correctly identified Prismatic Geoscope as the judge foil EDH players wanted.  I think this probably tanks more.

This is where I make some grand pronouncement and wrap up the themes I started in the first article about how boring all of this is, but I think they picked better targets for the Anthology this year. If every card falls by a buck, you’re better off with decks that have a small number of cards way over $10 than a deck with 100 $1 cards. I think Wurmcoil, Atraxa and other huge cards won’t be perturbed much and I think if you can get these sets under MSRP, either by having a hookup or by using eBay coupons, you might want to do it considering the Atraxa deck itself is hard to get under $100 and has $120 worth of cards in it and so does Wade Into Battle ($100 for Built from Scratch and $120 for Devour for Power, but that one isn’t as juicy). The singles should move, you can sell those spindown life counter things and you can use the box to house a talking mouse like in those Mouse and the Motorcyle books I acknowledge I read but don’t remember anything about except there was one where the kid was going to die if he didn’t get an aspirin for some reason and the mouse found a dirty aspirin under like a desk or something and I can’t think of lower stakes for the climax of a book but that’s me. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you. Anyway, I’ll write another one of these next week and we’ll talk about something else. Until next time!

 

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Pro Trader: A Super Boring Article Part 1

They’re doing a thing and that thing is going to do a thing.

If that makes you think I’m not excited about this thing, you’re right. It’s not for me and you’re not going to want to buy the thing. You are literally just going to wait and then get some free money because you knew what to do before it happened. That’s boring. Speculation is sexy and that’s what people want. They want you to see Helm of the Host and tell them to buy Combat Celebrant. They want you to assume that the post-Dominaria landscape will be slower and tell you that if you buy Search For Azcanta, you’ll make $3 per copy or just pull “I think Craterhoof Behemoth will go from $5 to $20” out of my ass the way I used to. None of that here, this week. This isn’t a sexy article fully of sexy speculation and what the hell, a pic of some sideboob. This isn’t me telling you which Reserved List card has like 10 copies left online and you can buy them and make the FOMO nutjobs take to reddit and complain about how the Reserved List is worse than Apartheid because they have to pay $8 for copies of Reparations. Go watch a YouTube video if you want advice like that. This is a boring article.

You know what’s boring? 90% of the money I make with Magic cards.

Get Ready To Snooze

I buy stuff for buylist prices locally, purchase collections and pick bulk. I put together instant collections, sell singles at a retail location and online and 5% of the time, I drop money on a speculation. The rest, I grind out boring, easy dollars by being willing to turn my time into money by doing boring work at home in my underwear while the television teaches my daughter to speak in a British accent (damn you, Peppa Pig).

This article isn’t about that, though, it’s about the other 5%. It’s the 5% where I do a thing methodically and collect free money. Opportunities don’t come up frequently, but when they do, it’s a good idea to pay attention. A thing is about to happen and when it does, we’ll scoop free money. Put on a pot of coffee, this is about to get straight coma-inducing.

Image result for red bull in my veins
You may need this

 

The Boring Thing

Image result for commander anthology 2

They’re doing another Commander Anthology. It’s not a thing I want to buy at MSRP but it will likely make you like $20 after fees if you manage to have an out for the spindown life counters and the box. DJ Johnson loves to do shenanigans like that, especially since he can get the sets for cheaper due to an affiliation with a store. If you can’t, try combining eBay discounts and coupons and buying on a day where you get $15 off every $100. It’s free money. I personally think buying these is more boring than even I am willing to go, but there’s money in it and DJ likes it, so watch for a Brainstorm Brewery Brain Bite on Youtube about it from him if you want. I’m going to talk about the easier free money – the kind you make by letting everyone else buy the Anthology.

The Contents

4 decks are being reprinted – Devour for Power (Starring The Mimeoplasm), Built From Scratch (Starring Daretti, Scrap Savant), Wade Into Battle (Starring Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas) and Breed Lethality (Starring Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice, because of course).

What I’m going to do today is look at how much cards go down based on Commander Anthology reprintings and how much we can expect to recoup by buying at the bottom and when that is. There should be money to be made. Let’s look at the last time.

The First Boring Time They Did The Boring Thing

Put on a pot of coffee, this isn’t the first time they did this which will make the results even more predictable. Last time they reprinted Kaalia, Derevi, Freyalise and Meren. Results were… mixed.

You can probably guess right around where Kaalia was announced and where she was reprinted. Unfortunately for Kaalia, this second reprinting (Commander’s Arsenal being the first) was the nail in her coffin and a year later, she’s still tanking. Dealer price is about to congregate with the retail price, which means a price update is coming and we could see the floor but the amount that the price fell doesn’t seem to match the amount it did fall. However, the value doesn’t need to be in this deck at all as it’s part of a 4-deck package and while Kaalia is holding steady at about $20, nothing else in the Kaalia deck recovered. Swiftfoot Boots and Sol Ring are the basically most valuable cards in the deck as cards like Manacharged Dragon and Angel of Despair tanked. One of the decks could be completely obliterated by this Commander Anthology and that’s not boring to know. The one bright spot in the deck was this.

This held relatively steady because there wasn’t much of an impetus for it to tank a ton. We should avoid trying to buy cards whose only printings are a Commander deck from 2011 and a $165 set. It’s good to know that Stranglehold didn’t tank enough to buy in so we can avoid a similar card from the Mimeoplasm deck if one exists.

Worse news for Derevi, I’m afraid.

Kaalia was at least worth $20 because she is a popular Commander, but Derevi is down to around $1. Try and guess the most expensive card in the deck. Bet you can’t.

The price went UP when it came out in Commander Anthology because, I guess, people assumed it would be good with the Wizards decks they assumed they would be building with Commander 2017. Instead, we barely saw any attenuation in the growth of this card that I got in bulk when the Derevi deck first came out.  Odd news for the next-most-expensive card.

It doesn’t seem like the reprint really slowed this card down, much. A year on and the card has never been worth more, which is odd to say the least. We knew that the Commander Anthology wouldn’t give us too many copies of the cards and a card that was already in 3 Commander 2013 decks just didn’t get enough copies to touch demand;  Mutation is in 7,400 decks compared to just 4,400 for Stranglehold. While Commander 2013 was the first and last time this card was printed, it was in 3 times as many decks and that means there are a LOT of copies out there.

Everything else in Evasive Maneuvers is fairly well smashed, even Bane of Progress and Roon.

Not surprisingly, an Elf deck picks up a lot of the slack.

Freyalise herself is holding at $10, down from a peak of merely $13. The real impetus for the reprinting was all of the $5 elves.  Ezuri, Renegade Leader halved from $8 and its subsequent reprinting will seal its fate. There are buys I might look at. After all, Commander Anthology was a mere year ago so if there is no action to take right away we might chill for a year on Commander Anthology 2 and focus on what could rebound from the first one, still.

This fluctuates a bit but it’s near its historical bottom and it’s useful in Muldrotha and Tatyova which could be the upside it needs.

This set’s Stranglehold, Song of the Dryads, lost some value but seems to have mostly pulled out of its slide. Tcg Low is significantly lower than the other retail sites and the increasing  buylist price tells me a correction might be incoming.

Finally, we have Plunder the Graves.

This is what happens when a small number of Merens are available online and every few weeks, the only copy we can find is the $1 oversized copy that CCG House has mislabeled in their system (or that we scraped erroneously – it’s a toss-up) so this data tells us nothing. Meren has been between $11 and $8 basically forever and the Anthology really didn’t change that.

Eldrazi Monument never really got above $10 so its drop to $8 wasn’t very signifnicant. Eternal Witness is one of the most expensive cards in the deck and no amount of reprints can really do much to attenuate that price. Though it adds up to about $75 retail, the contents of this 100 card deck are mostly worthless. Only 14 of the cards are worth more than $1, only 9 are worth more than $2. The value is spread out so the effect of the reprinting is spread out nice and wide. We’re not seeing that with this next batch of decks and we could get some things we’re not ready for.

What Was Once Boring is Boring Again

We’re seeing something quite similar with the value distribution in the sets about to be reprinted, and it’s going to be pretty boring. I don’t know if there is really much money to be made unless you can get the sets cheap and flip them. Let’s look at the numbers for the stuff that hasn’t been reprinted yet.

Remember, above we saw cards under like $2 never recovering and all of the stuff at or around $10 dropping to like $8 and a year later only starting to tick back up. $20 Kaalia fell off and hasn’t recovered but could. The only really interesting targets appear to be the $20 and up cards because I don’t know what they’ll do.

Devour for Power is worth about $50 more than Plunder the Graves, right off the bat and a lot of that value is in $5-$10 cards. If we only see modest reductions in the value of the cards, which I expect, some of it may recover. If the $3 cards don’t recover, the $7 only drop like a buck and recover if they’re in-demand like Thousand-Year Elixir or Eternal Witness and the $20 cards like Kaalia tank by about $5 and haven’t recovered in a year, you have to ask yourself – what’s going to happen with Commander Anthology 2? Here are my thoughts on every card above $5 from the 4 decks getting reprinted.

Devour for Power

The Mimeoplasm

Currently – $7

In a year? – $8

This reminds me of Titania. The Mimeoplasm is a decent commander and while it’s likely getting replaced by Muldrotha, it’s getting slotted into the 99 more often than it’s being replaced and sold on eBay. Muldrotha decks making it obsolete may actually be good for The Mimeoplasm.

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave

Currently – $7

In a year? – $5

Skullbriar likely dips and doesn’t recover that quickly. He’s a boring commander and he’s not good in anything else the way The Mimeoplasm is.

Riddlekeeper

Currently – $5

In a Year? – $3

Stay away. This is in like 400 decks and while it may be a casual card, I think its price is predicated on scarcity rather than demand and loose copies will hurt the price.  I don’t know if this will recover in two years.

Sewer Nemesis

Currently – $6.50 – $9 depending on the site

In a Year? –  $6 – $8

This is in 3 times as many decks as Riddlekeeper and reminds me a lot of Stranglehold. Remember that graph? It didn’t fluctuate much. The only question is what will happen with a deck like this that has Riddlekeeper and Sewer Nemesis both which remind me of Stranglehold? Can they both hold value? I think they might and I think the Daretti deck could be why.

Damia, Sage of Stone

Currently – $10

In a Year? – $8

I don’t see this dropping much more than the other $10 cards this old. This is being replaced by Muldrotha and getting thrown away more so the price may go down if there is any new supply at all just because demand is also decreasing.

Oblivion Stone

Currently – $6.50

In a Year – $8-$9

This goes up because it’s down due to Iconic Masters reprinting and it won’t likely be affected much by the Commander Anthology.

Grave Pact

Currently – $15

In a Year? – $13

I think any additional supply will be a nice breather for the price but in two years it will go back up. If this drops by fewer than $2 I won’t be surprised. I don’t think there is money to be made on many of these cards since the prices don’t get that depressed.

That is all I have time for this week. Next week we’ll look at the other 3 decks and talk about if there is any money to be made here at all. Prices fell a lot less than I had expected last time so I don’t know, but we can still look ahead and we can certainly discuss strategies of how to maximize value by trading the right way with these cards. This is boring, but it won’t be if we find anything. Until next time!

 

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Unlocked Pro Trader: More Like It

I mean, this is more like it. I still think Tatyova is the truth and I’m definitely brewing a Tatyova deck and I’m way more exicted about it than I am Jodah or Jhoira or even Muldrotha. If I do build another EDH deck from Dominaria, it will be Slimefoot which I think is interesting. The mythics and rares are powerful but kind of boring and the grindier uncommon generals are more appealing to me. Tatyova can get boring if you’re not careful since drawing massive amounts of cards tends to homogenize your game experience, but overall, I think the uncommons appeal to me more. That said, I’m not everyone and that’s fine. I don’t make money off of how I build, that loses me money, so I’m always way more interested in how other people are building.

Boring is Good. It’s the BEST (plus a tangent)

Boring is code for linear when I talk about EDH deckbuilding and linear means obvious usually. Muldrotha seems like it has infinite possibilities but you’ll find that there is quickly a consensus and with that comes predictability finance-wise. Once the combo with Command Beacon was discovered, people made Command Beacon cost as much as the deck it’s in, which has pushed the price of that deck to $55, which is still basically OK.

 

The cards over $5 are Ezuri, Eternal Witness, Arachnogenesis, Thought Vessel and Command Beacon. The cards that will be worth more soon than they are now are Bane of Progress, Verdant Confluence, Beastmaster Ascension, High Market, Chameleon Colossus and Skullwinder. I don’t think it’s worth paying $55, but if you do for that quick Beacon flip, hold onto some of the stuff that will get more expensive if you sit on it because it’s basically a free card. For reference, Wade into Battle is $115 and only has 2 cards over $5.

Where was I? Oh, right, linearity is boring and that’s why I threw a valuable tangent at you. I think I made my point and also probably made you some money. Would you rather I had kept talking about linearity for that whole paragraph? No, of course not, because deviating from a linear track is exciting. However, let’s talk about when linearity is a good thing, and that’s when it makes you as much money as a well-placed tangent.

Linearity leads to consensus and that leads to people vying for the same cards. If you have those cards, and they have to get them from you, you can charge more because there’s more demand. Simple. So while I want to build Tatyova, I sure want to know what Muldrotha players are going to buy. That’s why I was encouraged to see Jodah separate itself from Tatyova so much and the typical, get-built-every-week-regardless commanders like Atraxa and Edgar Markov enter the fray again. Last week we had “data” but this week, we have fewer surprises.  We want to be able to predict the future here, so let’s take a second to see if consensus is reflected in EDHREC data and if we can develop a metric, or even a vague “financier sense” based on % inclusion in decks.

My Financier Sense Is Tingling

This is in a lot of Atraxa decks (the page from which I cribbed this image) and that is reflected in its price for a few reasons. First of all, it’s in a popular deck which means lots of people will play it which means lots of people will need to buy it which means it will be worth, say, $11. Secondly, it’s ONLY available in a popular deck which means the only loose copies came from people busting the Atraxa deck since 3 out of every 4 people who buy the Atraxa deck build it and keep Skate in it. 72% adoption is great and 16% synergy means it’s not exactly a format staple. Cyclonic Rift has 1% synergy with Atraxa decks because it’s a format staple. Birds of Paradise as a -6% synergy. How it’s calculated doesn’t matter – Atraxa doesn’t have a single card with a synergy score higher than 16%. Skate was made for this deck. Even Oath of Ajani and The Chain Veil have 10% and 7% respectively.

Unless a deck is popular and the card in question is only in that precon, a low synergy score combined with a high adoption rate means it’s a format staple. Something like this in a Atraxa deck, for example –

31% adoption isn’t super high but the 2% synergy shows that it’s a format staple and that’s good for its price. Teferi’s Protection has established itself and its place in the format over the last year, but what about brand new cards? Can we looks at cards in the few Jodah decks and glean anything from their adoption and synergy scores? Slimefoot we expect high adoption and high synergy – cards like Saproling Infestation will have high scores for both. Given Slimefoot has about as many decks built ever as Atraxa did this week, though, we can’t always tell ahead of time if narrow cards like that are great buys (though old ones like Saproling Infestation have already proven to be decent buys – thanks linearity!).

This isn’t necessarily a new metric to look at cards per se, but I think it may help us separate wheat from chaff a bit better than we had in the past. Cards with a small amount of data from the new set are suspect and this will help.

Finally, Jodah

With fewer than 80 decks to look at, we have a small sample size, but % adoption should scale unless these particular 80 people are lunatics. Is these 80 are representative of Jodah builders as a whole, we’ll still see in the percentages what’s going to be a Jodah staple. I’m glad we brought up percentages before diving in. Here’s what I think will matter.

Dream Halls

Conspicuously absent from Jodah decks seems to be this way in particular to cheat stuff into play. People seem happy with having to pay mana, which I don’t know I agree with. Dream Halls seems like a no-brainer to me and Muldrotha players are on-board but Jodah players don’t seem to think they need this card. The reason you play this is that you’re a 5-color deck and can pitch a lot of your multicolored spells you don’t need later in the game to play basically anything not an Eldrazi. This not helping with Eldrazi sucks, but you can do the trick where you pitch anything to cast Conflux and then fill your hand with goodies and use half of them to cast the rest or just have a full grip. That trick is better in Legacy when you have a really explosive 4th turn but that deck sucks.

Why am I bringing this card up that isn’t in enough Jodah decks to register? It’s played in Muldrotha, it’s on the Reserved List and it’s available for under $30 right now. If you think Jodah will ever play this, that’s even more demand for a low supply. I think Dream Halls is a $75 card when the dust settles. I think it’s about to pop and I think it’s good in this deck.

Crystal Quarry

This article is turning into “Things I think Jodah decks should play” but at least this one showed up.  In every 5 new Jodah builders knows about this card. When Jodah was spoiled, I got multiple tweets asking if I thought Cascading Cataracts was going to go up. I mentioned this card and everyone asking me about Cataracts didn’t even know this card existed. I forget not everyone has played Magic since 1996. I used 4 copies of this in a mono-black deck to cast Last Stand – those were the days. I can’t find that deck anywhere and considering it has 4 of these, 4 Composite Golems and 4 Cabal Coffers, I hope it turns up in an old box somewhere.

Anyway, this article was supposed to be about what people were playing (Jodah) and not what I thought they should be playing (Tatyova) but this is literally a card not being played more because people building Jodah decks haven’t been playing Magic for long enough to know it exists. That’s ridiculous.

Over twice as many people are playing Cataracts. By the way? 43% is not correct, either. It should be 100%  for both cards. I think it will happen eventually. For reference, only 66% of the decks are running Sol Ring so something’s up and maybe 100% isn’t the goal. Still, once people figure out Crystal Quarry is a thing, why would you not run it in Jodah? What possible reason is there? People are asking about the finance potential of a bulk rare from a recent set that’s still in Standard and there are a trillion copies of and they don’t even know about a $4 card that there are like 12 of on the whole internet and one person could snatch up for like $200. OK, there are 83 listings for Crystal Quarry on TCG Player, but still, come on.  This is free money. Low supply, high potential synergy with Jodah and you have time to acquire copies before everyone figures out that the card hasn’t spiked already simply because the card is 17 years old and people literally don’t know it exists. These are like $4 some places. Just slam dunk this and when people somehow figure out what this card does, you should double up.

Enter the Infinite

I write about this card like every week. Buy it.

Rise of the Dark Realms

This goes up a couple of bucks every year. It needs to be reprinted, but a lot of things need to be reprinted. In the mean time, this is a sicko Jodah spell and if you can cast this for WUBRG on turn 5… congrats, you didn’t get any value. Seriously, I don’t know if it’s worth cheating this spell out, but… this spell is dumb and 16% of Jodah decks are running it. Not enough Jodah decks are running Insurrection but I said I would write about what people were playing not what they should be playing and this is turning into a maddening exercise for me. You know what has more than the 16% synergy ROTDR has?

This might be an even better target and it’s less likely to get reprinted. It’s also expensive but it has a 20% synergy rating with Jodah so its fate could correlate directly with Jodah’s – it’s $18 on Card Kingdom with its current demand profile and any increase in that could increase the price.

Thicc Bois

Bringers were left out of a lot of “cheat this into play” decks because of their mana symbols and I think Bringers have a lot of upside. All of these creatures are worth cheating out and will get you a ton of advantage and I think basically anything with above a 25% adoption rate is what we now deem acceptable.

I don’t want to write anymore. I found you some good picks, we talked about a new way to look at EDHREC data and we had some laughs. That’s enough value for you, I hope. If you’re a Pro Trader, consider acting early on some of these tips even though the data hasn’t really fully materialized. Get the most out of that subscription. Anyway, that’s all for now. Until next time!

 

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