Category Archives: Jason Alt

Making More Enemies

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Welcome back to the articles series that tricks finance people into caring about EDH and tricks EDH people into caring about finance. I like the concept of “edutainment,” but I think I am beginning to like the concept of “eduception” better. It’s like that video “Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land”  where you realize after the fourth of fifth viewing—this is a great alternative to Fantasia while dropping acid, by the way (seriously, don’t drop acid and watch Fantasia. I can’t speak to the acid part, but I have watched Fantasia enough times to know that the experience will end with you in a padded cell)—that it was trying to teach you math. You just watched a math video, nerd. You’re a disgrace to that Pink Floyd T-shirt.

Last week, I talked a lot about what could happen when Wizards prints more Commander sealed product, and while a lot of it involves crushing $5ish cards into total powder, some of it involves, potentially, getting Wurmcoil Engine back, making it cheaper for a minute, selling a ton of product, and us not losing too much money on Wurmcoil Engine. It’s a great situation to be in.

Can we see other Wurmcoil-tier reprints? Maybe! Do I know what they are? No, but I can guess! Last week, I identified some cards in the appropriate price range that would get more copies in players’ hands, not tank the value a ton, and make the product attractive for years to come. Could every deck have something this good in it? Maybe. It really depends on a lot of factors, not all of which we can anticipate.

What I can do is warn people holding onto some cards that are likely to see a reprint while it’s not too late to dump them. If they don’t get reprinted, you can grab them for the same price later. Let’s talk about what could be in this year’s wave of enemy-colored Commander decks. My hope is that I’ll get through two colors today, because I won’t have to introduce the concept of the series like I did last week, but you know me. If I only get through Golgari today, this three-parter could turn into a five-parter, but I doubt anyone will complain because the only way that happens is if there is too much value in this installment. Let’s start demonstrating some of that value.

Golgari Stuff

Remember the wiki article I linked last week?  I’ll be using that as a guide for the potential themes of the deck. These are things Golgari does well and one or more is certain to be featured in a Commander deck.

Reclamation

Golgari is going to get stuff back from your graveyard. White does this okay, but since the days of Animate Dead and Regrowth, we’ve seen Golgari plant a flag in this territory.

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This is a card that honestly could shrug another reprinting off. How is this $10? The Duel Deck version is closer to $8, but that’s still absurd for a card with two reprintings. Duel Decks don’t always tank cards, of course, but this is a non-mythic in Modern Masters as well. This is great for a lot of graveyard-based strategies—letting your mana recover from greedy digging, letting you reuse lands like Ghost Quarter and Blighted Woodland (Wizards is not putting Strip Mine in a Commander precon) and jams more crap in your yard for later recovery. It’s a solid card, is at the right price point, and I regret not saving this for the end of the article. This was literally the first card I thought of.

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I made some money off of this card, so naturally, I love it. Standard players didn’t see it as the, “I’m playing Abrupt Decay literally every turn” engine I saw it as, comparing it instead to Staff of Nin, but Caleb Durward played one copy in his sideboard, which caused it hit $8 briefly, and I buylisted a hundred copies for three times what I paid for them. What a great weekend.

Anyway, this seems like the kind of card that, while it doesn’t need a reprint, could get one. Bulkish rares have been crushed into true bulk under the wheels of a precon with a theme before.

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This is another card that doesn’t care how many times you reprint it. The cheapest printing is still $7 and it could probably shrug some more off. The cool thing about reprints in precons and such is that the rarity doesn’t matter—it may have a silver expansion symbol but there are exactly as many Izzet vs. Golgari Eternal Witnesses as there are Life from the Loams.(Lives from the Loam? [Ed.: Nah]). A card originally printed at uncommon is still super hard to find when the copies get cleaned up as quickly as they do, and they’re not three times as abundant as rares in precons.  This isn’t as bad a candidate as it seems, and if it dips in the short term, it’s sure to recover.

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This is a card that it wouldn’t suck if Wizards reprinted. Expensive enough to be in the Wurmcoil sweet spot and ubiquitous enough to likely see its copies gobbled up, a reprint of this might not be too bad for the non-foil price and wouldn’t touch the set foil or judge foil. Still, I could see this card reprinted, in a new border without the tombstone by the name, sort of like the judge foil. I could see this in a Golgari Commander deck quite easily.

Exiling from the Graveyard

This is an ability we see in these colors, but I’m not sure there is a ton of money to be made predicting what we’ll see.

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Look at me, I’m Nostradamus, except I predict the obvious with pinpoint accuracy.

Perhaps there are real cards that would be affected, though.

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This could be shot down mid-recovery, and while there isn’t much precedent for a card from Commander precons being reprinted in Commander precons, this would at least be on-theme. Modern will want this card forever, Legacy will want this card forever, and even Commander will want this card forever. It’s not quite Wurmcoil-tier in terms of price, but it certainly does work, doesn’t it?

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Does this feel “wrong” to anyone else? I don’t know what it is about this mechanic. It seems too, I don’t know, proactive compared to much of the reactive graveyard hate that is a little more judicious and targeted. This seems like a card Wizards wouldn’t put in a precon. It’s too efficient and unreliable.

Still, the price is right and a Commander reprinting certainly hurts the upside of the non-foil a great deal. M11 hurt the foil significantly, but that sort of thing can happen. It seems unlikely we’ll see another reprinting in a real set, so the foils seem pretty safe. As much as I am not sure the precons will jam something like this, the possibility exists. If it did get the nod, the strong growth we’re seeing would be impacted severely.

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This has little or nothing to do with EDH, but this card is pretty good in Modern and even better in Legacy—especially Legacy. Even Vintage could benefit from a card like this. A free, surprise, Crypt against Dredge, especially in Vintage, seems effective.

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How is this foil only a stinkin’ dollar? I am sure I’m overstating its playability or something. I don’t know how else to explain the discrepancy between  how good I think it is and how cheap it is. EDH players might like a card like Grave Consequences, also, but that’s only a quarter and is likely to stay there.

Regeneration

Not an exciting theme, but you don’t need to build around the theme to jam a few good cards with regeneration in the deck.

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You whippersnappers won’t remember this, but this card was $20 for one glorious weekend. I was opening these and trading them for two copies of Supreme Verdict, four copies of Detention Sphere—all kinds of insanity. That was back when people still traded in person, mind you. Crazy times we were living in. This was before the movie Frozen came out and it sucked to be a parent.

Nowadays, it hardly matters if this gets reprinted or not. There are better trolls, but this does more work in a Golgari deck that wants more than just a Cudgel Troll.

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This card used to buylist for next to nothing. Now it’s a real, actual card. It’s pushing into Wurmcoil territory and wouldn’t suck as a reprint. This card does work. While it “feels” a bit more Selesnya than Golgari, I think we can all agree this would be a welcome reprint. I’m not saying sell these, but I will say maybe wait to buy.

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This is a very, very specific card for a very specific set of circumstances, but Wizards has reprinted utility lands in Commander product before, and this is certainly itching for it. Wizards will need to find a way to reprint this soon or it’s going to continue to grow out of control. This is not just for rat decks, either, as it regenerates cards like Taurean Mauler and Mutavault. We’d need a strong rat or squirrel theme making this more of a wishlist reprint than a likely one, but this is a card I wouldn’t invest heavily in, as it’s likely to see reprinting in the future.

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This seems more likely. I feel like any day now, a Commander deck or some other manner of supplementary product will give us a reprint of the Hollow. This is a great utility land for a green EDH deck, and since green is the best color in EDH, this is a good candidate for a lot of decks. This has hovered around $10 to $12 for a while, and it has some upside if it escapes reprinting in this year’s Commander product, though how much upside I don’t know.

J/K. As Justin pointed out below, Hollow is on the Reserved List. And why not? It’s way better than Citanul Centaurs. I guess we’re stuck with Yavimaya Hollow at its current price and higher, which sucks, but with no real way to reprint this card, the sky is the limit.

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Thrun is a pretty narrow basket to put so many eggs in, but you can do worse than a very good creature if you’re looking for somewhere to stash the value from a set. I don’t see this as super likely, but this is a creature that regenerates and isn’t total bulk. It’s good enough in Modern and even fringe Legacy strategies that we could use an unobtrusive way to reprint it, but maybe the price is too high for that, now.

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Permanent Destruction

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This is the card a lot of people think will be a shoo-in. I’m not so certain. While this certainly does work, I see it as similar to the “why put Vindicate in a precon when Mortify is almost as good at dealing with the stuff in the other precons?” argument I proposed last week. I’d like to see Maelstrom Pulse, and it certainly could use another printing, but I don’t like the odds.

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This reprinting wouldn’t upset too much, and with the Conspiracy printing already attenuating prices, this seems like a fine candidate. As long as we don’t get stupid Plague Boiler, I’ll be okay. I don’t think this is too good to reprint, and I don’t think it’s too expensive to reprint. Pernicious Deed isn’t what it used to be, and EDH certainly isn’t driving its price up much. This would be fine.

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A true EDH staple, this card has shrugged off multiple printings in Planechase and a Duel Deck. Its growth would be attenuated for sure, but likely would climb after a matter of months to a year, and getting more copies out there wouldn’t kill anyone. I see this as pretty likely, but which art would Wizards choose?

Elves

The wiki doesn’t say anything about this, but green-black could get some elves. This would be a decent place to jam a few elves to bring down the cost of some of the nuttier ones that haven’t gotten reprints lately. Which ones? I dunno.

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This is pretty much insanity. A reprinting would make it affordable and mean you don’t need to pay fetch-land prices for an uncommon mana dork. Obviously last year’s green Commander deck would have been a better venue, but this oversight can always be corrected. Will it? Likely it will, but not in the Commander deck. There are some elves I expect to see, though.

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This has already been crushed into powder, but sometimes Wizards reprints cards so they will be playable in the deck. This seems like a good choice. This is a card I could see being the commander if I weren’t so certain they’ll have a new card at the helm. This is a lot like Teysa in the Orzhov deck. Whether or not we need this financially, I think we’ll get it.

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This won’t have much financial impact, but this is a very Golgari card. I like this both at the helm of its own deck and in the 99 of decks like Prossh and Shattergang Brothers. This card does serious work and is a must-kill for opponents.

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Glissa is sneaking its way up to the $5 mark. I don’t know if it’s not too narrow to go in a precon, but if you jam a Mind Stone, a spellbomb, and a Sylvok Replica in there, you might see this do some work. It’s very Golgari and being able to fetch cards out of the ‘yard plays well with dredge. Who knows? This could be in there.

Wurmcoil-Tier Possibilities

Other than Genesis and Asceticism, which cards do I think have a decent shot at being the Wurmcoil of the Golgari deck, if there is one?

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Lord of Extinction may be one of the EDHiest cards ever. This is pure “big creatures do work,” and I love it. This gets huge, and when shot at someone’s dome with a Jarad, usually ends the game for that person. It’s just solid, will work in the EDH precon no matter what the theme is, and could use a reprint to bring the price down, though Wurmcoil shrugged its reprint off and this could, too, depending how popular the deck is. A sicko new card for Legacy is always a possibility.

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Maybe this is too cheap, but this seems on-flavor, at least. I could see this getting a reprinting soon, but I wouldn’t necessarily bet money on it.

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I know I said this could go in the Orzhov deck, but this would work in a Golgari deck as well, and everything I said last week about this card still applies.

Final Thoughts

Remember how I thought I might get through Golgari and Simic today? Yeah—not happening. I’m way over my word-count cap, and I don’t even care. You’re welcome for all of the value. Next week, we’ll tackle Simic, meaning I guess this is a five-parter now.

Argue with me, please. What did I omit or get wrong? Leave it in the commentses, you nasty readerses. Got any beef with my picks? Did I omit your favorite Golgari card? Will the Wurmcoil-tier card only be in one deck? Do you have predictions for Simic? Leave it all below. Until next week!

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Is It Safe?

IsitSafe

This is the question everyone should be asking about their investments, both before and after they make them:

Is it safe?

Well? How do we make safe investments in EDH?

Okay, so I’m a few sentences in and I already hate my internal voice reading this article. You remember that episode of Seinfeld where George got the book on tape because he hated the sound of his own voice but had to read a book about risk, and then the guy on the book on tape sounded like him somehow, and I don’t remember how the episode ended because it was like 20 years ago, but I bet Jerry did something annoying and you should really just watch Curb Your Enthusiasm instead? I hate how my voice sounds reading that first paragraph.

Also, before I forget, I didn’t address the title of the article the way none of you were hoping I would. I think today I want to talk about the upcoming Commander sealed product, because it’s going to tank some prices and we want to be ready. Not only that—it’s going to tank prices in a pretty big way, and I think now is the time to buy or sell to get ahead of it. We have gone a full week without any spoilers and everyone is getting antsy. You know some tool is going to swipe a deck and spoil all of it or something like that pretty soon, so let’s get out ahead of that, shall we? EDH players are salivating, talking about the cards they want to get reprinted. Theirs is a Magical Christmasland list, but it’s not a bad idea to look at what they are thinking because staples are bound to take the biggest hit.

Here is what I would sell and what I think is probably safe.

Okay, false alarm. I think we would benefit by looking at how Wizards typically builds these decks by looking at a list from each “generation” of EDH sealed product.

Counterpunch from 2011

1 Barren Moor
1 Command Tower
1 Evolving Wilds
10 Forest
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Orzhov Basilica
8 Plains
1 Rupture Spire
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
8 Swamp
1 Temple of the False God
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Vivid Meadow

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1 Aquastrand Spider
1 Celestial Force
1 Chorus of the Conclave
1 Dark Hatchling
1 Deadly Recluse
1 Fertilid
1 Golgari Guildmage
1 Hornet Queen
1 Karador, Ghost Chieftain
1 Monk Realist
1 Nantuko Husk
1 Penumbra Spider
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Selesnya Evangel
1 Selesnya Guildmage
1 Shriekmaw
1 Sigil Captain
1 Spawnwrithe
1 Spike Feeder
1 Squallmonger
1 Symbiotic Wurm
1 Teneb, the Harvester
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
1 Yavimaya Elder

1 Acorn Catapult
1 Afterlife
1 Alliance of Arms
1 Attrition
1 Aura Shards
1 Awakening Zone
1 Bestial Menace
1 Cobra Trap
1 Cultivate
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Death Mutation
1 Doom Blade
1 Fists of Ironwood
1 Footbottom Feast
1 Golgari Signet
1 Harmonize
1 Hex
1 Hour of Reckoning
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Mortify
1 Necrogenesis
1 Nemesis Trap
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Selesnya Signet
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Soul Snare
1 Storm Herd
1 Syphon Flesh
1 Tribute to the Wild
1 Vow of Duty
1 Vow of Malice
1 Vow of Wildness

This deck had fewer than ten reprints at rare, none of them much more than a dollar at the time. The big money here was Scavenging Ooze; a new card that Wizards also wanted to introduce into Legacy, which worked wonders. People tore into these decks, depressing cards like Awakening Zone, Attrition, and Skullclamp, though they all rebounded. If you had asked EDH players to talk about cards they thought would be in a WBG deck, you would have heard answers like Debtors’ Knell, Pernicious Deed, Vindicate, and Overgrown Tomb. We didn’t get that. We got a bunch of pretty cheap rares.

Nature of the Beast from 2013

1 Boros Garrison
1 Boros Guildgate
1 Command Tower
1 Contested Cliffs
1 Drifting Meadow
1 Evolving Wilds
8 Forest
1 Forgotten Cave
1 Gruul Guildgate
1 Homeward Path
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Khalni Garden
1 Mosswort Bridge
5 Mountain
1 Naya Panorama
1 New Benalia
1 Opal Palace
4 Plains
1 Rupture Spire
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Slippery Karst
1 Smoldering Crater
1 Temple of the False God
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
1 Vivid Crag

1 Archangel
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Baloth Woodcrasher
1 Crater Hellion
1 Deadwood Treefolk
1 Drumhunter
1 Eternal Dragon
1 Gahiji, Honored One
1 Grazing Gladehart
1 Krosan Tusker
1 Krosan Warchief
1 Magus of the Arena
1 Mayael the Anima
1 Mold Shambler
1 Naya Soulbeast
1 Rakeclaw Gargantuan
1 Rampaging Baloths
1 Ravenous Baloth
1 Spellbreaker Behemoth
1 Spitebellows
1 Terra Ravager
1 Valley Rannet

1 Behemoth Sledge
1 Boros Charm
1 Cultivate
1 Curse of Chaos
1 Curse of Predation
1 Curse of the Forsaken
1 Darksteel Mutation
1 Druidic Satchel
1 Fiery Justice
1 Fireball
1 Fires of Yavimaya
1 From the Ashes
1 Harmonize
1 Hull Breach
1 Mystic Barrier
1 Naya Charm
1 One Dozen Eyes
1 Rain of Thorns
1 Restore
1 Savage Twister
1 Seer’s Sundial
1 Slice and Dice
1 Slice in Twain
1 Sol Ring
1 Spawning Grounds
1 Sprouting Vines
1 Street Spasm
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Tempt with Discovery
1 Tower of Fortunes
1 War Cadence
1 Warstorm Surge
1 Where Ancients Tread
1 Witch Hunt
1 Wrath of God

Two years later, the value is still expected to come mostly from the new cards. Rares like Where Ancients Tread, Magus of the Arena, Crater Hellion… If you’d asked EDH players in 2013 before this came out what they expected to be reprinted in a WRG deck, they would have said things like Knight of the Reliquary, Azusa, and Vigor.

Built from Scratch from 2014

1 Goblin Welder
1 Epochrasite
1 Myr Retriever
1 Myr Sire
1 Bottle Gnomes
1 Cathodion
1 Junk Diver
1 Palladium Myr
1 Pilgrim’s Eye
1 Tuktuk the Explorer
1 Dualcaster Mage
1 Feldon of the Third Path
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Beetleback Chief
1 Ingot Chewer
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Spitebellows
1 Hoard-Smelter Dragon
1 Warmonger Hellkite
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Pentavus
1 Tyrant’s Familiar
1 Bosh, Iron Golem
1 Bogardan Hellkite

1 Faithless Looting
1 Whipflare
1 Scrap Mastery
1 Incite Rebellion
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Impact Resonance
1 Chaos Warp
1 Volcanic Offering
1 Word of Seizing
1 Magmaquake
1 Starstorm

1 Everflowing Chalice
1 Panic Spellbomb
1 Sol Ring
1 Wayfarer’s Bauble
1 Fire Diamond
1 Ichor Wellspring
1 Liquimetal Coating
1 Mind Stone
1 Mycosynth Wellspring
1 Ruby Medallion
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Jalum Tome
1 Pristine Talisman
1 Unstable Obelisk
1 Trading Post
1 Caged Sun
1 Dreamstone Hedron
1 Loreseeker’s Stone
1 Spine of Ish Sah
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Great Furnace

1 Bitter Feud

1 Arcane Lighthouse
1 Buried Ruin
1 Dormant Volcano
1 Flamekin Village
1 Forgotten Cave
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Phyrexia’s Core
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Smoldering Crater
1 Temple of the False God
29 Mountain

This is a best-case scenario for reprints, and the deck’s value was actually kind of absurd, to the point of depressing the prices of good, new cards, ironically. Instead of Dualcaster Mage crushing Wurmcoil Engine, look what happened.

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If you had asked people in 2014 what would have gone in a mono-red EDH deck and if you were charitable and told them it would be artifact-themed, they would have said stuff like Goblin Welder or Junk Diver or Metalworker or Bosh. I doubt they would have expected to get most of that list, plus Wurmcoil, plus Junk Diver, plus a silly planeswalker, plus Epochrasite.

We’re starting to see these decks, at least one or two of them per cycle, be pretty good. Is it really so ridiculous to think we could get a Pernicious Deed, Dack Fayden, Vindicate, Gisela, or… Wizards has crapped on Simic cards forever. What’s even the best Simic card? Prophet of Kruphix at $1? Zegana? Zegana, probably. Or Momir Vig. Still, why you gotta poop on Simic and make a ton of terrible cards and then like 10 good ones so we have to play the good ones and then people say, “Why does every Simic player always play Prophet of Kruphix?” and we’re like “BECAUSE WE $%^&ING HAVE TO!”

What are conceivable reprints for EDH decks in a universe where Wizards reprints Wurmcoil Engine? Will Wizards want to repeat a scenario where the reprints don’t get cheaper but they make new cards and old cards alike practically toilet paper?

So what do the enemy color pairings do, anyway? This wiki article talks about what each color pairing is good at and we can probably pick a few strong possibilites for a Wurmcoil-tier reprint and think about getting out of them or picking up cards that are not likely to be reprinted which could go in one of these deck. While Wurmcoil’s price didn’t go down a ton, it did make red, artifact-based decks appealing and the price is rebounding because people want to pick up every loose copy to play with.

So what are enemy-colored pairings all about? We’ll get as far as we can today and finish up next week. How’s that sound?

White / Black

Life Drain

Life drain is a great way for black/white to get people. However, a lot of those cards have been printed into the ground and/or were in Eternal Bargain, the deck with Oloro. That had a strong “life total changes matter” theme. Still, provided we do see something like that, there are some cards I’d expect in the deck.

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Exsanguinate is a $1 uncommon that will be trash forever if it’s in a decent EDH deck. If we see any life drain in the WB deck, I expect this to be in the mix. Death Grasp has been printed to absolute death and this is an older card that hasn’t seen a second printing despite being considered a staple for a while. This card is very good.

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This is a more powerful card, but it’s narrower. It’s more expensive for small amounts of mana, but once you start to really pump mana in, this does work. Too bad there is no money to be made or lost here.

Another Felidar Sovereign or Divinity of Pride reprinting seem unlikely, given how recently they were both reprinted. A life drain theme could give them upside, but I expect Felidar Sovereign to go up regardless, and again, Oloro’s deck makes me think it’s not super likely we’ll see this theme in an upcoming deck. Still, we need to investigate every lead.

In the unlikely event we do get a life drain theme, a card I expect to not be in the deck but get some real upside in price is this guy.

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Serra Ascendant was a mistake, as having a turn-one, one-mana Baneslayer is silly for EDH. I doubt Wizards would reprint this in EDH sealed product despite its price approaching $20. This card will continue to climb in price until reprinted. Do you think Wizards would put this in EDH sealed product? I don’t, either.

This seems pretty safe to me. Even if it  is reprinted, it could pull a Wurmcoil and bounce right back up—unless there’s value in the rest of the deck.

Exiling

WB sure is good at exiling stuff. Sometimes white brings it back, sometimes it doesn’t. Black just makes stuff disappear. This is a bit of a subtheme for white-black, but there aren’t a ton of great reprints possible. Do you think Vindicate will be in the deck? It’s possible that we see Unmake, Castigate, Merciless Eviction, etc.

Merciless Eviction is a great card for reprinting in this deck if we see this subtheme at all, which is too bad, because this was a card I liked long-term. It deals with a lot of stuff and its mana cost isn’t prohibitive in EDH the way it was, a bit, in Standard.

Angel of Despair has already gotten a Commander reprinting, and at $3 to $4, I think it could potentially get another nod. This was excluded from FTV Angels. What we could also see in its place is a card that has no reprintings.

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If Ashen Rider gets reprinted, boo. If this doesn’t get reprinted, though, we have an opportunity. It could be a while before this is considered for a reprinting, as WWBB makes it a little tough to jam in three- or four-color decks which means the best time to reprint this in an EDH product is now. If it isn’t reprinted, we will be very close to rotation and these will be at their floor. This card is busted. While there are ways other than an EDH product to reprint this, I think dodging a reprinting in Commander 2015 means this card is a must-buy. I’m going deep on these if they’re not included in the deck. They’ll be cheap, they’ll have dodged a very likely reprint opportunity, and they will still be ridiculous in EDH. Sure, it’s not an angel, but it’s also nuts.

I would like to think the white-black deck will avoid the obvious life draining theme, but only because Wizards just did that with Oloro. Instead, I imagine the list will get a little more creative, perhaps doing something with Teysa, Orzhov Scion and similar cards. I expect Teysa in the 99 with a brand new commander at the helm. If Darkest Hour isn’t in the deck, expect that to be a card people “discover” as more people build toward a deck like this. Lingering Souls, Twilight Shepherd, cards that grant persist or undying like Cauldron of Souls, and Mikaeus, the Unhallowed will be in demand or reprinted.

If Wizards disappoints me and goes back to a WB life drain strategy, I won’t be surprised, really, and I covered what to do given that eventuality. Vizkopa Guildmage, the Sanguine Bond/Exquisite Blood combo, and even cards like Tainted Sigil will be in high demand. I’ll talk more about those eventualities when we see spoilers.

Eyes Like Donuts

I’m getting near the point where your eyes glaze over, and I only got through my preamble and one color pairing. I expected to get a little farther today, but that is okay. Since we’re ahead of the curve, we can take our time and be thorough with this subject matter and really do our due diligence.

I have a little wiggle room to talk what we expect the “Wurmcoil” of the WB deck to potentially be. Now, Wizards could spread the value over a lot of cards that will go from $5 to $7 down to $2 to $4, or print a Containment Priest-tier card that will depress the rest of the cards in the deck. However, if this deck does have a reprint in WB that is $15 to $18 like Wurmcoil was, what do we think we could see?

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This is around the right price, but this seems kind of underwhelming in EDH. Sure, it’s very versatile, but I don’t know if you make most of the value of an EDH set end up in a card that could have its deck slot occupied by Mortify or Unmake and have the deck be roughly as good. Vindicate is $14 better than Mortify in Legacy. I’m not so sure it is in EDH.

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This seems likelier, paired with a $5-ish card, perhaps? This isn’t the same price point, but spreading that value over two cards may do more good overall, putting two staples in players’ hands instead of just one. Attrition, maybe? If we insist on looking at $15-ish cards, there are a few that are WB staples.

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Black Market is out of control and pretty good in a WB deck. If you’re sacrificing a lot of stuff to a creature like Teysa, blowing up a lot of permanents with removal, or just letting stuff die like it tends to in EDH, this card is dumb. There aren’t too many cards like this. Braid of Fire is another, that benefit from the removal of the mana burn rule. You’ve seen what pure EDH demand has done to this unfair card and a reprinting would be a nice relief valve for the price and give a few more players access. It synergizes with just about any WB strategy, also, rewarding you for sacrificing creatures or fueling a big Exsanguinate. This would be a good reprint.

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“This card is HOW MUCH?” –Non-EDH players.

Phyrexian Altar is a great choice, too. It fits well into a WB deck that emphasizes sacrificing, life-draining, or even both. It’s a card that more players would play if they could afford it, and Wizards could give it some sick new art depicting a newer hero than Tsabo. This card is pure EDH and the price reflects that reality.

Grab the Cushion

I think we can put a pin in it for this week. Next week, I’ll skip the preamble and launch right into it. We’ll see if we can’t take down two color combinations next week and two the week after. Seems like a good way to split it up to me.

What did I miss? What did I overstate? What do you hope to see in a white-black EDH deck? For those who don’t care about EDH, why? A poop rare like Black Market is now $18 and you’re off fighting over how many pennies you can make on Woodland Wanderer. Don’t be clowns—at least pay attention to what casuals are doing. Who would you rather trade with? That’s what I thought.

Until next week!

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PROTRADER: Everything I Care About for EDH in Battle for Zendikar

I’m diverging from my typical weekly boat pun format where I talk about how a card from a new set is going to cause old cards to go up. I’ll probably be back to my old tricks soon. Today, though, let’s look at the new set and see if anything is going to get pushed up.

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PROTRADER: Battle for Zendikar Set Review – Red

Let’s be honest, there isn’t a lot to love in the red section of Battle for Zendikar. This set is odd, with half of the mythics being pretty bad and almost all of the rares being pretty bad. Are there bright spots? Yope. There sure are. Am I going to do all the red cards quickly and talk about other stuff I like at the end? Yope. You literally can’t stop me. If that bothers you, I don’t know, stop reading at the end of the red cards, I guess? I don’t know. Why don’t you want value? I blame poor parenting.

Let’s talk about the red cradz.

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Akoum Firebird

Akoum Firebird

It seems like Wizards has to put a garbage phoenix in every set until there are enough for a tribal phoenix deck, probably because someone in R&D lost a bet or got cursed by a gypsy or something.  This is quickly outclassed by better flyers and is too mana-intensive to justify late.  You have to trigger landfall for the privilege of paying six mana for a 3/3 flier you can’t block with? How about no?

Dragonmaster Outcast

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This reprint has already lost 25 percent of its value and the set hasn’t even been released yet. This was $5 before it was reprinted, and while EDH and casual demand helped it climb up the teetering peaks of Valakut, it’s due for a fall to accompany its rise. Uhh… Lightning Bolt.

Stay away. For a while, anyway. But when this craters, this is still a card with upside, and it’s being reprinted at mythic rather than rare, which means it will eat less dust than Felidar Sovereign. This card’s price will recover. It won’t be $20 again, but it won’t be buyable for $3 at FNM forever, either. People will be fearful when this rotates. Be greedy then.

Akoum Hellkite

Akoum Hellkite

People think I don’t hate this card based on the review I did in the spoiler coverage. I like this card’s ability. Do I like this financially? I do not. This is a bulk rare. Dragons of Tarkir gave us playable dragons. This is just a drag.

Radiant Flames

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“Hai guise we maid a wurse slagstorm your welcome”

–Wizrads of the Cost

I hate this card in its face. So many of the converge cards could have been actually good. Which deck wants this? We don’t have Slagstorm so we need to play substitutes if our decks require the effect, but how much damage are you going to take fixing your mana to ensure you have three different colors of mana on turn three to cast this turd? This is supposed to prevent you from dying, and three-or-more-color manabases aren’t known for being friendly to life totals. I want to call this a bulk rare because I hate it, but we could easily see multicolor decks emerge and use this, potentially with up to three or four copies. This is a $1 preorder, so the risk couldn’t be lower for this point in the set’s lifecycle. You have to decide whether you think risking the loss of 90 percent of your investment is worth the possibility that this hits $2 or $3.  Could this be $10? It could. But do you think it will?

Zada, Hedron Grinder

Zada, Hedron Grinder

I’m gun-shy here. I called Hangarback Walker a very, very good EDH card that I thought people should pick up when it hit bulk because EDH would push it up long-term. When my playability instincts are good and my finance instincts are bad, like in that case, it makes me gun-shy about calling cards I really, really like as bulk rares. I like Zada so much it makes my face hurt from smiling. This card is bonkers in EDH, so I guess buy Japanese foils?

The real question is whether this will be good in Standard, Modern, Legacy, etc. Legacy goblins really doesn’t necessarily play spells that buff dudes and it certainly doesn’t want a Hill Giant. Modern Goblins is possible, but again, you want to run a critical mass of guys and Piledriver your opponents  out, and four-drops are bad in Vial decks. That basically leaves Standard. This can go in allies and goblins, which is pretty schweet. You throw this down, trigger a bunch of ally triggers, then Titan’s Strength and alpha strike. This also works in a pile of goblins and you get that with Hordeling Outburst, Dragon Fodder, et al.

This card is $2. You’re risking like $1.90 of that $2 preordering this. The ceiling for this if it’s as big a hit as Hangarback is like $15, but this can’t possibly be as widely-played as that. What I do think is that this could be a $5 card in the near future with some Standard play or in two years with EDH adoption. That’s my best guess, but I think I’ve shown I’m pretty bad at cards I really like. This is certainly a powerful ability and it has two chances to make an impact on Standard. That may be enough for it to go over $5 with only one of those decks hitting. Time will tell, but I have strong feelings about this card and I might wager $50 just to see how it goes. Am I trying to make amends to myself for Hangarback or investing in a card I believe in? Who knows? But I’m not a fortune teller and  all I can do is back my own hunches.

Serpentine Strike

Serpentine Spike

Did you ever wish you could pay seven mana for Cone of Flame? But wait, there’s more! It doesn’t hit players, so you can’t play this if there are fewer than three targets on the board, so you may have to hit your own creatures. But wait, there’s more! It’s rare, so you won’t get it in Limited that often. This is a Limited-caliber card and I think it will be bulk accordingly. But at least they can’t Blue Elemental Blast it.

Barrage Tyrant

Barrage Tyrant

In some ways, this is a little better than Bosh, Iron Golem. The real problem is that while this is likely going in Bosh EDH decks because it can fling artifact creatures, this is pretty lackluster in Standard. A small butt for five mana and very few devoid creatures to choose from makes this awkward. Three mana to biff them with an Eldrazi Scion isn’t actually terrible, however. I still think this is a bulk rare, but I have been saying that about so many cards I’m starting to worry the money will have to come from somewhere. Will it be $60 planewalkers? Or $15 lands (I refuse to call them tango lands)? Still, durdly rares don’t do the heavy lifting regardless, so I guess this is a safe call at bulk, though I do like this in a narrow number of EDH situations. Doing 12 damage for nine mana with a Wurmcoil which you can Welder back into play is solid.

The rest of the red cards I’m going to discuss are non-rare. I like a few of them.

Crumble to Dust

Crumble to Dust

If this set has as many 10-cent rares as I think it will, it’s going to have some $4 uncommons, or close to it. This could take a while to tick up, but only one red pip on Sowing Salt? Yes, please. The uncommons in this set are as surprisingly good as the rares are surprisingly bad.

Retreat to Valakut

Retreat to Valakut

This is no Retreat to Coralhelm, but this card can break games open. Red decks need reach sometimes, and making two creatures ineligible to block with a Bloodstained Mire is game, sometimes.

That’s It?

I was going to cover the cards I like in EDH, but I think I am going to cover those in a completely separate article (value!). Disagree with my assessments? Good. Let’s start a brouhaha in the comments section.

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