Category Archives: Unlocked ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: The First Wave

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M19 has been added to EDHREC and it doesn’t really surprise me that much. I thought there might be some more Vaevictis Asmadi decks than there are but while that is going to happen over the next few weeks, it also feels like favorites have been chosen and historically, the way things pan out the first week or two is how they end up long-term. The top 3 EDL cards are spread out and while they’re ten or twenty decks apart, it also feels like they’re orders of magnitude apart, too.

Arcades is coming in at basically twice as many as Nicol Bolas and Vaevictis. As much as I love Vaevictis, I’m really surprised we’re seeing nearly as many registered decks as Nicol Bolas, who I expected to be a clear #2. That’s good news for Vaevictis, who is a fun commander and who I expect to be less popular than the linear and boring Arcades who has the clear benefit of being so obvious that it makes people with no imagination feel like geniuses because they figured out you should put a bunch of walls in the wall deck.

I think I’ll do a bit of a hybrid piece today because while I plan to mostly talk about Vaevictis and the opportunities in that deck, there are a non-zero number of Arcades cards that may have been missed that are just starting to emerge now that we have more data to sift through, so let’s start with the Arcades cards that you may have a chance at and move on.

Sunscape Familiar

This has crossover pauper appeal and supplies are drying up. I won’t say anything crazy like that a Planeshift common has a similar supply to a Dominaria rare because I don’t know the stats on that. What I do know is that there is a lot of demand for this card, supplies are dwindling online and this is a card that wasn’t originally targeted by team obvious. I am not a fan of the hand-waving that seems to accompany saying “just get foils” as if that’s some sort of panacea for every factor of supply and demand surrounding a card that you have no way of knowing but let’s at least look at foils so we can say we did a thorough job, here.

And there you have it. $5 in future bucks and under $2 on TCG Player for the time being, probably because the foils at $1.77 are damaged and also because the $2 minimum on TCG Player tends to strand cards there because the minimum for an order is $2. This will be $10 on Card Kingdom and there will still be a torn copy on TCG Player for $1.77 and half the scrapers programmed a few years ago will call this a $2 card. Let people think this is cheap, I guess.

Reveillark

This card may be dead due to its repeated reprintings, most recently in the mass-produced Commander decks. The demand for this card is going to increase with its ubiquity (if people are smart, anyway, which they demonstrably are not) in Arcades decks which could give it a boost. Commander 2016 stuff has been around long enough that a lot of it’s popping, even high-supply stuff that had multiple reprintings.

Tamiyo, Field Researcher

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This is a $10 card waiting to happen. Supplies are drying a bit and this isn’t just in Arcades decks, although the emblem wins you the game in Arcades decks unless you get supernaturally unlucky. You should be able to draw a card or two for every wall you play for free which will let you draw your whole deck, lands and all. It’s a boring-ass Lab Maniac win but, whatever, people like that. I think if you literally only make one move based on my articles this year, buying a ton of copies of Tamiyo as close to $4 as you can find them is bound to pay big dividends. Make sure to buy a one year Pro Trader subscription when these hit $11. Don’t quote me on that. But these look positively poised. This is the 27th-most-played multicolored card (All 10 signets are in the top 25) card on EDHREC and no other gold Planeswalker sees more play. I will write about this every month just so I can look back in two years and see how it’s a dollar or two more every time I talked about it.

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Vaevictis Time, Finally

Let’s talk about the stuff that our new Dargon overlord is going to give us.

It That Betrays

This card was made for Vaevictis decks. The power from this card doesn’t come from casting it so it’s the perfect Eldrazi to cheat into play with Vaevictis’ ability. After that, your opponents being forced to sac something whenever Vaevictis attacks just puts a ton of gas into play on your side of the battlefield. These are currently cheap because of a printing in a duel deck but the new demand for this and the historical demand for Eldrazi will combine to buoy this price pretty easily. If you can get these under $4, do that. This has shown a willingness to flirt with $20 in the past so there’s no reason to think a Duel Deck printing can keep this under $10. Other decks that cheat big creatures into play like Mayael and Jhoira can benefit from this card as well. This is a solid buy at TCG Low, especially since Card Kingdom is selling these at $5.50 pretty swiftly.

Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest

I don’t think the Commander Anthology printing had a ton to do with anything and I think if Vaevictis gets more popular, Mazirek has serious upside. A fine commander in its own right, inclusion in a popular new deck only bodes well. I don’t know how high this can get but it’s flirted with $6 in the past and if TCG Player truly has $2 copies, that seems like a pretty safe bet.

Aggravated Assault

The Explorers of Ixalan game gave us a lot of new copies of this card but demand has shown that it’s willing to increase at a much faster rate than supply, barring another reprint. This is a card that’s not liable to get cheaper than it is right now and considering how important it is in decks like this one, I think it’s a fine time to pick these up, knowing you’re secure in your investment in a card that will be good as long as attacking with creatures is good.

Lurking Predators

I’m 100% positive I said (if not in one of these articles, then on the podcast or in a tweet) to buy these when they bottomed out right around a few months after Commander 2016 coming out when these hit $2. I hope you did. If not, I think it’s about halfway to where it’s going so there is still time to make some money. This is a great card and if you’re stacking the top of your deck like you need to be with Vaevictis, then you’re going to benefit from them giving you free creatures.

Selvala’s Stampede

If you’re manipulating the top of your deck a lot, your opponents are likely to choose the option that lets you play from your hand, which you’ll need, because you’re liable to draw some fatties and this is a great way to play them easily. This card is perfect for decks with a ton of big creatures and it’s also just a green card that should be in more decks. It’s from Conspiracy 2 and supply is basically dried up since no one wants to buy booster boxes where there are useless cards so this is just going to go up. Dealers don’t seem excited by this but I am. This is a solid card and considering Rishkar’s Expertise is going up, too, I’m excited for the future of this card which is a more fair Tooth and Nail.

I think there’s a lot to mull over here. Next week I’ll take a look at any of the half dozen new deck archetypes that are springing up, probably the new Nicol Bolas. In the mean time, keep watching EDHREC for emerging archetypes, or popularity orders swapping. If you spent 5 minutes reading this article I’d recommend also spending 5 minutes a day on EDHREC poking around. I find it just as good an investment of my time as the time I spend poking around on MTG Stocks or the Magic subreddits. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: The M19 Cards That Matter (To Me)

I think we’re going to keep it simple this week. I don’t typically do set reviews because I like to wait until the dust settles but this week I don’t really have a topic I am burning to talk about and I figured it’s worth just talking about the stuff in M19 that I expect to impact EDH and therefore be financially relevant for readers like you who are, I hope, adherents of my system. Adherents to? People who use my method. Here’s what I think matters and why.

Nicol Bolas

Nicol Bolas is easily the best Nicol Bolas ever. Easy to cast, makes an immediate impact and flips into a really brutal planeswalker. I think that not only will we see new Nicol Bolas decks pop up on the basis of this card, we’ll see people dust off their old Nicol Bolas decks. This is better at the helm than any other Nicol Bolas ever because it’s easy to rebuy with commander tax whereas an 8 mana Bolas really isn’t, especially in Grixis colors, which historically don’t ramp well.

EDHREC Page for Nicol Bolas

I think the increased popularity of Nicol Bolas decks, probably with new Bolas at the helm and Legends Bolas relegated to the 99, will put some non-zero amount of pressure on Bolas staples. There are some cards that have some upside already and this will only push them over the edge.

This card really grew. I’ve been watching it and I think this could get to $8 pretty easily within a year if it’s not reprinted, which would be pretty tricky. Torment is used in a lot of decks ranging from Kess to Scarab God to Gitrog Monster so upside from Bolas isn’t the only thing buoying this card but it certainly won’t hurt. Check out the page for other Bolas staples you think have some upside since I’m not doing a deep dive on Bolas per se.

Crucible of Worlds

That nearly 12,000 decks figure it a lot more meaningful when you consider that  it was an $80 card at one point.

If buylist gets to like $11 or $12 on these I am going to get real aggressive and go in on these. It will be a long time before they’re $80 again, if ever, but they won’t be $20 for long. This is an example of “discovered demand” which is a term I’m inventing. The mere act of reprinting a card that was priced out of the realm of possibility for people creates more demand because it’s now affordable enough to put into decks, now. This will help the price recover faster since the demand is now higher. Add to that how aggressive I will be about snatching these up because this is a $40 card in a year and you have a recipe for a great financial opportunity when supply peaks.

The one knock against this card is that it’s not a huge power player in anything recent.

That said, it wouldn’t take much for a new card to be printed that put lands in the yard. I think Tatyova decks could make great use of Crucible a lot more than they are – if you’re enabling yourself to play 4 extra lands in a turn, which is better; playing a few basics or playing a Strip Mine out of your yard 5 times? I rest my case. Crucible is playable in a lot of formats and I don’t think its price is mostly predicated on scarcity. Real demand exists and new demand is about to be created. Underestimate this card at your peril.

Arcades, The Strategist

This card already got its own entire article but I think it’s worth mentioning that there are already decklists out there if you know where to look. They aren’t aggregated yet which will help a lot, but you can get a jump on paying attention, although I covered everything I think matters until we get more data. I expect this to be the number one M19 deck built for a while if not forever and whether or not you like it, that’s probably the case. I think M19 has better choices but I learned long ago what I think affects prices less than what everyone thinks.

Omniscience

This isn’t in quite as many decks as Crucible, because it’s not an artifact for one, but I think it has as much Legacy demand and I think discovered demand could be a factor here as well. I expect prices to recover as people who weren’t enfranchised before can get a cheap copy in a trade or bust one in a pack, something that wasn’t possible before.

Chromium, The Mutable

I think this is sneakily one of the best cards in the set. I listened to the EDHRECast so you don’t have to (but you should) and they seemed a little baffled by this card. I’m not baffled at all – this is going to murder people very quickly and easily. The 6 power you lose transmuting Chromium into an unstoppable murder machine will be mitigated by stuff like Battle Mastery and Swords. You’re going to 1-hit KO people with this card and they won’t be able to stop you. Zur may be a “better” deck but that perception is waning a bit. I still like that Zur can grab Necropotence but if you’re trying to go Voltron, this is legit. I am not sure what to put in the deck, but I’ll do a deep dive on it if the data supports that necessity.

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Chaos Wand

Chaos Wand can cast every instant and sorcery in their deck with Paradox Engine and a few mana rocks. I am going to do that in every deck I currently have that runs Paradox Engine.

It’s been a minute since we looked at Engine and this is as good a time as any.

It’s been months since I said that this was a pretty good buy at $10 because the only way you lose is if this is banned (it wasn’t) it got reprinted (I can’t imagine it will be soon) or it gets cheaper for some reason (its price doubled). I don’t know if I like this as a buy at $20 as much as I did at $10 and this hasn’t rotated out of Standard yet so I’m going to watch to see if it dips at all then, but my gut tells me this is a $25-$30 card in a year and I don’t think it is fair enough to jam in an EDH precon, the right flavor for a Core Set or broken enough to ban. This is powerful but it’s also fragile, expensive and depends on a board of mana rocks to do anything. I think it’s absurdly good but I don’t think it’s bannable since its power comes from synergy. I still like buyback spells with Engine a lot and using Reiterate to untap all of your mana rocks and double the spells you’re getting yourself until you can find your Chaos Wand seems fun. I don’t think Chaos Wand’s price will matter but if someone plays Wand with Engine on Game Knights or something, a lot of stuff will pop off. If you’re not watching Game Knights, you should if you care about being 24 hours ahead of a run on stuff like Shadowborn Apostle and you may even want to become a Patron to be 48 hours ahead.

Goblin Trashmaster

This card is absolutely insane in EDH. Lords are good, but usually Lords are like “All elves get +1/+1 and Snow-Covered Wasteswalk.” Turning a pile of Krenko tokens into murdering their entire board is insane. If this were Legendary, it would be bannable. Artifacts are incredibly important in this format. True, basically only Krenko decks will run this and maybe a few others, but this is going to be really tough to beat. Let’s look at some decks I bet it impacts.

Since I’m in a teaching mood, I’ll share my thought process for how I’ll go about finding which decks this likely goes in.

Krenko is obvious because it is the goblin token producer extraordinaire but there have to be other commanders that this card pairs well with. I’ll look at Krenko first.

Not the most popular commander and not the least. But hang on. this menu makes me think of something. If Krenko isn’t the commander, it might still be useful in the 99 of any goblin deck. If I view as a card, it will tell me which other commanders would use Krenko.

And just like that, we have 8 examples of decks that run Krenko. It doesn’t mean Trashmaster will get played in all of these decks, but I think there is a good case for correlation. Any deck with Trashmaster will want Krenko even if it’s not the other way around. Wort seems like an excellent home for Trashmaster and it only took a few seconds playing with EDHREC to find a bunch of potential homes for Trashmaster. It’s a good resource and I don’t get paid for pageviews so I don’t care if you use the site or not but you should.

Liliana’s Contract

With the resurgence in popularity of Shadowborn Apostle decks because of Game Knights and the resurgence in ripple decks in general with the printing of Rat Colony, I think the ripple infrastructure deserves another look. It’s probably about to really pop and if a win condition like this makes Apostle (because you tutor for demons) more attractive than Rat Colony, people could build both decks (probably not) or build the older Shadowborn Apostle build which has upside if there are older cards in it. Although the ship has probably sailed. Here is the graph of Thrumming Stone from the article I wrote in April.

Here’s the graph today.

Hope you got your copies in April.

This splits the “ripple” vote a bit since demons don’t synergize with the rats at all, but Shadowborn Apostle builds will want this card and that’s good enough for some extra demand if people don’t have the deck built yet. A $23 stone isn’t a huge impediment to a deck with 40 copies of a $4 apostle but maybe a $45 stone would be. I still don’t hate it at its post-first-spike price but I really hope you listened back in April.

 

Anyway, I’ll dive deeper on individual cards and their implications when I have a little data to back it up with, probably next week. In the mean time, go into the prerelease thinking about which cards in M19 could spawn decks, what go in those decks and prioritize cards like Scapeshift, Omniscience and Crucible that will be good forever over stuff like Resplendent Angel that may or may not be good ever and are super hyped right now. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: A Fundamental Lack of Excitement

Readers,

Last week I may have come across as unkind to the (I’m assured) tens of thousands of people who have been clamoring for a commander for their walls tribal Commander decks and who can’t wait to build Arcades the Strategist decks. Basically every wall popped already and it’s basically too late to buy those. It will be weeks until

A) Anyone actually builds the deck

B) EDHREC has data on what they’re actually building and we see what the rest of the infrastructure of the deck looks like.

The cards that are even a hair less obvious that the kittycatastic picks like Wall of Reverence will be free to be picked up for a while. Every half-assed armchair speculator on the planet knows to pick up cards named “Wall of” when a card like Arcades is spoiled. There are really two tiers of “events” in EDH Finance. I’m going to avoid giving them a number or letter identification because last time I did that, I not only invented a tier in between them, I confused which was which week to week. Let’s avoid that. Here are the two tiers.

Tier “I don’t play any EDH and this seems like a good buy to me”

Tier “I understand EDH and this seems like a good buy to me”

The difference between these two tiers matters, a lot. Tier “I don’t play any EDH and this seems like a good buy to me” cards will always spike harder and faster. The number of people who don’t play EDH plus the number of people who do play EDH will always be larger than the number of people who play EDH because of course it will be. Therefore the larger group has more buying power and the lack of understanding of the format will cause them to buy indiscriminately and that’s not always (but is usually) easy to predict. Am I saying only dumdums who don’t play EDH bought Arcades Sabboth cards? Certainly not. I imagine the deck will be the most popular commander out of M19, which, if you checked the full spoiler for M19, is not even saying anything. I am saying I saw someone in a finance forum said something to the effect of “If Doran decks didn’t make Wall of Kelp go up, I don’t see why Arcades Sabboth decks would” and that is part of the problem.

There’s another, probably even bigger problem.

Enthusiasm is “Clumping”

Ideally, every set is an event. Every single product release (Not that the Spellbooks or anthologies could) would ideally make new deck archetypes that would make a lot of cards go up, preferably ones that had no use before. That’s the goal, anyway. In an ideal world, a new release would give builders an array of decks to choose from and individual taste would take over. People would build what they liked and everyone would make some money from people who have been sitting on cards for decades and are happy to have the price they have the cards marked to the people who buy those underpriced cards and make some money flipping them to the people who waited to the stores who take a cut of the sales.

What has happened lately is that there have been consensus “best” decks from a given set and everything else is ending up overshadowed to such an extent that the most popular deck is orders of magnitude more popular than the second most popular. You have time to figure out what the decks will play but sometimes you have to guess pretty early which of the decks will be the one that “really” matters. That can be tough sometimes (I thought I only liked Tatyova because I’m that kind of builder but Tatyova is far and away the biggest surprise from Dominaria, coming in ahead of even Slimefoot, a much touted commander) but sometimes the wisdom of the crowds can help. That is to say, the “obvious” deck that is so obvious that even people who don’t play EDH see it coming ends up the most popular. What do we do in that scenario?

The Guessing Game

I get a little… sarcastic when things are really obvious (KITTYCATS U GUISE!) and that makes some people think I don’t think there’s money to be made. That’s not the case. I think lots of people will build the stupid walls deck and I think lots more will speculate on Walls of Kelp (even though it didn’t go up at all when Doran was printed) so there’s money to be made if you’re quick. I don’t like to be quick. If I wanted to be quick, I’d watch the Pro Tour on the weekend after a new set came out and buy stuff when it was featured on camera and sell the cards that actually showed up. That’s how we used to do it right before I quit finance for non-EDH formats (would you like to know if I’m happier, richer and less stressed now? I’ll tell you anyway. The answer is yes to all) and I assume people are still at it.

Sometimes obvious is the Arabho deck no one built, but sometimes obvious is Najeela. How much better is Najeela doing than any other deck from Battlebond?

The absolute figures don’t matter, look at the proportions. Najeela is roughly as popular as the next four most popular commanders or combinations combined. Gross. we talked about the coin flip deck being dumb and obvious but Najeela seems to have struck a chord with people. If I had been forced to guess with a gun to my head what this set’s most popular commander or combination would have been a month ago, I would have said Okaun and Zndrsplt and I would have been wrong.

So what gives? Is Arcades Zndrsplt or is Arcades Najeela? Is it both? The answer to that question is so simple you’ll be mad at yourself for not thinking about it.

The Answer

The answer is, who cares?

If you don’t want to try and guess and pick winners and losers before you’re ready because the obvious cards are going to spike and the cards for the non-obvious decks could end up in so few decks that they’re only a fourth or fifth as popular and therefore will experience far lower gains, what can we do when a set comes out? My advice? Blue chips, baby! M19 has a lot of mythics and some of them could end up spawning decks (although most of the Legendary creatures in the set suck and the decks will suck, too, meaning Arcades is likely this set’s Najeela, although Nicol Bolas is pretty hot… sorry for the really long parenthetical. This is quickly going from parenthetical to paragraph. Paragraphetical) but if we don’t want to play the “order within 3 hours of the card being spoiled or every order will get cancelled) game, what can we do? My advice for a set like M19 is look at the rest of the set and think about what’s there and not there. “Think about what’s there and not there” is a confusing sentence. How do you look at something that isn’t there? I almost just wrote “look at what’s there” but I thought of a card I think has upside based on NOT being in M19 and… you know what? I think I’ll just start with that one.

The Part of the Article Most People Skip To Because It Has Graphs

This graph doesn’t really show this card dipping when… board game of Ixalan (I could easily look it up but you know what I mean and it doesn’t matter. It’s the board game, which was a great idea) came out but it did and it’s basically below where it was before it went up on the basis of Commander 2017. Tribal Lords are great and this can be a Lord for a tribe that doesn’t have a ton of support. In fact, tribes that are popular and have a lot of support tend to be the ones that end up in supplemental product which means this has a smaller reprint risk because are you going to jam this in a Zombie deck when there is Death Baron, Zombie Master and like a half dozen other Zombie Lords? Nah, player. You’re going to put this in Nephilim tribal or something goofy like that, or you’re going to put it in a core set. This wasn’t in the core set. Meanwhile tribal stuff is going to come out in every set and you have a year minimum before we get another chance, M20, to reprint this in a core set, the most likely reprint avenue for it. This is basically at its floor and M19 is giving us a bunch of tribal stuff with garbage Lords. Take the hint.

This card IS in the set.

This flirted with $100 on some sites in its history and now look at it. It’s a $25 presale on TCG Player. I think this goes lower, both by and for a little bit, and when it does, you just put your money in this. Do I buy walls cards or do I buy Nicol Bolas or Vaevictus Asmadi cards? What if you sat this one out and concentrated on a card with low supply and high demand that is printed at Mythic in a core set which is likely to sell way less than sets like Dominaria, be drafted for like 2 weeks and which is playable in more formats than just EDH? This is a slam dunk. I don’t know what percentage gains you’re going to get, but what if after fees it was a mere… 10%? Talk to someone who invests on Wall Street and tell them your worst case scenario is 10%. They’ll tell you to take out a second mortgage on your house. I’m not saying take out a second mortgage, but I AM saying you’re not going to sell that Wall of Kelp for $38 but you WILL sell Crucible for $38 in 6 months to a year.  Focus where your money will do you the most good.

Everything that was said about Crucible can basically also be said about Omniscience, currently a $10 preorder on TCG Player. Do you think this will be $30 in a year? I do not. Do I think this will be $10 in a year? Also no way. This is the 75th-most-played Blue card on EDHREC which doesn’t sound great if you don’t have some context, the context being that 74 is Teferi and 76 is Hinder, a card that used to be much better and is probably an example so I’ll tell you 77 is Peregrine Drake. This lost 2/3 of its value. Do you think it will not recover any of that? I think if this is $10 retail, it’s like $4.50 buylist and if you can buy a card that used to be $30 for $4.50, you do it because I don’t think there is a scenario where you lose. Before this was reprinted, dealers thought $24 was a reasonable buy price. Here is what I think the future of Omniscience is. Feel free to argue with my crude graph.

That shape is Omniscience flirting with $20 in about 18 months. Is that super optimistic? Sure. But if you open something like Resplendent Angel, Tezzeret or Apex of Power, you’re much better off trading into something like Omniscience and I think that’s fairly obvious.

if you don’t want the stress of picking winners and losers, having to get in and out of your spec at blinding speed or betting the same way as people who don’t know enough about EDH to properly assess which commanders will make cards go up (not a knock on them as people, just as stuff-knowers in this instance) you can always opt out. Well, not always, but in this instance, I’m opting out. The next set will be a not core set and will have some stuff that will make EDH cards go up, hopefully in a manner that is predictable but not too obvious and I’ll write a normal article. Until then. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Black Sabboth

Readers,

I have a different article (that still would have been late, sorry) half-written because Las Vegas required a lot of post-con recovery time and I didn’t really get it. The good thing is, since my article was late, I was privvy to a card being spoiled and decided to audible into writing about it. Some of the cards are disappearing so it’s best we think about these picks, stat before it’s too late. Sometimes EDH prices move slowly and sometimes they’re obvious and obvious means people who don’t know anything about EDH are going to buy them. I bet a lot of these panic picks don’t pan out so sell as fast as possible but if you can get some of these for cheap, you almost certainly profit even if the cards do what they usually do and plateau halfway between the pre- and post-spike price.

I think there is still a little bit of time if you are a Pro Trader and get in on this stuff now and I think some of the other stuff will need a big nudge and will only get there if the deck materializes.

My “EDH Guy” Analysis

This deck is going to suck. Have you ever played a deck where you can’t really do much if your commander is dead? Well, literally 2 minutes ago, Jim had the same thought.

 

You are incentivized to run really bad cards and they’re only useful if your general is out. Drawing cards is cool but I draw a lot of cards with my Enchantress deck and that deck eats other decks’ dust like it’s its job. If Arcades is out, congratulations, you’re now allowed to win an EDH game the slowest and stupidest way possible, by attacking with creatures. Big, stupid creatures, most of whom have no useful abilities because they were designed to have a good casting cost to power and toughness ratio and a lot of their abilities trigger when they block.

What this deck has going for it is that it’s fast. Arcades comes down early and if he dies, it’s only 6 to resurrect him and Alpha Strike early. Unfortunately, you’re not killing anyone so you’re just going to beat fair decks.  You’re going to beat basically tribal decks unless those tribes have some sort of synergy, in which case you’re boned. You do have a mostly full grip and an incredibly good rate on your creatures. a 5/5 flying dragon costs like 6 mana whereas a 0/5 flying wall costs like 2.  Wall of Blossoms and Wall of Omens, normally playable cards, are doubly good. Wall of Junk and Quicksilver Wall suddenly are draw machines. The good news is that I bet this deck gets built a lot because it’s obvious and whether or not it gets played at all is irrelevant. This is splashy and where there is a splash, there are ripples and we’re all about ripples here. So let’s look at the ripples and ignore whether this deck has any long-term chops. You don’t write Emergency Articles for decks with long-term chops, anyway.

It’s Probably Too Late For These, But…

Very low supply and very obvious, foil Rolling Stones from 7th and 8th are basically dried up, You’ll find them on obscure sites but a lot of obscures sites are on TCG Player so even then they’ll probably get sold on TCG Player and you’ll get an email saying they’re out of stock. It’s probably true some of the time – who expects to sit on foil Rolling Stones for 10 years then sell 12 of them in an hour? If you can grab these, sell into hype. It’s hyperbolic to say that no one foils their EDH decks but it’s also intellectually lazy to pretend foils are a good play at all, especially on goofy cards that are only good in one deck. People target foils because they’re lower supply and therefore they can buy them out and say “see, the card’s moving!” and get people to buy the non-foils. Finance people buy foils, EDH players buy non-foils. I mean, unless you simultaneously think this deck is bad but that’s OK because casual players buy cards and you also think those same people are going to not only build a deck that does nothing when your commander is dead, but they’re also going to foil it out. That said, the foils selling out will get people talking about the card and if you get foils at their current price, you can probably sell them, to another financier, later.

This is in the same boat but it doesn’t have the benefit of having trended up over time like Rolling Stones had. You can snag a few of these foil if you’re lucky. The non-foil is in Khans and Iconic Masters and that’s a lot of copies that the demand from this goofy deck can’t provide. I imagine the non-foil copies may have some upside but that’s probably driven as much by speculative buying as it is actual demand which, again, can’t touch supply. I think the foils of this will disappear quickly, maybe too quickly for an article written within hours of Arcades being spoiled. I also don’t think it matters, particularly. I think these will be hard to sell.

This card is not on the Reserved List and that confuses a lot of people. Does anyone even know what rarity this is? Anyway, people want to live in a world where they get a 2 mana 6/6 that cantrips when your controllers is out. This isn’t Brawl, folks. A 2 mana 6/6 is a slightly better Woolly Thoctar, you know, sometimes. I just can’t get excited about this deck. I’m really trying, but I think people are excited because Shield Sphere is obvious and it makes them feel smart. Shield Sphere is Waiting in the Weeds 2018 edition.

These You Have A Chance At

This is a second spike in the making. Buy these right away if at all. The price is creeping up because this hits their creatures and like none of yours (Even Arcades), this is on the Reserved List and it spiked once already (if you’ve been a Pro Trader long enough, you made money on this card when I called it ahead of time last time and you could have a second chance to make money on the same card). I think these are drying up and they’re pretty good in the deck, if there’s a deck.

This was just reprinted and the price came way down, but I think it’s actually going to get played in the deck if there is one. However, it’s less obvious than Shield Sphere and that coupled with the high supply could mean this is a slow mover and any growth will be predicated on more demand than I think the deck is capable of. However, lots of people are telling me on Twitter I’m grossly underestimating the demand of Wall Tribal so if that’s true, here’s a spec that won’t get bought out in the first wave of obvious stuff and has some long-term chops.

This got a reprint but that was all the way back in Commander 2013 so I think supply on this is lower than a lot of the other cards in play. It’s no Shield Sphere, which has the same number of printings as Alliances Force of Will, but the supply is reasonable compared with more recent cards. I think this would be good in the deck and I think it’s a little less obvious than some of the other cards people are all over. This could be gone by now, but it could also make you some money. TCG Player will sell out first, so go deep, Check sites like Miniature Market, Card Shark and ABU.

This already spiked. I don’t remember why but it did and now it could spike a second time. Copies were rooted out of their hiding places when the buylist price of this card hit $2, it’s all-time high. I’m not sold on this deck but this card is in it if it’s a deck and despite being an uncommon, it’s from Coldsnap, an old, terrible set whose booster boxes aren’t worth opening.

With Arcades out, this makes a 1/1 attacker that cantrips every turn. Cool? I mean, this goes in the deck so go through your giant pile of Homelands stuff you don’t want to bulk out but isn’t worth anything, yank these out and throw them up on a selling platform, or just buylist them in a week and let the dealer who buys these from you for $0.50 deal with them never selling. This is an old card but it’s also garbage outside this deck. If Arcades is the next Nekusar, there’s money here, so only bet on these picks if you think that’s happening.

If I were Josh Lee Kwai, I would play this on Game Knights and it would end up $15. Luckily (for Josh) I’m not him and what I think is good in a given deck doesn’t really matter. This is the reason I tend to wait for data on EDHREC. Usually we have time to see for sure what other people are playing and buy smart and I don’t want to turn into some old curmudgeon shaking my fist at the heavens because people won’t play this sick new tech I figured out but no one found out about. This should get played if the deck is a deck. Will it? I don’t know. I am giving you lots of caveats on picks like this when I think they should get played but might not. There is time to buy these because no one is running out to do it, so if you think the deck has real demand, here’s a riskier pick that there’s still time to buy.

Think about how people might actually build the deck. Besides flashy walls, what else is good?

Check out Doran’s page, first.  While Doran’s creatures don’t have defender, usually, spells like Solidarity, Retribution of the Meek, Tower Defense and others are findable. I would build the entire deck on paper if you think it will be a deck and look at some of the utility stuff that goes in every build. Not everyone may pack Doorkeeper but I bet every deck that is built around Arcades runs Stalwart Shield-Bearers.

I am not excited about this card moving tons of stuff that won’t be back down in a year, but if you’re fast you can snag some stuff and sell to greater fools later this week. I got out of that game but that doesn’t mean I still don’t know the moves. Thanks for reading – we’ll have a more Jason Alt-esque article next week. Until next time!

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