Tipping Point: Magic Cards About to Pop (Mar 15/18)


Welcome to my first installment in a new series called Tipping Point, which will look to explore important cards that are teetering on the verge of major price spikes due to low supply. My focus here will be to try and flag cards in time for you to grab what you need for decks or get in early enough to profit.  In comparison to picks made earlier in the reprint cycle, the cards found in this series are going to a) offer less meat on the bone but b) be more likely to succeed (due to their already low supply/reprint risk). You will also notice that many of these picks will tend to be foils rather than non-foils as for obvious reasons foils tend to dry up much faster than non-foils, except for the most important of staples, where regular copies may quickly follow during a spike in demand. In terms of timeline, I’ll be aiming to get you in and out of positions within a year, or setting you up to save good money on cards you might have been holding back on unnecessarily.

Let’s jump in.

It’s been a very busy month in #mtgfinance, with the reveals of the Magic 25 card list, the Challenger decks and the bulk of the Dominaria set being leaked.

As the dust clears on the information overload, a few things have become clear:

  1. WoTC’s reprint policy release pace on key cards in Modern and EDH seems to be slowing a bit, rather than gain momentum. This is in part due to their decision to shift focus on Masters sets to loose themes that let them stay flexible.
  2. Based on what we know so far about additional sets this year, there are very few risks in investing in or acquiring play sets of cards that have little to no chance of reprint before Core 2019, which releases July 13/18. The next big reprint risk would be a potential Masters set in the late fall.
  3. The leaked release notes for Dominaria do not seem to indicate that we are getting fresh Masterpieces, which could further protect some key potential reprints, especially foils. Of course, I wouldn’t totally discount the potential for some twist on special cards to appear in the set, but even if it happens, I suspect we’d be dealing with Legendary cards specifically given the theme of the set.
  4. Modern, operating under the halo of Bloodbraid Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor being successfully unbanned, continues to look healthy and related cards are selling well accordingly. Many important Modern (and EDH) cards seem to have dodged a reprint for the first half of 2018, setting them up for imminent gains. Our best bets here are likely to be cards that are seeing heavy use across multiple archetypes that are unlikely to be knocked out of the winners circle by meta shifts.

So where does that leave us? Here are my picks for cards that are currently at the tipping point:

1) Traverse the Ulvenwald (Foil)

Traverse the Ulvenwald


Current Price: $15
Target Price/Timeline: $25+ (3-12 months)

We first flagged this card in the spring of 2017, with an entry point in the $8-10 range. Traverse has already proven itself in Modern as a cheap and efficient tutor that is almost always a 4-of in the Traverse Death’s Shadow decks. It’s not clear what position that build will occupy as the meta continues to evolve, but with very few foils still lying around, 4000 decks registering the card on EDHREC.com,  and relatively little chance of a reprint in the next year to eighteen months, you probably don’t want to sleep on this card if you’re in need. From a speculation perspective this was clearly better at $10, but given that the card is almost always played as a four-of, you could still make $25-30 on a playset if things keep going the way they’re headed.

2) Cyclonic Rift (Foil)

Cyclonic Rift

Current Price: $15
Target Price/Timeline: $25+ (3-12 months)


This card has a similar profile to Traverse: first called at $10 last spring, sitting at $15 already, and facing  a steep price ramp with every copy that gets purchased on the major platforms. As arguably  the most important blue card in EDH/Commander, Cyclonic Rift’s reprint in Modern Masters 2017 opened the door to acquire cheap copies but now we’re not far from hitting $20+ and the next reprint may be a non-foil in Commander 2018 or ’19. Get ’em while you can.

3) Gideon of the Trials (Foil)

Gideon of the Trials

Current Price: $18
Target Price/Timeline: $30+ (6-12 months)

Given that this card is less than a year old, the relative scarcity of foils under $20 is telling. Not only are players experimenting with this card in various control builds for Modern, but the ability to play it alongside Gideon Jura and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar due to the new planeswalker rules has really opened up the utility of popular planeswalker characters in general. I was picking these up under $15 last September, but as a foil mythic I could easily see these ending up in the $30-40 range given enough time. There is also a SDCC 2017 promo foil of this card available in the $35 range, so feel free to check that out instead.

4) Cavern of Souls

Cavern of Souls

Current Price: $80+
Target Price/Timeline: $100+ (6-12 months)

Generally speaking, buying in on $80 mythics that have already appreciated in recent months  isn’t where you want to be. If you see this late and it’s already at $90, even less so. But as a player, if you need this card, what are you waiting for? They just printed this last year, so it’s likely safe at least until November, and probably beyond that. As a speculator, I went ahead and bought copies near $70 recently. Why? Well, for one, though it was originally printed as a rare, that was almost a decade ago now and the reprinting at mythic was almost certainly a mistake given how many tribal decks are running this thing in Modern, EDH and casual circles. The Eldrazi, Humans and Merfolk demand alone would be enough to keep this rolling, but Elves, Goblins, Slivers and Spirits may also prop it up. At this point $100 seems very likely this year, and $120 may be possible. If that’s the case, you’ll want to acquire sooner than later to play with, and then consider selling into the peak when it comes.

5) Expedition Strip Mine

Strip Mine

Current Price: $65
Target Price/Timeline: $100+ (6-12 months)

Every once and a while I check in on the Expeditions to see if any of them look ready to finally make a move. Recenty Hallowed Fountain caught my eye, but Strip Mine makes more sense. As the most efficient land destruction of all time, Strip Mine is clearly a staple playable in whatever format allows it. At present that means it only sees play in competitive MTG through the occasional vintage gathering. On the other hand, there are over 28,000 (!) decks using the card on EDHREC.com, which qualifies this as one of the most important lands in the format. This was also an Oath of the Gatewatch expedition rather than a BFZ release, so there are significantly less around. Cavern is already rather low on most major platforms, and I think these will clear $100 easily within the year. As a Commander player you certainly have use for this bad boy, and if you choose to exit and downgrade later to reap some profit, all the better.

That’s it for this edition of Tipping Point. Expect me to check in with new editions once a month to keep you guys on the cutting edge. Take care and have fun!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Taking the “Bore” out of Boros

Hey nerds,

You don’t have to care about EDH to find this column edifying and I get that. You might be less excited about the stupid card that was accidentally spoiled but not yet revealed than I am, but maybe cram your lack of excitement and focus on how much money you’re about to make.

If you don’t know anything about EDH, you might think Boros is great. Boros has been good a few times in Standard after all. A combination of weenies and burn is always poised to overrun opponents before they even get set up and big, flashy angels with swords made out of fire seem to tear it up constantly. You probably think Boros is exciting and fun in EDH.

Boros in EDH consists of 25 commanders that deal with attacking with creatures and Brion Stoutarm. You like putting equipment on creatures and attacking? Goody. You’ll love it when your opponent combos off on turn 6 and kills you because you have no way to interact with anything.  Boros can be fun and it can get powerful and I’m not going to sit here and pretend that Assemble the Legion isn’t one of my favorite cards ever printed. But for the most part, if you don’t want to put a bunch of goblins in the red zone, Boros is a bore. That’s about to change and I think that’s more significant than Golgari or Simic getting yet another busted general. This new card is good enough that people are going to build it on principle but also, anyone who is sick of their Boros decks being boring will be on board. Anyone who has a deck of every color combination will want to build this and abandon their stupid Jor Kadeen nonsense. So there is not only future demand, but pent-up demand for a general like this and I think that’s significant. The other thing that’s significant is that since there has never really been a Boros general like this, while Boros staples have some upside because, of course they do, a bunch of brand new cards are about to get a bump and that means they go from bulk to not bulk and that’s the best way to be.



What’s The Card?

I wish I could show you. The best we have is a mock-up from Mythic Spoiler, which is better than nothing, but only barely.

If this doesn’t excite you, you must not play EDH. This card is stupid and it’s about to make a bunch of stupid cards stupider. It has a big enough butt to survive an Hour of Devastation, for starters. The amount of life you’re going to gain from spells like Blasphemous Act (should your spellcows survive) is going to make it pretty easy to dome people with Aetherflux Reservoir or just win the game with Felidar Sovereigns.

People are starting to brew with spellcows already and those people have large readerships who are going to get as hype as I am about spellcows and go buy their own decks. But they’ll wait until Dominaria is actually released to buy the rest of the deck because they are not doing it correctly. Let’s do it correctly and get ahead of the ensuing buying frenzies so we can be sellers when everyone else is a buyer.

What Are We Buying?

Good question. Looking at what people are brewing with and which cards I think are inclined to be good in the deck, I have a few picks I think are good buys.

Sunforger (foil)

From the dizzying highs of Tiny Leaders hype (remember that adorable time in Magic’s History?) to the crushing depths of two reprints within 2 months, Sunforger has been through a lot. Probably a bulk rare forever or at least for a long time due to how many copies are recent, available and unclaimed, I think there is still money to be made on the Modern Masters foils. They’re only a couple of bucks but there were fewer foil printings than non-foil printings and I think the lower supply is more susceptible to increased demand. Sunforger fetches a ton of good cards in this deck and being able to suit up something with lifelink to swing at them and then Lightning Helix them right after or other crap like that is what is going to make this deck fun to play. Sunforger packages are common in Boros and I don’t forsee another reprint for a good long while. Foils are flat and when the demand profile changes, that will change.

Aetherflux Reservoir

A feature of foil cards that isn’t discussed all that often is that a high foil multiplier usually only works in one direction. A low one doesn’t but a high one tends to. A high foil multiplier gets higher as the non-foil price dips at rotation and the foil doesn’t. This is usually because a high foil multiplier while a card is still legal in standard indicates that the card is played primarily in a format that isn’t standard which means that people aren’t dumping their valuable foils at rotation because they’re in decks. You don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen at rotation and you can pretty comfortably buy foil copies this close to rotation. If it does dip at rotation by a lot, just buy the same amount again and mitigate how much you lost. All of the copies will go back up and your average price paid will be lower which makes your gains even better. This is an EDH staple and as boring as it is sometimes, don’t expect EDH decks that are capable of gaining a lot of life to go away anytime soon. I like foils of this. At rotation, non-foils will probably be bulk rares and I think it might be fun to pick up one or two hundred at bulk and sit on them to see if they hit $3 before they get reprinted.


What’s the ceiling on a Ravnica rare with no reprints? $100? This won’t be $100, but I think it can go up quite a bit based on the difference between its current demand profile (362 decks on EDHREC) and its future demand profile (more than that, I bet) due to how quickly the very few copies listed online will sell out. Can one commander supply enough demand to make a bulk rare go nuts unless it’s Atraxa-tier good? Maybe, maybe not. But we saw what The Gitrog Monster did to Squandered Resources and I think hitting $10 and settling at $5 is the dream but isn’t THAT unreasonable even given the difference between the amount of Mirage block and Ravnica block out there. This should stop being bulk given how good it is in this deck.

Balefire Liege

Balefire Liege won’t trigger your commander but it will trigger separately and get you some more reach, making it worth it to play with Lightning Helix in EDH, finally. This also triggers when you play creatures and enchantments so you’re going to be dangerous when any of your spells resolve. Wizards has shown a willingness to print these Lieges into the ground to get them into the hands of EDH players but for some reason, this one stopped being popular enough for them to bother and it hasn’t been reprinted since literally Planechase. That was a long time ago, so I think these are poised to go up based on any new demand, quite a bit should be coming from this deck which, I’m banking on getting built a lot.

Serra Ascendant

I think this is just about at its floor. It’s a good card, some players want four copies of this rather than 1 and it’s cheating in EDH. I think, like some of the other cards I mentioned being at their floor in Iconic Masters, now is the time to buy these regardless. Are these good in the spellcow deck? Certainly. But on top of that, they’re good, not likely to be reprinted soon and they have cross-format appeal. All of those factors added up and you have a card that’s going to go up no matter what happens. I even like the new art better, which is rare.


Mizzix hype spiked this card hard a few years back and the result of that is a price that’s stable for now but which can be easily upset by renewed demand. A second spike is going to spike harder and faster and stabilize higher. I don’t see a reprint coming soon so this is a pretty safe pick. I was going to do 5 this article instead of 6, but you figure out something I could have cut. This is all solid.

I like these picks a lot and I plan to keep googling “Firesong and Sunspeaker EDH” to see what other people are brewing. A lot of it’s garbage but the thing about garbage is you can still make a really tall stack of it. If enough people buy a bad, or obvious card, congratulations, the price went up and you made money. Probably the best aspect of Firesong and Sunspeaker and one I haven’t mentioned yet isn’t how exciting it is that Boros is finally getting a general that doesn’t suck, it’s that this deck, for as exciting as it looks, is probably going to be pretty linear. It’s really obvious how to build it and when that happens, you have a lot of people who want to build the deck vying for the same obvious cards, which is great for us. Get the obvious cards early, watch what people are brewing and note innovation and get ahead of that and remember that people being excited about something that doesn’t interest you can still be a money-making opportunity for you. That does it for me. Until next time!

UNLOCKED: The Watchtower 3/12/18

By: Travis Allen

Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy. And if you enjoy playing Magic, make sure to visit https://scry.land to find PPTQs, SCG Opens, and more events on an interactive map with worldwide coverage. Find Magic near you today.

Boy, what a week in Magic, huh? Just as the Masters 25 spoilers wrap up and we all were taking an opportunity to complain about how underwhelming the set looks, we get a third of Dominaria dumped into our laps, immediately followed by Wizards verifying the authenticity. Then on top of that, a spicy meatball of a Modern Open this weekend in Dallas.

I’ll tell you this much, in my research for the article this week, I’m finding myself quite annoyed with Iconic Masters. Sure the set was unfocused and bland and severely overprinted. But it also included all sorts of odds and ends that I wasn’t speccing on, and generally you shouldn’t have been either, which are now completely dead as options. I woke up thinking about Serum Powder. IMA. Ponza won? I see a lot of Obstinate Baloths in SBs. IMA. Trinisphere? Ok well that wasn’t in IMA, but it was already bought out. Dang.


Insolent Neonate (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $10

Have I talked about this card before? Maybe. Probably. Regardless, it’s still worth keeping an eye on. Hollow One scored 9th and 14th in the Open and Classic, regardless. Each week I’m finding this deck in the top standings. I figured it would be a flash in the pan the first time (which is the healthy and correct attitude towards this stuff), but it’s showing up regularly now. Of course we could still see it fade into oblivion for sure, as it’s only been a few weeks, but at the same time, it’s not worth fully discounting yet.

Most of this deck is quite fresh. The spell package is a bit older (specifically Goblin Lore), which were the first cards targeted when this list hit the community. You’ve got Vengevine, which was $25 to begin with, so not a lot to work with there either. Other than that it’s mostly a fresh set of dudes. That means you’ll be unlikely to see major gains on most of the cards in the list.

Given that, you’ve got to look a little deeper. If it really gets popular, prices will rise. Where will they go? Well, Insolent Neonate is as closed to a locked four-of that you can get in a strategy like this. He does everything the deck wants to do, and he does it quickly. Even better, he does it in several other decks as well. Dredge won the Classic, and you know what it played four of? That’s right. One extremely insolent neonate.

As it’s from Shadows Over Innistrad, supply is higher than some of the other cards we look at each week. Still, there’s demand from a lot of sources, and they all want the full four copies. Even an SOI common can see its price taxed if we’re looking at multi-format foils. Heck, just look at Tireless Tracker these days.

Sword of the Meek

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $20

Hiding out a little further down the standings is a Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas deck. We see these pop up every now and then, though none have stuck around long enough for anyone to really take notice. With Jace’s unbanning and the printing of Whir of Invention, have we moved into a new era of Tezzeret?

Whir of Invention of course is the Chord of Calling for Artifacts. Where this is especially useful is with Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek in the deck, a combo that used to be the scourge of Modern. Sword of the Meek was unbanned a year or so ago, and ultimately didn’t accomplish much. Modern was just a little too fast for the combo to be able to take over a game itself. Or perhaps the combo was strong enough, but the support wasn’t there for it? Hard to say at this point.

With Tezzeret in the news again, it’s worth looking over the list to see where opportunity lies. Tezzeret himself is hanging out at $20, and while I suspect success would push him to $40 quickly, that’s a big gamble to take for most. If you’re looking for some action though, it’s worth thinking about.

Anyways, Sword of the Meek is worth monitoring, as it it managed to dodge reprints in EMA and IMA and A25 and MMA and MM3 and the VMAs and whatever else. A single-printed Future Sight uncommon is definitely the type of thing that can jump hard with some provocation. Anyone remember $60 Mishra’s Baubles?

Serum Powder (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $10

Ok so I know I complained about IMA at the start of this post. We’re going to do an experiment though. If a here-to-fore unused card is printed in IMA and then suddenly gets popular, can the foils move?

On camera at 7-2 on Sunday morning players were treated to Serum Eldrazi. This is the deck that utilizes Eternal Scourge and Serum Powder to shoot for reasonable starting hands that also set up having 3/3s to cast for free out of your mulliganed hand. New players aren’t going to be confused by any of this at all. It was an especially rosy opener Sunday, when the pilot Powdered a Scourge, put a Gemstone Caverns into play for free, dropped an Eldrazi Temple, and then cast the Scourge on turn one. That sounds like the closest this deck gets to Magical Christmas Land, but who knows, maybe that’s not an uncommon opener.

In any case, this is an amusing deck built around the shell of the remarkably strong Oath of the Gatewatch Eldrazi. We know the core of the deck is solid. It’s really a question of whether this is better than the other Eldrazi variants. One advantage this list has at the moment is how much it’s going to infuriate Jund and UW control. Jund relies heavily on destroying every creature their opponents play, generating advantage with Bloodbraid Elf and Dark Confidant as it goes to eventually chip someone down. If the Eldrazi player can just keep casting Scourges from exile, and their Reality Smashers and Thought-Knot Seers also eat card advantage from Jund, perhaps it’s enough to turn the match in their favor? At the same time UW control is going to rely heavily on Path to Exile, which of course the Scourge is resistant to as well.

Is this deck the real deal? I’m not sure. Can foil IMA cards move? Also not sure. We should pay attention though, because this may be the first deck to give us an idea of how much muscle it takes to move an otherwise saturated product.

Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


Brainstorm Brewery #280 Drunk Bus Driving


With Corbin (@Chosler88) gone again, Jason (@jasonEalt ) has taken it upon himself to pre-game hard for the podcast. He also has drunkenly exerted his right to drive the bus over long-term guest DJ (@Rose0fThorns) and host emeritus Ryan (@CryppleCommand). To be fair it can’t end up more wrecked than Masters 25. Right?

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