The Watchtower 4/9/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs


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 to find PPTQs, SCG Opens, and more events on an interactive map with worldwide coverage. Find Magic near you today.

Magic fans got a treat this weekend, with a Standard GP, a Legacy GP, and a Modern Open. No matter how you enjoy your sixty card formats, there was an event for you to watch. Furthermore, each format looked healthy! In Standard you can play any Bomat Courier deck you want, in Legacy you can play any Deathrite Shaman deck you want, and in Modern you can play any Lightning Bolt deck you want. We haven’t been this spoiled since we all chose to drive black cars.


Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $15

For the longest time, Gamble was one of those “it’s how much?” cards. An otherwise innocuous card reached a staggering $30 on the back of Legacy play in Lands (who cares if you discard the card you tutor when you’ve got Life from the Loam too) and EDH, where concerns of having to discard the wrong card are often met with “just cast the damn card and take another drink.”

A printing in Eternal Masters brought the price down significantly, to the point that EDH players will actually purchase it. That’s great for people that wanted to make money on the card, since it’s infinitely easier to buy and sell a card at $4 and $6 respectively, rather than $25 and $30. It’s begun to climb from its just-printed lows, and is positioning itself to keep climbing.

Supply is healthy for now, as there isn’t dramatic demand. It’s ticking though. And it’s going to keep ticking, as these find their way into collections of players that had held off purchasing them before, becoming permanent fixtures in EDH binders everywhere. Is it going to double in two months? No. But later this year or next you could find these with a healthy appreciation.

Bring to Light (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $10

I may have written about this one in the past, but I don’t have an easy way to search for specific cards in my archives, so we all get to (possibly) enjoy this one again.

In the SCG Modern open, Scapeshift BTL made another appearance with a playset of said card. That’s great and all, but don’t expect a Tier 2 Modern combo deck to drive the price too wild. It will keep a steady demand up, for sure, but it’s not going to drain the entire foil supply over the course of a month.

Our best bet for price growth is EDH. Changes to the way mana works in the format with the release of…Battle for Zendikar? enabled some great tricks with this that I suspect haven’t been fully appreciated by the EDH crowd yet. Regardless of general, you can now generate all colors of mana. This means your Razaketh the Foulblooded deck can generate all five colors. While you’re not putting BTL in there, you can slide it into something like Kumena. So long as you’ve got a Chromatic Lantern in play, you can now BTL for all five colors in your UG deck. How’s that for nifty!

It’s been awhile since BFZ now, and supply is getting lowish. Once it bottoms out, I’d look for a restock in the $9 to $15 range.

The Other Inventions

Price Today: $25 – $125
Possible Price: $100 – $250

Over the last two weeks or so, Masterpieces Inventions have been on the move. Mox Opal, Aether Vial, Mana Vault — many of prices have moved significantly.

Amidst this buying frenzy, several others are going to move as well. We’ve seen it before, and we’re going to see it again. Everything is on the table — Defense Grid and Sphere of Resistance jumped, and demand for those is tiny — but competitive and EDH staples are more likely to stick once there’s a change. I outlined a few on MTG Fast Finance this weekend, so check that out if you want specific examples.

Overall they’re all probably gravy, and if you’ve got the funds to dump into these, I’d be surprised if you’re not happy with the move. If you’re working with a $200 bank roll I’d stay away, since it will eat basically all of that without an immediate promise of return, but if throwing several hundred dollars at this won’t impact your behavior otherwise, this is a rich vein at the moment.

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.


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Dominaria’s Uncommon Power

We’ve learned some interesting lessons from the way that part of Dominaria was spoiled. One of the hardest things to do in MTG finance is stay away from preordering cards. I get it, I do, and I try very hard to understand what it takes to make me break that rule…but we got some punishments this time around, and here’s the big one:

We’ve all been there, but the shift in expected rarity is just a real kick in the teeth.

Ouch. Someone paid $40 to preorder a set of four uncommons right before the set came out.

Now, I understand the impulse. If you’d asked me, I would have said that this was a rare. It’s garbage in Limited, and that’s usually a slot which needs to be used for something to make the format better. I would have been on board with the $10 apiece tag, too, especially if you wanted to have these for the first Modern tournament possible. The card is a house against both the big-mana strategies (Tron/Eldrazi) and Storm, a good chunk of the meta, plus decks playing Snapcaster, or using one spell to set up another…

A beatable card, let’s not kid ourselves, but I am all for sideboard cards that say ‘beat this or lose!’

With the Sphere weighing heavily on my mind, I want to look at something unusual Wizards has been doing lately: printing powerful, and therefore valuable, uncommons. We had a few in Kaladesh block, but Ixalan kept it going and now it’s a full trend.

So let’s talk value!

Wizards has announced that they are going to go back to printing Standard-legal cards as FNM promos, and I don’t think they are going to start messing with rares in that space. I could be wrong, but I’m proceeding with last known information, such as Unlicensed Disintegration, Fatal Push, and Aether Hub.

Lock it down: We are going to get promo versions of Ravenous Chupacabra, Field of Ruin, Damping Sphere, and Seal Away. Wizards has already given us three promos to be given out during the three months of Dominaria: Opt, Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy, and of course Cast Down.


I miss the textless cards but I dig this new frame.

I want to buy Cast Down at ~$2 each.  It just packs such a punch in Modern that it needs to be considered. It’s one more mana, but I went scouring lists and I could come up with four Legendary creatures seeing a notable amount of play: Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Vendilion Clique, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, and Baral, Chief of Compliance. There’s a few who pop up here and there, but you’re more likely to see an Ornithopter than a non-Thalia legend.

I don’t think that Cast Down is the next Fatal Push. I want to be clear about that. Push has been a powerful card precisely because it’s a single mana. Going up to two is a significant cost but you’re going to see some mix of Push and Cast Down in Modern, and $2 seems cheap for a card that is going to have immediate impact in Modern.

The impact in Standard is real. Black decks are so stacked right now, the removal is so good, here’s a sample curve for mono-black.

Turn 1: Fatal Push your Elf

Turn 2: Walk the Plank your Shanna

Turn 3: Cast Down whatever

Turn 4: Ravenous Chupacabra, which kills almost everything in Standard anyway.

That’s where I would start, and I’d absolutely be maindecking at least two Golden Demise to deal with these pesky token decks. Duress is still there too, don’t forget.



Don’t want to Walk the Plank? The world is your oyster. Never // Return. Vraska’s Contempt. Moment of Craving. Impale. Doomfall. Trial of Ambition. Bontu’s Last Reckoning. And don’t forget Arguel’s Blood Fast to keep your hand stocked. Maybe a Tetzimoc, Primal Death to end the game. Doesn’t really matter.

Back to my original point: Cast Down is really really good and will be more than the $2 preorder, but if you want to hold out for the FNM copies, I won’t blame you.

If you didn’t read Wizards’ post, note that stores aren’t going to give out a single promo per month. They are given the three promos in a big stack, and will give out the promos as they see fit. There’s not going to be a month where Cast Down gets cheap because EVERYONE gets one. It’ll be a steady current of additions.

I feel good about Seal Away at about $1. You have to wait for someone to attack with it, and it’s less proactive than Baffling End, but a set at $4 right now will save you a few bucks. I don’t expect this to impact Modern at all, be warned. I feel good that Cast Down will be $5-$7 at Christmastime, but Seal Away will plateau at $2.

Damping Sphere is a card I want to love. As I mentioned at the beginning, it’s a super-powerful card against a range of strategies, but the additional cost to play extra spells hits both players. You can’t just slam it in your deck and get them.

Don’t overlook how good this is against Burn, though. It’s got game against decks that want to flood the board with creatures, too, but it’s pretty darn lame against Aether Vial. Hollow One decks don’t much want to see this card, but that deck is capable of having 12 power in play on turn one.

Right now the Sphere is preselling for $5, and that’s a price where I’m not going to make any money for a long time. If it’s not reprinted, it’ll see enough play to eventually creep above that, but the initial supply is going to be big, plus the likelihood of a promo version. Modern decks aren’t going to all pack a playset of this, either. I’ll be hoping to get this in the $3 range at the end of summer.

We’re 1000 words in and I haven’t even mentioned Sagas, or the Memorial cycle of lands, or the new Black Knight and White Knight. That’s a low of power, and a lot of value, crammed into the uncommon slot, and we’ve had this in enough sets in a row to make it sort of official. I’d be interested in knowing what the rationale is behind this change, but I’m all for more $1-$2 (and more) uncommons!


Cliff is an avid Cuber and Commander player, and has a deep love for weird ways to play this amazing game, as well as being guest host on MTGFF when needed. His current project is a light-up sign for attracting Cubers at GPs, so get his attention @wordofcommander on Twitter if you’ve got ideas or designs.

Brainstorm Brewery #284 The Misprint


Corbin (@Chosler88) and Jason (@jasonEalt ) boot off long term temporary guest DJ (@Rose0fThorns) for an episode so that they can dive deep into the world of Misprints with Travis ( @beardedSkeptic)

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Too Many Boats


I can feel the herd getting restless. In fact, people have spent so long waiting for me to address the fungus monster in the room that they took it upon themselves to make a reddit post and tried to do it themselves. Things went… OK.

Magnified 20x, a grocer’s apostrophe looks relatively harmless, but in a sentence it can cause acute migraines in 5% of the population, myself included. ‘Superfluou’s apo’strophe’s a’side, this was a pretty good reddit post and probably should have gotten a good discussion going. It didn’t.

Would it have? Or do we have years and years’ worth of data that says otherwise?

Have they? Or did they just get lucky that Commander 2017 was tribal so they could run out and buy cards like Waiting in the Weeds and then pat each other on the back as they tried to sell them to each other? Also, buyout is a noun.

I feel like eyebrows Goofus is onto something, here. I don’t agree that the sheer number of new commanders will keep anything from spiking, but I do think that the card everyone wants to talk about may suffer from affecting too many cards that could go in the deck. If Muldrotha is basically less popular than Atraxa, there’s a chance nothing goes up at all. When there are too many boats and not enough tide, something about the boats don’t go up? Look, I’ve been trying for awhile to pretend the boat metaphor was an actual sinking boat and abandon it.

I think we should look at the sheer volume of cards that could go up based on Muldrotha decks being a thing, which I think they will. We can evaluate whether or not any of them have a chance of going up or if there are just too many ways to build the deck. Let’s begin.


Embarrassment of Riches

I think we should look at Muldrotha before we continue. You cut down on the number of RTFC errors you commit as a writer by R’ing the F’ing C.

I can’t F’ing R this F’ing C. Let’s enlist the help of some type.



Legendary Creature – Elemental Avatar
During each of your turns, you may play up to one permanent card of each permanent type from your graveyard. (If a card has multiple permanent types, choose one as you play it.)


The first class of cards I want to look at are the really annoying enchantments. What if, instead of building a board, we just spammed the same one back out every turn, ruining everyone’s lives?

Cards in this class – Hesitation, Standstill, Mystic Remora, Decree of Silence, Lunar Force.

Standstill is at a historic low and while that means it could have upside, it also means Muldrotha is on its own. It would have to pull a lot of weight considering Legacy isn’t really doing Standstill any favors right now and it’s not really an EDH card at the current moment. Pass.

Spikes caused by the previewing of a card are like clockwork. The card goes from x to 8x then falls to 4x barring actual adoption. You don’t really ever eat it if you buy at x but those who buy at 4x hoping to get out at 8x tend to eat it. Don’t hope to sell to greater fools, just get out when you can. The only thing this card has going for it is that everyone ferreted out the cheap copies to avoid paying $7 so if this goes up again, there are no cheap copies squirreled (the opposite of ferreted) away and the only source of copies is the cold, merciless open market.

Hesitation is and will likely stay a dime. Mystic Remora is already good and this won’t likely change much. We’re off to a rough start because while these strategies are annoying, I don’t think they or any other strategy will be universal and they probably need to be.


Muldrotha sure isn’t going to make this card cheaper, is it? While this isn’t on the Reserved List, it’s not likely on anyone’s “this needs a printing” list, either. It’s so absurdly anti-social that only the spikiest of decks will consider running it, ruling it out of Commander precons. Usually this card is mitigated by the upkeep cost, but you can let this die and just bring it right back.  Gross.

How about board control?

Cards in this class- Nevinyrral’s Disk, Pernicious Deed, Oblivion Stone.

Nev’s Disk has been printed tooooo many times.

Deed isn’t looking too bad. It has decent ‘REC metrics and adoption in more than just EDH. I expected to poop on almost every pick, but this doesn’t seem too bad. It’s at its floor as are a lot of Conspiracy 2 cards and is beginning to recover. I think this is the time to get in on deed regardless and its utility in Muldrotha could be a good a time as any to make some bucks on a solid card. I didn’t expect to like this as much as I do, but Deed is probably solid right now.

This is no pricing error, you can actually snag a foil Iconic Masters O Stone for the same price as a Mirrodin one. I think that’s bound to look pretty silly in 6 months. I can’t imagine eating it because you bought foil copies but I guess nothing is impossible. People are done drafting Iconic Masters which means new copies enter the market at the speed of people popping $12 booster packs. It seems like we’re basically at peak supply and we have a glut of these foils I don’t mind swooping in on.

Finally, I want to talk about cards that are just really good with Muldrotha and how there aren’t too many cards in this camp for Muldrotha to push up since I expect them to be in 70%+ of all Muldrotha decks if people are smart.

Defense of the Heart

This is not on the Reserved List but it probably should be. This is also going to be in every Muldrotha list ever if people are smart. This is busted as heck and at least one of your opponents is bound to have the requisite number of creatures. Play Forbidden Orchard if they refuse to play along. This is just too good in Muldrotha decks and outside of them, too, I guess. This is a rare from Urza’s Legacy and while it’s not on the Reserved List, it’s not on anyone’s “reprint this ASAP” list, either – not in a world where Phyrexian Altar is still unreprinted.

Command Beacon

I’m betting that Commander 2018 is Planeswalkers. That being the case, the earliest this gets reprinted in a Commander precon is Commander 2019. For those keeping score at home, that’s like 18 months from now. You think you can make some money buying in at $10 and sitting on them for 18 months? I do.

Spike Weaver

This managed to avoid ending up on the Reserved List because it’s not quite as good as Exalted Dragon, you see. That said, it’s been expensive for a while and it doesn’t seem like there is a convenient place to reprint it. Its combo potential is very high making it a tricky EDH deck inclusion and it’s very set-specific making it tricky to print elsewhere. This is also pretty damn good with Muldrotha since you can fog over multiple turns then replay him full of counters and ready to rumble.




Different lol.

I think we will have time between EDHREC filling up with Muldrotha lists and prices actually moving and I plan to revisit the commanders I covered to see if there is anything I missed, but I think you should take a stab at Muldrotha. In my limited dicking around with it, I found the following cards do a lot of work.

Caustic Caterpillar, Vessel of Nascency, Seal of Doom, Seal of Removal, Seal of Primordium, Fleshbag Marauder, Sidisi, Undead Vizier (another reason to look at this card – I think you go deep on Sidisi nowish). Other people are beginning to post lists, so see what they’re on and we’ll revisit when we see stuff posted on the ‘REC.

Thanks for reading, nerds. Next week we’ll wade into the giant pile of potential commanders and look at more opportunities. Until next time!