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PROTRADER: Commander 2017 Singles

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I am in love with this round of decks. Sweet, swooning, head-over-heels-and-then-around-again love. I know I’m going to buy at least one deck, and if you wanted to try them all I wouldn’t blame you.

We know the decklists and the values, and frankly, there’s nothing in the decks that compels an immediate buy. Right now, Kess, Dissident Mage is the most valuable card of them all, with Teferi’s Protection goosing the value of the Vampire deck as a close second. Mirari’s Wake is the most expensive card in the Cat deck, a not-that-surprising inclusion given that it’s GW.

Today I want to look at where some of these prices are headed. Right now, we are a week away from getting the decks in hand, and it’s time to look at what singles look spicy.

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Cliff is swinging the pendulum back towards Commander, given the new and exciting cards they keep printing for the format, but any new format or odd way to play will always get his attention. Read his articles every Friday here or hit him up on Twitter @WordOfCommander.

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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Rotation Value for BFZ/OGW

I’ll admit, I’m terrified to write about what looks good and bad to get in the tribal decks that are coming out on the 25th, and lots of people are writing about what looks good to pick up. I’m very likely to get the Dragon deck, and possibly the Vampire one too, and I’m relatively certain that they will be stuffed full of value. I am not getting anything related to the decks until I see some decklists, though.

Today, though, I want to look ahead about six weeks: September 28, 2017 is when Ixalan is released and at that time, Shadows over Innistrad block and Battle for Zendikar block will rotate out of Standard. These cards are mostly at their lowest point, aside from the ones already seeing a lot of Modern and Legacy play.

Hard to believe, but the two years that Gideon, Ally of Zendikar has spent looming over Standard is over. So let’s see what’s worth picking up.

Battle for Zendikar

 

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger ($13/$37 foil): This is a touch higher than I want to pay for this card right now. I would much prefer to be picking up nonfoils at $10 or less, because the appeal is there. Tron is popular in several flavors, but almost all of them have at least one of this monster lurking. The cast trigger is incredibly powerful in Commander too, and the only caveat is that we likely aren’t far from FTV: Eldrazi.

Foils for this card were as high as $80 when this was first adopted into Tron decks, but it’s now down to the $40 range and I think that’s a very good price. A reprint in foil is very unlikely, and even something like an FTV wouldn’t ding the original much. Seeing this double, and getting back to the $80 range in 12-18 months seems like a safe bet.

Shambling Vent ($3/$8): Yes, it’s unexciting, but it’s seeing a surprisingly significant amount of play in Modern. There are a lot of different black/white decks, and in this case, I am aiming for $2 pickups. I don’t think there is the same long-term appeal for foils, but creaturelands have been shown to be some of the more consistent players in the format. Foils are a good target too, but I think it will take a lot of time for these to go up. If you’re patient, it’s a good play.

Part the Waterveil ($2/$7): I’ve sung the virtues of this card before, but even the publicity over the Taking Turns deck this year wasn’t enough to keep this price up. This is the best of the newer extra turns cards (new ones all exile themselves) because the Awaken ability is a game plan all its own. I don’t think these will go much lower, and the growth potential is there.

Sanctum of Ugin ($0.75/$5): I love foils here for long-term growth. This is one of those cards that will just keep getting better with each colorless creature that’s printed. Having some foils put away for the inevitable spike will make you feel good.

 

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Oath of the Gatewatch

Wastes, Full-Art, foil ($8-$10): There’s two full-art Wastes that you can pick up, and I think foils for this are rock-solid to go up. I know other writers have mentioned this card, even as far back as the release of this set, but getting these at $10 or under will pay off handsomely. I doubt that even if they decide to add colorless to Modern Masters 2023 or whatever, they will recycle the art. There’s a lot of casual demand for basic lands that are colorless, and Tron decks often run one or two, for something to find when Path to Exile lands.

Sea Gate Wreckage, foil ($3): The casual market is slowly sapping the supply on this card, and it shows up as a spicy one-of in a lot of different Modern lists. If you’ve ever seen someone use this on camera, you know how helpless the other player feels. When this hits, it’ll break $10 or more. Thank me later.

Stormchaser Mage, foil ($4): If you’ve seen blue-red Delver decks on a stream, you’ve seen these in play as a flying Swiftspear. It all depends on your level of comfort picking up niche Legacy cards. This was a three-of in the 9th place Legacy deck at the SCG team event three weeks ago, and I feel like it’s one good event away from hitting it big.

Chandra, Flamecaller ($5/$12): She is rarely a bad card to have on your side, and what’s really appealing is the range of possibilities. I don’t think she will fall much farther, so getting her now and being patient is the plan. Remember that this set got opened less than the sets around it, due to the Eldrazi menace and the effect on packs. For that same reason, I like picking up the Expedition filter lands–the supply on these is a lot lower than you think it is.

Eldrazi Displacer ($4/$12): If you didn’t want to listen to us when it came to Reality Smasher or Thought-Knot Seer foils, well, please take those lessons to heart: The Displacer will spike too. There’s less Modern play for this, but a lot more casual demand. At this writing, there’s about 110 available on TCGPlayer, and that’s for the pack foil and the prerelease foil combined. (for reference, Sylvan Advocate, a card which was ever-present in Standard for quite a while, has 175 pack foils and 140 prerelease foils) I know it’ll go to $20. I wouldn’t be shocked if it got to $30 considering the appeal in Commander.

 

Cliff has been a mostly-casual player since his first Revised packs in 1995, and has sold out/rebuilt his collection several times. His favorite format has shifted from Commander to Cube in recent years, and the range of ways to play are always amazing to him. You can read his weekly Friday pieces here on MTGPrice or follow him on Twitter @Wordofcommander.

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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Will These Prices Hold?

Welcome back from the Red Menace! It’s an aggro world, and we’re all just living in it.

The Pro Tour win by Ramunap Red (albeit with a very big oopsie in the quarterfinals by his opponent) meant that several cards have spiked and spiked hard and some of them we saw coming.

The time for picking up cards for a big profit has passed, and it remains to be seen how many of these cards are going to keep their new price levels. This week, I want to look at how such gainers have done after previous PT success, and see how that bodes for the cards which has seen such impressive gains in value.

Before I get into the cards that spiked this weekend, I want to step backwards a couple of Pro Tours and see what patterns might exist.

Pro Tour Amonkhet had Zombies rising (couldn’t help myself) and Aetherworks Marvel all over the place, along with a healthy dose of Mardu Vehicles. Fatal Push cemented its status as a $7 uncommon, though its playability in Eternal formats is a big contributor there. There weren’t a lot of Amonkhet cards in these top decks. Lord of the Accursed was a four-of uncommon, and Dread Wanderer went from $2 up to $6 and has trailed back down to $2 now.

Pro Tour Aether Revolt had six Mardu Vehicles decks in the top 8. Notably, Heart of Kiran jumped to above $20 and has since been trickling downwards in price ever so slowly, as other decks have become more popular. It’s now $11 or so, and having only put two copies of the top 16 at PT Amonkhet, it didn’t bump up even a little.

Pro Tour Kaladesh has eight different decks listed in the top 8, and this was before the triple bannings. Torrential Gearhulk was in two decks, and it’s seeing enough play to stay in the $15-$20 range, but the graph here is truly fascinating:


I wrote the dates on the graph because I’ve never seen a card spike this many times in just a year. Will it keep doing so? Will it go up with each of the four Pro Tours left in its Standard lifespan? There’s even a minor bump for this recent PT, even though Gearhulk decks weren’t really a factor.

It’s also the outlier. Most cards that jump up in price at a big tournament have prices go back down, whether fast like the Gearhulk does, or slow, like Liliana, the Last Hope has.

Now that history has given us some clues, let’s look at the specific cards that have done well this past week and where they will likely be going:

Ramunap Ruins (Now $1.25, was $0.25, foils now $6): I can buy that this is a $1.50-$2 uncommon, as a four-of in the most popular deck. I do not understand this foil price at all. That level of foil multiplier is usually indicative of wild demand in casual or Eternal formats, and it’s just not popular. Commander doesn’t want this. Shivan Gorge will do half the damage but not lose you lands (and a specific land type at that). The Gitrog Monster decks can’t play this. Are people speculating that it’ll be good enough in Modern? I find that unlikely as hell. Please, enlighten me as to why this is such a pricey foil, and if you have a foil, I’d get rid of it ASAP.

I expect the nonfoils will end up at about $1, but if this deck spikes an event around Christmas, when the set is no longer being opened, it’ll hit $2 again.

Abrade (Now $3, was $0.75, foils $10): Again, I like this to stay as a pricey uncommon, even with the large amount of Game Day versions about to enter circulation, and if you think $10 is too much for a foil uncommon, the multiplier is with normal tolerances. I do love the flexibility in Cubes and Commander, as these are both effects you want access to. I think this set of prices will stay consistent for some time, and keep in mind that this will rotate out of Standard at the same time as the Vehicles block, so there will always be a good level of demand for the card.

Falkenrath Gorger (Now $2.50, was $0.50, foils $3.50): The price graph here is going to be a sad one. People are racing to the bottom on this card, as fast as they can. TCG has seven available for under $1, and a very large number under $2. It’s about to rotate, people have dug this out of bulk boxes, and it’ll crash back at bulk by rotation.

Hazoret the Fervent (Now $16, was $6, foils $25): I don’t agree with Travis that the time to sell is already past. Yes, there was a moment where it listed for $20, but if you got in at $7 or less you’re still making a fine profit. It’s in the process of trickling downward, yes, but if you have your copies, don’t panic-list them at $10 each or something. If Ixalan offers us one or two good cheap red creatures the deck will remain a strong part of the metagame. Gorger is rotating, as is Village Messenger, but I don’t think this goes below $12. I doubt we’re going to see the bouncing price of Torrential Gearhulk, but right now people are planning for the deck. We will have a period where the meta adjusts, and people stop playing it, and then the red menace comes back to prey on all the slower decks.

If the price goes below $10 again, I’ll have to think about picking more up. It’s got a limited time to be good, but we’ve already seen what it’s capable of.
 

Cliff is an avid watcher of just the draft part of the Pro Tour, but the games themselves are far less enthralling. He has been playing this game since late 1994, and making money off of it for far less time. You can find his insights on Twitter @wordofcommander or here on MTGPrice every Friday morning.

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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: The Early Rounds of PT HOU

The Pro Tour is eight rounds old when this goes up, and I freely admit that I’m not young enough to stay up all night to see all five rounds of Standard.

Being on PST, I do have an advantage of a few hours, though, and there’s some early cards to note from the Standard portion of the Pro Tour. So let’s get to it!

I’m not going to go round-by-round, but this is an amalgamation of three rounds of Standard and the deck techs, discussion, and decks on camera.

 

Glorybringer is a card that everyone will have to be accounting for during the next year, and there is no good, easy answer. Harnessed Lighting needs help, Grasp of Darkness is tough on the mana, it’s too big for Fatal Push, etc. Five bucks is too low for a card seeing this much play, and I’d be picking up a few to unload in six months.

Abrade is everywhere. Artifacts are not safe, and it seems like $2 is about right, especially with a Game Day promo still to come. It’s not going to be Fatal Push, but it promises to be a very commonly played card while it’s legal, and I wouldn’t be too shocked if it crept up to $3 by New Year’s.

Kari Zev, Skyship Raider is fifty cents and seeing play as a two or three-of, though the red decks are favoring haste. With a Pirate set coming up, she seems like a real sleeper and a low cost to get in on.

Imminent Doom on a deck tech! The pilot, Valentin Mackl, was 0-5 when the deck tech went up, which just seems cruel. It’s an intriguing card, but I want to see someone do well with it. Streamers are likely going to try to make it good, and that bump is unlikely to hold. I would not be buying this card, even though it’s only a quarter and it’s open-ended and oh god I’m talking myself into it. It’s just so much work! See if you can get it at six for a dollar, as bulk mythics are just long-term holds.

Kozilek’s Return is very well placed right now, being able to be cast after your opponent has played their hasty creature, and at only $5, it’s intriguing. It’s rotating out in three months, though some of these on-camera blowouts could make it rise up some. I think this would be the third spike for the card, which might be a record.

Hazoret the Fervent is looking good on camera too, and it is being played in high numbers in the most popular deck. This could be the biggest gainer on the weekend. I wouldn’t be shocked if it hit $10 or $15 by Monday, and if the deck does well, $20 or more is in play. 

Hour of Devastation wasn’t featured early but has been popping up in the featured matches and has sometimes been great and sometimes been depressingly weak. There’s a lot of camera time left to go, but I’m content to hold at $8 currently. I’m hoping for a deck with the full set to do well, though leaving behind Vehicles is a real drawback in some matchups.

Hour of Promise is the backbone of the ramp decks, and at only $2, it’s doing a lot of work. First one gets your Deserts, the second one gets some Shrine of the Forsaken Gods and now you’re in Ulamog territory. World Breaker is going to hit $5 by the end of the weekend, but again, it’s about to rotate out and you’d have to turn that card around fast.

It’s worth noting that Ramunap Ruins, a four-of in the most popular deck, can be had dirt cheap. Playsets can be had on eBay and TCG for a buck, and if you like a cheap spec, there it is. It’s lightly in the ramp decks too, but if the red decks keep getting there, this might be another premium uncommon out of the set.

Zombies is the #2 deck by numbers, and while I can’t recommend Dark Salvation at $2, I do like Liliana’s Mastery at under $2 and Ammit Eternal at about $2. The Ammit is just so undercosted! The undead are really performing well when shown on camera, and while the deck loses at lot at rotation, being a top-tier deck for three months is going to cause some rising prices.

Just enough Rhonas the Indomitable in assorted decks to keep the price high, but not more than a two-of, so I think that price will stay under $20.

Looking at decklists, there’s more than a few running a couple of Blossoming Defense, and considering the upside in Infect decks, I’m interested if I can get copies in the seventy-five cents range. TCG doesn’t have many in that price range, but you can find a few on eBay. Jensen’s Electrostatic Pummeler deck is a blast to watch, and a bold choice with so much Abrade in the room.

Finally, I want to point out a couple of cards that I haven’t seen in lists yet, or on camera, that deserve some thought.

Hour of Revelation needs some attention. Vehicles and Planeswalkers are common, and this just gets rid of all your problems, unless that counts creaturelands. The prevalence of haste threats makes this card less appealing, but I would love to have a couple copies in the sideboard. Getting in at $1.50 is interesting, as it’ll take just one good result on camera to double or more.

Another sweeper that isn’t seeing play is Yahenni’s Expertise. This card hasn’t had a chance to shine yet, and not answering Glorybringer is a real drawback, but it will decimate a lot of decks on turn four. It’s around a dollar right now, and it would have to see widespread inclusion for it to climb to $3-$4 and hold that price. It’s a small-set rare, but it was the foil Game Day card, so there’s a few extras out there.

Cliff has been playing Magic since the halcyon days of Revised and the packs with Islands as rares. His glory right now is Cubing, but the love of his life, format-wise, will always be MoJoSto over on Magic Online. Find his articles every Friday here on MTGPrice, or on Twitter @WordOfCommander.

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