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PROTRADER: PucaPicks for 10/6/16


Kaladesh is being opened all over, and I hope you have a good time opening Inventions and either playing the pretty cards or sending them out! I popped a Crucible of Worlds on Saturday and I couldn’t send that out fast enough.

Since I don’t play constructed, I want to focus this week on a set of cards that have gotten some interest but not too much: the Commander series.

If you were playing in 2011 when the first set came out, you were amazed at how much value these cards retained, but there’s factors that have come into play since. The first set happened right as Commander was tipping over, and it was under-printed in relation to eventual demand. The sets since have not had that problem, and that’s why there’s very few singles worth a lot in these boxed sets.

What these sets do offer is a truckload of $1-$4 cards and some unique, custom cards that are tricky, yet eligible, to reprint. Today I want to look at some of the cards that have been in these decks and are mostly good bets to raise in value over time, with the caveat that reprinting is quite possible and will torpedo the value if it happens.

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Expeditions Begetting Inventions

So I have to say that the Invention series is gorgeous. I am entranced by all of them and I want to pick up all of them. Mostly. I don’t have a use for the mana accelerants, but they are all beautiful and shiny and really appeal to the showing-off aspect of playing Commander.

I have many direct wants for different decks when it comes to Inventions, and I know that right now is not the time for buying Inventions. Supply is too low, demand is sky-high. They are getting opened in droves, which means volatility in prices.

What I want to do today is look back at the Expeditions and see if there are price trends that I should be paying attention to. I wrote a year ago about what to do if you opened an Expedition, and while the principles still apply, I want to focus on the Expeditions and how they relate to what I think will happen in the end with Inventions.

Let’s look at one of the high-end Expeditions: Scalding Tarn.


So it started CRAZY high, at $450 when this was first introduced, but it swung down to nearly $200 and then back over three, which is about where it’s settled in now.

This graph makes a lot of sense. We didn’t know how many of these there would be, and we didn’t know what the pricing would be. As the numbers came out (more copies than expected) the price dropped, but recovered well. Most importantly, it’s been relatively stable for this year, and that’s what I want to know.


How about a mid-level Expedition? Here’s Steam Vents:


This is an interesting graph as well. We have the same fluctuation at first, but there is a distinct downward trend. It’s a slow trend, but it’s there, with the drop in buylist pricing is there in July for almost all of the Expeditions, even if the price is creeping upwards.

How about the low-end ones? Cinder Glade:


These are also trending slowly downwards, and that’s important to note with the Gearhulks and whatever the newer Inventions will be. When Aether Revolt lands, I will look at those Inventions alongside the Oath of the Gatewatch Expeditions.

So in general, these have trended downwards slightly. That’s super important to keep in mind going forward, indicating that patience is my keyword when it comes to the Inventions I want.

It’s not universal, though. For one, Overgrown Tomb has gone up, perhaps matching the recent rise of Abzan decks in Modern. Not every Expedition has followed the same track, and it’s worth noting that there were no first-time foils in the Expeditions, where we have our first foil Mana Vault.

Other writers have noted that the presence of Inventions will lower the price of every other card in the set, and that looks true for Battle of Zendikar. Prices for that set are extremely low, even considering that the set only has six months to rotation. In general, I expect all prices to drop over time, but what I want to know, and what only time will tell me, is how patience will pay off for the Inventions as well as the Expeditions.

Full disclosure: I’ve put a couple of Inventions on my Puca want list, with a bonus of 15%, and I am confident that I’m going to get at least one of the ones I want. I know that a lot of people are down on PucaTrade at this point, so I want to be clear that I still have points and I still have faith.

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PROTRADER: PucaPicks for 9/29/16

Kaladesh is here and it’s pretty darn awesome! I had a great time trading things away at the prerelease after opening double Madcap Experiment.

Prices on PucaTrade right now reflect that no one is legally allowed to sell these cards online yet. Almost all of these are going to go down and that means your mode is to sell, sell, sell!

I want to highlight some particularly interesting ones, which have unusual foil prices, or multipliers that are just too high or too low.

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Last-minute Pickups from Origins and DTK

Well, we are at the end of the old blocks. Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins are rotating out in two weeks, the brewing with Kaladesh has all our attention, and there’s a prerelease to go play in! I love this time of year.

I especially love the rotation time, because this is when I want to invest the most and get the most for my money.

I’m looking for cards seeing fringe play in Modern and Legacy, I want to have some cool foils, and I want to check for underpriced but powerful Commander cards. I am keenly aware that the Masterpiece series means even more reprints, on top of extra sets, theme decks, and all of the ways that Wizards has to add to the supply of a card. It’s possible the old ways are no good, but they can’t reprint it all! Diversify with me.

For the most part, I expect these to grow slowly over time, with the potential to spike hard.

Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy – $24 regular/$65 foil/$190 SDCC promo – This sees a significant amount of play in Modern and Legacy, and I know lots of people are noticing how low this price has gone. It’s true that there is a black SDCC promo version, and that puts a ceiling on how high the foils can go, but picking up these in nonfoil is perfectly fine, as it’s due to do something amazing again. It will not take much to spike in either Eternal format.

Alhammarret’s Archive – $4/$11 – One of the best casual cards around, and a leading candidate for a reprint. In Commander, this is busted right in half, and will rightfully get you targeted by the rest of the table.

Starfield of Nyx – $2.50/$7 – So I would love this card, and I would marry it, and I would build a house out of these cards, except…there’s going to be a Masterpiece series of enchantments and it seems like this is easy-peasy one of the best enchantment enablers. It’s Opalescence plus reanimation all in one card.

Sphinx’s Tutelage – $1.50/$5 – Mill cards always have life. This has seen the smallest sprinkle of Standard play, but this is a pick for the unseen masses. It’s easy to reprint, but really, it’s just an awesome card. It takes something we all love doing and turns it into a weapon. I’ve seen this card just chainsaw through Commander players, a sign that not enough of us play Gaea’s Blessing or other such cards.

Collected Company -$11/$33 – If you think this is due to get banned, stay away. I think that it will not get banned in Modern, and for a card that’s an automatic four-of in some incredibly powerful strategies, a rare from a big set that was only opened in a small set…it’s very tempting. There are Clash Pack copies that are keeping the supply greater, but this is a format-warping card that must be respected.

Narset Transcendent – $7/$21 – She’s not down to the $5 threshold that I usually look for in underpriced planeswalkers, but her price is surprisingly high for a card seeing so little organized play. She can’t protect herself, but that isn’t quite as relevant for casual formats. I like having this card, and the trajectory is due to start climbing upward.

Sarkhan Unbroken – $4/$13 – I think this is cheaper than Narset because he’s three colors. He’s more powerful on his own, but he can’t doublecast spells the way Narset can, and his ultimate requires some sweet dragons to tutor up. That Dragon emphasis is what intrigues me, though, especially at a measly $4.

Kolaghan’s Command – $6/$21 – This is a pretty amazing card in Modern and Legacy, and the nonfoil has already spiked to $20 once in its career. I’m in, and I will feel vindicated when it breaks $10. When it’s over $15 again, I’ll take myself out to dinner.

Sidisi, Undead Vizier – $2.50/$7.50 – I like having copies of this around, not because Jund decks in Modern are about to abuse it, but because it’s a really amazing Zombie. Angels, Dragons, Elves, Goblins, and Zombies are likely the top 5 tribes, and the appeal cannot be overstated.

Foil Impact Tremors – $2 – It’s only half of Purphoros, God of the Forge, but if you want this type of effect in your Commander deck, you want redundant cards. I wasn’t expecting this foil to be this high a multiplier, but that’s a sign of the casual appeal. When I notice that, I want to have some of these in stock.

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