Tag Archives: cliff daigle

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Midpoint Pickups

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Since Standard is on a once-a-year rotation, I like to think about what’s on deck. Yes, we are about to lose two blocks in September, but there’s two that have another 18 months or so, and that’s what I want to focus on. Kaladesh and Aether Revolt are at their low points, so this is when I want to look for value.

I’m looking at cards that are being played, and are not as expensive as their amount of play might indicate. I’m not expecting huge gains, but I do want to think about increases in value, especially in trade or Pucapoints (if you’re still doing that).

Verdurous Gearhulk ($7.89): Considering what a beating this is, I’m surprised that this mythic is as low as it is, especially because B/G Snake decks are a thing. Sometime in the next 18 months, a Gearhulk deck will have a great tournament and this will easily break $10, likely hit $15, and possibly $20 again.

The graph for the green Gearhulk is exactly where I want to be: getting in at the lowest point.

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Dovin Baan ($3.16): I don’t see how this can get any cheaper, even if it doesn’t budge until rotation this is silly cheap for a planeswalker. I really like picking up specs that have good potential short term and long term. The fact that he’s the only planeswalker with the Dovin type is good for Commander too, since he’s a good fit in superfriends builds without being the seventh Jace.

Panharmonicon ($2.66): Shhh. Hush! Don’t say anything. Just slowly walk over to your store, grab all you can of these, and try to not look like you’re getting fantastic value. We’ve already seen this spike up to the $8-$10 range and it’s not gonna take much for that to happen again.

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The foil is still just 3x the value, which is very surprising to me. Buy for these. Trade for these. Don’t trade them till they spike, and if you’re into the long-term holds, the foils are going to be rock-solid.

Scrapheap Scrounger ($2.44): This is played in a huge number of decks and is always a four-of. Mardu has a target on its back, and that’s fine, but this is a card that requires the Magma Spray immediately or it’s going to just keep coming back. I’m shocked at how cheap this is, frankly, and if Mardu adds a card or adapts to the hate somehow, I’d expect this to climb to at least $5.

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship ($2.44): It’s an in-print mythic that just dominates the board and isn’t easy to answer. Heart of Kiraan is stealing a lot of the thunder, but this has become so cheap that I want to have a few copies just in case it pops up again.

Metallurgic Summonings ($1.25/$4.50): I want to try a couple copies of this card in the assorted control decks. I’m in love with Drake Haven right now but the potential of this card is astronomical. If you land it and live through the following turn, then your Glimmers come with a 4/4. You get a 2/2 when casting Grasp of Darkness. Your end-of-turn Pull from Tomorrow is as big as you want to make it. This is also a super-cheap mythic that is looking for the right deck, and should it hit, it’ll hit big.

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter ($1.37/$7.22): This is more of a very-long-term pick, as it is amazing in casual formats and why her foil price is six times higher. These are the best colors in Commander, and she’s going to get you some extra cards, no matter what. I love the foils a lot more but dollar mythics are always super intriguing.

Foil Paradoxical Outcome ($3): It’s a niche card, but that niche is Vintage. I appreciate when people try to make this work in Standard, with endless Bone Saw castings, but no, this is an Eternal card and I want to have some foils in long-term storage.

Cliff is an avid player of any and all casual formats, the weirder the better, going all the way back to his first tournament wins: Iron Mage, keeping a life total from round to round, and a grand melee where he cast a Hurricane for 43 and lived.

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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Checking in on Amonkhet

It’s been a month and the Pro Tour hype is over, and we are still adjusting and still innovating. I love that mono-black Zombies took it down, but I don’t love that much of the deck is going to rotate in six months. It’s gonna be a good time until then though!

Today I want to go over some of the movements of Amonkhet cards, and how far they might fall.

Gideon of the Trials ($20.69): He didn’t light up anything at the PT, so I’m not expecting much from him right now. We’ve also had hints that the Gatewatch is getting a little overplayed as a set of planeswalkers, so if he’s the only Gideon in the deck, he gets less good.

I do think there’s space for him to be good, we just haven’t seen the control deck that wants him yet. If he lands, and there’s a Fumigate or other wrath waiting to punish the opponent for overcommitting to the board, then I think there’s a whole lot of potential.

I’m not buying now, though, and he’s getting his price cut by a couple of stores. He’s gonna be $15 soon and I think he’ll be $10 by the time we get Hour of Devastation…which is where I’ll be getting in. I’ll be hoping for a double-up when he gets good.

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Rhonas the Indomitable ($17.72): Believe it or not, this card is increasing in price even as it sees almost no Standard play. The foil is only 1.5 times more, and the Invocation is about 3x. I think it’s casual demand causing this graph:

I am super impressed that this is rising slightly, when most of the mythics are on a slow decline. Sure, this is good in Commander, but I didn’t think it was this good. I don’t know where this will go, but experience tells me that it should be going down. I definitely am not buying this now, but the rise in price over time is fascinating given how little Standard play it’s getting.

Vizier of the Menagerie ($8.13): It’s lower than when it was released, and the casual demand has been mostly sated. A creature that helps you get more creatures is always going to have a special place in my heart, especially when it’s half the mana cost of Garruk’s Horde. It’s hit $6 and has crept up a little, but I’d expect that to go back down over the next few weeks. I’d prefer to pick this up in the $3 range, but $5 might be the floor. Very few green Commander decks would skip this card.

Glorious End ($1.82): So in case you’re not aware, there are streamers who can cause a card to spike quickly. This was featured the other day and while the deck didn’t light the league up, it’s closing in on bulk-mythic territory…which is always an intriguing pickup, especially considering how much longer this will be in Standard. When it gets to sub-$1, I’ll be looking to grab a couple of playsets, because when these spike, it’ll be glorious.

Dispossess ($.59): You’d think that with all the vehicles and Marvels and Scroungers running around this would at least be a sideboard card. I’m both surprised and not surprised Lost Legacy saw some play when Emrakul, the Promised End was the Marvel target of choice, but the goal there was to take down the monster, not the enabler. I wouldn’t mind having some of these in bulk storage, but that’s the purest of speculative targets.

Special bonus pick: Fumigate ($1.79): It’s a wrath that catches you back up. Yes, it’s bad against planeswalkers and vehicles but it’s seeing more play now than at the beginning, and lots of people are trying very hard to make UW Control good again. I think eventually they will get there, and I want to have some sub-$2 copies of this handy for when it cracks $5.

Cliff is a father, teacher, and casual enthusiast who recently finished a ‘Busted Uncommons’ cube, which Sol Ring is not in because it’s too busted. His Magic career boasts two PTQ top 8s that were 8 years apart. He whispers to his stack of Prophet of Kruphix every night, telling them they are good boys and their time will come.

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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Pre-Pro Tour Increases

The Pro Tour starts today!

It’s in Nashville, so if you’re in the USA reading this, the Standard portion is just getting started without any giant lapses or time gaps.

As I’ve said before, I don’t like trying to buy out cards as they get featured, but I love that there’s a wide-open format and there are some card prices I want to look at from this new set.

Many of these prices are still high, as the new set has a lot of packs yet to be opened. It’s only been legal for a couple of weeks, so we will see. I’m highlighting cards that have seen a bump this week leading up to the PT, and even if they climb higher in price, I’m expecting them to fall as more and more copies are opened.

A caveat: This is all pre-Pro Tour. Stuff might be spiking as you read this. I don’t have any insider information, just a good understanding of what trends to check.

Pull from Tomorrow ($4.50): The comparisons to Sphinx’s Revelation are not warranted, though this is a powerful card. What makes it underrated, so far anyway, is how good it is with the counterspell suite available to us. Control players can leave up Disallow and a Censor or something, and if no juicy target is cast, they can draw a bunch of new cards. The counters are good right now too, with Essence Scatter and Negate and Dispel and even Horribly Awry for exiling spells. You can run a range of spells and use Pull to find what you need.

Notice the upward trend on this card, as a good showing on this is going to cause quite a spike. Players are going to run three or four of this per deck, and a quick spike to $10 seems easily done.

Drake Haven ($3.66): I’m going to call it now: By the end of Pro Tour Hour of Devastation, we will have seen a Cycling deck do very well. This is a janky, build-around card that is remarkably difficult to deal with. Forsake the Worldly is seeing some play as a card to deal with Scrapheap Scrounger, and that’s about the only sideboard card I’d be afraid of if I was the cycling deck.

The card has spiked about 50% in the last couple of days, likely on the back of some good results and publicity online, and from being a blast to play. I confess I’m fooling around with this deck, and I think I’m going to be playing Standard with it soon. I would also expect some new toys when Hour of Devastation comes out.

Fetid Pools ($5.74): I think that cycling lands are good. If the deck doesn’t have X spells to cast, or even if they do, these are worth an inclusion. The two that have blue are seeing a little more of a spike than the others, I think because people are trying hard to make Engulf the Shore good. Having the flexibility to cycle these away cannot be overstated, and we can see that people are chasing this one a little more than the other color pairs:

Not a coincidence that black and blue are the base colors for the cycling decks, and that this would be the most expensive land. Cast Out makes the deck Esper, and Irrigated Farmland could be the next to rise.

Glory-Bound Initiate ($1.93): This is one of the sneakier cards that I’m watching. There is not a turn where exerting this is bad, and it’s got real potential as a Human, or use Always Watching (which has already spiked) to make this a 5/5 lifelink attacker on turn three. It’ll be a four-of in the aggressive decks, and it’s already gone up 30% during this week.

I really hope this card ends up at a dollar or less by the end of Amonkhet, because this is going to be a mainstay of aggressive decks for the next two years.

 

Cliff Daigle has been an avid Magic player since 1994. Commander, Cube, Type 4, he’s never met a kitchen table format he couldn’t get into. Except Tiny Leaders. That sucked.

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Preparing for BFZ Rotation

I wrote a lot of words when 18-month Standard was introduced. Many many pixels were burned out with the weight of speculation about what would happen to prices.

So now, we are looking down the barrel of the realigned plan, with Shadows Over Innistrad block and Battle for Zendikar block both rotating at the end of September. That’s about five months away, but with this current infusion of energy and vitality into Standard brewing, I want to look at what’s worth keeping till the end and what you should be getting rid of soon.

Battle for Zendikar

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar ($25): I would get rid of any extras you have. He’s got some appeal outside Standard, especially as he makes an Ally every turn, but he’s a small presence in a couple of Modern sideboards and that’s it. He’s still the defining card of Standard, though, while he remains legal.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger ($23): I recognize that this card is about the best thing that Aetherworks Marvel can cast, and is a four-of in those Standard decks. Keep in mind, though, that this is also one of the best things to do in Modern Tron, and is also a popular card in the semi-niche Legacy Cloudpost decks. The foils available for $40 or less are something I would like to have going forward, as the Commander appeal is high. Keep all you have right now–he’s not going to dip far, if at all, when he rotates.

Sunken Hollow ($4) and the other double-check lands: If you think Frontier has a future, this is a fun spec. Fetches will be legal, and these would be among the choices for fetchable duals, since shocklands aren’t going to be allowed. I’m not going to load up on these, not yet. There is a market for these until September, as manabases are going to play lots and lots of duals (and Islands especially, for Engulf the Shore).

Part the Waterveil ($3.50): I don’t think these will fall very much, but this is among the best of the Time Walk effects in the modern day. I’m going to be trading for these on sight for the next year as a long-term hold.

Oath of the Gatewatch

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet ($22): If you like Golgari, or delirium decks, you love this card in Standard. Otherwise, he’s ready to take a big dive. I don’t want to have any at all in my possession when rotation hits. Keep your four if you love the deck in Standard, but he’s a one-of in Modern Jund and while he’s good in Commander, he’s not good enough to keep his price high. A loss down to the $10-$12 range seems likely.

Kozilek’s Return ($11): I’d get out of this card too. It’s already done some funky tricks with its price during its time in Standard, and it’s seeing very little play outside Standard. Get rid of them.

Chandra, Flamecaller ($7): Overshadowed by the Torch, and it’s going to lose some big value at rotation. Sell/trade away all of your copies.

Thought-Knot Seer ($7): The spotlight is off of the Eldrazi in Standard, but my goodness, this is a popular card in older formats. I’m advocating that you keep the ones you have, and aggressively go after more, especially the $20 foils that will be popping at some point.

Eldrazi Displacer ($7): Thought-Knot shines in Modern, and Displacer is not only good in that format but it’s an all-star in Commander. I’m in for picking these up in foil or in nonfoil. We know that the Commander decks this year are tribal, and having one of those decks be Eldrazi seems unlikely.

Oath of Nissa ($4): Not worth keeping, and I’ll get in on some foils after rotation if they fall to about $3, as I think that’s a good entry point for the effect in Superfriends Commander decks.

Sea Gate Wreckage: ($1.50/$3): I’d be picking these up all over the place going forward. I love the potential when it gets lower and lower, but it’s seeing just enough play to keep it out of bulk territory.

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