Pro Trader: William Gibson’s Spectromancer

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Whether or not we’re happy about it, we’re about to descend into neon hell where Hidetsugu kind of sucks but the 1 in 100,000 yellow variant will be the Beanie Babies of 2022. Will the set be Ninjitsu or Bushido? Sweep or Soulshift? Kamigawa Block Constructed or post-Mirrodin Standard? Will it be cohort? It’s hard to say, but I ordered cases of Collector Boosters so I’ve cast my lot in with this stupid set. I don’t care what anything in this set costs, but it’s going to impact EDH by bolstering existing archetypes and creating new ones, and while the low-hanging “stuff with creature type Ninja” fruit is all gone, there are some cards they’ve revealed that make me think we have some money to be made before spoilers (that’s what I call preview season because I didn’t get a preview card again) start in full force. Come along with someone who thinks he understands EDH because he went from making fun of EDH to playing on the Commander RC stream and receive some finance tips, my hungry little finance birdies. No, birds eat regurgitated worms, these picks are fresh. Hungry Hippos? This sucks, I could spend 10 minutes thinking of a good animal metaphor but I’m already on to the next paragraph.

I’m literally going to post a pic of a Neal Stephenson presents: The Kami Warz card and then talk about what I think it could mean. That sounds lazy but it’s smart and you’ll like it. Let’s begin.

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

New Innovations in Modern

It’s always refreshing to see people bringing new ideas to the table in Modern, especially when it’s a new piece of tech for an already established archetype that can shake things up a bit. Today I’m looking at just that – some innovative takes on both old and newer decks on the Modern scene.


Tourach, Dread Cantor (OBF)

Price today: $12
Possible price: $25

Jund? In 2022? It’s more likely than you’d think. Over the past couple of weeks, Jund has become a more and more popular choice in the Modern metagame, with some of the old favourites in Tarmogoyf, Thoughtseize and Wrenn and Six, plus some newer tech in Tourach, Dread Cantor. This little two-drop is in a pretty good place in the metagame right now – as well as getting buffed from your discard spells, the protection from white is huge against decks like Hammer Time that have mostly white threats carrying their equipment, as well as being Solitude-proof.

Now can anybody tell me why the retro foil versions of this is only $2 more than the retro non-foil? No? I’m not really sure why either, but the fact is that you’d only be paying $12 over $10 for the foil rather than non-foil here, and I think that the foils will start to push upwards pretty soon to correct that. The foils are already a bit pricier than that in Europe (where the non-foils are actually slightly cheaper), and we should soon see the US market follow that trend.

This isn’t a huge EDH card but the low supply doesn’t need much demand to push the price up, and a few Modern and EDH players here and there wanting pretty versions will be enough to start draining the market. If you want any personal or spec copies then now is the time, and I think these are a slightly better pick than the borderless version of the card which has higher supply and, let’s be honest, a worse frame.

Kor Outfitter (Foil)

Price in Europe: €2 ($2.25)
Price in US: $12
Possible price: $15

Speaking of Hammer Time (as we always seem to be when discussing Modern these days), that deck has seen some new innovation as well. Kor Outfitter has been picked up as another piece of tech to put your huge equipment in the hands (or wings? Don’t ask me how an Ornithopter is supposed to carry a Hammer) of your creatures without paying the exorbitant cost for it, and although not a huge number of people have picked it up yet, the lists it’s been in have been putting up strong results.

A common with a single printing all the way back in original Zendikar, foils of these are already pretty scarce, and a NM copy is going to set you back $12 on TCGPlayer. Over in Europe however, you can grab a few at the €1-2 mark, and if you’re not too sluggish about it then you could easily ship some over to the US for a tidy profit. It’s also worth looking around in the US for any cheaper copies too; I’m sure there will be some stores that still have copies at the old price that you can chuck straight on TCGPlayer or eBay.

Wishclaw Talisman (EA)

Price in Europe: €3 ($3.50)
Price in US: $9
Possible price: $20

I don’t think that this is actually very new tech, but it’s an older deck that’s seeing a little bit more play in Modern and so I thought I’d give it a mention regardless. The Twiddlestorm deck puts Lotus Field coupled with a bunch of Twiddle effects to good use, and was a prominent force in the Modern meta a little while back before shrinking into the background a bit. Now it seems to be making a small resurgence, with a few different variants flying around and a lot of them playing Wishclaw Talisman.

Using a Twiddle effect on the Talisman enables you to search for multiple cards with it before handing the Talisman over to your opponent, sometimes even with zero counters left on it, rendering it useless to them. Some of the decks are going for a Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens win, with others opting for a Thassa’s Oracle or even grabbing an Aeve, Progenitor Ooze from the sideboard to overwhelm the opponent with Oozes.

Being a very popular EDH card, FEA Wishclaws are already $45 in the US and in very low supply, and EAs at $9-10 looking to push upwards too. Over in Europe though, you can find EAs as low as €3 (and some FEAs around €20 which aren’t bad pickups either), and that makes for some nice arbitrage. I expect to see non-foil EAs push $15 before long, and could climb as high as $20 without a reprint soon.


David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

Trust me, I’m a Dragon player

Right now, things are pretty calm in terms of Magic finance. Next week we get the Double Feature prerelease, and the only Secret Lair available at the moment is the highly-skippable Capricorn Swamp. Are they going to make every sign for every basic land? That’s sixty different lairs!

Double Feature is prereleasing next weekend, and we’re entering preview season for Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. I’m expecting a lot of reprints in the Commander decks, so I’m leery of buying into Ninja or Spirit hype. We also know that there’s a fair amount of Dragons and Dragon-themed cards coming, and with an amazing recent commander in Tiamat, I’m getting ready for the big lugs to have some impressive jumps.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I love my five-color The Ur-Dragon deck. I’ve had it basically since that Commander deck came out, and I’ve gone through a lot of Dragons and Dragon accessories. Let’s talk about what’s due to go up now that we’re getting more Dragon goodies.

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expensive cards ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Unlocked Pro Trader: The Command Zone Effect

Readers!

Today I’d like to talk about something that has been dubbed “The Command Zone Effect” but since the show is called “The Command Zone” it should really be called “The The Command Zone Effect” but I don’t get to name things after I came up with a deckbuilding ethos that I mean to be qualitative rather than quantitative but gave it a number in the title.

Here is my 1,000 essay on The The Command Zone Effect.

Welp, see you next week!

OK, apparently I’m being told that I have to do some more work on this article to get paid for it (humbug) so I guess I’ll elaborate in the space I have left. Looks like you’re getting 2,000 words today instead.

If you want a more recent example, I have one.

This is $11 literally only because The Command Zone said it shouldn’t be $1. They were right, of course, but this leapfrogged a lot of other good cards. So what happened here? Did the Command Zone create ALL of the demand for this? Did it merely accelerate something that was going to happen anyway? Is it a mix?

Thinking logically, if they created all of the demand for this merely by mentioning it, then the cards that get played more but are worth less shouldn’t go up. So if you reject that premise as unreasonable, we can assume that cards played nearly as much or more but which cost less will cost more eventually. Is this a good premise? I don’t know, but it’s what I want to talk about this week. Which underpriced gems from Commander 2021 “OOPS, all Strixhaven” so I think are in play? I’m so glad I am pretending you asked – here is another 1,000 word essay.

OK, I’m not going to repeat the bit where I think I’m done but pretend someone is telling me I have to keep writing, and I won’t do the “1,000 word essay” bit again for another few weeks. One thing that’s not a bit at all is how underpriced some of these cards are relative to how we expect Curiosity Crafter to behave.

These are the 16 cards in a larger percentage of the decks in their respective colors than Curiosity Crafter. What’s notable is most of them are multicolor, which makes sense since there are fewer decks that can contain Orzhov than there are decks that can contain just Blue. Curiosity Crafter is doing quite well in terms of number of inclusions. Of these 16 cards, just 6 are in more than the 6,776 decks currently containing Curiosity Crafter… cleverly.

I think all 6 are good targets, honestly.

Archy’s Map is played quite a bit.

In a world without Josh Lee Kwai and Jimmy Wong, what do the price trends of these two cards look like? The trend for a card played more than 3 times as much as Curiosity Crafter is flatish with a pinch of downward movement. If you can get Archaeomancer’s Map for less than Curiosity Crafter, either both prices are wrong or only one is. If you think Curiosity Crafter is a sell right now, you’re right, of course, but for Map to not be a buy, you’d have to think Map isn’t done going down. If you think Map is a sell and Crafter is a buy, congratulations, you’re literally everyone but me, it feels like. But like, how can that prevailing opinion possibly be true? Crafter is going to go back down, probably to the midpoint between 13 cents and 13 dollars, but Map is likely too cheap. I realize 11 bucks for Crafter is a meme price, but Map has never been cheaper. I think it’s time to just go hog wild on Map. How reprintable do you think it is? Do you think a reprint happens before it hits $20? I don’t.

Inkshield is in 1,000 (13.7%) more decks than Crafter. This is an absurd Magic card and while its color identity keeps it out of some decks, might I reiterate that it’s played 14% more than a card that costs twice as much. This seems like a slam dunk for a double up even if you agree that Crafter is headed for the $7 neighborhood.

This is where we really test our hypothesis. If this goes below $5 on Card Kingdom, I think we just buy in. This is in 10.8k decks currently and while it’s true that it becomes less appealing the more its price approaches that of Smothering Tithe, players are actually allowed to play both cards in their deck, and might, and also this seems tough to reprint. Like, every card in a Commander precon seems like it could be reprinted easily, but how often do they do it? To prevent you from making money, they would need to have committed to reprinting it 2 years ago, basically. They could throw it in The List but they won’t yet. This and Map are so spicy right now.

This is in 10k decks. I’m starting to think the price of Curiosity Crafter might be predicated on a fairly thin premise. Also, how is this worth less than Ink Shield? It’s in way more decks. These prices don’t make sense and I think someone needs to buy every copy of all of these cards and let the market sort it out. I’m barely kidding.

OK, we can analyze this without mentioning Curiosity Crafter, right? This is trending up in price on CK, it’s in 7,893 decks and TCG Player is selling it for half of what CK is right now. This is a steal under $3. I wish I’d noticed it was this powerful when CK had them at $2, but we were all distracted then and it wasn’t seeing as much play. This card kind of rules and I don’t see anyone talking about it.

I’m happy to have mentioned this card when it was still under $5. It’s not anymore. Do you think it stops at $7 on CK? We can find out, $56 bucks at a time.

Ultimately, I think The The Command Zone Effect has pushed the price of a recent non-mythic to a level it may have never attained on its own, but I think if it can hit that level, even artificially, it’s worth looking at cards with way more solid fundamentals. I like these pick-ups in light of The Command Zone mentioning a card from this set, something it could do again later, and maybe someone in the MTG Price Discord becomes a member of the CZ Patreon to warn us before the 2 times a year those guys ruin a price forever. Also, they didn’t do anything wrong – this is a result of the community’s fundamental lack of imagination, not people correctly evaluating that a card is too cheap. That does it for me, until next time!

MAGIC: THE GATHERING FINANCE ARTICLES AND COMMUNITY