New Tech, Old Decks

Continuing on from my article a couple of weeks ago, I’m back with more Modern content this week, and there have been some interesting decks popping up in the metagame that I want to take a look at. New and old decks in the metagame means new cards to spec on, and although this week’s picks might be a little more speculative than I usually go with, I like the look of them nonetheless.

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

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.

Secret Lairs and Reprints

With the announcement of the Extra Life 2021 Secret Lair this week, and we now know it contains two Craterhoof Behemoth, two Metalwork Colossus, and two Mulldrifters. Secret Lairs have become a part of the MTG Finance landscape, but with Craterhoof being near its highest price ever, I want to look at what happened to the prices of cards after they get a reprint like this.

We’ve got a lot of examples to get through, so buckle up!

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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: Seek the Treasure

Readers!

Rather than talk about incoming trends based on specific new cards, I want to talk about a shift in the way Wizards is doling out abilities to different slices of the color pie and about a trend I see continuing into the future. Not sure what I mean? I’ll back up a bit, and it’s going to involve you doing some reading but I think it’s worth it. I mean some reading that isn’t my article. Let’s talk about the article titled “Mechanical Color Pie 2021 Changes” by Mark Rosewater. This article covers all of the slight changes they’re making to which colors can access which sections of the color pie. It’s worth a read, but if you’re not looking to slog all the way through it (I had a difficult time doing it myself and it’s basically my job) I will post the section I think is most relevant to our purposes here today. 

Treasure creation (artifact tokens with “T, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color.”)

Primary: Red
Secondary: Black and green
Tertiary: Blue

As the color of temporary mana, red is best at treasure creation. Black and green can both make treasure, but black tends to usually require some additional cost. Green historically has not had a lot of treasure making cards, but it’s squarely in pie for green to do so. For flavor reasons, like Pirates, blue occasionally creates Treasure. This is another deciduous thing that I questioned whether to include, but as we’ve been using it a lot, I decided to include it.

If they are adding cards that make treasure often enough to officially discuss which colors can have access, I think we should pay attention. It’s not just treasure, either. Food and Clues are lumped in nearly as much, and while the colors which make Food and Clue tokens may be slightly different, each color can make some combination of the three. We can’t necessarily lump them all together, but there is a card that makes them feel more interchangeable, and I want to talk about it.

Both the regular and extended art copies look very juicy right now. Now, I’m not sure if mentioning every different kind of token makes this card easier or harder to reprint, but since it wasn’t intended for Standard, at least at first, it may be relegated to supplementary sets. Certainly extended art and foil versions are even less likely to be reprinted, further insulating Manufactor from the potential consequences of its own success. Tokens aren’t going anywhere and the EA copies are beginning to sell out, making me pretty certain it’s never going below $4 barring a reprint. This is a card we want to be buying pronto, and as many copies as you think you’ll ever build with. This will take a bit more effort to push above $10 than a card like Aetherflux Reservoir or a similar artifact that was always obviously good then went nuts a year after it went out of print, but that’s only because there are extra copies out there. Still, Modern Horizons 2 was basically never drafted and a lot of the copies began their life in dealer inventories which means every copy that hits the market goes from dealer to player rather than the opposite way. A one-way flow of copies in pandemic times can help to accelerate a card going on a run. I feel very strongly about this pick and I think we have seen the floor and now I’d kind of like to see the ceiling in a year or two. You can’t have enough copies of this card.

Foil Tireless Provisioner seems low to me. In almost every deck, this is a better Lotus Cobra. In decks where you can make all 3 with Manufactor, this card is an absurd value engine. The difference between being able to store mana as Treasure tokens and having to use the mana right away like with Lotus Cobra is a huge one. I don’t cut Cobra for Provisioner, but I DO cut something. Foils of this under $5 seem like a solid play to me.

The whole article won’t be about foil copies of Uncommons, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore sick uncommons. This does a lot of work in a lot of decks, Magecraft limits its reprint options a smidge, foiling limits it more, and Red is primary for treasure from now on. This is likely a staple in about half of all treasure-themed Red decks (you need instants and sorceries to bother with it) but it also can be the only treasure card in a deck and still do a ton of work since you’re just converting early cantrips into late mana. This is a great card and it’s going to go work forever, despite looking kind of durdly at first blush.

Rather than chide myself for not catching this sooner, I really maintain Journal is a card that wouldn’t have gone really anywhere without help from other clue generators. While not a Treasure card, per se, this goes in a lot of the same decks and if you can make some clues, or just wait 3 turns, Journal can find whatever you need. With commanders like Lonis and Eloise running around, you’ll get a lot of use from Journal, a card that’s only halfway done spiking.

If this goes below $5, buy a lot. Even if it doesn’t go down much more, this is a really sick version of this card and a lot of players prefer it. You really can’t go wrong with Valut, though, provided you buy at its floor, a number I can’t even begin to predict.

Deadly Disupte and Unexpected Windfall are the gold standard for pairing card draw and Treasure production. They’re both profoundly unfair cards and their price in dollars reflects that.

The Treasure theme page on EDHREC is a great place to start your search. Not only does it have a ton of cards correlated with Treasure builds, it also has the list of the most popular Treasure commanders so you can look at their pages. Make sure you have that theme selected when you go to that page, though.

That does it for me this week. There may be more Treasure plays to make and more things to glean from the color pie article, but this is the news I think is fit to print. Feel free to hunt for more buried treasure on the pages I mentioned and call me out in the comments for missing something obvious. Until next time!

Boring is Best

We all want to be hunting for the shiniest, most exciting specs to pick up in the hopes that they’ll work out well (and don’t get me wrong, I’m all too guilty of this as well), but often our money is best placed with some of the more mundane cards that will just steadily increase in value over the course of a few months or a year, rather than exploding suddenly. Today I’ll be looking at some of the hottest not-hot cards from recent sets that I think will be some solid steady gainers.


Fighter Class

Price today: $2
Possible price: $5

This is a neat little rare that hasn’t quite gotten down to bulk prices, and at this point I don’t think it will. It’s turned out to be one of the most popular multicolour EDH cards from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, slotting into all the Boros equipment and artifact decks, providing a useful tutor effect and cheap equipping as well as enabling some incredibly favourable combat for your creatures a little later on.

If you’re building a Boros deck in EDH then there’s a good chance that it’s going to be combat-based, and if it is then you’d be a fool not to include Fighter Class in the deck. I think it’s going to prove very popular with the casual crowd and although it might not make a splash in any competitive formats, the EDH play is going to be more than enough to ensure that this will be a card in demand for quite a while to come.

You can pick these up around $2 on TCGPlayer at the moment, and I don’t think we’ll see it going much lower than that now. Europe has them a little cheaper, closer to the $1 mark for bulk quantities which is quite an attractive prospect – I think that these will be a good buylist target a year or so down the road.

Sythis, Harvest’s Hand (Showcase Foil)

Price today: $3.50
Possible price: $8-10

Moving back in time a little to Modern Horizons 2 now, Sythis, Harvest’s Hand is another solid card that is going to go into a large number of EDH decks and likely make steady gains over the next few months or so. We’re in better luck with this one as well because there’s a Showcase version for us to buy too, and I think that the Showcase foils are going to be the best performing version of this card.

Sythis is going to have a home in every enchantment-based EDH deck that can run it, and I think that Showcase foils at $3.50 are too low in the long run. At over 3000 EDHREC inclusions it’s the third most popular multicoloured card from MH2, and those numbers are going to keep growing as we see more enchantment-matters cards printed in the future. I don’t think that we’re likely to see Sythis reprinted too soon, especially in the Showcase frame, so these should be safe for a little while.

We’re down to 63 NM foil listings on TCGPlayer (about the same price in Europe too), and I think that now is a good time to start picking some of these up. If we see some more exciting enchantment cards soon then Sythis might pop off more quickly than expected, but otherwise I think that this will be another steady spec that should pay off a little way down the road.

Ignoble Hierarch (Retro Foil)

Price today: $15
Possible price: $30

Moving up the ladder to the second most popular multicoloured card from MH2, Ignoble Hierarch hasn’t just been making waves in EDH. I talked a little about this card last week when I mentioned Munitions Expert; Ignoble Hierarch has made its way into a few Modern decks including Goblins and Jund, and with that kind of multi-format popularity it’s definitely worth taking a look at.

We have a bunch of different versions of this card to consider, but I think that the Retro Foils are the best ones here – they look the best and have the lowest amount of supply, so are likely to be the biggest gainers. They’re a good chunk more expensive in Europe at the moment which shows that they’re more popular in competitive formats, and I think that a double up from $15 to $30 is quite likely in the next 12 months or so.


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.

MAGIC: THE GATHERING FINANCE ARTICLES AND COMMUNITY