Whatchu’ Be Knowing ‘Bout a Wedge?

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Speculation is sometimes indistinguishable from guessing. We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen so we try to make educated guesses based on data and go from there and it usually pays dividends. Other times, we get a hot tip and have enough time to act before everyone else and we get paid out. Other times, we think we’re on to something and end up writing a bunch of articles about the two-color decks in Commander 2016 because we take what MaRo says a little too seriously sometimes. What are the alternatives? Buying re-actively? That doesn’t work in our favor. When someone else makes a card spike or we are behind the curve and some new event changes prices, all we do by buying at that point is enrich someone else and run the risk of holding copies we can’t move.

Since we’re never going to benefit by buying re-actively (seriously, stay away from spikes like this) we need to buy pro-actively. For reference, this is not a $5 card. This already spiked once when they first released Laboratory Maniac. It’s been 5 years since then. The card has gone back down and hasn’t done dick since, yet the internet is full of people saying “ZOMG IT COMBOZ WITH LABRATORY MANNIAC” and buying copies. Since this is a second spike, it’s going to be harder than the first time but ultimately, unless this is predicated on a leaked card from Commander 2016 that only certain people got a sneak peak at, this isn’t going to do anything. Yes, it is good in Zedruu. It was just as good in Zedruu last week when it was a dollar. Stop being a goddamn sheep.

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So since it’s easy to identify cards that are a bad buy because you’d be buying re-actively and not pro-actively, what are some cards we should look at while we still have time?

I am going to take a second crack at the whole “What does the color wheel tell us about what could be in Commander 2016?”

This Time Will Be Different

Look, I was super wrong about Commander 2016 being two-color decks and that’s hilarious. A few people said “Why are you doing this so early?” and I always responded “It’s never too early” and I guess I was right because it looks like those articles helped you get a jump on Commander 2017.  Now that we know that Commander 2016 is going to be four-color decks, what can the wiki articles tell us?

There isn’t one. Uh oh.

How do we figure out what these four-color wedges even do? It’s almost easier to talk about what they don’t do because they’re basically everything but missing one color. So maybe the WUBR wedge is good at everything except mana ramp, fat creatures and regrowth effects? That’s stupid and unhelpful.

Could we try and combine a bunch of the Shards of Alara or Khans of Tarkir wedges? Again, I don’t think so. Is the WUBR wedge really good at artifacts, powering creatures with instants, attacking with warriors, etc? There has to be a way we can glean something. Without any guidance from the color wheel or previous wedges and with the whole “eliminate one color and remove the things it does well” prospect being almost as unhelpful as saying “the new cards can do anything.” I’m not about that life, so I’m going to suggest something pretty unorthodox. I’m going to look at the one four-color wiki we do have.

This one right here.

“You’re Insane”

Maybe? But maybe, just maybe, we’ll hit on something that looks strong, actionable and makes logical sense. After all, the people designing this set probably felt as clueless and overwhelmed when they first started trying to construct this set, right? They had just as little to go on as we do, and while they had a lot of smart people at WotC to bounce their ideas off of, including the people who initially designed the game and made the color wheel what it is today, I think we can take a crack at it. Besides, the color wheel basically was what it was when they first printed Nephilim, right? Granted, both sets of three-color wedges came after Ravnica, but I think that didn’t change that much. I think looking at each Nephilim and its abilities should tell us something. 

Yore-Tiller

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We’re not off to a good start. Like, at all.

I kind of tend to doubt the new commander will be exactly like this. But what can we glean that can teach us what it might be like? Putting stuff into play feels white and black, giving it haste feels red, what does blue have to do with any of this? The only thing about this that feels blue is paying four mana for a 2/2 creature.

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Still, a lot of people seem to think the Nephilim will be in the deck, so the deck will likely be set up to benefit from having it in there, otherwise what’s the point?

So I looked at like a dozen decks that use this card (house rules) as their commander and basically all they agree on is Ashen Rider and Snapcaster Mage, 50% of which I agree with. If you’re going to play blue, play Snapcaster at all times, clearly. Buying him back gives you additional value, but getting him back with Yore-Tiller feels underwhelming since he’s so small. I like other cards with that effect. Here are some cards that could get a second look specifically in a deck that does things like Yore-Tiller is doing and is set up to benefit from having Yore-Tiller in the deck.

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This has decent reprint risk and will never be above bulk if it’s reprinted, but if it isn’t, I think we have a winner. I like Diluvian Primordial, also, but milling people with this guy could be killer. No one wants to try and cast this beast of card because it would be pretty tough to try, but if we’re reanimating him, suddenly he looks manageable. He could be Diluvian Primordial number 2 in a deck that doesn’t like to summon stuff.

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This card is sure taking its time, huh? Goody, more time for me to trade for these. I’m not going hard because of the reprint risk, but I think this is a great card and I like it a lot in EDH and it would be killer in a reanimator deck.

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You want a big, fat yard? Since there aren’t as many reanimator decks that use blue compared to other color combinations, this is a relatively-overlooked card, used more often to mill you out so you can win with Laboratory Maniac. Still, if you have blue in your reanimator deck, like I expect the WUBR deck to be (at least as a subtheme) this is a good enabler. At mythic it has a little more upside than rares in Innistrad played the same amount and if this gets a nudge, we could see the price go up to remind us that it’s been 5 years since Innistrad was out. That’s a long time for a mythic that has seen play in combo decks.

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This little guy sure is creeping up, isn’t he? Don’t expect that to stop. I think this has relatively-low reprint risk coupled with a strong ability coupled with some potential upside from a Yore-Tiller type of deck. I think this is a pretty strong card, and at a $3-$5 buy-in, it’s going to be pretty hard to get soaked on this one. I think you just watch this creep up and sweat a reprint a bit, but not too much. This is a low priority reprint in terms of price and there aren’t too many things that they will do that will want this ability in the deck with it. I think you can wait to make sure this isn’t in the deck and then move in, but it pays to pay attention to this card.

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So apparently this effect is basically mono-black and the other colors in Yore-Tiller are along for the ride? I think this has decent reprint risk in a world where it’s not on the reserved list, which means that people might stumble across it when trying to tune their precon and be forced to buy this since it can’t be reprinted which could give it upside. The card is basically stagnant right now, and with white and blue letting you blink the the creature and therefore keep it, you could get quite a bit of value from something. Corpse Dance a Snapcaster, blink it, keep it. Cast a ton of spells, find a way to kill Snapcaster or target something else. I like this card and being on the RL means it’s only going to climb if it gets more play. It’s severely underplayed now, appearing in just 312 decks on EDHREC, but it’s not currently played in decks that are equipped to blink the creature and keep it, and this unique color combination is a game-changer for this particular card.

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Maybe not. But maybe. Saccing the creatures isn’t much of an impediment if you can keep getting them back, and getting multiple attacks with Yore-Tiller can give you enough dudes to keep swinging for a long time. This is an old bulk rare that is about to get a second look, provided it doesn’t also get a second printing.

Glint-Eye Nephilim

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I think it’s more obvious what kind of deck could be built with this combination. If you’re looking at “on-hit” triggers, it makes sense that we could be dealing with giving creatures unblockability, shadow, etc. UB and UG have both done this sort of thing and perhaps and enchantment could grant all of your creatures the same ability Glint-Eye has or something crazy like that. If that sounds too good, remember it would likely cost UBRG, so maybe it wouldn’t be too good after all.

Not only is it easier to see how they would construct a deck that vibed with what this card is up to, it’s pretty easy to see which cards would be good with that deck and aren’t super likely to be in the precon.

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Cards like this make me wish I’d given a crap about EDH earlier. This is going to keep going up until they reprint it. I used to get these in bulk, but those days are long gone. This is EDH gold and players know it.

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Even if this isn’t the exact card we want, we’re on to something, here.

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I don’t know if this card is quite the one we’re looking for, but here’s hoping this gets reprinted in something soon. This card is too expensive for what it is. Planechase stuff sure is pricey sometimes!

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This is a card that does a lot of work in a deck like this. Skipped over for a reprint in the Golgari Commander 2015 deck, I don’t know if it’s more likely to be in the Commander 2016 decks. This probably just goes up another few bucks when it’s not reprinted for at least another year. Although, Conspiracy is an OK place to jam this, so it might get a printing this year after all. Still, if the UBRG deck is anything like the Nephilim it’s colored like, this card will do work.

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This is a card that does a lot of work if we’re trying to load up on unblockable dudes and hit them. The FTV foil is terrible but the printing brought the Portal, Three Kingdoms version down to like 13 bucks.

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I can explain this card being under $5 by pointing out this was in a Planechase deck. I can’t explain the foil only being $6. That makes no sense to me. The multiplier shouldn’t be below 2x on a card this good in EDH. If you’re hitting them unblockably with big creatures, this is dumb. Its price is the only thing more dumb. Sure, you’ll want a ton of swords like Vengeance, Body and Mind and War and Peace, but, come on. Quietus Spike is so good in EDH. Here’s hoping the prevalence of lifegain coupled with the new trend toward sneaky combat makes this quietus spike in price.

I should have said up front this would be a two-parter. These almost always are when we need to cover 5 different wedges. Join me next week and use the comment section to express your gratitude for me not turning this into a five-parter, something I feel I would have been justified in doing. Until next time!

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9 thoughts on “Whatchu’ Be Knowing ‘Bout a Wedge?”

  1. Um, on Thought Lash, I think you’re neglecting the fact that EMA was just released, and there’s going to be a butt-ton of people brewing cheap decks for Legacy. a Laboratory Maniac combo deck can be made mono-blue (read: no dual lands needed, and no fetches really needed) and use cheap legacy cantrips like brainstorm and ponder, rather than serum visions and sleight of hand. It can also run modern playables like Cryptic Command (UUU doesn’t matter as much in this case), and the only big barrier into the deck is 4 of a legacy staple they just reprinted for the first time since the judge foil at $600+.

    1. Also, it IS a combo piece that actually *does* something. And lives through Abrupt Decay. In light of the above from my previous comment, it’s not all that terrible a card. That, and, well, reserve list.

    2. I had that very thought in terms of building a Lab Maniac deck, but in my case, EMA had nothing to do with it. Since I am in idiot, these are the kind of decks I end up building in most cases.

  2. Let’s not forget that Thought Lash is also the proud owner of some straight-up “rewrite the card” level errata implemented specifically to stop the combo with Zedru, i.e., power level eratta.

  3. Soo.. I pretty much LOLed… Corpse Dance is a reserved card..
    You should probably know what you’re talking about before writing a finance article to be published. In fact, please do stop writing these EDH speculation articles. I’m still angry about your article that caused the spike on Descendants’ Path in February out of no where. Oh look, the card is nearly back down to pre-spike prices now. Will it ever get back to 50 cent bulk status? Probably not.. Thanks for doing that.. It only took 4 months of time and has 0 basis for a price hype/spec..

    We (the actual EDH community) know how to assess our cards. EDH players are MTG veterans that have been playing since Legends started it. We don’t need financial advice because we are the ones that truly know how to assess any card’s play-ability in any format.

    I’ll tell you what we do need, though. What we need is the lack of a voice to keep morons from reading these sorts of articles. What players need is speculation to remain OUT of commander. The day commander staples become incredibly expensive (like how modern and legacy staples already are) is the day that MTG dies entirely. The game will have become too expensive for anyone to play it anymore and the financial bubble will implode on itself.

    Speculation naturally makes ALL cards in magic inherently more expensive and most importantly, if it didn’t exist, the actual players could afford to buy more cards and play.

    By the way, commander players play commander because it is affordable. We (“casuals”) know that WOC is trying to get into our market and make our cards more expensive just like pauper (and we hate them for it.) Please, stop adding fuel to the fire.

    1. “I think [corpse dance] has decent reprint risk in a world where it’s not on the reserved list” – direct quote from the article

      Sometimes I screw up and forget a card is on the Reserved List. It happens. I look stupid when it happens. I think perhaps it looks stupider to accuse someone of not knowing it’s on the Reserved List after reading a sentence where they say it is.

      I’d love to take credit for spiking Descendant’s Path “out of nowhere” but I had nothing to do with that. Real, organic demand does that. Do you notice that every single card I mention doesn’t spike right away? Why do you think that is? Seance isn’t $10 because my articles don’t have the power to spike cards, you silly goose.

      Maybe you should pay attention to formats other than “Commander” (It’s EDH, bro. Don’t be a scrub) because you’d know whey Path spiked and it had nothing to do with my article. Like, I’m a paragraph into your hate post and you’ve already said two things that are demonstrably wrong so I’m pretty sure you’re a troll, except you used your actual gmail address when you made the post. Now I don’t know what to think.

      “EDH players are MTG veterans that have been playing since Legends started it” – quote from you.

      Literally what? Some EDH players, maybe. Some EDH players started playing this weekend.

      If you think by insulting me and saying a bunch of stuff that’s factually not accurate, you’re going to silence my voice – you’re right. I’m quitting this series effective immediately and I’m going to write articles about the new game Hero Realms.

  4. Hey Jigga:

    As you pointed out in your own comment, speculation doesn’t actually push prices to a particular place. Speculators buy tons of a card, some members of the community follow them for awhile in a panic, and this causes a spike. The spike then slowly sinks to the maximum price the market will bear.

    Now, it’s well and good to say that this is a bad practice. There’s an argument that we were generally better off before perfect information and perfect card availability allowed this kind of “Figure Out The Market Max!” game to be played so readily. Even if prices will eventually sink back, they can be driven higher in the short term, and that is annoying.

    But, let’s not jump down Mr. Chromanticore about that. Finance information is here to stay. Would you rather it be limited to people who pay cash money to hang out in the Quiet Speculation forums, or that people who do this for a living put the information out there for free so others at least have a chance to understand what’s going on?

    J-A-Salt is doing a fine job thinking about cards and typing about them. He’s opening a window into the problem, not causing it. Pull open the blinds and enjoy the view.

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