I couldn’t think of what to write about this week. When I’m not doing the set review stuff, I tend to try and pick a new commander that could force other prices up, because that takes weeks, it’s obvious when it’s going to happen, and I’m not the kind of writer that can write about card prices after they go up and have people praise me for it.
I couldn’t think of a commander to write about this week and it was bumming me out. Depala? Yeah, no thanks. As much fun as building around a dwarf beeping around in a bunch of cars can be if you’re playing against opponents who just opened up a commander precon, it’s probably not very competitive. I’m really gunshy after I gave casuals a little too much credit, predicting an increase in the sale of a lot of clerics when Ayli was spoiled. I was half right – Ayli became one of the most popular commanders in the last 6 months and she spiked a lot of prices. The half I was wrong about was which cards – clerics are largely unchanged while lifegain cards that were already being propped up by Oloro and later, Karlov, saw a bump. Nailing which commander is going to spike cards isn’t helpful if you don’t correctly predict which cards. I’m not going to tell you to buy a bunch of dwarf tribal stuff only to have Depala come along and make a bunch of artifact creature stuff and equipment spike and you’re holding a bunch of useless dwarf cards like a straight buster because you assumed I knew more about EDH than you do (I mean, I do, but I don’t know more than every EDH player combined and that’s whose behavior I try to predict, usually successfully).
If I didn’t think the Ayli whiff was a fluke, I’d quit writing this stupid column and talk about something else. I’m not the kind of writer who gets to write about something he knows nothing about and have people praise me for it. I’ve spent years studying EDH finance so you don’t have to which I imagine is great for those of you who don’t want to. So, no, I do think the Ayli thing was a fluke – I correctly predicted her power level and overestimated the casual community’s affinity for building a tribal deck they’ve been clamoring for. Everyone was upset when we didn’t get a good GR werewolf but when we did get a bad one, some of the prices of werewolf cards went up because of people who don’t understand how this works buying speculatively and they’re back down already. If one of the 10 most popular EDH generals from the last year can’t spike foil Starlit Sanctum, you making money from foil Moonmist on the back of Ulrich of the Krellenhorde is a pipe dream.
That’s a long way to go to tell you I didn’t want to write about Depala this week. Meanwhile the rest of the list wasn’t too exciting, either. Oviya looks like a good inclusion in the 99 of an existing deck, but there’s literally no reason to play her over Rhys which gives you Cathar’s Crusade and all but one anthem effect. Pia Nalaar is good in maybe a Grenzo deck but I don’t want her at the helm of mono-red even a little bit. Padeem looks like an OK inclusion in a different deck and I’m sure a non-zero number of people will build with him/her at the helm but, again, not going to compel anyone to build the deck enough times that the price of anything goes up. Same with Kambal – there’s no reason not to play Karlov or Ayli and just jam him in there. I was getting frustrated. Then I realized the card I wanted to write about had been staring me in the face all along.
Of course! Panharmonicon is this set’s Doubling Season! This card is going to change the way EDH is played! How many cards will this card alone spike? I fired up EDHREC and moseyed over to Panharmonicon’s page and got ready to write an article about how Panharmonicon is the best general in the set.
What I’m Actually Going to Write About
Oh yeah. I missed one.
Oh yeah. This
guy dude thing genderless creature. Gonti, Lord of Luxury is one of the aetherborn and it’s going to be very popular in EDH. Want to know how absurd it is that I neglected Gonti when I was going over the list of potential commanders in this set to write about? I wrote about Gonti on Gathering Magic two weeks ago. The card is very good and it’s already one of the most-searched creatures from the set on EDHREC and it’s got the highest affinity percentage with Panharmonicon. This goes hand in hand with what I consider the best EDH card of the set. It does something pretty new for a commander, also – while a lot of the legendary creatures are bad versions of better creatures that already exist, this does something relatively new and pretty potent. I have a lot of thoughts on this and they are informed by having already drafted a deck based on this card that people seemed to like. Let’s get a stew going.
Bye These Crads
When I first read Gonti, I was interested in ways to rebuy it and get the trigger over and over. The deck is going to be mana-hungry but a lot of EDH decks are and I figured that would take care of itself, especially in mono-black. I wanted to make sure the effect was repeatable so we could really get an advantage and one of the ways I thought about doing this was sacrificing Gonti for mana and using Deathmantle to get multiple triggers. This is already going up, it’s already played in other decks, it’s already a part of several infinite mana combos (composite golem ftw) that have even been touted by (terrible, just the worst) modern players. Plus this was a Jason Alt Pick of the Week on Brainstorm Brewery which gives it a lot of upside those other factors don’t. This won’t go up just because of Gonti but Gonti will help, something this card didn’t need. Buy these, watch the foils and be glad you got in when they were cheap, then hold them too long and get smashed by a Commander deck reprinting. If these aren’t reprinted this fall, though, it will be at least a year and a lot will happen to this price in a year. If you didn’t buy in at the floor, there is still time to make money. Oh, and this is good with Panharmonicon, the card I’m pretending is the general of this deck.
This is the card I’m most excited about, so I think with it out of the way, we can talk about mana before we move on.
Did you notice this creeping up to its pre-reprint levels? These at $1 was absurd and didn’t last long and that Commander reprinting gave us an opportunity to get a lot of these for cheap. I think this won’t stop at its current level, despite the reprint. This is very, very good in black decks and if Nirkana Revenant is any indication, the ceiling on this is very high despite the gigantic difference in the relative scarcity of the two cards. The effect is in-demand enough that there is upside to Ghast if you buy in around $2 because it will be $5 soon and could go even higher. Another reprinting won’t sink it forever, so if it hits $1 again, buy even harder because it has shown it can recover. This solves your mana problem in the deck, is cheaper than Nirkana Revenant and is everywhere. I like this card a lot.
This is a “watch” not a “buy” but it’s worth mentioning. If this gets any cheaper, it will be attractive for two reasons. The first is that the lower it gets, the less impetus there is for a reprinting and the more likely something like Cabal Coffers gets printed instead. This has 3 printings and that has taken a toll on the upside – this is unlikely to see $40 again. The second reason this will be attractive as it goes lower is that some deck in Modern will want this again and you will have copies ready to sell. People keep cards for Modern but almost everyone has a deck and a little build stock – a lot of Modern stuff is sold off when it falls out of fashion only to pop off again later. This is a card that will be more than it is now, so if you can buy it when it’s less than it is now, you’re sure to make money.
Were you frustrated seeing how expensive Crypt Ghast got while you weren’t paying attention and did you find yourself wishing you could know when a card was at its floor and was bound to go back up so you could buy at that point rather than after it was too late? This card is Crypt Ghast when Crypt Ghast hit $1 after its reprinting. You want a card that’s going to be $10 again and is $4 now? This is so obvious that pointing it out feels like cheating.
The rest of the ways to make mana in this deck are expensive and I don’t see much upside.
We do have some other ways to rebuy Gonti’s effects, though.
Someone tried telling me that the first spike wasn’t the result of Star City buying every copy of this card when Beck//Call was spoiled. It’s probably a co-incidence that the price was $3 on April 9th and $12 on April 12th, right? Hey, when did Dragon’s Maze come out? Was it April 2013? This is all probably EDH demand that did that.
Speaking of EDH demand, it exists. That said, it probably can’t sustain the current price and it appears to be tailing off. I think you watch this because if the only reprint this will get is a Masterpiece I think this has upside from wherever it bottoms out. You can probably make money buying now, but you can probably make more buying later and I prefer more money to less money. This is great with Gonti, among other decks, and cross-format applications only give you more chances to make money. EDH staples can maintain their prices well making them safe investments and other formats can give you a big boost making cross-format cards perfect buys. I like Curio, but I’ll like it more later.
Second spikes are a thing and this has demonstrated it can be $3 and that means increased demand could push it toward those levels again. This could get lower but it’s likely that it goes up, especially with more attention from players wanting to rebuy ETB effects. If you’re in a color where you can Deadeye Navigator or Eldrazi Displacer at will, you’re not liable to be hyped about this, but if you have no choice, you might want to give this a try. Gonti plus Panharmonicon make me want to ABC.
This returns stuff. This is just the kind of card that is going to be worth money long-term based on EDH demand. This is also way less reprintable than a lot of cards. This isn’t exactly a Phyrexian Arena but sometimes it’s better. If you’re letting stuff die or putting your general in your yard so you can cast him later, this is a card you trifle with. So trifle with it and 100 copies of it and you’ll be glad you parked the cost of a dinner at TGI Friday’s in an appreciating asset rather than in giving you and a date diarrhea.
That’s all I got. I mean, there are more cards that have less upside and fit the theme of the deck less, but we don’t need to concern ourselves with those cards this week. What we do need to do is eventually bring this week’s article to a close. Thanks for sticking with me and reading my silly column every week. Share this on twitter and facebook and let’s all make some money on cards that are going to go up anyway. A store can sit on these for a year or you can buy them and sit on them for a year then sell them back to the store. Until next week!