Now Usually I Don’t Do This

Now usually I don’t do this, but, uh, I’ma go ahead and break y’all off with a little remix of the previews.

Things I don’t like

I don’t like having to talk about things I don’t want to talk about. If you’re a buyer in MTG Finance, you don’t have to have an opinion on every card. You basically only ever have to have an opinion on one card, if it’s the right card. If you saw them spoil Tarmogoyf and said “This could be the first Standard card to break the $30 mark” and bought all of them for basically $1 the first week the card was available, you likely made a mint. People would have patted you on the back for being so prescient. No one would have said “Yeah, you made thousands on Goyf, but you totally whiffed on telling us to buy Coalition Relic and when you said Magus of the Vineyard ‘seemed OK’ I bought a bunch and lost my ass.” No one wants to talk about every card if they don’t have strong feelings about it. That’s why this week I’m going to talk about the cards I have strong feelings about. If you want to figure out what the rest of the set is going to do financially, ask someone who has a strong opinion. Based on what I think is going to happen from EDH demand (and other formats where it’s applicable) I have some opinions on current prices. I almost never recommend preordering (hence the title) but there are cards to watch and cards to buy in my opinion and since this is my article, you’re going to get my opinion until you stop reading. That’s how this works.

More things I don’t like are mono-colored Legendary creatures. The colors an EDH general put you in are just as important as the effect of the general (in general) and how good Sram is at drawing cards pales a bit when you realize you have to build him mono-White unless you relegate him to the 99 of your other decks. Look back at prices from Kaladesh. We’re seeing what people want already.

The bad multi-colored generals are basically at the same price as the good mono-colored ones. Meanwhile the trash mono-colored one (Oviya) is an outlier, as is the very good multi-colored one (Rashmi, whose foil price is 3-4 times the other commanders and whose non-foil price is higher than all of the other non-foils prices also). Foils don’t tell the entire story, however they are the first prices to be sensitive to demand increases because of their lower supply. For non-mythics in the post-mythic era, it takes a lot of demand to move the needle. Masterpieces are crushing everything so much that the in-demand mythic Rashmi is worth basically the same as a less-in-demand-but-still-in-demand card like Pia Nalaar despite the one being mythic and one being non-mythic. Of course a mythic foil will be worth more than a non-mythic foil, but $13ish shows that the demand from EDH players has started already. Pia and Padeem have abilities EDH players want, but the mono-colored nature of Padeem all but relegates him to the 99 whereas Pia and Rashmi can play both roles. Gonti is basically a best-case scenario for a mono-colored commander since he is the second best Legendary creature in the set, is in a good color and wasn’t a buy-a-box promo or whatever. I think we can predict a few things about what we’ll see with the cycle of mono-color Legends in Aether Revolt.

This dude is $5.50 and at that price, it’s the strongest performer. I would say this is probably a better card than Gonti and certainly has people pretty hyped. I don’t want to pay $5 for this considering non-foil Rashmi is $1, however. Foils of this could be in the $10 range if tryhards follow through and end up as hyped about this card as they say they are. What is propping Baral up at this point is his potential for inclusion in Standard. Do we know whether that will happen? Did Reflector Mage’s banning make blue decks better or worse? Look, I wouldn’t ask Pat Chapin to accurately predict what is going to come from Standard post-new set and post-bannings so you’re crazy if you ask me whether this will see Standard play. Stranger things have happened. I do know that this would have to see a TON of Standard play to justify a $5 buy-in for non-foils.

Count all of the mythics under $5. Proceed with caution.

Personally, I think Sram is either the best or second-best Legendary creature in this set. Given its availability at $1.75 on TCGPlayer today, I’m not confident about any of the legendary creatures pre-selling for more than it. I don’t think Hope of Ghirapur’s durdly casual appeal will be enough to justify paying $2 for it. What I don’t like about pre-sale prices above bulk is that they make it difficult to get cheap foils from people. Kaladesh has showed that 3 months on, the best card (Baral? Sram?) are worth about $3.50 as a non-mythic. Baral could be worth $5 or more, but no one is trading you the foil version for $5 at the prerelease if the non-foil is going for that.

Stay away from the other stuff. I think Yahenni is underrated, but the foil is already at $5.50 and that’s probably about right for now. We’ll check back in a year, I guess, but Kaladesh is 3 months ahead and can probably give us a bit of a glimpse into trajectories that hopefully we can apply to Aether Revolt. The sets rotate out at the same time, but EDH doesn’t rotate and the demand is unaffected by such things. Rotation gives us a chance to get cards at their floor, though, and we’ll want to watch some of these cards then, if Standard doesn’t pump their prices, that is.

Things I like

This is a $4 pre-order, which kind of blows if you ask me. The $15 foil seems a little high, but the card has a lot of potential. This reminds me a LOT of Expropriate in terms of its appeal, mythic status, color, pre-sale price and a lot of other factors. Expropriate is in a set whose supply makes it quite inappropriate to try to compare prices, however. Trajectory, though, is a good corollary. At peak supply, I want to look at this card. I hope the foils come down, not because $15 is wrong but because it’s right and I want to pick them up for less than that. Do I think this foil hits the $30 that foil Expropriate hit? Nah. I’ll wait. Keep an eye on this sucker.

Aid From the Cowl is Aether Revolt’s From Beyond. You know how I won’t shut up about From Beyond? Well, sometimes they make a functional reprint (and maybe a slightly better version) of a card that a lot of people in a lot of formats are using that’s worth like $5 after a bunch of reprintings. Maybe this new card is harder to reprint. Maybe the only reason the prices aren’t the same is because the card is very recent and there are hundreds of copies in every retail outlet. It will take a year or two for demand to soak up those copies. In the mean time, you can take your time socking away a ton of copies at your own pace and suddenly From Beyond is like $8 and everyone but you and me is surprised. Aid From the Cowl is this set’s Zendikar Resurgent. This reminds me of Lurking Predators. It casts free Permanents. It will take a minute for this card to go up, but if you make sure you get every copy in every binder over the next few years, you’re going to just make money. Trade away Aetherspire Harvester for 4 copies of this and you’ll end up looking like a genius when Harvester is worth 1/4 as much and Aid is worth 4 times as much. You need a retail out on this, though, since if this quadruples (which it might not) the buylist probably only doubles and then shipping costs eat a lot of your bottom line. Read this. There is a reason I recommend grabbing these in trade and not paying shipping. This will hold value and grow while a lot of the rest of the set will not. If this looks risky to you, stay away. There are plenty of cards that are going to go up faster and aren’t from Masterpiece-containing sets. However, foils of this are $5 which means EDH is very aware that this is nuts. That or dealers think EDH is aware that this is nuts. Either way, I have confidence in this card.

I like this card a lot more than most people, but at peak supply, these will be dirt cheap. I like this as a long-term pickup, especially for people who don’t like foils. Watch this. Trophy Mage is spicy and gets a lot of combo pieces.

At $75 for the masterpiece, $23 for the set foil and $8 for the non-foil, it’s safe to say this card has been identified. I am not sure there are many ways to take advantage of this in Standard, so the price is almost certainly too high given the Masterpieces in the set. This is Panharmonicon levels of good and unless someone jams this in Standard, this will tail off until we hit peak supply. Not much we can do about the foil price since it’s a snap pick-up for players at its current price and I don’t see it getting high enough in the meantime that we’ll wish we’d paid $23 for finance reasons. Not with a $75 Masterpiece, anyway. If those prices move together, though, it’s worth revisiting. However, I think this will go down and we’ll want to revisit at peak supply.

Bulk rare with an $8 foil? I’m listening! If Aid From the Cowl doesn’t end up this set’s From Beyond, this sure will. This may be an early front-runner for this set’s Dictate of Erebos, although Dictate was also predicated on being a nearly identical printing of a $15 card. This isn’t as obvious as all that but it’s certainly powerful and the high foil price indicates someone has a lot of faith in this bulk rare. I think this is good enough to maintain some value moving forward, especially used in concert with cards like Abundance, Mayael, Aid From the Cowl, Lurking Predators and myriad other “I get a random card from the top but not actually that random” cards. This is a steal at bulk status and I want to trade for these all day.

This card has me very excited. This is a value engine and will likely be the centerpiece of some comboes that ruin some lives moving forward. $1.50 on the non-foil is probably good for now, but dealers don’t seem that bullish on this being played in EDH since the foils are only $3. I think $3 for foils of this is probably incorrect. If it gets any cheaper, I’m all-in. As it is, $3 for foils makes me think it could get cheaper since pre-sale foil prices are usually too high given the total lack of competition from other vendors and the uncertainty surrounding getting your hands on enough to fill orders. There is a foil in the set whose current price makes me want to buy, though.

Before I tell you that card, I want to show you a few other graphs.

I’m sure you can guess which card I’m going to point out.

Boom. This gets you any number of rats or apostles out of your deck and it’s currently $1.50 in foil on TCG Player. I’m not bullish about the non-foils until they hit true bulk, and possibly even not then, but this is a steal at $1.50. The apostles are pretty cheap themselves meaning the deck is doable in foil and if the foil is super cheap, why not just get the foil version if you have to pay $1 or whatever for shipping regardless? It’s also worth noting that using Secret Salvage on Hedron Alignment means you can handle exiling a copy and finding your other copies in one card. That’s pretty good if you ask me.

Which cards do you think are worth discussing at their current price? Did I miss something that’s obvious to you because you’re so smart? Leave it in the comments section. Until next week!

7 thoughts on “Now Usually I Don’t Do This”

  1. What are your thoughts on Masterpiece Pithing Needle? Is needle an EDH card? I know it’s played in every legal constructed format, and I feel like low $60s is criminally low for a card that’s in Modern, Legacy, and Vintage sideboards or main decks. If it’s also in EDH I don’t understand why the price is so low. I understand the set foils are not too expensive but I thought that was due to several printings.

    I feel like the finance people are all over this set, kind of like you pointed out, but the Expertise series shows a lot of potential if any of them drop in price at first. I think Yahenni’s Expertise has Standard and Modern play-ability, but all of them have propped up prices right now. I too thought Bestiary looked like a great card, likely too slow for standard but every green EDH deck why the heck not.

    I do like Skyship Plunderer A LOT!!! A 2/1 blue 2 drop flier…this is a HUGE upgrade from Vaporkin. I feel like any card that increases the number of counters has some sort of crazy EDH or constructed potential. I think a lot of the cards are overhyped or there’s no money to be made because they are too expensive to start. The Mythics seem week, the rare Expertise cycle seems ban worthy if broken, the Uncommons seem insane…weird set.

    1. Needle is a sideboard card and doesn’t see a ton of EDH play. For whatever reason, people have a hard time paying $60 for a premium sideboard card. Needle is nuts, but no one is excited.

  2. No one is paying much attention to Walking Ballista. The price is dropping. Foils are around $8.00 and non-foils are sinking to $2.00. That cannot possibly be right.

    This card is all but a strict upgrade to Triskeleon. Vintage Shops pilots who run Ravager are losing their minds over this guy. Like Trike, Ballista gives Ravager “double strike” in the sense that you can swing with Ravager, then sac Ravager to itself and modulate the counters over to Ballista and unload. It’s a potential turn 2 kill with the right hand, but ignoring that, the ability to turn Ravager counters into free pings is totally nuts.

    We’ve already seen what a card that combos hard with Ravager can do (Hangerback Walker). This new card replaces Trike in decks running those cards already. And, since it’s so cheap, it will even seen play in Legacy Affinity decks as well.

    On top of all of that, when you’re not doing amazing things, this is an artifact Fireball. For as much as you want to spend, it converts 2 mana into 1 damage. Does there exist a better source of mana-to-damage in artifacts? In all of Magic? I guess Aeoplile converts 3-to-2, so that’s better, but other than that I’m coming up short.

    And then they have the audacity to give it a way to ramp itself up if you have 4 spare mana in the midgame? Insanity.

    I see this getting to $20.00 foils easily. It’ll happen fast if the card takes off in Standard, and slow if it has to work up from the Eternal formats. Either way, the card is incredibly potent, has a home, upgrades an existing staple…. what else do you want?

    1. Lodestone Golem was always around $1 for nonfoil and $10 for foils even before being restricted. Vintage doesn’t drive prices for nonfoils. Walking Ballista’s prices seem a bit high if anything, but definitely not low.

  3. Excellent analysis. It’s easily the best I’ve seen concerning the new set. Keep up the great work Jason.

  4. Aid from the Cowl will be in the Ajani deck. Still a great card. Just more supply out there that will need to be soaked up.

    1. I have no idea how much supply those Planeswalker decks are going to add. I don’t know how often the kind of person who buys a planeswalker deck sells to dealers.

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