Ripple Rat Reminder

There were no new rat cards in Aether Revolt or Commander 2016 and yet I feel like a few decks are going to get a look because of something that wasn’t printed. It’s itself a bulk rare and while maybe the foils have upside, I’m not excited about either the foil or non-foil or the card itself. However, this series was predicated on, and subsequently got away from when I felt like it, the idea that a new card, whether or not the card itself has financial upside, can re-invigorate older archetypes and get people talking about those archetypes and make some people some money when the cards sell more briskly. Prices of older cards balance on a knife’s edge and it sometimes takes a very small nudge to send the price teetering. It also takes a pretty long time for the prices to go back to normal, if they ever do.

Sometimes the push is very, very slight.

“Wait, couldn’t we beat Legacy Tron decks with this?”

“Anyone else sick of losing to Storm?”

I remember people flipping out in the QS forums over both of these cards and trampling each other to buy copies. It’s sometimes hard to tell what’s going to be a Sylex (also very, very good in Vintage) and what’s going to be a Druid. These pushes were from tournament tech that caused copies to disappear from the floor of a GP and sent people scrambling for copies around the event hall that weren’t there. We’ve seen it dozens of times and it’s always hilarious. Sometimes you had to be there – Aegis of Honor’s price graph has erased all traces of its “$20 on the floor of an SCG Legacy open in Columbus” from 4 years ago. Sometimes you have copies or get them right away while everyone else is flat-footed, sometimes you don’t. Little nudges are all it takes sometimes, and I feel like a nudge happened and it’s going to register pretty soon.

Low supply can have the same effect as high demand, and that’s why I pointed to cards that are very old like Sylex and Druid. I think a new card is going to make people more interested in a card with low supply and the rest of the cards in the deck, as well. Could we see one little rock thrown in a pond lead to big ripples? I think so. It’s funny that I mention ripples, by the way.

So this is a sub $7 card some places and that’s non-correct. Casual ripple players buy these four at a time, but obviously no one has in a while. The real upside can come from people building a new deck with Relentless Rats or Shadowborn Apostle in EDH. Is there some reason that would happen now of all times? I think so.

This plucky $1 foil is a pretty damn good card in a deck with a ton of Rats or Apostles in it. You can grab a bunch of copies of the card of choice and still have some left in your deck. It may not be a huge impetus behind a ton of new demand for rat and apostle cards in and of itself, but it’s one more reminder those decks exist, one more chance for some EDH deck brewer to write an article about those decks and a new group of people remembering those cards exist. Secret Salvage is not in low supply and probably never will be, even the foils, but that’s not our focus and shouldn’t be. I think Thrumming Stone is the best target in the decks, both of which have many other juicy targets with low supply.

Did you know this is a $12 foil? It’s nearly sold out which means we’re very near a tipping point, but this is, again, a $12 foil. That doesn’t seem correct to me and once this is gone at this price, it likely gets put back in stock at $20 and everyone looks at it and says “Yeah, duh, EDH” or whatever they say when they wish they’d thought of it. There is very low supply on Coldsnap in general because the boxes were miserable back in the day and now they’re prohibitively expensive. There was basically never a good time to buy boxes of Coldsnap unless you could see the future. That being the case, small runs on these cards aren’t mitigated by new supply and have long-reaching effects. We saw Arcum Daggson go nuts earlier and that price has stuck. Ripple rats decks aren’t Arcum decks (Arcum being a Commander that is nuts now that we have Paradox Engine. He’s stupid now. For those of you who read my Scrap Trawler piece and wondered where Trawler was needed, this is a good place to start looking) but they are still popular and with the combined effect of rats and apostles on the cards they share, we could see a similar amount of upside. $12 for a foil is wrong if anyone additional builds a new deck.

Speaking of small multipliers, this is a $3.50ish foil. The fact that a foil common is $4 when a non-foil common is $2 points to the fact that casual players are inclined to build around this card and therefore buy the cheapest version. Still, EDH players do foil decks sometimes and if it’s only twice as much for foils and they’ll get bought 20 or so at a time, only one new deck is going to permanently impact the price.

There’s perhaps no better visualization of what’s going on than the price graph of Shadowborn Demon’s foil price over the last couple of years. It’s like you can watch people not care about the deck in real time. I don’t think it’s necessarily people freeing up copies by selling the deck because the deck was cheap to make and costs nothing to keep together, and if you’re going to sell a card, why buylist it for $2 when you could just keep the deck built? Do you want to free up 100 sleeves that badly? I think this is mostly from hype around the deck when it was first built that while it materialized, didn’t quite sustain the amount of copies it would need to sell.

Do I want to buy $3 demons with the expectation that they will hit $20 again? Not really, but the supply is mostly accounted for since it spiked early which means renewed interest will make the price increase more sharply, if it does. I think the cards basically can’t get any cheaper at this point, just on principle. Still, let’s look at the cards shared between the two potential ripple decks besides Thrumming Stone and Secret Salvage to see if there is anything that has two chances to go up.

It’s not entirely certain if there will be a Commander 2017 given the announcement of Commander Anthology, but given the release of Commander 2016 in a year when they released Planechase Anthology earlier in the year, I wouldn’t sweat it. Still, the odds of getting White-Black reprints until 2018 at the earliest seem low. Iroas hinted they are willing to do it, but the exclusion of Kruphix or other Gods that would have vastly improved the decks they were in signals that a reprint of a God is theoretically possible. Still, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Clearly capable of selling for more than it is now and also the best general in Apostle decks (Though maybe not rat decks) I am breaking my promise to talk about cards in both kinds of decks to point out that this seems to be climbing a bit and the spread is narrowing. This is probably not worth speculating on, but I would get them if you want to play with them because the cheapest days are behind it.

This is hard, guys. This is always going to go up even if it’s reprinted, but other than obvious tribal stuff, what do Ripple Rats and Ripplepostles have in common? One’s rats and the other one is demons. They have EDH staples in common. Black Market. Dictate of Erebos. One’s better with Shirei, the other with Marrow-Gnawer.

This is also poised to go back up. If you take nothing else away from this week’s article, let’s remember to go back and look at stuff we think we know the price of. That’s sort of what Secret Salvage did. Even if we don’t find anything juicy, we found a bunch of prices we haven’t checked in a minute. Stuff is creepin’ so creep on the creepers and peep their creepin’ for the price of the creeps is too steep.

Hey there, creeper. This is probably the most expensive card in the deck if you’re trying to build either one. I think Secret Salvage is a good way to fill your hand so you can pitch the cards to something and Bidding or Living End them back or win with Mortal Combat or something. This is, again, a pretty general tribal card that could go up based on renewed ripple rat rapture but will also creep on its own.

You would think all of this would discourage me, but it actually doesn’t. While the Shadowborn deck seems like a bit of a bust in terms of targets and there is way less non-staple overlap than we had wanted, I still think the rats builds are solid moving forward and Thrumming Stone is a card I want to be about. It’s old, unlikely to be reprinted, has the same supply as cards like Arcum Daggson which have been good movers lately (albeit with more of an impetus, I know that, I’m just saying Arcum establishes what renewed interest in a Coldsnap rare does) and I think it’s too cheap right now. Rats has a chance to shove it over a tipping point as does Shadowborn stuff. With every new demon printed, people will get a reminder. With every new rat, same. Thrumming Stone will likely continue to creep up and 60 card, 4-of casual could really get the ball rolling for us faster than we expect.

Next week I’m going to delve into the lists from Commander Anthology and talk about which cards I expect to recover, which I don’t and whether the Anthology is even going to impact prices all that much. Until next time!