We talk a lot in this series about “Events” and there’s no reason not to discuss the event that happened this week, regardless of whether we think it’s underwhelming or what. The event, of course, is the release of “Mind vs. Might”, a duel deck that no one really asked for but which is coming out anyway. Really, no one asks for these decks but casual players are probably buying them and they are a great avenue for reprints.
I think there are people upset by the apparent lack of value in these sets but only some people. It was telling that everyone who was complaining about the cards in the set neglected to list Coat of Arms or Beacon of Tomorrows, or both. Seems to me that if you ignore roughly $13 of value in a $20 deck, you’re naturally going to feel like it’s underwhelming. Can a 29th printing of Coat of Arms stop it from getting to $6 again? I tend to doubt it. Is Beacon of Tomorrows, a card seeing its second printing ever going to stay cheap? Doubtful. It seems like we’re creating a buy-in window on two EDH staples and all people can do is bitch. That’s fine, those of us who are paying attention are pretty happy with the opportunities this set affords us. Are we here today to talk about surface-level observations like those? No, but let’s not knock surface-level observations. Some of the best specs are ones that become obvious to a lot of other people because you want there to be demand.
It sounds silly to say this, but sometimes cards get forgotten about. People need to be reminded that cards exists sometimes, and while that’s weird, it’s actually somewhat common. The thing that makes EDH such a great format for investment, its large and growing player base, is a liability when it comes to cards that are easy to forget about. A player who starts playing Magic in 2015 and begins playing EDH right away isn’t going to know about a card like Lake of the Dead. Hell, they’re not even going to know about Grave Titan, probably. Sometimes these duel decks jog a few memories. What’s going to jog some memories in these decks?
The Might deck has a few bulk rares on top of Coat of Arms and Guttural Response and it has new art on Zo-Zu the Punisher, which is a card I tried to break in a tigger-style deck years ago. Working on that ridiculous pile is actually how I met and became friends with Ryan Bushard which I’m sure is interesting information for like 5% of you and the rest of you are the MTG Finance equivalent of a person who started playing Magic in Khans block and don’t even know who that is. This isn’t as interesting as the other deck, to me.
The mind deck has a few bulk rares to go with Beacon of Tomorrows and there is sweet new art of The Unspeakable and Mind’s Desire (which I now want to see in foil), but the card I want to talk about is the very first one on the list – Jhoira of the Ghitu. I realize the name of the article tipped you off and the feature image probably did, too, but I buried the lede anyway because I am physically incapable of resisting the urge to screw with people. The price of Jhoira is unlikely to be a factor – what I think is of import is that I think this deck reminded people that card even exists, and I think that can be very important. In fact, I don’t just think people are being reminded Jhoira exists, I can prove it with numbers and charts and other analyst guy stuff. You know, my job.
If that’s tough to read, click on it to open it up larger, scrutinize it a bit and come back. This graph is the most popular commanders based on searches on EDHREC. It’s at the top of the “Commanders” page and if you don’t want to bother figuring out how to navigate to that, here’s the link. I didn’t add Jhoira to this graph, users did. EDHREC uses a search that doesn’t allow you to type just anything in, you need to type until it populates the actual name of a card, then you click on that name and then click the search icon to go to the page. This means all searches are for real card names and it’s trivial to log them and populate this graph. On some days in the last week, Jhoira was the 5th-most popular general people searched for on all of EDHREC. To see it pop up on a graph alongside Atraxa and Breya and Meren has to make you think something’s coming.
Jhoira used to be the go-to tryhard deck when this format was very young. A lot of people used to play EDH 1v1 locally and I knew a lot of people with Jhoira decks, suspending big threats like Blightsteel Colossus and setting a Jokulhaups or something to clear the way for them to get up in everyone’s bidness with a 1-shot robot. Everyone started to adapt and new goodies for those players to use came along. A surprising number of “Jhoira Tier 1 best deck only deck” players became “Prossh Tier 1 best deck only deck” players and Jhoira sort of fell off. Multiplayer games are a little tougher to handle with a strategy like “Kill opponent with Blightsteel after you leave them landless and destitute” but that isn’t to say Jhoira isn’t viable, she’s just no fashionable. However, a bunch of new players have joined since 2013 or so when she fell off and there’s already renewed interest. If that interest starts to translate into tangible demand, cards that aren’t used much now will get used more and cards that are used now and are also used in Jhoira will get used even more. More demand is more opportunity as you well know. So what do we think has upside in a more Jhoira-y future?
This first one comes to us from Time Spiral, a set that has several $2-3 uncommons, even after reprinting like in the case of Return to Dust. Harmonic Sliver is on a big downswing and flirted with $6 for a minute and that’s all we’re asking of this card. This has flirted with $3 before and could very easily double up again, only it should spike harder on a third spike with copies being concentrated more in the hands of dealers and stuck in decks. Demand has been relatively flat lately but so has demand for Jhoira and given the high degree of synergy between the cards, it’s not unreasonable for us to assume it’s possible they could rise together. This is an old card, there’s no real impetus to reprint it anytime soon and it works with a lot of different cards, not just Jhoira. Having multiple upkeeps is very useful and Zedruu, Oloro and even Atraxa decks are taking a look. At the very least, pull these out of bulk since you likely got them in bulk at some point, I know I do. I’d be super happy selling these for like $1.50 – $1.75 to buylists if this hits $4 or so. I’m also happy to sell these in my case for retail. Just know what your out is before you pay $1.50 on these and end up losing money after fees because you had to buylist them.
Guess what? This card has never been reprinted. Guess what else? It never will be because it’s on the Reserved List. They were sort of bad at putting Tempest and Saga Block cards on that list and they picked some real duds. Selenia, Dark Angel can never see a reprinting but we can have Time Warp a few more times. Thanks, whoever! I’m always very quick to defend the Reserved List and this is an instance where any upward pressure on the price will probably trigger a price avalanche, but, like, an avalanche that goes upward? Maybe the avalanche is the number of copies available on TCG Player. Look, it’s going to set off a chain reaction. This card is in low supply, it’s literally old enough to drink and it’s never getting reprinted. Would this be pretty good in a Jhoira deck? Uh huh. This is one of the lowest-risk targets ever.
This is what a floor looks like. I think this could get a little bit cheaper but barring a reprint, I don’t see you getting blown out paying $5 on this. The dealer price is starting to tick up a bit so that means the spread will be lower or the price will go up. Either way, those are signs that the card is healthy at $5 and will be exploring the headspace a little. I think this is particularly good in a Jhoira deck. Once Jhoira is online and you’re churning out fatties, you have less use for the 3-5 mana cost stuff in your hand and you might as well turn them into Force of Wills (Forces of Will?). This is a great Eldrazi to resolve and paying 2 mana and waiting is a great way to resolve it. Screw ramping, start cheating. Not only that, the infrastructure of the deck is set up to cheat creatures into play with cards like Quicksilver Amulet and chucking this into play with Amulet is perhaps the funniest way to counter a spell. This plays very well in the deck and unlike some other Eldrazi which are very expensive, I think this has a lot of room to grow. It’s in a sweet spot where Standard players have forgotten about it but EDH players haven’t totally adopted it, yet. It’s better than Emrakul but it’s in the same number of Jhoira decks and costs half as much. This seems solid to me.
The duel deck printing clearly curbstomped this price, but it also revealed that a lot of its growth beyond like $10 or so we predicated on the new Eldrazi somehow making the older Eldrazi more relevant. I think this price can recover a little bit despite being in a duel deck that sold pretty well. This is still a dumb card and it’s cheating when you attack someone with it. This stuffs Meren decks if they rely on saccing things, also and that’s a nice added bonus. This price is going to recover as good as this card is, but it’s usually relegated to decks like Mayael and Jhoira. Renewed interest in Jhoira is good for this card.
This is one of the most powerful things you can cast off of Jhoira, especially if you have a bunch of other stuff suspended. This is also a little cheaper than it could be with all of the “take one extra turn” cards going up. Decks that can afford to cast this can and should and those decks that can use this to cheat and put a bunch of fatties into play and attack with them unmolested certainly should. People forgot about this card a bit. Now that they’re remembering the commander from the deck it should go in, maybe they’ll remember.
Jhoira is a good deck but people have forgotten that. There are a lot of expensive cards that people are going to need more of, too, so there is plenty of opportunity. Get ahead of the people who are building Jhoira for the first time and have the cards when the price goes up. You probably have some time before prices move but it stands to reason that they will. EDHREC can alert us to interesting activity – like a blast from the past commander suddenly tearing up the top views chart, and when it does, we should pay attention. Will this interest translate into new decks and will that translate into price increases? There’s no reason to suspect it won’t and while you can’t make money buying and selling Jhoira after the duel deck printing, that’s not really what we do here, anyway. Until next week!