PROTRADER: The Watchtower 4/24/17

By: Travis Allen

Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy. And if you enjoy playing Magic, make sure to visit to find PPTQs, SCG Opens, and more events on an interactive map with worldwide coverage. Find Magic near you today.

Well, uh, so much for a fresh, new, exciting Standard, eh? It’s not much of a stretch to say that nearly everybody, even those that wouldn’t have cared for the decision, were expecting a ban on Felidar Guardian. After Wizards openly admitted that it was a mistake in the first place, and seeing that it’s now nearly 40% of the metagame, and possibly an even larger percentage of Standard top eights, how could they not get rid of the combo? Removing Copy Cat would dramatically open up the format for all sorts of strategies to try and find their home, an excellent recipe for a Pro Tour.

Instead, Wizards changed nothing in Standard, and we’re left with existing Standard + Amonkhet, rather than New Standard. While Amonkhet brings new tools to the table, (and I find myself wishing I could reasonably spec on Manglehorn), I’m suspect that we’ll really see any especially exciting shakeups. Our most likely universe is the one in which there’s a bunch of Copy Cat and Vehicles players, each with some clever tech for mirrors, and then 10% of the room playing something different, of which one or two will manage to make T16.

It’s disappointing, especially from a market perspective, but what can you do? Join us again in about two months when we go through this song and dance once again. For today, I’m going to skip Standard, simply because I’m not sure where to turn. Glorybringer is already up to $5, and beyond that, a lot of pros are talking on Twitter about just locking Copy Cat now and moving on to drafting. Once I have a better idea of what changes to Standard may look like, I’ll start covering cards over there.


Price Today: $7.50
Possible Price: $15

I’m as surprised as you are, but it’s my duty to share these things with all of you. If ever there were a longshot with a payoff potential, it’s Odds//Ends.

As some of you may recall, there was a change made to the way split cards are handled in regards to their converted mana costs. This came as a blow to their playability, with cascade spells no longer able to hit the cheaper half, Brain in a Jar no longer able to cast them, and other similar effects. Well, it turns out there’s a silver lining to all of this. The downside of not being able to cast split cards with cascade effects is that…you can’t cast split cards with cascade effects.

Practically, this allows decks that rely on cascade cards to now be able to play split cards without worrying about connecting with them. This is a considerably smaller scope than before, but it could have corner applications. In this case, it’s Ari Lax pointing out that there’s now a counterspell that’s playable in Restore Balance and Living End decks. (He built a URx Living End deck, in case you were wondering how he’s casting it.) Odds works by either A. countering their spell, or B. making a copy of their counterspell, which then counters their counterspell. Technically Determined of Bound/Determined is better at keeping your spell uncountered, but Odds//Ends lets you stop opposing combos, something Determined decidedly doesn’t. Odds only works half the time in that scenario, but half the time is better than none of the times, right?

Copies are floating around $.75 right now, and honestly, I don’t know why. They are though, and there aren’t that many, all things considered. Like Protean Hulk, it’s from Dissension, which means the supply is as close to zero as you can get in Modern. If this ends up a common component of these style decks, expect to see the price hitch up towards $3 or $4. It’s not a big gain, but if you can snag these out of $.25 or $.50 rare boxes, or you find them for cheaper than TCG somewhere online, there’s very little risk involved.

Protean Hulk

Price Today: $4.50
Possible Price: $30

While I was writing the intro to this article, Protean Hulk got unbanned in Commander. Know any quiet shops that don’t see a lot of online business? Now’s your chance. For most of us, this is a “there it goes,” not a “here it comes.” Sorry, I can’t tell people to slow down. I’m sure TCGPlayer is being bought out as I type these words.

Honestly, I didn’t even realize this was on the EDH ban list, but then again, it’s not the type of card I would ever seek to play. The mere fact that Hulk’s legality status has changed will probably bring the card to the attention of many players that simply didn’t know it existed, because they’re not the type of person to know a random rare creature from Dissension, and nobody in their EDH playgroup was running it (because it was banned). Now that they’ll see it out there, there could be a “oh, that’s a card? I need that!” moment for a lot of players. It helps too that the card is quite good in EDH; saccing this to any random sac effect allows you to set up an instant kill, if you so desire, or even just value engines if you don’t. There’s probably some engine in there with Eternal Witness, Restoration Angel, and a few more copy/bounce effects that will let you drag every creature in your deck under six mana into play.

Protean Hulk was sitting at $4 to $4.50 before the unban. He’s been on the (very remote) fringe of Modern a few times, which pushed him north of $10 for half a day, and has since hung out in the “people hope this combo gets good some day” price range. Now with EDH legality, once the dust settles, I expect copies to sell for at least $8 to $10, and depending on what Jason Alt tells people to think about this card, it could end up above $20 if it’s as evergreen as some of the other green monsters.

Body Double

Price Today: $1
Possible Price: $5

Since I started playing EDH, I was surprised that Body Double was as cheap as it is. It’s relatively inexpensive, gives you a copy of the best creature that’s been cast all game, and enables all sorts of shenanigans, either from being flickered or because of its zero power. Given that most cards I find myself saying “huh, that’s surprisingly cheap” eventually end up not, and Protean Hulk, Body Double’s most dangerous enabler, is now legal in EDH, I think Double is worth turning our attention to.

Modern’s most common variant of the combo required Mogg Fanatic, Viscera Seer, Body Double, Reveilark, and of course, Protean Hulk. That’s across all five colors, and given that this is EDH, it would be nice to streamline that a bit. It’s likely this could be streamlined in terms of color requirements, especially given all the tools available outside of Modern. Instant kills aren’t required to make Body Double useful, though. If you just assume that eighty percent of people who now need a Protean Hulk also need a Body Double, and add in that a bunch of people may not realize they should have been playing this card already, and you can see how demand can mount fast. If you find yourself saying “claiming that eighty percent of people who bought a Protean Hulk would need Body Double is ridiculous,” mind I remind you that A. shut up and B. blue is the second best color in EDH, and the best color to pair with green.

Copies are available in the $1 range, and possibly lower if you dig hard. Inventory isn’t especially low, but it’s lower than some of the other cards we talk about in this series. There’s about forty-ish copies of the original on TCG right now, and maybe one hundred of the duel deck printing. That’s the only other printing of the card other than Planar Chaos though, a set many EDH players probably don’t even realize exists. Add to that that there’s probably over 100 EDH decks represented at your local store alone, and you can see how that reserve may dry up fast if there’s a glut of players looking to Double their Hulks.

Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.

3 thoughts on “PROTRADER: The Watchtower 4/24/17”

  1. You think we’ll really see shakeups? Or is that a typo? If so, then it should say “… I’m *suspecting* that we *won’t* see any especially exciting shakeups.” If not, then the rest of the paragraph is really out of context.

    If you’re going to charge people to read your article early, at least proofread it better, *especially* the cover paragraphs so it doesn’t look like you’re pulling words out of your ass to fulfill your word count. The cover paragraphs are what is supposed to hook people, and if you keep making fundamental mistakes like you did with this and the Fast Finance podcasts, no one will be convinced. Thank you.

    1. Jc99 — I am suspect of something happening, means I do not think it will occur. He is not suspecting it will happen.

    2. I see. Well, I will retract my specific argument then, although the phrase is not one that is encountered in everyday speech. My point partially stands, though, as there have been quite a few typos more than normal, especially in Fast Finance.

      Oh, and I somehow cannot post comments from my listed email address. What is up?

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