Unlocked Pro Trader: Hapatra Hazard Construction

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Last week I was going to write about all of the cards that Hapatra was going to make spike in price. It was going to be a pretty sweet article, to be sure. A few cards like Crumbling Ashes had already started to creep up so pointing out the rest of them was going to be pretty valuable.

However, a wrench was thrown in the works and Protean Hulk was unbanned in EDH. Since I figured that was an “all hands on deck” situation, I wrote about the stuff that was going to go up as a result. I figured Hulk stuff was going to go up immediately as people panic bought as a result of a major event whereas Hapatra cards were going to slink by in the background a little bit, or so I thought.

The truth is, Hapatra is the most popular Amonkhet commander on EDHREC (though not the most popular overall. You think a little thing like an exciting new commander is going to make the internet stop farting out 110 new Atraxa lists a week?) and cards are taking off. A lot of ships have sailed and I realize that referring to specs as “ships” is mixing boat metaphors a little bit. I guess the rising tide raised them and now they’re capable of sailing? Look, the point is, you’re too late on some cards and on others you’re not.

 

What Are We Too Late To Buy?

Crumbling Ashes

Basically as soon as we found out we were getting -1/-1 counter stuff in Amonkhet, this card disappeared. It’s in the $7 range right now and it could come down, although there’s not a ton of pressure on it to do so. There aren’t that many copies, what with a Shadowmoor Uncommon being about as scarce as an Amonkhet rare and with a non-trivial amount of casual and EDH demand for this card before this point. There aren’t copies being ferreted out in collections and store inventories fast enough to control the price so it’s basically a $7 card from now on, barring a reprint.

Blowfly Infestation

This is in the $4 range everywhere it isn’t sold out, except for Card Kingdom which has 1 solitary $0.99 copy which throws off our metrics something fierce. Someone do me a favor and go buy it? It’s Near Mint.

This is another card that rewards you for killing their stuff and it’s a nice tandem with Crumbling Ashes. This is a card I would have warned you about last week and there was probably more than a solitary $1 copy then, to boot. C’est la vie. While it’s important to note the cards that spiked already, let’s not despair – there’s money to be made, still.

Few more.

Quillspike

This gets played in and outside of Hapatra decks, both. When people started messing with -1/-1 counters stuff again, including in Modern, people remembered this combo existed and the low supply coupled with the renewed interest gave some upside to this as well as the other piece of the combo, which also spiked for another reason. There’s ample evidence to suggest the printing of Vizier of Remedies spiked Devoted Druid first and brought Quillspike right along with it.

Devoted Druid

This is going to make infinite mana in a lot of decks (although not Hapatra, though it does make an infinitely-large Quillspike, still) and not all of them EDH so it’s natural stuff that seemed to have cross-format applicability would spike first.

While it’s not 100% fair to say that it’s too late to buy any of these cards, I think there are better targets, so why buy on the off chance that there is some blood to be wrung from these stones (there I go again, mixing my metaphors. I’m like the Krombopulous Michael of mixing my metaphors. Oh, you think that’s a funny reference? Well, I made Krombopulous Micheal up. Try thinking for yourselves for a change.) when we can just buy cards that are sexier targets and aren’t all bought up yet?

What Are We Not Too Late To Buy?

You should know by now what I did. My first step was to go to this page and just look at cards.¬†There are some very sexy targets still out there. That’s the second time in 2 paragraphs I’ve referred to spec targets as sexy. I think that’s because we only spec because it’s sexier than the way I make 90% of the money I make at MTG Finance – grinding. You don’t want to read an article about grinding, you want to check the mail with a tent in your pants. I get it. Let’s move on.

Dusk Urchins

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Say! Do you wish your Black Sun’s Zenith was also a Blue Sun’s Zenith? Well now you can!

This card is pretty good. Its stats are wonky for EDH but the fact that it can draw you some cards seems pretty good to me and you’re already going to be playing with -1/-1 counters. You can draw more than 3 cards with this and that’s what makes it so good. I think this goes up along with the popularity of Hapatra decks, which some people insist are not good EDH decks, as if that matters even a little bit. Oh snap, false alarm. The Gitrog Monster decks don’t Tooth and Nail everyone on Turn 4. I guess I better give back all of the money I made on Squandered Resources. On second thought, I better not, because I used it to buy a flight and hotel for GP Vegas. Maybe I’ll just stick with paying attention to trends irrespective of whether I agree with them.

Speaking of Black Sun’s Zenith

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Despite being sort of a durdly deck full of weird, midrange black creatures and expensive spells and therefore not selling as well as the sexier Red (Mom’s Daretti), White (Kor Set) and Green (Like, every card in there is a $5 elf) Commander 2014 decks, stuff from the black deck is finally starting to move and this card is no exception. It’s basically above its floor now and showing signs of even more life. How bow dah. Put these in a deck where you want things to have -1/-1 counters on them and watch how many creatures it does that thing to.

Necroskitter

This and the next card I want to mention are both at their floor following a reprinting in Modern Masters and that’s good. If you buy in at the floor, your risk is pretty low since they’re unlikely to go down as a result of increased interest. This was between $5 and $8 before the reprinting which was also before the printing of Hapatra. Will this be $8 again? No. But you didn’t buy them at $1 when they were $8 either, so you’ll probably profit the same amount as if you bought them at $3 or $4 before because you read the casual tea leaves better than I did in those days. Necroskitter was always a card I got sold to me as a bulk rare and remembered to pull because it buylisted for $2. Those were the days.

Midnight Banshee

Another card in the same boat (Look, I’m not going to change the way I talk at this point, so get used to it) as Necroskitter is a card that was $4 or $5, probably because of Skeleton Ship and casual and crap like that. This got a reprint, it’s at its floor, it’s starting to move, you know what to do.

Cauldron of Souls

We talked about this card recently and I think it’s worth repeating. This is a little above its floor and I think it’s as cheap as it’s going to get. Commander 2016 versions are gettable around $2 and that seems good to me. You know how I talk about the U-shaped graph of a card that gets a reprint then recovers nicely? We like to see reverse-J-shaped graphs because we know we’re buying in at the floor if you expect the card to recover. We expect this card to recover.

Flourishing Defenses

This is basically a Blowfly Infestation with a lower power level and less cross-format applicability but a high degree of synergy. This also has a way lower buy-in price and you’re basically at the floor on a stagnant card with the same low supply as Blowfly Infestation and Crumbling Ashes, cards from the same set. This isn’t as good but it’s good and it’s going to be how you win a lot of games. Imagine this with Skullclamp. Hubba hubba! That’s a spicy card drawing meatball. Throw in Attrition and Perilous Forays and you got a stew, baby! Beastmaster Ascension, Cryptolith Rite, this even pairs nicely with Nest of Scarabs. This is going to be played in a lot of Hapatra decks, and I’d spec on something old before I took a chance on much newer rares. We’ve established what can happen to this card on the basis of watching Crumblisg Ashes. It’s less healthy than that card but it’s not a complete slouch. At least pick these out of bulk.

That does it for me this week. Did we miss out on too much by not publishing this last week? I don’t think so. I think while there are cards we missed out on, there are still plenty of opportunities. Besides, half the cards we missed out on began spiking before last week. If you find this article series instructive, and this is going to sound like shameless self promotion, my Gathering Magic article series isn’t a bad place to also check. I don’t discuss finance per se there, but I do talk about cards I like in EDH decks and I discussed Hapatra there two weeks ago. I mentioned quite a few cards from the Hapatra EDHREC page and if I’m building with them and others are building with them,¬†someone is going to buy them – that’s how this works. Thanks for reading and let’s meet back here next week to discuss a few more slow gainers that we have some time to scoop up. Until next time!

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