Unlocked Pro Trader: The Next Shoe To Drop

Commander 2016 commanders are selling out like they’re made out of heroin and taste like Nutella. With the set being officially declared out of print and big box retailers no longer restocking shelves with C16 product (or if they do, replacing it with something that’s not quite as good, though some people think it is better), people are finally taking a look at TCG Player stock of the commanders and realizing how easy it is to buy them out. The rest of the Magic community, unaware that a card being sold out on TCG Player doesn’t mean the price automatically has to go up 200%, buys out the rest of the internet because “OMG Breya is $60 on TCGPlayer but I found 10 copies on Card Kingdom for $5! I’m rich!”

PSA – you better want all of these singles for yourself because they will not sell

Magic Finance is weird sometimes. However, while it’s too late to get in on Tymna, Breya and Thraisos, all of which popped this week, there’s still time to get ahead of the other cards that are good buys for the same reasons that people think the other cards were good buys. C16 is going to be harder to get, partner commanders are likely to be unique and therefore if you want the partner commanders, now is the time to buy and it will be a long, long time before we get more 4-color commanders. There are cards that haven’t popped yet and I think there are some opportunities to make some money. Let’s explore.


Ash Barrens

I’m not convinced the window is closed on this. It’s pretty solidly a few bucks on a lot of sites, up from about 50 cents, but there are a lot of copies available for around a buck. I think EDH demand coupled with a modicum of Pauper demand (which is a real thing, but not really enough to move a card on its own, though I think it’s a non-zero factor for cards relevant in other formats) could see this hit $3 and a reprinting might not move the price down as much as you might expect. Myriad Landscape maintained $3 after a reprinting, though that’s uncommon and therefore in fewer of the decks than Ash Barrens. Barrens triggers cycling and discard stuff which is relevant with Amonkhet cards so it’s getting even more scrutiny as people try to figure out if it’s worth it to play stuff like Archfiend of Ifnir in EDH (I think it is because of cards like Windfall, personally). This has room to grow and the Magic Community is split between people who bought this under $2 hoping it hits $5 and people who think this is bulk and will sell it to you as such.

Lurking Predators

Down from $7, this card took a real hit. The question is what will happen to the cards in Stalwart Unity once MSRP is no longer enforcing the price of the total deck. Stalwart Unity has the most value in cards that were not new in Commander 2016 so while the demand for the cards in the Atraxa deck are in a tug of war between the competing forces of the fact that a $20 Atraxa is in the deck and that the sealed decks sell for like $70 or more on eBay, things are more cut-and-dried for the cards in Stalwart Unity. That deck was the worst-selling deck which means there will be loose copies of the deck on shelves (or on sale to make room for new inventory, which is a great opportunity) but once even that supply is gone, MSRP no longer determines the prices of the cards in the deck. Demand takes over and demand is weird for the deck. It has a lot of durdly cards in it, but those durdly cards are casual favorites. If Prismatic Geoscope doesn’t go anywhere, this deck has the worst Commander 2016 cards of all of the decks, also. Kraum , Ludevic and Sidar Kondo are all pretty bad. Benefactor’s Draught could get there, conceivably, as could Seeds of Renewal, but more likely is that the Commander 2016 cards in the deck all sort of peter out. Should that happen, there is nothing new to soak up value meaning the old cards have to do a lot of the heavy lifting. Will the value spread equally or will it be weighted somehow? I think that’s more likely and while we can’t know exactly, we can sort of eyeball how the value will be weighted (this won’t be 100% accurate because the number of copies matters, also). Using this metric, Lurking Predators isn’t the strongest pick in the deck, however. Lurking Predators has some upside for sure, and under $2, this is a no-brainer given how good it is and how $7 it used to be. I bought in at $1 like I said I would when this card was first spoiled, but I don’t think this is going to see $1 again.

Tempt With Discovery

Everything I said about Lurking Predators is true of this card, except in checking out which cards were played the most per EDHREC, this is played twice as much as Lurking Predators. This isn’t as “splashy” and obvious but this is a bit of a secret staple of the format, impacting a ton of decks. It’s gotten cheap due to the reprinting and another one is plausible but for now, this seems like a low-risk spec and likely grows as much as if not more than Lurking Predators. There were way more copies of a C13 card than an M10 card but this is played twice as much so those factors might cancel each other out meaning if one of these hits, they both should. But you know what’s in twice as many decks as Tempt with Discovery and four times as many decks as Lurking Predators?


This gets printed every couple of years in a Commander deck and it still maintains a decent price. I think this could eat up some of the growth the cards in the deck experience. This is played in so many decks that it’s bound to recover better than cards with fewer copies and that’s why I’m lumping it in with a bunch of other $2 cards that used to be $7 and will probably be $5 from the same deck. That’s all predicated on none of the Commander 2016 cards in that deck really growing but that seems like a fair assessment. Obviously, Kynaios and Tiro are the exception since that’s a very popular deck lately, but the rest of the cards look sort of lethargic.

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder

This guy hasn’t popped, yet and it kind of makes sense. Boros is pretty bad in EDH and what Bruse does, there are angels who do it. Still, Bruse can partner and that’s the best thing about him. Partner commanders are unique and this makes him have more upside than other boring Boros commanders because at least you can have access to other colors. If you can get in under $2, I think the reprint risk is low enough that this is a nice medium-to-long-term gainer and it’s worth picking these up since other people don’t seem to be paying attention to him. Right now, EDHREC has this in as many decks as Tymna, a card that is disappearing everywhere.

Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix

Kydele makes infinite mana and can be partnered which can put you into up to two other colors, or 0 if you want to partner Kydele with Thraisos and win every game. If you can get a creature that creates colorless mana and can go infinite with as little as an Umbral Mantle and a Brainstorm, look no further. This is even a useful inclusion in the 99 of decks like Kruphix (should be mandatory, really) and while some of the sexier targets are being gobbled up, this is in more decks than Tymna and should be looked at accordingly.

Looking at the cards in the Kynaios and Tiro deck made me think about targeting other decks where the balance of the value wouldn’t be soaked up by new cards and would therefore likely lead to older cards to regain some of their value (barring a subsequent reprinting, if you want to see what repeated reprintings does to promising specs, look no farther than Mycoloth or Windborn Muse) so I took a look at Open Hostility, also (the Saskia deck).

Of the new stuff in Open Hostility, Stonehoof Chieftain and Tymna and one other card look promising but the rest of the new cards don’t look that good. That said, the old cards don’t look that good, either. Without MSRP to enforce some modicum of a price, the market is going to do whatever it will with these prices and I think some of the cards will rebound absent anything holding them back. Buying this deck is a losing proposition but clearly people were doing it and the singles are out there. But what has upside?

Conqueror’sĀ FlailĀ 

Even at its current $4ish, I think this has legs. It’s not quite Blade of Selves but it’s still very useful and as long as players are going to be aggressive with their creatures, this has a home. Equipment is a bit of a tough sell unless you are building around it, though, and most of the time the only equipment that makes a deck is Lightning Greaves and/or Swiftfoot Boots. Still, this shuts down annoying spells from other decks and can give a creature a significant boost in its power for a small mana investment and that’s got to appeal to people. I think with the narrowing spread on this card, we’re in good shape.

Is that enough value for you? It should be. There are some cards that haven’t popped yet but likely will in the coming months. A lot of these cards are good investments if their reprint risk is low and there are some factors I want to talk about that we should look at. If we want two years of growth, which should be enough to get in, profit and get out, we need to avoid stuff that will be in Commander 2017. What do we know about that stuff?

  • 4 Decks instead of 5. With 56 new cards promised, we’ll see fewer reprints than normal since there will be more new cards per deck.
  • The decks will be tribal. Stuff like Urza’s Incubator seems bad. Stuff that’s a-tribal seems safer. Still, being tribal indicates risk while not being strictly tribal doesn’t indicate a lack of risk. Use cards’ tribal affiliation as a means of disqualifying them as a spec but not as a means of qualifying them.
  • How many colors are these tribal decks likely to be? And in what combinations? If you don’t think there will be a Hydra deck, maybe Managorger is a good pickup. Maybe lay off of Mirror Entity.

That’s it for me this week. Next week there will be another topic, probably some Commander 2017 speculation. If you want me to address a certain topic, hit me up in the comments. Until next time!

2 thoughts on “Unlocked Pro Trader: The Next Shoe To Drop”

  1. Wasn’t breya banned as a commander? And her price went up? I’m so confused.

    Here’s a fun project for u: put Starfield of Nyx and Second Chance in a deck. Let’s run jeskai ascendency too. I have a feeling that u can’t return Second Chance at the beginning of your upkeep and the “during your upkeep sacrifice it” but that is what the card says. Also feel like the deck needs Gideon of the trials, platinum angel, and/or phyrexian unlife. Make me a masterpiece sir!

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