Unlocked Pro Trader: Here There Be Dargons

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What a week it’s been. Fortunately for David Leavitt, someone else came along and grabbed the mantle of “Person the Magic Community is most mad at” which is probably too little too late considering even my local morning zoo radio program DJs (I don’t listen to the fart noises that pass for local radio, but a buddy with less taste does and he told me about it) was talking about his joke (which barely qualifies as a joke, not because it was offensive but because it was lazy) leaving the Magic community to focus on who we don’t like this week. And we don’t like the person who leaked pictures of the Dragons from the Commander 2017 dragon deck. At all.

I wanted to post the silly post he tried to make on twitter about how he isn’t responsible for the leaks, he just had a friend give him the pictures to share. The whole thing is really funny to me on top of how annoyed I am that some human parasite leaked a bunch of card images early and forced us to talk about them. Pasting your Instagram name on the leaks seems like a bad way to escape Wizards’ inevitable wrath coming down on you and is hilarious. Saying you’re not responsible for the leaks while being 100% responsible for the leaks is hilarious. Changing your Instagram name to “Turn 1 Thoughtseize” when there is already a Magic podcast with that name and pissing them off on top of everything else is hilarious. As much as this dude sucks for leaking the cards, at least he had the common decency to turn the entire affair into a gigantic comedy of errors for my amusement. It’s put me in such a good mood that I’m writing my article for next week super early so you can get in on this giant gamble we’re all going to be in on. Let’s look at what was leaked and what will matter.

 

The Ur-Dragon

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This is a mythic that really feels mythic. That’s not necessarily saying it feels good, it just feels mythic. Learning nothing from how annoying Oloro, Ageless Ascetic is to play against, Wizards has come out with another creature that affects the board from the Command Zone. Let me assure you that “one or more Dragons you control attack” is correct grammatically and the fact that it isn’t “attacks” does not prove this is fake.

I’m not sure if this card is going to spike anything on its own. The fact that it’s the commander of a 5 color dragon deck likely makes a lot of stuff go up but I don’t want to recommend a bunch of cards that are likely to be reprinted so I’m going to stick to stuff I think is very safe.

What is very safe? First up, I would say stuff from Commander 2016. I expect Chromatic Lantern to be safe, which means it seems very, very likely to me that Coalition Relic is in these decks. Stay away from that, but if we get a full spoiler and still no relic, that’s a signal that they never intend to reprint that card again ever because they don’t know what they’re doing. Crystalline Crawler and Conquerer’s Flail would be great targets if they both hadn’t gone up already. There is a card from C16 that I do like, though.

Prismatic Geoscope

This is a “worse” Gilded Lotus that can sometimes tap for 5 mana which makes it very good. I like things that are very good in 5 color decks and this is it. I can’t imagine this stays below $5 over the next week or two. It was already a card I had my eye on and with a 5 color deck being spoiled, mana fixing will be at a premium and this has such a low likelihood of being reprinted this soon that I am all over this card, whose price is trending down and therefore seems like a great bargain. Yes, coming into play tapped sucks. But tapping for 5 mana does not suck and this is going to tap for 5 a lot. It’s going to tap for 2 a lot, also, but the kind of person who builds a tribal Dargon deck isn’t thinking about that.

You know what a person who builds Ur-Dargon IS thinking about?

Zirilian of the Claw

You know what’s safer than safe? Cards on the Reserved List, that’s what. This card is safe on the Reserved List, nestled between Yare and Zuberi Golden Feather. The buylist price for this never quite got as excited as the pretend retail price did in January of 2015 when someone bought a copy of this off of TCG Player and everyone pretended the entire internet was out of stock. If terrible dragons like Kolaghan getting printed can spike this card, imagine what the second spike is going to look like on the back of an actual dragon deck being printed without this card inside it. This is a no-brainer. Sell this to people with no brains. I don’t think any of this good will is going to extend to Hivis of the Scale, which is too bad, since stealing dragons seems very spicy in the wake of them printing new dragons. Zirilian isn’t getting play in Scion decks right now, though, so get out quickly.

Edit – Or not. This is basically gone from the internet. I told you it was a no-brainer. Don’t chase this spec, let everyone else deal with trying to offload copies.

There isn’t a whole lot else that’s really spicy that I don’t think has a decent shot of being in the deck. Urza’s Incubator seems like it’s on the table, Dragon Arch seems like a shoo-in, etc. I am tending to avoid obvious tribal stuff. Not every good card is a dargon, and I’ll get to that in a minute.

O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami

Yes, that’s right, THE O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami, from all of those Kamigawa block flavor texts and novels.

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This seems really underwhelming. It’s not always easy to hit them with a creature and if you do, the reward should be better than “Maybe destroy a permanent” but that might just be me. I’m not excited about putting this at the helm of its own deck. I’m sure you will get to summon this a lot more often than Ur-Dragon, but I just don’t like this card much. It’s not going to make anything that the 5-color dragon deck just existing won’t spike already so I’m not going to waste too much more ink on this card.

Wasitora, Nekoru Queen

Finally, the Jund-colored Cat Dragon that makes Cat Dragon tokens we’ve all been begging for.

I could see this getting its own deck built around it, actually. I don’t know how popular it would be, but this is very aggressive. Things that double your attack phases or the number of tokens you produce will get played, but I don’t know how much upside they have. Saskia basically already spiked everything this would spike and I don’t know if this adds enough additional demand for any of it to go up again. This just feels a little weak for multiplayer. Only getting the token if they don’t have a creature to sac feels durdly. If you die both things every time this might feel more playable. This also has no white so you couldn’t even play any of the other cat cards basically making this card’s tribal identity as a cat worthless.

Ramos, Dragon Engine

I hate to have to post a pic with dumdum’s Instagram account slapped on it, but this is the picture we have so we’re going with it. I was joking before but this actually is THE Ramos from Mercadian Masques era lore. I don’t know if you want this as your commander as opposed to Ur-Dragon, but this is pretty sweet. With the amount of Proliferate and cards like Doubling Season running around, this could potentially get out of hand quickly. Only being able to activate his ability once a turn keeps this from getting completely bonkers, but this is a great mana battery and I expect people to build something around him. I don’t think this spikes anything that Atraxa, a commander still bound to be more popular than anything from the dragon deck a year from now, hasn’t spiked already.

Taigam, Ojutai Master

Finally, a card that isn’t 100% a dragon card. This could spawn its own deck, rebounding cards like Time Warp, which this makes uncounterable. This is the most exciting card we’ve seen for sure and this, while it references dragons, need not be played with them at all, unless you really want to jam Ojutai(s) which you probably should do because, why not?

There is no real rush on this card so I’m going to give it its own article because there are so many relevant cards based on the deck that will creep up around this. People have dargon fever today so I want to finish out by addressing the rest of the dragon stuff I think has upside.

Foil Everything

We want to buy cards that are safe from reprint and in addition to stuff on the Reserved List, foils are safe. Only the new cards are getting the foil treatment meaning even stuff we know is being reprinted can be a buy in foil, especially if it plays nicely in the decks.

Haven and Crucible of the Spirit Dragon seem like decent moves to make in foil. They will be staples of Dargon tribal decks forever and aren’t very easy at all to reprint in foil. People are going to treat the non-foils like radioactive waste now that they’re spoiled but have months to go before they’re reprinted which means some people might use the intervening time to upgrade. Cavern of Souls is already plenty expensive, but cheaper, tribal lands that pertain to Dragons seem like cheap foil pickups that are going to fly off of shelves.

Stuff From Scion Decks

We don’t have to really guess what’s going to get played in Ur-Dragon 5-color dragons because people are already playing that deck, basically. Scion of the Ur-Dragon has a very detailed EDHREC page full of the cards that are going to get played in the deck and that’s pretty good intel. We can see that cards like Crux of Fate and Quicksilver Amulet are staples in decks like this and will probably be good moves going forward (I’d avoid non-foils on Crux).

Here’s an example of a card that’s languishing a bit and could get the kick in the ass it needs to reverse course and shape up a bit. The reprint tanked the price, even on foils, but it’s unlikely this card is ever reprinted in foil. What’s out there is what’s out there. I like this pickup and this card has already demonstrated it can be $8, so its current price of $1.50 foil on Coolstuff is pretty damn tempting.

Similarly, this has been printed 3 times (Archenemy and a Duel Deck) but only once in foil. I would say there is a decent likelihood this is in the deck but not in foil. I also like foils of this card’s wimpier Khans block corollary – Dragonlord’s Servent. Foils seem safe and with the price pretty flat (although the buylist price is showing signs of life, maybe) any increase in demand is going to be reflected in the price right away.

Check the EDHREC page because there is a lot there. Sarkhan’s Triumph? Dragonstorm? Belbe’s Portal? There are a ton of cards already associated with 5-color Dragons that are ready to go when we get this deck in the fall.

Next time I will dig into what I like in a Taigam deck, but for now, enjoy this early edition brought on by the leaks. You suck, MTG Noobie and I’m glad you deleted your Twitter account between the time I started writing this article and finished it. Still, we can’t pretend the leaks didn’t happen, so let’s get out there and buy accordingly. Until next time!

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