Wizards has gotten a little bit better about reprinting stuff before or just after the price goes nuts. It’s kind of impressive, really, when you think about it. If a card spikes like Goryo’s Vengeance did this week, Wizards can’t issue a reprint next week. They can’t do it next month. They probably can’t do it next year under a lot of circumstances. They simply aren’t as nimble as they would need to be becuase sets are planned far in advance. In the case of something like Modern or Eternal Masters, I suspect some last minute changes can be made but even then the cards are sent to the printer months in advance. Official WotC product isn’t a cigarette boat, it’s a huge oil tanker and if we know anything about oil tankers, it’s that they aren’t easy to turn and sometimes disasters happen. When WotC does nail a reprint of a card soon after the price really goes up, it almost seems like it was an accident given how difficult it is to see that far into the future.
You can add to that the fact that if a card isn’t reprinted when it needs to be and no reprint seems to be forthcoming anytime soon, that in and of itself is a reason for people to begin to hoard the card and for the price to go up. I write fairly often about cards that are either a do or die reprint in Commander sets – they get the reprint they need or the price is going to go out of control. We saw that with Phyrexian Altar and I think we’re going to see that with Patriarch’s Bidding. I was going to say the same of Mana Echoes, but people didn’t even bother waiting for Commander 2017 to be spoiled fully before they went out and bought Mana Echoes because I guess they think the Locust God is going to be much better than The Locust God probably is. I think a card in particular, Crucible of Worlds, is well outside of its “painless reprint window” meaning that its reprint options are so limited that anywhere it’s reprinted is bound to barely make a dent. Cards that cost as much as Crucible are basically reprintable as Masterpieces, which will do approximately both jack and shit for the price. Where else can you jam a card that costs more than $35? In a Commander deck with a $35 MSRP? Reprint avenues are super limited and the card might as well be on the Reserved List at this point.
But things are not always so bleak as they seem. Even though Hour of Devastation isn’t giving us Crucible of Worlds, we are getting a functional semi-reprint in the form of a card that is sort of similar. It’s not an artifact, it’s a green creature but what it lacks in being an artifact it makes up in being a Crucible of Worlds with feet. This is going to do two things in my estimation. First, it’s going to give decks running Crucible a second Crucible which will allow them to go a little deeper on their Crucible strategy. There aren’t a ton of decks not running green doing Crucible stuff – per EDHREC, the only generals with Crucible in the top 10 that aren’t green are Daretti and Oloro. Daretti wouldn’t run a non-artifact Crucible creature even if it were red and Oloro is for people who steal their neighbor’s wifi and cheat on their taxes so there’s no pleasing human garbage like that. We have a green card that can go in the mostly green decks that were running Crucible before, only this time you can find it with a green Sun’s Zenith or Worldly Tutor meaning there’s some upside. The second thing I expect this to do is put a Crucible of Worlds into the hands of people who cannot afford a Crucible of Worlds. It’s the most expensive card in a The Gitrog Monster deck, for example, and all of a sudden people who couldn’t afford to play the deck at all can suddenly make it happen. The card priced some strategies out completely and a budget alternative existing is great for Magic.
As always, I don’t have much of an opinion about the price of Ramunap Excavator itself because I don’t know what Standard and Modern are going to do and you don’t care what I think about something as hard to know as that. I stick to the easy, obvious money from EDH picks because I’ve learned that in this business it’s not worth it to pontificate about stuff you aren’t sure about because you want people to consider you an expert. Why bother trying to predict everything when all you’re going to do is get predictions wrong because you had no business making them in the first place. Rather than try to figure out the price of a card with changes to MODO redemption, a Standard banning every ban cycle, Modern and Frontier to contend with, shifting metagames in all formats and the rest of Hour of Devastation which could make the card better or worse in Standard, not to mention how this set will fit in with the block before and the block after it, why don’t we just look at what we know? What we know is kind of a lot, actually, so let’s see what is going to go up in price as a result of Crucible decks getting a second Crucible and poors getting their hands on their first Crucible.
Constant Mists – Below $4
I know this card basically already went up, but this is a very old card. It’s under $3 right now and with more people able to make a perpetual fog happen, it’s attractive to think about jamming these two cards together. Mists is getting concentrated in the hands of dealers as the buy price goes up and people beging rooting these out of collections. Being in green is especially helpful for this card because it can go in any deck that Ramunap Excavator can. Not everything that paired with Crucible will pair with Ramunap Excavator but green cards sure will and this is a green card.
Squandered Resources – Below $6
You’ve probably already made your money on this, but there is a non-zero chance we could see a second spike. People who never had access to Crucible before now do and that could be big things for a card like this, and not only in The Gitrog Monster decks. We were all over this card at a quarter and buying in at $5 to sell at $7 isn’t as sexy, but if you want to play with this card, now is the time to buy before it potentially goes up again. Remember, this would be a second spike so the odds of someone ferreting out cheap copies to relist on TCG Player at the same price it sold out is less likely so if this card does go, it could potentially go pretty hard.
Green Sun’s Zenith – Below $7
Speaking of GSZ, this card is fresh off of a reprint and it’s banned in Modern which limits is price upside. It’s also Green Sun’s Zenith and it’s probably as cheap as it’s ever going to get. I imagine this card recovers organically from its last printing and I imagine additional upside from being able to tutor for a Crucible is going to help out. Grabble these up.
Dust Bowl – Below $12
A super underrated EDH card, Dust Bowl does not play even remotely fair when you have Crucible of Worlds. You’re not going to be able to lock someone down with this, Dust Bowl’s role is more to keep them off of lands like Gaea’s Cradle than it is to strand them with no lands at all. Super versatile, a great pairing with Crucible and Excavator and pretty cheap to buy into despite being from a block as long ago as Mercadian Masques, this card covers all bases. I’m excited about this.
World Breaker – Below $5
World Breaker is a card that while it doesn’t benefit directly from Excavator, appears in nearly every deck that Excavator is likely to be in. This is a bit of a stretch, maybe, but I’m exploring the possibility of correlative links being enough to drive price increases rather than causal ones. If Excavator makes Crucible decks better, it stands to reason more will be built and the cards that are in those decks will have upside. I could be super wrong about this, but I also think it’s pretty tough to lose if you can buy Eldrazi under $5, especially ones that are this good in EDH.
Next week, I hope our server migration is complete which will mean the return of price graphs. Thanks for sticking with us through this tumultuous time. Next week I should have my thoughts about the financial implications of Hour of Devastation as a whole on EDH and you’re not going to want to miss that. Until next week!