I said we would talk about the Commander 2017 leaks this week and even though I’m not super duper inclined, let’s do it. More leaks happened, and it seems like Wizards isn’t running a very tight ship these days. Employees of print shops, dumbdumb LGS owners and even the employees of places like Gamestop are all conspiring to make sure we have stuff spoiled for us. It’s disheartening. I haven’t even really looked at the Ixalan rares even though a lot of them are spoiled because I’m not ready to worry about that stuff yet. I’m barely ready for Commander 2017 but everyone else seems jazzed, buying up all the stupid kittycat cards on the internet. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today – which stupid kittycat cards you should buy based on the stupid kittycat commander and how the right answer might be “None of them.”
This might end up the impetus for some bad buying decisions and some even worse building decisions. There’s a lot to unpack here given what we know in total about Commander 2017 but even though I’ve seen two of the “Eminence” creatures spoiled and rolled my eyes super hard at how every commander is Oloro, now, I still feel like we don’t actually know enough to really start buying cards discriminately. Indiscriminately? Sure, that’s covered. Every card with a picture of a kittycat on it is being bought out, including cards like Waiting in the Weeds.
I don’t know if that’s the right play. We have some data to look at to see if there are better things we can be doing with our money. It’s pretty obvious to see a kittycat commander and buy kittycat cards, but are you going to have people to sell those cats to? Are you hoping to sell to players or other speculators? I’m a little more skeptical about cat cards than a lot of the other people I see advocating buying cards like foil White Sun’s Zenith and I’ve also been writing about EDH finance for longer than anyone else. I’m going to try to prove to you that those two things are related.
Is Meowloro Even A Good Card?
We have a commander that can boost a cat from the command zone or battlefield and also, when they attack, boost a small number of cats. It’s expensive to summon, mana-intensive to use its main ability and it is a complete non-bo with all of the rest of the cards I see selling out. If you’re trying to go wide with a cat deck, you’re better off with Crovax, Ascendant Hero as your commander. I don’t say that because Crovax is a good choice, I say that because Arahbo, Roar of the World (Even his name is stupid) is a bad choice.
The decks I have seen brewed (First example, Second Example, Third Example) don’t have much in common except a lot of them seem terrible, they run a lot of bad cards and they don’t seem to run many of the “obvious” pickups I see touted in finance circles. Like it or not, the durdles who are hardcore about this deck enough to make their decks on Tappedout before the other 99 cards in the deck are revealed are basically who is going to be building the decks. What they buy later matters more than what speculators buy now, and they still aren’t going to buy anything until they get the actual physical copies of the decks in their hands. We’re seeing stuff spike predicated on Commander 2017 but it’s not players buying the cards. Some of those specs are going to hit, but why use a scattershot approach when we can be smarter? Put simply, decks made around this card are liable to be bad and bought for novelty. Novelty still slangs boosters and singles, don’t get me wrong, but if you think this deck is going to be more important than the other tribes, I bet it’s not and I don’t care how well Regal Caracal is selling right now.
Will we see a deck built around Meowloro that’s actually some manner of Green-White midrange deck that doesn’t go wide because his abilities don’t lend themselves to the kind of “go wide” build that White Sun’s Zenith, Waiting in the Weeds and other touted specs go in? Will we see a cat deck built around another card in the 99 un-spoiled cards in the deck? It’s possible. How likely is it?
Will We See A Good Cat Tribal Deck At All?
People say they really want a cat tribal deck. But people say a lot of things and I tend to want to buy based on what people are doing rather than what they say they will do. Remember the Ezuri deck and all of the brutal decks people built taking a bunch of extra turns with Sage of Hours? Was that what people said they were going to do? I remember people saying that a card that wasn’t Ezuri was the money card.
I’m not implying cats will be as bad and underwhelming as snakes, but I am implying that typically, tribal decks need a lot of traction and don’t usually get it. I bet a lot of people build dragon decks, but I bet a lot of people put dragons from the dragon precon in other decks, too, and dragons are basically one of the three strongest tribes in Magic. Kaseto is helming fewer than 300 decks on EDHREC and the results are similar for other tribes that aren’t slivers or some other ridiculous tribe. Even Oldzuri is hovering around 600 decks so it’s tough to imagine a Cat tribal deck doing much better. Tazri is ally commander and we’re talking 800 decks there which sounds impressive but then we look at the decks we should compare Kaseto to. We have 1,257 Ezuri Claw of Progress decks, from the same precon as Kaseto and not strictly elfy. Meren comes in at 2,250 decks. We’re looking at only 1,000 decks total running Sliver Hive across all Sliver commanders. Compare that to 3,200 Atraxa decks to see what it takes to move cards. Atraxa is insanely popular and it’s going to take insane popularity to move cards like Brimaz, something I don’t think Meowloro is up to. I expect it to be closer to 300 decks than 3,000 and that’s a problem.
What Do We Do Instead, Smart Guy?
I’m getting to it, damn.
There won’t be 3,200 cat decks off of the back of this set, there just won’t be. Like, if there are, I’ll eat my hat. My hat is a Carmen Miranda fruit hat, so it’s not the craziest bet (I learned from Michigan legend EDT that you should specify a tasty hat) but I’m still going to have to eat a bunch of fruit that’s been on my head. Do I look like I eat fruit? Don’t answer that. Also, don’t bother answering when I say “How many cat decks do you think will come out of this set?” because the answer is “not enough.”
You want to buy a bunch of foils that won’t be in the deck, be my guest, but the rest of us want to make money and have buyers for the cards we come off of. It takes the Gitrog Monster’s 1,000 decks to make an old bulk rare hit $10 and stay above $5 in my estimation so if we’re buying cards much, much newer than Squandered Resources, they’ll need to be in way more decks.
I advocate waiting until the lists are published because non-speculators are slow to pick up cards and you’ll have time, but if you insist on buying stuff now, don’t buy kittycat cards, buy stuff that could go in more than one deck based on the precons. I have a few more targets.
This card is already on the creep toward $10 and I think if this isn’t reprinted, it’s a reasonable assumption that this hits that. Corbin said on BSB this week that he thinks the fact that this references Shroud rather than hexproof makes it a little tougher to reprint. If you insist on being impatient, I’d say grab these now. Once tribal builders are aware of this card, they’ll be willing to pay up to $10, I think and in the month following this card not being reprinted (in that case) it will climb to that amount. I’m waiting for confirmation, but if you’re feeling ballsy, you can take riskier bets than this.
Cover of Darkness
Everything I said about Steely Resolve applies to Cover of Darkness except for the fact that it says Shroud. Instead, it says Fear. If they’re not inclined to reprint Steely Resolve for that reason, they won’t reprint Cover for the same reason. This is great with zombies, a tribe that The Scarab God has reminded people to build. I might as well complete the mini-cycle (Red and Blue didn’t get a card in this cycle) with..
It’s a weak anthem effect but it’s also pretty cheap. This has the highest reprint risk of the bunch and I’m not bullish on this, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about an entire cycle of cards in case someone stumbled upon this card and wondered how I felt about it. I don’t care for it, but it’s a card.
Descendants’ Path (Foil)
This is down from its historic high and I think that’s noteworthy. Durdle Eldrazi decks pretended they were going to play this card and while some still do, this is mostly an EDH card. I think there is a medium reprint risk but since I’m trying to find picks for lunatics who won’t wait for the full spoilers, this foil is a decent pickup and seems almost 0 risk considering it’s a second spike on a card with cross-format appeal that goes in tribal decks with green, something both of the tribal decks spoiled so far have.
I still advocate waiting for full spoilers and I don’t think if 300 people total register Meowloro on EDHREC (I’m still calling him that because I forgot his real name and don’t want to even scroll up to find it) you’re going to find enough people to offload your foil Scythe Tigers or whatever other foolishness you bought. I think if you’re not going to be smart and wait along with me, you can at least buy smarter. Mitigate reprint risk and buy cards that appeal broadly so you’re not relying on the few people who build one bad deck to bail out your bad spec. Foil White Sun’s Zenith Bad. Foil Obelisk of Urd, better.
That’s all I have for you this week. Until next time!