Commander 2017 has mostly shown us the cards we’re getting. I figured I’d write my article on Thursday this week because by then we will have had the full spoilers, my logic being that Monday showing us all of the cats meant that the rest of the week would progress with a deck a day until everything was fully revealed today. I’m not sure that happened. This set is mostly reprints but there are supposed to be 56 new cards and there are only 50 revealed. I could be misunderstanding the phrase “56 cards across 4 decks” and Path of Ancestry being in every deck plus Herald’s Horn and Heirloom Blade being in multiple decks could account for it, but I think we’re short a few Wizards and they may be saving stuff for tomorrow. If they do spoil anything worth talking about tomorrow, check back because I’ll likely do an addendum to this piece.
I don’t know how to organize this other than to just have it be a list of my thoughts, so here goes.
1) The Wizards Deck Is the New Breed Lethality
Based solely on the new cards and not the reprints, the deck with the Wizards in it is the deck that has the most exciting commanders and it’s the one I expect to get bought more predominantly. It could be they struck a nice balance and all of the decks sell roughly equally, but I don’t know if that’s the case. It’s possible people are nerdy enough to go for Dargons or lonely enough to go for Kittycats or Hot Topic goth enough to go for Vampires (a deck with 3 terrible commanders), but I have a feeling Wizards will outsell the rest. It has not one but three good commanders, four if you count the Marchesa reprint as a potential commander. Barring some very spicy reprints in the other decks, something we won’t know for a minute, the Wizards deck is the one I expect to be hot. That said, I didn’t think Atraxa was that compelling last time so it’s anyone’s guess, technically.
2) Mirri is Possibly the Best Non-Wizard Card in the Set
Mirri is very good. At a $4 preorder, I think it’s possible that you could make some money pre-ordering. However, $4 feels about right since she won’t be good in every deck with access to Green and White. However, in the decks that play her, she’s going to do WORK. Good as a commander in her own right as well as a part of the 99, Mirri is actually more unfair than she might look at first blush. First of all, if you come through with a swarm, they can’t effectively block and you’ll end up forcing them to try and block and kill Mirri, letting you dome them for a ton of damage. Also, if Mirri survives combat, you don’t even have to worry about a swing-back. Green-White decks are the best at generating tokens so you can see where I’m going here. Even if Mirri isn’t the best card in the set, she’s currently cheaper than this list of cards from Commander 2016, and I think she could go up, based on that.
3) Path of Ancestry is Too Good
Path of Ancestry is a $3 preorder despite being in every deck. Why? This card is bugnutty. Additionally, there is net demand for this card that supply can’t touch initially. Not only will this never get taken out of any precon deck that’s purchased with the intention of making it into a deck based around its contents, anyone with a tribal deck built already would be crazy not to include this so there will be demand right out of the gate for just the single card. With the high demand profile, inclusion in all four decks is almost irrelevant.
Coupled with that, this card isn’t all that easy for them to reprint in future Commander product if it’s not tribal-themed meaning it’s unlikely to get a Commander 2018 printing. That gives us 2 years minimum of growth. I expect these to be below $3 at peak supply and I am buying in, then. Take a look at some other graphs of more reprintable cards for reference.
Myriad Landscape was done in by a reprinting and subsequent obsolescence as Wizards shifted away from monochromatic Commander supplements for the forseeable future but there was still plenty of opportunity to make plenty of money. The lands in these decks are good, they’re not easy to reprint anywhere else, and in the case of Path of Ancestry, they’re almost impossible to reprint easily. This is a no-brainer scoop-up. These will trade out like crazy and players will likely need more than one. Do you see someone buying a deck just for this card? Likely they’re buying the deck to build around it meaning that copy is spoken for and doesn’t help them with the tribal decks they already have. This card is money, plain and simple – there won’t ever be enough supply.
4) Chances Are Bad Interactions Won’t Matter
Divinity counters? You know what else have Divinity counters? Myojin! Buy all of the Myojin!!!!!!!11onehundredandeleven
I think we can all calm down a bit. Yes, you’re very clever for having seen the name of a counter on a card and remembered seeing it somewhere before. No, I don’t think Mathas, Fiend Seeker is going to spike the price of the Tempest card Bounty Hunter. I don’t even think a dedicated cat deck being printed is going to raise the price on cards like Fleecemane Lion, so I certainly don’t think bad interactions are going to spike bad cards. Not all interactions are created equal, after all. The printing of a durdly enchantment to make your Myojin of Night’s Reach a little better isn’t exactly the printing of Nekusar to make Forced Fruition a game-ending card. The Myojin barely get EDH play right now for a reason, this isn’t a reason for them to start and not all of the Myojin are even good with this. Bad interactions aren’t going to drive prices of old, bad cards up. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean people will. Take those Bounty Hunters out of your shopping cart and spend that money better elsewhere.
5) Did I Mention the Wizards Deck is Stupid Good?
I’m trying to keep up with the fact that cards are being spoiled as I write this, so when I got halfway through this article, I noticed that they spoiled the final Wizard commander and I had to go edit a few of the earlier paragraphs referencing how many cards were spoiled and how many Wizard commanders were good (all of them, it’s ridiculous).
Now I don’t know if this card is Legacy-playable but if it is, good job making this deck Grixis colors, Wizards, because you got yourself Mind Seize 2.0. It was already the best deck before all of the hype surrounding these ridiculous Wizards started. All of Twitter is talking about today is which cards to clone with Mairsil the Pretender, what to do if you have multiple copies of Magus of the Mind and Shallow Grave in your deck, whether Kess is playable in Legacy. As excited as people pretended they were for Kittycats, the hype around Wizards is real and when it spills out of EDH into competitive formats, the hype translates to real money.
This card is money either way, frankly, if it ends up being this set’s Atraxa. The trick here is that all of the commanders are going to be good so there won’t be one, monolithic, “obvious” card like Atraxa to be the deck’s value lightning rod and to be the reason the deck is impossible to find for under $80 on eBay like the Atraxa deck. This may or may not be $25 like Atraxa, but even if the 3 Wizard commanders are $30 between the three of them, the deck is still going to be in high demand.
What do we exile with this? It hardly matters – this is a card that doesn’t need to “remember” which card it exiled meaning you can cast and recast this and still keep all of the benefit of exiling cards, building a big, stupid monster of a card with a ton of useful abilities. That’s the kind of stuff EDH players want to be doing. If this were the only good Wizard in the deck, I’d be inclined to say this was money but it’s not, they’re all good. I recommend hitting Walmart stores the night before these decks go on sale. Sometimes they stock these overnight since they’re Walmart and they don’t give a hot fart in a pair of too-tight Victoria’s Secret pink sweatpants that say “juicy” on them with the fabric stretched so tight that you can see the slogan on the camo thong underneath about the street date, they’re open all night and you can hit a half dozen stores in an hour or two if you plan your route and/or don’t live in the middle of nowhere.
6) Redundancy Matters
I think we may spend a little too much time talking about the raw power of cards and we miss the bigger picture. Take Traverse the Outlands for example.
This is a great card in decks like Angry Omnath. You have a 5/5 commander and it makes angry elemental tokens meaning you’ll have a pretty good chance of getting X=5 or more when you cast this. If X is “only 5 then you played the best Cultivate ever printed for 5 mana. You got 5 Omnath triggers, thinned your deck out to give you better draws, gave you better mana to play your spells and you did it all for one card. Boundless Realms gets you more lands and it’s not dependent on you having any creatures, though. It costs more mana, but the effect is so much more powerful. While you’re debating the pros and cons between Traverse and Boundless Realms, the Angry Omnath player has already decided to buy a copy of Traverse because he’s going to play both because why wouldn’t you play both? If two cards, an old one and a new one, usually, both give you the same effect, it’s usually not important to play the better one. If a card warrants a spot in your 99 it stands to reason that a very similar card also warrants inclusion. If the effect is important, it’s worth having redundancy. Don’t waste analysis time worrying about whether a new card with an effect is the best one ever, worry about how many decks could play it. Boundless Realms is in over 5,500 decks and it’s above $3, now. Traverse isn’t a card to replace Boundless Realms, it’s a card to supplement it and there are over 5,500 people with registered decks on EDHREC who are going to take a look at Traverse and try to find a slot for it. Which card is better is largely irrelevant when it’s close because close means you play both.
7) Here’s a List of Cards I Like For the Current Presale Price
These could go down but I think it’s low risk enough that you just buy more if they do and then your average cost is very reasonable and you make money when they go up. Nothing is jumping out at me like Deepglow Skate and Curtains’ Call did before but once we have some data that shows how people are building, we’ll know more. I generally shy away from preordering unless we’re talking Blade of Selves for $1 like we were a couple of years ago.
One card that I think is too expensive but which might go up in the short term before it goes down is this one.
This is getting a lot of hype because you can make your whole library disappear with The Locust God, a card that’s already hot right now. I think the hype around this is unsustainable but I think it could lead to a run on this card. Remember, presale prices are guesses and while they usually skew high, sometimes they misprice something. I have a feeling the mispriced card will be a Wizard that is “only” pre-selling for $8 rather than a card that shouldn’t be $1 like usual.
That does it for me this week. I’ll be back on my normal day next week with lots to talk about. Until next time!