Unlocked Pro Trader: Your Kess is as Good as Mine

We have EDHREC data, finally!

People are building their decks, they’re putting them online to be scraped and they’re being scraped.


Having that sweet, sweet data means I don’t have to pull an article topic out of my ass this week and it also means that we’re going to make. Every. Money. Immediately.

The Wizards cards all seem like they are doing nutty things, as predicted. Inalla, Archmage Ritualist is causing people to take a long, hard look at Wanderwine Prophets, for example.

This was honestly the largest pic of this card I could find that didn’t look like it was photographed with the Camera from a Game Boy Color. If I had a dollar for every pixel on the picture on MythicSpoiler.com I’d have enough money to sleeve my copy of Inalla when I get it. Hopefully you can read that Eminence ability and hopefully you can figure out that copying Wanderwine Prophets means you always have a Merfolk to sac because the token Champions the original Merfolk, blah blah blah. Taking infinite turns is always a good thing. What’s Wanderwine Prophets look like right now?

There are still copies under $1 but I don’t expect them to last long. You’re basically not getting it on the ground floor at this point unless you’re reading Twitter early in the day or this article the minute it’s published. Should you chase this? If you buy at $3 or $5 it will still be fine when the card hits $10, right?

Let’s see if we can remember whether there was another blue creature that gave you infinite turns with a new Commander and look at the price trajectory of that card.

Remember us? The neato interaction between Ezuri and Sage was enough for the price of Sage of Hours to skyrocket from $2 to $3, a price it didn’t manage to maintain. Soooooo go to town and buy those Wanderwine Prophets so you have a combo that’s more confusing and worse than this one since you have to manage to deal them damage with a creature for it to work. I’m going to stay pat, frankly. I’m sure everyone will make Prophets a $30 card just to make me look like an idiot. This is a time when Stone Calendar is $25 so I guess what do I know about MTG Finance? I guess nothing. Buy those Martyr’s Cry while they’re hot, I guess. Is Inalla a a better commander than Ezuri? Yes, probably. But the combo is worse and there is still a non-zero chance Prophets gets blown out by a reprinting in Monkeys versus Merfolk or whichever deck is coming out soon. Donald Trump is President, I saw Zima at a grocery store the other day and Sigil Tracer is a $4 card, now. Nothing has to make sense anymore. Go buy Wanderwine Prophets, I guess.

Kess is the card I wanted to talk about today and with limited EDHREC data, I’m not able to really talk about which cards are in a high percentage of decks played. However, if they’re registering at all, that means there is at least a degree of synergy between Kess and that card which makes it worth mentioning. Early adopters aren’t usually super wrong about cards and even if they are, the cards they register are seen by people who build decks subsequently which means they are more likely to get included than cards that are just in a vacuum and take some work for someone to find. That’s not right or wrong, it’s just how it is in the internet age. Let’s look at what Kess players are registering so far and see if anything emerges as a good target.

River Kelpie

Here’s a card that’s growing in price by quite a bit lately. This isn’t that great a reprint target, frankly given its limited applicability (As opposed to Limited applicability. Good luck finding enough people who want to pay $60 a person to draft Shadowmoor) and set-specific keyword ability. You can reprint Persist cards, but Persist cards that are only good if you have Flashback spells? Good luck. Despite clunky ability synergy, this card is a shoo-in in Kess decks and I expect the new attention it gets to put a little more pressure on the price. Remember, it doesn’t need to go up THAT much for you to make some money. It can stay around $3 and if you snag all the $ copies that are out there, loose, you can make money trading them out at $3 or outing them at retail. If the price doesn’t move but the new attention causes the copies below market price to dry up, we still did fine. That’s not a great finance plan but it’s a worst case scenario I can live with. I expect Kelpie to get a bump and I don’t expect a reprint. If you agree with both of those things, be a buddy and snag those last 3 copies on Troll and Toad.


No Gamble, no future, I always say (I never say that). Gamble is a card that is perfect for Kess decks. Sometimes you want to play this with an empty hand, making it an Emtomb for spells, but even if you discard the “wrong” card with a full grip, you can usually end up having it be a spell you can play. Getting another crack at your Gamble and tutoring for a spell you can play once or twice means Kess decks and Gamble go together like anime wall scrolls and virginity. When there are more data points to sift through, I actually see the synergy percentage increasing. Most decks that run Gamble are decks that use it as a “better than nothing” tutor because they’re mostly red, but the card is insanely good in a Kess deck and people are going to very quickly figure that out. At its current price, it’s a little above its floor but since Eternal Masters didn’t give us that many copies in the grand scheme of things, the price drop was largely predicated on a very modest demand for the very limited number of Saga copies being satiated very easily. Its current price can’t satisfy increased demand and I think now’s a great time to buy what could easily end up $10 or $12 very soon. This card’s exactly what I was hoping to find when I started probing these lists.

Beacon of Unrest

Beacon has been pretty stable for the last few months and I think while Commander 2016 gave us a lot of copies, what black EDH doesn’t want to run it? EDHREC has it listed in nearly 7,000 decks currently and at a little over a buck, this seems like a great candidate for “Going way up in price as people start to pay attention to it”. The best part about Beacons is if they get countered, discarded, pitched to gamble, pitched to… Sickening Shoal? Look, if they end up in the yard, you can play them with Kess then shuffle them back into the deck since Kess isn’t true flashback but rather says if the card would go to the graveyard, exile it, which means the replacement effect on the Beacon precedes that. I’m not a judge but I’m pretty sure that’s how that works. If not, ummm, at least Beacon lets you get a free shuffle, so that’s cool. Check the comments section where some nerd will confirm how Beacons work with Kess.

This card is basically at its floor. Commander 2017 coming out means it’s time to celebrate the one year anniversary of this latest Beacon reprinting and I want to celebrate by snagging the sexy new copies with the foil dot and the good art. I bet all that purple looks great in foil. This gets reprinted in a lot of supplementary product but it recovered before and it will recover again.

The Locust God Stuff

Kess is great because I like the ability, it could impact Legacy or Vintage (could, I didn’t originate that thought, so if you’re planning to write “ZOMG LURN HOW TO PLAY VINTIGE” instead use that energy to cram impulses like that deep down until you unleash them on the umpire at your kid’s Tee Ball game like the rest of us) and because it makes you able to play your Locust God deck with a new commander and black cards. You won’t port the whole deck over and I still recommend building and playing a The Locust God deck with wheels and everything separately, but a lot of the same cards including the Locust God itself go nicely in Kess. Let those Tolarian Winds blow – you just doubled your hand size. Don’t give your opponents the benefit of a wheel so keep those Puzzle Boxes in their… larger box? What do you store a Puzzle Box in? What do I look like, pinhead? Keep them in whatever you keep them in because you don’t want them wheeling, just you. As long as they aren’t removing your yard from the game, a wheel means you have access to a grip full of new hotness plus you can play spells from the grave with flashback like a boss.

I think there’s enough money to be made here. I might even talk about Innala next week- who knows? I don’t! A lot can happen between now and then, so in the mean time, read my tweets, listen to my podcasts and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Until next time!

3 thoughts on “Unlocked Pro Trader: Your Kess is as Good as Mine”

  1. Didn’t want to post anything until the article was unlocked, but I already assumed this would become a rant about Sage of Hours + Ezuri and how Sage of Hours hardly gained any value and that’s why we shouldn’t buy any Wanderwine Prophets either. There are two things you seem to forget. Most importantly Sage of Hours is from Journey into Nyx while Wanderwine Prophets is from Lorwyn. If you are unsure about the average supply of a set just look it up on cardmarket. There is about four times the supply of Journey into Nyx cards compared to Lorwyn. That means for every Wanderwine Prophets there are four Sage of Hours. I also very strongly disagree that the combo is weaker. For the Sage of Hours combo you need Ezuri out, then build up four (!) counters with him and then you of course need Sage of Hours. That’s not an easy task and your opponents can easily prepare for it. For the Wanderwine Prophets combo you only need…Wanderwine Prophets. You don’t even need Inalla out. And yes, you need to attack. But that’s still far easier to achieve than the other combo and most importantly your opponents can’t see it coming.

    I’m by no means saying it’s a good idea to buy in at $3 or $5 and that Wanderwine Prophets will be a $10 card. But the Sage of Hours comparison is not a good one and I could easily see Prophets in the ~$5 range if it’s not reprinted in the merfolk vs something deck.

    Other than that great article, like always. Already have a few playsets of River Kelpies from previous articles btw. 😉

    1. Wanderwine Prophets is a rare and Sage of Hours is a mythic, so I’m not sure I agree with your 4x figure.

      1. You are right, I totally missed that tbh. But…let’s just say today was definitely one of the better days this year for me when it comes to Mtg finance. 😉

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