Unlocked Pro Trader: Priced Back In

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Hello, nerds,

Today we are partially through the Masters 25 spoilers and while that’s not super duper financially relevant for us for the most part unless you’re holding a bunch of copies of cards and are sad (R.I.P. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben spec) to watch your money catch fire, we’re months away from me writing my “These cards are at their floor, but now” article like the one I wrote last week that no one commented on but a lot of people read. The google analytics say it was one of my most popular articles of 2018 and the lack of comments say that it was perfect and you couldn’t find a single fault with it. I knew it; I knocked it out of the park.

Let’s knock it out of the park this week by trying something new and useful. Our original method for this series was to look at new printings of cards that might make other cards also in the decks go up and buy those other cards. The new card may hit, it may not but if it enabled archetypes, its own financial upside was irrelevant. EDH isn’t enough demand to make Admiral Beckett Brass worth money but you better believe a bunch of stupid pirates are pricey. We haven’t really applied that principle to reprints. That isn’t we never tried it before today. However, I think Masters 25 is giving us a reason to look at more cards than a normal Masters set.

Priced Out

Some cards are just too expensive to even consider. Proxies have always been a thing (for poors) in EDH but for some reason, there are some cards that people never even consider inside the realm of possibility. Price has a lot to do with it – they never see anyone use the card so they don’t even know it exists or maybe the group would get salty about a guy with a $40 unsleeved deck having a Mana Crypt in the deck. Some cards are just priced out of people’s decks and most of the time they include a budget alternative or just eschew the card entirely. If the card suddenly becomes not only attainable, but easily attainable, the dynamic changes and entire new deckbuilding avenues open up. I think there are a few cards people are currently “Priced out” of and I think that will change. The cards in those decks will have some upside going forward depending on the degree of correlation and I think that is where we make the money. Let’s think about what to buy, shall we?

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Imperial Recruiter

How low can this go? I could see this tanking as low as $30 or so before it stops its slide to oblivion and that’s very good for a small number of EDH player that will soon be a much larger number. Recruiter of the Guard has been a huge hit in EDH and the decks that can run both are now super stoked and the decks that don’t have White can have a chance to do their own recruiter shenanigans. This majorly impacts a few decks.

The numbers here are less important than the ratios. Roughly a number of Animar and Alesha decks are affected and roughly half that number of a bunch of decks ranging from Marath which would love to tutor for a combo piece to Krenko which obviously would love a second copy of Kiki-Jiki in the deck can benefit from affordable Recruiters. I’ll post a few highlights from Animar and Alesha.

Shaman of Forgotten Ways

How low can this go? I doubt it goes much lower, basically ever. The dealers are starting to pay more and more and I think this card’s reprint risk is much lower than most people probably do. Even though it ended up being fine and people are really dumb, this was still something everyone expected to be banned in EDH. While it’s not banworthy it’s still very potent and I have replaced the Black Lotus-esque Somberwald Sage with this in a lot of decks because of the win condition. That’s a lie – I run both and I cut something like Brainstorm, but still, if I had to pick one or the other, I’d go with this.

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The foil keeps flirting with $20 and with the low supply of foils, this just needs a little nudge over the cliff. I think this is an excellent target for Imperial Recruiter, helping you get from 3 mana to 5 and possibly yanking a win condition out of your deck. I’m bullish as bullish can be about this in both foil and non-foil and I think if Recruiter doesn’t do it, a year falling off of the calendar will.

Master of Cruelties

Probably due for a reprint soon (If you’re reading this Friday and you’re like “WTF this is in Masters 25!” just know that you’re in my future and I don’t know that yet), this casual favorite keep climbing straight to the stars. It does a lot of work in Alesha and putting it into play tapped and attacking is pretty sneaky. This straight murders people (well, no, the other creatures murder them) and it’s tutorable with Imperial Recruiter, which is what we want to happen, right?

While we’re on the subject, I want to point out that I find the rate of growth of the foil pretty surprising. Usually casual cards don’t have a very healthy foil growth rate but if you compare about 5 or 10 data points you pretty quickly figure out that this is maintaining a bare minimum 2x multiplier and it’s nothing special. This is far from a staple but I can’t see building Alesha without it. I’m bearish on foils and bullish on non-foils which, since the foils are at a bare minimum multiplier, could mean the foils have upside anyway.

Harsh Mentor

So there’s a lot of Amonkhet out there. That’s OK – I’ll wait. Meanwhile this card is in 1,500 decks on EDHREC and could be in a lot more if Alesha gets built more. This card is honestly better than people are giving it credit for and I think as people register more decks, the numbers will reflect a reality that they aren’t currently. It’s either that or only 175 people are running The Immortal Sun in EDH. Go check its page out. I think Mentor has more upside than we know and I like it.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking

This is in a lot of decks and even in quite a few as the commander. Also, the prerelease price on Card Kingdom is a third of what current retail is so that’s quite a reduction. I also think $18 is a little high for a non-mythic but its relevance in formats outside of EDH should bolster its price a bit. Regardless, we’re talking about a 2/3 reduction in price which can take it from “$55, are you insane?” to “Yeah, I’ll pay $15 or whatever” at peak supply. I bet this can flirt with $10 or less.

I don’t know how many Azusa decks will get built as a result of her reprinting but we can peek quickly at cards that would be affected.

Woodfall Primus

Woodfall Primus is pretty stable after its reprinting and has recovered a lot of its value. It’s holding pretty nicely in the original printing but the Modern Masters copies are a little more affordable. That said, Modern Masters didn’t give us that many copies and it’s been 5 years. Check out this graph.

You see what I see? It’s subtle, so I will zoom in on it.

That’s an arbitrage opportunity. That was a dealer going out of stock, seeing that retail wasn’t far off of what he was willing to pay and saying “screw it” and buying some copies. That affected the retail price since they clearly bought retail and the buy price went right back down because that one lunatic dropped their price since they got what they wanted at retail. That was recently. I think supply is getting low and that means the price is about to move. I realize the lines are diverging again, but how long until someone else runs out of stock of a very good EDH card and takes a look at how low supply is? I bet the dealer and retail prices re-converge and I bet it happens soon. Correlating that with the impending release of affordable copies of Azusa doesn’t seem that far-fetched. I feel very strongly about Woodfall Primus at current retail and I don’t care who knows it. I mean, I would prefer Pro Traders found out first, but after that, I don’t care.

Defense of the Heart

That stupid spike throws off the graph and makes it tough to read, but the price has been basically $10 basically forever. I think people think this is on the Reserved List, which isn’t a terrible assumption. It is not. Ring of Gix and Second Chance are, but not this card. This gets played in 4,337 decks on EDHREC and at $10, it’s a good deal for as old as it is. We’ll see if James Chilcott gets mad at me for mentioning this to you nerds – he asked me about this card last week and I didn’t think anything of it until I came across it in the Azusa lists and realized that it’s not actually on the Reserved List. Do I expect a reprint? Eh, maybe not. It’s not really on anyone’s radar and they’re not nimble enough to get a reprint out before anyone who bought in at $10 got out at $30. Unless, you know, it’s in Masters 25 and you know that but I don’t.

That’s what I got. We will know the full spoiler next week and that will give me some sort of idea about what to write about. That said, we found some very strong picks in this one and regardless of whether the lower price makes these archetypes take off, these cards are going up in price. Until next time!

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5 thoughts on “Unlocked Pro Trader: Priced Back In”

  1. Set is looking rough from a card demand perspective so far with 24 rares previewed. I don’t need or want most of these cards. I think Wizards is severely suffering from designing reprint sets several years behind current format demands. V-clique is no longer heavily played, and a lot of these choices are just…ODD. I do think opening up Imperial recruiter will cause some spikes with Kiki-Jiki, and potentially Splinter Twins, and those two’s targets like Resto Angel and Zealous Conscripts etc…Glad you started with that one, and I really like the premise of your article. Increased supply triggers increased demand!

    Recruiter of the Guard seems primed to move as well. I think this actually opens up Red in commander quite a bit -which will have a huge waterfall effect. Article for next week.

  2. I was behind commenting on the last article though this one I will cause I have a few questions.

    1. Do you think first time foil commanders like prossh will hold value?
    2. For cards with the old border like imperial Recruiter will the value hold on the older printing based on the fact it is old border or just on the fact it is scarce?
    3. Next week based on what hasn’t been reprinted what cards may be spiking in price? Will stuff like phyrexian altar jump AGAIN?

    1. 1) I don’t know how to define “hold value.” The non-foil will tank and the foil will have upside, I think. I am a buyer at peak supply on foil Prossh.

      2) There are a lot of things going on with recruiter’s price. I imagine old border will have a premium but the price here is going to plummet. Demand can’t keep up.

      3) I don’t know if stuff that should have gotten reported and didn’t will spike since there is a set that can reprint it coming out every month but the cards are safe for now and I don’t see prices going down until they are reprinted officially.

      1. I’m just asking if you see commanders like prossh and animar who’d be hard to reprint again in foil peak at the $5-10 range and $20-35 dollar range respectively and hold there or do they go up then come back down hard as the market floods with copies.

      2. I see what you mean, sorry.

        Supply of Animated is very low and that has a chance of holding some value but Prossh will probably get shredded. Foils of each should hold well since they are foil mythics with a lot of demand and the supply won’t be super high. They also only go out one at a time to a small number of people so I think we’ll probably see a price depression at peak supply and probably a recovery. As you said, they are tough to reprint.

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