Unlocked Pro Trader: The Article I Would Have Written Last Week


Look, had I known what the full spoiler was going to look like, I would have written this article last week. I spent all week – Brainstorm Brewery, here, Gathering Magic, talking about how people might be inclined to play more Animar decks if they could get a cheap Imperial Recruiter in Masters 25. It’s not necessary in Animar but since it’s very good, you could see an uptick. It was a correlation without necessarily causation argument which isn’t the strongest but we’re just making associations here, right? More often than not, those correlations lead us to money. This week is no different, except my correlation argument went and strengthened itself.

So this is a thing. I guess I could have predicted this if I had really thought about it, and maybe I kind of did but now we have confirmation that Animar itself is getting a reprint, we don’t have to guess how many Animar decks are going to get built on the strength of an Imperial Recruiter reprint. We can guess how many Animar decks are going to get built on the strength of an Animar reprint and that number is much, much larger. Animar was pretty expensive before and it had some expensive cards from the deck get reprinted. What’s bound to go up as Animar decks get played more? How do we get ahead of the coming wave and make sure we have enough boats to… benefit from the wave…

I’m getting sick of the boats metaphor. I never hear anyone reference it but me and I was honestly just keeping it going to see how long I could do it.

Let’s get on with talking about money and not about boats, shall we?

Money, Soul of Everything Around Me

Animar is a pretty specific deck which can be good and bad. It’s sort of bad in that it’s sort of boring and predictable to play but it’s good for us in that it’s boring and predictable to build. I think people are going to take advantage of the price of Animar plummeting, personally and I see it getting built, especially now that people can get Animar in foil.

For reference, there are 775 Captain Sisay decks currently registered on EDHREC and 2,700 or so Oloro decks, so that puts Animar in roughly the 60th percentile for deck adoption based on current numbers. Again, the absolute numbers matter less than the proportions so try and not look at a number like 1,714 and say “that’s too low to bother with” if you don’t have a reference based on popular commanders. Without a compelling reason to build Oloro coming soon and a bunch of cheaper copies (Cheaper than even the $15 Card Kingdom wants for a preorder) coming and with foils available for the first time, I think Animar is going to approach Oloro’s numbers. That is good news for Animar staples. Staples such as…

Cloudstone Curio

This is basically an EDH staple at this point, you’d think, but if you check the synergy score with Animar, it’s almost 40% meaning there is a high degree of correlation. Cloudstone’s fate is less tied to the fate of the format as a whole than a card like Sol Ring but if we’re predicting Animar is going to get played more, cards that are shoo-ins for decks like that are good cards to discuss. I don’t know if I like the invention at around $45 since the art is sort of meh. However, Curio is a combo enabler in a lot of formats and has been a solid card for many years. I don’t know if it’s reprintable but with core sets coming up, there is real risk. I think if this had a run on it and went from $10 to $20 you get in and out. Curio is just too good in Animar decks and it basically makes any two creatures get Animar huge enough that you can Eldrazi them to death. This is a must-play for idealized versions of the deck making it a must-buy for us. Also, stock online is low making any amount of buying activity immediately noticeable and very impactful.

Birthing Pod

Being banned in Modern is pretty good for mitigating its reprint risk, I’d say. With it being hard to reprint and with people already having dug through online and rooted out all of the event decks it’s in, I think the copies we have are the copies we have which means future demand is all upside. This is good enough in the deck that I think this has upside based on increases in Animar decks being built and with supply not going anywhere, new demand is all the price should need. Don’t expect demand to be back-filled by copies coming out of the woodwork, either. You’re getting these from dealers.

Promo Rattleclaw Mystic

I don’t think the demand from Animar will be great enough to drive regular Rattleclaw up and I think the set foil isn’t splashy enough but  I do think people will target the promo foil and I think we could see an opportunity to make some money. Unfortunately, the card is a bit narrow and basically goes only in Animar decks right now, but if they’re being built, I could see the upside bringing this card for a bit of a ride even if the other printings aren’t touched. This may be wishful thinking but Morph creatures are great in Animar, they’ll probably be good in something else in the next few years and Rattleclaw is one of the best Morph creatures we have. I don’t have the kind of confidence in this I do in Curio just because there are 3 choices under $3 for this one and the foils of Curio are ridiculous and these are a very recent card but I do think people will want these and you should make some money. I mean, before fees, you’ll definitely make money. Before fees.

Foil Ancestral Statue

This is a pretty textbook case of an “Animar only” card but the foil is doing some pretty encouraging things in a world where Animar was like $50. This is a goofy pick and it goes against a lot of the things we normally say when we play it safe, but the graph seems to show some signs of life. I don’t hate this.

Ulamog the Ceaseless Hunger

This is probably the finisher in the Animar deck with the most upside. It’s starting to tick up a bit and while that means we could have gotten it for a buck or two cheaper, realistically, it represents the start of a climb that wasn’t even predicated on the reprinting of Animar. With Animar on the upswing, Eldrazi like this one will be along for the ride and I think this is the one I’m most excited about. You can check the price graphs of the others (cross reference with the list of Eldrazi played in Animar that you can find on EDHREC) and feel free to list any you like in the comments of this article, but I’m fairly certain this is the juiciest.

I am absolutely building Animar once prices tank and I welcome you all to join me. You add some artifact shenanigans, some enchantments like Sunbird’s Invocation and Zendikar Resurgent and you Eldrazi them to death or morph a bunch. It’s going to be pretty rad. Again, let me know if you think any Eldrazi are sexier than Battle for Ulamog or leave other questions and concerns. I read your comments, so leave them. Until next time!

2 thoughts on “Unlocked Pro Trader: The Article I Would Have Written Last Week”

  1. Where are you on Ulamog foils? I’m lucky to have traded for 1 at rotation (god knows what I gave up, but likely an excellent deal)

    1. I think they likely diverge from the non-foils nicely. I don’t like the price anymore as a buyer but if you got in, hold, I’d say.

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