The week between the full set being previewed and prereleases happening is the time when prices start to move.
The earliest adopters are trying hard to get their cards in hand for the very first events, but one thing to note recently is that now prereleases happen at the same time for both online and in paper.
That means this week, we will start to see what’s in demand. What are people eager to build? Keep an eye on the online world, and be ready.
As for prereleases, I stand by this advice: Trade away everything you open. Most of it’s going down in price, but there’s some that are bucking the trend.
Karn, Scion of Urza (up $5 this week to about $37, give or take)
There’s a lot to like about Karn, as I wrote last week, but there’s also a lot of issues. Maybe he’s more Modern playable than I’d thought? Does Affinity secretly want to churn him into play and start making huge tokens? I doubt it, but Karn has jumped into being the chase mythic of the set.
It’s been a long time since we had a $50 card in Standard booster packs, and while it’s not impossible, it’s very very unlikely. Please don’t buy at this price. If he was $30 I could see him hitting $40, but more growth from here isn’t going to happen.
Jaya Ballard (down to about $6-$7 this week)
Her price was never too high, so it’s not like anyone lost a ton of money on her so far. Nonetheless this is a really low starting price for a planeswalker, and one as nostalgia-stuffed as Jaya should have a higher value just for the collectors.
We’ve gotten pretty jaded about planeswalkers, though. Did you buy Dovin Baan at $30? Maybe $20? $10? He started sliding early and never stopped.
I’d venture that triple-red is as restrictive as WU, and her abilities are underwhelming. Even her ultimate is not a game-winner, just an advantage engine.
At the same time, picking up a set for $20 is super tempting. There’s a lot of time for her to get broken…but not too much time, as she rotates in 18 months, not the max of 2 years.
History of Benalia (doubled this week, now about $16)
This isn’t just about building the new hotness, but I do note that there’s a LOT of Vampire Knights already present. There’s a lot of synergies to be used, and please don’t overlook how good chaining these Sagas can be. Benalish Marshal has stayed steady at nearly $2, and that seems like the best card to pair with the Saga.
I think this will come back down in price, but in the meantime, it’s good to know that if I opened one at the prerelease, I’d get to win with the card both in the matches I played and then when I traded it away.
Cabal Stronghold (Down to $4 from about $7)
It’s got further to go, too. The most broken thing about Cabal Coffers is how well it works with incidental Swamps and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. The Stronghold needs only basics, and that’s why this is not the second coming.
In your monoblack Commander deck, it’s still nothing too amazing. Your utility lands are not going to help, even Leechridden Swamp! So to profit, you need four basic swamps, and then you’re ahead one mana.
Normally I’d be all over foils of a card like this, but the advantage is much smaller here and extracting value over time is going to take a very long time indeed.
Helm of the Host (foil, up from about $10 to the $15 range)
This, though, has long-term value written all over it. Every Commander player I talk to is atwitter over this card, and a lot of them are simply nutty over the chance to have more than one copy of their commander in play.
Granted, not every deck wants to have more than one copy in play. Having two Experiment Kraj in play sounds pretty weak, and two Kemba, Kha Regent is also sort of lame. How about two Mairsil, the Pretender though? I have to admit that having two The Ur-Dragon attacking is the sort of thing that makes my head spin around in purest joy.
If you care that the equip and play cost is nine mana, then Commander isn’t the format for you. The name of the game isn’t always winning. It’s about doing broken and busted things, like having three Karona, False God in play and getting one more each turn!
I’m not buying this at $15, let me be clear. I’m not even going to consider it until the end of the format, when the OMGGIMMEGIMMEGIMME rush has worn off and I can get foils in the $6 range.
Just letting you know that it’s jumped and that it’s on my radar.
Darigaaz Reincarnated ($3.50 regular and also a $15 foil)
We’ve got no shortage of awesome Dragons, but the combination of flying, haste, trample, and ‘see you in three turns’ seems especially potent in Commander, and that’s why the foils are above 4x the nonfoil price.
There’s only a handful of Dragons in Standard at the moment, so I don’t think a Brawl deck that’s Dragon tribal is possible…yet. I love these foils long-term, but I’m going to need to watch how well the set is selling. I suspect it’ll move very well indeed, so we will see.
Cliff is an avid Cuber and Commander player, and has a deep love for weird ways to play this amazing game, as well as being guest host on MTGFF when needed. His current project is a light-up sign for attracting Cubers at GPs, so get his attention @wordofcommander on Twitter if you’ve got ideas or designs.