The Watchtower 6/4/18 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen

Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.

Typically, this is where I would talk about the Pro Tour that wrapped up about 15 hours ago. We’d look at dominant archetypes, scour them for keystone cards, and try to identify potential pillars of the new Standard in October.

Except that the Pro Tour was a wasteland. Look at the top performing Standard decks — Mono-Red Aggro, Red-Black Aggro, Red Vehicles, Red Menance, Red Scare, Red Square, Seeing Red, Redoubled Efforts, uhh, RedderRabbit.

There isn’t even any blood in the stone that is the control lists. I was all set to look for key UW Control cards, except that the first Ravnica set won’t have Azorious — they’re getting Dimir instead. Which means Teferi, and Lyra, and History of Benalia may not be part of the control archetype. Instead we should be focusing on the black control cards, since that’s the strategy that’s getting paid. Once Standard prices deflate over the summer, mid-August perhaps, it will be worth trying to find opportunities. Until then though, we’re going to be focusing on EDH, maybe the reserve list, and Modern, should the opportunity arise.

Swiftfoot Boots (Foil)

Price Today: $5
Possible Price: $15

First up this week is Lightning Greaves’ cousin, Swiftfoot Boots. A touch more expensive in the activation cost, but that’s because you get to upgrade from shroud to hexproof, which is not a negligible difference, as any equipment-themed deck will tell you.

Swiftfoot Boots is the third most played artifact that isn’t a signet. It goes Sol Ring, Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots. 72,000 decks, according to EDHREC. That’s, as they say, “an assload of decks.” I do not need to give you more reasons why you should believe me that this is a desirable, in-demand card.

Boots have been reprinted a lot. After their initial run in Magic 2012, they were in Commander 2013. And Commander 2014. And Commander 2015. And Commander 2016. And Commander 2017. And then Masters 25. You’ll notice that only two of those have foil printings — the original Magic 2012 run, and now Masters 25. People that didn’t want to spend $15 on foil M12 copies got a break with M25, since they’re now down around $5. That’s where we are now, and it’s not going to last. Pick up your foil M25 copies before they’re $15.

Kodama’s Reach (Foil)

Price Today: $6
Possible Price: $15

Cultivate is the most played sorcery in EDH. The second most played is Kodama’s Reach, which is the original version of the functional reprint that is Cultivate. Kodama’s Reach is like Swiftfoot boots. It has its original foil printing, a zillion Commander printings, and a second foil printing. (Although the order is a bit difference I believe.) Point being that there’s two foil copies of Kodama’s Reach – the original Kamigawa one, and the Modern Masters one.

I do not need to tell you that neither Champions of Kamigawa nor Modern Masters are recent sets. Modern Masters was 2013, and Champions of Kamigawa is even older than that. And without any more Masters sets on the horizon, there are basically no foil reprint venues on the table right now. This year’s core set I guess? That’s it though.

You’ll find roughly ten foil MMA printings of Kodama’s Reach on TCG right now, and zero — yes, zero — NM foil Champions copies. Of a card in 45,000 EDH decks.

Command Tower (CMA)

Price Today: $60
Possible Price: $100

We’ll wrap up the week with a bigger ticket item. Command Tower is the most played land in EDH, behind only basic lands. (Amusingly enough, none are played in 100% of decks they could be). Like Kodama’s Reach and Swiftfoot Boots, it’s found in nearly every Commander set. Anyone building an EDH deck is going to get to the mana base, and there’s a good chance the first card the scribble down on the back of the Denny’s napkin is “Command Tower.” Its utility only continues to grow, as we see more viable five-color decks enter the fray in the way of Ramos, Dragon Engine and Jodah.

There’s two foil copies of Command Tower available. One is the judge promo, which is fairly cool. Fairly. But honestly, not as cool as the Commander’s Arsenal printing. The judge promo has the original art, which is, come on, just not that cool. Sort of a bland…tower. While the Commander’s Arsenal printing isn’t blowing anyone away, it’s at least got some color in it, which is an improvement over the judge copies.

In any case, judge copies, where you can find them, are $100 or more. Commander’s Arsenal copies, of which there are like six available, are between $60 and $70. Probably not going to be long before that gap closes and both copies end up at $120.

Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.