Unlocked Pro Trader: 15 Specs Based On No Evidence

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Readers,

I like being involved in EDH finance and usually it’s a fast-paced world that’s constantly evolving but we have just been doing a lot of nothing on the basis of Guilds of Ravnica. There’s nothing doing. The most-built commander is still Niv-Mizzet which would be cool if the deck didn’t already exist in its entirety. Niv-Mizzet isn’t new, Etrata isn’t good and Izoni isn’t exciting. The guild decks nerfed a lot of specs and I wrote three articles’ worth of content about those stupid box-toppers last week. This week I want to think about the next Ravnica set, its 5 guilds and a few cards that are likely to get some play based on which guild mechanics I expect will see a bump. I’m sure most of the commanders are going to suck and a lot of the guild kits will have obvious synergistic cards, but I think if we go foil and obscure, or target cards outside of Ravnica sets which won’t be in those decks, we can be safe. Here’s what I came up with on the basis of writing a very similar article from a builder’s standpoint that will go live on Coolstuff Inc. later this week.

Azorius

I don’t think Forecast is all that likely to be re-used and I think they’ll either do a new mechanic that’s synergistic with Detain or they’ll just re-use Detain, which I’m fine with. Detain is rough against a whole board, but I think bouncing Lavinia has worked in the past and likely will again. I think those flash shenanigans are the best thing we can be doing in those colors and if we’re not building around a new commander, I bet we get some new spells that make that sort of thing profitable, I’m betting there’s a Ghostway in the Guild Kit and I’m betting there is money to be made.

This nicely shrugged off the reprint, one it’s not likely to get again soon. There area lot of these, but 17,105 is a big number, too. There is no real substitute for this card, only cards that do this absurd thing almost as well. This does dumb stuff with creatures like Lavinia and with most Detain abilities being ETB, I think this is a safe bet whether we get anything Detain-esque or not. This was never not a good bet to go up.

This didn’t dip as much at rotation as many would have liked and it’s already starting to go nuts. This was gettable for much cheaper and I feel like I warned us but I didn’t buy as many as I should have, either, so we’re all just going to have to buy a little closer to the $10 I bet this hits soon and chalk it up to being distracted by stuff that doesn’t matter like Ultimate Masters and Arena and every other format.

In the event that I’m right about everything and we not only get good detain or other ETB stuff and Ghostway in the Guild Kit, don’t forget about this card.

Gruul

Gruul’s keyword abilities all tended to relate to making sure you deal them damage and I don’t necessarily expect a good commander to result if we end up getting one of those keywords back or getting one related to them. I’d rather pitch lands at them for more damage than pitch creatures to their Bloodrush ability. I think Gruul is a lands-matter tribe primarily and even if we don’t get a new commander for that, I bet we get cards that enable those strategies and those alone may be an impetus to go back and build something like Angry Omnath or Mina And Denn.

I think this is getting a bit underplayed right now and I think once people realize how good this is, we’ll see it crest a few bucks at least. It’s in the “worst” deck and while most of the copies busted aren’t going in a deck, there aren’t many copies being busted since players aren’t excited and the deck isn’t worth anything. This has a lot of room to grow and I think it’s a great card that will pair well with future Gruul offerings.

I’ve been on this for a while and I don’t feel any less positive about it now than I did then. This is sick in EDH, has cross-format appeal, is at its price floor and likely gets a second look if the new Gruul commanders are any good, and that could be doubly-so if Simic happens to interact with it somehow.

You aren’t likely to see this reprinted and while you’re not going to have any Deserts when this resolves, you’re also not going to see a card that gets two lands of any type and puts them into play anytime soon. This is pretty nuts and its demand will soon catch up with its supply. It may take a minute like it did with Realms Uncharted, but it will happen.

Orzhov

I doubt Haunt is coming back and since Extort was so miserable in Limited, I don’t think we’re getting that precisely, either. I think if we do get a new keyword ability, it’s bound to be related to lifegain or life drain and since Ozhov was great at that already, cards that are devoted to that will have some upside.

At around 12k decks, this card doesn’t mess around. It’s got utility in spellslinger decks as well as lifegain decks and blasting people for 50 appeals to casual players as well as competitive ones. This card has something for everyone and I don’t know how reprintable it is. I was all over these when my LGS blew out bulk rares as buy one get one free dropping the price to 50 cents and I feel pretty good now that they have quintupled. There is a lot of room to go up, still.

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Foil Kambal is harder to reprint, gets played in formats like Legacy and Modern where foils have upside as well as the lunatics who foil their EDH decks. All in all, this seems like a no-brainer.

Between Orzhov and Azorious, someone is going to want a 3 mana Jokulhaups.

Rakdos

Rakdos is terrible and I think the Rakdos stuff that has upside will have nothing to do with the Keyword ability, which may be Hellbent but will likely be new and not great in Commander. I had a lot of success in Limited with Rakdos but times around since you curved out and had a lot of finishers that were nasty with Hellbent but I don’t know if EDH cares this time around.

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This is half predicated on Grenzo and half just another excuse to talk about a card that should both be played and cost more.

I think a lot of people thought this high price was predicated on scarcity, but the amount of decks running it bely that narrative. Besides, it’s not like Battlebond isn’t pretty scarce in its own right. Battlebond continues to be a slam dunk.

If you buy one card from this block, buy Torment of Hailfire. If you buy two, but Tormet of Hailfire and Neheb. Trust me.

Simic

Simic is likely to have a dumb, +1/+1 counter theme and some support for it but it will mostly just be a goodstuff commander, if there even is a good commander in the set. Simic is my favorite color combination but it’s a bit boring and most of what it will likely do in this set is accidentally give Atraxa decks a good card.

This may not be as hard to reprint as I’m making it out to be, but I’m not banking on this ever getting cheaper. In a Simic deck, this is really solid but good luck wresting a copy away from an Atraxa player.

In my experience, this puts the person who resolves it roughly as far ahead as casting Sylvan Primordial did, but there you have it. This is not bannably good per se but I feel like it can be just as much a blowout. If those cryptocurrency geniuses went as hard after obvious specs like this as they do garbage Reserved List cards, this would be $15 already with no reprint in sight. As it stands, I can’t believe this isn’t $10.

This shrugged off the reprint, it looks like, and since it’s getting played in a popular Modern deck which eats four copies at a time, being a recent rare isn’t going to hold this back. I think whichever Simic commanders are printed in the next set will interact with this a ton and it’s not eligible for the Guild Kit which means this is about to ride a wave of upside to value town. Enjoy!

That does it for me this week. These 15 specs are very very speculative given how little we know about the next set, but a lot of these are due a price increase regardless of what the new commanders do. I’ll have more when I know more. Until then, thanks for reading. Until next time!

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