Unlocked Pro Trader: Crunch Time

Hello, Readers.

With Ultimate Masters mostly spoiled, people are waiting patiently to see on which cards they’re about to get their pants pulled down (R.I.P. Foil Thespians’ Stage) and which cards could see a surge in price as a result of not being printed. People tend to wait until the set is fully spoiled to make their buys on stuff that’s not in the set but the thing is, we don’t HAVE to wait on everything.

In Which I Introduce a Concept that is Not New

Magic cards are numbered.


Don’t interrupt me. Anyway, Magic cards are numbered. The bottom of the card has two numbers, one is the total cards in the set and the other is the number that card is in the order. Ultimate Masters has 254 cards, the first of which is All is Dust and the 254th of which is Urborg, Tomb Of Yawgmoth. How do we know this? Well, we’ve seen pictures of both of those cards and the number on All is Dust is 1/254 and the number on Urborg is 254/254/. This isn’t a new concept to most of you.

Another thing we know is that the cards are ordered alphabetically, subsected into colors which go Colorless, WUBRG, Gold, Lands. Fauna Shaman is before Snapcaster Mage alphabetically but its number in the set will be higher than Snapcaster Mage’s because Green comes after Blue. Don’t believe me? We can test this – Fauna Shaman is 164 and Snapcaster Mage is 71. Bam. Science.

What can this information tell us? Well, it can’t tell us what’s in the set as often as it can tell us what isn’t in the set, but the good news there is what isn’t in the set is more valuable to know right now than what is. If you get something in the set confirmed, you learn that you should have sold already because the price will tank. But if you learn something that’s ruled out, you can buy before the price goes up. Let’s see if we can figure out some sweet EDH staples that are ruled out.

First up, I pulled up the list of the Top 100 EDH cards in terms of deck inclusion for each color. Not all of them are money because, not surprisingly, a lot of them aren’t rare. However, there are some expensive ones that could go up if they’re not reprinted. I started with colorless/artifacts first. In the set, Eldrazi are up first in the colorless section and artifacts are later so we’re looking at two different spots on the number crunch.

Unfortunately, at the time I wrote this, we didn’t know many artifacts. Card #2 in the set can only be 7 different cards between All is Dust and Eldrazi Conscription and none of them really matter. In the artifacts section, though, we don’t know much.


225 Fire//Ice

226 Probably Unknown Artifact

227 Engineered Explosives

228 Unknown Artifact

229 Mana Vault

230 Unknown Artifact

231 Unknown Artifact

232 Phyrexian Altar

233 Platinum Emperion

234 Unknown Artifact

There isn’t much we can come up with, here. I can’t rule out Paradox Engine, Urza’s Incubator, Mox Opal, Hangarback Walker, Sword of anything, Gauntlets of Power, Caged Sun, Darksteel Forge… I feel like this section is a waste of time. Let’s move on to another color.


8-10 Unknown White Cards

11 Containment Priest

12-13 Unknown White Cards

14 Daybreak Coronet

15-18 Unknown White Cards

19 Heliod’s Pilgrim

20-24 Unknown White Cards

25 Martyr of Sands

26-29 Unknown White Card

30 Resurrection

31 Reveillark

32-33 Unknown White Card

34 Runed Halo

35 Sigil of the New Dawn

36-37 Unknown White Cards

38 Sublime Archangel

39 Unknown White Card

40 Tethmos High Priest

41 Wall of Reverence

42-45 Unknown White and/or Blue Cards

White has a few big gaps but there are a few cards we can rule out.

Thalia, both Guardian of Thraben and Heretic Cathar can’t be between 40 and 41.

That’s basically it for now. We can’t rule out anything we’d like to – Teferi’s Protection, Worship, Act of Authority, Council’s Judment, any Elspeth, you name it, basically.


42-45 Unknown White /Blue Cards

46 Back to Basics (!)

47 Circular Logic

48-50 Unknown Blue Cards

51 Disrupting Shoal

52-54 Unknown Blue Cards

55 Foil

56 Unknown Blue Card

57 Frantic Search

58 Glen Elendra Archmage

59-60 Unknown Blue Cards

61 Laboratory Maniac

62 Living Lore

63 Magus of the Bazaar

64-67 Unknown Blue Cards

68 Rune Snag

69-70 Unknown Blue Cards

71 Snapcaster Mage

72-75 Unknown Blue Cards

76 Talrand

77 Temporal Manipulation

78 Unknown Blue Card

79 Treasure Cruise

80 Unknown Blue Card

81 Visions of Beyond

82-84 Unknown Blue/Black Cards

Leyline of Anticipation can’t be between Laboratory Maniac and Magus of the Bazaar, and given the tendency for the set to include cycles, I think that could rule out Leyline of the Void and Leyline of Sanctity, but I’m not betting money on it.

Tamiyo, Moon Sage can’t be between Talrand and Temporal Manipulation.

Bribery can’t be between Back to Basics and Circular Logic.

Time Warp isn’t ruled out per se, but with Temporal Manipulation in the set, it’s unlikely card 78 is Time Warp. I feel the same way about Time Stretch, which needs a reprint badly.

Teferi, Temporal Archmage can’t be between Talrand and Temporal Manipulation.

Baral, Chief of Compliance can’t be between Back to Basics and Circular Logic.

There are a lot of cards we can’t rule out, but there is a lot of value in the ones we can. Blue was a treasure trove of crunched-out cards.


82-84 Unknown Blue/Black Cards

85 Bitterblossom

86-88 Unknown Black Cards

89 Chainer’s Edict

90-92 Unknown Black Cards

93 Demonic Tutor

94 Entomb

95-98 Unknown Black Cards

99 Goryo’s Vengeance

100-101 Unknown Black Cards

102 Gurmag Angler

103 Unknown Black Card

104 Liliana of the Veil

105 Unknown Black Card

106 Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

107-109 Unknown Black Cards

110  Reanimate

111 Unknown Black Card

112 Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker

113 Unknown Black Card

114 Slum Reaper

115 Unknown Black Card

116 Spoils of the Vault

117 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

118-123 Unknown Black/Red Cards

Liliana of the Veil all but rules out Liliana, Heretical Healer, which is creeping up in value.

Drana, Liberator of Malkir can’t be between Demonic Tutor and Entomb,

We can’t crunch much out of Black, but that’s fine since Black historically doesn’t have expensive EDH cards.


118-123 Unknown Black/Red Cards

124 Balefire Dragon

125-127 Unknown Red Cards

128 Faithless Looting

129 Fiery Temper

130 Firewing Phoenix

131 Unknown Red Card

132 Gamble

133-135 Unknown Red Cards

136 Lava Spike

137 Unknown Red Card

138 Magmaw

139-143 Unknown Red Cards

144 Reckless Wurm

145 Unknown Red Card

146 Seismic Assault

147-149 Unknown Red Cards

150 Squee, Goblin Nabob

151 Unknown Red Card

152 Through the Breach

153 Unknown Red Card

154 Vexing Devil

155-156 Unknown Red/Green Cards

Fiery Confluence can’t be between Faithless Looting and Fiery Temper.

There isn’t much else, here. We can’t rule out anything we want to – Repercussion, Price of Glory, Mana Echoes, Wrath of Goad, Insurrection, Purphoros – the list is long. The important thing is Fiery Confluence is safe for a bit, goes in Legacy where it’s bought 4 copies at a time and is in that Kalemne deck with a bunch of other $20 cards.


155-156 Unknown Red/Green Cards

157 Become Immense

158-162 Unknown Green Card

163 Eternal Witness

164 Fauna Shaman

165 Fecundity

166 Unknown Green Card

167 Golgari Grave-Troll

168 Unknown Green Card

169 Hero of Leina Tower

170-171 Unknown Green Cards

172 Life From The Loam

173 Miming Slime

174 Noble Hierarch

175 Nourishing Shoal

176 Pattern of Rebirth

177-183 Unknown Green Cards

184 Spider Umbra

185-186 Unknown Green Cards

187 Tarmogoyf

188 Travel Preparations

189 Vengevine

190-193 Unknown Green Cards

194 Wild Mongrel

195 Woodfall Primus

196-198 Unknown Green/Gold Cards

Mana Reflection can’t be between Life from the Loam and Miming Slime. That’s a pretty significant one. I would say that all but rules out Wound Reflection, also. It doesn’t exactly rule it out, but with the tendency toward cycles, I am betting my own personal money on it. I think Mana Reflection not being in the set is a gigantic punt and I also think they would have to know that so I could see a creative way to print Reflection in the next 12 months, so get in and get out. They seem too powerful for an EDH precon deck (Mana and Wound do, not so much the other 3 which are dirt cheap, anyway) so who knows what they’ll do? They surprised and delighted me with the Ixalan board game, the Guild Kits and other ways to reprint cards that need it.

Exploration can’t be between Eternal Witness and Fauna Shaman, and that’s very significant as well. Exploration seems to be trading printings off with Burgeoning, but Exploration seems like it’s too good for a set like Conspiracy/Battlebond (but so did Doubling Season) so we’ll see whether we have more than 6 months of growth on that.

Tooth and Nail can’t be between Tarmogoyf and Travel Preparations. Tempt With Discovery is in that same slot. Triumph of the Hordes is in the same 3 card block and is ruled out as well. Guess what else? Tireless Tracker. Guess what else? Titania, Protector of Argoth. Traverse the Outlands. Three Visits.

Mirri’s Guile can’t be between Miming Slime and Noble Hierarch and neither can’t Nature’s Will.


199 Gaddock Teeg

200-201 Unknown Gold Cards

202 Leovold

203 Lord of Extinction

204 Maelstrom Pulse

205 Unknown Gold Card

206 Sigarda, Host of Herons

207 Sovereigns of Lost Alara

208-212 Unknown Gold Cards

213 Dimir Guildmage

214 Unknown Gold Card

215 Fulminator Mage

216 Kitchen Finks

217-222 Unknown Gold Cards

223 Slippery Bogle

224 Unknown Gold Card

225 Fire//Ice

There isn’t much crunched out here, unfortunately.

Maelstrom Nexus can’t be between Lord of Extinction and Maelstrom Pulse, same with Maelstrom Archangel. I’m not excited.

236 Ancient Tomb

237 Cavern of Souls

238 Celestial Colonnade

239 Creeping Tar Pit

240 Unknown Land Card

241 Dark Depths

242 Unknown Land Card

243 Flagstone of Trokair

244 Karakas

245 Lavaclaw Reaches

246-247 Unknown Land Cards

248 Phyrexian Tower

249 Raging Ravine

250 Unknown Land Card

251 Stirring Wildwood

252-253 Unknown Land Cards

254 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.


A few unexciting cards like Kor Haven are ruled out but for the most part, the value here is in the large number of $10+ blue and green EDH staples that are crunched out. If you’re looking to buy cards bound to go up now that they dodged the reprinter’s metaphorical axe, those are your best bets. I really like Mana Reflection, Wound Reflection, Bribery and Exploration.

That does it for me. We’ll have a full spoiler next week and we can dig down some more. Until then!

3 thoughts on “Unlocked Pro Trader: Crunch Time”

  1. When you do these, you should consider cross-referencing with rarity. it tells you SO MUCH.

    For example, all the mythics are known. so it’s all but assured that we CAN, in fact, rule out Tamiyo, all Elspeths, and honestly every other planeswalker.

    There are other cards that, while technically could be downshifted, are very very unlikely to have been. Sneak Attack comes to mind.

    You can also look at regular rares. There’s known to be 53 total and 51 are known. Furthermore, every monocolor section has been aloted 7 rare slots, and if this is true (and why should it not; they’ve only ever unbalanced colors at mythic before, I’m pretty sure), both missing rares are red. This isn’t foolproof (some rares get downgraded to uncommon, and I would have said this never happens to anything important before Lab Maniac this morning) but it’s still radically unlikely.

    So it’s pretty safe, still, to assume that any non-mono-red card, likely to be rare, can be ruled out, and it’s even more sure that we can’t have more than 2, so if you are worried about a basket of 8 different cards, just buy them all and know you ~cannot~ get burned on more than 2/8, literal worst case scenario.

    1. That is really good feedback. I felt like I didn’t want to make ANY assumptions and with the numerous rarity downshifts they have made, I wasn’t comfortable saying Elspeth couldn’t be rare or Food Chain couldn’t be uncommon or something insane given the unprecedented nature of everything surrounded this set.

      I like your “Look, there can only be one card in the ‘starts with G-R-A-V-E as a black card’ slot so buy Gravecrawler, Grave Pact, Grave Titan and only get burned on one” method. It’s something I could see myself employing but it’s not something I care to endorse in my capacity as “advice giver.” I like the approach per se, but I have gotten a lot more careful in what I suggest over the years. The fact is, I feel like there is enough actionable here that is 100% no assumptions guaranteed that there’s no reason to take any risk at all and if that hadn’t been the case, going back through and taking some of the lines you suggested may be the play, but there’s enough meat on the bones that I don’t want to trifle with the best recipe for bone marrow, you dig?

      Really, this was a great comment. Thanks for being engaged and while I am not inclined to pass some of these riskier methods on to readers, you’re probably right that I should at least let people know they are options for the ballsier among them.

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