I was going to make a huge deal out of the fact that I got a comment on my last article pointing out that they found it informative and helpful and I usually get fewer than three comments on an article (not just here, but on Coolstuff, also) and then I read Adrian Sullivan’s primer from when he won a GP and it had two comments and then I thought “three comments is a lot.” The thing about being a large percentage of the comments I get by virtue of bothering to comment is that I overreact to what can honestly be both construed as “an overwhelming percentage of my feedback” and also “literally two comments” and do what those people say. After all, they wrote in. Accordingly, I’m going to write something I hope is pretty similar to last week’s article and if you don’t like it, blame the people who commented.
Last week I talked about cards that were bound to increase by virtue of having been ruled out of Ultimate Masters before the full set was printed. It was more valuable to Pro Traders on Tuesday than the general public on Thursday but isn’t much good to anyone, now. While I still think “act fast” articles have value because you’re working with information not everyone has if they didn’t sit and think about it and rather than sit and think about it, you paid me to do it for you, which I’m happy to do. However, longer-term forecasts are good, too, because if you know what you want long-term before you crack your first booster, buying, selling and trading will be a lot easier since you don’t have to plan, I planned for you. Let’s talk about the cards in the EDHREC top 100 that are in Ultimate Masters, their rank, their likelihood for another future reprinting and how much we expect their price to recover given those factors. We nailed cards like Rune-Scarred Demon and Austere Command in Iconic Masters, so let’s work the same magic on a set with lower supply. This will make you the least sexy money you’ll ever make, but sexy doesn’t pay the rent, desperate men pay sexy’s rent for sexy. Let’s pay our own rent, shall we?
I realize that EDHREC has a few limitations and I wish people realized I realized that. I’ve been using EDHREC data to crush it at predictions for like 5 years, there’s not much about the site that you’re going to tell me that is going to make me go “Oh man, I’ve been doing it wrong all these years” so let’s assume that until EDHREC starts making me lose people a bunch of money, the data has things we can learn from it. If I say something derived from data that you think is wrong, A) argue with me in the comments and B) you’re under no obligation to buy. The best specs in my opinion are the ones where I say something and it jives with something you already thought but weren’t quite sure of. That’s a spec based on consensus. The Top 100 cards are the most-used cards and they’re ranked 1-100 on the basis of percentage inclusion in eligible decks rather than raw inclusion. Of course Sol Ring is in more decks than Chromanticore, for lots of reasons. However, Blasphemous Act is in 30.705 decks and Solemn Simulacrum is in 281,775 decks but Blasphemous Act is ranked two spots higher. Why? Because more decks could be playing Solemn and aren’t than could be playing Blasphemous Act but aren’t. Capiche? It’s a simple concept but people think I don’t know it so I’m pointing it out. Raw number of decks is very important but it doesn’t tell the whole story, otherwise we’d buy nothing but artifacts. So what from the Top 100 made it into Ultimate Masters?
Rank – 20/100
Demonic Tutor is in a lot of decks. It’s the #1 most-played Black card in terms of raw numbers at over 46,000 which is like… all the black decks. Well, it’s a third of them, but, still. No other card is played in more than a third and this is a card that was $45 on Card Kingdom recently and selling for that price. There weren’t too many judge promo or other versions of the card and with this new art, I expect this to be highly coveted. This is a pretty insane inclusion as a rare in a set with $6 mythics and we’re lucky Wizards wanted us to have such a good set. So how long do we expect to wait for the price to do its thing? Well, if you consider Vampiric Tutor a decent analogue, take a look.
This took between 8 and 12 months to decrease and then rose pretty steadily. There wasn’t a whole ton of money to be made, but if you were buying at buylist or trading cards that didn’t recover as well, you did fine. If we’re talking in at retail, out at retail, someone who played it perfectly bought in around $26 on TCG Player and got out at around $46 on TCG Player, which is nothing to sneeze at. AND it was predictable. When the card his $26 after a few months of sliding, people were happy to sell for $15 cash at the LGS or trade for $25 worth of Modern stuff (so… one Manamorphose?). If you want a Tutor to play with, wait until it bottoms out, note if it starts to rebound and buy double because you’ll pay more if you wait longer and when it doubles up, you can always sell the spare copy and you got the play copy for free. That’s how I roll, anyway. Sexy doesn’t pay my rent, but sexy goes in decks. I think Demonic Tutor follows a similar trajectory, but has a slightly different demand profile.
Also, this will have the most affordable foil copies of this card we’ve ever seen, potentially. All in all, it’s a good look.
Rank – 5/100
There isn’t much excuse for not playing this card in a green deck and 42% of all builders couldn’t find one. 56,000 decks is a lot of demand and this card, despite being uncommon and in a precon and printed a ton, manages to shrug off every reprinting. After 7 printings (counting Commander Anthologies 1 and 2) with Terese Nielsen’s art, we get a new take on it and foils of this will be the only foil copies of Eternal Witness with this art in case people like it better. It’s also a box topper promo so not all of the demand for the card will be satiated by older copies which won’t help this shrug off the reprint a ton, but clearly Eternal Witness doesn’t need the help. Printed at uncommon again, I expect this to tank pretty deeply, although this is likely one of the smallest printings of this card to date and there’s a lot of demand.
The cheapest the Fifth Dawn version ever got was the week Modern Masters 2017 came out, which was about a year and a half after the last time Eternal Witness got a reprint of any real size, in Commander 2015. It’s been a while but it didn’t take the price that long to climb back up to where it mostly equilibrated, although it peaked a bit, both times it wasn’t included in a set it probably should have been (Modern Masters 2 and Battlebond). This will be $8 again, and soon, and it will be dirt in the near term unless people overwhelmingly prefer the new art, which they might.
The third and final card from the Top 100 in Ultimate Masters also has brand new art and also shrugs off reprints. Even at common, foils of this will be desirable and the new art could end up displacing copies in other decks (it will in mine) meaning existing demand could be a booster. At common, this is getting a lot of new copies, but it’s always at common and it seems to recover. It’s at least always a pick, you can ship foils to people who like the new art and in general, it’s worth knowing that this should never be left in draft chaff although it probably will. I seriously get free copies of cards like this all the time by digging through cards players just leave on tables. Grab the good stuff, put the rest in neat piles, start a donation box for new players and look like a good person.
I finished… uh…early. I expected 5 cards and was a little surprised to find only 3. That means to give Pro Traders their money’s worth, I’m doing a bonus section.
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