Unlocked Pro Trader: Stop Stopping At Obvious

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Readers,

It’s no secret that Prime Speaker Zannifar is going to impact prices. It’s a dumb, linear, obvious deck and the fact that there are obvious, slam-dunk cards for it that people who don’t even play EDH saw them a mile away means that the obvious stuff gets bought out and gets bought out hard.

Hard.

HARD.

GREEK UNDERGROUND… you know the rest

The ship has sailed on a lot of “Staples” for the deck and there’s not much point of making like a greater fool and buying an Intruder Alarm now. Fortunately, readers of mine who don’t pay attention much to EDH, preferring that I pay attention to it and they pay me to pay attention may not know that there is a secret to EDH deck building.

Vannifar decks still have to include 96 more cards. The less obvious they are to people who don’t play EDH, the more money you can make.

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“But Jason,” I am pretending that you are asking “surely the people who DO play and understand EDH have already purchased those cards that are not obvious to pure speculators but which have occurred to them.” Well, here’s another secret about EDH. No, they haven’t. They will put their decklist on TappedOut (don’t put your decklists on TappedOut, by the way, use Goldfish or DeckStats) or DeckStats, they’ll debate which color sleeves to put the deck in but the one thing they won’t do is buy the cards and build the deck until they have Vannifar in their hands. I don’t know why this is, but I sure appreciate it. It allows us to figure out what they’re going to build and buy it before they do.  Let’s look at the other 96 cards that aren’t obvious. Oh, and 40 of them are lands. Let’s look at the other 56 cards that aren’t obvious. Sol Ring. Let’s look at the other 55 cards that aren’t obvious.

I’m not going to show you 55 cards. Sorry, there aren’t 55 cards bound to go up, but I will show you some I think have promise.

EDHREC doesn’t have enough data to publish findings yet but googling Vannifar lists will show you that some people are already thinking pretty hard about how to make a dumb, linear combo deck with a Pod chain. I like a toolbox build but other people don’t so let’s look at the cards that are in almost every build I found.

Pod isn’t at a historic low but it’s climbing up mostly irrespective of specific demand. If this gets unbanned in Modern and you have a pile of these, you’ll look like a genius. These will go in every Vannifar deck and while far fewer Zannifar decks are going to be built than team “$20 Intruder Alarm” thinks, there will be some and you’ll move these. It looks like it’s midway through a climb anyway so smart money is betting on a graph shape like this where you know you’re getting some demand and the only question is whether you’ll get exactly as much as Vannifar gives us or more from another source. Seems low-risk to me.

This has a bit more reprint risk than I like, but I think we’re talking a short-term play here if there’s one to be made at all. This also has shrugged off a reprint in the past because it turns out it’s a very good card in EDH and does two jobs that are both important and does them in any deck due to its lack of a color identity. All of those things are pretty powerful. 11,127 is above my “magical arbitrary but meaningful to me” threshold of 10,000 decks on EDHREC and while that’s not astronomical for an artifact, there’s demand on top of Vannifar and the overall trend of the card is up.

That goes for the Commander 2013 copy as well, which celebrated its 5th birthday a few months ago and marked the occasion by tripling in value over its life.

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This is better than Thornbite Staff in more decks, goes in the Vannifar deck also and there’s no reason this will ever be worth less money than Thornbite Staff. That’s all I have to say about that.

This won’t double but it will be in the decks and that’s significant. It’s not exactly doing a ton of business elsewhere and the spread continues to grow as the bottom drops out of dealer confidence in the form of lowering buylist prices. This is just used a lot, I don’t know how strongly I feel about the current metrics, but you may feel differently.

This seems to be in every list I come across and it also appears to be ticking up slowly. It’s not super likely to get a reprint and it’s a mythic from a set that there was no real pressure on anyone to buy so for those reasons alone, even irrespective of Vannifar, I like this. Vannifar makes me like it Vannifar more.

This card is also in a lot of Vannifar lists I see online and it’s likely EDHREC data will bear that out soon. This can’t get much lower as a mythic and the $1.50 foils seem awfully inviting and somewhat rare. If Thornbite Staff can flirt with $15, I don’t think $1.50 on these is out of the question, but I also don’t think you have any possibility of this going up for any reason other than Vannifar which makes me hesitate.

This was $50 once. It was also $10 once. Which one do you think it will be again first? Remember, this is the top of most pod chains when you turn your 6 drop into Avenger of Zendikar then hit this. Of course this doesn’t give your creatures haste, but if you need haste, there’s a card you should take a look at.

So this is on its way out of control and while it’s not on the Reserved List per se, reprint likelihood feels low to me and people are buying the Legends version like it IS one the Reserved List. Chronicles copies seem like endangered species and Chronicles hasn’t just been around for longer than most Magic players have played Magic, Chronicles came out before a lot of them were born. This is a $30-$40 card waiting to happen. You already have to pay in excess of $20 for a Near Mint copy on TCG Player so while the damaged copies no one wants are confounding metrics, you can safely pick off the Near Mint copies, clean out Card Shark and other peripheral sites no one does a good job of keeping an eye on and try not to trigger an avalanche.

Check yourself. There are a lot of cards I didn’t mention but some of them might be cards you personally think are worth looking at. Do you think the supply of Quirion Ranger is at a tipping point? Want to make some ballsy buys of Reserved List cards like Palinchron? Found a mispriced Staff of Domination? There are more cards that can go in the deck and I didn’t cover them all, so do some research, wait for EDHREC to give you the answers, ask around, build your own list. Do anything but gripe about how you missed the boat on cheap Intruder Alarms. You should have bought them at $2 when I said to in a QS article 6 years ago like I did. We all make mistakes. Until next time!

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2 thoughts on “Unlocked Pro Trader: Stop Stopping At Obvious”

    1. It forces you to build a specific way and it’s not as obvious. Maybe if enough people play it and EDHREC catches on and informs future building it can get there. I didn’t loat anything I haven’t seen in a majority of the deck lists I looked through because those cards are unlikely to be signalled on EDHREC. Its works in Elf/Wizard builds but doesn’t help your whole combo which sucks

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