Unlocked Pro Trader: I Almost Made A Pun About A Spec

Could you imagine? Locking this article for Pro Traders only for 48 hours but I put the name of a card to spec on right in the title? Total disaster. I blame the lack of sleep I’ve gotten lately at the hands of two children who, working as a cohesive unit, are keeping me deprived of sleep more efficiently that any two professional interrogators. Despite the psychological war being waged against me, I’m possessed of enough of my mental faculties to remember that we should be looking into the future to buy stuff before it spikes. Did you buy any copies of Painter’s Servant in 2018? Then it was probably an accident but I hope you bought a lot. Did you try to buy them the day of the unbanning announcement? Sorry about your cancelled order due to “selling out on multiple platforms” or whatever nonsense they fed you. Since we have to buy far ahead, let’s do it. We’ll do it by looking at a card that people already forgot was spoiled, it’s that far ahead of the set it’s in. Like, we haven’t seen a single card from Commander 2019, so having an Eldraine card is pretty nuts. Let’s take advantage of that and use it to our… yep, no way out of this sentence without using the word “advantage” again so I’m just going to bail out and try to smoothly transition to the next paragraph without arousing any

Eldraine is set in a Fairytale setting and while that doesn’t mean Bitterblossom is a good buy (I had a good laugh at all of the people buying faeries cards because of a spoiled booster pack wrapper) it DOES mean Legendary creatures. Also, funnily enough, MaRo said some of the cards that seem like they’d be Legendary won’t. It’s tough to build decks where every creature in the set is Legendary. Remember how Civilized Scholar//Homocidal Brute was supposed to represent Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Same deal with Eldraine. Anyway, there will be Legendary creatures. We’ve already seen one that’s going to be in a Throne of Eldraine Brawl precon and it’s pretty spicy. I think the deck will get played in EDH even if this fails to make Brawl palatable which is fine since all of the cards that are good with it won’t be legal in Brawl. Let’s take a look at said creature.

A character from Irish folklore, Cú Chulainn was the incarnation of the god Lugh who joined the 27 club after being tricked into an unfair fight. Irish people are pretty stoked to see a character from their lore represented, and rightly so. I’m pretty stoked to see a value engine like Chulane is and people are already thinking of ways to abuse him. There are several and if he catches on in EDH and cEDH like I think he might, some expensive stuff could get expensiver. We have 1 deck on EDHREC so I had to do some digging online, but I’d have to do that to find cEDH stuff anyway, so here goes.

I’ll say before I actually launch into the picks (I’m a tease, I know) that this is a bit preliminary and I usually wait for EDHREC data but I think we can make a few reasonable assumptions about what people will try to pair with this when it’s closer to being released in a few months and we need to get ahead of them if we want to grab the obvious stuff. The non-obvious stuff will still be there later but this is a part of the process we don’t often engage in but I think he’s been overlooked and with Commander 2019 spoilers next week poised to bury this card, we should be thinking ahead.

This climbed a lot faster than I had thought it would. It’s good in basically every Green EDH deck but it’s especially good here. I wish I had called this at $1, but if you buy them now, you’re going to be saying “I’m glad I bought these under $5” rather than “I wish I had bought these under $2.” Missing stuff happens when it climbs smoothly and other cards in the set overshadow it, but people are done opening RNA and with the mythics mostly all crashing, the value has to go somewhere and, here’s it goes. Guardian Project has a vague name and a powerful effect so it has high to very high reprint risk but it’s also a dumb card that goes in a lot of decks. How many decks?

Second to only Smothering Tithe. That’s how many decks. It’s in the best color in EDH, it draws cards for what Green does best and it’s under $5. It will only get better paired with Chulane and if it’s not in the Brawl precon, which it might be, it’s going to be a $10 card someday. If it is in there, it will be a $5 card someday.

Remember me? I keep popping up year after year, enabling dumb commanders like Prossh, Tazri and Niv-Mizzet. This is mostly a cEDH card given how expensive it is, but it’s also very good in Chulane and I could see people playing it anyway. Even though it just missed the cut-off for the Reserved List, I don’t know how likely a reprint of this is given its high price tag and this may be a “get your copy if you need it for Chulane” sort of a situation. If you wanted to invest, maybe look at a card that’s on the Reserved List and has a lower buy-in. Maybe look at

Aluren. Gettable under $20, ridiculous with Chulane, demonstrates the ability to crest the $40 mark on a repeated basis and on the Reserved List. If there was one pick for this week that I would push hard for, it’s this one. It’s not just good with Chulane, it’s insane. Whitemane Lion, Shrieking Drake and a host of other gating creatures are good with Chulane and INSANE IN THE CHULANE MEMBRANE with Aluren. Draw your deck and dump every land. Win that turn. Aluren is a card that keeps coming up and if you have copies, you may have been holding them for a while but Chulane, if it takes off, has to play this card.

I don’t know how controversial it is to say to buy a card that’s in the midst of going up because of other decks, but Curio is a likely inclusion in Chulane and since it’s climbing, you won’t be able to get them for cheap later. I think with two potential reasons to spike, we may have seen the last of this card under $20.

Even if the incoming second spike on this card isn’t higher and harder, it should maintain its ceiling for longer.

However, in lieu of more picks, I want to discuss the shape of this graph. Today I’m talking about “obvious” stuff that cEDH people are going to put in their cEDH decks rather than the cards that EDH players are going to use with Chulane. A lot of the cards are likely the same, but do you remember why Intruder Alarm spiked in the first place? It was in the last year so you probably do. It was Vannifar. Alarm was “ZOMG OBVS” in the deck, it and cards like Thornbite Staff all disappeared. Some quick people made money but I think people were a little upset with me that I seemed to be staying out of it. After all, Vannifar was the cEDH hotness. What’s the case for not being all over it?

For one, a few months later, Vannifar is the 4th best commander in a set that doesn’t even have 5 good commanders. Vannifar was obvious but Teysa Karlov is hotter. I made a lot of money on Teysa cards and I had a much longer time to pick them up, and my selling window was longer, too. Let’s look at cards that spiked as a result of Teysa and compare the shape of their graphs to this last section of the Intruder Alarm graph.

It didn’t crash. People are still racing to the bottom a bit on TCG Player but stores like Card Kingdom aren’t lowering their prices and they’re still moving copies to players. Card Kingdom isn’t competing with anyone like TCG Player is on Intruder Alarm, either, and they keep lowering their price on that. It seems to me that as much as I get some FOMO static from some of my readers who feel like I’m losing them money by not being super proactive like I was this week and getting those “obvious” cards, the stuff we select with my method maintains its price better because it’s based on what people are demonstrably playing, backed by data and not what is obvious to people who didn’t build a Vannifar deck. Hallowed Spiritkeeper peaked at $8 and is now around $6.50. Massacre Wurm peaked at $30 and settled at $25. Intruder Alarm lost half of its value and it’s a much more powerful and less niche card than something like Vindictive Lich. The demand for cards that are selected by my method is like a $7 Avocado – organic.

Aluren has had a lot of peaks and valleys in its graph. Cloudstone Curio is getting help from another card. Food Chain is always going to be above $40. The rest of every cEDH deck is always the same – Force of Will, Enlightened Tutor, Brainstorm, Sylvan Library, Mox Diamond, etc. Intruder Alarm has some upside with Chulane comboing with it but you need a lot of mana dorks. I think we likely haven’t seen the Vindictive Liches and Hallowed Spiritkeepers Chulane will bring us yet. I think we have time and with the number of Chulane decks going from 1 to 30 in the lat 24 hours, I think we’ll have time to make our purchases ahead of what people are really going to play. Chulane is powerful, he’s being hyped by WotC to get people to build Brawl and I also think there are cards I can safely predict that are going to look a lot more like Massacre Wurm than Intruder Alarm.

If these weren’t obvious to you, they also won’t be obvious to speculators who don’t pay attention to EDH and that’s why they pay me the big bucks.

That does it for me. Let’s all be on the lookout for the next Massacre Wurm. Until next time!