Unlocked Pro Trader: Synergy

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When we build decks, we think about cards that can be more effective because of how they work in conjunction with the rest of the deck rather than how powerful they are on their own. Nothing in the Cat Food deck in Standard is THAT powerful on its own now that Oko, OUAT and Veil are out of the format but working together in the context of food shenanigans, the deck is annoying and it’s only going to get more annoying now that it’s all you’ll play against at FNM. Synergistic interactions are obvious to us in the context of building decks, so why don’t we think the same way when we plan specs? Instead of talking about the most popular deck in EDH right now, I should be looking at overlap because there are some cards getting double- or even triple-hit right now and that’s worth knowing about. Which cards, you ask? Well, don’t worry, I’ll figure it out for you. Come along with me on a journey of cardboard-based discovery.

A real quick and dirty way to do this is using a website I found called “Compare 2 lists” which, and you won’t be shocked by this revelation, compares two lists. You’re not going to get every single card, but if you compare the average decklists generated by EDHREC, you can get a good idea very quickly as it’s just a matter of highlighting and copying and pasting. You can dig down a little deeper, and you can save yourself some time by comparing decks that have something in common. You may find some synergy you didn’t find before and it may cause you to drill down on some decks you didn’t think you would. I think the two list comparison tool is our coarse grit sandpaper and physically looking at the pages is our fine. Let’s do some coarse work, shall we? Here’s our list.

The top of the list is starting to look very similar week to week and with Target and Wally World restocking the Brawl decks, I don’t expect they’ll be built LESS as people get their hands on the decks for the first time. Just a gross, cursory glance at this list shows there are some common threads. A lot of the black decks involve tokens or saccing creatures – Korvold, Alela, Syr Konrad, Edgar and Marchesa are all better if you’re saccing creatures and most of them generate the creatures. I think that’s a good place to start.

When you compare the lists, you’ll get an output screen like this.

We are concerned with the bottom right box – the cards that are in both lists. The hope is that cards that aren’t just staples will pop out at us. Let’s do this real fast at first and see what we see.

Permutations

Korvold and Alela

1 Arcane Signet
1 Command Tower
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Korvold and Edgar

1 Arcane Signet
1 Blood Artist
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Butcher of Malakir
1 Command Tower
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Skullclamp
1 Smoldering Marsh
1 Sol Ring
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Yahenni, Undying Partisan

Korvold and Syr Konrad

1 Ashnod’s Altar
1 Blood Artist
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Myriad Landscape
1 Pawn of Ulamog
1 Plaguecrafter
1 Priest of Forgotten Gods
1 Reassembling Skeleton
1 Sifter of Skulls
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Viscera Seer
1 Zulaport Cutthroat

Korvold and Marchesa

1 Arcane Signet
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Command Tower
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dockside Extortionist
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Alela and Edgar

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Anointed Procession
1 Arcane Signet
1 Blind Obedience
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Command Tower
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Alela and Syr Konrad

1 Lightning Greaves
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Swiftfoot Boots

Alela and Marchesa

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Arcane Signet
1 Blind Obedience
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Command Tower
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Ghostly Prison
1 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Skullclamp
1 Smothering Tithe
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sphere of Safety
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Talisman of Hierarchy
1 Temple of Silence
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Edgar and Syr Konrad

1 Blood Artist
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Read the Bones
1 Sol Ring
1 Syphon Mind

Edgar and Marchesa

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Arcane Signet
1 Blind Obedience
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Boros Garrison
1 Boros Signet
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Command Tower
1 Crackling Doom
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Nomad Outpost
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Syr Konrad and Marchesa

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1 Bojuka Bog
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum

There is a lot of noise here. When you take out mana rocks and lands, you get a few “hits” that are worth tracking down.

Korvold and Alela
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Skullclamp
1 Solemn Simulacrum

Korvold and Edgart
1 Blood Artist
1 Butcher of Malakir
1 Skullclamp
1 Yahenni, Undying Partisan

Korvold and Syr Konrad

1 Ashnod’s Altar
1 Blood Artist
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Pawn of Ulamog
1 Plaguecrafter
1 Priest of Forgotten Gods
1 Reassembling Skeleton
1 Sifter of Skulls
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Viscera Seer
1 Zulaport Cutthroat

Korvold and Marchesa
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dockside Extortionist
1 Skullclamp
1 Solemn Simulacrum

Alela and Edgar

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Anointed Procession
1 Blind Obedience
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Skullclamp

Alela and Marchesa

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Blind Obedience
1 Ghostly Prison
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Skullclamp
1 Smothering Tithe
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sphere of Safety
1 Swords to Plowshares

Edgar and Syr Konrad

1 Blood Artist
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Read the Bones
1 Syphon Mind

Edgar and Marchesa

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Blind Obedience
1 Crackling Doom
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Skullclamp
1 Swords to Plowshares

Syr Konrad and Marchesa

1 Bojuka Bog
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum

There are some fairly interesting cards here but a lot of these are sort of staples. I don’t need to tell you Skullclamp goes up in price until it’s reprinted.

If you want to do some of this analysis your self quickly, try clicking on the various themes in the upper left. You may get a bit more synergy if you’re comparing Syr Konrad to Korvald Aristocrats, for example. However, we’re just looking for cards that are in the majority of the decks, not a sort of fringe build. The permutations with the most interesting cards are Korvold and Konrad and Alela and Marchesa, but I plan to go through and see cards that are interesting and appear in more decks if possible.

One more thing you can try will give you a ton more noise, but if you feel like digging the signal out, you can compare every card from the page, not just the average deck. You do this by sorting by text rather than pics which is the default.

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When you do that, you can paste the entire EDHREC page for the commander into our comparison tool. I’m going to compare Korvald and Konrad first and pare down the noise.

Korvald and Konrad

Altar of Dementia
Animate Dead
Ashnod’s Altar
Bake into a Pie
Black Market
Blood Artist
Blood for Bones
Bolas’s Citadel
Butcher of Malakir
Carrion Feeder
Crucible of Worlds
Decree of Pain
Dictate of Erebos
Dread Return
Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder
Entomb
Falkenrath Noble
Final Parting
Fleshbag Marauder
Grave Pact
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Living Death
Mana Crypt
Memorial to Folly
Merciless Executioner
Nihil Spellbomb
Pawn of Ulamog
Phyrexian Altar
Phyrexian Reclamation
Phyrexian Tower
Pitiless Plunderer
Plaguecrafter
Priest of Forgotten Gods
Reanimate
Reassembling Skeleton
Revel in Riches
Shriekmaw
Sifter of Skulls
Skullclamp
Solemn Simulacrum
Torment of Hailfire
Victimize
Viscera Seer
Westvale Abbey
Whisper, Blood Liturgist
Zulaport Cutthroat

This is a much bigger list. I tried to cut out Black staples for the most part and what I was left with was a recipe for 2 decks that both want to play Grave Pact effects on top of making every player sacrifice creatures. Let’s look at Alela and Marchesa.

Alela and Marchesa
Anguished Unmaking
Anointed Procession
Ashnod’s Altar
Aura of Silence
Austere Command
Authority of the Consuls
Aven Mindcensor
Bitterblossom
Blind Obedience
Bolas’s Citadel
Burnished Hart
Cathars’ Crusade
Despark
Dictate of Erebos
Divine Visitation
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Ethereal Absolution
Fumigate
Generous Gift
Ghost Quarter
Ghostly Prison
Gilded Lotus
Godless Shrine
Hall of Heliod’s Generosity
Hushbringer
Isolated Chapel
Karmic Justice
Kaya’s Wrath
Land Tax
Lightning Greaves
Luminarch Ascension
Mana Confluence
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Marsh Flats
Merciless Eviction
Mind Stone
Mirage Mirror
Mortify
Necropotence
Norn’s Annex
Oblivion Ring
Rest in Peace
Return to Dust
Revel in Riches
Sensei’s Divining Top
Silent Clearing
Skullclamp
Smothering Tithe
Sphere of Safety
Sun Titan
Swiftfoot Boots
Sword of Feast and Famine
Sword of the Animist
Swords to Plowshares
Talisman of Hierarchy
Teferi’s Protection
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Utter End
Vault of the Archangel
Vindicate
Wayfarer’s Bauble
Westvale Abbey
Winds of Abandon
Wishclaw Talisman
Wrath of God

I am seeing some themes here. Endrek Sahr could be in all of these decks, for example. They all can make a lot of tokens. I am going to use a different tool to compare all 4 lists at once. The output is uglier on this tool but it’s worth it to at least look at the cards in all 4 decks.

Ancient Tomb4List A, List B, List C, List D
Arcane Signet4List A, List B, List C, List D
Ashnod’s Altar4List A, List B, List C, List D
Bojuka Bog4List A, List B, List C, List D
Bolas’s Citadel4List A, List B, List C, List D
Burnished Hart4List A, List B, List C, List D
Commander’s Sphere4List A, List B, List C, List D
Damnation4List A, List B, List C, List D
Demonic Tutor4List A, List B, List C, List D
Diabolic Intent4List A, List B, List C, List D
Diabolic Tutor4List A, List B, List C, List D
Dictate of Erebos4List A, List B, List C, List D
Evolving Wilds4List A, List B, List C, List D
Expedition Map4List A, List B, List C, List D
Lightning Greaves4List A, List B, List C, List D
Mana Crypt4List A, List B, List C, List D
Mind Stone4List A, List B, List C, List D
Necropotence4List A, List B, List C, List D
Reliquary Tower4List A, List B, List C, List D
Revel in Riches4List A, List B, List C, List D
Skullclamp4List A, List B, List C, List D
Sol Ring4List A, List B, List C, List D
Solemn Simulacrum4List A, List B, List C, List D
Swiftfoot Boots4List A, List B, List C, List D
Temple of the False God4List A, List B, List C, List D
Terramorphic Expanse4List A, List B, List C, List D
Tomb of Yawgmoth4List A, List B, List C, List D
Toxic Deluge4List A, List B, List C, List D
Urborg4List A, List B, List C, List D
Vampiric Tutor4List A, List B, List C, List D
Wayfarer’s Bauble4List A, List B, List C, List D
Westvale Abbey4List A, List B, List C, List D

There are a few cards here that aren’t staples, here. Revel in Riches makes me want to look at more than just Grave Pact effects in the decks. Bolas’ Citadel is getting a lot more play than maybe we’d anticipated – it’s currently around $2 but it’s the 6th-most-played card in War of the Spark. Here are a few picks I found based on digging through each page.

Attrition works well with all of these cards and while it appears to have plateaued a bit, the general trend is upward. It’s been a while since this got reprinted and there are a lot of decks, and not necessarily the ones on the Top Commanders page, either. Attrition is strong and it dodged a reprinting in the Mystery Booster set, which sends all kinds of signals. I am very, very bearish on Attrition.

Sold out on Card Kingdom, price increasing on Channel – all signs point to EDH moving the needle a lot on this card. Could it dip at rotation? Possibly, but that’s been happening less as EDH is a bigger and bigger percentage of the paper Magic being played and cards being identified earlier and earlier. I think we may have even missed the boat here, which is nuts given how recently this was printed. I don’t like foils but the foil doesn’t even cost twice as much as the non-foil right now. Don’t expect the multiplier to stay sub 2x if this goes on a tear.

I can’t figure out how this is so cheap on TCG Player with so many copies when it’s so expensive everywhere else. Can’t we just arbitrage this stupid card at some point? This is so cheap on TCG Player I had to make sure it wasn’t in Mystery Boosters.

This has a lot of printings, but at a certain point, it will stop mattering.

We love to catch stuff at its bottom, don’t we? We love that reverse-J shape that tells us we’re at the best possible time to buy and that it’s about to reverse and turn into a beautiful U-shaped graph. Do you like this card at its bottom? I sure do.

That does it for me this week. This was a lot of techniques to absorb and I thank you for hanging in there with me. Keep peppering me with questions and comments in the comments section. Until next time!

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4 thoughts on “Unlocked Pro Trader: Synergy”

  1. Regarding buylisting sidisi. I buylisted them about 40 a month ago at the current prices and due to this article I’m going to buy in more and send them in. Might as well get the free $2 credit

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