Unlocked Pro Trader: Public Lair

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Readers!

Last week I did some minor number-crunching with sets using Dawn Glare data and I think we can add to that article without rehashing it, which means I can cut to the chase and give you the sweet, sweet picks you crave. This is an excellent time to go back and read that article because I am going to act like you read it. I’ll wait.

I’m sure you read it last week, but thanks for refreshing your memory. Last week (or 10 seconds ago) I hypothesized that War of the Spark had a lot of growth potential once recency and pack availability stopped enforcing the box price. With a lot of cards above bulk but not a ton above $10, there was a lot of potential for growth in a lot of cards, and War of the Spark has a lot more valuable uncommons than a lot of sets. Let’s look at those tables again and see if there are other sets we should dive into as long as our hypothesis panned out. We may identify a set with a lot of potential before it blows up just by virtue of comparing…. well, made-up metrics I invented. That said, I’m using made-up metrics to determine which sets deserve a deeper dive, not which cards, so I don’t see a problem with using an untested method – that’s sort of our thing. Let’s begin.

To review, the “average” column is the set EV divided by the number of cards over $1. That tells you the average price of a playable card. My hypothesis was that the lower the number, the more potential the set had. Instead of of having one or two cards worth a ton, it has a lot of cards, any of which could go up in value. They’re not worth nothing now so there is potential there. If a low average price is what we are looking for, of the current sets, the only set with more of what I consider potential than War of the Spark is Core set 2020. Like War of the Spark with its powerful, uncommons, including Planeswalkers, 2020 has quite a few good uncommons as well. Let’s look at 2020 in hindsight. That was not intentional, but I’m leaving it, this is my article.

Core Set 2020 has a LOT of good EDH cards. There are a ton of very popular commanders in the set and a few cards that will likely impact the format for a long time, such as Agent of Treachery, Field of the Dead, Flood of Tears and Moldervine Reclamation. A lot of these cards are in 5 or more percent of the eligible decks from the last two years and are under $5, which means barring reprint, we could see them approach $10. There is a lot to like here.

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Initial hype for this card was high and I think we are likely seeing the last of the price’s decline. You can be glad you waited to buy in but I don’t know how much longer you want to wait. More competitive players will see the drawback as disqualifying but more casual players both relish getting a $3 Tutor and also like the utility of being able to strategically help another player out. The unique mechanics of giving another player a card attenuates the reprint risk on this card quite a b it and I think this easily reaches its previous price of $5 and grows beyond. How long you want to wait for that is up to you, but I think we’re at the floor.

The foil price graph is even better if you don’t have copies already. This barely even had a spread if February when the price seemed to finally plateau and I think this could grow at 2 to 5 times the rate of the non-foil. It’s risky to pick up foils of cards that casual players prefer, but I think this has potential utility in cubes. $3 seems like a very friendly entry point for a foil tutor.

I’m glad I looked at this set when I did because the slow, steady growth of Shared Summons from bulk rare to $2 utility card was so slight that it didn’t trigger any algorithms that catch cards having meteoric rises but did manage to double the price of the card in about 6 months. The Promo Pack version is sold out on Card Kingdom at $1.50 and the non-foil is going for about that now so I think you get in on these while you can because there is still room to grow.

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Card Kingdom priced the foils to move but sites like Cool Stuff have one or two copies left of the foil at around $2. With non-foils going for $1.75 on Card Kingdom, I don’t hate foils at $2 where you can find them, obviously. Again, foils aren’t my thing and they’re tougher to move on casual cards, but the non-foil price trajectory is astounding and when the price of the foil is practically the same, buy a few, you rarely lose if the card goes up at all.

Despite being the second-most-played card in the set in terms of percentage of eligible decks playing it, non-foils of this card are dirt cheap. The foils, however, appear to be making moves and while the buylist remains mostly unchanged, the retail price briefly flirted with hitting its day-1 impatience price, which is good news. I think this card is a $5 foil barring reprint in foil. I think the reprint risk is medium to medium-high on the non-foil but buying in foil insulates you from a lot of reprint avenues. Pick the non-foils out of bulk and set them aside – you’ll be glad you did for sure if these don’t get a reprint soon, and even if they do, these still likely end up far above the bulk rate.

For comparison, Risen Reef, a card that got some Standard attention, is played a nearly identical amount compared to Reclamation. Reef’s price is dropping but it’s still around the $5 level despite not seeing play outside of EDH anymore. Obviously price memory and a lack of desire to slash the price to $2 is propping this up a bit, but a card played the same amount is worth twice as much. I think in the near term, these cards probably meet in the middle at $3 and probably both grow together from there.

Here is something else I noticed.

Yarok is built 1.19 times as much as Kykar but costs 3.4 times as much. Is there something to be said for being a top 20 commander of the last 2 years versus top 30? Sure, but I think those numbers are bound to shift. Let’s look at trends.

Both are trending down in price slightly over time but Yarok saw a big bump early, probably when some streamer made the deck that’s obviously very good and people followed suit. Neither card really did much outside of EDH but I think the prices may be done falling. Buy prices seem to have stabilized and I think both graphs are worth watching. One of these cards is priced incorrectly relative to the other one and once people aren’t able to get copies as easily, that will change. One thing I will say is that Yarok goes in the 99 way more easily than Kykar and also, the prices of commanders are a little risky for me considering they print about 200 new Legendary creatures a year. Yarok’s ability makes him one of the best BUG value cards, and very playable in the 99 of another one, Muldrotha. Kykar seems like the next Jeskai spellslinger commander will be better than he is. Does that account for the price discrepancy? Maybe, maybe not.

Banned in Brawl? This is definitely the price floor, then. Give this a tick to finish cratering, then scoop up a card that’s the most-built commander, most-played card and is good enough to ban in other formats. It’s a non-mythic, non-foil in a core set, but it also flirted with $6 for a time. This is a 5-color deck staple forever and I think once this bottoms out, you scoop these and wait. If it dips more at rotation, good, buy more.

If I don’t get a better idea before next week, we can take a look at Ixalan with its paltry 1.58 average price on our made-up index. Is there an explanation for that or is Ixalan pregnant with possibility? That’s your homework for next week. Until next time!

MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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