unlocked Pro Trader: Embrace The Tank


“Embrace the tank” is a phrase I see a lot on social media because I am from Michigan and the Detroit Red Wings are terrible this year. Had the season not ended, they may have ended up one of the worst teams of all time. Just truly, truly abominable. I’m of course happy because the same friends who want to “tank” the season (not even try so they get last place and have the best odds of drafting 1st overall) were bragging about a 25 year streak of making the playoffs a few years ago and I’m petty. If fans of a team that made the playoffs 25 years in a row can embrace the tank, why can’t we?

You’ve Got Red On You

Card prices are tanking fairly hard. If we’re going to be greedy when others are fearful, we still need to be smart about it. It’s for this reason that I think EDH cards are the way to go. Since EDH is a casual format, people are able to play it on webcam with their friends whereas people can’t really play competitive formats in paper, which insulates EDH card prices. These months of extended social distancing will help a lot of people transition out of paper into digital but with EDH on Arena still impossible, paper EDH is further insulated. Finally, non-rotating formats will benefit as cards lose months of their limited Standard-playable window to a lack of tournament play. All of this bodes well for EDH and we’re seeing that borne out – EDH buylist prices recovered from the initial hit all buylist prices took better than any other format because of course they did.

I’m not going to waste either of our time belaboring this point as you’d much rather talk about cards I think will be good pickups longer term and which have tanked recently. Let’s highlight 5 cards I think are good “Be greedy when others are fearful” buys.

Call is down pretty significantly in the wake of the reprinting in both Masters 25 and Modern Horizons, but more importantly, it’s down about 33% in the last two weeks, which is above average for cards in EDH. This is is the 48th-most-played card in the last 2 years per EDHREC and reprintings have made it more accessible and therefore more popular, which only grows its demand. No one wanted to pay $15 for this, but at $3 or below, you scoop these. It’s likely done getting printed for a while and I think the Corona divot will even out as soon as everything starts to get bought again.

This price tanked so much I opened up a new tab just to double check it wasn’t in Mystery Boosters. Nope. Just one printing, and this week Strike Zone is selling it for literally half of what Card Kingdom was charging two weeks ago. If you can get these for anywhere near $10, I think you do it. I would wait until we get the full decklists from the Ikoira commander products spoiled and THEN do it. The leaked Symbiotic Swarm list didn’t have this, it had Heliod’s Intervention, but I’m not 100% convinced that list is real and there could be another Green deck. Buy smart, we have lots of time.

This went from $40 to $30 solely on the basis of… well the entirely world being on fire and everything being terrible, but my point is that this will be $40 flirting with $50 unless people realize they have to pay back the $1,200 checks they’re getting. a 25% hit to a very popular card in multiple formats can’t be sustained unless the entire Magic economy doesn’t recover and if it doesn’t, what are we even doing here?

Without support from other sets, this is a card whose fate is solely tied to EDH, which I think is a good thing. The EDH economy will continue to be strong for the reasons I enumerated above. Also, I’m running out of things to say about cards all experiencing the same circumstances. Here’s a card that was on its way to $20 and now it’s $10 some places. Can you find these for $8? Buy them off people locally for $5? This is a Top 100 card on EDHREC and it says Tutor in its name.

For comparison’s sake, I included one card that I think has a strong chance at a rebound and was included in Mystery Boosters and I’ll talk about a few things regarding the difference.

Verdict does get play in multiple formats, which is good, but the EDH demand is very robust and enough to move the price if it needs to. This was flirting with $20 before the Mystery Boosters hit shelves and I think the supply from those is a bit overstated. The introduction of copies is going to be much flatter than most sets because big stores are closed, people aren’t super keen to head to the LGS if it’s even open and money is tight right now. Copies will hit the market slowly and I think that will buoy recovery because supply will seem less than it is.

Verdict lost 50% of its value between Mystery Boosters and COVID and that’s about twice what we’ve seen for non-Mystery-Booster EDH staples. Troll and Toad has these under $5, which is closer to a 75% price reduction. If that happens across the board for Mystery Boosters cards, there might be more buying opportunities in that set than we think. In fact, I think I’ll address that more in depth next week. If prices rebound the way they typically do, it will end up halfway between the pre- and post-spike price, which will be a reduction of about 38%, which is the worst we’ve seen for just COVID reductions. If that’s the case, you stand to recover even more value if we’re seeing two different factors reducing the price, one of which works itself out naturally and the other of which is temporary. I think there is more demand for this card at $5 than at $20 and if I wasn’t going to include any Mystery Booster cards to avoid having to type this paragraph and risk being wrong about all of this later but included this card anyway, that should tell you how I feel about scooping these at $5, which is absurdly cheap.

That does it for me. Who knows what will happen in a week? If I am able and allowed, I’ll be back next week with more ideas and I hope you’ll join me. Thanks for reading. Until next time!