Unlocked Pro Trader: AdoptiIon


I want to continue what I started last week with comparing Core Sets in an article I called “Adoption” so here’s the sequel. It’s the remix to Adoption, another finance concoction, I can’t make you make money but I can give you the option.

Core Set 2021 could be one of the least-opened sets of all time which could lead to a weird situation where the market isn’t sure how to equilibrate the rising cost of singles with the flow ox boxes that trickle in months later than they should have. If the set is largely weighted away from Standard, that won’t matter because it’s never too late for EDH, but if the set was relying on Standard to soak up a lot of the value, at least initially, we could end up with a lot of $5-$10 EDH cards but a bunch of cards for Standard worth nothing which would make the boxes a terrible gamble. The EDH cards are free to grow unbound at that point since the boxes aren’t getting popped to inject those copies into the market. How is the set weighted now?

All I did was search TCG Player by set and then list from highest price to low to see which format the expensive cards in the set are from. The first page is largely sealed product and 12 of the 19 Teferi promos, but Page 2 gets more interesting.

This is where the $15-$10 cards are. Extended Art Azusa is only like $4 more than the regular version, which is wrong but I’m not sure which price is wrong, or whether they both are. There is no third option where both of those prices are correct, they’re too close together to both hold.

Azusa has never really been $8 this decade, but it’s also never really been printed this often. In a normal year where people can draft packs of Core Set 2021, Azusa probably has the capacity to go below like $8 into unprecedented territory, but this isn’t a normal year. If we accept that maybe $5 is the floor for the non-foil Azusa, where is the floor for the Extended Art and foil?

The Champions foil with the OG art is dumb expensive right now but if you look, the reprint took the Masters foil from like $60 to $20. If you assume it settles midway between, this has the capacity to climb to $40 if not reprinted again soon. The non-foil Extended Art will take some of the potential foil buyers out of the market but not enough, I don’t think. If this has the capacity to hit $40, it doesn’t look that bad right now.

If this has the capacity to hit $20 I like it right now. It’s basically the same price as the non-foil. Not to keep repeating myself here, but that means one of these prices is wrong. The non-foil has never hit $8 since people started playing EDH but there is a lot to focus on with this set. I don’t like foils at all but I also don’t like paying as much for a non-foil as I would a foil. That can’t be correct.

All that said, how do you feel about the Extended Art foils at two times the non-foil price? The Extended art is worth 1.5 times the non-foil (and foil) regular border price, so the Extended art foil is merely 3 times the price of the regular foil. Again, these prices are in flux but the ratios are all wrong. It’s basically up to you to bet on which outcome you think is correct.

  • The non-foil price is too high. The foil stays at $8ish and the non-foil plummets to $2 or $3.
  • The foil price is too low. The non-foil stays within a buck or two of $8 and the foil climbs.
  • The Extended Art is too high and converges with the set foil.
  • The Extended Art is too low and converges with its foil.
  • The Extended Art is too low but so is the Extended Art foil and those prices diverge as they both increase.

I think the Extended Art foil will diverge in price from the non-foil and I think we are about to see that people will buy the Extended Art if it’s close to the non-foil. I expect the sheer number of options to depress prices and to the extent that this Core Set is opened more than Masters 25 was, this could make Azusa affordable for a long time. I also think there is still money to be made here. There’s no precedent for the Extended Art foil but it can’t be more than the Champs of Kamigawa foil. Do you like it at $25? I do.

I think $20 for an Extended Art foil is pretty good but I also think this card relies a lot on Standard to prop its price. With Standard played in paper to a non-existent amount right now and this likely to be reprinted the next time Standard could help its price again, I am sort of bearish here. I think this is an interesting benchmark for other prices, however.

This seems really low, especially the foil. It’s a mythic, this set won’t be opened a ton and Massacre Wurm is pretty recent to spike as hard as it did.

Teysa made this go nuts and the odds they print another commander where this effect is doubly good seem high. I think if the non-foil can hit $30, I don’t hate $10 or so for foil Extended Art. There may be better places to park money like cheap Solemns and Scoozes if you can still find them, but this is just as incorrect.

I’m a little worried since these prices seem very wrong, but they seem too low when you would expect them to be very high with less of the set being opened. That said, retailers who ordered long ago and then got what they ordered before the world turned to garbage have nothing but free time to list $3 cards on TCG Player and no one is playing paper so demand is actually lower than supply despite the supply chain being interrupted. That being the case, scooping a ton of copies might be necessary but it also might be pretty lucrative. We’re predicating these buys on these cards not being in Core 2022 and in-person Magic returning before they are reprinted, but I think EDH promos are a fairly sure bet and this is still a card that goes in a lot of decks.

I was quite bearish on this card but I’m willing to entertain the notion that it’s more popular than I thought it would be, in which case these prices are pretty wacky.

It’s the 3rd-most-played card of Core Set 2021 so far based on the amount it’s included in eligible decks. By raw numbers, it’s number two after Garruk’s Uprising. If you think being played this much and drawing extra cards and having a $2 foil promo are appealing, I think you will have plenty of chances to snipe these for cheap. For reference, CK wants more for them, but not much more.

OK, not much by dollar amount, so you can look at it as “They want $1.50 more” or “They want twice as much.” – whichever fits your worldview. CK does charge more but I think if they sold out they could be buying these for more than you can buy them for within a few weeks. I don’t know how cheap this card can get, so if you can get these around $2 or less, I wouldn’t hesitate. This won’t get help from Standard, but it probably won’t need any.

I think with retailers sitting on more product than they anticipated and with the free time to list it, it’s a buyer’s market right now on TCG Player. With less access to packs and less demand for paper cards, EDH is going to be bailing the game out harder than ever and it makes sense to look at EDH cards. Will all of these hit? No, but the cheaper they are, the lower the risk. Azusa could do just about anything right now but I don’t see a ton of scenarios where a card like Ageless Insight that is basically a bulk rare yet played more than almost anything else in the set goes down in price. If it goes down, buy more until you’re happy with the average price you paid.

That does it for me. Since I hit the grandmother of a WotC employee with my car and she cursed me, it will be spoiler season until the heat death of the universe so I’ll be back next week to talk… sigh… Double Masters. Until next time!