Unlocked Pro Trader: No Rest For Tiny Bones


I know we love to talk about how we like second spikes, but we’re about to see a very interesting set of second spikes that could teach us a lot about mtg finance if we pay close attention. Today’s case study pertains to a commander that everyone wanted to build and no one wanted to play. Did the prices fall off because people got sick of the deck before they even sleeved it up like they seemed to with Xyris? Did they just not get to play the deck because of Covid? What can we learn about mtg by looking at two similar and profoundly toxic decks, the second of which may be so toxic that it punches straight through how boring it is and gets adopted by griefers the world over? I’m going to tell you that, damn, give me a minute. It takes me a paragraph or two to get situated. First paragraph and I’m already pretending you asked like five questions already.

I kid, I am actually glad I’m pretending you asked all of those questions because those are the same questions I asked myself when looking at a new card from Kaldheim that I legit wrote another “I hate Nevinyrral article” about on Coolstuff. If you’re reading this on Thursday, it came out today, go to Coolstuff and check it out. I feel a little silly trying to make the case that you might want to read my article in the body of one of my articles that you’re reading, but life is messy sometimes. Just click this link then click the one with my name on it. Thanks for the support!

OK, we’re back. Do you like how I dunked on Tergrid? I think I made the case that it’s troubling because it is so seductively powerful and has a much better payoff for the toxic discard and sac effects than Tinybones did that it’s bound to be a much bigger problem. I think the deck is going to be really unfun to play against, like Tinybones, but unlike Tinybones, I don’t think it will be unfun to play with. Tergrid makes symmetrical discard effects like Bottomless Pit into asymmetrical value engines and it’s shocking that this is not at mythic. This is a finance article, why do we care about what the stupid card does?

Here’s Why

This post-Tinybones decline was more precipitous than we’re used to seeing. Can a decline be precipitous? It makes me think it means “headed toward a precipice” but it also means steep. That’s a steep decline if you ask me – from $10 on its way to $7 or maybe even $6 when it got the call that it was back in the game. Didn’t even have time to report to the minor league club and there was an injury call-up. This new deck could make Necrogen Mists go even higher than $10 on CK considering no one could get their hands on Tinybones, those that could had to pay like $50 for it and anyone who built the deck was immediately hated out or got bored.

Tinybones is still on top, but it is closer than it was, and Neyith came out of nowhere. Neyith was behind all 4 of these other commanders, plus Emiel, plus Sethorn which was itself behind Kels. What people brewed waiting for Jumpstart product that came half a year later and what they built when they had the product differed a lot. It makes sense.

Before we talk about the cards that are going in Tergrid that weren’t in Tinybones, we should figure out what happens if Tergrid is as unfun as Tinybones and whether we should avoid decks that people aren’t super into building in the future. Let’s take a look at some cards that 100% went up because of Tinybones. Necrogen Mists was one, what’s another?

Pepperidge Farms remembers when Bottomless Pit was $15 on TCG Player an we have the data to prove it. A $15 price tag on a niche uncommon was never going to be sustainable, but it hit $5 on Card Kingdom before it sold out and by the time everyone restocked, no one cared. You can get Bottomless Pit for $1.50 on Card Kingdom, like 25% of what its buylist price was during the throes of Tinybones fever. I think it’s a buy if Tergrid is here to stay, but it may take more than one deck to make it stick above $5. I think Tergrid is more devastating and easier to get than Tinybones and I think it could help people out who bought Pit at $4 trying to get that fabled $15 and ended up holding the bag. Is that you? Shhhh, be quiet, put your hand down. You don’t have to admit it in front of everyone, just do something about it. You have another chance to break even, maybe better, and you should take it.

Here’s a very interesting case and I think it highlights the difference between a Saga rare and a Stronghold uncommon. Oppression, despite not seeing a ton of new play outside of Tinybones, never saw a drop-off in its price and it’s a solid Hamilton on TCG Player. Not just that, the solid Hamilton on TCG Player is its all-time high.

Freaky. It seems like there are so cards that just needed a nudge. Want to see something even crazier? Oppression got a reprint.

Figure that out.

It seems like the next time we get some Tinybones-tier card that makes people look at older cards that were too symmetrical and punishing to get a serious look, they may be safer if they’re old rares, even with reprintings. I’m looking at Yurlok, I guess. Is Citadel of Pain the Bottomless Pit in this scenario?

Not yet, but it’s too soon to tell.

This former bulk rare never retraced, either. It is looking more and more like Bottomless Pit suffered from a conspicuous buyout that sent people scrambling to the LGS to find the $0.75 copies to try and buylist for $8 that a slow, steady climb experienced by Lethomancer didn’t trigger. I also think people didn’t realize there were quite so many Bottomless Pit effects and if they didn’t check EDHREC to see what was going into Tinybones, they might not have known of any. Whatever the case is, I think Lethomancer is on its way farther up, not down. I think a lot of the Tinybones specs are in play, and I think another class of cards is on the way up, too.

A These Cards On Thy House

It’s Pox o’clock, baby!

This makes them discard AND sac creatures so with Tergrid out, you’re going to absolutely house the opposition. This is a ridiculous blowout and it’s why Tergrid is going to be so much better than Tinybones. Tinybones made everyone have an empty hand except you got to Phyrexian Arena on every end step but everyone hated you and blew their topdecks trying to take you out. Tergrid just straight robs them of a fighting chance. You can get hit by symmetrical discard effects and it doesn’t matter because you’re getting a ton of free perms.

Here, a foil spec idea. Don’t say I never did anything nice for the people who like foils for some reason. This is off of an all-time high of around $15 so a second spike is going to be… well, precipitous. Or not, what do I know about foils? This is also a $4 foil in Conspiracy and M12 but the art sucks.

I am going to be watching Death Cloud very closely. We are seeing two factors fight each other and I want to see who wins.

Factor 1 – There are 2 printings of this card, the second of which is Modern Masters.

Factor 2 – This seems almost tailor-made for a blowout scenario like Tergrid being in play. It’s irresponsible to build Tergrid without Death Cloud.

This card flirted with $5 without a brutal card like Tergrid to give it a boost, so I think sub-$3 you are in excellent shape.

Oppression didn’t go down post-Tinybones, I really don’t expect this price trend to do anything but get… precipitous-er. This is on its way to $10 anyway, and I’m glad Tergrid made us notice.

Here is the Tergrid page, you can figure out what you think will go up and argue with me in the comments for omitting something you like.

What would have happened to Tinybones cards if not for Tergrid coming along within 6 months? It’s hard to say, but I do think Tergrid could make the ones that didn’t retrace go up even more, you know, p-wordly and I think new ones like Pox and Death Cloud could be along for the ride. As a financier, I hope Tergrid demand is organic and the specs pay off and you have plenty of time to get out. As someone who likes to play EDH, I hope no one builds this bull$^&* deck and Wizards stops making cards like this.

That does it for me! Thanks for reading and don’t forget to argue with me in the comments or on Discord. Until next time!