Whoever gave this set the three letter Code AFR rather than DND did us all a real disservice if you ask me. How I feel about AFR being the code is about how I feel about AFR as a set and let me make one thing perfectly clear – I couldn’t be happier to be able to take a set off. I didn’t buy any sealed product, I need like 3 copies of Grazilaxx and that’s basically all I need for decks and I couldn’t be happier. Taking a set off as a builder and collector has been great, and not caring about ANY of these cards has made it so easy to look at data and not have that internal moment of struggle where the data is showing a card I like is under-performing and simply accepting that fact means accepting I evaluated a card wrong, then you have that Seymour Skinner moment.
Anyway, none of that this time. Just cold, hard data. And wouldn’t you know it, EDHREC got the EDH deck commanders added in with the rest of the set in a move I actually prefer to giving it its own page. I like to see how the DNDDH precon decks stack up against the rest of the set. While the full amount of data we’re going to get isn’t in yet which means the precon commanders could still improve relative to the non-precon commanders spoiled earlier, we are seeing trends at least right now. Let’s look at how the sets look next to one another.
Prosper has rocketed to an impressive second overall, Sefris, Galea and Wulfgar are jockeying for a Top-5 spot and Kalain, an uncommon, is already beating D and D fan favorites like Bruenor and Drizzt. If that sounds like complete nonsense to you, it does to me, too. Like, looking at the pictures helps, but every time I go on a podcast, I am very aware that I am just saying a bunch of names that I myself will forget in a few minutes. 42 new legendary creatures every couple of weeks is too much. Give EDH a break, seriously.
The huge dump of commanders sort of dilutes the impact of tier 2 commanders in my opinion, unless they’re putting pressure on the same cards as a tier 1 commander might, in which case they can’t hurt and can only help. Accordingly, I won’t spend too much time looking at commanders registered in 16 decks across 5 websites and will look at the stuff that really matters. Let’s look at the heavy hitters from D&DDH, shall we?
Live Short and Prosper
This is my exact $%^&. Of the high synergy cards in Prosper, 8 of them are in my Valki deck already. Am I making a new deck to run all of these cards again? Maybe not, but nothing is impossible. What IS possible is that Prosper being in a precon will encourage WAY more people to build with these kinds of cards than Valki being in a regular set and everyone hating it immediately because it ruined a bunch of formats its first week did. I still like Valki but people who never gave Valki a chance (or read all 98 lines of text on the front and back) will like Prosper more, I bet.
Last week I got a rare comment on an article, which was nice. I get more feedback about my writing in the Pro Trader Discord, a Discord community I can’t recommend enough. Phitt correctly identified Stolen Strategy as a card Prosper decks could get a lot of use out of and I want to frame this next paragraph as me agreeing with Phitt super hard rather than trying to call this one of my picks. I think it would have been a card I talked about this week when I saw the High Synergy (the ratio of how much the card is played in this one deck to how much it’s played in the format in general) cards in Prosper. Let’s talk about why Stolen Strategy rules.
There aren’t too many cards in Battlebond that are above $5 and Stolen Strategy is much harder to reprint, specifically in a future Commander product, than any of them. It’s already over-achieving for a non-Mythic, but there is more future upside for this card, I think. $10 before anything happens to knock it off of its current trajectory is a bet I’m willing to make. If you can scoop sub-$5 copies of Stolen Strategy, I would.
Back in February there was practically an arbitrage opportunity on this card, maybe due to Valki? Whatever it was, this card is basically always $3 buylist which means if you can get it for under $5, you’re buying below what the dealers who were paying $3 when this sold for $3 thought this would be selling for at retail at this point.
I was thinking about how many times Etali has been reprinted lately, and it made me reconsider my position on how reprintable Stolen Strategy is, but the conclusion that I came to ultimately was a little more nuanced. I don’t think Etali’s repeated reprinting is a signal that Stolen Strategy could get reprinted but rather it is a sign that Etali is how they prefer people do the kinds of things that Stolen Strategy does and not only will there not be a likely reprint, there will be increased future demand based on how well Stolen Strategy performs in a deck that already has Etali. Printing Prosper indicates they like this kind of effect so if decks like this proliferate, Stolen Strategy has a lot of chances to get noticed. Normally I don’t love recommending a $5 buy-in for a card that likely tops out at $10, but I think you can get them cheaper than $5 and they could go beyond $10. It’s only been a few years and they’re in vogue now more than ever.
Maybe the Pirate ship has sailed on copies of Revel in Riches, but I still think it goes up and the Mystery Booster printing didn’t do much to address price, merely supply, which I hope they think is sufficient. The reprint risk on this is medium but I do love this card and wish I’d bought in deeper around $1 like I considered doing.
This costs half on TCG Player what it does on CK. Historically, CK has had a good instinct for what will go up based on EDH and this card seems like no exception.
Two reprints in quick succession have taken this from a $12 card to a $4 one. Does this hit $12 again? Unmolested, I think it does. Despite high supply, there is also a ton of demand with more every day. As long as it’s cheaper than Stoneforge Mystic, also, EDH players see this as a Stoneforge they can realistically afford, which helps demand, also. All in all, I think this is a good buy below $4, which is attainable currently.
Lannery storm is only going to get better with the concession by Wizards that treasure is here to stay as a mechanic. This is a $5 Ixalan foil and I like both the foil and non-foil right now.
Najeela made this card pop from like 50 pennies to 50 dimes in a short time, a second spike would be even better, especially if you can get in around a dollar. This card is too powerful in the right deck to not be a long-term gainer, especially if another deck like Najeela comes along.
I think it’s possible that the “face” commanders in the decks are over-represented a bit because people had more time to brew with them, but until we get data that proves that hypothesis, I’m going to stick to covering the most impactful commanders for now. The next week will answer some of our questions, so, until next time!