Unlocked Pro Trader: Theros Beyond Debt


I know what you’re thinking – sweet title, right? What’s it mean? Well, it doesn’t mean anything, I literally just wanted to make a stupid pun about Theros Beyond Death and I used “debt” because it’s a word sometimes associated with finance. Not in any context I want to talk about, it’s just a money word and I made a pun that is more fun than it is accurate and I don’t have to impress you.

If you want to be mad at the dumb title, go ahead, but I’m positive you’re going to forgive me because I am about to make you think about a set you probably haven’t thought about in a while and maybe never even thought about as a set rather than as individual cards. Remember that thing I did with War of the Spark a while back? Well this week I’m doing it about Theros Beyond Death. Honestly, Ikoria is probably a better choice, but I’ll do that next week because I already wrote the title and the paragraph explaining the title and this paragraph where I referenced the paragraph where I explained the title and I don’t want to start over so here we go IT’S THEROS TIME BABEEEEEEEE.

Why Theros?

Theros Beyond Death is a set with a lot of cards that get played in EDH and it was the first full set with a ton of showcase cards meaning we can track how those cards are doing 18 months later to try and see what we can glean about the future of AFR Collector Boosters (I am so sorry if you bought AFR Collector Boosters) and other products that came out this year. I mean, maybe? All I know is that some of the cards from Theros that I thought we missed are still creeping up, so while an optimal buy-in isn’t in the cards at this point, I still want to go over the set. EDHREC sorts by % inclusion when you look at the set as a set, and that’s the order I will go in, even if some cards farther down on the list are played more on an absolute basis.

There are (jesus) 27 Legendary creatures in Theros which is just too many, but don’t worry, every set has 27 Legendary creatures now.

This is honestly super sad. Look at this. In the number one spot you have a boring, mono-White commander (#127 in the last 2 years, ranking behind commanders from a set that came out this month), in 3rd place you have an uncommon and only 3 of the commanders have more than 1,000 decks. This set is BAD for commanders. A lot of these creatures are good in the 99, so make them non-Legendary and give us fewer Legendary creatures, then.

I planned to spend a couple of paragraphs on this but honestly, it’s way worse than I thought. Please don’t pin me down and ask me to explain what I mean by “bad” beyond me just saying what all the numbers are – it just “feels” like a bad set for commanders and I will not be taking further questions at this time.

What’s good is that the set is full of good cards and I’m going to talk about them now.

This set is STACKED.

I am not making a proclamation about how I feel about these being around $200, but I will mention one more time that this set is lousy with value. Let’s play the hits before I go trolling for underpriced gems.

This is half of what it peaked at, and paltry play in paper played a part, but I also think it’s not unreasonable for EDH alone to make this a $15 card, barring a reprint. Insulated from reprint, though, is this.

The Extended art is worth far more than the foil, which is barely worth more than the non-foil. I didn’t want to say that this is exactly what would happen 18 months ago because I would have been guessing. An educated guess, sure, but a guess. What we’re seeing is the price of the extended art non-foil being basically double the set foil, but the prices not really diverging yet. The shape of the graphs are nearly identical, which is something else I wouldn’t have predicted. I think the Extended Art Foil will diverge from the non-foil more but I think the Extended art non-foil will diverge from the set non-foil, too, eventually. I don’t know when – 18 months in is a long time to wait if it’s going to happen but hasn’t yet. But Thassa’s Oracle is a cEDH card, so maybe we look at something that isn’t.

This is the regular version

Which is basically half of the cost of the Extended Art which is itself a third of the cost of the Extended Art foil. So the EA foil is 6 times the cost of the set non-foil while the set foil is basically the cost of the set non-foil. This is basically what we talked about 18 months ago but the crazy part is, the graphs are moving together on this card, too. OK, so we looked at a card played in a ton of formats including cEDH and a card that is a mythic, how about an EDH-specific non-mythic rare?

Shadowspear has quintupled in the last 18 months. How about the Extended Art?

Very similar overall graph trend. The thing with Shadowspear is that the Extended Art is not worth fully twice as much as the non-extended art and the EA foil is only double the EA non-foil. It seems like for a card to be truly juiced, you’ll need it to be mythic or playable outside of just EDH. Shadowspear is a bonkers card, btw, and it’s in 25,000 decks which is something I assumed but didn’t say to anyone which means I didn’t actually predict it.

I think the price on these 3 cards is more or less correct which is why I used them as a reference. I think there are some prices that are likely not correct, though, so let’s take a look.

This looks arbable (is that a word? Able to be arbitraged?) but I don’t trust those BL values. What I do think is that a card that everyone is ignoring because it is banned a lot matters a ton in EDH and we should be paying attention to it. 1 in every 8 decks containing Red built in the last 18 months runs this card, I think if it’s below $10, we can safely pick these up. There are as many copies of it as there are Shadowspear unless I missed some Event Deck or something, so it’s very reasonable to buy these at $5 and try to get out at the $20-$25 people want for Shadowspear, a card in fewer decks according to EDHREC.

This seems like it’s underpriced, to me.

The Extended Art has demonstrated the ability to go to $20 on the basis of help from other formats, something it could get in the future, and I think these are a pretty safe pickup.

These are twice as much on CK as they are on TCG Player and you know me, I tend to view CK’s stock as a bit of a canary in a coal mine. If they charge twice what TCG Player does and sell out, that’s a sign that EDH players are interested. CK wants $4 for the regular art and $6 for the EA, and that’s pretty reasonable considering this is in 15,000 decks in the last 18 months. It’s in 10,000 more decks than the next-most-played Intervention, Nylea’s. This card is flying under the radar outside of the people buying and building with this card and while White kinda sucks in EDH, this would still be a Top 15 card if we sorted by absolute inclusion rather than percentage of eligible deck inclusion. This is the real deal and it being gettable for $2 on TCG Player seems juicy to me.

For a moment in time, the Extended Art Woe Strider was worth 8 times what the regular art was. Even on non-mythic rares, the Extended Art can get pretty pricey. I really like the idea of targeting EA versions of non-mythics that are basically bulk rares because of a huge supply because the EA copies at least have a chance.

There is a GULF between $18 and $12. These are 50% more expensive on CK, which also only wants $20 for the Constellation version. This is a slam dunk, imo, especially at TCG prices.

The price has been consistent for 18 months, that’s not right and it’s going to correct eventually. The cheapest this ever got on CK was $12 and that’s what they are on TCG Player right now. Scoop these.

I think it’s possible there are more picks here, and feel free to peruse this entire list for more hits. I am looking forward to Ikoria next week, I feel like the pandemic overshadowed that set quite a bit and I think it’s juicier than just about any set since Kaladesh. Join me, won’t you? Until next time!