Unlocked Pro Trader: The Spirit Of Commander

READERS!

I don’t want to talk about the literal spirit of Commander. I don’t even really want to call it Commander, since I like calling it EDH more, but since so many people are new and don’t even remember the good old days, I will, begrudgingly, call it Commander. I’ll come clean, the title is a stupid pun because we know we’re getting a tribal Vampire and tribal Spirits deck in Breaking Dawn or whatever and we should be ready for both.

We haven’t gotten confirmation that the deck will be Blue/White that I have seen (I’m sure there’s an article on the mothership or something) but based on the last 2 decks being two color and tribal, we can infer we’re getting RB Vampires and UW Spirits. On that basis, I decided to do what I did last week and delve this time into UW Spirits decks on EDHREC to see if there are any cards we should be buying in advance. A lot of the Spirits cards are reprintable and are nichey, but they have Modern applicability, too, so it’s possible we have additional chances for growth. That said, Modern applicability makes them even more reprintable. There probably isn’t a better target than last week’s Bloodline Keeper, but we can take a look anyhow.

In case you don’t feel confident navigating the site or feel like you pay me to do stuff so I should do it for you, here is the full Spirits tribal page on EDHREC. There are some non-Azorius cards here, which we can ignore, but it doesn’t suck to know how people are building everything. Let’s get into it.

This is… a mess. It’s pretty clear I should focus on a UW spirits commander. But which ones?

I can already tell that I am more likely to uncover some busted Kamigawa block tech in a Celestial Kirin deck than I am to find a good spec in the Ranar deck, but I’m going to do my due diligence anyway. Kykar is a combo deck that has Spirit tribal lords in it because why not swing for 3 with your tokens in a pinch, but I doubt it’s built like the new deck will be. Still going to look.

Let’s rule some stuff off right off the top, OK? I would bet money Supreme Phantom is in the deck, ditto for Rattlechains, Selfless Spirit etc. We can buy anything from that list that isn’t in the deck when the decklist is spoiled, but we’re not making money on Drogskol Captain any more than we did off of… the Dimir Zombie one. Diregraf, that’s the one. I am honestly more likely to lose money with a reprint of Skyclave Apparitions that are in a box somewhere that I will forget to sell in time than I am to make money with Shackelgeist. I think there IS a card that’s a couple bucks now that goes to like $8 if it’s not reprinted, at least in the short term, which means you need to buy now.

At a $2.50 buy-in, which is like $0.50 over CK’s buylist, this seems lowish risk. This is an easy dump to a buylist for $5 a copy in 2 months if we don’t catch a reprint. I don’t think there are too many other opportunities from that whole cohort of “Modern Spirits deck” cards. Spell Queller maybe? I like this as a medium-risk pickup. If it’s in the deck, you likely take a bath, but you may be able to panic dump to a tardy buylist site if you see it’s reprinted? I don’t know, I don’t react quickly enough to try and get others to subsidize my mistakes, I put them in a box, forget about them, they go up, I don’t sell, they get another reprint then I find them an cry. Your technique might be different.

While we’re talking about Spell Queller, I actually don’t hate it.

Queller isn’t getting cheaper barring a reprint, and with the USA deciding that not spreading Covid is boring, we’re likely looking at a return to sanctioned Modern, which could perk this back up. I like it at $3.50.

The Ranar page isn’t turning much up, so let’s get creative.

That huge spike in 2019 was me making you all a crapton of money when I saw that Teysa decks were going to make use of this. I am not going to make you “buying in at $0.50” money anymore, but I am going to make you some money if this isn’t reprinted. It’s actually not the most synergistic with Spirits in all cases, so the commander may matter, but with multiple Legendary creatures in the deck, I think this synergizing poorly with the main commander means it’s less likely to get reprinted but you still have chances for it to go in another deck. I like this for those reasons. I realize the decks are finalized and some people know the contents, but I’m still guessing here and I guess this is real solid at $5.

Rooting around in Cloudhoof Kirin’s cards, I found this bizarre gem. It’s actually super strong but 6 mana sort of bites. I think random stuff like this could be in play, but if you look at the Zombies stuff that went up, it was $5 cards going to $10 rather than $0.75 cards going to $2, and there aren’t a ton of $5 spirits. The issue with trying to find secret good tech in the Kamigawa Spirits is that all of the Azorius ones are like 6 mana. No wonder everyone hated Kamigawa block at the time.

This has turned into a bit of a bust. One thing I can do is look at what I think the commander’s abilities might be and try to see if there is anything that could synergize with… a thing I’m making up. It sounds lower value than I think it is, especially when I type ellipses.

For example, if something puts Spirits from your hand into play for free, which could be solid, bigger, more expensive Spirits are in play. The upside? Those dumb Kamigawa ones are better. The downside? Anything really good is likely reprinted in the deck.

If it manages to dodge a reprint and if it is at all decent with a commander like that, Drogskol Reaver is a solid card on its way to $8-$10 that could be a real player in that deck. A reprint likely knocks this down forever, but something like this seems necessary to beat the Vampires deck. Don’t forget, the decks were designed to play against each other and the Vampires deck likely swarms fast so it might be necessary to have some lifegain because spirits are all like 3 mana 3/1 fliers and it sucks to block a 1 mana 2/2 with those. I think Reaver is just a good card and people seem to like it enough for it to go from bulk rare status 5 years ago to over $5 now.

Kataki is in the process of going off, but if you can get copies under $10, see that you do. I wish I’d thought of it sooner.

That does it for me this week. In general, the cards that did the best from the Zombie reprint were $5ish cards and there are a few of them, albeit with decent reprint risk. Still, the Wilhelt deck didn’t reprint cards we thought they might, and they hosed some others’ Rooftop Storm specs. All I know is that you really only need one solid card to make some money with and while there aren’t a ton of great options here, you only really need one. I personally like Hallowed Spiritkeeper – something about cashing in on the same spec multiple times makes me happier than hitting with something new. That does it for me – until next time!

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