Unlocked Pro Trader: Eureko!

It will be another week or so until we have new commanders from the next set in the never-ending conveyor belt of products WotC is subjecting all of us to, so I thought I’d talk about something old. 

William Gibson’s Kamigawa is coming out soon, and the prices of really bad cards have been really doing silly things. 


We know the decks are called “Buckle Up!” and “Upgrades Unleashed” and nothing so far has indicated to me that Samurai are the play. They’re bad. I can’t even conceive of a card that makes creatures with Bushido playable let alone spec-on-able (Trademark pending). I think it makes sense to buy terrible Samurai for the same reason it made sense to buy Louvisa Coldeyes before Kaldheim. The odds of Louvisa impacting EDH were practically nil, even with a ton of new Barbarians. We weren’t buying Louvisa to be right, we were buying Louvisa to be first so the people who thought of buying her at the last minute had to buy from us. I commend you if you somehow make money on a card like Isao, I guess.

Personally, I am more concerned at the slow movement on the actual good tribe with actual good cards – ninja. I am pretty sure the plural of “ninja” is “ninja.” Is it ninjas? Does it matter? It does to someone! Somewhere, someone is as upset at my failure to recognize the correct plural of “ninja” as I am that Isao went up in price 1,000% and Yuriko hasn’t moved at all. It may be late to talk ninja(s) but it might also not be and since next week we will have actual data to discuss and won’t have to speculate anymore, let’s speculate for the last time in 2021, shall we? I’m going to look at Yuriko and see if we can’t figure out if any of the stupid ninja cards are going to go up. This will be fun.

We sometimes rationalize a big uptick in an old deck being scraped by EDHREC as people updating their decks on the various deck reg sites, but then I see new cards like this.

So it’s possible Yuriko is just insanely popular.

So that being the case, with us returning to a setting where it’s likely we could get at least ninja-adjacent cards, let’s take a look at some big hitters from Yuriko.

This is interesting.

We’re obviously late to the party here. I bought some of these cheap but since I didn’t tell anyone about it, I don’t get to claim credit for it. In fact, if I bought some, why didn’t I tell you to buy some, too? So you see, I invented something called the “bragmonishment” where I will point out I made some money to point out that I’m a bad writer. See? I can hold myself accountable. But yeah, I bought like a ton of these at a buck. Feels good. You know what feels almost as good? Buying these at $3.50 and watching them go to $10. This is a very, very good card. It’s as good in Zombie decks as it is in Ninja decks if you ninjitsu in on a zombie with Decayed, but no one is ready to have the conversation. If CK is charging $6, you should pay $3.50.

If CK can get $15 on these, pay $9. Finance is easy! It’s not just Yuriko giving this a boost, either – there is a Calibrated Blast deck running around doming people with Draco and cards like that. It’s a stupid joke meme deck, but so was Misthollow Griffin and that made Food Chain hit $50. Any time you have help from anywhere else, acknowledge the help, thank the help, profit from the help.

I’ve mostly focused on Dimir cards so far because they seem juicier, but mono-Blue ninjae (I know for sure this is wrong but it makes me feel better to KNOW it’s wrong) have a better chance of popping as a result of something from the Blade Runner set. That said, this is in the tail end of shrugging off a reprint. If there is no Dimir Ninjas deck soon, this dodges another reprint and then rides the demand curve to value town.

I want to show a graphic I showed earlier and discuss it again.

Notice anything? Tribal, Tribal, Tribal, not Tribal, Tribal, Tribal. People love Tribal decks. I don’t know why. They’re obvious and linear and a precon gives you 80% of the deck right out of the box and I guess that’s what people love. I won’t pretend I didn’t build Slivers back in 98 like everyone else. That being the case, isn’t Xenograft super reprintable? No, because it hasn’t been over $2 yet. But it will. There is a wall of copies but once it topples, this could go to $10. There is precedent in this set for it, and I like Xenograft a lot. Hell, I even like Unnatural Selection. The thing is, it’s not just Yuriko anymore – there is another commander making use of Zenograft and it’s very new. Really, there are 2.

I mean, REALLY really there are 3.

That said, Grolnok is sort of the perfect encapsulation of a commander that needs Xenograft – a Tribal commander that needs a ton of instances of the Tribal creature to function but Magic (and even the set it’s printed in) does not have many. There are 27 Frogs in Magic and only 3 of them are playable and one of them is The Gitrog Monster and can’t even go in a Grolnok deck. Future tribes will come to rely on the ‘graft the way they do on Maskwood Nexus and Conspiracy and myriad other “Ooops, we forgot to print more than 6 Unicorns ever” cards that are necessary when every set is a Tribal set. It’s a matter of time on Xenograft.

Mist-Syndicate Naganna be worth less than a buck in 6 months, I’ll tell you that. This self proliferates but still has the common decency to have 1 toughness so Tetsuko can make it unblockable? How sweet.

And there you have it. There aren’t a billion great specs from Yuriko, but real talk, you probably don’t buy everything I recommend, picking and choosing based on what seems right to you, and I think I’ve given you a decent array of choices. We’ll be back next week nursing an eggnog hangover to bring you some hot Kamigawa: Kami in the Shell picks but until then, have a safe and happy Holiday season. Until next time!