Unlocked Pro Trader: The Shifting Landscape


I titled this article “The Shifting Landscape” because the landscape is shifting. I will not be taking further questions at this time.

Baldur’s Gate still hasn’t settled and some of the top commanders in the set are shaking out a bit differently. Let’s take a look at the leaderboard this week.

Captain value has absolutely rocketed up the charts and it’s worth taking a look at, but you’re going to be disappointed. A growing trend has started to emerge lately, and I attribute it in part to how little time we have to brew and tune decks before we’re encouraged to ditch them and move on to the next thing. I’m convinced every Captain N’ghathrod deck is just the precon sprinkled with 25% of an Umbris deck that didn’t get finished since a set came out every few weeks since then and there never seemed to be time to finish. What makes me think people are using largely unmodified precons?

Every single High Synergy card,

and every top card are in the precon. 28/28 on the key cards in the deck being shipped with it. The precons are getting more and more tuned and less and less broad, and the more tuned they get, the more they’re forced to reprint very specific cards that will never leave the deck and the less people are adding singles from other sets. It’s not every deck that’s like that, certainly, but the small window between sets is clearly having an impact on builders and it’s being reflected in the data no matter whether it’s a measure of cards appearing a lot in this one deck and nowhere else or a measure of cards just showing up in this deck a ton. Yeah, I’m not surprised people are playing Thought Vessel and Lightning Greaves, but every single card here is in the precon.

Accordingly, we have to scroll down pretty far to find anything, bad news when we’ve proved in this column that the deck’s ranking in the set and top commanders of the week list can predict whether the deck has the velocity to launch all but the lowest-stock of specs. I think there is a non-trivial amount here, and I’ll find it, but I’m not thrilled about it.

You can say that Card Kingdom prices aren’t real, but this card is sold out on Card Kingdom at $5 a copy and CSI still has some for $2.50.

Is this card bad? Is the price real? Is CK a reliable metric? I will answer any and all questions by silently pointing to the part of your computer screen where I showed with data that you could arbitrage this card to CK’s buylist by paying retail at Coolstuff if you were so inclined. If you do, please use EDHREC’s clipboard feature to upload your want list to one of the affiliated sites so I don’t have to get a day job.

It’s my job to know what’s going on here but I will be real honest, I do not. There are copies on other sites, but TCG Player seems to be experiencing a run on this and that’s really interesting. Don’t expect this to be $10, but don’t expect it to stay under $5 if it’s not reprinted pronto.

So what about a deck where we’re bound to have a bunch of old cards? Will we see a ton of precon cards or what?

Looks like there’s something here after all. Let’s dig in.

You have got to love the shapes of both of these graphs. These are cards that are ready to move. The set is a year old but 90 products have come out since then and people have moved on hard from Commander Legends one. It’s time to pay more than $3 for a better Boundless Realms. This card rules.

No idea what’s taking this card so long when it already spiked to $5 but I continue to not understand this graph shape. What I do know is that this card is quite good and it’s very cheap but has also demonstrated the ability to hit $5 for a bit. I’m into these under a buck.

This card keeps threatening to mean business – I wish anyone took it seriously. Personally, if these are scoopable for half of their peak price right now, I don’t know what any of us is waiting for.

This wasn’t as deep a dive into the set as maybe you would have liked, but I covered two new commanders with radically different spec outlooks and I think they contrast each other in a way that’s instructive. I hope you agree and I hope you’ll tell me about it in the comments or on Discord. Until next time!