Expressive Value, Just For You

Last summer, we had a really interesting experience, highlighted by one of the most profitable experiences a body can have: Buying a very cheap card and then buylisting it for a lot more a short time later.

I’m talking, of course, about Expressive Iteration:

If you bought in at fifty cents in May, you had the chance to sell to a buylist at five bucks in mid-July. That’s a phenomenal return, especially given how little respect some uncommons get. So what I want to do right now is look at what uncommons are popular, both in Commander and Constructed formats, and see if there’s money to be made.

One note before we get into this: I’m going to be listing the number of decks that have a card on EDHREC. Please keep in mind that the inclusion rate isn’t a guarantee, as it’s a great dataset, but one with limitations. There’s a lot of people who upload entire preconstructed decks and then tweak those decks, giving precon numbers a boost. Also remember that not everyone bothers to upload a deck at all, which if a lot of casual players want a card, the price will move while the rate stays low.

Rumor Gatherer ($0.20 for the cheapest version, $1.30 for the most expensive, currently listed in 16,000 decks on EDHREC) – I like what this card offers: Draw a card every time you have 2+ creatures enter the battlefield, plus scry 1 for every other creature that enters and doesn’t draw you a card. That’s a whole lot of value crammed into one card, and especially if you have fun things to do on other turns that gives you a pair of tokens, like Raise the Alarm.

Iteration was not cheap for very long and this card has been out for a few months. It was included in one of the CLB decks and that’s going to keep the price of the regular nonfoil down for a while to come. However, this was a promo pack card for SNC and that’s the version you need to be looking at, because it’s just over a buck for single foil copies and slightly more in higher quantities. This many decks in this short a time is a wonderful sign.

Slip Out the Back ($1.50 to $2, 8900 decks) – One-mana ‘save your creature’ tricks are always going to be nice to have, as we’ve seen with stuff like Tamiyo’s Safekeeping. Hexproof and indestructible are very good keywords, and will get you through most of the problems in a Commander game. Getting a +1/+1 counter is probably better than two life, and phasing has no workaround. I can Massacre Girl a board away through a Safekeeping, but I’m just going to shrug when it’s phased out. This is why Teferi’s Protection is so good, too!

The foils and the nonfoils are about the same price, which means I probably want the foils. I’d rather have the shiny versions, as those aren’t put into Commander decks as the nonfoils are.

Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer ($0.10 to $1.70, 4k decks as Commander and Card) – Rocco is a Chord of Calling you can cast from the command zone. It doesn’t have convoke, nor is it an instant, but my goodness, having a toolbox commander like this is a powerful tool. He’s in as many decks as he is at the head of those decks. I don’t think we’ve had a legendary three-color with such a powerful ability, one that just requires mana to be good. We also have a version worth picking up in bricks: the gilded foil version is available for under two bucks.

I don’t think this will light up anytime soon, but I really like getting a premium treatment for such a useful card in large quantities.

Roadside Reliquary ($0.15 to $2.50, 10k decks) – Lands that give you something to do when you’re out of gas have a real appeal in Commander. Cryptic Caves is in 15k decks, and both these cards are amazing in something like Lord Windgrace, giving you card advantage coming and going. Foils are almost 20x the price of regulars here, indicating how strong the casual demand is. 

Yes, you want to be in on those foils. A reprint is nearly inevitable for a utility land like this, and I want to stay out of the fallout there. Instead, I’m okay buying these at two for $5 and being patient until they hit $10 in about 18-24 months.

Containment Construct ($0.30 to $3.50, 12500 decks) – I’m extremely tempted by the nonfoils here, and deciding what to buy is an exercise in predictions. The Construct is amazing in decks that have a way to make the discard happen regularly, like Anje Falkenrath. What I’m thinking about is that eventually, something will get printed that turns this into a mega-combo-enabler. Will it be a Commander precon that likely would include this card?

If I think the combo is some random Standard inclusion, then I want a giant stack of nonfoil copies. Thirty cents jumping to a retail of even $2.50 means I’ll make around 6x my money back. If I think it’ll be in a precon, I want the foils as protection from that extra set of copies.

Relic of Legends ($1.50 to $3, 2700 decks)

Elas Il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim ($0.20 to $2.50, 2200 decks)

Tear Asunder ($0.60 to $1.75, 624 decks)

Finally, here’s the three cards from DMU that I think have the best chance to give us huge returns. Relic is going to be a mana rock for a wide variety of decks, including things that want the commander to be tapped. Elas is just good, capable of lots of gain and lots of loss, while Tear Asunder is a straightforward exile spell.

Elas is the only one with a special version as yet, having a textured foil of his Showcase art available, so that’s where I’d want to be. For the other two, I’d feel better about having foils but it’s not quite as urgent a need. Having a stack of these cards on the cheap is going to pay off nicely in the long run. 

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.