Retro Artifacts go BRR

We are far enough into the set’s cycle that I can say this with confidence: It’s pretty amazing that we’re going to be able to buy so many awesome cards for some very cheap prices, and that they printed a set with two subsets: BRO, plus the BOT and BRR sets. Amazing stuff.

Right now, the serialized artifacts are taking all of the time and attention and money for this set. It’s understandable: there’s exactly 500 of each card, numbered and everything. It’s a gorgeous foiling, too, and we’ve even got crimped or other misprinted serialized cards running around! All the pieces are in place for the non-premium versions to tank pretty hard in the upcoming months. 

As such, I like to plan out my targets in advance for this sort of thing. I’m not buying now, and I’m not buying in three months. I’ve learned, and written about, the new timeline for cards being six months from release.

The rest of this content is only visible to ProTrader members.

To learn how ProTrader can benefit YOU, click here to watch our short video.

expensive cards ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

A note about the EDHREC rank: These rankings represent only the people maximally online and invested in uploading their decks. I haven’t put any of my decks up there, and there’s also a bias towards preconstructed decks. This is useful information, but it isn’t an all-knowing Oracle on the hill, nor a foolproof metric.

Swiftfoot Boots, Ashnod’s Altar, and Chromatic Lantern are by far the most popular cards here, but they will only be viable if the price drops to nearly bulk. Both of them have a lot of printings, and while the retro border is cool, this is absolutely a stay-away for me. 

Burnished Hart is in similar straits, but this at least is the only unique frame for the card. What’s warning me off is that there’s a Foil Extended Art from Commander Legends 1, when the FEAs were notably rarer, and that price is still super cheap. If you can get a lot of shiny versions for very very cheap, you might have a buylist play in the future, but I’m still not planning to buy.

Aetherflux Reservoir (current lowest priced version at $5, highest is $30, listed in 84,000 EDHREC decks) – Now here’s a card I can spec on. Foils for the retro and the schematic frame are $8 and $20, respectively, and that’s a big gap for cards that exist with the same drop rate. It’s got a pedigree, it’s a plan on its own in Commander, and it’s headed for its lowest price ever. I’m hopeful for foils in the $5 range in a few months, and that’s a lovely price for a mythic.

Altar of Dementia ($3 to $20, 64k decks) – There’s only two foils of this, one from Conspiracy and one from Modern Horizons, which you can see was released in June 2019:

We can see how cheap the card has been, and now we’re getting a whole lot more copies put into circulation. It’s a mythic now, not a rare, but that shouldn’t matter too much, given how frantically people are opening BRO Collector Boosters. I like this a lot long-term, and what I’m hoping for is that the foils (currently $5 and $13) keep tumbling lower. Even the Retro foil would be super attractive at $3, given that the other foils are over $11. I would also be interested in nonfoils if they got to the $1 range.

Mox Amber ($22 to $115, 58k decks) – You wouldn’t think that I’d be waiting on the big hit to come down, but I sure as heck am. The mad dash for serialized cards has Amber dropping from its all-time high:

And in fact, let’s zoom in on the recent part:

Yup, it’s fallen by half in the first month since its reveal and it’s definitely not done dropping. This is a marvelous candidate for buying something like 50 copies at ten bucks each around Easter. I can’t wait. The foils for the retro and schematic should get somewhat cheaper too, and will make the Dominaria foil prices look silly.

My only concern is that this card is an excellent candidate for Dominaria Remastered, and whatever special thing they have in mind for that set. Since that’s coming out in January, though, I’ll have enough time to make that decision.

Helm of the Host ($6 to $30, 57k decks) – I was surprised to see that this had only gotten a List reprint, but everything I said about Amber holds true here: It’s falling fast, it’ll fall for a while, and I won’t be shocked to see it in Dominaria Remastered. Once that hurdle is past, though, I’m really hoping that this ends up near one or two bucks a copy. Perfect buylist play once the retail gets to $5 again, and it undoubtedly will. This is one of the biggest equip costs commonly played in Commander, but there’s both ways around it and it’s always worth it anyway. There’s no special frame out there and not even a Secret Lair, so all the interest is going to go straight to these copies.

Ramos, Dragon Engine ($4 to $25, 13k decks total, 4k as Commander) – Finally, let’s discuss a card that has been looking for the right reprint home for some time. Wizards has done a lot to make Dragons a fun species to play, and five-color decks especially. There’s no shortage of ways to abuse this card, including ways to bounce and replay and break this ability right in half. Scrapbasket and Transguild Courier are cards I’ve seen do hilarious things. We can see the effect of all the recent Dragon goodness, as well as the effect of previewing the card, in the graph:

However, this card has been in tiny circulation for the longest time. It was a foil in the original Commander 2017 printing, and it was an Etched Foil for Commander Legends. That was it, till now. Its price was propped up by such small printings, and as such, I fully expect this to drop quite a ways…where I want to buy it up.

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.