My new rule is six months. I don’t consider buying cards for long-term growth until six months after release, and wouldn’t you know it, we’re at six months post-Commander Legends: Battle of Baldur’s Gate. I’ve learned through hard and expensive experience that I don’t want to buy cards until the floor, and it takes several months to find that floor now.
Let’s go over some cards from the set, and discuss how the price fell and fell and fell, and then decide which merit being a pick up from a vastly underpowered and poorly-selling set.
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We need to start out with the obvious: This set was underpowered for Commander, and undersold. That doesn’t mean everything is cheap, though. Here’s the entire list of cards worth more than $10 right now in nonfoil:
Fourteen cards on this list, while Streets of New Capenna has nine cards, and even Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty has seven. Granted, Baldur’s Gate cards have the assorted variations of the same four Dragons as different entries here, but these are still valid hits on pack openings.
What we are looking for is that mix of cards that are good in Commander, based on their EDHREC inclusion, aren’t too expensive, and perhaps have some Eternal applications. I don’t worry about Standard these days, and you shouldn’t spec based on that format either.
Remember that EDHREC data is useful but it is also flawed: There’s a bias towards preconstructed deck inclusions, and it only represents the people invested enough to list every single card of theirs. I haven’t listed any of my decks, for instance.
With all of this in mind, let’s look at cards, keeping in mind that for most of these, the Monster Manual Showcase versions are definitely cheaper. If you like those versions, you can stock up, but the prices speak to the average player having a disdain for that, even if it’s cheaper.
Decanter of Endless Water (a quarter to $2.50) – This is strange to me, and I’ve been having difficulty figuring out what is up with this card. The regular version sells 7-8 copies a day around $2, while the foil moves slower. This is clearly for everyone who loves drawing endless cards, but this wasn’t in the precon decks. It’s just popular. If it stays popular, this is probably a buylist play: buy 100 copies for around 30 cents, and when they hit $1.50, sell them all to a buylist for $1 each. Even better if you live near a store, save on shipping!
Jaheira, Friend of the Forest (30 cents to $2) – Giving all tokens this ability to tap for green mana is pretty outstanding, because it’s not just creature tokens, it’s everything. Jace, Mirror Mage tokens. Treasures, Food, Clues! All of them are now Mox Emeralds. There’s already a lot of combos here, and everything that makes tokens gets better with this. I love that sort of open-ended synergy, and I think that this is worth buying in on.
Astral Dragon ($4, no foils) – This set not only gave us the outstanding cycle of Ancient Dragons, but also a few accessory Dragons that I really like long-term. Being from the Commander deck, there’s no foils here or for Brainstealer, but this is another combo-centric card. I’ve already used this on a wide variety of board states, and been pleased at every turn. I fully expect this to be some weird combo in the future, as what it does is quite unique.
Brainstealer Dragon ($3, no foils) – Getting cards for free is exactly what you want from a seven-drop. Sure it’s already a big flyer, but at end of turn, you’re going to exile three cards and be able to play them whenever you want, using any color of mana, and dealing damage to its owner when you do. Winner all around, a cheap card and one I want to have in stock going forward.
Wrathful Red Dragon ($1.50 to $3) – Dragons don’t generally need ‘don’t mess with me’ cards but it’s always nice to have a card that says ‘Even if you block, you’re going to take a pile of damage.’ I also like how this breaks the mirror match for Dragon decks, or turns your Scourge of Kher Ridges into ‘target player takes a boatload of damage.’ For this card, we can get Extended Art foils for crazy cheap, and considering how popular Dragon decks are, this is one of the best to be playing.
Monster Manual ($1.50 to $3) – Quicksilver Amulet has been printed to dust, and will never recover. This is clearly an upgrade, and carries the downside of needing green mana. Still, green decks tend to be chock-full of giant creatures that want to be cheated into play, and this is a great way to do that. Again, we can get the premium foil version for cheap, and that’s where I want to be.
Gond Gate ($1) and Baldur’s Gate (50 cents to $2) – Gate decks will have their day in the sun again. Purchasing these is a gift to yourself when we get our next trip to Ravnica, where both shocklands and Gates will be present yet again. These two Gates are heavily synergistic, and the Gond Gate nullifying Gates’ disadvantage is a big big deal. These sell at a brisk pace now, so stock up while you can.
Nautiloid Ship ($4 to $8) – I know Jason’s mentioned this card once or twice, so let me just add my voice, that this is a phenomenal card and incredibly unfair. A 5/5 flyer with crew 3 is not difficult to get in a hit with, and you don’t even have to hit the player whose graveyard you exiled. Just a fantastic card and one that should be getting a lot more play.
Artificer Class ($5, no foils) – Granted, there’s a long long list of ‘blue cards that are auto-includes in artifact themed decks’ but this deserves to be on the list. It’s not as broken as Foundry Inspector at Level 1, but it gets so much better as you level up. Two mana to draw your next artifact is good, six mana to copy artifacts is outright broken.
Vexing Puzzlebox ($3 to $6) – We’ve gotten a lot of fun with d20 cards, and this one allows for an easy payoff. People aren’t quite as asleep on this mythic, since the FEA is $6, but it’s pretty easy to have this tap to search up an artifact every other turn or so, especially if one of your early finds is for Unwinding Clock or the like. Every dice-rolling card makes this better, so I want to have a few ready for our next set that features the ability.