Planning Potential Purchases of Pro Tour Previews

There was a lot of information  dumped on us this week, and some of it is more immediate than others, but my first thought was ‘no Commander decks for Assassin’s Creed? People have to build a deck from scratch?!’ and that means loads of things worth considering adding to your spec boxes.

My second thought has to do with the Eldrazi that were revealed, the packaging of the Commander deck, and where those tentacled monsters are going to be going.

So let’s dive in, and figure out what to buy and what not to buy.

First off, let’s take a moment and appreciate this card:

Freerunning is sublime poetry of a keyword. Accurate to the game, the mechanic, and just plain perfect. It’s also telling you exactly what to do with the card, if it’s your Commander, and that’s cram your deck full of Assassins that you can play for cheap. It’s a cheap Commander, too, and with that second ability, now the whole rainbow of Assassins are available to you. 

We’ve already seen a few previewed Assassins, and likely there’s more coming. We’re also getting a few targeted reprints, but those haven’t been anything directly related to the card type. The lack of Commander decks means it’s open season for Assassins and accessories, though there’s also Secret Lairs and other reprint avenues that might tag one or two of these.

Whenever I see an ability that lets me cheat on mana costs, I go forth and sort by mana value. Sure enough, I find some sweet Assassins in the six and seven mana range who I’d dearly love to have in play a few turns early.

First of all, a Zombie Assassin whom I used to have at the helm of my Zombie deck, but the white pips of Varina, Lich Queen seduced me away: it’s Thraximundar!

This version is from one of the earliest Secret Lair drops, and notably is only available in nonfoil. You’ve got other versions to chase, all of which are super cheap, but this one being the only unique frame around, I think that these are the target. Copies are gone under $5, but there’s plenty available in that range for now, and more will not be coming. Seems safe to hit $10 retail, maybe even higher. I wish I could play this in my first main phase, to get use out of the haste, but we can’t have everything.  

Next up, a newcomer who’s already made a Pro Tour splash: Vein Ripper

We just saw this deck take care of business at the Pro Tour, putting the Ripper into play on turn three via Sorin, and you can replicate that feat in Commander if you have a one-drop Changeling Assassin into Ezio and then you’ve got this bad boy in play turn three. It’s notable that ACR comes out in July, so there will be time for Vein Ripper to settle down a little, but having played this in Commander a couple of times already, I feel like the price will never really be low. 

Finally, in terms of saving mana, let me introduce you to a card with several wonderful features. 

Destroy their thing, get a copy of it, at instant speed? Heck yes. Even better, this is a Surge Foil target, a subset of cards that have gotten targeted buyouts from time to time, and many of the new price points have held up. Currently around $3 for the Surge Foil, this feels like a marvelous time to get in before the inevitable double-up.

Assassins for cheap aren’t the only thing we need. We also need ways to kill, and there are some excellent cards that can do exactly that. 

Garza’s Assassin – The foils are either too messed up to be good specs or just nonexistent, as Coldsnap remains one of the strangers publishing decisions in Wizards’ storied history of head-scratchers. The set vastly overestimated the market, was far too parasitic, and featured an endlessly grindable mechanic in Recover. The Assassin is a good card, though with a steep mana cost. It’s also got a strong chance of being in a Secret Lair, but taking a flier on some nonfoils will probably pay off nicely. You’re looking at around two dollars shipped on TCG, but in multiples you might be able to get that cost lower.

Kiku, Night’s Flower – Since Ezio was previewed, there’s been a lot of copies bought up on TCGPlayer but not enough to make me worried. This card was printed twenty years ago, and there’s only a handful of foils available. The NM ones are at $30, but I suspect that with heavy Assassin support, that will jump up pretty high. Nonfoils are currently near $6 for nonfoils after folks bought up the cheaper and often LP/MP versions, but if this dodges the reprint, it’ll really take off.

Unliving Psychopath – Foils from Dissension are pretty rare. In the before-times, when three-set blocks ruled, the third set was smaller but opened far less packs. (If you’re interested, I broke down the math in an article ten years ago.) We haven’t gotten any additional printings of the card, and the foils around $2 seem like a lock to jump higher when everyone starts buying all the cards with Assassin in the type line.

We were also given a preview of Eldrazi shenanigans, including this: 

Modern Horizons 3 Commander Deck - Eldrazi Incursion-0

I’m not one to judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to eldritch horrors, but that’s not Zhulodok on the cover. Clearly, we’re about to get some actual five-color Eldrazi foolishness, and that’s exciting. 

MH3 is going to have these decks, with a mix of reprints and new cards, plus the stuff in the main set and whatever other zany additions R&D can think up for us. It seems clear that the new Eldrazi deck will have a commander who rivals Zhulodok, in much the way that Pantlaza matched the greatness of Zacama. And this one will allow for five-color Eldrazi, since Devoid doesn’t define color identity. 

This will be the first time we get to re-use the colored Eldrazi, and as such, I like most of them as a spec, but there’s a pretty big catch.

Every Commander deck in MH3 will have a ‘Collector’s Edition’ version, all foil. So anything we spec on that gets a reprint might take a big tumble indeed. I think the safest best are the cards related to Eldrazi Spawn and Eldrazi Scions, but I don’t have any inside information. Those have a wide range of prices, but if a five-color Eldrazi Commander is previewed and the deck doesn’t have those cards, I fully expect them to take off into the stratosphere.

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.