The Toughest Pulls and Strangest Prices in Outlaws of Thunder Junction

The set prereleases this weekend, and officially goes up for sale next Friday, the 19th.

This weekend, I want to think about what is super rare, based on my calculations from last week, and decide if the preorder prices are within a range I’m comfortable with. I almost never preorder cards, but if the math says one thing and the prices say something else, it’s time to make some moves.

Textured Foils (1 in 1500 Collector Booster packs)

The Breaking News Textured Foils are easily the rarest pulls in the set, and rank as some of the most difficult pulls that aren’t serialized. It’s a straightforward math problem: If these are just 1 in 100 to drop for any card, and there’s 15 cards, then boom, 1500 packs to get a specific card. 

As such, the current crop of prices feels like it’s too low. Let’s get a snapshot of the cards, the EDHREC data, and the current preorder pricing.

OTP Breaking News Textured FoilEDHREC # of decksCurrent Preorder Price
Leyline Binding5,175$99
Mana Drain289,681$259
Mindbreak Trap47,006$300
Overwhelming Forces1,158$153
Crackle with Power46,239$60
Indomitable Creativity4,820$56
Force of Vigor61,222$125
Anguished Unmaking213,666$56
Crime // Punishment307$35
Fractured Identity13,586$27
Oko, Thief of Crowns54,362$139
Contagion Engine43,077$55

Immediately, a couple of discrepancies jump out at me. Mana Drain deserves its price, but Anguished Unmaking is probably the most undervalued here. It’s in 73% as many decks, but the price tag does not line up. Granted, it’s got several different versions, including Game Day promos, a radical Secret Lair, and even a Surge Foil in the recent Fallout sets. 

Given the EDH popularity of the card, that’s the textured I see with the most value to be gained. I’m not guaranteeing anything, and I’ve bought zero of these cards (as I said, I hate preordering) but Anguished Unmaking is the card that will tell me if rarity becomes equal to the price. I also think Mindslaver is a bit underpriced here too–it’s a top Cube card, it’s casual gold, and this has no special versions to compete with this new version.

Conversely, I would tell people to stay the hell away from Mindbreak Trap at these prices. Yes, it’s a top cEDH card, but this price is the frantic must-have collector at work. It’s avoided all sorts of reprints over the years, and when the price is low I’ll scoop some up, but Trap being on the same level as Mana Drain? No way.

Some of the other cards have a cache because of Constructed popularity, and tournament players tend to hate it when things don’t match. Thoughtseize has had SO MANY reprints over the last few years, I would not be investing. Leyline Binding is an interesting case, especially with the recent surge in Leyline of the Guildpact decks.

Raised Foils (1 in 600+ CBs)

Now we don’t know the exact numbers here, but the drop rate is at least this bad and can only get worse. As time passes, we’ll get better data going. This subset is all new cards, too, so it’s all about predicting what will be mega-popular in Constructed or Casual formats.

Let’s look at these five cards.

BIG Vault Frame Raised FoilCurrent Preorder Price
Vaultborn Tyrant$94
Loot, the Key to Everything$230
Lotus Ring$240
Sword of Wealth and Power$253
Tarnation Vista$85

The Vista is overpriced, Loot seemed underwhelming, and the Sword is definitely unfair as hell in the right deck. You know for sure that people are going to be copying Time Warps and such. I suspect the Tyrant is the best deal of these five right now, given Dinosaur hype and the absolute ridiculousness of the card itself. Play big green creatures, and gain three and draw a card for your efforts.

That said, these are hard cards to nab from opening CBs, and high prices are to be expected. If the demand isn’t there, these prices will trend downwards, sometimes with surprising speed. If you open one, and can’t sell it on opening weekend, I’d advocate holding on for the long term if you want to maximize your return.

BIG Vault Frame Foil Mythic Rares (1 in 600 CBs)

These cards that aren’t reprints are a hard thing to predict. Experience tells us that the first few days after it goes on wide sale, the prices drift downwards some. But given the tiny drop rate of these cards, there won’t be a lot of restocking happening after the initial wave. That’s when some of these are really going to take off. 

I’m expecting big things from Transmutation Font, Memory Vessel, Esoteric Duplicator, and Simulacrum Synthesizer. Their prices are all currently too high for me to advocate buying in right now, but if all goes according to plan, we’ll be able to get in cheaply in a couple of weeks, once the furor dies down but before the FOMO takes over.

All 30 new cards don’t merit a table of comparisons here, because there’s too many unknowns. Most of these cards are aimed at one deck or another, so what deck they are for will determine their popularity. Sandstorm Salvager, for example, promises to be impressive in a tokens-theme deck as a mini-Overrun but a lot of other cards probably do it better. Inconsistency is a lot easier to identify than potential applications in the future.

I hope this glance at the subsets helps inform your buying this week, and if you’re at the prerelease, may your rares all be the same colors.

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.