The Value of Silver

Strixhaven is available online now, and lots of attention is going to those drafts, but take a moment and do some planning with me. I was going to write about the cards that are best to get rid of as rotation approached, but I kept stumbling over uncommons with high EDHREC numbers and prices that may or may not be pretty low for what they are and what they do. 

One thing about most of these cards is that with the pandemic, paper play was nonexistent and thus the supply is really impacted as opposed to uncommons from non-COVID-affected sets. Reprints are a possibility, but there’s also opportunities for gaining value.

Let’s get into these!

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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.

Pro Trader: FIrst Day oF Classes

Readers!

I’m sure you’re all dying for me to give you some good news about Strixhaven specs in Commander but I don’t know that I have great news. I have bad news and weird news, which do you want first?

The bad news is that even with EDH’s help, the individual cards themselves probably won’t go up enough to have been worth buying in. Unless something is Smothering Tithe-tier, the odds of something that’s used in EDH being worth buying this early is practically nill. Can I refer you to some prices from the last few sets?

The cards over $10 are just different versions of the same few cards. The same is true of other sets.

With crazy Japanese language alternate art cards in the collector boosters, I really don’t see that there is much room to do anything with singles. I never think so. As always, I think the money is to be made on old cards that are suddenly good based on new commanders. Luckily we got 50 of them dropped on us over one weekend, so that’s neat. I’m still wading through all of it, but preliminarily, Commander 2021 is much better for EDH than Strixhaven proper. Before you say “Duh,” let me just illustrate how much better. The stuff getting tested the most in Strixhaven is… not good. Better versions of these cards already exist, and that’s a problem.

I’ll show you what I mean.

In my opinion as someone who knows as much about the EDH side of EDH finance as the finance side of it, Rip Apart, Fracture and Mortality Spear are bad. I don’t think they’re going to continue to see play. That said, I felt the same way about Ravenform and people are at least allegedly playing that, so what do I know? I won’t argue too much against data because I’m not a complete lunatic, but since this data is fairly preliminary, I will caution people to not jump to any hasty conclusions yet.

One card I see overperforming my expectations in a way that I don’t think is necessarily wrong is this fella over here.

Archie over here is a card-drawing machine and coupled with Thousand-Year Storm, he can quickly deck you because that’s how decks with Thousand-Year storm work. You win with Thassa’s Oracle or you barely win one spell short of decking yourself. There is no in-between. Making every Instant a cantrip is pretty powerful and I think this could stick around. Foils are pre-selling for $5 for the bundle foil, and that may be the money card.

Archmage Emeritus-bundle, Strixhaven School of Mages:Foil (STX) Price

The new art is pretty sweet for an alternate art, although I bet the tats look good in foil on the set foil, too. I don’t even hate brushing a stack of these around a buck. Creatures are a little flimsier than enchantments, but here’s a card to at least look at.

I think we have a while before Insight pops, even in foil.

That said, the trend in foil is somewhat encouraging. So will how collectible the bundle foil is offset how available it is? I tend to doubt it, and with Ageless Insight growing as slowly as it is, it’s tough to recommend Archie, and if I can’t recommend Archie, what else from the set even looks good?

I think by now people have gotten the memo that cards like this are good and shouldn’t be allowed to get very cheap, but I think people are also trying to compare an in-print common to an uncommon like Relentless Rats that got popular like 5 years after it first got printed and that’s silly. Let’s compare this to the cards it’s comparable to.

7 Dwarves becoming a $5 foil was fairly easy to predict, but I also think Dwarves is a much, much better card than Dragon’s Approach. I think Dragon’s Approach is a trap and while I think it has upside at the price of “rescue from draft chaff” I wouldn’t expect Approach to do Dwarf numbers ever.

Petitioners is a year older than Dwarves and the foil is the same price. I don’t know what that means for Dragon’s Approach, but a spell is harder to put copies of into the graveyard than it is to put copies of into play, so I am not sure this current trends will hold.

I am a little bearish on Strixhaven for EDH, folks. We still have the commander decks to delve into next week, but I don’t love the set preliminarily. That said, some of the commanders are cool.

Extus, Oriq Overlord // Awaken the Blood Avatar

Extus, Oriq Overlord // Awaken the Blood Avatar

Extus is a decent commander with a really brutal spell attached that gives you access to Red and gives you a handy sac outlet that reduces commander tax. I like this a lot.

I’ve called this card before and I was right then and I’m right (?) now. This has flirted with $6 before, I think it gets there now. You want to cast Awaken the Blood Avatar a lot, and now you can do that and then copy it a bunch. This is a no-brainer inclusion in the deck and since it’s currently the most popular deck on EDHREC by a LOT, I think this is a winner.

A few other relevant cards are creeping up. I really like the idea of building this deck, and I plan to as soon as possible.

This card is in a $40 precon with a $50 card, this card should cost -$10 and yet here it is, creeping up in price. Get these before they go, because once the cheap copies dry up after the cheap copies of the precon do, this is going to go up faster than anyone thinks. It’s not even at its historical peak.

I think we can delve more into Extus or other decks next week, but for now, this set is weak for EDH and that’s OK. I’m still busting Collector Boosters to get those sweet Japanese foils, and you should, too. Until next time!

Godzilla vs Your Wallet

We’re almost a year out from the release of Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths, and although most of them started out pretty cheap, some of the Godzilla alternate art cards have been on the move in a serious way. Ghidorah, King of the Cosmos (also known as Illuna, Apex of Wishes) (yes these names are unnecessarily confusing) foils have popped to $300+ on TCGPlayer, with only six copies available, and others are heading that way too.

Try not to confuse these ones with the comic book style alternate arts, because there are multiple versions of some of these cards just to keep us on our toes. There are some Godzilla variants that have great potential but haven’t quite popped off yet, so strap in and let’s take a look!

Dorat, the Perfect Pet (Sprite Dragon) (Foil)

Price today: $7
Possible price: $20

Sprite Dragon has become a staple in Modern UR Blitz decks, as well as being adopted into a multitude of other formats including Standard, Legacy and Vintage. It’s at its most powerful when you’re stuffing your deck full of zero and one mana spells, something which is much easier in older formats, and can hit really hard pretty early if you get off to a good start. Combine it with a turn one Monastery Swiftspear and you’re going to be killing your opponent more quickly than they might like!

The foil Godzilla versions of these are starting to run pretty thin on the ground, down to 21 listings on TCGPlayer now. This is only an uncommon so don’t expect it to reach the dizzying heights of cards like Ghidorah, but I think that a triple-up from $7 should easily happen within the next few months, or sooner if the Godzilla hype train keeps rolling. There are cheaper copies in Europe too, starting around €2 and supply being a little deeper – so if you can pick some up there then I’d advise doing so.

Biollante, Plant Beast Form (Nethroi, Apex of Death) (Foil)

Price in Europe: €20 ($24)
Price in US: $70
Possible price: $100+

Moving away from competitive formats, Nethroi has remained the most popular commander built from Ikoria pretty much since the set was released, and it’s also one of the top EDH cards from the set for part of the 99 as well. Mutating it really isn’t too difficult in EDH, and if you start playing around with cards that can have negative power in the graveyard (like Death’s Shadow and Scourge of the Skyclaves), then you can really start doing silly things with it.

The vast price gap between Europe and the US here might indicate that this should be purely an arbitrage pick, but considering the prices we’ve seen Ghidorah post I could actually see Biollante hitting well over $100 at some point in the not-too-distant future as well, as another mythic from the set. There are only four of these on TCGPlayer but you might be able to find some cheaper elsewhere in the US – that being said, if you have access to Europe then these are a slam dunk at €20.

We’ll probably see Ghidorah retrace a bit from $300 but I wouldn’t be surprised to see these heading in that direction before long as well – after all, Ghidorah was a $60 foil just a couple of months ago.

Mothra, Supersonic Queen (Luminous Broodmoth) (Foil)

Price in Europe: €27 ($32)
Price in US: $78
Possible price: $100+

Finishing off today, Mothra has also proven to be powerful both in competitive and casual formats, popping up in combo decks using Solemnity as well as being the second most popular white card in the set for EDH (behind Drannith Magistrate, which is fair enough really). What we’re here for though is the Godzilla variant of the card, because just like Biollante it’s way cheaper in Europe than it is in the US…but the $78 US copies could easily still be a buy here.

This one’s another mythic from the set which means there aren’t many around, especially in the special version, and with only 13 listings on TCGPlayer they’re starting to be more difficult to get hold of. MKM is your best option here, but if you can’t get those then I’d advise hunting around some different sites or LGSs for better deals. Either way, I think that these are headed over $100 soon enough, and it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see a reprint of these versions any time soon, if ever.

If you’re after personal copies of any of the Godzilla cards then I’d advise picking them up as soon as you can, because the only way is up from here.


David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

Enrolling at Strixhaven

All right, we have a release date, we have the full Commander lists, we know all of the Mystical Archive cards. We’re even got a few days of preorder prices to look at and think about as we get ready to make our purchases. The beginning of the set is always an exciting time, so let’s get into what’s a good price, what to wait for, and what is going to happen with the special versions.

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.

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.

MAGIC: THE GATHERING FINANCE ARTICLES AND COMMUNITY