Rotation? In This Economy?

In late September/early October, rotation is going to happen for Standard. I don’t know the exact date yet, but it’s whenever the big fall set comes out. In years past, pre-pandemic, cards that are rotating out of Standard start to slide around February, and there is often a delightful window to acquire some of the best as Standard-only players sell off their cards and move on to the new format. 

It’s not clear that the same patterns hold this year, given the lack of paper play. However, given that the sets rotating include some of the most powerful sets in recent memory, it’s worth taking a peek and making some tentative plans. I’m not buying yet, unless something screams at me, but I do like to consider these things well ahead of time and make a note of where I’d like to buy in.

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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: Time Spiral Recovered

Readers!

I know you wanted me to trifle with Strixhaven a bit more, but I taught you what I would do and given the choice between putting a ton of cards in lists and comparing them like I almost did and doing something potentially more valuable, I opted to switch things up. New cards are exciting and all, but I talk about how a lot of the money I make is unsexy and I’m going to make you eat your vegetables and make some ugly money this week.

Time Spiral Remastered gave us a nice mix of Time Spiral favorites and spicy reprints and it was a pretty nice set. The cards that got a reprint should recover, especially since Time Spiral Remastered wasn’t as widely available as maybe people thought.

So with that in mind, why don’t we sort by most used in EDH and take a look at which cards we think have been reprinted past the point of recovery and which cards are bound to net us a big return if you buy in right now.

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Back to School

It’s been a couple of weeks since I first wrote about some cards from Strixhaven, School of Mages, and so I think it’s time to revisit it armed with a little more data.


Culling Ritual (Regular Non-Foil & FEA)

Price in Europe: €0.50/€5 ($0.60/$6)
Price in US: $2/$10
Possible price: $4/$20

Culling Ritual has quickly become almost the most popular EDH card in its colours from Strixhaven, only being slightly edged out by Mortality Spear. Mortality Spear is an uncommon though, and so doesn’t have the best spec prospects…Culling Ritual on the other hand is a rare and has FEA versions to go after as a result.

In almost 20% of all decks registered since the set came out, Culling Ritual is a pretty powerful EDH card to be reckoned with. It may seem on the surface that only hitting cards with mana value 2 or less might not get a lot of things, but you need to remember that EDH is stacked with low cost artifacts, mana dorks, and tokens. Early game this could take out a Sol Ring and Mana Crypt, and later on you could hit a bunch of things and be rewarded with a huge amount of mana for it, which you can then use to ramp into your own threats.

I like the look of these in Europe at the moment, because as we know the EDH scene is a lot smaller than in the US and so prices on these sorts of cards are inherently lower. Regular non-foils at €0.50 seem like a great brick pickup, and FEAs at €5 should easily be set to double up and more in the long-term. I’m not too keen on the US pricing at the moment and do think that it’ll drop a bit as more supply hits the market, so watch out for that and pick some up when you can.

Prismari Command (FEA)

Price today: $10
Possible price: $30

Looking at another multicoloured, but otherwise very different card here, Prismari Command is another one that’s understandably popular in EDH with the Izzet mages, but I’m more interested in it from a competitive standpoint. Modern and Pioneer have started playing this card here and there, in both Niv to Light and Delver-esque decks. It’s the kind of card you look at and half expect to cost four mana, but at three it’s definitely a contender for some of the most powerful spells in the formats.

It offers great flexibility, like the fact that you get artifact destruction tacked onto a card that’s always going to be maindeckable, and the other modes are pretty strong too. Creating a Treasure token isn’t the greatest thing in the world but could come in clutch when you’re missing a land, and I think the looting ability on it is great. Overall this is a great tool for a bunch of different decks, and honestly might be better than Kolaghan’s Command, a card that has seen prolific Modern play in the past. It’s worth mentioning that this is also a very popular EDH card from the set, so the cross-play helps out here as well.

A good indicator of this card’s popularity in competitive formats is that it’s more expensive in Europe than in the US. You can pick up FEAs on TCGPlayer for around $10 at the moment, and I’m reasonably happy with that price for a slightly longer-term hold. We could see this dip down a little as more Collector Boosters are cracked, but I just see that as an excuse to pick up more copies.

Teferi’s Protection (Mystical Archive Foil)

Price today: $40
Possible price: $80

Hopping over to the Mystical Archive cards for our final pick of the week here, I think that Teferi’s Protection is one of the best pickups from the set at the moment. It’s also one of the very few that I actually think the global art version is better than the Japanese alternate art version (and I’m sure people will disagree with me, but that’s always going to be the case). We’re at the point now where Teferi’s Protection has had a few different printings, but I think that this is by far the best version we’ve had so far, and I don’t see any reason for another printing – let alone another premium one – in the near future.

The Judge foils of this card are all over $70 with very few copies around, and I think that the Mystical Archive copies could be headed in a similar direction before too long. The art and frame are stunning, and the foiling on these cards is pretty excellent from what I’ve seen so far (I’d avoid the etched foils though as they look basically the same as the non-foils but for a higher price). At 35,000 EDH decks it’s a top 10 white card and provides one of the best get-out-of-jail-free effects in the format, and is just great in any deck that can cast it.

Global art foils are sitting around $40 at the moment, which is only $10 more than the non-foils and around the same price as the Secret Lair versions. I reckon that this is going to be one of, if not the most sought-after version of Teferi’s Protection, and so the $40 is definitely way too low in the long-term. I’d definitely pick up personal copies now and keep an eye out for anything around or under $40 for spec copies. The JPN alt art versions are a lot more expensive at $85 and up right now, but those could realistically still see $150+ in the long term if we’re lucky.


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.

Acquiring the Archive

It’s been a week of having Strixhaven in hand, and the Mystical Archive prices are settling out. There’s been some outliers, and some runs, and you can always get lucky and find certain things at a ridiculous price thanks to someone not paying attention, but that’s not worth counting on. 

My attention has been on the gorgeous Japanese alt-art foils. Etched foils have shown to be underwhelming, an interesting aesthetic choice and a nightmare for the people who have to code six versions of a card into assorted databases. The English versions are just as rare (and that’s an important point to come back to) but it’s time to compare how played a card is with its current price, and gain some value now that supply is at such a high point.

Please remember that these are current prices, and while they might fall another 10-20%, these are relatively rare cards, only found in about 25% of Strixhaven collector boosters. Note that the traditional foil English versions are precisely as rare, but the lack of a title bar and no banana-yellow frame color mean that the JP alternates look much more like works of art. I understand if you prefer cards in your language, I only have English versions in my cubes, but these are just breathtaking:

Swords to Plowshares (current price for JP alt art in traditional foil: $30) – There are a few versions of this card that are more than $30, but those are judge promos or Unlimited and older. This is one of the all-time staples, efficient, powerful, exiling for a single mana with a pithy drawback of a few life points. Most white decks make space for it, a full 52% of decks registered on EDHREC and it hasn’t even been in a Commander product since 2017. Thirty bucks is too cheap.

Chaos Warp ($40) – The mythics of the Mystical Archive are hyper-rare in foil, taking 309 packs on average to get one of a specific mythic. Chaos Warp has not been reprinted in foil since it was in Commander’s Arsenal in 2012, though it’s been in a ton of Commander decks since then. Being in so many precons has goosed the numbers on EDHREC, but still, that’s 70,000 people who took the time to say it’s worth including. This is not the cheapest mythic in the Archive, but it’s one with a whole lot of upside.

Krosan Grip ($12) – Commander players loathe having other players mess with their plans. Dovin’s Veto is one of the most popular spells in Commander, because you want to say no and ignore the protestations of other players. Krosan Grip is the same way, allowing you to kill that annoying thing without any fear that counterspells or other tricks will prevent it from going away. This is also one of the arts that really helps players remember what it is, as it echoes the original spell quite fondly:

Counterspell ($45) – Notable is that there’s less than 20 vendors on TCG with copies of this available. Counterspell is all over the place in Commander and Cube circles, and this just looks badass. It’s not iconic like the original ‘womp-womp’ art is, but damn it’s pretty. I fully expect this to be $60+ within a month.

Putrefy ($6) – Honestly, this should be more expensive already. It’s one of the more popular ones, percentage-wise, and I dearly love picking up the cheapest parts of sets with a wide delta. Importantly, this is a rare, so it’s only in every 150 packs, because if it was an uncommon, it would be every 36 packs. That’s why I don’t want to be buying any uncommons yet. That market, I want to be super patient with before buying bricks of a card.

Crux of Fate ($30) – As a mythic, there’s never going to be a huge quantity of these, but there’s been a sneaky drain on foil Dragons as of late. Foil Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is down to a handful of copies. Foil Dragonlords are draining. The good Kamigawa dragons have all seen recent gains in original foil. Dragons are one of the top EDH tribes (full disclaimer, I’m one of those people with a Dragon deck and I love it) and this art is gorgeous. Also, getting the alt-art is way better than having the copy-paste job that Jason Felix did for the global version. What I’m saying is, things that are good in tribal Dragon decks have a lot of fans, and this is both iconic art and fantastic gameplay.

Natural Order ($40) – There’s not a huge number of Commander decks that play this, it’s more of a Cube card or a combo piece in Legacy Elves. A card that’s run as a 3- or 4-of in Legacy, with roughly 1200 Collector Booster boxes needed to make a playset? Doesn’t take many of those players, plus the collectors, for this to spike pretty hard. Plus, this is some pretty cool art, as opposed to ‘majestic tiger’ art that’s been on every version of the card. EMA foils are $40 or so, and the judge foil is $70. This new version will surpass both of those.

Blue Sun’s Zenith ($30) – Again, this is a mythic of a mid-tier card in Commander. Lots of printings of this already, so you’re dealing with people who’d want to upgrade what they have from Mirrodin Besieged foil or Masters 25 foil. I can’t imagine this stays cheap forever, and TCG has a real mix of people who expect this to be $60+ and a few others who are trying to undercut everyone else and get the quick sale. That’s a valid tactic right now, trying to cash in before others do too. It won’t last much longer, though, and you should be ready for the increase that will come along.

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