All posts by Cliff Daigle

I am a father, teacher, cuber and EDH fanatic. My joy is in Casual and Limited formats, though I dip a toe into Constructed when I find something fun to play. I play less than I want to and more than my schedule should really allow. I can easily be reached on Twitter @WordOfCommander. Try out my Busted Uncommons cube at http://www.cubetutor.com/viewcube/76330

Seek The Horizons!

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The Mythic Championship is this weekend, and after that, it’ll be a Players’ Tour, and from there, make your own joke. I’m old enough to sound crotchety when I complain about the names of things, or how the simple things aren’t so simple, or old rules…you get the idea.

What isn’t old, though, is that Modern Horizons is ready to pop. Buckle up.

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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.

MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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Checking on Standard

Since we’re getting a Mythic Championship in a couple of weeks, and we’re all enjoying Throne of Eldraine, it’s time for the unglamorous task of looking at the other sets in Standard for things that are undervalued yet could see some life before they rotate in twelve months.

The traditional play right now is to just look at Core Set 2020, but honestly, there’s a couple of cards that are too tempting not to mention right away.

Divine Visitation ($6.50 regular/$9 foil)

I’ve been playing the Golos Field deck on Arena, and while I love having Ethereal Procession in the wishboard, what I’ve been reaching for more often is Divine Visitation. You’ll notice that all three vendors in the graph above have ticked up their price a little lately, and this is why. It is a total backbreaker of a card, requiring a Planar Cleansing in response. 

It’s also a fantastic casual card, and yes, that foil price is right. You can get some foils on TCG for 1.5x the normal price, which is absurd for a token-centric mythic. I like this as a short-term spec and for the long term, as it’s golden in so many different Commander decks.

Agent of Treachery ($2/$3)

Another card with super-low foils, we’re about to see this one blow open the mirror match in Standard. The appeal of Agent is that it’s castable off of a Golos activation (unlike Mass Manipulation), and is going to be great no matter who you’re against. Steal their best creature, snag a planeswalker, or annex their Field of the Dead. It’s all wonderful and three copies is the standard for now.

This was $1 a couple of weeks ago and it’s not done climbing. It’ll hit $5 once Golos is all over the place at the Mythic Championship. Get your copies at $2 now, and flip them for $4 worth of buylist credit in a couple of weeks. I’m not as stoked about the foils here, but the multiplier is so low I might not be able to help myself.

Realm-Cloaked Giant – Showcase Foil ($10 showcase nonfoil/$25 foil)

I do hate that instead of two prices, every card in Eldraine has four. It’s going to take a lot of getting used to.

If you haven’t read James’s excellent analysis of the drop rate for Eldraine’s unusual borders, do it now. And then go buy yourself some alternate-frame foils. Right now they are dropping fast as people feverishly crack Collector Booster boxes, and that’s not the play you want to make. Just buy the singles! You can snag this mythic Showcase foil for the price of a Collector Booster.

There’s lots of other prices that I like, but the alt-art mythics especially call to me. Brazen Borrower in Showcase foil for ~$70 is very appealing as well as The Great Henge at $150. Read his article again, everyone. There’s a lot more people who desire shiny new things than there will be copies of these shiny new things.

Emergency Powers ($1/$3)

I admit, this is win-more, but I’ve been playing around with this in Golos as well and it’s a very good time. As a bulk mythic, your expectations are low but the potential for profit is high.

Chandra, Acolyte of Flame ($5/$9)

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The Cavalcade of Calamity/Torbran, Thane of Red Fell deck is real. Chandra offers two hasty 1/1’s for three mana, and that’s a card you’d play in this deck no matter what. Being able to re-use a burn spell from earlier is just gravy. If the red decks have a good showing on camera these next couple of weeks, she’ll go up. If the deck wins it all, or even looks intimidating in the Top 8, she’s a good bet to double her retail price temporarily, and that’s when you’ll need to mash that SELL button pretty hard.

Veil of Summer ($5/$28)

Currently the eighth most valuable card in Core Set 2020 is this uncommon, because it’s in most Standard sideboards, a lot of Modern sideboards, and a few Legacy sideboards. That’s a whole lot to ask, and if this card wasn’t costed so aggressively, this wouldn’t be an issue.Just about half the decks in Standard have at least one copy in the 75, one deck in eight has copies if you’re in Legacy, and a little over 10% of Modern decks do the same. That’s an enormous amount of reach for a card released four months ago.

A single green mana can not only get you that 2-for-1, nullifying their kill spell and drawing you a card, but it can ensure the coast is clear for the rest of the turn. It’s also great against Thoughtseize decks, and will win you the counter wars for the rest of the turn. For one mana!

I’m worried that there is going to be a special version of this card sometime soon. It used to be that the FNM card was an uncommon from a recent set, not just the set that’s currently being drafted. That’s no longer the case, and frankly, we’re going to need more copies of this. The graph is clear, and we stopped opening Core Set 2020 three weeks ago:

I wish I could say what the entrance and exit could be on this card. It could have three copies in the next set of preconstructed Standard decks. It could be a judge foil early next year. It might even be in the MYSTERY BOOSTERS that we’re going to see in Richmond this November. 

If it’s not reprinted, it’ll be $10 by Valentine’s Day. Too many decks need it, and it’s good against enough of the field that we might see something so weird as an uncommon being the most expensive card in a modern-day set. That’s happened before (Alliances’ Force of Will, and likely Mana Drain was the priciest card in Legends for a little while) but it hasn’t happened in a long long time. If Veil becomes the #2 card, behind Big Chandra, it’ll be $8 but I don’t think vendors will crack boxes just to get the cards. It’s pretty common to open a box of a set and not even get a whole playset of a specific uncommon. 

If you think it’s safe, now’s the time to buy. The demand is real and it’s not going away. If you’re like me and you’re wary of the many reprint opportunities, keep your playset and avoid extras.

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.

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Week one with Eldraine

This is likely the best weekend of the year when it comes to Constructed Magic.

We’ve got the double whammy of four sets leaving Standard and a new set coming in. The cardpool is narrower, the brewing is hot and heavy, and there’s an Arena event that is just perfect to get people burning wildcards.

Thank goodness SCG is broadcasting this weekend, a Team Constructed event that’s likely to focus on the Standard player but this first week, all bets are off.

We’ve had some impressive movement on cards, some of which is permanent and some of which is a motivation to sell…

One thing to keep in mind about Throne of Eldraine cards: They are about to be legal in Standard for the next two years. These are going to be cheaper in three months, and that’s when I’m planning on buying lots and lots of some of these, the staples and the most-easily-abused cards.

Oko, Thief of Crowns ($36)

I was super wrong about Oko. I didn’t see the Food synergies coming, nor the brokenness with Gilded Goose, and there’s a lot more ways to abuse the Food than I’d expected. I also didn’t see how high the loyalty can get, until I saw some games with it and against it. Pretty sick stuff. Oko is going to be all over the place this weekend, but this price is an artifact of the enforced scarcity of prerelease week. If you opened one, I’d sell right now, as the orders can go out as of today and the price will fall back under $30, more likely to $25. 

Knight of the Ebon Legion ($10)

A month ago, this was $3. Knights are well-positioned for Week 1, and this is also good in an aggressive black shell. The price has been climbing steadily these past four weeks, and I’m a seller at this point. It’s pretty unusual for a rare to break $10 without a lot of cross-format appeal, and the only reason this is doing so is because it’s a four-of in every deck that’s playing it. 

For reference, here’s the cards worth $10 or more from the last few sets:

SetCardsPrice
Core Set 2020Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Knight of the Ebon Legion
$14
$10
War of the SparkTeferi, Time Raveler
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Finale of Devastation
$14
$12
$11
Ravnica AllegianceHydroid Krasis
Breeding Pool
Godless Shrine
Blood Crypt
Stomping Ground
$19
$15
$10
$10
$10
Guilds of RavnicaAssassin’s Trophy
Watery Grave
$17
$11

Knight of the Ebon Legion is good, but you’ll be best served getting rid of all extra copies in the next couple of weeks.

Once Upon a Time ($12)

This has been trending downwards in the last couple of weeks, and that’s a surprise to me, given the number of decks that likely want to play this effect. I think $12 is too high in the long term, but what I’m eyeballing are the foils and the special versions. If this card is Modern-level good, it’s going to be $20 easily. The pack foils are $25 or so right now, and that’s a very tempting buy-in price.

Spawn of Mayhem ($8)

A card that’s doubled in price in the last two weeks, there’s a lot to like. It’s a mythic, it’s cheap to play, good in multiples, and if you are in the aggro deck, it’s possible that the other player is just dead before they can answer it effectively.

I’m not buying in at $8 and hoping it climbs to $15 or $20…yet. Let me see one or two good matches on camera, and then I’ll be in to buy at this price. 

Murderous Rider ($12)

I really can’t believe this is a card. I keep thinking that there’s got to be more of a drawback than the two life, that it can’t possibly be this good. We know that Hero’s Downfall and Vraska’s Contempt both hit early $10 highs, and then fell back down to earth while it was in print, then popped back up to be a staple for the duration of Standard. Here’s the graph for Vraska’s Contempt:

Murderous Rider is going to drop in price. That’s a given. How far can the best removal spell in years fall? This is enormous value, and given how many annoying planeswalkers are running around, the Rider is going to be a mainstay for years.

I’m a seller at $12, but I no longer think it’s going to go as low as $5. Instead, $7 feels like the floor, as people realize they are going to need four copies for the next two years.

The Great Henge ($12)

Now this, I’m a buyer on. It’s been a long time since I saw such an unfair card for any format, and don’t overlook how Commander players are going to be sapping copies out of the market. There’s blessed few cards I want more in any creature strategy, and luckily that’s a wide swath of Commander decks. 

I think that someone is going to go off with this card on camera this weekend, and it’s going to rocket to $20+. It’s definitely the card with the most long-term casual appeal, and that makes me feel pretty safe and sound when it comes to picking up extra copies. It’s got two years to make waves in Standard, and even if that doesn’t pan out, it’s a solid Commander pickup. I am waiting to see what the extended art foils go for, though. How high can it go?

Fires of Invention ($3)

This was a little over $1 early on, but people have figured out that this is good. Who knew? I like this as a component of decks that want to use activated abilities, especially Planeswalkers. It’s important to note that on your turn four, you can put this into play and then immediately play one more spell. Yes, the enchantment is one of your two spells, and while that’s no fun, this is a card that is going to get broken. I would have preferred the $1 price, but if this does well, I can see it rocketing up to $10 early in the season before settling back down.

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.

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Prerelease time!

I love prerelease weekend. Every card is super expensive, brewers are going crazy, and I get to savor the sweet sweet tears of every Nexus player who’s sad that they can’t win the game by Tamiyo + Callous Dismissal + infinite turns, or a Teferi emblem.

Remember, the first rule of Magic finance is to trade everything away prerelease weekend. Yes, some things are going to go up. Almost everything else is going to go down, and rather than roll dice with value, get your value now.

Let’s look at some early price movement as people gear up for week 1 of the new Standard.

Fires of Invention (Now $4, up from $2.50)

I misses this card, and the good news is that if there’s a ridiculous combo deck to be had, those decks will have this as a four-of, making it a good candidate to double up again. It’s hard to get in at $4 and still get profit, so keep an eye out for cheap copies.

As for what shell this goes in, I have no idea at all. Sundering Stroke is a big damage card without X in the title, I’ve seen Fires in assorted Gate lists (as Guild Summit is pretty bonkers when you’re not tapping lands to cast it), or maybe you want some sort of superfriends deck. The sky is your limit, just watch out for The Elderspell.

Oko, Thief of Crowns (Now $28, up from $20)

Everyone is buzzing about this card and it’s impressive as heck. The new Arena event, where you get everything in Standard right away, is enabling people to play four of Oko right away, and I can smell the wildcards being burned from here. It’s powerful and cheap, with the bonus of being a nightmare for the aggro player. You can deal six on turn four’s attack, but that’s six damage not going to the face. 

Oko is going to be a staple of Standard for the next couple of years. I know the price will fall as time goes on, but the question is how far?

Rankle, Master of Pranks (Now $10, up from $8)

It’s not hard to see why this is good. It’s really tough for a card to be a rare in Standard and going for more than $10. There are a lot of very good aggro decks to be made in this new format, and Rankle can be a delightful curve-topper for you in that sort of deck. Flying and haste is a silly combination on a 3/3 for four mana, and Rankle also gives you the option of causing problematic sacrifices for each player. The modes don’t have to be good–the creature is gas and the abilities are just delicious extras.

Murderous Rider (Now $12, up from $10)

I love this card. I’m planning on purchasing a lot of copies in about three months, when the price is closer to $5. Twelve dollars is unsustainable for an in-print rare, especially one that doesn’t have Modern or Legacy implications. Please make sure you trade away all that you open this weekend. I assure you someone wants it, you just have to find that person before this price goes down.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch (Now $8, up from $7)

Standard is sort of meh on this card but the implications in other formats is very impressive. Whirza is going to take Emry for a spin, and there’s too many other wonky artifact strategies for this to not make an impact.

It’s possible that Emry lights up Standard too, but we will see. There’s not the same density of awesome/utility artifacts in the Standard format right now.

Gilded Goose (Now $7.50, up from $3.50)

I’m a little taken aback by this, but people are desperate to cast Oko on turn 2. Gilded Goose is now the only one-drop mana producer, and that extra speed seems to be worth the drawback of only making mana once. Oko’s popularity will directly impact this price, as without the high-impact three-drop, there’s no reason to play a one-shot mana dork. I fully expect the goose to come crashing back down to the $3 range once people come to their senses.

Fabled Passage (Now $9, down from $15)

I appreciate Wizards’ attempts at giving us fixed version of things that are too good for Standard. Here’s a fixed Prismatic Vista, allowing for everything but speed, and the price is reflecting that nerfing. I think this is a long-term staple, and I really want to have a healthy stock of these when the shocklands rotate out of Standard next fall. This card looks rather underwhelming next to shocks and Temples, but will be necessary to glue it all together.

Torvo, Lord of Garenbrig (Now $2, down from $6)

I wish this was going to be good but it’s going to be quite underwhelming. We just finished a Standard that could go Llanowar Elves into Steel Leaf Paladin…and I’d rather have the Paladin in 95% of cases. Torvo desperately needs some evasion, or trample, in order to be worth it. You don’t have long to sell these before they are bulk.

Once Upon a Time (Now $14, up from $11)

Another card that demands to be a four-of, I like this a lot more at $11 than I do at $14. Yes, it’s making waves in a lot of formats and that’s good, the second copy is pretty rough in those formats. I think it’ll be more popular in Standard, helping shore up questionable mana bases that are using shocklands, temples, and guildgates to smooth out the stresses.

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.

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