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

Ravnica Allegiance at Rotation

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We’re one week into Core 2021, and frankly, you should be selling most of what you’re opening. Teferi, Master of Time is down several dollars in the last week and he’s not done falling. This is a great time to be flipping cards/sealed product to the people that have to have things right now, and also a time to be looking at the cheapest cards in Standard as they prepare to rotate into the Eternal arena.

Last week was Guilds of Ravnica, now it’s time for Ravnica Allegiance. Let me tell you, this set has some clunkers, but also some unexpected opportunities.

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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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Guilds at Rotation

Quick reminder that Magic Finance 101 calls for you to sell all the cards you may get this weekend the moment you can. Lock in that value, because many of them are going to lose a lot of value. (Yes, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, I’m looking at you and you’re trying to hide in the back.)

More notable, though, is that with the release of the Core Set we are now about three months away from rotation. We’re losing four sets: Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, and Core Set 2019. There’s some gems hiding in these sets from more than a year ago, and we’re looking for one of two things: casual appeal and Eternal appeal. 

To clarify, Eternal means all of the nonrotating Constructed formats: Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and Pioneer. (Historic is pretty irrelevant, financially speaking, until the day that Historic lines up with Pioneer, and then it won’t matter.) Casual appeal isn’t just the kitchen table player, it’s also Commander and Cube considerations.

To the cards!

Divine Visitation ($15 nonfoil/$20 foil) – I’ve written about this card before, and right now, there’s 14 vendors with NM copies on TCGPlayer. It’s a mythic, one of the best things a token deck can do, and very likely to get reprinted at some point. This means you should grab foils, which is more protected against losing value when the reprint lands. If you like numbers, this is in about seven thousand decks over on EDHREC, which is respectable for a card nearly two years old. What you’re really hoping for is 1) no reprint and 2) a token-themed Commander next year (or later this year in Commander Legends?) that has white in its color identity. It’s pretty easy to see this hitting $40 in foil.

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Thousand-Year Storm ($9/$18) – Another card on the rise, it’s jumped several dollars on the back of Kalamax, the Stormsire. If you bought in earlier this year at $2, you’ve had chances to get out at $7. Again, it’s a mythic that has a lot of casual appeal and there’s been combo decks built around the card, lots to like as long as it’s not reprinted. Only 15 sellers of NM foil copies on TCG here as well, and that’s an easy card to like long-term.

Chromatic Lantern ($8/$12 foil/$95 Masterpiece) – I don’t think this is a good buy. It’s been in a couple of reprints, including the Mystery Booster, and there’s a large supply out there. The price it’s at will be the price for this card for quite a while, and that’s before the inevitable reprints that are coming. I think the Invention version is an excellent investment, though, and you should definitely get your personal copies now while they are under $100.

Arclight Phoenix ($5) – Let’s take a look at the price graph, remembering that Arclight was in the Challenger deck announced in March of 2019:

Arclight was a $25 card before it started sliding, and the slide never really stopped. The deck still exists and is good, if not top-tier at the moment. Here’s why you want to have a stack of Arclights ready to go: At some point, Wizards will screw up and make a free spell in Pioneer that’s worth playing. Modern has a lot of such spells to abuse, and Phoenix is an established deck there. Pioneer is close, there’s a lot of good things to do, but there’s going to be a tipping point card and that’s when you’ll want to buylist a brick of these at $10 or $12 each.

Drowned Secrets ($1.50/$3) – With Mill being a keyword at long last, there will be a lot of interest in cards that mill, and in Commander you need to do a lot of milling…which this can do. One or two reshuffle effects and you’ll really churn through a deck. I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a strong mill Commander yet…and then Jumpstart brings us Bruvac the Grandiloquent. Doubletime, everyone! (yes, I think this is a good card to end up in Double Masters)

Chance for Glory ($1.50/$5) – Finally, a card I don’t own any of and I keep meaning to buy copies of, this will be used in some sort of crazy combo deck in Modern and Pioneer. You’ve got safer ways to take extra turns in Commander, but if you’re trying to go off in some way, this is the winner on how to wrap it up and finish the game off. I do love picking up lots of foil mythics that are underpriced, and when this hits, it’ll hit big. You can get in for a little less than $5 if you shop around and combine shipping, but the profit will be there when this takes off.

Shocklands (varied) – I don’t think it’s a good idea to try and stock up on shocks. We have had three large printings of shocklands, along with some random extras in Challenger decks and the like. There will 100% be Ravnica 4: Jumping the Sharknado at some point, and it’ll have these again. If the shocks manage to make it to $5 again I’d like buying in, but it took several amazing Simic cards straight for Breeding Pool to be to expensive. Please don’t try to buy these up for future value.

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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Leaving Ikoria Behind

It’s crazy that all of this is true: we are a week from the launch of Core 2021, we’re in the middle of JumpStart previews and Double Masters is about to wreak some havoc.That’s just the Magic drama, to say nothing of political, social, and public health problems. (I’ve never oversimplified as much as I have as I did in that sentence.)

But from an MTGFinance perspective, there’s something clear worth a moment of focus: With the Core Set about to be the main event, Ikoria is at maximum supply and prices are at their lowest. Granted, the virus has caused slowdowns in supply and a lot of stores didn’t open their allotment, but until I get different data, this is when prices are lowest. Let’s talk about what you should buy, either for Standard, Eternal, or Commander.

Fiend Artisan ($17)

The graph shows it clearly but it bears repeating: This is a non-legendary mythic, only two mana (and flexible at that), and if you’re playing it you don’t mind the extra copies that are either huge or fodder for the first one. I like this as a spec to hit $25+ by Christmas under normal circumstances.

I have to admit these aren’t normal circumstances, though. Picking up cards for later Standard growth is not as stable even if there were no COVID-19. Lots of factors make this scary: the cancellation of all MagicFests in 2020, unknown amounts of product still waiting to be opened, and local stores not being a safe place to play paper. This might be too risky and I’d totally understand if you wanted to stay away.

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast ($10)

Lukka hasn’t fallen much in price since the banning of his favorite Agent, but between Lukka and Transmogrify, that’s a lot of ways to upgrade a token into a real creature. These two cards will be legal together for the next 15 months or so, and I’d expect every big creature to get evaluated for this. Top targets currently include Drakuseth, Maw of Flames, Yidaro, Wandering Monster (both of whom are on-color) and End-Raze Forerunners. All are fun in different ways, and I wouldn’t rule out tutoring up Nyxbloom Ancient and then some mighty Volcanic Geyser action.

Ruinous Ultimatum ($2 regular, $2 foils, Extended Art $4, Extended Art Foils $12)

This is probably the ultimatum I want the most of for long-term holds. Yes, it’s lame if your opponent managed to land a Darksteel Forge or something like it, but for just about any Commander game this is the spell you’re working towards. Being three colors is a price, and all the Ultimatums are worth thinking about, but this is a pretty unique effect. For example, we’ve got Rise of the Dark Realms that is better than Eerie Ultimatum, and only in one color to boot. Planar Cleansing is too symmetrical for my taste. I love being unfair.

The Triomes ($5-$7, depending)

We’ve got the Temples in Core 2021, and the Triomes allow for the Castles from Eldraine to come in untapped. The Triomes are likely to be a feature of Standard for the next 15 months, as well as being awesome in Commander and splashable in Modern. This is the price when supply is at max, and given that we’ve got $20+ shocklands, having Triomes at $10+ doesn’t seem unreasonable. At the very least, you should get whichever ones you want for your Commander decks now, especially the sweet alternate art versions.

Heartless Act (about 75 cents each)

You might be able to get these for cheaper, and I would commend you for doing so. This is more than just good Limited removal: it looks to be one of the cheapest catch-all answers around. I looked at the top creatures being played in Standard, and blessed few of them don’t have counters. Heartless Act misses on a big Hydroid Krasis, or a big Stonecoil Serpent, but takes out almost everything else, as an instant, for just two mana. We’re going to see a lot of this little spell, and while it’s not Mystical Dispute, I wouldn’t be shocked if this was on buylists for $1.50 in six months. Get a stack of them now, and be prepared to ship them to a buylist for a comfortable flip.

Extinction Event (nearly-bulk prices)

Four mana is the sweet spot on board wipes, and before Companions were modified, this was unfairly good. You knew what you’d be naming from the getgo. I still think this is an amazing card, capable of dealing with the indestructible Gods of Theros or annoying Hexproof creatures if someone built a Bogles-style Standard deck. Plus, with the return of Heroic Intervention, just destroying things might not be good enough. Again, I think the play here is to purchase a brick of these at low prices, and when the buylist creeps up to $2-$3, ship the whole thing out.

Gemrazer ($1.50)

You can get some sweet Godzilla art or awesome comic-book-style art for a couple bucks more, but this is also a buylist play. Gemrazer is a four-of in the assorted mono-green aggro decks that have been popping up, and that’s because upgrading Gingerbrute to a 4/4 is a big game. Fires of Invention is gone, and that’s the big enchantment that was worrying folks, but the mutate ability does hit a lot of incidental value in the current environment and that’s a pretty great deal for three mana. I don’t want to hold this too long, I’ve written before about how Valentine’s Day is about the time when I want to get out of Standard cards that’ll be rotating.

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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The Mythics of Core 2021

Well, here we go, the endless preview summer is underway. Between Core 2021, Double Masters, Zendikar 3, Commander Masters, and assorted supplementary sets, plus surprises like Secret Lair, we are going to have a whole lot of new product coming out. Not all of it is available immediately, and there’s a very good chance that some places go back under a shelter-in-place order, further complicating things. 

As a result of the complex situation we’re in, some people are near a store that will happily run a prerelease, and others won’t have a store within 200 miles. The pandemic is proving that prices can still go crazy and people can still overbuy cards during a frenzy/spike.

For now, though, let’s look at where the Core Set mythics are at, and where they might go from here. I’ve looked for some prices and I’m listing what I find. Given that these are presales, moving fast and operating off of predictions for supply, some of these things can change quickly.

Rin and Seri, Inseparable (no prices yet)

Rin and Seri, Inseparable (M21)

Buy-A-Box cards generally aren’t too expensive, but much will depend on the amount of Constructed play that the CatDog sees. Nexus of Fate was the worst-case scenario, and even if Rin and Seri see some play, there will be extra copies in the Collector Boosters. I don’t think this will stay above $10, and will dip as low as $5.

Teferi, Master of Time ($25)

Teferi, Master of Time (M21)

The play pattern here is exceedingly predictable: Play Teferi, loot, then on opponent’s upkeep phase out a problem creature. Control decks probably won’t play a full four of this Teferi, but 2-3 is the most likely. You can imagine how good this is with Teferi 3, playing board-wipe sorceries during their attack step. 

I think $25 is a pretty reasonable price here, and given the wide array of versions available, that should be a stable price for his lifetime in Standard. Remember that Core 2021 has the shortest Standard window, rotating in a mere 15 months. If cards from this set are going to spike, it’ll have to be in about six-eight months.

Grim Tutor ($28)

Grim Tutor (M21)

Honestly, this has fallen from some terrifying highs early on. People didn’t seem to understand just how few copies of the original were out there from Portal: Three Kingdoms. This is a backup Demonic Tutor, a fixed one, whose only drawback is the life loss. We haven’t had an effect like this at less than four mana, even though there’s been drawback-laden versions such as Scheming Symmetry or Wishclaw Talisman.

Commander players will keep this from dropping very far, though you’re going to see some super-premium prices for Foil Extended Art versions. Demonic Tutor is $30 for the cheapest, and from there, we can figure that Grim Tutor will end up in the $20 range. I wouldn’t be shocked if it was $15, either, depending on its usage in Standard. Three mana and three life is a steep price for getting just what you want, and it’s useless early game.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon ($25)

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon (M21)

The original nonfoils from Fate Reforged have lost about $10 since this was revealed, and personally, I’m not hyped to see this in a Standard full of effective ramp strategies. Nissa, who Shakes the World combos well here, as the Elemental lands remain on the field after Ugin exiles most everything else. 

There’s no deck, aside from Modern’s Urzatron, that plays a full set of Ugin, but there’s a whole lot of Commander decks that wouldn’t mind having a copy. Being $25 this early means he’ll likely end up in the $10-$15 rage by the time we’re done. 

Chromatic Orrey ($14)

Chromatic Orrery (M21)

Seven-mana mana rocks kind of defeat the purpose of mana rocks, though this is the most mana you can get from a single tap without crazy Everflowing Chalice or Nyx Lotus shenanigans. I can see three-color decks playing this, though obviously your best uses will involve all five colors. I’m not enthused, though, because this is niche and awful for Constructed Magic. This will be $5 in weeks and possibly less.

Fiery Emancipation ($12)

Fiery Emancipation (M21)

While you can do a lot of neat things with this, be careful with your Earthquakes and Pyrohemias. Not every deck will want to play this, though most red decks should think about it. It’s ‘a source.’ Not a spell, not a red source, but anything you control. Use carefully. I wish this was five mana so people could play it alongside Obosh, the Preypiercer, but at six mana it’s a worse finisher than the companion or Embercleave. I’d be thrilled to see this in Standard, but even something as delightfully modal as Shark Typhoon is 

New Garruk, Chandra, Liliana ($10-$13)

Decent cards in Commander, especially if new Garruk can come down with a Doubling Season out, but the setup cost is pretty high in Standard. New Chandra offers the greatest utility, able to Shock every turn as a plus ability, but overall these are mediocre and will have prices between $5-$10.

Elder Gargaroth ($11)

Elder Gargaroth (M21)

Let’s look at Questing Beast’s price graph, shall we?

This is a card that does it all, and with haste. Elder Gargaroth does not have haste, and while it’s got incredible value on the attack or block, it does nothing on arrival. It’s a very good card, an example of how good a 6/6 for five mana can be, but the removal and bounce and counters are all too good. If this gets super cheap, I can see it getting back up to the $15 range, but it’s not going to be that expensive right away.

Mangara, the Diplomat ($10)

Mangara, the Diplomat (M21)

So this card…I feel like it’s pretty terrible, mainly because your opponent has complete control over when you draw a card. If they are casting two spells and neither is removing this creature, then you’re likely doomed anyway. Same for the multi-attack. Ten bucks is generous for this card, and while you’ll see some optimists putting it in lists, it’s not going to go well. I have a hunch this drops down to a buck or less pretty fast.

Massacre Wurm ($10)

Massacre Wurm (M21)

This, at least, has sideboard appeal and Commander demand backing it up. It was a mythic way back in New Phyrexia, which was forever and a half ago. Most of the supply has been soaked up by Commander players over the years, which has kept the price high. Now that it’s getting a reprint, the price will fall to about $7. Juuuuuuust enough people will want this, and not trade it away, that it’ll hold some of its value.

Basri Ket ($7) 

Basri Ket (M21)

I like the potential on this card. If you’re playing defense, the plus helps you maintain that. If you’re on the attack, the -2 closes things out with ridiculous speed, though it does say ‘nontoken’ and that rules out the double-double if you get to use the ability twice. However, it’s already fallen to $7 and will only have appeal in the aggressive white decks. Three mana planeswalkers are no joke, generally speaking, and I’d be surprised if this went below $5.

Baneslayer Angel ($5)

Baneslayer Angel (M21)

This was a mythic twice in a row, ten years ago. Even with all the power in this card, it wasn’t above $10 before the reprint and this is going to crash the prices pretty hard. It’ll hold $3 or so, and with Kaalia of the Vast about to get a new printing, there might be some renewed interest, but I will not be expecting too much from Baneslayer.

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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