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

The New Queen of Mean

Honestly, there were a lot of puns I could go with in the article title, but Tasha, the Witch Queen is an amazing card. I saw this in the preview stream and immediately took to Scryfall, trying to find the most busted things to do with her.

Frankly, this is a mechanic with a lot of flavors. Some versions play out of the graveyard. Some play off the top of their deck. Some intercept a spell (Spelljack!) and let you play it. Tasha loves all of them equally and that’s why she gives you a 3/3 demon every time you do it. 

So let’s get into some early picks for this Queen, and beat the rush when people wake 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.

Old Fogey Foils and the Players Who Love Them

If you’ve followed Magic finance for anything like a year (or more) then you’ve seen the Retro frame foils from Time Spiral Remastered go absolutely bonkers. Thoughtseize was the pricey one out of the gate, but now it’s down to #3, behind Ponder and now Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. Add in Chalice of the Void, and you’ve got four cards worth over $200. Much of this subset of cards is over $50, but today I want to remember this subset and make some decisions.

The main reason to chase these cards is that Time Spiral Remastered was a limited-run set, and you got, on average, a little over one Retro Foil per box. We didn’t get second print runs, and it took a lot of boxes to find specific OBF (old border foil) cards. We aren’t going to get more, and the ones that people have tend to be vacuumed up into Cubes and Commander decks.

Put another way, there’s nowhere to go but up for these cards, and now the trick is finding the ones at the right intersection of ‘currently cheap’ and ‘gets a lot of play.’

Treasure Cruise ($33) – Believe it or not, this card is still Pioneer legal. Wizards might believe that this isn’t as bad as in Modern because there aren’t fetchlands and there isn’t Thought Scour. I’m not so sure that I agree, but considering that Cruise isn’t in the top ten played cards in the format, they might be onto something. Clearly it’s weaker, but is it that much weaker?

There’s less than 20 vendors, none have more than a couple of copies, and even if the Pioneer play isn’t overly hyped, the Commander play is there at 44k decks on EDHREC and therefore just the ones that people bother reporting. This is about to pop off, and if you can get a copy soon, you ought to.

Relentless Rats ($9 foil, $2.50 nonfoil) – For a card that’s only ever been common or uncommon before this special printing, this is still a $2-$4 card, and original foils are just $10. No one buys just one of these, and so the nonfoil might be the play if you’re looking to pick up a large stack of Rats. I know Rat Colony has its devotees, being one less mana, but getting a boost to toughness too is a big help. 

Sanguine Bond ($22) – 33k decks online, part of an infinite two-enchantment combo, and no special versions aside from this. There’s 17 copies in NM foil on TCG as of this writing, and with that few copies, all it’ll take is a couple of sales before the prices rise. There’s no shortage of decks that can bleed the table dry with this card, and I fully expect this to be at least $10 higher in two weeks.

Intangible Virtue ($7) – When I started researching the OBF cards, this one surprised me the most. I don’t expect Secret Plans to be expensive, because it sucks. Virtue is one of the best cards in token-based decks, and it’s only two mana! Really, it’s a shock that this is only in 20k decks online, but seven bucks!? I bought a playset of these when they were a little over $10 each, and now that they are $7, I’m thinking of putting more money in to lower my average cost per card. Tokens are based in white, and I can’t imagine building Jinnie or Jetmir and leaving this card out.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel ($51) – To be fair, Gary has never really had the chance to get cheap. I bought two for different decks (Esper Zombies and Ayara Aristocrats) when they were $60, and they dropped down to $40 and have been on the rise since then. Online, it’s been in one Commander deck and a couple of other targeted reprints, but aside from the promo frame FNM version, there’s no other special version to chase. Over 70,000 decks have registered this card, and it’s only been in the 2014 precon, so no freebies there. I fully expect a few sales to push this up another $20 by the end of the year, and a lot more past that.

Panharmonicon ($40) – I would understand if you wanted to make the case for the borderless ‘blueprint’ version of this card that you can pull from some recent Secret Lairs. Problem is, those versions are still being opened, and the price difference reflects that influx of new copies. We’re not getting any more OBFs, and if you want this version, you better get it now before it’s $75, or breaking $100.

Solemn Simulacrum ($30)  – One of the top cards online at 196,000 EDHREC decks, clearly second tier version behind the Invention. Even with the Invention, this is going to start climbing soon, as it utilizes the classic Jens ‘Sad Robot’ art and I don’t know what to say if you’re not a believer when there’s the Invention, this, and a way-back-third-tier pointy Borderless version for those who like special frames. 

Hedron Archive ($16) – Finally, one of the most efficient mana rocks around. Four mana gets you two right away, and an option to draw two later when you don’t need it. Solid all around, and 48k deckbuilders agree with me. Granted, it’s been put into a lot of Commander precons over the years, but there’s still just two foil versions available and this one is quite obviously the preferred version. On TCG, when it comes to NM foils, there’s only 30 copies total available, none of them concentrated. Get yours today!

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.

Remembering the Cards in AFR

This being the first couple weeks of a set, I like to let prices settle out before moving in on things. I’ve been burned too often by buying too quickly, and so I’m going to be patient. Besides, there’s a lot of other opportunities for things to pick up, especially at rotation looms at the end of the summer.

Today, I want to look at Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and what looks like a good buy. I want, at the least, popularity in Commander or Pioneer or Modern, or something mechanically unique, or perhaps all of the above! AFR’s showcase frame is an interesting example of something we may or may not want to focus on, because while the showcase foils are indeed rarer than pack foils, a lot of players aren’t into the D&D manual frame.

The Creaturelands:

Den of the Bugbear ($7 for the cheapest version, $18 for the most expensive)

Lair of the Hydra ($1.50 to $5.50)

Hive of the Eye Tyrant ($5.50 to $8.50)

Hall of the Storm Giant ($3 to $11) 

Cave of the Frost Dragon ($2 to $3.50)

These lands have made very small splashes in Modern, but Pioneer has really been infused with this cycle. Three of these are in the top 11 lands, when measured by percentage of decks that play at least one. There’s not many decks that play a full playset of any of these, aside from red aggro decks with a full four Den of the Bugbear. Mostly you get a couple here and there, but being a 1-2 of in lots of decks is also very good for a card’s future use. 

None of these are seeing more than about 7k decks on EDHREC, so any pickups on these are focused more on their Pioneer and Modern use. Don’t expect a huge jump from any of these anytime soon, but I really like the Module version of these cards long-term. Reprints for any of these cards are going to happen eventually, and we want to have the more unique version in stock.

Circle of Dreams Druid ($6 to $12) – Being in nearly twenty thousand decks online is a very good sign, but triple green means this is a tough card to play easily in a deck. There’s a whole lot of decks that would love to have this in play, and we’ve also gotten two new token-based commanders this set. It’s an effect that scales easily, and it’s in a very popular tribe. These are all things that lead to a large growth later on. The graph shows us what we want to see: a price getting to its bottom.

I definitely want to have the Foil Extended Art versions here, because the card fits very well as a future reprint in a Commander deck. That reprint won’t really touch the price on this fancier version, and having copies ready to go when the FEA versions jump to $25+ means we’ll be ready to realize our gains. 

Treasure Vault ($8 to $12) – The relatively small gap between the regular nonfoil price and the showcase foil price indicates that there isn’t a lot of casual demand for the special foil version. However, it’s listed as an inclusion in 23k decks! That’s a lot of decks that want an artifact land or some sacrifice/Treasure shenanigans. Abusing this card is something a lot of decks can do, and clearly they are doing it!

It’s also worth mentioning that the assorted versions of Modern Affinity dearly love having an artifact land come into play untapped, even if it is colorless mana. Not every deck wants this card, though. The distinction between $8 and $12 for the foil Module versions means it’s a much better choice for long-term growth and the risk of reprints. 

Hobgoblin Bandit Lord ($1 to $2) – I like having this as a spec for future Goblin synergies. It’s a lord in a tribe with a high number of them, and even if the goblins don’t have haste, you’re able to ping someone or something for good damage for a single red mana. FEA copies being available for under two bucks is a lovely opportunity. Handily, there’s no one with more than eight copies on TCG right now, so the numbers might not be as wide-open as the price makes you think.

Deck of Many Things ($2 to $5.50) and Delina, Wild Mage ($1.50 to $2.50) – This is a lot more of a flier about future d20 cards and something being printed that will make it easier for those rolls to do amazing things. We got a trickle of d20 cards in New Capenna’s Commander decks, and it might be a consistent thing with those decks going forward. Yes, there’s randomization that they want to encourage, but eventually, we’ll get something that makes a critical roll that much more likely. When that arrives, these two cards will be among those that jump to a much higher price. We might even get something for that in Commander Legends 2: Baldur’s Gate.

Teleportation Circle ($3 to $7) – Finally, let’s do a staple for Commander decks that love to blink creatures. You may know someone, or be the someone, who will have the Yorion-Charming Prince loop locked in during a Commander game, blinking a ridiculous amount of things back and forth. It’s an archetype all its own, and with a couple of strong choices for different commanders who encourage that behavior. The Circle is not just a strong Limited card, it’s also really easy to abuse in Commander, as evidenced by the FEA price and the inclusion in 13,000 decks online. Again, it’s a strong contender for a reprint occasionally, so having the FEA versions ready for the price increase is where I want to be.

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.

The Math of SNC – Set Boosters

Last week I wrote about the odds of putting the most sought-after cards from Collector Boosters, and had to update it with the presence of Foil Extended Art Commander cards. I’ve had a lot of requests for information about Set Boosters, and I’m glad to share that with you as well.

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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.