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

Double the Buying

No, no, I mean Box Toppers.

We’ve had a LOT of price movement on these, and it’s made a lot of my predictions look pretty terrible. I’m not one to hide when I’m wrong, but this seems to be an instance of there being a lot more product and a lot of people who are trying to take profits quickly.

This is good for anyone who wants to get these for themselves, and also good for those who want long term value. Let’s get into it.

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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.

Delicious Toppings, Part 2

Here we go with part 2 of all the Box Toppers, and we know them all now! Very spicy list indeed.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope – $240 – This feels pretty high, even though this art is awesome plus some. Sorin killed Avacyn, so now she has this ghostly look to her. Very cool. She is in 13k decks online, but I’d expect this to settle down a bit, definitely under $200, possibly in the $150 range.

Stoneforge Mystic – $70 – This feels low, but this also has a lot of factors. Not every white deck wants the equipment theme, but Stoneforge and her best buddy Batterskull are Cube staples and Legacy stalwarts. I hope that this drops lower so that I can buy several, but my inclination is that this is about the right price.

Brainstorm – $50 – This definitely feels too low for a card that’s in 30% of all blue decks online, and is frequently a four-of in Legacy. If your Cube skips on fetches, then it skips this too, though. The art is up there on the ‘awesomely-weird-o-meter’ and while it’s a rare, not a mythic, I think this will inch upwards a little as people have to buy several.

Force of Will – $350 – Here we are, the big winner for prices. It’s a big price, too, and up there with the judge foil in terms of price. It’s not as common in Commander, only ten percent of blue decks registered one, but while I expect the price will fall slightly in the rush of stuff getting opened, I think it’ll settle right there at $300ish.

Fatal Push – $33 – This is going to nearly be the least expensive of the Toppers when all is said and done. It’s a wonderful removal spell in Modern, and sees some Legacy play. It is decent in Cube, though quickly outclassed, and sees very little Commander play. I think it’ll fall a buck or two farther, but $30 will be the floor here.

Thoughtseize – $110 – If you recall, there was a point in 2013 when this was nearly $100.

Since then, we had reprints in Theros and Iconic Masters, which have kept this price reasonable. This is very good, as it’s one of the backbone spells of Modern, and sees conversely less play in Commander. This price is about even with the Amonket Invocation, and that feels off. This will go upwards in price a little, but not break $130.

Toxic Deluge – (no price yet, previewed too recently) – With Eternal Masters foils at about $80-$90, and this being one of the ‘yes, absolutely, everything is dead’ spells in Commander, in 28k decks, I like this to be about $100 and stay there. 

Blood Moon – $80 – Let’s have another graph, because Blood Moon is another example of a card that’s needed repeated reprints to stay accessible:

Yes, for the longest time, Blood Moon was a $50 Chronicles card, which is an amazing sentence if you lived through the amazingly large quantity printed at the time. It’s an iconic sideboard card, and something that decks have tried to cheat into play early with Simian Spirit Guide and other fun methods. The Invocation is $90, and while I like this art a lot more, there’s a greater quantity of this out there. It should stabilize in the $80-$100 range, but that might spike hard when we get back to Modern tournaments in person and the metagame calls for them.

Goblin Guide – $40 – If you’re gonna play it, you’ll play the set, but the metagame for burn has shifted to the one-mana Prowess creatures who can hit even harder than this. The right price.

Meddling Mage – $30 – This is a popular card in Humans decks where it’s legal, but still very niche and probably the cheapest foil Box Topper. I won’t be shocked to see this at $25. Remember that there’s $20 Expeditions out there.

Batterskull – $70 – This is mythic, so that helps. No one plays more than two copies of this, and a singleton is common enough. It’s in a tiny percentage of Commander decks, too, so I feel like this has a little farther to fall once we get past the initial rush.

Chrome Mox – $110 – The big problem here is the Invention version, which looks stunning. The new one evokes a digital feeling in me, but the art, while sweet, is the hangup. The EMA foil is $80, the Invention $160, and this is in the right range, smack between them.

Expedition Map – $25 – This has already fallen from the $40 it was at early on, and I think that’s an error. I find myself hoping that it falls farther, so that I can buy a lot of them. $20 for gorgeous art on a card that is a four-of in Tron builds and is in an additional 25k EDH decks online? Sign me up. It also helps that this is the only alternate frame available.

Lightning Greaves – $60 – I LOVE this art. I will respect if you think the Invention is more awesome, and that version is definitely rarer, but Greaves is so good that it’s only been in a booster twice: Mirrodin and Mystery Booster. It is a broken card, being in 30% of ALL DECKS on EDHREC, just about 120,000. There is a real demand for this card, and I expect it’ll go up by at least $20, and be close in price to the Invention.

Mana Crypt – $180 – So within a fairly short time, we got the EMA version, the Mystery Booster, and now this. We’d already had a judge foil and an Invention, and this is tempting. It’s a mythic, and it’s not like the market is saturated with the assorted promo versions. Players pick these up and they stay safely in decks. I expect this to dip at first, and then rise a little, into the $230-$250 range.

Mox Opal – $75 – This feels too low for this version. Is it that much worse than the Invention at $175 or so? Granted, the Invention is pure hotness and prettier than most anything, but this is also super sweet. It’s in 12k Commander decks online, but is banned in Modern. I feel like this will come up a little in price, but there might be a chance to buy in at $60 or even $50 when the first waves of VIP hit and that’s pure value.

Sword of Body and Mind – $50 – The Invention is $60, and this will be a lot more common than that. It’ll come down to $40, and maybe lower. It’s just not that good, sad to say.

Sword of Feast and Famine – $110 – This sees a lot more Commander play, given the untap trigger, and the Invention being about $70 more bears that out. I would expect this to dip a little but gain it back, being a mythic and in sufficient Cubes/Commander decks.

Sword of Fire and Ice – $110 – Honestly, this comes down to art preference. The card is very good in any deck that attacks, giving you a free Shock and a free card, but you get to pick what art you want. The Invention is about $130, the judge foil with the old border foiling about $15 more, but this new Box Topper art is pretty amazing too. About $100 sounds right here.

Sword of Light and Shadow – $130 – This is too high, but it was very recently previewed. The Invention is about $100, the judge foil $50. This should settle about $70.

Sword of War and Peace – $60 – Another that’s too high, even with having badass art. Inventions are $70, and I would expect to see this dip down to $50 or so.

Wurmcoil Engine – $38 – It’s dropped a few bucks since being previewed early, and I can see why some are turned off by the ‘Predator-Face’ art. Regular versions are about $20, and foil Box Toppers feel like they should be a bit higher. It’s a mythic, so there won’t be too many copies out there.

Academy Ruins – $45 – It’s in 12,000 Commander decks online and is a Cube staple with Mindslaver, and this is the first alternate art/frame treatment. This feels low, to be honest. I’d expect to see this at more like $60 before too long. 

Urza’s Mine/Power Plant/Tower – $35 each – These aren’t big in Commander or Cube, but Tron has been a tier deck in Modern for some time, and these are needed in playsets. Originals from Antiquities go for $7 or less, but we can’t rule out the collectors who are going to enjoy the panorama for all three and the Karn Liberated. These might fall a little farther but $30 should be the floor. The foils from 7th and 8th edition go for a whole lot, but that’s pure scarcity.

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.

Delicious Toppings, Part 1

We know 26 of the 40 Box Toppers, and we know a lot of the rares. It’s pretty likely that three of the remaining Toppers are the other three Swords, so let’s look at some pricing and comparisons, to see where these prices might go.

Now, we have prices on some of these, but it takes a seller with a lot of confidence to pre-sell these, especially in foil. Keep in mind that the VIP boosters are the ONLY way to get foil versions of the box toppers. I’m going to list the current low price for a foil on TCG as of Thursday night, and get some comparisons where I can. Not everything has a price yet, so be kind.

For most of these, there’s going to be a dip as soon as the VIP packs arrive and people rush to crack the value. Given the relatively small amount out there, though, I expect prices to recover at a decent pace. One more wrinkle to consider is that, according to the official Magic Twitter, “All borderless showcase cards with a rare expansion symbol will appear twice as frequently as those with a mythic rare expansion symbol. This is true of box toppers in #MTG2XM booster boxes as well as the premium foils of these cards in VIP Edition.”

So the slots for the toppers will have a 1/3 chance of being a mythic, and 2/3 of being rare. Even more math!

Karn Liberated ($108) – We have the Ultimate Masters Box Topper to compare to, and that’s right about $100, so the big question is, do you like the art? The Karn face is meme-ing all over the Magic community, and Mark Tedin has owned it, making it his Facebook profile pic:

Jokes aside, $100 seems totally reasonable for this foil. You’ve got your pick of art, with Jason Chan’s take being both iconic and powerful. It’s worth remembering that the people who like this are going to want to collect the matching Urza lands, which we’ll get back to.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor ($170) – Worldwake foils are at a cool $500, with Mythic Edition checking in at $175. That’s the only version that doesn’t use the original art, but now we get the original with a sweet frame. I think this is too closely priced to the Mythic price, and I’ll expect this JTMS to inch a little higher, likely to about $250. I don’t think you want to preorder yet, but there should be fewer of this than the Mythic Edition.

Council’s Judgment ($90) – As compared to the $70 Conspiracy foil, this seems perfectly reasonable. That was from a small set, and not opened a lot because people didn’t like the format. Keep in mind, too, that’s a release from 2014. As such, I think this is going to fall a bit from $90, and end up below the pack foil. Yes, it’s a way to get rid of True-Name Nemesis in Legacy, but there’s not the same level of demand as there is for Jace or some of these others, being in only 3800 decks on EDHREC.

Cyclonic Rift ($85) – The original foil is $60 or so, but this is new art and a new frame for one of the most annoyingly iconic Commander cards around. There’s no defense. Protection, hexproof, or shroud, it doesn’t matter. It’s been a rare twice and gotten a Commander reprint, and is in 91k decks online. That is an enormous amount of bouncing. Given all of that, I think $85 is too low for the foils, and it’ll stabilize about $120.

Phyrexian Metamorph ($50) – The pack foil is $15, so this seems like a big jump over that. Being in 15,000 decks online helps push this price upward. It’ll come down some from $50, but I’m expecting it to rebound nicely into the $60 range.

Dark Confidant ($100) – As a mythic, it’ll have a higher price than the rares, but $100 seems high, given the number of times it’s been reprinted. The Judge foil, using the original art and an old border, can be had for $125, so keeping this at $100 seems a tad high. Not too many people want this card, so a correction down into the $80 range is likely.

Sneak Attack ($60) – Given a judge foil of $40 and that this is a mythic, this is in the right range. It’s got a Legacy deck, but not a lot of Commander pull, so I’d expect it to go a touch lower.

Crop Rotation ($43) – Until Double Masters, there was only one foil: the original from Urza’s Legacy, the first set with foils. It was a common, even! About 20,000 people play this in their Commander decks online, and it’s a four-of in Legacy Lands, so there’s going to be a fair level of demand. Even with that, I think this is about the floor for foil box toppers from this set and it’s a decent price for now.

Doubling Season ($120) – This is $30 more than the original pack foil, and that feels off to me. It’s rare but possible for the new version to be pricier than the pack foil, but this has been printed a bunch of times, yet always climbs back up to $40. The nonfoil being $90 is definitely too high, but this one should fall back to the $90 or so of the original. It’s cute art, but not quite as iconic, and won’t command a premium.

Exploration ($90) – Okay, now this one is weird. Right now, the foil and the nonfoil box topper are within five bucks of each other. We can infer that one of two things is going on: Either the nonfoil is horribly overpriced, or the foils are horribly underpriced. My inclination is to say that the nonfoils are overpriced, because these foil, while absolutely gorgeous, are not going to be $150ish. More likely is that the foil comes down a little and the nonfoil comes down a lot.

Noble Hierarch ($90) – This is too high. The Judge foil with the old border, a lot more iconic than this frame, can be had in NM for about $15 more. The Ultimate Box Topper is a $60 foil. While it’s new art and a new treatment, it’s not enough for such a price jump.

Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice ($120) – This is a hard prediction to make. On one hand, the original Atraxa was Commander-only, and was $35 despite being reprinted in Commander Anthology 2. This is new art, and it’s been four years since the reprint. I’m going to guess that this foil stays in the $100 range, between the people who are upgrading from old Atraxa and also the ones who pick this up and then build a Commander deck around her. This is the #2 all time commander on EDHREC, so that’s the list of staples I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Kaalia of the Vast ($120) – In a lot of ways, the same pattern as Atraxa, only older. Kaalia was an original Commander, way back in 2011, and then reprinted in the first Anthology. She’s farther down the list than Atraxa, and encourages a different deckbuild. She also leaves out the two best colors in Commander, with no UG shenanigans. I don’t think she can hold this price, and I’d expect her to come down to about $80.

Next week I’ll finish the list!

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.

War of the Spark at Rotation

We have almost exactly two months until the official release of Zendikar Rising, and that means we’ve got that much time until War of the Spark rotates out. In addition to being a blast to draft, and introducing a lot of planeswalker variations (static abilities, uncommon power level, Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God having every other ability, etc.) we’ve got to decide what to buy and what to avoid from this set for the long term.

Remember, we’re looking for things that are awesome in the Eternal formats (Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and Pioneer) or in casual/Cube/Commander. Fortunately, or unfortunately, this is the last set with the old rules: there are regular copies, and foil copies, and we’re expecting the foils to be about 3x the price of the nonfoils. The War of the Spark uncut sheets that got sent out last year don’t seem to have made a dent in those foil prices, if you were worried about it.

The foil multiplier rules don’t apply to newer sets, but let’s look at what data we have.

First of all, I need to take a moment and repeat what we’ve been saying on MTG Fast Finance: the alternate-art Japanese planeswalkers in foil are being siphoned out of the market by collectors and players, with the Holy Grail of the Yoshitaka Amano art for Liliana, Dreadhorde General going on eBay for $2,300 or more. That’s the most expensive card possible from a Standard booster pack that I can think of. Expensive boosters are from long-out-of-print sets, and even the lesser planeswalkers in alternate foil are going for $50+.

Suffice it to say, keeping Japanese sealed War of the Spark is an excellent investment. The rise in price of the foil alternates will keep rising, and that will drive up sealed prices. They haven’t gone crazy yet, but the prices of the singles involved will make this climb like mad. 

Finale of Devastation ($20 nonfoil/$35 foil) – Being a mythic is part of what’s driving this, but it’s also an upgrade/backup to Green Sun’s Zenith. It’s in 15,000 decks on EDHREC, which is pretty great for a card a little over a year old. It sees some Modern play, because it can go get any part of an infinite combo and isn’t restricted to green creatures. It’s also a finisher, giving +X/+X to the team and wiping out other players. It’s too popular not to get a reprint, though, and that’s the only thing making me pause. 

That’s not what a graph of a rotating card usually looks like. That’s a card on the rise, and I have to say it: Get your personal copies now, because while the chance of a reprint is high, we’ve no way of knowing when it’ll be. It’s a little too pricey to be in a Commander deck already. If it dodges reprint in Commander Legends later this year, then it’ll take off. If you’re comfortable with the reprint risk (and a downshift to rare is quite possible) then it’s a great target, because any Commander decks with Green in the colors ought to be running this.

Teferi, Time Raveler ($15/$27/$44 in Stained Glass) – Big in Modern, Pioneer, Legacy, and Commander, this is THE card if you want to have a warm safe feeling that comes from none of your spells being at risk. It’s also the mirror-breaker, the card that can shut down a whole strategy. Being this much of a staple means that it’s got a lot of legs going forward. There are also several versions to watch out for, so aside from the original, there’s also the Secret Lair stained glass and the alternate art in Japanese. 

I think Teferi is a good pickup, especially if the price falls a little farther. Ten bucks is a super-reasonable price for a long-term investment, but if it stays at $15, that’s going to take a while longer to get into profits.

Narset’s Reversal ($5/$12) – I didn’t think this would be any good, but you know where it’s phenomenal? Commander. It’s listed in 20,000 decks! The idea is that you’re going to use this spell on a giant haymaker of a spell, something for extra turns, a Comet Storm for 40, or the game-ending Insurrection. The pedigree is there and I think the foil is a solid pickup. This isn’t seeing any play in other places, which means copies are not circulating once they are put into Commander decks.

Ashiok, Dream Render ($1.50 – $100, depending on printing and finish) – There is currently one foil Japanese alt-art copy on TCG for $100, and I don’t think that’s unreasonable for a card with this level of usefulness in Commander. I don’t advocate picking up nonfoil English, but I think Secret Lair stained glass in the $13 range is a fantastic purchase. This shuts down tutors, and exiles everyone’s graveyard, both eminently useful abilities in Commander. Get it, keep it, use it.

Nissa, Who Shakes the World ($5/$12/$40 stained glass)

The graph is helpful here: 

That’s a card getting dumped before rotation. The problem is that it’s one of the most-played cards in Standard right now, being best buddies with Uro, Growth Spiral, and Ugin. Your exact configuration may vary, but this Nissa has been a big part of Standard her whole career. There’s just enough interest in Modern and Pioneer ramp, plus her Commander appeal, to make this a very solid pickup once she bottoms out, perhaps as low as $3 right after rotation. There’s a rumor that she’s in all the Godzilla land Secret Lair drops, and if that’s the case, I’ll be looking to pick up stained glass copies on the cheap as they flood the market.

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.