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

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.

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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.

Hofri? No, hof You!

I love Hofri Ghostforge, not just because he does awesome things like make your Spirits get haste and trample, not just because he enables all sorts of extra value shenanigans, but because he’s a Commander in a tribe and color combination that hasn’t had a lot of direct support. Sure, Kykar makes spirit tokens, but that’s a commander for a spells-based deck that wants to get degenerate.

My personal preference is almost always tribal goodness, where synergies can grow and thrive. Hofri offers that, telling us to play a R/W Spirit deck and all the enablers we can think of. Let’s dive in, and see where the value is before others catch on.

Some of these are decent specs anyway, but keep an eye on Hofri’s status on EDHREC’s list of commanders. Currently #8, if that creeps upward some of these are going to spike hard, and that’s when you want to be selling.

Balefire Liege ($3 nonfoil/$14 foil/$3 MYB foil) – This was the first card that really caught my eye. Eventide was forever ago AND had a pretty small print run. It’s had two reprints: Planechase (also forever ago) and most recently as a Mystery Booster retail foil. There’s only 27 EVE foils on TCG right now, and only 7 are NM. That’s a really low supply, and MYB foils weren’t exactly common to begin with. An excellent pickup, even before you get into the awesome synergies that the Liege offers with all the things you’re doing. 

Eternal Dragon (less than a buck) – Mostly, I’m looking at the Pro Tour promos for $10 or less, and thinking about how there’s none of the original foil left. Right now on TCG there’s three LP foils, for $60, $225, and $275. Someone read my mind already, as that foil was available for under $40 until just a couple of weeks ago. It does everything a deck like this would want, giving long-term value and even giving you a way to trigger all of the ‘leaves graveyard’ effects on a regular basis. 

Hokori, Dust Drinker ($8/$25) – Hokori has never had a reprint, and is one of those cards that makes a table grind their teeth in annoyance. This is not something you can apply one-sided, like Urza and Winter Orb. A reprint would hit this card pretty hard, as it’s not in high demand anywhere. This price is all the scarcity of being the middle set of a block that did not sell particularly well and was 16 years ago. That said, because copies are so rare, it won’t take much to cause a price bump.

Jiwari, the Earth Aflame (50 cents/$3) – 5 NM foils on TCG for a card that’s both niche and should see a lot more play. Channel is an ability that is hard to interact with. You can Disallow the ability, but you can’t Counterspell it. It’s repeatable killing on the table, or a semi-boardwipe, all in a tasty Spirit package. 

Karmic Guide ($7 up to $140 for the OG foil) – There’s been a few versions of this over the years, but it’s such a ridiculously easy card to abuse! Being from the first foil expansion set has kept the foil value high over the years, and the Angel synergies tend to play a part too. If Spirits start taking off as a tribe, I’d expect these $7 copies to hit $15 quickly.

Kataki, War’s Wage ($1 up to $35) – Two reprints to check on here: One was Modern Masters 2013, the other was the infamous Modern Event Deck, the only one of its kind. Should Commander players start picking this up, look for the MM foils to shoot up first, as there’s about a $20 gap between that one and the Saviors of Kamigawa original.

Myojin of Cleansing Fire ($3/$25) – Only one NM foil on TCG, for a card that’s never been reprinted. Sure, it’s eight mana to destroy all other creatures, but that’s the dream in Commander-land. Triggering this with Hofri out will get you all the tokens for the other creatures you control, so use with caution.

Nobilis of War (25 cents up to $5) – Having the Modern Masters 2015 reprint probably means this won’t take off, but it’s fantastic in the deck. Giving this Spirit a boost, plus trample and haste, means that it and any other Spirits are going to come down and hit hard. Unlikely to have a huge gain, unfortunately.

Oyobi, Who Split the Heavens ($1/$7) – I get that this is a seven-mana card that requires you to cast more Spirits, but to Commander players, that’s not a downside. We run a search for the creature type in the text or type line and get to it. This will have wonderful returns once it’s in play, and is the kind of card more casual players fall in love with. So many Spirits!

Ryusei, the Falling Star deserves special mention here as it’s got not just the OG foil from Kamigawa, but the alternate-art prerelease foil that is a sweet-looking Dragon Spirit as well! There’s a whole lot of cheaper versions, and also two other foil versions from Iconic Masters and Modern Masters 2013. 

Twilight Drover ($3/$10) – One of the most incredible token enablers ever, the Drover has surprisingly avoided much reprinting. One Duel Deck appearance, and then that’s it. The foil is primed to explode, with only a handful of copies left and very few of those NM.

Yosei, the Morning Star ($2 up to $15) – Either go for the OG foils or the IMA foil with the sweet new art. 

Now, a couple of enablers I love:

Emeria, the Sky Ruin ($10/$40) – The foil price is a bit misleading, as there’s very few NM foils around. White has a whole lot of one-shot reanimation effects, and I like to plan for the inevitable mass death of creatures. I was gobsmacked to find that this hasn’t been reprinted even once, but if you’ve ever seen someone recur Sun Titan with this, you’d understand the power level.

Homura, Human Ascendant ($3/$10) – Not a spirit, but a card that’s got tiny supply and is begging to be abused in an aggressive deck. 

Marshal’s Anthem (50 cents/$6) – This is one of the only ways for white or red to get back more than one creature at the same time, but having the anthem tacked on is a nice bonus. No foil reprint for this, but it’s only in 3300 decks on EDHREC. It’s been in several Commander decks over the years, including Kaldheim’s set. Focus on the foils here.

Sword of Light and Shadow ($25 up to $100 for a Masterpiece) – A lot of Masterpieces have seen recent spikes as collectors exert a heavy toll on prices, but this hasn’t gone up yet. White doesn’t have a lot of creature recursion, and this is one of the few re-usable effects. I’d prefer that it comes back into play, but you can’t have it all. The Masterpiece is where I’d want to be, although the old-border judge foil is also super sick art and has been more than $75 in the past.

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 Value of Silver

Strixhaven is available online now, and lots of attention is going to those drafts, but take a moment and do some planning with me. I was going to write about the cards that are best to get rid of as rotation approached, but I kept stumbling over uncommons with high EDHREC numbers and prices that may or may not be pretty low for what they are and what they do. 

One thing about most of these cards is that with the pandemic, paper play was nonexistent and thus the supply is really impacted as opposed to uncommons from non-COVID-affected sets. Reprints are a possibility, but there’s also opportunities for gaining value.

Let’s get into these!

Migration Path ($1 regular/ $1.50 foil/ $1.50 nonfoil promo/ $3 promo foil) – Found in more than 11,000 decks online, the promo version is probably where you want to be, but you can acquire solid bricks of nonfoils for very reasonable prices. There’s a case to be made for all the versions, but when you’ve got this many options, I prefer to stick with the cheapest or the most expensive. Cheap ones offer large-quantity buylist exits, and the promo foils offer the highest ceiling. All are decent, even you want to go for the nonfoil promos. This is in less than half as many decks as the original, Explosive Vegetation, but this is strictly better. Vegetation has been printed a whole lot of times, and Path has avoided that so far.

Kenrith’s Transformation ($0.50/$0.75/$0.75/$3.50) – Ten thousand decks have sleeved this up in the last 18 months, and considering the almost-free nature of this spell, it’s not hard to see why. The replacement of a card drawn is always appealing, and this deals very effectively with a wide range of problems. All the abilities go away, no more triggers, and protection goes poof. Generally speaking, people will want to trade this in combat to get the replay value. Almost as good as Ixidron for solving problematic creatures. Again, you’ve got the option of going for bricks of the cheap copies or stocking up on the promo foils, and the promos offer the most insurance against a reprint. 

Syr Konrad, the Grim ($0.50/$5) – More than 20,000 players have put this in decks, and it’s not hard to see why. An amazing amount of things cause this to trigger, and he even hits each opponent instead of just one at a time! The foil gap is real, but there’s no special version to worry about. You had a chance earlier this year at foils for a lot less: 

Even so, if you missed out on sub-$3 foils, the demand pattern is real and the foil reprint shouldn’t come along for quite a while. This was reprinted in the Zendikar Rising Commander decks, so the nonfoil is really at a low right now. I could be talked into purchases of either version, or both!

Destiny Spinner ($1/$4) – I think that the biggest appeal here is the anti-countering clause, but the second ability is a nice bonus too in the right deck. Putting this down early, and feeling confident that your other creatures will stick around, is a real delight. We only have two versions of this, and with the enchantment frame looking as nice as it does in foil, I prefer buying in on the foil version here. Don’t miss out on the opportunity a brick of nonfoils can offer too, as there’s a fair amount of those available on TCG under a buck.

Hydra’s Growth ($1/$1.50) – This is only in 5500 decks, but the decks that want an effect like this, REALLY WANT an effect like this. The slightly lower demand for this accounts for why the foil is so close in price to the nonfoil, and that means go for the foil in this case. Yes, it’s an uncommon, but it’s a popular one from a set that didn’t get a lot of attention in paper. Grab a bunch of foils and be patient as this rises to $5.

Bastion of Remembrance ($1/$2) – Nearly 10k decks have this going on, less for the token and more for the ‘my creature dies, each of you lose one’ effect. Again, they chose to print this as ‘each opponent’ as opposed to ‘target opponent’ and that makes a HUGE difference. This is a really easy effect to abuse in a wide range of decks, and a small gap in pricing makes the foils much more attractive to me. 

Reconnaissance Mission ($1/$2) – Being in 8k decks, 3k more than Coastal Piracy, speaks a lot to how available this is, and it is directly better by any comparison. Having the option to cycle it away makes this super flexible. Gotta love that in Commander, when every card is important. Again, a small foil gap and no other versions makes the foil far more attractive to purchase, which should lead to a delightful gain past $5. 

Ominous Seas ($0.50/$1.50) – Blue decks love drawing cards, and 5500 different decks have decided that this would be a great way to have drawing cards translate to giant tentacle monsters. This is a pretty easy ability to abuse, especially if you go after the looting effects as well as pure card drawing. Foils and nonfoils alike are appealing options here, and the growth potential is clear.

Miscast ($1/$5) – Spell Pierce is in 11,000 decks, and Miscast is only half that…for a card that’s less than a year old. The high foil multiplier also indicates the high level of interest in casual circles for the card, and that’s a very good sign. I’m more inclined to pick up large amounts of nonfoils here, instead of hoping the foils spike to $10 or $15. Having the nonfoils rise to $2 or $3 seems like the more probable outcome. 

Garruk’s Uprising ($2.50/$3.50/$1/$1.50) – Yes, the Showcase versions are cheaper than the regular-frame versions, mainly because the Collector Boosters had dedicated slots for the Showcases. There’s no question that the Showcases look better, though, especially in foil, and that’s the version I’d want to be stocked up on going forward. Even if the Showcase foil rises just to the level of the regular-frame foil, you’ll be able to buylist your copies away for a small profit. With patience, though, these will get even higher and make you a delightful profit.

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.

Enrolling at Strixhaven

All right, we have a release date, we have the full Commander lists, we know all of the Mystical Archive cards. We’re even got a few days of preorder prices to look at and think about as we get ready to make our purchases. The beginning of the set is always an exciting time, so let’s get into what’s a good price, what to wait for, and what is going to happen with the special versions.

The rest of this content is only visible to ProTrader members.

To learn how ProTrader can benefit YOU, click here to watch our short video.

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.