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

Underpriced Mythics

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Last week, I wrote about Throne of Eldraine and some underpriced cards going forward in Standard. Today, I want to expand my thinking a little and focus on mythics whose prices are terribly tempting.

I’m looking for unique effects, good in Commander, things that have or might get used in Eternal formats, and that includes Pioneer.

I mentioned Arclight Phoenix last week and I’m still interested at $4, just to get that out of the way. I don’t need to repeat myself, do I?

Divine Visitation ($11 nonfoil/$16 foil)

I don’t see how these can get much cheaper even as we barrel towards rotation. It’s not like Standard players are lighting it up with token shenanigans. It’s already in 6000 decks listed on EDHREC, it synergizes extremely well with the new UWR token maker, Akim, the Soaring Wind, and it’s just a must-kill threat in any Commander pod. 

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Unsurprisingly, as a Commander card I want foils, and at just a few dollars more for the foil, I should be able to make that happen. This could have been had for nearly half as much a few months ago, and while this will get reprinted again, that’s why you want foils. 

Finale of Promise ($2/$4)

Let’s take a trip back about a year, shall we? 

This was close to $20 when people were trying to break it with free spells, and that use hasn’t changed. Yes, War of the Spark has a whole lot of uncut sheets out there, but very few of those are cut into useable cards. I want to have a few of these stocked up for when the next free spell frenzy hits, as it eventually will.

We know this is a good effect, a powerful one. We’re just banking on its return to glory, and that this is a playset when used in Modern. Pioneer doesn’t have the suspend spells to use, but who knows what’s coming? It was 4x the foil price once, and might be again.

Prime Speaker Vannifar ($3/$10)

Vannifar Pod has real potential, both in Modern and in Pioneer. It’s been powerful and hyped before, and I want to have a few of these handy when the hype arrives again. The graph on this one is a lovely shape, just heading to the bottom of the canyon before something happens to make this a hotly desired card.

Again, this is a card that gets played as a four-of, and the higher foil price is more reflective of Commander demand than anything else. Simic is decadently spoiled for choice in terms of the Commanders to choose from, and if I saw PSV in my pod I’d be prepared for a combo backed by countermagic. Pick up foils, if you have the budget. 

Omnath, Locus of the Roil ($4/$7)

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Remember when this was a $15 card, backed by three colors of ridiculous Elementals? It’s still very very good and is a tribe that’s gotten a whole lot of support over the years. I like this more for Commander than anything else, but while Horde of Notions is better able to win a long game, Omnath just ends things fast. 

This has the potential to fall a little further as rotation approaches, so if you want to be patient before buying, I’d respect that. I’d also listen if you wanted to play this alongside Kaheera, the Orphanguard for the next few months. I do love synergies!

Kethis, the Hidden Hand ($2/$6)

Kethis Combo decks were huge at the end of last year, and when Pioneer comes back in person, it’ll still be a deck with a lot of potential. The risk of reprinting is quite low, and the synergies are still very powerful. There’s been minor bumps in price as time went on, usually in sync with someone spiking a strong finish with the deck, but its popularity is hampered by the sheer number of clicks it takes to make this deck work online. In person, it’s much less of a problem, once you demonstrate the loop. Online, you’ve got to click every iteration until you’re milled out, play Tamiyo, get back Jace, and win. Then do it all again.

The key interaction point is Mox Amber, which is a bit pricier, but another worthy speculative purchase given that it’s still got a lot of potential in Pioneer. 

Garruk, Cursed Huntsman ($3/$5/$7 Borderless nonfoil/$20 Borderless Foil)

He’s a baddie, no doubt about it. I think he’s criminally underplayed in token/superfriends Commander decks, where so many effects can get him an ultimate right away. He just needs a little help, and then everything is TERRIFYING. Worst-case is that he deals with a threat and replaces the card you spent, which isn’t great in Commander, but that’s a pretty high floor.

I think all the versions are good buys at this point, being at their lowest price. It’s unlikely that he’ll fall too much further before rotation hits, especially in the Showcase styles. I don’t think any one thing is going to happen to cause his growth, just snag your cheap copies now and be patient.

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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Who Sits The Throne?

I know our eyes are full of new cards, and there’s a wild west going on with actual card availability, so I want to take a moment and look at Throne of Eldraine, a set that has another 16 months in Standard, and make sure I’m aware of what the underpriced cards are.

Traditionally, for the big fall set, the highest price is about one year, or the halfway point, whichever you’d prefer to call it.Let’s look at a couple of examples from recent sets:

Legion Warboss (Currently about $2)

The Warboss dropped to under a buck at release, and took about eight months to get picked up in a deck. At that point, you could have made $7 per copy under ideal conditions, and that’s a lovely feeling for a card you snagged at such a low point. Notice that it’s heading for zero, but it’s a fun card to pair with Goblin Rabblemaster in those sorts of decks in Modern and Pioneer. It’s nice when one creature gets you an entire army.

Vraska’s Contempt ($1)

This card fell to around $5 during Rivals of Ixalan, and then started to rise like mad. By October 2019, they were going for just about $20 each, as the premier removal spell of the format. You’d think four mana was too much, but add a little lifegain (and make sure there’s nothing better around) and you’ve got a winning formula.

So what cards in Throne meet these sorts of criteria?

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Murderous Rider ($2 regular nonfoil/$4 regular foil/$3 Showcase nonfoil/$6 Showcase foil)

We got some sweet removal spells in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths but nothing this universal and multifaceted. The fact that your three-mana instant can kill anything that needs killing and then, whenever you have mana, can be a 2/3 lifelinker is pretty amazing. It’s not a popular metagame card right now, because it’s not green and Wizards decided we needed a year where every overpowered card was Simic. It’s too much value to be this low and I personally have about a dozen nonfoil Showcase stored up, and I’m debating about getting more.

Removal spells tend to be as strong a spec as you can get in Standard, and we’ve had a good line from Hero’s Downfall to Vraska’s Contempt to this one. When the metagame shifts at rotation (farewell to Nissa and Krasis especially!) I would look for this to be ascendant.

Keep in mind that even with a lack of paper tournaments, Rider is the third most commonly played creature in Pioneer, showing up in a wide variety of decks. Always feels nice to buy a cross-format card at its lowest point.

Bonecrusher Giant ($1/$2.50/$2/$3)

This is another one that is pretty mindblowing to me. It’s incredibly ubiquitous, and yet has such a low price. It’s the #2 creature in Standard right now, and the #9 creature in Pioneer. Decks generally play three or four, because it’s cheap interaction when you need it and a beefy body for cheap after that.

I like picking up the nonfoils more, because this is for those who play in paper tournaments, and that goes for the Rider above too. Players like making their deck unique without the literal warping effects that foils can have. This feels like a slam dunk to me, and I hope you’re able to stock up effectively.

Fae of Wishes (50¢/75¢/$1/$3)

This is a bit lower in price because the current demand isn’t there, but we’ve only had a couple of months to get used to wishboards again. Currently, only Fires decks make use of the card, but it’s a very low buy-in for a card that has such a unique effect. We’ve got more than a year to make this card broken as hell, and there’s a very good chance that the cycle of Ultimatums turbocharges the deck. These seven-mana, seven-specific-mana spells are usually terrible draws but the perfect card to tutor for in the right situation.

As ever, I prefer buying the nonfoil Showcases but I wouldn’t fault you for getting in at near-bulk prices on the Fae.

Fabled Passage ($11/$14/$20/$80)

Finally, a card that is in a Challenger deck and the price graph proves the point:

The Challenger decks are out now and represent a minor reprint for the most played nonbasic land in Pioneer and the #2 land in all of Standard, losing out to only Mountain. Eleven bucks is quite the steal, and that’s with more than a year to go in Standard. I do expect these to be present in next year’s Challenger decks, or reprinted in some other set along the way, but there’s a window for excellent profit here, especially with the Extended Art version. Just like foils used to be a safer play (and in this case, still a delightful one) the EA/Showcase is much less likely to be reprinted and therefore a safer place to put value for a while. Grab a few and thank me later.

Arclight Phoenix ($4)

As a bonus, I’m picking a card that is going to rotate and shows even a Challenger deck can’t hold down a good card. Phoenix took quite a hit right before Throne of Eldraine and rallied back wonderfully, but it’s now gliding towards its rotation out of Standard. Phoenix strategies are still very very valid in Pioneer and will have their day again in Modern, and I’m hoping these fall even further. If you’re playing the Phoenix strategy, you’re definitely on the full playset, and as a Mythic, even one with supply bumped a little, you’re looking at a very solid spec.

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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First Impressions of Ikoria

We don’t have the entire card list for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, but what we do have is most of the big hits.

And goodness me, there are some doozies. We need to talk about what price you’re going to buy these for, and how patient you need to be.

We have to start with the knowledge that this set is going to be opened at a different pace than every other set. Cards are going to be in hand in Asia before they are in the US. The stateside prerelease has been pushed back a month, meaning that there will be a time period where our only supply is international resellers.

That’s a huge disruption in the normal flow of things, which is to be expected in the time of COVID-19. It’s going to mean that prices are not going to drop in the usual way for some time (if they ever do!).

I fully expect that Ikoria will be opened in lesser amounts than the usual set would be. Last year at this time we were getting War of the Spark, which was later impacted by the awesome draft environment of Modern Horizons.

With the pandemic, I don’t have any idea how long it’ll take for us to open cards and have some sense of normalcy. Not many vendors are doing preorder sales, and at the same time, not a lot of players are eager to buy cards that they can’t use in person yet.

I wish I had some sense for how many players are buying right now, but it can’t be high. If you’re looking to spec on cards, I would strongly advise against that. Most things are overpriced right now, and will be until the set is more widely distributed.

For example: 

These lands are instantly known as the tricycle lands, and as the rare cycle in the set should land somewhere in the $5 range.

Right now, on Star City Games:

They are listed as sold out. I don’t know who might have bought them immediately, but I’m sure there’s a few overeager folks out there. Please don’t buy the regular copies at $10.

That’s not to say I don’t love these for longer-term specs. I completely expect these to show up in assorted Modern lists as a one-of, because if you would have fetched for a shockland at the end of turn and not paid two life, you might as well give yourself this flexibility! Plus you can cycle it away late-game if a land isn’t what you need.

The showcase versions of these lands are GORGEOUS, and are instantly one of my favorite specs once we’re opening cards as we normally would. In terms of prices, I expect the normal versions to be $4-$5 (might spike after shocklands rotate from Standard) with the Showcase at $10+ and the foil Showcase a cool $30-$40.

As of Thursday night, we have four of the five Ultimatums (missing only the Temur one, I expect that to be revealed Friday morning) and they are SWEET. The first cycle of Ultimatums was designed before Commander became popular; these five are clearly made with the 100-card format in mind.

Again, I don’t think these are cards you should be rushing out to buy, but they are absolutely my favorite long-term hold in the set. These are purest gold in Commander, where three colors (or more) are all over the place. I know that my five-color The Ur-Dragon deck is going to need a close examination of the manabase and what spells it can support. I surely want to destroy all my opponents’ nonland permanents, or bring back EVERY PERMANENT IN MY GRAVEYARD.

Thank goodness this cycle is only rare and not mythic.

In terms of prices, I don’t think these will be $100 for the Extended Art foil, but $60 seems reasonable. Almost everyone who opens one of these will either put it in their deck or someone will trade it from them immediately. I’ll be surprised if the regular nonfoils get below $2.

There’s two mythics I especially want to address, which have a whole lot of buzz and excitement.

Luminous Broodmoth is good with a whole lot of cards that care about counters, but it’s also just good in a white deck that makes the rest of your creatures come back in case of a Time Wipe. Aggro decks didn’t really need the help, as they are a healthy part of the metagame, but the moth also enables blocks as trades but really aren’t trades. The combo potential is through the roof in Commander, and TCG has preorders for $14 or so. That’s a really tempting price, and very close to what the price will be in a few weeks. If you really want them, I’d say go ahead and get them, but I’m not sure why you have to have them in hand immediately. They definitely aren’t going to spike to $20+ right away, but I could see that happening in a few months.

Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy is a sign that someone at Wizards has an addiction to UG in Commander. There’s a whole series of cards in the last year or so that are truly, powerfully, broken-format-level overpowered. In Standard, there could have been decks with Once Upon a Time, Kinnan, Golden Goose, Oko, Thief of Crowns, Leyline of Abundance, Nissa, Who Shakes the World, and Hydroid Krasis. Toss in Nyxbloom Ancient if you’re feeling spicy. Who cares about a finisher, you’re tapping out and adding a couple hundred mana.

Kinnan doesn’t have any preorder prices up yet, but I fully expect this to be one of the Commanders that causes a whole genre of cards to spike. Sylvan Caryatid would be my first pick for this deck, but even basics like Llanowar Elder or Llanowar Tribe could go nuts. Keep in mind that this isn’t a doubler, just adding one more mana, so Arixmethes isn’t good for four, just three mana. You’re going to see a lot of cards jump, so be prepared to sell into some hype!

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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Godzilla is Here!

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths has finally been previewed, and I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to Wizards for waiting until after April 1. If they had started on Mondays as usual, and then we’d seen Godzilla stuff, we might not have believed it.

I’m pretty over April Fools stuff, especially as most of the whole world is trying to stay safe from a worldwide pandemic, but that’s me shaking my fist at a cloud again. 

Let’s dive into what we’ve been given with Ikoria, and where things might be going.

First of all, if you haven’t looked at it, take a moment and read the preview article. Then you should go see the Mechanics article.

The main thing from Mechanics is at the end: There’s going to be ten different Companions, cards that can exist outside of the game and can be cast from the Command zone as long as a condition is satisfied. 

Those conditions are going to restrict deckbuilding, but also empower Commander decks to be 101 cards. Let’s all pause for the poor Elemental Otter, named Lutri, the Spellchaser, who has been preemptively banned from Commander games as it would be too universal and incur no cost, and always give a free card to those decks. Amazingly, this is the first time a card has been banned before its release. Not Griselbrand, not Worldfire, no other card has earned this distinction.

I do think these nine other cards are going to have a small amount of demand going forward. Having access to an additional Commander-type card is pretty great, and the ones that have been revealed are worthy effects. Lutri copied a spell, Keruga, the Macrosage makes you build with things that cost 3+ and then rewards you for exactly that. I can see a lot of UGx decks giving up on two-drops in order to have Keruga starting out ready to go alongside their commander.

We are getting one for each color pair, and the four revealed so far impose a lot of restriction on decks, but time will tell if that’s problematic. They are all capable of being Commanders on their own, or in the 99. 

The much bigger deal is the Showcase versions we’re getting this time around. There’s two categories: 19 cards get a Godzilla treatment, and the common/uncommon cards with Mutate get a comic-book-like treatment. The Godzilla variants go down to uncommon this time, and having two different Showcase styles, plus the Extended Art, means a whole lot to keep track of. 

For example, we’re getting three versions of the UB Companion, Gyruda, Doom of Depths:

I like that the Godzilla variants have a totally different name but then a reminder of the name there at the header, and even if this frame/art style isn’t your cup of tea, this is a crossover. Godzilla collectors are going to want this, as what happened with the My Little Pony set, which was offered for $50 but is now going for $75+. 

Magic collectors and Godzilla collectors are going to intersect here, and on top of that, we’re going to be looking at a severely restricted market due to the virus’s impact on local stores and major online retailers.

There are going to be less copies in circulation, and weigh that against the lower number of people who are able to play. I can’t predict what that ratio will be exactly, but I do feel confident that the most premium versions of cards will command even higher multipliers than the previous Showcase versions.

Additionally, the Theros: Beyond Death gods were a bit underpowered. These are not. The mythics are demanding on a manabase, but holy wow. There’s a 3/5 double strike for four mana. There’s more than one 6/6 for five mana, one of them has flying! All of them can mutate onto/with other creatures and give bonuses when that happens.

Will all of this unseat the dominance of Ramp or the Mono-Red menace? Likely not right away, but I’ll be a big fan of picking these up at the end of Ikoria season in preparation for October’s rotation.

What I really want to buy right now is Ikoria sealed product. I wrote about the appeal of the Prerelease packs, especially early on when no one else has cards in hand, but the Collector Boosters ought to be highly sought after. The low prices on Theros Collector Booster boxes compared to Throne of Eldraine is simply a reflection of Theros’s relatively low power level. Ikoria has a stronger theme (two art styles, actually) and more powerful creatures. Buying the boxes and selling the pieces should be profitable early on, but again, a lot depends on the timing. If you’re getting the boxes in mid-to-late May, when the set has gone on for a while, the premiums won’t be as high.

The ratio of cards made didn’t change much from Theros Collector Boosters, according to the article, and that means the extended-art nonfoils are going to offer some impressive gains when they get adopted into some Constructed formats. These are my new favorite targets, as they tend to be a bit more in price but much much lower in number compared to originals or foils.

One more collector target, and one more link. Wizards sent this set off to the printers months ago, before the current pandemic conditions, and one of the special Godzilla versions was named with a ‘Death Corona.’

They’ve announced that these copies are in circulation, but as reprints happen, they will switch over to the Void Invader naming.

Macabre as it may be, the Death Corona cards are going to fetch higher prices than most other cards with misprints. Too many people will want one of these, and I’d expect the foils to really break the bank. You don’t have to agree, or think it’s appropriate, but the provenance and the cultural significance will make these a lot more sought after, and while we’ll never know exactly how many are out there, it’ll be a reduced number as they switch over. My hunch is that the first few cards will be super overpriced, and then will settle down some. If you’re someone that craves to own a Death Corona card, be a little patient so you don’t pay top dollar.

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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