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

Ixalan Ascending


If you blinked this week, you missed out on Thrashing Brontodon going from a buck to $4. Granted, he’s the new hotness as a great answer to the Vehicles lists popping up, and a Disenchant on a stick is really good in a world full of Seal Away, Cast Out, Ixalan’s Binding, and Search for Azcanta.

Ixalan has a lot of good cards that are due to go up, now that we are all opening Dominaria like mad, trying to win the Karn, Scion of Urza sweepstakes. We saw Vraska’s Contempt go up dramatically, and earlier than I would have thought. What else is a contender to experience a spike sometime in the next 14 months?

A caveat, before we go further: There’s going to be Challenger decks announced in something like nine months. If any of these jump in price before then, sell immediately. Let someone else get that extra few percent. You’re in this to buy low, and sell high. The risk you run at trying to ‘sell higher’ isn’t worth it if you get caught flat by the next batch of ‘soon-to-exit-Standard’ reprints, like Chandra, Torch of Defiance. She’s down $10 since February, even though she’s seeing Modern play and is a two-of in prison strategies in Legacy.

With that in mind, let’s see what we can see.

Sorcerous Spyglass ($1 nonfoil/$9 foil)

It’s a $9 foil because it is all over the place in Vintage and Legacy. Turn off Deathrite Shaman. Lock down the two Polluted Delta in their hand. Prevent Sneak Attack, Moxen, or Griselbrand activations. It’s a lot to do for two mana, and especially in formats where two artifact mana on turn one isn’t a huge barrier to overcome.

In addition to that, it’s a popular card in UW control lists, turning off Vehicles or Planeswalkers as needed. We are still living in an Abrade world, but that’s going to end in a few short months. Fiery Intervention is not good enough for Standard, so I fully expect to see this go through a major upward swing.


The foils are quite intriguing too. Sure, they are $9 now, but we just passed peak supply and Vintage/Legacy players aren’t the type to get a card, and then trade it away immediately if it goes up to $15. They are more likely to hang on in case the card becomes good tech again, taking a lot of the foils out of circulation. It’s not bad in Commander, but almost everyone can deal with a problematic artifact. Your hope here is to spike the nonfoils around Christmas, and I’d expect them to go to $4 or $5.

Chart a Course ($0.50/$4)


I’m pretty shocked that this card is this cheap, but it’s because neither the Merfolk or Pirates decks have gotten there. This ought to be a four-of in some aggro deck, yet somehow we aren’t in that world. This is a $4 foil because it’s played as a one-of in some Vintage and Legacy strategies. I’d really like to see a blue aggro deck become viable, Warkite Marauder seems super amazing but in a world where Goblin Chainwhirler exists, that might not happen.

Drawing two for two mana is an amazing deal, even if you have to discard one it’s not terrible. Here’s hoping this can claw back to $2.

Storm the Vault ($1/$7)

I have to admit that I like the foils of this a lot more. It’s only in 300 EDHREC decks so far, but people have barely started to build around Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. These two cards go together like peanut butter and chocolate, all you need to do is devour the goodness. Storm the Vault is a card that won’t immediately get people to concede a game the way Tolarian Academy would, but it’s still going to enable all sorts of shenanigans in the right deck.

Starting to tick upwards as it is…

This is not a card that I think can be broken in Standard, but I love the foils as a long-term spec, and they will never be cheaper than they are right now. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the new Academy needs a red/blue Commander deck and then we get a red/blue artifact-enabling Legend.

Tendershoot Dryad ($7/$15)

Fourteen! That’s a lot of slimy feet!

14 copies on TCG right now! For a card that they could still print if they weren’t busy shipping Dominaria all over the place! We don’t have a good replacement for Fumigate yet. Rivals of Ixalan had Slaughter the Strong, and Dominaria has Urza’s Ruinous Blast, both of which are conditional and just not good. Yes, we have Settle the Wreckage but no one actually attacks with their Tendershoot Dryad, and you don’t want to give the token deck free mana over and over again.

Yes, it’s an expensive card, but if Slimefoot can cause Elvish Farmer to be $10, this is loads better. They stack really well together, if the go-wide plan becomes viable in Standard. Given that the casual market has soaked up a lot of the copies of this card, if it hits in Standard it’ll hit pretty big, likely going over $20 for a brief, shining, cash-it-in-right-now moment.

Profane Procession ($1/$4)

There is little that feels as good as being the control player with one of these in play. Now your opponent has to wonder if the creature they want to play is good enough to be a threat but not good enough to be exiled with the Procession. Mixing this card with counters and spot removal is truly a marvelous experience, and I fully encourage you to try it out.

There’s no casual demand for this card, or any demand…yet. It’ll never be a four-of, given the mana-hungry nature of the card, but we will see this get to $6 or so. Plan accordingly.

Arch of Orazca ($1/$5)

Finally, let’s talk about the utility land to end all utility lands. Goes in any Commander deck, is a one-of in every control list currently, and is poised to grow delightfully over time? I’m sold.

I’m so into this card that I added one to my five-color The Ur-Dragon deck, and while it’s not my favorite early draw, I love knowing that when I run out of huge fliers to cast, my lands still have stuff to do. It will never be a four-of in any list, ever, but the foils are a super solid pickup for long-term growth.

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The Curious Case of Karn

We are at week 3 of Dominaria being legal and some of these prices are just bananas.

I will mea maxima culpa: I vastly underestimated Karn, Scion of Urza.

I thought Karn wasnt good enough by himself, and while I saw the Teferi-Seal Away synergy, I underestimated how many people wanted to play these cards. I also didn’t give enough credit to the idea of Karn as a colorless card, meaning that I didn’t make the mental leap to how he goes in EVERY deck. Literally every deck can play this, from aggro to control.

Today I want to look at where Karn’s price is, some historical comparisons, and where he might be going. There’s some printing and distribution factors at play too.

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Cliff is an avid Cuber and Commander player, and has a deep love for weird ways to play this amazing game, as well as being guest host on MTGFF when needed. His current project is a light-up sign for attracting Cubers at GPs, so get his attention @wordofcommander on Twitter if you’ve got ideas or designs.

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RL Freakouts, yet again!

Magic finance has been good to me over the years.

I’ve been at this a while, and not just writing about Magic. I’ve done precious little buying of cards (until recently–one of my New Year’s resolutions was to buy more of my own advice) and done really well through targeted trading.

I’ve also sold cards for assorted life expenses along the way, including in 2001 when I needed a new transmission and felt blessed to get $200 for my playsets of Tropical Island and Force of Will.

All that being said, recent events in Magic card pricing are just mindblowing, and I’ve got some advice for you to weather the storm.

There are a range of factors pushing at prices right now. Let’s look at one example, a card which recently made it over two grand, pushing towards $3,000, and is more expensive than Unlimited Power: The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale.

Let’s also take a minute and see who needs this card. Legacy Lands players need one copy (and that one copy makes up ~50% of the deck’s price, the playset of Mox Diamond is another ~30%), people who like to play the super-niche format 93-94 want it, and collectors of Legends cards want it.

When you need it, you need it!

Is that a big group of people? Not really. The issue is the low supply of the card, and that means there’s a battle to get the few copies available.

So this one card is worth two months’ rent, or a semi-decent used car. Use the analogy you like, but respect that people are paying that much for this card for one or more reasons.

What we also need to consider is that fear is moving a lot of these prices. People are afraid of missing out (FOMO is the acronym) on the next spike, and identifying such cards is becoming less of a skill over time, because not all prices are holding.

Here’s an example: Rainbow Vale

You have the land, then you have the land!

It went from under a buck, up to $9, and now down to $3 because no one was buying it at the $9 level. The card is AMAZING in Zedruu the Greathearted decks, and I’m forced to wonder: Given that there was enough demand to get Zedruu up to nearly $10 at one point…are there more Legacy Lands players than Zedruu players? And if not, what’s going on?

The Reserved List is not a bad thing. I said it. I mean it.

I’d like dual lands for all my Commander decks, but really, I don’t need them. I’ve got fetchable shocks and bicycle lands and other variants, plus stuff like Command Tower. Duals would be a nice upgrade but they are not a necessity. Masterpieces are in the same space, given that the MSP Sol Ring is now above $300 and pushing at $400. That’s more than a Beta Sol Ring and within $100 of an Alpha!

Magic benefits from having aspirational levels. If you master Standard, there’s Modern. Then Legacy, then Vintage. Other formats come into play, like new draft environments, build your own Cube, or get into 93-94.

None of those are necessary to enjoy the game. They are all fun, in different ways, and if you really want to get into Vintage dive in online for about $500 to buy Ravager Shops.

The Reserved List is mostly terrible cards anyway, a clear overreaction to Chronicles. Here’s a couple of example cards:

Look at that pristine arm!

My point in all of this is that for years now, there’s been a combination of factors causing cards to go up. Speculators, collectors, people who want the cards, and people who are scared of having to buy at the high price when they could have bought at the old price.

For almost all of us, it doesn’t matter. Would your tokens deck be better with a Gaea’s Cradle? Absolutely. Would it be almost as good with Growing Rites of Itlimoc, or Mana Echoes, or a range of other cards that will be plenty busted.

In terms of financial advice, I’d suggest you look at the Reserved List and cross that with the cards you might actually play. For example, Winding Canyons is in the midst of an upward spike, it was available for $10 for quite a while and the frenzy has moved to this card, pushing it past $20. It might stabilize at $30, and then trickle downwards as people realize the new price isn’t here to stay…but the price will have gone up.

Here’s a great example of the principle at work: Sandals of Abdallah.

Just worse than Whispersilk ot Trailblazer’s Boots?

Sub $5 for the longest time, spiking to $30, now at about $15 for a card that is objectively terrible. The card is just bad, but it’s being collected, it’s not getting played. You have to understand that distinction and you have to embrace how the spikes will be worse for the playable cards.

So here’s a couple of RL cards that are decent candidates for a spike:

Hand of Justice at fifty cents, because I think a lot of people destroyed their Fallen Empires cards. I remember how worthless these were for the longest time.

Autumn Willow at a buck, because early hexproof is bah-roken.

Kaysa at about $4, because anthems are good.

Thawing Glaciers at sub-$20, because the judge promo is about $60, and colorless land find is always helpful.

Varchild’s War-Riders at or below $4, because sometimes the other players need creatures.

Tombstone Stairwell because lots of Zombies coming and going is exactly what some decks want.

These are just a few examples, not intended to be a prediction or a guide, but my ideas on cards that are at the nexus of the Reserved List and playability. I don’t know what collectors will do, or speculators (remember, Narwhal spiked to $10 once based on buyouts) but I know that playable RL cards have a low supply, due to the number already in decks.

If you need such cards for your EDH deck, better move fast. This wave of spikes isn’t done.

Cliff is an avid Cuber and Commander player, and has a deep love for weird ways to play this amazing game, as well as being guest host on MTGFF when needed. His current project is a light-up sign for attracting Cubers at GPs, so get his attention @wordofcommander on Twitter if you’ve got ideas or designs.

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Amonkhet Block Post-Rotation

I know you’re all hyped about Dominaria being out, and rightfully so, but the truth is that our attention as finance-minded people needs to be on the just-finished Ixalan block and the soon-to-rotate-from-Standard blocks.

A couple of weeks ago I talked about Kaladesh, and now it’s time to go over the best long-term value from Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation.

What I’m looking for is one of three things:

  1. Eternal appeal, meaning that the card sees some play in Modern, Legacy, or other non-rotating formats
  2. Casual appeal, so cards that Commanders, Cubers, or 60-card “Every dragon ever printed” kitchen table players love.
  3. Cards that do something no other card does, or that has a strong similarity to some other card that has gone up over time.

If one of those is met, I’ll think about it. Two is a likely buy, and all 3 means I’m snapping it up.

So let’s talk about some cards!]


Anointed Procession ($7.50)

This is the most available token-doubling card around, considering that it’s a new rare. Stuff like Doubling Season, Primal Vigor, and Parallel Lives all command greater prices on lower supply.

That doesn’t stop this card from being an excellent investment. Yes, there’s an occasional Standard deck that’s using the card, but the tokens lists aren’t amazing yet. (Aryel, Knight of Windgrace would love for you to play Anointed Procession!)

Where this shines, though, is in the casual market. The demand for this card is high enough to push the price up to being the #6 card in Amonkhet, and the most valuable non-mythic.

It’s not going to dip at rotation, but instead start to creep upward. It’s never going to have a huge spike, but if you’re the kind of person who tosses cards in the box and forgets about them for years, this is your card.

Irrigated Farmland (and any cycling land under $3)

I really love the cycling lands in Commander. They are fetchable and so much more reasonably priced than shocks and duals. Being able to cycle it away in the late game is an acceptable tradeoff for it coming into play tapped. Again, this is one for gradual growth and has a real reprint risk. This would be a good set of cards to get in a cycle of Commander decks, unless you have a lot of them. I think it’s worth the risk.

Regal Caracal ($4 for foils)

I’m all for niche decks, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how many Cats there are out there. This kitty is best friends with Brimaz, King of Oreskos, but the number of Cats is higher than you think. Get on the foils while they are dirt cheap, and before they print a new Cat Legend and this jumps to $10.

Harsh Mentor (50 cents/$4 foil)

I would be in on the foils a lot heavier than the nonfoils. This has popped up in a few sideboards but a deck placed 68th at a Modern SCG Open with three of the mentors in the maindeck.

My favorite interaction is how this stops the Druid/Vizier combo, as the untap effect on Devoted Druid means two damage, ruling out the infinite mana combo. It’s a niche card, sure, but it’s a cheap niche card. Worth having a few foils around for when they spike to $10, sometime in the next year.

Glorious End (50 cents nonfoil, $2 foil)

Final Fortune has three printings, this only one!

This one is the purest spec pick, but it does something unique, and I’m generally willing to spend a few bucks on one-of-a-kind effects. Yes, Final Fortune does this more cleanly, but that’s not Modern legal. What I’m doing here is picking up a bulk mythic in anticipation of someone breaking the card, and there’s a case to be made in foils or nonfoils. Generally, I like having foils for more of a premium, but if you want to grab 20 nonfoils I’d support that too.

Samut, the Tested ($2.50/$6)

The only thing keeping this version of Samut from being a $15 foil is that she doesn’t fit in Atraxa decks. Having the ability to go find two more ‘walkers with her ultimate is just bonkers. I grabbed a couple foils under $5 off eBay just to sock away and keep handy. I don’t think we will ever get another card that interacts with planeswalkers the way Doubling Season does…but we did get Deepglow Skate…

Solemnity ($1.50/$7)

That’s a big jump in foils, and I’m not really sure why. Is it because of the combo with Decree of Silence? It’s only in a little over a thousand decks on EDHREC, so I don’t think that’s it.

There’s a bump here and even if I don’t know why it is, it’s a cheap enough card with a unique effect. Worth having in stock.

Scavenger Grounds ($4/$12)

Now here’s a target and a half. Here’s the graph:

It’s not bad in Commander either, as long as you can play colorless lands.

Granted, a lot of its recent spike can be chalked up to increased Standard play, but it’s showing up a little in Modern, and that’s where things can get very spicy.

Ramunap Excavator ($3/$8)

The Little Naga That Could!

This is an amazing card when utilized properly, and I’d be a lot more enthusiastic about the foils if there wasn’t a Buy-a-Box version lurking. It synergizes with a lot of decks, sees some Modern play, and something I want to have a few copies of for the day when it gets broken.

Hollow One ($15 foil)

There are a lot of flavors of Hollow One decks running around, and while I personally despise random discards, I can’t argue with the power or the results. Fifteen for a small-set foil rare that gets played in a top-tier strategy as a four-of says “I ought to be $30” and you should purchase accordingly.

Cliff is an avid Cuber and Commander player, and has a deep love for weird ways to play this amazing game, as well as being guest host on MTGFF when needed. His current project is a light-up sign for attracting Cubers at GPs, so get his attention @wordofcommander on Twitter if you’ve got ideas or designs.

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