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

Pioneering for profit

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Pioneer is here! We’ve been expecting a new nonrotating format for a while, and having the fetches be banned is going to determine the outline of the format. The preliminary look of the thing is wild, with Modern’s bans not shaping the new format…yet.

I get it, I do, that Wizards wants to give people a chance. There’s not going to be an Eldrazi winter, since Temple, Eye, and the Tron lands aren’t legal. Heck, there’s not even bouncelands!

What we do have are some strong opportunities for gaining value, and while you’ve heard some of them, others are yet unpicked…

First of all, two caveats:

  1. Stuff is going to get banned. Sure, there’s no fetchlands, and that makes Deathrite Shaman a lot less busted, but does that mean Treasure Cruise is bad? Dig Through Time, Energy decks, Saheeli Rai plus Felidar Guardian…all of these are too good for a format like Modern, and Pioneer has a lot less answers.
  2. Stuff is going to get reprinted. Aaron Forsythe went on Twitch and said that Mystery this November isn’t Pioneer Masters, but it seems silly that they’d premier a new format without giving availability a boost. The reprints might not be soon, but they will happen. Masters sets sell far too well for this to not happen.

Keep both of these factors in mind. When a card spikes, sell and sell hard.

Heart of Kiran ($2.50 nonfoil/$14 foil)

Travis picked this to hit $5 on Monday, and I think he’s being super pessimistic. This is going to be $10 again, until Abrade becomes a maindeck card. We have two three-drop planeswalkers that have two plus abilities. Heart into The Royal Scions is SIX first strike, flying, trample damage coming in on turn three and that Heart will be available for defense too!

Smuggler’s Copter is the Vehicle getting all the attention, because it’s amazing and pushed, but Heart is the one that’s got a lot less of a chance to get eventually banned. 

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Prized Amalgam ($2.50/$5)

There is a Dredge deck in Pioneer, but more accurately it’ll be a self-mill deck. Satyr Wayfinder, Glowspore Shaman, and Grisly Salvage are going to fuel a deck that just keeps coming back again and again. I’m not sure what form it will take, but the payoffs are going to be Amalgam, Narcomeba, and likely Haunted Dead. Amalgam is the only rare I’m interested in from this deck.

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Pack Rat ($2/$7)

Amazingly, this has dodged a reprint all these years. People are going to start Pioneer off by rediscovering the hits of the past, and Pack Rat is one of the most resilient cards ever printed. I’m not sure if Mono-Black Devotion is going to be a thing (Or if Devotion returns when we go back to Theros in January) but the Rat was an integral piece to that deck. Thoughtseize is back up to $20, Collective Brutality is $13 (very tempting) but the discard suite is real in Pioneer, with Duress and Lay Bare the Heart likely the best options left.

Elder Deep-Fiend ($1/$2)

Wow did I hate this card in Standard, tapping my lands on my upkeep or tapping down blockers I was going to need. There’s a lot of lists floating around but the good news is that people want to chain these together, turn after turn, which means you’re playing the full four. As a small-set rare, there’s a lot less of these out there than you might expect, and it’s going to have a time where it spikes to $5 or more. Get your copies now, and feel free to hit up foils since they aren’t that much more expensive.

Kozilek’s Return ($2/$7)

The higher price on this is because it’s absurd in Commander, with the number of giant Eldrazi and the need to clean up the little ones. Yes, in case you forgot, this plays VERY well with the Deep-Fiend, and nonfoils should make it back up to $10 when people see this wreak havoc all over the place. 

Master of Waves ($2/$5/$2 Duel Deck foil)

Allow me to introduce you to a little combo I like to call “Oh no…oh yes”: 

Yes, this is a combo. There’s a lot of Elemental goodness to be had in Pioneer, such as Voice of Resurgence, but this is the build-around I’m fascinated with. The presence of a Duel Deck foil doesn’t faze me at all, because I know how well the Master does when you manage to draw more than one. People are going to play a lot of copies, and that’s to the good. Get your now before the camera shines and the spike hits.

Part the Waterveil ($1/$7)

What’s lovely about this card is that it’s going to give you an extra turn and hit your opponent like a truck, all at once. Yes, it exiles itself, but Nexus of Fate is legal in this format too. Waterveil is the best of the rest of the options for extra turns, unless you feel like going deep on Magistrate’s Scepter somehow. If you’ve never cast one of these with Awaken, you’re in for a good time, and dollar mythics almost never go lower. Grab a few now for when they hit big.

The Pioneer Creaturelands (fifty cents to $1.50 for nonfoils, $3-$7 foil)

There’s a lot of talk about what the manabases are for Pioneer, and so far, not enough people are addressing the creaturelands. Mutavault and Mobilized District are options too, but colorless lands need to be a bit better in this format, and all of these have seen some play when they were in Standard. 

I think the default ranking is going to be shocks-buddylands-fastlands, but please don’t sleep on these. All of them are still cheap, haven’t moved much, and haven’t been printed in several years. The good times are going to roll when all of these make it back up to $5+, and my guess would be for the BG and BW ones to be first.

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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Seek The Horizons!

The Mythic Championship is this weekend, and after that, it’ll be a Players’ Tour, and from there, make your own joke. I’m old enough to sound crotchety when I complain about the names of things, or how the simple things aren’t so simple, or old rules…you get the idea.

What isn’t old, though, is that Modern Horizons is ready to pop. Buckle up.

First of all, an illustration of the overall pattern for Modern Horizons: Giver of Runes.

You can see that the price had some wild early movement and has now settled in nicely, being stable for about the last month.

The headliner for the set has a similar graph. Benjamin Franklin, meet Wrenn and Six.

There’s one motable card ticking upward the last couple of weeks, and the recent success of Whirza decks, sometimes with or without Paradoxical Outcome, shouldn’t make the uptick in the Lord High Artificer a surprise:

What you may or may not be thinking about is the rest of the set. Oh, sure, you needed some new Canopy-style lands for a deck, and you’ve got to get a couple of Prismatic Vista for different Commander decks, plus there’s only two Force of Negation in the main but you want two in the sideboard…

Modern Horizons has stopped being drafted, and Modern events aren’t center stage at the moment. This is the time to strike. I can respect if you don’t want to go deep on Arcum’s Astrolabe as eventually a $5 card, because you fear Pauper bans. Have you noticed the prevalence of snow lands? A couple of coverage teams have noted on streams that the decks people play no longer have a preference for which art they liked best, they are playing snow lands because they are strictly better. Every percentage point counts.

As wise, aware people, we can see that the combination of a semi-limited run plus falling out of favor plus higher initial price plus very high playability in multiple formats means a set rife with investment potential.

Let’s get one thing straight: If you play a lot of Modern, it’s likely time to get in and buy your playsets now before they cost you a lot more. 

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Urza, Lord High Artificer ($42 nonfoil/$142 foil)

The only fly in the ointment is that Urza is a fantastic candidate for reprinting as a Judge foil or other special prize. The card is straight-up busted, fantastic as a commander or in the 99, and is the key to unlocking some amazing turns in the new generation of decks. Thopter-Sword is good, but now Urza gives you infinite spins at the top of your deck, too? Some decks are going the Jeskai Ascendancy route, sometimes with Emry, Lurker of the Loch, but every flavor is delicious in its own way.

Urza is going to be $75 by the beginning of summer, and quite likely sooner if some version of this deck takes down another GP or SCG Open. Foils are a lock to grow and grow, even if a Judge wave hits I’d feel good in the long term. Yes, it’s a lot to buy into a card at $40, but you’re going to resell at a tidy profit within a year.

Mox Tantalite ($4/$24)

That’s a huge multiplier for a card that is only in 500 decks on EDHREC and has 65 foil copies available on TCG. Someone is buying these. Lots of someones. I’m not sure who, but there’s enough of these folks to give a rarely-played card a 6x foil multiplier. This happens with every mythic in the set, and a lot of the rares: foils are more expensive than I would have thought. Either the amount of foils is lower in Modern Horizons (we would have noticed by now) or the demand for the foils is higher across the board. I don’t know the cause but I’m trying to find out.

I do love to buy mythics at very low prices, and I’d understand if you wanted to get in now, but I’d advocate waiting a little bit longer. There’s no rush on a long-term spec like this. Many suspend cards have eventually had their time to shine, and I’m sure this Mox will too.

Echo of Eons ($5/$35)

At only 2000 listed decks, it’s not blowing up Commander yet but I think it’ll get there in Modern first. I like this a lot more than I do the Mox, and I bought a couple playsets when this was in the $8 range. I’m picking up four more at this price, and I’m going to be patient until the day someone breaks this card in half. It’s likely going to be when there’s a second ‘your opponents can’t draw extra cards’ effect like Narset, Parter of Veils, but it’s a question of when the card spikes, not if. 

Dead of Winter ($1/$12)

This foil price is impressive as hell, considering that it’s not seeing much play yet in Whirza sideboards. If you’ve played Gates Ablaze in Standard or even limited, you know how good this effect can be, and it’s so cheap! A little attention will pop this over $5 briefly, and watching it decimate creature strategies will help that price stay.

Whenever you can get in at such a low point, patience is key. It’s not going to take off to $20 out of nowhere, but one day you’ll wake up and be able to see huge returns on very little invested.

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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Checking on Standard

Since we’re getting a Mythic Championship in a couple of weeks, and we’re all enjoying Throne of Eldraine, it’s time for the unglamorous task of looking at the other sets in Standard for things that are undervalued yet could see some life before they rotate in twelve months.

The traditional play right now is to just look at Core Set 2020, but honestly, there’s a couple of cards that are too tempting not to mention right away.

Divine Visitation ($6.50 regular/$9 foil)

I’ve been playing the Golos Field deck on Arena, and while I love having Ethereal Procession in the wishboard, what I’ve been reaching for more often is Divine Visitation. You’ll notice that all three vendors in the graph above have ticked up their price a little lately, and this is why. It is a total backbreaker of a card, requiring a Planar Cleansing in response. 

It’s also a fantastic casual card, and yes, that foil price is right. You can get some foils on TCG for 1.5x the normal price, which is absurd for a token-centric mythic. I like this as a short-term spec and for the long term, as it’s golden in so many different Commander decks.

Agent of Treachery ($2/$3)

Another card with super-low foils, we’re about to see this one blow open the mirror match in Standard. The appeal of Agent is that it’s castable off of a Golos activation (unlike Mass Manipulation), and is going to be great no matter who you’re against. Steal their best creature, snag a planeswalker, or annex their Field of the Dead. It’s all wonderful and three copies is the standard for now.

This was $1 a couple of weeks ago and it’s not done climbing. It’ll hit $5 once Golos is all over the place at the Mythic Championship. Get your copies at $2 now, and flip them for $4 worth of buylist credit in a couple of weeks. I’m not as stoked about the foils here, but the multiplier is so low I might not be able to help myself.

Realm-Cloaked Giant – Showcase Foil ($10 showcase nonfoil/$25 foil)

I do hate that instead of two prices, every card in Eldraine has four. It’s going to take a lot of getting used to.

If you haven’t read James’s excellent analysis of the drop rate for Eldraine’s unusual borders, do it now. And then go buy yourself some alternate-frame foils. Right now they are dropping fast as people feverishly crack Collector Booster boxes, and that’s not the play you want to make. Just buy the singles! You can snag this mythic Showcase foil for the price of a Collector Booster.

There’s lots of other prices that I like, but the alt-art mythics especially call to me. Brazen Borrower in Showcase foil for ~$70 is very appealing as well as The Great Henge at $150. Read his article again, everyone. There’s a lot more people who desire shiny new things than there will be copies of these shiny new things.

Emergency Powers ($1/$3)

I admit, this is win-more, but I’ve been playing around with this in Golos as well and it’s a very good time. As a bulk mythic, your expectations are low but the potential for profit is high.

Chandra, Acolyte of Flame ($5/$9)

The Cavalcade of Calamity/Torbran, Thane of Red Fell deck is real. Chandra offers two hasty 1/1’s for three mana, and that’s a card you’d play in this deck no matter what. Being able to re-use a burn spell from earlier is just gravy. If the red decks have a good showing on camera these next couple of weeks, she’ll go up. If the deck wins it all, or even looks intimidating in the Top 8, she’s a good bet to double her retail price temporarily, and that’s when you’ll need to mash that SELL button pretty hard.

Veil of Summer ($5/$28)

Currently the eighth most valuable card in Core Set 2020 is this uncommon, because it’s in most Standard sideboards, a lot of Modern sideboards, and a few Legacy sideboards. That’s a whole lot to ask, and if this card wasn’t costed so aggressively, this wouldn’t be an issue.Just about half the decks in Standard have at least one copy in the 75, one deck in eight has copies if you’re in Legacy, and a little over 10% of Modern decks do the same. That’s an enormous amount of reach for a card released four months ago.

A single green mana can not only get you that 2-for-1, nullifying their kill spell and drawing you a card, but it can ensure the coast is clear for the rest of the turn. It’s also great against Thoughtseize decks, and will win you the counter wars for the rest of the turn. For one mana!

I’m worried that there is going to be a special version of this card sometime soon. It used to be that the FNM card was an uncommon from a recent set, not just the set that’s currently being drafted. That’s no longer the case, and frankly, we’re going to need more copies of this. The graph is clear, and we stopped opening Core Set 2020 three weeks ago:

I wish I could say what the entrance and exit could be on this card. It could have three copies in the next set of preconstructed Standard decks. It could be a judge foil early next year. It might even be in the MYSTERY BOOSTERS that we’re going to see in Richmond this November. 

If it’s not reprinted, it’ll be $10 by Valentine’s Day. Too many decks need it, and it’s good against enough of the field that we might see something so weird as an uncommon being the most expensive card in a modern-day set. That’s happened before (Alliances’ Force of Will, and likely Mana Drain was the priciest card in Legends for a little while) but it hasn’t happened in a long long time. If Veil becomes the #2 card, behind Big Chandra, it’ll be $8 but I don’t think vendors will crack boxes just to get the cards. It’s pretty common to open a box of a set and not even get a whole playset of a specific uncommon. 

If you think it’s safe, now’s the time to buy. The demand is real and it’s not going away. If you’re like me and you’re wary of the many reprint opportunities, keep your playset and avoid extras.

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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Week one with Eldraine

This is likely the best weekend of the year when it comes to Constructed Magic.

We’ve got the double whammy of four sets leaving Standard and a new set coming in. The cardpool is narrower, the brewing is hot and heavy, and there’s an Arena event that is just perfect to get people burning wildcards.

Thank goodness SCG is broadcasting this weekend, a Team Constructed event that’s likely to focus on the Standard player but this first week, all bets are off.

We’ve had some impressive movement on cards, some of which is permanent and some of which is a motivation to sell…

One thing to keep in mind about Throne of Eldraine cards: They are about to be legal in Standard for the next two years. These are going to be cheaper in three months, and that’s when I’m planning on buying lots and lots of some of these, the staples and the most-easily-abused cards.

Oko, Thief of Crowns ($36)

I was super wrong about Oko. I didn’t see the Food synergies coming, nor the brokenness with Gilded Goose, and there’s a lot more ways to abuse the Food than I’d expected. I also didn’t see how high the loyalty can get, until I saw some games with it and against it. Pretty sick stuff. Oko is going to be all over the place this weekend, but this price is an artifact of the enforced scarcity of prerelease week. If you opened one, I’d sell right now, as the orders can go out as of today and the price will fall back under $30, more likely to $25. 

Knight of the Ebon Legion ($10)

A month ago, this was $3. Knights are well-positioned for Week 1, and this is also good in an aggressive black shell. The price has been climbing steadily these past four weeks, and I’m a seller at this point. It’s pretty unusual for a rare to break $10 without a lot of cross-format appeal, and the only reason this is doing so is because it’s a four-of in every deck that’s playing it. 

For reference, here’s the cards worth $10 or more from the last few sets:

SetCardsPrice
Core Set 2020Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Knight of the Ebon Legion
$14
$10
War of the SparkTeferi, Time Raveler
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Finale of Devastation
$14
$12
$11
Ravnica AllegianceHydroid Krasis
Breeding Pool
Godless Shrine
Blood Crypt
Stomping Ground
$19
$15
$10
$10
$10
Guilds of RavnicaAssassin’s Trophy
Watery Grave
$17
$11

Knight of the Ebon Legion is good, but you’ll be best served getting rid of all extra copies in the next couple of weeks.

Once Upon a Time ($12)

This has been trending downwards in the last couple of weeks, and that’s a surprise to me, given the number of decks that likely want to play this effect. I think $12 is too high in the long term, but what I’m eyeballing are the foils and the special versions. If this card is Modern-level good, it’s going to be $20 easily. The pack foils are $25 or so right now, and that’s a very tempting buy-in price.

Spawn of Mayhem ($8)

A card that’s doubled in price in the last two weeks, there’s a lot to like. It’s a mythic, it’s cheap to play, good in multiples, and if you are in the aggro deck, it’s possible that the other player is just dead before they can answer it effectively.

I’m not buying in at $8 and hoping it climbs to $15 or $20…yet. Let me see one or two good matches on camera, and then I’ll be in to buy at this price. 

Murderous Rider ($12)

I really can’t believe this is a card. I keep thinking that there’s got to be more of a drawback than the two life, that it can’t possibly be this good. We know that Hero’s Downfall and Vraska’s Contempt both hit early $10 highs, and then fell back down to earth while it was in print, then popped back up to be a staple for the duration of Standard. Here’s the graph for Vraska’s Contempt:

Murderous Rider is going to drop in price. That’s a given. How far can the best removal spell in years fall? This is enormous value, and given how many annoying planeswalkers are running around, the Rider is going to be a mainstay for years.

I’m a seller at $12, but I no longer think it’s going to go as low as $5. Instead, $7 feels like the floor, as people realize they are going to need four copies for the next two years.

The Great Henge ($12)

Now this, I’m a buyer on. It’s been a long time since I saw such an unfair card for any format, and don’t overlook how Commander players are going to be sapping copies out of the market. There’s blessed few cards I want more in any creature strategy, and luckily that’s a wide swath of Commander decks. 

I think that someone is going to go off with this card on camera this weekend, and it’s going to rocket to $20+. It’s definitely the card with the most long-term casual appeal, and that makes me feel pretty safe and sound when it comes to picking up extra copies. It’s got two years to make waves in Standard, and even if that doesn’t pan out, it’s a solid Commander pickup. I am waiting to see what the extended art foils go for, though. How high can it go?

Fires of Invention ($3)

This was a little over $1 early on, but people have figured out that this is good. Who knew? I like this as a component of decks that want to use activated abilities, especially Planeswalkers. It’s important to note that on your turn four, you can put this into play and then immediately play one more spell. Yes, the enchantment is one of your two spells, and while that’s no fun, this is a card that is going to get broken. I would have preferred the $1 price, but if this does well, I can see it rocketing up to $10 early in the season before settling back down.

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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