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

The Math of Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate – Collector Boosters

Here we are, the dawn of a new set. Preorders are all over the place, spikes are happening left and right, and we’re one month away from Double Masters 2.

For right now, though, I want to focus on the Collector Boosters from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate. Every set since the first Commander Legends I’ve calculated your odds, and I’m glad to bring you this set of data.

Please note that today’s piece is focusing on the Collector Boosters only. Set and Draft Boosters will have to wait, as those require a whole new set of tables and calculations.

Let’s get to it!

First of all, let’s go over what we’re told explicitly. This set has subdivided many of the types and treatments, which helps simplify what can be found where.

One thing I hate about this graphic is that it isn’t in order, according to the box opening videos I’ve watched. Just irks me. 

It’s a bit painful to say, but in terms of rarity, there’s only two slots we’re going to focus on here. The nonfoil, regular frame cards rarely carry a huge price difference from nonfoil showcase or foil regular frame. 

For instance, the slot for Extended-Art Commander rare/mythic. There’s 40 exclusive cards, 12 of them mythic. You’ll have a 1/67 of getting a particular EA mythic or 1/33.5 for a particular EA rare. (Artificer Class does not have an EA version.) Given the volume that’s going to be opened, that’ll be a LOT of cards. The prices on other EA rares/mythics from previous sets backs that up.

The Etched Foil (Legendary Rare/Mythic) slot in Collector Boosters is pretty straightforward. There’s 30 rares and just a pair of mythics. That means only 1/62 CBs will have a particular mythic etched foil, and you’re 1/31 to get whichever etched foil rare you wanted. This pool includes the five rare Backgrounds, which will not show up in the next slot. The other 27 cards are all the rare and mythic Legendary creatures.

Now, the last slot in the Collector Booster, traditionally where the biggest money and the rarest cards are found.

Let’s set up with the basics: When you get to the this slot in a Collector Booster, you’re going to get a Showcase (In this set, that’s the Monster Manual), Borderless, or Extended-Art treatment in foil. We’ve got 72 eligible rares and 22 eligible mythics. Since mythics are half as common as rares, we need to double the number of rares, but keep the same mythics. 

As a result, we get a pool of 176 cards. Two of each rare, one of each mythic. That means we have a 1/88 chance (reduced from 2/176) for any version of a particular rare, and a 1/176 chance of pulling any version of a particular mythic rare.

The short version is that you look up a card, see how many options you have. All rares and mythics in this set have one alternate frame, with the exception of the five Ancient Dragons. Those have a Borderless treatment and a Showcase treatment, and therefore will be the rarest cards in the set.

Rare with 1 alternateMythic with 1 alternateMythic with 2 alternates
1/881/1761/352
Rares with only
Extended Art (47)

Chances: 1/88 Collector
Booster Packs
Altar of Bhaal // Bone Offering
Archivist of Oghma
Ascend from Avernus
Astarion’s Thirst
Baldur’s Gate
Barroom Brawl
Basilisk Collar
Blade of Selves
Bountiful Promenade
Call to the Void
Caves of Chaos Adventurer
Descent into Avernus
Displacer Kitten
Earthquake Dragon
Elder Brain
Eldritch Pact
Elturel Survivors
Firbolg Flutist
Fraying Line
Gale’s Redirection
Horn of Valhalla // Ysgard’s Call
Illithid Harvester // Plant Tadpoles
Intellect Devourer
Jaheira’s Respite
Kindred Discovery
Lae’zel’s Acrobatics
Luxury Suite
Mighty Servant of Leuk-o
Mirror of Life Trapping
Monster Manual // Zoological Study
Morphic Pool
Owlbear Cub
Ravenloft Adventurer
Reflecting Pool
Robe of the Archmagi
Sculpted Sunburst
Sea of Clouds
Spire Garden
Tomb of Horrors Adventurer
Traverse the Outlands
Undermountain Adventurer
Wand of Wonder
White Plume Adventurer
Windshaper Planetar
Wizards of Thay
Wrathful Red Dragon
Wyll’s Reversal
Rares with only Monster
Manual Frame/Art
(Showcase) (25) 

Chances: 1/88 Collector
Booster Packs
Alaundo the Seer
Astarion, the Decadent
Baba Lysaga, Night Witch
Bane, Lord of Darkness
Bhaal, Lord of Murder
Duke Ulder Ravengard
Dynaheir, Invoker Adept
Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy
Gluntch, the Bestower
Gorion, Wise Mentor
Jaheira, Friend of the Forest
Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter
Jon Irenicus, Shattered One
Lae’zel, Vlaakith’s Champion
Mazzy, Truesword Paladin
Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm
Myrkul, Lord of Bones
Neera, Wild Mage
Nine-Fingers Keene
Raggadragga, Goreguts Boss
Raphael, Fiendish Savior
Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar
The Council of Four
Wyll, Blade of Frontiers
Zevlor, Elturel Exile

Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Given these odds, a full 80 percent or so of rares will be in Collector Boosters’ last slot. Please note, though, that the Legendary Rare Backgrounds are not in this list. Those are in regular foil and etched foil, and therefore are not included for this slot.

Mythics with only Extended Art (19) 
(Includes the Commander exclusives)

Chances: 1/176 Collector Booster Packs
Baeloth Barrityl, Entertainer
Balor
Blood Money
Burakos, Party Leader
Captain N’ghathrod
Clan Crafter
Durnan of the Yawning Portal
Elminster’s Simulacrum
Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald
Firkraag, Cunning Instigator
Folk Hero
Font of Magic
Haunted One
Majestic Genesis
Nalia de’Arnise
Pact Weapon
Passionate Archaeologist
Storm King’s Thunder
Zellix, Sanity Flayer
Mythics with Monster Manual Frame/Art (Showcase) (2) 

Chances: 1/176 Collector Booster Packs
Karlach, Fury of Avernus
Volo, Itinerant Scholar
Mythics with Borderless
Alternate Art (8)

Chances: 1/176 Collector
Booster Packs

Battle Angels of Tyr
Bramble Sovereign
Elminster
Legion Loyalty
Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes
Nautiloid Ship
Tasha, the Witch Queen
Vexing Puzzlebox
Mythics with Borderless Alternate
Art OR Monster Manual Frame/Art (Showcase) (5)
Chances: 1/352 Collector Booster
Packs (per version)
Ancient Brass Dragon
Ancient Bronze Dragon
Ancient Copper Dragon
Ancient Gold Dragon
Ancient Silver Dragon

Point of clarification here: This set has less overlap in versions than the last few did. No mythics have three special versions, and no rare has two. An interesting choice from WotC here, but it makes my life simpler.

Generally speaking, things are as rare in this set as they were in previous sets. Let’s have a couple of comparisons, handily from my own research.

Set NameOdds of a specific foil treatment rareOdds of a specific foil treatment mythic
CL: Battle for Baldur’s Gate1/881/176 to 1/352
Streets of New Capenna1/82 to 1/1641/164 to 1/492
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty1/1361/272 up to 1/544
Innistrad: Crimson Vow1/741/171
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt1/75.51/151
Forgotten Realms1/631/126
Strixhaven1/154.51/309
Kaldheim1/641/128
Modern Horizons 21/126.51/253
Commander Legends EA Foils1/2041/400

Or for specific cards, the rarest from each set:

Card/TreatmentSetOdds of pulling it from a Collector Booster (approx.)
Phyrexian Foil VorinclexKaldheim1/256
Japanese-Language Alternate Art Time Warp FoilStrixhaven (Mystical Archive)1/309
Foil Extended Art The Meathook MassacreInnistrad: Midnight Hunt1/151
Foil Fang Frame Sorin, the Mirthless by Ayami KojimaInnistrad: Crimson Vow1/171
Extended Art Foil Jeweled LotusCommander Legends1/400
Phyrexian foil (or foil-etched) Jin-GitaxiasKamigawa: Neon Dynasty1/544
Blue Soft Glow HidetsuguKamigawa: Neon Dynasty1/219
Green Soft Glow HidetsuguKamigawa: Neon Dynasty1/444
Red Soft Glow HidetsuguKamigawa: Neon Dynasty1/1828
Phyrexian Foil Urabrask, Heretic PraetorStreets of New Capenna1/492
Borderless Foil Ancient Brass DragonCommander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate1/352

That stacks up well, and while Wizards loves to mess with things and change around numbers to make my life miserable, it’s worth noting that the rarest cards in this set are about 25% more common than in Streets of New Capenna. Opening 140 less Collector Boosters is certainly good news for the biggest vendors.

I hope that this helps inform your decisions about what to buy and not buy, as well as manage your expectations when you’re opening these packs. 

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.

Early Picking and Planning for Baldur’s Gate

We’ve got the full list of Commander Legends: Battle of Baldur’s Gate, and there’s a lot of amazing cards in here. 

Not a lot of heavy reprints (yet, we’ve still got the precons coming) but there’s a whole lot of really sweet cards out there. This set is more expensive than previous sets, and that’s surprising to see without some kind of headliner, like a Jeweled Lotus or a Dockside Extortionist to anchor the value.

Granted, we’ve got Double Masters 2 on the horizon and that should be *stuffed* with value.

However, for right now, we’ve got some amazing things to deal with and I want to plan out what to buy and when, so come along!

The Ancient Dragons – The main thing I’m looking at here is the casting cost. These are all very good cards, and while some are clearly more powerful than others, All of them should see their share of Commander play. The Bronze one (the green one) is clearly the weakest, adding counters when you’re already getting damage through is good, and maximizing a roll requires something else to put counters on.

We’ve got a recent example of a cycle of Dragons: The Dragon Spirits from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. Those five tell a story, financially speaking:

So Junji is among the most popular, and Ao is the least so. We’re looking at $30ish for Junji in borderless foil, and $12 for Ao the same way. The NEO cycle is less powerful, but lower on mana costs. I’m expecting to see these Ancient dragons do something similar, in terms of opening up very expensive and dropping pretty fast. Not as many people will want these cards, just from the mana cost.

I’ll be very tempted to buy all of these Dragons right away, but more likely is that I’m going to wait a few weeks for things to calm down, and then I can get what I want for a more decent price.

Bramble Sovereign (currently $15 nonfoil) – This isn’t a very common card on EDHREC, where people choose to upload their decks, but it was only available as a mythic in Battlebond four years ago. Just under 6,000 people have listed this as a card, though there’s likely a lot of decks out there that have this card. Remember that you can give someone a token copy if you want to, making this more political than it might first appear.

The trick with reprints of expensive or semi-expensive cards is to let it get cheap and then buy a lot. I’m expecting this to travel down into the $7 range. 

Karlach, Fury of Avernus – Note that the attack trigger doesn’t require Karlach to attack, so you can just sit him back and let other creatures do the work of getting in there twice. There’s a few creatures that can trigger more attack steps, but this one can’t combo off with Delima, Wild Mage or other such things because you only get an untap if it’s the first attack. I want this to get cheap, like under $5, because while this is good it lacks synergies with most things but it does have a Background.

Legion Loyalty – Eight mana! Sure, it’s capable of doing great things, especially with something Sundial of the Infinite, but barring effects that cheat the enchantment out, I don’t think this is very good. Myriad is broken when there’s still four people in the pod, but when you’ve eliminated two other players, myriad does stone nothing. I’m looking forward to buying this as a cheap brick, hopefully around $2-$3, hoping for something to come along to make it jump back up.

Altar of Bhaal – Recurring Nightmare is banned in Commander, and this is the fixed version. Exiling means you can’t recur the same creature back and forth, and now only once per turn. This is capable of doing some very disgusting things, especially with a fun little adventure built in. I’m anticipating being able to get a lot of these near $2, hopefully $1 just for the future buylist out.

Ascend from Avernus – If you like Agadeem’s Awakening, you’ll like this more. It’s not a land, and yes, that is a drawback, but the thing is, that’s just how good a MDFC is. AfA is a mere rare, and can do a great job as a mass reanimation spell. Being able to bring back planeswalkers is a huge bonus, one that only Eerie Ultimatum can compete with. Eerie is better, but it’s also three awkward colors. The cheapest version of Eerie has come down to just about $2, so we’re unlikely to see Ascend from Avernus go much under $3-$5.

The Allied Battlebond Lands – These never really had a chance to get cheap. Instead, they started cheap, and then started climbing upwards. 

Now we’re going to get FEA versions to compete with the Expedition versions, but again, I’m more likely to focus on waiting until these are at peak supply and then buying them up. Getting your good lands cheap is sound advice for Commander in general, but the inevitable rise of these lands will give wonderful returns. I’m more likely to be patient on the regular versions and then go deep on those, hoping to buy around $5 and buylist for $10+. FEA versions are probably going to be expensive for a while as people upgrade from Battlebond foils.

Gale’s Redirection – I love this card. I dig Spelljack, Desertion type effects, where not only do you not get your card, now I get it. Note that this gets around ‘cannot be countered’ effects, and if you exiled something big and huge and can’t be countered, then it’s that much more likely you’ll end up playing this for free! It’s also a way to just keep something exiled forever. I suspect regular and FEA versions of this will be delightfully inexpensive.

Kindred Discovery – (currently $19 in nonfoil only) – This was only printed in Commander 2017 and a few iterations of The List. As a result, it’s only in 17k decks online, because people who bought the deck had a tribal deck that wanted the card. (It’s as good as advertised, btw.)

The price on this is mostly due to the low supply, and we’ll see how many people add it this time around. We’re getting a FEA version, and that’s probably where I want to be, especially if it gets under $10.

Reflecting Pool – (currently about $21 for the cheapest version) – It’s been reprinted a few times, and has been listed in 50k decks online. We can check the graph, and yep, we’re due for a reprint:

Again, this isn’t complicated. Buy at the low, probably around $7, and then be patient. Reflecting Pool will recover, it’s too handy not to. We’ve got ample evidence that every printing hasn’t affected the price too much in the long term.

Vexing Puzzlebox – I love this card for taking something that we’re doing and adding a strong bonus. This is a broken card, letting you tap it and go get any artifact and put it into play. Every dice-rolling card wants to have the Puzzlebox in play, and there are a LOT of cards that can add up the charge counters. Delina, Wild Mage is one example, but everything with a d20 is fair game. Plus, at some point in the future, we’re going to get a multicolor commander whose focus is rolling dice, and that’s when I’ll want to have FEA versions in stock. Vexing Puzzlebox is a mythic, as an such I doubt it would ever hit bulk pricing. Instead, I’m going to focus on FEA versions that will push as low as $5, and simply wait.

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 New Queen of Mean

Honestly, there were a lot of puns I could go with in the article title, but Tasha, the Witch Queen is an amazing card. I saw this in the preview stream and immediately took to Scryfall, trying to find the most busted things to do with her.

Frankly, this is a mechanic with a lot of flavors. Some versions play out of the graveyard. Some play off the top of their deck. Some intercept a spell (Spelljack!) and let you play it. Tasha loves all of them equally and that’s why she gives you a 3/3 demon every time you do it. 

So let’s get into some early picks for this Queen, and beat the rush when people wake up.

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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.

Old Fogey Foils and the Players Who Love Them

If you’ve followed Magic finance for anything like a year (or more) then you’ve seen the Retro frame foils from Time Spiral Remastered go absolutely bonkers. Thoughtseize was the pricey one out of the gate, but now it’s down to #3, behind Ponder and now Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. Add in Chalice of the Void, and you’ve got four cards worth over $200. Much of this subset of cards is over $50, but today I want to remember this subset and make some decisions.

The main reason to chase these cards is that Time Spiral Remastered was a limited-run set, and you got, on average, a little over one Retro Foil per box. We didn’t get second print runs, and it took a lot of boxes to find specific OBF (old border foil) cards. We aren’t going to get more, and the ones that people have tend to be vacuumed up into Cubes and Commander decks.

Put another way, there’s nowhere to go but up for these cards, and now the trick is finding the ones at the right intersection of ‘currently cheap’ and ‘gets a lot of play.’

Treasure Cruise ($33) – Believe it or not, this card is still Pioneer legal. Wizards might believe that this isn’t as bad as in Modern because there aren’t fetchlands and there isn’t Thought Scour. I’m not so sure that I agree, but considering that Cruise isn’t in the top ten played cards in the format, they might be onto something. Clearly it’s weaker, but is it that much weaker?

There’s less than 20 vendors, none have more than a couple of copies, and even if the Pioneer play isn’t overly hyped, the Commander play is there at 44k decks on EDHREC and therefore just the ones that people bother reporting. This is about to pop off, and if you can get a copy soon, you ought to.

Relentless Rats ($9 foil, $2.50 nonfoil) – For a card that’s only ever been common or uncommon before this special printing, this is still a $2-$4 card, and original foils are just $10. No one buys just one of these, and so the nonfoil might be the play if you’re looking to pick up a large stack of Rats. I know Rat Colony has its devotees, being one less mana, but getting a boost to toughness too is a big help. 

Sanguine Bond ($22) – 33k decks online, part of an infinite two-enchantment combo, and no special versions aside from this. There’s 17 copies in NM foil on TCG as of this writing, and with that few copies, all it’ll take is a couple of sales before the prices rise. There’s no shortage of decks that can bleed the table dry with this card, and I fully expect this to be at least $10 higher in two weeks.

Intangible Virtue ($7) – When I started researching the OBF cards, this one surprised me the most. I don’t expect Secret Plans to be expensive, because it sucks. Virtue is one of the best cards in token-based decks, and it’s only two mana! Really, it’s a shock that this is only in 20k decks online, but seven bucks!? I bought a playset of these when they were a little over $10 each, and now that they are $7, I’m thinking of putting more money in to lower my average cost per card. Tokens are based in white, and I can’t imagine building Jinnie or Jetmir and leaving this card out.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel ($51) – To be fair, Gary has never really had the chance to get cheap. I bought two for different decks (Esper Zombies and Ayara Aristocrats) when they were $60, and they dropped down to $40 and have been on the rise since then. Online, it’s been in one Commander deck and a couple of other targeted reprints, but aside from the promo frame FNM version, there’s no other special version to chase. Over 70,000 decks have registered this card, and it’s only been in the 2014 precon, so no freebies there. I fully expect a few sales to push this up another $20 by the end of the year, and a lot more past that.

Panharmonicon ($40) – I would understand if you wanted to make the case for the borderless ‘blueprint’ version of this card that you can pull from some recent Secret Lairs. Problem is, those versions are still being opened, and the price difference reflects that influx of new copies. We’re not getting any more OBFs, and if you want this version, you better get it now before it’s $75, or breaking $100.

Solemn Simulacrum ($30)  – One of the top cards online at 196,000 EDHREC decks, clearly second tier version behind the Invention. Even with the Invention, this is going to start climbing soon, as it utilizes the classic Jens ‘Sad Robot’ art and I don’t know what to say if you’re not a believer when there’s the Invention, this, and a way-back-third-tier pointy Borderless version for those who like special frames. 

Hedron Archive ($16) – Finally, one of the most efficient mana rocks around. Four mana gets you two right away, and an option to draw two later when you don’t need it. Solid all around, and 48k deckbuilders agree with me. Granted, it’s been put into a lot of Commander precons over the years, but there’s still just two foil versions available and this one is quite obviously the preferred version. On TCG, when it comes to NM foils, there’s only 30 copies total available, none of them concentrated. Get yours today!

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.