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

Checking in on Core 2021

Core Set 2021 has been officially released for a couple of weeks now, and to no one’s surprise, prices are falling across the board. 

You may be thinking that it’s time to get in on some of these cards, and I’d agree with that in a couple of cases. Let’s talk about what’s fallen, how far it’s fallen, and if it’s time to pick them up from rock bottom.

Teferi, Master of Time ($38)

Slightly different versions notwithstanding, here’s the short graph of Teferi, showing the decline from $50+:

Teferi is the chase mythic of the set, for now, but he’s got farther to fall. Since we aren’t playing in paper, I suspect that this price is being bolstered by Commander players who’d love to loot endlessly. It’s quite notable that Medium Teferi (As opposed to Big Teferi and Little Teferi) cannot get you even on cards or permanents. It’s all tempo, at least until the ultimate gets involved. The card is neat, but the issue of no paper events for six months (at least for MagicFests) is definitely pushing prices down, as people aren’t bothering to buy a card they can’t use. 

I won’t be shocked to see the trend continue, either. Teferi is only good in Standard for just over a year, but that timeframe is severely impacted by the pandemic’s effect on paper Magic. I won’t be buying this as a spec, no matter how tempting it gets. Too many factors against it, and too many other places I’d rather put my money.

Terror of the Peaks ($14)

Now this is much more up my alley. It’s fallen slightly in these last couple weeks, but it was already much more reasonably priced under $20 than Teferi’s $50+. In fact, I’m a pretty big fan of this in Extended Art as well, though I want to give this market a little more time to cool off. Still too many people who are ravenous to get this card, but I can’t blame them. Pandemonium on wings is a pretty damn sweet card, and I’m all for playing Commander cards that say ‘Better take care of this now, before it gets out of hand in exactly one turn!’

This is the sort of card that ought to dominate Standard too, even if it’s in the same set as Baneslayer Angel. However, Standard (before rotation, at any rate) is heavily into tempo plays, and having this bounced does cost them 3 life. I’m hoping this falls further so that it can be a long-term casual hold, because this is a ridiculously busted Dragon. Combine with Rite of Replication for logarithmic levels of damage. 

If basic copies fall to $10 and the EA foils get to the $30 range, I’ll dive in, but I’m not counting on it falling that far, as casual demand has kept this high.

Grim Tutor ($18)

Some of the earliest presales had this as high at eighty dollars and let’s pour one out for the folks who don’t ever listen. This isn’t a good card outside of the most dedicated combo decks. Three mana is a lot extra, making it difficult to tutor and play the thing you tutored for. Demonic Tutor at two mana is where you want to be, and Grim Tutor is a much worse version of a good card.

This isn’t done falling, and please, don’t start buying it because the original version was so expensive. It was pricey because there were so few copies left from Starter 1999, not because it was good.

Double Vision (fifty cents, but a dollar in EA and $5 in EA foil)

This is a card that I love for long term casual growth, and your buy-in is really low right now. Spells is a fun theme in Commander, and this is the sort of effect that people can’t get enough of. Plus it pairs well with things that steal other players’ spells, like Etalli, Primal Storm. It’s super cheap now and will be all summer, but as copies dry up, the trajectory looks wonderfully bright.

Showcase Lands (around 50 cents) Oh these are gorgeous and then some. I’m partial to the Guild Lands, but Jumpstart gave us a new set of basics to crave, plus the Nyx ones we just had, and we’ve really been on a tear with these basic lands in the past year or so. The joyous thing about basic land finance is that people tend to want a lot of the same land, and I 100% respect it. If you like these lands, get them pretty soon, as we’re not going to have a lot of these opened compared to a normal set. Get your Cube/Commander/Draft set lands ready now, before they are a buck each.

Solemn Simulacrum (Alternate Art) – At about $3, this seems like a good purchase. If you hunt around a little, or pop into Europe, you’ll find even better deals. The foils can be had in the $10-$11 range, and that seems like a great price too. There are a LOT of printings of this card, including several Commander decks, Mystery Boosters, an Invention, and now this. Having the alternate art and frame makes this a fantastic investment, so don’t be afraid to pick these up aggressively. They aren’t Invention-rare, and they don’t carry the sad-robot cache of the original art, but these are sweet as hell and a good 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.

Ravnica Allegiance at Rotation

We’re one week into Core 2021, and frankly, you should be selling most of what you’re opening. Teferi, Master of Time is down several dollars in the last week and he’s not done falling. This is a great time to be flipping cards/sealed product to the people that have to have things right now, and also a time to be looking at the cheapest cards in Standard as they prepare to rotate into the Eternal arena.

Last week was Guilds of Ravnica, now it’s time for Ravnica Allegiance. Let me tell you, this set has some clunkers, but also some unexpected opportunities.

Let’s start with the biggies: The Shocklands. Breeding Pool is at an all-time high, at $25 for a Standard land. I don’t think any of the fetches were that high during KTK, Cavern of Souls was close to that at one point. What’s really impressive is this price point when it’s got a huge supply from the other trips to Ravnica and also this close to rotation. 

I think you should sell your Pools and your Blood Crypts ($15) right now. Yes, Pioneer adds a layer of demand to the shocks but that’s not going to balance out the lack of demand once Standard changes. If you can get $17 each for your set of Pools (According to our buylist tools, MiniatureMarket is buying them at $18.75 from Ravnica Allegiance) that’s $68, and I’ll be stunned if you have to spend $12 each on them by Christmas. Much more likely is the $8-$9 price they were at before. 

And let’s face it, you’re not going to play a lot of in-person Sanctioned Magic before rotation anyway. GET YOUR VALUE.

Hydroid Krasis ($13/$26 foil) – This has been trending downwards since its glory days, but really, this big flying Jellyfish Hydra Beast will always be besties with Nissa, who Shakes the World. It’s a fantastic payoff for ramp strategies in Commander and Cube, and foils are a solid pickup. Pioneer has a good Simic Ramp deck, and that will likely be enough to keep the price of nonfoils stable around $10 until this is reprinted in the next ‘X spells matter’ Commander set. Even with that deck’s existence, I’d be selling my copies of this and getting what I can. Again, we aren’t going to play in paper until after rotation.

Guardian Project ($5/$13) – The ship has sailed on getting these cheap, and if you have any currently, I’d tell you to sell them, take your profits, and move on. Commander Legends at the end of this year would be the main place I’d look for a reprint, but Green decks in Commander are spoiled for choice when it comes to ‘creatures draw you a card’ effects. This is better than Elemental Bond in most decks, and outclasses Beast Whisperer. Cheaper than Primordial Sage and Soul of the Harvest, too. It’s in a sweet spot and if you’re happening to run Panharmonicon-type effects, it gets doubled up. It’s hard not to like this card long-term, but the reprint risk is very high and cannot be ignored. Even if it dodged a new printing this year, it’s a great candidate for Commander 2021.

Prime Speaker Vannifar ($3/$14) – This is the next-to-last set where the idea of a ‘foil multiplier’ still holds, and portends great things here. I’d expect foils to be in the $10 range, but being higher than that indicates a strong casual demand for the shiny version. It’s a mythic, a combo engine, a ‘fixed’ version of a banned-in-Modern card. I picked foils this week on MTG Fast Finance to double up in the next 18 months, and as an engine card for Modern and Pioneer, I’m pretty confident. Reprints are a risk, and Simic gets all the fun toys lately, so I understand if you’re hesitant, but I promise, this isn’t going to let you down.

Persistent Petitioners ($2/$7) – This went up by a big amount as Jumpstart entered the equation and made Bruvac the Grandiloquent one of the most expensive and sought-after Commanders. Let’s put it this way, even with Petitioners buylisting at $1+, there’s only 112 total copies on TCG right now, of all conditions, foils and non. That’s tiny, and likely a reflection of constrained inventory management due to the coronavirus. Expensive commons are what allows a store to buy bulk collections, and something’s got to give here. The really good news here from a speculative standpoint: Unless this is reprinted in a big Standard set, a reprint doesn’t matter at all. Commander decks are going to play at least 20 copies of this card (Stock up on Thrumming Stone!) and more likely 30+. Being included as a one-of someplace means nothing, and aside from the Rat Colony Secret Lair, I can’t imagine they’d devote a slot of slots to this card. 

I can see this buylisting for $3 once people get their Bruvac copies, so now might be the time to move in.

Rhythm of the Wild ($1.70/$9) – Because this has the Riot keyword, it’s not quite the hammerlock to be reprinted that you might expect…but it will get another nonfoil printing. It’s a golden, wonderful, warm blanket of happiness on turn 3 in a Commander game, and has a foil multiplier to back that up. It gets better, too: There are ten vendors with foils on TCG right now (one has 21 copies!) and it’s in 18,000 EDH decks. I can’t tell you when it’ll get another printing, but it’ll be soon. It’s too good in Commander not to be in the next RGx deck that has a ton of creatures. I can list a lot of cards with similar effects, like Temur Ascendancy or Akroma’s Memorial, but being an enchantment means the ‘can’t be countered’ clause is going to be in effect even after assorted sweepers.

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.

Guilds at Rotation

Quick reminder that Magic Finance 101 calls for you to sell all the cards you may get this weekend the moment you can. Lock in that value, because many of them are going to lose a lot of value. (Yes, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, I’m looking at you and you’re trying to hide in the back.)

More notable, though, is that with the release of the Core Set we are now about three months away from rotation. We’re losing four sets: Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, and Core Set 2019. There’s some gems hiding in these sets from more than a year ago, and we’re looking for one of two things: casual appeal and Eternal appeal. 

To clarify, Eternal means all of the nonrotating Constructed formats: Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and Pioneer. (Historic is pretty irrelevant, financially speaking, until the day that Historic lines up with Pioneer, and then it won’t matter.) Casual appeal isn’t just the kitchen table player, it’s also Commander and Cube considerations.

To the cards!

Divine Visitation ($15 nonfoil/$20 foil) – I’ve written about this card before, and right now, there’s 14 vendors with NM copies on TCGPlayer. It’s a mythic, one of the best things a token deck can do, and very likely to get reprinted at some point. This means you should grab foils, which is more protected against losing value when the reprint lands. If you like numbers, this is in about seven thousand decks over on EDHREC, which is respectable for a card nearly two years old. What you’re really hoping for is 1) no reprint and 2) a token-themed Commander next year (or later this year in Commander Legends?) that has white in its color identity. It’s pretty easy to see this hitting $40 in foil.

Thousand-Year Storm ($9/$18) – Another card on the rise, it’s jumped several dollars on the back of Kalamax, the Stormsire. If you bought in earlier this year at $2, you’ve had chances to get out at $7. Again, it’s a mythic that has a lot of casual appeal and there’s been combo decks built around the card, lots to like as long as it’s not reprinted. Only 15 sellers of NM foil copies on TCG here as well, and that’s an easy card to like long-term.

Chromatic Lantern ($8/$12 foil/$95 Masterpiece) – I don’t think this is a good buy. It’s been in a couple of reprints, including the Mystery Booster, and there’s a large supply out there. The price it’s at will be the price for this card for quite a while, and that’s before the inevitable reprints that are coming. I think the Invention version is an excellent investment, though, and you should definitely get your personal copies now while they are under $100.

Arclight Phoenix ($5) – Let’s take a look at the price graph, remembering that Arclight was in the Challenger deck announced in March of 2019:

Arclight was a $25 card before it started sliding, and the slide never really stopped. The deck still exists and is good, if not top-tier at the moment. Here’s why you want to have a stack of Arclights ready to go: At some point, Wizards will screw up and make a free spell in Pioneer that’s worth playing. Modern has a lot of such spells to abuse, and Phoenix is an established deck there. Pioneer is close, there’s a lot of good things to do, but there’s going to be a tipping point card and that’s when you’ll want to buylist a brick of these at $10 or $12 each.

Drowned Secrets ($1.50/$3) – With Mill being a keyword at long last, there will be a lot of interest in cards that mill, and in Commander you need to do a lot of milling…which this can do. One or two reshuffle effects and you’ll really churn through a deck. I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a strong mill Commander yet…and then Jumpstart brings us Bruvac the Grandiloquent. Doubletime, everyone! (yes, I think this is a good card to end up in Double Masters)

Chance for Glory ($1.50/$5) – Finally, a card I don’t own any of and I keep meaning to buy copies of, this will be used in some sort of crazy combo deck in Modern and Pioneer. You’ve got safer ways to take extra turns in Commander, but if you’re trying to go off in some way, this is the winner on how to wrap it up and finish the game off. I do love picking up lots of foil mythics that are underpriced, and when this hits, it’ll hit big. You can get in for a little less than $5 if you shop around and combine shipping, but the profit will be there when this takes off.

Shocklands (varied) – I don’t think it’s a good idea to try and stock up on shocks. We have had three large printings of shocklands, along with some random extras in Challenger decks and the like. There will 100% be Ravnica 4: Jumping the Sharknado at some point, and it’ll have these again. If the shocks manage to make it to $5 again I’d like buying in, but it took several amazing Simic cards straight for Breeding Pool to be to expensive. Please don’t try to buy these up for future value.

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.

Leaving Ikoria Behind

It’s crazy that all of this is true: we are a week from the launch of Core 2021, we’re in the middle of JumpStart previews and Double Masters is about to wreak some havoc.That’s just the Magic drama, to say nothing of political, social, and public health problems. (I’ve never oversimplified as much as I have as I did in that sentence.)

But from an MTGFinance perspective, there’s something clear worth a moment of focus: With the Core Set about to be the main event, Ikoria is at maximum supply and prices are at their lowest. Granted, the virus has caused slowdowns in supply and a lot of stores didn’t open their allotment, but until I get different data, this is when prices are lowest. Let’s talk about what you should buy, either for Standard, Eternal, or Commander.

Fiend Artisan ($17)

The graph shows it clearly but it bears repeating: This is a non-legendary mythic, only two mana (and flexible at that), and if you’re playing it you don’t mind the extra copies that are either huge or fodder for the first one. I like this as a spec to hit $25+ by Christmas under normal circumstances.

I have to admit these aren’t normal circumstances, though. Picking up cards for later Standard growth is not as stable even if there were no COVID-19. Lots of factors make this scary: the cancellation of all MagicFests in 2020, unknown amounts of product still waiting to be opened, and local stores not being a safe place to play paper. This might be too risky and I’d totally understand if you wanted to stay away.

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast ($10)

Lukka hasn’t fallen much in price since the banning of his favorite Agent, but between Lukka and Transmogrify, that’s a lot of ways to upgrade a token into a real creature. These two cards will be legal together for the next 15 months or so, and I’d expect every big creature to get evaluated for this. Top targets currently include Drakuseth, Maw of Flames, Yidaro, Wandering Monster (both of whom are on-color) and End-Raze Forerunners. All are fun in different ways, and I wouldn’t rule out tutoring up Nyxbloom Ancient and then some mighty Volcanic Geyser action.

Ruinous Ultimatum ($2 regular, $2 foils, Extended Art $4, Extended Art Foils $12)

This is probably the ultimatum I want the most of for long-term holds. Yes, it’s lame if your opponent managed to land a Darksteel Forge or something like it, but for just about any Commander game this is the spell you’re working towards. Being three colors is a price, and all the Ultimatums are worth thinking about, but this is a pretty unique effect. For example, we’ve got Rise of the Dark Realms that is better than Eerie Ultimatum, and only in one color to boot. Planar Cleansing is too symmetrical for my taste. I love being unfair.

The Triomes ($5-$7, depending)

We’ve got the Temples in Core 2021, and the Triomes allow for the Castles from Eldraine to come in untapped. The Triomes are likely to be a feature of Standard for the next 15 months, as well as being awesome in Commander and splashable in Modern. This is the price when supply is at max, and given that we’ve got $20+ shocklands, having Triomes at $10+ doesn’t seem unreasonable. At the very least, you should get whichever ones you want for your Commander decks now, especially the sweet alternate art versions.

Heartless Act (about 75 cents each)

You might be able to get these for cheaper, and I would commend you for doing so. This is more than just good Limited removal: it looks to be one of the cheapest catch-all answers around. I looked at the top creatures being played in Standard, and blessed few of them don’t have counters. Heartless Act misses on a big Hydroid Krasis, or a big Stonecoil Serpent, but takes out almost everything else, as an instant, for just two mana. We’re going to see a lot of this little spell, and while it’s not Mystical Dispute, I wouldn’t be shocked if this was on buylists for $1.50 in six months. Get a stack of them now, and be prepared to ship them to a buylist for a comfortable flip.

Extinction Event (nearly-bulk prices)

Four mana is the sweet spot on board wipes, and before Companions were modified, this was unfairly good. You knew what you’d be naming from the getgo. I still think this is an amazing card, capable of dealing with the indestructible Gods of Theros or annoying Hexproof creatures if someone built a Bogles-style Standard deck. Plus, with the return of Heroic Intervention, just destroying things might not be good enough. Again, I think the play here is to purchase a brick of these at low prices, and when the buylist creeps up to $2-$3, ship the whole thing out.

Gemrazer ($1.50)

You can get some sweet Godzilla art or awesome comic-book-style art for a couple bucks more, but this is also a buylist play. Gemrazer is a four-of in the assorted mono-green aggro decks that have been popping up, and that’s because upgrading Gingerbrute to a 4/4 is a big game. Fires of Invention is gone, and that’s the big enchantment that was worrying folks, but the mutate ability does hit a lot of incidental value in the current environment and that’s a pretty great deal for three mana. I don’t want to hold this too long, I’ve written before about how Valentine’s Day is about the time when I want to get out of Standard cards that’ll be rotating.

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.