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

Challenging Reprints

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The Challenger decks for 2020 are out and they are doozies.

We don’t normally get this much value packed into these sets, but then again, we were warned that this was a year of reprints. So what do we do if we had lots of Bonecrusher Giant? Is not the time to stock up on Fabled Passage?

I’m here to help.

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expensive cards ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

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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The Best in the World

We have the decklists for the Mythic Championship XXVI 2020, and it’s wonderful to have such a concise list of what’s good in the eyes of the pros. Standard is not solved but there are clear tiers of decks, and it’s not a rock-paper-scissors sort of arrangement. 

Let’s take a look at the archetypes and the potential for growth in each. 

I’ve written about it before, but we’re coming into the time when I want to make sure I’m not holding excesses of cards that are about to rotate and don’t see Eternal play. If it’s good in Pioneer/Modern/Legacy/Commander I’ll think about keeping extra copies, but this dataset is more geared towards the next eight months of Standard. 

The metagame is neatly sliced up, with only Piotr Glogowski ruining what would have been four groups of four:

That’s a beautiful chart, and gives us five archetypes to look at. If you go to the official page and scroll past this graphic, you’ll see a breakdown of which cards are played most. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of 16s in there, but there are a few cards getting more play than that:

Bonecrusher Giant ($3.50 regular/$3.50 foil/$4 Showcase/$7 Showcase foil)

A four-of in the Mono-Red Aggro and a three-or-four-of in Jeskai Fires, there’s a lot to love here. It’s marvelous value, giving you a kill spell and then a no-drawback 4/3 creature. I don’t need to convince you that is a good combination, but that’s two rather different archetypes that are packing high quantities of the card. Jeskai Fires could be playing Shock for mana efficiency, but they chose the Giant for flexibility. It’s wonderful to see a card that’s good in mono-red and good against mono-red!

What I’m really impressed by is that this card has until October of 2021 to make waves in Standard. I’m in. I’m advocating you get your copies now because by the end of the weekend it’ll be pushing $5. What’s the upper end for this? It’s played heavily in Pioneer too, a format that can’t be any hotter, so getting in now around $4 and getting out at $10 next Christmas seems quite likely.

Robber of the Rich ($5/$6/$8/$25)

This card is already spiking and I apologize if these prices are no longer available. 

The big thing here is that it’s a fun card in mono-red but it’s part of a semi-transformational package for the Jeskai Fires decks. Sometimes you need the 2/2 for two, as a blocker or as a Teferi-killer with that haste. This is a mythic getting played in high amounts, and that’s a formula for very high prices. 

Robber could have been had for $2 just a few weeks ago, but that ship has sailed. This isn’t getting Eternal play like Bonecrusher is, but being a mythic is going to mean this card likely breaks $10 if aggro wins this event or Fires makes it look like a key card after sideboarding. The wonderful news is that you’ve got a long time for it to get good, but this is much more of a quick flip. If you can get your LGS to sell you their copies before the flood of publicity, great, but this is a card that’s going to rise and fall with the metagame. 

Brazen Borrower ($23/$26/$37/$70)

First, the graph.

Yup, the time to buy in was Halloween, when we were all wondering why this was a mythic and not a rare. Ouch. 

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BB has a lot of game outside Standard, and that’s driving the price of the more ornate versions. When something makes it into Legacy Delver lists, you know it’s a paragon of efficiency. Allow me to quote-tweet Autumn Burchett here:

Having the flexibility on both sides is key, and it appears we’re not all evaluating Adventure cards with an eye towards the built-in card advantage. It’s not card to get a full card out of the bounce effect, and then you get a 3/1 flyer whenever you want. With flash, even!

I like this to go higher, but I’m not sure how high it can go. Forty bucks seems like the highest it might get to, but the amount of Eternal play this sees makes me feel pretty good about buying a couple playsets right now. Even if it never gets to lofty heights in the next 18 months, I’ll feel good about the long-term prospects.

Teferi, Time Raveler ($20/$32/$67 Stained Glass/$27 JP Alternate/$107 JP Alt Foil)

It is hard to argue with the efficiency of this card. He’s exceedingly annoying for decks that want to do things sneaky-fast, and he’s capable of protecting himself while drawing you a card. It’s nigh impossible to be behind on cards when you drop him into play, and if you want, you can even draw a card on an empty board!

Teferi’s power is evident in every format, and even though this is the time where you want to be unloading extra copies, I’m stoked to buy up copies in the summer. I’m hoping he falls as low as $7, but that’s probably too optimistic for someone seeing as much play as Teferi does. 

I think the stained glass version has room to grow. It’s $40 less than the Japanese alternate art foil, and I can’t imagine there’s too many stained glass in circulation. It’s hard to get that level of growth, so the safer play is just to sit tight and wait on Teferi. I do not advocate buying in at the $20 range for regular copies right now, though: you’ll have a long wait for those to get profitable.

Fabled Passage ($18/$20/$27/$80)

I picked this back in December on MTG Fast Finance, and the reasoning remains the same: It’s super popular in Standard and Pioneer, the only fetchland in either format. There’s probably not going to be much growth on this before rotation in the fall, when we lose shocklands and one set of temples. Yes, we’re going to get some form of dual lands in the sets to come, but Passage is super popular and something I want to have in stock.

Mystical Dispute ($3/$7) is actually the most popular nonland at the Championship, and I’m pretty sure that the foil isn’t done growing in price. It’s already a $3 uncommon, and is wildly popular in Pioneer to so with all the Standard play it’s seeing. I don’t think you’ll be able to gain much profit from it, but if you have some foils (or nonfoils) I’m holding on. Remember that Eldraine rotates in a year and a half, so you’re going to have a chance at some even greater gains.

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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PT Phoenix Rising

Today begins Players’ Tour Phoenix, a Pioneer event that promises to do two things:

  1. Create calls for a card to be banned.
  2. Spike the prices of some cards significantly.

Now, both points might apply to the same card; we can’t know for sure. What we do know is that a lot of Magic pros have taken the time to tell us what they are playing, and that offers some chances to get in on cheap cards before they get camera time, victories, trophies, and rise in price.

It’s not easy to make money off of cards in a weekend. You’re not trying to buy today and sell tomorrow. Too many people won’t ship the cards at the pre-spike price. What we’re doing is identifying value now, as Pioneer is an eternal format. If it’s good now, it’ll still be good when you sell in a week or two.

Mono-Black Aggro

There’s a lot to like in this list, but there’s two targets that stand out to me:

Bloodsoaked Champion ($2.50 nonfoil/$5 foil)

Scrapheap Scrounger (40 cents/$4)

These are recursive and aggressive threats that can close a game very very quickly. There’s other one-drops, but Champion is from much longer ago and Scrapheap is much cheaper. Both are played as the full four and I won’t fault you if the other cards catch your eye here.

These two cards represent the most potential profit, due to age or a low cost of entry. If this deck does well, I’d expect Champion to double to $5/$10 or so, and the Scrounger should become a $3/$7 card. 

Fatal Push is a card I want to love and a card I’ve made money on in the past, but it’s in the Mystery Boosters and I can’t condone buying in right now. It’s possible that this weekend, the card jumps from $5 to $10 on the back of being amazing, but we’re going to get a whole lot of copies coming when stores get to order Mystery boxes for in-store play in March. 

Castle Locthwain is another one to keep an eye on, as the graph has started to rise from maximum supply just a few weeks ago: 

If you want to get in on the Extended Art version around $11-$12, that’s certainly tempting too. It remains to be seen how prevalent foiling and using EA cards will be in Pioneer, whereas in Modern people do love their foils.

Mono-Black Vampires

This is a spicy one, full of card draw and synergies. I’m sad that Vampire Nocturnus is not quite Pioneer legal, but there’s a lot to like here. If you’re playing against a combo deck that stumbles, they are dead very very quickly. Sorin into Champion of Dusk is real and powerful. 

Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord ($12/$17)

Champion of Dusk ($1/$2.50)

These are the best two targets from this deck, mainly because there’s only the one printing of each. I’m delighted when a deck requires a playset of a mythic, makes me feel very good about my purchase. Yes, Sorin was a couple bucks cheaper a while ago, but he’s the key mythic in this deck and if it does well on camera, $25 is likely and $30 quite possible.

Champion of Dusk is a card that could hit $8 or $10 in foil in this circumstance, and if you’re buying in Friday morning at $10 for a foil playset, well, you’re going to feel very good about this. For both of these, I’d prefer to be in on the foils because there’s no EA versions to contend with and supply is much shallower on foils. There’s only about a hundred foils on TCG right now, and that includes Promo Pack foils and Prerelease foils. For a mythic that’s played as a four-of, that means only 25 people have to see Vampires do well and decide to jump in. 

Niv to Light

Oh, does this deck make me happy. Bring to Light is a card that I know I’ve mentioned before, and frankly, this is the best shell for it. You’ll get a 6/6 flyer and probably 2-4 cards if it resolves. Best of all, you’ve got a good chance of casting Bring to Light or Niv-Mizzet Reborn a turn or two early. 

Niv-Mizzet Reborn ($8/$17) and Bring to Light ($2/$7) are the big winners here, as the headliners for the deck. Sylvan Caryatid at $11/$18 is a bit high for my taste. I’m not worried about the supply of Niv due to War of the Spark uncut sheets, because there was only one Niv per sheet and getting a perfect cut out of one of those is HARD.

Dimir Inverter

Tons of words have been written about this deck, and I’ll be honest: I don’t like the odds that it survives the next set of bans. I cannot recommend buying into this deck, because of the difficulty interacting with these triggered abilities. Splinter Twin was easier to disrupt than Inverter into Oracle!

Lotus Breach Combo 

The deck a lot of pros are talking about, here’s a list courtesy of Pascal Vieren at HareuyaMTG that is using Underworld Breach, Lotus Field, and a lot of other fun choices to kill your opponent dead on turn three or four. It goldfishes very well, is amazingly redundant, and is another strong contender to get banned before too long. Interestingly, both this deck and Dimir Inverter use the either/or of Thassa’s Oracle and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries as the win condition. The JP version of Jace is $20/$80 on TCG, the Secret Lair stained glass version is $60, it’s a winner in Commander…but can the two decks using him survive the next bans unscathed?

I’ve spoken before about my love of the Breach, how it’s a combo card waiting for the right shell…and here it is. Underworld Breach is currently at $4/$7/$9 EA/$44 EA foil and given what this is doing in Pioneer, with that card pool, I am tempted to get in on the EA versions for Modern and Legacy play. How long till this is busted there too?

There’s other decks, like UW Spirits, UW Control, Heliod Combo…the list goes on. My sampling is just that, a few of the decks to watch for and prepare for. If I missed your favorite deck, feel free to call it out in the comments or let me know on Twitter, or perhaps in the ProTrader Discord channel.

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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Underpriced at the Starting Line

So this weekend, we get PT Brussels for Pioneer and then PT Nagoya for more Pioneer, and then Star City’s got coverage of a Team Constructed event, which is Standard/Pioneer/Modern.

That’s a lot of coverage, and only the draft portion of the PTs are in Limited formats. As a result, we’re going to see some cards move fast this weekend. Some may have started spiking by the time this goes up Friday morning, and if that’s true, I hope you’re able to get in cheap.

Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis ($7)

Today I’m focusing on the regular card. No foils, no Extended Art or other Showcase. I think there’s value to be had here in the cheapest versions of cards, as I’m looking at their playability. I highlighted Elspeth two weeks ago as a preorder at $7 and my mind hasn’t changed: She’s too good to be this cheap. 

As a bonus, she’s going to have a year and a half to prove herself in any Constructed format before she rotates out of Standard, so buying in now is pretty darn safe even if this weekend isn’t immediately profitable for her. The Escape mechanic is tricky, and recursive cards like this almost always find a home. I want to have some copies on hand to sell into the hype when that hype train takes off.

Underworld Breach ($3.50)

I’m repeating myself and I don’t care. There are too many good combos with this card and it’s going to get broken in half. If you want to go for the Extended Art at $9 I won’t fault you, but I’d prefer picking up a lot at $3.50 and buylisting them away for store credit. I’m much happier when cards are good in Constructed, because then people need playsets, instead of focusing on just one sweet copy of something.

If you need some examples of combos, just search up ‘Underworld Breach combo mtg’ and have a field day. There’s Legacy Storm with Brain Freeze. There’s Modern versions looking to exploit Dredge interactions. MTGGoldfish recently posted a video where Drowned Secrets played a huge part in the combo win. Get in while you can.

The New Temples (Mostly around $1-$1.50)

You don’t have to move on these this weekend, but please, before Ikoria comes out, make sure you have your set of twenty Temples from this set. There’s going to be a lot more demand for them in about six months when the shocklands rotate out. Perhaps there will be a better cycle of lands in the next Fall set, but these are too cheap to ignore. They aren’t going to hit huge heights, as there’s too many copies in circulation, but I hate buying cards at $3 or $4 I could have gotten for a lot less if I’d just planned ahead.

Shatter the Sky ($1.50)

Yes, I agree. This is a bad card when compared to Kaya’s Wrath or Time Wipe or whatever. It’s easy to cast, though, and that’s a very alluring thing to a control player. Four mana to clear the board has always been the sweet spot for control decks, and while it sears my soul to know they might get a card or two, the metagame isn’t punishing this card too much. I think that this card will have a least one good showing this weekend, and it’ll be a great card with no drawback, and the price will jump briefly.

It’s also worth noting that this is one of the few ways to deal with Limited dream-killer and UW Control’s darling Dream Trawler, a card I don’t think I want to buy in on now that it’s risen above $3. It’ll be very hard for it to get actionable value past that. 

Phoenix of Ash (75 cents or so)

The 2/2 hasty flyer has often been a good card in aggressive decks. Being able to Escape it into a 3/3 haste flyer for four is a wonderful upside, and one that might well push this phoenix to the front of the line, ahead of Chandra’s Phoenix, Rekindling Phoenix or Flamewake Phoenix. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through with the other firebirds, and there’s a wonderful simplicity to this one. Being in an aggressive red shell means you’ll rarely be lacking for spells in the graveyard, so they’d better have some Cry of the Carnarium ready to go.

I shouldn’t have to tell you how much fun it is to spec on a card like this for 30+ copies, and then sending them to a buylist as a brick after it breaks $4. It’s the kind of high people chase for a long time.

Storm’s Wrath (50 cents)

You can get this for near-bulk prices on TCG right now, and a lot of that is due to Fires of Invention decks that are trying so very hard to do something fun. The Fires decks actually have two good choices for four-drops in Shatter the Sky and this, depending on the risk and the presumed threats on the board.

Temur Reclamation decks are also playing the full set of this, and you can expect a hefty price jump if this looks good on camera. Wilderness Reclamation is a pretty busted card when built around, and being able to wipe the board and then reset your mana is a very sick play. 

Ashiok, Nightmare Muse ($12)

Finally, I think Ashiok remains a buy at $12. The card is fantastic, providing a game-winning plan through the plus ability and setting up for a devastating minus. Defense is also reasonable, answering any problematic permanent for at least a turn. I would not be in at $15+, but right now you can get Ashiok at prices approaching $10 on eBay or the cheaper TCG copies, and that’s really where I want to be for the UB control finisher.

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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