All posts by David Sharman

The Watchtower 01/11/21 – Throwback to Throne

Throne of Eldraine has been one of the most powerful Standard sets to grace us in recent memory, giving us cards like Oko, Thief of Crowns and Once Upon a Time that ultimately got banned from Standard, Pioneer and Modern. The rest of the set wasn’t exactly feeble either though, with Embercleave and Brazen Borrower amongst others proving their worth in multiple formats.

We’ve already seen The Great Henge regular and EA versions reach dizzying heights, and Borderless foil Okos are up there too even though it’s banned in most places, but there are still some undervalued cards that are close to drying up and just waiting to pop – so let’s take a look at some of them.

Return of the Wildspeaker (FEA)

Price today: $14
Possible price: $30

Throne of Eldraine brought with it the first Collector Boosters, and with them the first Extended Art cards that we’ve come to know and love. They’re the fanciest and most expensive versions of cards that we get printed into Standard sets now, and consequently we’ve seen the more popular ones drain out and prices go bananas. Just from ELD, The Great Henge FEA is over $150, Embercleave almost $80, Faeburrow Elder around $40, and so on.

So, onto Return of the Wildspeaker – this is the third most popular EDH card from the set, clocking in at almost 20k decks on EDHREC and only losing out to Fabled Passage and Mystic Sanctuary. But it’s only $14? Well, not for long by the looks of things. It’s down to 25 listings on TCGPlayer with a nice ramp forming up towards $40, and it’ll only take a handful of EDH players upgrading their copies to move the price upwards significantly. I think that calling this from $14 to $30 is honestly a little conservative, and this could hit $40+ before too long.

Castle Garenbrig (FEA)

Price on MKM: €20 ($24)
Price on TCGPlayer: $34 (but really $40+)
Possible price: $60

Castle Garenbrig has been one of those cards that hasn’t necessarily been broken anywhere, or a super-staple for EDH, but just an all-around consistent performer. We’ve seen it picked up by various Amulet Titan and Eladamri’s Toolbox decks in Modern, as well as being a Standard staple for all the green decks. On top of that, it’s been recorded in almost 12k EDH decks on EDHREC, a very respectable number and a good asset to big creature decks.

Supply in North America is already pretty drained on these, with only 12 listings for a total of 15 NM foil copies left on TCGPlayer; a couple of copies at $34 and then rest $40+. Most main vendors are out of stock or close to it, but if you can find any around or below $30 then you’re doing great (if you’re quick then check out CardKingdom and Miniature Market for a couple of cheaper copies).

Over in Europe, however, you can still pick these up for €20 – but it’s not as if there’s a glut of supply there either, with around 30 copies left. Prices are overall much lower though, which makes for some great arbitrage – there’s instant profit available if you ship these over to the US, or greater returns available if you wait another couple of months. 

Mirrormade (FEA)

Price today: $18
Possible price: $40

Yes, we’re all aboard the FEA train today, because it’s going to be leaving the station in a hurry! Mirrormade is another one that’s getting very low on the supply side, down to 20 listings (23 copies) on TCGPlayer, and a very popular EDH card. Despite lacking any competitive chops, this is still a very good card for EDH and has the open-ended synergy that we love to see in specs.

There are lots of different clone effects for copying artifacts, but not many that copy enchantments and very few that do both. The closest you can really get is Mirage Mirror, which is a powerful and flexible option but not permanent – and if you’re playing one of those effects then you’re probably going to want another one if you can get your hands on it.

These look like they’ll be $30 before long at all, and will head up towards $40+ given another 6-12 months, so if you want any personal or spec copies then now is the time. You can grab some a little cheaper around $15 in Europe if you have access, but I think that most copies under $20 are a good buy right now.

As for the future of FEA cards, the only one we’ve seen reprinted thus far (as an FEA) is Fabled Passage, and that one did understandably catch quite a lot of people off-guard. It may be that it’s just a card that Wizards want to give people a little more access to, because we haven’t seen any other FEA reprints other than that, so I think that the future for these cards is probably quite safe for the time being at least. Reprints are something worth keeping in mind, but going on what we’ve seen so far, I think that almost all FEA specs are safe from reprints in the near future.

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Watchtower 01/04/21 – New Year, New Specs, Same me

This week marks a whole year of me writing for MTGPrice, and it’s been a great journey so far. Although 2020 seemed to last indefinitely, with a period of time that I even switched to writing solely about MTGO picks because of the uncertainty about the future of paper Magic, it still seems odd to think that I’ve written 52 articles since it began, with a lot of good calls, a few medium ones and a sprinkling of misfires along the way.

Despite the pandemic this has still been a good year for MTG Finance, and it’s clear that paper Magic is going to pick back up once the world opens back up again, and so I’ve no doubt that 2021 will be more of the same great content from me, and I hope that you’ll all stay along for the ride.

Deflecting Swat

Price in Europe: €15 ($18)
Price in US: $32
Possible price: $40

For my first trick pick I’m going somewhat back to my roots with a solid arbitrage pick. The Commander 2020 set brought us a suite of free spells that you can cast for no cost if you control your commander, and Fierce Guardianship was expensive pretty much right out of the gate. The others were less popular to start with, but have been gaining ground more recently, particularly Deflecting Swat.

Being able to change the target of a spell is a great ability for red to have when it doesn’t have access to counterspells and the like, especially when you can cast it for free, and the numbers are backing it up – Fierce Guardianship is around 20k EDH decks on EDHREC with Deflecting Swat catching up fast at a little over 13k.

Prices in the US are already over $32, but in Europe where (if you read my articles) you’ll know that EDH is far less popular, the card is only around $18. That’s some solid arbitrage as it stands, but without a reprint probable on the near horizon it looks like this could keep heading up towards $40. Only 17 listings on TCGPlayer a steep ramp has already formed, so I think that this is a great short-term opportunity to bring some over from Europe.

Zagoth Triome (Showcase Foil)

Price today: $28
Possible price: $50

The five Triomes are by far and away the most popular EDH cards from Ikoria, and rightly so. Three colour lands that cycle and have basic lands types (which means they’re fetchable) are a slam dunk auto-include in any 3+ colour EDH decks that’s not just running all original duals with shocks and fetches to boot (which isn’t many decks, really). I’ve talked about the Triomes before along with some other staff members here, but today I wanted to highlight one that I think is still undervalued.

Zagoth Triome ranks the highest out of the five on EDHREC by around 400 decks over Ketria Triome, and in terms of competitive play Ketria sees a little more play than Zagoth in Pioneer and Modern, but not by a lot. In terms of price, Ketria currently starts at $33 on TCGPlayer and Zagoth at $28, but what’s interesting is that Zagoth actually forms a steeper ramp with fewer listings, leading me to think that the cheaper copies are undervalued.

I do think that all of the showcase foil Triomes are still good pickups at the moment – they were better a few months ago but even now you can pick the cheaper ones around $20, which I think should have a good run up to $40 in the next 6-12 months. Supply is draining on all five Triomes and I don’t think we’ll see them printed like this again for a long time, so personal copies and specs are a must-buy soon if you want them at current prices.

Bane of Progress (CC1 Foil)

Price today: $14
Possible price: $30

Commander Collection Green was a bit of an odd product in that the premium versions were only available to WPN Premium stores, meaning that supply of them has been severely throttled compared to the regular versions. Preorders got crazy high, and once the foils got dumped onto the market prices did come down a reasonable amount but the low supply has meant that a lot of the cards have been snapped up pretty quickly.

Cards like Worldly Tutor and Bane of Progress have had first-time foil printings, and so EDH players that have been playing these cards for a long time and waiting for foils of them have jumped at the chance to get hold of them. Bane of Progress foils in particular got down below $10 and I called them out in the ProTrader Discord as a good buy, and they’re already back up to $14.

This is a card registered in 12k EDH decks on EDHREC and there are only 15 foil listings on TCGPlayer – this won’t be a $14 card for much longer. Over in Europe you can still get some copies around €7 which is honestly a steal, and I think that this will be $30 sooner rather than later. It doesn’t seem like there’s a restock of Commander Collection Green coming any time soon, so take a look at some of the other foil singles as well and see what you think!

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Watchtower 12/28/20 – Penny Stocks

Buying a stack of cheap Magic cards and waiting a year or two for them to go from $1 to $3 or whatever is one of the most boring and least sexy things you can do in MTG Finance – but it really works. Some examples of recent wins for me, so you know the kind of thing I’m talking about:

  • Guardian Project – in at $1 around 16 months ago, CardKingdom are currently paying $4.40 cash for them
  • Narset’s Reversal – in at $1 around 10 months ago, CardKingdom are currently paying $3.70 cash for them
  • Bolas’s Citadel – in at $1 around 15 months ago, CardKingdom are currently paying $2.05 cash.

They aren’t particularly exciting, but if you can identify some EDH all-stars like these at peak supply of newer sets then you’re onto a winner, and they’re great to just stick in a box and come back to 12-24 months down the line for a nice buylist win. Low risk, medium reward specs like this should be the bread and butter of your MTG Finance game, rather than chasing Reserved List buyouts or some other silly nonsense.

Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary

Price today: $1.50
Possible price: $5

Zendikar Rising brought us the new MDFC card type, and with it a lot of flexibility and utility. Speaking in terms of EDH, the non-mythic MDFCs (so the ones that come into play tapped) can generally count for somewhere around half a land slot, give or take. It depends on the kind of deck you’re playing and whether or not you can pick those lands up later in the game etc., but when you start running a few of them you can start cutting lands from your deck. This is fantastic news for EDH players, the vast majority of whom don’t run enough lands anyway because they hate cutting non-land cards from their decks, and so cards like Bala Ged Recovery have quickly become staples.

Bala Ged Recovery, being a regrowth effect, is leading the pack of MDFCs, and is in fact only just beaten to the top spot from ZNR by Feed the Swarm (in terms or raw numbers rather than percentage inclusion). Over 4000 decks since the set was released is very high for such a relatively new card, because realistically it should be going in pretty much every green deck that’s not more than 3 colours.

The non-foils of these are currently available for around $1.50 and up on TCGPlayer, with some decently sized stacks between $1.50-$2. Over on CardMarket (MKM) in Europe they can be had much cheaper, with reasonable quantities starting at €0.50 plus shipping. It’s worth noting that this is an uncommon, but we’ve seen even recent high-demand uncommons like Veil of Summer reach silly prices, and CardKingdom are already paying $0.85 cash/$1.11 credit on this so I can easily see it reaching $4-5 in 18 months or so. Reprint risk is probably low for these MDFCs so we should get a good run out of it.

Armored Skyhunter

Price today: $0.50
Possible price: $3

Commander Legends has given us quite a few great white cards for EDH, and it seems like the tide may finally be turning in favour of the colour. White has long been possibly the worst colour in EDH and probably Magic in general, with green and blue being favoured heavily in terms of power level for some reason. But Commander Legends has given us cards like Akroma’s Will, Keeper of the Accord and the card I want to talk about today: Armored Skyhunter. I wanted to talk about Court of Grace, but I’ll have to save it for another time because although it’s a great card it’s a little expensive to fit into this article’s theme.

When I first glanced at this card I assumed it was going to put an Aura of Equipment into your hand, which is fine but incredibly unexciting and not all that powerful. Reading the card properly put me in my place though – you get to drop something onto the battlefield and attach it to a creature you control, meaning that your attack probably just got a whole lot better.

With Kaldheim just around the corner we know we’re going to be getting some more cool equipment, which pushes the stock of this card just that bit higher, but even disregarding that I think Armored Skyhunter has some good future prospects. Currently available in stacks for ~$0.50 (and around the same in Europe), buylists for this should easily cruise up to $2-3 a couple of years from now. It sounds like a long time in such a fast-moving world, but you barely need to spend any of that time thinking about it, and I love low-effort specs like that.

Scute Swarm (Showcase)

Price today: $1.50
Possible price: $5

Jumping back over to Zendikar Rising again, we’ve got another all-star that’s already in 4k+ EDH decks listed on EDHREC. Scute Swarm is not only a hallmark Landfall card, but fits well into regular token strategies as well, and coupled with a fetchland or two can take over a boardstate surprisingly quickly. It’s enough of an all-rounder that it can slot into a lot of green decks, and that shows through in the number of different archetypes and Commanders that utilise it. It’s the kind of card that’s a big favourite with casual players as well, flooding the board and being a great Craterhoof/Overrun enabler to finish a game in style.

The Showcase variant of these actually seems to be a touch cheaper than the regulars, which is a little odd but I’m not really going to complain because the Showcase frame looks great on it and the art is definitely superior. Non-foils start at around $1 but for a decent number in one go you’re going to be paying $1.50. Over on MKM you can bite off chunks at $1 a piece which is pretty enticing, because I think that this is a $5 card down the road.

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Watchtower 12/21/20 – It’s Snowing On Kaldheim

It’s long been theorised that Kaldheim will be a snowy plane (and I don’t just mean snowy, I mean snowy), given that it’s set inspired by Norse mythology and the Nordic landscapes, where it does tend to be a little chilly – especially around this time of the year. A couple of weeks ago we saw leaks from the Commander decks for the set, and it was incorrectly ‘spotted’ that one of the cards had a Snow mana symbol on it. Now that we’ve had the official preview for Rana the Ever-Watchful we’ve seen that it isn’t actually a Snow mana symbol – but that doesn’t mean that Snow won’t be in the set. If we take a look at the most recent updates to The List, it’s clear that we’ll be getting more Snow cards, with things like Into the North and Scrying Sheets being added.

As well as the Snow theme, it looks like we’re getting some more tribal synergies going with Dwarves and Giants abound – so where does that land us?

Ice-Fang Coatl (Foil)

Price today: $30
Possible price: $60

Ice-Fang Coatl has pretty much been a staple in Modern and Legacy since its debut in Modern Horizons back in the summer last year (gosh that seems like forever ago), and along with the gone-but-not-forgotten Arcum’s Astrolabe it effectively forced the majority of Modern players to start playing with Snow basic lands. With Kaldheim just around the corner we’re almost sure to be getting some more Snow cards to play with, which will drive demand for Snow cards that are already prevalent in eternal formats.

Ice-Fang foils hit a high of around $50 a few months ago, and since then – most likely due to a lack of paper demand for cards – we’ve seen it drop back down to around $30 again, but supply is still on the low side. There are 27 listings on TCGPlayer with a few copies around $30 but the rest form a nice ramp up towards $60. Ice-Fang has just been added to The List for printing in Set Boosters, but that (1) is a tiny number of cards in reality, and (2) doesn’t include foils anyway.

Now there are two sides to this coin – although I’m fairly sure most coins have at least two sides so I guess that’s a silly turn of phrase anyway – but I think we could see this go either of two ways. If we get some exciting Snow cards in Kaldheim that look like they could break into Modern, then I’m sure that people will hop aboard the hype train and start to snap up cards like Ice-Fang Coatl that seem like they’ll do well in the format. That would give you an earlier out for these. Otherwise, as paper play starts to return around the world (hopefully sooner rather than later), people are going to need Ice-Fangs for their Modern decks regardless, as I think it’s going to remain a staple of the format whatever happens – that’s a slightly longer horizon but the foils are fairly well drained already and it won’t take much to bump the card up in price.

Cavern of Souls (ZNR Expedition Foil)

Price today: $80
Possible price: $130

Another card that has just been added to The List is Cavern of Souls, and that along with a new Dwarven Lord and a new Elven Lord coming to us from Kaldheim previews signifies more tribal synergies to come with the new set. Cavern of Souls has seen a wide degree of variation in its competitive play over the years, depending on how good certain tribes are at different points. Merfolk had its day in Modern, Elves is still around here and there and Eldrazi has always been playing the card, with the current use mostly being a one or two-of in Heliod Company and Amulet Titan decks.

Over on the EDH side of things it’s a popular card in any and all tribal strategies, clocking in at over 22,000 decks registered on EDHREC. Albeit a higher price barrier than a lot of EDH cards, it’s still a favourite amongst players, and with a few different versions to choose from now it’s worth taking a look at the latest one. In terms of premium copies, the main contenders are the original Avacyn Restored foil, the Ultimate Masters Box Topper and now the Zendikar Rising Expedition foil. Although I’m not a huge fan of the ZNR Expedition frames in general, I think it actually works really well on a few of the cards, this being one of them.

Things get really interesting when we take a look at price. Avacyn Restored foils are around $120 and UMA Box Toppers start at $180, but the newest ZNR Expeditions are only $80 – and arguably with the best art yet. That’s mostly down to personal preference but I think I’m definitely safe in saying that it’s a stunner; ethereal rays of light penetrating the gloomy cavern. As supply from ZNR Collector Boosters starts to drain out, $80 won’t hold for much longer – that’s currently $10 than even the regular UMA foils. Give it 12 months or so and I can see these heading towards $120-130, so if you want personal copies or specs I’d grab them now.

Embercleave (FEA)

Price in Europe: €45 ($55)
Price in US: $75
Possible price: $100

With the return of Dwarves in Kaldheim we’re also seeing a bump in the number of equipment cards and synergies that we’re getting in the set. Now, Embercleave has been more of a Standard and Historic card than anything else but it does also show up here and there in Pioneer and Modern, as well as being in a little over 5000 EDH decks listed on EDHREC. That’s not a huge amount of demand, but aside from this being an immediate arbitrage win, the key here is that supply is very low. With only 14 FEA listings on TCGPlayer (and only 16 total copies), the ramp from $75 up towards $100 won’t be a very difficult one for the card to climb before too long.

You can pick these up in Europe for around €45 ($55), which is a win straight away if you’re moving them over to the US for sale. If you prefer to wait a little longer, the only way is up for this card, and so especially with more equipment synergies coming to us from Kaldheim I don’t think you can go wrong with it at all.

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.