All posts by David Sharman

Back to School

It’s been a couple of weeks since I first wrote about some cards from Strixhaven, School of Mages, and so I think it’s time to revisit it armed with a little more data.

Culling Ritual (Regular Non-Foil & FEA)

Price in Europe: €0.50/€5 ($0.60/$6)
Price in US: $2/$10
Possible price: $4/$20

Culling Ritual has quickly become almost the most popular EDH card in its colours from Strixhaven, only being slightly edged out by Mortality Spear. Mortality Spear is an uncommon though, and so doesn’t have the best spec prospects…Culling Ritual on the other hand is a rare and has FEA versions to go after as a result.

In almost 20% of all decks registered since the set came out, Culling Ritual is a pretty powerful EDH card to be reckoned with. It may seem on the surface that only hitting cards with mana value 2 or less might not get a lot of things, but you need to remember that EDH is stacked with low cost artifacts, mana dorks, and tokens. Early game this could take out a Sol Ring and Mana Crypt, and later on you could hit a bunch of things and be rewarded with a huge amount of mana for it, which you can then use to ramp into your own threats.

I like the look of these in Europe at the moment, because as we know the EDH scene is a lot smaller than in the US and so prices on these sorts of cards are inherently lower. Regular non-foils at €0.50 seem like a great brick pickup, and FEAs at €5 should easily be set to double up and more in the long-term. I’m not too keen on the US pricing at the moment and do think that it’ll drop a bit as more supply hits the market, so watch out for that and pick some up when you can.

Prismari Command (FEA)

Price today: $10
Possible price: $30

Looking at another multicoloured, but otherwise very different card here, Prismari Command is another one that’s understandably popular in EDH with the Izzet mages, but I’m more interested in it from a competitive standpoint. Modern and Pioneer have started playing this card here and there, in both Niv to Light and Delver-esque decks. It’s the kind of card you look at and half expect to cost four mana, but at three it’s definitely a contender for some of the most powerful spells in the formats.

It offers great flexibility, like the fact that you get artifact destruction tacked onto a card that’s always going to be maindeckable, and the other modes are pretty strong too. Creating a Treasure token isn’t the greatest thing in the world but could come in clutch when you’re missing a land, and I think the looting ability on it is great. Overall this is a great tool for a bunch of different decks, and honestly might be better than Kolaghan’s Command, a card that has seen prolific Modern play in the past. It’s worth mentioning that this is also a very popular EDH card from the set, so the cross-play helps out here as well.

A good indicator of this card’s popularity in competitive formats is that it’s more expensive in Europe than in the US. You can pick up FEAs on TCGPlayer for around $10 at the moment, and I’m reasonably happy with that price for a slightly longer-term hold. We could see this dip down a little as more Collector Boosters are cracked, but I just see that as an excuse to pick up more copies.

Teferi’s Protection (Mystical Archive Foil)

Price today: $40
Possible price: $80

Hopping over to the Mystical Archive cards for our final pick of the week here, I think that Teferi’s Protection is one of the best pickups from the set at the moment. It’s also one of the very few that I actually think the global art version is better than the Japanese alternate art version (and I’m sure people will disagree with me, but that’s always going to be the case). We’re at the point now where Teferi’s Protection has had a few different printings, but I think that this is by far the best version we’ve had so far, and I don’t see any reason for another printing – let alone another premium one – in the near future.

The Judge foils of this card are all over $70 with very few copies around, and I think that the Mystical Archive copies could be headed in a similar direction before too long. The art and frame are stunning, and the foiling on these cards is pretty excellent from what I’ve seen so far (I’d avoid the etched foils though as they look basically the same as the non-foils but for a higher price). At 35,000 EDH decks it’s a top 10 white card and provides one of the best get-out-of-jail-free effects in the format, and is just great in any deck that can cast it.

Global art foils are sitting around $40 at the moment, which is only $10 more than the non-foils and around the same price as the Secret Lair versions. I reckon that this is going to be one of, if not the most sought-after version of Teferi’s Protection, and so the $40 is definitely way too low in the long-term. I’d definitely pick up personal copies now and keep an eye out for anything around or under $40 for spec copies. The JPN alt art versions are a lot more expensive at $85 and up right now, but those could realistically still see $150+ in the long term if we’re lucky.

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.

Time Spiral Revisited

As it is like to do, the hype cycle has already moved on from Time Spiral Remastered – which only came out *checks calendar* a month ago – and onto Strixhaven along with all the Mystical Archives. We’ve been getting some more supply of TSR boxes trickling in via Amazon and prices are being suppressed a little in the short-term, but I don’t think that’s going to hold for much longer.

Some of the best deals were to be had on day one, but there are definitely still some good targets hanging around – so let’s take a look.

Eternal Witness (OBF)

Price today: $65
Possible price: $100

Eternal Witness is in danger of becoming one of those cards that has too many premium versions, but I don’t think we’re there yet – and so the old-border foil (OBF) from Time Spiral Remastered looks like a pretty good target to me right now. At the moment the best versions we have are this, the Box Topper from UMA and the FNM promo. The FNM promo has an extremely low supply and art done by a problematic artist, so it’s not really competing with either the Box Topper or OBF at this point. The UMA Box Topper is nice, but let’s be honest it’s just not on the same level as the OBF – so why are they the same price?

Box Toppers start at $60 on TCGPlayer with a reasonable ramp up towards $100, and the OBFs are only a touch higher at $65 (also with 22 listings). If you compare this to something like Bojuka Bog, which is in a similar number of EDH decks (76k vs 79k), Bog’s price is much higher starting at $85 and ramping well over $100. Although Bog is a card with fewer premium versions, I don’t think that $65 is correct for OBF Eternal Witness in the mid or long term. This should be close to a $100 card before too long, and if you want any personal copies then now is the time to grab them.

Reclamation Sage (OBF) (Arbitrage)

Price in Europe: €30 ($36)
Price in US: $50
Possible price: $70

Reclamation Sage is a card that’s been begging for a real premium version for a while now. It’s had a million and one Commander set printings but the only foils have been M15 and Double Masters, with the only other fancy version being the Game Day promo (which didn’t come in foil). Now that we’ve got the OBF version, it’s clearly the best version you can get and will be the one people want for the true bling.

I don’t really need to talk about how popular Reclamation Sage is because it’s in 57,000 decks on EDHREC and is played here and there in competitive formats too. If a player wants the fanciest version, this is going to be the go-to for quite a while I think, and even if the $50 price tag in the US isn’t too tempting, I think that $36 in Europe is definitely too cheap.

If you’ve got access to the European market then I recommend grabbing a couple of these around €30 – I don’t really think you can go wrong at that price. Even at $50 in the US that’s not too bad, at least for personal copies if not spec copies – TCGPlayer is at 30 listings with a steady ramp up over $70, so I think these are good pickups on either continent.

Dovin’s Veto (OBF)

Price today: $38
Possible price: $60

The old border multicolour cards from Time Spiral Remastered use the original gold-ish border that the first multicolour cards had back in Legends, and I’ve found that they split opinions somewhat. Some players love them, some think they’re awful – but either way I think that these are the best version of the card, beating out the FNM foils and set foils.

Veto is one of the most popular counterspells in EDH, being beaten only by the one true Counterspell itself. It’s close to infallible and will get you out of a lot of tight spots in the format, coming in clutch against Time Walk effects and obscene game-ending spells like Torment of Hailfire or Expropriate. If you’re able to play it in your deck then you almost certainly should (unless you have certain stipulations in your deck), and 34,000 decks agree with me.

Supply isn’t very high on these, with 30 TCGPlayer listings and almost all of those are single listings. Prices start at $38 but there are only a few under $40 and it looks set to post over $60 before too long. They’re not too much cheaper in Europe starting at €25-27, but that’s obviously still a good price if you can get it.

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.

That’s So Strixhaven

Strixhaven: School of Mages has dropped, and there is definitely a lot to be excited about here. On top of everything from the main set we also have the Mystical Archive cards to consider, and on top of that there are the Japanese alternate art Mystical Archive cards as well. Yeah, it’s a lot. Today I’m going to be doing a shallower dive and taking a look at a few of the top cards across each of the different categories we have, and probably follow up again in the coming weeks with more of the cards that I think are going to do well – so be prepared for a slightly different article format than you’re used to from me.

Mystical Archive

We’ll kick things off with undoubtedly the coolest and most exciting of the cards that have just been released, the Mystical Archive cards. We’ve got two versions here – the regulars and the alternate art Japanese versions, which are all the same cards that you get in the English version, but solely in Japanese and with awesome alternate arts. When it comes to the Japanese cards, a lot of players that don’t read or speak Japanese are still going to be playing with them, and that means that the most popular ones are going to be the cards that are simple and have very little text to remember.

We’re talking about stuff like Counterspell, Swords to Plowshares and Demonic Tutor here – super-staples that are going to be in very high demand by a lot of players. However, prices on all of these are sky high at the moment due to choked supply, and I think that we’re going to see prices fall as we move forward into peak supply 4-6 weeks out from now.

As prices fall I want to be keeping an eye on these staples, in both the regular and alternate Japanese versions, in non-foil and foil. JPN alt foil Brainstorm is sat at $80 right now – I want to be seeing that around $50 or so; the same Demonic Tutor is way up at $400 – I expect to see that halved in the next few weeks as more product is cracked. Yes, these cards are rare but they’re not that rare.

The regular versions are great pickups here as well, and are going to be more readily available than the alternate versions and thus command lower prices, but you can still realise gains with them nonetheless. If we compare English foil Counterspell vs JPN alt foil, you’re looking at $16 vs $74. I expect the English ones to drop a little bit, and the JPN ones to drop quite a bit, but keep an eye on both for lows in a few weeks.

Extended Art and Borderless

I still don’t really know why these are two separate categories of card because it’s honestly just a bit confusing, and relatively easy to mix up which is which – but anyway, it is what it is. Borderless are the ones with different art to the regular versions (and also a borderless frame), and Extended Art are the ones with same art as the regular versions and a borderless frame. Borderless come in regular booster packs, EA only come in Collector Boosters. Easy!

So taking a look at some of our options, I quite like the look of Beledros Witherbloom at the moment. Albeit very early days at the moment, it’s the second most popular commander built on EDHREC so far and seems like a pretty powerful card. Paying 10 life is a lot less when you start on 40 in EDH, and being able to untap all your lands is a very powerful effect, especially when there are a bunch of pretty easy ways to gain either a tonne or infinite life going around. Pumping out a bunch of tokens on top of that is just extra value. Borderless foils are very expensive around $65 right now, but I expect to see that come way down towards $20 or so pretty soon. I like grabbing these at their low, especially as it’s a Mythic, and should look pretty good on a one to two year timeline.

When it comes to Extended Arts, I like the look of Codie, Vociferous Codex. Again it’s one of the most popular commanders built so far, and I’m inclined to compare it to something like Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. A colourless commander with a five colour identity and an activated ability looks pretty familiar, and Golos was (and still is) highly popular. The best thing about Codie is that you don’t need coloured mana to activate it – you actually get coloured mana out of it, which makes the ability a lot easier to use than Golos. Although it’s going to technically be a five colour deck, the fact that you don’t need coloured mana to activate it means that we might well just Izzet Spells builds of this instead. EA foils are around $12 at the moment and I think we’ll see that drop bit, depending on how many Collector Boosters are cracked. If we can get these around or under $5 then I think that should be a great price, but even at $7-10 I think that they’ll look good a year or two out.

Regular Old Cards

When it comes to regular cards, I’m looking at brick targets – cards that I want to be picking up a big chunk of with the view to buylist them at some point down the road. I think that the best for those are cards that have appeal across the board – from EDH to totally casual and maybe competitive as well. I’m looking at Archmage Emeritus first here, a rare from Strixhaven that has a lot of potential. Drawing a card whenever you cast or copy an instant or sorcery spell means that going infinite and drawing your whole deck is probably very easy, making for a win with Thassa’s Oracle or something similar. That’s already looking popular in EDH and will be big with the casual crowd, so I’m looking for bricks of these under $1 for sure (currently preordering around $2-3).

I’m already running up the word count here so I’m going to stop now and leave some more for next week’s article, where I’ll likely be talking more Strixhaven with new data, so tune in then!

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.

Godzilla vs Your Wallet

We’re almost a year out from the release of Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths, and although most of them started out pretty cheap, some of the Godzilla alternate art cards have been on the move in a serious way. Ghidorah, King of the Cosmos (also known as Illuna, Apex of Wishes) (yes these names are unnecessarily confusing) foils have popped to $300+ on TCGPlayer, with only six copies available, and others are heading that way too.

Try not to confuse these ones with the comic book style alternate arts, because there are multiple versions of some of these cards just to keep us on our toes. There are some Godzilla variants that have great potential but haven’t quite popped off yet, so strap in and let’s take a look!

Dorat, the Perfect Pet (Sprite Dragon) (Foil)

Price today: $7
Possible price: $20

Sprite Dragon has become a staple in Modern UR Blitz decks, as well as being adopted into a multitude of other formats including Standard, Legacy and Vintage. It’s at its most powerful when you’re stuffing your deck full of zero and one mana spells, something which is much easier in older formats, and can hit really hard pretty early if you get off to a good start. Combine it with a turn one Monastery Swiftspear and you’re going to be killing your opponent more quickly than they might like!

The foil Godzilla versions of these are starting to run pretty thin on the ground, down to 21 listings on TCGPlayer now. This is only an uncommon so don’t expect it to reach the dizzying heights of cards like Ghidorah, but I think that a triple-up from $7 should easily happen within the next few months, or sooner if the Godzilla hype train keeps rolling. There are cheaper copies in Europe too, starting around €2 and supply being a little deeper – so if you can pick some up there then I’d advise doing so.

Biollante, Plant Beast Form (Nethroi, Apex of Death) (Foil)

Price in Europe: €20 ($24)
Price in US: $70
Possible price: $100+

Moving away from competitive formats, Nethroi has remained the most popular commander built from Ikoria pretty much since the set was released, and it’s also one of the top EDH cards from the set for part of the 99 as well. Mutating it really isn’t too difficult in EDH, and if you start playing around with cards that can have negative power in the graveyard (like Death’s Shadow and Scourge of the Skyclaves), then you can really start doing silly things with it.

The vast price gap between Europe and the US here might indicate that this should be purely an arbitrage pick, but considering the prices we’ve seen Ghidorah post I could actually see Biollante hitting well over $100 at some point in the not-too-distant future as well, as another mythic from the set. There are only four of these on TCGPlayer but you might be able to find some cheaper elsewhere in the US – that being said, if you have access to Europe then these are a slam dunk at €20.

We’ll probably see Ghidorah retrace a bit from $300 but I wouldn’t be surprised to see these heading in that direction before long as well – after all, Ghidorah was a $60 foil just a couple of months ago.

Mothra, Supersonic Queen (Luminous Broodmoth) (Foil)

Price in Europe: €27 ($32)
Price in US: $78
Possible price: $100+

Finishing off today, Mothra has also proven to be powerful both in competitive and casual formats, popping up in combo decks using Solemnity as well as being the second most popular white card in the set for EDH (behind Drannith Magistrate, which is fair enough really). What we’re here for though is the Godzilla variant of the card, because just like Biollante it’s way cheaper in Europe than it is in the US…but the $78 US copies could easily still be a buy here.

This one’s another mythic from the set which means there aren’t many around, especially in the special version, and with only 13 listings on TCGPlayer they’re starting to be more difficult to get hold of. MKM is your best option here, but if you can’t get those then I’d advise hunting around some different sites or LGSs for better deals. Either way, I think that these are headed over $100 soon enough, and it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see a reprint of these versions any time soon, if ever.

If you’re after personal copies of any of the Godzilla cards then I’d advise picking them up as soon as you can, because the only way is up from here.

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.