All posts by David Sharman

Even more Modern Horizons

The Modern metagame has been evolving rapidly over the past couple of weeks with all the exciting new additions from Modern Horizons 2, with a bunch of new decks coming up alongside older ones being revived and updated. With the world slowly returning to paper Magic and in-store play, people are excited to play Modern again and that means there are specs to investigate and cards to buy!

Mishra’s Bauble

Price in Europe: €5/€8 ($6/$9)
Price in US: $18/$20
Possible price: $30/$50?

The printing of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar in MH2 has spawned quite a few different new decks, one of the earliest of which – featuring Feasting Troll King and Witch’s Oven to generate silly amounts of food and do unfair things – has been amusingly titled “Hell’s Kitchen”. Something else it’s done though is brought Urza and Emry back to the forefront of the format, where they used to be before both Arcum’s Astrolabe and Mox Opal were banned. The ‘Whirza’ deck and variants upon it dominated Modern for a while, and it seems like they might be back again to stay.

One of the keystones to decks like this are the cheap artifacts needed to generate value early and then combo off later with Asmoranomardicadaistinaculadacar and Ovalchase Daredevil, and Mishra’s Bauble has always been one of the top picks for that job. As such, TCG has been draining of copies very quickly, and both foils and non-foils are close to $20 already. It’s a different story in Europe though, with non-foils available from around €5 and foils starting around €8. This is some great arbitrage, but you need to hop on it fairly quickly before Europe catches on and those copies disappear too.

This is also a good time to go through any IMA or 2XM bulk you have lying around, because chances are you may well have some copies of this uncommon stashed away with the rest of those sets. Depending on how dominant this kind of deck becomes we may see something banned at some point, but until then I think we should have a decent amount of time to get in and out of this card.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking (FEA)

Price today: $20
Possible price: $40

Amulet Titan is another deck that fell off the ladder in Modern for a little while, but a seemingly innocuous little card from MH2 has given it new life once more. Abundant Harvest has given the deck an incredible new consistency that it sometimes lacked before, finding you the lands you need when you need them and even some Prime Times if you haven’t got a Summoner’s Pact handy.

But as good as it is, I’m not here advocating for Abundant Harvest to spec on – I want to look at Azusa, Lost but Seeking instead. It’s a card that has always been an integral part of Amulet Titan decks through their various iterations, enabling ridiculous amounts of mana on the very early turns of the game and potentially even helping power out a Primeval Titan as early as turn three (or turn two if you have double Amulet).

There are a few different printings of Azusa around now, but I really like the look of the FEA copies from M21 here. At only $20 they’re much cheaper than the Judge foils that have the same art but aren’t extended, and are already close to $40. The original Kamigawa foils are (and have been for a long time) very expensive, and the Commander’s Arsenal foils just…don’t look great. That leaves these M21 FEAs at $20 looking like excellent pickups now, as supply is starting to dwindle. It’s worth noting that this is a huge EDH card as well, in nearly 23k decks listed on EDHREC. Even if Modern doesn’t push this card as high as we’d like, EDH will get it there just fine.

Prismatic Ending (OBF)

Price today: $10
Possible price: $20

Now for a slightly more speculative pick to finish things off, I’m taking a look at Prismatic Ending – a card that’s actually from MH2 and not just influenced by MH2 cards. Prismatic Ending has started showing up in Modern control decks (control decks in Modern, you ask?? I know, unheard of), and I think it might be a card that’s here to stay.

Although an uncommon, the old-border foils of this aren’t exactly in high supply, and won’t be close to that of a normal uncommon. Even so, we’ve seen foil uncommons from MH1 cruise well over $10 and so for these OBFs I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to hit $20. There are so many problematic 1-3 mana permanents around in Modern that this deals with easily, without giving your opponent a land like Path to Exile does but still gaining the benefit of exile over something like Fatal Push (and the additional boon of not needing black mana of course).

This will probably be a longer hold, but I’m fairly confident that it will continue to show up in Modern control decks for quite a while to come as a nice catch-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.

Early MH2 Nonsense

Modern Horizons 2 won’t be out in paper for more than a week still, but we’ve already had a few days of it being out on MTGO, and that’s resulted in some pretty interesting decklists. Urza’s Saga proved to be an early winner in multiple decks and as such is very expensive right now (I expect it to come down), and Ragavan has been hailed as the best red one-drop ever printed, showing up in a huge number of Legacy decks and a fair share of Modern ones too.

Today I want to have a look at some of the cards that might currently be underestimated, or that have proven some results but are yet to gain traction and pop off.

Living End (Foil)

Price today: $8/$25
Possible price: $20/$50

Firstly, an older deck that’s benefitted from a new-to-Modern card from MH2 – Living End. The deck’s been around in the format for many years now, drifting in and out of relevance, but now that MH2 has introduced Shardless Agent into Modern, people are back on the deck again and performing well with it. Shardless Agent replacing something like Demonic Dread or Ardent Plea is actually big game for the deck, because getting a 2/2 rather than effectively nothing from your Cascade card is enough to push the deck back up a bit.

With some solid performances over the weekend, it might be that Living End is back to stay or it might be that it’ll drop back to tier two after a week or so…but either way, I really like the look of Living End foils right now. We’ve only got two printings of the card with no extra treatments, first in the original Time Spiral and then the reprint in Time Spiral Remastered. Original foils are getting very hard to come by, with only five NM listings on TCGPlayer starting at $25 – and although there are a few more copies in Europe they’re no cheaper, as this is really a Modern-only card. TSR foils are a fair bit cheaper starting at around $8, but supply isn’t very deep on those either as it was printed as a Mythic.

Both versions of these foils seem like great pickups here to climb quickly, especially the older version. When you bear in mind that people buying these foils for their deck will be needing three or four copies at once, the remaining supply could disappear very quickly.

Arcbound Ravager (MCQ Foil)

Price in Europe: €8 ($10)
Price in US: $20
Possible price: $30

Another older deck that’s had a huge resurgence with MH2 is Affinity – a relic of days gone by before Mox Opal got axed from Modern. There are a few new variants flying around at the moment, given new life by cards like Urza’s Saga and Sojourner’s Companion. There are some classic builds and some Hardened Scales builds, and Arcbound Ravager has started to pop off as a result.

We have a few different premium treatments for Ravager now, with the MPS one over $150 now and original Darksteel foils over $100. Here I like the look of the MCQ promo, because although supply has been chewed up in the US already, there are still plenty of copies hanging around in Europe under $10. It might not be the best version of the card, but for the price point in Europe I think it’s an excellent arbitrage opportunity. Affinity could well be back to stay as one of the top decks in Modern, so keep an eye on other pieces of the deck as we get more results from MTGO play.

Witch’s Oven (Foil)

Price in Europe: €1 ($1)
Price in US: $???
Possible price: $10+

Cat Oven decks quickly became a staple in Standard, Historic and even Pioneer soon after Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven were printed in Throne of Eldraine, and even became dominant enough that the Familiar had to be banned in Standard. Since then, similar sacrifice decks have remained popular in Historic and Pioneer, and now that Modern Horizons 2 is here, people are trying things with Oven in Modern.

Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar with Ovalchase Daredevil and The Underworld Cookbook makes for an incredible value engine, and once you get that train going you can quickly power out a Feasting Troll King and/or start pinging people to death with a Mayhem Devil. Feasting Troll Kings have already popped off, and might be here to stay in the deck or might get replaced at some point. However, I think that Witch’s Oven is always going to be a mainstay of this archetype whether it’s in Modern or another format, and foils are looking quite tasty right now.

I’ll give you a moment to go and check TCGPlayer for Witch’s Oven NM foils. Done? Yeah, there aren’t any. Pretty wild. There are a couple of LP and MP copies there but that’s it, so we need to go and look at Europe instead. There are a load of copies under €1 on MKM and I think they’re slam dunks to sell in the US for $5+ immediately, and could easily hit $10 pretty soon. Yes, it’s an uncommon, but it’s only had a single printing nearly 2 years ago and supply is reflecting that. Around 4000 EDH decks on EDHREC back it up a bit too, and until we see another premium treatment of this card it’s looking great.

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.

Strixhaven Bulk

Strixhaven: School of Mages has been out for a little over a month now, and I think that we’re round about peak supply right now – which means it’s likely the best time to be picking up your spec targets. Today I want to have a look at what I think are some of the best options to be looking at grabbing in bulk – cheaper cards where the regular versions are probably going to have very attractive buylist outs in a year or two.

Solve the Equation (Foil)

Price in Europe: €1 ($1.20)
Price in US: $3
Possible price: $5

Solve the Equation is one of the top EDH cards from Strixhaven, clocking in at over 4000 decks registered since Strixhaven’s release. It’s kind of better and kind of worse than Merchant Scroll – it costs an extra mana, but you aren’t restricted to only blue spells, and to be honest I think that’s more upside than downside. Unfortunately not instant speed like Mystical Tutor but you are getting the card straight to your hand instead of the top of your library, meaning that you don’t need to wait for your turn again or draw an extra card to have access to it.

Merchant Scroll is a staple in combo decks as well as just being useful to go and find counterspells or a Cyclonic Rift to reset the board, and I don’t doubt that Solve the Equation is going to be put to similar use. The US seems to have realised this already and albeit an uncommon, Solve the Equation is already a $3 foil and $1.50 non-foil. Over in Europe it’s a different story, with foils at €1 and non-foils right down at €0.25 or so.

That’s some great arbitrage to take advantage of, both for the foils and non-foils, so if you can target some bricks in Europe then you’re going to do well. I think that buylists for this are going to be strong a little way down the road, and foils might even get high enough to be worth selling on TCGPlayer or eBay as well.

Wandering Archaic // Explore the Vastlands

Price today: $5
Possible price: $10

Wandering Archaic isn’t quite as bulk-ish in terms of price as I’d like, but it is a really popular EDH card that I think has great long-term growth potential despite the relatively high current buy-in price. You have to scroll down a little way to find it on the EDHREC page because it’s colourless and so going by percentage isn’t that high on the list – but when you look at raw deck inclusion numbers, it’s damn near the top of the pile.

At nearly 5000 decks already this is a hugely popular card, and being colourless it can slot into any deck you’d like to throw it in. I honestly don’t know how good the Explore the Vastlands side is, but I’m pretty sure that most people are using this card for the front side. Putting a tax on your opponents is always going to turn out well in EDH, because if years of Rhystic Study and Smothering Tithe have taught me anything it’s that people never pay when they should. That means that more often than not I think you’re going to get to copy your opponents’ spells, which is just an incredible amount of value from your five mana 4/4.

As I said, $5 for these might be a little high of a buy-in and we might even be able to get these cheaper in a couple of weeks or so, so my advice is to pick a few up now and keep an eye on the price to see if you can’t get them any cheaper in the coming weeks – and if you can, buy down the ladder. Again, this is the third most popular EDH card from the entire set by quite a wide margin and so even as a regular rare, it’s going to hold up in the long run.

Valentin, Dean of the Vein // Lisette, Dean of the Root

Price today: $1
Possible price: $4

Valentin is an intriguing card to look into, because despite already being in 1800 EDH decks on EDHREC there are only 77 decks built with it as the commander. And honestly? I think it’s being slept on. Being played in the 99 is great, but I think that having access to Valentin as your commander is so much more powerful and can be a great build-around.

There are very few good one mana commanders, but being able to keep casting them for cheap makes the good ones even better. Valentin exiling your opponents’ creatures instead of sending them to the graveyard is an excellent passive ability considering the amount of graveyard interaction there is in EDH, and if you have the spare mana then being able to also turn that into tokens is a nice bonus. If you want to build around that then you can easily fill your deck with sacrifice outlets to throw the tokens at, and and potentially lifegain synergies to go with it. Lisette on the other side of the card can help out with that too; once you have an army of tokens and a way to gain life you can pretty easily steamroll someone.

Regardless of whether you’re playing this as a commander or in the 99, I think that it’s a great card and a solid pickup in bulk at $1. I could see this hitting $4-5 retail and $3-4 buylist a year or two out from now, and I’m actually a big fan of the FEA versions sat at around $4 now as well.

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.

From 1 Modern Horizons 2 Another

We’re into the thick of preview season for Modern Horizons 2 now, with the set release under a month away now, and based on some of the early cards we’re seeing I want to go back and have a look at how this might impact some of the cards we got back in the first Modern Horizons set. We’re two years out from that now, and so supply is pretty low on the more popular cards, making for some good opportunities to ride the ladder upwards.

Ephemerate (Mystical Archive Foil)

Price today: $15/25
Possible price: $25/50

Ephemerate has seen a moderate amount of play in tier 1.5/2 Modern decks since its inception in Modern Horizons 1 two years ago, mostly in Soulherder and Stoneblade decks. As well as that it’s in over 10,000 EDH decks listed on EDHREC, and is one of the best ‘flicker’ effects that we have available to us at the moment.

With Modern Horizons 2 coming out next month, one of the earlier previews we’ve had is Grief, and with it the return of the Evoke mechanic. There’s been a decent amount of chatter surrounding Grief and talk of using it with Ephemerate to take two cards out of your opponent’s hand on turn one and then another on turn two. That’s some seriously powerful hand attack, and could fit really well into a Death & Taxes list with other cards like Tidehollow Sculler and Flickerwisp to cast Ephemerate on as well.

Even if that kind of deck doesn’t take over Modern immediately, Ephemerate is still a great card in both Modern and EDH (and Pauper too but that doesn’t really drive prices much), and I think that both the global and Japanese art Mystical Archive versions are good buys here. I prefer the foils in general just due to the much lower supply, but I don’t actually mind the etched foils for competitive play either at $3/6 respectively. The art on the Japanese version is by far my favourite though, and I’d favour those over the global arts if you can get some at a reasonable price. If players are wanting these for 60 card formats then they’re going to be snapping them off a playset at a time, and so with supply already low it wouldn’t take much for these prices to climb significantly.

Morophon, the Boundless (Foil)

Price today: $60
Possible price: $100

Modern Horizons 1 wasn’t chock full of tribal cards, but it did bring us a few gems like The First Sliver and Morophon, the Boundless. Over 3000 Morophon decks have been built and listed on EDHREC, with a further 4500 using it in the 99 – people love tribal things. We’ve just seen a bunch of new Squirrels previewed for MH2 and on top of that we’ll likely be getting a load of tribal stuff in the upcoming D&D set as well. All that makes me think that Morophon is as good a buy now as ever.

Foils are up from where they used to be, but supply is getting very low now and I doubt this is a card we’re going to see reprinted in old border in MH2. With only fifteen NM foil listings on TCGPlayer I can see this climbing pretty easily as people look for cards for their new tribal decks.

Notably you can still pick these up as low as €37 ($45) in Europe, so if you have access to those then I think they’re a great buy. The only other printing of this is the Mystery Booster version, which is only in non-foil and not a huge amount of supply anyway. I think these are good for a reasonably quick flip within the next couple of months, especially if you can buy in Europe and sell to the US.

Goblin Engineer (OBF)

Price today: $39
Possible price: $80

I for one was a little surprised when we got Goblin Engineer reprinted as an old border card in Time Spiral Remastered, and I know that it caught a few people still holding Modern Horizons copies that they hadn’t yet outed due to the Modern Whirza deck that used it falling off the radar.

It’s not just a Modern card though, as it’s been dropped into over 10,000 EDH decks listed on EDHREC. Being able to repeatedly recur artifacts from your graveyard can range from powerful to oppressive, and the Engineer being a tutor on top of that makes it very strong indeed.

Just like the other popular ones, these old border foils are drying up fast with only 24 copies listed on TCGPlayer. They’re slightly cheaper in Europe at around $36, but supply is low there too. I doubt we’ll be getting another premium printing of this for a while so I like sitting on these for up to 12 months before reassessing, at which point you should have been able to realise some reasonable gains.

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.