All posts by Oko Assassin

Blue Foils for the Win

Have you ever identified such a compelling speculation target that you’ve dreamed about it – perhaps in nightmare where you missed the opportunity and now the price has gone soaring? I recently had a bad dreams about Double Masters 2022 (2X2) booster boxes, which at the time were prices around $255 per box – a week later were up to $320 per box. Fortunately, after this dream I was smart (or dumb) enough to purchase several cases of 2X2, which are currently on track to be very profitable! While I have not yet had a dream about my first pick yet, that’s likely because I already took out a sizable position on it due to it being my first 10/10 confidence level selection. 

One factor I often use when evaluating potential selections is by looking at the quantity and type sold for any given card on, which can be very illuminating. Typically, non-foil versions sell at a greater frequency for most cards, especially for products with collector boosters producing a large quantity of foils. But there are of course always exceptions to this rule. One exception is cards in many EDH decks that also have a limited number of foil printings. This is especially true for first time foils, for example Carpet of Flowers, which was first printed in foil in a Secret Lair Artist Series: Johannes Voss. This first-time foil started out at around $30 and continued to grow over time to $60 today. When combined with the other contents of this drop, this Secret Lair has doubled up in value in just one year.

I believe my first pick will replicate the success of Carpet of Flowers, if not more.

Secret Lair Kelogsloops Foil Edition – Including First Time Foil Mystic Remora

Price today: $39.99 plus tax
Possible price: $80 in 12 months
Confidence: 10/10

Mystic Remora is included in 117,989 decks on EDHREC, which is two and a half times as many decks as Carpet of Flowers. This is despite zero reprints until this new Secret Lair – in any form – which will finally put more eyes on the card. Impressive. The original printing of Mystic Remora from Ice Age was cheap for a long time, but over the last few years it had begun to climb to over $10. Absent this reprint, it would have been a $20 card in a hurry, and I think it still is on this trajectory given a little more time. Having a strong non-foil price is important to give foil copies a solid foundation to establish a favorable foil-multiplier. I expect foil Mystic Remora’s to start off reasonably expensive and begin climbing even higher after months of supply draining out.

The rest of this Secret Lairs’ contents are very solid as well, which is why I recommend the entire drop instead of buying singles post-release. This drop also includes Burgeoning, Utopia Sprawl, and Retreat to Coralhelm, plus any unexpected bonus card.  In particular, Burgeoning is a very solid reprint based on its inclusion in 30,000 EDHREC decks and current $20 non-foil price tag. Burgeoning’s current foil price of $70 doesn’t seem like a realistic comparison, considering it’s from the 2016 release Conspiracy: Take the Crown, but still, the foils should do well.

Lastly, the art of this drop is amazing, and it’s borderless to boot. This Secret Lair is firing on all cylinders and is about as close to a sure bet that we’ve seen in a Secret Lairs for a long time, assuming no other reprints of these cards in the short term.

Rhystic Study (Unstable Harmonics): Secret Lair Foil

Price today: $30
Possible price: $60 in 18 months
Confidence: 8/10

Everyone knows Rhystic Study is an S tier staple in EDH. It’s included in nearly 200,000 decks on EDHREC and is often featured by key content producers who focus on the Commander format. What you might not know is that the only affordable foil version of this card is starting to dry up fast. when the Unstable Harmonics version of Rhystic Study first hit the market, there were large bricks available as far as the eye could see. Vendors had 20, 30, 60 copies available for sale – and for a moment the price fell below $30/copy. But from June 1-20, 150 near mint foil copies have sold on There are still a few vendors with bricks available, including one with 48 copies, but it’s significantly less than a month ago and it’s only a matter of time until this version of Rhystic Study begins climbing significantly in price. Its current foil competition is the Commander’s Arsenal version which is $75 for a light played foil or closer to $100 for a near mint version. While it’s unlikely that this new Secret Lair version will catch up with a 10-year-old foil, it should be much closer to this foil version than the none foils, which is where it stands right now. I would wait until this card is officially crushed out of 2X2, before picking up your copies just to be safe. After that, it seems like this foil should be a solid steady gainer moving forward.

Spellseeker – Judge Foil

Price today: $80
Possible price: $150 in 12 months
Confidence: 7/10

Spellseeker is an incredible EDH card, providing a solid tutor effect on a body that can be repeated if flickered. It is in 36,000 EDHREC decks, including six percent of all blue decks. The only non-foil printing of this card is around $35, setting a high price starting point for the foil multiplier. This judge promo originally began circulating in early 2020, so we should be near the tail-end of supply. In April 2022, the price for the judge promo climbed to over $150, with a few selling at $200, before falling back to its present level. While fleeting, this highlights the solid potential of this version of the card. Given another year, I believe this card can once again become a $150+ card. While the original foil Battlebond version is slightly cheaper at the moment, that hasn’t held back other similarly positioned cards, and I don’t think it will be able to contain Spellseeker either.  

Aged to Perfection

It’s normal to focus one’s attention on upcoming sets to look for the next big thing. Everywhere you look content creators are focused on new sets and the reasons are obvious. Content creators want your attention, and nothing keeps the public’s attention like a shiny new object. Yet when it comes to producing reliable returns, often the predictable and boring leads the way.

It has been a little over one year since Strixhaven, Commander 2021, and Modern Horizons 2 released. While a little boring, and repetitive, looking back on these sets with additional data and hindsight provides a great environment to begin cheaply stocking up on key commander staples at prices not previously thought possible. Supply on these sets is still deep enough to suppress prices while giving you the ability to buy “bricks”, i.e. large quantities, which is my favored approach. This is especially true for commander products – whose single prices remain extremely suppressed while pre-constructed decks are still in print and widely available. As you approach the end of a product being in print, typically around two years, prices tend to rise as supply starts to diminish and others begin to see the writing on the wall. Here are a few cards from about a year ago that I believe are set up for long-term success going forward.

Modern Horizons 2: Sword of Hearth and Home

Price today: $9
Possible price: $25
Confidence: 9/10

The sword cycle has been highly successful and profitable over the years. The most recent example was the Sword of Truth and Justice, which at one point was only $9 and has since climbed to $25, in spite of modest reprint. Even its counterpart the Sword of Sinew and Steel was on track to post sold gains despite modest play patterns, moving from $8 to $13, only to have its growth stifled by the reprint in Modern Horizons 2. Despite only being out for one year, the Sword of Hearth and Home is on track to soon eclipse the EDHREC numbers of both the Swords of Truth and Justice plus Sinew and Steel together. That is impressive. While the supply is abundant right now, that will quickly change once Modern Horizon 2 goes out of print. This card has hovered around $10 for a while, but I don’t think it will last. Absent a reprint, this card will no doubt present an easy double up, and likely more going forward.

Commander 2021: Archaeomancer’s Map

Price today: $10
Possible price: $20
Confidence: 7/10

White has gotten a lot of good cards lately, but Archaeomancer’s Map was one of the first cards that started this trend. It’s a strong card that provides card draw and ramp in white – albeit conditional on its opponent’s actions. Despite being a little narrow due to its requirement of several basic plains, it has still has found a home in 8% of white EDHREC decks, with 34,000 inclusions total. The staying power of this card can be seen when contrasted with Monologue Tax from the same set, which is in half the number of decks and its price has collapsed to just a few dollars. Sales for Archaeomancer’s Map remain strong – only the affordable unlimited supply of Commander 2021 decks is holding it back which can’t last forever. Additionally, as the power of white in the color pie grows, this card could also see additional play because it will become easier to run white as a primary rather than as a support color.

Strixhaven: Wandering Archaic

Price today: $5
Possible price: $12
Confidence: 8/10

Right out of the gate, everyone believed Wandering Archaic was good and it’s launch price reflected that. For a long while, this card hovered between $6 to $7 dollars, but recently Wandering Archaic dipped to about $5, which is a significant discount from where it started. The card provides a relatively unique effect in a colorless card – something that Wizards of the Coast has publicly stated they are moving away from going forward. It’s also double sided, providing some flexibility, although no one is running it for the back half. It’s included in over 34,000 decks on EDHREC, which represents about 3% of all decks. This isn’t spectacular as a percentage, but it doesn’t need to be when the card is colorless. Supply is fairly deep due to continued mass box openings of Strixhaven by large vendors (which is surprising), so there is no rush, but once supply is cut off this card will likely rebound quickly based on its strong daily sales.

MTGO Speculation for 2022

Speculating on Magic the Gathering Online (MTGO) is very different from its paper counterpart, as explained in my overview of the MTGO economics system here. The boom and bust cycle of MTGO is rapid, sometimes occurring within a matter of hours. Additionally, users can short MTGO positions, an opportunity that is fairly unique outside of the stock market. The method for having new cards enter the market is also different, which only occurs mainly through drafting and treasure chests. This article discusses a few key MTGO developments from 2021 and the lessons learned that can be applied in the new year.

2021 was a very busy year on Magic Online! Too much occurred to discuss everything that took place, but below are a few notable events and my view of their implications for the future.

Modern Horizons 2
Each year the MTGO economy changes and evolves, creating unique opportunities for profit for those who are paying close attention. The defining moment of 2021 was clearly the release of Modern Horizons 2 (MH2), which reinvigorated the MTGO economy, reshaped the modern and legacy formats, and instantly became the most expensive draftable set on the platform. Right out of the gate key staples like Ragavan started expensive and later went to astronomical levels!

Endurance also quickly became expensive due to its obvious applications and quick adoption in both Modern and Legacy. Other key mythics initially slumped in price to a more reasonable level, only to rebound again over a few months.

MH2 was only supposed to be draftable for a few short weeks, but based on the high prices and demand, this timeline was quickly extended for another several months. MH2 then left the platform from Mid-September through October, only to return again thanks to public pressure. In total MH2’s drafting period was six months, which is about twice as long as Modern Horizons 1. Now that MH2 is officially “out-of-print”, it is likely that prices will rise over the coming months. Pressure on a few key staples may be tempered due to their heavy drop rate in Treasure Chests, like Ragavan, Solitude, Endurance, and Urza’s Saga, but overall, I expect the value of MH2 overall to rise during the first half of 2022.

Key Takeaways:

– New Modern and Legacy staples have a higher price ceiling than ever before. This shift is likely caused by less drafting, rental services buying large quantities of cards, and the shift to 20 mythics per set instead of 15.
– High priced supplemental sets like MH1, CMR, and 2XM have all shown strong returns over the long run – MH2 will likely continue that trend.
Several key rares from MH2 will likely see exceptional returns over the long term – see Force of Vigor as an example of what is possible (I’m looking at you Esper Sentinel).

Broken Cards Drive Crazy Prices
What do Valki, God of Lies and Prismari Command have in common? Both were very broken cards on MTGO for a small period of time.
Valki was broken in terms of power level – casting a 7 mana planeswalker for three mana was good enough to get it banned via rules errata. Prismari Command on the other hand had a serious bug on MTGO, allowing the caster to draw two cards while their opponent was forced to discard two cards. Crazy right? What’s even more crazy is that it took WOTC more than a day or two to fix the issue. Within a week Prismari Command hit more than 50 tickets as a rare, and Valki reached more than 100 tickets for a brief period of time. A very familiar phenomenon occurred with Omnath, Locus of Creation in 2020 before it’s ban in standard.

Key Takeaways:
– If a card is overpowered on MTGO, it will likely trigger a price spike that can create solid profits prior to any action taken by WOTC to correct the problem.
– Be quick – the opportunity to buy into these price spikes arise in the first few days after the release of a new set. If you wait for the tournament results to be posted, it’s likely too late.

Standard Sets Are Getting a Lot More Expensive
Historically the normal expected value (EV) of a newly released standard set on MTGO was 90 to 140 tickets. EV often peaked at 140 to 180 tickets near the end of redemption when users rushed to cash out digital cards for paper versions. Very few sets fell outside of this price range, with Core Set 2020 being a notable exemption, reaching 220 ticket EV at its peak.

Fast-forward to today, the three most recent sets AFR, MID, and VOW have been shattering historical expectations. AFR set a record for a standard legal set by climbing to 300 ticket EV at the end of its redemption window, doubling a normal standard set EV as the close of its redemption period draws near. VOW’s EV hit 170 tickets after its release based on early modern play, but has recently slumped to 145 tickets once the novelty of new cards wore off combined with competition with Innistrad Double Feature.

The reasons for this trend of higher set EV is likely multifaceted but all of them lead me to the conclusion that less supply exists for newer cards, especially mythics, creating an opening for substantially inflated prices for cards that become constructed staples.

The first potential reason for higher prices is that fewer people are drafting on MTGO. This is especially true for standard legal sets because most people draft these sets on Magic Arena. While this has been true for years now, I think this trend accelerated in the last year. Second, each of these sets have competed with MH2 for players, further reducing the number of daily drafters and reducing supply. This is a fairly unique circumstance due to MH2’s unprecedented popularity and impact, but it’s worth noting for future Modern Horizon sets and others like D&D Commander Legends and Double Masters 2022. Third, there are now 20 mythics in standard legal sets, up from the historical 15, making it harder to obtain any specific mythic, further pressuring supply. And finally, AFR and VOW were not great draft environments, likely reducing interest and thus supply.

The results of this trend are that rares and mythics from these sets produced strong speculation opportunities. The examples are too numerous to list, but here are a few that are representative of the larger trend: Chandra, Dressed to Kill, The Meathook Massacre, Lier, Disciple of the Drowned, Intrepid Adversary, Sorin the Mirthless, and Den of the Bugbear.

Key Takeaways:
– The increased value of standard legal sets can result in abnormally large gains for cards seeing strong competitive play.
– Modern is the top format for driving prices, but Standard has been impactful as well. Pioneer and can impact card prices too, for example see Cemetery Gatekeeper.

Follow the Streamers
Magic players used to watch GPs and Pro Tours and then buy cards that did well in the weekly tournaments. In the world of COVID-19, steamers are now king in moving card prices on MTGO.

Sometimes streamers have a limited amount of success, like 5-0’ing a league, that creates a modest bump that is fleeting because the deck isn’t real. For example in September Aspiringspike got a 5-0 on stream with a new Arclight Phoenix/Demilich brew, and then took 6th place in the Modern challenge with it, the price of both these cards tripped overnight. The deck was all hype and never accomplished much after that, but those who watched the 5-0 and bought in were paid off handsomely.

Steamers often showcase innovative new tech that reveal strong new cards before tournament results prove their merit. While I don’t recommend you spend all day watching streams, following each of them on social media to monitor their results is highly recommended.

Key Takeaways:
– Follow competitive magic streamers on Twitter and Twitch, such as @Aspiringspike, @kanister_mtg, @d00mwake, and @anzidmtg
– When you see a new innovative deck, evaluate it critically. Steamers try new things to develop interesting content – not necessarily to play the best deck. If they do well, evaluate the decklist critically and decide whether it’s worth an investment, and remember that hype alone can often affect MTGO prices.

Wrap Up
The MTGO economy is highly dynamic, evolving as the popularity of each format, the metagame, and card supply changes over time. Many changes happened to MTGO in 2021 alone, and 2022 may feature an even bigger shake up as Daybreak Games takes over the day-to-day maintenance of the program. To maximize your success in speculating, try to recognize the shifts in patterns and be adaptable, adjusting your tactics accordingly.