All posts by Jason Alt

Jason is the hardest working MTG Finance writer in the business. With a column appearing on Coolstufff Inc. in addition to MTG Price, he is also a member of the Brainstorm Brewery finance podcast and a writer and administrator for EDHREC's content website. Follow him on twitter @JasonEAlt

Unlocked Pro Trader: Thrashing the Scorch

I publicly judge Magic cards on their ability to drive prices. If they can start cheap and get more expensive later, and if my expertise allows me to see that before other people, cool, I guess. But if they drive a bunch of other prices, even better. Publicly, that’s what I’m all about. Silently and internally, I judge Magic cards by how stupid their names are. Cards like Vorel of the Hull Clade sound like someone put a bunch of words through google translate. Is a hull a thing? Yeah, and so is a clade. Do those words in that order sound like Ra’s al Ghul got his Babel machine working and pointed it right at WotC headquarters? Also yes.

Here’s another name that sounds like complete word salad.

Yurlok of Scorch Thrash

This is not fun to say and I don’t know why they name Magic cards like this. Is the card fun in all the ways that count? Yes, and now it’s time to count those ways.

It is not important that you be able to see exactly what is going on in this picture. In fact, let’s focus a bit more.

Here are the top 3 decks this week. Yes, there are more Araumi decks than Yurlok. I think the financial opportunities are a lot like the tide – dead. I think there is more unexplored territory in the Yurlok deck and I’m going to focus on it. You’re free to scour Araumi yourself but I think there is more set to pop that hasn’t yet in Yurlok and it’s my article so get off my back already and let me do my job, rhetorical device I’ve employed to explain why I’m skipping the #2 deck.

Torbran and Obosh spent the last year doing for this card already but in case you didn’t find out that these were cash money, they’re probably not done going up. I would have preferred that we had a blank slate coming in and we could pluck these out of bulk boxes but with so much of 2020 having been spent indoors, it’s possible any LGS with un-inventoried boxes has these for like a quarter. I think this can hit $7 but I wouldn’t pay more than $4. Find these in your bulk, I know you have a bunch, we all do.

We used to have more time on bulk rares like this. This has largely been discovered by the finance community and the fact that this was $4 yesterday and is $8 today shows that we can’t wait like we used to be able to. I think these are findable and I also think they won’t maintain $10 or above because it’s only good in this deck, but smoke ’em if you got ’em.

I included Overabundance to sort of contrast with this next card a bit. Someone who doesn’t play EDH but understands the finance game will see a card like Overabundance, realize it was practically made to go into Yurlok decks and buy a bunch. That person doesn’t need EDHREC data to do that. But EDHREC doesn’t make the news, it reports the news, and nearly as many people are putting Tectonic Instability in their decks as are putting Overabundance.

However, Overabundance is a card that’s obvious to people who don’t play EDH and Tec Instability is a card that people who are building the deck will eventually figure out when they sit down and start to try and come up with 100 cards to play. I’m not saying any one card is better than another, but one of them is a cheaper buy-in right now and still has copies lying around despite the cards having nearly identical demand profiles.

I guess what I am saying is don’t get discouraged by missing the boat on cards like Overabundance when less obvious cards that are basically an identical spec are still left on the table. This is why I wait for EDHREC data rather than trying to guess what people are going to play the second a card is spoiled. Why fight everyone for cards that are going to peak then drop when you can fight no one for a slow gainer and sell at its peak?

Yurlok is here to finish what Kydele started and I’m about it. Sword and Umbral Mantle as both in play here because they generate infinite mana in other people’s mana pools if you have something like Heartstone and that’s hilarious. Even if you pay 1 mana to deal 3 damage over and over, it’s still a really solid pairing. Any 2-card combo where one of the cards is your commander is strong.

Mantle is already halfway through shaking off that Mystery Booster printing – what a beast of a card. This is solid with Yurlok and will be in like 80% of the Yurlok decks built, which could be a lot.

Good thing Yurlok deals the damage and it doesn’t count as mana burn. Just when you thought you were safe to let your opponent resolve Eladamri’s Vineyard with feet.

Speaking of which…

Maybe a bit too late for this one, but it’s good to know it’s a thing. Luckily CK’s buylist is climbing along with retail in case you want to get out quickly and easily and leave CK to try and offload the copies you got back in 1997.

In case you were thinking, “This is playable now AND on the Reserved List? How much could it possibly fall if the deck doesn’t catch on? It’s not like they’re printing more copies of this” I present to you the following

That plummet accounts for about $4.35 of its peak of $5, or about 87% of the card’s “Well it’s on the Reserve [sic] List” perceived value. Just saying. Not saying it hits $0.65 again, I’m saying I’m staying away. If I thought it was a good idea to invest in RL garbage that might go up because of a deck, I’d advocate better cards than this. Could this be the deck that does it? Maybe, but if so, it’s already back up to $5 so no sense lamenting that you don’t get the chance to go hunt for greater fools, there’s money to be made elsewhere.

That does it for me this week. There are probably more cards you can pick up and I would keep going if they let me, but it’s time to call it an article. Thanks for reading me for all these years. Join me next week where we’ll find even more stuff the Overabundance-buyers missed. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Let’s Get This (Turn) Over With

Readers!

We have data! You know what that means! I get to stop guessing!

Before I run headlong into data, I should write a *bit* above the fold. I have done a lot of these “first data we have” articles by now and I have noticed some trends. In general, you can get a feel for whether the most popular commander initially is a flavor of the week or whether it’s going to hold strong. I think obvious commanders are built the most first and good ones last the longest. Sometimes a card is Omnath, Locus of Creation and it’s both good and fairly obvious. Sometimes Golos is in tenth place for 3 months then it’s in the Top 25 commanders from the last two years once people realize how absurd it can be. I think Commander Legends has so many cards that are obvious and powerful, the “most built” doesn’t mean a ton – this set will cause more decks to be built than any set in the last two years. I’m literally picking the most popular because I have to write about something. That said, I didn’t see this coming, and you probably didn’t either, so let’s talk about what came out on top.

At 66 decks, Obeka is running away with the top spot. Right now it’s not all that close, either. What makes Obeka so compelling? Let’s look at that in a minute. First, how not close was it?

I expect this list to change a lot in the coming days. We are looking at 66, 39, 36, 30, 28. A lot of the counts are fairly tight except Obeka is lapping everything. Why? Let’s take a look at what the deck plays.

I expected Sedris to feature heavily. This card being in Grixis was no accident – we were meant to think of Unearth right away. Sedris decks have been ending the turn to keep Unearth creatures around for years and now instead of our Unearth enabler needing to find ways to end the turn, we have an end the turn enabler with no shortage of juicy payoffs for that ability. Final Fortune and Last Chance already shot up, so there’s not much chance you can make money unless the copies you get are mispriced. However, there is still a lot of meat on the bone left. Let’s look at some of it.

Glorious End is selling out, but it’s a fairly high-volume card given how recent it is. However, it’s a Mythic and a lot of the copies have been relegated to bulk binders and boxes to dig through rather than being accounted for in store inventories. This means copies are still out there and their introduction into the market will delay a big price spike. If you can track down some loose copies, this seems like it goes to at least $5. It may not hold there, but if you get in for a buck and out for $3.50, can you complain?

The good thing about Kikity-Jikity is that it’s good in almost every Red deck and will be money whether or not Obeka stays on top. The bad thing about Keeks to the Jeeks is that it gets printed roughly every year. Kamigawa original copies do a better job of shrugging off the reprints than the new versions with the new art, but Iconic Masters dragged the price down to around $10, $20 for foils. I like both of those prices. I’ll pay $20 for a foil if the Kamigawa original is more than that. I think Kiki could get reprinted soon, but I also think we can make a bit on them before that happens. I don’t have the utmost confidence in this as a spec, but this is a card you’re never going to lose a ton of money on, and that’s worth knowing, especially if it gets reprinted again and you can buy in for like $8 again.

The Iconic Masters version has grown by 50% over the last two years and I don’t see Wizards adding cards that make it better making it a worse gainer next time it’s printed.

Sundial is already going up, but it went up a year ago so I think even if you buy in around $3, enough copies were concentrated in the hands of dealers after the first spike that there won’t be loose copies the market can soak up and retail operations holding large quantities will determine the price, meaning this is headed to $10, at least for a bit. The Mystery Booster retail edition copies will slow things down but not forever. This is a solid pick-up and there are plenty of copies for you to get in slowly and not have to worry about panicking.

A commander that makes good cards way better is just as good as a commander that makes bad cards good. Sure, you can grab a bunch of bulk copies and cash out at the top with a commander that enables bad cards, but you can also have other chances to dump good cards made better. Whipe of Erebos was always a solid pick-up and has been a nice gainer, but having another reason for it to go up in price is great. The other demand will sustain and help justify a higher price meaning it won’t crash of people grow tired of Obeka. $4 copies on CFB while the card heads to $10 on Card Kingdom is just what I like to see.

This is on its way to the moon by now. If you snag a cheap copy forgotten in a box or bin, good on you, but being on the Reserved List and being from a set with no good cards in it will make this a $20 card soon. Will it hold? I don’t know. It’s just worth noting when cards like this pop.

This is way less sexy but it’s almost as old and rare. It’s not on the Reserved List, but no one is reprinting Dawn of the Dead, so you basically have a $5 Obeka card that you can get for just over a buck at CSI. Sounds good to me.

There are a lot more cards on the page for Obeka and some of them might never pop and some have already, but I think paying attention to the deck and how it’s built could yield some benefits, particularly with Sundial which is a backup for the commander and which is underpriced currently.

That does it for me this week. If you want to discuss any cards I missed or omitted, do it in the comments or message me in the Mtg Price Pro Traders Discord server if you’re a member. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: More (Somewhat) Baseless Speculation

Readers!

We don’t have any data but I need to save myself from election day doomscrolling on social media. It can be a bad day on Twitter or a silly day of trying to guess if people like the same stupid garbage in EDH that I do. I can’t stress enough that this is stuff I like and stuff I like isn’t always going to be popular with other people. Here is what I’d do with the new cards and what I’d need to do it.

All of the Krakr garbage (Krark-bage) was pretty obvious, but this is a Cheerios combo piece in the command zone. As Mtg Price’s resident breakfast cereal expert, I can tell you that Cheerios is a trash cereal only given to literal babies, but the deck is fun. Currently, Cheerios decks run 0-cost equipment and Puresteel Paladin, but there was a time in Magic history where Crimson Kobolds and Kobolds of Kher Keep were bounced with Cloudstone Curio with Glimpse of Nature until you get Grapeshot them to death. I don’t think you want to Grapeshot people in EDH, per se, however…

The Mystery Booster slowed the hype train, much like a wayward cow on the tracks might slow but not stop a runaway locomotive in a Denzel Washington movie when he was in his “Make movies about trains with Tony Scott” period.

Reservoir is down from its maximum but there is a lot of room to grow, especially if you can snag $5 copies from TCG Player and it’s already $8 on Card Kingdom. If it hits $14 on CK again, they’ll be offering $10 in credit and an easy double-up for barely any effort is pretty sweet. I think this card is a monster and it’s a great finisher for a stupid Cheerios deck. True, it’s a multiple card combo, but having one of those pieces in your command zone is a game-changer.

This card needs a reprint that isn’t just a more expensive masterpiece. I liked these at $35 before they hit $45 and dropped again. I think they can hit $50 or $55 if they don’t get a reprint, and it’s looking like they won’t. These are good in more than just the hypothetical Cheerios deck I bet no one builds but me and the price reflects that. There are so few copies in the hands of vendors, if I wanted to take $500 and just jack this price all up with a few well-placed buys then say “See, I called it” I could, but since I don’t have a YouTube channel I don’t see a point.

I have like 50 of these but I used them as tokens in my Prossh deck, so I am never coming off of them. I think there are a lot of lunatics like me, and with several cards like Kher Keep making tokens called “Kobolds of Kher Keep” these are attractive tokens as well as Magic cards in their own right. I’m a little surprised these stayed under $5 apiece, honestly.

For reference Crookshank Kobolds cost half as much because no one wants them as tokens. That said, Crookshank Kobolds are *only* half as much, which doesn’t seem right, either.

Unfortunately, you only get 1 copy of each in a 99 card deck, but they’re not as important as the Curio, which is easy to tutor for in a red deck. You can also build the deck with any other color(s) you want because Rograkh has partner. The deck could be fun. I don’t know what else in the deck would be expensive, though. You could build a pretty competitive deck for under $50, which is appealing, even with $30 of that being tied up in Curio.

The fluctuations between $7 and $1 are the $7 copies selling out and our algorithm scraping the $1 the sites want for the oversized card. It’s funny. What’s not funny is how much Yidris is going to cost when everyone builds a new cascade deck and none of the 4 color commanders are reprinted in Commander Legends. I should have recommended this weeks ago but, I goofed.

This isn’t directly related to anything in CL, but it IS in Maelstrom Wanderer and also, I like this card and it’s getting more expensive on CK because it’s bonkers, but also it’s cheap on TCG Player. If this is $11 on CK and $5 on TCG Player, you can practically arbitrage them.

I say this a lot but not all of you read all of my articles, so I’ll spend a little ink on this before I wrap things up. Do cards that are $11 on Card Kingdom and $7 on TCG Player sell on Card Kingdom for $11? You bet. There are a lot of reasons for this, but just know that Card Kingdom is a very good indicator of the health of an EDH card’s price and EDH is carrying a lot of the weight of the paper market right now. I think something is underpriced on TCG rather than thinking it’s overpriced on CK, and for EDH-only cards like this, it may help you to think in those terms as well.

That’s all for this week. Next week we will have a full spoiler, some data, maybe a new POTUS and I’ll be chasing the Shandalar speedrun world record on Twitch. Frank Karsten is sitting in 5th place and I’d love to knock him off of the leaderboard. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: (Somewhat) Baseless Speculation

Readers!

You know how I am always talking about how my data-driven approach has caused my confidence in my specs to increase as well as my hit rate? You’re getting better advice and making more money, I look smart, people go to EDHREC, etc? This is the week every 6 months we forget all of that.

Well this card is pretty stupid and ignoring the cards that could go up as a result seems stupid, also.

This is the biggest winner in terms of playability because you can force two players at once to hand over their decks (hopefully not on webcam) and you can take anything you want. Normally you’d target yourself and someone you kind of like, but Agent changes the whole game. I already liked this card, for the record.

Being the 9th-most-played card in a frankly STACKED set like Core 2020 is a good indicator that Schemy boi had some upside already. I also think Schemes Supremes over here is sort of tough to reprint per se in the kinds of products where they historically have printed Commander cards so it could be fairly insulated against a reprinting. Sure, you’ll make a ton buying Vampiric Tutor when it bottoms out and then goes back up because it’s Vampiric Tutor, but you didn’t need me to tell you to do that.

Fantastic Voyage over here was already in the midst of shaking off a reprint. It’s curious that it bottomed out 2 years after it was reprinted and not right in 2016 when the Commander deck containing it came out but you can see that the ceiling on the card is about $13 when its supply was half of what it currently is. EDH took it from $2 to $6 as a matter of course, I think its synergy with Opposition Agent makes it a card to *watch* if nothing else.

The internet works fast and this card is drying up faster than it already was. It’s been increasing the whole last year despite being a profoundly boring card to build around. Buying these now will be risky but if you have these, sell into the hype imo.

Any card that spent the year growing in price by 50% on Card Kingdom and stayed flat everywhere else is worth looking at in my opinion, as Card Kingdom is the canary in the coalmine for prices on EDH-only cards. If you can get this for half of what CK is charging now and it goes up, you can probably just turn around and buylist these to Card Kingdom for like $10 in store credit if it spikes. It was climbing anyway, so you actually can’t really lose, here.

This is a trap.

I mean, I think. The *second* time someone did OK at an SCG event with that stupid Food Chain, Misthollow Griffin deck, I really didn’t expect that to be the reason Food Chain went from $10 to $50 considering the initial print hype only made the card go from like $2 to $10 and EDH demand didn’t change at all over that time period. So when I say “this is a trap” I am basing this off of the fact that a deck built around Krark will be terrible and worse than Zndrsplt and Okaun decks already are, which is bad and mostly a novelty. If you have the cards, and you should know what the cards are without my help, sell into the hype. Here’s what I think moves but not sustainably.

This is mostly sold out, but what’s actually curious here is the price trajectory on Card Kingdom specifically.

It is obvious where Battlebond came out, but the price started ticking back up over time after the initial feeding frenzy ended. The deck isn’t built a ton and it’s sort of clunky and all of the stuff that was bulk before went right back down to bulk, but the iconic card stayed high on Card Kingdom specifically. It went back to $4 on TCG Player and up to $20 this week (second spikes will do that) and I still have a bunch of mine from last time because I couldn’t sell them and didn’t want to out them for CK store credit (they’re paying $9 now). Iconic cards don’t plummet like cards like Game of Chaos and Squee’s Revenge are going to. It’s likely too late to make nay money here unless you still had copies from last time, but I think that’s probably fine. The deck sucks without access to Blue, anyway. Also, I think it kind of sucks with access to Blue.

Legendary Creature – Spirit
Reach

Whenever another permanent enters the battlefield under your control, if it wasn’t put onto the battlefield with this ability, you may put a permanent card with an equal or lesser converted mana cost from your hand onto the battlefield.

Partner

So this card is actually incredibly busted AND it has partner so you can add another color (Blue) or other colors (Blue and Red or Black or Black and Red) and did they test this card? It generates a ton of value.

The good news is this is incredibly powerful and will cause a lot of decks to be built. The bad news is that anything this enables is already expensive and probably won’t go up much. I think it’s worth looking at every landfall token producer in this context, every Karoo all the way back to literal Karoo and that cycle and what this gets partnered with. Omnath, Locus of Rage, Emeria Angel, Scute Swarm – there’s no wrong way to generate infinite tokens with this stupid card that, I would like to remind you, can be your commander.

Here is what I think this card is most nutty paired with.

Once flirted with $30, now gettable under $15? Okey dokey. The Mystery Boosters didn’t add as much supply or as cleanly as people think and this is a card that is worth $30 because every set has one or two cards that as good with it. Purphoros and Impact Tremors will always be good in a certain kind of deck.

This is stupid. You make infinite clues with a Karoo. I don’t understand the rationale behind Kodama.

Now, I don’t speak German and some people are alleging that it’s been mistranslated and should read “nontoken permanent” which would still be quite good, but I haven’t seen anyone from Wizards verify that so I’ll assume the translation is correct. Insanity.

Karoos are back on the menu, boys. Yank these out of bulk – CK was getting nearly a buck apiece on these recently.

I’m sure there is stuff that I should have talked about, like the fact that pirates are a huge theme in the set, but since we don’t have any data and anything we’re baking on as a result of these particular cards is a gamble, I’ll save data for when we can afford to wait. For now, sell into hype, buy at your own risk and don’t take any wooden nickels. Until next time!

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