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

MOM Preconstravaganza 3: A Series Concludes


Two weeks ago, I realized these Mom precons were no joke and there was more to them than we thought. With a surprising amount of depth, not to mention a few other surprises, I had to call an audible to expand this into a 3rd part. That’s good – depth is good. Let’s pick something with depth, say, the Seattle Kraken’s lineup. That is better than something with less depth, let’s say the Colorado Avalanche’s lineup. Is more depth better? We’ll find out later this week, I guess. My guess is, yes, in that particular narrow instance but also more broadly, depth is good. Let’s look at the numbers.

For reference, here is the shot from last week.

Sidar continues to climb. Last week I had to talk about how much each deck grew week to week to justify mainly focusing on Sidar because he was still in second place. The rest of the rankings look largely the same – I think it’s time to call it a Top 6. If you go to 7th and 8th, you get decks built half as much as Rashmi and Ragavan – I think only the top 6 here matter, sorry about picking a number that doesn’t cleanly divide into tournament brackets or whatever. This isn’t a tournament, it’s a lifelong fight for relevancy for these commanders in a world where calling MoM “the new set” isn’t accurate anymore. Let’s look at the 2 decks we haven’t.

The rest of this content is only visible to ProTrader members.

To learn more about being a ProTrader, click here to see all the benefits.

ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Unlocked Pro Trader: Leftover Strughetti


Last week we looked at the MOM precons and I was a little surprised at how the top of the heap looked. For reference, the page for the precons last week looked like this.

We had a few commanders flip spots, but it wasn’t so much which moved as it is how much they moved. That makes sense to me but in case it doesn’t make sense to you, I’ll explain.

What I mean to say is that while it is cool that Sidar Jabari went from third to second place, Sidar Jabari went from 263 decks to 944 in the same time period Goro-Goro went from 700 to 955. Sure, it’s still number one, but one grew a lot, and one grew a little.

So do we talk about the top commander or the one that grew the most? Well, we didn’t talk about Sidar last week and this week we should, so let’s look at the 3 big growers because there is still time for these to matter.

Knights matter is sort of boring but this has a new twist in that he brings back dead knights. Not only that, he gives you access to Blue so you can play Knight of Mists and kill a Chameleon Colossus or whatever the hell. Kindred Discovery? The Blue we get may underwhelm.

This seems a bit boring. The precon is so well made that basically everyone who is building this commander didn’t remove any of these cards. And why would you? I am a player and financier and I feel like I am in a zero-sum game between the two halves. I always win because something either interests me as a player or financier, so I’m almost always happy when I see a Magic card. In theory.

We could ask what Blue gets us, but it’s not much interesting. In fact, there are very few interesting cards in these lists. The thing about precons being too good is that there isn’t much to add.

The graph on this looks pretty bad since it keeps getting reprinted and the regular foil turns into a hyperbolic parabaloid (Pringles shape, I know that and now you have to know it, too) once you open it. There is one version I don’t hate, however.

Worth almost $8 in foil, this version won’t be reprinted and they’re going to keep printing sets where Knights matter every couple of years. The Extended Art is a buy both foil and non foil.

Kindred Discovery under $8 feels like a buy right now. The reprint hurt it, but with them freshening things up by giving Blue to creature types unused to getting Blue, this card will matter.

This version of the card was only in collector boosters and it’s a $10 card. I don’t know what else to say about this $10 card. I think most dealers have it priced wrong, that’s the issue.

Seems like the only people who think this isn’t a $10 card are Card Kingdom. They think it’s a $12 card. When Card Kingdom speaks this loud, I listen. Buy this for half of what CK is charging, I guess.

If this catches in Modern, I think the increased demand from this sicko combo in EDH could drive this above $35, but even if it doesn’t, this is still a good buy at half of its peak price. They won’t stop accidentally printing cards that go infinite with this, so why would they reprint this? I think $20 or below is a snap buy on these.

Sometimes just looking at the price graph of the oldest version of a card tells the whole story. Based on this graph alone, this is a superlative pickup.

Next week I will be wrapping up these precon decks that have a surprising amount of depth to them! Thanks for reading. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: MOM’s preconstrughetti


We have to talk about the cards from the Mother of Machines preconstructed decks. If I am being honest, most likely the most difficult part of this article will have been the first paragraph. It serves two purposes -it engages people who are going to read the article and it engages the people who are going to read the article on Thursday because they didn’t know they weren’t going to read it today when they clicked on the link. I am not sure I am doing a great job of that right now. If you’re about to move on to the next paragraph, I am going to highlight a bunch of specs based on the MOM preconstructed decks and you can skip right to it if you want. If you’re going to read this Thursday, I am going to unlock the secrets of Mtg Finance and demystify the process of selecting good specs and the next 48 hours will be a free-for-all with readers who read on Tuesday running roughshod over store inventories. If you don’t want to fight for table scraps with all the other slowpokes, consider a membership which also gives you access to the discord server and exclusive group buys.

It might not seem like it, but all of that was sort of an apology that lately my articles have begun to blur together a bit. Even the names aren’t particularly memorable. I am not creating evergreen content here, unfortunately, I am generating a list of specs for my friends and loyal customers so that they don’t have to think about finance if they just like EDH and EDH if they just like finance. If you like both, perhaps you would like my podcast. This is going to be kind of dry despite my best efforts to make it…. juicy? I don’t know what the opposite of “dry” is in this context. You want-a the juice? You like-a the juice? It’s-a time for the juice (but read this in a Greek accent because it’s that SNL sketch, not like a Mario thing). Juice time.

The Juice

I will be honest, the hype around the combo potential with Shalai and Hallar sort of made me think the deck would be more popular since it’s so easy to build. I didn’t count on that having to compete with the popularity of a Ninja deck with Red in it. Let’s take a look.

There isn’t a ton to do here since the good ninjas mostly are reprinted, but there are some interesting things going on here, regardless.

This is a foil that didn’t start out expensive, rather it grew as ninja fever was at its pitch and cooled off as they started giving us 50 new Legendary creatures every month. The sheer number of decks people have distracting them has made it very tough for any deck to receive enough of a consensus to move the needle which is why I have begun to focus on the weekly leaders. Could another ninja deck make this go back to $10 on its own? Perhaps not, but Infiltrator might dodge a reprint in a set and if it does, the foils will be even better. This seems like a chance to buy a future $11 for like $5 now and I don’t hate it despite not feeling all that confident talking about foils.

It sounds ridiculous, but Gingerbrute is an unblockable haste creature for 1 colorless mana and it turns out lots of formats want that and this only has 1 foil printing.

Baldur’s Gate is the best MTG set in a decade and we are going to find cards that are $2 now that will randomly hit $10 years from now. Look at this graph – this card tripled in price in under a year. I would say there aren’t too many mythics from Baldur’s Gate that don’t have insane growth potential. Also, the showcase version is that awful PHB page effect meaning this is the only copy anyone is going to play with.

I don’t know if you ever noticed this dropdown before, but when there are very distinct and obvious ways the deck is getting built, we’ll start to separate them by theme. Looking through by theme is very instructive and I recommend you do it, but just looking at what the themes are is, too. You’ll pick a bunch of different specs if you grok that people are building extra turns decks with these cards even if you got a sense that people were playing that theme when you saw Karlach. You’ll also notice ninjitsu is ten times more popular than Extra turns, in case you wanted to ignore cards like Karlach. I would caution against ignoring top and high synergy cards, however. I realize that putting them on EDHREC means the cards will end up in more decks which will push them higher. That doesn’t mean EDHREC isn’t useful here, in fact, it accidentally works very nicely for our purposes. If we can guess the high synergy cards early enough, we’ll have our prices correct when the time comes.

Saprolings + Red is something I love to see, and if you play EDH, your brain immediately started firing off “Goblin Bombardment, Impact Tremors, Parallel Lives” and yeah, the obvious cards are good to have, but maybe not great specs. To me, great specs are old, cheap, specific, not obsolete, the less redundant the better, obscure, possibly a second spike, and featured on the EDHREC page for the commander. Cards like

The one issue we have? The wall.

Now, with over 600 lists registered in the last week, this wall can be overcome, but people will just root out more copies from binders and boxes. This has all the hallmarks of a good spec except for the new reality in speccing that TCG Player direct has made it worthwhile to list a $0.15 rare and it’s hard to chew through 458 instances of 2 copies per vendor which means you pay $3 for shipping like 250 times. You have to acknowledge reality sometimes, as much as I wanted to be the genius who picked this at bulk.

Here is some more fun – The card on the right is newer, has more copies out there, is worse in basically every way in a deck with a lot of small creautres and the card on the right is worth twice as much as the card on the left. Thanks, Dominaria Remastered. The thing about old cards that people discover when they build a very specific deck like this is that WotC has a long memory, too, and you could get pantsed by a reprint. Symbiosis was a solid $4 card when Slimefoot was peaking and how obvious it was as a spec didn’t matter due to how obvious it was as a reprint.

And then sometimes they don’t reprint something and you get to buy at $10 and sell at $20 like 3 or 4 times and it feels so good it should be considered cheating.

Looking at the themes dropdown page can help you figure out which cards are going to be played across commanders from multiple precons and identify cards that would have gotten lost in the noise generated by Magic players running the same staples in every Jund deck, for example. Also, I looked at a Jund deck and saw Ignoble Hierarch still isn’t done dropping in price and it’s made me realize nothing I used to know matters anymore. What does matter is making the most of your data sources and I hope you’ll consider this source a good one and come back next week so we can finish the rest of these off. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: To Infinity and Beyond


I sometimes use naughty NSFW swears in my tweets so I don’t like them here, but if you have a cool boss or don’t browse on your company’s network, you should read my tweets because they are insightful and my number of followers shows that I am underrated and you are a hipster on the bleeding edge of Magic content made by people who don’t make YouTube videos or Tik Toks. Want to talk to a guy who is launching 2 different written-article-based content sits in year of our Lord two kay twenty3? That’s me, do it. I’ll even link my twitter for you. Now, on to the picks!

I called this article what I did because Wizards used to let a Saheeli Cat slip through once every 5 years or so, but that was when they were making 4 sets a year, not 4 products a month. It’s tougher to keep track of what you’re doing when you do nothing but fart out a steady stream of products. Imagine how much broken junk is coming down the pike now that the products coming out were made during COVID lockdowns by people who likely had trouble playtesting. It seems likely that we’re going to see a lot more boring combos where 1 part of the combo is a card and the only other combo piece is your commander. Super fun format, guys, thanks for focusing on it.

Whether or not you agree Saheeli Cat and its ilk are boring (I’m right but you’re allowed to disagree), we are getting more stuff, and there seems to be a very common culprit.

Now we could do an entire article about cards that combo with The Red Terror, but I might as well show you a website EDHREC helped build.

Commander’s Spellbook from Day 1 was a community-driven passion project where dedicated absolute lunatics set out to think up every Magic card combo and compile them in an indexable database. EDHREC is a good resource for how people are going to build decks, but Commander Spellbook is great for days like today where they show us a card and we have to quickly figure out what else that card combos with. Today, we got this.

Now, Shalai amd Hallar are not unique in being very, very new cards that combo with The Red Terror. Some of the combo pieces are VERY recent.

However, since an entire deck will get built, and everyone is going to build the exact same deck, we should try and anticipate what will be in there. Luckily, the internet saw fit to give us a ton of examples and I also know a bit about EDH so I compiled the best 5 cards to look at for going in this dumb combo deck where, again, you only need 1 card that isn’t your commander. Also, The Red Terror isn’t the only card that combines with Shallar over here, so let’s look at it first them move on.

Is this a real price, though?

OK, so this card plus Shalai and Hallar ends the game and it’s actually trending down despite the combo with All Will Be One. The card, not the set, the official full name of which I never learned.

I don’t think I can make a stronger case for The Red Terror than “Shivam tweeted about it” and Shivam, who is legitimately a lovely human and wonderful source of information, has a wide reach and a way of building decks that resonates with the people who want to have fun with Commander. This isn’t the way to do it, true, but that’s his base anyway.

He seems roughly as thrilled as I am. Still, if this dumb. obvious, linear commander is what we’ve got, let’s buy the rest of the deck so the people who build it next week have to buy from us.

I am not thrilled by a $20 buyin, but this is also a card that is other combos, including one in Modern. By “one” I mean “one deck” not one combo. People play up to 4 copies of this in not EDH so the fact that this has cross-format applicability and is a 1-shot KO with a new card means that we are unlikely to see the price stay the same. Maybe it won’t be $35 again, but it won’t be $15 again, either. You know, barring a significant reprint.

Historically, reprinted cards are capped at about midway between the pre- and post-spike price. $9 barring another reprint is respectable, but anything under $5 is very wrong based on the present circumstances.

This will never go up, they farted out too many special versions no one asked for. There are a million listings for this card under a buck on TCG Player. Shame.

A modest bump in buying in January saw this insane price leap for the foils, which we all probably have in our bulk foils but they’re too curly to flip through so they just stay jammed tightly in 4 rows under a dessicating lamp waiting for the day the moisture content is perfect and they flatten out to a pringles shape.

The non-foil is $3. What do we think the non-foil does under ideal circumstances?

This, ideally. I think Pure Flame is more likely to synergize with new cards even if Renewal is way better. Different sets, mind you, but same block and Worldwake packs got bought a ton because of course they did.

This is a good card. I wanted people to play Thief of Blood but they never did. Can I get people to play Blightbeetle? I doubt it! If I had any influence, Helm of Possession would be $20. Still, this was $5 at one point and now it’s 1/3 of that. Seems relevant.

I think new cards can cause a lot of shakeup, sometimes more than others, but with so many linear commanders every few weeks, only the truly popular will impact prices. Will this deck? Who knows, but in this game you’re either quick or certain and today I wanted to be quick. Thanks for reading, everyone. Until next time!