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

Pro Trader: How to Invest in Crypto

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Readers! My attempt to game the headline analyzer algorithm are yielding some interesting results – this time I did a bit worse, 72%. I guess it’s better to make specific promises – “making 40k” than it is to tell people how to do things. Fair enough. The headline analyzer doesn’t think you want to be taught how to fish, it thinks you want fish spoonfed to you. I’m not going to do that, readers. It’s not because I respect your intelligence too much, far from it, I’m just not inclined to try and feed anyone fish with a spoon. I’m going to forkfeed these picks to you. That said, there isn’t a ton more data now than there was last week, and the EDHREC backend has gotten a little more complicated so we only have data from one deck. Let’s beat it to death and see if anything else comes rolling out of the corpse. Actually, no, I changed my mind mid-paragraph and rather than just erase that and write what I’m actually going to do, I’m going to leave all of it which will have the effect of showing you how my thought process works and also emphasize that this other thing is so important that I don’t want to risk forgetting about it. They made Necrotic Ooze a commander.

It doesn’t have the activated abilities of all creatures, but having the activated abilities of all Artifact Creatures is enough because you don’t need any creatures that aren’t artifacts.

I know I sound like a broken record here, but Phyrexian Devourer is very good with Necrotic Ooze effects and they’re going to come back into focus soon. Notice the Old Stickfingers bumps I warned about? The price has been cut in half, but since we have an even better Necrotic Ooze commander now, I figured why not just make a lot of money when this hits $30 again? Second spike, baby. Making money on this card is so much fun and I’ve done it so often I should send the Alliances design lead a gift basket. One of those edible arrangements or something. Something classy with a bunch of pineapple and shit. People love being thanked with a bunch of pineapple and honeydew melon but they don’t want to pay $45 plus delivery fees to get like 4 chocolate covered strawberries to be served to them at room temperature in front of all of their work colleagues. That’s where I’ll come in. Did I make you a bunch of money with this card in 2021? I bet I did. Is it absolutely going to happen again? Don’t answer here, that was a rhetorical question since this is an article and not a conversation. Let your chocolate covered pineapple wedges on skewers do the talking.

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Unlocked Pro Trader: How to Make 40k

Readers!

Here I was making a stupid pun title about the 40k decks, little did I know what I was actually doing was striking a rich vein of SEO GOLD BABY! Check out my score from the WordPress “headline analyzer” feature that I swear is a real thing and that I swear I have tried to game multiple times.

Now THAT’S a headline! I’m learning the headline analyzer just wants to see how good a job you can do sounding like a tech bro. My articles aren’t for general consumption and you get them from our feed or from me on twitter, but I can’t help but try and game this thing. Gamers gonna game, right? At least that’s WotC’s theory – they think people who game 40K on a tabletop will want to buy the new 40K preconstructed decks, and that EDH players will want to pay $100 for a precon that’s all curly-ass foils of absolutely pushed Magic cards. Just dumb, broken stuff that will plague Commander for a decade. Remember the Brawl decks? Let me refresh your memory.

Cool format you’ve got there, it would be a shame if something were to happen to it! Like we print a bunch of obvious. pushed commanders that end up in the top 100 of the last 2 years. Is the top 100 a hard goal to reach? Well, for reference, we got 70 new Legendary creatures in Dominaria United alone. It’s safe to say putting 4 commanders in the top 62 is an indication something is wrong. They didn’t get people to play Brawl at all but they permanently changed the face of Commander, so that’s nice. Are these 40k Commanders on the same power level? No, of course not. They’re worse. Much, much worse.

Here are the decklists

This doesn’t seem so bad. Does it synergize with anything in the deck that seems troubling?

I’d say so. Great googily moogily this card is bonkers. Gruul Hydra decks are going to be all over this but now the decks have access to Blue for cards like, I don’t know, Inexorable Tide.

It’s not your job to care about how to use EDHREC so I’ll tell you briefly that I went to Themes on the top bar, then clicked the word “tribes” and scrolled down to hydras. We have a Temur Hydras deck to look at, we don’t even have to extrapolate from Gruul. The deck is Animar and it has a lot of info about how people likely tackle The Swarmlord.

This is pretty interesting.

It’s wild that someone took a look at this price graph and said “this needs a Double Double Masters reprint STAT” but what do I know? WotC won’t even return my emails. I’m not sure which is more insane, the decline from $40 to $4 or the fact that the Double Double Masters reprint at rare had basically no impact on the price. I think if this card hits $2, you brick them. It’s not a $40 Standard scourge, nor is it a bulk mythic (though it got a rarity downshift which is a terrifying signal about the future of Simic creatures).

These are very solid underlying metrics for a $4 card and insane metrics for a $2 one if you consider how few copies of an Eldraine mythic and a rare from a set with $100 booster packs are out there.

But I don’t know how much else plays nicely with The Swarmlord specifically. One card I’ve been talking about fiveever is still a decent spec imo.

Barring a reprint this is a $7-$10 card, especially with some help from The Swarmlord. I don’t know how this card is still so cheap but it’s approaching $3 on the buylist, which is more than retail was when I first started beating this drum. Slow and steady until a reprint knocks out legs out from under us, that’s how we like it.

This will be a very popular commander and basically everything that will be in the deck is on this page for Torbran that you can peruse at your convenience. I want to get to more than one precon today but I think I might not be able to. This deck will be three much fun.

With less turnaround time than before, WoTC is unlikely to let this stay at $8 but I don’t think they can stop it from reaching that number. Mystery Booster printing did very little, if CSI wants $3 for this, I say oblige them.

Yes, they are that cheap and are still available for now.

I honestly don’t hate these under $10. Secret Lair drop cards always seem to go up and I loved that terrible Dungeons and Dragons TV show even before I had played Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. It was reruns, calm down, I’m not even 40 yet.

Torbran made this foil POP. Does Card Kingdom only want $7?

Well, yes and no.

At this point, any foil from an old set that does 1 damage in Izzet colors is a potential Aether Sting, which is exciting.

I have these in my bulk foils for sure, I haven’t picked that stuff in like 5 years.

Some sort of haste tribal deck seems very cool, and it’s not just Ball Lightnings that would be impacted. Let’s look at the page for Ball Lightning and see if we can glean anything from what cards tend to get played alongside it.

Look at these for a bit (if the image is too small, here is the page) and tell me if you see what I see. Give up?

Ognis is basically haste tribal!

Check out the High Synergy cards for Dragon tribal!

Deathleaper is one of the most exciting creatures we’ve seen in a while, and here is a card I will be putting directly onto my biggest creature.

Omnath, Locus of Rage made this no longer a bulk rare, what can Deathleaper do for it?

There is a lot to unpack here and each deck likely gets its own article, but it’s never too early to think about new cards even though we still haven’t even scratched the surface of Dominaria United. I could do this all day but I hit my word cap which means your eyes glazed over 4 paragraphs ago. Sorry for that. I’ll be back next week with more hot tips and cool quips. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: The Long View

Readers!

We have some data, and like always, we have some surprising data. I decided to look at which commanders we should look at in-depth based on how they charted this week. There were some VERY clear winners.

I expected Jodah to do OK, but to be built more than Atraxa, even in 2022 is a coup. Like, I’m not saying a boring deck like Atraxa SHOULD be built this much, I’m saying it is and that’s reality. A deck that claws its way to the top of a pile of profoundly boring decks is worth celebrating. Let’s take a look at Jodah and Ivy for specs, shall we?

Jodah really isn’t built that interestingly, unfortunately. All of these cards are cards we’ve gone over in the past. Still, there have to be some challenges associated with being built 5 color. Are there any unique cards?

Now THIS is what I call podracing, or whatever. I’m not rewatching that movie just to look up what he says.

The cards here are going to get jammed into every “Legendary matters” deck from here until the end of time, and with 70 new Legendary creatures every 2 months, the odds of them having to revisit the topic soon are 100%.



This is just starting to rebound despite being hideous.



This is the better buy, IMO, but it’s hard to go wrong with either. Enough people like the showcase version that there is no clear winner. Either way you go, this is a buy under $5. It’s not a broadly-appealing card but for the decks where it’s useful, there is no substitute. It’s cheaper than Mirror Gallery and it’s way better. Everyone forgot about this card because it was 20 sets ago, but this is quite, quite good.



I am shocked to see this card is worth money, but it seems like if you can get the non-foil around $2 and the extended art under $5, it seems good right now.



Sometimes Cool Stuff is actually the lowest price and not because they ran out of stock first.




Wild stuff!


This deck is going to be split between random new stuff and old Orvar staples, which is great. Any Orvar card is going to be second spiking and therefore that’s what I would prefer to focus on.



You won’t often find me advocating for the foil copy of a common card whose price appears to be declining but you also won’t NEVER find me doing that, so here we go, I’m doing that. This is the foil and it’s an $8 foil under the right circumstances, seems like a buy at $2 or $3.



This is still too cheap.



Here is 1,000 more words in support of Mirror Box as a spec.



I suspect this would be higher if not for the Conspiracy reprinting, but this card is bugnutty.


I think it’s rad that two commanders from the new set are in the top 10 for the week, especially Ivy which is running my favorite card from the set and breaking it wide open.



The set seems good, we’re going to have 70 new EDH decks to contend with and then we’ll do it all again in a matter of weeks. You guys don’t want to hear me gripe about my job in the content mines but it’s less than I’m bitching about being busy and more that I’m worried that everyone will feel like they’re drowning the way I do soon and that’s bad for the long-term health of the game. Back in my early finance days, we used to say “You can shear a sheep every year but you can only skin it once” and I’m starting to worry about what’s going to happen when eBay/TCG/CFB sets its sights on Hasbro in a big to make the ultimate Katamari Damacy amalgam to take on Disney. When that happens, you’ll hear about it here first. Thanks for reading, nerds. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: I Forgot the Precons

Readers!

I considered, as a bit, saying “I forgot the precons” a bunch of times in this article like they said “We bought a zoo!” in the movie “We Bought a Zoo.” I say “they” because I honestly don’t remember if it was Matt Damon or Brad Pitt. It was one of those two. Or Greg Kinnear. One of the three out of Matt Damon, Brad Pitt or Greg Kinnear. The point is, one of them, or Liev Schreiber maybe, I literally have no idea, but it’s one of those four, said “We bought a zoo!” every time something zooey happened. I think. I only saw the trailer. The point is, I forgot the precons.

I didn’t mean to, it’s just that last week we didn’t have data and this week we do, so I was all set to write the “We have data now!” article for the main set and I remembered I haven’t even TOUCHED the precon commanders. It’s cool, I remembered in time. While the precons are less ripe for giving us good specs, I think the top ones will have had enough cards removed and replaced that a consensus can start to form. Let’s see what we see, shall we? I forgot the precons.

This is the top 8 so far, but there are literally 30 Legendary creatures in this set of 5 decks and that’s… just so many. I like that Tor Wauki is currently winning, a lot, and I think it’s as good a place to start as any.



This is a pretty standard variation on the “Torbran turns a ping into a BANG” formula, and access to Black is very good. You wouldn’t know it from the High Synergy cards, but there are some high inclusions that deserve a look.



Perhaps then the foil?



This is a good card, a gorgeous if curly foil and a card that has flirted with $3 when it was getting played not at all. Obossh made people remember this card existed, Tor Wauki makes sure they never forget again.


Man, that was a sick sentence. I should write flavor text.



This is far from the best time to buy Sedgemoor Witch but it’s very far from the worse. I like this card a ton as I am beginning to like all Extended Art cards. This was basically the price of the regular frame for a while and a year on, this is how it looks. Just sayin.




If anything with Suspend on it ever gets cheap, buy a lot. Of all of the mechanics that seem to get broken and turn into free spells accidentally, Suspend seems to do it 5 times as often as anything else.



There will be a time when people stop caring that their copy of a Magic card is butt ugly because it’s a $16 copy of a $24 card. This isn’t there yet, but it’s rebounding already because this card is unfair. Both versions are under $5 right now and both are a buy.



Ditto. This version is more polarizing than ugly which should help the price of both, and both versions are too cheap, currently.





If someone is willing to sell you this powerful foil card for $1, you should take them up on it.



Here is Exhibit A, I could find an Exhibit B if you needed it, but I kind of feel like anyone who needed that would have acquitted OJ.



Fine, here is a card I told people to pick up at $1. Not bragging, just saying sometimes it’s so obvious even I catch it. This goes in the Hazezon deck but the nonfoil is trash, so consider foils when a new commander makes an old uncommon relevant.




Now THIS is a wild pile of cards, good gravy.



OK, kidding. I mean… kind of? Legends cards coming in Dominaria packs are going to be somewhat likely to spark some interest in the old set and with legendary status mattering to this absolute bat$*@# commander, some of the older stuff could move again. This card is old enough to have gray hair, there is something to be said for it not being actually unplayable since you can draw it with the middle ability on your Planeswalker commander that has a built in Insurrection you should probably be building to? I don’t know, what I do know is that the cards in this deck are all in the precon and people aren’t adding much and I wanted to finish with a whimper to give some other writers a crack at the title of “best article of the week” for a change.


I will go over more of the 70 Legendary creatures in this set next week because I am Magic’s Sisyphus. Thanks for reading, nerds. Until next time!

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