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: Mopping Up


We covered a lot of what is going to matter from New Capenna and New Capenna EDH decks which is great because previews started today for another product already so I guess we’re done with New Capenna.

We hardly knew ya, but you live by the streets, you die by the streets. Filling the void in our lives created by New Capenna being printed, thus depriving us of the cavalcade of spoilers that have been giving our lives meaning. For what is content creation without an incessant stream of new products, and the announcement of Secret Lairs which will charge your credit card $3,000 like 6 months after you forget you ordered them?

Before we close the book on New Capenna, let’s take one final look at how the Commanders are doing in terms of popularity. Now that the set is a week old, I think it’s finally fair to put them in the “Tops decks of the last week” category rather than sorting by set. That’s right, New Capenna is all grown up and ready to join the full data set and be judged against it. I feel like a proud papa here. Like a proud papa, I took pics.

Raffine and Jetmir not being able to beat Prosper makes sense – Prosper is the face card in an EDH precon and it’s also a super boring and obvious deck. I rail against boring and obvious because that kind of stuff offends my tastes as a deckbuilder and I need to constantly remind myself that I rely upon boring stuff to actually make money at MTG Finance. It’s not gambling if you remember your fundamentals, so let’s pick some boring cards and get out of here, I guess. Boring doesn’t have to be bad.

Archmage is popping? Let’s make sure.

This is how long these things take, now. Emertitus has a lot of versions, the bordless version of which is the best, but the multiple versions and sheer volume of product being poured down the throats of the community and the new perverse incentive to gamble at $1,000 a hand instead of $100 like in the past in the form of collector booster boxes has created such a glut of good, new, non-mythic rares that it takes some real doing to get a card to move. This is on its way, and while you might not break off any $2 borderless copies, we now know approximately how long this takes now. If it’s information that helps us in the future remains to be seen.

I don’t have much to say here, but this seems like an $8 card gettable around $2 some places until all of the $2 copies are gone which could be soon. This is a messed up card, but 8 mana is becoming increasingly trivial in EDH these days.

Cards are getting lost in the shuffle at a pretty rapid rate here and I think things are getting missed. Like this, at $1, is just a better version of this

which took 2 reprints to knock below $5. I don’t think Rampy boy necessary hits $7, but it’s not in the regular set and it’s not a card anyone is talking about which means you can snapple cheap copies while people don’t care about it because there are literally too many cards to even read these days.

Hear me out – this $12 card is way too cheap right now. I know $12 looks like a lot but it’s actually not enough. This is a $20 card and I don’t see how they reprint it.

Midnight Vow and Crimson Hunt were out for 15 minutes, no one drafted them because of Covid, they released an overpriced premium Black and White product that EVERYONE hated and now there are a bunch of standard rares that probably go to $10. Adeline is a profoundly unfair Magic card and everyone missed it because by the time the set was spoiled, they started spoiling another one. Besides, everyone is so unfamiliar with those sets that you didn’t even noticed I switched the names Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow around earlier in this paragraph. It would have been great to get these at $2 but I literally still thought this was like $5 because I haven’t checked on this set in over a month.

Commander Legends spoilers started today so I guess it’s back to the content mine to mine more content until I die of content lung when I’m 40. It’s not much, but it’s honest work and doesn’t take a physical toll on me, so there’s that. If you ever get bogged down by the sheer volume if it all, just remember that no one else can pay attention, either. You pick a card you feel good about, you buy low, and you sell high when no one even thinks about the set 2 weeks after it’s released. You don’t have to read every card, you only to read 1 if it’s the right card. Maybe next week we’ll talk about knowing which card is the right card. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: 5 Cards You Should Buy 2: Buy Harder

In answer of your first question, yes, you can in fact count on next week’s article to be titled “5 Cards You Should Buy 3: Buy Hard With a Vengeance” and I’m embarrassed for both of us that you even felt the need to question it.

Last week I adopted a kind of shorter format because I was eager to get right into the speccin’ and if you’re all into it, and I assume you are because no one complained, what if we just snapped off 5 very sexy specs (I had the phrase “sexy specs” in my head but I think it’s supposed to refer to eyeglasses) and called it a day? You aren’t paying me to feel that I write enough above the fold to not slam the paywall down on someone’s hands as they’re just coming to grips with my writing style, you’re paying me to give you some MTG Finance advice using EDHREC data which, and I can’t stress this enough, is publicly available.

Here is a quick look at the top decks from the New Capenna Commander set.

This week, taken on 5/10/22

For reference, here is what it looked like last week.

Last week, taken on 5/3/22

Pretty crazy stuff. This current list looks a lot more accurate and it shows that we should not be sleeping on Sphinxy boy. Let’s go there foist.

I don’t normally include this many high synergy cards, but it looks like just about every Will of the Council card is in play, even the bad ones.

Sphinx strike me down if I tell a lie, I would have sworn $20 was not the floor here but since it’s already hit that twice and rebounded, I’d say that if Expropriate gets cheaper than $20, there is no reason not to buy every copy and it’s staying where it is. If it gets another reprint, it’s hard to say whether that will hold true, but getting in for $25 on a card that I think easily goes to $40 and potentially beyond barring a reprint is almost as good as getting in at $20. I wanted to see where it would stop going down and it did that, now it’s time to take a hard look.

On the back of Tivit, Plea for Power is taking off, but it was on a nice trajectory before. If you can still get these for the old price, like in a bulk rare box where most of the copies of this card are, it’s going to $8 but who knows if it sticks there. This is the kind of spec I don’t love, so I won’t count it in your 5.

Second spikes are good. That’s all the analysis you get, this is a bonus pick, chill.

With the exception of the weird Orgg, these are all cards we had identified previously. This deck loves handing out hot potatoes and cards like Leveler and Eater of Days have always been weird cards that are $0.50 for a decade then $10 for a week. I think the less obvious but just as effective cards are good “late” specs because people already hoovered up the high synergy stuff but left some money on the table imo.

Eater is way more gettable at the old price than is something like Hellcarver Demon, but I also think that buying into hype is a bit loose. I think we’ll have better luck elsewhere.

Kamiz loves getting creatures through and doing stuff and the high synergy cards reflect that. Also, if you check the expansion symbols, all of these cards are in the precon. Awkward.

All of the top cards are in the precon. Super imaginative building, fam. I think sometimes cards from the precon get played more than they should, so I tried to steer people in a better direction by creating an EDHREC article section, a podcast, and a precon upgrade section. It is nothing if not gratifying to see the work I have done over the last 8 years make such a small dent in player behavior. I get that it’s tempting to leave the stuff from the precon in the deck because that’s 1 fewer other card you have to buy, but, come on.

I did find ONE juicy card. You notice the big spike on the graph in 2020? That was the card showing up in an episode of Game Knights. Kids, don’t spend 8 years trying to teach the world to build EDH decks, watch Game Knights and maybe you’ll get to those copies of Fervent Charge before anyone else. Or something. I like Game Knights, you should watch it if you’re not, like it or not, they inform a lot of how players build.

This card has fluctuated enough between $4 and $6 that I like it at its current price of “Still $6 a lot of places but not for long.” Cards that require you to deal combat damage or get in unblocked have never been my favorite and that’s why I never really noticed what a solid casual card this is. This has been expensive enough for long enough that it didn’t hang out in bulk rare boxes so the supply is the supply and it’s dwindling.

Treasure? In a treasure deck? It’s more likely than you might think.

This has demonstrated an ability to reach $7.50, a willingness to reach toward 10, and a third thing. I’m sorry, Usually I can lay down all of the structure for a decent sentence but this week is just letting me have it, so you get a weird bit instead of the other 1/3 of the information I wanted to impart. I’ll dumb it down – “LOOK GRAPH.” That was too dumb. “The shape of the graph indicates a second spike could be incoming and $5 is half of where I think it will end up, go nuts.” Better. But for real, look graph.

I don’t know if I have exactly 5 specs here and I apologize if that upsets you after I basically promised in the title I’d have 5, but maybe you didn’t like one of the specs and don’t consider it a real card in which case, I did what I said I would and you should go to therapy. I mean, everyone should, but I’m not the one pretending Magic cards don’t exist. Except Farewell, that card can – anyway, thanks for reading. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Five Cards You Should Buy

Oof, what a day. I literally spent like 10 minutes on the title and this was the best thing I could come up with. To be clear, the part of my brain capable of looking at cards and deciding what is a good pick is intact, but the part of my brain where I words good doesn’t words good now. I’m not going full Kevin from The Office (the bad one that overstayed its welcome, not the British version that seems super racist if you go back and watch it now), but I’m potentially cutting some of my description of the cards. I think I found some specs that will make a good case for themselves and I can cut what is essentially ad copy. That said, I kind of wish I hadn’t done that article where I just showed 20 pictures because that would have been sweet to have this week but I don’t want to just rehash my old, great ideas like that. Who am I, The Office?

The thing is, I think the specs I have assembled mostly speak for themselves, so I can likely get away with letting them make the case for themselves. Oh, also I cheated and picked a playable Reserved List card that’s under $5, which is a thing that shouldn’t exist. Thinking about it now, that’s a silly lede to bury. Let’s just start this article off with a bang and talk about why a Reserved List card is $5 (I don’t know) and why it’s playable (I think I know). This will be sick.

Get it? It’s Oscar the Grouch. You know, from Zeitgeist. Old Grouchy over here has a pretty interesting ability, rewarding you for discarding cards, kind of, or at least breaking the parity of cards like Bottomless Pit. It isn’t just cards like that, which keep spiking because WotC hasn’t figured out that people hate cards like Tergrid. Here is what I DO like.

This card, which spiked to $17 because bitcoin got pricey, is suddenly applicable in a deck people might play. Copies are drying up to the extent that there were a lot of $5 copies of this card after buylist hit $15 a year ago. If you can get this under $20, you are buying a card that has demonstrated its ability to get to $20 for no reason and now you’re buying it for a reason. I don’t know how much Oskar gets built, but no one was playing Oskar in 2019, so…

Speaking of Discard outlets, this erstwhile $30 card is on the Reserved List as well. It’s not the $10 it was after the bitcoin buyers but it’s still a very playable RL card and it’s bonkers in Oskar, a deck that might very well get built. This is a Reserved List card that is insanely powerful and it’s under $30, I think this seems like an easy pickup.

Card Kingdom was charging more than everyone else for this card and now they’re sold out. I don’t know if there is a clearer signal that this card is on its way to $15. I love this as a pickup. One caveat – Attunement isn’t quite as powerful as Argothian Wurm or Herald of Serra and it’s not on the Reserved List meaning this will never be $50 because they’ll dump it in a secret lair or something, but snatching these for $8 is cheating and you know it.

Art notwithstanding, this is the most popular EDH deck commander right now.

Welp, I was going to talk about this last week, but I missed the boat. With a week between articles, sometimes cards get missed and I am not sure how to best handle that. If you have any ideas, hit me up in the Pro Trader Discord or on Twitter and let me know. I feel bad that I didn’t say anything in time on this despite having identified it, but there are so many other cards that it shouldn’t matter.

For whatever reason, people keep playing this card and it already demonstrated it can go to twice what it costs right now, and it’s in the most popular deck from the precons, I think this seems like a safe bet.

I think there are a lot of cards from the EDH decks that could make older cards go up and I can’t get to all of them now. I think you can look through the EDHREC pages yourself, fortunately, but if you don’t, I’ll be back next week with more gas. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Billy Mays Here


Ever feel like this?

This is how I feel every time Wizards announces a new product. The ink isn’t even dry on New Capenna and already we have 5 EDH decks and they have started spoiling Baldur’s Gate cards. It’s a real grind even though sometimes if there is too much time between sets I don’t know what to write about. No chance of that happening here – we have a bunch of Commanders coming out at the exact same time as a bunch of other commanders. I used to do the “quick hits” article just to get the obvious stuff out of the way while we waited for the new cards, but the new cards are here, literally the same week, and quick hits are all we have time for. It sucks that I feel a bit like I am being waterboarded and can’t quite devote the same granularity to my analysis that I’d like, but Hasbro has decided that we need to give them money twice every month so I guess we do what Hasbro says or I have to get a real job. I don’t want to get a real job, I want to talk about New Capenna EDH precon cards.

There is a clear winner, and while the EDHREC scraper is busy picking up more decks and will display them tomorrow, today we have enough to call a clear winner, and it’s the Jund Blitz commander. Blitz is cool as a mechanic since it’s basically unique but it can make a bunch of cards that weren’t all that important before suddenly way cooler.

I don’t know if this card is bound for $20 or not, but if Henzie is this year’s Prosper, it’s a safe bet that this at least triples. We have precedent.

You gotta get in and get out quick, but the potential is there. Myth Unbound is a card that never really saw the play some people expected it to and while Stolen Strategy is a better card, we don’t need Myth to hit $20, we just need it to move, and it will. It won’t even take that much of a push.

This wall is pretty low, I think we’re in for some movement here for sure.

While we’re at it, other Delver is on the move and we could see that crest the $5 mark soon as well. I think there are a lot of copies but I also think it’s never been better than it is in this deck, which might end up being a significant player in EDH moving forward.

This card has basically plateaued and if paper Standard picks up because everyone is bored of Covid (they are where I live) then getting a mythic dargon that makes token for $4 is going to be a story you tell your grandkids about. It’s also perfect in this deck, which is currently the second-most-popular, if that means anything to you. It does to me.

The rest of the deck is mostly goodstuff and while it might be the Chain of Smog, Professor Onyx deck we’ve been waiting for, who even cares anymore?

Hit counters? Where have I seen those before?

Blue pip. Dammit. Etrata would be great in a Mari deck but Mari would be bad in an Etrata deck and also, an Etrata deck would be very, very bad. If there are more hit counters in the future, which is a soft maybe, both of these cards could matter?

Out of all of the Royal Assassin type cards, Kiku is the worst card and the best spec. Everything else is basically a bulk rare and liable to stay that way, but Kiku is from a set where we’ve see bulk rares hit $20 because of EDH if only in the near term. I don’t think this hits $20, but if enough people build Mari decks, Kiku is a player.

The wall seems lower than most but since Kiku isn’t a High Synergy or Top card, it’s going to see less play than most other assassins and it could really struggle to get there.

This is seriously a good commander to play just because everyone makes so much treasure that you could… well, die to decking, probably. If anyone can generate enough treasure to deck you, though, they’re going to win anyway, so it seems like this just draws a ton of cards whether you give them treasures or not.

The data is telling me that the showcase is the better spec, but I would not be caught dead with an AFR showcase card in my deck. I own multiple D&D PHBs from the 2nd edition/AD&D era, I’m not a snob. I understand the reference but this is just too ugly for me to jam in a deck. Card Kingdom wants $5 for this garbage, and with treasure being hot now, I bet they get it.

My gut tells me the better-looking version is the play, maybe even the foil.

The graph of the foil version is very similar. I think if you can get foils for $2, you’ll be happy later. Even the non-foils, which don’t turn into hyperbolic parabaloid potato crisps (they’re not allowed to call them chips for some reason but they can call them crisps? I read the headline and skimmed the article, what do you want from me, it was about Pringles).

There is a lot to like here, honestly. I’ll go more into detail on some of these commanders soon, but for now, I think this set, while super unwelcome, has some unique abilities? I don’t know, I literally haven’t even finished constructing my Prosper deck and they hit us with this BS? It’s too much, too soon. I advise you to do what I don’t do and focus on one thing you feel strongly about and go deep. I try to find a ton of hits because I have to, but you don’t, so don’t or you’ll be miserable. On that cheerful note, Magic is supposed to be fun so go play the stock market already you rascals. Until next time!