All posts by Jason Alt

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

Pro Trader: Hulking Out

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#&$@ Leovold. I don’t care, don’t let the door hit you in your three toughness. Buff-ass bureaucrat, sitting behind a desk shaking hands with his 3 toughness. Like he needed to be a 3/3 for 3, like his stats matter. Like he would be unplayable in Legacy if all he said was “Your opponents can’t cast Brainstorm or win with basically any combo deck.” Like people would say “I don’t know, a 1/1 for 3 is a bad rate for my EDH general when all his text box says is ‘If you resolve Teferi’s Puzzle Box, no one but you gets to play Magic.'” Eat a bag of elf $^%&, Leovold.

That said, I made a lot of money off of cards that Leovold made expensive and while I don’t think any of those cards will tank too much because of price memory and the post hoc justification about how they’re all played in Nekusar,  Nekusar himself actually is trending up in price because Legacy and Vintage are making up the bulk of his demand and with the elimination of Sensei’s Top, people are going to lean on him harder than they did before. Leovold, you made a lot of people a lot of money and for that we thank you. If your demand continues to increase, maybe my LGS will clear out a few more of the boxes of Conspiracy they accidentally overordered and can’t get rid of.

Out with Leovold and in with a card that may or may not have belonged in card jail – Protean Hulk. For those of you who don’t know what Protean Hulk does, he basically enables combos that are so convoluted that my favorite story about Protean Hulk is from 2005.

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Brainstorm Brewery Amonkhet Set Review

 

Today we are incredibly lucky to be joined by Brian Braun-Duin for our Amonkhet set review.   Brian shares his insight into which cards are poised to have a large first weekend, and which ones are traps.   Join us for a look at the important cards in the set.

  • Douglas Johnson is our second-most special guest (@Rose0fthorns)
  • Brian Braun-Duin is out most special guest
  • We review cards in rough order of importance and alphabetical occurrence
  • Support our Patreon!  Playmats are on the way!
  • Need to contact us? Hit up BrainstormBrew@gmail.com

Contact Us!

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Douglas Johnson is and will forever be merely a guest

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Unlocked PRO TRADER: THE AMONKHET STUFF EDH CARES ABOUT – PART 2

What’s up, nerds?

I am going to finish up the spoilers today by talking about the stuff I missed last week because it hadn’t been spoiled yet or I didn’t want to. I also had some requests from you nerds, and I don’t want you to think I don’t read your comments so I’m going to address those points.

As a reminder, let’s take a look at the cards from Aether Revolt that are worth more than $2 now that it’s been a few months.

Not too many cards here.

Next week I’m going to talk the whole time about all of the cards that Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons is going to make expensive because that’s what this column used to be about before everything Wizards did kept distracting me. Hapatra her(Him? Their?)self is unlikely to be a factor finance-wise but we’re not so much concerned with that. We’re all about throwing big rocks in the pond and studying the ripples they make and not so much caring about the price of the rock. I think Baral being $2.15 means that the conversation about Hapatra’s price is liable to be a short one. Still, next week’s conversation is bound to be a lively one as all of the -1/-1 counter tribal cards (Except Kulrath Knight, dammit) can go in a Hapatra deck and it’s the most popular of the new commanders on EDHREC.

 

Before I launch into the stuff I wanted to talk about this week, I had some requests last week and I’m going to address those before I move on.

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Samut, Voice of Dissent

This card sure does have a lot of abilities. The question, though, is whether any of it matters. I think for this card itself to be relevant financially, it will need to get picked up in Modern or Standard and I’m not sure that’s going to happen. While it’s cool to have a Flash, Double Strike creature, are we going Voltron? I think you’re a bad Uril deck. Are you some sort of Naya commander, giving your creatures haste and untapping one of them a turn? Does that help you out at all? I can’t predict which cards will go up as a result of this printing because I don’t know what Samut players want. Neither do they. A brief trip over to EDHREC to look at the Samut page reveals a disorganized hodgepodge of random Naya goodstuff and a total lack of cohesion. Until something solid built around this card materializes, I’m forced to conclude that despite this card having every ability, it’s not going to be a force financially due to its lack of focus.

Vizier of Tumbling Sands

This is a real card and the cycling certainly doesn’t hurt its case, especially with creatures like Phyrexian Ooze and The Mimeoplasm out there. However, I don’t know that this will ever be worth actual money. I know this because I can compare it to something that is worth actual money.

Aphetto Alchemist is worth actual money. I’m not sure if anything outside of EDH is playing it (Whereas Fatestitcher got where it is because of use in Modern Jeskai decks) but EDH use has been enough to send this card surging into “actual money” territory which is a good place to be. The problem? The bulk of the use Aphetto Alchemist is getting is from Azami decks because Alchemist is a Wizard. Being a Wizard is very important in Azami decks and Vizier is a Cleric, not a Wizard. Being a blue Cleric is like being the Valedictorian at Summer School. If your plan is to snag free copies of Vizier out of draft chaff, box them for a minute and wait until you can buylist them for quarters, that’s a fine plan. If you want to do anything beyond that with them, good luck – I don’t see it happening. It’s a good card, but so what?

That’s all for requests this week, so if you had a card you wanted me to talk about and I didn’t, I’m sorry. Maybe we’ll talk about it next week before I get deep into Hapatrananigans. Nagananigans? Not snakenanigans, certainly – Naga aren’t snakes, guys, the cat god doesn’t make cats and I just said a creature with 11 keyword abilities isn’t a good commander. What’s the world coming to?

Anyway, here’s the stuff I didn’t talk about last week because it hadn’t been spoiled yet or I didn’t feel like it.

Gideon’s Intervention

This is Nevermore with way more flexibility. If you say the name of the card after it’s played, this still hampers it. Nevermore is in about 2,000 decks on EDHREC and has climbed to nearly $1 in price. I don’t know that this can get much higher than that despite being a better (albeit slower, which isn’t necessarily the best thing for a card that’s supposed to come down before another card) version of it. I still think this will impact the format and it’s worth looking after.

Vizier of Remedies

This plus Devoted Druid is infinite Green mana. I don’t know if you want that much mana, but that’s a thing you can do. This can also mitigate some of the pain associated with creatures that put -1/-1 counters on your own creatures or opponents trying to do that. This nerfs Hapatra, but that’s too narrow to bother jamming in your deck. This will be used to generate infinite mana with Devoted Druid and that’s about it. I think the price will start high so there isn’t much opportunity here, but be aware that this is part of a good combo.

Forsake the Worldly 

People play cards like Revoke Existence. This is better than that card in several ways.  It’s an instant, it has cycling and it still hits artifacts and enchantments. I’m not sure if this will be a staple, but I am generally in favor of flexible, instant-speed removal that isn’t a dead draw and this is those things. Foils may be money.

Lay Claim

I don’t know how inclined people are to do this, but I am generally in favor of replacing cards that cost 1 less mana but don’t have cycling. I use Take Possession in my decks and I have even used Confiscate a few times. If you have Confiscate, replace it with this for sure. I like this a lot in Maelstrom Wanderer, in fact, and this like replaces the Take Possession that’s in there since I don’t whiff when I draw this like I do with other expensive spells in that deck early when all I want to do is ramp my mana. I’m in the market for a foil of this, and maybe more.

Shadow of the Grave

Yidris decks want this for sure, right? If you’re dumping a lot of cards to a wheel effect, drawing back double is going to get you there and even if you have to discard down to hand size, you can easily find 7 cards that will win you the game or at least help you stabilize. I think this could be used, though maybe not enough to keep it from being a bulk rare. Still seems dumb in Nekusar, Leovold and Yidris, and those decks combine for a lot of play.

Faith of the Devoted

A new, better Lightning Rift? Sign me up.

Combat Celebrant

Things that do this thing are always playable. Find a way to blink this dude and/or give him haste and you’ve got a stew, baby! I’ve been known to put Bear Umbra on Hellkite Charger, so you know how I do.

By Force

This is very good. I don’t know if it’s better or worse than Shattering Spree but I’m inclined to say better unless you’re in Mono-red. This is savage, but maybe not as exciting as other variants.

Manglehorn

This is bonkers. I’m not sure I’m replacing Acidic Slime with it, but this is just such a good hoser. It’s good to blink, it’s good not to blink, it’s maindeckable. I love this card. Love love love love this card. Get foils.

Gift of Paradise

Overgrowth is in almost 700 decks on EDHREC and this card is much, much better. Hargismb actually read the card and has a different take on it. I have changed how I feel.

Cascading Cataracts

This card is fun. I remember playing Crystal Quarry in a mono-black deck that used Last Stand to dome them for a ton because you only had Swamps. It was probably a decklist I got out of Duelist magazine but, whatever, I liked it. 5-color players are using Crystal Quarry enough that it’s a $5 card. This is better than that but not as rare so I bet this ends up around $3-$4ish in a year or two. Not bad for what almost assuredly starts out a bulk rare.

I think there may be a few more relevant cards but I think they’ll reveal themselves as people start to build decks. I’m going to talk to EDHREC about a custom report that ranks the cards from each new set based on the number of decks they’re in so I don’t have to do it manually. Next week there will be plenty to talk about and we can even spend the next few weeks speculating about which four tribes will be represented in Commander 2017.  Until next week!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: The Amonkhet Stuff EDH Cares About – Part 1

The set isn’t fully spoiled and I imagine there will be stuff spoiled between this article and the end of spoilers that will be relevant. Instead of waiting for that, I’m just going to get started and we’ll wrap up later. First, though, let’s take a look at how Aether Revolt is doing financially.

17 cards over $2. This is what we’re hoping the Invocation Masterpieces will do to prices in Amonkhet but it’s hard to say. Also, I was surprised to find that the 4th most expensive card is not even in regular boosters – it’s a durdly Planeswalker from the Planeswalker packs. Its high price is only surprising because I didn’t think it was that good – being in the Planeswalker deck means Masterpieces had no effect on its price.

 

So what I’m seeing is that basically 25% of the people who preordered Walking Ballista and hardly anyone else made money pre-ordering. Prices go down on just about everything 3 months later due to more boxes than ever being opened. Does it make sense to have a $7 uncommon in that context? Maybe, maybe not. What is EDH going to do?

Looking at Aether Revolt prices, we see Paradox Engine, Planar Bridge, Baral and Mechanized Production which seem to be expensive solely because of EDH. In the case of Paradox Engine, we have a card that’s one of the most expensive in the set solely because it’s bannably good in EDH and is basically warping that format. Could it be banned? Maybe. But until it is, it’s going to continue to be one of the most valuable cards in the set. Everything else got smashed down to like a buck and while that is good long-term, you’re looking to see what to pre-order (if anything ) and/or how much of a bath you’re going to take on the stuff you buy early. Do you need cards to play with right away? Then suck it, up; you’re going to lose some money, it happens. Are you willing to wait a minute? I think I can help you, there. Let’s look at what we should care about and what it will be worth in a few months.

Annointed Procession

This card is pre-selling for $3 on SCG and I think that may be too little and too much. Long-term, I think this has chops and can really get there because it’s a carbon copy of a card that is already expensive. I also think this goes down before it goes up.

Parallel Lives was under $3 for a minute and that was a while after it was printed. Parallel Lives is also in more appropriate colors for this effect. That said, lots of white token-based decks that never had access to green have been waiting for this. I think Parallel Lives’ price helped establish the preliminary price for this card but it can’t maintain it. At peak supply for this card, it will be very hard-pressed to maintain even $1 unless it’s directly impacting Standard, which I doubt. This is this set’s Dictate of Erebos, which means we’ll have time to get these for cheap and we’ll be getting $3-$5 for these in a year or two. This is a great opportunity, just don’t buy in too early.

Cast Out

I don’t see this being quite as expensive as Fatal Push (or as secretly rare – I have seen boxes of Aether Revolt with 2 copies of multiple rares and only one Fatal Push) so I think a good target for this is “free in draft chaff” if you can get them. EDH plays effects like this and tacking cycling onto it makes this pretty attractive. Get foils while the base price and multiplier are both low.

Regal Caracal

Cat lord. Maybe EDH doesn’t want this (a non-zero number of people absolutely will) but 60-card casual overlaps with EDH sometimes and obscures where the demand is coming from. The advantage of appealing to 60-card casual is that they can snap four of these up at a time. I think once this is bulk, you set it aside when you process bulk rares and that’s all you need to do. Forget these in a box and find them in two years when you can buylist these for like $1.50 each and use the proceeds to buy your family’s freedom from the marauding gangs of paramilitary thugs or Spam or air filters or whatever we’ll need money for in two years.

It’s going to look like I’m omitting “As Foretold” but since that’s not EDH-exclusive, the price won’t be affected by anything we do so it’s not really worth discussing. $25 is probably too much, but I don’t know if it will ever get so cheap that we’ll be glad later we paid that price. This card is just going to straight ruin prices on a lot of cards for a minute.

Kefnet the Mindful

This card is better than anyone thinks, probably. Still, it’s going to have a tougher time finding a home than most Sea Drake variants. I don’t want to pay $6 for this for sure. In general, these gods are way worse than the Theros ones and those prices are still low on some of them. I don’t expect this to ever be worth enough that we’re glad we bought in before these rotate out of Standard.

New Perspectives

This is just another bulk rare which likely languishes at bulk for a minute, but currently Lifecrafter’s Bestiary is a bulk rare and we know that can’t stay cheap forever. This card is good, albeit narrow. I feel like EDH will use its first ability as often as its second, especially in decks like Roon and Brago. Pull this out of bulk and box it up and wait.

Pull from Tomorrow

The marginal upside of being “allowed” to discard a card for certain decks isn’t enough to pay $3 for this right now. This will be bulk eventually but it will also be worth getting because it’s got more utility than some other cards that do this (though you can’t make them draw out like you can with Stroke of Genius, etc). In a world with a ton of cards that do this exact thing, this differentiates itself slightly by letting decks like The Mimeoplasm discard and that gives it longterm upside that Standard players won’t understand. Get these at bulk.

Liliana’s Mastery

How long do we expect casual gold like this to be a bulk rare? I sound like a broken record, but get these in bulk and hold onto them. It’s fine to sound like a broken record during preview season considering there are only one or two cards that won’t go down in price, and usually one of those cards only reveals itself after pro players have done significant testing.

Lord of the Accursed

“Why is an uncommon worth $4?” – Someone on reddit in two years

Champion of Rhonas

No, I didn’t forget red, I just don’t have any red cards to talk about because, like always, there are no good red EDH cards in sets other than Commander

This is better than Elvish Piper in some situations. It’s also not worth $6. I think this will probably get very cheap. Will this be one of the 17 cards worth more than $2 in a few months? I tend to doubt it. Here’s what I do – I ask myself “Am I more excited about this card than I was Aethersphere Harvester” and when the answer is inevitably “No” I decide that I don’t want to pay more than $2 for it.

Channeler Initiate

At $3, this may actually be underpriced, I don’t know yet. What I do know is that this can put -1/-1 counters on creatures other than itself which is not always a bad thing and this can grow itself while it helps your mana.  This card is really stupid. Then I remember that Somberwald Sage is stupid in EDH and that’s like $1.50. Who knows? If this goes up before like 3 years, it’s probably because Standard wanted it, which I can see. This is a better Werebear.

Shefet Monitor

This is not a 6 mana creature. This is a 4 mana spell that says “Search your library for a basic land or, I guess, a Desert, put it into play untapped, shuffle up then draw a card. Put a dead lizard in your graveyard that you may end up putting back in your hand or accidentally reanimating.” and that’s a pretty decent spell.

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons 

This could be a sweet general, but I expect it to get played less than Baral. What’s Baral going for? Scroll up and check, then buy accordingly.

Neheb the Worthy

Whether you try to buy this guy or buy other Minotaur cards that might go up, I think you’re screwed no matter what you didgeridoo.

I may or may not write the second part to this before next week if they wrap up the spoilers, soon. To review, I think there is probably one slam-dunk opportunity in the set so far and that’s Annointed Procession. The good thing about there only being one sicko target is that we can all focus on it and ruin the price for everyone like the dirty finance mafiosos that we are. Got a card you’d like me to discuss that I omitted? Leave it in the comments section. Until next (week?) time!

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