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: What I figured Out in 2019

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Readers!

Rather than rehash picks from the last year or write some lame duck article about more picks from a set that came out like 4 months ago, I decided to comb through my articles from the last year and coalesce all the techniques I came up with that were new in 2019. There were quite a few, they were the result of doing this for 8 years and I basically mentioned them and then didn’t again. If I do this it will both serve as a revision guide so you don’t have to re-read everything I wrote for a whole year (you’re welcome to, I’d like to think it’s pleasant and informative to read my writing) and it will also serve as a handy reference for all of 2019’s new techniques. Let’s do it to it.

High Synergy AND Inclusion Indexing

From: Data> Not Data 1/22/19

The synergy score on EDHREC is a little mysterious and if you’re not sure what it means, it can be misleading. In the article, I gave the example of a lunatic who jams Sorrow’s Path into Atraxa giving Sorrow’s Path a high synergy score for Atraxa since every Sorrow’s Path in the database is in an Atraxa deck, but a low inclusion score because only one Atraxa deck ever has it. They’re not exactly opposites, though, because a high synergy and high inclusion means it’s a staple in the deck and most copies of the deck run it. A low synergy score is a format staple, a high one is a deck staple. Taking the two scores together, I identified cards I might have otherwise ignored, like this one.


Foils of Plunderer were $4 and now they’re sold out at $10, so I must have been onto something. Don’t just look at one score, try to find cards where both scores are high. If the deck is built a lot (Teysa was the #1 deck from that set eventually and still is – Sorry Vannifar), the card will pan out.

Reconciling EDH and Other Formats

From: Number Crunch: 3/5/19

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The War of the Spark Mythic Edition was… fraught. I still have like 4 uncut sheets because they kept sending me bent ones and saying “Oh, my bad” and then sending me another bent one until I got bored. I sold one to someone to have it cut up and just kept the rest, unframed, just in tubes. If anyone wants to buy one, let me know, I have one good one.

The roll-out was botched but I wanted to see if we could predict the prices of the ‘walkers to see if it was worth it to buy, or at least see if there were any that were going to be over- or under-valued. I ranked the planeswalkers based on both EDHREC and MTG Top 8 rankings and averaged their rankings to see which had the best cross-format applicability then ranked them by price. Lo and behold, a few stinkers were immediately obvious but ultimately, it was a good buy.

That analysis wasn’t great for everything, but I imagine that technique of using data from both sites will come in handy again.

Big Discrepancies Between CK and TCG Player

From: The New Spread 3/19/19

EDHREC displays prices from two sites – TCG Player and Card Kingdom, right below the cards.

You will not be surprised to learn that TCG Player is almost always cheaper. Sometimes TCG Player is charging half as much. Those cards deserve a look because that means Card Kingdom is selling out of its smaller number of copies quickly and is repricing higher and TCG Player will take longer to sell out and adjust. Sometimes this process takes a long time.

Sometimes Card Kingdoms is cheaper, which bears looking into, also.

The technique here is to just train myself to notice these discrepancies and when you find one, check the price trajectory on MTG Price. Sometimes you’ll see what’s going on immediately, sometimes you won’t. Either way, you’ll notice things worth checking you didn’t notice before.

Relative Impact Of Popular Commanders

From: Not All Commanders Are Created Equal 7/16/19

Figuring out what goes in which deck is useful, but figuring out the contents of a deck no one is building is less useful than the decks everyone is building. I figured that if I compared the number of decks for each commander to the number of decks built for the most-built commander, you’d see which ones had more impact and which had less. That week, it was Yarok, so I figured out the relative build percentages of the other decks as a percentage of how much Yarok was built.

Didn’t make sense to dig too deep into Kethis if we didn’t figure out Kykar first, right? The colors were arbitrary but I think they illustrated my point well. I don’t do this every week but you could do it yourself in excel in 90 seconds and it helps to see which decks you should be looking at.

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Waiting for Rotation

From: Wait and Rotate 9/11/19

The conventional wisdom used to hold that you could wait for rotation to buy EDH cards because Standard players who had the stranded in their binders would sell them for pennies at rotation just to make room for the next block’s cards. Prices haven’t been doing that for a while, and they haven’t been cheap when they’re in Standard and still in print, either, even if they’re not used in Standard at all. EDH is the #1 format driving finance these days and we need to look at rotation differently. I went back to the last rotation and looked at graphs to see what popular cards actually did and how we should have acted. If you read one article from me in 2019, it should be this one.

Cross-Deck Impact

From: Synergy 11/9/19 and Synergy 2: Synergy Harder 11/27/19

Using a few websites that compared large lists of cards and distilled a list of the cards that were in all lists, I compared a lot of decks to see which staple cards would appear in all of them. I used a non-intuitive EDHREC feature to get text lists of the decks to import them and crunched a lot of numbers quickly. It was quick and dirty at first but it yielded important results. Best of all, it’s a simple thing you all could do yourself easily.

Once we had the technique, we applied it to the Secret Lair packs coming out to see if there were cards in common among the new decks likely to be built when people go shiny new versions of older cards. Don’t read this without your nitroglycerine pills handy, but they were tribal cards. Still, this technique can be applied to comparing any number of any decks and it’s worth me having figured it out for you.

All in all, I had a prolific 2019. I developed a lot of new techniques rather than just coast on what has been working and you can refer back to this if you want a refresher or need to locate the full article where I explained the new techniques. Thanks for reading! We have a few more weeks of 2019 to go and I have more year-end wrap-ups as well as Theros speculation planned. Until next time!

MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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Unlocked Pro Trader: It’s Happening

Readers,

We guessed last week that with the printing of the Secret Lair sets, we’d see an uptick in the popularity of some tribal cards and decks on the basis of people who didn’t have the decks built building them and people who had them built updating them. This week, we expect to see some of that conjecture borne out by data. Behold!

Ur-Dragon got 59 new decks last week and Arahbo got 47, vaulting both of the decks into the top 20 of the week. While it was cool to look at cards in common between the two decks, drilling down into the decks individually couldn’t hurt, either. Let’s do that, then.

Ur-Dragon

The new cards in this deck aren’t that surprising, and with the exception of the Henge and the Dragon, they’re “you’re playing 5 colors, you need this.”

Henge is basically a card you should really be trading for now. I don’t think a lot needs to be said about it other than that it’s quite good and there may never be a good time to buy it so you’re better off trading away cards that are very good in Standard and won’t quite impact anything beyond Standard. Trading $10 worth of Standard-only cards for $9 worth of Henges is worth it to me and the trade will look super lopsided in a half a year.

The Dragon makes even less sense. Look at the Instants and Sorceries in a typical Dargon deck using EDHREC’s Average Deck feature.

1 Crux of Fate
1 Cultivate
1 Earthquake
1 Explosive Vegetation
1 Farseek
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth
1 Rampant Growth

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Sarkhan’s Triumph
1 Swords to Plowshares

Is there anything worth rebuying here that makes you want to play a really basic dragon? I don’t think I’m cutting gas out of my list to make room for this. So far we’re striking out on interesting stuff, but people who didn’t have a deck and are now building one are going to move the needle more than people updating the decks to maybe put in a durdle dargon, so let’s move into the meat of the deck.

I really didn’t expect a card with multiple printings like this one to basically double in the years since it was last reprinted, but that’s a thing. It’s rebounded a lot better than some rares in the deck and while it’s too late to do anything, it’s worth noting.

Here’s another interesting thing to note.

This was touted in 2017 when the rest of the cycle seemed very strong in light of tribal decks being announced and it seemed like it would hit $10. It did, though it didn’t stay there. However, with this card being good in Dragons and Kittycats and Reaper King decks and any subsequent tribal sets, I think Steely Resolve is a pretty safe bet. While this was spiking off, I said in my 2017 article that I thought Cover of Darkness could get there. Was I right?

This turned out to be a MUCH better bet and it feels good to have called it. So you all know for later, how did I know? Well, that’s a secret.

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OK, fine, I’ll tell you. Teach a man to fish an all that. EDHREC doesn’t just give you raw, context-less numbers, it gives you context if you know where to look, and I know where to look, and now so do you.

The bar at the top of EDHREC has dropdown menus and one of them says “sets” which takes you to a menu with every set. Find Onslaught.

Cover of Darkness is the 55th-most-played card from Onslaught and Steely Resolve is 63rd. It’s a very good set. Still, Cover gets played more despite there being seemingly more opportunities for Green cards and Steely Resolve granting Shroud seeming better. You can look at what players will do based on what you think or you can go by what the numbers are telling you and the numbers told me Cover was the way to go, but they also tell me Steely Resolve isn’t done. I rather like it at its current price.

Arahbo

Not much to say here other than that I like its growth plot and while it has plateaued a bit, that’s not accounting for any additional copies being needed for new Arahbo decks. Those new decks can get most of the stuff they need outside of the precon, but need this. This is tough to reprint and it’s associated with the cat deck because that’s the deck it came in, but it’s good in all of them.

Got a European hookup? These are less than a Euro on Magic Card Market. Don’t have a European hookup? Become a Pro Trader and make a friend in our Discord. Remember, Modern cards are doing very well in Europe and EDH cards do much better over here. Get out of tanking Modern staples and get a huge bonus flipping into good EDH stuff before everyone realizes how easy it is.

That does it for me. Thanks for reading, everyone. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Synergy 2, Synergy Harder

Readers,

Everyone loves a sequel, except Martin Scorsese but he just released a movie that’s basically exactly The Departed only it’s 3 and a half hours long and it’s on Netflix because that’s how you save cinema, so we can safely ignore anything he has to say.

We’re back with the next edition of the article I wrote last week that I think was a great resource for new and old financiers alike. I’m always tweaking my process so thanks for coming along for the ride with me. Anyway, here’s some homework for you – if you didn’t read that article, go read it bow because I’m not going to go back and do that now because I’m not going to explain anything I explained there, I’m just going to give you some information and you can do with that information whatever you’d like.

The Next Impetus

We found out what was in the Secret Lair set and… look, as a finance person I think they’re great for now because I think they’re going to sell well and retain value but I think it’s also pretty jacked that a “set” that consists of a Bitterblossom and Bitterblossom tokens is being released by a company that won’t acknowledge the secondary market.

I don’t know if that signals their willingness to sell single cards directly to consumers (at the expense of the LGS, you know, that place where people congregate to play the game) but I do know the CONTENTS of the set and that’s a thing we can talk about with some certainty.

Image result for secret lair mtg


Image result for secret lair mtg

There are more sets like “Secret Lair part of a Dredge deck” and “I can’t believe we’re getting away with selling just a Bitterblossom” and “Ooops, All Serum Visions” but the ones I care about are these – 4 tribal commanders all with new art.

Are new people going to build decks around these commanders on the basis of this re-issue? Absolutely. Are people with those decks built going to update them? Also yes. They won’t buy all of the staples, but they’re more likely to buy the new ones. Playing your Reaper King deck down at the LGS once every 12 months doesn’t motivate you to go through and find a few cuts for Smothering Tithe and Revel in Riches but I bet a new art for your 7th favorite commander will.

Maybe the individual effect of people updating old decks and a few people building for the first time is enough to move the needle, maybe it isn’t. What I DO know is that if there are cards that are in all 4 decks, they’re 4 times as likely to move the needle. I mean, maybe not 4 exactly, but the actual number is both incalculable and probably pretty close to 4. Let’s use the technique I used last time to figure out which cards are in all 4 decks and could be in play. It might not be just Tribal staples.

Here is everything in all 4 decks before I clean it up. If you have an issue or a question with something I omit from my next list, leave it in the comments section.

Arcane Signet4List A, List B, List C, List D
Command Tower4List A, List B, List C, List D
Cultivate4List A, List B, List C, List D
Door of Destinies4List A, List B, List C, List D
Evolving Wilds4List A, List B, List C, List D
Explosive Vegetation4List A, List B, List C, List D
Farseek4List A, List B, List C, List D
Flooded Strand4List A, List B, List C, List D
Guardian Project4List A, List B, List C, List D
Helm of the Host4List A, List B, List C, List D
Herald’s Horn4List A, List B, List C, List D
Icon of Ancestry4List A, List B, List C, List D
Kodama’s Reach4List A, List B, List C, List D
Lightning Greaves4List A, List B, List C, List D
Mirari’s Wake4List A, List B, List C, List D
Path of Ancestry4List A, List B, List C, List D
Rampant Growth4List A, List B, List C, List D
Reliquary Tower4List A, List B, List C, List D
Smothering Tithe4List A, List B, List C, List D
Sol Ring4List A, List B, List C, List D
Swords to Plowshares4List A, List B, List C, List D
Temple Garden4List A, List B, List C, List D
Terramorphic Expanse4List A, List B, List C, List D
Unclaimed Territory4List A, List B, List C, List D
Vanquisher’s Banner4List A, List B, List C, List D
Vivid Grove4List A, List B, List C, List D
Vivid Meadow4List A, List B, List C, List D
Windswept Heath4List A, List B, List C, List D
Wooded Foothills4List A, List B, List C, List D

Here’s the stuff I think is interesting and not just “Multi-color manabase card.”

Before I do that, I just want to point out that every one of these decks will have Arcane Signet and anytime someone builds a new deck, they’ll need a Signet from a finite current supply, so anything that makes people build a new deck between now and a Signet reprint is significant with respect to that card.


Door of Destinies 4 List A, List B, List C, List D
Guardian Project 4 List A, List B, List C, List D
Helm of the Host 4 List A, List B, List C, List D
Herald’s Horn 4 List A, List B, List C, List D
Icon of Ancestry 4 List A, List B, List C, List D
Mirari’s Wake 4 List A, List B, List C, List D
Path of Ancestry 4 List A, List B, List C, List D
Smothering Tithe 4 List A, List B, List C, List D
Unclaimed Territory 4 List A, List B, List C, List D
Vanquisher’s Banner 4 List A, List B, List C, List D

A lot of tribal stuff here, but Mirari’s Wake is a card that is in a lot of “older” decks but has gone under the radar a bit lately. The rest of these cards are great in tribal decks, but Guardian Project and Smothering Tithe are especially curious since they’re newer cards in older decks. Enough people updated their lists on EDHREC when those cards came out to have those cards end up in a high percentage of decks on the database, so that backs up my assertion that people are going to build new copies of the deck.

The most interesting card here is clearly Helm of the Host. Let’s talk a lot about why I like it so much.

It’s trending upwards, it’s sold out of Card Kingdom, it’s underpriced on TCG Player, it’s an artifact, it’s the 7th-most-played equipment on EDHREC (Greaves, Boots, Clamp, Sunforger, Whispersilk Cloak, Sword of the Animist), it’s tricky to reprint, it’s the 11th-most-played card in Dominaria and, most importantly in my opinion, it’s in all 4 of these decks because people are figuring out that it’s a better Conjurer’s Closet in most decks and anything that scales off of the number of creatures you have or number of creatures in a tribe wants this. Helm of the Host is underpriced under $5 and it’s a card I’ve always liked, now more than ever since it’s going up from where I said to get it initially when I told people to buy them too early.

The ability of this card to shrug off reprints is commendable. It looks as though we should have bought in heavy when this price tanked as a result of a Commander 2017 reprinting, but the good news is it’s going up precipitously. If you buy some of these and get caught by a reprinting, buy new copies until your average price paid is satisfactory to you than watch all of them grow. It doesn’t change the fact that you overpaid a bit but it does change how good you feel about the price starting at $4 and reaching for the stars.

There are a few more interesting cards if you drop down to cards that show up in just 3 lists. A lot of the cards that weren’t in the 4 lists are because Arahbo is only 2 colors and the other cards are 5 colors. There is more signal but also more noise, if that makes sense.

I try not to do this that often but this card is in 3 of those decks, it’s played in tribal a lot, it’s got a sub-2x multiplier and the stock is super low. This is a card that’s going to organically reprice itself if none of us buy copies for speculation purposes. Players will snap up the last few copies, the price will go up, people will blame speculators and you won’t have any more money than you did last week. I’m not sure if I sound like a supervillain rationalizing his plan to drop a nuke into a volcano to make a third of Bolivia’s palm oil more expensive of make people buy kindles or whatever lame plan Bond villains have these days or if I just sound like a guy with like 10 years of MtG finance experience who has pretty much resigned myself to the fact that we get blamed for stuff we don’t do and not wanting to get blamed for things is no longer a reason not to do them. Just make some money on these cards, one of you. Seems easy.

Hey, look, it’s a tribal card in Green that has demonstrated the ability to hit $8 in the past that currently costs less than $8, is about to be in more decks and is relatively low stock.

I guess my point is that if you find the right lists to compare, you can do in 30 seconds of copying and pasting and a few minutes of paring lists down what used to take me much longer. If you don’t trust yourself to remember what was going on between multiple decks and you don’t think you know too much about EDH Finance to get actual data to back up your gut feelings, use a list comparison tool and see what’s really going on. You could have guessed Herald’s Horn, I bet, but who saw Helm of the Host coming? Not me, that’s why I do this now. You should, too.

That does it for me this week. There are some low-stock picks here that were going to hit a natural tipping point when people start building these new tribal decks anyway, so be in a position to sell to them rather than being in competition with them for copies. Your orders don’t get cancelled that way, in fact, you’re the one receiving the order, not placing it, and that’s how we make money rather than risking it. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Synergy

Readers!

When we build decks, we think about cards that can be more effective because of how they work in conjunction with the rest of the deck rather than how powerful they are on their own. Nothing in the Cat Food deck in Standard is THAT powerful on its own now that Oko, OUAT and Veil are out of the format but working together in the context of food shenanigans, the deck is annoying and it’s only going to get more annoying now that it’s all you’ll play against at FNM. Synergistic interactions are obvious to us in the context of building decks, so why don’t we think the same way when we plan specs? Instead of talking about the most popular deck in EDH right now, I should be looking at overlap because there are some cards getting double- or even triple-hit right now and that’s worth knowing about. Which cards, you ask? Well, don’t worry, I’ll figure it out for you. Come along with me on a journey of cardboard-based discovery.

A real quick and dirty way to do this is using a website I found called “Compare 2 lists” which, and you won’t be shocked by this revelation, compares two lists. You’re not going to get every single card, but if you compare the average decklists generated by EDHREC, you can get a good idea very quickly as it’s just a matter of highlighting and copying and pasting. You can dig down a little deeper, and you can save yourself some time by comparing decks that have something in common. You may find some synergy you didn’t find before and it may cause you to drill down on some decks you didn’t think you would. I think the two list comparison tool is our coarse grit sandpaper and physically looking at the pages is our fine. Let’s do some coarse work, shall we? Here’s our list.

The top of the list is starting to look very similar week to week and with Target and Wally World restocking the Brawl decks, I don’t expect they’ll be built LESS as people get their hands on the decks for the first time. Just a gross, cursory glance at this list shows there are some common threads. A lot of the black decks involve tokens or saccing creatures – Korvold, Alela, Syr Konrad, Edgar and Marchesa are all better if you’re saccing creatures and most of them generate the creatures. I think that’s a good place to start.

When you compare the lists, you’ll get an output screen like this.

We are concerned with the bottom right box – the cards that are in both lists. The hope is that cards that aren’t just staples will pop out at us. Let’s do this real fast at first and see what we see.

Permutations

Korvold and Alela

1 Arcane Signet
1 Command Tower
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Korvold and Edgar

1 Arcane Signet
1 Blood Artist
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Butcher of Malakir
1 Command Tower
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Skullclamp
1 Smoldering Marsh
1 Sol Ring
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Yahenni, Undying Partisan

Korvold and Syr Konrad

1 Ashnod’s Altar
1 Blood Artist
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Myriad Landscape
1 Pawn of Ulamog
1 Plaguecrafter
1 Priest of Forgotten Gods
1 Reassembling Skeleton
1 Sifter of Skulls
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Viscera Seer
1 Zulaport Cutthroat

Korvold and Marchesa

1 Arcane Signet
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Command Tower
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dockside Extortionist
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Alela and Edgar

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Anointed Procession
1 Arcane Signet
1 Blind Obedience
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Command Tower
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Alela and Syr Konrad

1 Lightning Greaves
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Swiftfoot Boots

Alela and Marchesa

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Arcane Signet
1 Blind Obedience
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Command Tower
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Ghostly Prison
1 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Skullclamp
1 Smothering Tithe
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sphere of Safety
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Talisman of Hierarchy
1 Temple of Silence
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Edgar and Syr Konrad

1 Blood Artist
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Read the Bones
1 Sol Ring
1 Syphon Mind

Edgar and Marchesa

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Arcane Signet
1 Blind Obedience
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Boros Garrison
1 Boros Signet
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Command Tower
1 Crackling Doom
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Nomad Outpost
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Syr Konrad and Marchesa

1 Bojuka Bog
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum

There is a lot of noise here. When you take out mana rocks and lands, you get a few “hits” that are worth tracking down.

Korvold and Alela
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Skullclamp
1 Solemn Simulacrum

Korvold and Edgart
1 Blood Artist
1 Butcher of Malakir
1 Skullclamp
1 Yahenni, Undying Partisan

Korvold and Syr Konrad

1 Ashnod’s Altar
1 Blood Artist
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Pawn of Ulamog
1 Plaguecrafter
1 Priest of Forgotten Gods
1 Reassembling Skeleton
1 Sifter of Skulls
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Viscera Seer
1 Zulaport Cutthroat

Korvold and Marchesa
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dockside Extortionist
1 Skullclamp
1 Solemn Simulacrum

Alela and Edgar

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Anointed Procession
1 Blind Obedience
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Skullclamp

Alela and Marchesa

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Blind Obedience
1 Ghostly Prison
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Skullclamp
1 Smothering Tithe
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sphere of Safety
1 Swords to Plowshares

Edgar and Syr Konrad

1 Blood Artist
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Read the Bones
1 Syphon Mind

Edgar and Marchesa

1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Blind Obedience
1 Crackling Doom
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Skullclamp
1 Swords to Plowshares

Syr Konrad and Marchesa

1 Bojuka Bog
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Sol Ring
1 Solemn Simulacrum

There are some fairly interesting cards here but a lot of these are sort of staples. I don’t need to tell you Skullclamp goes up in price until it’s reprinted.

If you want to do some of this analysis your self quickly, try clicking on the various themes in the upper left. You may get a bit more synergy if you’re comparing Syr Konrad to Korvald Aristocrats, for example. However, we’re just looking for cards that are in the majority of the decks, not a sort of fringe build. The permutations with the most interesting cards are Korvold and Konrad and Alela and Marchesa, but I plan to go through and see cards that are interesting and appear in more decks if possible.

One more thing you can try will give you a ton more noise, but if you feel like digging the signal out, you can compare every card from the page, not just the average deck. You do this by sorting by text rather than pics which is the default.

When you do that, you can paste the entire EDHREC page for the commander into our comparison tool. I’m going to compare Korvald and Konrad first and pare down the noise.

Korvald and Konrad

Altar of Dementia
Animate Dead
Ashnod’s Altar
Bake into a Pie
Black Market
Blood Artist
Blood for Bones
Bolas’s Citadel
Butcher of Malakir
Carrion Feeder
Crucible of Worlds
Decree of Pain
Dictate of Erebos
Dread Return
Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder
Entomb
Falkenrath Noble
Final Parting
Fleshbag Marauder
Grave Pact
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Living Death
Mana Crypt
Memorial to Folly
Merciless Executioner
Nihil Spellbomb
Pawn of Ulamog
Phyrexian Altar
Phyrexian Reclamation
Phyrexian Tower
Pitiless Plunderer
Plaguecrafter
Priest of Forgotten Gods
Reanimate
Reassembling Skeleton
Revel in Riches
Shriekmaw
Sifter of Skulls
Skullclamp
Solemn Simulacrum
Torment of Hailfire
Victimize
Viscera Seer
Westvale Abbey
Whisper, Blood Liturgist
Zulaport Cutthroat

This is a much bigger list. I tried to cut out Black staples for the most part and what I was left with was a recipe for 2 decks that both want to play Grave Pact effects on top of making every player sacrifice creatures. Let’s look at Alela and Marchesa.

Alela and Marchesa
Anguished Unmaking
Anointed Procession
Ashnod’s Altar
Aura of Silence
Austere Command
Authority of the Consuls
Aven Mindcensor
Bitterblossom
Blind Obedience
Bolas’s Citadel
Burnished Hart
Cathars’ Crusade
Despark
Dictate of Erebos
Divine Visitation
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Ethereal Absolution
Fumigate
Generous Gift
Ghost Quarter
Ghostly Prison
Gilded Lotus
Godless Shrine
Hall of Heliod’s Generosity
Hushbringer
Isolated Chapel
Karmic Justice
Kaya’s Wrath
Land Tax
Lightning Greaves
Luminarch Ascension
Mana Confluence
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Marsh Flats
Merciless Eviction
Mind Stone
Mirage Mirror
Mortify
Necropotence
Norn’s Annex
Oblivion Ring
Rest in Peace
Return to Dust
Revel in Riches
Sensei’s Divining Top
Silent Clearing
Skullclamp
Smothering Tithe
Sphere of Safety
Sun Titan
Swiftfoot Boots
Sword of Feast and Famine
Sword of the Animist
Swords to Plowshares
Talisman of Hierarchy
Teferi’s Protection
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Utter End
Vault of the Archangel
Vindicate
Wayfarer’s Bauble
Westvale Abbey
Winds of Abandon
Wishclaw Talisman
Wrath of God

I am seeing some themes here. Endrek Sahr could be in all of these decks, for example. They all can make a lot of tokens. I am going to use a different tool to compare all 4 lists at once. The output is uglier on this tool but it’s worth it to at least look at the cards in all 4 decks.

Ancient Tomb4List A, List B, List C, List D
Arcane Signet4List A, List B, List C, List D
Ashnod’s Altar4List A, List B, List C, List D
Bojuka Bog4List A, List B, List C, List D
Bolas’s Citadel4List A, List B, List C, List D
Burnished Hart4List A, List B, List C, List D
Commander’s Sphere4List A, List B, List C, List D
Damnation4List A, List B, List C, List D
Demonic Tutor4List A, List B, List C, List D
Diabolic Intent4List A, List B, List C, List D
Diabolic Tutor4List A, List B, List C, List D
Dictate of Erebos4List A, List B, List C, List D
Evolving Wilds4List A, List B, List C, List D
Expedition Map4List A, List B, List C, List D
Lightning Greaves4List A, List B, List C, List D
Mana Crypt4List A, List B, List C, List D
Mind Stone4List A, List B, List C, List D
Necropotence4List A, List B, List C, List D
Reliquary Tower4List A, List B, List C, List D
Revel in Riches4List A, List B, List C, List D
Skullclamp4List A, List B, List C, List D
Sol Ring4List A, List B, List C, List D
Solemn Simulacrum4List A, List B, List C, List D
Swiftfoot Boots4List A, List B, List C, List D
Temple of the False God4List A, List B, List C, List D
Terramorphic Expanse4List A, List B, List C, List D
Tomb of Yawgmoth4List A, List B, List C, List D
Toxic Deluge4List A, List B, List C, List D
Urborg4List A, List B, List C, List D
Vampiric Tutor4List A, List B, List C, List D
Wayfarer’s Bauble4List A, List B, List C, List D
Westvale Abbey4List A, List B, List C, List D

There are a few cards here that aren’t staples, here. Revel in Riches makes me want to look at more than just Grave Pact effects in the decks. Bolas’ Citadel is getting a lot more play than maybe we’d anticipated – it’s currently around $2 but it’s the 6th-most-played card in War of the Spark. Here are a few picks I found based on digging through each page.

Attrition works well with all of these cards and while it appears to have plateaued a bit, the general trend is upward. It’s been a while since this got reprinted and there are a lot of decks, and not necessarily the ones on the Top Commanders page, either. Attrition is strong and it dodged a reprinting in the Mystery Booster set, which sends all kinds of signals. I am very, very bearish on Attrition.

Sold out on Card Kingdom, price increasing on Channel – all signs point to EDH moving the needle a lot on this card. Could it dip at rotation? Possibly, but that’s been happening less as EDH is a bigger and bigger percentage of the paper Magic being played and cards being identified earlier and earlier. I think we may have even missed the boat here, which is nuts given how recently this was printed. I don’t like foils but the foil doesn’t even cost twice as much as the non-foil right now. Don’t expect the multiplier to stay sub 2x if this goes on a tear.

I can’t figure out how this is so cheap on TCG Player with so many copies when it’s so expensive everywhere else. Can’t we just arbitrage this stupid card at some point? This is so cheap on TCG Player I had to make sure it wasn’t in Mystery Boosters.

This has a lot of printings, but at a certain point, it will stop mattering.

We love to catch stuff at its bottom, don’t we? We love that reverse-J shape that tells us we’re at the best possible time to buy and that it’s about to reverse and turn into a beautiful U-shaped graph. Do you like this card at its bottom? I sure do.

That does it for me this week. This was a lot of techniques to absorb and I thank you for hanging in there with me. Keep peppering me with questions and comments in the comments section. Until next time!

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