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: 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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Unlocked Pro Trader: Domoneyaria Monited

Readers!

There’s a new set, we have spoiled commanders and it’s going to be a wild ride. Let’s take a real cursory glance at what I think matters and let you figure out the more mundane details. It’s more helpful for me to say “Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief makes me think of the cards that spiked from Orvar” and let you figure out what those are than to have you wait 5 weeks for me to get to Ivy in the rotation. Let’s do some real quick hits and cover a lot of ground quickly – I’ll give you a general idea of the landscape and we can get granular in the coming weeks sound good?

Soul of Windgrace seems like it will be fairly popular commander because it says “Draw a card” on it and it’s not Blue. People love landfall and getting lands out of the yard is a challenge that Soul of Windgrace BARELY ADDRESSES. I hate having to attack with my commander so there has to be a better way to not dump your entire mitt to this card. There is!

This got a reprint recently which really tanked the price. It has flirted with $7 before and while I don’t necessarily think we will see $7 on a card that can get reprinted a lot, let me suggest a card that is harder to make obsolete with a reprint.

The extended art version is a real good-looking image depicting some sort of tree planeswalker that I assume people who play landfall decks will be familiar with. This art is unlikely to come back up, is cheap right now and foils are garbage thanks to collector boosters. I think this will have the highest price slope out of all copies and I want these badly right now.

This gets better the longer you look at it. You aren’t obliged to copy anything bad but you have the option to copy anything anyone plays and make it target Ivy. I just saw this card spoiled a few hours ago and don’t have a real plan, but here are 2 cards I would yank out of bulk.

This is the foil in case you wanted to buy, but I bet you have these in bulk and should go check. A more recent one I KNOW you have in bulk is this one.

I know foils are bad, so maybe don’t buy, but look where these cards could go. Ivy isn’t as obvious or as ridiculous as Orvar, whose page is here, but people love value and Ivy as a value maven.

You can probably just read my Slimefoot article from 2018, but everything on Slimefoot’s page is likely in play, and this was a predictable outcome even back in 2018.

This might not be headed to $10 but I bet it gets to $5, and maybe even $7 again. Slimefoot was a big deal and Nemata is even better. Nemata’s first ability is actually insane in Commander, so expect Nemata to get built more than Slimefoot did. It’s a cheap deck, to boot, with a lot of the cards that care about Saprolings being common and uncommon and Corbin Hosler spilling Red Bull on an entire stack of copies of Parallel Lives, making them cheap pickups.

This is just another Depala, this set is kind of boring with respect to the 40 Legendary creatures I begged them not to put in the set. A lot of them are really uninspired, and what do you expect when you have to come up with more Legendary creatures than were printed between 1993 and 1998 every 2 months? Don’t bother looking that up, I’m being (barely) hyperbolic.

This is as good as Displacer Kitten in like half of the decks in the format. This costs half of Kitten and it probably still will in a year when Kitten is 20 and Ship is 10.

This is, of course, the money. A lot of cards are going up and I’m covering this commander in depth next week. Anything and everything that makes Proliferate happen is getting jammed in this deck, and really big, expensive Artifact Creatures are back on the menu for a Jhoira deck just like in 2009.

This is already in the midst of popping, but $10 for a rare with 2 printings, one in 2010 and 1 in 2015 is not entirely out of the question and might, in fact, seem quite reasonable. More about this commander next week, but keep an eye on big Proliferate cards – maybe think about those Contagion Engines before next week?

That does it for me, nerds. A lot of commanders are going to move a lot of cards so our time is fairly short, but there is no need to get into real detail until there is real detail to be gotten into. That does it for me – until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Sliver me Timbers

Readers!

I’m on a new “Keep it simple, stupid” kick and one benefit of that is you don’t miss something obvious. To me, it seems obvious that Slivers are coming. If not in Dominaria United, then soon. Ideally not in a precon because lately people aren’t adding too many cards to the precons. If we could get Slivers in a main set, that would be pretty ideal and it seems like they are signaling pretty hard.

Are Slivers NECESSARILY coming back in Dominaria United? The good news is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter for several reasons. The first is that, whether or not this is hinting at anything, Slivers will eventually get done again so these won’t be missed specs, they will be longer-term specs. You’ll get dinged with a reprint or two, you might start to calculate the opportunity cost of having money tied up in long-term specs, but the day will come when you cheer my name for pointing out the obvious. I guess perhaps the second reason it’s fine is that the worst case scenario is that you’re right too early. Also, consider that this is a strong signal that others are reading which means we could see all of the Slivers stuff tick up just on principle. I like when stuff becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because you get to strut around like Nostradamus with a pocket full of shrimp money from being good at guessing when I’m right.

The word he says here does not reflect the way I feel about my readers. He says the b word, not the word you’re afraid a white rapper will say in a music video

If we are in some sort of quantum experiment where observation changes outcome, it makes sense that finance really can be that easy sometimes, where a few dozen people tweeting about getting a bunch of Slivers in their Secret Lairs that I still don’t have can make people think “Slivers.” Am I capitalizing on an effect of those Slivers being sent out or am I helping to originate a panic? Good question, but if you buy right now it won’t matter since anyone I convince to buy with this article will buy enough to drive the price up, so you actually can’t lose here.

So say Slivers do come and they come in the next year and other people want to build Slivers decks. You’d like me to tell you what I think you should buy and show my work. I’m into it, let’s knock this out before wherever you buy shrimp closes.

Did you know this was a thing on EDHREC? If you didn’t, yep, and if you click the word “tribes” it will take you to a page that ranks all of the tribes. If you’ve never navigated to this page, give yourself 10 minutes to really peruse it and try to digest it. It’s a new way to see the data represented and seeing how some tribes are played in real proportion to each other rather than what you assumed will make you better at this. Goofing around on EDHREC is just as valuable as goofing around with MTG Price’s tools. Anyway, clicking the thing I have highlighted brings up this page.

Slivers are the 9th-most-popular tribe after Vampires and before Dinosaurs, Cats and Rogues. Would you have guessed that? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t. But seeing the real rankings has helped me immensely. I knew Slivers were popular, but I didn’t expect them to do better than Cats the last 2 years. I pay attention and I was still surprised. Clicking the Sliver takes you to the page we want.

I’m not surprised Sliver Overlord is the most-built. Being able to swipe Changelings, or make their creatures Slivers to steal them is very funny, Sliver Overlord is pricey but not expensive for a Magic card, especially a deck with a 5 color manabase. It’s also old border which is hot. Then they descend in order of how fun they are to play as your commander. I bet the number of Sliver Legion decks actually sleeved up in a world where you have to spend $300 real dollars on a Sliver Queen is greater than the number of people who spent an entire week at minimum wage buying a dorky old card from Stronghold to build their weird tribal deck. I think if they don’t print a new Sliver Commander, and I hope they don’t, Overlord is the winner here, and that’s good because Overlord has an Overlord-specific card that could use a nudge.

Unnatural Selection is a very cute card in a Sliver Overlord deck. You can make your mana dorks into Slivers if you play any mana dorks and you can make their creatures into Slivers and gain control of them with Sliver Overlord’s ability. I knew this was a card and it looks like it popped speculatively and Slivers might not be involved. Still, this could be a $8 card very easily and buying under $4 seems pretty safe to me. This is just vaguely good until something makes it absolutely broken. When they make a Commander whose ability is Dismiss Into Dream maybe? Point is, I like this under $4.

This was up but under $10 in 2021, so the soonest I expect to see this in a precon is 2023. I think this is a buy under $10 because it could easily go to $15 or $20 and it’s going to go up until it’s reprinted regardless because every deck is tribal these days.

I am including this card in this article because I trust EDHREC data. I really do think people are putting Legion Loyatly in decks like Slivers because while ordinarily copying a bunch of 1/1 Soldier tokens is sort of underwhelming, making 3 extra copies of Muscle Sliver and all of your other Lords, plus ETB triggers, plus LTB triggers, this card is absurd. The more it gets ignored in the obvious builds, the more the price tanks even more. A mythic of this caliber won’t be $3 for long. I think the other art is so much better that the full art version might not be the good one.

I’m no nerd, but that art rips. It’s so much better and the price is also tanking. Give these a bit to start to recover then pounce. This is 8 mana but that’s not a problem for EDH decks. People are playing this, the data says so and that’s good enough for me.

If they will stop reprinting this card, it would be helpful for its price for sure. I think they’re done reprinting it for a bit and this could really benefit from people wanting to play Slivers. For the record, the Conspiracy art is better.

The cycle from Legions, Magma, Synapse, Toxin, Brood and Essence are all pretty spicy. Of them, only Synapse and Magma have yet to be reprinted. I am betting that this goes up quickly if Slivers are officially announced because someone already took care of quite a bit of the supply late last year. What remains will be scarce and a sharper spike could see you enriched by selling at the top. I would rather be a seller than a buyer when something as mid as Magma Sliver flirts with $30.

That does it for me. If I’m totally wrong, no I’m not, I just wrote this article between 6 and 36 months too early and that’s not my fault. I am merely the muse’s mortal vessel and she dictated this whole article. Anyway, that’s what I think, gotta go, bye. Until next time!

Pro Trader: Cards I Think Are Underplayed

Readers!

This week I didn’t want to flog the dead horse that is the latest commander/modern mishmash reprint set because the cards that are going to rebound are obvious to you if you’re reading this article. I think one of the best-kept secret of mtg financiers is that you will immediately look amazing at it after about 4 weeks of effort compared to someone who doesn’t pay attention at all. Most of making good mtg finance calls is just paying attention, and if you’re paying attention to my articles, that’s probably paying attention enough. This article isn’t me teaching you to pay attention, this article is me being paid to pay attention for you, something you’re capable of. I’m absolutely fine with that arrangement, it is my preferred method of laboring under capitalism. If you’re fine with me being fine with it, let’s talk about what you already know a bit more.

Since all parties involved accept the basic premise of the first paragraph, we can all agree that we can basically dispense of another article where I tell you more cards from Double Double Toil and Trouble Masters. I talked about the ones I strongly believe in last week and we can always revisit the topic next week when prices are sure to have stabilized a bit more and the picture of what’s a nice pickup at its bottom is a bit clearer. I’ll pay attention to that for you. I was going to belabor the point a little for the sake of the content but I owe you better than that. I needed a backup article idea and James Chilcott told me “Keep it simple. Tell me 5 cards you think are underplayed” which, I don’t feels like a cheat…somehow? Thematically? It just seems like such a dry topic to drop in your laps, I thought I’d type a few paragraphs to lull you into a false sense of security and then spring a really basic topic on you with no pizzazz and then

5 Cards I Think Are Underplayed

It’s not the same as the title of the article because I didn’t want people to see the number 5 in the title of the article because then this really looks like I farmed this job out to someone at buzzfeed. You know what? This is a good article topic, I’m going to have fun researching this and presenting my findings to you. I’m going to stop apologizing for this being the article, but I kind of blew a lot of the word count space I would have needed to introduce these topics a little better so we’re really going to have to get into it very quickly

OK, can we move on? No, you’re probably right, and the very least I should address what is the obvious implication of my bias regarding this card. I think this card should be in every EDH deck. Without exception. That’s probably a little hyperbolic-sounding, so I will tone it down and say that every deck should play this card with exceptions. I can’t think of any, but maybe you like not having the best way ever to take care of a problematic commander. The price started going up in 2021 and it will probably sound ridiculous if I take any credit for that, right? I’m not that much of an egomaniac but, like, the dates line up, that’s all I’m saying. I think this is a buy under $10 forever. It’s not on the Reserved List but the last time they really talked about it for a reprint that is going to come out anytime soon would have been like 2 years ago when this was like $3.60 on TCG Player. I think we’re good to cash in buying these under $10. I really don’t see a reprint coming anytime soon and if they’re not really nimble enough to respond to an increase caused by us buying. This feels like a slam dunk and I would honestly bring this card up every week in this article if I didn’t think you’d all get sick of that.

Acquire absolutely RIPS as a Magic card but something very important happened in 2020 and it caused people to not really play cards that searched other peoples’ decks because everyone was playing on webcam and being germaphobic in person. I think there is pent up demand for Acquire that will actualize when play in person returns in full. Barring another reprint or media insert, these are a buy under $5.

This version is exceedingly rare for some reason, I guess because people stopped picking up the comic book when it was like Arrest, Feat of Blood and like, Castigate back to back months. I was in it for the early Faithless Looting and High Tide but a lot of people dropped the book making these concentrate in the hands of dealers. When those copies sell out, the card will basically disappear and command a premium. I like this version under $10, $10 may be pushing it a bit. It’s around $6 or $7 on TCG Player right now, I like that number quite a bit.

MANNNN I wish I had calling this sooner. It basically bottomed out at $1 for the superior Urza’s Saga printing but not you’ll be lucky to get these under $5 on TCG Player. It’s a shame because I really believed this card would rebound but I was too busy watching Tiger King and playing Animal Crossing to go back for it. I like this under $5 for the record. It shrugged off its reprinting, and by the way, reprints like that have a way of creating demand that will put pressure on existing stock, also, because some people literally didn’t know the card existed because it’s been that long since this set came out. Imagine you started playing a year ago! You wouldn’t be able to keep up with current releases, let alone go back to Urza’s Block. EDHREC ranking on this keeps slipping year to year but it will come back, and when it shows up in the high synergy cards of a sacrifice commander, you’ll be glad you HODL’d.

I don’t expect any of you to know this, but I write an EDH column on Coolstuff Inc. and I will, no joke, add Snow-Covered Lands to my decks literally just to play this and then at that point, why not Sunstone? And Glacial Crevasses? Might as well jam an Extraplanar Lens in there. I run Extraplanar Lens in 2 color decks, it doesn’t even got that well whenever I draw it, I don’t care, snow lands, BABY! Look how pretty and how cheap this pathologically playable card is. Fill your shopping card and this is going to be $3 again.

This whole entire article is positively RIFE with my bias, so why stop now? I am biased because I run a lot of of landfall. However, this is a Rhystic Study that banks the cards for a few turns then turns into a beater, or you literally go troll mode and hit them with The Omenkeel and steal their lands. It is so funny to steal people’s lands in EDH, they get so upset. Especially on webcam. I write the name of the person I stole the land from on the infinitoken to mock their pain. This is 2 kinds of card in one and I saw literally 2 articles today (fine, I wrote one of them, but I still SAW it, I had to see it to write it) talking about what a boring card Rhystic Study is. This is a more fun Rhystic Study, and it doesn’t cost $30 for a common masquerading as a rare.

I am glad we decided to do the article this way this week. I have some more opinions and I’d like to discuss them with the Pro Traders in the Pro Trader Discord, so if you’re not signed up for Pro Trader yet, it might be a good idea. My article was late this week and our loyal Pro Traders deserve some compensatory picks from me and I really hope they’re non-obvious since I feel like I accidentally hyped them up a bit. Thanks for reading, everyone. Until next time!