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: Same as the Old Capenna

Readers!

New Capenna is here and however you feel about this set and the staggering amount of Italian stereotypes everyone is super fond of, we’ll have new cards to worry about in a few weeks. We’re getting 19 new Legendary creatures in New Capenna plus a bunch more in the EDH decks, all of which adds up to a pretty full docket. I am not touching the EDH deck cards unless they end up in the decks of the cards in the set because I am barely hanging on, mentally. In 3 weeks there will be another 2,000 cards I’m expected to know, and not only is the pace of products increasing, they’re going to jack the cost of packs up 11%. The IPCC says the world is on pace to be unlivable for humans, I bought the max on Street Fighter and Dracula Secret Lairs and I’m worried I might not have the wherewithal to see them and I literally just did this a few weeks ago and here we are again. You in the mood to read some finance tips yet? If you’d really rather invest in cardboard than water filters and ammunition, I guess you’re in luck because I really only know how to do one thing, and that’s identify potential for cards to increase in value.

Realistically, only the top 5 here really matter. Do I think this top 5 will be the final top 5? I don’t, but I also think that the guilds are so narrow and focused that there is probably a lot of overlap and we likely just need to pick one commander from each wedge or famiglia or whatever they’re calling them, and try to extrapolate which cards will matter for each strategy. I’m not positive this will work, but we’ll have enough data next week to get super granular anyway and everything I said this week will be forgotten already. Let’s drill down into some of these sumbitches, shall we? No wrong answers, let’s just look at some Magic cards.

I feel like I call out all of these cards every couple of weeks. I could tell you to buy Tendershoot Drayd for the tenth time, or we could look at these cards as a whole. It seems like lately, going wide in Naya colors is something design is focusing on and if these cards dodge reprints like they should, we’re in good shape. One card in particular I like right now is Dragonlair Spider.

A few very small reprints have managed to keep this in the bulkish region, but I wonder if we could make the price graph look more enticing by giving it the Ronald Reagan graph treatment.

Booya. If we’re going to let people use graphs to lie about trickle-down economics, I’m going to use one to make you think Dragonlair Spider is on an upward trajectory because, guess what, it is. I play Arasta in my decks but this is perfect for Jetmir decks and it eats Angels all day. I love this card and under $2, this seems like an easy double-up.

This is obviously trending down long-term, but it seems to have bottomed out. Not convinced?

I can lie with graphs all day.

The thing is, the buylist value is trending up alongside retail, so this could be starting to finally climb after bottoming out. This was always a solid card with no deck, and with it being a Mythic, there is opportunity here. The other high synergy cards are obvious or cards I called before, but these 2 seem poised to me.

This is a frankly bonkers set of high synergy cards.

The real question here is whether Amonkhet was long ago enough that a bulk rare could pop.

2 printings at non-mythic? Looks bad.

Welp

WELP.

OK, but there has to be something else we can buy into.

I think rotation from Standard, a thing that shouldn’t affect prices since no one plays paper Standard but which serves as a psychological impetus to see your “rotated” cards as worthless likely makes this go down more. Is there ANYTHING in this deck that is a good buy?

This isn’t in the Esper precon and I’m pretty sure it’s not in the Bant one, either, in which case this seems very good under $5 and still probably fine in the $5-$7 range, though acting fast eliminates the need to pay that much.

Much better.

*prolonged cartoon fart noise*

Discard is really boring and super hard to do in Commander. A lot of decks play out of their ‘yard a ton and you’re helping them, and if you’re milling people, you need to do 300 damage and 20 cards for 2 mana doesn’t seem as cool anymore. Still, 63 card unsleeved casual decks love discard and any help from this just helps those cards fulfill their destiny of being cards people are glad to sell for a buck on a buylist.

This is on a great trajectory but it’s still gettable under $5 and you should do that. Literally, any time a card is $9 on Card Kingdom and $5 on TCG Player, Card Kingdom is screaming at you that the card sells for $9 on their platform and you should pay attention.

You shouldn’t grab a falling knife (or do what I did and “trap” it like a soccer ball as a reflex) but this likely bottoms out around $2 and it’s very good in a deck with a Commander you want to keep casting that is a whopping 7 mana the first cast and uncastable after that. Be aware, this card is only good if they ever print another Red Commander again that’s either a lot of mana or has a good ETB effect, something that isn’t guaranteed.

I have no idea how to evaluate this pile. The thing about reprint risk for these Angels is that they could all get reprinted in the same deck. I don’t know, are any of these good specs?

Buying in at $2 would have been obviously better, but $4 doesn’t suck, either. This has flirted with $8 in the past. Is this propped up by Standard? I don’t think that’s a thing, but maybe? Either way, this card is actually absurd when you read what it does and buying in under $4 seems advisable.

I’ll have more data next week, but for now, thanks for reading and be sure to argue with me in the comments section or in the Pro Trader Discord server you can access by becoming a Pro Trader. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: All That Glitters

Readers!

It’s an exciting time to be involved in MtG Finance because everything is changing so rapidly that no one has any data. I don’t know how many times the cards I think will really be impactful in the format can and will be reprinted, and the effect of a Masters printing versus a Commander deck printing versus a Secret Lair printing versus The List are almost card-by-card rather than product-by-product. It’s easier than ever to predict what will matter as I get better at using EDHREC, but it’s no easier to predict what will get and stay expensive. What I plan to do today is talk about what likely gets expensive and I’ll leave deciding what will stay expensive (the harder part by far) up to you.

I know I like to talk about which commanders will matter, and we’ll have a lot of data to pore over next week, but for now, we have to take a look at one card that could signal that a new evergreen mechanic in Magic that could plague us for years to come. I want to talk about what to do about it and how that impacts us. Also, I don’t have, like, an easy thematic way to put this information in the article so I’ll put it here with no explanation other than that it’s a thing.

This card is broken.

It breaks quite a bit, but the 2 big ones I have seen are the new Ob Nixilis which is whatever, and Devoted Druid, which makes infinite mana with Luxior, or can use the infinite untaps to kill someone with a card like Viridian Longbow. Do you yank Viridian Longbow out of bulk?

Trick question, this shouldn’t be in your bulk.

I think Devoted Druid can’t maintain the price and if this combo does anything, it will be in a 60 card format with 4 Longbows, 4 Stoneforges, 4 Urza’s Sagas, etc. I think this is worth knowing about, and it’s likely Luxior breaks more cards the way the handle looks broken on the card (Is it mean to be bent like a fencing foil’s handle or did Rob Liefeld draw this?). Still, there are other places we should be looking. If Luxior isn’t the card to focus on today, what? I’m so glad I asked, here it is.

I will not be accepting any questions at this time.

Fine, OK, in case your hangug-isn’t seuneopeukkaji, this card says

Lands you control have “T: Create a Treasure token.”

and that is a pretty jacked up thing for a Magic card to say. Treasure has been a problem but now it seems like a mainstay. If it’s here to stay, let’s make some money.

First up, there are cards that win the game with Treasure, and they all matter, imo.

Card Kingdom thinks this card is worth $20. TCG Player says $12ish. Who will win? You will, when this is $25 and you paid $12.

Hot off a reprint, this is going to climb. It won’t be $30 ever again, likely, but I bet it’s not $5 either. If I could buy one card, it would be this one, slightly elevated reprint risk or no.

This got a reprint on The List which slowed it down a bit, but not enough. This is a $20 card again soon, bet on it. I mean, barring another reprint, so it’s basically a prop bet at this point since you need to bet on it going up AND not getting reprinted to hit. Sounds hard, but the only thing that’s easy to do in Vegas is apparently just cough up 9.5 mill in extra cap space to activate Mark Stone off of LTIR.

If you want to fight against treasure, or this card specifically, there are ways. Bulk rare ways.

Lol. This isn’t a bulk rare anymore and there are like 200 for sale on TCG Player, but if this shows up on Game Knights or some #$%^ it will be $30 tomorrow and wouldn’t you rather have $30 than an Invasion rare that only works with their help?

This is what a graph looks like when a card isn’t even worth listing on TCG Player. This is a true bulk rare. That’s good; cards where a seller would lose money unless they list it on TCG Player direct “sell out” quickly but are replaced by a wave of higher priced copies. You could be looking at $5 or so on these. It’s a risk but this can’t get any cheaper than bulk and it seems like it’s not much of a risk at all because you can always bulk these back out.

Second spikes are always harder and this is approaching $2 on TCG Player rapidly. Don’t get me started on the $15 foils.

Commander Collection: Green copies of this are $10 but I sort of think that’s because that’s all they’re worth. Gimme this art by Adam Rex any day. That said, more printings on this card than you might think, but they could all be headed to $20.

Ultimately, I think Smuggler’s Stash or whatever the card translates to suffers from some of the same problems as Nyxbloom Ancient and perhaps maindeck metagaming against it won’t be necessary, but we’re talking about the frenzy of prerelease speculation and while that’s a monthly occurrence now, it is still sometimes fun, briefly, to forget what a bad idea it is. If you like that kind of thing, here’s a roadmap. If you don’t like that kind of thing, just know that a roadmap isn’t going to protect you from poor financial decisions. That said, you made a good financial decision when you clicked on this article, so thanks for that. Until next time!

seuneopeukkaji
hangug-in

Unlocked Pro Trader: Streets Ahead

Readers!

We have a non-zero amount of new New Capenna (awkward) cards revealed and 3 of them are commanders. Hot damn, at 2 specs each that’s a bonus spec, unless I go down a rabbit hole and hit you with more than that. Who knows? All I know is that this is the part of the process where I brew something really cool and no one else cares so I’m stuck with a million copies of March of the Machines because everyone who built Eloise BUILT IT WRONG. This is the part of spoiler season where I figure out what people should play in my opinion, not what they will. That said, if you want to get ahead of people buying reactively, buy now. If this were easy, everyone would do it. Let’s do it.

The most annoying color combination got another annoying commander. This has the potential to turn Raffine into a huge monster, but if you have other creatures, probably fliers, that benefit from the +1/+1 counters, you can go tall AND wide. I think in general this will be a Thopter token deck, but there is only one creature I want to throw +1/+1 counters onto, and it ain’t Raffine.

This is like the 4th time in a year Droggy has been in the spotlight, and if you got them a year ago when I mentioned them during Kaldheim previews, you have doubled up already. I don’t think this is done, especially with how solid it is with Raffine. This is a mythic from a very old (sigh, the year I started making content) set and with pressure on it from other sources, what exactly stops this from hitting $20?

While we’re at it, this is a card. This is NOT in the high synergy cards because while this is a powerful commander, it’s a powerful enough commander that the boring brigade showed up to build the Thoracle deck they always build with every commander that has Dimir in it.

Here are the high synergy cards if you don’t believe me.

ONWARD

This is also a really brutal commander for bad people to play. While Raffine encouraged the people who only know how to build Thoracle goodstuff piles to build another Thoracle goodstuff pile, Xander appeals to the one guy at your LGS who swears his Tergrid deck isn’t “that” Tergrid deck before he casts Pox on turn 4.

I sound like a bit of a curmudgeon but it’s only because I had to write about 35 other legendary creatures LITERALLY 3 WEEKS AGO and this is honestly just a slog with no end in sight.

Should I go to TCG Player and pay $5.50 for a card that flirted with $9 on Card Kingdom last year? What if it’s unlikely to be reprinted, older than most people think and not a card competitive players even think to take out of the trade binder where they stash the 99% of the cards they open because they only play competitive formats? What if it already spiked and the cheap copies are all accounted for? This seems like an absolute slam dunk to me.

Phantasmal Image is always either $10 or $20. Right now it’s $10. I cannot imagine adding more to this paragraph will make this seem like a better spec than the graph does.

Nexus of Revels? I think someone hit the Halo a little too hard and named every card in the set in one 6 hour bender so they could take 2 weeks off. I respect the hustle because that’s how I got through Law School – Adderall-fueled study sessions followed by dropping out of Law School.

I know I tell you every few months to buy Tendershoot Dryad, but hear me out – it’s half of its peak and every Jetmir deck will run this unless they don’t have a copy because you teamed up with other members of the pro trader discord to take down the grand total of 230 copies on TCG Player. Put another way “This card is always either $10 or $20 and right now it’s $10.”

I feel like I JUST wrote about this card, but look, I was right. Now if you didn’t buy then, buy now because I can be even righter.

Here are the EDHREC pages in case you are super lazy or aren’t lazy but also see me as kind of your employee since I’m on the clock right now and you’re reading this on your phone on the toilet.

Raffine

Xander (I know about the X, but I’m like a paragraph away from being done so just let me off the hook, I literally don’t have the spoons to fix it)

Jetmir

Thanks for reading, and thanks to EDHREC’s programming team for making constant improvements to the scrapers and page generation elements so we get data earlier and earlier- some of these cards were spoiled 24 hours ago.

That does it for me – until next time!

Pro Trader: Mopping Up Kamigawa Value

Readers!

I am willing to entertain the idea that we might have missed some value jumping around from Kamigawa to Street Fighter to Stranger Things to New Capenna to Baldur’s gate, so why don’t we check back in on Kamigawa now that prices are at the lowest point they’re going to go to?

As you can see, the commanders didn’t exactly end up where we might have expected. More people are playing a commander that interacts with 2 of the 5 colors of Saga more than they’re playing Hidetsugu, the face card of the set or Kodama of the West Tree. I got the top 5 correct but the order was VERY wrong. I would have picked Umezawa, then Hinata, then Isshin, then Tatsunari then Light Paws. I did OK but some of the ones I underrated deserve a second look. In fact, there is a spec in each of the top 5 decks that I missed before.

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