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: My Article, But Kadena This Time

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Hey, you know that article I write every week? I’m doing it about Kadena this week.

Why Kadena?

Because I think Kadena is good and the data almost bears out that it’s going to be an important deck.

I expect Kadena to overtake Kykar once the cards are out but I actually don’t know. I think my instincts are pretty good – I say K’rrik was way too far down on the list last week and look what happened. Kadena is more than just a bad Animar and I think people are going to want to build with it. Here are cards that matter.

Probably a little late to maximize our profit on this one (I didn’t see it going up quite yet) but this card is basically good in every format and it’s especially good in Kadena. You can play the top card of your deck as a Morph with Forge in play and you can do it for free once a turn. If you hit a whammy like a land, Forge can re-roll for you. This card is meant to go hand-in-hand with Kadena and with it unlikely to ever get cheaper, I think you snag these under $5. There is precedent for EDH staples with cross-format applicability hitting $10 while still in Standard and I think Forge is a strong candidate for joining that club. Don’t sleep on these.

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As long as we’re talking about Forge, here’s another card equally good in Kadena.

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Vizier is on its way up and Kadena decks peeling a Morph creature off of the top of the deck and being able to fix the rest of their mana to boot is upside. Kadena lets you Morph one creature a turn for free and this lets you bypass your hand for that sweet value. They get information, but so what? Let them know what’s coming. Vizier is the 10th-most-played card in Amonkhet after Anointed Procession and the bicycling lands and a few others and it’s demonstrating the price can go up. This isn’t quite its floor of $2.50 but with it being somewhat tricky to reprint, I think we have some climbing to do.

This is a card that is similar to Ugin, The Ineffable in that it’s being used to churn out Morph creatures. I think this has more upside than Ugin and it’s a card that flirts with high prices every few years. It’s only going to take one card that breaks this for this to be $15 dollars or something absurd and I get these as bulk rares sometimes. This has been above $5 twice and that means they’re getting more and more scarce in binders. I think this could pop at any moment and a Kadena deck on Game Knights or something like that could be all it takes. I am suspicious of cards with explosive combo potential and this has it.

Similarly, Anvil is a card that already demonstrated that a feeding frenzy based on new tech could spike it out of control. I think you HODL these on that basis and just know that a second spike basically makes these $8 forever because no one is going to find the copies in bulk rare boxes. People are racing to the bottom but this card is very good in Kadena decks because it makes your morph creatures a mere mana and that’s pretty useful. I think everything I said about Heartless Summoning applies here. With these around $2, you could treat these like lotto tickets and squirrel away $50 worth for the next time it hits $10.

This doesn’t have to hit $27 again for it to be a good idea to buy this at $4.50 on TCG Player. This has good underlying metrics, Core Set won’t be opened any longer than people have to open it and it’s good in Kadena among other decks. You get to play a free Morph with Kadena every turn, so if you can do it on their turns, you can get x free creatures a turn cycle. That’s pretty useful. Vedalken Orrery is expensive and this is not so seriously just buy a ton of these. Could they put it in a future core set? Possibly, but it won’t be Core 2021, that’s for sure.

That does it for me. I think Kadena is a bad Animar, personally, and there are more exciting decks to build but I don’t go by what I like, I go by what the EDHREC data tells me people are building. Also, I brewed a Kadena deck this week on Coolstuff and I don’t even hate it. Anyway, that does it for me. 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: Backed By Data, Like Always

Readers,

There’s a place in Northern Michigan called Bronner’s Christmas World. As you can imagine, the store is Christmas-themed. Very much so. All of the decor is Christmasy, the cafeteria serves Christmas dinner type fare year-round and there’s tinsel as far as the eye can see. Fake snow, glitter, the works. You want to buy a Christmas tree ornament with the University of Michigan logo on it? You’ve come to the right place. Stocking with your name (Bort) stitched onto it with the delicacy and care only one of Santa’s elves could manage? Bronner’s baby. It’s… frankly a little dystopian. It’s a wonderland at first, obviously, but after you’re there about 45 minutes and the initial charm has worn off and you start looking around for the employees, they won’t meet your gaze. They trudge around like the walking dead, and how could they not? It’s all Christmas, all the time. The store is open 364 days a year. Can you guess which day the staff is given respite from the unending onslaught of the holly-jolliest of occasions? Good guess, it is Christmas Day. The one break they get from the Twilight Zone-esque horror of perpetual Yule is the day they have to go home and spend Christmas with their own families. Understandably, the employees don’t often make eye contact. I am starting to understand how they feel.

There’s a new set out so I’m going to write a series of articles about the cards that people are going to play because that’s a thing we’re going to do every 3 weeks until the heat death of the universe. When people would complain about wallet fatigue and criticize WotC for releasing too many products in a year, I’d say “not everything is for everyone, they’re just compartmentalizing their bases a little more and catering to them individually” and that’s great for buyers but not great for people who pay attention to EDH because EVERYTHING AFFECTS EDH. So you’ll forgive me if I don’t sing a jaunty little Christmas tune and hotshoe into the back of the store to see if we have any more of the nativity set where the Three Wise Men are in Star Trek Starfleet uniforms and the baby is Spock. I’m just going to slap a price tag on the floor model and call it a day because, and I hope you’ll come to see the wisdom in this approach, the floor model is just as good.

You know what helps pick me up out of my doldrums? Surprises. And this set is full of them. Can you guess what the most popular commander is? Just guess. Don’t try to go on EDHREC and look, I’m literally going to show you in a second. You scrolled down, didn’t you? You’re 0 fun. Fine, here it is.

If you’d asked me to guess, I would have put Anje and K’rrik near the top, so it’s good I didn’t have to guess. Eggygirl is our number one commander for the week and we don’t have to like or understand that, we just have to adapt to a reality where that’s the case. Is this a bad Mayael or a better Mayael? Who cares? It’s the new hotness and there are relevant cards. Maybe you have some of them in your bulk.

Nesting Dragon makes eggs and that’s a good thing. It’s also one of the only cards worth anything in the Lord Windgrace deck from last year and that’s good. However, if you can snag those decks for $35 or even better, less, you can get cards totaling closer to $80 if you can get close to a dollar for dollar cards reliably. Realistically, you’ll be able to buylist everything for more than you paid and that’s worth doing, especially if Nesty here jumps to $10. I don’t know how long Atla hype is going to last, but this belongs in 100% of Atla decks. Buy these today.

If Congregation ever gets under a buck again, consider going deep. Something always seems to pop up to make it do something and even though it comes back down, you want to have copies when it goes nuts next time. I don’t think it will ever truly be bulk-tier again but I also don’t think they’re in a hurry to reprint it. Consider the $7 foils on Card Kingdom while you’re at it – they’re closer to $8 on TCG Player.

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Foils of this have mostly dried up under $10 and I think that’s goofy but with multiple tribal decks wanting Changeling effects and this card making all of your creatures eggs and therefore a real beating when they Wrath, try and score cheap foils and try to get the non-foil copies you can out of bulk. They should move a bit – really bad cards did in Feather decks after all and Lorwyn bulk is harder to find.

This is never getting reprinted and we would do well to remember that. We would also do well to remember that with the exception of Mayael herself and a bunch of decks that don’t have access to Green mana, there has never been a better deck to Stampede with than Atla. You’re concerned with the top of your deck and running cards like Worldy Tutor, Congregation at Dawn and Scroll Rack to make those egg triggers count. This card was made for this deck.

Seems like the best time to grab these is 2013 and the second best time to grab these is right now before they go up any more. I don’t know what else to say about this card other than that it continues to go up, seems unlikely to get another reprint anytime soon and has really good growth. I wish I had gone deeper when I was buying these for my own decks but I always end up cutting this late. Atla decks won’t cut this, though – it’s literally everything they want in a card, and being 1 mana means they can always keep it up.

There are plenty more picks on the page. You don’t have to make it a Dino deck but a lot of people are and that’s worth knowing about. For a deck that screams “CASUAL” I am surprised to see it polling so well and I’ll be interested to see if it’s still on top next week. Right now people are speculatively throwing lists together but not as much buying cards because they don’t have the decks yet, so don’t buy what speculators are buying unless you don’t want anyone to sell the stuff to. You can buy a lot of 8th Edition Foil Rukh Eggs for cheap but that doesn’t mean you’ll sell them later. Until next time!

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Brainstorm Brewery #351 Full Pitch Integration

http://traffic.libsyn.com/brainstormbrewery/Brainstorm_Brewery_351_Full_Pitch_Integration.mp3

Corbin (@CHosler88), DJ (@Rose0fThorns), and Jason (@jasonEalt) are excited to announce a bunch of new changes coming to Brainstorm Brewery, a new sponsor ChannelFireball.com , Commander 2019  and exciting new perks for the patreon!

Make sure to check us out on Youtube because everything is better with video. https://www.youtube.com/user/BrainstormBrewery

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Unlocked Pro Trader: In Defense of Just Buying the Things

Readers!

We’re in the thick of a 4 day “reveal all of the commander decks at once like animals” week and boy has it been a doozy. I’m writing this on Tuesday, when exactly half of the whole decklists have been revealed and people seem pretty upset. Gavin Verhey assured everyone they read everyone’s disappointed reddit posts about the lack of value despite the price of the decks going up $5 and came on Brainstorm Brewery and assured us they would make some changes with the decks going forward. At first blush, they appear to have done… not that.

This looks pretty bad at first. People were expecting a big, flashy reprint, sort of like Wurmcoil Engine, or an obviously busted Legacy crossover card like True-Name Nemesis or Containment Priest. This has neither. The most expensive reprint is Seedborn Muse which is coming off of another recent reprint and is about to get dinged a lot more, currently sitting at about $7.50 for Battlebond copies. Most of the rares and mythics are bulk rares and none of the new cards look like they can soak up all of the value. Worse still, obvious cards like Ixidor and Dream Chisel we omitted from the deck, forcing people to go out and spend even more to make the deck serviceable because of the glaring exclusions. People seem pretty upset online. Are they right?

Let’s look at the list that came out today.

This looks even worse. River Kelpie and Ghostly Prison are about $5 but there is no big, sexy card and cards like Past in Flames were left out.

Is it really as bad as it looks? To answer that question, let’s go back and look at Commander 2018 and see how it looks a year later.

On paper, this looks like trash. Avenger of Zendikar was basically the only money reprint and the new commanders all looked like trash. Obvious reprints like Burgeoning, Exploration or Oracle of Mul Daya were excluded. Cards like Deathreap Ritual, Budoka Gardener, and Sakura-Tribe Elder that were showing signs of growth were going to tank and the new cards are pretty lackluster.

If you add up the current values of all of the cards in this deck, a year later, though, you might be surprised to find that the contents of the deck add up to roughly $80. There are plenty of completed listings on eBay for $60. Whiptongue Hydra, Nesting Dragon and Windgrace’s Judgment are $5 cards. Budoka Gardener climbed back to over $2 and EDH staples like Sakura-Tribe Elder, Sol Ring, Cultivate, and Explosive Vegetation basically shook the reprinting off. At the time, this seemed like the weakest deck but value-wise now, a year later, it’s the second-best (the worst is the Estrid deck, to the surprise of few and the chagrin of many).

How misleading is the “$80” figure? After all, there are 100 cards and if they’re all retailing for 80 cents, that means they’re worthless and won’t buylist for much. Wouldn’t a more fair way to look at it be based on buylist value? We’re not going to buy at retail and sell at buylist on the Commander 2019 products, but it’s still a good idea to look at those values.

If you look at the cards in the morph deck, there is some value there. Some of the cards will obviously tank, but a lot of the good ones will recover in a year and currently the buylist numbers aren’t too bad. If you put the 83 non-new cards into TCG Player and tried to buy them all, it would cost you $100, first of all. That’s not that telling, but it’s worth noting. The number of cards that in the Morph deck that currently buylist for a dollar or more is a staggering (Hooded Hydra, Ixidron, Grim Haruspex, Den Protector, Seedborn Muse, Thelonite Hermit, Great Oak Guardian, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Overwhelming Stampede, Tempt With Discovery, Strionic Resonator, Sol Ring, Thran Dyanmo, Darkwater Catacombs, Exotic Orchard, Llanowar Wastes, Sunken Hollow, Thespian’s Stage, Yavimaya Coast, Ash Barrens, Bojuka Bog, Command Tower, Reliquary Tower). That’s $32 of your $35 right ther, buylist value, excluding the 17 new cards whose values are unknown. Do we expect any of them to be worth anything? Well, historically, the decks will have at least 2 new cards worth $5 (Arixmethes and Estrid’s Invocation, Treasure Nabber and Endless Atlas, Lord Windgrace and Windgrace’s Judgment and Nesting Dragon and Whiptongue Hydra , Aminatou and Yuriko). If you tack on at least another $10, you’re reasonably safe buying at $35, especially if you want any of the cards. If there is a Yuriko this year, which has settled around $15, you’re in even better shape.

Are these a great investment? I don’t know how you feel about buying at $35 to sit on them for a year and sell for $58 BIN on eBay but in the short term, there will be money to be made busting for singles, selling the new, hot cards before they equilibrate down and holding the reprints while they equilibrate up. If you’re a player, absolutely preorder one of each deck at $35 each (you should be able to do better and get a set around $120) and build to your heart’s content.

We haven’t seen the other 2 decks but I’m not sure we need to – I am confident these are a better buy than people think, the value looks a little better than last year with a lot of money in pricey lands like Sunken Hollow and creatures like Seedborn Muse and there are bound to be some sexy, $5-and-up new cards. Here are a few I like.

Old Docksides, as he likes to be called, is pretty punishing in multiplayer. I have heard people talk about using him in Vintage, which probably can’t happen since the decks that let you cash in with him probably have lethal on board or a Mycosynth Lattice and Karn lock. This is nuts, however, in a format where everyone has Sol Rings and Signets. Bring him back over and over with Grenzo, tutor for him with Goblin Recruiter or Matron, blink him with Deadeye Navigator or Conjurer’s Closet or just play him, get a pile of treasure and win with Revel in Riches. This isn’t Smothering Tithe but it sure is close.


This card is stupid. I love it.

Historically, I have said that I tend to ignore supposition about the cost of Legendary creatures and prefer to focus on the decks that they’ll enable, but since we have data from last year, we can look at it. The Legendary creatures and planeswalkers from Commander 2018 worth more than $5 are Aminatou ($5), Yuriko ($15), Arixmethes ($7) and Lord Windgrace ($5). Nothing from the Saheeli deck mattered, as much as everyone raved last year about how you should buy Varchild’s War Riders. Pramikon has meme value and could end up being this year’s Arixmethes, which is a bad card but a huge casual hit. You know how many people are swinging with tribal sea monsters? More than are playing the Tuvasa Voltron deck everyone on reddit said couldn’t be beat.

This isn’t as bad as everyone says it is and I bet the deck it’s in is the worst one, helping its value even more.

If I had to guess, I think this will surprise people and get built a lot more than the marquee cards in the decks. This is what EDH players want.

That does it for me this week. Buy the decks, I think. I’ll be back next week with some data and some supposition about which specs to buy. Until next time!

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