All posts by Jason Alt

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

Unlocked Pro Trader: No Data No Problems

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EDHREC data for Battlebond isn’t available yet. I don’t have a problem with that and honestly, it might even be a bit premature at this point, anyway. All of the coin flip cards already went nuts because they were obvious to people who don’t play EDH and that kind of stuff is kittycatnip for the uninformed class of speculator. Thinking is hard and checking the Reserved List for cards that haven’t been bought out yet or searching for “flip a coin” in gatherer is easy and sometimes that makes people think they’re geniuses.

You did it!

The non-obvious stuff is just sitting in store inventories because, like I said, it’s not obvious and that means it could take a minute to go up. I’m going to make a few guesses this week based on no data, just like the rest of the lunatics still sitting on a million copies of Jazal Goldmane. Where do I get off doing that? Well, I sort of have to this week, I’m bored and I’ve done this long enough that I feel fairly confident in my ability to say a few obvious things about a few obvious other things. This article has no theme to it other than “not supported by any EDHREC data” which is not a very good theme. Oh well,  you know what they say; “mo data mo problems” (no one says that) so let’s wing it. If you want to argue with me, there’s a comment section below. Let’s do this!

Probably the Last Heading

This is going to be a few thoughts that I have thought and I will try to make convincing cases for these cards mattering.

Arena Rector

I stopped incorrectly guessing the prices of cards like Recruiter of the Guard and Arena Rector when I stopped making myself guess. I don’t care what Arena Rector ends up costing. I think the value of the set has to go somewhere and short term, a lot of the reprinted cards will tank a lot but the reprinted cards are almost all EDH staples so I bet they go up before it even matters. However, there will be a few weeks where cards like this need to pull their weight so this could maintain some of its value. I don’t care either way. If you want them, buy them at peak supply as long as the price graph has rebounded a bit. Don’t grab a falling knife, folks. But this card’s price bores me so let’s talk about the cards that this will affect.

The Chain Veil

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There seems to be no shortage of opportunities to make money on this card. I like its a lot at $0.75 but I kind of don’t hate it right now. Arena Rector means more interest in Planeswalkers in general and Atraxa will be in Commander Anthology shortly which means you can pay like $120 for 4 decks, one of which is Atraxa versus paying $100 for Atraxa right now. This means you get 3 decks for $20 and people are about it. I expect cards like the Chain Veil that get jammed in Superfriends decks are extra buoyant in the future with those two things converging.

See the thing the arrow is pointing at? on EDHREC’s Atraxa page, you can click on themes and find the cards that are only in Atraxa Superfriends builds. That will let you filter through more relevant cards in a shorter time by eliminating infect and other cards and letting you see Superfriends staples. That will help you figure out what has upside with Arena Rector becoming a thing.

There are some interesting cards on that page and they don’t warrant a ton of explanation.

This is near a historic low after a recent brush with arbitrage. There are a lot of these but they’re also foil mythics and that means supply will eventually run out and drive the price up.

There are more of these but we’re in week 4 of arbitrage watch and I think it’s the dealers who have the right of it, here, not the low retail price. I can’t think of many places I’d rather park a few bucks at $1 per.

You’re seeing the inherent weakness in the ability of fringe EDH to move prices of non-mythic cards under 2 years old. That said, how can this get cheaper? It’s good in White Planeswalker decks and if you’re playing Arena Rector, there is a 100% chance you at least have access to Djeru.

Najeela, the Blade-Blossom

I will do a full article on this because I expect this to move a lot of dials, but the most popular way this is currently being built is a combo build and the combo pieces are already known to me because the people who are inclined to go super spiky with a commander like this are equally inclined to get their thoughts published on the internet first.  I think the combo pieces are worth a look.

Druids’ Repository

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At 1,540 decks currently, this card isn’t exactly unknown. It’s also over half a decade old and supply of Innistrad isn’t exactly getting replenished with boxes being so expensive. This card is instrumental to the Najeela combo and if you’re buying in at like $1, you basically can’t lose. The combo needs this card in a few of its iterations and all of the ones that are fewer than 4 cards. I like this as a pick-up a lot.

Aggravated Assault

This back on an upswing after the Explorers of Ixalan printing, which isn’t that surprising. Two innovative ways to try an curb the price of this monster card, the Masterpiece and the Explorers printing, gave decent opportunity to buy low on these. Considering this is a way to do the Najeela combo without having WUBRG I think this is pretty important and anytime a “combat matters” commander comes out, this goes up. This is an EDH semi-staple basically from now on. Staple is a word that a lot of people throw around, but semi-staple should catch on because a card that’s in a lot of copies of a few builds isn’t a format staple but isn’t chopped liver, either. Auto-includes deserve a classification because their demand is less linear a curve and more a series of leaps and plateaus and that’s good to know.

Nature’s Will

These were $2 the first time I mentioned them in an MTGPrice article, so I hope you used those gains to buy a Pro Trader subscription for life. If not, that’s cool, just calling out my hits and ignoring my misses like everyone else.

Anyway, this card is usually worse than Bear Umbra because you have to connect with something to get the benefit but considering you’re farting out a ton of  tokens, you’ll be connecting for sure. Both Bear Umbra and Nature’s Will are like $10 now which makes me wary of a reprint but in the short term, they’re not exactly going down and Najeela has created more demand.

Cryptolith Rite

I don’t want to shoot my wad  and not have enough cards to cover when I do a Najeela article (if I even do one at this point) but Najeela has a lot going for it just vis-a-vis the combo wins I have seen online and this card features in a lot of them. Its days in Standard are over leaving us to speculate about how much EDH can prop it up, and considering how much Earthcraft costs these days, I think we’re pretty safe calling this at like $2. This is like Druids’ Repository in that it’s an easy pick and if you don’t buy these, some non-Pro Trader will on Thursday.

Champion of Lambholt

Not going to list too many Warriors here, but this looks pretty damn good to me.

This is what I could come up with off the top of my head based on what people have already built or said they were building. Normally my articles have more words but they don’t have fewer cards discussed and since a picture is worth 1,000 words, I’m way, way over my word count anyway. There’s a lot of digest here and if you felt this was too brief, here’s a homework assignment – take the 3 minutes you would have spent reading 3 more paragraphs and mess around on EDHREC. Get used to the filters like the one I pointed out that can be used to filter just the Superfriends cards and look at some of those cards. Which White Planeswalkers are always likely to be in decks with Arena Rector? Here’s a hint – you can use EDHREC to figure out which Planeswalkers get played the most overall and also use the Atraxa page to find the Superfriends ones. Maybe go to a Planeswalker card like The Chain Veil’s page to see which White ‘walkers (heh) correlate the most with that card. I’m teaching you to fish as much as I’m feeding you hand-cut sushi every week. Next week I’ll either have some EDHREC data to look at or I’ll be looking at speculating on stuff like Pir and Toothy and I hope to not have to do that. Until next time!

 

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Unlocked Pro Trader: BattleBoned Part 2 – Electric Battloo

I wrote an article last week and this article is part two of that article. I want to jump in and continue but that’s a pretty abrupt jump for some people. If you’re not ready to go from 0-60 in a few seconds, take a second to re-read the article from last week, get back into the thought process we were previously in and hit this one running because the transition from preamble paragraph to the body of the piece is going to be

The Rest of the Reprints

abrupt.

Nirkana Revenant – Class 2

Last night on Brainstorm Brewery, Corbin talked about how the graph of this wasn’t very promising and I guess he’s looking at a different graph than I am. All I see is the buy price about to converge with the retail price, which means a correction would have happened if the reprint hadn’t been announced and I see high dealer confidence in a card whose price has steadily increased for years. If you look at a very similar card, a card I won’t shut up about, you’ll see the effect of a reprint.

Ghast recovered nicely. It doesn’t hurt that Ghast is in 4 times as many decks as Revenant on EDHREC but there are several factors at play there. First is that Ghast is cheaper mana-wise. Second is that Ghast is cheaper money-wise and Revnant may have been previously priced out of collections. Thirdly, Ghast was in a precon so of course it’s going to be in more lists. More people have them and more people succumb to the precon effect and leave cards in the precons when they rebuild them if they’re good enough not to take out. Revenant will likely recover a lot of its value and I think we’ll see a nice, U-shaped graph similar to the one we see with Crypt Ghast, especially with a cheap price on Revenant enfranchising people that may have been priced out before.

War’s Toll – Class 1

This is a good card but it suffers from the fact that most of its growth was very recent as was more than likely predicated on scarcity. We have $4 booster packs with Doubling Season and Land Tax in them and people are going to want to draft these packs a lot. This set will dump a ton of War’s Tolls onto the market. This will tank to bulk and while it may recover, it will likely take a long time. This is in a mere 1,800 decks on EDHREC and that demand isn’t robust enough to cope with the coming influx. Some stuff will never recover and I think this is one of those cards. It likely creeps to $2 in a few years but we have so much time to see that coming, why do anything besides maybe set them aside when you buy them as bulk rares?

Angelic Chorus – Class 1

This is a White War’s Toll. It’s an old card in under 2,000 decks on EDHREC that sneakily crept to like $5 and mostly stayed there. This demand curve is much flatter than that of War’s Toll and it’s in closer to 1,000 decks than it is to 2,000 decks. Everything that happens to War’s Toll will happen to this to a lesser extent and that’s being charitable. The low demand and price predicated on scarcity can’t cope with the coming influx of copies. This is pre-selling for $1.87 and that’s too high.

Mystic Confluence – Class 1

Flat Demand is a bad sign for a card getting a reprint. This is going to tank, probably to $2 or $3 and it probably stays wherever it ends up.  This is in 8,000 EDHREC decks, but that number is juiced by the precon effect and its demand curve is basically flat. I think we’re about to get inundated with copies and I bet this takes 3 years to even flirt with $4, meanwhile a ton of other cards in the set are much better looking.

Nyxathid – Class 1

I don’t know which format is propping this up, but it isn’t EDH. This is in like 200 decks. I suspect this is a casual card and I have no idea how to predict what casual demand can do for this card, but I suspect a ton of supply dumped on the market being sniped one at a time by casual players who still buy boosters hoping to get individual cards like I did when I was 12 isn’t getting soaked up anytime soon.

Magmatic Force – Class 1

This card has very little demand and I suspect the price is predicated on scarcity since it’s from the original Commander set from 2011. 1,200 decks on EDHREC can’t really soak up these coming copies, especially since a lot of those decks are old decks like Rakdos, Lord of Riots and Horde of Notions. Newer decks don’t seem interested.

Noosegraf Mob – Class 1

Once a bulk rare, always a bulk rare.

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Goblin Razrunners – Class 1

See “Noosegraf Mob”

Greater Good – Class 1.5

I think this has a pretty robust demand profile and I feel like the cheap copies will enfranchise some people who didn’t have access to a $10 card and will encourage them to build with it. Demand for this card was sort of flat but bumped and plateaued every time a new, hot commander was printed for it. Selvala, Angry Omnath. I think this recovers but I think it will take an impetus rather than the modest 6,900 decks it’s in. I think you snag these as cheap as you can, use them to shore up trades that are off by a buck or two and throw these in a box until they’re magically $6 apiece, which I think can happen. It’s Class 1.5 because I think it will get there but unlike Class 1 cards, it won’t get there on its own.

Kor Spiritdancer – Class 1

This card is likely toast. It’s like $5 after its precipitous decline (can a decline be precipitous? Yeah, I just looked it up and it can.) from bogles wanting it briefly in Modern and while it was showing signs of recovering slightly, I think the Modern demand drying up coupled with its very modest (1,671 decks on the ‘REC) EDH demand spells bulk status for this for a while and a pretty slow climb afterward.

Tidespout Tyrant – Class 1

Be honest – you had no idea this card was $8. It was something I noticed but never really found an excuse to talk about despite really liking it (and sometimes confusing it with Roil Elemental, which I like a lot more and you know why if you read my 75% series on Gathering Magic). This is a solid card and the fact that a lot of its demand seems recent makes me think the price is predicated on scarcity. I think this is similar to War’s Toll and I will only change my belief if this doesn’t tank as hard as Toll does. Why shouldn’t it? It has the same graph shape, it has the same tepid EDH demand and it is just as old. This does exactly what Toll does and its higher pre-sale price is puzzling but I think it will all shake out.

Magus of the Candelabra – Class 1

R.I.P. bulk rare

Mangara of Corondor – Class1*

*This card is toast, but the only caveat is that the Battlebond version has the new Legendary card border and it’s possible that foils of this could displace the older foils, not that anyone is trifling with Mangara combo these days. They SHOULD. Everyone talked about how Eternal and Iconic Masters made it possible to build Legacy Death and Taxes and if you run D&T without the iconic Mangara combo with the Karakas you just got from a booster, you’re doing it wrong. Mangara is included in 1,100 decks or so and there are 67 built around the card. That said, I think I might want to try a Mangara deck with a ton of ways to tutor for Helm of the Host and just make the slowest walking Vindicates ever. That doesn’t make this a better buy.

Sower of Temptation – Class 1

I hate to admit it, but this card’s goose might be cooked. I really didn’t think so just as a gut feeling when I saw Sower on the reprint list – I thought this was a good place to park money and it still feels wrong to classify this as class 1 but I literally can’t think of a reason not to based on the data. This is in a mere 2,300 decks on EDHREC, its Legacy demand is dwindling, its price is way down and it’s pre-selling for $3. This is going to tank hard and I don’t see a ton of impetus for this to go way back up. Like Greater Good, if this does go up, it won’t be based on current conditions, it will be based on something happening to change its current circumstances. If I had written about this last week, I would likely have classified it as a class 1 card without thinking, but I think this is likely about to take a beating.

Seedborn Muse – Class 2

This is in 12,000 EDHREC decks and with every new, busted Simic deck that’s possible, the need for these goes up. This is pre-selling for $14 on Card Kingdom which seems high but also indicates they’re aware that this won’t be down for long. For whatever reason, people weren’t playing this half as much before they got to play with Prophet of Kruphix for a few months but now that everyone seems to have gotten the message, they’re using this card, for better or worse. This likely goes to $7 or $8, maybe even lower given that it’s printed as a non-mythic, but this recovers a lot of value and you’re just going to stack cash buying these at the floor.

Apocalypse Hydra – Class 1

Modern Masters 2015 kicked the chair out from under this card and Battleborn will kick it in the throat before we even get a chance to see if it was going to be able to get back on its feet.

Evil Twin – Class 1

Bulk is bulk

Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer – Class 1

Ded.

What I said about Mangara may be true of this – people may want the foil in the new border but that doesn’t really do much for a card with such little demand as a commander.

Mycosynth Lattice – Class 2

Pre-selling for $12, this cut in half already but there’s good news. It’s reprinted in Battlebond as a Mythic, which means it’s not going to get quite the pantsing some other cards are. Secondly, it’s used in over 5,000 decks on EDHREC and a lot of those are recent given the printings of Breya and Jhoira et al recently. It’s a very good combo piece and its price graph shows pretty decent, sustained growth just on the back of being a very useful card and artifacts mattering in EDH basically the entire time there has been a format. This likely doesn’t shrug the reprint off per se but I bet the additional supply won’t do too much to attenuate this card’s growth, which should resume as soon as people start drafting whatever we’re going to draft after Battlebond.

Mind’s Eye – Class 1.5

This strikes me as a card like Duplicant or Solemn Simulacrum – we keep playing them without really ever asking ourselves why. These cards have always been played. They got masterpiece printings. They must be format staples. This is the 81st-most-played colorless card on EDHREC but I have a feeling that it’s on its way down in the rankings. Purely based on data, I don’t think the price growth is robust enough nor the demand (8,500 decks) strong enough to classify this as class 1. Regardless of what I think about its future, more copies getting into more hands and at the cheap rate of a $5 preorder that will almost certainly be too high isn’t going to bring its adoption down. I think this grows less than the juicier targets but I bet this does something.

That does it for this set. I think I at least made a data-based case for my picks but if you disagree on anything, let me know in the comments section. That does it for me – until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Battle Boned

Readers,

I have some good news for buyers and bad news for sellers regarding Battlebond. Some of the cards are about to tumble pretty hard in value. A lot of them will recover but the cards whose high price is more predicated on scarcity and not playability are going to lose some value. With a small portion of the set spoiled, I’m going to go through a few cards and try to put them into different classifications to help you evaluate what to do with cards as they’re spoiled, help you figure out what to buylist immediately so you don’t take a bath (though it’s probably too late for some stuff) and help you figure out what recovers and therefore you can probably hold. We can also look at good times to buy into reprinted cards to catch the full benefit of that U-shaped graph.

Battlebond looks nuts so far with a ton of cards that are not only good in Battlebond but, unlike Conspiracy’s draft-specific cards that are useless outside of a few lunatics’ cubes, they’re useful in EDH which means packs of Battlebond won’t be hot garbage the way packs of Conspiracy are. We’re not likely to see cards on the level of Expropriate and Leovold but I expect a lot of value to be in the set and more spread out. Let’s take a look at the classes of reprints.

Class 1 – Stifle

Stifle was riding high at $40. It was a staple in Legacy decks like Canadian Threshold which became a deck again with the printing of Delver of Secrets and people used it to stop everything from fetches cracking to Stoneforges fetching to a third thing in Legacy and since it’s from Scourge, it’s plenty old and there aren’t a ton of copies. With Eternal popular all around the globe, surely there was enough demand for Stifle to justify the $40 price tag and help the card recover after a reprinting in Conspiracy, a set basically no one bought.

Look at that graph. Not only did Stifle tank from $40 to like $5, it’s basically not recovering. It’s been almost 4 years to the day since Conspiracy 1 and Stifle has taken a permanent dirt nap. Class 1 cards are predicated on low supply but there isn’t enough demand outside of the kind of Eternal formats that aren’t really adding new players to justify the price going back up. EDH and Modern are growing, Legacy and Vintage are shrinking and that means that not all reprints are created equal.

Class 2 – Mirari’s Wake

I zoomed in to show the price right before Conspiracy’s reprinting and right before Commander 2017’s printing. Mirari’s Wake did a very good job recovering from the Conspiracy printing, which I think will be analogous to the Battlebond printing we’re about to see. Wake is EDH-playable and it needed another reprinting in Commander 2017 to get the price back down to post-Conspiracy levels and even with that, it’s starting to recover a little.

Class 2 cards are much healthier, and identifying which class a Battlebond card is will help us figure out what to trade out of and what to pick up and help keep us from flushing our money down the terlet by picking up a bunch of Stifles. Let’s look at what’s been reprinted so far. Next week when we have the full spoiler, I’ll do this again with the rest of the reprints.

Class 1.5 – Altar of Dementia

I’m calling this class 1.5 rather than class 3 because I want to make it clear that this will end up doing something between classes 1 and 2. It won’t sit there flat like Stifle did because all of its price was predicated on scarcity and a shrinking format like Legacy and it won’t recover super quickly because it’s an EDH staple and was reprinted at mythic (even if it was printed in a pre-mythic era). Cards that are printed at rare in Battlebond will have a tougher time recovering than stuff reprinted at mythic, irrespective of the demand profile.

Battlebond!

Doubling Season – Class 2

Doubling Season! This card has had quite a roller coaster.

The first Modern Masters printing what, 5 years ago brought it down and demand from EDH brought it back up and demand from boring Atraxa decks brought it WAY up. Doubling Season is going to recover and when we’re at peak supply of this set (basically when people stop drafting it) I think you go in hard. If they’re going to go 5 years between printings of Doubling Season, it’s a pretty safe pickup at its floor and being in a set with $4 booster packs like Conspiracy rather than a set with $10 boosters like Modern Masters will bring it down more than it was brought down before. I don’t know if this will ever be $100 again, but I think however low it goes, it will recover. EDH demand is huge for this card.

Land Tax – Class 1.5

This is a weird hybrid of Stifle and Mirari’s Wake and the price should end up somewhere between those two extremes. Land Tax is a card that’s pretty useful in EDH.

However, the huge price spike wasn’t predicated on that slow, steady EDH demand, it was predicated on its unbanning in Legacy which ended up not really mattering since no one plays Legacy anymore because apparently playing with Watery Grave and Hallowed Fountain will make people catch fire and die so they can’t play the format at all because they don’t have duals. Also, SCG stopped having Legacy events and since they were the only ones doing them, the format is shrinking. It’s still played, but it’s played like Arcade DDR or that weird Russian Roulette from The Deer Hunter, in small pockets of the country that not many people know about. Land Tax will recover more than Stifle did due to its inclusion in 10,000 EDH decks even at its current price of like $25 for a 4th edition copy. Land Tax will drop more than Mirari’s Wake did, most likely, because a lot of its current price is predicated on that huge spike and the associated price memory so even if it recovers a decent chunk of value, it won’t recover as much of a percentage of its current price. That really only means something if you’re holding them now and want them to recover to the price they are now.  You will likely make a decent amount if you buy at the floor and let it recover. This only has about 2/3 of the demand Wake does and its price is predicated on a false spike and some scarcity but you can still make money buying at the floor, but it’s not a slam dunk Class 2 card, either.

True-Name Nemesis – Class 1

True-Name Nemesis is basically worthless in EDH despite having been printed in an EDH product. The card was designed to be used in Legacy and it was put in EDH product to help it sell, as if the Nekusar deck needed the help. Nekusar became a very popular commander and the Strix printing should be been sufficient, but if they were going to give people Legacy staples, why not give them all of the Legacy staples? Anyway, Battlebond printing this, even at mythic, basically dooms it to a life at its new price. Legacy demand really isn’t enough to cope with all of the new supply and that’s factoring in its recent price correction upward. I think the lack of demand outside of Legacy, which really isn’t getting played that much, means the current demand can’t really handle the new supply and I don’t expect this to recover. It may not be the same price for 5 years like Stifle but it’s not going to recover robustly enough to trifle with it when there are better choices in Battlebond.

One caveat is that foils of this are probably going to be pretty expensive, so bear that in mind.

Vigor – Class 1.5

Vigor is one of those cards that was a bulk rare for years until EDH came along and said “This is what we’re about and that mana cost is no object” and its price has reflected that. Even with that weird Garruk/Liliana deck printing, Vigor has maintained $20 for basically 5 years and flirted with $30 at one point. This is likely to tank quite a bit being reprinted at non-mythic rare but it’s going to recover some value. If you buy at the floor and sell when it stops growing, you’ll make money – it’s that simple. Vigor will recover.

Demand is not as robust as it is for other Class 2 cards, but it’s also a $20 card that was priced out of a lot of players’ decks. If it’s available for $5, even for a few months, this gets priced back into decks and players will become more enfranchised (the stated goal of reprints) which should help its demand profile. People who never dreamed of owning Vigor before join the demand pool, pushing it up. This demand still won’t be as robust as it will be for cards like Land Tax and it’s also being printed way more than those cards being printed at Mythic, so make sure this really hits bottom before you buy in and expect a bit of a longer wait. This is still a card I like as a pickup at its floor.

Diabolic Intent – Class 1.5

This was a goofy buy, predicated on there not being a smooth way to reprint this and it having dodged a bunch of Commander deck reprintings. Oops. It’s also played about as much as Vigor, which is to say half as much as Land Tax.

As much as I think the current price is predicated on false pretenses, I also think it has enough of a demand profile to recover in price after it tanks. Whether it’s pre-reprint price is predicated on false pretenses or not is irrelevant to its ability to recover after the reprinting. I think this will do better than Stifle because it’s played in a growing format, a cheaper price like $5 will enfranchise people who were priced out at the $28 Card Kingdom wanted for this card and this is similar in demand to Vigor which I think will recover. I also think this won’t do as well as a true Class 2 card like Wake since it’s being printed at rare. I think this makes you some money and I think you should trade off Class 1 cards for them if you can.

I think that’s all the news fit to print today. I expect a lot more high-impact reprints in this set and I expect it to sell well because it’s amazing and fun. I also have seen dealers are getting heavily allocated. Maybe that’s so they don’t run out and have no resupply like they saw for Unstable. Maybe it’s because they looked at Conspiracy sales numbers and don’t expect it to do well so they aren’t printing as much. Either way, low supply could mean prices recover a lot faster and/or tank less than anticipated. Either way, there’s free money to be made, so let’s make it. Until next time!

 

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Unlocked Pro Trader: A Super Boring Followup

Last week I wrote a boring article and you hated it and this week I’m going to do the rest of the boring work I did last week that is three times as boring for me to do as it is for you to read it and you’re going to be upset that I made you read something boring even though, like I said, it’s three times worse for me and I’m complaining less about it than you are. I’m not saying I’m better than you are or anything. I am, but I’m not saying that. Anyway, if you forgot about last week’s piece because it was so horrendously boring that you blocked it from your memory, go read it here and refresh that memory. I’m going to very abruptly pick up where that piece left off. I’m serious.

 

You Were Warned

Built From Scratch

Wurmcoil Engine

Currently – $24

In a Year? – $30

I think Wurmcoil is headed up and this reprinting won’t do much for the price but could get some more $25 Wurmcoils in some more people’s hands. This card is up $10 over this time a year ago and even if the Anthology reprinting attenuates some of the growth (nothing’s impossible) then we’ll still see some gains over the next year. If these dip at all, I’d trade for them. Turn a bunch of cards that will be flat or go down for something I think has upside. It has little to do with what the Anthology will or won’t do and everything to do with how the card looked already.

The retail price is back tied at a historic high but the buylist price has never been higher. Dealer confidence continues to climb despite the announced reprinting. I would say trade anything you can for Wurmcoil if anyone is coming off of them when Anthology II comes out. I mean, that is if you feel you have to do anything. I’m likely trying to buy these for cost with my LGS hookup and put them on TCG Player but I’m out if I have to pay MSRP. Wurmcoil looks healthy, that’s my point, and it’s probably the impetus for the inclusion in the Anthology.

Caged Sun

Currently – $10

In a Year? – $12

Again, undeterred by the reprinting, this card is on an upswing and it’s a beautiful-looking graph to behold for someone like me who bought a load of these for $1 each when New Phyrexia first came out.

The stuff in the Devour for Power (The Mimeoplasm) deck that’s over $5 is goofy and predicated on low supply, but this Daretti deck has a few heavy hitters that the market will never get enough of no matter how many $150 specialty collections WotC jams them in. Caged Sun is an EDH staple (16th-most-played artifact in over 26,000 decks) and it’s going to take a more serious reprint to throw this growth train off its tracks. I’m liking the Daretti deck because it has two more EDH staples.

Ruby Medallion

Currently – $8

In a year? – $10

Woah. I have to admit I didn’t see this coming. It’s not EDH per se doing this so I’m not sure what the deal is but all of them started climbing last summer with the order of prices being about what you’d expect with the spellslinger colors, Red and Blue, being the most expensive. I don’t know how much more these can climb but I also know the Tempest supply of these was pretty minuscule. This is going to add an equally-paltry supply and I think the pronounced demand that has this price growing this precipitously won’t be cowed by this minor reprinting.

Reliquary Tower

Currently – $5.50

In a Year? – $7

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Printing in Commanders 2014, 2015 and 2016, this Tower of power is a rocket headed straight to the moon. I’m not saying it will always shrug off reprints the way Eternal Witness or other EDH staples do, but Tower is the 31st-most-played land in all of EDHdom and I think that’s a pretty strong pedigree. More decks need Tower than contain Tower which means most EDH precons opened leave the Tower in them because it’s a deck and a deck needs Tower. Loose Towers will only pop up  if they end up in a core set, which is possible, or to the extent that someone buys a precon deck and shreds it for singles, which is  thing I do but not on the scale necessary to bring the price down.

Wade Into Battle

These decks are pretty good at MSRP right now because they’re like $90 in singles and that owes a lot to Urza’s Incubator going right back up on the basis of a Tribal EDH set following after the printing of Incubator and Blade of Selves being in this deck and not one of the “better” ones and every Legacy burn player wanting 4 copies of Fiery Confluence. I am making the decision not to buylist the remaining copies I have, preferring to take my chances with TCG Player. If I thought we were about to get pantsed, my advice would be different.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight

Currently – $5 (barely)

In a year? – $5

Gisela is going through some hard times. I think she may recover, especially if she doesn’t get re-reprinted for a minute, but it doesn’t look like anyone is inclined to let up on her. It’s currently in the midst of a price downswing, down $0.50 over the last few months which is about 10% of her total value and therefore pretty significant. If this bottoms out more, I’m a buyer, but even though Anthology won’t be what does it, this is currently radioactive.

Fiery Confluence

Currently – $27

In a Year? – $35-$40 (barring another reprint)

Confluence is up 100% over the last 12 months and that’s even with people buying all of the formerly-worthless Wade into Battle decks left over on shelves an busting them for the $100 worth of singles inside. Anthology won’t get enough copies into enough hands and anyone who wants one needs four. I think this continues to grow barring a more serious reprinting than a Commander Anthology. Where, though?

Blade of Selves 

Currently – $11

In a year? – $15

This card is dumb and it should never have gotten as cheap as it did. I bought a few copies a little while before it stopped going down but not enough. The deck it was in was the “bad” one (it’s the best one financially, now). I don’t think the reprint is going to do much (dealer confidence seems wounded for this card in particular, which could mean they don’t see it at $15 again) and I think this continues to grow. Helm of the Host has people fetching more equipment and I think throwing this on a Godo is hilarious. Even if this doesn’t go up much, I don’t think this is ever getting cheaper. Myriad makes this tough to reprint and this is a solid piece of equipment so take advantage of what appears to be a temporary glut in supply and load up if you can shave a few bucks off the $11 asking.

Urza’s Incubator

Currently – $18

In a Year – $18 or less

Here’s a hot take – I think this card is overpriced. With tribal fever mostly over, I don’t know how much pent-up demand there is. I think the retail price goes down as people realize this basically only goes in Tribal decks where it’s an OK card. A tribal EDH set naturally spiked these but a lot were bought by team “Waiting in the Weeds” who thought they were geniuses for buying Tribal cards when a Tribal set came out. Yes, people are still going to use a mediocre card like this in their Tribal decks. People are playing Belbe’s Portal ffs. I just don’t think you rely on bad players making bad decisions to drive your financial decisions. Bad people aren’t valuable for a reason – it’s not that their decisions are bad, it’s that their decisions are unpredictable. If bad players always did the bad thing, you could predict it. My hot take is leave this alone.

Thought Vessel

Currently – $8.50

In a Year? – $10 barring a reprint

This card makes me nervous. Lands are a little easier to reprint and they SMASHED the price of Ash Barrens. I’m not holding these – they rose too fast and I think they are about to learn the lesson of Icarus.

Breed Lethality

Atraxa 

Currently – $30

In a Year? – $40

This needs a proper reprinting and this isn’t going to do it. This is the #1 deck for people who fundamentally lack imagination but think they have the most imagination. “You can build this infect, planeswalkers, beefy creatures – the possibilities are endless” – a guy who listed, exhaustively, all of the possibilities. The sheer idiotic power level of the deck combined with the masterful ego stroke to unimaginative Magic players is the perfect storm and this deck is hard to get under $100. Funny enough, it’s easy to grab Wade into Battle for $45 online (or it was) and have $120 in cards but you can barely find Breed Lethality for under $100 to get its $100 worth of cards. Atraxa herself is doing most of the heavy lifting here, too, since there aren’t too many other cards worth above $5.

Reyhan, Last of the Abzan

Currently – $10 (lol wut)

In a year? – $15

Admit it. You had no idea how much this card was worth. This would be $3 if it were in the Saskia deck but instead this is in the Atraxa deck and, suffering from the precon effect where people see it and think it’s just good enough not to take out, people are not taking this card out of the deck like they should and selling it like they should. As a result, a $5 card approaches $15 just because this is the only way to get it. I don’t see what can stop the growth of this card. It has 700 decks built around it on EDHREC but it’s also in 35% of the registered Atraxa lists meaning there is a ton of demand because people just won’t take the card out of the deck. This is worth Deepglow Skate money because, ironically, it has more demand than Deepglow Skate, a sentence that would have made me laugh 2 years ago. A lot can change in 2 years.

Deepglow Skate

Currently – $8.50

In a Year? $12

I wasn’t sure what this would do until I saw two things.

Thing the first –

Those lines are about to intersect in what I call “this kiss of arbitrage” which is a beautiful thing.

Thing the second –

If Reyhan suffered from the precon effect, this card INVENTED it. 72% is a big number. If you want a Deepglow Skate, you’re either paying $12 while you still can or you’re paying $165 for the Commander Anthology. If Breed Lethality is going for $100 on eBay, for $65 you get the 3 other decks, essentially. That’s starting to look pretty juicy, even at MSRP.  I think the price corrects upward, and dealers think so, too because even with the reprints incoming they’re still hurtling their buy price toward current retail with reckless abandon. If dealers are voting a certain way, at leas pay attention.

Crystalline Crawler 

Currently – $5

In a Year? – $3 or less

I don’t like this graph or this stupid card. Sure, Jodah has come along and made everyone fall in love with 5-color again, and my tendency to want to jam Paradox Engine into every deck should make me love this card but I DON’T. I think WotC correctly identified Prismatic Geoscope as the judge foil EDH players wanted.  I think this probably tanks more.

This is where I make some grand pronouncement and wrap up the themes I started in the first article about how boring all of this is, but I think they picked better targets for the Anthology this year. If every card falls by a buck, you’re better off with decks that have a small number of cards way over $10 than a deck with 100 $1 cards. I think Wurmcoil, Atraxa and other huge cards won’t be perturbed much and I think if you can get these sets under MSRP, either by having a hookup or by using eBay coupons, you might want to do it considering the Atraxa deck itself is hard to get under $100 and has $120 worth of cards in it and so does Wade Into Battle ($100 for Built from Scratch and $120 for Devour for Power, but that one isn’t as juicy). The singles should move, you can sell those spindown life counter things and you can use the box to house a talking mouse like in those Mouse and the Motorcyle books I acknowledge I read but don’t remember anything about except there was one where the kid was going to die if he didn’t get an aspirin for some reason and the mouse found a dirty aspirin under like a desk or something and I can’t think of lower stakes for the climax of a book but that’s me. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you. Anyway, I’ll write another one of these next week and we’ll talk about something else. Until next time!

 

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