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: Still Don’t Look Right


I know you think I pretty much nailed it last week, but I still decided to come back this week with some more hot examples, fresh from… wherever they originate? Which is somewhere hot? Rather than contemplate the consequences of my idioms, we should back to what really matters – specs of any temperature served to you in article form.

Today I did some poking around as I often do, and I found something I guess I didn’t quite expect, and it goes to show once again why it pays to look at data again in a new context to help figure out what it means. Let’s see if you catch the outlier here.

You can make a few pronouncements if you really study the data carefully, but when you look elsewhere for what is going on in EDH, you might see some of these cards in a new light.

The first picture was the set page for the PAWBO Commander precon decks, the second pic is the most built decks of the last week. Sure, it’s obvious that Urtet is a big deal, but you can’t look at the set page and pick out at a glance that the card is “5th most built deck of the week” good. All Will Be One is old news, they have begun spoiling two new sets since it dropped.

This naturally made me check Urtet’s page and I found something right away. I clicked.

The High Synergy cards came up. Do you see what I saw?

Wake The Past is more on TCG than on CK? I clicked.

It is certainly played in enough decks before and a big one recently. Still doesn’t explain the price discrepancy. One more click.

Here we have our answer. If a small number of copies go missing from TCG Player, there are enough sellers with enough copies to list them without too much disruption. Card Kingdom is at the mercy of their own online buylist and convention buyers in a post-convention era to keep stocked. TCG Player is in control of this card’s price and while the incentive to be the cheapest and have your copy sell first is there, it won’t be enough to keep this below $6, probably more until they reprint it before my copies sell.

These few investigatory mouseclicks led to a big discovery – a card that was secretly selling out and which is great synergy with all 900 Red White Artifacts commanders they have farted out recently on top of Urtet, which made me think we were getting a Memnarch effect and made me sad.

While we’re at it, this is another High Synergy Urtet card, same deal with the lower price on CK because it sold out there first.

This week, CK is a canary in the coal mine, weakly trying to choke out a warning. Every time I saw a price where CK was cheaper on Urtet’s page, it was sold out.

Every “x matters” (I try not to say tribal anymore and this is the cleanest way to swap in a new word, imo) strategy is going to be this obvious, but it needs to be backed up by building for the cards to sell. They’re selling, pay attention to cards that sell out on one of the most expensive websites for people who don’t buylist to buy cards. Card Kingdom can tell you as much or more about the EDH market as any other site, including EDHREC, provided you know where to look.

Is this method great for figuring out specs way ahead of time like I prefer to? No, certainly not, but if you spend enough time looking at prices on EDHREC, your eyes catches when CK is cheaper. This week, it appears to be because Myr stuff is finally popping and current TCG Player retail is probably fine considering CK will almost certainly restock higher than that if they ever get stock back in.

That does it for me this week, readers. Thanks for reading and talking appraisingly about my art in the MTG Price Pro Trader Discord which is worth the cost of a subscription in and of itself. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: It Don’t Look Right


This week I was going to write about the specs that I think are likely to go up in price as a result of the Lord of the Rings 20 years too late to strike while the Mount Doom is hot edition giving us a true Saga Commander in Bomb Tombadil. Cliff scooped me by writing that exact article a day earlier and that means that we at least have a consensus as a writing team. We didn’t discuss this beforehand, if we had, I wouldn’t have to pivot to another idea at the 11th hour.

I’m not complaining, I was looking for inspiration and found some quickly- some of the prices don’t look right. Whenever I come across a price that looks wrong, I investigate and about a third of the time it makes me think about something I hadn’t been keeping my eye on. Other times it’s nothing. I’ll talk about what to look for and also pretend this is more art than science so you keep taking my advice. Job security an all that. Speaking of job security, did I tell you I never learned how to segue?

This card is literally the first card I looked at when I opened EDHREC today. That’s phenomenal luck for a guy who had to audible to a new topic – can you see what looks wrong to me? Apart from the 3rd price being MTGO, that is. Left is Card Kingdom, right is TCG Player. That’s right, the price is higher on TCG Player than on CK. That’s unusual, and we should verify that the cards got scraped correctly. Sometimes the price is lower because they sold out and the scraper hits an art card or an oversized Planeswalker card or something. Sometimes the price is lower because CK hasn’t noticed the card is going gangbusters on TCG Player and no one bothered to scoop up the copies on CK. How many copies are we talking, anyway?

When it says “8 available” it means “8 minimum.” Card Kingdom has it set up so the Jasons Alt of the world don’t buy 300 copies and then tell them “You can hang onto those and just give me whatever you’ll be paying on your buylist next week.” How many EX copies, though?

You know that it’s actually 1 copy. Any number under 8 you know is probably their stock unless they have some unsorted yet. The cheapest copies have not sold yet, and they might even be cheaper than TCG Player. So far the opposite of what I expected is happening – and a trip to TCG Player might untangle this snarl a bit.

So not only is the real price above $4, it’s selling at that price.

The cheapest copy is actually $5.19 for a non-foil and $4.47 for a foil, because Collector Boosters have no pity or remorse and they fart more curly foils onto the market than the market needs or wants. The foil may be tanking but the non-foil price is going up. It’s above $4 and it’s going up.

Brainstorm Brewery listeners will be familiar with DJ referencing something he calls the “Direct Premium” and I think that may be the case here with the big partition between Zoopiez and TOA. I don’t know who Zoopiez is, but we all know TOA and they’re direct sellers. If a seller can get $6 for a card on direct, they will and the “last sold” price can sometimes confound the market price calculation. $6 copies selling on direct while $4 copies languish in stores with few sales and a good reason for that is the cart optimizer. The optimizer doesn’t always favor stores with the best price, it usually favors the largest inventories. That’s why you can get $1 more for a card because they have already paid shipping once and the optimizer will keep your copy in the cart for $6 rather than send the buyer a $5 card with $1 shipping because the $6 card with $1 shipping is calculated as $6 not $7 by the optimizer provided you have shipping set up to not charge $1 on each additional item. Another reason is that sellers are reluctant to list cards under $4 because after the flat payment and fees, you made less than buylist on a $3-$5 card.

Do I think that this card will continue to go up in price? I do.

Of the 28 non-reprint cards in the Brothers” War Commander decks, Workshop is played the most by a good 20% margin. It can go in any color deck, making it versatile enough to not immediately be ruled out as a potential staple, and it synergizes with weird, unfair lands that 12 year old me loved because they produced a ton of mana and 38 year old me loves because they still produce a ton of mana and they stopped making new Cloudposts because they were broken. It’s the most played card in precons that are all done getting opened because Brothers’ War was 9 sets ago (look it up) and it’s cheaper on CK than on TCG Player. One of those prices is about to change and my money is that the $4 will change to a $6 or a $7 soon, so get them at $4 why don’t you?

Also, don’t ask why the borderless version is cheaper, that makes no sense to me, unless you could only get the borderless one in collector boosters in which case it does make sense and I should just take out this paragraph where I figure out something obvious and act like it’s new information. Don’t let me forget to come back and delete this.

There is a good reason I always check when a card costs less on Card Kingdom – the scrapers on EDHREC are good but only as good as the API they access. I don’t have a problem with CK or their API at all, I am just saying that sometimes something was misreported and you can catch it with a quick spot check.

Well well well, what have we here?

And there you have it. The cheapest copy actually available is $8.49 for the non-foil, regular bordered version. If this sold out on CK at $8 but is going for more on TCG, I can’t imagine that CK is going to restock the borderless version for $8.

Also, TCG’s price was a little inflated at $8.89, but perhaps not for long.

The foils under $10 are gone, and the price is a bit all over the place, but it looks like nothing is even getting listed under $7 anymore whereas a few days ago you could snag one for $6.60. It looks like this isn’t actually cheaper on CK, but it did cause us to look at a card that might be making a move. It’s a mythic, after all.

A mythic that refuses to go below $7 no matter how much product is opened. Not that anyone is opening product from 10 sets ago (they released a new set since I wrote that previous paragraph).

It’s worth looking at cards like this, too, where the TCG Price is cheaper but, like, WAY cheaper. The thing about CK is that they can charge what they charge because people know and trust them and they have a great buylist where you can purchase cards with credit and like it or not, CK is the go-to shop for a lot of EDH Players. If CK is getting away with charging $18 for this card that may or may not be good, I’ve had no time to test it.

Great googily moogily, CK believes in this card the way The Darkness Believed in a thing called love. Is TCG Player really selling this for like half price?

CK may know EDH but TCG Player knows when a graph looks like this, it’s not time to buy, yet. I don’t know if the $20 on CK is correct, it might very well not be and they might very well lower the price soon. However, I have no confidence in this card as a spec. It’s likely not nearly as useful as people predicted it would be and the price tailing off on TCG as sellers race to the bottom coincides with there not being all that much you can do with this card. It seems like a bad card, it’s ranked 11th/28 in the set, which is a 40% which is a failing grade. I think TCG Player, a site that has multiple sellers competing with each other and where the price the card sells for is still falling, has it right here. Sometimes the cheap copies are a buy if the card’s $18 (or $20!) on CK is justified. In this case, seems not.

I hope it was informative to get a view into how I look at cards and evaluate them as specs. I didn’t give you my normal 5 specs this week, but if you’re feeling froggy, why not look at the other 25 cards we didn’t talk about from Brother’s War precons and see if any of the other prices seem off. A few are under $1 and I wouldn’t bother with those – any card less than the cost of shipping isn’t going to give you accurate price comparison data. That does it for me, nerds. Thank you so much for reading my stuff. Until next time!

Pro Trader: The Best Bad Color


Welcome to another installment of the series “Jason writes an article.” Sometimes it is on here, sometimes on other sites, but always article. This is the 541st article I have written on MTG Price, and if that sounds bonkers to you, it is to me, also. Today I am not going to do my normal article from my perspective, fearing it might seem exactly the same from your perspective and that I have been overthinking it for 540 articles, and that’s just this site. What I think I am doing differently is that I’m going to talk about a color then the cards in that color. I don’t always do exactly that. It’s different. Shut up.

What’s the worst color in Commander? That’s right, Red, and it isn’t close. But a few years ago, people would still have said Red. But a few years before that, probably still Red. The point is, White has almost always been the second worst color, some argued the worst, because it didn’t mana ramp as hard. We have seen every possible variation on Knight of the White Orchid and by now there are two or three Archaeomancer’s Map-tier cards in White that make it keep up nicely with the Green-based ramp decks. I have seen a Demonic Tutor used as a Farseek more than once, but, sure, White is the worst at it. Black has Cabal Coffers, Green has mana dorks and Cultivate, Blue has mana dorks and Cultivate if you built correctly and added Green, and Red has Seething Song. What does White have? Well, lately, it’s had everything.

I wasn’t even going to write this specific article until I decided to look at the most-played cards in the, well the set that has most recently been fully-spoiled, I guess. We have 8 cards revealed from March of the Machine, the perfect amount of cards to have revealed before you reveal a million-dollar one-of-a-kind collectible card and a White Remand. And let’s be clear about something else – I just found out about the White Remand because I was procrastinating on twitter between paragraphs – I had no idea White got a Remand, a card that’s basically good everywhere except for EDH, until after I had started my “White gets everything these days, huh?” article. White IS getting a lot, if not everything, and one trip to EDHREC will bear that out.

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Pro Trader: March Timeses On


Welcome to March Madness, the only time of the year where you hear the word “Gonzaga” and it’s not the name of one of the 595 Legendary creatures introduced to the game in 2022 (I looked it up – it’s 347. I was barely exaggerating and I was trying to be as hyperbolic as possible). The March I am mad about is March of the Machine. We could talk about college basketball but I don’t know anything about it and Corbin Hosler does, and that’s two reasons not to talk about it right there.

Last week we talked about the two major decks from March so far, which is wild since the set is barely spoiled. Still, we have enough Legendary creatures for people to do quite a bit of brewing.

For reference, here was last week

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.