All posts by Tedmond Wong


Hi everyone! Thank you for the tremendous support and positive feedback I received from my first article! I could not ask for a warmer welcome.

As some of you know, I recently returned from MagicCon Minneapolis, which is the second of four major MTG conventions this year that will culminate in the World Championships in Las Vegas, Sep 22-24, 2023. The three days in Minneapolis allowed for the meeting of friends both old and new, countless games played, and much exciting business to be conducted. For this article I want to focus on one aspect of my experience, specifically my observations on collecting and trading premium Magic cards in the current environment. 

A key focus for me lately has been the recent releases of the serialized cards in MOM, the “giveaway” Secret Lair cards (limited each to 295 copies), and the Secret Lair Prize Cards (exclusive to MagicCon events). Why do we care about these cards in particular? The short answer is that MTG as a collectible card game is evolving and for all of you engaged in the MTG Finance community, it is imperative to take note of the opportunities for short term arbitrage associated with time boxed or location specific limited releases. Allow me to illustrate my point here through several personal anecdotes from the floor of Magiccon Minneapolis. 

First, let’s begin with the serialized MOM cards. As a refresher, WOTC decided to serialize in editions of 500 each of the 65 Multiverse Legend cards from MOM and the 5 new Praetors. That’s a whooping 35,000 serialized cards injected into the MTG community. The community’s feedback I would argue has been mixed. While everyone loves to see Ragavan in a masterpiece frame, not everyone is so enthused by a serial number stuck to a card with the same art with average foiling. Furthermore, no one can really understand why a bunch of uncommons (Daxos? Yargle?) get serialized treatment. These are indeed somewhat baffling production choices. On the other hand the unique art exclusive to the serialized versions of the new Praetors are stunning ultra low print run collectibles and the market has responded accordingly.

I arrived in Minneapolis with 8 serialized cards, including 3 serialized new Praetors (Elesh Norn, Sheoldred, Jin-Gitaxias). I had snapped up these Praetors during the prerelease windows (each at $800 or less), theorizing the unique art would make them quite desirable. I consigned the 8 serialized cards through a vendor friend of mine who had a booth, and 6 cards sold including all the Praetors (Elesh Norn $2000, Sheoldred $1700, Jin-Gitaxias $1500). A few points here worth reporting: 1) the vendor noted that many buyers came up looking for serialized cards, and the Praetors were some of the most asked about cards at the show; 2) all the serialized cards sold within 5% of the asking price; and 3) there were few serialized cards on the floor until the last day and almost no Praetors (whatever was tabled, ended up sold). 

My takeaway here is that serialized cards with top-notch unique art deserve special attention. When these cards also happen to be playable, as is the case with the Praetors, the demand and price support are readily found in the market. Note that even without unique art, I had success selling my serialized Emry, Lutri, and Zada at a profit – simply because they are playable and as a “one of a kind” serialized card, they found a home in someone’s very blinged-out EDH deck. It’s clear that serialized cards will exist from here on out given the announcements for LOTR. Though it may be tempting to brush off serialized cards as some lame marketing gimmick ported over from the sports card world, we have enough data at this point to show that there is clear demand from buyers for these cards as a new tier of premium MTG collectible. The fact that EDH is the dominant format for MTG and is a singleton format only helps the cause for serialized cards, as players are indeed willing to spend to “bling out” a favorite deck. The obvious corollary is that there’s going to be downward pressure on the basic versions of serialized cards, as the value in new sets is now spread out and skewed in favor of super-rare chase cards. 

The second anecdote I’d like to share concerns probably one of the ugliest MTG cards in recent memory (my subjective opinion shared by many!).  I present to you the Secret Lair 295 Giant Growth:

This specimen is limited to 295 copies, which were given out randomly to MagicCon attendees (with a bias towards content creators and kids). This Giant Growth is the second Secret Lair 295 card given out, with the first being the Shivan Dragon (see above right), which was distributed at MagicCon Philly. The dust has settled on the Shivan Dragon, and we know that the current market price is around $2,000 based on extensive data points from Facebook sales. Giant Growth is virtually unplayable in every format. Given the troublesome art and the lack of playability, a couple vendors I know of took the brave step of paying $500 for the Giant Growth as the first copies hit the floor. I immediately went and bought 2 copies each at $600. One vendor professed that the card probably should be worth $200 as it’s so unappealing and was worried he’s taking a bath by even paying $500. My own logic however was that the card is a serialized release tied to a major MTG event. While this is no Shivan Dragon, there will surely be foreign buyers and other premium collectors that would pay $800? Even $1,000?  Within hours I had my answer. SCG said they were buying copies at $1,000 (which came down eventually to $500 during the weekend), and on Facebook, copies sold to collectors pretty briskly at $800-1,000 (as I’m writing this article, this is still the market price). I sold both my copies on the first day within hours of receiving them for $1,000 each, pocketing $400 profit per copy. Sweet!

Lessons learned? The principle of scarcity is relevant here in that the limited supply of this card, which was released within a very narrow window, created its own demand. Collectors and vendors did not want to miss out, and this pretty mediocre card still found its support in the market at a robust price. With these limited releases, especially with cards that are mediocre at best, it’s important to move quickly and take advantage of scarcity value. You need to know your outs (Facebook groups and Twitter), and be disciplined and informed with the right data (i.e., Shivan Dragon 295 is $2,000, so an out for Giant Growth at $1,000 is more than respectable). We can expect more of these 295 cards will appear in MagicCon Barcelona and Vegas. If offered the opportunity to buy a mysterious 295 card on site for $500, would you? The answer may well deserve to be yes, especially if the print runs and singles event releases stay consistent.

My last anecdote concerns a very special card shown here:

Ragavan needs no introduction, but this is the Secret Lair Prize version. This card exists in foil only with a total population of 128 copies to be distributed during the four MagicCon events this year. To date, 64 copies have been put into circulation, and it’s worthwhile to study the price behavior for this card. I attended MagicCon Philly and was an aggressive buyer of this card as soon as copies came into circulation. Vendors had originally buylisted the card at $1,000, then $1,250, and eventually close to $2,000. It became clear that there was extraordinary demand, as the art is highly unique and desirable to many for this truly iconic card. I was able to procure two copies of this card at $2,200 and $2,400, which I then sold shortly after Philly for $2,800 and $3,300. I flag this particular card because coincidentally in Philly, the Multiverse Legend version of Ragavan was announced including a serialized edition. Many thought that this Secret Lair Prize version was doomed for failure because the same card is being hit for reprint twice in succession and both in a premium treatment. 

The question is what happened in Minneapolis? Instead of seeing any price pressure, the Secret Lair Prize Ragavan saw a significant price increase. Vendors told me they had to pay $2,400 to $2,800 in buylist just to get a copy. Most copies procured also had ready buyers on the back end. Meanwhile, serialized Ragavans (not special numbers) have slipped to the $1,200 range even when many swore that the Masterpiece frame can’t be beat. It is clear that yet again, the art matters and for a staple card like Ragavan, the very limited number of 128 copies will carry the day. It does not matter that a Masterpiece frame exists, as that art treatment is printed into oblivion now and the serialized version of Ragavan is the same card. 

Recognizing this unique price trend, I suspect that this Ragavan may see yet another ratchet, especially in 6 to 12 months once all copies are given out. I opted to reinvest some of my gains from above into a personal copy.  

I hope the above stories from the floor provide you all with some interesting windows into how the MTG community is responding to the recent limited and special edition cards. I will look forward to reporting again soon when LOTR drops and we see some numbered rings enter the market and we get a glimpse of how the market forms on 1900 serialized Sol Rings and the mighty single copy of The One Ring. Until next time!

The Top MOM Commander Staples

Hey all! This is my first ever article for the MTGPrice Pro Trader community. I’m looking forward to many great conversations about emerging tech and trends in Commander. This week we’ll review the release of March of the Machine (MOM) and the new potential EDH staples introduced in the set. I was fortunate enough to recently attend CommandFest in Orlando, where I got to participate in multiple prerelease drafts and see many MOM cards play out in multiple EDH and cEDH pods over the weekend. In combination with my online and local play, I think I’ve got a solid handle on the cards with the greatest potential for persistent play.

To start, let’s get rid of the obvious and agree to put aside the two powerhouses, which are the new Sheoldred and Elesh Norn. These praetors that flip into sagas are brutal to play against; Sheoldred provides removal and discard, while Elesh Norn taxes you and creates an army of tokens before a board wipe. These cards are powerful and need answers upon resolution. I don’t think you’ll ever be disappointed playing either or both of these praetors in your deck.

Beyond the praetors here are four more staples in the making. These cards are effective, powerful, and worth investing in provided the right entry point arises.

#1 Faerie Mastermind (Rare, Extended Art)

Faerie Mastermind (Extended Art)-0

The takeaway from CommandFest was, if you play blue in EDH, you should play Faerie Mastermind. No matter whether your playstyle is casual or the most competitive, card draw is a necessity in the game. EDH card draw is largely defined by the older known draw engines, including Rhystic Study, Mystic Remora, Esper Sentinel, and most recently, Black Market Connections. Point is – your opponents all want to draw cards, and Mastermind lets you tag along. For just two mana you get to flash in this faerie, pick up a second card on your opponent’s second draw trigger, and then introduce a potential long term draw engine onto the board (the second ability which allows you to activate a card draw is key). Worth noting that your opponents can’t prevent the card draw by paying tax like Rhystic Study or Esper Sentinel. Instead, your opponents need to remove Faerie Mastermind, but do you really want to waste a precious removal spell on a 2/1? Similar to Esper Sentinel, this card will be one of those seemingly innocuous creatures that lies around for many more turns than it should be allowed to. By the time Faerie Mastermind is finally removed, there is a decent probability you’ll have drawn half a dozen or more cards.

At the time of writing this article, the extended art version of Faerie Mastermind is $8 for non-foil and just under $17 for foil. This feels too high for an in-print rare from a newly printed set. So far we can’t compare Mastermind to a true multi-format all-starr like Ledger Shredder. That said, UB Rogues in Pioneer with 3 or 4 copies of Mastermind is an emerging deck in that format, so a lower entry is far from guaranteed. Barring successes there, give this some time to breathe and as supply comes into the market, look to pick up EA non-foils closer to $5 and foils closer to $10. If multi-format play picks up, be ready to jump in on potential spikes.

#2 Wrenn and Realmbreaker (Mythic, Borderless)

Wrenn and Realmbreaker (Borderless)-0

I have learned to never underestimate three mana cost planeswalkers. Wrenn and Realmbreaker is a card that slots beautifully into multicolor EDH decks, acting as a quasi-Chromatic Lantern to fix the mana base. If you can land Wrenn on a turn with an untapped land open, you can +1 to create a 3/3 blocker to protect her for the coming turn. At that point Wrenn will be at 5 loyalty, which is not easy to remove. Later on, the -2 ability will help you build card advantage and your yard. Taking all this together, it’s not hard to see why this is almost a $14 non-foil card and $19+ foil card in borderless art. The many popular 4-color and 5-color commander decks like Jodah, the Unifier, the Ur-Dragon, Atraxa (both), and Slivers should have a natural home for Wrenn and Realmbreaker.

Wrenn is one of the premier mythics in this set, and I’ll be closely watching the price chart in the coming weeks. Prices are pretty elevated right now, but I would be minded to jump in and buy a few copies while supply is high in the coming months and price pushes potentially push below $10-12 for borderless and $15 for borderless foils .

#3 Tribute to the World Tree

Tribute to the World Tree (Extended Art)-0

Card draw is good, +1/+1 counters are also good, and the two together are great. At first, Tribute to the World Tree looks like a modified Garruk’s Uprising, which is a $3 uncommon found in 143k EDH decks (especially those with big stompy themes). However, I think this card is more flexible and will see equal if not more play overall in EDH. First, the ETB trigger on a creature with power 3 is significant (vs. power 4 on Garruk’s Uprising). There are few tokens generated that have power 4 but at power 3 it’s possible to abuse this card and get multiple triggers in one turn (think Jinnie Fay’s dog tokens). Second, the downside on the card is just perfect for “counters matters” decks. Putting this together, I would focus on potential entry on copies sub $5 as this would put the card on par with Garruk’s Uprising. Extended art non-foil is at $6 while foil is at $7.50. With supply coming to market, I think sub $5 will be readily achieved in the near term.

#4 Phyrexian Censor

Phyrexian Censor-0

This is my favorite uncommon card from the set. Phyrexian Censor is a perfect white stax card, combining elements of Archon of Emeria and Blind Obedience for 3 mana in a 3/3 body. This card slots perfectly into any control / stax strategy, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see uptake as high as Archon of Emeria, which is in 42k EDH decks. It is very hard to spec on an in print uncommon, but there’s only one version of this card and the foils are $1 or less. I can’t see the harm in sitting on a brick of these now and letting time run its course.

MOM’s Best Commander: Thalia and The Gitrog Monster

Thalia and The Gitrog Monster (Showcase)-0

Before we wrap things up, I think it’s worthwhile to flag a card on my radar who will sit at the helm of the 99. Thalia and the Gitrog Monster is an incredible card design, which packs a real punch at 4 mana cost. The stax effect and the ability to sacrifice and reply lands while drawing cards is a powerful combination. I haven’t come across great choices in commanders for Abzan, but I believe Thalia does the color combination justice. There are some very high power builds emerging so she is one commander to monitor in the coming months. You should also watch for her to potentially move some cards that are locks for includes in the 99. Ramunap Excavator, The Gitrog Monster judge foils, and Titania, Protector of Argoth could all be under pressure here.

Hope you all enjoyed my first article. Thanks, and until next time may your draw be devastating!