Category Archives: Casual Fridays

The Math Of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

All right, everyone, let’s get into the distributions of different Innistrad: Midnight Hunt cards. There’s three variants, plus the usual Extended Art treatment. Wizards has been good about not throwing any huge curveballs here since the 30% hurdle in Commander Legends, and it makes these calculations a lot easier. If you’re looking for your odds of a Borderless Foil Wrenn and Seven, look no further!

First, some raw numbers. There are 20 mythics in the set, and 64 rares. Plus, there’s 83 uncommons and 105 commons. Those won’t be as relevant to us, but as we’ll discuss, if a foil hits it big (Expressive Iteration, I’m looking at you!) suddenly that’s a very relevant number.

There’s two Showcase frames in this set: All of the Werewolves and Warlocks in the set get what’s called the Equinox frame, on both sides if it’s a two-faced card. 

Then we have the Eternal Night frame, a black-and-white sketch art to go with a more translucent frame. This is done to every legendary creature which isn’t in the Equinox frame. If it’s a two-sided card, both sides get this treatment.

Finally, we get the Borderless treatment, which is new art and has no borders. This is just the five slowlands, and the three planeswalkers. Interestingly, Arlinn, the Pack’s Hope is the only card to get three different arts: regular, Equinox, and Borderless.

There’s not a special version of a single card, the way there was a Phyrexian Vorinclex in Kaldheim, or a special subset as in the Mystical Archive. Also, there’s no etched foils in this set. Thankfully, this is a straightforward set, and we can make clear comparisons to other sets.

Now let’s talk about what you get in the three kinds of packs:

In a Draft Booster, you can get foils or nonfoils of almost anything. Foil Equinox, foil Borderless, both are possible, but NOT the Commander-only cards and not the Extended Art versions of cards. One out of three Draft boosters have a foil, but that’s a foil of anything, including the basic land. (which is good–the foils of these Eternal Night basics should be solid, financially)

Set Boosters do have a slot for the Commander cards, but only in nonfoil. You can get the same foils and nonfoils, otherwise, just more of them to go with the 25% chance of card from The List, which is 300 cards long, everything is of equal rarity, and you need to open 1200 Set Boosters to get a full set of The List. (you won’t get it at exactly 1200 because of the way probability works, but the math is sound.

The rarest cards are going to be the Foil Extended-Art mythics from this set. Not the Equinox and not the Eternal Night, since those foils can show up in Draft and Set Boosters. The EA treatment is exclusive to the Collector Boosters, and Wizards’ own graphics tell us that there’s really only one slot to worry about: 

So how rare is rare in that last slot? (Last, in this case, meaning that you’ll reveal it last. If you open a CB card by card, you’ll see things in bottom-up order!) Let’s have a table:

Type of cardNumber of optionsOdds of getting one of these in a given CB (last 2 slots)How many CBs need to be opened to get a specific card with that treatment
Foil Mythic Equinox1.66%151
Foil Rare Equinox810.6%75.5
Foil Mythic Eternal Night31.9%151
Foil Rare Eternal Night1114.6%75.5
Foil Mythic Borderless31.9%151
Foil Rare Borderless56.6%75.5
Foil Mythic Extended Art149.3%151
Foil Rare Extended Art4154.3%75.5

Remember, you are twice as likely to get a rare (65 options) as a mythic (21 options) and that’s where the denominator of 151 comes from.

So about 75% of Collector Boosters will have a foil rare of some kind in this slot. Note that Arlinn is the only foil mythic Equinox, as well as being a Borderless Planeswalker, so she will be 50% more common than any other mythic from this set. Put another way, for every two copies of Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset, there’s three copies of Arlinn, the Pack’s Hope.

Here’s a table for the nonfoils:

Type of cardNumber of optionsOdds of getting one of these in a given CB How many CBs need to be opened to get a specific card with that treatment
Nonfoil Mythic Equinox11.8%55
Nonfoil Rare Equinox829.1%22.5
Nonfoil Mythic Eternal Night35.4%55
Nonfoil Rare Eternal Night1140%22.5
Nonfoil Mythic Borderless35.4%55
Nonfoil Rare Borderless518.2%22.5
Nonfoil Mythic Extended Art (slot 3)1414.6%96
Nonfoil Rare Extended Art (slot 3)4185.4%48

Where does this set land compared to other sets? One more table!

setOdds of a specific foil rareOdds of a specific foil mythic
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt1/75.51/151
Forgotten Realms1/631/126
Strixhaven 1/154.51/309
Modern Horizons 21/126.51/253

We can see that things will be a little more rare than in AFR, and this doesn’t have the Vorinclex effect that Kaldheim was blessed with. Strixhaven is going to be an outlier for most things, because of the way that they set up the Mystical Archive.

One thing I want you to note, if you love buying Collector Boosters: These last three slots have some rough math. About 85% of those packs will have these as the final three cards: nonfoil rare EA, nonfoil rare showcase/borderless, foil EA/showcase/borderless rare. For each of those slots, you’ve got about a 15% chance to hit a mythic. Buying a box of 12 packs, the math says you’re getting about two mythics in each slot.

I hope this helps inform your buying decisions. If you find an error here, be kind, and post a comment or come mention it in the ProTrader Discord.

Crimson Vowing To Beat The Rush

All the attention being on Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and the Werewolf spikes, let’s take a moment and look at some of the Vampires who are getting new toys in the next set. Some of those Werewolves went to the moon (pun 100% intended) and we want to suck all the value out of the coming Vampire rush. (again, totally intended)

What we’re looking for are Vampires and Vampire accessories. Some of these will be obvious, sure, but if obvious stuff doesn’t pay off, why didn’t we all buy up Mayor of Avabruck when it was under $5?

The obvious things can pay off nicely, and let’s start with a couple of obvious doozies:

Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose (cheapest nonfoil is $5, most expensive Foil Extended Art is $18) – I’ve written before that Vito is a great spec, because the abilities work so well to just kaboom someone out of the game in Commander. I appreciate when a legendary creature tells you what to do with the deck you’re building. 

We should expect that Vampires are going to make opponents lose life and you’ll gain that life. Vito doubles up the damage dealt and will go well into any deck doing those sorts of things. Get your copies now, as prices have crept up a couple of dollars lately but there’s still plenty of profit to be made here.

Bloodline Keeper ($14 to $30) – There’s hardly any NM foils from Innistrad left, so that opportunity may be lost, but there’s a lot of FTV: Transform copies left out there for under $20 and that’s a prime opportunity. This isn’t the only lord that’s going to show up on this list, but it carries a caveat: This has the vertical, slick foiling that turns a lot of people off, and that’s likely why this price is so close to the original price. FTV is the last to go, but go it will. I dearly love cards that represent more than one card’s worth of power, and Bloodline Keeper definitely fits there. Easy double-up.

Malakir Bloodwitch ($1.50 to $4) – I used to have an all-foil Garza Zol deck, tribal Vampires. One of the insta-kills in the deck was Bloodwitch plus Rite of Replication kicked. Boom, game over, shuffle up for the next. This card has a nonfoil reprint in Commander 2017 that hasn’t really budged, though foils have moved on TCG lately:

Tribal decks can struggle to do things outside of combat, but with this around, Vampires don’t have that problem. This is cheap enough that I’d recommend getting the foil, as the Commander deck from this set is highly likely to have this card.

Sanctum Seeker ($2 to $8) – This has started to move int he last week or so, but there’s a lot left out there. This is an upgrade over Hellrider, and triggers all of your lifegain synergies too. Please note you get a drain for each Vampire. Yes, it’s a little undersized at a 3/4 for four mana but it’ll perform like a much bigger creature.

Legion Lieutenant ($1.50 to $6) – There’s very few foil copies left on TCG, but the big concern here is the two-color nature of the tribe. I think they will give us black-red and black-white vampires, making the blue ones in Ravnica and other random ones obsolete. I would much prefer to own a stack of foils, as the reprint risk in the Commander deck is very high here too.

Blood Tribute ($0.75 to $10) – Only foil copies are from Zendikar, and that’s where I’d prefer to be. There’s already a c17 reprint sitting around at the floor, and if this dodges reprint, that’s going to be a profitable buylist play. There’s no denying the power of the card, for six mana you’re swinging a huge amount of life. Problem is that pesky Commander deck that’ll be coming out at the same time, as this is a fantastic card to print there.

Blade of the Bloodchief ($4 to $20) – I can tell you, as someone who played this card, it’s got the potential to be amazing but it’s only great with point removal or one-sided Wrath effects. If you can get a sacrifice engine going, or a repeatable form of creature kill, you’re in business, but it’s a huge target. It’s already pricey for the nonfoils, and it’s got huge reprint risk, but the day the Commander lists come out I’m ready to buy this up like mad. 

Captivating Vampire ($11 to $15) – The nonfoil price and the foil price are really close in price, which is a surprise to me. I don’t think that’ll last too long, though. This card is bonkers, just yoinking away the creature you want most and making it into fodder for your next conquest. It’s only three mana, so you can play it and leave mana up, and while there’s a Commander nonfoil and a nonfoil from The List, the price has gone up as anticipation rises:

That graph doesn’t scare me, though. Sure, it’s more expensive now, but this was only widely available in Magic 2011 (eleven years ago), The List is a joke for reprints and the Commander copies weren’t really put out onto the market. If you bought the C17 deck, you were playing all those Vampires and especially this one. If it’s reprinted, much will depend on the other cards, to determine if this is worth cracking the package open and selling the cards.

This wasn’t a list of every Vampire that I thought could get played, but these are some of the best bets that are around for the bloodsuckers. I’d strongly encourage you to check these out in Europe, if you have that connection. Casual cards tend to be cheaper there, and every bit helps when you’re forecasting for profit.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Core Set 2021 at Rotation

The last set that rotates out in less than a month, Core 2021 offers a whole lot of cards we need to keep an eye on. Some of these I’ve already bought deep on, and others I’m debating when I want to start buying. Truth is, this set has a whole lot of goodies for Commander players, and that means we need to pay attention.

Keep in mind that while Commander demand makes us happiest, we also benefit from these being cards popular in Standard that people might be selling off as rotation hits, causing a further drop in prices.

Terror of the Peaks ($26 for the cheapest version to $80 for the Foil Extended Art) – As a card that sees play in a few different decks, though never a four-of, this is high on my radar. It’s got serious applications as a combo piece, is a very good Dragon to put in play before slamming down 6/6’s, and is going to get at least 3 life out of someone. It’s been on an upward trend lately, probably due to Tiamat/Ur-Dragon popularity:

So what I’m hoping for here is that people sell the copies they wanted to use in Standard decks, but this card’s price probably has more to do with the Commander demand than anything else. The ship has definitely sailed on its Foil Extended Art copies, but if this comes down below $20 for the regulars, I’ll probably be in for a few.

Garruk’s Uprising ($1 to $2.50) – Believe it or not, this is the most popular new card from Core 2021 on EDHREC, being registered in just under 21,000 decks. It’s not hard to see why: It gives a very relevant ability to green creature decks, it tends to cantrip, and it rewards you for doing what green wants to do: pump out big creatures!

The showcase version looks better, in my opinion, but the pack foils are slightly more expensive at this point. I don’t think that will hold, and I’m already 40 copies deep on showcase foils for about $2. I’m not expecting them to get cheaper from here, but I think these are an excellent candidate to gain a lot of value in the coming months.

Chromatic Orrey ($19 to $42) – I’m not sure what caused the spike a few months ago, but Orrey does what you need in a big-mana, multicolor Commander deck. It’s never seen Standard play, so it’s not going to have a price drop. Since the jump earlier this year, the price has been trending down, though:

I’m probably going to wait a bit longer for regular copies of Orrey to get cheaper before buying in. If you want to get your FEA copies for your decks, though, that’s a valid plan I can believe in. 

Fabled Passage ($7 to $40) – This has been printed twice, and is the only fetchland legal in Pioneer. I’m looking extra hard at the WPN promos, the foils in a retro frame, because they are plentiful right now in the $7-$8 range and if that’s the price of the most basic ones, why not upgrade? This is in 75,000 Commander decks, so you don’t need to preach the virtues much farther than that. There was a chance to get in on the special foil for a little cheaper, but that’s in the past.

Given the popularity of the card, especially in Standard, I’m hoping that rotation hits this pretty hard and the regular nonfoils drop to under $5. They are a steal at that price, and your only concern going forward would be a reprint. Considering that they did this twice in a year, and made sure it would all rotate at once, I think you’re pretty safe. Given the popularity, and now easily it fits into a wide range of decks, being in a Commander precon wouldn’t damage the price very much, as anyone who bought the deck would have a place to put the card.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking ($7 to $111) – Azusa has really ridden a rollercoaster over the years:

The Masters 25 reprint brought her price low, and it recovered eventually, taking another hit when the Core 2021 reprint came around. She’s another card with a wide range of play: Popular in Commander and big in one of Modern’s top-tier decks, which has explained the ups and downs over the years. She’s at a low point now, and this is a good time to pick up copies.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon ($26 to $147) – The reprint hit hard, yes, but this was a card pushing $90 at one point two years ago:

Now we get a chance to buy up cheap copies? Sign me up. Ugin is incredibly popular in Commander, mainly because he solves almost all of your problems. I’d prefer to get copies cheaper in about a month, but I don’t think he’ll ever spend long under $20.

Grim Tutor ($16 to $90) – Being $300 at one point, due to only being the 1999 Starter deck, means that this has a lot of price memory. People think it’s expensive because it was so expensive! It’s not useful to think of cards that way, because this is not a very good tutor. It’s better than no tutor, though. Surprisingly, this is in nearly 20k decks online. That’s only 20% of the numbers Demonic Tutor has. I’d be looking for this to get a LOT cheaper before I bought in, though.

Heroic Intervention ($9 to $21) – Just over 69,000 decks online, with all of the price being due to Commander. It’s been $20 in the past, and could be again if it’s not reprinted. The prices being so close together makes me nervous, meaning that there isn’t a premium for the most premium version.

Elder Gargaroth ($16 to $34) – This might not be the best green creature ever, but the efficiency is amazing. If it lives! It’s only in 6000 decks online, which is low for a card with this price tag. This should have its price drop after rotation, as it’s in some Standard decks, but if it’s this much now, I doubt enough copies will be sold to get it to $10 or less. A more reasonable target is $12.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths at Rotation

With rotation a month away (actually Sept 17, so more like three weeks) we need to look at Ikoria cards and determine what’s going to be worth picking up at their floor. Ikoria was the first set that was released during the pandemic, and it’s possible that the number of copies in circulation is strongly affected as a result. 

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Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.