Category Archives: Jason Alt

Unlocked Pro Trader: More Like Guilds Of Ravnoonecares

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Readers,

I apologize for my lack of.. doing an article last week. I wrote one on Saturday, otherwise known as 3 days ago, and you can find it… directly under this one.

I’m back on my regular schedule and I promised some exclusive picks for insiders, and I sort of wish I hadn’t, because, you see

No One Cares About Guilds Of Ravnica

That’s not accurate, I regret writing that in such big letters. Let’s refine that so it more accurately represents my findings.

People Building EDH Decks Don’t Care About Guilds Of Ravnica

Well.. maybe. I’m sure cards from the set are finding their way into all kinds of decks and the new mechanics are very interesting .

People Aren’t Building Decks With Guilds Of Ravnica Commanders

And can you blame them? There’s nothing really new, is there? Remember this graphic from Saturday?

Those are the only Guilds commanders that even cracked the top 25 of the week and Niv-Mizzet barely counts as a new commanders. How do we even know what to care about in the face of builders not really caring about the new set?

We’re going to have to do what I do, the hard way.

A New Technique

Since searching by commander seems a little bit fruitless, we can search by card and see if that tells us anything. Yes, that’s a thing.

Type h t t p colon backslash blackslash w w w dot edhrec dot com into ask jeeves. The first  result will be EDHREC’s website. Alternatively, just click this link and don’t go to websites the way my wife does.

Peep the bar at the top.

See the link for “sets”?

You can click on that dropdown and pick a set.

That will take you to a page where we’ll be able to see the cards from Guilds that are getting put in the most decks. Searching by commander is pretty fruitless but we may find some things searching by set.

POP QUIZ

Before you bring the page up, which card from Guilds of Ravnica do you think is appearing in the most decks? Remember, Niv-Mizzet is the most popular commander in the set and people are building Lazav, then Izoni then Emmara. Got a guess? Go ahead and click the link to bring up the page.

I wouldn’t have guessed this exact sequence of cards, but it’s not a shock to see Assassin’s Trophy and Thousand-Year Storm in the top 10.

Here are some thoughts.

Izoni is in a lot of 99s

Izoni is a fun commander in its own right and a lot of people are brewing with it even though the card sort of looks like a bad Meren or similar commander. However, making a ton of tokens and being able to sac them rather than having to sac real creatures seems like a real winner. If you do something I should have done last week and look at Izoni as a card rather than as a commander, you see where it’s going.

If Izoni is a reason to update Meren and Muldrotha, it’s worth looking at which other cards from Guilds are going in those decks. When some of the most popular decks of all time start using a card, it’s going to have a much larger impact than a new archetype springing up and petering out after 3 months.

Here’s Meren

And here is Muldrotha

3 of the 5 new cards between those decks are identical – Underrealm Lich (GRN), Night Incarnate (C18) and Plaguecrafter (GRN). I think the overlap between two of the most heavily-built decks of all time could be a lot of demand for those cards. In fact,

Plaguecrafter grabs the top spot?

I would never have guessed that with Niv-Mizzet blowing the other decks away, that Plaguecrafter, a card basically no one seems to be talking about is getting jammed in more decks than any other card from the set.

No surprises when you look at the decks it’s getting jammed in, but the card itself didn’t seem THAT remarkable when the set first dropped. However, it makes sense – players who laughed at Fleshbag Marauder because they were a creatureless or Superfriends deck aren’t laughing anymore.

The 6x multiplier lets me know that people are very eager to get a copy of this guy into their lives and I can dig it.

Beast Whisperer is Legit

It’s often we get a card that kind of has this ability, but at 3 mana, this is one of the cheapest ways we’ve ever been able to keep our hands full as fast as we dump them out. I don’t know if EDH demand is going to be able to move the needle on an in-print non-mythic, but I have to imagine this is an important card basically forever. It’s also really easy to reprint, so hoard responsibly.

It’s an Elf and a Druid and I think that could end up mattering a great deal but I also think if this ever flirts with $6 or $7 it likely gets reprinted.

Mission Briefing May Actually Be Good In EDH

People seem inclined to try it, and with EDH being a big mana format, 2 mana tacked onto any spell in your ‘yard is probably not that big a deal. I don’t think its price is done dropping but I also think it’s better in EDH than people think just as it’s worse in other formats than people think.

I don’t know if any of this information is at all useful.

I think some of this stuff will be worth looking at long-term but in the mean time, I want to close out by looking at what goes in a Thousand-Year Storm deck because that’s pretty exciting and none of the rest of this seems super relevant.

I have seen a lot more people online using Kess than I have Mizzix, but I am not doing an anecdotal method here so I guess I am forced to look at both.

 Mizzix of the Izmagnus

1 Baral, Chief of Compliance
1 Charmbreaker Devils
1 Docent of Perfection
1 Goblin Electromancer
1 Guttersnipe
1 Melek, Izzet Paragon
1 Talrand, Sky Summoner
1 Young Pyromancer

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1 Blue Sun’s Zenith
1 Brainstorm
1 Capsize
1 Comet Storm
1 Counterflux
1 Counterspell
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Dig Through Time
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Firemind’s Foresight
1 Frantic Search
1 Fury Storm
1 Increasing Vengeance
1 Mystic Confluence
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Nexus of Fate
1 Prophetic Bolt
1 Pull from Tomorrow
1 Reiterate
1 Rewind
1 Scour from Existence
1 Seething Song
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Turnabout
1 Unwind

1 Blasphemous Act
1 Blatant Thievery
1 Bonus Round
1 Epic Experiment
1 Faithless Looting
1 Jaya’s Immolating Inferno
1 Mana Geyser
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Mizzium Mortars
1 Mizzix’s Mastery
1 Mystic Retrieval
1 Past in Flames
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Rite of Replication
1 Tezzeret’s Gambit
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Vandalblast
1 Volcanic Vision
1 Windfall

1 Izzet Signet
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Primal Amulet
1 Pyromancer’s Goggles
1 Sol Ring
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Thought Vessel
1 Worn Powerstone

1 Metallurgic Summonings
1 Swarm Intelligence
1 Thousand-Year Storm

1 Jaya Ballard

 Kess, Dissident Mage

1 Baral, Chief of Compliance
1 Docent of Perfection
1 Goblin Electromancer
1 Guttersnipe
1 Laboratory Maniac
1 Notion Thief
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Spellseeker
1 Talrand, Sky Summoner

1 Brainstorm
1 Cabal Ritual
1 Chaos Warp
1 Counterspell
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Dark Ritual
1 Expansion
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Force of Will
1 Frantic Search
1 Go for the Throat
1 Impulse
1 Increasing Vengeance
1 Izzet Charm
1 Mission Briefing
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Negate
1 Rakdos Charm
1 Reality Shift
1 Swan Song
1 Terminate
1 Vampiric Tutor

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1 Damnation
1 Dark Petition
1 Decree of Pain
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dreadbore
1 Faithless Looting
1 Gamble
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Past in Flames
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Serum Visions
1 Skull Storm
1 Torment of Hailfire
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Vandalblast
1 Windfall

1 Aetherflux Reservoir
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Dimir Signet
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Izzet Signet
1 Primal Amulet
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Sol Ring
1 Talisman of Dominance
1 Talisman of Indulgence

1 Jace’s Sanctum
1 Metallurgic Summonings
1 Search for Azcanta
1 Thousand-Year Storm

1 Ral, Izzet Viceroy

I used a tool I found online to quickly find the list of cards that were in both decks.

1 Baral, Chief of Compliance
1 Docent of Perfection
1 Goblin Electromancer
1 Guttersnipe
1 Talrand, Sky Summoner
1 Brainstorm
1 Counterspell
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Frantic Search
1 Increasing Vengeance
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Faithless Looting
1 Past in Flames
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Vandalblast
1 Windfall
1 Izzet Signet
1 Primal Amulet
1 Sol Ring
1 Metallurgic Summonings
1 Thousand-Year Storm

It seems like Docent of Perfection and Talrand are both pretty casual which means we may not get a good idea of what more competitive players are doing. Competitive players buy more foils, better mana bases and they aren’t afraid to drop money on the best cards for a deck. I think competitive players also severely overestimate their numbers, impact on the format and overall relevance. EDH is a casual format and it isn’t like competitive players use cards casual players have never heard of.

If I were going to build around Thousand-Year Storm (Not if, when) I would use Kess but either way, I think these cards are the ones to focus one. Let’s cut the irrelevant and obvious ones.

1 Baral, Chief of Compliance
1 Goblin Electromancer
1 Guttersnipe
1 Brainstorm
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Frantic Search
1 Increasing Vengeance
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Faithless Looting
1 Past in Flames
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Vandalblast
1 Windfall
1 Primal Amulet
1 Metallurgic Summonings

We have 3 creatures, 2 which reduce the cost of spells and one that domes them when we play a spell, which is great in a deck with cantrips.

We have 6 instants, 1 card that goes in every blue deck because it wipes the board, 2 cantrips, 1 tutor and one card that lets us copy spells. We have 6 sorceries, 3 cantrips, 1 wheel, 1 spell that lets us rebuy our yard and 1 artifact sweeper which seems useful since it leaves our Primal Amulet alone. Metallurgic Summonings is one I almost threw in the pile with Talrand and Docent but I figured it was worth talking about briefly since it’s rotating and could go down in price and might be a good snag. In fact…

Rotation sent this price plummenting from $2 to $1 which doesn’t seem like much but considering this price was entirely predicated on EDH and only tanked because people wanted to dump at rotation, it’s very reasonable to assume this could be $2 again in the near term and more in the longer term. It’s not like Standard was helping us with demand any and the more people who build spellslinger decks, the more copies of this card, one I think is tough to reprint unless they do another spellslinger EDH deck this close to the last one, we’ll see soaked up. I think if you can trade other rotating cards that will tank forever for something that might not tank forever, you won trading straight across. I get these in bulk in collections so often I’m not inclined to pay $1 cash on these but selling out on a few sites wouldn’t hurt its appeal.

There was doubt this could recover from two reprintings in two years but it looks like the doubters can eat Storm Crow. Formats where this gets used 2-4 copies don’t really exist anymore so EDH is soaking up a lot of copies but doing it just fine.  This is a powerful card with a lot of upside and if it managed to shrug off two reprintings, it’s got more upside and it also likely doesn’t get hit for a while at least. I like this pickup.

The cheapest NM foil is like $5 on TCG Player which is barely twice the non-foil price. I like this pickup a lot. It’s got flashback which somewhat limits its reprint venues which is not a guarantee but is an insulating factor. There is some evidence to suggest a non-foil reprint increases the foil price if no foil is printed at the same time such as with a Commander precon or goofy boardgame or something. I think both are an excellent place to park money and they should be in any deck that runs Thousand-Year Storm.

That’s all for me! Tune in next week or if you’re a Pro Trader, keep reading for a few bonus picks that I promised to thank you for not rioting when I didn’t publish an article until Saturday last week. If you aren’t a Pro Trader, it is very inexpensive and a lot of the time when one of us recommends a low-stock pick, 48 hours makes all of the difference. Consider supporting the site. Thanks for reading!

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Bonus Article – Rebound

Readers,

I’m sorry for the lack of an article earlier in the week. By way of apology to Pro Traders, I’ll have some exclusive picks for you in next week’s article. We have a policy of a pretty soft paywall on this site but that doesn’t apply to cases where I drop the ball. If you’re not a Pro Trader, thanks for reading and consider buying what is easily the cheapest paywall subscription on any website. You’ll make your money back  for the year the first time a spec hits. Onward to what I wanted to discuss today.

Guilds of Ravnica is having a sort of slow time getting going compared to the excitement people experienced with Commander 2018. That’s to be expected – Guilds of Ravnica is not exactly optimized for EDH and cards like Tajic really drive that point home. However, there are a few unique commanders like Lazav that are driving prices already (although we could argue Necrotic Ooze popped because of the free article on SCG rather than Lazav decks, but I guess we’ll never know until Phyrexian Devourer either pops or doesn’t) but for the most part, we’re not finding a ton of data. What I am seeing isn’t super encouraging.

We have 4 GRN commanders in the top commanders for the week, which is not great. Worse, only one of them is really all that new and unique. Niv-Mizzet is being basically built the exact same way as every other Niv-Mizzet because he has 0 new abilities, Izoni is basically Slimefoot with different creature types and Emmara is a bad Rhys. Lazav is doing novel things but we already covered what I expect to pop based on that deck. I don’t think it’s worth taking another look at it this week but this did make me wonder – how likely are non-mythics to recover from recent reprints if they get more play based on events that happen after their printing? Is there a way we can target cards in Masters sets and commander precons better knowing what’s likely to recover and what’s not? Do we pick differently based on what shakes off a printing in under a year (Eternal Witness) and what takes two or more (Oblivion Stone)?

It’s unlikely that someone who has built a Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind deck is going to run back out and buy the 97 or more cards that will be identical when you build a Niv-Mizzet, Parun deck, but someone who has built and loves Rhys might be inclined to build an Emmara deck because the decks, while one seems to be more effective, play a bit differently. Emmara is focused on using the cheap, easy-to-recast commander to generate advantage and use spells to modify the tokens whereas Rhys uses spells to make the tokens and his ability to modify them. Cards like Parallel Lives overlap and cards like Umbral Mantle do not.

So what that was reprinted in the last year and I looking at based on its inclusion in one of these 4 decks?

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I want to use this card as my baseline. I think being a Mythic in a recentish set (last Ravnica which everyone says was too recent but was 6 years ago this week) is like being a rare in an older set and getting a commander precon printing is worse than getting a masters set reprinting. I don’t expect Epic Experiment to recover. I think under 3K decks is probably too few, I think it’s not even that great in Niv-Mizzet, Parun decks but a third of the people who just built it disagree with me there (though two thirds agree) and I think it’s not useful in enough different kinds of decks to go up. I’ll be saying whether every pick I come across is more or less likely than Epic Experiment to go up. If you agree, then maybe the pick is a good one.

Tandem Lookout is a card with very little demand (around 1,000 decks, almost all of them Niv-Mizzet) but foils are basically the same price as non-foils. The farther we get from Modern Masters 2017, the more likely it is to flirt with that $2 mark again. I think this is a “roughly as likely as Epic Experiment to recover” but you can get these in bulk foils and I recommend setting them aside.  These may be the same price as the non-foil now, but I expect that to change. It’s too perfect with Niv-Mizzet and apparently they love to reprint cards with that same ability in Izzet.

Up from $0.50 to its current $2, this has recovered from Eternal Masters quite nicely. The foils took a bit of a hit as well.

I think this is a good example of a card that can shrug off a reprinting in foil eventually as well and Modern and Vintage play makes the foils more attractive than does EDH. However, the foil is beginning to recover and though any time this is reprinted, it will likely be in a set that has foil options also, this is still bound to follow the non-foil and recover. It’s sub-$20 but has shown the capacity to flirt with $50. I think this will be $25-$30 pretty soon and the non-foil will be $3 to $4. EDH isn’t doing this on its own, but it’s helping.

Way more useful than Niv-Mizzet-specific cards is one that I found in Lazav lists as well. This shrugs off reprints all the time but never really gets above $2.50, either. I think the real play here is the foil copies.

While the non-foil is likely to get a breather to recover in price for a year or so in which time I expect it to crest $3, the foil is currently $4 despite only having been printed in foil once. I think this can slowly climb given how good the non-foil has been at maintaining a relatively even keel in the face of a pile of reprints and if this is $10 in a year, I won’t be that surprised. It could just as easily not be $10, but it’s in 18,000 decks and because of its inclusion in Commander sets and Battle Royale, it was only printed once in a set where its rarity mattered. I like both the foil and non-foil of Windfall and the fact that it showed up in Niv-Mizzet AND Lazav decks when I checked today makes me doubly confident. This foil can’t remain a dollar more than the non-foil when it’s in booster packs that cost $7.

This tanked to nearly $4 and is recovering but it’s not done. I think the new art kind of sucks so I am targeting Mirage copies but at 33,000 deck inclusions, it’s clear players aren’t picky, they just want copies. This likely crests $10 if it’s not printed again soon and despite not being legal in Legacy anymore, this is a real iconic card, it’s an EDH staple in Blue decks and it has almost recovered 100% in the last year and isn’t done. Next time they do a Master’s Set, I’ll do another list of cards likely to recover well – I checked back in on the cards I mentioned last time I did that like Rune-scarred Demon and Austere Command and they are doing very well. This seems like a no-brainer even if we’re not buying at the floor.

12,000 deck inclusions and some real synergy with Izoni make me think this is bound to pop back up, soon. Being printed at uncommon in Masters 25 isn’t ideal, but it’s also like an $8 booster pack and the card is relatively recent anyway. I bet this is $2 eventually – especially given that Blood Artist was in Eternal Masters AND C17 and is already over $2 itself. If you only play one, you probably play Artist over Cutthroat, but why in the world wouldn’t you play both?

You do play both.

There’s nothing really applicable in the Emmara deck, but I do have a few notes.

This is in the Guild Kit with the same art, meaning the Eternal Masters price drubbing has been made even worse. This will likely never recover. I don’t think its modest demand, limited mostly to Emmara decks coming out soon, is enough to make me want the foils, either. Don’t sleep on the Guild kits, folks. They have foil commanders with new art, really sexy basic lands and it has quite a few rares for its price point.

No one really has this in stock and I think a quick run on it the few places it’s listed can create a spike you can sell into.  I’m not advocating creating the spike but I think you might want to be equipped with some of these. They are pretty specific to this one deck but they are also rare as can be given they were printed in 1996. I am planning to buy every copy on Card Shark in a few days – it’s already selling out everywhere else.

That’s all for me. I apologize for the late article. I’ll get the Pro Traders back next week with some exclusive picks. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: The Second Wave

People all seem to agree that a second wave of Battlebond is coming. I looked for a while and the only corroboration I could find was this bitchy tweet and, considering the source, I’m inclined to take it with a grain of salt, but if someone were going to dispute the facts, they would have already and so far no one has.

It would appear we’re getting a second wave of Battlebond that, for two reasons, excites me.

No, it excites me for ONE reason but there are two reasons it excites me for one reason. That’s confusing. There are two reasons it’s exciting for one reason? There are two FACTORS that contribute to it being exciting (for one reason) and here they are.

  1. It’s been a long time since we had Battlebond packs
  2. We didn’t know we were getting more

If you take the total amount of Battlebond packs over the two printings and released them at a steady rate until they were all gone, the prices would all equilibrate quite a bit lower than they are now. However, breaking it up into two waves with the second wave not even really announced (I suspect they realized they underprinted) and a curious thing will happen. The first wave will establish the price, high, based on the full demand and half of the supply. When the second wave of supply comes in, demand won’t really be satiated, most people won’t really be aware that the second wave is happening or that it’s as big as the first wave and the prices will mostly stay the same. The first wave gave us the $12 Morphic Pool, the second wave will give us hundreds and hundreds of Morphic Pools that we can sell at $12.

A perception of a smaller supply than exists can cause prices to go drastically above MSRP.

This is what happens when a small batch of $5 chips sell out quickly and end up on the secondary market. I only know these chips sell for so much because we wanted to eat one as a Patreon goal on Brainstorm Brewery. If you want to see Douglas Johnson almost die and Corbin Hosler embarrass himself by being a filthy cheater, check it out.  If you want to see Corbin have to redeem himself by eating a second hot-ass chip (they were so hot, seriously) then check it out.  If they released all of the chips at once, the price wouldn’t be so ridiculous on the secondary market with such a high supply of high price chips, but with release staggered and the total number available unclear, we see a high price that maintains itself.

If you don’t want a chip anecdote because the part of your brain that allows you to experience joy or whimsy is damaged, I can give you another example, and that’s Unstable. The example isn’t unstable, the example IS Unstable. The set.

Maro says they didn’t overprint Unstable and they broke it into multiple waves which meant that prices were allowed to get decently high on the important stuff like foil tokens, meme cards and the full-art lands. They learned how to make a set seem like it sold much better than previous Un-sets while selling less of it. The trick? Something they must have failed to do with Conspiracy 2 – they didn’t have a bunch of unsold boxes of a set that people were only interested in for a few weeks. Battlebond appears to have sold much better than Conspiracy 2 by sheer virtue of there not being loose boxes of Battlebond for dealer cost all over the internet.

With a second wave of Battlebond coming, what do we expect?

Discovered Demand

People are priced out of some of the Battlebond cards, if you ask me. Najeela is $8, the foil is $100 and the Battlebond lands, all 5 of which could go in the deck, are all above $10. A second stab at being able to open some Battlebond hotness saw 15 people make a Najeela deck on EDHREC this week, which is high. Is it that people are updating their list to incorporate Guilds of Ravnica cards?

I don’t think that’s the case because only 3 people have updated with Guilds cards and the cards they added aren’t exactly staples. It seems like the promise of more Battlebond boxes has people jazzed and thinking about the deck. More people built Najeela than Saheeli this week and the ink isn’t even dry on Saheeli.

If there is hype surrounding Najeela and other Battlebond stuff, we should briefly re-look at what’s going on in that deck.

For whatever reason, the Humans deck in Modern doesn’t care about this human. That said, this is also a Warrior, it’s unfair and it is coming off of a reprint and regaining ground fast. If this is left alone for a few years, which I anticipate, this is a $4-$5 card you can currently buy below $2. I don’t like this as much as other picks, but this is a great card to snag in trade or just get for a dime when you tell people you buy bulk rares and you let them tell you which rares they want to sell you for a dime (don’t be a scumbag and tell people their $2 cards are bulk rares). I buy stacks of bulk rares without looking through and when I get home I always find one or two of these and I can live with that.  That party won’t last forever.

I wouldn’t call what’s going to happen to this card a second “spike” per se but I would venture to guess that this tanks at rotation and approaches $5ish bucks. All of the cheap copies were ferreted out when it spiked the first time and it’s not like people are going to stop doing Helm of the Host stuff in EDH. Celebrant gives extra combat phases to everything and there are a lot of commanders that like to swing a few times and even more that haven’t been printed yet, but will and when they are, people will remember this mythic.

If this isn’t reprinted or made obsolete in the next 24 months, this will sell for $10 on Card Kingdom. I would stake money on that claim.

Since we have EDHREC data (some) for Guilds of Ravnica and my best advice regarding Battlebond singles is “buy boxes as close to dealer cost as you can and enjoy opening a set where there are 10 cards over $10 and multiple $100 foils,” I am going to close today’s piece out with a few GRN picks based on Lazav data.

Lazav Picks

This is also a $10 foil but this unreprintable uncommon from a set with $700 booster boxes (I’m guessing) isn’t getting any cheaper and with demand from both Lazav and Yuriko coming within weeks of each other, expect a brief ramp and then a violent cascade in this card’s price. I realize there are a lot of copies of this out there, but there are a lot of copies of a lot of cards that have been printed more than this and which cost more. This is a $3-$4 card that you’re going to pull out of bulk.

I know I mentioned this last week or the week before but, seriously, this is a matter of “when” and not “if” and you need to believe that.

This card is $3 some places and $0.50 others. Which of those two prices do you expect is going to be the one to correct?

Anyway, there’s some picks. I think if you have a line on cheap Battlebond boxes, I might look into getting a case because box EV is pretty nutty. EV is currently over $100 and if you can get $80ish boxes, you’re playing a lottery where every $1 ticket pays $1.20 and there are occasional jackpots. A case makes you reasonably sure to get cards that aren’t done going up like Brightling, Doubling Season, Diabolic Intent, Najeela, Morphic Pools cycle and Will and Rowan. That’s my plan, anyway. You do you.

Until next time!

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Guilds of Ravnica Prerelease Weekend Pickup Guide.

Readers!

Lots of stuff is going to go down in price – it has to. The current prices are predicated a lot on guessing and the stuff that’s getting reprinted is going to really tank, there’s no way Assassin’s Trophy can maintain $63 or whatever it’s at right now ($25 Market price, which seems OK for now) and bulk rares are pre-selling for $2 because of course they are.

I haven’t done this before, but given the lack of EDHREC data and my total lack of enthusiasm for any of these commanders as build-arounds with the exception of like, Lazav, whose picks I already talked about, I have to do something worthwhile this week, so why not a guide for the prerelease weekend? If you go to the LGS, and you should, it’s an opportunity to grab the new cards before anyone else has them. It’s also a chance to think about which bulk rares are going to be a dime soon so you can try to get something out of them. An ideal scenario? Trading bulk rares out at $2 toward some future EDH staples. If you got rid of Aethersquall Ancient at $2 and picked up Panharmonicon at $2 on prerelease weekend, you look like a genius today.

Today Ancient is a bulk rare worth a thin dime and Panharmonicon is at $3 and climbing.

How can we try and set up trades like that? Thinking about what’s going where and going into the weekend forewarned and therefore forearmed. I mean forearmed in the sense that you’re armed with knowledge ahead of time, not in these sense that you, you know, have forearms. You don’t need forearms to make good trades, that’s ridiculous and ableist. You don’t need forearms to be forearmed. OK, I’m done. Let’s look at cards.

Inspiration

Last night we did the Brainstorm Brewery set review and if you read my articles but don’t listen to the free podcast where Corbin Hosler and Douglas Johnson and I give you free finance advice every week, that’s an option and you should take advantage of it for free. You clearly value my opinion.

Anyway, we always spend like 20 minutes talking about a $25 planeswalker that sucks and is only expensive because Jace the Mind Sculptor fooled everyone and we haven’t forgotten it all these years later. Instead of that noise, we decided to sort TCG Player by best selling rather than most expensive and it was a much better experience. Looking at best selling cards before the prerelease can help you predict what will get played in Standard and what will likely stay a bulk rare. After that experience, here are a few things I gathered based entirely on that metric alone.

Boros is Popular

The top cards are all Boros cards. It has no implications for EDH whatsoever – Tajic and Aurelia are complete trash as commanders and the only real assets they get are Deafening Clarion, Response//Resurgence and Boros Locket, a card I fully expect will see play. Foil Lockets are like $0.50 right now and I think any that see play could end up a buck or two, but I don’t know how juicy a target that is. I don’t like any of the other 9 lockets for EDH, but Boros could get there considering Boros decks play cards like Dreamstone Hedron which is way more awkward. Boros is going to run roughshod over Standard, though, so I expect those cards to be popular the first few weeks. I think, ironically, it may be Chainwhirler, a card that will be excellent in Boros decks, that could nip the deck in the bud before it’s a thing. Still, Boros staples will go out 4 at a time, are very cheap and will be highly sought.

Ferocidon last year demonstrated that $2 becomes $6 quickly if the deck takes off.

What I like from Boros – Tajic around $3, Vindicator around $1.50, Warboss around $3, but get out quickly.

For EDH, I like Response//Resurgence long-term and that’s about it. Maybe foil Cluestone. I don’t really like much else from Boros. I think the deck is likely to be a thing in Standard early since aggro sorts itself out first so I might try and pick up stuff like Tajic to flip in a week or two, but for the less nimble, see what EDH players like and trade straight across for stuff that won’t hold value as much. Don’t be afraid to trade stuff like Deafening Clarion for EDH cards from sets about to rotate now at their floor.

Lantern could hit $2-$3

This card tends to shrug off reprints and while this will give us way more copies than normal, this is likely a $7-$9 card in as little as a year and you’re going to feel like such a chump if you don’t pick up every single loose copy at your LGS. I think a 1-2 punch of reprint followed by another reprint is possible and they’ve done it in the past but it seems rather unlikely here. I think we can expect a year of growth and if these hit like $2, scoop em all. I would trade a $3 card that will be $0.75 in a month for a $3 lantern that will be $5 in 6 months. Just grab these.

Knight of Autumn may be the best card in the set

And Knight certainly goes up from like $4. It’s a $30 foil right now but it likely goes way down at peak supply. I don’t know how much I care about foils, but this card is a multi-format allstar. If it’s still $4 on Friday night, gobble as many copies as you can. Almost any pile worth $4 you trade toward a Knight of Autumn will look like a joke in 3 months when Knight is $10 and we all wonder how we missed it.

Mission Briefing is way overrated

I’m reminded of Pain Seer here. Remember how Pain Seer was the next Dark Confidant in Standard? This is the next Snapcaster Mage. Exceeeeept not. I’m getting out of every copy of these at $8-$10 immediately and trading for stacks of relevant cards. This is a trap, get out while you can.

Shocks are not cheap enough yet

I’m avoiding these. They are a great deal cheaper than they were a month ago but we haven’t come close to peak supply. I say out any you crack at full value and then buy back in for cash later.

Take a Crazy Risk

I don’t have any reason for thinking I’ll be glad later that I picked up Dream Eater at $3 but I’m going to do it. Remember, in 3 years when Dream Eater is sitting in my box of shame and some EDH precon makes a card that turns Dream Eater into a $15 card overnight and I can pay for a year of car insurance with a busted spec, I’ll repeat the mantra “there are no misses, only longer term specs.” I have been so analytical in my pickups lately that I forgot what it was like to gamble, and if I’m picking up Dream Eater with money I got buylisting a million Lorwyn block tokens or something silly like that, I’m playing with the house’s money and every hit is pure gravy.

Rares are too Cheap

With one exception, rares are too cheap. The mythics in the set are not super likely to impact Standard as much as the rares with few exceptions and that means there are a bunch of $6 mythics that shouldn’t be and a bunch of $1 rares that shouldn’t be. I think it will shake out differently. I think the following mythics go down.

Arclight Phoenix

Aurelia

Chance for Glory

Divine Visitation (but this card is nutty in EDH)

Doom Whisperer (but I bet this is the most expensive mythic)

Dream Eater

Lazav

March of the Multitudes

Mnemonic Betrayal

Nullhide Ferox

Ral(s)

Underrealm Lich

Vraska(s)

Accordingly, I think the following rares go up to pick up some slack

Chromatic Lantern

Citywide Bust

Deafening Clarion

Guildmage’s Forum (?)

Ionize

Legion Warboss

Quasiduplicate

Response//Resurgence

Thief of Sanity (?)

Venerated Loxodon

A lot of those are iffy and rely on a deck coming along to use them, but I would look to get out of inflated mythics, especially marquee stuff like the Planeswalkers as soon as you open it.

One major caveat is that there are 5 shocklands that will be soaking up a ton of value, and with MODO redemption being less of a factor to enforce box MSRP and with a glut of cheap boxes on Amazon, we could see a lot of good, $1 rares. It could take years for even cards with a lot of EDH demand on top of Standard playability to exceed $5. I’m not sure whether that will happen, but let’s be ready.

Here are a few EDH cards I like as a player and whether or not I like the price.

Affectionate Indrik, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

At under $1 for foils, this seems like a meme card and meme cards are collectible. It should be easy to get foils of this for cheap and watch them end up like $4 later because, lol, snugglyboi snuggled u over teh gardrayl lolzz >< so kawai!!!!!!!!11 yatta!

Burglar Rat, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

At under $1 for the foils of this as well, I think this is a steal. It’s the best Ravenous Rats variant ever created because it hits them and not you for the exact same stats as Ravenous Rats and for whatever reason, no one is talking about that. Grab these out of draft chaff because discard rats are always a pick until they’re printed 200 times. Chittering Rats are $1 retail and they sell a playset at a time and I get them in bulk for 4 tenths of a cent all day. Chittering Rats is also a $6 foil. It will take years for this to be a $5 foil, if ever, but this is bound to be a bulk foil at first and it shouldn’t be.

Conclave Tribunal, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This isn’t Fatal Push, but this is a card that will be in draft chaff for free the first week or so and shouldn’t be. It’s a $7 presale foil which means some people have caught on. I think if there is a Selesnya deck, and there better be, convoking is a real factor in the deck and this is a great thing to convoke for. Tapping Emmara to make a dork while you kill a blocker is what Convoke is all about. People won’t know this is a $7 foil when you booster draft the set so get with people after the draft and get these for whatever they think is fair.

Crush Contraband, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This isn’t as good as Return to Dust but you can do it as an instant and that means people will want to try it out. I don’t hate the single white, either. This is a $1 foil which I think has little downside and lots of potential upside at that price.

Discovery // Dispersal, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This was the EDHREC preview card so I have had more time to evaluate this card than the rest of the set. It’s not fair to call Discovery a Ponder since it’s 2 mana which is way more than 1 mana, but we also don’t have Ponder. This isn’t really a worse Ponder anyway, it’s a better Forbidden Alchemy that is way better drawn late since it has an excellent late-game mode. This is low downside and it’s getting buzz. Every Surveil card will get looked at because the mechanic is probably too good and probably a mistake.

Divine Visitation, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

I have to imagine this tanks from $8 but this is a nutso EDH card and basically any token deck runs this. Watch this price like a hawk and when it bottoms out and begins to rebound, be about it.

Emmara, Soul of the Accord, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

I think the Selesnya deck is going to be bad because of Chainwhirler. I also think people are going to try it and/or they may ban the Whirler. If Chainwhirler gets banned, I think this has a lot of upside but in a whirly world, this is really bad unless you get the Loxodon to buff your creatures. There’s no point not just playing a Tajic deck until then.

Guildmages' Forum, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This may be a way to beat Chainwhirler. You play a bit behind the curve but that lets you let them dump their greedy-ass Red player hand, then you play some buff dudes behind curve interspersed with removal, leave them topdecking and then swarm them. If this finds a home, it’s a $4 card, so watch these at bulk.

Hatchery Spider, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This is good. Is it too good to be a bulk rare? I don’t know! But I know I like it a lot.

Mausoleum Secrets, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

I think this is a fine EDH tutor but I don’t know if a format that has great tutors needs a fine one. I do know I personally like it in 75% builds and advocated for it accordingly but that’s narrow. This is better earlier in the game than you think.

Omnispell Adept, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This is as liable to make a bunch of other cards go up in price as are any of the boring commanders in this set.

Thief of Sanity, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

This is a really good card, but I don’t know if there is too much red removal for you to lean into it. It doesn’t block and by the time you slam this, they have a Warboss and a few gobbos attacking for 6. I hope this ends up a card.

Thousand-Year Storm, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

Lol. I don’t know how long the foil stays $30 but this is a card I want to open as my guild rare in the worst way.

Venerated Loxodon, Magic, Guilds of Ravnica

If there is a Selesnya deck, it will be because this card exists. It’s the only way you beat Chainwhirler, imo and it’s currently a bulk rare.

That’s all I think I want people to know. This is a good set so play as many prerelease events as you can. I’ll be back with some data-based action next week. Until then, grab those rising stars. Until next time!

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