Category Archives: Jason Alt

Pro Trader: Sliver me Timbers

Readers!

I’m on a new “Keep it simple, stupid” kick and one benefit of that is you don’t miss something obvious. To me, it seems obvious that Slivers are coming. If not in Dominaria United, then soon. Ideally not in a precon because lately people aren’t adding too many cards to the precons. If we could get Slivers in a main set, that would be pretty ideal and it seems like they are signaling pretty hard.

Are Slivers NECESSARILY coming back in Dominaria United? The good news is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter for several reasons. The first is that, whether or not this is hinting at anything, Slivers will eventually get done again so these won’t be missed specs, they will be longer-term specs. You’ll get dinged with a reprint or two, you might start to calculate the opportunity cost of having money tied up in long-term specs, but the day will come when you cheer my name for pointing out the obvious. I guess perhaps the second reason it’s fine is that the worst case scenario is that you’re right too early. Also, consider that this is a strong signal that others are reading which means we could see all of the Slivers stuff tick up just on principle. I like when stuff becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because you get to strut around like Nostradamus with a pocket full of shrimp money from being good at guessing when I’m right.

The word he says here does not reflect the way I feel about my readers. He says the b word, not the word you’re afraid a white rapper will say in a music video

If we are in some sort of quantum experiment where observation changes outcome, it makes sense that finance really can be that easy sometimes, where a few dozen people tweeting about getting a bunch of Slivers in their Secret Lairs that I still don’t have can make people think “Slivers.” Am I capitalizing on an effect of those Slivers being sent out or am I helping to originate a panic? Good question, but if you buy right now it won’t matter since anyone I convince to buy with this article will buy enough to drive the price up, so you actually can’t lose here.

So say Slivers do come and they come in the next year and other people want to build Slivers decks. You’d like me to tell you what I think you should buy and show my work. I’m into it, let’s knock this out before wherever you buy shrimp closes.

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Pro Trader: Cards I Think Are Underplayed

Readers!

This week I didn’t want to flog the dead horse that is the latest commander/modern mishmash reprint set because the cards that are going to rebound are obvious to you if you’re reading this article. I think one of the best-kept secret of mtg financiers is that you will immediately look amazing at it after about 4 weeks of effort compared to someone who doesn’t pay attention at all. Most of making good mtg finance calls is just paying attention, and if you’re paying attention to my articles, that’s probably paying attention enough. This article isn’t me teaching you to pay attention, this article is me being paid to pay attention for you, something you’re capable of. I’m absolutely fine with that arrangement, it is my preferred method of laboring under capitalism. If you’re fine with me being fine with it, let’s talk about what you already know a bit more.

Since all parties involved accept the basic premise of the first paragraph, we can all agree that we can basically dispense of another article where I tell you more cards from Double Double Toil and Trouble Masters. I talked about the ones I strongly believe in last week and we can always revisit the topic next week when prices are sure to have stabilized a bit more and the picture of what’s a nice pickup at its bottom is a bit clearer. I’ll pay attention to that for you. I was going to belabor the point a little for the sake of the content but I owe you better than that. I needed a backup article idea and James Chilcott told me “Keep it simple. Tell me 5 cards you think are underplayed” which, I don’t feels like a cheat…somehow? Thematically? It just seems like such a dry topic to drop in your laps, I thought I’d type a few paragraphs to lull you into a false sense of security and then spring a really basic topic on you with no pizzazz and then

5 Cards I Think Are Underplayed

It’s not the same as the title of the article because I didn’t want people to see the number 5 in the title of the article because then this really looks like I farmed this job out to someone at buzzfeed. You know what? This is a good article topic, I’m going to have fun researching this and presenting my findings to you. I’m going to stop apologizing for this being the article, but I kind of blew a lot of the word count space I would have needed to introduce these topics a little better so we’re really going to have to get into it very quickly

OK, can we move on? No, you’re probably right, and the very least I should address what is the obvious implication of my bias regarding this card. I think this card should be in every EDH deck. Without exception. That’s probably a little hyperbolic-sounding, so I will tone it down and say that every deck should play this card with exceptions. I can’t think of any, but maybe you like not having the best way ever to take care of a problematic commander. The price started going up in 2021 and it will probably sound ridiculous if I take any credit for that, right? I’m not that much of an egomaniac but, like, the dates line up, that’s all I’m saying. I think this is a buy under $10 forever. It’s not on the Reserved List but the last time they really talked about it for a reprint that is going to come out anytime soon would have been like 2 years ago when this was like $3.60 on TCG Player. I think we’re good to cash in buying these under $10. I really don’t see a reprint coming anytime soon and if they’re not really nimble enough to respond to an increase caused by us buying. This feels like a slam dunk and I would honestly bring this card up every week in this article if I didn’t think you’d all get sick of that.

Acquire absolutely RIPS as a Magic card but something very important happened in 2020 and it caused people to not really play cards that searched other peoples’ decks because everyone was playing on webcam and being germaphobic in person. I think there is pent up demand for Acquire that will actualize when play in person returns in full. Barring another reprint or media insert, these are a buy under $5.

This version is exceedingly rare for some reason, I guess because people stopped picking up the comic book when it was like Arrest, Feat of Blood and like, Castigate back to back months. I was in it for the early Faithless Looting and High Tide but a lot of people dropped the book making these concentrate in the hands of dealers. When those copies sell out, the card will basically disappear and command a premium. I like this version under $10, $10 may be pushing it a bit. It’s around $6 or $7 on TCG Player right now, I like that number quite a bit.

MANNNN I wish I had calling this sooner. It basically bottomed out at $1 for the superior Urza’s Saga printing but not you’ll be lucky to get these under $5 on TCG Player. It’s a shame because I really believed this card would rebound but I was too busy watching Tiger King and playing Animal Crossing to go back for it. I like this under $5 for the record. It shrugged off its reprinting, and by the way, reprints like that have a way of creating demand that will put pressure on existing stock, also, because some people literally didn’t know the card existed because it’s been that long since this set came out. Imagine you started playing a year ago! You wouldn’t be able to keep up with current releases, let alone go back to Urza’s Block. EDHREC ranking on this keeps slipping year to year but it will come back, and when it shows up in the high synergy cards of a sacrifice commander, you’ll be glad you HODL’d.

I don’t expect any of you to know this, but I write an EDH column on Coolstuff Inc. and I will, no joke, add Snow-Covered Lands to my decks literally just to play this and then at that point, why not Sunstone? And Glacial Crevasses? Might as well jam an Extraplanar Lens in there. I run Extraplanar Lens in 2 color decks, it doesn’t even got that well whenever I draw it, I don’t care, snow lands, BABY! Look how pretty and how cheap this pathologically playable card is. Fill your shopping card and this is going to be $3 again.

This whole entire article is positively RIFE with my bias, so why stop now? I am biased because I run a lot of of landfall. However, this is a Rhystic Study that banks the cards for a few turns then turns into a beater, or you literally go troll mode and hit them with The Omenkeel and steal their lands. It is so funny to steal people’s lands in EDH, they get so upset. Especially on webcam. I write the name of the person I stole the land from on the infinitoken to mock their pain. This is 2 kinds of card in one and I saw literally 2 articles today (fine, I wrote one of them, but I still SAW it, I had to see it to write it) talking about what a boring card Rhystic Study is. This is a more fun Rhystic Study, and it doesn’t cost $30 for a common masquerading as a rare.

I am glad we decided to do the article this way this week. I have some more opinions and I’d like to discuss them with the Pro Traders in the Pro Trader Discord, so if you’re not signed up for Pro Trader yet, it might be a good idea. My article was late this week and our loyal Pro Traders deserve some compensatory picks from me and I really hope they’re non-obvious since I feel like I accidentally hyped them up a bit. Thanks for reading, everyone. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: A Few Surprises

Readers!

I work for EDHREC as you probably know and you would think that things on EDHREC wouldn’t surprise me considering I am on the site daily plus I access it in my capacity as finance writer. You would think so, rightfully, and yet there are things that escaped my attention that seem like they’re of consequence. Let’s take a look at some of them and see if there is anything we should have noticed before. I’m goin to be looking at the Top 100 commanders built the last two weeks to see if anything snuck in. Ideally, you’d expect the Top 100 of the last two weeks to be mostly the top 10 of the last 10 sets which were all released roughly in the last two weeks, but you’ll see what it actually looks like, and… well, there are a few surprises.

You miss a lot if you just look at the top 10. Sure, Dragons being hot is no surprise to anyone, and Proper and Yuriko, boring decks that are 95% assembled in the box they came in chart highly, but once you start checking deeper, you’ll see a lot you missed. Here are some of the hits among the misses.

26th place is a long way to scroll down the page and despite seeming very weak and very narrow both, Sefris is nonetheless getting built quite a bit. The ability to trigger this 4 times a turn cycle fairly trivially and recycle creatures has caught the eye of Value Mavens everywhere.

Acererak seems like it’s in a great place. It’s got some functional utility with cards like Aluren, and future decks that do something similar to Aluren could make a 2 card combo with Acererak that draws your whole deck or pings them to death. Couple that with its obvious utility with completing the dungeon and its price currently seeing signs of life and you have yourselves a card to throw in a box for 2 years.

You’d have to really be asleep at the wheel not to notice Liesa was THIRTIETH OVERALL but I done did that. Let’s redeem myself if I can.

This card, which has flirted with $15 twice now, is the kind of casual favorite that will always be worth something because of 60 card casual players. They are the solid majority of players, and while they tend not to use our markets a ton, TCG and CK have good enough SEO that if they’re buying those cards online, they’re buying from one of those sites. This is currently gettable for $10 less than the price it peaked at, it’s on its way up and I don’t need a third thing.

It’s a little surprising for an uncommon to be ranked this highly, but this card does see some play, and it also held a very tasty secret that a lot of people missed – there was a card in there that was arbable as recently as March. Everything changed when Jinnie Fay Nation attacked.

I wish I’d noticed this when it hit its floor but the price seemed flat for so long, I stopped checking. I revisted both Aura Mutation and Artifact Mutation in the wake of Jinnie Fay but I forget about the more recent InPestation. If you can get these for the old price, do. This isn’t as much as spec opportunity as a “woopsie daisy” – I don’t always notice everything. This likely tops out at $10 but $15 isn’t unreasonable. I think expecting to spec at $8 and get out at $15 maybe is, though.

Ranked #218 overall, this is a recent (I mean, obviously) inclusion in the Rick Dees Biweekly 2.5 times Top 40. However, Value hunters found a lot to like here, and they unearthed an older card that seems more fun than ever.

The regular-border version of this is $1.50 or so making the meteoric rise of the EA version kind of surprising. Cards with large gaps between the EA version and regular version are hard for me to identify using my current routine and I’ll really need to address that or I’ll miss more than just this. Regular version can’t be terribly far behind, but in terms of sheer availability, I’m not sure what the ceiling is. EA versions are the new foils, and the foils are the new rules or token insert. What a world to rear children up in.

I don’t have a spec based on this pretty old but very, very, very linear and boring commander which I gave up on building because the process of it being on rails literally bored me, but this is as good a time as any to point out that Kindred Discovery got a reprint.

Reprinted cards have a tendency to settle between their spike price and their reprint price. I won’t bore you with the average of $55 and $5, but that number is more than $5 and it’s more than $10 and it’s more than $20, so maybe you want these at $5.

That does it for me, readers. I have to get better about identifying cards that have a very juicy EA version but a really boring regular version and foil, and I have to start tracking commanders we all know are good but which will be like 7th in a set and 50th for the month and like 63rd overall. Not being in the Top 5 can make me miss it with my current routine, and I need to tighten up. That said, missing stuff doesn’t feel nearly as bad as false positives, something my current method has been good about. All I know is that I’ve been at this more than a decade, I’m still learning and I couldn’t have done it without your support. Until next time!

Pro Trader: A Chicken in Every Pot, A Legend in Every Pack

Readers!
Dominaria United is coming eventually, and on the tenuous basis of one thing I heard, that there will be a Legendary creature in every pack of Dominaria United, I am going to do that whole speculative thing I do when I say “it’s a D&D set so buy Orcs” or whatever. It’s great because you don’t have to be right, you just have to have people who are also wrong buy the cards from you rather than from someone else.  If we are getting new Legendary stuff, and not just reprints of older Legendary creatures in new, premium borders (which is what I actually want) we could see some bold new additions to a kind of deck we haven’t seen much lately until it reappeared with Shrines – the 5 color, Legendary goodstuff deck. We have seen some even more instructive variants, so I will be looking for inspiration in 2 places – Kethis, the Hidden Hand decks and Reki, the History of Kamigawa. If people are going to use the Historic keyword again, it pays to know what a deck built around something Historic plays, and if those decks are to be bolstered by new printings, it pays to know what’s in them. I am imagining we can see quite a bit in the high synergy cards from those decks and go from there. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Kethis has a lot of goodies for us, and while they’re not all worth a look, one class of cards is – the cycle with all 3 copies represented in this Top 10.

Of those 5 spells, only Urza’s Ruinous Blast and Karn’s Temporal Sundering are worth even a dollar, which means there is financial opportunity because they’re cheap or no financial opportunity because they’re so cheap and have been the whole time. Short of printing a new Legendary creature that interacts with those spells better than with any other spells, the slight trickle of copies into a few niche decks hasn’t really excited the price of cards in a set where there are only 19 cards worth more than $2 and 7 of them are reprints. I like Temporal Sundering, though, actually.

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.