Category Archives: Jason Alt

Now Usually I Don’t Do This

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Now usually I don’t do this, but, uh, I’ma go ahead and break y’all off with a little remix of the previews.

Things I don’t like

I don’t like having to talk about things I don’t want to talk about. If you’re a buyer in MTG Finance, you don’t have to have an opinion on every card. You basically only ever have to have an opinion on one card, if it’s the right card. If you saw them spoil Tarmogoyf and said “This could be the first Standard card to break the $30 mark” and bought all of them for basically $1 the first week the card was available, you likely made a mint. People would have patted you on the back for being so prescient. No one would have said “Yeah, you made thousands on Goyf, but you totally whiffed on telling us to buy Coalition Relic and when you said Magus of the Vineyard ‘seemed OK’ I bought a bunch and lost my ass.” No one wants to talk about every card if they don’t have strong feelings about it. That’s why this week I’m going to talk about the cards I have strong feelings about. If you want to figure out what the rest of the set is going to do financially, ask someone who has a strong opinion. Based on what I think is going to happen from EDH demand (and other formats where it’s applicable) I have some opinions on current prices. I almost never recommend preordering (hence the title) but there are cards to watch and cards to buy in my opinion and since this is my article, you’re going to get my opinion until you stop reading. That’s how this works.

More things I don’t like are mono-colored Legendary creatures. The colors an EDH general put you in are just as important as the effect of the general (in general) and how good Sram is at drawing cards pales a bit when you realize you have to build him mono-White unless you relegate him to the 99 of your other decks. Look back at prices from Kaladesh. We’re seeing what people want already.

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The bad multi-colored generals are basically at the same price as the good mono-colored ones. Meanwhile the trash mono-colored one (Oviya) is an outlier, as is the very good multi-colored one (Rashmi, whose foil price is 3-4 times the other commanders and whose non-foil price is higher than all of the other non-foils prices also). Foils don’t tell the entire story, however they are the first prices to be sensitive to demand increases because of their lower supply. For non-mythics in the post-mythic era, it takes a lot of demand to move the needle. Masterpieces are crushing everything so much that the in-demand mythic Rashmi is worth basically the same as a less-in-demand-but-still-in-demand card like Pia Nalaar despite the one being mythic and one being non-mythic. Of course a mythic foil will be worth more than a non-mythic foil, but $13ish shows that the demand from EDH players has started already. Pia and Padeem have abilities EDH players want, but the mono-colored nature of Padeem all but relegates him to the 99 whereas Pia and Rashmi can play both roles. Gonti is basically a best-case scenario for a mono-colored commander since he is the second best Legendary creature in the set, is in a good color and wasn’t a buy-a-box promo or whatever. I think we can predict a few things about what we’ll see with the cycle of mono-color Legends in Aether Revolt.

This dude is $5.50 and at that price, it’s the strongest performer. I would say this is probably a better card than Gonti and certainly has people pretty hyped. I don’t want to pay $5 for this considering non-foil Rashmi is $1, however. Foils of this could be in the $10 range if tryhards follow through and end up as hyped about this card as they say they are. What is propping Baral up at this point is his potential for inclusion in Standard. Do we know whether that will happen? Did Reflector Mage’s banning make blue decks better or worse? Look, I wouldn’t ask Pat Chapin to accurately predict what is going to come from Standard post-new set and post-bannings so you’re crazy if you ask me whether this will see Standard play. Stranger things have happened. I do know that this would have to see a TON of Standard play to justify a $5 buy-in for non-foils.

Count all of the mythics under $5. Proceed with caution.

Personally, I think Sram is either the best or second-best Legendary creature in this set. Given its availability at $1.75 on TCGPlayer today, I’m not confident about any of the legendary creatures pre-selling for more than it. I don’t think Hope of Ghirapur’s durdly casual appeal will be enough to justify paying $2 for it. What I don’t like about pre-sale prices above bulk is that they make it difficult to get cheap foils from people. Kaladesh has showed that 3 months on, the best card (Baral? Sram?) are worth about $3.50 as a non-mythic. Baral could be worth $5 or more, but no one is trading you the foil version for $5 at the prerelease if the non-foil is going for that.

Stay away from the other stuff. I think Yahenni is underrated, but the foil is already at $5.50 and that’s probably about right for now. We’ll check back in a year, I guess, but Kaladesh is 3 months ahead and can probably give us a bit of a glimpse into trajectories that hopefully we can apply to Aether Revolt. The sets rotate out at the same time, but EDH doesn’t rotate and the demand is unaffected by such things. Rotation gives us a chance to get cards at their floor, though, and we’ll want to watch some of these cards then, if Standard doesn’t pump their prices, that is.

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Things I like

This is a $4 pre-order, which kind of blows if you ask me. The $15 foil seems a little high, but the card has a lot of potential. This reminds me a LOT of Expropriate in terms of its appeal, mythic status, color, pre-sale price and a lot of other factors. Expropriate is in a set whose supply makes it quite inappropriate to try to compare prices, however. Trajectory, though, is a good corollary. At peak supply, I want to look at this card. I hope the foils come down, not because $15 is wrong but because it’s right and I want to pick them up for less than that. Do I think this foil hits the $30 that foil Expropriate hit? Nah. I’ll wait. Keep an eye on this sucker.

Aid From the Cowl is Aether Revolt’s From Beyond. You know how I won’t shut up about From Beyond? Well, sometimes they make a functional reprint (and maybe a slightly better version) of a card that a lot of people in a lot of formats are using that’s worth like $5 after a bunch of reprintings. Maybe this new card is harder to reprint. Maybe the only reason the prices aren’t the same is because the card is very recent and there are hundreds of copies in every retail outlet. It will take a year or two for demand to soak up those copies. In the mean time, you can take your time socking away a ton of copies at your own pace and suddenly From Beyond is like $8 and everyone but you and me is surprised. Aid From the Cowl is this set’s Zendikar Resurgent. This reminds me of Lurking Predators. It casts free Permanents. It will take a minute for this card to go up, but if you make sure you get every copy in every binder over the next few years, you’re going to just make money. Trade away Aetherspire Harvester for 4 copies of this and you’ll end up looking like a genius when Harvester is worth 1/4 as much and Aid is worth 4 times as much. You need a retail out on this, though, since if this quadruples (which it might not) the buylist probably only doubles and then shipping costs eat a lot of your bottom line. Read this. There is a reason I recommend grabbing these in trade and not paying shipping. This will hold value and grow while a lot of the rest of the set will not. If this looks risky to you, stay away. There are plenty of cards that are going to go up faster and aren’t from Masterpiece-containing sets. However, foils of this are $5 which means EDH is very aware that this is nuts. That or dealers think EDH is aware that this is nuts. Either way, I have confidence in this card.

I like this card a lot more than most people, but at peak supply, these will be dirt cheap. I like this as a long-term pickup, especially for people who don’t like foils. Watch this. Trophy Mage is spicy and gets a lot of combo pieces.

At $75 for the masterpiece, $23 for the set foil and $8 for the non-foil, it’s safe to say this card has been identified. I am not sure there are many ways to take advantage of this in Standard, so the price is almost certainly too high given the Masterpieces in the set. This is Panharmonicon levels of good and unless someone jams this in Standard, this will tail off until we hit peak supply. Not much we can do about the foil price since it’s a snap pick-up for players at its current price and I don’t see it getting high enough in the meantime that we’ll wish we’d paid $23 for finance reasons. Not with a $75 Masterpiece, anyway. If those prices move together, though, it’s worth revisiting. However, I think this will go down and we’ll want to revisit at peak supply.

Bulk rare with an $8 foil? I’m listening! If Aid From the Cowl doesn’t end up this set’s From Beyond, this sure will. This may be an early front-runner for this set’s Dictate of Erebos, although Dictate was also predicated on being a nearly identical printing of a $15 card. This isn’t as obvious as all that but it’s certainly powerful and the high foil price indicates someone has a lot of faith in this bulk rare. I think this is good enough to maintain some value moving forward, especially used in concert with cards like Abundance, Mayael, Aid From the Cowl, Lurking Predators and myriad other “I get a random card from the top but not actually that random” cards. This is a steal at bulk status and I want to trade for these all day.

This card has me very excited. This is a value engine and will likely be the centerpiece of some comboes that ruin some lives moving forward. $1.50 on the non-foil is probably good for now, but dealers don’t seem that bullish on this being played in EDH since the foils are only $3. I think $3 for foils of this is probably incorrect. If it gets any cheaper, I’m all-in. As it is, $3 for foils makes me think it could get cheaper since pre-sale foil prices are usually too high given the total lack of competition from other vendors and the uncertainty surrounding getting your hands on enough to fill orders. There is a foil in the set whose current price makes me want to buy, though.

Before I tell you that card, I want to show you a few other graphs.

I’m sure you can guess which card I’m going to point out.

Boom. This gets you any number of rats or apostles out of your deck and it’s currently $1.50 in foil on TCG Player. I’m not bullish about the non-foils until they hit true bulk, and possibly even not then, but this is a steal at $1.50. The apostles are pretty cheap themselves meaning the deck is doable in foil and if the foil is super cheap, why not just get the foil version if you have to pay $1 or whatever for shipping regardless? It’s also worth noting that using Secret Salvage on Hedron Alignment means you can handle exiling a copy and finding your other copies in one card. That’s pretty good if you ask me.

Which cards do you think are worth discussing at their current price? Did I miss something that’s obvious to you because you’re so smart? Leave it in the comments section. Until next week!

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A Few Quick Hits

Spoilers have been posted from Aether Revolt and boy are they revolting. The power level of the entire set seems to be slightly pushed – something we’ve seen of the second set quite a bit lately. It’s as if they crammed all of their favorite cards from the last two sets in three set blocks that were planned before, concentrating the power level to double the normal level. There is a lot of sweet sweetness in this set and I decided rather than going super in depth on a card this week, I’d look at a few cards that I think could move the needle on some older cards where there’s some money to be made. This is a great set so far and with the masterpieces, it should be pretty cheap. I don’t like cheap cards as specs because it’s cheap due to a ton of supply. What I do like is how these cards are bound to be the centerpieces of decks that all of a sudden have some new life breathed into them and forgotten cards suddenly become unforgotted. There’s quite a bit so far and I will probably do the second half of the set next week.

Dark Intimations

With three printings and a $10 price tag, it’s been established that Nicol Bolas does a lot of work. It has pretty impressive played metrics on EDHREC and I think Dark Intimations gives it some upside.

The price graph looks pretty encouraging. Despite the reprintings, this card was $20 at one point. I don’t know how much the duel deck printing hurt things, apart from the M13 foil which is still a little cheaper than the duel deck foil and the Conflux foil. With Atraxa being the main Planeswalker deck right now and Bolas being excluded from that deck because it has red mana, the bulk of the play has to be taken up by other decks. However, Marchesa, Nekusar and Progenitus decks are running this already and Dark Intimations makes Bolas a little better, which may be all that’s needed for a card that has held a very decent price for the number of printings it’s had for a while and which could just be waiting for a little push. I like Bolas at its current price and this could help set the ball rolling.

Mechanized Production

This card perked up a lot of ears when it was spoiled. Metaphorically, I mean. People saw the cards in their eyeholes and likely their ears had nothing to do with it. Don’t be so literal. The point is, a card that says “You win the game” is a card that people will want. Casuals as well as EDH players are going to look for a way to do this, and possibly an easy way to do it. I have a few suggestions.

Clue tokens are an excellent thing to copy. Foils of Journal are probably the cheapest they will ever be and have a low enough supply that they have a chance of going up if people decide to try and win with clue tokens copied with Mechanized Production. The good thing is decks like Riku are already good for winning with clue tokens to get to the 20 artifacts to win with Hellkite Tyrant, a card a lot of us already made a lot of money off of. Riclue decks let us jam Tireless Tracker, Trail of Evidence (another cheap foil) Ongoing Investigation (another cheap foil) and only require us to go through one upkeep phase with a clue copied which lets us get enough clues to win before our opponents get suspicious. Keep some countermagic up and it’s fairly easy to win. Tamiyo’s Journal is a pretty solid card in its own right, reminiscent of cards like Ring of Three Wishes that some decks which lack access to a ton of card draw and black mana for Demonic Tutor et al have been known to run.

Want to cut your clock in half?

This is sort of an ugly graph given how expensive the card is, but it doesn’t look like this card is slowing down anytime soon. It’s almost passed the (unofficial) threshold of $20-$25 that means the card is basically unreprintable in a Commander sealed product (Phyrexian Altar is another famous example of this) so this could be a $40 card if it gets a bump. What could give it a bump? This, for starters.

Breya is one of the fastest-growing decks and if a card is getting traction in it, expect the price to follow suit. Daretti decks two years ago did a nice job of buoying the price and the amount of time elapsed since printing coupled with increasing demand means people trying to copy a basic land with Mechanized Production could use Mycosynth Lattice to make those dreams come true fairly trivially. I’m sure Darksteel Forge will be in the mix as well.

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This would have been a great buy under $5. Lots of printings can slow its growth and even temporarily reverse it, but this card, as reprintable as it still is, is a moneymaker. Make it make money for you. Breya is already giving it a bit of a bump if you check the December-January range on all 3 printings. Even if Mechanized Production doesn’t contribute appreciably, this is still a Breya card that hasn’t gone off yet. Lattice has a higher buy-in point but both of these cards are dope and they’re never going to stop printing artifacts-matter cards for EDH.

Sram, Senior Edificer

Sram could be just what white and Boros decks needed. Card draw was very hard to come by in those colors and this rewards white and Boros players for doing things they were going to do anyway, like play equipment and auras because all those colors know how to do is put creatures in the red zone. The good news is that Sram could boost a deck outside of EDH and give a few of the cards a lot of us have copies of already a boost.

Whether it’s correct or not, people are likely to take a look at that durdly Modern Cheerios deck that runs Puresteel and a bunch of 0-drop artifacts and Puresteel and kills people with Grapeshot or suits up a Paladin with a ton of Bone Saws or however this durdle pile limps over the finish line. I remember back when this was a Mortarpod deck, I don’t even think it was an infinite combo, I think Craig Wescoe just wanted to kill people with white creatures in a way he never had before and decided to build around Paladin. With 4 copies of Sram in the deck, it will be even easier to draw your whole deck with a bunch of 0-drop artifacts since Sram is a backup for your Paladin. I think the deck gets a second look and every new person who adopts the deck or even toys with the idea sucks 4 Paladins out of the market.

To that end, I don’t hate this card. We’ve established that Modern Masters isn’t providing enough supply to satiate real demand and the precipitous collapse of this card’s price is almsot certainly due to the house of cards predicated on an overestimation of demand imploding. I think this could have potential, though, because this will be a second spike (provided people decide to jram Sram) for Mantle and that means a lot of loose copies that attenuated the price’s ascension will be accounted for. Mantle is key in the deck because you use it to keep playing more Paladins as you draw them as long as you have at least one Paladin out to let you equip it for free. Sram doesn’t do that, but it draws cards, including more Paladins and it draws Mox Opals also and that means you can do things. 0-cost artifacts that have non-nothing effects are always going to have some demand and with the price being bottomed out and new copies unlikely to fill in lower price points, if Sram makes this goofy deck get there, this card almost certainly gets there along with it.

It won’t just be Modern cards that get there, though.

Foils of this were bought speculatively by several people who were banking on Kaladesh being lousy with equipment. Instead of Kaladesh’s artifacts being worn by creatures, the artifacts wear the creatures, forcing them to crew giant vehicles rather than carrying swords and shields. The move made some sense at the time, although I did not agree that Sigarda’s Aid was a good pick-up based on Standard. I ended up being right and I think the price of Sigarda’s Aid is returning to where it should be. The foil is declining because it is returning to where it should be but the multiplier on it is pretty reasonable. I think Sigarda’s Aid is a good EDH card moving forward but it’s too recent for EDH to be enough to soak up the supply. Not materializing in Standard doomed this to bulk rare status with the possibility to rise later (We haven’t really seen fully what EDH can do for cards that never materialized in Standard and came in packs of very recent sets in the post-masterpiece era). I think foils will go below where they are now but go back up if Sram does nothing at all for it. I think it could dip less and climb more if Sram does. Not acting now carries some risk, therefore. I still think you wait for the price to rebound before you buy, even if that means not buying in at the floor. The overage you pay is your tax for not being ballsy, but smart investments are the best to make and certainty is worth the price.

Paradox Engine

This card probably could have gotten its own article instead of being Sramjammed into the end of a broader piece but people seemed utterly repulsed by the idea of Scrap Trawler getting its own article so I guess I am giving the people what they want. This particular artifact looks both better and worse than Prophet of Kruphix and I think it can be both. It does less for you when you do no work than Prophet did but this has a higher upside once you put the work in. You didn’t need to do anything to go nuts with Prophet and take every turn, but this can go infinite with a Buyback spell, for example.

Oh hai secind spaik.

Mizzix was spoiled and people decided to buy out Reiterate, which was easy because it’s a Time Spiral rare and there aren’t as many of those floating around as you’d think. Mizzix never really materialized as the dominant commander from C15, this card wasn’t the shoo-in predicted at the time (though a 57% adoption rate per EDHREC isn’t miserable, just not a staple) and the price fell to roughly twice its pre-spike price. I hope you didn’t pay $20 for this. I also think now is the time to take another look. This plus Paradox Engine is game-winning. Basically any buyback spell is, but this and Wurmcalling are basically the two rares worth it. You stand to make more money from this than you do Wurmcalling or Capsize or Whispers of the Muse (though the foil Whispers of the Muse is basically nowhere online except eBay and I don’t hate it at like $7 or so).

Lotus really needs a reprint and if it doesn’t get it soon, it could jump over that $20-$25 threshold I theorized about earlier and then it’s basically impossible to put it in a Commander precon. I think it might get one next year and sure hope it does. For most decks, Thran Dynamo is just as good as Gilded Lotus but in others, you need colored mana to keep going off with your combo with Engine which necessitates this. You could try and go off with cards like Commander’s Sphere but this seems so much better and you probably can’t have just one artifact source of mana. Engine won’t untap your land, meaning you’re stuck using non-land sources. It’s not hard, but it puts a lot of pressure on your better sources like this one. I brewed about Paradox Engine in a Kydele/Thraisos deck on Gathering Magic and it should be up Thursday if you want to check for cards I think would get brewed alongside Engine in that deck. I’ll be back next week with the rest of Aether Revolt and a more in-depth writeup of this card. I am basically out of room at this point. I regret not giving Paradox Engine its own article and I think what I’ll do next week is just continue where this one left off. Until next week!

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Tony Stark Trawled This Article in a Cave

This gif is pretty tight, but all he says is “scraps” and it looks like he’s yawning, but super aggressively in that’s dude’s face. Incidentally, did you know that dude was Peter Billingsley? He should have warned Obadiah that he was going to shoot his eye out. AMIRITE?

Yes, of course I’m right. I don’t mean to brag, but lately I have been right more than usual, but always accidentally. I’ll take it. This week I was accidentally right when I mentioned a lot of 3 CMC artifacts that would be sweet in a world with Trophy Mage around and, sure enough, they went and made a bunch of them into Masterpieces. Ensnaring Bridge, Oblivion Stone, Vedalken Shackles, Sword of Body and Mind, Sword of War and Peace, Staff of Domination and Extraplanar Lens are all getting the Masterpiece treatment. Did you notice that Extraplanar Lens is looking into a different plane where you can clearly see something that looks like Nicol Bolas’ horn? Of course you didn’t notice that, you’re not a nerd. You like finance. So let’s talk about it.

The topic of 3 CMC artifacts was a good one and we will continue that spirit with a discussion about what people are going to use Scrap Trawler for.

Is it possible that I am wrong and no one will use Scrap Trawler for anything? It’s distinctly possible. I am sure even if I end up being super 100% right and Trawler ends up $25 and has to be emergency jammed in a precon or something, someone is still going to argue with me in the comments section of this article. However, I am learning to trust my gut a bit more than I used to.

I think Scrap Trawler could be the next Eldrazi Displacer, use in EDH as well as Standard and Modern as a possibility. I think it can effect as many prices due to how powerful it is and I think I am going to go with my gut rather than let a low price throw me like I did with Copter. They say the Wisdom of the Crowd is a thing, but this crowd made Pain Seer a $12 preorder (some guy on QS even said he was going to sell his Bobs when they spoiled Pain Seer) so I’m going to take whatever the crowd says with a grain of salt. NCIS is the #1 drama on Television – the crowd lost its “swaying my opinion” privileges. I think Trawler has a lot of potential for combotastic artifact stuff and I think there is real money to be made. Let’s start with a big one.

This is kind of a weird one. A lot of the online retailers are sold out but TCG Player has these NM for like $5. A lot of the Mirrodin ones are disappearing in better conditions. This is also a recent Masterpiece at around $30 and that is going to be pretty tempting when the $18 Mirrodin foils sell out because the non-foil is over $10 (The current price of 10th Edition foils, hint hint.) This is a card that Wizards is clearly hinting at with the Masterpiece printing given its current EDHREC analytics. However, as many appearances in Breya decks as in Sharuum decks where it’s an important combo piece means demand has doubled. This pairs with Sharuum for shenaningans in any artifact deck that has access to blue and black, really, and it’s a limited Metamorph in a pinch, which is fine when they have Sword of Feast and Famine or something nasty like that. The combo with Sharuum is of the greatest immediate import since I think Trawler makes that combo way less annoying and way more lethal. I am thinking sac Perilous Myr to KCI or Ashnod’s Altar to blast them, get Myr back with Trawler when your play Sculpting Steel as a copy of Sharuum, bin it due to the legend rule and use Sharuum’s ability to keep the combo going. Instead of infinitely replaying Steel with Sharuum’s ability, you get back a few different artifacts and use the mana from Altar or KCI to get a few smaller loops going. If you don’t have Bitter Ordeal, this helps you win another way. Also, more people will play the old combo regardless of Trawler because they are building the combo into a brand new Breya deck. Sculpting Steel seems like a killer target and I think all of the prices could move soon since supply is taking a hit.

While we’re on the subject, Metamorph is selling out and is pretty cheap for as ubiquitous as it is in EDH and how much play in Modern it sees on top of that. This is a card that is in the same Sharuum combo as Sculpting Steel but which has a little additional flexibility. I like this a lot at its current price, frankly. This has demonstrated that it can be a $20 card and while we’re not going to see the same demand we used to see, we can see a few years between printing and present. Interestingly enough, the promo has made the foil of this card less than 2x the non-foil. That is fine for now, but as the price of the non-foil increases, that will not be right anymore. Not just that, but as the card gets enough play to justify a higher price, it will justify more than a 2x multiplier. This gives foils that I think are pretty cheap right now a lot more upside than the non-foils. I like this card quite a bit, if only for future EDH use.

I warned about this card before and now it looks like it’s basically gone under $9. If you’re sleeping on this card, don’t. $9 is not the ceiling by any stretch. This is getting a lot of hype and demand lately and supply is low-ish. I don’t know that I like paying $9 for this to spec on, but if you want this to play with, it’s certainly a bad idea to wait. This could get a reprint in Commander 2017, but with that list probably already close to being finalized, it’s unclear whether that’s possible. What IS clear is that a way to sac artifacts and trigger Trawler is going to be important for combo decks going forward. Ashnod’s Altar is another card with upside, though I’m not sure how much due to the high supply of that card.

This is a card that I feel like is a potential Standard all-star once we get the cards from Aether Revolt incorporated into Standard. This will always be a card that casual players like and it’s a real sac engine that gives you a big body. If it dies, you can get just about anything back with Trawler out. Colossal cards are good growth cards long-term and this is pretty good with Trawler in a lot of different potential decks in several formats. This is a bulk spec and I rarely do those and with the card being super new, it will take an awful lot (more than EDH can muster, surely) to make the price move. However, whenever a card has cross-format applicability and is guaranteed to do something eventually, it’s worth pointing out.

I kind of figured this and Panharmonicon would both be bulk rares by now but Panharmonicon had different plans. It’s hard to know when Standard players will look at an obvious EDH card and decide to jam it in Standard. What isn’t hard to know is that Panharmonicon has the potential to go one of two ways in the future while Aetherflux Reservoir is going nowhere but up. This is basically bulk at this point and I like bulk rares that I know will be real money in a while. This is this set’s Dictate of Erebos. A Dictate of Erebos doesn’t come along every single set, but when they do, it’s great. You know that EDH will primarily be responsible for driving its price which gives us time to fill a box of them. Fill a box full of these. Get a bulk rare from Kaladesh or a recent set? Trade it for an Aetherflux Reservoir. Tell people at your LGS that you’ll pay $0.50 for every copy they bring you. Screw it, pay $1 if you can’t get them for $0.50. It’s bulk so the foil at $5 means there is upside there, also. a 5x multiplier indicates EDH players are very aware of this card. Oloro decks run this as well as Ayli decks because the life you gain can be from other sources – all Reservoir cares about is whether you have enough life to pay to dome some fool. You have time to get to a few hundred copies of this before it goes up in price, so start now. For reference, here is what Dictate of Erebos did.

I never paid $1 on this which is good because the highest buylist price right now is $1.50, but even if we use buylist as an out, we turned bulk rares that we can buylist for a dime into a card worth 15 times that. I got a lot of dictates by trading another bulk rare straight up which means I got 15x on the trade. Not bad at all. I paid cash on a lot of the rest of them and the card isn’t done going up. I sold enough copies to buylists for between $1.50 and $2 that all of the copies I have left were free and I’m just watching the price go up. I feel like it’s fairly obvious that Aetherflux will do the same thing and we have a chance to pick these up for nothing right now. We’d be crazy not to.

While we’re on the subject of cards that remind me of Dictate of Erebos without caring if they interact with Trawler, which was ostensibly the card we were writing about this week, I offer this. This might not be this set’s Dictate of Erebos, but that just makes it this set’s Thespian’s Stage. I like this as a bulk rare in trades, too. There are so many cards that are worth like $3 because of standard that will be a dime in a year. Trading off a Scrapheap Scrounger for a pile of Reservoirs and Fairs seems like they should rename the card Inventor’s Unfair. Get it? Because the trade is lopsided.

It’s possible we entirely missed the boat on this card. I hope not because it quietly doubled this year and no one seemed to notice. I think with the focus on artifacts we’ll get from Breya and this card getting farther from the time it was printed, there is still money to be made on this. $2 is certainly not too high of a buy-in price for a card with a lot of upside. Trawler is going to get us a ton of cards to play which lets us keep getting Mirrorworks triggers. We can sac the tokens to KCI to pay for the Mirrorworks trigger when we replay something which lets us go off with Bitter Ordeal or Blasting Station or Aetherflux Reservoir or whatever. Mirrorworks is a card someone on Twitter (I don’t remember who, sorry, nerd.) and I had run across on EDHREC and sort of dismissed. I think dismissing it was a mistake. Even though it has recently doubled, I think this could interact well with Trawler and other artifact cards and I think this is worth a look, especially since Mirrodin Besieged was a weird set that no one is super excited to bust boxes of now.

Speaking of “We may have missed the boat” I feel like if you mention a card two different times in an article, you should at least show the graph of its price. I wish I had cared about EDH finance 3 years ago. I bought one of these for a few bucks to go in my Sharuum deck. One. Oh well, I bought a playset of Goyf for $3 each years ago and hindsight is 20/20. We all have made the mistake of buying exactly as many copies of a card as we need. Hopefully we’ve learned a thing or two since then. That does it for me this week. I like Trawler and people who think about these things will continue to come up with combos that involve Scrap Trawler. It’s probably too durdly for Modern, but EDH and Standard could use it and I think we have the potential to see some cards go up. Until next week! Year. Until next year.

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The Rule of Three

Three Magic players, a Vintage player, a Frontier player and an EDH player, were walking around the back of a convention hall and they found an old bottle in a trash can. They opened it and a genie appeared and said “For freeing me, I will grant each of you a wish.” The Frontier player said “I want to be in Canada with all of my Frontier playing buddies having a huge Frontier tournament.” The genie nodded and the Frontier player and all of his friends disappeared and they played a big, dumb Frontier tournament between the Japanese and Canadians. The Vintage player said “I want a big Vintage tournament with a Lotus as the prize.” The genie said “I can’t do that. Best I can do is a store tournament with a $10 buy-in and unlimited proxies. You’ll probably lose in the first round to someone who has never played Vintage before and made his deck on the back of basic lands with a Sharpie.” The Vintage player said “Are you kidding? That sounds amazing! That’s better than we normally get!” and the genie nodded and the Vintage player and all of his friends disappeared to play in a store tournament with, like, a foil Brainstorm from Conspiracy or some BS as first prize. The EDH player said “So, wait, all of the Frontier and Vintage players are completely gone from this tournament hall?” and the genie said “Yes, that is correct.” The EDH player thought a minute and then said “I wish for a pack of Dragon Shields.”

The rule of three is an important component of joke construction. You know, old-timey joke construction. Back when comics all wore bow ties and told street jokes. A lot of street jokes follow that same rule of three setup – the first two establish the rules and the third example breaks the rule for comedic effect. There’s also some weird rule of three thing for math that probably has to do with triangles or some garbage. I don’t know, I did trigonometry in middle school like everyone else. The point is, I spent a lot of time googling “rule of three” and trying to find a suitable street joke instead of starting this article right away and I didn’t even end up using one I found, I just changed that joke about minorities from The Boondock Saints to make it less racist but more offensive to nerds. There’s another rule of three for Magic, though. It involves cards with a CMC of three and it’s not a rule and I really just want to talk about Trophy Mage this week and this is my column so you can’t stop me. Why do I want to talk about Trophy Mage? I think Trophy Mage, and 3 CMC cards in general, are going to be pretty important when Aether Revolt comes out and I want to be ready.

Awww yiss, lookit dis mage.

Look at it.

CLOSER

TOO CLOSE.

Here’s the part you really need to look at.

That’s a sexy text box. A “sext box” if you will. Also, even if you won’t because, and I can’t stress this enough, this is my column. I make you people enough money that you will look at a nostril or a text box if I say so and you’ll start saying good cards have “sext boxes” because I made you a lot of money on Squandered Resources or whatever. Do you doubt that we should be looking at 3 CMC stuff? I have a few more reasons to believe we should be.

Yahenni’s Expertise references cards with CMC 3 or less as a bonus to playing this 4 CMC spell. I am sure CMC will matter in this set since multiple cards reference it (Scrap Trawler being another) but with multiple cards referencing 3 specifically and Trophy Mage looking like a pretty saucy tutor (People play Trinket Mage in EDH and that gets like 3 relevant cards), I want to look at the 3 CMC artifacts that are easier to tutor for and which ones could have some upside. I also want to get a jump on thinking about CMC stuff in EDH before Aether Revolt gets spoiled any more.

Scrap Trawler probably gets its own, entire article at some point. EDH moves very slowly so we can pencil it in for next week or even 2017, frankly. Make no mistake, though, Trawler is going to buoy some prices for real. It’s got a ton of combo potential, and it existing in a format with cards like Goblin Welder means there are likely a ton of shenanigans possible. Junk Diver is an important card and this is way better since you can sac any artifact to get the party started as long as Trawler is in play. Give me a week or two to really good deep on implications of this card and we’ll have a sweet purchase party with all of the money you’re going to get for Christmas and Hanukkah or Festivus or whatever. 2017 is going to be a much better year than 2016 so why not invest in it? We’ll come back to Trawler soon enough, and by that I mean “weeks before the prices actually start to move.”

What do I like in the “3 drop artifact” category?

I almost want to keep a running list of every card I looked at and discarded as a potential spec after deciding there wasn’t anything to be gained from buying based on its current pricing trends. I did a gatherer search for 3 CMC artifacts and there are a ton of targets but a lot of them have a big, glaring reason not to buy in. If you think of a 3 CMC card and think “Why not this one?” there is likely a reason that I thought was compelling. I’m not saying don’t ask me to explain my logic, but I am saying I don’t want to read comments that imply I’m too dumb to think Basalt Monolith is worth talking about as opposed to me looking at it and ruling it out. We’re talking about specs, not cards that are good in EDH that you can grab with Trophy Mage. Who cares how good a card is if it’s $1 and is going to get reprinted every 2 years until it’s powder?

This hasn’t been blasted by reprints, ground into powder or… summoned too much… by reprints. Anyway, this is a combo piece that works insanely well with Scrap Trawler specifically. This can kill people if you have ways to make tokens, etc. I don’t need to tell you how good this card is and how it’s an important piece of murder combos. Being able to tutor for it might not give it upside, but it might and this card looks healthy regardless. It could be reprinted conceivably, but they have skipped a lot of good opportunities to do so and this could easily hit $5 in a year or two with no increased play. I think it will see increased play, though, so we don’t need to look far to see Fifth Dawn uncommons that can tell use how high this could go.

Curio is very well-positioned right now. It’s got great potential, the Masterpiece seems to signal a reprint may be a long way off and Trophy Mage loves to be returned to your hand and recast to find more cards. This seems like a great buy right now. This is bound to go up soon, regardless of whether Trophy Mage is the only card in the set that really interacts with it (I don’t know if people are casting a bad Damnation in EDH just to get a free 3-drop artifact).

Do we salivate because this is recovering very nicely from a reprinting or do we stay away because it’s due for a reprinting? They have demonstrated a real willingness to print this before and could again. In the mean time, its price trend is encouraging and it’s a very good pillow fort card that could go well in the new pillowfort deck helmed by Kynaios and Tiro which happens to have blue in it. I don’t hate this, but I am a little worried about another reprint blowing our doors off.

I don’t know if I want to pay $15 for this, but MTG Deals has 14 copies of this for $1 above buylist. That seems like a slam dunk. This is a stupid card that you can make work to your advantage by imprinting a snow-covered land so only you get the extra mana. Being able to tutor for it as early as turn 1 and having a body left behind is appealing. I like this a lot at $9. Don’t be a little piggy and buy all 14 yourself, though.

You can get a Conspiracy copy for like $1.50. Not bad for a card that The Gitrog Monster made spike to $10. Considering Conspiracy 2: Conspiratorial Boogaloo boxes are the $80 that is basically a store’s cost and no one seems keen on busting them, we are at peak supply and have hit a valley on price. Now is the time to get so greedy that you put the horn to shame.

Mana Web is basically the only thing on planet Earth that had a good 2016.

Mimic Vat is growing nicely and I think it’s got upside regardless of whether it sees increased play. That said, it surely should see more play. This couples very well with sac effects and so does Scrap Trawler. I think this gets played in enough EDH decks that it’s a good candidate. It’s mostly played in Trostani, which is brutal since you get double tokens and gain life when you use this and Trostani. Imagine that with Acidic Slime or something. Other decks are starting to catch on and use this, too and it’s already rising. Being able to tutor for this in a non-Trostani deck is appealing.

Narset made this card very appealing initially. It hasn’t done much since, but this has a ton of potential and is never going to get any cheaper. I like this as a pick-up, even now.

Oh, hai. Member me? I’m selling out everywhere. Kydele is still dumb and this card is still dumb with it. Fetchable with a blue creature, you say? Sign me up.

Everything I said about this card is true of Umbral Mantle, also.

Making the last alimony payment to the woman I married on a drunken dare at the first GP Las Vegas is reminding me how long it has been since Modern Masters. I think this could start recovering. There is also a non-zero chance that people play some blue deck in Modern that runs this and it shoots up again. This is a very good card, and it’s at a very good price, in my view.

I think this is a pretty good place to start looking. Obviously we might not see a ton of cards that interact with cards of this specific CMC, but we could. Imagine a card that says when you play a 3 CMC spell, you untap a permanent. Maybe you draw a card when you play a 3 CMC spell. Maybe a blue spells that counters a spell, bounces a permanent or draws a card that lets you play a 3 CMC spell for free just like what’s-his-nuts’ expertise does. There are ways that 3 CMC stuff can have even more upside. I like Trophy Mage an awful lot and I am going to get as many of the promo foils as I can.

Next week we may have more spoilers to talk about and there is also a ton of Scrap Trawler shenanigans to discuss. They made Scrap Trawler the Buy a Box promo so clearly they have faith in it, also. That does it for me this week. Tune in next time!

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