Category Archives: ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: Tier Two Space Marines


Warhammer continues to give and give and today it’s giving us enough data to drill down into the 5-10 spots. Our top 5 is pretty much covered, but the extent to which those decks overlap could be very significant. I’m going to do that thing again where I use the list comparison tool to see which Black cards, if any, can be used in all three decks and therefore have a significant impact despite their being in separate decks. I feel like I understand what I’m talking about but I don’t know if I’m explaining myself enough so I’ll Illustrate. 

Here we have the top 5 Commanders in the set. A card that’s a staple in Ghryson Starn is in more decks than a card in an Imotekh deck. However, a card that’s in Imotekh, Trazyn and Szarek will be in 564 decks, more than Abbadon, Be’lakor, Marneus Calgar and Magus Lucea Kane. A “black commanders” staple represents as many decks as any other commander except for the insanely popular space cowboy that turns every Tim into a Kahaml, Pit Fighter. Sound exciting? I think Grey Popupon looks like a cool commander and I’ll likely build the deck.

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

So a Black staple likely encompasses a lot of deck, and maybe more than just these three commanders condidering we have a Grixis deck and an Esper deck. Black cards are super hot and the necrons, I’m told, bring themselves and others back to life? I think? If they’re doing something that uses a card that most decks don’t use and they’re all using it, it’s worth a look.

If you didn’t catch it the last few times I did it, I use a list comparison tool and copy and paste the EDHREC “average deck” into the tool to see if any cards are in all 3 lists and if any are in two but are played quite a bit. It’s quick and dirty but so much of MTG Finance is just bothering to do tedious stuff or paying me to do it for you.

A whopping 26 shared cards! I’m sure there are a lot of lands on the list and maybe some mana rocks, but with a full quarter of the deck shared between the three, there are bound to be one or two overlaps, and that’s all we need to feel good about a card.

1 Arcane Signet
1 Biotransference
1 Cabal Coffers
1 Caged Sun
1 Chronomancer
1 Cryptothrall
1 Darkness
1 Defile
1 Endless Atlas
1 Foundry Inspector
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Go for the Throat
1 Illuminor Szeras
1 Mind Stone
1 Mutilate
1 Myriad Landscape
1 Mystic Forge
1 Out of the Tombs
1 Reanimate
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Sceptre of Eternal Glory
1 Sol Ring
1 Their Name Is Death
1 Thought Vessel
1 Tomb Fortress
1 Vault of Whispers

Getting rid of format staples, mana rocks and common removal, we have a pretty nice list, honestly.

1 Biotransference
1 Chronomancer
1 Cryptothrall
1 Darkness
1 Defile
1 Endless Atlas
1 Foundry Inspector
1 Illuminor Szeras
1 Mystic Forge
1 Out of the Tombs
1 Reanimate
1 Sceptre of Eternal Glory
1 Their Name Is Death
1 Tomb Fortress

There are a few cards that are interesting in the 2 deck list, especially the 35 shared cards between Izzle and Sizzle (I gave up on these dumb names), which would seem to select out Black format staples since those cards would also be in Tizzle but aren’t. Trazyn only shares 3 non-staples (Bolas’ Citadel, Feed the Swarm and KCI) with Izzle and 1 card (Convergence of Dominion) with Sizzle.

We can safely ignore those 4 cards, I think, because these decks won’t make a big enough splash to move the needle on something like Bolas Citadel that’s in 100k decks and Convergence is a bulk rare. I’m also kind of suspicious of anything that comes in the precon – it likely get used alongside any of these three decks but also, I think people tend to over-represent cards in precons when they first register their decks to Archidekt or Moxfield (anyone but TappedOut, really). I think there are some cards on this list worth a look, though.

This is cool in this deck specifically but I can’t recommend a $7 buy-in on a precon card that isn’t already identified as totally bonkers. If this keeps plummeting, give it another look, maybe, but I’m out at $7, especially as the buylist value tanks. I mean, if I’m interpreting a trend from 2 data points and calling myself a scientist, that is, and I’m not.

I looked at all of the rest of the precon cards and I don’t like any of them. Anyone who builds the deck will need the commander and a lot of the singles and it’s easier to just shell out $90 or whatever they want to charge for one of these at their LGS. I don’t think the Biotransference Demand will outstrip the supply is what I’m saying.

This barely went 18 months before it got a reprint and tanked to a buck but it’s pretty precipitously climbing back to its early $5 before this new reprinting, and if it’s left alone, this hits $10 and keeps going up. It’s a shoo-in for future mono-color EDH precons, so maybe out these to a buylist if they announce something like that, but I think if these are $1 on TCG Player and the ceiling is $8, I’m still good with it. I’d love to see this card hit $10, and I think it has the juice.

This is limited by only really going in mono-color decks, but there are a lot of those and people like them. This is a good card and I like it even more at the $1 we already watched it quintuple from.

There has never been a period of time where I observed the price graph of this card and said it was a bad time to buy, and I’m not going to start now that the ugly, ugly reprint in this precon is going to make the value super cheap. this is an $8 card, I’m OK paying like $2 right now.

If the TCG Player price graph is to be believed, we have hit the floor already. The precon art is ugly, but that just makes older copies more desirable. This will bounce, scoop some free money.

Finally, I wonder if the list of cards shared between Imotekh and S-dog are interesting – there are 35 of them after all.

1 Anrakyr the Traveller
1 Barren Moor
1 Beacon of Unrest
1 Buried Ruin
1 Canoptek Scarab Swarm
1 Canoptek Spyder
1 Canoptek Tomb Sentinel
1 Canoptek Wraith
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Cranial Plating
1 Cryptek
1 Desert of the Glorified
1 Dread Return
1 Flayed One
1 Ghost Ark
1 Hedron Archive
1 Living Death
1 Lokhust Heavy Destroyer
1 Lychguard
1 Mask of Memory
1 Necron Deathmark
1 Necron Overlord
1 Psychomancer
1 Resurrection Orb
1 Royal Warden
1 Sculpting Steel
1 Shard of the Void Dragon
1 Skorpekh Lord
1 Technomancer
1 The War in Heaven
1 Their Number Is Legion
1 Trazyn the Infinite
1 Triarch Praetorian
1 Triarch Stalker
1 Wayfarer’s Bauble

I’m not going to do that Searching for Bobby Fischer thing where I smack all of the pieces off of the chess board to make you see what I want, I’ll literally just go through and pick them out myself, it’s cool.

There are very few non-precon cards here. I feel like increasingly people are just leaving the decks together, but we’re seeing some high synergy cards in all of these decks that aren’t format staples or in the precon, so while there is a lot of noise caused by the homogenization from the precons, there is still a signal, we just have to find it. Of the reprints here, I’m very interested in Living Death and Beacon of Unrest.

If this card is impacted by the reprint, it will be the first time since late 2017 that it happened and that was a period over which the price tripled. I think this still has the juice to get back up to $10, but I wouldn’t buy the precon version of any of these cards, personally.

Whereas Beacon has never shrugged off a reprint in its life.

This is too cheap by half.

This card is too cheap, specifically on TCG Player.

That’s all for today. I think there are some cards that overlap between the decks, but even if you do this and don’t find anything, it’s less than 60 seconds worth of cutting and pasting to do it. I encourage you all to let tools do the sorting for you and you’ll discover some budding demand you would have missed otherwise. Thanks for reading. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: How to Make 40k Decks

It’s that time again, the time where we have Warhammer 40K data but it doesn’t matter because they have announced Unfinity, Brother’s War, 5 new secret lairs and a $250 booster pack that very much violates the spirit of the Reserved List. We’d better look at 40k stuff now – it’s about to be pushed off of the “recent sets list” on EDHREC and it hasn’t even come out yet. 

Last week we didn’t have enough data but we seem to be all set this week, so let’s do that thing I always do but also always feel the need to introduce like you don’t already know what it is from me always doing it. That thing. Let’s do that.

Abbadon is still in the lead by quite a bit, still, which was to be expected. He’s been spoiled the longest and he was the only one we had data on for a while. Nothing has really changed with Abbadon, but let’s take a quick look at High Synergy cards.

Still suspend stuff and pingers. Pingers are also going to be useful for the next commander, too.

I talked about Abbadon and Starnzy 2 weeks ago, and if you didn’t read that article, I go into a bit more depth about why I like older foils. Ophidian Eye, for example, has 0 reprints and a $10 foil that’s pretty scarce. I think someone knew about these 40K cards a long time ago based on how all of the ping foils disappeared like 2 years after they printed Torbran. I like a lot of stuff that deals exactly 1 damage but at the rate they release new commanders, no one can really agree on a deck because by the time you get cards, they have announced 3 new sets. I prefer more stable stonks since Magic seems determined to jump the shark and I don’t know if I’ll have a job in a year.

Exhibit A

Every Demon is like $4 right now, similar to Dragons. If a good Demon tribal commander is printed, they all go up, even the OK ones and with 70 new Legendary creatures in every set, they’re going to have to resort to demon tribal sooner or later.

I have long been bullish on both versions of this, and it seems the markets are finally in accord. The fact that I said to buy it before it went up would suggest I sometimes know what the market will do, or every card goes up eventually. Either way, I urged people to pay $2 for the showcase version in the past and now Card Kingdom is asking $5. This card is profoundly good and people are finally noticing, though it may have taken a Demon that cares about Demons to get there.

That pic looks weird, it’s because it’s an NFC and I’m kind of in the zone typing right now so I’m not going to fix it, you’re just going to have to be OK with my miscut pic.

Too late to get these for $8 but you can get them before they’re $20. It’s on “The List” so that has helped, but not enough. I’m serious about paying $12-$15 for these if you’re quick.

This held fairly steady at $15 before it was reprinted. I’m perfectly OK snatching some $4 copies of this and watching the reverse J turn into a U like we like.

CK is just straight up getting $40 for this card and TCG is like $6 more than I paid. I am hodling on for dear life on these and I’d rather they see more play than not if I want to recoup on these. I bought at basically buylist at the time but that doesn’t help me much. I really expected these to go lower, but The List doesn’t add as many copies as you think it will.

This is kind of a boring deck if I’m being honest – it’s being built as Esper goodstuff control for the most part which means another Thoracle deck. Fun.

Kind of a steep drop with the number of decks, but the Stormlord is built 3 times as much as the Swarmlord, which no one saw coming. Not that anyone has touched this product yet.

Another problem with the product being obsolete is that people don’t have physical cards in their hands, so they don’t construct the decks with the physical cards they have, they construct using the precon list as a guide. This almost always results in them adding way more cards from the precon to their decklists than they’ll actually add when they build the deck for real, but by then no one is going to look at the EDHREC page for 20 sets ago. Stuff comes out too fast to go back for anything.

This could go up even more with people building Zur as a Saga deck, but honestly, if someone hasn’t built Zur yet, they’re not going to. Dominaria United feels forgotten already. This pace of products is entirely unsustainable and I think it will make or break Magic as a game and Magic as a career, but maybe I’m an old man yelling at clouds. We’ll find out sooner or later. Until next time.

Unlocked Pro Trader: I Forgot the Precons


I considered, as a bit, saying “I forgot the precons” a bunch of times in this article like they said “We bought a zoo!” in the movie “We Bought a Zoo.” I say “they” because I honestly don’t remember if it was Matt Damon or Brad Pitt. It was one of those two. Or Greg Kinnear. One of the three out of Matt Damon, Brad Pitt or Greg Kinnear. The point is, one of them, or Liev Schreiber maybe, I literally have no idea, but it’s one of those four, said “We bought a zoo!” every time something zooey happened. I think. I only saw the trailer. The point is, I forgot the precons.

I didn’t mean to, it’s just that last week we didn’t have data and this week we do, so I was all set to write the “We have data now!” article for the main set and I remembered I haven’t even TOUCHED the precon commanders. It’s cool, I remembered in time. While the precons are less ripe for giving us good specs, I think the top ones will have had enough cards removed and replaced that a consensus can start to form. Let’s see what we see, shall we? I forgot the precons.

This is the top 8 so far, but there are literally 30 Legendary creatures in this set of 5 decks and that’s… just so many. I like that Tor Wauki is currently winning, a lot, and I think it’s as good a place to start as any.

This is a pretty standard variation on the “Torbran turns a ping into a BANG” formula, and access to Black is very good. You wouldn’t know it from the High Synergy cards, but there are some high inclusions that deserve a look.

Perhaps then the foil?

This is a good card, a gorgeous if curly foil and a card that has flirted with $3 when it was getting played not at all. Obossh made people remember this card existed, Tor Wauki makes sure they never forget again.

Man, that was a sick sentence. I should write flavor text.

This is far from the best time to buy Sedgemoor Witch but it’s very far from the worse. I like this card a ton as I am beginning to like all Extended Art cards. This was basically the price of the regular frame for a while and a year on, this is how it looks. Just sayin.

If anything with Suspend on it ever gets cheap, buy a lot. Of all of the mechanics that seem to get broken and turn into free spells accidentally, Suspend seems to do it 5 times as often as anything else.

There will be a time when people stop caring that their copy of a Magic card is butt ugly because it’s a $16 copy of a $24 card. This isn’t there yet, but it’s rebounding already because this card is unfair. Both versions are under $5 right now and both are a buy.

Ditto. This version is more polarizing than ugly which should help the price of both, and both versions are too cheap, currently.

If someone is willing to sell you this powerful foil card for $1, you should take them up on it.

Here is Exhibit A, I could find an Exhibit B if you needed it, but I kind of feel like anyone who needed that would have acquitted OJ.

Fine, here is a card I told people to pick up at $1. Not bragging, just saying sometimes it’s so obvious even I catch it. This goes in the Hazezon deck but the nonfoil is trash, so consider foils when a new commander makes an old uncommon relevant.

Now THIS is a wild pile of cards, good gravy.

OK, kidding. I mean… kind of? Legends cards coming in Dominaria packs are going to be somewhat likely to spark some interest in the old set and with legendary status mattering to this absolute bat$*@# commander, some of the older stuff could move again. This card is old enough to have gray hair, there is something to be said for it not being actually unplayable since you can draw it with the middle ability on your Planeswalker commander that has a built in Insurrection you should probably be building to? I don’t know, what I do know is that the cards in this deck are all in the precon and people aren’t adding much and I wanted to finish with a whimper to give some other writers a crack at the title of “best article of the week” for a change.

I will go over more of the 70 Legendary creatures in this set next week because I am Magic’s Sisyphus. Thanks for reading, nerds. Until next time!


Pro Trader: Cards I Think Are Underplayed


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!