Category Archives: ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: Speculating on Speculation

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Nerds,

I was going to take a look at Jodah or something today and while that’s probably relevant at some point, I think there’s something else that is pretty important and it’s never too early to talk about it. I saw something curious and maybe I’m reading too much into it, but probably not. I mean, maybe. Maybe not. Not probably not, I don’t know the actual probability. That’s a good point, actually. Let’s address that point before I move on.

Have you even made a point yet?

Yes, I sure have. I said I don’t know the probability that I’m right or wrong about this thing I’m speculating about that I’ll tell you about later. We never really know the odds but since I know less than nothing; we’re talking our unknowns are unknown, I’m going to try and make my picks with some caveats, namely that I’m not going to diverge too far from my current speculation ethos for this column.

Currently I am using data, albeit small amounts sometimes, to make very safe picks based on what I know the near future to be. EDH allows us to do that with the lag time between online decklist adoption and actual paper decklist adoption. I’m not going to stray too far from that. While I’m forced to speculate about speculation, I am going to try and confine my picks to ones that won’t leave you holding the bag later if one or more of our assumptions turns out faulty. I sold a lot more copies of Squandered Resources than I did Didgeridoo. Didgeridid? Whatever. The point is, if I make a pick that wasn’t going to go up anyway, albeit probably slower, I’ll make a note that you’re assuming risk and should only do so if you can afford to lose the money and agree with all of our dumb assumptions.

Isn’t it funny that I’m like 4 years into writing this column and I’m only now telling you to only spec with money you can afford to lose? That’s how good EDH finance is, I never assume we won’t get there. Even our misses are just longer-term hits, baby! Bet it all on black!

OK, that out of the way, let’s talk about the assumptions we’re making. First, the piece of news upon which our assumptions are predicated.

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The News

Someone in the EDHREC writers Slack channel alerted me to this press release. No, that wasn’t intended as a name drop. It’s an exclusive Slack channel, but not in that good a way. It’s exclusive like the club of people who turned themselves blue drinking colloidal silver is exclusive – yeah, you’re not in the group but that’s fine, trust me.  Let’s examine the thing.

Enhance

Enhance

Too far

Awww yisss. If this is what I think it is, it’s another Commander precon series with Planeswalkers at the helm. That’s assumption numero the first.

My next assumption is that planeswalkers will be legal as commanders from now on. It’s possible that it’s just all of us wanting it that makes us think it’s so but I said I wouldn’t hose you by making picks that won’t pan out if this assumption is wrong so let’s pretend we already know it’s true and save ourselves some equivocating.

 

When Do We Make Some Money?

I thought I’d never pretend you asked. Let’s do that now, shall we?

Our main assumptions, restated are

  1. Commander 2018 will have Planeswalkers as the commanders.
  2. Any Planeswalker will be a legal commander starting in late 2018.

From that, I can make a few sub-assumptions that can help us figure some things out.

  1. The decks are $40 MSRP which is more than normal. Either the walkers will be pushed in power level or they’re allowing themselves to reprint expensive cards they didn’t before (Doubling Season?)
  2. 4 decks means they won’t be all mono-colored. Commander 2017 showed they stress color balance over the set not over the decks and gave us a 5-color Dragon and 2-color cat and stuff in between.
  3. My Ajani Vengeant deck will make them regret the decision to allow older ‘walkers to be commanders.

I think hype alone is going to drive some prices if any of this information is confirmed, so we have a small window to act on it before everyone else comes to the conclusions we’re coming to today and scoops the cards. Better from us at a higher price than at current retail because we napped on this info.

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The Chain Veil

Old Chainy veil is calming down a bit and my initial impression was that this is a likely reprint in the Commander decks or more likely one of them, but I got to thinking, is it? The Chain Veil is played in two types of decks with Planeswalkers; Superfriends, which is a deck with a lot of Planeswalkers and Chain Veil Teferi, a deck that uses exactly one Planeswalker in particular and rarely any others, although not always. The two reprint scenarios, then are either a Teferi reprint or a ‘Walker that is similarly good with The Chain Veil which won’t happen because you can’t put the stupid Chain Veil/Teferi infinite combo in a precon and only charge 5 extra dollars and expect the other decks to compete. You also can’t jam $300 worth of Planeswalkers in a $40 precon and call it a Superfriends deck, and you can put 4 Planeswalkers in a precon and call it a Superfriends deck. Since The Chain Veil isn’t great outside of those two scenarios, neither of which is appropriate for a precon (though fine to be built by the end user) I think reprint risk is mitigated. That gives us a declining, second-spike-ready artifact that can go in any Planeswalker deck that wants it. I think this goes up on hype as much as playability and you can always sell off before the full decklists are announced if you really are afraid of a reprint.

The foil is down, too. Hallelujah. A lot of this decrease is post-Atraxa hangover where the bad angel promised to make every card in any possible build $20 forever but there is a real chance for this to recover, especially with its reprint risk farther mitigated. This doesn’t even have to play nicely with the new cards to go up on hype, so be on the supply side of the coming wave.

Doubling Season

This is a bit of an obvious one, too, but I don’t know how good it would be outside of superfriends builds, necessarily. Also, people could always build that before and allowing a Planeswalker to helm the deck isn’t necessarily going to make that option more attractive. Unlike the Chain Veil, this only goes in green decks and if there is no new 5 color Walker (can you imagine? Yuck) I don’t know. Now that the two obvious ‘Walker cards are out of the way, it becomes a little tougher to figure out what we can make money off of. Let’s add to that the fact that all of the other cards in Superfriends seem to only be good at finding ‘Walkers in the deck.

Meh.

Ugh.

Oy vey.

We’re going to need to try a different approach, and that is to look at any cards in common between the 5 existing Planeswalker commanders. So… artifacts? Lands?

If I don’t say something smart pretty soon, this was a waste of an observation.

I’ll save like and hour on EDHREC – there’s nothing. There are no common cards between the 5 current Planeswalkers as Commanders and I doubt there’s anything in common with the new ones. That means we basically have to slide down a tier of certainty if we’re going to come up with anything worthwhile.

We’re Speccing For Real

I’ll finish this article by talking about the Planeswalkers I think would be the best Commanders and if there are any cards that pair nicely with them.

Tamiyo, Field Researcher

This would be nuts as a Commander, especially in green where you can cast her with Doubling Season and get the emblem right away on top of refilling your grip. This card isn’t super exciting outside of the odd Atraxa build right now but if this is in your command zone, your mana dorks draw cards, you can frost dudes all day and you can say goodbye to mana. Whaaa? There’s no interacting with that stupid emblem, either. Good luck.

Cards that pair well with this build – 

Doubling Season

Enter the Infinite

Every Eldrazi

Ajani Vengeant

This probably isn’t that good but I’m still going to build the stupid thing. Screw you and your lands in particular, scrub.

Cards that pair well with this build – I don’t even know, I regret bringing it up.

Kaya, Ghost Assassin 

I see people call this a good Stax commander, and I can’t disagree. This would be annoying as hell to play against.

Cards that pair well with this build – 

Stax cards.

I don’t know, Hokori?

Smokestacks probably? I think?

Let me google EDH stax cards.

Some dude wrote a whole crazy primer, but they all seem to want

So be apprised of that. Those cards are all probably good pickups anyway.

I feel like any of the decent commanders could get their own entire article. If we do it that way, we’ll want to wait until people start building the decks that way, so as much fun as I’m having here, there isn’t much point in continuing.

What I think we’ll do is revisit this when there is something more actionable and we may give any given commander the article treatment the way we would any new Legendary creature. For now, I think there are moves to make here and I am really feeling good about The Chain Veil because even an announcement is going to drive buying and we want to be holding copies when that happens.

I hope you got some value from this piece and we’ll try something a little more traditional next week. Until then!

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MTG Fast Finance Podcast: Episode 89 (Oct 12th/17)

MTG Fast Finance is our weekly podcast covering the flurry of weekly financial activity in the world of Magic: The Gathering. MFF provides a fast, fun and useful sixty minute format. Follow along with our seasoned hosts as they walk you through this week’s big price movements, their picks of the week, metagame analysis and a rotating weekly topic.

Show Notes: Oct 12th, 2017

Segment 1: Top Card Spikes of the Week

Charmed Griffin

Charmed Griffin (MM, Foil Uncommon)
Start: $.75
Finish: $5.00
Gain: +$4.25 (+567%)

Quicksilver Fountain (MRD, Rare)
Start: $1.00
Finish: $5.00
Gain: +$4.00 (+400%)

Longtusk Cub (KLD, Foil Uncommon)
Start: $2.25
Finish: $7.50
Gain: +5.25 (+233%)

Hunting Grounds (CMA, Foil Rare)
Start: $9.00
Finish: $25.00
Gain: +16.00 (+178%)

Fiery Justice (MM, Rare)
Start: $3.00
Finish: $7.00
Gain: +$4.00 (+133%)

Aether Flash (7th, Foil Rare)
Start: $6.00
Finish: $13.00
Gain: +$7.00 (+117%)

Memory Jar (URL, Foil Rare)
Start: $185.00
Finish: $400.00
Gain: +$215.00 (+116%)

Search for Azcanta (IXL, Rare)
Start: $7.00
Finish: $15.00
Gain: +$8.00 (+114%)

Nicol Bolas (LEG, Rare)
Start: $27.00
Finish: $55.00
Gain: +$28.00 (+104%)

Vraska’s Contempt (CON, Foil Rare)
Start: $5.00
Finish: $10.00
Gain: +$5.00 (+100%)

Segment 2: Picks of the Week

James’ Picks:

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Thought-Knot Seer

  1. Thought-Knot Seer (OGW, Rare)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $7.00 to $20.00 (+13.00/185%) 6-18+ months)

2. Sigarda’s Aid (EMN, Foil Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $3.50 to $10.00 (+6.50/+185%, 12-18+ months)

3. Aetherflux Reservoir (KLD, Foil Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $5.00 to $15.00 (+10.00/+200%, 6-12+ months)

Travis Picks:

Assemble the Legion

Duskwatch Recruiter

  1. Assemble the Legion (GTC, Rare)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 9: $6.00 to $15.00 (+9.00/+150%, 6-12+ months)

2. Phyrexian Metamorph (NPH, Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $9.00 to $20.00 (+11.00/+122%, 0-12+ months)

Disclosure: Travis and James may own, or intend to own, speculative copies of the above cards.

Segment 3: Metagame Week in Review

The Standard meta at the World Championships was the topic of the week, as the crew reviewed the continual narrowing of the meta into Red, Energy and UBx Control strategies.

Segment 4: Topic of the Week

Travis and James took a deep dive on the state of Magic: The Gathering branding and how it might impact the future of the game.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Exploring New Avenues

Nerds,

It’s been a week since I dropped some knowledge on you and I’m happy I don’t have to talk about stupid tribal decks and how much people are playing them in EDH because I get to talk about stupid tribal decks and how much people will be playing them outside of EDH. Isn’t that fun? I am honestly looking forward to taking a break from trying to find value in decks predicated on Ixalan Legends because so many of them include cards that are specific to that tribe that were printed in Ixalan which means there are really limited opportunities. EDH finance isn’t easy mode because we spend a ton of time looking at which stupid pirates will go up by a dollar over the next two years because of people build pirate EDH decks, we want commanders like The Gitrog Monster to come along and make a bunch of old cards with low supplies and high upsides go off. Gishnath (or whomever) the dinosaur Legend doesn’t really do much of that – it’s all Ixalan dinosaurs, generic tribal cards like Urza’s Incubator and Coat of Arms and a bunch of lunatics who thought they were going to make a killing buying out foil Deathmist Raptor.

What is more fun is getting to buy cards that hit rock bottom after a reprint and go right back up because they are great cards and demand will soon soak up supply. It’s even better when people overestimate supply based on an initial flood of redemptions and buylist sales and we can really make bank. Remember how I like to talk about U-shaped and reverse-J-shaped graphs? You don’t? How is that possible, I literally talked about that like two weeks ago. The article was above reproach and I can tell that because there are no comments and that only happens when people read it and no one thinks “I’m way smarter than this guy” like what happens most weeks.

I think we have an opportunity to watch a few cards crater and then rebound more quickly than most people will anticipate. Furthermore, I think these cards crept up very sneakily and they have the capacity to creep up sneakily again. A lot of players don’t know what these cards cost now and in two years, they won’t know that the prices went up, then down then up again, they’ll just say “Wow, when did THIS get expensive?” not knowing that there are a lot of answers to that question. Not to dump on those people – they’re the best. They buy our cards on TCG Player. They trade us Standard expensive cards for EDH staples with so little regard for monetary value that how much money you make on the trade depends entirely on your conscience. They buy instant collections in your LGS because they need bulk rares and basic lands and a box to carry their Thallids deck in.  Hyper competitve players will miss these price movements, too, but only because they can only focus on the 50 cards that are expensive in Modern and Legacy and the 20 cards that are expensive in Standard that month.

Being able to see the price depression and subsequent rebound coming a mile away means we’re the ones buying at the valleys and selling at the peaks. We’re not making the price go up, ironically the people buying at the peak and complaining about speculators are the ones who do that, but we are benefiting, and why shouldn’t we? We paid attention to the price of the card every week for two years, after all. So before we mentally spend the millions we’re going to make off of savvy investments, let’s look at the impetus for prices changing.

 

Shut Up And Take Their Money

Settlers of Catan Explorers of Ixalan offers casual players the chance to pay $65 to not have to cobble together their own goofy homebrew Magic variant that someone came up with on the /r/magictcg subreddit that uses Dominion cards, the Ticket to Ride gameboard and the rules insert from Machi Koro to make a game of what is essentially a bad form of Planechase take 5 1/2 hours like casual people like. Instead, they can play some goofy Magic variant cooked up by whatever Hasbro executive is in charge of overseeing Magic development because his uncle on the Hasbro board is grooming him to take over as head of Angry Birds merchandising as soon as his therapist assures him that his hooker-choking days are behind him. This is likely to be a pretty annoying form of casual, bad EDH that snobs like me have no interest in, but what it’s also going to do is provide a pretty reasonable way to get copies of cards into the hands of people.

This is going to reprint some key cards, but with MSRP so high on these sets, prices shouldn’t take a giant dump right away. Casual players aren’t inclined to buy these and immediately ship the good cards and dealers aren’t necessarily inclined to slice into $65 product that they likely paid $35+ for just to cannibalize a few singles. If it’s not super cost effective to pop these sets and the kind of people who likely buy these for retail don’t sell the singles off right away, prices may not crater unless their old price was a lie predicated on low supply and overestimated demand. I intend to look individually at each card reprinted in this set that has been announced so far and see if we think the value of the cards therein is likely to tank or stay mostly the same based on the $65 price tag and mainly casual appeal. If we do think prices will go down, I’ll try and guess at which ones will recover the best and which to target. This is not what I normally do in this column but is “what I normally do in this column” even really a thing anymore?

What Will This Set Do?

Suddenly we have a new product that, if repeated, can be a new avenue to reprint these cards that seemed “reprint-proof” just a few months ago. Planechase, Archenemy and now this; could we get a product like this every year?

Either this sells well and they repeat it in which case we have another mine to dodge when it comes to Commander-based price spikes or they don’t repeat this. In either case, I think buying foils is one way to mitigate reprint risk but there are so few available copies and even fewer move quickly that I’m not advocating that. Buying foils is great for one or two people but the majority of people get left out so I don’t tend to advocate something like that in an article series that, according to google analytics, has a wider audience than one or two people. My Mom, six Russian bots and both of my google accounts (Jason Alt and Ricardo Dangersword) read every article so I’m at least reaching those people. So while foils are safe, reminding people to buy foils seems pretty pointless.

We had some time between Commander 2017 hype and the announcement of this set but the problem is that next year, it won’t be as obvious what to buy for non-EDH players like it was this year. We knew there would be tribal decks so we knew that if at least one deck had red cards in it, Shared Animosity was a good buy if it wasn’t reprinted. A lot of people didn’t even wait for confirmation that the card wasn’t in one of the decks before they bought in. Next year, the cards won’t be obvious which means the prices will move based on real, organic demand. That’s just starting to happen in earnest now, so if we have the same print schedule, there won’t be much time for growth between cards from Commander 2018 materializing as good buys and the reprint potential in “Settlers of Dominaria” or whatever.

Let’s look at the specific cards.

Shared Animosity

Currently the most expensive card spoiled so far, if this maintains its current value due to the set not being worth cracking but doesn’t see a race to the bottom in terms of dealers getting out of copies of the deck, this pays for more than the deck it’s in. Experiencing a recent double-up that we predicted in this series (anyone who paid attention saw this coming but don’t you pay me to pay attention so you don’t have to?) this card is very good in tribal decks. Our prediction that it would go up if it wasn’t reprinted in Commander 2017 was true but short-lived. People made a lot of money getting in early and getting out before Explorers was announced, but neither of those will be a thing next year.

Should Explorers depress the price, this card goes back up. I could see this hitting $5 if the set sells well and maybe a bit more if it doesn’t. The supply likely to be introduced by people buying Explorers is likely to be offset just about equivalently by the increased demand from people building more tribal decks. They seem to be focusing on the tribes from the Standard sets being used outside of just those sets and this year they even tied it in to the Commander release to an extent, introducing white Vampires in Commander 2017 before they did so in Ixalan. It’s an estimate, but I expect new demand to be enough to offset new supply enough to get Animosity back up to the $10 or so it was before Commander 2017 came along. If this hits $3 or $4, I’m a buyer. I still like these up to like $8 in trade because these move briskly, especially if they only get up to like $10. With more tribal focus likely in the future, this seems like the card with the most upside out of all of Explorers, but maybe not the most applicability cross-format.

Aggravated Assault

While I don’t think this has quite the upside of Shared Animosity and this benefited a lot from having pretty low supply due to being from an older set when cards like Narset made this an allstar, EDH seems to be focusing a bit more on combat. This was a great card to reprint, and it’s pretty likely that like 18 months ago when I was saying this needed a reprint, Wizards was planning to jam this in Explorers. I think it’s possible that other Masterpieces are good harbingers of future reprints in sets like Explorers if they continue and that’s a topic we can delve into another day. I think this likely goes very cheap, bottoming out around the same price as Shared Animosity if the set sells well and maybe a bit more if it doesn’t. If this hits like $2 or $3, I’m interested. I think $10 is a pretty reasonable place for this to end up, but $8 wouldn’t surprise me as a worst case scenario. There is a ton of demand – Aggravated Assault is in nearly twice as many EDH decks on EDHREC as is Shared Animosity. I think this could end up above Shared Animosity since cross-format applicability juiced Animosity’s price a bit in the past and got copies concentrated in the hands of dealers sooner. If this ended up the most expensive card in Explorers in a year, I wouldn’t be surprised. I like this a lot when it bottoms out.

Time Warp

This can’t quite maintain $20 owing to multiple reprintings. However, while this reprinting is going to bring the price down, I think Time Warp (Nearly 6,000 decks on EDHREC) seems to be the most played card and with Modern applicability and the possibility that someone will make a YouTube video about a deck with Time Walk effects and spike everything from this to Part the Waterveil again (could that be what happened in 2016 to make this $25, a price it couldn’t maintain?) this also could end up the most expensive card in Explorers when the dust settles. Gettable around $14 right now, this likely tanks as much as anything else. I think it’s safe to call this $8-$10 in a year from now and I think barring more reprints, it can flirt with $20 again. I really don’t know how much Explorers of Ixalan will hit the market, so I could be giving the reprint too much credit, but I think this will be a brief window where players can get a Time Warp without paying more than $10 and they’ll want to. I bet this is the pace card that establishes the rate of price recovery for the rest of the cards to try and imitate.

Beacon of Immortality

Beacon of Unrest went down to $2. Beacon of Unrest is in four times as many decks as Beacon of Immortality. Commander 2016 likely sells way more decks than Explorers of Ixalan. Will it sell four times as much? This could end up really cratering in price the way Beacon of Unrest did, and while the demand seems less than for Beacon of Unrest, the fact that lifegain is something people are excited about means that maybe the current demand being a fourth of that of Unrest is less important than crossing some invisible threshold. Maybe recovery is a yes/no question rather than a “how much?” question. I think this has the goods to hit such a threshold if it exists. Does this end up $0.50 extrapolated from the price of Beacon of Unrest? Maybe. But I think we will see this recover to at least the $2-$3 Beacon of Unrest is a year later.

Quicksilver Amulet

The price of this card is kind of all over the place. Big Dargons caused people to buy these and some retailers sold out repeatedly and ratcheted their price up to about $15 at one point but other retailers don’t seem to be moving them at the old price. It doesn’t seem worth it to snap those $10 copies so they just sit there. I think this is also going to be an EDH allstar and with the big Dargon and Dinosaur decks of the past year likely to be at least a portion of what we see printed in the future, expect this to recover to at least $5. I like these if they bottom out around $1.

Regisaur Alpha

I don’t care about this card. This isn’t an EDH card outside of the Gishath deck and Standard either will or won’t make this a real card. It reminds me of Bloodbraid Elf a little bit but then I reread it and remember it doesn’t have haste, only the token and then I get sad. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Standard and I’m staying out of it. Plenty of people are willing to stick their neck out and talk about that format.

Adaptive Automaton

I feel like the price isn’t done going up on this because I feel like it was just getting started. It was an obvious card and while a lot of sites are sold out, I feel like no one has restocked at a new price and that means TCG Player basically establishes the price itself. It’s not selling out at $7-$8. With the same demand in a year and way more copies, this likely can hit $5 so bear that in mind when you decide if it’s gotten cheap enough to buy. This will always be a decent lord but everyone seems so enamored with Metallic Mimic right now that this is almost an afterthought. This is good for us – Automaton is quietly in 30% more decks than Mimic due to a combination of having just been around longer and therefore registered in more decks even if people later took Automaton out. That’s kind of a problem with EDHREC numbers but considering we’re looking at ratios rather than integers, I think it’s fair to say Automaton has more demand at leave it at that.  I think this is always a $5 card no matter how many times it’s reprinted provided it gets 12 months to recover in between. I think this could tank less than other cards and I think it might grow sooner, but if this does crater at like $1 or below, make like a single mother in the detergent aisle on supermarket sweep and shove these in your shopping cart.

Threads of Disloyalty

A modicum of play in the sideboard of a deck that basically no longer exists in a format that basically no one is excited about got this to flirt with $40. Look at the slope of the price graph when the card was forced to deal with reality. Do you imagine the slope will be less steep now that we have the same demand and more supply? Stay away from these. This is not an EDH card, anyway, what do I care?

I think these are the relevant cards. Everything else spoiled is a bulk rare basically already (Vanquisher’s Banner might have had a chance to do something but got nipped in the bud). Next week we should have something else to talk about and we’ll do that. Until next week!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Dino-Might

Readers,

I am really sick of talking about tribal decks. I want to talk about something that isn’t tribal and I’ve been doing that on Gathering Magic where I can. Since they decided to integrate Commander 2017 with Ixalan (which is neat, don’t get me wrong) they have mostly tribal commanders in Ixalan as well as the tribal commanders in Commander 2017. Most decks being built now are tribal. I want to talk about Marvin Feins or whoever and I’d like to talk about Tishana (as boring to build as I imagine Tishana is going to be) and it doesn’t matter because I have to talk about where I think the money is. I can’t ignore data because that’s irresponsible. So as much as I would like it if Tishana were likely to matter, I’ll save that for my Gathering Magic article next week (which you should absolutely read, by the way. If you find this article valuable, that is. It’s free to read, they can justify paying me if people read it and I talk about EDH cards which it turns out I’ve established are relevant) and focus on a deck I don’t even want to talk about a little bit but which was built 3x as much as Tishana.

Tribes Ruin Everything

I don’t pretend to understand EDH better than basically everyone who plays Magic and I’m certainly not inclined to pontificate that I can figure it out faster than that group of people known as “everyone.” I was worried that I would miss the boat entirely by waiting to get build data from EDHREC on the Commander 2017 commanders. It turns out everything worked like normal this time – we had a wave of people buying specs as soon as they knew the decks were tribal and most of those specs were bad. We had another wave of people buying when they knew what the tribes were, and most of those specs were bad. The prices on those cards are likely ruined forever, but organic demand didn’t drive them and you’re likely going to get stuck with your copies unless you bought a very small amount, in which case you didn’t really speculate. If you predict a card going from $2 to $20 and you bought 10 copies, you weren’t confident or ballsy and you didn’t get rewarded. If you predict 10 cards going from $2 to $20 and you bought 0 copies, you’re me, but that’s another story.

The third wave after the first two “Uh, I think I can figure out that a tribal Wizard deck is going to play Patron Wizard, EDH isn’t that tough to figure out, guy” speculators, we had the “normal” wave of cards going up based on people figuring out what people were actually doing. It took me a long time staring at Mairsil to figure out anything I wanted to put a cage counter on but the internet figured it out eventually, I wrote an article about Mairsil stuff like a month after Commander 2017 came out and those cards are popping off, a few a week. It’s 2015 again! So while the tribal decks make people think they knew what they’re doing get super confident, we can still do our normal thing.

 

 

Hateflayer popped this week, but it had been growing steadily recently and as we predicted, Mairsil gave it a lot of upside. Let’s compare a card like Patron Wizard which is at $20 instead of the $3 Hateflayer is currently selling for.

So we have 4 decks that were running it before and 94 new Inalla decks (it’s OK in Inalla, don’t get me wrong) jamming it. Do we think the spike to $20 was justified? Do we think it hangs out there? I’ll leave that for the bro finance crowd who thought it was super obvious to buy every Wizard despite none of the older Wizards really playing all that well with Mairsil or Kess at all. The decks were called tribal but 2/3 of the marquee commanders and like all of the other random commanders like Taigam(s) don’t care about tribes, really and certainly not in the way everyone who bought in the first two waves “knew” it would matter. $20 Patron Wizard is a joke but if you are one of the few people who need it for Inalla, the joke’s on you.

The stuff in the Mairsil deck that no one predicted when the card was first announced but going up later when we had pricing data leads me to believe that even though tribal stuff is “obvious” to some who think being able to make simple, superficial observations means that all of this is easy, we’ll still be able to make money by seeing what players are actually playing, buying before supply dries up and selling into the increased demand like always. Tribal decks screwed up a lot but they didn’t screw up everything.

Stupid Tribe of the Day

I don’t want to talk about dinosaurs but I sort of have to. Gishath isn’t a card that is particularly exciting to me but it’s getting built kind of a lot this week.

Anything that gets over the Atraxa hump is worth discussing. I predict I have to dig down a little bit to (I want to let you know that at this point in the sentence I conceived of and immediately abandoned an idea where I’d make a bunch of puns about an archaeological excavation for dinosaur specs and how they are like dinosaur bones. I don’t want you to think I’m the kind of guy who can’t resist a dumb metaphor but I also don’t want you to think I’m not smart enough to figure out there was an opportunity there). Gishath is made up almost entirely of terrible, bulk rare dinosaurs and uncommons plus the same tribal stuff that is going to go up a little but do you want to be paying $20 for a card that’s going to hit $23? With this many Gishath decks being built, there is going to be money to be made and it’s going to take some work to find it but we’ll do it.

Xenagos, God of Revels

An amount of reprint risk that I would classify as “moderate” has a lot of people spooked. Could this be in some duel deck? Maybe Inconic Masters? Basically, people are worried about this going in Commander 2018 and if it’s not, I think this is a real opportunity. This is doing an odd Shepard Tone thing with the price graph but I really think we’re at a tipping point. I don’t like to buy deep into specs that I advocate because I don’t want to be accused (more) of trying to pump and dump cards. It never feels good even when it’s ridiculous. I won’t say who but he knows who he is, accused me of trying to pump and dump Tropical Island because I said it would correct to be more than Bayou since it was less than Bayou at the time. So I guess if being ethical gets you nowhere, I might as well throw a couple hundo at Xenagos and see where it Xena…goes….from there? I probably won’t, but I should.

Real talk, there are only 139 listings on TCG Player right now, this goes in every Gishath deck plus it’s nutty in other decks plus it’s a decent commander in its own right. You can find these for like $7 online. Why isn’t this more money? Because the demand is organic and that doesn’t set off any alarms. You’re flirting with some (moderate) reprint risk (reprinting Iroas in a Commander set spooked people) but you’re also looking at some real upside. This is the second best Theros era God and it can break the $10 mark easily and from there, they sky’s the limit.

Selvala’s Stampede

This card isn’t Expropriate, but it’s a beating. With Conspiracy 2 being such a wildly unpopular set, it’s tough to get the packs moving. What’s driving sales? Leovold, a card banned in EDH? Packs that contain cards that can only be used in drafts? People drafting it? With boxes selling on eBay for basically dealer cost, Conspiracy 2 cards are on the way up. Unless they’re reprinted, something that’s doubtful in the case of a lot of the cards, demand is going to begin soaking supply. Selvala’s Stampede has a lot going for it and it’s particularly good in the Gishath deck. Some Legacy demand would sure be nice but since that’s not going to happen, we’re going to have to rely on scarcity, which is fine because scarcity is giving Conspiracy 2 cards all it’s got. 6 mana is super doable in EDH, it’s especially doable in a dino deck with a high mana curve that requires a ton of ramp and it’s asymmetrical. At $2 this card is pretty bananas, and with Leovold not as in-demand, expect the value from the set to go somewhere if the boxes are to maintain even dealer cost.

Congregation at Dawn

The second spikes are always the tastiest and while demand petered out after the first brush with greatness, new demand is coming for this card. Gishath is a “the top of your library matters” card and this stacks the deck for you, making sure you hit what you need. Triple Worldly Tutor seems pretty good to me for under a buck and we’ve seen this flirt with $5 absent organic demand. With more copies likely concentrated in the hands of the dealers and unable to mitigate a second spike, this card could climb to around $3-$5 and stay there. It’s a gamble so I think your best bet is to do what I do and buy collections and yank these out of “bulk” all the time. Foils are already $5 and those are even less reprintable and as lazy as that is intellectually, it’s a safer place to park money. Do I think enough people are going to foil their dinosaur deck that this is going to make more than one person money? Not really. Foils are great for someone to think of it and make some money selling the few copies they’re going to sell on TCG Player but they’re not great calls to give advice to thousands of readers. Maybe you can all fight each other for the few  copies left on TCG Player. You can count on reddit to make a “ZOMG BYEOUT!!!1” post when the stock gets low, you can count on a few lunatics to buy a foil card that’s useful in EDH (somewhat) and you can count on me taking credit for nailing another spec weeks early in my oddly prescient article series that no one reads.

1509 total decks is nothing to sneeze at. I thought maybe Dinosaurs might be a better deck than most to try and foil out since a lot of the dinosaurs are dirt cheap even in foil, but then you’re trifling with foil Urza’s Incubator, Mirari’s Wake, Cavern of Souls, etc and you’re stuck with a lot of cards from Commander 2017 that can’t be foil but you really want to be. In general, I don’t think people want foils of bad cards as much as people who sell one or two copies of that card a year claim.

Tribal Stuff

Herald’s Horn keeps going up and Path of Ancestry doesn’t. I’m not sure what to make of that. Horn presold for like $2 and is now like $6, Path presold for $3 and is now like $3. Sure, Path is in twice as many precon decks, but you want to know something interesting?

It’s twice as popular. I’m not saying those two effects should cancel each other out, and with Horn being buried in the terrible cat deck, supply isn’t quite at a 2:1 ratio in the world. Both cards are good but the price only moving on one of them is a little puzzling. Horn isn’t 3 times as good as Path and Path’s price isn’t commensurate with its popularity. All I know is that both cards are great and the fact that there is pent-up demand for them for tribal decks that aren’t being built from the precon means there will always be net demand. Who’s opening a precon, building a deck out of it and cutting either or both of these? In the case of Horn, you’re maybe building a Mirri or (the cat blacksmith, not interested in taking the time to look up his stupid cat name this close to the end of the article) deck and maybe you don’t need Horn, but I bet you don’t cut Path. These cards are going to be good forever and they’re awkward to reprint unless the Commander set has a tribal theme (even just within the one deck, doesn’t have to be set-wide).

Next week I’m not sure what I’ll have to talk about, but hopefully more people build Tishana and it will be interesting. I’d love to force my agenda on this conversation but we really have to go where the money is and this week there were 3 times as many Gishath decks. Next week, a lot could change. Until next time!

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