Category Archives: ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: Dino-Might

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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.

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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.

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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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Unlocked Pro Trader: Obviously Bad is Still Obvious

I don’t know what “Shotgun bullets” are but this came up when I googled “Obviously Bad”

I’ve been really overthinking things, I think.

When I assess new cards and their impact on the format, there are a lot of factors I take into consideration.

  1. How many decks currently run cards like this?
  2. Does this create a new archetype?
  3. Does this prop up an existing archetype?
  4. If it creates a new archetype, how much do we expect that to get played?
  5. If it supports an existing archetype, do we expect the new support to make more people play the existing archetype?
  6. If so, how much? Do we expect it to see enough new play to expose the cards played in that deck to upside?
  7. Is there enough demand in the format to expose in-print, non-mythics to upside?
  8. Could this get played in multiple different commanders’ decks and would the combined influence be enough to push the prices up?

There is a lot of thought that goes into each and every pick. Sometimes I’m wrong because a lot of factors have to come together for a pick to pan out.  If we misjudge demand, misjudge how a deck will get built (Remember all of those Clerics we bought when Ayli was spoiled? People say they want a Cleric lord, but when they get one, they leave us all high and dry. Never again!) or misjudge how much room we have in an existing deck for new cards, we can end up losing out. But we’re taking risks when we speculate on Magic cards, right? This is supposed to be hard and if it were easy to hit on 100% of our specs, everyone would be doing it!

It’s Not 2014 Anymore

The sad truth is that really, you CAN hit on 100% of your specs these days. If someone says the name of a card on their YouTube video, there’s a run on it. The card disappears. It seems to matter less to people whether a card is good or not because you’re not always necessarily selling to players, you’re selling into a feeding frenzy that starts when someone realizes “Oh man, you know what would go great in a kitty cat deck? White Sun’s Zenith! I mean, I assume, I haven’t actually seen any cards from the cat deck so I don’t know if there are any cards that grant a power and toughness bonus to cats (there is exactly 1, it’s a reprint and it costs 7 mana)” and ends when you sell all of the White Sun’s Zeniths I told you not to buy and call me an idiot on Twitter.

There are 4 foil copies of White Sun’s Zenith left on TCG Player, so obviously someone made some money. Even if they aren’t selling at $12 (they aren’t) there are few enough that whoever wants a foil copy basically has to pay $12 (unless they buy the SP copy from Star City for $3.50). What choice do they have? TCG Player is the site that determines the price of a card, and when all 3 copies under $50 sell, what other choice do we have for determining what the new price is? I’m not even really sure who I’m upset at here, because I bet some doofus pays $12 for Cape Fear’s LP copy before someone buys SCG’s copy for $3.50.  You want to know what else is great?

Zenith got reprinted because of course it did and the people who gambled on it before the lists were announced with the “Well, it can’t go down from bulk, what do I have to lose?” attitude I had in 2010 when I was terrible at this are holding the bag right now (they’re holding something else, really, but I’m trying to maintain a modicum of decorum right now). 1st level thinking is “I bet kitty cat card is good with kitty cats!” and 1st level thinking leaves you with cards you can’t move for $0.34. Second level thinking tells you “I bet kitty cat card is good in kitty cat deck AND foils can’t be reprinted, and if you bought foils, I’m sure you think I’m an idiot for calling you intellectually lazy because is it lazy two play 2 dimensional chess and buy foils that can’t get blown out by a reprint? IS IT?

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m getting worn out. I’m telling people not to buy bad cards and I’m putting a ton of work into figuring out whether a card is actually bad. Despite being in the cat deck, White Sun’s Zenith doesn’t really play well with the rest of the deck, except for Mirri, and the deck as is doesn’t really give you any bonuses to cats. You have to do a complete overhaul to make White Sun’s Zenith worth it, which is fine. Oh, also, you have to be a complete lunatic to buy a kitty cat precon and then build it a token build that isn’t supported by like 95 cards in the precon you bought and also start foiling it out. Do people buy EDH foils? Sure, obviously, or the foil multiplier would be like 1x but if you want to buy and sell more than like 4 copies of a card, you need to have enough demand to take those copies off of your hands and you can’t rely on a lot of doofuses to come along and buy you out at $8 so they can try and list them at $12 (at least historically, you couldn’t, I’m not so sure that’s not a legit tactic anymore). So either you buy 4 foil White Sun’s Zenith for like a buck each and then turn around and sell them for $6 later and you make $14 after fees, or you weren’t really right. I know it’s not easy to nail a spec. I only buy in deeply if I have a very, very good feeling about a spec (I’m talking Dictate of Erebos at $0.50 good feeling) and I buy in deep enough that I don’t waste it if I was right. If I had $14 for every time I nailed a spec, I’d have to start speccing on Yu Gi Oh, too or I wouldn’t be able to make my car payment every month. So all of that made me call people who bought mediocre cards with high reprint risk in foil to eliminate the reprint risk “lazy” because I don’t think you’re telling anyone anything useful if you’re advocating making $14. After all, I’m the tortured genius over here playing 3D chess. You know why I don’t care about that anymore? There’s no money in 3D chess.

Buy Everything

It barely matters at this point. There are so many greater fools ready to snatch up your cards, and so many people ready to build EDH decks that even if a combo is bad and only 2% of players will be bad enough to include it, that’s still thousands of people, way more than enough to soak up the supply.

Remember when I said bad interactions wouldn’t matter so don’t buy terrible cards part of terrible combos?

Here’s the TCG data for Bounty Hunter, a card that combines with the worst commander (Mathas) from the worst deck (the Vampires deck) to form a two card combination that could best be described as “the tap ability on Avatar of Woe.” Is that combo good? Of course not. Am I wrong for telling people not to buy Bounty Hunter because it was part of a terrible combo and it wouldn’t matter since no one wants to play bad cards part of bad combos? I guess so!

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You know what caption goes here

So I’m not going to tell you not to buy bad cards from bad combos. The price goes up because there are enough actors in the market now that everything that gets breathed on will go up. You probably won’t have any trouble selling foil Turntimber Rangers in a week to the thousands of people lined up to build Turntimber combo in EDH and Modern because everyone knows EDH players love to foil their decks out. Buy as many foil Ranger as you can, you know why?

I straight jacked this image from /u/magictheblathering on reddit. Do I owe him money or something?

Wow, infinite wolves. Is it good? I don’t know! Who cares? I said Wanderwine Prophets was a bad combo, or at least it wasn’t any better than Sage of Hours plus Ezuri and people lined up 5 deep to tell me I was wrong. No one who isn’t holding onto a bunch of bad cards from a bad combo is ever going to thank me for steering them away from danger, so why pee on people’s parades? If I’m right, no one cares and if I’m wrong, everyone brings it up two years later in an unrelated debate. Even though Conspiracy and Xenograft have been around for literal years and no one ever built this combo with those cards, I have a good feeling about this combo’s ability to make Turntimber Ranger’s price go through the roof, because Magic players weren’t playing 2D chess in 2011 and didn’t know a good thing when they saw Xenograft get printed (In the same Standard format as Turntimber Ranger) but they’re way smarter now. Buy the foily Rangers.

I Mean, Or Don’t

This brings us to the main topic of discussion this week, how to handle the stuff that’s inevitably going to be affected by the Planeswalkers becoming Legendary permanents. I’ve been a real pessimist since the start of Commander 2017 spoiler season.

Months ago, a bunch of Ixalan cards leaked and people have been speculating that the Planeswalker rules change would be retroactive to older Planeswalkers and months ago speculators bought cards like Captain Sisay and Empress Galina. This happened months ago. We were in Vegas for the GP when this happened. You’ll have to pardon my surprise when all of those cards came into focus again and players started talking about all of this like it was new, and the cards all went up again, based on the exact same information.

I’ve seen cards go up again based on the same thing happening again, but I’m not used to seeing it happen again based on the same information months later. I was taken aback. Naturally the internet exploded with people talking about this stuff like it was new.

K.

Captain Sisay is already at the helm of her own deck that people have been playing for like a decade in EDH and now players are already talking about slotting her into Atraxa. Doesn’t this make you want to build Sisay? Before you could grab Gaea’s Cradle or Genesis with Sisay’s ability, but now you can grab AJANI, MENTOR OF HEROES. I mean, if I’m actually being fair, you can grab Karn which is non-trivial, especially if you can use Cradle to play it right away, but for the most part, Sisay just got access to a bunch of bad planeswalkers and 4 good ones and Sisay is likely relegated to the 99 of Atraxa rather than her own deck which gained limited upside. But I’m not making judgments about whether things are good anymore, so here are some cards that everyone else thinks are good and therefore are going to sell out and if I say they’re bad cards that won’t get played in bad decks, I’ll be proven wrong, doubly so if I don’t think the foils are a good place to stash money. It’s perfectly reasonable for a person with a $4,000 foil Atraxa deck to play Yomiji, Who Bars the Way because EDH players don’t care about playing the best cards in their decks, only the most expensive versions.

Is this card getting played in Sisay and Atraxa decks? I really tend to doubt it, but it scarcely matters because all of the $5 foils are gone 24 hours after the announcement (which came months after people already knew this information but didn’t really act on it).

Saffron Olive called this card a “Sol Ring for Planeswalkers” on Twitter today, 24 hours after I called it “A situational Temple of the False God,” Jim Casale called it “Worse than the Ancient Tomb I’m already not playing” and I did a Twitter poll where 2/3 of respondants said they wouldn’t play this in anything other than Reki, the History of Kamigawa because why would you want a land that sometimes lets you pay 2 life for 2 colorless but can’t tap for 1 colorless in a 4 color Atraxa deck? I screwed up. While I was too busy wasting a whole day figuring out that this card was bad and even the Reki players in my EDHREC Slack group wouldn’t play this card, everyone was scooping these for a buck and listing them for $12 on eBay. If you listened to me, you missed out on the chance to make money on just a real piece of dog$%&* of a bulk rare that people who don’t play any EDH are excited about. It’s a Sol Ring for Planeswalkers, guys. I steered you wrong.

Is there anything that hasn’t popped that could go up, still? Probably.

Thalia’s Lancers

The promo foil of this hurts the foil’s upside, slightly, but you can now use this to tutor for Planeswalkers, something you couldn’t do before. I liked this card when it couldn’t do that so I can’t pretend I don’t like it now just because the non-foil has a 0% chance of going up.

Myojin of Cleansing Fire

If people build more Sisay decks like they swear they’re going to, this is a shoo-in inclusion in those decks. It’s not a Planeswalker which means being able to use Sisay to get this isn’t new, but couple the new Sisay decks that are going to be built with the face that there is a card called Kindred Boon that can put Divinity counters on permanents and you have two chances for this card to go up. I’m not saying this card is good, I’m saying it’s like a $6 foil right now and it probably goes up if I tell you not to buy it.

Myojin of Life’s Web

Ditto on foils of this card, which were already on their way up. $13ish is a high buy-in price but this had upside before and has even more now if people build Sisay.

Every Pirate

With the spoiling of a new Grixis Pirate Lord, every Ramirez DiPetro and Skeleton Ship deck gets access to red cards, something I’m not sure it wants or needs but is getting. Every pirate card is popping off right now, so if there is a card with the creature type pirate, but it. Kukemasa Pirates, Rishadan Brigand, Mistform Ultimus – buy them.

 

I honestly need your feedback. Do you want me to keep trying to figure out of cards or combos are bad? Do you want me to do what I had been doing for years and being cautious and waiting to see if something had legs before advocating it? Or do you want me to be fast so you can buy the obvious specs everyone else is going to buy before they’re all gone? Maybe you don’t need help with obvious, but it’s clear I’m not doing anyone any favors by spending all day determining a card is bad and won’t get played only for it to sell out anyway. Tell me what you want from me and from this series in the comments section.

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First Spikes Count

Hello again,

We talk sometimes about second spikes on cards. I’m going to pretend that both you didn’t know that sometimes we talk about that and also that you don’t know what that means. When a card’s price is at a certain level and it jumps up rapidly, due to a large amount of the supply being bought out and retailers restocking the card at a much higher price, it’s said to “spike” and I can’t believe I feel like I have to explain this, like who even doesn’t know what that means? Let’s get through this. We mention “second spikes” when we talk about a card that has spiked once due to some circumstance and then, later after the price recovers a little, spikes again to different or sometimes even the same circumstances.

The first spike causes the price to go up which means dealers need to restock which usually means buy prices go up and finance people start feeding the dealers copies. Stores that have mispriced copies either change the price or they get bought at the old price, meaning the cheap, mispriced copies disappear forever and the new price is the new price, mostly. That means when a card spikes a second time, most of the copies are concentrated in the hands of dealers so without cheap copies to mitigate the new demand and dealers free to establish the new price, prices spike much higher and faster the second time. You probably knew all of that but since I want to talk about first and second spikes, it didn’t kill us to go back over it.

We’re seeing a lot of second spikes lately on cards that were spiked by Nekusar and Leovold because of The Locust God. I avoided writing about The Locust God initially because it felt like all we were going to see were second spikes on wheel cards. While that’s true to an extent, the Locust God is distinct from Nekusar in Leovold in a way that’s obvious in hindsight but wasn’t a factor I considered initially when I was evaluating it as a commander. That difference could cause some “first spikes” nestled among the second spikes and let you buy in at the ground floor on some important cards in a deck people seem excited about.  What are we in danger of missing by focusing on the sexier, second spike cards that are more obvious?

How Are The Locust God and Nekusar Similar?

They’s is both the Magic cards.

Welp, I think we’re done, now. See ya!

You need more analysis than that? Fine. OK, since they both scale off of the number of cards a person draws, wheel effects seemed appealing right off the bat. By “off the bat” I mean, “it took like months for that stuff to go because all anyone cared about doing with Mind Seize was busting it for the Strix and Nemesis, not building Nekusar” but eventually, pieces of human excrement (this is an opinion piece) started building the deck and cackling like a Lich King whenever someone played a spell and got domed by Forced Fruition.  Playing a Windfall to make everyone pitch a bunch of cards then get domed when your full hand made them draw a dozen cards added to their feeling of helplessness. It’s not much fun to play against and they get enough cards that they can build their web of hate.

 

Similarly, The Locust God loves wheel effects. You dump a hand and draw all new cards and suddenly the table is dumping the cards they tutored for and getting mystery cards and you have an army of Locusts. Wheels help you keep an army of critters ready to alpha strike and keep your irrelevant cards out of your hand while letting you cycle for new stuff.

How Are They Dissimilar?

Well, while Nekusar players casting wheel effects domes your opponents for a lot of damage when they draw cards, it doesn’t help you per se. Sure, if you sock away a lot of land in your hand and wheel it away, that’s good but if you cast a wheel with an empty hand it would have the same effect on your end game because you’re trying to hit them for damage. You can play spells like Forced Fruition because you’re trying to put them between a rock and a hard place and grind them out with Howling Mine effects and wheels.

The Locust God players don’t want the opponent to wheel. Sometimes it screws them, but sometimes it helps them. Nekusar doesn’t care how many cards they draw that are good because ultimately they won’t live long enough to use it and they will likely just get wheeled again. Half the time, Locust God players would prefer only they got to wheel. That’s an interesting proposition when you realize that while generic wheels have been good from Nekusar to Leovold to The Locust God, wanting “personal” wheels all of a sudden turns on cards that weren’t used before. You could chase the Portal Winds of Change to $50 or you could get on the bandwagon of first spikes at the ground level. What are some cards that The Locust God will uniquely make go up that weren’t good in Nekusar decks?

Mindmoil

This is a card designed for you in a Locust God deck. You don’t lose cards, you just bottom them meaning you could conceivably loop back around. You can also have easier (theoretical) access to them if you shuffle. Really, though, this is just about turnover. Keep on cycling hands and watch those Locusts fill the board. Find your skullclamp and your Mana Echoes, kill them with Impact Tremors. Boom.

Foil Moil doesn’t look too bad, either, below $5. Ravnica is pretty old and there are probably fewer copies of Mindmoil than there are of Mythics from Innistrad so once supply dries up, it’s likely to gallop out of control. I normally think saying “just buy the foils” is really lazy intellectually and it requires you to find people who want to foil out their Locust God deck rather than just spend that $20 on cards for another deck, but Foil Moil could his $20, at least temporarily. This is one to grab now while it’s still relatively cheap.

Arjun, the Shifting Flame

Mindmoilmancer is a pretty saucy commander in his own right. If you build around him, throw in a Locust God. If you build Locust God, throw in an Arjun. Commander 2015 stuff is never going to get cheaper unless it’s reprinted and while the Mizzix deck wasn’t super exciting, the value needs to come from somewhere. These are bought up, as evidenced by seeing Daxos decks still on shelves to this day, and it’s likely Arjun was underrated until now. This is a mythic-level card from an out-of-print set and it’s like a buck. You’d have to suck bad to not make money on this card. This is in 3/4 of the decks registered on EDHREC so it’s clear EDH players are aware of this card. With Locust God continuing to be opened and with people just now taking their completed Locust God decks to the shop to trounce people, there is upside here.

Tolarian Winds

Could be too late on the foils as they are selling out (I mentioned this on BSB last week and multiple listeners have sent me pics of the 7th foil Winds they bought) but there is hope, I think, for Beatdown Box copies. It may sound odd at first, but if you look at Portent, the Ice Age copies moved less than the Ice Age precon deck copies. If you remember, when Coldsnap came out, they made Ice Age block precons with Ice and Age Alliances cards in them and Portent got a reprint.

The Beatdown Box version could have similar upside. Tolarian Winds has a few too many printings to really move from one deck (that’s why we like Mindmoil but not Jace’s Archivist, for example) but foils are already irrevocably spiked and other premium versions could be next.

Magus of the Wheel

This is close to popping off as well. It’s got the exact same supply as Arjun but appeals to Nekusar players, also, as well as Feldon, Yidris and Vial Smasher players.  This was a card we liked as a Nekusar card but just needed a push, and a push it got with The Locust God decks.

Impact Tremors

When you see something like this discrepancy, it means a card is moving.

The Market Price is good for showing you what things used to sell for, which is great when prices are pretty stagnant. People sold foil Impact Tremors for $3.50 +/- last week? List yours for $3.50 +/-. That is, unless you check the currently listed Median and it’s double the Market Price. When do you see that? Why it’s when something sold steadily at a price then got restocked higher. It means the price moved. Look at what things used to sell for but also look at the listed Median. It may be the same but it may not. In this case, it looks like Foil Impact Tremors is about to double in price, so get those copies under $6 while you still can. It’s a win condition, it’s a foil from a bad set and it doesn’t need a third thing.

Check out the EDHREC page for The Locust God for yourself if you think there are cards I didn’t mention (there are) that might get there (they might). Foil Forgotten Creation? Enter the Infinite (finally, right?)? You decide. I gave you a few tasty fish here to sample, but if you think you’ve learned to fish on your own, give it a try. As always, the comments section is reserved for the Guatemalan company that tries to sell us cheap NFL jerseys no matter how many thousands of Spam posts our filter catches and also for people telling me I’m wrong and/or telling me I wrote a great article. Sometimes it’s both. As long as it’s not neither, we’re in good shape.  Let’s see if we have some C17 to talk about next time. Until then!

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7 Thoughts About Hour of Devastation in EDH

Hey, readers,

The Hour of Devastation is almost upon us and that means we get to wait around forever for EDH prices to move. The stuff that was going to move immediately already has – Solemnity was a massive earthquake that ripped through a swath of old Magic cards and made them suddenly valuable. Everything else could take a minute to move, which is probably a good thing because it gives us time to scoop cards up. Unlike previous sets, we’re not going to have to wait for card prices to plummet on our long-term holds because unlike with previous sets, this set isn’t worth jack and/or shit. Is redemption going to enforce a higher box price, forcing singles to take the hit? Are Masterpieces going to keep box prices low? Is this set just another Dragon’s Maze without the benefit of a Voice of Resurgence to keep the boxes at all worth buying? I don’t know how things will shake up, but what I do know is that it’s never been easier to buy our EDH cards right out of the gate. Let’s take a look at some thoughts I have had about this set and where it fits into EDH.

 

1)Solemnity isn’t done

Solemnity came along and made a bunch of prices go nuts. Lucky for you, I managed to predict a lot of them and if you read the article the same day it came out, you had a decent shot at getting some of the cards before they sold out and people started to cancel orders. Lucky for us, Solemnity interacts with a TON of cards and not all of them were mentioned or even all that obvious up front and there is still a chance to get in on a few of them.

Odyssey: Delaying Shield

Delaying Shield is like $0.70 currently and you straight don’t take damage with Shield and Solemnity out. This isn’t all that good without Solemity but it’s not all that bad, either. If you don’t draw your Solemnity, this is a card that lets you take damage as normal but also opt out of some of it if you choose to untap your mana and prevent some of it. Not only that, this prevents you from dying when everyone else dies so a lethal earthquake that would kill the table suddenly makes you the winner. Zedruu decks were running this already to take a ton of damage then donate the shield to let opponents deal with the consequences. This is fun in EDH, it’s cheap, it’s old so therefore scarce and it’s unfair with the most exciting card in the new set.

Solemnity decks are starting to shape up on EDHREC so take a look at the cards other people are running with it. While there’s not a ton populated yet, there’s stuff to learn. Zur is most likely the deck that benefits from this card. What other cards do Zur decks run? I don’t know, click on Zur and find out. EDHREC is still the best resource I have found for predicting price increases predicated on a card making another card better. And, before anyone accuses me of shilling super hard for EDHREC because I am employed by EDHREC, let me just say that it’s the other way around – I’m employed by EDHREC because of how hard I shilled for them before they even started paying me. If there were a better resource for what we do in this column, I’d use it. There isn’t. Go get the free money.

2)The Planeswalker decks are loaded

The set appears to be dumpster lasagna from a financial standpoint. The Masterpieces are hot and the set looks like it’s really balanced in terms of Limited (I have a feeling I’m going to take Deserts really hard in draft and ride that synergy wave) but that doesn’t really do much for the prices. Pre-sale data on TCGPlayer is super depressing.

Of the 14 cards pre-selling above $3, 3 of them (Nicol Bolas the Deceiver, Nissa, Genesis Mage and Visage of Bolas) are in the Planeswalker packs. Combined, the 3 cards total $21 in pre-sale value. The Planeswalker decks are available for $23 combined from Miniature Market.  I’m not advocating buying at that price, but what I am saying is that there are 3 cards that people really like (or liked a few days to weeks ago when the Market Price was established – I bet those cards are cheaper now) and they don’t care that they’re not in boosters, they just want them to jam with. You think anyone is jamming an 8 mana Planeswalker in Standard? No chance. How about a bad mana rock that tutors for an 8 mana walker? No, this is casuals and EDH players establishing those pre-sale prices on those cards and making the rest of those planeswalker packs (each of which includes an Hour of Devastation booster pack) essentially free. People like Planeswalkers and this set has a lot of Planeswalkers and they aren’t all in boosters.

3)Obvious cards are too cheap

Mill is always a buy. Good mill even more-so. EDH players benefit from mill the least out of everyone (or so you’d think, but look at Phenax decks) but mill cards are always good financial decisions. This set has, basically, Mill Reflection and it’s like 30 cents.

Hour of Devastation: Fraying Sanity

This card is really good for taking out one player. Even if you play this in EDH, this makes it really easy to kill one person quickly so you can use your Traumatize on everyone else. Alternatively, curse yourself and fill your graveyard with cards to use to kill them. This is already a bulk rare and this will not be a bulk rare long-term. This is a sicko mill card and it’s very, very obvious as a pickup but people don’t seem to want to worry about that until much later. If you end up with someone who trades at TCG Player value, out a terrible card like Nimble Obstructionist for 10 copies of this and you’ll be very happy in a year or two. Is it still the dreaded “value trading!(cue Wilhelm scream)” if you’re doing it based on the values from two years from now? There are plenty of other obvious cards that are bulk already and which you should be targeting.

Hour of Devastation: Hour of Promise

This one comes to mind, for example. Bulk is too cheap for this forever.

4)Gods could be too cheap

I have seen a lot of people excited about The Locust God and wheel effects. You may remember wheel effects from going up in price when Nekusar was spoiled and again when Leovold was spoiled. How many times am I going to be able to make money from Teferi’s Puzzle Box? Skullclamp, Windfall, Arjun, etc.

Image result for you got a stew baby

The Locust God is $6. Now I realize that in order to go up, this card will need to impact Standard, right? As much as it’s cool to Skullclamp your Locusts, or win with Purphoros, Skullclamp and Ashnod’s Altar (a pretty easy combo to assemble once you get Skullclamp going) we don’t have access to that in Standard. But do the guys truly need to be that good in Standard to maintain their current price? I only ask because this set seems like hot garbage, there are no cards over $20 and booster boxes are like $100 retail. If people stay away from the set because it’s hot garbage, scarcity will keep prices artificially medium. If they get high enough, it makes sense to buy boxes again and people will. But if people aren’t compelled by anything in the set, the value has to be somewhere and why not the Gods? $6 is already pretty reasonable and they could at the very least maintain some of their value if nothing else from the set jumps. I’m not saying invest, but I’m going to pay $6 for a copy of The Locust God now, build that hilarious deck and laugh at people and I doubt I’m going to look at the price of the God in 3 months and think I took a bath.

5)Read what EDH players are building

I was focused a lot on Solemnity shenanigans and brewing decks with lots of Gods in them for my Gathering Magic article so I didn’t really take a look at what people are doing with the rest of the set. Think about which cards will go into existing decks. Is there a card that’s going to go in Atraxa? There is?! Well that’s worth knowing.

Hour of Devastation: Djeru, With Eyes Open

I also recommend using EDHREC for a sort of reverse-engineering. Instead of typing in a God and seeing how to build it based on suggestions from the other decks in the database, start with a single card and see which generals want it. The cards in those decks are more and more attractive the better that commander is.

Hour of Devastation: Swarm Intelligence

Swarm Intelligence is a new card and I think it has potential, but I don’t know where. What do other people think?

There isn’t much consensus, yet, but I didn’t think about Narset when I first read Swarm Intelligence, but it makes a lot of sense. And since The Locust God seems to be coming up a lot, it doesn’t hurt to see which cards are going in that deck because while some people may scrap their Nekusar deck for cards to put in the deck, some won’t and that means they’ll need to buy cards they already have. A lot of cards in the Locust God deck are creeping up lately and it pays to check that. Without looking, how much is Chasm Skulker worth, knowing it was first in M15 and was just reprinted in Commander 2016? Bet you were off. Bet you’re glad you looked because if you’re like me, you have a bunch of them shits in a box somewhere.

6)Bad Standard sets can be good for EDH

Not always, though. Let’s look at every card in Dragon’s Maze worth above $1.

Gross. Mirko Vosk is under $1. Where is this pressure on prices coming from? It’s not like boxes are flooding the market. Still, even this is less bleak than it looks at first. Voice and Progenitor Mimic are low due to reprinting. Deadbridge Chant is a solid EDH card, as is Savageborn Hydra. With strong, powerful Standard cards like Varolz and Aetherling worth diddly, it seems like EDH is the only thing making these cards worth anything. This is the worst case scenario for Hour of Devastation – no good cards and therefore no value no matter what set redemption has to say about it. Let’s look at a set that’s closer to Hour of Devastation in terms of being disappointing for Standard but giving us lots of EDH cards.

M15 is much closer, if you ask me. We had a lot of cards that were good in Standard like Hornet Queen and painlands fall off a bit and EDH cards came in and picked up the slack. Chasm Skulker is between $2.50 and $3.50 after a reprint and was a bulk rare when the set was Standard legal. I think Hour of Devastation will force the EDH cards to take up value in the coming years, which is perfect because I think there are cards like Neheb that are up to the challenge. They’ll be overlooked for a minute, but not forever.

7)Look for more Solemnities

Anything that is a good card could be worth some money and if it gets better as people discover how to use it properly, it could be worth even more money. That’s base tier. The we have cards that are good in one deck the way Abandoned Sarcophagus will be good in a cycling deck, and that deck’s increased popularity could drive up some of the prices of the other cards in the deck. That’s mid tier stuff. The truly worthwhile cards are ones that bring up multiple different decks, interact in a stupid way with a lot of other cards and in general are going to go ham with lots of prices. That’s Solemnity. Could we have missed another Solemnity in the set? It’s possible. If there are cards in the set that I think could be potential top tier finance cards, they’re these.

Hour of Devastation: Razaketh, the Foulblooded

This not only could be the commander of his own deck, I think he goes in Athreos and Shirei-based Shadowborn Apostle decks and probably Kaalia decks. Are a bunch of people building Kaalia lately? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that Kaalia just became more affordable when it was jammed in the Commander Anthology set. Razaketh seems like it could make a bunch of other cards in other decks go up and I think it’s the closest thing we have to another Solemnity.

That’s all I have for you. 10 seconds before wrapping this up, I saw

so I bet you know what we’re going to talk about next week. Until then!

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