Commander 2016 is being spoiled and this is going to be a very tough one to assess.
For reference, here is everything from Commander 2015 that ended up being worth more than $3 a year later. This can help us at least see which classes of cards are bound to go up, but this set is way trickier and I’ll get to why in a minute.
The value is fairly well spread out over all of the decks to such an extent that the most valuable card in the set is only $9. There was no obvious deck to buy, really. I mean, Meren’s deck had a lot of good cards but the value didn’t end up concentrated in that deck so while Meren is easily the most popular commander to play with, the value is spread out nicely, with the Mizzix deck getting Mystic Confluence, the Kalemne deck getting Blade of Selves and Urza’s Incubator, the Ezuri deck getting Command Beacon and the Daxos deck getting Black Market and Karlov. Perfect; just how we want it.
Once we start spoiling cards you will see how weak the commanders are but how in combination with the others we can build good decks. Good decks means even weak commanders can see Meren’s $6 price tag, but with 45 combinations to choose from, it will take a while before the best combinations are discovered. Hopefully the value ends up other places. Let’s look at cards, shall we?
I predict in a year or two, this will be worth more than some of the rares in the set. You’re going to dome everyone for like 10 with this a lot of the time.
I waited a few hours for SCG to update their prices and they still haven’t, so I guess we’re stuck with eBay. eBay’s not a bad metric to look at, anyway. Not that it matters, but eBay wants $2 for a playset of these. Don’t pay that.
This is pretty good. If you’re playing this for 4 mana, it’s a beating. It doesn’t exile itself, either, meaning you can loop this and really pull pants down. But what do I know? I advocate playing Hex in EDH. This, unlike Hex, won’t get stranded in your hand for lack of targets and you’re never paying its full mana cost. I like this card a lot. This can target any targetable creature, also, unlike spells like Go For The Throat which I see played a lot in EDH. 2 mana kill spells are less good in a format where you have 40 life and everyone spends the first few turns playing ramp spells and tutors. This is like $1 and I think that may wind up being too cheap in a year, but again, that all depends on the makeup of the deck it’s in.
This seems strong. It’s a better Battle Mastery because you don’t get blown out by removal, you can play it whenever and pick the target later, and this is good in decks other than just Voltron decks. Is this going to be worth more than the $2 this is on eBay right now? That’s hard to predict. I like this card but I think it may be a bit narrow. The bar for being worth $3 or more is pretty high on these sets as evidenced by our C15 data.
Will Benefactor’s Draught ever be Money Draught? Green has plenty of cards that draw you a ton of cards and this feels clunkier than they are. You’re relying on being ahead enough to force them to do a lot of blocking or on your opponents to attack the bejesus out of each other. Thing is, at least one of those things is bound to happen. Even if you only attack with two creatures and they get blocked, you played a Green Ancestral. Anything that can draw you this many cards is suspicious, untapping all of your creatures and drawing a card even in non-combat scenarios makes this even more suspicious. This is pre-selling for $1 and I am the kind of lunatic who would buy some at that price. This is a card with potential, something you can’t say about better cards in the set that are obviously better and are therefore pre-selling for higher.
This is a pretty bad Neck Snap. White doesn’t always get the best removal, except when it does, I guess. I mean, it doesn’t always get the best removal but they can’t take Path to Exile away from us. We don’t, however, have to play non-targeted removal that is pretty terrible if they have creatures of varying size. You get some dorks out of it and can leverage this into killing 2 attacks, but you can also trade a 1/1 token of theirs for one of your own with this, also. It’s too inconsistent and is likely a bulk rare.
I don’t trust cards like this. Sure, you’re going to draw a lot of cards, but never what you want to draw. I suspect that even the worst x cards in your top ten may be better than we’re anticipating on paper, especially if your deck is land-rich. I don’t know if this will ever be worth more than $1.
Sidenote: When I checked this price, I noticed Deepglow Skate is $3 today. I liked it at $2 yesterday and I don’t like it that much less at $3 today because that at least indicates some people are off the fence. Are you off the fence, now?
I like this card, a lot. That said, this is probably priced correctly at $1. Take a second look at the list of cards in Commander 2015 that are over $3. If you buy in at $1, you want it to hit at least 3, and this card is outclassed by everything that’s $3 in C15. That said, it’s a low-risk buy-in. Just know there are only a few opportunities per set and this is not among them.
Do EDH players want cards like this? I kind of hate this card. I think some decks that want to watch the world burn, need a reset and can’t afford Oblivion Stone and antisocial people will want this. $2 may be too high.
Thrasios, Triton Hero
Legendary Creature – Merfolk
4: Scry 1, then reveal the top card of your library. If it’s a land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped. Otherwise, draw a card.
I saw people online calling this a bad, expensive Coiling Oracle, which is profoundly missing two points. The first is that if Coiling Oracle could be your general, that would be pretty amazing. The second is that repeatable abilities are very good. Throw in Scry on top and this is going to come down early and help the strategy of whichever commander this is paired with execute its strategy. SCG doesn’t have a price up, but I imagine it’s a buck or two. I’m not a buyer at that price, but this is a better card than people think.
Artifact Creature – Construct
Whenever Armory Automaton enters the battlefield or attacks, attach to it any number of target equipments. (Control of Equipment doesn’t change.)
This is pretty saucy. You’re going to deprive a lot of people of a lot of equipment. Lightning Greaves are stripped off, suddenly leaving commanders with their pants down. They still get their triggers but if they have a lot of swords, just don’t attack with the automaton. People are chattering about this in Legacy to break open some of the equipment mirrors. That’s not the craziest thing I have ever heard, actually. Not that anyone has an opportunity to play Legacy these days. This is currently a $3 playset on eBay and I’m not personally buying in, but that’s a good price if you like this.
Seeds of Renewal
If you’re playing with the right number of players, this is better than Restock, which isn’t saying much because no one plays Restock. This is likely a bulk rare.
Remember when Blue was the Polymorph color? Technically this is also the riskiest removal spell in the history of Magic, also, so it’s got some flexibility to it. I think this is a bulk rare, also, but I think it may play out more interesting than I initially think. Still not a good buy at $1 IMO.
So Nekusar gets another wheel, this time a wheel that you can discard and still use? Good grief. The rich keep getting richer, don’t they? At least this can’t go in Leovold decks, too. I don’t know if this is worth $3, but being able to be whammed in Nekusar and its dragon status make that a pretty safe bet of where it will end up.
Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder
At least they gave him trample, I guess. Otherwise this card would make the least sense of all of the 4-color cards, and that group includes a creature with a passive ability for proliferate decks stapled to a 4/4 angel with 10 combat abilities. This seems goofy – having to deal them damage to be able to use his ability. Why make a worse Maelstrom Wanderer that’s arguably harder to cast? I don’t know, I am pretty disappointed, but this likely turns out an OK commander and with the addition of black, you’ll be cascading into better removal. At $6, SCG is pretty confident this will be the most popular card so far. I don’t see much money to be made at this price, especially with how much more popular Atraxa seems to be. Let’s hope I am not letting how stupid the design of this card is blind me to the power level.
Magus of the Will
Would you believe Yawgmoth’s Will is legal in EDH? Now we have a clunkier version of it. This will probably see less play than Yawgmoth’s Will, a card played a fair amount in a fair number of decks, surprisingly. $10? I don’t know, man. It’s a $30 card’s effect stapled to a creature, but if that were a fair way to assess a card, Magus of the Tabernacle would be $300. I just don’t know if you will ever be happy you paid $10 for this.
Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper
I hate this card. I might play it in a Doran deck or something, but I don’t want this as my commander no matter what it’s partnered with. I’m sure I’m being unfair to this card, but it’s clunky, dealing combat damage is harder than R&D seems to think, and I think this card is pretty disappointing. I’m certainly not a fan of paying $4. Disagree in the comments if you want, but be sure and tell me how many copies you’re buying at $4.
Curse of Vengeance
This is probably in the Atraxa deck, which hurts its upside. Even if this effect does surprise a lot of people, being in that deck likely puts a lower-than-normal cap on its price. I think this card is cool, but depending on someone else losing could lead to the table not finishing them off just so you don’t draw a ton of cards. This is an interesting design and that doesn’t always mean good.
So this is pretty good, huh? Granting a scaling bonus of up to +5/+5 for 2 to cast and 2 to equip is solid, but not great by EDH standards. However, its second clause of turning the equipped creature into a walking City of Solitude is the money-maker. SCG hasn’t really listed anything for presale over $4 and this is no exception, but I think this may be pretty highly sought. Lots of decks want this effect, though I’m not sure how many can make room. If this were $1 like Blade of Selves were, I might be inclined to buy, but $4 may be just about right so I’m reluctant to invest. $4 is a pretty inconvenient price point because if it’s too low, there isn’t much money to be made even if you recognize that. That’s OK – this should trade well and it could have even more ubiquity than I am anticipating, so watch this card closely.
This looks like a bulk rare to me.
This card is a mistake. That said, it is probably narrow enough that its power level won’t become a problem and the fact that it needs other cards to make it truly broken should make it just a solid EDH card rather than a real issue. This is pre-selling for $2 and that seems low to me, actually. I don’t hate this as a spec at $2. This is ridiculous with Planeswalkers, hydras, Goblin Bomb, Darksteel Reactor – this card is stupid. You can flicker this with Deadeye Navigator and double all of the counters on all of your perms. WHAT? $2 can’t be correct.
Akiri, Rope Thrower
Legendary Creature – Kor Soldier Ally
First strike, vigilance
Akiri, Rope Thrower has +1/+0 for each artifact you control.
This is weird. I guess some sort of Kor equipment deck would work for this and this gives you access to red the way the Nahiri Planeswalker doesn’t, but if you want this over Jor Kadeen as your commander in that deck, it’s probably because you’re playing Tiny Leaders and why are you doing that? Stop doing that. SCG doesn’t have a price for this, but I bet it’s $1.
This card is really dumb with pingers, but pingers are usually pretty bad in EDH unless you throw a deathtouch equipment on them (at which point Goblin Sharpshooter becomes Goblin Mass Shooter). Honestly, there are dozens of ways to make them take damage every turn and if you’re keeping your hand full doing it, you’re going to have a good time. This doesn’t even NEED partner, but pairing this with black cards will be fun. Honestly, this pairs well with anything. UR players didn’t get their artifact commander, but this is so good they shouldn’t complain (but will). $2 is the price SCG wants, and I’m starting to wonder where they think the value will come from. If every new card is $2, the decks will be way above MSRP so they’re trying to hedge a bit. I don’t think this will be $8 in the future, either, so it’s hard to know what to do on this. Basically there is one card, maybe two every set worth preordering and I think it’s Deepglow Skate this time. Still, this card is very good.
Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis
If I’m not mistaken, these are the first gay Magic characters. They were depicted in Guardians of Meletis and now they’re getting their own card, which is bound to make nice people happy and terrible people unhappy, so that’s good all around. It really doesn’t hurt that the card is actually pretty decent. Guardians of Meletis’ flavor text also described these two as “peaceful” so it’s no surprise that their ability is not very aggressive. Drawing extra cards, dumping extra lands and making your opponents like you fits that nicely. This card is fine and I think it might be pretty fun to build around. I imagine this ends up in the $4-$5 range eventually, so paying the $3 SCG wants is risky. This could end up $8. Do you think it will? $3 isn’t the worst entry point, then. I’m pretty skeptical, though.
Another commander that is probably good enough to play even if he didn’t have partner. This card is pretty damn good, and being able to pair this with other colors is even better. Green for Doubling Season for our weenies and counters on said weenies? There are a lot of possibilities. I like this card a lot and SCG does, too because they’re preselling it for $4. I don’t know if this hits $8 ever but I do know it’s spicy. I just wish I knew which cards were in which decks so I could start to get a feel for how the value is spread out and which decks have more room to grow than others.
Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker
Hey, look! It’s my card! I was fortunate (good at my job) enough to preview this card for Gathering Magic and I hate having to review cards I preview. I used to see so many people super hyped about their preview card that they lost touch with reality. My desire to avoid that led to us on Brainstorm Brewery hedging a little and refusing to say that we actually thought Fevered Visions was Standard playable. I’m going to try and be objective and say that I think this will grow very quickly and if you can keep it alive, it will KO people quickly. Anyone who has ever grown a Taurean Mauler to 21/21 knows that. Is this great? Nah. But I like it, and if you have another commander, this is a fine card to give you access to Azorius stuff. SCG wants $2 and this might end up a $2 card so I’m not buying in. I was happy to preview this and I am OK with it if no one preorders it.
I can’t wait to pair this card with enchantments that double my tokens. Getting a copy of their triggers is pretty cool and getting two copies is even better. Having a sac outlet for the tokens before they can be killed is great, too. This is actually a really strong card. No price for this, yet, but I imagine this will be a buck or two. I think this could end up worth more than that. This is a very cool card. That said, Mycoloth is better and c15 reprints made that like $2.75. It’s hard to know what to make of this, but I like it.
Saskia the Unyielding
Well, this is a thing, I guess. Punishing someone at the table, possibly someone you can’t attack profitably through a pillowfort or doubling damage on someone you can easily swang at is pretty powerful. The logic here, I guess, is that 4 colors is tough to pull off so you should be rewarded with a brutal commander if you go that route and rewarded more if you do the BALLSIEST THING EVER and don’t play any blue in an EDH deck. AT $4 I don’t know if this has any upside. All of the 4-color commanders seem very strong so far and since the blueless deck isn’t likely to have no other value in it, it’s difficult to imagine a world where this hits $10 because nothing else in the deck is worth a damn. I don’t see profit or danger in pre-ordering this, but, buying singles to play with seems silly when the decks are worth MSRP and you can trade off what you don’t want.
Breya, Etherium Shaper
The non-green commander is pretty spicy, although I’m not all that excited to play a token engine in a deck with no access to Doubling Season and Parallel Lives. This is the same $4 as the other commanders and I don’t think that’s out of order. I’m a little unsure of how this one will play without the token abuse green gives us and I imagine people are going to be disappointed at how fair this card is.
Tymna the Weaver
This is very, very good. It’s a shoo-in for decks like Oloro and Ayli and Karlov, all of which happen to be insanely popular EDH generals right now. I think this might actually end up being a bargain at $2, depending on what else is in the deck along with it. This is very powerful, especially if you pair Tymna with a commander that is focused on dealing them damage. This is the first card that strikes me as being potentially underpriced.
Tana, the Bloodsower
This CAN be paired with Doubling Season and Parallel Lives and Primal Vigor and that’s good. This is in colors that are known for boosting the power and toughness of attackers, which is also good. This is a very Gruul card and that’s just fine. At $2 for a mythic (although there is one copy of every new mythic for every copy of a new common, so the rarity is more of an indication of power level than an indication of its relative scarcity like in booster pack sets) this seems like a card people aren’t thrilled with right now and unless this is as popular as something like Meren as a commander or can go in as many decks as Tymna, I don’t know if $2 is incorrect. This can push some other cards up, though.
Reyhan, Last of the Abzan
There are plenty of Golgari cards that pair very, very nicely with this card and if you throw this in a deck with Sidar Kondo or something, you could have a pretty decent deck going. Golgari is getting all of the best cards lately and with this pre-selling for $3, more than some mythics, there is a bit of confidence in this card. It’s really tough to know how each of the billion partner creatures will pan out, but with a likely ceiling on them around $6, I don’t see money to be made buying at $3.
Vial Smasher the Fierce
I clearly have a blindspot when it comes to Rakdos. The only Rakdos deck I have is Olivia Voldaren and it’s nothing like the rest of them. When I see a card like Pia Nalaar spoiled and think “Wow, this is underwhelming” and see Grenzo and Alesha players lose their collective $#%^ I start to wonder if I shouldn’t give more Rakdos cards the benefit of the doubt. This seems durdly to me, but apparently a durdly Kaervek has a lot of people excited. At $4, this could gain a buck or two but the post office will see most of those gains if you try to flip.
This was probably a mistake. Making a Wrath easier to cast is a good idea, making an annoying boardwipe easier to cast is not. At least it’s a Sorcery, I guess. This will make the game take longer, and that’s really annoying. That said, this likely doesn’t end up the exact same price as the Wrath, but I don’t know which card is going which way.
Assault Cinder Horn
At the beginning of the end step of each player, if no creature attacked this turn, put a fury counter on “Assault Cinder Horn.” Then “Assault Cinder Horn” deals damage to that player equal the number of fury counters on it.
Attack people, people. This is an aggressive card, but that doesn’t make this more than $1, I don’t think.
We talked about this card at length on Brainstorm Brewery this week. Pay attention to cards casuals like. This probably hits bulk, but this is a card that will always trade out very well, especially to the “I’ll trade a rare for a rare” crowd. Don’t buy this now, but don’t be surprised when this is a couple of bucks in a year or two or you get a lot of requests for it.
Converge – Crystalline Crawler enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each color of mana spent to cast it.
Remove a +1/+1 counter from Crystalline Crawler: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
T: Put a +1/+1 counter on Crystalline Crawler.
This seems like Mindless Automaton, Etched Oracle and Chronomaton all contributed genetic material to a bulk rare.
This is a pretty good card but I feel like white has a lot of effects like this. Still, this may be the best fog creature we’ve seen and with +1/+1 counters mattering to some of the commanders, this could be a solid card. I don’t know if I want to pay more than $1, though, especially with all of the value I am seeing so far in terms of reprints.
This is a great way to piss two people off and have them come to a “You use my turn to attack the guy who played this with my creatures and I’ll use your turn to attack the guy who played this with your creatures” truce. I don’t think this does what you want it to do, which is too bad because this card is HILARIOUS. Choose the player doing the best and the player doing the worst and hope they don’t beat you too badly. There are plenty of effects like this that are still around $1, so I don’t see profit to be made here, but this is pretty great EDH design.
Arraxa, Praetor’s Voice
If we end up with a nice value distribution like last time, the ceiling for this card is $6. Star City is pre-selling this for $5. We’re going to make money if SCG makes a huge mistake like they did with Blade of Selves and Command Beacon. We won’t make money when they nail it like they did with Mystic Confluence. This card is stupid good, but I have to imagine the 4 other 4-color commanders are equally amazing. This power level could relegate the two-color commanders to a lower pricing tier, but it isn’t always the “flashy” one worth money – look at how Karlov is the all-star in Daxos’ deck. With this set giving us new decks instead of the usual 10, we’re going to see a lot of brewing and the hardcore people having to buy the same deck more than once. Still, I think it’s safe to say there isn’t a ton of money to be made on Arraxa even with how different this set promises to be. Arraxa sure makes other cards go up, and we’ll talk about that in the coming weeks.
Silas Renn, Seeker Adept
This is fun but not ridiculous. His financial impact will be on other cards but the $2 SCG wants for him is just about right. Hopefully there is a commander to pair him with that gives him some sort of evasion. I like him in Esper with Daxos the Meletis and Thada Adel. This is unlikely to be a $6-$9 card in my opinion despite me liking it.
Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus
This is better than it looks because it does two things. First, it helps Izzet decks keep their hand full, something they struggle with even with the high number of cantrips they play. Second, it allows you to access other colors by partnering Kraum with another commander to give you access to black. Suddenly an Izzet deck can play Ill-Gotten Gains, Yawgmoth’s Will, etc. Does that mean this should be more than a buck? Probably not, especially since the deck it’s in is likely to have a ton of gas.
Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa
EDH Players: We’d like a UR creature that interacts with artifacts, please.
WOTC: We hear you loud and clear *prints a creature with flanking instead*
This card is going for $2 and I am not prepared to say how wrong or right that is. It’s possible an unspoiled commander partners ridiculously well with this. Generally, kithkinshroud isn’t the way to go wide with tokens or whatever since you usually want Cathar’s Crusade and anthems and stuff to go wide. This makes it easier for Silas Renn to hit them, though. Who knows? I think $2 is probably fine, but that means don’t buy this for finance reasons. If you want this to play with, probably buy the precon and get a dozen new cards. So, it’s hard to see a scenario where you pay cash for this.
Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder
He looks like Braum from League of Legends because, like Braum, he’s boring to play, doesn’t do his job better than everyone else in the same niche and literally no one asked for him. Maybe they’ll make Boros interesting some day, but that day is not today. $2 seems like it’s not a mistake.
Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix
Printing this card was a mistake. I can’t say whether I want to pay $4 cash for these without knowing what else is in the deck because I don’t know whether this can double to $8-$9, but I do know that this card is messed up and they shouldn’t have printed it. None of the other commanders with partner are this good, so far.
How much money would you pay for a Gilded Lotus that sometimes taps for 0 mana and can tap for up to 5? I think the answer is more than $3 long-term, but I also think this can get cheaper before it gets more expensive, provided the deck it’s in isn’t relying on it to be like $6 in the short term for the deck to be worth MSRP. I don’t know if this is in one deck or five, so until we know more, this is a “wait and see” card. I am calling this a hold and the only scenario where that changes is if it’s only in one deck and that deck is garbage. I don’t know that this is the case. If this is in every deck, you’ll lose a lot of money if you preordered today. Hold.
If this card is ever better than Day of Judgment it’s not going to make up for the fact that you’re playing in an annoying game with way too many players. This does get around cards that counter spells with a convereted mana cost of a certain amount, I guess. Still, I’m not excited and neither is SCG who is pre-selling this for $1. That’s cheaper than Day of Judgment and this is functionally a Day if you have 3 opponents, but I’d rather play 5 and Fumigate or pay 8 and Decree of Pain.
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