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Checking Back In On New Commanders

I’ve made a conscious effort in the last two years to put my speculative purchases on a timeline. With the frequency of reprints, it’s pretty rare for me to say ‘this is a staple, I want to buy it while it’s cheap’ because repeated reprints are an occupational hazard now.

Instead, I want to refine my buying and focus on ‘I think this card is going to be a popular deck, and what cards go with that?’ sorts of purchases, or at least recommendations. I’ve got some recent examples to point to, and so let’s bring up some older work and see if I was right.

The first example I want to get to is Mr. House, President and CEO. Back in October, when he was previewed, I quickly identified some dice-rolling specs that I felt had a good chance of paying off. Almost 3000 people have built and listed the deck on EDHREC, and for transparency, I’m not one of them. Let’s go through the specs I liked.

Anointed Procession (then-low of $40, now $53 for the cheapest) – It’s a modest gain, but the card is clearly great and being a headliner in the super-premium Cats and Dogs Secret Lair didn’t do anything to lower the price. I wouldn’t buy basic copies now, but as I picked on MTG Fast Finance, $60 is a very reasonable price. Semi-win

Barbarian Class (foils were 50¢, now $3) – Clear win, one of the cards you want most early in the House deck, getting rerolls and eventually enabling even more. Likely you could have done a buylist play here, picking up a big brick and now sending them off for $1 to $1.50 each. 

Ancient Dragons: Copper ($50 to $70), Brass ($14-$21), Gold ($8 to $14) – Dragons are awesome, that’s just a given, and these roll dice in-theme. Baldur’s Gate cards have been creeping up in surprising ways, and while I think these will eventually get some fun reprints, until then, these are headliners who should keep climbing.

Vexing Puzzlebox (borderless foil $4 to $9) – I do love a double-up, and this not only rolls, but gives you something to count up to. I doubt it will go much higher, so if you got in early, time to move out.

Delina, Wild Mage (regular nonfoil $2 to $4) – I have already killed a table by using Delina, Wyll, and Barbarian Class to make infinite attackers. It’s pretty fun, on top of the infinite treasures and Robots I made at the same time.

Comet, Stellar Pup (regular nonfoil $4 to $9) – Comet is cute, and we’re getting all sorts of cute doggy pals. I wouldn’t be shocked if Comet went up in price because of Dogs, not dice, but I’m not picky. How else do you account for the big price disparity between the regular art and the borderless?

Night Shift of the Living Dead (galaxy foil $2 to $8) – Galaxy foils are tough pulls anyway, so this was easy mode.

Maddening Hex (regular $3 to $11) – Limited numbers, as you get one per Commander deck or a good CB pull, means that you get lots of die getting rolled and in low supply, everybody wins.

The other cards I mentioned haven’t increased: Wyll, Blade of Frontiers, Squirrel-Powered Scheme, The Big Idea, Priority Boarding, Wand of Wonder, Chaos Dragon, Contraband Livestock, Recruitment Drive. Good cards for the deck, but we’ll see if any of them take off in the time we have before the next big thing happens. All of these are worth putting in the deck.

Then in December, we got a glimpse of Commander Mustard, and I immediately planned out a great Soldier deck. The winners there are:

Myrel, Shield of Argive (regular nonfoils $10 to $18) – Myrel hasn’t been getting big Standard play or anything like that, she’s just creeping upward due to her abilities being awesome in any white deck. Players love her safety blanket.

Daru Warchief (regular $2 to $3) – So overdue for a reprint!

Adeline, Resplendent Marshal ($7 to $11 for regular nonfoil) – This is likely due to Standard play, so get ready to sell before rotation pulls her price back down.

No increases: Catapult Master, Catapult Squad, Preeminent Captain, Captain of the Watch, Valiant Veteran, Field Marshal, And They Shall Know No Fear, Thousand Moons Smithy, Mobilization, Militia’s Pride, Horn of Gondor, Finale of Glory. Soldiers are amazing, but this deck hasn’t taken off yet.

Finally, in January, when we were neck-deep in MKM previews, they gave us Judith, Carnage Connoisseur, and she’s been on a tear lately too, with just over 3000 decks registered so far. Let’s review what I pointed out:

Blasphemous Act (Secret Lair Foil $17 to $22) – To be fair, I picked this on MTG Fast Finance, and that tends to cause a minor bump as ProTraders take action.

Blood for the Blood God! (surge foils $8 to $12) – Surge foils get targeted here and there, and while this one costs a ton of mana, you can make it cheaper for big gains.

Solphim, Mayhem Dominus (regular nonfoil $8 to $12) – All of the Dominus cycle look great long term, and there’s no shortage of ways to abuse this card.

The ‘deal one damage to everything’ spells haven’t taken off, but End the Festivities has been a popular Standard sideboard card, so it’s price doesn’t count. No real movement on: Disaster Radius, Volcanic Vision, Searing Touch, Fanning the Flames, Chain Reaction, or the rest of the cards I mentioned.

It’s possible that Judith and Mustard just need a little more time, but the hype cycle is going to move on pretty quickly. We’re getting neat new legends at a breakneck pace, and there just isn’t time for all the new things to develop. I stand by the sentiment that these are all unique Commanders, doing something no one else does, but perhaps that’s not enough in this day and age.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Box Toppers for The Lord of the Rings

The title says it all, people. We’re almost done with previews, I’m close to having the math done for the main set, and we’ve got a stack of Box Toppers to look at. Some amazing reprints here, and some surprises as well.

There are 30 toppers, and you get a traditional foil version for every box: Set Booster, Draft Booster, and Collector Booster. Everything here is marked as Mythic, so there’s no Toppers that will be more or less common than others. Surge foil versions will be part of the super-rare slot in Collector Boosters, and nonfoils will show up on the menu in a different CB slot. Those odds will be coming next week, but be aware that there’s three types of Toppers to be found. 

For each card, I’m going to give you the price range currently, plus the EDHREC number. Most of these are Commander-focused, and then we’ll talk about where they should end up. Remember, there will be a nonfoil, a traditional foil, and a surge foil version for each of these.

The Great Henge ($48 for the cheapest, $225 for the most expensive, 115k decks on EDHREC) – Being a mega-staple is great for this card, and I can’t wait to buy $30 or even $20 versions in a few weeks. This will rebound, especially because almost everyone who opens one will have a Commander deck that needs a copy. 

Cloudstone Curio ($40 to $195, 24k decks) – This is a combo card. It’s very rarely played fair, and the price reflects that this has had very few printings. This will get surprisingly cheap, and only if it gets very very cheap will I be buying in.

Ensnaring Bridge ($15 to $150, 9300 decks) – This is more of a Modern sideboard card than a Commander card, and this will be available under $10. I will not be stocking up, as these haven’t really recovered from the Masters 25 print or the Double Masters.

The Ozolith ($24 to $55, 88k decks) – The first reprint since Ikoria, this is going to dip down in price, and if it gets to between $5-$10, I’ll be thinking about buying in. Surge foils will be more expensive than you’re thinking, because counters players are hardcore about their business.

Rings of Brighthearth ($3 to $95, 66k decks) – It’s three bucks after the Commander Legends version, and while this is an important moment in the story and the lore, it’ll be super-mega-cheap and not worth reinvesting. 

Shadowspear ($20 to $100, 99k decks) – The graph has stayed solid for more than a year, and my target is around $12 for the traditional foils. Surge foils will be much more, and the nonfoils will be a good choice under $5, especially with Urza’s Saga being so popular in Modern.

Sword of Hearth and Home ($11 to $26, 71k) – Modern Horizons 2 was opened for a VERY long time. Fetches are at their lowest points, especially for things like retro frame foils, and having this version come along is going to help make sure that the card stays cheap. If you haven’t played with it, I suggest you do: it’s probably the most powerful thing you can do in Commander when it hits.

Sword of the Animist ($10 to $30, 144k decks) – This is an attack trigger, not a damage trigger. I play this in most decks, even if the creature dies it’s a bonus land per turn. It’s recovered from its reprintings, and I think it’ll rebound here too. I’m going to go after a couple Surge foils early, but cheap nonfoils will be really tempting.

Thorn of Amethyst (75¢ to $330, 17k decks) – The BRO archive gave us more than one dirt-cheap version, and this should keep it there. It’s hard to foresee a world where this gets valuable.

Ancient Tomb ($75 to $300, 295k decks) – Even Surge foils probably won’t outstrip the BFZ Expedition versions here, but I expect this to be one of the more expensive Toppers. The price has recovered for every printing, even as a rare, so I’m in when this price gets low.

Bojuka Bog (25¢ to $100, 420k decks) – This is a super-mega-popular card in Commander, a good effect that doesn’t cost you anything more than a tapped land. It’s a very useful card, and that’s why it’s listed all over the place. Time Spiral Remastered retro foils are the high price, but Surge foils really have a chance to be very very expensive. Nonfoils won’t be much, but the foils should do well.

Boseiju, Who Shelters All ($18 to $100, 21k decks) – The Secret Lair didn’t help, and this version will keep all the versions cheap for a while yet. I won’t be trying to spec on this.

Cabal Coffers ($16 to $130, 172k decks) – I thought that when this went below $20 in MH2 it was a strong buy, and I did. Now it’s a couple bucks cheaper, plus this version means that this goes from a spec to the bad spec box. Get your personal copies cheap, but don’t expect big growth.

Castle Ardenvale (bulk to $20, 60k decks) – Don’t bother, though Surge foils will outstrip the original FEA copies.

Cavern of Souls ($50 to $180, 134k decks) – This has gotten several reprints over the years, and generally bounces back. This printing should put the cheapest version down to around $40, and I’ll be planning on getting some copies. 

Deserted Temple ($35 to $320, 11k decks) – This has been pricey due to a complete lack of reprints. No List, no Secret Lair, nothing. It’s usually only used with something like a Gaea’s Cradle, and the piddling EDHREC numbers mean that this version is going to be very cheap, like under $10.

Gemstone Caverns ($55 to $300, 118k decks) – I admit, I knew this was pricey but I had no idea so many cEDH decks played this card. As such, this is something I’ll have to consider buying in on when the price reaches bottom.

Homeward Path ($17 to $70, 52k decks) – This was in Commander decks for three straight years, plus a judge foil. There’s never been a large number circulating, for all it’s a useful card. I’ll want to get in on foils when they hit bottom.

Horizon Canopy ($15 to $120, 21k decks) – The other versions of the sac lands are not expensive at all, generally speaking, and Canopy will take a while to recover here too.

Karakas ($27 to $72, BANNED in Commander) – This will be a relatively inexpensive card, as it’s banned in Commander. There’s very little use cases for it, though it’s a Cube staple. It’ll be lucky to hold $15 and it won’t be worth buying in.

Kor Haven ($15 to $100, 12k decks) – It’s useful, sure, but it’s also been given very few reprints over the years, none of them major. I expect this to hit $7, and even buying in there isn’t appealing, given how long it’ll take to climb back up.

Minamo, School at Water’s Edge ($22 to $100, 37k decks) – There’s a lot of Commander who love this card, and unless you need Islands specifically, it’s a freeroll. The MYB foils have really languished, though, so even buying in cheap it might take too long to rise again.

Mouth of Ronom (bulk to $17, 4800 decks) – Bad card, even in Snow strategies it’s barely played. Stay away.

Oboro, Palace of the Clouds ($60 to $300, 8000 decks) – Another card where there’s very little reprint equity, this is mainly used in some weird landfall combo decks or other such shenanigans. Useful, but not in high demand. Watch this price drop like an ACME safe.

Pillar of the Paruns ($1 to $15, 4800 decks) – Being unable to cast artifacts in Commander is a real drawback, and this version, while having sweet art, will not be expensive or worth picking up as a spec.

Reflecting Pool ($5 to $60, 133k decks) – It’s in a ton of decks, but it’s also been printed a ton of times. The super-expensive version has a Plains symbol misprint, and this version will be the one that keeps this card very very inexpensive. I was thinking of getting copies before, but now I’m staying away for a while.

Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep ($12 to $130, 17k decks) – It’s a useful card, it shows up once in a while in Modern, it costs you almost nothing in Commander to give a notable bonus when needed. It’s not played enough to be worth buying anytime soon.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth ($36 to $205, 294k decks) – I knew this was popular, but not 300k decks popular. Still, the graph doesn’t lie: the most recent printing started out low and has more than doubled since then. I don’t think I’m going to buy right away, but this is on the list of things I want to buy at the low point.

Wasteland ($20 to $80, 45k decks) – It’s not super popular, but it does see some play and it’s useful to have an out to land-based problems. The graph for the EMA version shows that the price has gone down with each of the recent printings, and this should be under $10, and I don’t think the demand will be there to help it recover.

Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth ($8 to $17, 232k decks) – Another MH2 card that shows the sheer number of copies opened, this will go pretty low and will have me considering when to buy in.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

MOM’s Basket of Rares

The set is officially released next Friday, and there’s a lot of amazing things going on. A Multiverse Legends sheets playing merry hell with the draft/sealed format, previews for the doesn’t-have-commons Aftermath set, and serialized cards setting all sorts of records. Wild times!

One other wild thing going on is that rares in this set are vastly overpriced for cards who are about to flood the market. Traditionally, preordering is only for those who must have the newest thing now, either for Commander or Constructed play. About once every other set, a rare climbs from its low price to be a multi-format staple, destined to be expensive until its inevitable reprint. Examples include Ledger Shredder and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.

So let’s get into March of the Machine’s rares, looking at current prices, where I think those prices will go, and if there’s anything worth buying right now.

All prices are for the regular nonfoil, and are accurate as of Friday morning, 4/14, but prices are about to be very volatile.

City on Fire ($8.50 preorder) – We’ve seen that a very similar card at mythic can do some amazing growth. Behold, Fiery Emancipation: 

Big caveat, though, is the rare vs mythic and the idea that MOM is going to sell a lot more booster packs than M21 did. The serialized chase is going to crater the prices of a lot of cards, and while I am looking forward to buying a big stack of City on Fire, I’m going to be patient about it. Hopefully this gets down to the $2-$3 range, a much safer starting point for the journey.

Faerie Mastermind ($6) – I know that Invitational cards are rarely bad, and this one especially hits hard. In Commander, it’s not hard to make this do a lot of work for you, and it’s going to be adopted very quickly into a wide range of decks. It’s got applications in lots and lots of deck types, and is aggressively costed for Standard appeal. I like the long-term potential of this card, I’m just unwilling to get in this early when there’s so many copies left to open.

Invasion of Ikoria ($6) – Finale of Devastation and Green Sun’s Zenith are similar cards, and this is now a card that can be played alongside the Finale. The main issue is that Invasion can’t go get Vizier of Remedies in Devoted Druid combo decks, as that’s a deck which would likely play a copy or two of the tutor. Rare in MOM is a whole different animal than mythic in WAR, and this is not going to give you $40 pricing ever. It’ll be lucky to be a $10 card in one year’s time, and in the short term, it going to fall to a dollar or less.

Tribute to the World Tree ($3) – Again, we have similar cards out there that haven’t taken off financially, and none of them had the hardcore mana cost that makes this mostly an option for decks that are mono-green or heavy in that color. It’s a fantastic card in Devotion decks, but in almost all ways, The Great Henge is better. I’m always a fan of adding the peanut butter and jelly together, though!

Chrome Host Seedshark ($2) – Of all the cards on this list, this is the one I’m most favorable towards. This effect is quite amazing, but we have a warning card in Metallic Summonings, which was mythic, it is an enchantment that is a lot harder to get rid of, and nonfoils are just over a buck. The Shark triggers on all noncreature spells, which is good, but it’s a creature and easy to kill. There’s tradeoffs, certainly.

Summonings dropped in price when it was in the Commander 2021 decks, but foils haven’t budged at all. I’m going to be waiting on buying the Shark for a bit, but if you asked me which rare from MOM might get there, this would be the one. If it gets to a nicely low price, especially FEA versions, I’m very likely to buy a brick.

Etali, Primal Conqueror ($4.50) – I love that we get the top of the deck effect right away, but then that’s it. Getting this effect as an attack trigger would be ideal, but honestly, the giant 7/7 trampler will be pretty good along with the four free spells you just cast. Shouldn’t be a huge problem.

Plus, you can flip it into a Blightsteel Colossus for just a little more mana and life! There’s no way Etali holds its price, not even a little bit. This will end up as close to bulk, even as it kicks butt all over Commander tables.

Invasion of Alara ($1) – I adore WUBRG cards. I’m pretty close to making a Commander deck with that as the theme. I only have one 5-color deck right now, and it’s the Ur-Dragon. I tried The Kami War in there, and found it mediocre, but I think this Invasion is one of the best even if you don’t flip it. You’re getting your five mana back, statistically speaking, and then there’s an enormous payoff for dealing the 7 damage. Given that this is already so cheap, I’m hesitant to say it’ll go up, especially when looking at the graphs for things like The Kami War. It’ll be bulk, and it’ll likely stay there.

Rampaging Raptor ($0.75) – Questing Beast was a mythic, and just couldn’t be blocked by small things. This is clearly worst than the Beast, but not by much. The problem is, what deck does this go into? There’s barely a market for it in Standard, unless a deck takes off that is hyper-focused on battles. Still, if this is the top end for a super-aggressive red deck, it has great potential to climb out of its trench. If it starts moving, be prepared to move with it.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Pro Trader: The Best Bad Color


Welcome to another installment of the series “Jason writes an article.” Sometimes it is on here, sometimes on other sites, but always article. This is the 541st article I have written on MTG Price, and if that sounds bonkers to you, it is to me, also. Today I am not going to do my normal article from my perspective, fearing it might seem exactly the same from your perspective and that I have been overthinking it for 540 articles, and that’s just this site. What I think I am doing differently is that I’m going to talk about a color then the cards in that color. I don’t always do exactly that. It’s different. Shut up.

What’s the worst color in Commander? That’s right, Red, and it isn’t close. But a few years ago, people would still have said Red. But a few years before that, probably still Red. The point is, White has almost always been the second worst color, some argued the worst, because it didn’t mana ramp as hard. We have seen every possible variation on Knight of the White Orchid and by now there are two or three Archaeomancer’s Map-tier cards in White that make it keep up nicely with the Green-based ramp decks. I have seen a Demonic Tutor used as a Farseek more than once, but, sure, White is the worst at it. Black has Cabal Coffers, Green has mana dorks and Cultivate, Blue has mana dorks and Cultivate if you built correctly and added Green, and Red has Seething Song. What does White have? Well, lately, it’s had everything.

I wasn’t even going to write this specific article until I decided to look at the most-played cards in the, well the set that has most recently been fully-spoiled, I guess. We have 8 cards revealed from March of the Machine, the perfect amount of cards to have revealed before you reveal a million-dollar one-of-a-kind collectible card and a White Remand. And let’s be clear about something else – I just found out about the White Remand because I was procrastinating on twitter between paragraphs – I had no idea White got a Remand, a card that’s basically good everywhere except for EDH, until after I had started my “White gets everything these days, huh?” article. White IS getting a lot, if not everything, and one trip to EDHREC will bear that out.

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