Category Archives: Unlocked ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: Stapling… 6 Decks Together?

Readers!

Last week I wrote what I think was some pretty riveting stuff and this week I’m writing a sequel, but like a sequel that was better than the first one, like Aliens or Terminator 2 or Leonard Part 6. If you didn’t read last week’s article, or if you’d like to refresh your memory, give it another read right now and we can call that the preamble part of this article. If you’re about to crash headlong into a paywall you didn’t know was there, last week’s piece is unlocked already, just like every new article is unlocked on Thursday so everyone can get these sweet picks.

This week I’m going to use the same three commanders but since we have another week of data collection, I’m going to re-populate the lists because we’ve had another week of data collection. Now, the odds that a card that’s great in all 3 decks or even two of them wasn’t conceived of a week ago and is now in enough decks to make all three lists is so remote it’s not worth discussing, but I feel like it wouldn’t be scientific to collect as much data as we can. I talked mostly about Green cards last week so this week, I’m going to look at cards that aren’t necessarily mono-Green and therefore not necessarily in Ashaya.

While we’re talking about changes since last week, let’s look at the number of decks.

Since last week, Omnath went from 84 to 133, an increase of 58%, Ashaya went from 13 to 20 decks, an increase of 54% and Phylath went from 8 to 14 decks, an increase of 75%. None of these numbers are crazy, but Ashaya slipped from #2 to #5 and Phylath slipped from #6 to #9 with the addition of Akiri, a very popular card. I wouldn’t read a TON into Akiri coming out of nowhere since basically the same number of people made an Akiri deck as an Orath deck, they just had one fewer week to do it.

Right now, Omnath still reigns supreme, which may or may not hold. What matters to me is the cards in more decks than just Omnath, though, so let’s take a look.

Having redone the three lists, I decided to look just at cards in both Omnath and Phylath. Yes, there are more Ashaya decks than Phylath decks and Green is common to all 3, but I want to avoid overlooking any Red or Gruul cards. Are there any?

Arid Mesa
Blasphemous Act
Bloodstained Mire
Broken Bond
Burgeoning
Chaos Warp
Cinder Glade
Command Tower
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Escape to the Wilds
Explore
Farseek
Fury of Akoum
Gruul Turf
Heart of Keld
Khalni Heart Expedition
Locus of Rage
Mina and Denn
Moraug
Nahiri’s Lithoforming
Radha
Rhythm of the Wild
Roiling Regrowth
Sakura-Tribe Scout
Scalding Tarn
Scapeshift
Scute Swarm
Seer’s Sundial
Swiftfoot Boots
Temur Sabertooth
Terramorphic Expanse
Tunneling Geopede
Valakut Exploration
Wildborn

Blasphemous Act, Chaos Warp, Mourag (on the list as both Mourag and Fury of Akoum because the list tool does not know what to do with proper names separated by a comma), Omnath Locus of Rage, Mina and Denn, Radha, Heart of Keld and Valakut Exploration.

This is slated for reprint (along with Admonition Angel, which is ALSO in Secret Lair, RIP) in the “Land’s Wrath” EDH precon for the set, and that may or may not drastically impact the price. If it does, good, buy a bunch because it will go up. If it doesn’t, good, but a bunch because it will go up. Look at the hard increase when Lord Windgrace was printed in Commander 2018. This is a powerful card that will never stay cheap again, and with lots more “lands matter” cards possible in the future, this will always be a player. It’s already starting to tank in price, so watch for it to rebound (don’t try to grab a falling knife, as stockbrokers love to say) and buy in. This has some reprint risk, but what doesn’t these days? I’m not ready to say “buy RL cards” and call it a column just yet.

The buy-in is currently a bit high on a non-mythic (this too so long I gave up waiting. Woops! These were gettable at bulk) and the reprint risk is pretty high. Even though they love to make everything a special edition foil later, I think you have a year or two to cash in on foils of this.

Foil

The foils followed a similar trajectory and I think have more upside considering they’re selling out under $8 everywhere that still has them. Card Kingdom is the highest price and they’re just about sold out if that tells you anything. I don’t love foils in EDH as a recommendation because there are so few copies, there’s so little demand and you can basically only help 3 or 4 people, which isn’t a recommendation, it’s an insider tip. Still, if you’re an insider, here’s a tip.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s look at Omnath and Ashaya’s cards.

Ancient Tomb
Arbor Elf
Birds of Paradise
Carpet of Flowers
Chrome Mox
Destiny Spinner
Dryad Arbor
Eldritch Evolution
Elvish Mystic
Elvish Reclaimer
Field of the Dead
Force of Vigor
Fyndhorn Elves
Gaea’s Cradle
Genesis Wave
Ghost Quarter
Green Sun’s Zenith
Llanowar Elves
Locus of Mana
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Mox Diamond
Multani
Protector of Argoth
Reliquary Tower
Snow-Covered Forest
Strip Mine
Survival of the Fittest
Sylvan Awakening
Titania
Triumph of the Hordes
Utopia Sprawl
Veil of Summer
Vital Force
Wayward Swordtooth
Wild Growth
Yavimaya’s Avatar
Zendikar Resurgent

One card that popped out immediately was Carpet of Flowers. This is a very cEDH card and EDHREC tends to not get cEDH cards much, especially $20 uncommons. I think the increased availability from the Mystery Booster printings is making the card a little more playable. That said, Mox Diamond, Mana Crypt, Ancient Tomb, Survival of the Fittest – these are cEDH cards. They’re in both lists because cEDH players are building a lot of Omnath. I’m not sure why a player with a spare Gaea’s Cradle would be building Ashaya. One thing to note – when you have a small number of decks, such as 20 or so, 2 people building something is 10% of the total and that gets picked up. To the 3 people putting a $2,000 manabase in a deck with a commander that does absolutely nothing on its own, more power to you, I guess.

There are no surprises here, but I do want to highlight one card I like.

Titania is getting really hard to reprint. It’s more expensive than anything they’d put in a Commander precon, it’s too niche to go in something like Modern Horizons, so basically if this isn’t in Commander Legends, it’s likely going to be a minute before it can be reprinted and those sub-$20 copies on TCG Player look mighty inviting.

Since correlating Omnath and Ashaya got the spikey stuff in Ashaya, can doing the same thing with Phylath highlight durdly stuff from both decks?

Acidic Slime
Beanstalk Giant
Beast Whisperer
Beastmaster Ascension
Blighted Woodland
Boundless Realms
Chord of Calling
Cradle of the Sun
Garruk
Garruk’s Uprising
Growing Rites of Itlimoc // Itlimoc
Guardian Project
Harmonize
Liege of the Tangle
Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
Nissa’s Pilgrimage
Primal Hunter
Reclamation Sage
Return to Nature
Rishkar’s Expertise
Shamanic Revelation

Yep!

This went 4 years without a reprint and when it did get one, it was in Mystery Boosters, which hasn’t curtailed prices like we expected. I think it’s worth noting how this shrugs off reprints, although if it’s reprinted again, it may not go 4 years after that. I think this is a potential Commander Legends card and if it’s in there, I’m a buyer.

foil

If you want to know why I don’t like EDH foils, behold this graph. This is a $12 foil version of a $7 non-foil card with 1 foil printing and 5 non-foil printings. Casual cards just don’t matter that much in foil, unless they do. If a card is brand new and you think it’s a good EDH card and the foil is $5 and the non-foil is $2, do you want to try and guess if it’s going to pop or do you want to just avoid having to guess? Me, I like avoiding having to guess.

Finally, look at how many decks Nissa’s Pilgrimmage is in. 10k is quite a few. This is the #1 most-played Green Sorcery outside of the top 100 cards in EDHREC’s database. It has 3 printings, Origins where the foil is under a buck, an EDH precon where there was no foil, and an FNM promo that’s under a buck. When someone tells you raw EDHREC inclusions stats and goes all Dragon Ball Z about the number of decks it’s in, remember Nissa’s Pilgrimmage. It’s hard for a card to be in 10,000 decks and be the most-played Green Sorcery in the whole database and that card can’t get above $1. Food for thought.

That does it for me this week. I’ll be diving deeper into specific decks next time – I particularly like how Zareth San could make some Rogues cards that escaped a reprint in the Anowon precon (is all of this gibberish to you because you don’t play EDH? I’m really self-conscious about assuming you’re all on the same page) relevant again. Makes me want to buy all of the Quicksilver Fountains. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Stapling 3 Decks Together

Readers!

I’m going to do that thing where I compare 3 decklists to see if anything pops out. If you’re new to the series, I’ll explain later. If you’re old to the series, you’ll be happy to know that article you all try to make fun of me for is like 10/10 this week. There are no misses, only longer-term specs. Enjoy buylisting foil Edgewalker for $30 in a week.

EDHREC has some preliminary data from early birds making decks on Archidekt and Moxfield and not TappedOut. If you’re still using TappedOut, stop. Switch to Archidekt or Moxfield or Deckstats or Aetherhub. This data is early, but it does counter a pervasive (unsubstantiated) opinion among finance people who may or may not play EDH that “no one is excited about Omnath and it’s the Cleric card that’s exciting,” something I’ve seen more than once and I’m paraphrasing here. That might be the case later, but for right now, I don’t see much evidence that Omnath is unpopular. In fact,

It would appear that Omnath has some serious juice at the moment. He was anticipated and spoiled a little ahead of some of the rest but he’s being built 28 times as often as Taborax at the moment.

The thing is, it’s somewhat irrelevant whether Omnath is built more than Taborax or any other commander over the next few months. What IS relevant is whether the cards in Omnath go up as a result of how much it is built. cEDH players are somewhat interested in Omnath as they are in any commander that says “When [name] enters the battlefield, draw a card” because they can build Food Chain, which is one of three things they like to do. Looking into cEDH builds seems irrelevant because every card in those decks is already expensive and every deck in those colors is the same. If they have a 5 color Food Chain deck, they don’t get to play Demonic Tutor. If they had a 3 color Food Chain deck, now they get to play Enlightened Tutor. I’m not saying cEDH isn’t fun or valid, but I am saying everything financially relevant is already expensive and won’t go up on the basis of a new commander.

Great, you devoted a whole paragraph to what not to buy. Super great advice, Jason.

Hang on, nerds, I never said I wasn’t going to tell you what to buy, damn. The thing is, I think we’re forgetting something fairly major here, and that is that most of the Green commanders in this set are really samey. There’s a landfall one, a landfall one and a lands one. Will Taborax or Orah or Linvala even get played more than Omnath? Maybe. Will any one commander be built more than the total number of Omnath, Ashaya and Phylath decks? Not likely. That means anything in all 3 decks is bound to matter.

I outlined a process in a previous article a process where I use a list comparison tool to look at 3 lists of cards and spit out which cards are in 2 of the lists or all 3. I think Yasharn is dissimilar enough from the other 3 Green commanders to exclude it for now but boy, the other 3 don’t have a ton of daylight between them beyond differing color identities. I think the best specs will be in all 3 decks because that is bound to be very significant and we might find some cards that aren’t already expensive.

Ashaya looks like it has a bit more consensus on what to include, but if you’ll notice, the more colors, the more cards in the lists. That makes sense, if 84 people are building a 4 color deck, there’s no way there will be as much consensus as with 13 people building a 1-color deck. This will weight the Ashaya cards fairly heavily, but with more Omnath decks, we can sort of call it a wash. Remember, we’re not looking at how much each card is played, merely at which cards are in all 3 decks.

Avenger of Zendikar
Azusa
Beast Within
Crop Rotation
Crucible of Worlds
Cultivate
Eternal Witness
Exploration
Field of the Dead
Finale of Devastation
Gaea’s Cradle
Genesis Wave
Green Sun’s Zenith
Heroic Intervention
Kodama’s Reach
Krosan Grip
Lightning Greaves
Lost but Seeking
Lotus Cobra
Misty Rainforest
Myriad Landscape
Nature’s Claim
Nature’s Lore
Nissa
Oakhame Adversary
Overwhelming Stampede
Prismatic Vista
Rampaging Baloths
Ramunap Excavator
Regrowth
Return of the Wildspeaker
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Skyshroud Claim
Snow-Covered Forest
Sol Ring
Springbloom Druid
Sylvan Library
Tireless Tracker
Veil of Summer
Verdant Catacombs
Wayward Swordtooth
Who Shakes the World
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Worldly Tutor
Zendikar Resurgent
Zendikar’s Roil

Check your findings! This should go without saying, but when you’re doing analysis like this and ESPECIALLY when you’re doing analysis using tools that weren’t designed for Magic cards specifically, you’ll have some quirks. The list says “Nissa” is in all 3 decks, but if you go back to the pages for each commander, Ashaya uses Nissa, Worldwaker, Phylath uses Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Omnath uses Nissa, Vital Force, Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Nissa, Steward of Elements. So much for a consensus! “Nissa” doesn’t belong on the list, although Nissa, Who Shakes the World is in 2 of the decks.

This card is very good and it’s going to be in a lot of good decks going forward, it’s not super likely to get reprinted per se and it keeps getting cheaper. If you’ve played with this walker, you know how absurd it is. I use it in 3 color Omnath and it does work. That emblem wins the game if you get it and tapping Forests for double is absurd. If there were more Ashaya decks, surely Nissa, Who Shakes the World would be in the mix. I like this when it finishes getting cheap, although close to $3 for a useful ‘walker has to be close to the floor if it’s not reprinted.

Card Kingdom wants almost $6 for this card and they’ll get it, trust me, which means that $3.75 on Channel Fireball, a site where their subscribers are given store credit every month and encouraged to use it, won’t last long. It doesn’t take much to clean out their inventory.

So even though this isn’t on all 3 lists, it’s only missing from the deck where it’s the best and I don’t expect it to not start showing up in a mono-Green deck. I like this under $4 a lot and I think it could hit $10 but it definitely hits $8.

This isn’t a good spec, now, I just want you to see how adept Lotus Cobra is at shaking off reprints. It’s never been reprinted in a set with a ton of good cards and Expedition box-topppers, though, but when this price craters, and believe me, it’s going to crater, there might be some money to be made. Cobra is good in a lot of EDH decks and if it’s like a buck, there’s no question there’s upside. It being reprinted at non-mythic rare is a blow, but if you’re not holding any copies, who cares how cheap it gets? Just buy in and you’ll probably be able to buylist them for like $5 in two years.

This card reminds me of another card that never got above $1 for this first year and I was buying copies at the LGS because they were 2 for $1 there and I had store credit. The card never broke $1 on any site and I just sat there waiting and waiting, wondering if I even understood mtg finance anymore. I came up with all sorts of reasons why the price was stagnant and when it finally hit $2, I sold a lot of them for a mere double-up, keeping fewer than $20 copies. Here’s a graph of that card.

Return of the Wildspeaker is doing the same thing Rishkar’s Expertise did and this time I know better than to doubt myself.

Rishkar’s Expertise has been out 3 times as long as Return of the Wildspeaker and is in two times as many decks. Does it logically follow that Return is therefore currently overachieving? No, but it’s worth thinking about in those terms. Can you see Return’s graph doing what Expertise’s graph did? Imagine Throne of Eldraine as a set once it rotates out of Standard. The value has to go somewhere and I think it’s super reasonable to picture a scenario where a version of Return of the Wildspeaker is $9 on Card Kingdom. What can we expect to buylist it for in that case?

Hot damn.

It’s hard for me to picture a scenario where Wayward Swordtooth isn’t in Commander Legends. If it’s not, this is a $20 card before there’s even a chance to reprint it. I don’t like paying $15 for a $20 card, so if you can snag those 4 Euro copies on Card Market, go for it.

$4 HAS to be the floor on this formerly $15 card. This can very easily hit $10.

This was all mono-Green stuff, obviously. Would you like some homework? Read over the list of common cards between Phylath and Omnath and post your favorite spec in the comments section here or in the MTG Price Discord.

Arcane Signet
Arid Mesa
Ashaya
Blasphemous Act
Blighted Woodland
Bloodstained Mire
Broken Bond
Budoka Gardener
Burgeoning
Chaos Warp
Command Tower
Constant Mists
Courser of Kruphix
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Escape to the Wilds
Evolving Wilds
Explosive Vegetation
Fabled Passage
Farseek
Fury of Akoum
Gamble
Garruk’s Uprising
Gruul Turf
Harrow
Heart of Keld
Horn of Greed
Khalni Heart Expedition
Life from the Loam
Locus of Rage
Migration Path
Mina and Denn
Moraug
Noxious Revival
Omnath
Oracle of Mul Daya
Radha
Rampant Growth
Rhythm of the Wild
Sakura-Tribe Scout
Scalding Tarn
Scapeshift
Seer’s Sundial
Snow-Covered Mountain
Soul of the Wild
Spitfire Lagac
Splendid Reclamation
Stomping Ground
Strip Mine
Swiftfoot Boots
Sylvan Awakening
Taiga
Temur Sabertooth
Terramorphic Expanse
Tunneling Geopede
Valakut
Valakut Exploration
Wildborn
Wrenn and Six
the Molten Pinnacle

That does it for me, everyone. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Crime in Partners

Readers!

INSIDER TRADING ALERT

The price of Thrasios went up recently, coinciding with dozens of other expensive cards played in Competitive EDH going up and for months, everyone thought the two events were related. Now, months later, we see that Thrasios was bought because there are new Partners in Commander Legends, something no one could have predicted. This is a clear case of Insider Trading, Conflict of Interest, and some other words I heard watching 10 minutes of MSNBC.

Since the nefarious actors who perpetuated this crime didn’t leave any copies for the rest of us, we’re forced to make do with the copies that… have gone down in price since the spike? That’s weird. This buyout was fairly sloppy and it wasn’t very thorough. That’s good news for us, actually, because it gives us a chance to look at what kind of cards we should be taking a look at given there are more chances for them to be relevant moving forward.

We don’t know what the new partners will be but I think we can at least evaluate the old ones in terms of how likely they are to pair well with something new. The ones that are already good and expensive won’t matter because they’ll be made into goodstuff decks regardless. Here are the current partners with the most upside, imo.

Effects that are good broadly are going to be good choices for future gains. Ikra was printed in Commander Anthology volume 2 so there are more copies of this than some of the partners that weren’t. Ikra is good with any new partner that lets you pay life to do things, grows creatures when you gain life, makes creatures bigger, etc. The price went up a bit but there are still lots of copies available even though people had all day Sunday and Monday to buy them. I think this is a fair low-risk spec and copies should be easy to track down.

This is the lowest-risk, highest-possible reward one and has the lowest buy-in price. If you’re looking for a bit more risk and a bit more potential reward, I have one.

I like to talk about second spikes a lot. What I mean when I say that is a situation where a card’s price goes up precipitously, equilibrates then goes up again. The first time a card spikes, a limited amount of available copies at retail sell out quickly. Dealers raise their buylist prices to get the card back in stock, people find mispriced copies at the LGS and people who had been sitting on them fish them out of boxes and binders to sell or trade into the hype. This concentrates the loose copies in the hands of dealers. When the card spikes again, no one has the option of the cheap LGS copies, or pulling it out of a box and they have to pay retail. The price goes up harder and higher that second time without loose copies in the wild to attenuate the blow. If Kydele is relevant in the new context of a bunch of new partner commanders, it has demonstrated it can go to $15 and can do again. I think Kydele is underrated as all heck and my first deck with partners was Kydele and Thrasios which was so good and consistent I took it apart. Kydele makes a lot of mana, it’s in the 2 best colors in EDH and something is bound to come along that draws lots of cards. If you can get these under $10, seems like you do it.

The ship has largely sailed here. If you can get these on Card Market, do it. If you find them under $10, do it. Reyhan was in Breed Lethality, which was in Commander Anthology 2, so there are a few more copies out there just like with Ikra Shadiqi, but this got a lot of attention given how good it is with Sengir, Dark Baron which is, and I can’t stress this enough, a garbage, terrible card that introduced a new thing you have to do in EDH where you have to remember what everyone’s life totals are at the beginning of every turn in case someone dies. Because there isn’t enough to keep track of already, right? I think the partners revealed later will be better than Baron Sengir and it’s likely one or more will be a better pairing for Reyhan.

Speaking of “The ship has sailed, get these on MKM” Bruse Tarl has been underrated for years. Bruse is in the Breya deck, which is about as difficult to find sealed for a reasonable price as the Atraxa deck (Breed Lethality). If you’re not sure which cards came in which deck, don’t worry, here’s a handy refresher. Attacking with creatures is stupid and hard in Commander and I think people may have forgotten that. This certainly wraps things up with infect or a huge creature, but that was a thing before and no one cared because this was $6 for a whole year.

The rest of the partners are either bad or they’re too good on their own for them not to already be identified. The price of Vial Smasher came away down after its fake-out spike a few months back, but Vial Smasher doesn’t pair with anything. It could, I don’t know what the unrevealed partners are. That said, I tried to come up with some text that would make Vial Smasher part of a winning duo and couldn’t. I would focus on underrated ones like Ikra, maybe a good but high-upside one like Kydele and try to swipe some Brusers from MKM. That said, there’s one more kind of card that matters.

It’s so funny to witness in real time as Card Kingdom gets something right away and competitive sites where competitive players buy competitive cards lag far behind. CFB isn’t selling out of Bastion Protector at $8 and CK can’t keep them in stock at $13. Exploit the insularity of EDH players’ buying habits for profit.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Join me next week for more ideas about this wacky format, and hopefully a few more preview cards. We could talk about the Green spellbook and how nuts it is. Or I could build my Omnath deck a month early. There’s no wrong answer! Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: All Double Masters Box Toppers Ranked! You Won’t believe #11!

Readers!

“What could today’s title possibly mean? It’s usually stupid pun, or something you don’t explain until the last paragraph,” I’m pretending you’re thinking. Well today, I’m going to rank the box toppers. The ones that are better in EDH are the ones I’m going to say I like more. Accordingly, I am going to do a stupid clickbait thing where I start with the worst one first and make you read the whole article to see what the best one is. Awww boo. You drove me to this, you have no one to blame but yourselves. Not you, personally, the collective you. Society. You as an individual are a lovely person and I’m so glad you’re reading my article.

This is part art part science. EDHREC ranks the cards by the percentage of total decks they could be in and are, but it also lists the raw number of decks. I’m going to take both of those numbers into account and do some “I have spent a lot of time thinking about EDH” math and then I’m going to determine the order. If it sounds not entirely scientific, that’s because there is subjectivity to what people are going to buy in the future, imo, and experience matters so I’m leveraging mine. Feel free to create your own ranking and post it in the comments. What’s that? It’s a lot of work and you don’t want to do a bunch of work just to argue with me? That’s what I thought. I’d love it if you did, but I get it if you don’t.

Some Questions I Think You Might Ask

Q: How are you determining the rankings?

A: I’m going to rank them by raw number rather than percentage, check the synergy score with the top 3 decks the card is in to see if it’s a format staple or a pet card in a really popular deck that people might not build forever and stop moving the cards around when the order “looks right.” It sounds goofy but this doesn’t have to be perfect since the difference between #12 and #13 doesn’t matter as much as the difference between #25 and #4 and I can’t imagine looking at lots of factors would make me flip those or something.

Q: Why are you doing this?

A: I want people who don’t play a ton of EDH to know which cards matter to EDH. The boxtoppers weren’t necessarily 100% made with EDH in mind but that doesn’t mean they don’t affect the format and people might not realize how much certain Legacy staples see play in EDH despite it being billed as a casual, bulk rare format.

Q: Yeah, but why are you doing THIS?

A: I’m trying to win “Article of the Year ” at next year’s content creator awards.

Let’s rank some cards, shall we?

40. Goblin Guide

Gobby Boy is just straight trash in EDH. 411 decks are probably playing him because there is Goblin synergy. This is a fine card and the repeated printings bringing the cost of a playset to $20 makes this an accessible deck to build in Modern, but this is the worst box-topper in terms of EDH and that’s what we’re looking at, right?

39. Meddling Mage

I’m surprised this doesn’t get played more in EDH, honestly, but that doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t, and this is the real stinker boxtopper to get for any format. Goblin Guide is going to go out as a 4-of and make players of other formats happy, but this seems to be for no one. Humans in Modern? I don’t know.

38. Fatal Push

There are certainly formats where this card shines and EDH is not among them. A lot of people just have these from Standard and they put them in the deck because they have it, but I can’t justify playing this in EDH. This is in so many decks for as narrow as it is.

37. Thoughtseize

Damaging yourself to get 1 card from 1 hand 1 time? This isn’t an EDH card, and that’s fine.

36. Batterskull

This just isn’t that impressive in EDH. As a creature it’s pretty average and as an equipment it’s even more average. I’d be excited to open this boxtopper as a financier but I’m not keeping it unless I build a Kemba deck or something dumb like that.

35. Sword of Body and Mind

Artifacts throw off any attempt to do a standard numerical ranking. Of course any artifact is going to be super low in terms of percentage of eligible decks and super high in terms of included decks – both numbers are skewed. However, this is in a low absolute number of decks compared to the other artifacts and it’s the worst sword. It’s where it belongs. This is a bad box topper considering no other format really plays this card and EDH doesn’t want it much.

34. Sword of War and Peace

Compared to Body and Mind, this is much better, but it’s still in a pretty low number of decks. At least Body and Mind makes your creatures unblockable to the best decks, this makes your creatures unblockable by the worst decks. This sees more play outside of EDH than Body and Mind, which is to its credit, but EDH doesn’t care much outside of equipment tribal. Life gain and loss scales poorly into EDH.

33. Sword of Light and Shadow

All of the swords are just a little too fair in EDH. That said, this feels like it’s low on the list but it was hard to justify putting it any higher given the quality and good inclusion metrics of the rest of the cards. They didn’t make any truly abyssmal cards into box toppers so there will be good cards low on the list. The swords with numbers on them don’t scale as well in EDH 3 life, 1 life, mill 20. This can’t hang with Fire and Ice or Feast and Famine.

32. Karn Liberated

Karn is in a lot of decks because it can go in a lot of decks. Maybe you flip this and sword, I don’t know. It’s pretty wishy-washy in the middle but you are just starting to scroll a little faster by this point anyway, who cares?

31. Sneak Attack

There are better ways to cheat things into play and keep them. This card was also priced out of people’s collections forever, so that affected its inclusion a bit, and now that it’s cheaper, people have sort of moved on. This isn’t Legacy where you hit them with Emrakul and they can’t recover.

30. Kaalia of the Vast

You sort of have to ignore the inclusion numbers on this one. Kaalia is the #36 commander built on EDHREC in the last 2 years and it was very expensive. This maybe should be even higher on the list, especially since this is only an EDH card.

29. Council’s Judgment

This is played a lot outside of EDH but it’s still quite good in EDH. This is a very political card and can get rid of the permanent of each person’s that is annoying everyone, but one player can double up on their vote to mostly negate it, making this interesting every time. It’s a cheap card and not a great choice for box topper, but it will be a good card forever.

28-26. Tron Lands

These were included to let Modern players have more upgrade options for the lands and while it’s much better to have 12 lands in a 60 card deck, people have found some success with 3 Tron lands in a 99 card deck. These are no worse than a Wastes when you don’t have Tron and then they get quite good, even in EDH, when you assemble Tron, meaning there is no real downside to them. There are a lot of colorless commanders, hence the high inclusion numbers.

25. Blightsteel Colossus

This was basically a card for whales before because it was always over $50 and most players couldn’t afford it. Cards for whales are nice choices of cards to upgrade and this should free up some of the cheaper, non-premium copies. Not every deck wants these, but the decks that do REALLY want them. 2% doesn’t seem like a lot, but that’s 2% of all of the decks in the database. 1 in every 50 decks runs Blightsteel. That’s a lot for a card that was commanding a $50 price tag and beyond.

24. Sword of Fire and Ice

This is the second-best sword. 2 damage is pretty meh, but protection from relevant colors and drawing a card is good. I personally think this is overrated and Light and Shadow is underrated, but Fire and Ice is very expensive and desirable and the art on the box topper is insane.

23. Jace the Mind Sculptor

I have literally never once in my life had one of these played against me in EDH, but apparently 1 in every 25 Blue decks is packing this card that used to be a straight Benjamin. This is the most powerful Planeswalker ever, but you have 3 other opponents in EDH. Still, this is in a lot of decks, so who am I to argue?

22. Stoneforge Mystic

This is in the same number of decks as Jace? I should check to see how much Squadron Hawk is getting played in EDH. I should check our code to see if we’re accidentally scraping MTG Top8. A 3rd joke.

21. Blood Moon

Don’t play this card in EDH. You can, a lot of people do. But don’t.

20. Dark Confidant

Baffling. I can’t believe this many people play this card in EDH. Phyrexian Arena exists. I really can’t justify a card like this where board sweepers are played every turn and your best cards cost 5 mana.

19. Noble Hierarch

Bant is very good in EDH most of the time and 1 in every 9 Bant decks packs this card. That’s good because no one is playing Modern in paper right now and this is below $20 right now. This card needs all the help it can get. Sure glad I bought a bunch of these for like $20 each and didn’t sell in time. I mean, I kind of am glad, actually. I love this card, and we’re getting White Omanth soon.

18. Wurmcoil Engine

This is a reason to play EDH and a reason not to play Dark Confidant all in one card. Is there anything it can’t do? Teysa Karlov decks love this, Daretti decks love this. Unspecified future decks are going to love this. This is a very, very EDH card.

17. Academy Ruins

Gonna be a lot of Blue cards from here on out. Blue is the best color in Magic and it’s tied for the best color in EDH. I just bought a bunch of these box toppers because they look great and I like getting my cards back after someone blows them up.

16. Sword of Feast and Famine

This is the best sword and the second-best equipment in the set. No one would have complained if instead of making Sword of Body and Mind, they had made a Sunforger box topper instead. But hey, what do I know? I make bad decisions all the time.

15. Mox Opal

It’s not super exciting but this card is just fine in EDH, especially since metalcraft and colored mana go hand-in-hand in that format more than most others. I like this being under $50 even though that’s temporary.

14. Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice

This is the #1 commander built in the last 2 years. It’s in 2357 decks where it’s not the commander, which is nuts in and of itself. This might have been higher because it’s only for EDH but every other card in the top 13 is too good to displace.

13. Avacyn, Angel of Hope

This is in 7% of white decks with other commanders. Avacyn is insanely good in EDH and the box topper looks… well it looks like something you’d see airbrushed on the side of a van, but lots of people are into that.

12. Phyrexian Metamorph

This is in a lot of decks and for a good reason. Non-EDH players will be thrilled to crack one of these but EDH players will be especially stoked. This is a great card and while the price on the non-box topperis low from reprintings, it’s still a solid card to look at long-term.

11. Doubling Season

I remember opening this in a pack and being mad that I got casual garbage instead of a Plague Boiler. This is casual garbage but it turns out that just means that if there is ever a format full of casual garbage, something has to be the kind of the casual garbage. This is the EDHiest card of all time and I am glad I never got rid of the copies I was upset to get back in 2005.

10. Crop Rotation

This is a 1 mana tutor that puts the card you wanted into play. This is a 1 mana tutor. And it gets you any land. And it puts it into play. A 1 mana tutor that finds Nykthos or Cabal Coffers. Oh, and this was trash for like the first 5 years it was a card. Crop Rotation isn’t even in the Top 5 box toppers in this set, that’s how bonkers the rest of the set is.

9. Exploration

The regular copies of this card should not be under $20. I see no reason not to buy as many of the box toppers as you can afford, honestly. We’re about to go back to Zendikar and you can get an Exploration for under $20. The box topper is about as insulated from reprint as you can ask of a card and it looks better than this version, which itself looks fine. I’m bullish as hell on this.

8. Force of Will

This may not seem like an EDH card but it turns out you tap out a lot more as a control player when you need to keep countermagic mana up on 3 or 4 turns that aren’t yours instead of just 1. This is in 1 out of every 10 decks that play Blue and that’s half of the decks in the database.

7. Expedition Map

It turns out ways to get Cabal Coffers for 1 mana are popular, who knew? Being colorless, this can go in decks that don’t have Green making it even more versatile than Crop Rotation, a card that is, and I have to restate this, so, so good in EDH. Map gets played in non-EDH non-Legacy formats, so it has that over Crop Rotation, also. Super glad to have this as a box topper. The art isn’t that much of an improvement, though.

6. Chrome Mox

It turns out cards that are good in general are good in EDH. This gets played a ton and with good reason. It gets play outside of EDH which is good, but since EDH is basically the only format played in paper right now, strong EDH demand should be a factor you weigh heavily when selecting a box topper to invest in, and Chrome Mox ticks all of your boxes.

5. Toxic Deluge

I think in one of my articles I said this was played in Modern because I was thinking of Dead of Winter. This does NOT, in fact, see play in Modern, but it does NOT see play in Legacy because nothing sees play in Legacy. EDH demand is what is keeping this box topper from going in the trash, but there is a LOT of that. Roughly 40% of the decks on EDHREC are Black and this goes in 1 in every 8 of those. That’s a lot.

4. Mana Crypt

If you shelled out for foil copies of this when it was first reprinted and you’re upset that it’s being reprinted often, remember that the non-foils keep going back to $100 and also, the box topper is the new hotness so don’t worry so much, Moby Dick. WotC is well aware of who you are and what you’re about.

3. Brainstorm

This is a card that gets more play than it probably should, but I guess Aminatou is a thing. I think this is overrated in EDH but it’s easy to jam in a deck, it’s under a buck for most versions, it gets reprinted in EDH sets sometimes and also, it is the ugliest box topper of all time. Seriously, what were they thinking?

Double Masters Box Toppers: Brainstorm

This is so bad. It looks like a cutscene from a 90s PC game. This is what you see when you die to the last boss in Shandalar. This is what the guy who made that Dire Straits Money for Nothing video has been up to lately. This is… Ron Spencer? OK, I’m going to let this one slide.

2. Lighting Greaves

1 in every 4 decks built by a person has a copy of Greaves. They can keep printing to get the baseline version under $5 every couple of years, but giving the whales who aren’t excited about the Judge foil something to aspire to was a great idea.

Double Masters Box Toppers: Lightning Greaves

The art even looks good. I’m all about this.

1. Cyclonic Rift

I bet a lot of you guessed this right and a lot of you guessed wrong. Rift is the best EDH card out of all of the box toppers and it’s not even remotely close. Other formats get 0 use from this card but that doesn’t matter because it’s so good in EDH that it blows every other card away. This is a pure EDH box topper and accordingly, it might be undervalued by a segment of the whale population, meaning it could have a steeper growth curve that cards people pick up for Modern. EDH is a behemoth and getting box toppers just for the format shows WotC knows it.

That’s all for me this week. I hope this informs your box topper shopping and if you want me to never do this format again, I understand. If that’s the case, leave me a comment below. Thanks for reading, everyone. Until next time!