Category Archives: Unlocked ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: Early Quick Hits 2: Hit Quicker


I’m back with the follow-up to last week’s article, which can’t possibly surprise you because I promised last week I’d do exactly that. If you didn’t read last week’s article, this is a weird place to jump in, kind of. You should really go read it. Is this the first thing of mine you’ve ever read? Welcome, it’s always great to make new fans. You should really read last week’s article and come back. Let that serve as the introductory paragraph where I get you used to some finance info by priming the pump with some high quality banter. If I’m doing that, I can probably cut this paragraph a little short and cut abruptly to

Strixhaven came along with some baggage in the form of Commander 2021 which was kind of Strixhaven but not really. It’s like how Commander 2020 was Ikoria but not really. Strixhaven dumped like 22 legendary creatures on us, so why not dump 20 more the same week? It’s been a lot to slog through all of this set, but it’s my job, so let’s move on, shall we?

Commander 2021 resembles Strixhaven a lot in that it has the same “colleges” which are what we’re calling guilds in this set. The colleges don’t have much overlap with the guilds from Ravnica but they have overlap with Strixhaven which means stuff that matters there will matter here and there are multiple commanders that can make the same “class” of cards relevant. There are quite a few utility cards that have extra chances to go up. Remember when we used to build a new world and then stay there for 3 sets instead of moving on immediately? It’s like that’s still a thing. Extus, Oriq Overlord is the number one commander from Strixhaven so I bet you can guess what the number one from Commander 2021 is, right?

Wrong, you guessed wrong (I assume). I know I did. The strange thing is, there is one commander from each deck represented in the rankings before any of the decks repeat, and the second commander from a previous deck isn’t from the same deck as the most popular commander. The top 2 are very close, closer than in past sets.

Osgir is VERY popular, and it’s funny that the other commander from the deck, Alibou, is the least popular and is in fact ranked below a mono-colored talking bear.

Osgir represents a trend in Commander, which is Wizards reaching out to people like Sheldon Menery for help designing Boros cards that don’t suck. People have been waiting for a Boros commander that doesn’t suck for a long time, and while Osgir is pretty boring to me, players seem super into it. In fact, let’s look at Osgir before we look at Veyran.

This deck is fairly straightforward, which is a bummer. That means it’s very playable with cards out of the box it’s in, which means that the good cards just got reprinted and anyone who bought the deck doesn’t need them from you. The other good stuff just got reprinted in Double Masters or something. That’s bad news for Ichor Wellspring, but good news for this guy.

This is absolutely going to recover from its reprint until it gets rereprinted. We’re at the bottom and I expect it to recover nicely given how strong it is. I doubt it goes back to $8, but $5 is pretty reasonable, which means it will buylist for about triple what you paid if you get in cheap, and that’s free money.

I like this under $5 as well. It’s reprinted in the deck, but while we’re talking about cards that will recover, this will recover.

I don’t see a ton of additional opportunity here, but look for yourself.

I’ve talked about this card at length in the past, but this is basically your last chance before these dry up everywhere forever.

My rule of thumb for all of the cards you look at today is that if it’s from Double Masters and you think it can recover, now is the time it would start doing so. Look at Scepter for example.

It’s basically sold out everywhere at $10, up from its all-time low of $4, so Double Masters stuff is ripe.

This was reprinted in C19 and dodged one in C21. I think this would be closer to $10 than $5 if it hadn’t gotten that reprinting, so make sure you stock up.

See that U shape we love to see? It took 5 years but got there. It’s at its pre-reprint price and climbing. It’s not the best time to buy these, but this has demonstrated it can recover from a reprinting and I think it’s about to get real affordable to buy in.

Cards like this are the reason I started developing the method I now use. It went from a completely obscure bulk rare to a car that was in a large percentage of the iterations of a new deck. This was always useful, as people will find soon, but since it damages your creatures, people never wanted to use it before Gyome made them indestructible. This is the perfect card for this deck and that’s about it. Try to get ahead of this one and sell into the hype, but I think we have a perfect graph to look at for the exact “Black Torment Rare goes from obscurity to prominence based on a Commander deck” parallel to look at the price trajectory we can expect.

Will Last Laugh hit the same as Insidious Dreams? Maybe? I don’t know. I DO know that a lot of the conditions I can think of are the same, so it’s up to you to figure out a factor I didn’t think of, otherwise you could be the one getting the last laugh (cause you’ll laugh when you make money on it, but also to make money, you’ll need copies of the card Last Laugh so it’s like a double pun. I spoil you).

Anyway, that is all of the obvious stuff. I’ll dive deeper next week, but I should say a LOT of the cards in most copies of the decks are in the precons and therefore not really financially relevant. We can talk about whether they should be, but they are and that’s reality. We need to dig deeper to find cards like Last Laugh, but once we do, we should be prepared to bet money that they’ll hit like cards that are obvious to non-players did. I’m rooting for it, that’s for sure, and not just because I suggested it. That’s it for me, readers. Thanks for reading, and hit me up in the comments for once. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Early Quick Hits


Usually I pick one commander, the most popular one, and do a whole article going very deep on just those picks before moving on to the next commander. The problem then became that by the time I got to the 4th or 5th article, all of the obvious picks had dried up. I feel like I was doing you a disservice by not mentioning big, obvious stuff while there was still time to get it. I can get granular for granularity’s sake later when the obvious stuff dries up. I think that money is money and picks are picks, but I also think you’re going to get sort of annoyed if I don’t mention obvious stuff because I tackled the subjects in the wrong order.

To that end, for this set at least, I’m going to try and cruise through quick hits for the set this week and for the precons next week. It’s not ideal either way – ideally I’d write a huge primer the second I had any data and you could all read it at once, but since that’s not really an option, let’s at least pick the low-hanging fruit, shall we?

The distribution so far isn’t quite how I expected it to go, but I think the precon commanders are liable to overshadow the set commanders a bit. That’s fine, I don’t love the idea of them jamming 35 Legendary creatures into every set now, anyway. We’re drowning in commanders and that has the effect of making everyone make every good one just to keep up rather than getting to spend some time with some silly ones. I don’t love it but that’s my commentary as a person who cares about the format. As a person who cares about prices, it’s probably not going to tip over the house of cards yet.

I didn’t really expect Extus to be number 1, but I was basing that on the fact that I like Extus a lot and usually the commanders I like a lot aren’t as embraced by the community. I also like Uvilda and Nassari and that deck isn’t even in the top 18 here.

I’m going to do the most obvious stuff from every deck in no particular order. Sound good? Don’t worry if it’s a little jarring, we’ll do this again next week and we’ll go deeper the week after. Let’s begin.

People tend to be running things they can sac, things they can sac creatures with, and ways to copy spells. I think there could be a bit of upside there.

Fury Storm is perfect. It’s cheap for now, on its way up for the second time in the past 4 months, and most importantly, it does more copying for every time you’ve played your commander, which happens to be the spell you’re copying. This card was made for this deck and supply seems to be on the move.

No real deep analysis here – this is a bit of a no-brainer.

This would be a no-brainer if I wasn’t so afraid of a 4th printing, which I am. Still, this card does WORK and if that printing doesn’t come soon, there’s money to be made on a card that gives you an absurd number of tokens. Also, with Divine Visitation out, you never make a Thrull and he goes OFF.

I’ve been on about this for a few sets and I think this probably can’t get cheaper, but it HAS already flirted with $15 and it’s gettable for under $10 on TCG Player but selling out elsewhere. Seems significant.

I’ve called this before but it doesn’t appear to be too late, wow. That’s great growth and while a reprint will stamp on us pretty hard, I don’t know if one is coming in the next year.

While there was never a truly cheap time to buy in, it doesn’t look too bad now. A year on and things are starting to trend up. I wouldn’t wait if you’re going to buy these. Consider the extended art.

While it was obviously better to buy right when this got a Mystery Booster printing, isn’t it nice to know it completely shrugged that off and continued on its upward trajectory? This card is a monster.

After I wrote this, a reader pointed out that Archive is in the Witherbloom precon. Do I think it can shrug that off? Yes, and I think when it bottoms out, you can safely buy in. It will go lower than $10 this time, which is nice.

This card can’t decide if it’s $5 or $10. When it finally makes up its mind, what are the odds it decides it’s going to stay at $5?

With Witherbloom being a lifegain school, I think just about every Witherbloom deck can use this. This is like $2 and it could be like $20 under the right circumstances. If all you want to do is pay $2 and buylist for $5 later, this seems like a slam dunk.

This was going to go up anyway.

That’s a lot of picks! I’ll go deeper later, but make sure you think about what each deck does and buy cards that go across lots of them, Lifegain, copying, saccing – some of the cards there are staples and some of them are specific to these decks. Go to EDHREC and mess around, find your own specs. I’ll be back next week! I’m out!

Pro Trader: FIrst Day oF Classes


I’m sure you’re all dying for me to give you some good news about Strixhaven specs in Commander but I don’t know that I have great news. I have bad news and weird news, which do you want first?

The bad news is that even with EDH’s help, the individual cards themselves probably won’t go up enough to have been worth buying in. Unless something is Smothering Tithe-tier, the odds of something that’s used in EDH being worth buying this early is practically nill. Can I refer you to some prices from the last few sets?

The cards over $10 are just different versions of the same few cards. The same is true of other sets.

With crazy Japanese language alternate art cards in the collector boosters, I really don’t see that there is much room to do anything with singles. I never think so. As always, I think the money is to be made on old cards that are suddenly good based on new commanders. Luckily we got 50 of them dropped on us over one weekend, so that’s neat. I’m still wading through all of it, but preliminarily, Commander 2021 is much better for EDH than Strixhaven proper. Before you say “Duh,” let me just illustrate how much better. The stuff getting tested the most in Strixhaven is… not good. Better versions of these cards already exist, and that’s a problem.

I’ll show you what I mean.

In my opinion as someone who knows as much about the EDH side of EDH finance as the finance side of it, Rip Apart, Fracture and Mortality Spear are bad. I don’t think they’re going to continue to see play. That said, I felt the same way about Ravenform and people are at least allegedly playing that, so what do I know? I won’t argue too much against data because I’m not a complete lunatic, but since this data is fairly preliminary, I will caution people to not jump to any hasty conclusions yet.

One card I see overperforming my expectations in a way that I don’t think is necessarily wrong is this fella over here.

Archie over here is a card-drawing machine and coupled with Thousand-Year Storm, he can quickly deck you because that’s how decks with Thousand-Year storm work. You win with Thassa’s Oracle or you barely win one spell short of decking yourself. There is no in-between. Making every Instant a cantrip is pretty powerful and I think this could stick around. Foils are pre-selling for $5 for the bundle foil, and that may be the money card.

Archmage Emeritus-bundle, Strixhaven School of Mages:Foil (STX) Price

The new art is pretty sweet for an alternate art, although I bet the tats look good in foil on the set foil, too. I don’t even hate brushing a stack of these around a buck. Creatures are a little flimsier than enchantments, but here’s a card to at least look at.

I think we have a while before Insight pops, even in foil.

That said, the trend in foil is somewhat encouraging. So will how collectible the bundle foil is offset how available it is? I tend to doubt it, and with Ageless Insight growing as slowly as it is, it’s tough to recommend Archie, and if I can’t recommend Archie, what else from the set even looks good?

I think by now people have gotten the memo that cards like this are good and shouldn’t be allowed to get very cheap, but I think people are also trying to compare an in-print common to an uncommon like Relentless Rats that got popular like 5 years after it first got printed and that’s silly. Let’s compare this to the cards it’s comparable to.

7 Dwarves becoming a $5 foil was fairly easy to predict, but I also think Dwarves is a much, much better card than Dragon’s Approach. I think Dragon’s Approach is a trap and while I think it has upside at the price of “rescue from draft chaff” I wouldn’t expect Approach to do Dwarf numbers ever.

Petitioners is a year older than Dwarves and the foil is the same price. I don’t know what that means for Dragon’s Approach, but a spell is harder to put copies of into the graveyard than it is to put copies of into play, so I am not sure this current trends will hold.

I am a little bearish on Strixhaven for EDH, folks. We still have the commander decks to delve into next week, but I don’t love the set preliminarily. That said, some of the commanders are cool.

Extus, Oriq Overlord // Awaken the Blood Avatar

Extus, Oriq Overlord // Awaken the Blood Avatar

Extus is a decent commander with a really brutal spell attached that gives you access to Red and gives you a handy sac outlet that reduces commander tax. I like this a lot.

I’ve called this card before and I was right then and I’m right (?) now. This has flirted with $6 before, I think it gets there now. You want to cast Awaken the Blood Avatar a lot, and now you can do that and then copy it a bunch. This is a no-brainer inclusion in the deck and since it’s currently the most popular deck on EDHREC by a LOT, I think this is a winner.

A few other relevant cards are creeping up. I really like the idea of building this deck, and I plan to as soon as possible.

This card is in a $40 precon with a $50 card, this card should cost -$10 and yet here it is, creeping up in price. Get these before they go, because once the cheap copies dry up after the cheap copies of the precon do, this is going to go up faster than anyone thinks. It’s not even at its historical peak.

I think we can delve more into Extus or other decks next week, but for now, this set is weak for EDH and that’s OK. I’m still busting Collector Boosters to get those sweet Japanese foils, and you should, too. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Hot Specs for Cool Decks


There are 2 new preconstructed decks revealed so far and I want to talk about both of them. If there are actually 5, you could get access to this article on Tuesday by becoming a Pro Trader, just saying. Early access to the articles is just one of the many benefits. I mean, this isn’t even me trying to pitch Pro Trader, this is just me uncomfortable that I only have 2 decks to talk about and you have information that I don’t about what’s in the other 3. I’ll talk about the rest of them next week – Tuesday if you found this paragraph charming, Thursday if you didn’t.

Lorehold and Prismari are revealed so far and I think despite RW usually being a pretty weak pairing, things seem different with this set. They used old, familiar color pairings but really did work to put a new twist on them – Lorehold is NOT Boros. This isn’t a combat-oriented precon, it’s leaning a bit into White’s “Archaeology” theme that hasn’t been explored much since like, Antiquities, and giving us some real value out of the graveyard in ways Boros never dreamed of. The precon also contains a very, very good reprint.

I don’t want to suck up to WotC too much (here; I ABSOLUTELY sucked up to them on Twitter and I’ll do it again) but this is a great reprint. What I won’t tweet is that they don’t deserve a ton of credit here because this was closer to $10 than $30 when they put the precon together to send off to the printer. It worked out for us, like it worked out in 2016 the first time this card was reprinted and sunk to below $5.

This won’t sink to $5 ever again and won’t ascend to $30, most likely, but there is still money to be made when this bottoms out. This should regain some value because it’s a bonkers card and it’s a Dargon and it steals ALL of their artifacts. Good God, this card is really good. Wherever this stops, buy it, it will go back up. This graph basically starts where it was reprinted and look at that curve.

There are some really solid reprints here beside Hellkite Tyrant, but I’m not sure too many of them have a chance to get back to their pre-reprint levels the way Tyrant will. There is one card I like, though.

This was also pretty reasonable when it was slated for the reprint but with the Elves shenanigans happening lately, this popped off in a big way. I think it’s likely this at least approaches the $20 it hit in 2019. This Lorehold deck could be the RW deck from Commander 2015 – it didn’t sell well but it was the surprise value winner a year later with Urza’s Incubator, Fiery Confluence, Blade of Selves and Gisela. We have seen $40 precon decks with one $50 card in them just this last year and it should be affordable to buy these decks and get your value back in basically 2 cards and have the rest of the deck be pure profit.

The new cards in the deck matter, too.

Tax is likely going to be a second Smothering Tithe rather than a new Smothering Tithe. With the other cards in the deck, it seems fairly likely that Monologue Tax’s price will be under $10.

Although it seems some people are eager not to make the same mistake they did when they underestimated Smothering Tithe. Where will Monologue Tax go if it’s half as good as Tithe?

And that’s with a reprint in the Brawl decks. Monologue Tax is no Smothering Tithe, but it’s close-ish and I think it’s not unreasonable to expect it in the $12-$15 range, but I bet it goes down before it goes up unless you find a presale price that’s cheaper than the ones that exist now. Be patient, let the feeding frenzy come and go and let everyone else test this in their decks.

The Prismari deck doesn’t have quite the same amount of bonkers reprint value, but it’s still pretty solid. OK, that’s misleading. This deck has like 0 value. Want to know the most expensive cards in the deck right now?

It could mean that the deck is bad and is always bad, but there is hope nestled among the new cards.

Everything in the deck costs a million mana, which is fine with Rousing Refrain being cast for free every once in a while. The real monster is the commander, though.

Preliminarily, take a look at Thousand-Year Storm which dodged a reprint in this deck, which is silly considering there are 2 $20+ cards in the Lorehold deck. I did get my Swarm Intelligence stonks spanked, though, but I deserve that, I guess. When the full deck is on EDHREC, I’ll have some cards to look at, but I have a few ideas based on looking around the net to see what people are building.

This is already on its way to the moon, or at least near-earth orbit with the parts of space shuttles and junked Soviet satellites. That’s pretty good, right? Buying in at $10 feels weird, but there are $8 or $9 copies available and I think this is $20 in a year barring intervention.

I bet you didn’t know this was going for this much. This is a beefier version of Young Pyromancer and EDH players are very aware of it even if some of the rest of us weren’t. This is on its way up and double triggering this seems cool.

Finally, a card that I need to show TCG Prices for because the graph on Card Kingdom is messed up.

This looks like a useless graph, but it’s actually not. Let me explain what is happening here. Mizzix was an $8 card that appeared to be going for $1 every few months. What happened there? Put simply, Card Kingdom doesn’t do a good job with their API that other sites scrape. When there are no copies of Mizzix listed, it doesn’t list the price it was going for when it sold out like it does for other cards because there is a $1 copy of the foil oversized card from the EDH decks in stock. We can see every time Mizzix sold out on Card Kingdom in the last few years. It happens quite a bit. That’s something worth knowing. This was selling out before it had a nuts deck like Veyran to go in.

Veyran also ends up in the 99 of decks like Kalamax, but I don’t know if that makes anything move. Kalamax is pretty popular already and I don’t know if adding Veyran to the 99 juices it at all. You can certainly look at Mizzix and Kalamax decks, though, to see if anything sticks out to you. I can’t catch everything, but I can teach you to fish. Go fish.