Category Archives: Unlocked ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: Out With The New

Readers! A lot can change in 7 days. From last week’s article, here is a graphic of the 5 most recent sets in the EDHREC dropdown menu.

And here is, and I’m definitely padding the word count to create somewhat of a buffer between the two images in case you’re on, like, mobile, I guess? And you have big old Kind Charles fingers and can’t select one without the other? I feel like I did it, and not a second too soon because you have to get a lot of this BS. This is that same menu 7 days later.

Superlative. No notes. Is there a reason for this glut of products apart from 40k being delayed?

Super duper. OK, then. Since we’re all whales, now and Ol’ Cap’n Ahabsbro seems to want to see us all dead. If Magic goes away, I need to get a real big boy job and I have 0 skills. I’m like an indoor cat who ended up outside with a dog whose internal monologue is voiced by… I want to say Scoot McNairy. Actually that sounds pretty chill. I’m like a 38 year old with no relevant experience in the last decade who can’t pass a drug test. That’s what I’m like. And I’m scared.

The cure for the “I wasted my life on a children’s card game that doesn’t love me back” blues is more hot specs. With new sets every week comes new specs every week. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Looks like the community is spoiling to build around this creature all the Vorthos people recognize from the Ice Age comic book that came with a free pack of Fallen Empires but I’ve never heard of. The only way to get a deck built is to build it before the set’s out because by the time you have the physical cardboard, they’ve spoiled 2 more sets and 8 more secret lairs. Let’s look at these specs, shall we?

No real shock here. Kayla likely gets built as a mean, stax style deck that you can sac your own pieces to get them back. Everything that makes her better at doing what she does is 2 or 3 mana and an Artifact or Creature. This is basically a Tiny Leaders deck, but like a mean, antisocial one. If people figure out how to build this deck like not a complete sociopath, I’ll report on those specs, too, I guess, but for now, feast your eyes upon my pics.

This card is under $10 and should not be. Every time it goes under $10, it goes back over $10. Is this going to get reprinted again? Perhaps. But what you should really be asking yourself is how many times does it need to get reprinted not to trend towards $15? At least one more, so make this one count.

I could type more because of that thing I said earlier about a buffer between images, but this graph is 1,000 words and I don’t want this piece to turn into a snooze to read if we’re at 1,500 words already.

This is $1 above its recent floor an $20 below its historical high. I don’t know where it will equilibrate, but it’s not going to be $8.

There are basically very few wrong answers here, honestly. Half of these are cards I liked a long time ago. Some of them are way underpriced. WAY underpriced.

I thought this was a $5 last year and nothing has happened since then to make me feel otherwise. Unfortunately, nothing has happened since then.

I don’t know, this just doesn’t seem like a bulk rare to me. It’s in a lot of decks, it’s about to be in more, and it’s good. Illusionists’ Bracers were cheap forever, I stand by this pick and I’ll either be vindicated or out of a job because the game collapsed under the weight of the products they release because no one wants to buy Monopoly or Nerf guns right before a recession.

Speaking of bracers,

This is in a lot of decks. This should be $10 everywhere, maybe more, so sniping cheap copies seems like a good play. They somehow have never reprinted this, which makes me a bit nervous considering they have a chance to reprint it every set, now.

I think this commander actually has a ton of potential. I really like the idea of a Boros type of Birthing Pod, and with it as your commander, you’ll get a ton of value. For reference, here is the rest of Kayla’s page. Thanks for reading, nerds. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: While You Slept

Readers!

Something I haven’t done in a long time is look at the data for Top 100 most-included cards on EDHREC. And why would I? The top card is Sol Ring, there are a bunch of Signets, tutors, removal spells, Rampant Growths and a few spicy creatures like Dockside Extortionist. Everyone who has played even a single game of Commander can probably name all 100 cards, right. Right? Well, what if I told you that there are a lot of cards on the list that have been printed for the first time in the last two years, some of them that I have mentioned before and some I haven’t? Do I need to sell you on this concept, really? I got your click already, you’re hooked, I just need to not blow it by losing your interest. I’d prefer you got something out of this article, so I’m going to look at the EDHREC top 100 cards of the last week and show you which cards from 2021 and 2022 are heating up and whether or not I like them as specs. It’s happening, so be prepared to be surprised by a few of these – it wouldn’t be a whole entire article without a few curveballs, otherwise I’d just list all 100 cards and call it a day. Instead, I’m digging in the content mines without a circle of protection: black lung anywhere in sight. I do it for you, readers, so let’s see what I unearthed, shall we? That was rhetorical; we shall.

#25 – Ignoble Hierarch

There will come a certain point where a rare that is unlikely to get reprinted soon given its price trajectory over the year that’s in tens of thousands of decks will officially become so cheap that it’s absurd not to buy them. Silly me, I thought that point was $5. I bought some, not a ton, but some. The showcase versions is trash, but the old border version is very good-looking. If this is like $1 or $2 and it’s in a quarter of Jund decks moving forward, which seems ow considering it was in more than a quarter of jund decks this week.

28% isn’t a ton more than %25, but $3.39 is a hell of a lot cheaper than $10 so the popularity by way of discovered demand when the card becomes too cheap not to play should help that number increase beyond 28% as people build more Jund. This is in a ton of decks, it’s cheap, it’s getting help from Modern and it’s tough to reprint. At some point the fact that Modern Horizons two was absolutely bonkers and every pack was a winner will be outweighed by the sheer demand, provided people don’t abandon EDH in droves. It’s a fun format, it’s hard to see that happening.

#42 – Esper Sentinel

Esper Sentinel has 4 times the demand (OK, 3.72) of Ignoble Hierarch and commands 10 times the price. As the price for Hierarch sinks, the price for Sentinel really went nuts, peaking at twice what it is now. I still think this card is overpriced at $20 but it’s a little tough to reprint, also. I think rather than look at this card as a spec, I want to use it as a stick to measure what the ceiling for Ignoble likely is. If Esper Sentinel is $20 in 4x as many decks and can hold $20 (if this approaches $10 it becomes so buyable it immediately goes back above $15 in the frenzy) we can expect to get $5 minimum for Hierarch. The showcases are ugly and they’re everywhere but no product is perfect. I think Sentinel is a buy under $20 for any reason other than a reprint and cEDH ubiquity also plays a huge part in Sentinel’s inflated price, something Ignoble can’t quite claim. Neither can this next card, but being in a weird set is a big boost.

#46 Esika, God of the Tree

Coming in just a few spots behind Esper Sentinel this week is Esika, a mana fixing maven. With the multicolored decks coming out hard and fast and showing no signs of stopping, Esika is in under 10% of the 5 color decks released in the past two years, however…

This week she is in twice that ratio, meaning her use over time is trending up. This is a $15 card masquerading as an $8 card and I’m tired of pretending it’s not. Except this will be $15 on Card Kingdom in a few months and we’ll all wonder when it happened. Soon, I think.

This is also available in a very good-looking showcase version, which is kind of rare, really.

I love the showcase art, and while it’s not for everyone, it’s trending up sharply in price, which will happen because it’s the preferred version and the less-preferred version will lag behind. There is time to get in on both, though there’s more time for the plain jane version. I love both, honestly- these shake out to $15 and $20+ respectively fairly trivially in my opinion. I also like a few of the other Legendary creatures from Kaldheim because they bothered to make creatures that could go in the 99. At the time I thought they made too many Legendary creatures in Kaldheim but I’d give anything to go back to before we got literally 70 of them every 2 months.

#50 Damn

This is almost the same price as Ignoble Hierarch and is in twice as many decks. Which card is mispriced? I think perhaps Damn looks good given this comparison, especially given that it goes in more decks.

Both versions of this card look so slick it’s tough to choose a clear winner here. I don’t think you need to – this is played a ton – in 20% of all Orzhov-containing decks over both time periods, and I think it’s a little tougher to reprint than you might think. I like this a ton, especially the $4 EA copies on TCG Player given how they’re already 150% of that on CK.

#72 – An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Not a ton to say here. It’s so easy to get treasure tokens and so hard to get a 2/2 flier that everyone seems to just want to jam this over Swan Song because it’s a $1 uncommon. I don’t rally have an issue with this. Will its price go up? Yep. I don’t know how much, but this is becoming a bit of a staple and I’m all for it.

I doubt you regret snagging these under $2, there are way worse uncommons worth way more, recent ones, too. One problem with this is that it’s a “quiet” and unsexy staple and people tend to buy those one at a time for decks rather than in swaths for speculation purposes. It’s a them card, not an us card. But maybe we make it an us card and just buy the things, I don’t know. Could work.

#74 Void Rend

Speaking of quiet an unsexy, this little guy is chugging along at the $2 mark which is about where the Uncommon we just mentioned is. This is played the same proportion in absolute terms although the mono-Blue An Offer You Can’t Refuse is nearing the 40k mark already. Rares are a third as abundant as Uncommons and this is played a third as much. Will the prices go up together? It’s interesting, but also, good rare removal doesn’t stay under $2 for long and while this is held out of a lot of decks by its Esper color identity, it goes in quite a few by virtue of it being hard to think of an Esper deck that doesn’t want to point and belete a permanent, and being uncounterable matters quite a bit, too. In a head-to-head match, this beats An Offer You Can’t Refuse, and I’ll break the tie that way and you can’t stop me.

#92 Timeless Lotus

This is lava hot right now and, despite being a new card, is showing up in a lot of the 5 color decks. There was a 5 color precon and we’re in the middle of the mania surrounding that and I sort of feel like this is a clunky rock. I’ve advocated for Crystal Quarry before, however, so who knows who’s right? You don’t have to take my word for it, just look at how many people are playing the card. Check the percentage of usage for a few weeks – 35% is entirely unsustainable, and this card’s color identity keeps it out of a lot of decks, but we like Esika so why not like this, too? Morophon is a card, after all.

That does it for me this week! I’m running really close to the automatic cap where wordpress automatically cuts the article off, but before I go I just want to thank

Unlocked Pro Trader: How to Invest in Crypto

lith Rite

Readers! My attempt to game the headline analyzer algorithm are yielding some interesting results – this time I did a bit worse, 72%. I guess it’s better to make specific promises – “making 40k” than it is to tell people how to do things. Fair enough. The headline analyzer doesn’t think you want to be taught how to fish, it thinks you want fish spoonfed to you. I’m not going to do that, readers. It’s not because I respect your intelligence too much, far from it, I’m just not inclined to try and feed anyone fish with a spoon. I’m going to forkfeed these picks to you. That said, there isn’t a ton more data now than there was last week, and the EDHREC backend has gotten a little more complicated so we only have data from one deck. Let’s beat it to death and see if anything else comes rolling out of the corpse. Actually, no, I changed my mind mid-paragraph and rather than just erase that and write what I’m actually going to do, I’m going to leave all of it which will have the effect of showing you how my thought process works and also emphasize that this other thing is so important that I don’t want to risk forgetting about it. They made Necrotic Ooze a commander.

It doesn’t have the activated abilities of all creatures, but having the activated abilities of all Artifact Creatures is enough because you don’t need any creatures that aren’t artifacts.

I know I sound like a broken record here, but Phyrexian Devourer is very good with Necrotic Ooze effects and they’re going to come back into focus soon. Notice the Old Stickfingers bumps I warned about? The price has been cut in half, but since we have an even better Necrotic Ooze commander now, I figured why not just make a lot of money when this hits $30 again? Second spike, baby. Making money on this card is so much fun and I’ve done it so often I should send the Alliances design lead a gift basket. One of those edible arrangements or something. Something classy with a bunch of pineapple and shit. People love being thanked with a bunch of pineapple and honeydew melon but they don’t want to pay $45 plus delivery fees to get like 4 chocolate covered strawberries to be served to them at room temperature in front of all of their work colleagues. That’s where I’ll come in. Did I make you a bunch of money with this card in 2021? I bet I did. Is it absolutely going to happen again? Don’t answer here, that was a rhetorical question since this is an article and not a conversation. Let your chocolate covered pineapple wedges on skewers do the talking.

Second spikes feel like cheating. This bad boy snaked all the way back down to a buck fiddy, can it be $7.50 again? It will probably be more, try to have copies when that happens. I have no idea how much this mono-Black commander will get played, but it doesn’t have to get played at all, that’s the beautiful part.

Imagine this pic is accompanied by a fart noise sound effect that goes on so long it stops being funny then starts being funny again

Not great build metrics here, but the hype sure took these cards to the moon, even though they didn’t stay there very long, like people who went to the actual moon landing faked video in that California studio directed by Stanley Kubrick. Buy early and often, sell into hype always. If you miss your window, these specs will literally inevitably go up again. They’re not reprinting Phyrexian Devourer, nor are they likely to make a version of it that’s so much better that people will stop also playing Phrexian Devourer in a format that literally allows you to run 100 cards, especially given that Artifacts are not excluded from any of those decks on the basis of color identity.

Let’s see how the reprint impacted the price of Walking Ballista.

….K

Sure wish I had seen this coming 2 years ago, but it is down significantly from its peak, and the next bump goes higher. It likely takes a world event rather than a reprinting since it’s not just Triskelion that needs to go up but also Antiquities as a whole, but this is worth knowing.

Maybe Mirrodin foils are the play?

Anyway, this wasn’t even intended to be the main body of the article, but it was so interesting it got its own half an article. I like when stuff I talked about before happens again, even though I don’t remember which article I covered these cards in and it would be so painstaking to find it, it’s literally easier to repeat myself. Besides, maybe you didn’t read the last one, so enjoy the this one.

Moving on to our main topic which will be, at most, as big as this side topic and likely smaller, we have a deck with data on EDHREC, so that’s cool.

I don’t know if people like this dude or the Asstarts or however you pronounce that, but they seem to like the deck, so let’s see what goes in it.

If you’re like me, you looked at the High Synergy cards before you read the massive wall of text on this stupid wizard rectangle and right now you’re trying to mentally work backward to how this commander works looking at a bunch of weird Red Tims and suspend cards and the 5th best card in the “loyal” cycle. What in the world?

Oh, so those suspend cards just get cascaded into by any spell, basically. That’s pretty rad since you can control the exact amount of damage you deal.

Seems like this foil is always in play and with just one more impetus for it to go up and the fact that most Ravnica Allegiance foils have rolled themselves into tubes by now, the supply will only get lower.

Compare Spewer to this card that got a rarity downshift and still flirted with $2. Not bad. Alchemist is obviously a much better card, but, you know, still.

Compare this to a card I confidently paid $8 a copy for release week.

Uncommons that get played a lot can be worth money in foil, even if a deeply stupid deck is where they’re mostly played. Magic finance is fun which is why I never bothered to learn to trade stocks.

Really expected this to tank more, but I’ll take it.

I know foils are mostly trash these days, but the foil is the same price as the non-foil and that’s an opportunity for you to either bet on foil or non-foil or hedge your bets and do both and conduct some A/B testing of your own. There’s no wrong way to invest in Wizard triangles because if I admit there is a wrong way you’ll start remembering my past mistakes and holding them against me and you not doing that for a decade has allowed me to quit working in a stinky laboratory so don’t start now, I have no idea what any of the instruments are anymore and I’m too old to go to back to college.

This is a lot to think about, but I also feel like I barely scratched the surface of Abaddon (more like abadcard amirite) and you can certainly look more into what a pretty unremarkable Grixis spellslinger deck, a very old concept, it truly is if you want. Check my work, I welcome it. Ping me in the Pro Trader Discord server sometime, I’ll always respond to a DM from a Pro Trader, I love to chat, I just don’t love to follow the threads. Discord is actually a massive source of stress for me, but DMs make me happy and make my overall Discord experience a lot better, actually, so hit me up. I don’t bite, I promise. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: How to Make 40k

Readers!

Here I was making a stupid pun title about the 40k decks, little did I know what I was actually doing was striking a rich vein of SEO GOLD BABY! Check out my score from the WordPress “headline analyzer” feature that I swear is a real thing and that I swear I have tried to game multiple times.

Now THAT’S a headline! I’m learning the headline analyzer just wants to see how good a job you can do sounding like a tech bro. My articles aren’t for general consumption and you get them from our feed or from me on twitter, but I can’t help but try and game this thing. Gamers gonna game, right? At least that’s WotC’s theory – they think people who game 40K on a tabletop will want to buy the new 40K preconstructed decks, and that EDH players will want to pay $100 for a precon that’s all curly-ass foils of absolutely pushed Magic cards. Just dumb, broken stuff that will plague Commander for a decade. Remember the Brawl decks? Let me refresh your memory.

Cool format you’ve got there, it would be a shame if something were to happen to it! Like we print a bunch of obvious. pushed commanders that end up in the top 100 of the last 2 years. Is the top 100 a hard goal to reach? Well, for reference, we got 70 new Legendary creatures in Dominaria United alone. It’s safe to say putting 4 commanders in the top 62 is an indication something is wrong. They didn’t get people to play Brawl at all but they permanently changed the face of Commander, so that’s nice. Are these 40k Commanders on the same power level? No, of course not. They’re worse. Much, much worse.

Here are the decklists

This doesn’t seem so bad. Does it synergize with anything in the deck that seems troubling?

I’d say so. Great googily moogily this card is bonkers. Gruul Hydra decks are going to be all over this but now the decks have access to Blue for cards like, I don’t know, Inexorable Tide.

It’s not your job to care about how to use EDHREC so I’ll tell you briefly that I went to Themes on the top bar, then clicked the word “tribes” and scrolled down to hydras. We have a Temur Hydras deck to look at, we don’t even have to extrapolate from Gruul. The deck is Animar and it has a lot of info about how people likely tackle The Swarmlord.

This is pretty interesting.

It’s wild that someone took a look at this price graph and said “this needs a Double Double Masters reprint STAT” but what do I know? WotC won’t even return my emails. I’m not sure which is more insane, the decline from $40 to $4 or the fact that the Double Double Masters reprint at rare had basically no impact on the price. I think if this card hits $2, you brick them. It’s not a $40 Standard scourge, nor is it a bulk mythic (though it got a rarity downshift which is a terrifying signal about the future of Simic creatures).

These are very solid underlying metrics for a $4 card and insane metrics for a $2 one if you consider how few copies of an Eldraine mythic and a rare from a set with $100 booster packs are out there.

But I don’t know how much else plays nicely with The Swarmlord specifically. One card I’ve been talking about fiveever is still a decent spec imo.

Barring a reprint this is a $7-$10 card, especially with some help from The Swarmlord. I don’t know how this card is still so cheap but it’s approaching $3 on the buylist, which is more than retail was when I first started beating this drum. Slow and steady until a reprint knocks out legs out from under us, that’s how we like it.

This will be a very popular commander and basically everything that will be in the deck is on this page for Torbran that you can peruse at your convenience. I want to get to more than one precon today but I think I might not be able to. This deck will be three much fun.

With less turnaround time than before, WoTC is unlikely to let this stay at $8 but I don’t think they can stop it from reaching that number. Mystery Booster printing did very little, if CSI wants $3 for this, I say oblige them.

Yes, they are that cheap and are still available for now.

I honestly don’t hate these under $10. Secret Lair drop cards always seem to go up and I loved that terrible Dungeons and Dragons TV show even before I had played Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. It was reruns, calm down, I’m not even 40 yet.

Torbran made this foil POP. Does Card Kingdom only want $7?

Well, yes and no.

At this point, any foil from an old set that does 1 damage in Izzet colors is a potential Aether Sting, which is exciting.

I have these in my bulk foils for sure, I haven’t picked that stuff in like 5 years.

Some sort of haste tribal deck seems very cool, and it’s not just Ball Lightnings that would be impacted. Let’s look at the page for Ball Lightning and see if we can glean anything from what cards tend to get played alongside it.

Look at these for a bit (if the image is too small, here is the page) and tell me if you see what I see. Give up?

Ognis is basically haste tribal!

Check out the High Synergy cards for Dragon tribal!

Deathleaper is one of the most exciting creatures we’ve seen in a while, and here is a card I will be putting directly onto my biggest creature.

Omnath, Locus of Rage made this no longer a bulk rare, what can Deathleaper do for it?

There is a lot to unpack here and each deck likely gets its own article, but it’s never too early to think about new cards even though we still haven’t even scratched the surface of Dominaria United. I could do this all day but I hit my word cap which means your eyes glazed over 4 paragraphs ago. Sorry for that. I’ll be back next week with more hot tips and cool quips. Until next time!