Category Archives: Unlocked ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: Finnistrad

I’ve done too many pun titles to articles. I got halfway through writing “What to expect when you’re expecting Vampires and Werewolves” and I’ve done basically that title exactly. Not just once, either.

“Finnistrad” is the best I can come up with, and it’s an OK title, but I think the advice is going to more than make up for it.

Innistrad Jacob vs. Edward is coming out within a year and while we have a long time before those sets are spoiled, we actually kind of want to be ahead of everyone else. Being ahead of people means that the cards don’t actually have to be good, or playable.

Card Kingdom has NM copies for $3 and the duel deck promo is under a buck. Someone had the chance to buy these at $0.50 and get out for $4. In fact, these were buylisting for $3.25 before the end, so people made some literal free, easy money. Turn that into CK credit, crank it over for the next round of easy specs. If you have some CK credit burning a hole in your pocket, maybe we should talk Vamps and Werlvs. Werewvs? There’s no cool way to shorten “Werewolves” like you can “Vampires.”

I think for this one, I’m going to fall back on my old method of jamming every card from every average list into a big old list and looking at cards played in most decks. We may find some cheap gems, and we may find that some obvious cards just go up on principle. They don’t have to even go in the deck to increase in price, remember, Lovisa Coldeyes isn’t being played more than it was. Some of these cards will go up because people think they will, and it’s not too early to think about that.

Vampires

I am doing vampires first because I feel like it will be easier. There is more data but at least it’s obvious where to look. There are basically 0 real Werewolf commanders so I have to fiddle a ton with filters to find them, whereas vampires are obvious. As always, I snagged the average lists for each commander, put them in a list comparison tool and generated a list of cards that is in every deck. Once we filter out EDH staples, we’re left with cards that have a lot of chances to go up, and could get some more attention once everyone remembers they’ve known about Twilight the set for months already and forgot to do anything with that information.

I compared the top 5 Vampires lists – Adgar Markov, Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, Elenda, the Dusk Rose, Olivia Voldren and Anje Falkenrath. I could have done more, but a few things popped out at me when I compared these 5.

Anything on this list that isn’t an EDH staple is likely a vampire tribal staple. The fact that we’re seeing creatures in all 5 lists when crazy tribe-specific cards like Blade of the Bloodchief aren’t makes me want to look at those creatures.

I’d like to think I told people to buy these in 2017 when they got reprinted. The truth is, this was a secret promo of sorts because it was included in M11 precon decks as a foil, which made the foil and non-foil price be about the same. Remember when a foil costing about the same as a non-foil was alarming and not the new reality? Anyway, this card rules and foils are a little more than the non-foils, finally.

Modern Horizons 1 was such a juicy set that it’s tough to move the needle on non-mythic rares that aren’t format staples. However, the subtle over time when people weren’t especially building Vampires and the fact that this is pretty bonkers in any Vamps build makes me think this could hit a tipping point and become nuts quickly. I don’t hate foils, either.

If you can find foil copies under $10, don’t delay. They’re drying up, which bodes well for non-foils.

Only NM in stock on CK but there are over 150 listings on TCG Player. I like these but it will take a big nudge to get them going. That’s good, we can buy as much as we want without nudging.

Not much doing here. Infinite supply given its rarity and the foils are already like $12, which is higher than I care to buy in.

Sanctum Seeker is growing like it should and I see no reason why it couldn’t pop. It’s barely above its historic high and, given the set it’s in, this is a good candidate for a double up to a buylist.

I also like Blade of the Bloodchief and Champion of Dusk. Cards that show up on “merely” 4 of the lists are fine picks, too.

One more thing – we can let EDHREC do some of the work for us, too. I still use the multilist comparison tool, but EDHREC’s page for Vampire tribal does the same analytics as other pages, including high synergy and top cards. High synergy, as a refresher, means that the ratio of inclusion in vampires lists to inclusion in all decks of those colors is especially high, indicating it’s a card more less likely to be found in non-vampire decks. Stromkirk Captain has a very high synergy score, the synergy score for Sol Ring is a negative number. Peruse that page thoroughly as well.

Werewolves

This was tougher, and I leaned on EDHREC’s page a lot more.

Wow. OK. Not even Morophon? Maybe this won’t take that long

As a note for you when you use EDHREC, your pathing through the site matters. To find the decks we want, you’ll want to first go to the Werewolf tribal page and then click on the commanders’ portraits. That will take you to a specific page that only displays cards in Werewolf tribal decks for that commander. You won’t miss much if you mess up and go straight to Urlich’s page, but there are 20 Xenagos Werewolf tribal decks and if you don’t take the correct path to Xenagos’ page, you’ll get all Xenagos decks and that tiny signal will get washed out.

We’re not so much looking at tribal staples as we are looking at 2 decks that run basically the same cards because they have to. If anything, the cards that are unique to either deck are more interesting to me from a building perspective, but let’s parse the… sigh, 62 common cards between decks.

Afflicted Deserter
Arlinn
Arlinn Kord
Beast Within
Beastmaster Ascension
Breakneck Rider
Cinder Glade
Command Tower
Conduit of Storms
Cult of the Waxing Moon
Cultivate
Daybreak Ranger
Decimate
Domri
Duskwatch Recruiter
Evolving Wilds
Full Moon’s Rise
Gatstaf Shepherd
Geier Reach Bandit
Gruul Signet
Gruul Turf
Guardian Project
Hermit of the Natterknolls
Heroic Intervention
Howlpack Resurgence
Huntmaster of the Fells
Immerwolf
Instigator Gang
Kessig Forgemaster
Kessig Wolf Run
Kodama’s Reach
Kruin Outlaw
Lambholt Elder
Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
Mayor of Avabruck
Mondronen Shaman
Moonlight Hunt
Moonmist
Neglected Heirloom
Nightpack Ambusher
Rhythm of the Wild
Rootbound Crag
Rugged Highlands
Sage of Ancient Lore
Scorned Villager
Silverfur Partisan
Smoldering Werewolf
Sol Ring
Spirit of the Hunt
Stomping Ground
Temple of Abandon
The Great Henge
of the Krallenhorde
Ulrich’s Kindred
Ulvenwald Captive
Ulvenwald Mystics
Vanquisher’s Banner
Waxing Moon
Wolfbitten Captive
Wolfir Silverheart
Anarch of Bolas
Voice of the Pack

Let’s take out duplicate cards, lands and staples like Guardian Project.

Afflicted Deserter
Breakneck Rider
Conduit of Storms
Cult of the Waxing Moon
Daybreak Ranger
Duskwatch Recruiter
Full Moon’s Rise
Gatstaf Shepherd
Geier Reach Bandit
Hermit of the Natterknolls
Howlpack Resurgence
Huntmaster of the Fells
Immerwolf
Instigator Gang
Kessig Forgemaster
Kruin Outlaw
Lambholt Elder
Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
Mayor of Avabruck
Mondronen Shaman
Moonlight Hunt
Moonmist
Neglected Heirloom
Nightpack Ambusher
Rhythm of the Wild

Sage of Ancient Lore
Scorned Villager
Silverfur Partisan
Smoldering Werewolf
Spirit of the Hunt
The Great Henge
of the Krallenhorde
Ulrich’s Kindred
Ulvenwald Captive
Ulvenwald Mystics
Vanquisher’s Banner
Waxing Moon
Wolfbitten Captive
Wolfir Silverheart

This is a list of a bunch of $0.16 cards. A lot of them are more expensive in foil, and maybe that’s the play, but I’m not thrilled here, nor when I look at the Werewolf tribal page.

The cards that I think won’t get cut when they add better Werewolves plus a better commander are as follows.

Foil Immerwolf isn’t quite at an all-time high and with the supply basically what it is, this has potential. It’s been on the move a bit since the announcement of the Innistrad set, but it’s not done moving for that reason since not many people caught on.

This has flirted with $5 in the past and now it’s half that? This is a no-brainer.

I had to use ABU’s graph since this is basically gone everywhere else.

I don’t love anything else. Luckily, we have so many Vampire picks, I’m sure you have more than enough to mull over. FWIW, if you like foils more than me, I think you’ll likely mitigate some reprint risk since the set will likely be accompanied by one or two precons that could have Vampire and Werewolf reprints in them. Mitigating reprint risk is a fine strat, and a $3 foil Howlpack Resurgance that could go to $8 looks better than a $0.69 nonfoil that will only stop being $0.69, which is all it has going for it right now.

That does it for me. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: 20,000 words about C21

Readers!

Typically I shoot for between 1,500 and 2,000 words per article, but today, I wanted to shoot for 20,000 words instead. I know it sounds daunting, believe me, it’s even more daunting for me. Do you really want to read an article that’s 10 times as long as my typical article? I mean, you might, but probably not. I’m certainly not inclined to write that much in one sitting, either. The only way for something like this to work is for me to try and hack it slightly. If we consider a picture to be 1,000 words, we can hit the 20k mark in no time. The best thing about a picture being worth 1,000 words is that you’re going to come to your own conclusions rather than having me either spoonfeed or bias you.

Commander 2021 is making stuff move, finally, and while there is still time to get ahead of some of it, it’s also good to know what is in the process of moving. With all of that in mind, I’m going to try to communicate the rest of my ideas with pictures. Whether or not you think this works, I’m probably never doing this again, so don’t worry if you hate it. Anyway, let’s make with the pics.

Did I make my points convincingly? Are you left with more questions than answers? Should I never again attempt to do a 20,000 word article? Let me know in the comment section or in the Discord if you’re a Pro Trader. Thanks for… can you call it reading? Thanks for your kind attention and I hope you picked up some of these sold-out cards when we called them earlier. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Time Spiral Recovered

Readers!

I know you wanted me to trifle with Strixhaven a bit more, but I taught you what I would do and given the choice between putting a ton of cards in lists and comparing them like I almost did and doing something potentially more valuable, I opted to switch things up. New cards are exciting and all, but I talk about how a lot of the money I make is unsexy and I’m going to make you eat your vegetables and make some ugly money this week.

Time Spiral Remastered gave us a nice mix of Time Spiral favorites and spicy reprints and it was a pretty nice set. The cards that got a reprint should recover, especially since Time Spiral Remastered wasn’t as widely available as maybe people thought.

So with that in mind, why don’t we sort by most used in EDH and take a look at which cards we think have been reprinted past the point of recovery and which cards are bound to net us a big return if you buy in right now.

I don’t know how much this info matters, per se. I wonder if cracking a Feather in a booster made anyone who didn’t already have a Feather deck go out and make one. What I CAN say is that I never saw a TSR commander crack the Top 25 weekly list on EDHREC since the set was printed, even with people updating their lists. I don’t think any of these commanders were so expensive that people help off on making the deck until the commander got cheaper – the only card I could see that being the case for is Yawgmoth, but EDH is a format where decks are like $300 most of the time and a $30 Yawg probably won’t stop someone who really wants the deck from making it. That said, did this do anything for Yawg?

The printing in TSR didn’t impact the price of Yawgy at all. Which one of these dips is from TSR? If you didn’t know, you’d swear it was the one in April of 2020 since that was more significant than the mere 25% dip in the price as the result of a lot of new supply. Not only that, it’s a brand new border meaning people who have a Yawgmoth but like the new look more (like me) might be inclined to switch.

I think the cards likely to tank enough that you can bank on a recovery are going to be non-commanders.

This seems… discouraging. The cards at the top of the list are staples with multiple reprintings and most of them are non-rares. Could any of this go up?

Stats indicate Dovin’s Veto isn’t even the cheapest it will possibly be, yet. Do we like it at just under $2 or do we wait to see how much cheaper it can get? $2 is currently between the non-foil set price ($1.50ish) and the foil ($4ish) and I like this long-term more than the set foil, personally. This is the version of Veto I’ll play in my decks. Just how much is this getting played, though?

That’s a lot.

WOW.

Dovin’s Veto is the 8th-most-played multicolor card in the format. I’d say that buying in at $2 for a unique printing is safe. If you buy in at it goes to $1, don’t tweet at me to call me a dummy, buy a bunch until your average cost is $1.25 and thank me when you buylist them for $5. With a card played this much, the phrase “reprint risk” hardly applies because the rate of new decks will just absorb printings. If you can make money every year on Swiftfoot Boots when it gets reprinted then goes back up, imagine how you’ll do here if it’s not reprinted in the next year. Imagine how well you’ll do if they never print a better version than the old border and the original art. Will they ever?

I feel similarly about a few other uncommons that might as well be rares since they’re worth more than most of the rares in the set they’re in.

If this gets any lower you can arbitrage these sumbithces. I honestly think that since there is a new set every 2 weeks, people just aren’t paying attention. These seem really ripe.

It’s a $100 foil, so don’t even worry about it.

Do you like a $3 set foil in a world where the TSR foil is like $100? I am not sure I do, but I do like the TSR non-foil in that case. I really think with the spread approaching 0% you basically cannot lose.

Card Kingdom is already raising the price on Vandalblat? That makes those $5 copies on ABU look pretty tasty to me. If CK is already on its way to $10 and they’ll sell them because CK sells ALL of the EDH cards, paying under $6 anywhere is easy money RN. I’m glad I did this today and not a month from now, goodness. Sure we’re not sure if Mystic Sanctuary or Veto have bottomed out but Vandalblast already hit an all-time high.

I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t expect THIS. This graph shape tells me very little about what I should do. I guess we wait?

As long as we’re not sure what to do about cards, I want to watch Bondy here as it heads toward an arbitragedy. This is far from the only Bond and it’s not the last, certainly, but could this be the “best” Sanguine Bond? The old border is sexy and the only reservation I have about calling this the “best” is the fact that the Exquisite Blood doesn’t match the border. If we get an old border Exquisite Blood, this probably goes way up. As it is, this probably goes way up. I like this less than Veto, which is why it’s last, but watch to see if this becomes arbable. Remember, we have the buylist on other versions of the card basically enforcing a price floor for this. Could this head toward $1? Something drastic happens if it does. Remember, these Time-Shifted cards are fairly rare, so this isn’t a ton of supply, and with any demand at all, especially with lifegain as a theme in both Strixhaven…. Golgari (I forget the dumb house names) decks and Commander 2021 as well, there is more demand this week than ever before. I like this. Look at the graph!

There may be more opportunity in TSR, but these are mostly can’t-miss picks so don’t miss them. That does it for me – until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Early Quick Hits 2: Hit Quicker

Readers!

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!