Category Archives: Unlocked ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: 15 Specs Based On No Evidence

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Readers,

I like being involved in EDH finance and usually it’s a fast-paced world that’s constantly evolving but we have just been doing a lot of nothing on the basis of Guilds of Ravnica. There’s nothing doing. The most-built commander is still Niv-Mizzet which would be cool if the deck didn’t already exist in its entirety. Niv-Mizzet isn’t new, Etrata isn’t good and Izoni isn’t exciting. The guild decks nerfed a lot of specs and I wrote three articles’ worth of content about those stupid box-toppers last week. This week I want to think about the next Ravnica set, its 5 guilds and a few cards that are likely to get some play based on which guild mechanics I expect will see a bump. I’m sure most of the commanders are going to suck and a lot of the guild kits will have obvious synergistic cards, but I think if we go foil and obscure, or target cards outside of Ravnica sets which won’t be in those decks, we can be safe. Here’s what I came up with on the basis of writing a very similar article from a builder’s standpoint that will go live on Coolstuff Inc. later this week.

Azorius

I don’t think Forecast is all that likely to be re-used and I think they’ll either do a new mechanic that’s synergistic with Detain or they’ll just re-use Detain, which I’m fine with. Detain is rough against a whole board, but I think bouncing Lavinia has worked in the past and likely will again. I think those flash shenanigans are the best thing we can be doing in those colors and if we’re not building around a new commander, I bet we get some new spells that make that sort of thing profitable, I’m betting there’s a Ghostway in the Guild Kit and I’m betting there is money to be made.

This nicely shrugged off the reprint, one it’s not likely to get again soon. There area lot of these, but 17,105 is a big number, too. There is no real substitute for this card, only cards that do this absurd thing almost as well. This does dumb stuff with creatures like Lavinia and with most Detain abilities being ETB, I think this is a safe bet whether we get anything Detain-esque or not. This was never not a good bet to go up.

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This didn’t dip as much at rotation as many would have liked and it’s already starting to go nuts. This was gettable for much cheaper and I feel like I warned us but I didn’t buy as many as I should have, either, so we’re all just going to have to buy a little closer to the $10 I bet this hits soon and chalk it up to being distracted by stuff that doesn’t matter like Ultimate Masters and Arena and every other format.

In the event that I’m right about everything and we not only get good detain or other ETB stuff and Ghostway in the Guild Kit, don’t forget about this card.

Gruul

Gruul’s keyword abilities all tended to relate to making sure you deal them damage and I don’t necessarily expect a good commander to result if we end up getting one of those keywords back or getting one related to them. I’d rather pitch lands at them for more damage than pitch creatures to their Bloodrush ability. I think Gruul is a lands-matter tribe primarily and even if we don’t get a new commander for that, I bet we get cards that enable those strategies and those alone may be an impetus to go back and build something like Angry Omnath or Mina And Denn.

I think this is getting a bit underplayed right now and I think once people realize how good this is, we’ll see it crest a few bucks at least. It’s in the “worst” deck and while most of the copies busted aren’t going in a deck, there aren’t many copies being busted since players aren’t excited and the deck isn’t worth anything. This has a lot of room to grow and I think it’s a great card that will pair well with future Gruul offerings.

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I’ve been on this for a while and I don’t feel any less positive about it now than I did then. This is sick in EDH, has cross-format appeal, is at its price floor and likely gets a second look if the new Gruul commanders are any good, and that could be doubly-so if Simic happens to interact with it somehow.

You aren’t likely to see this reprinted and while you’re not going to have any Deserts when this resolves, you’re also not going to see a card that gets two lands of any type and puts them into play anytime soon. This is pretty nuts and its demand will soon catch up with its supply. It may take a minute like it did with Realms Uncharted, but it will happen.

Orzhov

I doubt Haunt is coming back and since Extort was so miserable in Limited, I don’t think we’re getting that precisely, either. I think if we do get a new keyword ability, it’s bound to be related to lifegain or life drain and since Ozhov was great at that already, cards that are devoted to that will have some upside.

At around 12k decks, this card doesn’t mess around. It’s got utility in spellslinger decks as well as lifegain decks and blasting people for 50 appeals to casual players as well as competitive ones. This card has something for everyone and I don’t know how reprintable it is. I was all over these when my LGS blew out bulk rares as buy one get one free dropping the price to 50 cents and I feel pretty good now that they have quintupled. There is a lot of room to go up, still.

Foil Kambal is harder to reprint, gets played in formats like Legacy and Modern where foils have upside as well as the lunatics who foil their EDH decks. All in all, this seems like a no-brainer.

Between Orzhov and Azorious, someone is going to want a 3 mana Jokulhaups.

Rakdos

Rakdos is terrible and I think the Rakdos stuff that has upside will have nothing to do with the Keyword ability, which may be Hellbent but will likely be new and not great in Commander. I had a lot of success in Limited with Rakdos but times around since you curved out and had a lot of finishers that were nasty with Hellbent but I don’t know if EDH cares this time around.

This is half predicated on Grenzo and half just another excuse to talk about a card that should both be played and cost more.

I think a lot of people thought this high price was predicated on scarcity, but the amount of decks running it bely that narrative. Besides, it’s not like Battlebond isn’t pretty scarce in its own right. Battlebond continues to be a slam dunk.

If you buy one card from this block, buy Torment of Hailfire. If you buy two, but Tormet of Hailfire and Neheb. Trust me.

Simic

Simic is likely to have a dumb, +1/+1 counter theme and some support for it but it will mostly just be a goodstuff commander, if there even is a good commander in the set. Simic is my favorite color combination but it’s a bit boring and most of what it will likely do in this set is accidentally give Atraxa decks a good card.

This may not be as hard to reprint as I’m making it out to be, but I’m not banking on this ever getting cheaper. In a Simic deck, this is really solid but good luck wresting a copy away from an Atraxa player.

In my experience, this puts the person who resolves it roughly as far ahead as casting Sylvan Primordial did, but there you have it. This is not bannably good per se but I feel like it can be just as much a blowout. If those cryptocurrency geniuses went as hard after obvious specs like this as they do garbage Reserved List cards, this would be $15 already with no reprint in sight. As it stands, I can’t believe this isn’t $10.

This shrugged off the reprint, it looks like, and since it’s getting played in a popular Modern deck which eats four copies at a time, being a recent rare isn’t going to hold this back. I think whichever Simic commanders are printed in the next set will interact with this a ton and it’s not eligible for the Guild Kit which means this is about to ride a wave of upside to value town. Enjoy!

That does it for me this week. These 15 specs are very very speculative given how little we know about the next set, but a lot of these are due a price increase regardless of what the new commanders do. I’ll have more when I know more. Until then, thanks for reading. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Ranking the 40 Box Toppers

Readers,

By now you’re all aware of the new “Box Toppers” that are being included in booster boxes of Ultimate Masters. Some of them are very good and some of them are Lavaclaw Reaches. Some of them are Modern or Legacy staples and some of them are EDH gold. What I am going to do today is rank all 40 in terms of how much play they get in EDH to see if there are any cards likely to be underestimated by the general public at first. Remember, this is the same general public that thought a $70 Duplicant Invention was a good thing and a $20 Ornithopter Invention was an overpayment. Cards like Mind’s Eye, Duplicant and Solemn Simulacrum don’t get the play they used to and some other cards that people consider staples in “their” formats get a consider able amount of EDH play. Cross-format appeal can juice cards more than people might think and it’s important to know what matters in EDH. Here are all 40 cards, ranked by most EDH play to least, with some notes.

Eternal Witness (55,300 decks)

No real surprises here. Eternal Witness is a true format staple. Unfortunately, despite its ability to shake off reprints and maintain around $7 retail basically forever, it hasn’t shown much of an ability to have the premium versions go nuts. This is about a 5x multiplier which is great and I expect the box topper to be a lot, but without any real demand in formats outside of EDH and despite the most EDH demand of the 40 cards, I expect this to end up one of the cheaper ones due to the lack of cross-format appeal. That said, one just sold for $250 which is better than quite a few of the cards. I don’t have super high hopes here, though although being “uncommon” doesn’t matter since it has the same rarity as the other box toppers.

Demonic Tutor (46,352 decks)

I’m not sure if there will be more of these judge promos or more box toppers. What I do know is that Demonic Tutor has cross-format appeal, the second-most EDH demand, precendent for a nearly $300 promo and it looks like someone listed a UMA boxtopper on eBay for $200 and accepted a lower best offer. That’s good news for anyone who is looking to grab these around $150 when UMA is at peak supply because I don’t think $300 is unreasonable for the UMA box toppers which look way better than the Judge Promo version.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth (45,160 decks)

There was no Urborg Expedition, which was sort of a surprise, but that means it will be tougher to pin down where the box topper is likely to end up. What I do know is that they’re currently going for about $150 and that’s like 5 times what an FTV foil is going for. I think high demand could confound the high supply of FTV foils and give us a price above $100, but I’m less confident about this than I am most cards.

Mana Vault (23,281 decks)

Competition with the Masterpiece could confound the price a bit but I think the insane degree of EDH inclusion, the amount of appeal in Vintage also where people foil their decks the most and the high current price of the Masterpiece all point to this box topper Mana Vault being a strong contender for the $250 to $300 range. I don’t like guessing exact prices, but I think high EDH demand could put this on par with the masterpiece and if there are fewer box toppers, it could surpass it considering how ugly I think the masterpiece is compared with the box topper. If anyone currently using a masterpiece switches, the price on those could dip and make those a nice buy since I expect that price to recover also.

Ancient Tomb (22,284 decks)

The box toppers are selling between $250 and $275 which seems low given the low supply currently and if they get even cheaper when UMA is being opened, the expedition makes a strong case for this staying above $200 in the near term. I like this card a lot and its play in Legacy and Vintage makes this one of the highest-demand cards on this list.

Cavern of Souls (19,204 decks)

Could this end up being one of the most expensive cards once the dust settles? It’s played as a 4-of in Legacy and Modern decks and the high EDH demand make this a real contender. Not having an expedition printing to compete with the box topper is another factor that make this seem like it could crest $300 and beyond. This is one to watch for sure.

Snapcaster Mage(12,338 decks)

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect this card to have quite as much EDH demand as it does but numbers don’t lie. This is currently a $300 box topper and that seems about right – I expect that number to dip but recover.

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth (12,119 decks)

This has moderate EDH demand but I don’t expect a card that’s a 1-of outside of EDH to be worth that much. This is probably going to end up close to $100 if its $50 set foils are any indication. I’m not excited.

Reanimate (12,089 decks)

I don’t think EDH will have to do all of the heavy lifting here. With only one unsold box topper listed on eBay for $225 just sitting there, it’s hard to guess where it will end up, but 4-of formats play this card as much or more than EDH so cross-format appeal will help, which is good, because EDH demand is sort of middling.

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed (11,895 decks)

Almost 100% of this card’s demand is from EDH and while it’s got moderate to high demand, it also has established that EDH demand means it’s a $27 with a mere $64 foil. I think the box topper will be more than $64 but it’s hard to say how much or even whether it should be.

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre (10,890 decks)

See everything I said about Kozilek and throw in the $30 ftv foil on top of it. These can’t all be $100 bills.

Life from the Loam (10,626 decks)

Moderate EDH demand, a recent spike due to how unfair Creeping Chill is in dredge decks and only two of its 3 printings having foil versions make me think the $210 BIN price on eBay isn’t that ambitious after all.

Balefire Dragon (8,724 decks)

Middling EDH demand and 0 demand from other formats all but doom this to sub-$100 territory, which is fine. I would like to own one and I can’t really justify buying myself a $300 card for EDH, but $45? I’m listening. I’m too good at selling expensive cards, which is a good habit to have, I think.

Karn Liberated (8,168 decks)

This doesn’t even look that good. It’s barely a border extension. I wouldn’t expect this to ever approach $200 but I’ve been wrong before, especially about prices in cards that are mostly used in Modern like this one.

Stirring Wildwood (5,975 decks)

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Did you expect this to have the most EDH demand of the whole cycle? I didn’t! I expect this to be the 4th-cheapest, however. We’re getting into very low-demand territory here as far as EDH is concerned and Wildwood isn’t played outside of EDH. This is basically a wammy if you open it or Lavaclaw Reaches.

Bitterblossom (5,234 decks)

EDH isn’t playing this card much and it’s not clear who is. This is one of the better-looking promos and it could just end up in a lot of cubes but $300 is a bit much.

Sigarda, Host of Herons (5,111 decks)

The amount of deck inclusions plus the number of decks where Sigarda is the commander still don’t really justify a $200 price tag and this isn’t played enough outside of EDH for me to be enthusiastic about its price.

Maelstrom Pulse (4,796 decks)

This “feels” $100 to me. I think it goes down at peak supply but I could see this maintaining about $100 on the basis of what we see other masterpiece cards doing, even the ugly ones from Amonkhet block.

Liliana of the Veil (3,967 decks)

This will be expensive and EDH won’t have anything to do with it.

Creeping Tar Pit (3,586 decks)

Good luck getting that $250. I don’t see it.

Dark Depths (3,713 decks)

This isn’t played much in cube or EDH and it’s not clear where the demand is coming from. I like this card but I like it a lot less than a lot of other cards on the list and I think a lot of its previous high price was owed to scarcity and how dumb it was in Modern before they banned it.

Celestial Colonnade (3,320 decks)

Modern decks could gobble these up 2 or 3 at a time and I see this ending up worth way more than Wildwood which means the EDH demand is the gravy, not the cake.

Lavaclaw Reaches (3,007 decks)

This is the “wammy” card of the set. No real demand outside of EDH and a real low price

Platinum Emperion (2,864 decks)

Dumb, flash-in-the-pan Mtggoldfish decks aside, this doesn’t see much play and while it should get played more in EDH, it doesn’t. I can’t get $60 for the Japanese foil version I have, I don’t see someone breaking off $150 for this.

Lord of Extinction (2,661 decks)

This has a $35 Amonkhet invocation. That’s all I have to say about that.

Raging Ravine (2,627 decks)

A cycle of wammies? Are we sure that’s a good idea?

Noble Hierarch (2,599 decks)

I think $250 is fine-ish for now. I bet this drops when we’re at peak supply but this is in a lot of Modern decks, gets played a playset at a time and doesn’t have as many premium versions as it should. This was a sorely needed reprint and the box topper version is a nice bonus.

Gaddock Teeg (2,409 decks)

Not sure what’s going to happen here, but this guy is at the helm of a lot of decks and he needed a premium version. New art would have been cool but I like how this looks. All in all, I would expect this to be around $100.

Temporal Manipulation (1,912 decks)

This went from like a solid 3 bills to a $60 judge promo pretty fast. This price is about to crater after UMA packs come out. Luckily Wizards learned and didn’t make a Portal card the marquee card of the set but rather a deep inclusion which means it’s OK when this sheds a ton of value because it doesn’t have to pull the weight they expected Imperial Recruiter to pull. This will be very cheap soon and I bet it goes in a lot of EDH decks when it gets there.

Tasigur, the Golden Fang (1,704 decks)

This is a bigger wammy than I think people are anticipating. He doesn’t even have a banana in the art. No Potassium? That’s not K with me.

Kitchen Finks (1,070 decks)

I don’t know if this can maintain $100 but it does have quite a bit of demand from a few formats, it gets played in multiples and there are as many of the box toppers as any other box topper, not way more so its rarity matters for other promo versions but not this one.

Fulminator Mage (498 decks)

I don’t have much to say about this other than that FedEx bent Jim Casale’s copy of this card and that’s really funny because it didn’t happen to me and they should send him a new one.

Vengevine (387 decks)

Modern can’t decide if it wants this card or not and the price is going to dip a lot until it figures it out. There may be opportunity here, though I’m not sure how much.

Tarmogoyf (373 decks)

This card is none of our business.

Engineered Explosives (361 decks)

We’re getting to cards that EDH doesn’t care about but Modern and Legacy are fond of. If I had to guess, I would say $150 is probably OK but just keep an eye on these. It’s a sideboard card mostly, but it’s an important one.

Goryo’s Vengeance (172 decks)

This is an important card for 1 deck in Modern and the 2x foil multiplier lets me know people aren’t inclined to go Premium and I don’t expect this to be much more than the set foil.

Through the Breach (112 decks)

See what I said about Vengeance and on top of that, there’s a cheap invocation out there.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn (Banned in EDH)

Someone just tweeted at James Chillcott that they sold one of these for $300. I thought that was nuts until I saw this dude out here on eBay trying to get 5.

Karakas (Banned in EDH)

I haven’t played one of these since I was still trying to make Punishing Maverick work in a world that just got Deathrite Shaman added to it. I hope this stays over $100 but the demand has largely evaporated and they waited too long to get us the supply. Snagged a lot of these for $50 on Card Shark and later sold them for $100 so that was cool. Remember Card Shark?

Leovold, Emmisary of Trest (Banned in EDH)

Card that warped Legacy and Vintage deserves no less, but it warped EDH a little too much.

 

That’s what I think. I like the cross-format cards a lot more but low on our list are cards like Tarmogoyf and Bitterblossom that will be money regardless of how little EDH cares. I think what emerged was how much I expect Demonic Tutor to go up and how much play Stirring Wildwood gets. That’s all for me this week – until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: A List Of Foils You Should Look At Or Whatever

Readers,

Not much is happening in the corner of MTG Finance I tend to know stuff about. A lot of my Standard-based predictions for Guilds of Ravnica were pretty iffy – I thought Tajic might have caught on by now (The best Wr deck is almost entirely Dominaria cards), I thought Dream Eater at $3 was a better buy  than Doom Eater at $20 (It kind of was) and I would have bought more foil copies of Boros Locket at its original $1 the LGS wanted but I used that money for gas to drive to the LGS where I run the case to sell my Arclight Phoenixes for $7 each 3 days before they went to $20. Hindsight is 20/20 and while I have been doing just OK at guessing what Standard is going to do because I don’t understand the evolving Standard metagame better than the entirety of the Magic community but I did nail a few picks and I think I’ve been doing this long enough to have figured out a few long-term trends.

I think there are some foils in Guilds of Ravnica worth harping on about and while we have a bit of a lull in anything really going on in EDH because no one is building decks with Guilds commanders right now because they’re either bad versions of existing decks or identical versions of existing decks or they’re Aurelia, I think various formats can still impact the prices moving forward and they’re worth discussing.  Let’s look at some foils. You know, or whatever. I feel like I’m taking a break from stuff I care about lately – I really hope the next Ravnica set gives us some good EDH stuff or I’ll get so rusty at finance I’ll assume the next card with “Phoenix” in its name won’t be $20 even though that isn’t happening much lately.

Creeping Chill

I think this is a $10 foil. Obviously it was better to get in closer to $2 or $3 a week or two ago but that was then so let’s talk about now. Now Creeping Chill is a card that is cheating in Dredge. This is going to disappear in playsets which is good because there are a lot of foil uncommon from Guilds of Ravnica because I’m guessing it’s the best-selling Magic set of all time or will be soon. This seems like a bit of a gainer after we pass peak supply. It’s a powerful card and while it’s a bit narrow, it just seems like the sky is the limit on this. If you can buy in around $5 it seems like you’re going to be hard-pressed to lose, but this is probably more useful as a baseline case. Cards that are strong and identified as players in Legacy and Vintage command a high foil premium are coming in around this level at uncommon and this should more than maintain the price. For whatever reason, despite there being way fewer players, Legacy foils just tend to pop like this. I’d like to point to some recent historical precedent for a card like this being $10 or $12 but there really hasn’t been a card like this lately that is so perfect but so narrow.

Chromatic Lantern

However you feel about foil Creeping Chill at $7, you should feel much more strongly about Chromatic Lantern at $7. Is Lantern getting pounded into the dirt by reprints? Yes, kinda. But how likely is this to get another printing in foil anytime soon? The Commander precons are an excellent place to reprint this and keep the non-foil price down to under $5, but if the non-foil got above $7 even after its first reprinting, I don’t see a better place to park your long-to-medium-term money. Lantern is in like 57,000 decks on EDHREC and when you consider it was a $20 card in December of last year and people were still jamming it in decks more often than Commander’s Sphere and Darksteel Signet which are both pocket change, you know how important it is to players to be able to be LAZY. You can be so lazy with this card out. You can’t tap mana wrong, just tap the number of lands equal to the CMC. This card makes turns go faster AND it taps for mana itself. Playing spells with Lantern out lets you be almost as lazy as I am right now calling this at $7. I mean, if you do nothing else in MTG Finance this year, spend $100 on $7 Lanterns. Use some of the profit to by Pro Trader access for a year so when we have weeks where stuff I can help you with happens, you’ll know about it before the general public.

Steam Vents

A 2x multiplier is non-correct. All of the foil shocks in this set are historically low. I realize that this art isn’t as desirable as the Guildpact art but is the Guildpact art 5 times better? I happen to prefer this art in foil and the fact that these are around $20 seems like cheating. Could these be $50 in a year? I don’t know. Could they be $17 in a year? No way, I can’t think of circumstances where that happens. As we get farther from peak supply (which hasn’t even happened yet) I think these are going to realize they’re played in a ton of formats where people like foils. I don’t think these are $100 but I don’t think $20 is reasonable, either.

Circuitous Route 

This is a 10x which seems fine. What people may not realize is that this is the 9th-most-played GRN card on EDHREC. That’s more than Price of Fame, Doom Whisperer, Niv-Mizzet, Thief of Sanity and Sinister Sabotage.

At under $2, foils of this are pretty attractive. This is a solid card that I expect people to continue to play and I’d like to think a playable foil can pull $2. I could be wrong about the sustained demand since it will all come from EDH, but this is my first set really paying attention to prices before they settle rather than after. Interestingly, one more thing.

Lockets

I was pretty bullish on Boros Locket at first, but a few things happened. First, people didn’t really do what I expected. Despite having access to Blue which means access to actual card draw, people are jammming the Blue lockets more than the Boros Locket, and maybe that’s because no one is making new Boros decks because of this set and they are making new Izzet decks with Niv-Mizzet and new Dimir decks with Etrata and Lazav, but I also think I didn’t do a great job of predicting what would happen with the prices or the distribution.

I still think Boros does well long-term, but another thing is worth noting, and you won’t like it if you paid close to $1 for Boros Locket when it first came out.

Not only is Orzhov, a color combination with access to Phyrexian Arena and Tymna the Weaver running Cluestone more often than Boros decks, they aren’t running them THAT much. Want to know what’s worse than that?

Orzhov Cluestone foils aren’t worth diddly. They’re practically the same price as the non-foils. And that’s from Dragon’s Maze, a set that was so bad that boxes are basically dealer cost 6 years later. Stay the hell away from lockets, even Boros and Orzhov, unless they’re the same price as the non-foils and even then, no one is going to care. That’s a lesson for me as well as the rest of you. Yikes.

That does it for me this week. I don’t hate any of the shocks, really, especially Watery Grave and I don’t really know where cards like Venerated Loxodon will end up. I think there are a lot of copies of the cards in this set and even the foils are going to continue to tank. When prices begin to recover, we’ll be there waiting but until then, look stuff up like I didn’t with the Cluestones. I bought maybe 3 or 4 Boros Lockets for $0.75 each from the LGS and they’ll trade out at $1 or so but until then, I’m stuck with a reminder that I should wait for data before I buy. Luckily, I mostly knew that and didn’t buy deep. That’s all for me this week. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Prepping for Peak Supply

A while back I did an article about cards from Iconic Masters that get a lot of use in EDH and which I expected to recover in price. I think it’s worth holding my own feet to the fire and taking a look at my calls to see if I am any good at this or whether there are some longer-term specs in the list of cards I called (For the record, a spec that doesn’t pan out right away isn’t a miss, it’s a “longer term spec” because you figure everything goes up eventually and why admit you’re wrong when you can just say you’re right but, you know, not yet?). The second part of this article will be attempting to do the same thing for Guilds of Ravnica cards I like as long-term holds as we approach peak supply and therefore the lowest prices.

So How Did I Do?

I am going to show the old graph and the new graph of these cards and we’ll see if the recovery we predicted is starting yet.

Since February, Austere Command has grown about 25% in price. Buylist data from TCG Player pegs the buylist price at about $2 as of today which is about flat with the graph above. Dealer confidence isn’t as high now as it was then but this card is growing and while eBay is pegged at $2.50 versus $1.99 last time, TCG Market price is $4.50 and Card Kingdom has the card at $6.50. Notable also is the fact that TCG Market price is $7 for foils, which is a very low multiplier. Historically, the multiplier is much higher for Austere Command, the 11th-most-played White card per EDHREC. At 18,000 decks, it’s going to soak up a lot of Iconic Masters supply and I would call this one a win. If you bought in in February, you’re seeing gains already.

This appears to have gone up by 10% on eBay over the last 8 months but trying to reconcile Strike Zone prices with eBay prices is a bit of a mess. What I can say is that in February, this was $10 on eBay and today, the TCG Player buylist price is $8.50. Strike Zone is also sold out at $10.99 – it has Mirrodin Besieged copies for $11.99 and foils for $20, which I think is attractive although this did come down after some speculation-based hype surrounding the masterpiece a while back. I think with Card Kingdom currently charging $18 on Sphinx, calling this a $20 card by net February was a tad idealistic but you absolutely made money if you bought in February.

Vorinclex is DOWN since February. That’s not entirely not to be expected. This was less a pure spec and more a hypothetical test case.

As a reminder, here is what I said in that article:

This is in half as many decks as Crypt Ghast. Here I am talking about how it’s going to recover as much or nearly as much. Why am I saying that? Don’t I forsee the demand as being half as much as that of Crypt Ghast? Why do I forsee recovery? The answer to that is in a euphemism Wizards of the Coast loves to use and how it’s not always a euphemism.

They don’t bring prices down, they “increase availability” which usually means “bring prices down” but not always. Reprints introduce more copies of a card into the market. That has the effect of lowering prices, generally, since you’re disrupting one half of the supply/demand dichotomy and therefore affecting the other. However, in the case of a card like Vorniclex that was a $30 mythic from a set you can’t buy anymore, people were priced out. People could break off $5 for a Crypt Ghast but $30 for Vorinclex was out of a lot of price ranges. A $13 Vorinclex? Now you’re talking. People who simply didn’t have access before have access now and I think that creates new demand. When a card goes below a certain price threshold, it becomes more available to people and they buy. I think Vorinclex’s price can recover even if it takes longer because when it’s cheap, it stops not being an option for some people. This is almost the same as Sphinx in every way except for number of decks it’s in so I expect it to recover less than Sphinx but I expect it to be in more decks than it used to be in a year. This is a bit more of a casual card than Sphinx so people being priced out is an actual factor. I think this could recover 75-80% of its pre-reprint value in a year or two. If that’s too long to wait, don’t worry because I have other targets.

It’s not the strongest endorsement of a spec and I was equivocating quite a bit. I was testing the hypothesis that people who never had access to Vorniclex because it was too expensive will be enfranchised now because cheaper copies mean that they can suddenly put it in decks they couldn’t afford to before so even though there was more supply, the new supply would help facilitate new demand. It’s a logical hypothesis. I just forgot one thing.

Most EDH players don’t know prices.

If they discounted Vorinclex as a potential card because they couldn’t afford it before, they’re not going to track its price. They likely have no idea it’s cheaper now and since they got along without it fine before, they can get along fine without it now, even with it being half price. I still think this can recover because it has a non-zero amount of demand and I do still think it being cheap can help some people realize their dream of being the world’s biggest douche and locking down everyone’s mana, but while I didn’t expect much growth by this point, I didn’t expect the card to still be falling in price. I don’t think this will go down much more but that doesn’t bode well for its recovery. It seems my hypothesis about uncovered demand is predicated on the assumption that EDH players will notice when a card they couldn’t afford suddenly becomes affordable and that doesn’t seem to be the case, even though the prices are listed on sites like EDHREC right on the card.

This recovered like crazy!

This is up nearly 100% in the last 8 months and the demand has expanded significantly as well! Good deal.

I’m not surprised as much as I am delighted. It seems like $2 rares are recovering better than $25 mythics and that sort of makes sense but also in a way it’s a surprise since there are more rares than mythics by quite a margin. Demon’s growth is very healthy. I’m not sure how much of that is attributable to the Shadowborn Apostle deck on Game Knights but whatever the case, demand is up 15%, price is up 100% and life is good. The best part is, February turned out not to have even been the floor so the card’s price recovered even more than 100% of its value. We’re learning about Masters sets just in time for the next one.

The Praetors aren’t recovering as well as I might have hoped. If we’re going by Ebay prices then and now, this was $9 and now it’s $14.75. Card Kingdom has it at $17. It’s recovering OK but the graph bearly bears that out, potentially owing to confounding data from sites that sold out but still got scraped by our algorithm that determines the Fair Trade price. By all accounts, this price is up as much as 30% and that should be the case given its inclusion in 19,000 decks on EDHREC. I think this was a good call and people made some money and will probably make some more.

Here’s what was reprinted in Guilds of Ravnica and how much it’s used in EDH.

I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that Prey Upon was getting played twice as much as Narcomoeba, but it’s true.

There aren’t too many non-foil plays to be made here, unfortunately, but we can talk about the elephant in the room- Chromatic Lantern.

We’re not to peak supply yet, but a Guilds Lantern is currently $3.69 Market Price on TCG Player. Other sites have them for around $5. What are the odds Lantern can be left alone long enough to hit the $8 or $9 mark it needs to hit for you to make any money?

Here’s the graph for Commander 2016 copies. Will Guilds of Ravnica give us more copies than did Commander 2016? Indubitably. The market is pretty well saturated. But Lantern is a card that is guaranteed to go back up given how ubiquitous it in EDH. You may want to set a target price and get out before a Commander set gets announced and the copies are harder to out as people wait to see if it’s getting reprinted, but a 2 year hold is very good on this card historically. We’ll see the growth rate less than it was for the Commander 2016 copies, certainly, but we’ll see growth. I think when the price bottoms out when we’re at peak supply, you can safely move in on these, and I target every one of these I see in a trade binder as a reflex.

There aren’t as many picks from reprinted Guilds cards as I might have expected so I’ll give you a couple more cards I’m watching.

With Izoni, Emmara and Trostani all in Guilds of Ravnica and all with access to this card, only Najeela decks playing this lately feels wrong. This card is actually absurd and it’s criminally underplayed. I don’t know what it will take to snap people out of their malaise, but when they notice this card, this is $5 easily. Rares from this same set that get used in EDH have been over $10 and are above this card’s current $1 after reprintings. Their demand is higher but I think once people notice this card they’ll buy in. Then again, I thought EDH players would buy Vorinclex half off and they didn’t.

It’s gone, rotated out of Standard and likely at its price floor. Currently $5.87 market price and $11 for prerelease foils, this bad boy is a cross-format allstar with significant EDH demand and with use in decks like Niv-Mizzet and other Izzet decks that got a ton of new toys, I can safely call this a $10 card waiting to happen. It’s bannably good in Brawl which is a format that isn’t as dead as everyone thinks and is likely getting some Wizards support, potentially with printings involved and if this is ever ubanned (ehhh) that’s more demand. Currently, I think this is robust enough, especially with it being a 3-of or so in Modern Storm, to call this a buy around $5. I like this card’s chances a lot.

That does it for me. I think we learned quite a bit about Masters sets and next time we’ll be ready to identify the cards and identify when the price will bottom out (it isn’t the same for every card, it would seem) and but smarter. Until then, we’ll just wait. Hopefully something happens with EDH this next week – I’m running out of stuff to write about because Guilds is just NOT capturing anyone’s imagination. Anyway, that’s all my time. Until next week!

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