Category Archives: Unlocked ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: Caught me Slippin

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Last week, I said I was going to spend this week talking about specs from Gavi. It seemed like a no-brainer.

Zaxama was Number 1 but didn’t have a ton by way of solid specs, so moving on to Gavi seemed like the play.

Seemed.

Gavi has plummeted all the way to 5th place and all of the shiny, new Commander 2020 commanders have been supplanted by a generic “best commander of the month” pick in Golos. A cursory glance at Golos’ page tells me that this is likely people updating their lists.

I don’t think a Triome is a reason to build a Golos deck you didn’t have before, but a Gold Commander who ramps mana getting access to 5 new Ultimatums, sick new lands and the Mythos cycle and we may have a reason to at least pop over to archidekt and register a new list.

I think Golos is just as popular as it was last week, but it seems like Gavi isn’t. The question is whether I stick to my guns or whether I take a look at Kalamax instead. How about I take a look to see if it’s worth taking an actual look?

You can take a look for yourself, but it seems like Kalamax is about as unexciting as Zaxara was last week. Also, can we talk about these names? They’re killing me. I got Lurrus and Lutri mixed up last week and now I’m expected to differentiate Kalamax and Zaxara? Who named these characters, George RR Martin? I guess that would explain why he still hasn’t finished The Winds of Winter 2 years after the show went off the air. You know what? I’m just going to give all of these stupid commanders nicknames to make my articles easier to read. OK, we did Hydraboi last week and we can either do Doublesaurus Rex or Mac and Me, so let’s look at old Dubby bones first and see if it’s worth exploring, shall we?

Dinosauriku is kind of a fun-looking commander and while a little linear, he may stay more popular than Dragonsnake due to a larger volume of cards that feel necessary in Dragonsnake. I think Terrible Double Lizard could be fun, but looking at the page, every card is like $0.25 or it’s already played so much in other formats that this shouldn’t make a difference. This deck can’t make Manamorphose go back to where it was or make Comet Storm erase a few of its 8-too-many printings, but perhaps it CAN make people finally realize Thousand-Year Storm is an absurd Magic card. I think Storm is about to go, personally.

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Not every site was as hip to its absurdity as Card Kingdom who keeps raising their buylist price accordingly, but other sites will catch up. If you have a way to scoop these from MKM, they’re like a solitary Euro and if this hits $10 USD on Card Kingdom, maybe you figure out how to arb that. We’re already at $3 cash on Card Kingdom’s bulisyt, you can basically buy $4 in credit per Euro right now, but that buylist price won’t stay where it is for long. Get on it! The rest of that deck, though, I’m not too enthusiastic about.

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With that said, let’s look at ET and Elliot over here and see if we can snag anything before everyone gets wise.

Most of the Cycling payoffs like Drake Haven, Astral Drift, New Perspective and Lightning Rift (WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE!) are reprinted in the deck, but there are some cards with cycling on them that are interesting.

Decree of Silence, which already popped when Solemnity was printed and is experiencing one of those second spikes we all know and love and profit from, is through the roof. It’s not a $20 card, but with the markets effectively shut down due to Covid, no one is racing to the bottom so copies are hard to come by. I have a ton left over from last time and I’m happy to sell these for $15 on Facebook and if you find these around their pre-spike price, scoop them because they’ll settle higher than that. With shops shut down, no one is trolling through the smaller stores with a few copies or snapping everything up on Crystal Commerce so it’s possible there are random copies on “Hobby Monkey” on the 7th page of google or something. If Decree of Silence was obvious, here’s one that wasn’t.

Decree of Annihilation is drying up a little bit but you should still be able to find some copies. Here is a way to get $60 worth of cards provided Decree never goes above $10, and more than $60 if it does. The Decree in there is foil, but nobody’s perfect.

Solemnity is a card that’s currently on a huge upward track as well given the combination with Decree of Silence and, I’m assuming, cards with Cumulative Upkeep? I’ll be honest, I’m not sure why it’s showing up in the Gavi deck so much, but it is, and it’s getting expensive so yank these out of bulk if you have bulk to yank from.

This deck is so narrow that they basically reprinted anything that could go with it and still needed to cough up 15 new cards to fill out a deck. Cycling is really fair, slow without Gavi and Fluctuator, a terrible way to make tokens with Gavi and The Locust God and if you don’t draw a payoff spell, you’re literally spinning your wheels. I think other decks are more exciting and I’ll find a more exciting one to get into next week, with cards that haven’t all started to go up, if we’re lucky. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy and remember we have so much time to buy these cards that Commander 2021 may be out before anyone even gets to play these cards. Until next time!

MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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Unlocked Pro trader: Docked and Loaded

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Commander 2020 is fully spoiled and the search is on for this year’s “one card to bother speculating on” because the last two years of commander precons have been so bad, people just assume that’s how this works, now. People seem to have entirely lost confidence in WotC’s ability to make precons we care about, and based on the last two years, it’s sort of easy to see why.

Here is everything worth more than $2 from Commander 2019.

Here is the list from Commander 2018.

These are both pretty short lists. Both times, the second-most-expensive card is a generic Green staple with multiple other printings. Both times the list is roughly half reprints despite each deck containing 15 new cards. Obviously, the sets have been opened to death and they’re very available so it would be difficult to have another situation like in the past. Commander 2017 has 7 cards worth more than $10 and the Commander 2016 Atraxa precon sells for $150, even if it’s just the shrinkwrapped deck from the Commander Anthology set. Is it just a matter of time for Commander 2018 and 2019 or do those decks just suck so bad that no amount of waiting will improve things? I have a feeling that it’s more the latter than the former.

Let’s figure out if that hypothesis is correct before we move on to Commander 2020, though. We need to figure out if there is an appreciable supply difference between Commander 2017 and Commander 2018 that could explain the price discrepancies. One limitation to EDHREC in its current form is that we only go back 2 years in our data. The reason for this is to make it more useful as a deck recommendation website – if you don’t want every card in an Oloro or Meren deck (or Atraxa at this point) deck to throw off every metric and bury some useful signal in all the noise, it’s nice to chop off some of the older decks at a certain point. That reduces its usefulness in cases where I want to compare 2017 to 2018, but it does help me prove certain points very conclusively. If we’re getting more use of Commander 2017 cards, that means more people built with cards from Commander 2017 IN THE YEAR 2018 than they did with cards from Commander 2018. That’s pretty significant. Also, EDHREC goes back to April 2018 when Commander 2017 had only been out for 7 months, which means people were still building decks with the cards, especially since new, relevant cards were printed in sets that came out in early 2018 and that was the newest Commander set at that point (Commander 2018 didn’t come out until August of 2018). I guess what I’m saying is that we can’t compare apples to oranges, but if we go in expecting apples to be smaller because they’re a year older and they end up being the same size as the oranges, that means the apples are overperforming, and that’s all we really needed to know. We don’t have quantitative data but we do have qualitative data, in other words. That will do fine.

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Just taking a rough look at usage metrics, we’re seeing the story of Dockside Extortionist pan out. Extortionist is played more than twice as much as the next-most-played card from Commander 2019 whereas the most expensive card from Commander 2018, Arixmethes, is the 14thj-most-played card. The most-played card is played twice as much as the second-most played deck, but it’s in 8% of decks rather than 17%. The distribution is much flatter – there are 5 cards in more than 2,000 decks in the Top 16 of Commander 2019 whereas there are 8 in Commander 2018 and 13 for Commander 2017. Commander 2017 had tribal staples that got played in following years, Commander 2018 had good removal, Planeswalkers and good cards like Estrid’s Invocation and Commander 2019 had creatures that were good in very specific archetypes built around bad abilities like Morph, generic Naya beaters and only 4 non-creatures in the Top 16, none of which were removal spells.

Commander 2017 cards are played more because they go in decks built in 2017, 2018, 2019 and probably 2020 (Teferi’s Protection, Herald’s Horn, Path of Ancestry, Kindred Dominance, Disrupt Decorum, Fractured Identity and even Mathas seem good with cards from Commander 2020) but also, they’re better cards.

The second thing we need to try and ferret out is whether the price is dilluted by a higher supply in Commander 2019. If a card in Commander 2018 has a relatively flat price graph over the last 2 years, is in as many decks as a card from Commander 2017 and costs a tenth as much, you can reasonably conclude there are just more copies of that card out there. Commander 2019 sold incredibly well despite being really bad, and so did Commander 2018 despite being better than 2019 but so much worse than 2017 that everyone complained and WotC vowed to make the decks better (then didn’t). I suspect the prices in Commander 2019 will be lower than 2018 for cards played a similar amount despite equal play and less time for the price to go up. Let’s compare some apples to some slightly older apples.

For the cards in the 3,000 or so deck range, we aren’t seeing a huge difference between Commander 2018 and Commander 2019. Compare that to a card in the same number of decks that’s more restricted due to color identity.

The only question is whether Fractured Identity was $2 in 2017, $3 in 2018 and $5 in 2019.

Basically, it was. It seems like cards just sort of trend up over time from these decks. How about cards in more decks?

It’s tough to find cards to compare because nothing from Commander 2018 was in 10,000 decks, nothing from Commander 2019 was in 10,000 decks and nothing from either was in 20,000 decks.

Here is one year from Commander 2017 to Commander 2018. Wrath of Goad was in most popular deck, which should bring its price down but didn’t. Estrid’s Invocation was in the deck with 2 of the most expensive cards but there is no clear “buy this” deck yet so it’s hard to tell which was the most popular. Could Estrid’s Invocation be $8 in a year? Are we seeing peculiarites associated with TCG Player taking their stores offline for the ‘Rona since these cards are basically the same price on Card Kingdom, the site where EDH player buy their cards? Hard to say. It sure makes me think Estrid’s Invocation could be a buy if you sell on TCG Player, though.

From what I have seen, it doesn’t appear that prices from 2019 are depressed due to a ton of supply but are likely subject to the same growth curve as older cards.

I even found some odd cases where the Commander 2019 cards was worth more than a Commander 2018 card played roughly as much.

Is it possible Commander 2020 will sell a ton more than Commander 2019 did because it’s much better? Maybe, but Commander 2019 mostly sucked and only had one card anyone cares about and it sold the most ever, so I think it’s more likely we’ll see depressed sales from the virus situation, people’s unstable financial situation and the coming recession about to slam into us than we’ll see lower prices from too much supply. This set is dropping at a terrible time for it to sell more than Commander 2019 did.

So, what’s this set’s Dockside Extortionist?

Well, if you ask me, there isn’t one.

This set is quite good and there are bound to be multiple cards that spread the love out. Furthermore, despite there being fairly strong themes like an entire deck devoted to cycling, we’re seeing a lot of cards that will be EDH staples for years to come rather than deck-specific cards. Compare an artifact from Commander 2019 to one from Commander 2020.

One of them is a durdle card for a durdle deck, the other is insanely powerful and is bound to get played forever. So what’s stopping Manascape Refractor, in all of its insane glory, from being the Dockside Extortionist of the set? Simple – the rest of the set.

This is too much money for all of these and none of them will be above $10 in a year.

This was barely $15 before the reprinting and as good as it is, and not just in Commander, it’s in a precon and it’s going to be one that is bought a lot, if you ask me. Xyris is nutty, the deck has a 0 mana Deflect, Etali, Lightning Greaves, Chaos Warp and Dualcaster Mage. It’s not the best deck in terms of reprint value but we won’t expect Locust God to soak up almost a third of the deck’s value on its own.

Xyris is nutty, but commanders don’t tend to stay above $10. Since 2017, only Edgar Markov has gone above $15 and that took a decent amount of time.

Signet seems good here. It’s going to be a Sol Ring or better card since it has fewer printings. Refractor at $8 is high but not overly high – I don’t expect it to end up in the $3, especially since it’s a card that goes in decks going forward but also retroactively goes in decks already built, meaning people need more than one copy. You only need your one Scroll of Fate to put in your own Kadena deck you’ll play 3 times and tear apart but every tribal deck you built before Commander 2017 needed a Path of Ancestry all of a sudden, and future ones would need one, too. Refractor and Signet aren’t tribal but they are that ubiquitous. Nothing in Commander 2019 compares to the utility of either one of these cards.

The only card that seems underpriced for the near- and medium-term is Fierce Guardianship. It’s getting a lot more hype than Deflecting Swat and it’s in the Jeskai deck with The Locust God and Trilobite which already has reasons to buy it. The cycling theme means that the cards in the deck are likely to be played with each other so people buying the deck to put the cards in other decks seems less likely which means the market will have fewer loose copies of Guardianship and it could be a situation where this is the most-bought precon at first. I don’t expect Atraxa-esque levels, though and the value seems spread better than last year.

The Top 10 most played cards in Commander 2019 not named Dockside Extortionist are Marisi, Chainer, Ohran Frostfang, Pramkikon, Eisha, Bone Miser, Atla Palani, K’rrik and Apex Altisaur. Verge Rangers is better than all 10 of those cards except maybe Frostfang. White desperately needs what Rangers does and it’s going to go in a lot of decks. Altar is pretty narrow but it lets people with dumb decks like Phage try to build that dumb deck again, which is fun. If this were Commander 2019, where the second-most-expensive card was a $6 reprinted Seedborn Muse, you might not think that any of these cards were worth preordering at $5, but I think we’ve established that this isn’t the case. I think even with as popular as each deck will be since they’re basically all better than all of the decks last year, we’ll still potentially see between 2 and 5 cards above $7 next year. Ruthless Regiment is basically DLC for the Mardu Knights Brawl deck but even it has Verge Rangers, Flawless Maneuver (underpriced at $0.50 presale, imo), Shared Animosity, Magus of the Wheel (not in the wheel deck why?) and a ton of cards that will go bulkish but bounce back like Knight of the White Orchid, Thalia’s Lieutenant, Zulaport Cutthroat and Crackling Doom. Oh, AND it has a Skullclamp? I’d say all of these decks have a lot of value spread out. Will it make every card $1 instead of $2 in a year? Hard to say.

I mentioned I thought as many as 5 cards could be above $5 in a year, which is ballsy when you look at even Commander 2018’s numbers – 2 years later, Commander 2018 has 4 and 1 year later Commander 2019 has 2. The cards that have a shot, though, are, in my view the following.

Verge Rangers. The deck has a lot of cards that are going to drop a lot due to their multiple printings and a lot of the cards are pretty cheap already. I think Verge Rangers could be the most expensive card in its deck. This is the least likely of my 5 picks but it’s a stupid good card.

Arcane Signet. I realize it’s in every deck and the Brawl decks, but people need these for every deck they’ve ever built, so unless they’re buying a Commander precon just for the Signet and not building a new deck with the cards in the precon, they didn’t actually help any of their old decks and will need to snag copies from elsewhere for their other decks.

The Locust God. I think this could halve in price, which is fine, and will likely recover some of its value.

Manascape Refractor. This card, if it’s as powerful as I think it is, will be pretty expensive. If it’s as durdly and situational as I fear it may be, we’re looking at the $2.50ish territory Treasure Nabber is at. Which red Goblin that gives you artifacts is this, Nabber or Extortionist? Or somewhere in between? We’ll see when people start to play with it. I’m not buying a ton at $8 since I think it’s a maybe whether it will be $8 in a year, but I like it.

Fierce Guardianship. This is basically a Force of Will for the important spells in Commander. Even not having your commander and paying 2U for Negate is fine, really. I think this could end up being pretty expensive and we could all be saying “Well duh” in hindsight.

Here are a few cards I really like but don’t know about whether they could hit $7.

Dismantling Wave. If you just play this as a 3 mana Sorcery, you basically Windgrace’s Judgment. You can’t get creatures, but you can’t get creatures with Return to Dust and that’s $2 after 5 printings.

Xyris. Arixmethes is like $8 right now, but Xyris is far from the only good Commander in this set. Commander 2018 was a mess and it’s really tough to try to figure out what any of its prices mean.

Slippery Bogbonder. People are really excited about this card. Granting Hexproof at instant speed and moving counters can make for some really dirty moves, and cards like Hardened Scales and Doubling Season love when you move counters because it grows the number again.

Cartographer’s Hawk. People are really polarized by this card. Some call it trash some are calling it a workhorse. I’m not sure which it is but anytime people argue this much, I take notice.

I think Commander 2020 is the best Commander set since Commander 2017 and the value will be spread out much more. I also think there will be more of it. I’ll be back with Xyris specs next week because I cannot WAIT to brew with this deck, but here’s a free one just for Pro Traders – Forced Fruition.

Until next time!

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unlocked Pro Trader: Embrace The Tank

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“Embrace the tank” is a phrase I see a lot on social media because I am from Michigan and the Detroit Red Wings are terrible this year. Had the season not ended, they may have ended up one of the worst teams of all time. Just truly, truly abominable. I’m of course happy because the same friends who want to “tank” the season (not even try so they get last place and have the best odds of drafting 1st overall) were bragging about a 25 year streak of making the playoffs a few years ago and I’m petty. If fans of a team that made the playoffs 25 years in a row can embrace the tank, why can’t we?

You’ve Got Red On You

Card prices are tanking fairly hard. If we’re going to be greedy when others are fearful, we still need to be smart about it. It’s for this reason that I think EDH cards are the way to go. Since EDH is a casual format, people are able to play it on webcam with their friends whereas people can’t really play competitive formats in paper, which insulates EDH card prices. These months of extended social distancing will help a lot of people transition out of paper into digital but with EDH on Arena still impossible, paper EDH is further insulated. Finally, non-rotating formats will benefit as cards lose months of their limited Standard-playable window to a lack of tournament play. All of this bodes well for EDH and we’re seeing that borne out – EDH buylist prices recovered from the initial hit all buylist prices took better than any other format because of course they did.

I’m not going to waste either of our time belaboring this point as you’d much rather talk about cards I think will be good pickups longer term and which have tanked recently. Let’s highlight 5 cards I think are good “Be greedy when others are fearful” buys.

Call is down pretty significantly in the wake of the reprinting in both Masters 25 and Modern Horizons, but more importantly, it’s down about 33% in the last two weeks, which is above average for cards in EDH. This is is the 48th-most-played card in the last 2 years per EDHREC and reprintings have made it more accessible and therefore more popular, which only grows its demand. No one wanted to pay $15 for this, but at $3 or below, you scoop these. It’s likely done getting printed for a while and I think the Corona divot will even out as soon as everything starts to get bought again.

This price tanked so much I opened up a new tab just to double check it wasn’t in Mystery Boosters. Nope. Just one printing, and this week Strike Zone is selling it for literally half of what Card Kingdom was charging two weeks ago. If you can get these for anywhere near $10, I think you do it. I would wait until we get the full decklists from the Ikoira commander products spoiled and THEN do it. The leaked Symbiotic Swarm list didn’t have this, it had Heliod’s Intervention, but I’m not 100% convinced that list is real and there could be another Green deck. Buy smart, we have lots of time.

This went from $40 to $30 solely on the basis of… well the entirely world being on fire and everything being terrible, but my point is that this will be $40 flirting with $50 unless people realize they have to pay back the $1,200 checks they’re getting. a 25% hit to a very popular card in multiple formats can’t be sustained unless the entire Magic economy doesn’t recover and if it doesn’t, what are we even doing here?

Without support from other sets, this is a card whose fate is solely tied to EDH, which I think is a good thing. The EDH economy will continue to be strong for the reasons I enumerated above. Also, I’m running out of things to say about cards all experiencing the same circumstances. Here’s a card that was on its way to $20 and now it’s $10 some places. Can you find these for $8? Buy them off people locally for $5? This is a Top 100 card on EDHREC and it says Tutor in its name.

For comparison’s sake, I included one card that I think has a strong chance at a rebound and was included in Mystery Boosters and I’ll talk about a few things regarding the difference.

Verdict does get play in multiple formats, which is good, but the EDH demand is very robust and enough to move the price if it needs to. This was flirting with $20 before the Mystery Boosters hit shelves and I think the supply from those is a bit overstated. The introduction of copies is going to be much flatter than most sets because big stores are closed, people aren’t super keen to head to the LGS if it’s even open and money is tight right now. Copies will hit the market slowly and I think that will buoy recovery because supply will seem less than it is.

Verdict lost 50% of its value between Mystery Boosters and COVID and that’s about twice what we’ve seen for non-Mystery-Booster EDH staples. Troll and Toad has these under $5, which is closer to a 75% price reduction. If that happens across the board for Mystery Boosters cards, there might be more buying opportunities in that set than we think. In fact, I think I’ll address that more in depth next week. If prices rebound the way they typically do, it will end up halfway between the pre- and post-spike price, which will be a reduction of about 38%, which is the worst we’ve seen for just COVID reductions. If that’s the case, you stand to recover even more value if we’re seeing two different factors reducing the price, one of which works itself out naturally and the other of which is temporary. I think there is more demand for this card at $5 than at $20 and if I wasn’t going to include any Mystery Booster cards to avoid having to type this paragraph and risk being wrong about all of this later but included this card anyway, that should tell you how I feel about scooping these at $5, which is absurdly cheap.

That does it for me. Who knows what will happen in a week? If I am able and allowed, I’ll be back next week with more ideas and I hope you’ll join me. Thanks for reading. Until next time!

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Unlocked Pro Trader: Rebounding

Readers!

I usually have a lot of preamble just because I like to type a bit to get into the mood before I bang out an article. It’s my process. You remember that movie Finding Forrester where Sean Connery has the main character type his work and then once he’s had a running start, write his own thing? This has nothing to do with that, I just usually write a paragraph where I tell you what the article’s about but I spent so much time talking about how it’s going to be a shorter paragraph than normal that it isn’t anymore so I guess never mind. Anyway, the point of the article is that there are cards in Mystery Boosters that will probably tank and go back up and some that will tank and not go back up. A lot of obvious factors like a rarity shift don’t need to be explained, but some cards recover better than others and we need to try and figure out all of the factors that matter and which apply. Sound boring? Well, it’s not. I did one of these articles when Iconic Masters came out and Austere Command hit a buck. Did you buy any when that happened?

I’m not going to catch a dectuple up on all of these, but I’ll sure try not to miss something obvious. So what kind of card always recovers?

Eternal Witness is not rare and never has been. However, Eternal Witness gets a non-zero amount of play outside of EDH (though less than it used to) and is staple-tier in EDH.

It’s the 14th-most-played card in EDH as far back as they’re displaying data. Still. Despite not having been printed in the last 2 years. Staple-tier cards shrug off reprints. Which cards don’t?

Cards where the price was predicated more on scarcity than demand. This is the same set and same rarity as Rhystic Study, a card with more printings. It cost less at its peak and costs a LOT less now. Is Rhystic Study liable to tumble to $0.25 like Fog Frog did when it was printed in Modern Horizons before I could sell my dozens of copies? Let’s figure out what the difference between Rhystic Study and Fog Frog is in terms of demand.

One of these cards is play SIGNIFICANTLY more than the other. Sure, Rhystic Study is nominally a common in the Mystery Boosters, and while it can’t maintain $20, it will likely rebound from its floor in a way that Fog Frog never will. Is there a number that will help us figure out which cards will rebound? I don’t know if it’s worth trying to find one. I think that perception of a card’s worth is going to contribute to it maintaining or regaining value as much as anything else so if you don’t mind me using my gut a bit as long as I report the numbers for you to make up your own mind with, I’m going to talk about some cards in Mystery Boosters that are going to take a hit and come back. I feel good about how much money I made people on cards like Rune-Scarred Demon and Austere Commander in Iconic Masters, so let’s find the next Austere Command, shall we? OK, that’s the last time I’ll say “austere” during a global pandemic.

Mystery Boosters basically chopped this price in half already. Aura Shards is about halfway between “Fog Frog” and “Rhystic Study” on the “will it rebound” scale and while it’s a different rarity and a different set, it did manage to climb quite a bit, especially recently with all of the crazy enchantment stuff running around. Who knows what a whole Theros block rather than just a set would have done?

I personally think Shards isn’t done going down, but it’s bound to recover quite a bit. In terms of the raw number of decks it’s in, it’s closer to Fog Frog than Rhystic Study which puts this on the low end of “likely to recover” but I think if this is the low end, we’re in good shape with anything played more than this. This was printed as uncommon twice and was printed at “uncommon” in a commander deck so it was one per deck. This has more printings than most cards in the Mystery Booster set and if we could graph the trend in adoption on EDHREC as a function of time, I’d imagine it’s declining a bit, but until something comes out to replace this, it will reign supreme.

One more thing to consider is the topic of “discovered demand” as I call it, which basically states that the demand is what it is partially on the basis of the barrier to owning the card. Would this be in more than 9,538 decks in the last two years if it didn’t cost $20? Seems likely, and now that it’s $10 rather than $20, we’re about to see if it goes up. It’s an older card, only people who could afford to pay for it could show it to players who hadn’t seen it and the Enchantment block didn’t give us nearly as many Enchantments worth caring about as the Estrid Commander deck did, but this is still top-tier removal and I think it ends up between $10 and $20 when the dust settles. If this is the low end, again, I have a lot more confidence in these other picks.

While a lot of this card’s price is predicated on scarcity and it sees less play than Aura Shards, I think this has cross-format applicability with casual and more of a future. It’s a newer card, more people know it, and being printed at mythic twice means far fewer copies, which is the biggest knock against Aura Shards that was in Invasion, Commander, Commander Anthologies and now Mystery Boosters. With the large number of cards in the set, an uncommon isn’t the same as an uncommon in a set like Modern Horizons – with roughly 1 uncommon per sheet, they’re basically mythics, but I still think Archive is more scarce and buying in at $5 feels OK. Waiting to see where it ends up feels better. People aren’t aggressively updating prices during this crisis (I’m rhyming, a week cooped up does things to my brain) so we may want to give things a while to stabilize, but I think this is a good buy when it hits bottom and starts to recover.

This card’s price is NOT predicated on scarcity and is all about playability. I don’t think this recovers quite like Eternal Witness but it might not be far off. Witness is played in 5 times as many decks but it also has 5 times as many printings, so we’ll see.

Vessel seems like it’s going to sell for what it was selling for within a year. That’s predicated on paper Magic not going away entirely. Depending how many LGSs shut down in the wake of social distancing and how inclined people are to play cards in person in the future, the strength of the game overall remaining basically what it was means this price will be basically what it was. We’re not getting nearly as many new copies of this card as people think.

I think there are a few cards unlikely to recover because their price is predicated on scarcity more than play or because this one last reprinting was the last nail in the coffin. As a rule, anything played in more than 10,000 decks on EDHREC is probably a slam dunk price rebound if it doesn’t have a ton of printings, but there are other factors to consider, obviously. If you want more picks, I’ll cover this same topic next week. Covid has slowed things down enough that we can take an extended look at the set. Until next time!

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