Category Archives: Unlocked ProTrader

Unlocked Pro Trader: New Capennculation


New Capenna is close enough for Wizards to reveal that they’re giving everyone fake crank to pretend to do bumps of between rounds, so you know that that means! It’s time to play the baseless speculation game!


It looks like some of you are already playing it already.

Is this because it’s on the Reserved List (yes) or is there something else going on? People who speculate about speculators have speculated that speculators are speculating on Wandering Mage because it’s New Capenna shard colored and there will be mages in New Capenna? Because Wizards are known to hang out in cities? And one of Wandering Mage’s 3 absolutely abyssmal abilities references Wizards directly? I don’t know, I think this is one of the dumbest rationalizations I’ve seen anyone make for a Reserved List card going up a few bucks. Anyway, let’s do the same dumb things.

We already got the first set of Triomes in Ikoria, so we know that since they’re finishing the cycle (Gavin said so but I don’t remember where – it literally might have been a thing he said to me when he was playing EDH on our stream), we’ll have the Alara Shards colors in Streets of New Capicola.

We don’t have a ton of info beyond knowing some of the creature types represented in the tribunal of “brokers”

If I were a complete dumb@#$% I would probably be buying up every Bant Rhino card and making a mint but my brain doesn’t work that way. I don’t think that every time a creature is featured that a tribal deck will come of it, I don’t think random old rhinos will be played in the deck if it materializes and I don’t think I have enough time to get out of them or want to cast a wide enough net to hit everything. I’ve been left holding the bag a few times in my Mtg Finance career, and while that isn’t the end of the world, it’s still avoidable.

I don’t think I want to say to buy Rhino, Bird, Cat and… I want to say Flapper Elspeth (?) cards, but maybe you should – not because they’ll get played in a deck, but because we’re like 2 weeks away from people with more money than sense having the conversation we’re having now. Depala can make people dig through bulk bins at the LGS for Dwarven Thaumutergist, but can’t make people actually play the card.

What I WILL do is look at the 5 Shards’ most-played cards and comamanders to see if anything sticks out.


Esper doesn’t look super Artifacty – there’s no real guarantee they’re doing artifact stuff again.

raffines-tower - Card Kingdom Blog

I won’t lie and pretend I’m not jazzed to have Fritz Lang’s Bioshock as a Magic setting. That said, the top Esper cards are very much format staples.

The top Commanders tell us some things, though.

If I had to pick any card to speculate based on what Raffine’s gang likely uses in what I assume is a deck based on Raffine (there will be 35 Legendary creatures in this set but there will be a gang leader that will be popular for flavor reasons), besides Esper Sentinel, I’d say this.

This is starting to go, and since it’s a Brawl deck card, it might be a little tougher to reprint or at least mitigate the drain that demand will cause on the meager supply. This has demonstrated the ability to hit $10 before and I think it will again.


xanders-lounge - Card Kingdom Blog

This feels like a bit of waste of time. There’s nothing to glean from this art. I don’t know what I was hoping to see, but this isn’t it. Also, I hate these full-art Triomes, which sucks because the Ikoria Triomes are the best-looking Magic cards ever made and these are them squandering the entire concept of art deco aesthetics which are objectively incredibly pleasing and, I would have assumed, difficult to screw up.

Grixis before was “Undead” and I can’t imagine anyone built an Opulent Lounge to let the dead hang around in. Is that a stretch? Look, I am very aware of how hand-wavey this is, but at the same time, I feel like it makes sense and therefore I’m relying on it.

Grixis is bound to have a treasure theme, Ken and other Secret Lair cards might make use of this in 6 months when we get our Street Fighter secret lairs, and this has flirted with $4 before. It’s reprintable but if we didn’t want to live dangerously, we would have bought basketball cards 2 years ago and retired.


ziatoras-proving-ground - Card Kingdom Blog

Jund seems like there will be fighting. Let’s check out the fight theme on EDHREC.

As you can see, it’s already a thing.

It’s cheating to pick Ignoble Hierarch, but buy those for sure.

EDH players LOVE Brash Taunter. This is a $15 card waiting to happen, and the extended art treatment mitigates a bit of reprint risk. I love this card, and I love paying basically buylist on them right now.

Before you ask, I always check.

Can’t beat it.

jetmirs-garden - Card Kingdom Blog

Naya is garden-themed? I won’t pretend I can figure out more than that, but I assume wild animals. Not that tame animals aren’t in the Bant mafia. This set would be weird even if they didn’t pass out fake mob planet meth at the prerelease.

I can’t think of a single deck that doesn’t want Mirari’s Wake in Naya since it helps you do both things Naya is good at better, and I can’t think of a better time to buy than when it’s at its historic low. I just hope they stop printing it.


sparas-headquarters - Card Kingdom Blog

I did Bant last because we have a card to speculate based on.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is SNC-Brokers-Ascendancy.jpg

I don’t think that there will necessarily be a Superfriends Legendary creature, even with 59 legendary creatures in the set. However, Superfriends is primarily a Bant (well, Atraxa, which I like to call “dirty Bant”) thing, with Black and Red contributing nothing but Planeswalkers. However, there is no Bant commander that lends itself to Superfriends, and we don’t have a data set on EDHREC. We do have a general Superfriends page, though, and it’s not like Atraxa decks won’t just run Brokers Ascendeancy. I am going to put an apostrophe in Brokers that shouldn’t be there every single time I try to put this card in TCG Player, aren’t I? Why isn’t it Brokers’ if not Broker’s? Whatever, if I could change one thing, it wouldn’t be an apostrophe, it would be making the other 4 Triomes look as good as this one.

This is at a historic low and it is already starting to creep up. This has never been above $5, but if it spikes, it will not be doing so for the first time and it seems very likely we could see $5 minimum. I’m excited for what this does.

Are these 5 cards 100% justified by what few Streets of New Leave The Gun Take The Cannoli that we’ve seen? No, not really. Are these 5 cards I believe in and I’m grateful for the excuse to highlight them? Yes, and that’s a good article in my book. You’re welcome OK, maybe that’s too aggro. I should get out of here anyway. Until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Future Bulk All-Stars


On the Brainstorm Brewery podcast, we do 2 segments because, like an invertebrate, we would literally collapse without the structure they provide. In the first, we highlight a card that’s worth around a buck but people don’t think to pull from bulk, or it’s a card we find out later was worth money and we’re 100% sure we bulked out and we’re mad about it (Well, DJ and I bulked it out, Corbin probably left it in a 5 row in his office and it was destroyed in a flood). The other is where we highlight a card we think could go up based on knowing how MTG Finance works and assuming our audience would rather reserve the mental effort that we put into learning that stuff for teaching their kids to read or getting some of the new BS words the New York Times started putting in Wordle.

Sometimes I conflate the two and pick a card in bulk that I think will go up. That’s me doing both segments wrong, but am I doing the audience wrong? I maintain it’s a service to tell people not to bulk out a card that could potentially go up 10,000% and to make sure they have them set aside for when people first want them. Some picks are easy – Chain of Acid when Chain of Smog went up. Some are less obvious but I think I have the justification for about 5 of them here today.

I am pretending to think you want to know “Jason, what if I don’t have bulk laying around, what good is it to tell me to pick bulk I don’t have?” and my answer to that is to check LGSes. If you try to get a $0.05 Whip Silk, they’re going to look it up on TCG Player and be cross with you for trying to “get” them, but if you pick up Mourning, a card for the same deck, you’ll get them for 9 cents. Is Mourning as good? No, but a lot of people play both and with Mourning being less obvious, there is time to snag them. Do they have the same trajectory? I doubt it, especially with Green being played more in Enchantress right now than Black, even with Tatsunari being so popular. That said, I think less-built Kami commander decks and Street Fighter decks are likely to do some predictable things to literal bulk. The obvious ones have popped, so let’s look at less obvious.

Card – Viridescent Wisps

Culprit – Blanka

Blanka, Ferocious Friend · Secret Lair Drop (SLD) #431 · Scryfall Magic:  The Gathering Search

I’d like to look at a card that also goes in Blanka and has popped previously for other decks like Zada.

We had a short window to get literally $4 for our 5 cent card, but with other Wisps, we can buy in at a dime and wait a while for Street Fighter decks to actually come out. Will Blanka be as popular as Zada? Is Feather helping Crimson Wisps? Those aren’t the questions – the questions are whether you want to buy a pile for a dime and buylist for 58 cents whenever the Street Fighter decks come out to Card Kingdom and buy a Tropical Island.

Card – Crown of Flames

Culprit – Kaima

A lot of trash could go up on the basis of Kaima, but this could be the set that makes Crown of Flames start to do a bad impression of Whip Silk. A bad impression is all we need.

Crown of Flames is also in Tempest so there is more supply, but not as much as you might think. Non-Green enchantment-fall cards don’t have as much pressure on them, but there is pressure, if only from Kaima.

Kaima is also responsible, I hope, for this beauty.

Even older than the second Crown of Flames printing, Bequethal saw a bit of a boost to 80 cents last year. It’s still gettable in bulk and once that wall on sites like Coolstuff evaporates, there’s money there. You’d need a more sustained push than it got last time, though, since the buylist price merely doubled (“merely”) though.

I have less confidence in Bad Rancor over here, but it is similar to the cards I am more confident about.

Card – Blood Speaker

Culprit – Unnanounced new New Capenna Demon

I don’t know anything you don’t, I just assume there will be demons.

This feels a little like cheating, but if Bequeathal wasn’t, then neither is this potential second spike. You can’t scoope these for bulk necessarily unless your LGS doesn’t own a computer, but if you have Kamigawa bulk, you have copies of this card so yank ’em.

That does it for me this week. I think there are likely to be more “penny stocks” like this and if this is well received, I could consider doing this again in the future. If you think I should not, tell me that, too.

That does it for me – until next time!

Unlocked Pro Trader: Hello There


The very second a new commander from Kamigawa: “I’m out of cyberpunk references because I am not that familiar with the genre except the stuff everyone has read like Neuromancer” was spoiled, everyone rushed to buy out a dumb rare from Apocalypse and while that’s cool and also a good thing and also I had a bunch of them but I also sold more as bulk rares 8 years ago.

Older rares are going to pop more, but what is really going on here is that a card will get latched onto by Twitter or reddit and it’s very easy to buy it out because it’s old. That life is stressful to me – you’re competing with a ton of people for a small number of cards and by the time your copies come in, there is no guarantee you didn’t miss the sell window. I’d much rather let people show me what they’re actually playing and decide that way. So what Apocalypse bulk rare am I talking about? Only this guy.

At first it was like

but then it was like

And who is the card that made this card do the thing? Why, General Obi Won Kenobi, of course.

Isshin triggers Fervent Charge twice when he attacks, giving your attacking creatures +4/+4 which sounds amazing if you have literally never played a game of EDH in your life. Seriously, imagine paying $30 for a bad version of Beastmaster Ascension that only works when your commander is out.

I think there are better specs for this deck. Why this deck? Surely it’s not because I’m bent out of shape about Fervent Charge (don’t check to see if I tweeted about it, I absolutely did, and while I should have been finishing this column). Rather, it’s because I decided to check which commander was the most built on EDHREC in the last week. Atraxa? Sythis? Marchea? Nay, it is none of these, it’s a most surprising result.

It would have bee surprising if I hadn’t told you what it was beforehand. You, if you’re like me, likely expected Go Shintai, Tatsunari, Hinata or not Isshin to be #1, but people can’t get enough of this nutty jedi. Let’s look at the not Fervent Charge cards people aren’t going nuts over but maybe should.

Fervent Charge is in the 4th highest percentage of decks, but I like a few of the cards that are in more. Etali will get reprinted again, but Brutal Hordechief? I’m not so sure.

The reprint hurt this badly, but it can absolutely flirt with $5 again. A ton of use in Isshin is important because Mardu cards are hard to slot into decks because they go in Mardu decks and Mardu sucks, or they go in 4 and 5 color decks and 4 and 5 color decks don’t attack with creatures. This isn’t exactly doing a ton in other decks, but this is a high synergy card not a top card.

If you want a high synergy card played elsewhere that’s already on the up-swing, look no further. Basically impossible to reprint because it has meld, this is useful in Legacy, a format that used to exist, as well as some fringe Modern decks. The foil doubled this month, owing to Isshin, so the non-foils will be slower but we have every reason to believe they’re going to go. The wall was just higher – no one building a durdly Mardu combat deck is foiling it out. Not with foil Fervent Charge going for $75.00.

The “not Isshin staples but in a lot of Isshin decks” cards are predictable but there is some food for thought here.

This has spent the last year slowly doubling. I’ve mentioned it in at least 2 articles since then, but if you missed it, I like this card a lot. It’s not fair. If someone cast this against me, I would key their car. Is this easy to reprint? Maybe, but with them printing 10,000 new cards a year, where is the pressure to reprint a $5 card even coming from?

This is the part of the article where I have to divorce my training as a builder from my training as a financier. If you asked me to pick 5 cards that would see a ton of play from Isshin, I would have said Lightmine Field, Crown of Doom, Ilharg the Rage Boar, Grave Titan and Adriana, Captain of the Guard. Those cards are seeing play (except Crown of Doom which isn’t played enough to show up on Isshin’s EDHREC page because no one held the community’s hand and played Crown of Doom on Game Knights). I THINK Lightmine Field is a great pickup, and I’d play it if I built Isshin (I won’t – my current project is using Helm of the Host and Double Major to make non-Legendary copies of Tatsunari’s Frog so I can make lots of copies and endanger everyone’s lives) but no one cares so I have to not care.

What people ARE actually playing is kind of boring compared with the stuff I like to do, but there is money in doing what people are doing. I’ll save reinventing the wheel for my coolstuff column and do boring old finance here, I guess.

Magic players love doggies and kitties, and being a kitty matters 1,000 times more than being good in Isshin matters, but that doesn’t mean being in Isshin doesn’t matter. I get these in bulk sometimes because no one thinks this is worth anything. It is.

Didn’t have this pegged as a massive gainer when it was spoiled but people love to draw cards. Every EDH artifact says “draw a card on it” now but people love this one. We used to play Mind’s Eye for the love of God, I’m grateful for the upgrade and part of why I never bought in was that I expected this to be obsolete by now.

That does it for me this week. I feel very good about these pickups and I urge you to watch Game Knights to find out which terrible bulk rare is going to hit $30, or do what I do and stay out of it. Plenty of meat still on the bone. Until next time!


Unlocked Pro Trader: Street Fighter


I’m not going to beat around the bush here, this is an article about specs that I think could come out of people building with the Secret Lair Street Fighter cards. I usually like the have some more copy “above the fold” so to speak but there isn’t much to say here. They made a Secret Lair that has Street Fighter 2 characters and it’s going to be pretty popular and we should get the stuff that goes in the decks now. It’s going to be… I actually don’t know how long until we get our sets in the mail and people will wait until then to build. That said, we don’t have EDHREC data because no one has built yet but, and I don’t think I’m out of line saying this, as someone who has written a column about building EDH decks for 8 years, I think I understand how the format works to an extent and I’d be delighted to make some predictions based on the cards and how they work. I’m going to show each Street Fighter and a couple of cards I like in that deck and call it an article. This is for you, guy who always asks “Did this need to be a whole hour” in the comment section of every Brainstorm Brewery episode. It does NOT need to be an hour.

Zangief is a beast, as you might expect of a guy who wrestles bears. Unfortunately for spec purposes, a creature with Lure on it isn’t super new, but making them sac stuff when you kill a creature they were forced to block with is pretty new and I have some ideas about how I’d build.

This is basically the floor on Augmenter, a card with a very clear corollary.

I don’t think Augmenter hits the dizzying heights Protector got to, nor is Hexproof quite as good as Indestructible, but I think we are still good buying in at $2.

A lot of the other stuff I like for Zangief is uncommon – pull Nemesis Mask and Tempting Licid out of your bulk, I guess? I don’t know, we have spent too much time here.

The big butt Doran decks have a decent amount of tech for this, but Reach tribal is a new one.

This guy seems way too fair to me.

Of the 104 cards that reference Charge Counters, only Coretapper can put them on Guile and only if he’s an Artifact creature at the time. I bet this gets built like a really dumb “attack with creatures” deck. You can’t even combo off by removing a lot of charge counters at once – it’s only when they’re removed the slow, one-at-a-time way. I hate this card. That doesn’t mean one of the most popular Street Fighter 2 characters won’t get played at all.

TCG Market is literally half of what they’re charging on Card Kingdom, this is already a good spec.


Ryu seems really weak and being stuck in Boros is not ideal. That said, if you want a Training-based deck, there are ways to make it OK.

‘member these were $10 and I wondered what was taking so long for it to go up? It went up. It took 2 and a half years, but it got there.

Stacking a lot of counters on him is sort of boring, but the deck is sort of boring, honestly. They don’t all have to be gems, I’m sure someone will build a very good version of this despite my evaluation and I’m sure I am OK with that.

We have a second toughness-based deck. I think this goes in the 99 of Dhalsim, making it potentially a bit more playable but not much.

This card is worse than you think – all of the stuff from the Doran toughness deck like Assault Formation is Green and you can’t play it in a Honda deck. It also doesn’t let creatures with defender, your best big-butt creatures, attack, something a real toughness commander would do. This is just a really bad Arcades with less than 1/3 of the relevant cards. You don’t have to spec on this.

This card is money, but it also lends itself to a really generic goodcombostuff build. That’s fine, but it really makes it tough to narrow down what to speculate on. I also think Chun Li is likely… basically exactly the stock Taigam list.

When this is what the High Synergy section looks like, you know you’re in for a bad time. Dovescape and Seek the Truth are the only remotely synergistic cards and I don’t think they’re as good in Chun Li. Yikes. You’re not on your own, but you’re going to find it’s tough to spec on a card that is just basically “control deck.” The real question is do you play Snap alongside Frantic Search or just Frantic Search? Riveting stuff.

I’ll keep an eye on this because the most popular deck (and this will be) can drive stuff the lesser decks can’t, but I don’t see anything unique to Chun Li online yet and I can’t think of anything. Can you?

Ken is better than Ryu, I guess, but it’s also a Boros Commander and it doesn’t partner with Ryu which is basically the only way I’d play either. Ken is an extra turn spells commander that seems clunky to use until you realize he doesn’t need to hit the opponent, just deal damage. That’s pretty useful and the spell you cast for free may change depending on how they block. I’d build a Sunforger deck, personally, but I write articles rather than make YouTube videos so no one knows any of my opinions.

Other than extra turns cards, it’s all pretty standard stuff. Here is an example list. I don’t see much here, but you might.

Now THIS I can get into. Of the cards in the set, Blanka is the one I have the most potential specs for. “Target yourself tribal” is a mechanic that can give us a ton of cards from the old Infect days, starting with this one.

Lash got so cheap, most sites stopped tracking its price because it was bulk. Even Card Kingdom wants under 50 cents for it. The foils are spicier.

I am so ready for the bottom on this one, which might be now – stock is drying up.

The lack of a blue line means this has never been on a buylist ever. The red Wisps is $5, I’ll let you decide if these are worth pulling out of bulk. Check out Zada’s page for more ideas.

That does it for me, nerds. Thanks for reading and keep your eyes peeled for more Street Fighter tech weeks before the cards sell out. It may be too late for Will Byers (or Deb, yikes) but there is some M Bison money to be had for sure. Until next time!