Category Archives: Watchtower

The Watchtower 10/26/20 – Do I Feel Lucky?

Okay, so uh, I got my dates wrong re: Commander Legends preview season in my article two weeks ago BUT it turned out I was actually kind of right by accident due to the leaks we saw. I’m not discussing the leaks but it seems like I was thrown off by the set release date being moved back, meaning that preview season got moved too. Nevertheless, I like playing with fire and so I’m back today with some more great cards that I’m confident won’t be reprinted in Commander Legends, so buckle in and don’t forget your wallet. You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you, punk?

Stoneforge Mystic (Box Topper Foil)

Price today: $40
Possible price: $70

Remember a few weeks back when I raved about Skyclave Apparition for way too long? Well, turns out I was right the best deck playing it in Modern at the moment is Death & Taxes, featuring – surprise surprise – four copies of Stoneforge Mystic. This is a card that was banned in Modern for a long time, and since its release from jail has shown up consistently in a wide variety of decks, without being so dominant that it could see another ban. As well as being in D&T, Stoneforge shows up in various Stoneblade decks, and can also be found in some of the midrange “Uro Piles” decks.

Stoneforge Mystic shows up in a touch over 8000 EDH decks recorded on EDHREC, and has actually seen an uptick in play with Zendikar Rising, being included in almost half of all Akiri, Fearless Voyager decks. It’s not as prolific as it perhaps could be, but 8000 is a solid number and this box topper is by far the best art the card has ever had so I would not be at all surprised if a large proportion of people wanted to upgrade theirs. I certainly know that I’m going to do so!

The Modern play that Stoneforge sees coupled with moderate EDH demand means that these box toppers aren’t going to hang around forever. Across the board, Double Masters box toppers and regular cards have mostly seen downwards pressure since the set’s release – this is due to a mixture of very little paper play happening, the hype cycle moving on and people saving money for the approaching holiday season. That makes for a perfect little storm, so it’s an ideal time to pick up undervalued cards from Double Masters – and that includes Stoneforge Mystic. This won’t be a quick flip like some things, but I think it’ll be a heck of a long time before we see this art plus borderless treatment on Stoneforge again, so this is a good one to store away for  18-24 months and be pleasantly surprised down the road.

Shalai, Voice of Plenty (Foil)

Price today: $12
Possible price: $25

I’m flying a little closer to the sun here, picking a good Legendary creature that hasn’t been printed in a couple of years. I’m still pretty confident in it though, because it’s still not exactly a high priority reprint and should give us plenty of breathing room.

Shalai is in a surprising 14k EDH decks listed on EDHREC, with another 415 playing her as the commander – and provides multiple powerful effects on one body. Giving hexproof not only to your creatures, but to you and planeswalkers you control as well is a huge boon, meaning that if someone wants to touch you or your boardstate they have to go through Shalai first. If you can’t suit her up with something to give her hexproof or indestructible then you’re really rolling. On top of all that, her second ability can either act as a nice buff for your team, or play part to an infinite mana combo making your creatures arbitrarily large and swinging for lethal in one go.

Shalai also sees a smattering of play in Modern and Pioneer, often being used as a one or two-of in Collected Company / Devoted Devastation decks, both to protect the combo pieces as well as being one in and of itself. There aren’t a lot of foils left, with just 16 listings on TCGPlayer with some promo copies also available. This was before the increased foil drop rate and the card doesn’t have any more fancy versions, so pack foils are a good bet here to head up towards $25 before too long.

Ancient Tomb (ZNR Expedition Foil)

Price today: $46
Possible price: $80

Ok, this is a pretty simple one so I won’t waste too much of your time with it. Ancient Tomb original expedition – $145. Box topper – $95. New expedition – $46. See where this is going? Ancient Tomb is an incredibly popular EDH card, registered in almost fifty thousand decks. We’ve got three premium versions of the card now (the FTV version doesn’t count, despite good art the foiling sucks), and peoples’ choices as to which version they want for their EDH decks will be a combination of budget and aesthetic considerations.

Being able to save $50 by playing the newest expedition as opposed to the box topper will be a big draw for some people, and so it’ll be a popular buy for quite a while as the price moves closer towards the UMA copies. In the meantime, I don’t doubt that the original expedition and box topper prices will also drift upwards a bit, making the window for saving money on the ZNR version wider. Basically, this is good to hit $70-80 in 12-24 months.

Is Ancient Tomb going to be in Commander Legends? I highly doubt it. There is a very slight possibility that it’s included, but if it is I’m sure we won’t get a fancy version and I honestly don’t think we’ll see it at all. I think we’re close to being at lows for Zendikar Rising expeditions, so the next couple of weeks are when you probably want to be picking these cards up, whether it be for personal use, collection or spec purposes. Over time we’ll most likely see the same sort of trend that the Box Topper Ancient Tomb took, not getting up to the dizzy heights of the original expedition but certainly moving a decent chunk.

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Watchtower 10/19/20 – Revisiting Modern Horizons

Modern Horizons was released a little over a year ago now, and despite a few problematic pieces in the set, I think that WotC really hit it out of the park with this one. We’ve seen it produce some great Modern staples as well as giving us a bunch of cool new EDH cards, and I for one am pretty excited for Modern Horizons 2 next year.

Generous Gift (Foil)

Price today: $9
Possible price: $20

Since Modern Horizon’s release, Generous Gift has climbed all the way up to be the 8th most popular white EDH card of all time. White has always had its fair share of creature, artifact and enchantment removal, but dealing with other problematic permanents has been a source of trouble for quite a while. White getting its own Beast Within effect is a huge step up for the colour, being able to neutralise Planeswalkers and lands alike at instant speed, and probably clear up the leftover Beast with a Wrath or something later on.

Despite only being an uncommon, this card is so popular that foils are already sitting at $9 with not a lot of supply around. There are 24 listings on TCGPlayer, and a few of the major retailers have some stock as well. Over on MKM these can still be had for around $6, but there aren’t many left at that level before the price starts to climb. I doubt we’ll be seeing this in Commander Legends, and so without a reprint on the horizon (hah), I think that these foils could hit $20 within the next 6-12 months.

Horizon Lands (Foil)

Price today: $24-38
Possible price: $40-60

I think the consensus on these cards is to call them Horizon Lands rather than Canopy Lands, but either way you probably know what I’m referring to so it doesn’t matter too much. Regardless of naming conventions, they’re super popular in both EDH and Modern, with Waterlogged Grove and Nurturing Peatland clocking in at around 11k EDH decks each. The red lands have been the most prolific in Modern, with Fiery Islet and Sunbaked Canyon being utilised by a wide variety of fast red decks to smooth out their draws and prevent flooding.

Despite being the least used in EDH, Sunbaked Canyon is the most expensive of the duals here due to it being the most heavily used in Modern. Burn and other red decks have been playing four of them pretty much since it was printed, meaning that the foils are leading the pack in front of the other colours. Pricewise, Silent Clearing is bringing up the rear as the second least popular in EDH, and despite a smattering of Modern play is way down at $24, a big jump from the rest of them.

I think that Silent Clearing is secretly the best pick here; 1-2 copies are often played in Modern Humans, and D&T playing four copies of the card has started doing quite well in Modern recently too. I don’t think that the gap between Silent Clearing and the rest of the Horizon Lands will hold that way for too long, and I think all of these are going to do well. It’s almost certain that we won’t be seeing them reprinted in MH2 next year alongside the fetchlands, and so I can’t think where we’ll see these lands again for a while.

Cordial Vampire (Foil)

Price today: $4
Possible price: $10

Finishing off today with a more niche card, but one that could become a lot more popular in the not-so-distant future. We already know that we’re getting a full Vampire set next year in the form of Innistrad Vampires (along with Innistrad Werewolves as well). In light of that I’m planning ahead (a bold strategy I know) and having a look at what Vampire and Werewolf cards we could pick up now to sell into the hype later on.

Cordial Vampire is a pretty powerful one from Modern Horizons, pumping up your whole team for any creature dying, not just your own. I’m mainly looking at this from an EDH perspective, but maybe there could be a Vampire deck viable in Modern next year? If D&T is topping the tables again, anything is possible. Anyway, this is in around 3k EDH decks so far, obviously being played in all the Vampire tribal decks – Edgar Markov, Drana etc.

Foils have been drying up below $10, and there are only 19 NM foil listings on TCGPlayer at all. I think that these are a very easy $10 by this time next year, and I’d also be on the lookout for other Werewolf and Vampire cards that you can sell into the hype during preview season for the new Innistrad sets.

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Watchtower 10/12/20 – Dodging Commander Legends

In the never-ending onslaught of product being fed to us by WotC, Commander Legends previews start today. We already know that we’re getting a LOT of new legendary creatures and planeswalkers here (71 new ones, to be precise), along with a tonne of “oft-asked-for” reprints as well. I’ve no doubt that we’re going to see some big hitters reprinted here – things like Imperial Seal, Mana Vault, Cabal Coffers; as well as some slightly less pricey crowd favourites like Rhystic Study and Smothering Tithe.

Today I’m going to be taking a swing at some great EDH cards that I don’t think we’ll see reprinted in Commander Legends. We may have already seen some cards previewed by the time I publish this article, so let’s hope I don’t screw it up eh?

Narset’s Reversal (Foil)

Price today: $10
Possible price: $20

I don’t want to be too ‘safe’ with my picks today, but at the same time I don’t want to go off the rails and pick a bunch of cards that are highly likely to see a reprint in Commander Legends next month. Having said that, I think that Narset’s Reversal is a fairly safe bet here, and I also think that this is going to be your last chance to get foils under or around $10 for a fair while.

This is a Remand and Redirect rolled into one, all for the low cost of only two mana – efficient and powerful; something that EDH players (especially blue mages) can’t resist. The EDHREC numbers back that up, with it being the second most popular card from War of the Spark on raw numbers (just a touch behind Narset, Parter of Veils), and polling sixth on percentage inclusion. 

It’s worth noting here that WAR was the last set before WotC increased the foil drop rate in booster packs, so your foil Narset’s Reversals are going to be more rare than subsequent foil rares. TCGPlayer has some foils at $10, but not many copies before listings start hitting $15 and up. There are some cheaper copies if you take a look at the FNM promo pack foils, but supply on those is pretty low as well. Although it’s a popular card, I don’t think that this is enough of an EDH staple or household name yet to warrant a reprint in Commander Legends, and it’s not as if it’s a prohibitively expensive card, so it should be good for a little run yet. I can see foils hitting $20 within the 6 month mark, and could potentially go even higher than that before a reprint.

Morphic Pool (Foil EXP)

Price today: $37
Possible price: $60

Commander Legends is giving us the second half of the cycle of Battlebond Duals, which come into play untapped if you’re playing EDH you have two or more opponents. I feel fairly secure in saying that they’re close to auto-includes in any two-or-more-colour EDH deck (budget allowing of course), with the only downside being that they’re not fetchable. The non-green ones (Morphic Pool, Sea of Clouds, Luxury Suite) have always been more popular, as those colours don’t have as much access to the easy ramp and colour-fixing that green is allowed to play with. Morphic Pool is the clear winner though, included in four thousand more decks than the next best dual from the set.

Original Battlebond foils of Morphic Pool are around $50 now, but the new foil Expedition versions from Zendikar Rising are priced down at $37. The Expeditions are assuredly the ‘better’ version, so one of these prices is wrong – and I’m willing to bet it’s the Expeditions. Supply is very low on original foils which does help to keep the price high, but if someone’s choosing between the two for their deck then almost all of the time they’re going to go for the cheaper foil with better art and a cooler border.

People are selling these to try and recoup costs from cracking Collector Boosters, but that $37 price tag won’t last too long. Collector Boosters are the only place that you can find the foil Expeditions, and although it’s a higher print run than normal the market on them isn’t really that deep: 48 listings on TCGPlayer and almost all are singleton copies. It’s basically 100% that we won’t see these lands in Commander Legends due to the other half of the cycle being in there, let alone with the Expedition frame – and I bet it’s going to be quite a while before we see another similar premium version of these lands. Morphic Pool is my top pick here, but Sea of Clouds and Luxury Suite are good hits too around $24 and $22 respectively.

Drannith Magistrate (EA Foil)

Price today: $17
Possible price: $35

You’d think that the Triomes from Ikoria take the top five slots for the set on EDHREC, right? Well, going by percentage inclusion you’d be right. But on raw numbers, Drannith Magistrate actually beats out all but Ketria and Zagoth Triomes, coming in at 6282 decks listed. I was fairly surprised by this, but it makes sense the more you think about it. There aren’t a lot of white decks that don’t want to be playing this card in EDH – it does a whole lot for a little 2 mana creature.

Aside from stopping people from casting their commanders (ya know, the whole thing the format’s about?) Drannith Magistrate also stops any kind of shenanigans with casting cards from graveyards or from exile (looking at you, Narset). That’s a powerful effect to bring to the table, and it might just draw out a removal spell whenever it lands, but if you can protect it then it’s going to put a spanner in the works of a lot of peoples’ plans.

EA foils are starting to run thin on the ground, down to 27 listings on TCGPlayer starting from $17. Again it’s mostly singleton copies, and so won’t take much to move the price fairly rapidly. Over in Europe you can still grab copies around $14, but supply isn’t exactly deep there either. I think that this is going to end up a relative staple for a lot of white decks, so don’t hang around too long on these – and if you want any personal copies then now is the time to grab them!

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Watchtower 10/05/20 – Oops, All Spells!

Between the rather lacklustre banning of Uro in Standard and the new Walking Dead Secret Lair, nobody seems to be particularly happy with anything Wizards are doing at the moment. Standard is still a mess, but other formats seem to be a lot healthier (except for Captain, which lasted all of a day, lol).

But people are doing absurd things with Omnath in Modern and Pioneer, and EDH keeps on EDHing regardless of Secret Lair cards, so let’s forget about the bad stuff for a second and focus on some really good spells.

Hour of Promise (Foil)

Price today: $5
Possible price: $15

The appropriately named “Uro Piles” decks in Modern have started playing the new Omnath, Locus of Creation that’s been ruining the Standard metagame since before Zendikar Rising’s release, and are really stretching the limit of what’s possible with their manabases. Even with Arcum’s Astrolabe banned from the format, we’re still seeing Omnath right next to Cryptic Command and Supreme Verdict…and all the while playing Field of the Dead and Field of Ruin in the deck.

To help with these (admittedly self-imposed) problems, people have started playing Hour of Promise – both to fix colours and power out an early Field of the Dead to start dropping Zombies into play. On top of that, the card is a moderately popular EDH card, currently in around 6k lists recorded on EDHREC – but the important thing to notice is that it’s being playing in 77% of Omnath, Locus of Creation decks as well as being a high pick for landfall strategies in general. This recent uptick in popularity in both casual and competitive formats has meant that foils have been draining out, and only a few remain now.

Foils start at $5 on TCGPlayer, but with only 12 NM listings (and only one of those with more than one copy), it won’t take much for those to disappear and a new floor to be set at $10 or $15. Major vendors are almost all out (go check CoolStuffInc though) except for a few LP copies, and supply isn’t too deep on MKM either. If you think you’ll ever want a foil one of these then I’d grab it now, because this is going to be $15+ in a few months.

Valakut Awakening (EA Foil)

Price today: $8
Possible price: $20

Despite others’ excitement about it, I wasn’t fully convinced by Valakut Awakening when we first saw the card previewed. Everyone was saying it was a great one-sided Wheel effect, but I couldn’t help but imagine how many times you’re only going to draw a couple of cards with it. I’m happy to say I’ve come around since then though. I don’t think that comparing it to Wheel is very helpful, but if you take this as its own card it can be some pretty powerful card selection.

Anyway, the stats speak for themselves, and this is already one of the top EDH cards from ZNR. Red is generally lacking in card selection, and so being able to choose which cards you Wheel away whilst also having them back in your deck instead of in your graveyard makes the applications for this wider than Wheel of Fortune might be, especially seeing as it’s a one-sided effect. It’s far less of a combo or synergy card and more just good value. But I haven’t even talked about the fact that this is a land, too! Albeit a tapped land on the other side, this means that you can almost replace a land with this card in your EDH deck, which is many EDH players’ dreams – people hate cutting cards.

Only being found in Collector Boosters, EA foils are never going to have a glut of supply, and so especially with rares (as opposed to mythics) I prefer picking up the more premium versions here rather than the regular versions, which there are a tonne of and will move much more slowly. EA foils start around $8 on TCGPlayer, which seems pretty low for one of the most popular EDH cards from the set (7th on raw deck numbers). Give it 12 months and I can easily see this as a $20 card.

Assassin’s Trophy (Foil)

Price today: $22
Possible price: $40

Despite only having been release two years ago (to the day, in fact), Assassin’s Trophy has climbed past a multitude of other EDH staples to become one of the most popular multicoloured cards played in the format. Clocking in at almost 24k decks registered on EDHREC, it makes the top 10 lists for both multicolour cards and Instants, earning its place among the best of the best. As well as this, it’s proved itself a solid roleplayer in competitive formats too, being played in a multitude of decks in Modern, Pioneer and Legacy.

Continued popularity and competitive applications mean that Assassin’s Trophy foils are creeping up and up, and I think it’ll be an easy train to ride along with. I don’t see this being reprinted too soon – it could show up in Commander Legends but I honestly doubt we’ll see it there. Barring a reprint there, the cheaper copies of this card are going to keep draining out until it’s $40 without anyone noticing.

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.