Category Archives: Watchtower

The Watchtower 06/01/20 – Miscellaneous

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I knew that I wanted to talk about a particular product (wonder what that could be?) in this week’s article and so decided that today would have to be a mixed bag of odds and ends – but don’t take that to mean that these aren’t good specs! I think there are some excellent opportunities here, so read on for some bits and pieces of miscellaneous value.


Secret Lair: Heart of Steel

Price today: $40
Possible price: $70

This is a bit of a different pick to normal for me, but I think it could well be a good one. There are five news Secret Lair Drops going live very shortly after I’ll be posting this article, and the catchily named “Can You Feel With a Heart of Steel?” looks like it could be the best value set to be had. There are only three cards here – Walking Ballista, Darksteel Colossus and Arcbound Ravager – but they’re all full art foils with some great looking new artwork, and we all know how popular a card Walking Ballista is.

In case you didn’t know how popular Walking Ballista is, it’s been a Modern staple for years and a Pioneer staple since the format was invented, and on top of that is listed in over 12k decks on EDHREC. I think that this promo might appeal to EDH players in particular, seeing as they’ll only need one (per deck) rather than the full playset. Darksteel Colossus isn’t quite as much of an EDH staple but still shows up in decent numbers, and although Affinity has fallen by the wayside in Modern since the banning of Mox Opal, Arcbound Ravager still has some impressive chops in Hardened Scales decks.

Even if we set that aside, the raw numbers just look great here. Regular Walking Ballista foils start at $45 on TCGPlayer – that’s already more than the cost of this whole Secret Lair. But on top of that, you’ve got the Darksteel Colossus (foils starting at $15) and Arcbound Ravager (current promo version sitting at around $9). That’s $60 right there, and I think that these Ballista promos will easily be the most desirable foil for anyone looking to upgrade their deck. I could see the Ballista alone selling for $50 in a few months, and then the other two cards are just icing on the cake, to resell or use in decks as you please.

Arbitrage Opportunity: Golos, Tireless Pilgrim (Foil)

Price on MKM: €8
Price on TCGPlayer: $40

I wanted to do this as a regular pick, but the price on TCGPlayer is already sky high, and there are only ten (10) copies available across five sellers. It’s a similar story with both the prerelease foils and promo pack foils, both of which are in even shorter supply still. Over on MagicCardmarket (MKM), however, it’s quite different. Supply still isn’t hugely deep but prices across the three different versions start at just €7, with a fair few available under €10.

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Obviously this isn’t a pick available to everyone, but for readers in the EU or for readers in the US with an EU trade partner, foil Golos, Tireless Pilgrims are ripe for the taking. As well as being the most popular commander from M20, Golos is also a high pick for a place in the 99 of other five colour EDH decks. He’s also seen a smattering of Modern play in Tron decks, but the main draw here is EDH, and the supply is low.

What’s also enticing about this pick is that it doesn’t need to be a quick flip, so there’s not too much rush to ship it over to the US from the EU. If you’re looking to get started with some arbitrage opportunities like this then check out my Guide to Arbitrage article I wrote a couple of months ago, and feel free to shoot me any questions on Twitter or Discord.

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Mystic Sanctuary (Foil)

Price today: $5
Possible price: $10

Well, I wrote my last section for today’s article in relation to a companion deck, but now that Wizards have nerfed them into the sun I guess I’d better write about something else instead.

Mystic Sanctuary has completely changed the face of Modern. That might sound a tad melodramatic, but I honestly think it’s true. You just can’t play a blue deck (outside of tribal decks like Merfolk and Spirits) any more without playing this card. The top blue decks: Bant Snowblade, Scapeshift and Uroza (all of which are currently Yorion decks, but it’ll be interesting to see if that changes with the new tax on Companions) play 2-4 Mystic Sanctuary; it’s too powerful not to. Rebuying Cryptic Commands and Archmage’s Charms is great, but the fact that this is an Island that you can fetch makes it kinda ridiculous.

On top of the Modern play, this is the most popular card from Throne of Eldraine for EDH play. Over 12k decks are listed playing it on EDHREC, a good 2000 more than the next most popular card. Yes, this is a foil common from a recent set that I’m picking here, which is normally not something I’d consider – but this is a card that’s going to go in every spell-based blue EDH deck and Modern deck for the foreseeable future, and so I think that foils are an entirely reasonable pickup at $5 to double in 12 months or so.

There’s a pretty decent supply of these around the $5 mark, so it’ll take a little while for those to drain – but the demand is definitely there. I’d be happy to stash a couple of playsets away for 6-12 months and see where we’re at after that.


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.

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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The Watchtower 05/25/20 – Thinking Ahead

Last week I moved back from MTGO picks to looking at some longer-term paper specs, and this week I’m going to be continuing in that fashion. In my last article I mainly focused on cards that are popular in EDH, but today I’m taking a look at cards I think will be relevant to the more competitive formats when paper Magic gets back up and running again.


Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast (Foil & Alt Art)

Price today: $12
Possible price: $20

Lukka, Copper Outcast (feat. Yorion as companion) has been thoroughly dominating Standard over the past couple of weeks, where the name of the game has been ‘who can get an Agent of Treachery into play first?’. A few other decks are still putting up strong results too (Jeskai cycling, mono-red, Temur Reclamation), but with many pros touting it as the best Standard deck we’ve had in years, Lukka is the clear top dog.

It’s not just Standard that Lukka is putting up results in though – he’s found homes in both Modern and Pioneer too. The Pioneer superfriends deck has been clawing its way up the metagame ranks, again using token generators and Lukka to cheat out early Agent of Treacherys, backed up by Yorion and a suite of other powerful planeswalkers. Over in Modern, Lukka has seen a smattering of play in the Gruul Obosh decks, which have moved more away from a Ponza style and become extra midrangey.

The point I’m making with all this is that I think Lukka is a strong contender for one of the multi-format all-stars from Ikoria, and even though Agent of Treachery rotates out of Standard in the fall, I don’t doubt that the Lukka decks will change and survive rotation, and that Modern and Pioneer play of the card will continue to increase.

I was planning on just talking about the regular versions of Lukka here, but then when I took a look at the prices on TCGPlayer I noticed that there are both regular foils and alternate art versions starting at pretty much the same price as the normal version, give or take a dollar. Even with the increased foil drop-rate these days, this seems like a no-brainer to me. Once paper Magic gets back on its feet, people are going to need their copies of Lukka, so I think that picking up these more premium versions for basically the same price as regulars is easy money.

Abbot of Keral Keep (Foil)

Price today: $4
Possible price: $10

There could well be a new best deck in Modern. A little over a week ago, Red-Black Prowess took three of the top four slots of the Team Lotus Box Modern League tournament, only losing out on the top spot to Ad Nauseum. Somewhat oddly titled ‘Lurrus Jund’ on MTGGoldfish, the only hint of green to be seen in this deck is on Manamorphose, so I think they need to update their deck labels. This is definitely a Lurrus deck though, using the companion to replay their cheap creatures from the graveyard later in the game.

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Four maindeck Cling to Dust was one of the MVPs from this new deck, giving a good maindeck answer to cards like Uro and providing a life buffer against other aggressive decks. But another surprising powerhouse is Abbot of Keral Keep, something that wasn’t often seen in the old mono-red versions of this deck. Here it’s in as a playset though, because beside the obvious fact that your deck is loaded with cheap spells to play off the ETB trigger, if you can cast one of these twice in a game with Lurrus and get lucky enough to be able to play both spells off it, then you’re REALLY flying.

Abbot foils start at $4 on TCGPlayer, but once you get past the first 10 or so listings, the ladder climbs very sharply. This is a single printing foil from almost five years ago now, and once those cheaper copies are gone, the new price is going to be at least $10, probably higher. It’s also worth noting that there are only five listings for the prerelease copy, so if you’re quick enough you can grab the cheaper ones there too.

Fiend Artisan

Price today: $15
Possible price: $25

Speaking of Lurrus decks (because let’s be honest there’s not much other than Lurrus and Yorion going around at the moment), I’m taking a look at Fiend Artisan. I talked about this card in relation to MTGO a few weeks ago, and it’s done well over there but I think it’s a good pick-up in paper too. It might not quite be good enough for Modern, but Fiend Artisan has seen a good amount of play in both Standard and Pioneer so far, both in Aristocrat-style decks.

In addition to this, it’s one of the more popular EDH cards from the set, already seeing inclusion in close to 600 decks listed on EDHREC. I mean, why only play one Birthing Pod when you can play two? Being a mythic from Ikoria, supply is much lower than other rares that players are buying, and this is a card that’s being torn in two between competitive play and EDH play. Those factors mean that it won’t be hard for Fiend Artisan to run a high price tag, and I think that EDH players are the most likely section of the market to be buying cards right now – so if you want these I’d pick them up sooner rather than later.

There are a few of these around at $15 and more at $17, so if you can snag the $15 copies I think you’re golden, and if you’re on the $17 copies then you’re still doing fairly well. The Pioneer Aristocrats decks will probably ebb and flow a bit depending on how much graveyard hate there is around, but when those decks are left to their own devices it can be pretty brutal.


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.

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The Watchtower 05/18/20 – Back To Basics

This week I’m switching it up again. Or rather, switching it back again. I’ve spent a few weeks (could be months actually, I’m not really sure any more) on MTGO specs and it’s gone pretty well for the most part, but this week I’m looking back at some paper specs. Whether it’s correct or not, lockdown measures are starting to be relaxed in some places, and paper card sales are starting to flow a little more again.

There are obviously still no paper tournaments happening for the time being, so I’m focusing on cards that I think are good pickups for a longer hold time, or at least things that aren’t dependent on an ever-shifting metagame. Spoilers, we’re looking at some EDH cards!

Triomes (Showcase)

Price today: $8
Possible price: $15

If you hop onto EDHREC, I’ll give you one guess as to what the top five cards from Ikoria are. The clue is in my subheading. Well done, you were right! The five Triomes (I still want to call them Tricycle Lands) are, to nobody’s surprise, at the top of the pile for Ikoria inclusions on EDHREC. These three colour lands are strictly better upgrades to the tri-lands that Shards of Alara and Khans of Tarkir gave us, adding both cycling and basic land types to them.

The regular versions of these cards are great, but the Showcase versions with art from Robbie Trevino are just stunning. There will undoubtedly be a big draw for these premium versions from EDH players, especially seeing as the Triomes are auto-includes in any deck that matches their colours. I’m probably going to have to grab a copy of each for my five-colour Canadian Highlander deck…

Showcase versions of all five Triomes can currently be had on TCGPlayer for around $7-8, and I think that this has the potential for a double-up in the longer term. As I said, they’re auto-includes in EDH decks that can play them, and that’s not even taking into account Standard (and possibly other constructed formats?) demand for them. I could also see dipping into the foils at around $30, with a view to hit $40 or even $50 in 12 months or so.

Shadowspear (EA Foil)

Price today: $30
Possible price: $50

What’s that? Another premium version of an EDH staple? How unoriginal!

Yes, it’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but I reckon it’s pretty solid, and that’s good enough for me. Shadowspear is the 3rd most popular card from Theros Beyond Death on EDHREC, because being colourless it can slot into any deck! I’d argue that it’s pretty much just an upgrade from Loxodon Warhammer, a card that’s found a home in almost 15k recorded decks. Sure, it grants a couple fewer points of power, but the ability to remove Indestructible and Hexproof from your opponents’ creatures is invaluable.

There are too many different versions of this card between the regular, prerelease promo, planeswalker pack promo and EA version, PLUS all the foils of those, so with cards like that it’s best to just look at the most basic version and the most pimp version. The regulars aren’t amazingly enticing at $6, so instead I’ve flipped the switch to the other end and looked at the EA foils.

These ones start at $30 on TCG and have a pretty reasonable ladder up to $40, and I’m actually surprised that there aren’t any priced higher than that at the moment. There are only 28 total vendors with copies, which considering the number of people playing this in EDH is not a lot. $40 within 6 months seems easy for Shadowspear, and I think that $50 in 12 months is entirely reasonable.

Castle Garenbrig (EA Foil)

Price today: $25
Possible price: $40

Hopping back in time by another set to Throne of Eldraine, here’s another EA foil for you. Castle Garenbrig is another boring old staple in, well, decks that play a lot of creatures I guess. Boasting a respectable 5400 decks on EDHREC, it’s a relatively easy inclusion in heavily green-based EDH decks, probably coming in untapped most of the time and helping ramp out early threats. But there’s a twist: it’s actually not that boring because it’s had its fair share of time in the sun in Modern as well.

Primeval Titan decks love this card, and although Amulet Titan has shrunk back from the forefront of Modern for the time being, I highly doubt that the giant’s time in the format is anywhere near to finished. The Amulet Titan and Titan Field decks are almost always seen playing the full suite of Castle Garenbrigs, and supply on the foil EA Castles isn’t exactly high so if a couple of players pick a set up for their decks then the market will drain quickly.

These start at $25 on TCGPlayer, but with only thirteen (13) total NM foil copies listed, that price could jump up real quick. With the Modern and EDH demand for this card, along with a smattering of Pioneer play, I think that riding this up to $40 in 6, maybe 12 months, is a pretty safe bet – and if you want some to play with then I definitely wouldn’t hesitate.


I’ll probably be back next week with more paper specs for you to stash in the closet and gather dust until we can play paper Magic properly again, so I’ll see you then!


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.

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The Watchtower 05/11/20 – Setting a New Standard

Despite no paper Magic being played at the moment, the Standard metagame is still churning away at a reasonable rate, both on MTGO and Arena. With the release of Ikoria we’ve seen new archetypes pushed to the forefront of Standard, most notably the Yorion Lukka deck and Jeskai Cycling. Lukka has been the (perhaps unexpected) breakout mythic so far, so congrats if you were in on that ahead of the crowd.

Interestingly, one common card across a lot of these decks seems to be Agent of Treachery, and being able to power out an early one can often be the name of the game, be it via Lukka, Winota or simply ramping with Uro and Growth Spiral. This week I’ll be talking about some of the other top contenders in Standard at the moment, and which cards look like they’ll be solid holds with a view to rotation later in the year.


Shatter the Sky

Price today: 0.1 tix
Possible Price: 1 tix

Shatter the Sky is a four mana unconditional wrath in Standard, which is always going to be inherently powerful. We saw Kaya’s Wrath put work in before Shatter was printed, but the mana constraints on that card meant that it couldn’t be played as much as it might have been if it were less heavy on the mana symbols. Shatter is twice as easy to cast, and although it does sometimes let your opponent draw a card, that’s a reasonable price to pay for being able to wrath the board on turn 4 instead of turn 5.

If we take a look at the metagame staples in Standard at the moment, Shatter the Sky comes out as the 9th most played card overall (not just the 9th most played spell). There are a few different Yorion variants that take up a huge proportion of the metagame at the moment, and most of them are playing three to four Shatters in the maindeck.

Kaya’s Wrath is a similar card that we’ve seen spend a decent amount of time over 1 tix on MTGO, and so as we look towards rotation in the fall I think that Shatter the Sky could be lined up to follow a similar path. Standard has been a grindy midrange-fest for a little while now, and could well continue in that direction for the foreseeable future. That means that efficient and well-timed wraths will always be necessary, and Shatter does a great job in that respect.

Elspeth Conquers Death

Price today: 0.2 tix
Possible price: 0.5 tix

Another Theros card we’ve been seeing all over Standard is Elspeth Conquers Death. It’s another powerful midrange tool that can swing games around quickly, and is actually played a lot more than Shatter the Sky, coming out at the fourth most played card in Standard at the moment. Another rare from Theros Beyond Death, this is a card that will still be legal post-rotation and thus probably start to climb as supply dwindles and popularity stays high.

Elspeth Conquers Death did recently ascend to around 0.5 tix on MTGO due to its ubiquity in both Standard and Pioneer, but has since dropped back to 0.2 tix. This is another play that, bought in great enough quantity, could make a lot of money moving back up to 0.5 tix or even more.

Fabled Passage

Price today: 13 tix
Possible price: 20 tix

I called Fabled Passage a few weeks ago when it bottomed out at 9 tix, saying it could hit 15, and after some steady growth we’re pretty close to being there. But here I am talking about it again, and not just to say “told you so” – I think that this card has even more potential going forwards, and could even hit 20 tix at some point.

I may just be repeating myself from a few weeks ago, but Fabled Passage is played in almost every deck in Standard, and pretty much always as a four-of when it’s there. Especially with all the new Yorion decks running around, colour fixing and a consistent manabase is more important than ever, and so demand for Fabled Passage isn’t going anywhere.

These were obviously a lot better at 9 tix, but I think they’re still pretty decent at 13. We’ve seen the card at 18 before so there is a precedent, and coupled with the not insignificant use the card sees in Pioneer (it’s actually the most popular non-basic land in the format), 20 tix isn’t too much of a stretch.


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.

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