Category Archives: Watchtower

Obvious is Easy, But Still Good

I’m back this week with more Modern talk! Last week we discussed how the Modern format still has an impact on card prices, despite less extensive paper play. This week we’ll consider a few more key role players, all of whom have proven to be resilient in the metagame over the last year. Each of these cards is a Modern Horizons 2 (MH2) mythic rare, which helps ensure that their price floor is reasonably high. If you look at the current price of all mythics from original Modern Horizons, the lowest priced card is around $5.00, meaning that even if the metagame shift, these cards are unlikely to lose most of their value.

Murktide Regent (Non-Foil)
30th Most Frequently Played Card in Modern  
7th Most Frequently Played Creature in Modern

Current Price: $16
Potential Price: $35 in 18 months
Confidence: 8/10
Disclosure: N/A

Murktide is a known quantity. It’s been dominating Modern and Legacy for a while. It’s the best at what it does, which is sticking a very fast clock for a small amount of mana. Despite its continued success, Murktide’s price remains near its historical low due to new supply entering the market. One factor that has helped suppress the price of Murktide over time is the possibility that it could get banned in either Modern or Legacy. While this is possible, I don’t think a Modern ban is in the cards anytime soon (if anything, Omnath would be the first target). WOTC has taken a hands-off approach to Modern lately, so I’m not worried unless the metagame becomes even more heavily skewed in favor of Blue/Red Murktide. In Legacy, I do think a ban could be possible, but even if that occurred, I don’t think it would be anything more than a blimp on Murktide’s price trajectory. Legacy’s impact on paper cards is nominal these days, especially for a basic no frill version.

Like most other MH2 cards, I’m not sure whether Murktide Regent is already at its price floor or whether it will continue to decline through December, but personally, I plan to start moving in on these cards slowly over the next five months until the end of the holiday season.  

Archon of Cruelty (Non-Foil)

Current Price: $11
Potential Price: $25 in 18 months
Confidence: 8/10
Disclosure: I own a few copies. 

Archon of Cruelty has come and gone in several different shells already. Current decks that run it include Five-Color Indomitable Creativity, which has seen the most success, Esper reanimator, Dimir Control, and more. What unifies these shells is that Archon of Cruelty is the best creature threat to cheat into play at the moment, even better than Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in decks that have both options, which is a bit absurd honestly. How does an 8-mana mana value card compete with the biggest baddie of them all? Much of Archon’s success can be attributed to it having an enter-the-battlefield (ETB) effect that has the potential to be a 3-1. And if it lives, the effect compounds. That’s pretty back-breaking. The original Archon shells were more fragile, but over time they have built-in resiliency and more redundancy.

On top of Modern play, Archon of Cruelty is in 13,677 decks on This is solid for a mythic from MH2, trailing only Ragavan and Sword of Hearth and Home. So even if Modern doesn’t apply enough pressure to Archon, over time Commander may take care of the job on its own.

Grist (Non-Foil)  

Current Price: $6
Potential Price: $15 in 18 months
Confidence: 7/10
Disclosure: N/A   

A strong three mana planeswalker that is played as a full four copies in a top-tier deck? Sign me. Grist was clearly designed to be a strong, yet unique card. It seems to have succeeded in both – being limited generally to one type of deck, but is able to be very strong in that deck. The mix of uniqueness combined with power reminds me a bit of Urza, Lord High Artificer, except of course that Urza was designed to be crazy powerful while Grist is a value card. But neither can be just thrown into a random deck – they both require build around synergies.

It’s hard to evaluate whether Grist’s ability to be a create when not on the battlefield will ever be more useful than it is today. I could see a world where Green Sun Zenith gets unbanned, forcing Grist’s price to spike hard. But this is not a scenario that I would want to rely on, it’s rather icing on the cake. I could also see a world where a two-card combo comes together that allows Grist to efficiently mill one’s entire deck via its +1 ability, but that seems even more unreliable to count on.  

Grist is run in 7,100 decks on, plus an additional 2,235 decks as a commander! While these numbers are too low to be the basis of a speculation target, they do help Grist a bit here.  

Watch List: Hydroid Krasis (Etched Foil)   

Did you see that epic steamer Kanister ran a full four copies of Hydroid Krasis in his 6th place (two main, two sideboard) list during the recent Modern Challenge as part of Amulet? And he wasn’t the only one.

Is Hydroid Krasis, once the terror of Standard, getting a second life in Modern? My guess is this innovation will be a flash in the pan that won’t be around in a few months. Amulet, more than other decks, seems to “find” new tools and then forget about them quickly. Some stick around like Cultivator Colossus, while others go by the wayside.  

My advice here is to keep an eye on Amulet decks for the next few months – and if Krasis continues to do well – then consider picking up some of the Double Masters 2022 Etched-Foils, which are unique, much rarer than other editions, and fairly gorgeous.

Oko (@OkoAssassin) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2020 with a focus on competitive play and Magic Online. In his personal life Oko is a lawyer, father, ice-hockey player, runner, and PC gamer.

A Few Underpriced Modern Cards

Last week we evaluated the Pioneer metagame and highlighted a few cheap pick-up opportunities. Today, we’ll do the same level-setting exercise for Modern, Magic’s most popular competitive format. The Modern metagame has been fairly stable since Modern Horizon’s 2 (MH2), with new decks emerging slowly over time. This remained true even after Lurrus was banned in March 2022. While some decks got a little better/worse because of this change, nothing major completely fell out of the metagame. The format is very diverse, with certain decks clearly being top tier and others doing well but lacking the consistency to be dominant every week.

The format primarily features a combination of the following archetypes, along with others: Blue/Red Murktide Regent Decks; Four-Five Color Piles featuring Omnath; Hammer Time; Burn; Yawgmoth Combo; Amulet Titan; Living End; Crashing Footfalls; Death’s Shadow; Azorius Control; Archon of Cruelty Reanimator; and Rakdos Midrange.

That’s a lot of decks! While Modern organized play certainly doesn’t impact cards to anything close to the level that it used, cards like Murktide Regent or Seasoned Pyromancer show that competitive play still matters since they see virtually zero EDH play. With paper play coming back slowly, both at local shops and the “Return to the Pro Tour”, it is time to dive into some Modern competitive cards that may see gains in the near future.

After reviewing the currently top played cards in Modern, a few trends jump out. First, most top non-Modern Horizons 2 cards have either been reprinted at least once, are already expensive, or are commons/uncommons. I always avoid commons and tend to avoid uncommons, except in rare circumstances. Additionally, only a small number were recently re-printed in Double Masters 2022 (Wrenn and Six, Force of Negation, Pithing Needle, Supreme Verdict, Kolaghan’s Command). Based on these factors, for the moment I believe targeting key Modern Horizons 2 staples continues to be the easiest way to find success going forward. While many good options exist, here are three cards that I would specifically focus on:

Fury (Borderless Foil)
10 Most Frequently Played Card in Modern  
2 Most Frequently Played Creature in Modern  

Current Price: $60
Potential Price: $100 in 12 months
Confidence: 9/10
Disclosure: I own four copies

All the free creature spells from Modern Horizons 2 have done well. Of all creatures, they are #1 (Endurance), #2 (Fury), #4 (Subtlety), and #7 (Solitude). Grief is the least played but is still in the top 50 creatures at #45. Free spells are good, who knew!

Despite all being top modern cards, the price for the Foil-Extended Art (FEA) versions of each varies widely. Solitude was always expensive but I recently noticed that both Endurance and Subtlety foils recently jumped significantly. Fury FEAs have not yet jumped, but I think it’s only a matter of time, especially when factoring in its use in Legacy, where it’s the 12th most played creature. Legacy isn’t a huge factor these days, but that’s a lot of play and we all know Legacy players love bling. While some of the price gaps between the free creatures can partially be explained by some cards having more EDH play (Solitude, Endurance), I still think Fury will soon rise as supply continues to drain out of the market.

Dress Down (Pack Foil)
7 Most Frequently Played Card in Modern
6 Most Frequently Played Spell in Modern  

Current Price: $9
Potential Price: $20+ in 12 months
Confidence: 8/10
Disclosure: None

I was surprised that Dress Down is such a big part of the Modern metagame once again. Its use tends to ebb and flows depending on what other cards are being played – since it’s a reactive card. Currently, it’s seeing play in Murktide, Omnath, Azorius Control just to name a few. Typically, it’s played in both the main and sideboard. While trying to figure out what is the likely price trajectory for this card, I looked to find examples from Modern Horizon 1. No perfect analogy exists, but I do think it’s fairly similar to Archmage’s Charm. Both cards are blue and have strong competitive play patterns but little EDH play. Archmage’s Charm typically has an average of 3 copies in a deck, Dress down is normally only 2 copies, but it is in more decks overall due to its splashability.

When looking at Archmage’s Charm it started cheap and then slowly got expensive over time. Foils went from a low of $7 to over $60 at its absurd peak. Modern Horizons 2 has more foils in circulation compared to the original set, but that difference is likely baked into the price already. Dress Down set foils seem like the obvious choice compared to the sketch version, which I think are ugly, but maybe that’s just me. Also, regular foil versions are rarer. Non-foil versions could also do well here too, but supply remains fairly deep and its price could linger.

Urza’s Saga (Pack Version)   
16 Most Frequently Played Land in Modern  

Current Price: $30
Potential Price: $55 in 12 months
Confidence: 8/10
Disclosure: Own many copies  

Urza’s Saga has been discussed many times by many MTG Price commentators because it’s an exceptional card that is irreplaceable in the competitive Modern strategies that leverage it. Urza’s Saga is included in about 20% of Modern decks and is almost always run as four copies. But to add to this, it’s a powerful commander card that is featured in 70,000 decks on and sees significant Legacy play to boot. I bring up this card again because the MH2 hype has faded and with it all the MH2 cards have retreated in price near their all-time lows. At some point supply will dry up on MH2, forcing prices to climb.

If you look at Force of Negation, the summer after its set release was the turning point towards its high of $100. I don’t know whether Urza’s Saga will be cheaper come the December holidays, but absent a reprint I’m very confident that it will be much higher than $30 come this time next year.  

Oko (@OkoAssassin) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2020 with a focus on competitive play and Magic Online. In his personal life Oko is a lawyer, father, ice-hockey player, runner, and PC gamer.

Let’s Discuss Affordable Pioneer Staples

I’ve been writing off-and-on for for a few years, but I’m pleased to report that going forward I’ll be publishing articles every Monday discussing developments in the competitive Magic scene and their potential implications on MTG card prices. I’m still working on finding my groove as a writer, so I hope you’ll provide your feedback (good and bad!) along the way via Twitter @OkoAssassin.

Prior to jumping into week-by-week specifics, I thought it would be best to zoom out first and look at the big picture. This week I’ll review a few current role players within the Pioneer format, and next week I’ll look at Modern. Once we have level set a bit, in future weeks I’ll begin to share a noticeable change in the key competitive formats and their potential impacts on prices.

Most players used to shrug when Pioneer’s name came up, but that all changed when WOTC made their long-awaited organized play announcement, which made clear that Pioneer would be a signature format going forward. The Pioneer metagame has been fairly consistent over the last months including a combination of the following archetypes, along with others:

  • Izzet Phoenix
  • Rakdos Midrange
  • Azorius Control
  • Boros Aggro
  • Burn
  • Mono-Green Ramp
  • Lotus Field
  • Mono blue/Bant spirits

While some of these strategies are more dominant than others, each plays an important role in shaping the Pioneer format. Cards that overlaps between multiple archetypes – or are otherwise unique – are often worth a look due to this format’s growth potential. As Pioneer becomes more popular, prices should increase going forward, albeit maybe slowly. Paper events are key here – if COVID locks down the world again, Pioneer will once again fall on hard times. So take all this commentary with a large grain of salt.

If you don’t think Pioneer matters, look at the price of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker – which is the 11th most played card in the format. It currently sits around $11 for an in-print rare! Similarly, the top played pioneer card Unlicensed Herse is around $15! Both get support from other formats – but I would argue that Pioneer is a key driver for the price of both cards. 

Many of the key pioneer stables are commons and uncommons, making them unattractive from a speculation perspective, even if they see quite a bit of play. Additionally, the number of mythics that see play is also relatively lacking, and most played mythics have seen one or two reprints over time or their prices are fairly high due to their lack of reprint. For these reasons, today we’ll be focused on evaluating a few played but potentially underpriced rares.

Supreme Verdict (Foil Borderless)
37th Most Frequently Played Spell in Pioneer  

Current Price: $10
Potential Price: $20 in 18 months
Confidence: 8.5/10
Disclosure: None

Supreme Verdict is a long-time staple in both Modern and Pioneer. Blue/White Control is fairly popular in Pioneer and these decks typically run three copies of Supreme Verdict. It’s also solid role player in EDH, being included in nearly 45,000 decks on

Absent another reprint the Double Masters 2022 Foil Borderless edition should do well over time – especially if you’re able to time this purchase at its lows. My guess is that these lows will be in December, while others are betting on today. I’m betting December because more collector boosters will eventually be opened and hype will wind down over time, but we shall see. Even at today’s prices, having this card go from $10 to $20 is not unreasonable and seems very likely.

Graveyard Trespasser
23rd Most Frequently Played Card in Pioneer  
4rd Most Frequently Played Creature in Pioneer  

Current Price: $3.00
Potential Price: $10 in 12 months
Confidence: 7/10
Disclosure: None

This card protects itself well even on the turn it’s cast, provides mainboard graveyard hate, and comes at a relatively efficient mana value. Personally, I used to not rate Graveyard Trespasser very highly until I played against it. All it takes is a few frustrating games to understand why this card is so highly played in Pioneer. This card has maintained a high price point on Magic Online for a while based on its high level of play, but that same enthusiasm has mostly not yet transferred to the paper version of this card. It’s a rare from AFR and the supply is extremely deep for the regular and showcase versions of this card. But the Double Feature version is relatively scarce by comparison. 68 copies of the Double Feature version sold already on in July, which is very solid relative to current inventory levels. Assuming this card doesn’t fall out of the metagame – and isn’t reprinted in the upcoming Pioneer Challenger Decks (a risk in Orzhov Humans) – it could see solid gains going forward.

Old-Growth Troll (Foil Extended Art)
38th Most Frequently Played Card in Pioneer  
13rd Most Frequently Played Creature in Pioneer  

Current Price: $5
Potential Price: $15 in 12 months
Confidence: 8/10
Disclosure: None

About 13 percent of Pioneer decks run a full playset of Old-Growth Troll – and only a limited number of Foil Extended Art copies remain available at a reasonable price. The low supply is surprising considering that Kaldheim was cracked heavily by vendors leading to a seemingly never-ending supply. Mono-green has been a staple since Pioneer’s inception, so it’s unlikely to fall off the map completely anytime soon, although its power level has fluctuated over time. Combine all these factors together and I can easily see Old-Growth Troll increasing in price to $15 over the next year.  

Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance (Borderless)  
3rd Most Frequently Played Land Card in Pioneer  

Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire (Borderless)  
10rd Most Frequently Played Land in Pioneer  

Current Price: $5.50
Potential Price: $12 in 18 months
Confidence: 7/10
Disclosure: None

Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance, and Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire both see a reasonable amount of play in Pioneer. They both average a paltry 1 copy per deck, but they see play in many decks as they provide free value, in a similar way as Otawara and Boseiju. They do not see Modern play for the most part, which is reflected in their relatively low price point. Both also see solid EDH play as well, being included in 20,000 and 30,000 decks respectively. I believe cards like these seem underwhelming for now, but over time, they will continue to slowly grow in price as copies drain out based on modest but well-rounded competitive plus EDH demand.

Revisiting Original Commander Legends

The abject failure of Commander Legends: Bauldur’s Gate has been a stark contrast to the Original Commander Legends (CMR) set, which was an absolute hit through producing powerful new cards combined with a few impressive reprints. I’ve been a proponent of buying into CMR cards for a long time, yet the singles market for this set have not yet been able to overcome the significant supply of this set so far. I believe this has been due to several restock waves of CMR being available throughout it’s time in print combined with the high price point of several signature cards, making it profitable to mass open for a profit. But since boxes went out-of-print earlier this year, the averaged sealed price has started to climb, from under $100 (when I strongly recommended them), to $120 each. As boxes dry up and sealed prices climb, it seems inevitable that singles that are not on track for a reprint (Jeska’s Will, Training Center, War Room, and Commander’s Plate) will begin to climb in price now that reprint threats of Double Masters 2022 and Bauldur’s Gate are out of the way. This is especially true for those cards that look safe from a reprint due to their power level, price point, or based on history. Below are a few cards that exemplify this opportunity.

Jeweled Lotus – Non-Foil, Foil, and Extended Art

Price today: $82 regular; $126 foil; $160 Extended Art
Possible price: 50% increase in 12 months
Confidence: 8/10
Disclosure: Own a few regular copies

Jeweled Lotus isn’t a casual card. But despite this, Jeweled Lotus has been included in 91,000 decks, making it the 19th most played colorless card currently in EDH. To put this in perspective, here’s how it compared to other expensive colorless ramp cards:

  • 1,000,000: Sol Ring
  • 177,000: Mana Crypt
  • 105,000: Chrome Mox
  • 93,000: Mana Vault
  • 63,000: Mox Diamond
  • 44,000: Phyrexian Altar  
  • 31,000: Grim Monolith

Needlessly to say, this card is played a lot! It provides a unique affect that is a must-have for certain decks. We all know this – and I’m positive WOTC knew this when creating the card. They wanted a financial anchor for CMR – and they certainly got it with Jeweled Lotus. For this reason, the price for the most basic version has held firm since CMR’s release at $70+, at one point approaching $100.

While the Foil Extended Art (FEA) price of this cards is very expensive, its recent price history was what made me evaluate it for this article. When Jeweled Lotus crushed out of Double Masters 2022, the price for FEA copies jumped to $1,000, although this hasn’t been backed up yet by a sale. Regular copies haven’t seen a similar boost yet, but I think they will over time. I believe all the other version, non-foil, foil, and extended art, are on track to post 50% gains over the next year as supply drains from the market pressuring this card to new heights. Currently the extended art and foil versions have much lower supply, but they also come at a higher price point. Overall, I think they all will do well.

A solid comparison for pricing can be found I think in Mana Crypt after it’s Double Masters reprint. While the CMR Jeweled Lotus has a much higher supply than Double Masters Mana Crypt specifically, and is played less, it is also the first printing of the card, offsetting these factors. Mana Crypt doubled quickly after its Double Masters reprint and I think Jeweled Lotus can at least grow 50% in the next 12 months due to their similarities.

Opposition Agent – Non-Foil

Price today: $10.50
Possible price: $20 in 12 months
Confidence: 9/10
Disclosure: Own a dozen copies

Opposition Agent was as cheap as $7.50 at one point but it has slowly grown to over $10 once again. This isn’t too surprising considering 52 near mint copies sold in the first 4 days of July on, and 531 copies in the last 30 days. That’s a lot of pressure, especially if the assumption is that mass box openings will become a thing of the past soon for CMR. Given enough time, this card seemed destined to double up to $20 with potential for more.

One of the reasons I’m bullish on Opposition Agent is due to its similarities to Hullbreacher, which was an incredible card that rightfully got banned. Opposition Agent is a similar card design, but isn’t quite as oppressive, making it relatively safe from bannings for now. Yet I think the taint of Hullbreacher being a mistake will make WOTC reluctant to reprint Opposition Agent because doing so would bring up old feelings of resentment about the card design that led to both. Additionally, Opposition Agent doesn’t fit well into a preconstructed deck. It causes too many bad feelings and requires an opponent’s deck too be at too high of a power level to activate Opposition Agent’s ability. These factors make me much more willing to dump money into copies of Opposition Agent – knowing that it’s probably safe from reprints in the short term.

Commander Legend Lands – Non-Foil

Price today: ~$7/each
Possible price: $15-$20 in 18 months
Confidence: 8/10
Disclosure: Own around 100 copies of each

We’ve all known that the CMR lands were going to be profitable, it was only a matter of time. I bought in about a year after release, based on the price history of the Battlebond lands. I was early. It was surprising to me how long they stayed cheap and how the price continued to sink until recently. In April you could get many of these CMR lands for around $5/each, which was well below my buy-in. Today copies will set you back around $7 each, which is still fairly reasonable all things considered. These lands are heavily played and should post strong gains as supply begins to drain.

The main caveat is that WOTC showed a willingness to reprint these lands earlier than I would have expected when they included Training Center in the upcoming premium Secret Lair Commander Deck: Heads I Win, Tales You Lose. There are a lot of unknowns about this reprint – both in terms of whether it will have a significant impact on the price of Training Center and whether WOTC will continue to put these lands in future Secret Lair Commander Decks. I assume these $100 Commander decks will continue, but how much equity they are willing to burn on lands within them is an open question.