Category Archives: Watchtower

The Watchtower 07/06/20 – Underpriced M21 Cards

M21 has hit the shelves in full force despite the pandemic, and there’s been quite a lot of price instability over the past week. Being a summer release core set, M21 would generally be poised to be underopened compared to others anyway, but with the pandemic on top of that crushing LGS attendance and general player purchases, I think that M21 is on track to be full of excellent opportunities.

Double Vision (EA Foil)

Price today: $5
Possible price: $10

Double Vision might not seem too splashy at first glance, only copying the first instant or sorcery you cast each turn, but once you start to think about how this can play out in an EDH pod, it can get pretty silly. It doesn’t restrict to spells cast during your turn, which means that in a pod of four people you get to copy four different spells during one cycle of the table. When you start thinking about what you can get up to with that kind of power, the five mana investment seems quite trivial.

It’s unfortunately doubtful that this card will ever see any competitive constructed play, but I think it’s going to be pretty much an auto-include in any red spell-based EDH decks (especially Izzet+ decks).

Prices for Double Vision EA foils are as low as $5 on TCGPlayer at the moment, which looks really tasty right now. Give it 6-12 months and I think these have a great shot at being at least $10-15.

Teferi’s Ageless Insight (Showcase Foil)

Price today: $2
Possible price: $8

Teferi’s Ageless Insight is already the fifth most popular EDH card from M21 (not counting reprints of course). The only cards beating it out are Sanctum of All (we’ve seen a lot of people rush to build the Shrines deck), Rin & Seri (unsurprising), Radha (slots right into any self-respecting Gruul deck) and Teferi, Master of Time (probably the outright best EDH card from M21). I think I’m correct in saying that this is the cheapest (in terms of mana cost) one-sided card draw doubling effect we have now, so although it doesn’t double your normal draw step, this is a no-brainer to slot into most blue decks.

Despite the fact that I think the M21 showcase cards are quite unattractive, I’ve seen enough people fawning over them to feel confident in picking the showcase version of Teferi’s Ageless Insight here. It also helps that the gap between regular copies and the showcase foils is very small, with regular non-foils going for around $1 at the moment and showcase foils sitting at around $2.

That small gap is bound to widen sooner or later, so I’d pick some of these up whilst they’re this cheap. Supply is reasonable enough for now, but with very few paper drafts firing and fewer people buying product compared to normal, we’re going to see a faster drain on stock than we might otherwise. I think that we’ll see a fairly smooth upwards trajectory on these for the next 12-18 months, with potential for a nice buylist at $5-6 or a decent profit on selling singles higher than that with a slightly longer hold.

Fiery Emancipation (Arbitrage Pick)

Price on MKM: €3.50 ($4)
Price on TCG: $8
Possible price: $15

Fiery Emancipation has been heralded by The Command Zone as being on the same power level as Craterhoof Behemoth, and easily one of the top EDH cards from M21. We’ve seen Wizards giving us tripling effects already with Nyxbloom Ancient, and that’s already been a big winner for green. I think that Fiery Emancipation could be even better than Nybloom, because Nyxbloom requires you to untap with it, whereas you can drop an Emancipation and swing for an enormous chunk of damage immediately.

Pair this with something like Purphoros, God of the Forge and you’re dealing each opponent 6 damage off each creature you play – the numbers rack up really quickly. This is going to be a staple in a lot of red decks, and can fit multiple archetypes too, as it triples damage from small creatures just as well as it does from burn spells.

€3.50 for this mythic is far too low, as is already shown by the $8 price tag on TCGPlayer. EDH cards are always a bit cheaper in the EU, but with something like this I wouldn’t even be too afraid of picking it up at $8 for a longer hold, so $4 is a slam dunk. This is probably comparable to The Great Henge from Throne of Eldraine and so could easily be a $15-20 card in the not-so-distant-future (for reference, The Great Henge is currently $23 on TCG).

If you’re able to arbitrage this then it’s definitely worth it, and if you’re not then stay tuned for the MTGPrice arbitrage service that has started testing for Protraders…

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 06/29/20 – Seeing Double

I’m a little pushed for brain space at the moment so today’s article is a little shorter than usual, but to make up for it I’ve got double the picks. That’s right, you’re getting two for the price of one here, so don’t say I never give you anything for free. I’m taking a special focus on some foil extended art cards that are well poised to take a jump up, so read on for a little extra juice than usual.

Eerie & Ruinous Ultimatum (Foil EA)

Price today: $16
Possible price: $30

These are the two most popular of the five Ultimatums from Ikoria, being the most powerful effects out of the lot for EDH play. As I talked a bit about last week, stock of these foil Showcase and EA cards is much lower than we might expect from other sets due to the release of Ikoria during a worldwide pandemic.

This is reflected on TCGPlayer, with only 22 listings of foil EA Eerie Ultimatum and only 9 for Ruinous Ultimatum. Prices on both start around $16 but ramp up pretty sharply, and I don’t think it’ll be too long before we see these cards hit $30+. We’re unlikely to see this treatment on these specific cards again if they get reprinted somewhere, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the foil EA versions of these even hit $40 in a year or two.

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove & Thassa’s Oracle (Foil EA)

Price today: $40
Possible price: $60

Moving over to Theros Beyond Death, the two most popular EDH cards by a country mile are Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and Thassa’s Oracle. This demand for both cards has been further pushed by their competitive constructed applications, with Oracle being a key part of both the Inverter and Underworld Breach decks in Pioneer, and Dryad a new staple for Primeval Titan and Scapeshift decks in Modern.

11 listings for Oracle and 16 for Dryad on TCGPlayer mean that once the few copies around $40 disappear, you’ll want to shop around other retailers, LGSs and other places to source copies of these cards. There’s no fresh supply of them on the horizon and so I don’t think we’re far away from $60+ on either of these cards.

If you’re in, or have contacts in the EU, there are copies around €20 on MKM, so there’s another decent arbitrage opportunity here. 

Ayara, First of Locthwain & Faeburrow Elder (Foil EA)

Price today: $20/30
Possible price: $40/50

Jumping back in time again to Throne of Eldraine, Ayara and Faeburrow Elder are both reasonably popular EDH cards in the 99, with Ayara also being a relatively popular commander too. They’re both pretty close to auto-includes in decks for their colours; Ayara for mono-black and Faeburrow for anything playing 3+ colours.

Whilst the regular versions of both these cards are sitting at around $1, it’s obviously an entirely different story with the foil extended art versions. Stock is getting low, with only 10 copies of Ayara and 25 copies of Faeburrow Elder available on TCGPlayer, and other major retailers out of stock or close to it.

With comparatively such low numbers of these cards around, I think that Ayara could go from $20 to $40 and Faeburrow from $30 to $50 on a 12-18 month timeline.

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 06/22/20 – Checking In With Modern

The main focus of competitive Magic over the past couple of weeks has been on Standard, with four Arena Pro Tours taking place over two weekends. Standard doesn’t usually make for brilliant specs though, especially with rotation looming on the horizon. I was tempted to talk about some Jumpstart cards this week, but I might leave that til next week. Instead, I’ve taken a look at how Modern is doing at the moment, with some picks that also branch into other formats.

Wilderness Reclamation (Foil)

Price today: $12
Possible price: $20

Wilderness Reclamation is plaguing the Standard metagame at the moment, with a solid half of the top 8 decks across all four of the recent Arena Pro Tours being Temur Reclamation. Ravnica Allegiance will be rotating out of Standard soon though, so we’re not looking at it through that scope. Reclamation decks have been popping up in Modern over the past couple of weeks, with a fair amount of variation between decks but common themes being Uro, Ice-Fang Coatl and a whole bunch of spells.

Wilderness Reclamation is also the 5th most popular EDH card from Ravnica Allegiance, being a highly rated inclusion in Simic-based spell decks and morph decks. An additional Seedborn Muse effect that’s arguably more difficult to remove is definitely something that EDH players love to use.

Foils are in pretty low supply already, especially for a recent uncommon. This set was released before the increase in foil drop rates, so there are going to be fewer foils around than the latest sets anyway. It’s a single foil printing and due to its problematic nature in Standard, I don’t think we’ll be seeing another foil printing any time soon. There are only 20 NM foils on TCGPlayer at the moment, and seeing as this is the only premium version of the card, it’s the one that a lot of players will go to for their decks.

General Kudro of Drannith (EA Foil)

Price today: $20
Possible price: $35

Humans is a deck that hasn’t seen a huge amount of success in Modern for a little while now, but more recently the archetype has resurfaced. General Kudro of Drannith has given the deck some new life, as a second ‘lord’ effect is something that was sorely missing before now. The deck had plenty of disruption but could often falter and fail to push through those last points of damage before being overwhelmed. In addition to that, Kudro has another two relevant abilities stapled on to hedge against both graveyard and big mana decks powering out Primeval Titans.

As a set released during a global pandemic, Ikoria is sure to be one of the least opened sets in paper of the past few years. People and stores may have still been ordering and cracking product, but the entire lack of paper drafts and in-store purchasing has meant that secondary market supply is definitely on the low side. And now that stores are starting to reopen, it isn’t long at all until Core 2021 will be on the shelves and Ikoria won’t be being drafted any more.

This supply problem is reflected in stock levels of some of the more premium cards like EA foils – only 17 listings of General Kudro EA foil on TCGPlayer. If we compare this Ox of Agonas – a Mythic from Theros Beyond Death with a similar amount of Modern play – Ox has almost double the number of listings for the EA foil as General Kudro. When paper Magic starts back up again, Modern players are going to need their new lords, and there are going to be more than enough people wanting these to push the price up.

Yorion, Sky Nomad (EA Foil)

Price today: $18
Possible price: $30

Since the change to the companion rule, the power level of companion decks has dropped off significantly. The extra 3 mana is a huge hurdle for the cheaper companions like Lurrus, and making Obosh an 8 mana card instead of 5 is backbreaking for the aggressive decks looking to top their curve with it. Gyruda is all but gone from competitive metagames as well, the extra cost being too much to power it out as quickly as possible.

The companion that this rules change affected the least is probably Yorion, Sky Nomad. Yorion decks (in all formats) weren’t about consistently curving out; rather they’re grindy value-based decks that can afford to take the time to add Yorion to their hand before needing to cast it. It also helps that a lot of these decks have been playing mana dorks and Uro to ramp their spells out more reliably. This has meant that Yorion is now the most popular companion across Modern and Pioneer. Lurrus is still holding the fort down for Burn in Modern, but there are multiple different Yorion archetypes that come out on top in the number crunch.

EA foils start from $18 on TCGPlayer, with 40 listings at present. This is a popular EDH card too, and the fact that you can now have a Commander and a companion seems a little bizarre, but I suppose we already had the Partner mechanic, so why not I guess? Either way, I think Yorion is here to stay in Modern and Pioneer, so $18 to $30 on a 12 month timeline seems reasonable.

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 06/15/20 – Core 2021 Preorders

I’ve titled this article ‘preorders’ for the sake of brevity, but that doesn’t mean “go and preorder these now because it’s the lowest they’ll get”. Some of these cards may well dip a little lower than their current prices, but I doubt it will be by much, and so this is more of a notice for cards to keep an eye on and buy down the ladder if you can. This article series is, after all, entitled “The Watchtower”…so keep an eye out!

Heroic Intervention

Price today: $4
Possible price: $10

When Heroic Intervention was first printed in Æther Revolt, it was pegged as a reasonable EDH card for most green decks. What I (and a lot of others too, I think) didn’t expect, however, was that it would go on to make its way into over 27,000 decks recorded on EDHREC, putting it into the top 20 green EDH cards of all time. From close to bulk status during its time in Standard, since then it topped out at an impressive $17 (and that is impressive for an EDH-only card printed in the last 3 years).

Now we’re getting a reprint in M21, and the price has plummeted down to around $4 for the M21 preorders. I could definitely see it going slightly lower than $4 when the set releases, but I definitely wouldn’t hang around too long on this one. It’s a card that’s in 15% of all the possible decks it could be in, which is strong numbers for a mono-coloured card, and this means that people know how good it is now. It’ll get put into at least 15% of the new decks people build going forwards, and people that didn’t buy copies because they were $17 will for sure pick these up below $5.

I’m calling Heroic Intervention at a conservative $4 to $10; I think it’s entirely possible that this card could see $15 before it’s reprinted again, but I feel pretty confident saying that $10 inside 18-24 months is very reasonable. This is an easy one to buy a stack of and put away in the closet and forget about for a couple of years, leaving a nice surprise for your future self.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking – Arbitrage Pick

Price today: €5 ($5.50)
Possible price: $20

Azusa being reprinted into Standard during this era of green-based midrange and ramp-esque decks is an, uhh, interesting decision, but I’m not here to talk about Azusa in Standard. I won’t pretend to be someone that can accurately predict the future metagame in Standard, but what I will do is say that Azusa is preordering for under €5 on Magic Cardmarket. Over on TCGPlayer, preorders start at around $10 which is far less enticing, but picking this up at €5 seems pretty insane to me.

Bear in mind that before the reprint announcement, the A25 (Masters 25) version of Azusa was $35, and the older versions more expensive. Sure, there’s going to be a big influx of supply with the new printing in M21, but there are going to be a lot of EDH players that pick copies up now that they’re cheap, and that’s not even accounting for its potential for play in Standard. We’re going to be entering a Standard with Azusa, Cultivate, Solemn Simulacrum and Ugin, so a streamlined ramp deck seems like it could be quite powerful. Yes, I know I said I wouldn’t talk about Azusa in Standard, but come on. It’s a very powerful card.

Anyway, back to real data – Azusa dropped down to $16 after the A25 reprint and climbed back up to $35, so buying this at €5 is surely a slam dunk. If you’re in Europe or have a contact, then I’d get on this. As I said, she’s preordering for $10 on TCG which is still fine, but I’d keep an eye out to see if it drops lower on or after release. Additionally, we’re getting an extended art version in M21, so I’ll be looking out for the prices on those to bottom out.

Mangara, the Diplomat

Price today: $7
Price I want to buy this at: $4-5
Possible price: $10+

This has been a slightly contentious card in the MTGPrice Discord over the past couple of days, but for the time being I’m coming down on the side of “I think this card is really good”. I’ve played enough games of EDH with various playgroups to see how many people don’t bother paying the tax for Rhystic Study, and I think that this card will see similar play patterns. Restricting your opponents to only playing one spell per turn (unless they let you draw a card) is more harmful than you might think, and I predict that a lot of people will just ignore it and let you draw the card. After all, it’s only one card – how bad could it be?

I think that the attacking clause on Mangara is going to be far less relevant than the spell clause, but even so I think that this is going to become quite a popular card in white EDH decks, particularly prison style builds. I’m definitely going to be trying it out, at any rate.

I’m cheating slightly with this, in that I don’t quite like the current preorder price of $7, and would like to wait a bit for it to come down to $4-5. I think that this will happen because it most likely won’t be a relevant card for Standard, and EDH players tend to be much slower at picking their cards up, but once it bottoms out then I’m definitely going to be picking some of these up. I’d be far less excited about it if it were a Rare, but the fact that it’s a Mythic means that once players start to pick their copies up, the price will rise far more sharply. I think $10+ in a 12-24 month time frame is quite doable.

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.