Category Archives: Watchtower

A Mixed Bag

I couldn’t really come up with a good theme for my article this week, so instead I present you with a few cards that I think are going to be more expensive in the future than they are now. A bold premise, to be sure, but I think I’m up to the task – read on to see if you agree!

Warping Wail (Foil)

Price in Europe: €4 ($5)
Price in US: $30

Just looking at the price differences here, this is a pretty simple case of easy arbitrage here, but I do want to take a little bit of time to talk about why Warping Wail is suddenly (actually not-so-suddenly) a $30 foil uncommon. It’s been played here and there in Modern Tron decks for a long time now, with people sometimes favouring cards like Spatial Contortion or Dismember instead – but Warping Wail has a great flexibility to it that is currently proving to put it ahead of the rest of the pack.

Being able to exile almost every creature in the Hammer Time deck (before they’re holding a hammer) is huge, and it hits things like Dragon-Rage Channeler and Risen Reef as well. Not only does it hit almost every relevant creature in the format, the counterspell mode can come in handy too, doing away with things like Living End and Crashing Footfalls. I’m not sure how often you’re going to be creating a Scion with Warping Wail but I’m sure it’s going to come in clutch at some point too.

Foils have almost completely dried up in the US, with only five listings for foils of any condition. The card is close to six years old now without a reprint, and I don’t really know where Wizards would be able to reprint a card like this due to the colourless mana symbol. I don’t think we’ll be seeing this again any time soon, and so with foils still at €4 in Europe this is a great arbitrage opportunity to ship them overseas. Supply isn’t that deep in Europe, so don’t hang around on these – and if you’ve got any old OGW bulk to go through then you might be in for a nice surprise.

Esper Sentinel (Sketch Foil)

Price today: $25
Possible Price: $50

Speaking of things that Warping Wail can exile, Esper Sentinel is a pretty good one. It’s been a great pickup for the Hammer Time deck in Modern, and although it’s not seeing a huge amount of Modern play other than that, EDH is where the card really shines. Sentinel blows the rest of Modern Horizons 2 out of the water in comparison, already included in almost 9000 decks listed on EDHREC, with the only other card from the set coming close to it being Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth.

I fully expect this to be close to a Rhystic Study/Smothering Tithe level card moving forwards, and should slot into the vast majority of white EDH decks that can play it. Tax effects like this have proven time and time again to be hugely popular and end up getting pretty expensive, and people are starting to realise that earlier and earlier on, hence this already being a $15 card for regular copies.

I’ve talked about this before; I think the sketch arts were very hit-or-miss, but this is one of the ones that really shines. That’s why my pick today is for the sketch foils – because they’re the same price (actually a tiny bit cheaper on average) than the regular foils, but I think in time will overtake the regulars and command a good premium. Europe has some cheaper copies at around €15 ($18), and a couple of nice stacks still under $25 if you can grab those. I think that 6-12 months out this is easily a $50 card, so make sure you grab your personal and spec copies now!

Dauthi Voidwalker (Retro Foil)

Price today: $17
Possible price: $40

Sticking with Modern Horizons 2 for our last pick today, Dauthi Voidwalker is another card with a smattering of Modern play, but most powerful in EDH. Another of the most popular EDH cards from MH2 in nearly 6000 decks on EDHREC, Voidwalker does an excellent job of interrupting any graveyard shenanigans your opponents might have going on (which there is always a lot of), whilst not affecting your own at all. Its second ability to then cast a card exiled with it without paying its mana cost is slightly absurd, and really turns Voidwalker into a kill-on-sight kind of card.

We have both retro foils and extended art foils for this card, and although both should work out well in the end, I think that the retro foils should come out on top. You can grab a few copies under $20 at the moment and I think that those are good buys to double up in 12 months or so. Supply isn’t too deep compared to some of the other retro foils from the set and I feel fairly confident that this will end up in a lot of EDH decks, and on the off-chance it ends up doing well in Modern that will only make things better.

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, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

Another Happy Landing

After last week’s venture into wild speculation territory, I thought I’d bring us back down to earth this week with some solid lands that I think are going to do well for us in the short to mid term.

Botanical Sanctum (Foil)

Price today: $10
Possible price: $40

Spirebluff Canal had been climbing for a while and recently spiked, both foils and non-foils alike. It’s seen a good amount of use in Modern over the past few years since it was printed in Kaladesh, and we haven’t had a reprint since then. Botanical Sanctum sees a little less competitive play than the Canal, but all the same looks primed to be the next one to spike.

Living End is currently playing a playset in Modern, with the Crashing Footfalls and Urza’s Kitchen decks playing occasional copies as well. It’s a popular Pioneer card and in nearly 10,000 EDH decks on EDHREC (incidentally around 2500 more than Spirebluff Canal), so there’s no doubt it’s a popular card. Foils have been draining hard, especially in the US, and so if you want any personal copies then now is the time (unless you want to wait for a reprint).

It’s entirely possible that we could see these lands reprinted in one of the upcoming Innistrad sets this fall, but I think that there’s still enough time to be in and out on some of these for a tidy profit before then. Europe has a good number of copies around $10 too, and so if you can shift those over to the US market then you should be able to realise some quick gains from those. There are only fourteen NM foil listings left on TCGplayer, most of which are single copies, so it seems like a strong movement similar to that of Spirebluff Canal is imminent.

Waterlogged Grove

Price today: $8
Possible price: $20

Waterlogged Grove is by far the cheapest of the dual lands from Modern Horizons (the first one), and I think that it’s due for a price correction pretty quickly. It’s being played in multiple Modern decks including Elementals, Humans and Crashing Footfalls, as well as being a popular EDH card in nearly 20,000 EDH decks on EDHREC. Albeit not quite as popular as most of the other lands in the cycle, it’s definitely still up there and so being so much cheaper than the rest of them isn’t going to hold up for long.

There’s still a decent amount of supply on most of these non-foil dual lands from Modern Horizons, but seeing as we didn’t get a reprint of them in MH2 along with some of the others that got the old border treatment, I’m not really sure where we might see them printed again. With that in mind, I like picking up a stack of non-foils here to hold for a little while and look to either buylist or sell playsets on TCGPlayer etc a way down the road.

Hall of Heliod’s Generosity (Retro Foil)

Price today: $6
Possible price: $20

Staying with Modern Horizons, looking at the dual land cycle also had me looking at Hall of Heliod’s Generosity. This one did get a reprint with the retro foil treatment in MH2, and although it brought the price of the card down across all versions, I don’t think that’s going to last very long. Original foils from MH1 are still holding around $14, whilst these new ones are down at $6 for the time being, both in the US and Europe. There aren’t too many copies before the listings hit $10 though, and I think that’s a good sign that we’re going to see upwards pressure on this card as more people pick them up and upgrade their old copies.

Hall of Heliod’s Generosity is in over 26,000 EDH decks on EDHREC – a veritable staple in enchantment-based decks and a highly playable card in any deck that can put it to use. It sees a smattering of play in Modern and Legacy, mostly in Enchantress decks, but EDH is where it really shines, and I think will continue to be a very popular card moving forward. Enchantments will always be a big part of EDH and so this will always be useful, and I think that these $6 copies are far too cheap. Give it 6-12 months and I think we’ll see $20+ on these – and don’t sleep on the rest of the retro foils as well, because the popular ones are likely to see similar patterns.

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, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

Innistrad: Speculation Hunt

It’s a shame that I wasn’t writing this article a few days ago, because if I were then I would’ve told you to go and buy Dress Downs, but as it is they’re mostly long gone and so I have to find something else to talk about today instead. Over the weekend we got some fresh previews for the next set, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, even though it feels like we only just finished preview season for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Either way, the product keeps coming and so we’ve got to keep up with it, which means that today I’m looking ahead to what might be a good buy in view of the spoilers we’ve seen so far.

Death Baron (Foil)

Price today: $5
Possible price: $20

One of the most exciting previews we got from the weekend was Champion of the Perished – effectively a Champion of the Parish but for Zombies instead of Humans. We’ve all seen how good Champion of the Parish is in Modern Humans, and I feel like with the current suite of Zombies we have that there could actually be a real Modern deck there, especially if we get another couple of juicy additions from Innistrad.

Even failing a new Modern deck popping up, we’re definitely going to be getting some more Zombies and they’re one of the most popular EDH tribes going, and Death Baron is in over 80% of them. A Lord that also gives deathtouch is just a no-brainer when you’re building that kind of deck, and so it’s no surprise that foils have been drying up recently.

Original Shards of Alara foils are almost non-existent in the US marketplace, with other foil versions starting at around $5 but with steep ramps and low supply. The M19 foils only have 16 listings on TCGPlayer, with both the promo versions having less than that and the only other foil being the Convention Promo, which is already $20+ with very few copies available. If you can snag some cheaper Convention promos then they might be good, but I think you’ll have most success cleaning up the $5 M19 and promo pack copies. Cheaper copies are available in Europe too, with some original foils still around for €5, so that’s a good play if you have access to the European market.

Full Moon’s Rise & Howlpack Resurgence (Foil)

Price in Europe: ~€1 ($1)
Price in US: $5-8
Possible price: $10-15

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is in name a Werewolf-themed set, and so we should expect a good number of Werewolves and Werewolf-themed cards to go with them. When you’re playing a tribal deck you really want as many anthems as you can get for them, and we’ve got a couple of good options for Werewolves. Both Full Moon’s Rise and Howlpack Resurgence are cheap enchantments that boost stats as well as giving trample, with some extra utility to boot – Howlpack having Flash and Full Moon’s Rise giving the ability to save your board from a wrath or some bad trades in combat.

Both of these enchantments are almost out of stock on TCGPlayer for NM foils, but as is generally the case, these EDH and casual-only cards have a decent amount more stock over in Europe. Foils aren’t hugely plentiful, but there’s a reasonable supply on MKM still and lots of copies to be had for around €1. I expect to see those dry up once people realise the opportunity, so if you want any personal or spec copies then Europe is the place to find them.

I expect that we could easily see another anthem effect in the new set, but we definitely won’t get a Full Moon’s Rise reprint because Wizards have moved away from Regenerate as an ability, and I’d be surprised if we saw a Howlpack Resurgence reprint either. Both these cards are must-haves for casual or EDH Werewolf decks, so they should sell well once the hype revs up a little more.

Past in Flames (Foil)

Price today: $10
Possible price: $25

Another preview from the weekend was Join the Dance, a token maker with Flashback, which means that means we’re flashing back Flashback in the Innistrad flashback. Right? Good. So anyway, I’ve been looking at some of the best Flashback cards that Magic has to offer, and I think that original Past in Flames foils are in quite a good place right now. The most recent reprint in Time Spiral Remastered gave us the most premium version of the card yet, in old-border foil, but the original foils are the next best thing and at a third of the price, I think they’re going to move soon.

Storm isn’t too big in Modern right now, but it’s ebbed and flowed in the meta for a while now and is sure to pop up again before long. Other than that, Past in Flames is a very popular EDH card in over 10,000 decks listed on EDHREC, as it’s just good value for any deck leaning on instants and sorceries or trying to combo off.

There are only 17 NM foil listings for the original Innistrad foils on TCGPlayer right now, with a relatively steep ramp up over $20. Europe has a few copies around $10 too but not a huge amount before the price climbs too. Original foils tend to always carry a premium over most other versions, and with the lower supply on these I don’t think it should take too long for them to crest $20.

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, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

Finding a Niche

It’s easy to look at the big movers and shakers in formats like Modern and forget about the little guys, but it’s often the little guys that can end up making you the most money. The big cards like Ragavan and Lurrus are likely past the point of speculation, and so we need to dig a little deeper to find some of the cards that people aren’t necessarily paying the most attention to, but are still important parts of the metagame. Four-ofs that give a deck consistency, sideboard cards and more play these roles, and so that’s what I’m looking at today.

Utopia Sprawl (Non-foil/foil)

Price today: $7.50/$30+
Possible price: $15/$50+

It’s hard to believe that we’ve only just had the third ever printing of this card, but here we are. The common that was first released 15 years ago in Dissension has only since seen reprints in Masters 25 and now the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Commander decks. It’s always been a popular EDH card – in nearly 18k decks on EDHREC to date – and has dipped in and out of the Modern meta over the past few years as well, notably in Ponza and midrange decks, and most recently being a staple in both the Enchantress and Elementals decks.

This consistent popularity across multiple formats has led to a steady price increase over the past couple of years, making for a $7-8 common and $30+ foil. There’s a lot more supply around with the new Commander decks being released, but prices are still $8+ for those and I don’t know that we’re going to see that going down to be honest. This influx of new supply is quite a lot, but it’s going to get sucked up by EDH players relatively quickly, and CardKingdom is already paying $6 cash/$7.80 credit for the new copies on their buylist which is a huge indicator that they’re very bullish on it.

I quite like grabbing a stack of $7-8 Utopia Sprawls here, and if you can find any foils on the cheaper end (A25 under $30 and Dissension under $50) then you’re probably going to do well too. All versions are a little cheaper in Europe right now but not by much at all, and supply is similarly low for older copies and foils. This is a card that’s going to be heavily played in EDH forever and likely to be a reasonable part of the Modern meta for the foreseeable future, and given the fact that we’ve just had a reprint I think you should be safe there for a good while.

Engineered Explosives (All versions)

Prices today: $15-$40
Possible prices: $30-$80

Engineered Explosives used to be a huge part of the Modern meta, and could be found in a huge proportion of sideboards across a large range of decks. It did fall out of favour for a little while, and that coupled with its reprints in both Ultimate Masters and then again in Double Masters tanked the price for a while. However, its popularity is back on the upswing and with that copies are draining out of the market and prices heading upwards again.

Explosives got as low as $3 last year, and so if you were in on copies back then, more power to you – but I think that there’s still good money to be made on the $15 copies. The fact is that supply has been draining and even for the Double Masters version, the ones that should be in the most plentiful supply, there are only 23 NM non-foil listings on TCGPlayer and fewer foils. We have a few different printings of the card but all are in short supply, and I think that you’ll do well on anything you pick up now. The Inventions are the only ones I might not advocate for right now, but even then if you snap off the cheapest copy on TCGPlayer ($120) you’ll probably make money on it; there are only five listings for it and they ramp up steeply.

This is also a great arbitrage opportunity, because Europe hasn’t caught up yet and still has a bunch of €5 ($6) copies available alongside €30 ($35) Box Toppers and €50 ($60) Inventions. If you need any copies for Modern then scoop them up quickly, because I think that prices are going to keep heading upwards for a fair bit before we see another reprint.

Kaheera, the Orphanguard (FEA)

Price in Europe: €5 ($6)
Price in US: $15
Possible price: $30

I’ve written enough about the Companions from Ikoria before that you should know I’m generally a fan of them as specs. Lurrus is still dominating in multiple formats (and is currently the most played creature in Modern), and Yorion and Obosh are still relevant in Modern too. Now with the rise of the Elemental tribal deck, Kaheera has pushed to the forefront of the meta too, having previously been relegated to just being a ‘free card’ for creatureless control decks to play as a Companion.

It may only be played in a couple of Modern decks, but it’s relatively popular both as a Companion and as part of the 99 in EDH and supply has been dwindling on FEA copies for a little while now. TCGPlayer is down to just eight listings for NM foils, and so I’m looking at Europe for cheaper copies instead. Over here you can still pick a reasonable number up from €5-10, including some Japanese copies if you’re feeling particularly spicy.

These should make for a nice flip and short hold – there’s no more Ikoria supply inbound and I highly doubt we’ll see another FEA Kaheera printing for a little while to come, so you should be good to grab a few of these confidently. I’d also take a look at some of the other popular Companions that haven’t quite popped yet, because the same logic applies and I’d expect to see them following the same path before long.

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, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.