Remembering the Cards in AFR

This being the first couple weeks of a set, I like to let prices settle out before moving in on things. I’ve been burned too often by buying too quickly, and so I’m going to be patient. Besides, there’s a lot of other opportunities for things to pick up, especially at rotation looms at the end of the summer.

Today, I want to look at Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and what looks like a good buy. I want, at the least, popularity in Commander or Pioneer or Modern, or something mechanically unique, or perhaps all of the above! AFR’s showcase frame is an interesting example of something we may or may not want to focus on, because while the showcase foils are indeed rarer than pack foils, a lot of players aren’t into the D&D manual frame.

The Creaturelands:

Den of the Bugbear ($7 for the cheapest version, $18 for the most expensive)

Lair of the Hydra ($1.50 to $5.50)

Hive of the Eye Tyrant ($5.50 to $8.50)

Hall of the Storm Giant ($3 to $11) 

Cave of the Frost Dragon ($2 to $3.50)

These lands have made very small splashes in Modern, but Pioneer has really been infused with this cycle. Three of these are in the top 11 lands, when measured by percentage of decks that play at least one. There’s not many decks that play a full playset of any of these, aside from red aggro decks with a full four Den of the Bugbear. Mostly you get a couple here and there, but being a 1-2 of in lots of decks is also very good for a card’s future use. 

None of these are seeing more than about 7k decks on EDHREC, so any pickups on these are focused more on their Pioneer and Modern use. Don’t expect a huge jump from any of these anytime soon, but I really like the Module version of these cards long-term. Reprints for any of these cards are going to happen eventually, and we want to have the more unique version in stock.

Circle of Dreams Druid ($6 to $12) – Being in nearly twenty thousand decks online is a very good sign, but triple green means this is a tough card to play easily in a deck. There’s a whole lot of decks that would love to have this in play, and we’ve also gotten two new token-based commanders this set. It’s an effect that scales easily, and it’s in a very popular tribe. These are all things that lead to a large growth later on. The graph shows us what we want to see: a price getting to its bottom.

I definitely want to have the Foil Extended Art versions here, because the card fits very well as a future reprint in a Commander deck. That reprint won’t really touch the price on this fancier version, and having copies ready to go when the FEA versions jump to $25+ means we’ll be ready to realize our gains. 

Treasure Vault ($8 to $12) – The relatively small gap between the regular nonfoil price and the showcase foil price indicates that there isn’t a lot of casual demand for the special foil version. However, it’s listed as an inclusion in 23k decks! That’s a lot of decks that want an artifact land or some sacrifice/Treasure shenanigans. Abusing this card is something a lot of decks can do, and clearly they are doing it!

It’s also worth mentioning that the assorted versions of Modern Affinity dearly love having an artifact land come into play untapped, even if it is colorless mana. Not every deck wants this card, though. The distinction between $8 and $12 for the foil Module versions means it’s a much better choice for long-term growth and the risk of reprints. 

Hobgoblin Bandit Lord ($1 to $2) – I like having this as a spec for future Goblin synergies. It’s a lord in a tribe with a high number of them, and even if the goblins don’t have haste, you’re able to ping someone or something for good damage for a single red mana. FEA copies being available for under two bucks is a lovely opportunity. Handily, there’s no one with more than eight copies on TCG right now, so the numbers might not be as wide-open as the price makes you think.

Deck of Many Things ($2 to $5.50) and Delina, Wild Mage ($1.50 to $2.50) – This is a lot more of a flier about future d20 cards and something being printed that will make it easier for those rolls to do amazing things. We got a trickle of d20 cards in New Capenna’s Commander decks, and it might be a consistent thing with those decks going forward. Yes, there’s randomization that they want to encourage, but eventually, we’ll get something that makes a critical roll that much more likely. When that arrives, these two cards will be among those that jump to a much higher price. We might even get something for that in Commander Legends 2: Baldur’s Gate.

Teleportation Circle ($3 to $7) – Finally, let’s do a staple for Commander decks that love to blink creatures. You may know someone, or be the someone, who will have the Yorion-Charming Prince loop locked in during a Commander game, blinking a ridiculous amount of things back and forth. It’s an archetype all its own, and with a couple of strong choices for different commanders who encourage that behavior. The Circle is not just a strong Limited card, it’s also really easy to abuse in Commander, as evidenced by the FEA price and the inclusion in 13,000 decks online. Again, it’s a strong contender for a reprint occasionally, so having the FEA versions ready for the price increase is where I want to be.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Unlocked Pro Trader: Five Cards You Should Buy

Oof, what a day. I literally spent like 10 minutes on the title and this was the best thing I could come up with. To be clear, the part of my brain capable of looking at cards and deciding what is a good pick is intact, but the part of my brain where I words good doesn’t words good now. I’m not going full Kevin from The Office (the bad one that overstayed its welcome, not the British version that seems super racist if you go back and watch it now), but I’m potentially cutting some of my description of the cards. I think I found some specs that will make a good case for themselves and I can cut what is essentially ad copy. That said, I kind of wish I hadn’t done that article where I just showed 20 pictures because that would have been sweet to have this week but I don’t want to just rehash my old, great ideas like that. Who am I, The Office?

The thing is, I think the specs I have assembled mostly speak for themselves, so I can likely get away with letting them make the case for themselves. Oh, also I cheated and picked a playable Reserved List card that’s under $5, which is a thing that shouldn’t exist. Thinking about it now, that’s a silly lede to bury. Let’s just start this article off with a bang and talk about why a Reserved List card is $5 (I don’t know) and why it’s playable (I think I know). This will be sick.

Get it? It’s Oscar the Grouch. You know, from Zeitgeist. Old Grouchy over here has a pretty interesting ability, rewarding you for discarding cards, kind of, or at least breaking the parity of cards like Bottomless Pit. It isn’t just cards like that, which keep spiking because WotC hasn’t figured out that people hate cards like Tergrid. Here is what I DO like.

This card, which spiked to $17 because bitcoin got pricey, is suddenly applicable in a deck people might play. Copies are drying up to the extent that there were a lot of $5 copies of this card after buylist hit $15 a year ago. If you can get this under $20, you are buying a card that has demonstrated its ability to get to $20 for no reason and now you’re buying it for a reason. I don’t know how much Oskar gets built, but no one was playing Oskar in 2019, so…

Speaking of Discard outlets, this erstwhile $30 card is on the Reserved List as well. It’s not the $10 it was after the bitcoin buyers but it’s still a very playable RL card and it’s bonkers in Oskar, a deck that might very well get built. This is a Reserved List card that is insanely powerful and it’s under $30, I think this seems like an easy pickup.

Card Kingdom was charging more than everyone else for this card and now they’re sold out. I don’t know if there is a clearer signal that this card is on its way to $15. I love this as a pickup. One caveat – Attunement isn’t quite as powerful as Argothian Wurm or Herald of Serra and it’s not on the Reserved List meaning this will never be $50 because they’ll dump it in a secret lair or something, but snatching these for $8 is cheating and you know it.

Art notwithstanding, this is the most popular EDH deck commander right now.

Welp, I was going to talk about this last week, but I missed the boat. With a week between articles, sometimes cards get missed and I am not sure how to best handle that. If you have any ideas, hit me up in the Pro Trader Discord or on Twitter and let me know. I feel bad that I didn’t say anything in time on this despite having identified it, but there are so many other cards that it shouldn’t matter.

For whatever reason, people keep playing this card and it already demonstrated it can go to twice what it costs right now, and it’s in the most popular deck from the precons, I think this seems like a safe bet.

I think there are a lot of cards from the EDH decks that could make older cards go up and I can’t get to all of them now. I think you can look through the EDHREC pages yourself, fortunately, but if you don’t, I’ll be back next week with more gas. Until next time!

Pioneer Innovation

The Pioneer meta has been changing from week to week and it’s quite exciting to see new decks popping up in each paper tournament, as well as in the online challenges and leagues. Although decks like Winota and Mono-Red are still the top dogs in the format, there’s a lot of innovation going on with the rest of the decks that people are playing, and that is making for some good spec opportunities.

Cavalier of Thorns

Price today: $10
Possible price: $25

Once upon a time, Cavalier of Thorns was a dominating force in multiple formats but has since fallen off a little – until now. There’s been a revival of the old mono-green deck that’s been doing well in Pioneer over the past couple of weeks; a classic ramp deck that can drop mana dorks on the first two turns into a turn three Cavalier, Nissa or Storm the Festival. Nykthos is still an incredibly powerful card in the format even since the banning of Leyline of Abundance, and can generate absurd amounts of mana very quickly when you’re churning out Elvish Mystics into Old-Growth Trolls.

Cavalier provides extra devotion for the deck as well as finding copies of Nykthos, Boseiju or Lair of the Hydra, and even gets you a card back from your graveyard when it dies – this card does it all, and if the mono-green deck stays around in Pioneer then I don’t think it will drop down to any less than four copies of the Elemental. Looking at EDH numbers it’s less popular than I thought it might be, but with us already being three years out from the card’s only printing, demand is outstripping supply without too much trouble.

Regular copies are already $10+ on TCGPlayer, and with only fourteen NM listings, supply is dwindling fast. There are still quite a few cheaper copies available in Europe if you have access to that market, which could make for some quick arbitrage over to the US as this deck picks up popularity, and it’s worth hunting around some of the smaller online retailers and LGSs for copies that haven’t had their prices raised yet. I don’t think it will be very long before this is a $20-25 card, so don’t hang around if you want any of these.

Mausoleum Wanderer

Price today: $2
Possible price: $5

Moving on from mono-green to mono-blue, the Spirits deck has evolved somewhat from previous iterations to a very aggressive deck that plays almost exclusively one- and two-drops, only stretching the curve out a little for a couple of copies of Brazen Borrower (I’m not counting Geistlight Snare as a three-drop because it should really always be costing one or two mana in this deck). This super-streamlined version of the archetype has been seeing a lot of recent success over its more midrange predecessor that plays Collected Company and a few more three-drops, but both decks share a card that is always played as a four-of in any Spirits deck: Mausoleum Wanderer.

This one mana 1/1 has quite a lot of text on it that makes it incredibly powerful – for starters it can often be swinging for three damage on turn two with a Supreme Phantom on the board, and on top of that it comes in clutch to counter removal spells or even boardwipes when you most need it to. I’ve played quite a lot of Spirits, both in Modern and Pioneer, and can safely say that Mausoleum Wanderer is one of, if not the best card in the deck.

Foil copies of this card are already very difficult to get hold of, but I think that non-foils are ripe for the picking right now. There are still quite a few hanging around, but at $2 I think they’re a safe bet; they’re generally going to be bought a playset at a time so don’t underestimate how quickly they could start to disappear. A very good sign for Wanderer is that CardKingdom are already paying $2.25 cash/$2.93 credit on them, so it’s obviously a popular card that they are willing to pay top dollar to keep in stock. Give it a few months or even less, and I can see this hitting $5 retail/$4 buylist for an easy double up. It’s not too exciting, but if you’re just buying a stack and then buylisting them, it’s easy money.

Mayhem Devil

Price in Europe: €0.10 ($0.10)
Price in US: $4
Possible price: $6? Does it matter?

There are a few different versions of Sacrifice decks going around in Pioneer at the moment, and whether they’re Jund or straight Rakdos, they’re all playing four copies of Mayhem Devil. It’s one of the best cards in the deck, and the damage output it can provide should never be underestimated. Even just cycling a Cauldron Familiar and a Food token each turn is two extra damage to kill off a creature or hit your opponent directly, and it can add up very quickly.

Mayhem Devil foils have been all but snatched up, and will set you back a crisp $20 if you really want one for your deck (and good luck justifying $80 on a playset of uncommons from three years ago). Non-foils are also in relatively short supply and have crept up to $4-5 over the past couple of months – in the US at least. Over in Europe you can still grab a load of copies for €0.10-0.20, and although it might mean grabbing a few playsets from a bunch of different vendors, it’ll still easily be worth it compared to the prices on the other side of the pond.

This is some easy straight arbitrage, with CardKingdom paying $2.25 cash/$2.93 credit if you’d rather do that than sell on TCGPlayer, but I think that if you wait a couple of months or so then you’ll be further rewarded. Demand for this card won’t be stopping any time soon, and with only a single printing there aren’t many copies to go around. I don’t think that it’s something primed for a reprint in any of the next sets, so you should be good to wait a little while if you want to squeeze as much value as you can out of this spec – but if you can sell at a tidy profit and move the money into the next spec then that’s generally going to be the correct play.

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

The Math of SNC – Set Boosters

Last week I wrote about the odds of putting the most sought-after cards from Collector Boosters, and had to update it with the presence of Foil Extended Art Commander cards. I’ve had a lot of requests for information about Set Boosters, and I’m glad to share that with you as well.

The rest of this content is only visible to ProTrader members.

To learn how ProTrader can benefit YOU, click here to watch our short video.

expensive cards ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.