Sparking Up

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We’ve had War of the Spark in our hands for a couple of weeks, and while a lot of attention is rightfully on the ME3 fiasco, uncut apology sheets, and alternate art, we would be remiss not to take a look at what is making waves in assorted formats.

Unbelievably, we start Modern Horizons spoilers on Sunday, so prepare for two weeks of absolute madness and rushing to buy things before other people realize what’s going on.

Just so we’re clear: I don’t want you to get caught up in buying hype. It’s very difficult to buy a card while it’s in the process of spiking and still make money on the transaction. If you find some cards at your LGS before they can catch up, that’s fine, but the Internet is about to become a wild-ass place with each previewed Modern Horizons card.

Your best bet is to stock up on staples of Modern now, and make sure your collection is organized enough that you can raid it as needed.

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Teferi, Time Raveler ($13)

Teferi’s newest incarnation has been just the super-irritating thing that a lot of control decks want: an early way to ensure they get to do what they want. It breaks the mirror open quite well, and has a great game against Nexus of Fate decks, which aspire to abuse the end step.

The price is on the rise from his low of $9, but considering that the price at the start of the format was $20, there’s a lot of room left for him to move. I’m definitely going to want to have some of these before they go back up to $20.

Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God ($22)

Someone else with a whole bunch of cards named after him, Nicol Bolas’s (hopefully-but-I-doubt-it) final form is tough on the mana but is awesome on the field. His price is going down, though there’s a Grixis control deck that’s stubbornly playing the full four copies. The choices are many for the other planeswalkers you can have in play, and you get to pick the flavor(s) that you like best.

The ‘have all the abilities’ clause is pretty amazing. Note that he’s currently legal with Jace, Cunning Castaway, so if you really want to go hog wild, you have my blessing. The Commander demand would be higher if he could fit into Atraxa Superfriends decks, but really, there’s a lot of ways to tackle this. The price of the Dragon-God ought to stabilize right around $20, so no buying quite yet unless you want to play the deck a bunch.

That deck is also playing four copies of the M19 version, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, and with that card hitting $35 you need to sell, sell, sell. I even went so far as to take copies out of Commander decks and ship them off. At worst, I’ll rebuy them in October (at rotation) for $15-$20 ish, and have an extra $20 in store credit per copy.

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Ral, Storm Conduit (now $2.50)

Given that there’s an infinite combo in Standard with Ral, Expansion // Explosion, and some other spell, you’d think this would be higher. Problem is, countermagic is everywhere, and if you’re not playing Negate or Dovin’s Veto, you’re likely playing a red or white aggro decks and killing the poor durdler.

I’ve got Ral pegged as someone to buy once we’re all buying Modern Horizons. Ideally, I can get in under $2 and just be patient. At a price that low, I don’t need him to win games on stream (nice as that would be) because I’m very unlikely to lose out. Almost no planeswalkers are $1, but that doesn’t account for their presence at rare and uncommon.

Narset, Parter of Veils (up to $2.50, foils $30, and the JP alternate art foil is $250-$500 on eBay)

I think this is going to be one of the first new cards in Oathbreaker to get banned, as Narset + Windfall (or some variation thereof) is disgusting. Leovold is extremely powerful in Legacy, and now we have this easier-to-cast version!

Narset’s price has gone crazy in these two weeks, as Modern and Legacy and Cube and Commander players try her out and find that it’s just plain silly. Spirit of the Labyrinth is symmetrical and that’s why it’s not busted. Narset plainly is, and is even in the color with the most versions of a ‘we all draw’ effect.

You can imagine that I’m trying very hard to build some form of Narset/Notion Thief deck, playing all the Vision Skeins. Heck, in Standard, we have Emergency Powers and that’s super tasty indeed.

God-Eternal Oketra ($14)

You may or may not have seen it, but two weeks ago, the first streamed SCG Open had two Bant Aggro decks, nearly the same 75 but both with three copies of this card. Oketra is pretty bonkers, even one more creature gives you an extra 4/4 and that tussles with just about everything in the format currently. For extra spice, pair with Vivien, Champion of the Wilds and get bananas at instant speed.

It’s hard to feel like this isn’t a buy right now, but I’m being patient. Yes, it’s $2 more than it was a couple of weeks ago, but it’s an all-star in Commander and if you made me choose between this and Lyra Dawnbringer at the five-spot for White Weenie decks…I don’t know where I’d land.

One more good on-camera performance and this is a $20 card. The casual market is soaking up spare copies and preventing a lot of them from going into the greater market, a force we can’t quantify but we can notice by observing how the price doesn’t go down.

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.

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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Unlocked Pro Trader: I Think About Oathbreaker So You Don’t Have To

Readers,

Ugh.

Like, you’re welcome. Sincerely. That’s a phrase I find myself saying a lot lately, unprompted. My daughter has excellent manners 50% of the time and 0 manners 50% of the time which averages out to having OK manners all of the time and on a good day, her manners with strangers are good and with me are suspect which makes me look like a good parent to strangers. You don’t know I did the equivalent of getting you your paints from a shelf you can’t reach, rinsing your brushes and tearing a page out of your Peppa Pig painting book because you can’t quite handle perforation, but I promise I’m doing all that for you and more. I mean, I feel like new formats are a pain and I hate to learn new things and I did that for you. Is Oathbreakers Brawl or is it Tiny Leaders? It’s hard to tell how many months it will last before it disappears under the weight of the collective apathy of an entire community. It’s also possible Oathbreaker catches on and is around forever. Anything is possible. 2016 taught me that.

I know what a portion of you are asking –

  1. What is Oathbreaker?
  2. Should I care?

The answer to number 2 is a soft “Yes” and the answer to number 1 is a bit more complicated. Let’s launch into that. To do that, I’ll need to read a 300 word wiki article. Time to roll up my sleeves.

Oathbreaker is a 60 card, singleton format with 2 commanders – a Planeswalker and a “signature spell” that both start out in the Command Zone. The spell must be an Instant or Sorcery. Your deck is bound by typical color identity rules like in EDH so new Teferi can only have Blue and White cards. You can’t cast your signature spell unless your “Oathbreaker” is in play and you have to pay the commander tax every time you cast either one, so the spell keeps getting more and more costly. It’s unsanctioned and I’ve never witnessed a game of it being played. Why should we care?

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As near as I can figure, Oathbreaker did this because Terferi is disgusting in that format. I don’t know which delightful Canadian with a name like Whackity Smackelberry is responsible for this format or who keeps the banlist updated but for now, Teferi is teferrorizing people. I don’t know much but I know if it can make a card like this double, maybe other ‘walkers have some upside and maybe some signature spells do, too. Certainly Chain Veil combo is easier in a deck that starts the game with 51 cards in it when you’re a Blue deck whose signature spell could very well be Fabricate.

Is there anything else we can look at for potential?

Jace + Tunnel Vision

This would be kind of funny and kind of brutal. Since the games are multiplayer, you need to do this trick more than once, probably, but it’s still pretty brutal and you can cough up the mana to recast Tunnel Vision for.. 8 mana? Jesus, OK. Still, Blue is good and Tunnel Vision… already went up? How did no one notice this?

The timing is too coincidental not to be related to Oathbreaker.

I think there is room for Tunnel Vision to go up, though. It’s the same rarity as Doubling Season and has fewer printings. Just ‘saying. It’s an $8 foil, also. I think that’s easy money on easy mode. I think this is a $30 foil waiting to happen.

Narset + Windfall

New Narset is gnarly and nasty and this seems like a great way to slam Day’s Undoing, Windfall, Teferi’s Puzzle Box and other goodies in a deck where you draw your win conditions and they go down from a 3 mana Identity Crisis harder than Tim Drake’s Dad.

Despite hella printings, this is the only foil version of this card. Is Oathbreaker going to be a thing (I would say no, but look at Tunnel Vision) and if it is, will people who bought Windfall foils get a windfall of their own? Is there a chance they go up for some other reason? Is there a chance Windfall is in Modern Horizons? (nope). I think there is money to be made here, poisonally. But I like my blue foil cards ever since I said $1 was too cheap for Dramatic Reversal.

This has nothing to do with Oathbreaker, but checking in on Dramatic Reversal makes me want to check in on another card I feel just as strongly about – Arcane Denial. The art sucks but it’s in a lot of EDH decks and there is one foil printing. Denial is still under $4, up from the $1- $2 where I called it, but with potential to get to… $11 apparently. Just get that free money. There are enough copies for all of you Pro Traders with enough left over for me to actually buy some since I only bought like 4 Dramatic Reversal because I get squeamish about buying specs I write about. I give you the good stuff and leave myself with… well, collections which have a guaranteed return and are much more stable than specs. Still, though. Coulda dectupled up. You’re welcome. Lol, that’s a callback to earlier but it sounds pretty aggressive. I’m leaving it.

There is an entire Oathbreaker subreddit but it’s really tough to figure out what is durdly and what is concensus good. The subreddit is extremely hard to parse, there are no even results anywhere and EDHREC isn’t compiling Oathbreaker stuff (I’m not sure we should, BrawlREC was a lot of work, no one went to it and now Brawl seems dead). If anything else around this format pops up, I’ll let you all know, but for now, it seems like Blue tryhard cards are the best bets and most of them were already good. A few signature spells I have seen that aren’t good in EDH were

Argent Mutation with Dace Fayden.

Sorin’s Vengeance with Sorin Markov, and

Inspiring Call with Jiang Yanggu. Will any of this pan out? I don’t know. I feel good about all of that blue stuff I said earlier, and I’ll give Pro Traders a crack at Tunnel Vision before I think about if I should buy some. I probably won’t but only because it would look bad if I did. Until next time!

The Watchtower 5/13/19 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.


War of the Spark is proving to be fairly exciting set, wouldn’t you say? Standard has seen quite a few cards make an impact, an impressive feat for a spring set. Teferi, Time Raveler is leading the charge, with his static text frequently managing to have an impact, and both his activated options finding opportunities to shine. At the same time he’s getting it done in Modern too, where his static ability is arguably stronger, especially in control mirrors, and his +1 letting you get value out of late-game discard spells by casting them in your opponent’s draw step is likely to be explored further. He’s not the only card from WAR to matter of course, just the one leading the charge. Mostly though we’re all just eager for next week, when Horizons spoilers start, which should open countless doors.  

Merciless Eviction (Foil)

Price Today: $12
Possible Price: $25

Feather is inarguably the most popular commander from WAR, and I expect the bane of stock pickers everywhere, cursing the need to find 25 garbage commons from 25 different sets for every jerk that decides to build the list, all for $11. Meanwhile, in second place, is Niv-Mizzet Reborn. Now, why are people rushing to build Niv-Mizzet? That I couldn’t tell you. “Draw a few cards” isn’t what I’d consider appealing on a commander, even if you get cute and blink him. Muldrotha draws you your entire graveyard every turn. Meren draws the best creature in your graveyard and casts it for you every turn. Niv-Mizzet…draws you three cards? Once? Whatever guys.

Regardless, Niv’s momentary popularity gives me a chance to shine a light on an excellent spec. I liked this bad boy a few months ago, and while it hasn’t popped yet, I’m confident it will soon enough. Merciless Eviction shows up in over 26,000 EDHREC lists, which lands it at third place on the “most popular multicolored cards” list. There’s no way a card ranks that highly in EDH without finding itself in multiple decks within a single person’s collection. You’ll want a copy for your Niv-Mizzet deck, your Teysa deck, your Oloro deck, and so on.

A few copies are floating around at $11 and $12, but not many. After that it’s a quick ride up towards $20. Snag your cheap copies now, because these are going to be $25 before middle schools are out on summer break.

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter (Foil)

Price Today: $10
Possible Price: $20

Another strong card that I noticed while browsing Niv-Mizzet lists, Rashmi is cascade-on-a-stick. Whereas Yidris gives all your spells cascade, which is awesome, it’s a lot harder to make it work. Rashmi doesn’t give you quite as much power, as you can’t cascade multiple times a turn, but her effect is consistent and useful. Cast a spell for free, or draw a card. Every turn, including your opponents. Hard to complain about that. She’s a fun commander or a powerful inclusion in the 99.

As a commander, she’s of middling popularity. EDHREC shows about 1,300 lists. For reference, the 30th most popular commander has almost twice that. She ends up the third most popular Simic commander, which I didn’t realize, and there doesn’t appear to be a lot of direct competition for that type of deck. Surprisingly, each of the popular Simic commanders seems to want to do something a bit different.

At the same time Rashmi lands in over 6,000 EDHREC lists, and again, I can see players wanting more than one of these. Since Rashmi is generically useful, if you’re the type of player to want her in one list, you’d want her in each. Contrast that with, say, Sieze the Day, the type of card that’s going to find homes in only specific lists.

What drives Rashmi home is the price and supply. You can find a few for $10 to $12, and then they’re $16, and then they’re $20+. Rashmi is still relatively new to EDH, releasing a little over two years ago. We know that two years tends to be a rough breaking point for supply/demand, and it’s looking like she’s going to tip into the twenties in short order.

Fell the Mighty

Price Today: $7
Possible Price: $15

Fell the Mighty is a cool card. You cast it, a bunch of big stuff dies, and your small stuff survives. Fairly straightforward, and something approaching a one-sided wrath, given appropriate application. As a commander-only release supply hasn’t been deep at any point, though it’s been overall sufficient. Prices stayed low, typically under a dollar. Then people started getting on the train this past fall, with Guilds of Ravnica’s release, and prices haven’t stopped moving yet. There’s no reason to expect them to slow down either, with supply not growing, any reperint likely at least six months off, and a new commander, Feather, to drive further sales.

Using Fell in Feather is obvious. Cast Fell targeting Feather, kill everything with more than three power. Do whatever else to make Feather stronger, attack, hurt people. Next turn, oh hey, Fell is still in your hand. Cast it again why not? Destroy their idiot blockers again, and hey, why not next turn too? While Feather isn’t the only good deck for Fell — I love it in my Sidar Kondo build — she’s certainly the latest to apply the tool well.

There are no foils, so that isn’t even an option. As such, non-foils have been eaten away, with supply lower than you’d expect for a twice-printed Commander card. At the very least you’ll want to find your own copy, and I’d be surprised if paying $7 or $8 each didn’t work out for you in the future.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


Collecting like never before!

Well, I hope you’re feeling less drained than I am. It’s difficult to believe that the rollercoaster of Mythic Edition 3 was only nine days ago.

Hopefully your product is on its way to you, but for the rest of us, we’re getting quite the consolation prize: an uncut sheet of War of the Spark foil rares/mythics, plus $20 of eBay credit.

What’s this consolation prize worth? How about these Japanese alternate-art planeswalkers? Holy hell, is the preview season for Modern Horizons ten days away!?!

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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.

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