Is it a real price, or an illusion?

Every set, there’s a couple of cards that end up being gainers in the long term. Ledger Shredder and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker are two examples of this from recent sets, cards that were available dirt cheap early on but became multi-format all-stars.

We also get examples of cards that show promise early, but whose prices trail ever farther downward until the early buyers have no choice but to be very very sad. 

Phyrexia: All Will Be One has a few cards who are up since the set’s release, and I want to highlight some of them and see if they can keep growing, or if they are destined to fall back down to earth. We’re going to be looking at the formats it’s played in, as well as if it’s got Commander chops, and go from there.

I won’t be posting the EDHREC numbers here because these are very new cards and while there’s something to be said for being an early adopter, I don’t want to lean too hard on such a small sample size. I’m not an expert on the format, just a rabid enthusiast.

Also, these prices might be outdated in a day or two as people go nuts for buying, especially with the oil-slick versions hitting the streets. Get what you can for yours!

Venerated Rotpriest ($10 for the cheapest version, $15 for the most expensive) – The Rotpriest decks aren’t winning big events yet, but they are fun to play and operate on an axis that many other decks can’t hang with. They might get an early hit in, but the counters will come when you try to deal with the card and they protect it in response. It adds up FAST, especially in multiples. March of Burgeoning Light is currently a bulk rare but if you have a Rotpriest in play, for two mana you get to find a second copy and slam it down. 

The deck is real enough to have caused other spikes, notably Ground Rift in Modern: 

Rotpriest itself has fallen by half from its preorder price, and I’m expecting it to fall just a little further, but I doubt it’ll make it all the way down to $5 for the base versions. Every one-mana protection spell makes the deck better, and heaven help us if they print another Standard-legal round of free spells.

Skrelv, Defector Mite ($8 to $10) – The mono-white decks are for real in Standard, and Skrelv is a Pioneer-legal version of Mother/Giver of Runes. The ability isn’t precisely protection, but it’s about 90% of what you wanted protection for in an aggressive deck: hexproof from kill spells and taking away their ability to block. Clearly worse on defense, and costs you mana or life, but still good enough that it is getting play in high numbers in a deck that has good versions across Standard and Pioneer.

I thought this price would have fallen a lot farther by now, and while more packs are being opened, the deck is good and the mite is a big reason why. Your opponent will need two kill spells early on, and especially if you’re following Skrelva with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, their plan is doomed.

All Will Be One ($11 to $22) – Another card that’s fallen by half, I don’t think this will go much further because it’s got a LOT of amazing interactions. I have seen people kill a table with this plus Black Sun’s Zenith. Any planeswalker you care to name is suddenly a violent death engine. This should be an auto-include with any non-token deck that plays Doubling Season. It’s a shame this doesn’t work with Suspend and time counters, but you can’t have everything.

What do you have is some really ridiculous combos. Quest for Pure Flame has attention as a Modern-legal two-card combo. The Red Terror is a Commander who can insta-win with the card, much like Ayara, First of Locthwain and Plague of Vermin. I think AWBO has great long-term potential, because it’s so open ended and every card that interacts with counters in some way can really abuse the enchantment.

Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler ($4 to $6) – The different versions are really close in price, which traditionally has been an indicator that a card is more popular in Constructed formats than Commander. In this case, Tyvar is seeing play with Devoted Druid combos, as the minus ability gets back either piece of the combo, in addition to allowing the druid to be played and used the same turn. 

The card was never going to be terribly expensive, but the amount of play and attention means that it’s only sunk to $4 as a rare, as opposed to something like Lukka, who’s $2 as a mythic.

Jace, the Perfected Mind ($8 to $29) – I’ve said before that I like Jace long-term if there’s a control deck in Standard. He’s already gone down to $7, up to $10, and is back to $8. Once we’re moved on to March of the Machine, I’m expecting his price to go back up, especially because he’s showing up in Modern mill decks as a three-mana, two-life way to draw three cards.

I’m hoping Jace gets a little cheaper, but I’m doubtful. We’re also in an awkward position in terms of rotation, as Jace, and the rest of ONE, will hit the one-year mark, usually where a Standard card gets most expensive, right about the time that its price starts to trickle down due to impending rotation. A careful line to balance on.

Sword of Forge and Frontier ($29 to $60) – This Sword is bonkers good in Commander, but not seeing much play outside 100-card formats. The cheapest versions should come down in price, but keep in mind that a Retro frame version is inevitable. There will be a complete set of Retro Swords available for all the completionists out there, especially since we’ve only got one Sword left to go.

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: Time Marches On

Readers !

We have more cards and I have more picks. Last year at the end of the year was hectic and while it still feels too soon to have cards to write about and I literally haven’t busted all of my packs of the last set (by “last set” I mean “last set I’m going to buy collector booster boxes of”) but we have cards so cards we must discuss. Here are the quick hits on the new stuff.

There are a LOT of decks here for the relatively few spoilers we have. Part of that is that people are building a lot and the game is popular, and part of is that EDHREC spent the last year trying to get the daily scraping routine to finish faster, resulting in data days and sometimes weeks earlier than before. We have a clear winner and some clear other favorites, so let’s do quick hits before everyone else figures out how much data we have.

I mean, yeah. It’s fairly crazy that staples like Ramunap Excavator and Tireless Provisioner have such high synergy given their ubiquity across various formats, but there hasn’t really been a good landfall commander in the last 2 years that would lower these scores at all, so high synergy and high inclusion are basically the same in this case.

This card which warped other formats is not only legal in EDH, most people forget that it’s an option. Deathrite is very good in this deck and since it’s demonstrated that it can hit $12 repeatedly in the past and its one actual reprint was in Eternal Masters, I think this is a good buy under $7.

Eventually this card will stop cycling and go up more or down more. The buylist seems to be following the curves which makes me think that automated processes are buying these at a certain buylist number and driving retail up for a bit. If you’re asking me to bet whether this hits $15 or $5 next, my money is on $12 and if it hits $15, buy me a beer or something.

I was so pleased with myself for grabbing cheap foils of Retreat to Coralhelm, the one they had no trouble reprinting in foil, and ignored $0.30 foils like this one. I thought it was too easy to see Coralhelm coming, turns out I played myself and missed big on this one. In a world full of different kinds of Lords Windgrace and Obs Nixilis, it would have been nice to grab a brick of these at literal dirt. Sometimes you just have to give a foil uncommon 7 years to really establish itself.

Pop quiz, hot shot. You see an erstwhile $30 card on the Reserved List that is going to be popular in a new deck based on a character from the deck that made this go up from $0.25 making it one of the first huge hits from this article series. What do you do? Bonus points if you can answer after shooting Jeff Daniels in the leg. Like in Speed. That one is for some of you.

Lol, OK, wow.

This would be a great time for Villainous Wealth to go way up but it’s been printed way more times than it needed to have been. Still, the foils are cheap and have never been cheaper. Opportunity knocking?

The regular foil keeps getting tanked, but there is one version I don’t hate financially.

The etched foil has hovered between $3 and $4 since the card came out and this huge bump from Omnath could be a very big bump in price. There are lots of versions and another foil, but the etched foil is barely more than the regular foil and is the only version of this card with a positive price trend in the last 3 months.

This is already on its way back to $5, but if you don’t think it will hit $10 again, you’re still doing great buying in around $3. This whole cycle seems great in general, and insane in Omnath. Even the garbage Jeskai one could see play! Also, the garbage Jeskai one is better than I remember.

And now my riskiest call of the article. High risk high reward here – hitting $35 again on a $17 buy-in feels like cheating. I hope this gets there, but it’s also super cheap just in general for what the card does and I can’t think of an Omnath player who won’t want to try and cheese with this.

We can go deeper into the lineup of popular commanders next time – I didn’t expect to find so many hits in cards that are basically the abilities of Thalia and Gitrog Monster and an all-color Omnath with no landfall abilities. Omnath has a ton of ways to be built, so make sure you use the filters to look at the full pages for each build. Here, I’ll show you.

Each of those themes will give you a separate page, and the high synergy cards will be different. Unbound Flourishing isn’t breaking any records in general, but with that a nice, easy way to play the deck (and a fun one), all kinds of cards from Sphinx’s Revelation to Aurelia’s Fury are in play. There’s a lot happening, and we’ll get to more next week. Until next time!

Previews, Teasers, And Hints

This week, we got our first preview of some of the products coming down the line this summer, and while there’s a lot to unpack from March of the Machine, its Aftermath, or the Lord of the Rings set, I want to talk about what we’ve been shown for Commander Masters, due out in early August.

We got previews of three cards: Capture of Jingzhou, Jeweled Lotus, and The Ur-Dragon! Additionally, the themes for the four preconstructed decks are Eldrazi, Planeswalkers, Enchantments, and Slivers!

Given that information, there’s some things we can think about and make plans for, while exercising some caution about what is still unknown.

First of all, I think that The Ur-Dragon is going to lead to a whole bunch of Dragon cards going wild. We’re going to be getting cards designed for Commander! We’re getting the first booster pack printing ever for the king of all Dragons. Until now, you were stuck with the Commander 2017 version (five and a half years old) or the Secret Lair drop version, which was in the very first round of cards and is three years old.

We’ve had some notable jumps, generally when Dragons are given attention. The five mythic Dragons and Tiamat from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms started it, and the more recent combinations of Dragon goodness in Battle for Baldur’s Gate that included Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm has really pushed it up lately. 

However, the price of The Ur-Dragon has really kept people from enjoying the broken mechanic that is Eminence. A mana rock that is always on, can’t be interacted with, and helps you cast your creatures is enormously powerful, especially when those creatures are generally the most powerful things on the board. 

I think we’re going to get a lot of new Ur-Dragon builds, and I’m in favor of this! I have the deck myself and it is a lot of fun to slam huge flying lizards and turn them sideways. Before I start buying cards like crazy, I have to keep in mind that this set is a mix of reprints and new cards, so there’s a strong chance of these specs being in the set. 

Hellkite Courser (FEA) – Available for $40, this is not only an amazing card for Dragon decks, it’s really good with Commanders in general. We’re getting plenty of new commanders in this set, and Courser is one of the only ways to cheat it out. I adore this card in my deck, and especially because it’s only five mana for me! I get card draw, cheating things into play, and smash for ten commander damage! Supply on this is extremely tight, since CML was the set where you were only 30% to get an EA card in that slot. I’m expecting this to be reprinted, because it synergizes with other huge commanders, but if it’s not then the sky is the limit on these.

Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm is at under $2 for the foil-etched version, which looks loads better than the Monster Manual art version. Players don’t seem to like that art style at all, going by the relative prices for such cards.  The only exception is the Beadle and Grimm Secret Lair with Dragons, those are going for good prices due to scarcity. 

Miirym is a terrifying card to see from a Dragon deck, and worthy of being the Commander too. I think that a rising tide lifts all the boats and so we’ll see versions of Miirym break $5.

I think there will be another printing for Path of Ancestry, though the FEA are tempting at under $5. With two tribal precon decks, and some more dragons coming, this is a card that will get more copies. What I want to watch out for is repeated reprints that drive it into the ground, like Fabled Passage. If Path isn’t in this set, I’ll feel good about buying some copies.

Scalelord Reckoner seems like a lock for a new printing, since it’s not available in foil and has a high price which is totally due to only being in one deck ever. Premium treatments here would be great, and if it’s a mythic, then I would give it a good shot to rise from mid-level preorder pricing. Definitely stay away from buying copies till after this set is fully previewed.

Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient is probably not going to get a reprint, but I’m not certain if we ought to target the EA nonfoil or the regular-frame foil. Klauth’s Will is a phenomenal card too, and EA versions are a solid pickup for the flexibility they offer. Your commander doesn’t need to be a Dragon, so if you want a wrath and mass artifact/enchantment removal in RG, here’s your card. 

I’m really hoping we get more foil versions or an EA foil for Rhythm of the Wild, but if that’s not reprinted here, it’ll have to be in a Secret Lair soon.

Sarkhan’s Unsealing seems positioned well to avoid a reprint, naming that planeswalker and fixating on big power. We don’t have anything special for it, just the foils that predate Booster Fun. It’s game-wreckingly powerful in the right deck though. 

Finally, let’s give it up for a 2X2 reprint that is tracking lower and will be in prime position when CMM releases: Urza’s Incubator.

I don’t want to buy it now. It’s only been a couple months and the price hasn’t finished falling. It’s listed in 45k Commander decks online, and that number has been kept down by the card’s very high price until this reprint. We’ve seen it tumble more than $20 from the opening, and I’m expecting to see it in the $15 range, maybe $13, in the next few months.

I’d go after the retro frame foils first, even if they were a little more expensive, because I like that frame more, but either of the special versions is where I’ll 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: March Madness


We have seen enough of the new cards to speculate baselessly which, thought I said differently last week, is the best way to speculate. I am going to semi-baselessly speculate because I’m too good at this not to have a basis even when there is no basis. Or something. Look, there are new commanders, I’m going to look at them and think about cards that go in the decks, OK? This is like my 12th year doing this, and writing what I am going to do right before I do it is kind of boring to me but I also know I really need to do it.

Let’s look at some cards and I’ll talk about some other cards and we’ll call it a day. Sound good? OK, here we go.

This is a strong one. Right away, landfall stuff, the way I would typically build an Omnath deck (I have 5, soon to be 6. Yes, I have 2 Locus of Creation decks. Sue me) but this one doesn’t care if the mana is from lands. In fact, is way more unfair if it isn’t. Here are 2 sources I think are superlative.

If they ever stop printing this card, it could go way up. Also, if they just stop printing foils, the foils can go up, so either way, we’re likely in bad shape here. I don’t trust them not to reprint this, and riding the wave back up from $3 to $6 isn’t my bag these days. It is free money for you, though, until it isn’t.

The foil thing was a joke, there’s 1 and it’s bonkers. Could this be $200 on CK again? Maybe! I don’t want to buy at $150 and try and find out, but that 99 Euro NM English copy on Card Market might find its way into my basket. If you want less risk, I have an idea.

This card once flirted with $30 and now it is worth less than half of that. Could this be $30 again? It’s going to be more than $12 again, that’s for sure. This has already demonstrated how high it can go and I plan to buy a lot of copies of this for personal use before I even start to speculate. This feels very, very strong to me in the deck, and with mana burn gone, there is no downside at all to this mana machine.

I don’t want to wade into which 3 color creatures are good, but you know what’s very good in a deck that plays Conflux like this deck probably will?

That’s right, Dream Halls. This is basically half of its historic peak as well. Was that buying driven by speculators trying to dump crypto gains into something stable? Maybe, but it’s on the Reserved List and it’s dirty in a deck like this where you have a good shot of pitching any given 3 color card for another one. This deck is going to be so much fun.

Black Market seems super good in this deck, too, honestly.

Looking at the Black Market price graph reminds me of the article where I talked about how I expected Blind Obedience to recover. Whelp! Extort is a sick ability in Commander but not enough cards have it. While Blind Obedience is too expensive right now, consider this monster.

As is the trend this week, this card also used to be worth more and is better now than it previously has been. Pontiff is very good but very slow. Play it in a slow deck, like this one.

I think this set is going to be huge and that’s a shame because I still haven’t really processed Brother’s War. Next week we’ll have some data to dig into so, until then, check my twitter feed, the Pro Trader’s Discord and your bulk. Until next time!