The Watchtower 9/9/19 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

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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.


Indianapolis played host to another major Modern event this weekend. Burn was part of the winning team, so it looks like showing up with lightning spikes is still a viable strategy. Urza Whir of Invention (henceforth Whurza) had a strong showing too, including strong performances in other Modern events of the last several days. At this point, smart money is on Whurza for best deck in the format. According to Sam Black, it plays more like a pod deck than a prison deck, which speaks to the flexibility of the strategy. Adding Stoneforge seems to have shored up the early game, and I’m sure being able to slap Batterskull to Thopters isn’t the worst way to close out a game either.  

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  ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.


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 2013. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


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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Knight Time

Preview season is here and stuff is WILD.

We were told that there wouldn’t be a lot of faeries but the Brawl decks have given us some truly amazing members of that tribe, there’s two non-tribal decks but what I really want to look at is some of the amazing support we’ve gotten for the Knight tribe.

Some cards have started to spike, and others, amazingly, haven’t yet.

To be clear, there’s a ton of amazing tribal cards, but we’re focusing on the Mardu colors and Knight/Knight-enabling creatures. Equipment is also a valid theme.

Ashenmoor Liege ($4 nonfoil/$10 foil)

That foil price is drying up fast, though. It was less a week ago, but getting foils at $10 seems quite solid to me and nonfoils at this price should be a winner too. Pumping lots of your team always feels good.

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Crimson Honor Guard (25¢)

I know this card doesn’t see a lot of play, but it’s capable of dealing a ton and a half of damage if unchecked, as lots of COmmander decks tend to not mess around with their Commander. The really good news is that this is two years old, dirt cheap to get in on, and even a small amount of interest in the card will pay off handsomely. Feels pretty good to buy at nearly-bulk rates and then turn those cards over again.

Eastern Paladin (50¢/$2 8th foil/ 7th foil $20)

Western Paladin (same)

These are both Zombie Knights now, something I keep stumbling over when building decks of the undead. Extremely useful abilities in Commander, and if it weren’t for the 7th edition foil tax, an easy spec. Urza’s Saga was the last set without foils, that’s why you can’t find original pack foils.

Southern Paladin (50¢/75¢)

Northern Paladin ($30 down to 10¢)

These are in a weird place. Northern Paladin dates back to Alpha, and was in Revised, so value is going to take a loooooooooong time to build up. Southern Paladin is in Weatherlight and 7th edition, but red permanents aren’t always as much of an issue.

If you want, skip the formalities and stock up on their versatile cousin:

Pentarch Paladin ($2/$7) is only in Time Spiral, can solve almost any problem, and has only 8 NM foils left on TCG right now.I fully expect this to cost a lot more very soon.

Haakon, Stromgald Scourge ($7/$25)

Foils basically don’t exist online anymore, but this is a premium card in a Knight tribal deck. Once you get him into the graveyard, it’s incredibly efficient and requires graveyard hate, something Commander decks never have enough of. Coldsnap was a low-selling set from a long time ago, and if you can get copies under $10, be enthused.

Knight Exemplar ($5/$10/Resale Promo $10)

Granted, that price is a day old and these are drying up FAST. A Media Promo and a Duel Deck headliner, this is one of the best Knights you could hope to have on the battlefield. It hasn’t been printed in several years, and slowly, over time, the quantities have gotten smaller and smaller. If you have them, hold them, and if you can find them for a pre-spike price, snap them up. Knights are about to get quite popular.

Marton Stromgald ($3)

A Reserved List Knight, he’s looking for a deck that swarms, rather than one which plays a ton of Equipment and seeks to build Voltron. Right now, TCG has about 170 copies, but only 24 NM. I’m not yet sure if the Knights want to go wide, but I shouldn’t need to work hard to convince you to buy a card that isn’t going to be reprinted and offers some impressive upside. Get yourself a few copies right now.

Order of the Sacred Torch (25¢) and Stromgald Cabal (25¢)

I don’t think these are going to go bananas in price. If they were only in Ice Age, then maybe, but having been in 7th and 8th editions means the number of copies is rather high. They are worth mentioning, though, because this is one life to counter the spell! That’s a really powerful ability on a creature, and guarantees that they need to cast something mediocre first. It’s theoretically possible that someone could spend a couple hundred bucks on TCG to try and force a buyout, but that’s not going to work.

Mirran Crusader ($1.50/$4 MM15 foil/$8 MBS foil/$5 Buy-a-Box foil)

Phyrexian Crusader ($5/$12)

Paladin en-Vec ($1/$8)

If you want your Knight deck to feature Equipment, then you have some excellent choices in who should hold the sword for you. All three are worthy, and can do disgusting things. Note that the Crusader’s price has already started to increase, and it hasn’t had the reprints of the other cards. Paladin en-Vec only has foils in 9th and 10th, making those rare finds.

Puresteel Paladin ($11/$20)

One of the two needed cards to go off in the Cheerios deck, Puresteel has already gotten a lot of attention and commanded a premium price. Picking up some foils might be in order, because the multiplier is just too low. The nascent casual demand is about to move that price higher.

Valiant Knight (25¢/$1.50)

This is an ability that can end games quite rapidly, but is only good when things are going well for your team. It’s a very cheap buy-in, even for the foils, making it a solid pickup in anticipation of $5 days to come.

Vona, Butcher of Magan ($2/$7)

Prices are climbing for this Vampire Knight and you should be stocking up cheaply if you can. There’s not a lot of copies on the market, and within a couple of weeks it’ll be at $5/$15 pretty easily. Plan accordingly.

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: Winners And Losers

You know that article I write every week? Well I’m back with it, and this week I’m doing the this week version of it because, and I promise this is true, THINGS ARE DIFFERENT. Specifically, people are moving on to different top decks on EDHREC. 

Over the past week, these decks have emerged. If you don’t remember what it looked like last week, maybe the monthly trends will be instructive. 

Elshe is getting more popular, as is Kadena. Ghired got very popular, too, and it stands to reason that the kind of try-hards who would make a K’rrik deck will add their list to EDHREC immediately for theorycrafting purposes and the kinds of players who make durdle decks like Ghired wait until they physically have cards. Laugh all you want, Godsire is $30 and nothing from K’rrik has even moved. Well, nothing much, anyway.

This has likely hit its immediate ceiling, but it’s not $5 everywhere, so snap those cheap copies while you can, amigos and amigas (a kind of computer, I think). I think the fact that this is a non-mythic from a recent core set and hasn’t impacted Standard yet may put its ceiling right around 6 or 7 bucks but what do I know? I also think if this drops near rotation, it might rebound a bit, but I think the days of EDH cards tanking at rotation are basically over. That’s a whole different article I’ll write someday soon. 

I think K’rrik might be responsible for some other moves, if Coolstuff Inc (a website that employs me) is to be believed (I think they are).

Gray Merchant in their Top 10 doesn’t feel like an accident. I think Both K’rrik and Chainer decks want Gary. You can loop Gary very easily in Chainer and I’d share my Chainer picks if he were making more of an impact. Read my article from Coolstuff (a website that employs me) this week and check out my list. Probably nothing financially relevant, but I use Chainer with a Goblins theme and it’s pretty strong. Chainer likely overtakes some Core 2020 decks next week so we can talk about it then. 

While we’re on the topic of K’rrik, a topic I didn’t want to get much into, there’s a $6 price gap between Card Kingdom and Strike Zone/TCG Player/Troll and Toad

This is not an $11 card, so act accordingly. 

I wanted to talk about Elsha this week, but it’s probably fine that we spent some ink on K’rrik because what it was moving wasn’t as clear before. Elsha seems… solved. 

The high synergy cards from the deck show it’s a pretty basic spellcaster deck, but I think there are undervalued cards. 

I mention these and cards like them quite a bit but I think there’s something to be said about all of them. I like Helm of Awakening a lot more than most people both as a spec and as a card. I really don’t care if they get a spell reduction in a deck not built to take advantage of it if it means I go off with my deck. My spells costing 1 or 0 is all that matters, I don’t care if they cast a big, dumb blocker a turn earlier. Cloud Key is getting into that “ripe for a reprint” range, but since they don’t seem inclined to print anything that costs more than $7, I am thinking it could just never get touched. Future Sight is a weird set and it has expensive cards in it because of course it does. 

People are all done opening these packs, it’s time to buy a card that’s $2.25 on a buylist and on sale on Coolstuff and Miniature Market for $3. I don’t have much else to say about this card other than that I love it and it rules and it’s the kind of thing I want to be doing in Magic and if I could justify this and Swarm Intelligence and Sunbirds’ Invocation in a deck, I’d play them all. Maybe I can if I play junk like Seething Song… I digress. 

This is legitimately $37 on ABU Games. I don’t think it will stay in the “half of that price” range for long. Usually it’s Card Kingdom who charges the most (they can, it’s fine) but ABU sending a strong signal. In general, stores with very generous buylists will charge more than other sites that pay peanuts and a trade-in bonus can make your hotlist cards essentially the same as cash even with a markup, so watch for deals. $37 isn’t a deal, but you may find yourself in a year wishing you’d paid $22. 

That’s all the news that’s fit to print. We’re in Throne of Eldraine spoiler season already, so check this space for info about that. Until next time! 

The Watchtower 9/4/19 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.


We’re one week in after the Big B&R Change, and I’d say there are two takeaways at this point. First, Modern appears to be the best it’s been in a long while, perhaps ever. With the departure of both Hogaak and Faithless Looting, the number of unfair decks appears to be at an all-time low. Aside from a relatively large amount of Burn decks, no doubt piloted by those seeking to prey on a recently upheaved field, there’s a lot of “fair” decks. Sure, some are combo decks, but nobody seems to be doing anything egregious. The second takeaway is that, for all the fervor around Stoneforge over the last week, she barely showed her face at the SCG Open. A single playset found itself in the top 8 between both the open and classic. Is it a case of players not having figured out how best to make use of her yet, or, for all the bluster, is she not quite good enough for Modern? Time will tell.

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

To learn more about being a ProTrader, click here to see all the benefits.

  ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.


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 2013. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


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