Unlocked Pro Trader: The Next Big Thing

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Readers!

It sure looks like the world of EDH finance is moving a lot faster than it used to. Back before I popularized the EDHREC method, we used to have weeks to months to wait for people to fine-tune their decks and while that’s still the case, we’re also seeing very, very early spikes in “obvious” cards for these decks. People used to not bother because most of the finance community thought EDH was for, to quote an mtg finance thought leader earlier on twitter, “filthy casuals.”

Everyone plays EDH these days and everyone who is successful at MtG finance these days recognizes that EDH is the primary price mover in Magic. It can’t always spike cards as hard as other formats but it certainly moves a wider array of prices, lends some cross-format applicability to the cards spiked by other formats and doesn’t rotate or have the kind of ban-risk other formats have. If we can get over the FOMO of seeing other people leap at cards like Aurelia’s Fury and just stick to our fundamentals, there is plenty of actual, sustainable, non-speculative money to be made. Aurelia’s Fury is going to spike hard because it’s obvious but it’s not likely to hold the price it peaks at because the amount of play it gets will be high but not as high as the hype.

Hype fades, let’s aim for sustainability.

Luckily the world of EDHREC data is moving a bit faster these days and we have a few lists to work with before the spoilers. It’s still early and people who are very early builders can skew the data a lot so it’s best to regard it with caution so I’m going to mostly ignore the numbers. What I’m aiming at is ideas right now – cards builders find that the average person who knows EDH players will want Feather, some lands, probably a Sol Ring and an Aurelia’s Fury but couldn’t fill in the rest of the list won’t be able to figure out. Let’s leverage our tools, shall we?

The set isn’t even spoiled and we have 11 Ilharg, the Raze Boar decks to look at. Ilharg could be this set’s Nikya, something the speculator community isn’t as keen on but which will end up being more popular than a deck they are more keen on. I think Feather is an exception in that it’s hype because the cards are obvious and also hype because the deck is just going to be fun and interesting to play – it’s Teysa Karlov and Vannifar in one. So what’s the set’s Nikya? Let’s look at what Ilharg has spiked already.

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Blighty was already on its way up but this sort of cemented it. This card badly needs a reprint and unfortunately, during the time period it would have needed to have been noticed to get us a reprint anytime soon, its price was creeping up slowly (CK in pink, best industry buylist [probably also CK] in blue) and now it’s making a sprint for $100 like some giant monster just put it into play tapped and attacking for, you know, lethal.

Ilharg hype contributed to this move and while this card is “obvious” I think there’s more to uncover here and 11 decks may not tell us the proper ratios of inclusion but it can tell us what 11 people are going to buy and that number will grow every day.

I tend to avoid Legendary creatures because being a commander isn’t always enough in my view, but look at those numbers already. Neheb generates a ton of mana which makes him just as good in the 99 as he is in the command zone. Ilharg is a mana-hungry deck because if Ilharg goes down you need to cast those fatties and not only that, you can really get ahead by casting stuff on top of the freebie every turn. Neheb is at an all-time high but being a Legendary creature significantly lowers his reprint risk IMO so I think this is a pretty good play. You can’t make a ton buying in above $7 but I think the growth is significant and it’s unlikely to slow with a new Mono-Red fatties commander being printed.

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Malignus is an odd mix of casual raw power and appeal, being old, being a mythic and not being that expensive. It doesn’t get played in a ton of decks but in the decks where it is played, it’s an all star. It’s up irrespective of Ilharg hype and I see it as a strong contender to move some more.

I hope this shows up in some decks but I also hope people look up how this works with Ilharg. It’s a big mana red deck and you can usually cast this from your hand and when you nuke all lands, you’re getting a free creature every combat and they can’t play spells. You wrap the game up quickly. I don’t know if this will catch on and it’s in like a quarter of those 11 decks but it’s a thing, at least.

See the blue line going above the pink one? That’s arbitrage, baby! That’s an arbitrage opportunity buying the card on Card Kingdom, one of the most expensive sites. This card will go up steadily until it’s reprinted, which may take a minute since it was only like $3 a year ago. This is free money but how much I don’t know. Specs that go from a quarter to $6 are sexier.

Finally a card that not only interacts with Ilharg in a pretty disgusting manner, it also shrugged off a commander deck reprinting (albeit very long ago) and is an artifact so it can go in a lot more decks than a red card giving you a lot of non-Ilharg chances to recoup. If this gets reprinted in a commander deck, it will likely be so good in that commander deck that loose copies are less likely to hit the market and you should be insulated a bit. Look at that growth since 2015 – a reprint is nothing but an opportunity to buy in at the bottom of a U-shaped graph, you know, my favorite thing.

That’s all for me, readers. Thanks for tuning in and remember, ignore FOMO and focus on the technique we developed here these last 5 years. Until next time!

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The Watchtower 4/15/19 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 spoilers keep rolling on, and we’re all having a grand ol’ time with them. Flavorwise it’s exciting, as we’ve seen the Amonkhet gods die and suffer (?) zombification, Domri Rade got de-sparked, and it’s looking like several more aren’t going to make it out of the fray unharmed. Mechanically, planeswalkers are sending everyone into a tizzy. EDH channels are thrilled about all the new toys, and Fethers specifically has gotten people’s attention as a general that just looks, well, fun. Modern is joining in on the fun too, though that’s complicated, as Modern Horizons spoilers are going to start shortly after WAR is on shelves, and that’s going to upend the entire format anyways.  

Fell the Mighty

Price Today: $5
Possible Price: $10

If there’s one commander that’s caught everyone’s attention in the WAR spoilers, it’s without a doubt Feather. As of today, April 15th, it is the most popular commander this week. And she’s not even available yet! Fethers lets players do something fun and cool, which the format is glad to have in a Boros commander. (Secretly Mono-Red and Boros might have the highest average ‘fun’ rating across all legendary creatures, but they’re lower on the ‘power’ level, which makes them less popular colors. Shame.)

Anyone who has ever played Sidar Kondo knows the value of Fell the Mighty. Casting this on a two power creature is awfully close to a Plague Wind in most situations. Sure you won’t wipe their tokens, but you will hit all those creatures they sunk a ton of mana into. Then you go ahead and chip with all your small boys while they’re left with nothing. Nothing. The fools.

In Feather this is even funnier, since you get back the card the following turn, which means you can fire it off every turn. Go ahead and play your Sun Titan after I wipe the board. I’m going to fell some mighty creatures every turn until you’re all dead.

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Despite having been printed in two separate Commander decks, supply on Fell is surprisingly sparse. You’ll find about 30 NM English copies of the original 2014 printing, and roughly that number of the follow-up 2017 printing. For a card that’s been printed in two Commander product and only has a reported 4,200 copies on EDHREC, that’s sort of surprising. One wonders.

In any case, barring a reprint in this year’s Commander product, things are looking rosy for Fell the Mighty. Every Feather player is going to be after a copy, and I see no reason this would be in Horizons. At $5 today, before Feathers players start grabbing theirs, I think $10 is certainly within reason before the summer is over.

Aurelia, the Warleader (Guild Kit)

Price Today: $7
Possible Price: $20

Checking Aurelia’s EDHREC page, you’ll see she’s not necessarily the most popular commander, with about 1,000 decks attributed to her. Flip over to her stats as a card in the 99 though, and things change. She’s in nearly 10,000 decks as a supporting member. That’s some potatoes. There’s no doubt she’s going to end up in the bulk of Feather lists, as she does an excellent job of letting you double dip on all those damage-improving spells you’ve played. She can get even sillier if you’ve got a Cloudshift in your hand, as you can attack with the team, trigger the second combat phase, blink Aurelia, and on the second attack phase, Aurelia will trigger AGAIN, giving you a third swing. I’m sure you can figure out a way to keep it going as well.

It’s hard to imagine Aurelia won’t make it into nearly every Feather list. My suspicion is that the play here is the new Guilds of Ravnica Guild Kits that came out in September of last year, of which the new art, new border Aurelia headlined the Boros boxes. The art is great, the border is cool, and the supply is low. There are fewer than 25 copies on TCG right now, with zero at SCG. It’s only going to take a handful of Feather players to snag a copy to push this limited edition copy into the high teens.

Tithe

Price Today: $18
Possible Price: $35

Our last stop on the Feather train this week is Tithe, and I’m not talking about the smothering variety. No, the original Tithe all the way back from Visions. This has been a staple of white EDH lists — for those aware of its existence — since basically the format’s inception. Each color that isn’t green has to do work to keep up with the mana production offered by that strategy. Tithe is a simple, powerful solution that fits just about everywhere. So long as you aren’t taking the first turn, Tithe lets you tutor up two plains — not basic plains, but plains — on turn two. Even though you don’t get to put them into play, putting two additional lands into your hand helps ensure you’ll keep making land drops as the game goes on. Tithe isn’t dead in the mid game either. Casting this when you’re on six or seven is great, as that’s when making a drop every turn slows down. Tithe gets you two more guaranteed plays, getting you into the eight and nine land territory in which you can play two spells a turn. It will also help color fix on whatever you’re shy on, since now you know whether to fetch your Sacred Foundry or your Scrubland or whatever. It’s a useful card at most stages of the game.

Tithe also happens to be on the Reserve List, which is no doubt an appealing aspect. Not having to worry about Commander reprints means we can comfortably hang onto these bad boys and if they don’t spike in a month, hey, that’s ok. We’re not in danger of getting hit by an ill-timed rerelease. They’re safe to mature at their own rate, without constant babysitting.

You’ll pay about $18 a copy right now on TCGPlayer, and there’s roughly 35. Fethers is going to draw more people to it for sure, but they aren’t deeply synergetic, so it won’t be dramatic. That’s ok though, because just 10 or 20 people picking a copy up is going to push the price, and with supply dwindling, it won’t take many to sell before this is a $30+ EDH “legacy” card.


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.


Brainstorm Brewery #333 Award Winning Podcast

http://traffic.libsyn.com/brainstormbrewery/Brainstorm_Brewery_334_Award_Winning_Podcast.mp3

DJ (@Rose0fThorns), Jason (@jasonEalt), and Corbin (@CHosler88) have unlocked another award for the podcast trophy case and are ready to celebrate and patron Ben is here to do just that. They also discuss Legacy GPs, Giveaways, and the impact of London Mulligan.

Make sure to check us out on Youtube because everything is better with video. https://www.youtube.com/user/BrainstormBrewery

TeeSpring:https://teespring.com/shop/bsbTshirt18?aid=marketplace&tsmac=marketplace&tsmic=search#pid=2&cid=2397&sid=front

00:18 Award Winning

05:31 Inked Gaming Giveaway

09:08 Breaking Bulk

19:54 MSU losing

25:02 Emails

37:52 Legacy GP

48:00 Pick of the Week

Support our Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/brainstormbrewery

Need to contact us? Hit up BrainstormBrew@gmail.com

To Preorder or Not to Preorder?

Holy biscuits, but War of the Spark looks like it’s going to be a total blast to play with. I’m looking forward to an environment loaded with value uncommons, excellent removal, and ridiculous numbers of planeswalkers.

We’re in week 2 of previews, and the story is great. I almost don’t care how it ends, I’m going to buy the novel.

What I really care about, though, is the trajectory of prices for these cards. We know from experience that you don’t want to be buying cards right now…except for the one or two we want to. Search for Azcanta at $5. Hydroid Krasis at $12. Mmmmm…how nice that would be now.

So let’s dive into War of the Spark, and pick up a perfect speculative card along the way.

First of all, at this writing Thursday night, we only know six of the booster pack mythics (there’s going to be fifteen) and two more mythics that are the buy-a-box promo and one of the planeswalker decks. You can always identify those extra cards by having an improper fraction for the collector number. Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge, is 275/264, for instance.

Tezzeret is the promo and the biggest preorder at about $23 per copy, but not available on TCG yet. That’s the eBay price. He drops into play and immediately domes all of your opponents, gains you some life, but only if you’ve got artifacts in play already. As befits the half-metal man, playing him without lots of artifacts is just pointless, so his usefulness is currently questionable in Standard.

His preorder price is a little high for my taste, frankly. Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas is at nearly $20, though there’s a Mythic Edition keeping that price low. I’m not a buyer at this price, but I’ll be thinking about it if he falls to half that, but most versions of this card are still pretty cheap. I will not be surprised if there’s a brief window to sell him at $30 when first released and Commander players lose their good sense, but that window is going to be relatively narrow.

Ilharg, the Raze-Boar (available for $15)

The first presales were all above $20 on this, and the slide isn’t done. It’s clearly a powerful card, at even the base stats of a 6/6 trample for five mana. The attack trigger and the ‘third from the top’ clause really elevate this card to being amazing for Commander, but I’m not sure where else it’ll get played. The current mono-red decks don’t want a five-drop. There’s some Gruul decks running around that will likely add this, play Impervious Greatwurm, and pull off the combo three times while going 2-3 in a league.

I’m not buying this ahead of time.

Teferi, Time Raveler (at $19, up from $15)

Teferi’s clause about your opponent only playing at sorcery speed is incredibly relevant in this Standard format. Turns off most of the Wilderness Reclamation decks, defangs a big part of Esper Control, and lowers the reactive nature of the Red decks. For three mana!

I can believe that decks which want Baby Teferi will play a lot of copies, maybe even the full four. Your opponent spending burn spells or attackers on him is quite a blessing, and with his bounce, can even out any card disadvantage.

What I’m not sure about is this high price of a Standard rare. RNA’s most expensive are shocks from $7-$11 and then Smothering Tithe at $12. The only rares from Guilds of Ravnica above $5 are the other five shocklands. I don’t think $20 can hold right now.

At the end of WAR’s season, or about July, I’ll be interested in picking up Teferi int he $10 range, but he’s a stay away for now.

Liliana, Dreadhorde General (at $16, down from $23)

She’s very good and her static ability is top-notch when combined with her minus ability. Delightful and elegant design, but she’s kind of underpowered for six mana. At her mana cost, planeswalkers should be a lot more commanding, and there’s a lot of decks which won’t flinch at the -2 ability.

She’s outstanding in Commander decks which can take advantage of what she offers, so while I think she will slide another couple of dollars, I’m not buying yet.

Tomik, Distinguished Advokist ($3, down from $6)

If aggro white decks are top tier, then how is this not one of the hottest preorders? It’s a two-mana 2/3 flyer! Even with no other text that’s very good, and he’s got the upside of messing with some fringe strategies AND this is exactly the card and deck to make you want to have Mox Amber.

Tomik is going to go back up. I know he got a lot of hype early and has suffered since, but don’t fixate on the text box. Just as a creature, he’s quite above the curve.

Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion ($1.50, down from $4)

This is exactly the top end that mono-red wants, oversized for its mana cost and if it hits, you get to cycle away everything you don’t want in your hand. I also love picking up cheap specs, and the lack of attention the card is getting just means that the week one results will be that much more impressive. This is at least a $5-$7 card.

Bonus card: Master Biomancer foils at $8ish (likely $20+)

There’s a lot of nonfoils out there, from Gatecrash and Commander 2016 and then the Anthology, but the foils are a lot scarcer and with the proliferate goodies we’re getting, all the counters matter cards, this is one of the best cards for those decks. It’s in 7000 decks on EDHREC, less than 50 foils on TCG, with just a handful of those being NM condition.

The Simic mythic has a double proliferate on death trigger, so that’s harder to abuse in Commander, but I believe it’s got legs. Or fins. Tentacles? Who knows in the Combine.

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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