Unlocked Pro Trader: BuildIng A Deck First

READERS

You know how I always tout my success rate using my new method of waiting until decks develop on EDHREC so we buy what players are actually using and not what they might use? How has that worked for you so far? Are you enjoying having more of my advice be actionable? Are your gains higher, thereby giving you more confidence in my advice, allowing you to feel safe buying deeper and realizing even more gains? Is that a good feeling? Has that taken our relationship as writer and reader to new heights? Has it made you become an MTG Price Pro Trader? Perhaps have you tracked down my podcast Patreon and given something back? What if I told you that for 1 week I was going to ENTIRELY DISREGARD EVERYTHING THAT IS CURRENTLY WORKING FOR ME and do something that is literally 90% or more speculation?

If you’re someone who has enjoyed my rational, data-based approach to EDH speculation these last few years that I have been killing it, please stop reading now. I’m serious, this will erode your confidence in me unless I am so good at what I do by now that I can pick what people are going to play before they even know. How far in advance are we talking? I’m going to pick cards that go in a deck based around a creature I assume will be a legal commander in a set that isn’t at all previewed yet based on a picture of a deck wrapper. It doesn’t get any more speculative than that, I’m serious, this is a really bad and risky idea. I wrote a bunch of good articles this year, go back through my greatest hits.

If, however, you’re in a feisty mood like I am and you want to get a glimpse into my thought process as much as see cards I’m 90% or more sure I’m going to put in this deck no matter what the card actually does, buckle up, buttercup, because the hype train has no brakes, it’s like the Chrysler Building on wheels and Tony Scott isn’t around to tell us how the story ends. Let’s speculate as wildly as we possibly can.

The Facts

Magic The Gathering Reveals New Booster And Cards From "The List ...

See it yet?

ENHANCE

ENHANCE!

Omnath is back, baby, and he’s got a white-looking arm. MaRo said that characters we know are coming back with more colors, and they have very consistently jammed more colors onto Omnath over the years. I’m certain enough that we’re getting a WURG Omnath in Zendikar Rising to devote an entire article to the notion.

Omnath, Locus of Mana (WWK)

The first Omnath soaked up all of the Green mana he could find and it made him huge. Mana and growth became associated with Omnath even though his abilities shifted later.

Omnath, Locus of Rage (BFZ)

Mana still matters, but here in the new Zendikar, Omnath got a formal landfall trigger rather than the generic “It sure would be nice if you fed me some delicious mana” ability from before. Omnath grows out, not up, and his elementals matter as much as lands do. This was a much more fun deck than Mono-Green Omnath.

Omnath, Locus of the Roil (M20)

We kept the landfall trigger but only after a certain point since it would be really disgusting to have a 4 mana Tatyova with Red in the identity that could also dome people when it came into play. This Omnath feels more like he was tailored to the needs of the set than he was tailored to Omnath’s needs as a character.

If the design moving forward means Omnath will be built around the needs of the set and we’re going back to Zendikar, it is fairly safe to conclude that there will be a landfall ability. In any case, every Omnath has been built around ramp mattering.

Remember, High Synergy cards are going to find cards that are more likely to be found in that specific Omnath deck than others. High Synergy cards aren’t generically good cards, they’re cards that are more likely to synergize specifically with that commander. That said, we see some overlap. I think it’s very unlikely that there will be an Elemental tribal subtheme so we can cut a lot of middling Elementals that a lot of people insist on running. Avenger of Zendikar has a 90% chance of making the deck, imo.

The ship has largely sailed here. There have historically been opportunities to buy in very cheap and if it gets reprinted, that’s something we should take advantage of. There are a few more products this year that could contain Avenger so let’s not buy in now, but let’s also note that this shot above $10 everywhere and no one really noticed.

The mystery booster retail edition foil printing of this card has really attenuated its price. For people who don’t like foils, this could be a good time to buy in while the prices are converging. This was a $6 card before they printed a small number of foils that have had a hard time getting integrated into the market, this price will rebound and it will also figure heavily into a landfall deck, should Womnath have a landfall ability, which seems likely, unless there is a set mechanic they want to highlight that works very different. Either way, there has never been an Omnath deck where playing a bunch of lands was a bad idea and this card is as good as it seems.

Here’s another card that got hit much harder than expected by the Mystery Booster reprinting. None of the non-EDH formats that play this card are running right now and it’s unclear when they will again so EDH will have to do the heavy lifting, but this card at $4ish is way too cheap right now. It’s sort of insulting, honestly.

It’s not just existing, temporarily-embarrassed cards that have upside, imo.

I’m clearly not the only one who thinks this likely gets a spot in Womnath as it’s headed up. Even if it never materializes, the price likely heads near $20 and stays above $10. I have been a big proponent of this card forever, so I obviously think it’s got upside, but if Womnath is a landfall deck, this card will finally be able to join a landfall deck that can trigger it.

Foil Ruin Ghost has flirted with $3 before and I think it can get there again. I use Retreat to Coralhelm in Omnath already and with access to Ghost, the card does even more work, giving you an infinite number of landfall triggers. The non-foils are probably getting an upgrade from “total bulk” so it looks like a rising tide can lift all boats. I like Ghost a lot. There are a ton of sub-$1 foils but it’s hard to imagine where the restock will come from when they sell out.

This has been printed into dust but it can only go up, right?

Finally, here is the average EDHREC deck for Omnath Locus of the Roil. If you’re not familiar with how a deck like this works, familiarize yourself with this and a few lists from the site. See how people think a deck like this needs to work. A new color doesn’t mean that 25% of the deck will be white – there is quite a bit of immovable infrastructure, a lot of it Green, that needs to be in place for the deck to function. I think you pick up bucks where you can like with Admonition Angel and maybe foil copies of cards like Ruin Ghost and Retreat to… the White one. It’s possible there is room for Emeria Angel or Emeria Shepherd to go up, also. Ultimately, this is a spot to showcase a set mechanic and if that’s not landfall, the cuter cards won’t work but ramp still will, so bear that in mind. When the card is actually printed, I’ll do another article but it’s never too early to think ahead. That does it for me, everyone. Until next time!

The Watchtower 07/27/20 – A Midrange Modern Metagame

Despite the new UR Blitz deck (feat. Stormwing Entity) being the recent hotness in Modern the past couple of weeks, the other decks in the format are distinctly slower and more midrangey than that. The rest of the upper echelon of Modern is full of blue control decks, Jund, Eldrazi Tron et al, and so that’s what I’m going to be talking about today. I think Modern is in a pretty healthy spot right now, and should be set to continue that way until paper Magic returns to us.


Ketria Triome (Showcase Foil)

Price today: $24
Possible price: $40

I’ve called out the Triomes from Ikoria in general before now, but today I wanted to focus in on Ketria Triome in particular. It’s the second most popular of the five for EDH, but has also had the highest adoption into competitive constructed formats. Aside from being an obvious auto-include in Temur Reclamation in Standard, this triland has been showing up in Scapeshift lists in Modern.

Scapeshift has had its ebbs and flows from the forefront of the Modern metagame, but last night a Temur Scapeshift list took down a Modern event in the ManaTraders Tournament Series. It was a fairly straightforward list – Scapeshift, Uro and Growth Spiral backed up by Cryptic Command, Remand and Lightning Bolt. No Primeval Titans to be seen here, but an impressive 29 lands with a full playset of Ketria Triomes. The colour fixing coupled with the cycling ability makes these lands perfect for the deck, especially seeing as they can be grabbed with fetchlands.

Foil Showcase copies of this card can still be had as low as $24 on TCGPlayer, but the ramp up towards $40 isn’t too long at all for a card that was released three months ago. The obvious EDH pedigree coupled with its potential in Modern makes me think that this could be the best of the five Triomes, but I’m still a fan of the other four below $25 as well. $40 within 12 months should be reasonable here, and I’d keep an eye on the non-foils too.

Glorybringer (Game Day Foil)

Price today: $7
Possible price: $15

RG Ponza used to be a deck that was joked and laughed about in Modern, trying desperately to Blood Moon and Stone Rain people out of the game, generally to little avail (unless they got paired against Tron I guess?). However, over the past year or so the deck has garnered a suite of new tools, and morphed from a deck focused around land destruction and mana denial into a proper midrange deck.

Modern Horizons gave us Seasoned Pyromancer, Throne of Eldraine gave us Bonecrusher Giant and Theros Beyond Death gave us Klothys, God of Destiny; and now the only land destruction spell they tend to play is Pillage, which doubles up on hitting artifacts too. Play patterns of Bloodbraid Elf cascading into Seasoned Pyromancer are all too common, and just that would put an on-board Klothys up to six devotion. Powerful stuff, and the results have been backing that up too.

Glorybringer has been a mainstay of the deck for a while now, being a powerful finisher that can double as multiple removal spells. Whilst regular versions are still in plentiful stock, the Game Day promos are running very thin on the ground. Only 15 vendors have NM copies on TCGPlayer, with a few copies still available under $10 but a sharp ramp after that. $15 on these should be easy very quickly, and I can see them moving towards $20-25 within 6-12 months. We may get a reprint of the regular copies, but I doubt we’ll be seeing these Game Day versions again, so pick them up whilst you still can – especially if you can see yourself playing with them in the future.

Archmage’s Charm (Foil)

Price today: $35
Possible price: $50

Some people may have thought that Snow decks would fade from the Modern metagame with the banning of Arcum’s Astrolabe, but that is far from the truth. Ice-Fang Coatl is still a very powerful card in the format, and Bant midrange/control decks are still doing very well with the tools they have left. The mana is slightly worse now, meaning that the decks have had to lean more into one or two colours (generally favouring blue), but the archetype is still doing well.

Azorius and Bant control shells playing a Stoneforge Mystic package have been quite popular over the past couple of weeks, and their counterspells of choice include Cryptic Command, Force of Negation and Archmage’s Charm. Most of these decks play between one and three Archmage’s Charms now, as it has turned out to be better than the ‘Cryptic Command Lite’ that it might have been viewed as at first. The counter and draw modes are nice, but being able to steal a Death’s Shadow or Monastery Swiftspear can do a lot of work too.

Modern Horizons foils in general have been draining since its release last year, and despite having gained somewhat of a reputation for being full of banned cards (see Hogaak, Arcum’s Astrolabe), the set still has a lot of great hits in it. There are only 17 NM foils listings for Archmage’s Charm on TCGPlayer (plus a few spicy Russian foils), and so it won’t take a lot of Modern players to move the needle on it. It’s also worth noting that the card is in over 3.5k EDH decks listed on EDHREC, so definitely not an insignificant number there.


David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

Delicious Toppings, Part 1

We know 26 of the 40 Box Toppers, and we know a lot of the rares. It’s pretty likely that three of the remaining Toppers are the other three Swords, so let’s look at some pricing and comparisons, to see where these prices might go.

Now, we have prices on some of these, but it takes a seller with a lot of confidence to pre-sell these, especially in foil. Keep in mind that the VIP boosters are the ONLY way to get foil versions of the box toppers. I’m going to list the current low price for a foil on TCG as of Thursday night, and get some comparisons where I can. Not everything has a price yet, so be kind.

For most of these, there’s going to be a dip as soon as the VIP packs arrive and people rush to crack the value. Given the relatively small amount out there, though, I expect prices to recover at a decent pace. One more wrinkle to consider is that, according to the official Magic Twitter, “All borderless showcase cards with a rare expansion symbol will appear twice as frequently as those with a mythic rare expansion symbol. This is true of box toppers in #MTG2XM booster boxes as well as the premium foils of these cards in VIP Edition.”

So the slots for the toppers will have a 1/3 chance of being a mythic, and 2/3 of being rare. Even more math!

Karn Liberated ($108) – We have the Ultimate Masters Box Topper to compare to, and that’s right about $100, so the big question is, do you like the art? The Karn face is meme-ing all over the Magic community, and Mark Tedin has owned it, making it his Facebook profile pic:

Jokes aside, $100 seems totally reasonable for this foil. You’ve got your pick of art, with Jason Chan’s take being both iconic and powerful. It’s worth remembering that the people who like this are going to want to collect the matching Urza lands, which we’ll get back to.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor ($170) – Worldwake foils are at a cool $500, with Mythic Edition checking in at $175. That’s the only version that doesn’t use the original art, but now we get the original with a sweet frame. I think this is too closely priced to the Mythic price, and I’ll expect this JTMS to inch a little higher, likely to about $250. I don’t think you want to preorder yet, but there should be fewer of this than the Mythic Edition.

Council’s Judgment ($90) – As compared to the $70 Conspiracy foil, this seems perfectly reasonable. That was from a small set, and not opened a lot because people didn’t like the format. Keep in mind, too, that’s a release from 2014. As such, I think this is going to fall a bit from $90, and end up below the pack foil. Yes, it’s a way to get rid of True-Name Nemesis in Legacy, but there’s not the same level of demand as there is for Jace or some of these others, being in only 3800 decks on EDHREC.

Cyclonic Rift ($85) – The original foil is $60 or so, but this is new art and a new frame for one of the most annoyingly iconic Commander cards around. There’s no defense. Protection, hexproof, or shroud, it doesn’t matter. It’s been a rare twice and gotten a Commander reprint, and is in 91k decks online. That is an enormous amount of bouncing. Given all of that, I think $85 is too low for the foils, and it’ll stabilize about $120.

Phyrexian Metamorph ($50) – The pack foil is $15, so this seems like a big jump over that. Being in 15,000 decks online helps push this price upward. It’ll come down some from $50, but I’m expecting it to rebound nicely into the $60 range.

Dark Confidant ($100) – As a mythic, it’ll have a higher price than the rares, but $100 seems high, given the number of times it’s been reprinted. The Judge foil, using the original art and an old border, can be had for $125, so keeping this at $100 seems a tad high. Not too many people want this card, so a correction down into the $80 range is likely.

Sneak Attack ($60) – Given a judge foil of $40 and that this is a mythic, this is in the right range. It’s got a Legacy deck, but not a lot of Commander pull, so I’d expect it to go a touch lower.

Crop Rotation ($43) – Until Double Masters, there was only one foil: the original from Urza’s Legacy, the first set with foils. It was a common, even! About 20,000 people play this in their Commander decks online, and it’s a four-of in Legacy Lands, so there’s going to be a fair level of demand. Even with that, I think this is about the floor for foil box toppers from this set and it’s a decent price for now.

Doubling Season ($120) – This is $30 more than the original pack foil, and that feels off to me. It’s rare but possible for the new version to be pricier than the pack foil, but this has been printed a bunch of times, yet always climbs back up to $40. The nonfoil being $90 is definitely too high, but this one should fall back to the $90 or so of the original. It’s cute art, but not quite as iconic, and won’t command a premium.

Exploration ($90) – Okay, now this one is weird. Right now, the foil and the nonfoil box topper are within five bucks of each other. We can infer that one of two things is going on: Either the nonfoil is horribly overpriced, or the foils are horribly underpriced. My inclination is to say that the nonfoils are overpriced, because these foil, while absolutely gorgeous, are not going to be $150ish. More likely is that the foil comes down a little and the nonfoil comes down a lot.

Noble Hierarch ($90) – This is too high. The Judge foil with the old border, a lot more iconic than this frame, can be had in NM for about $15 more. The Ultimate Box Topper is a $60 foil. While it’s new art and a new treatment, it’s not enough for such a price jump.

Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice ($120) – This is a hard prediction to make. On one hand, the original Atraxa was Commander-only, and was $35 despite being reprinted in Commander Anthology 2. This is new art, and it’s been four years since the reprint. I’m going to guess that this foil stays in the $100 range, between the people who are upgrading from old Atraxa and also the ones who pick this up and then build a Commander deck around her. This is the #2 all time commander on EDHREC, so that’s the list of staples I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Kaalia of the Vast ($120) – In a lot of ways, the same pattern as Atraxa, only older. Kaalia was an original Commander, way back in 2011, and then reprinted in the first Anthology. She’s farther down the list than Atraxa, and encourages a different deckbuild. She also leaves out the two best colors in Commander, with no UG shenanigans. I don’t think she can hold this price, and I’d expect her to come down to about $80.

Next week I’ll finish the list!

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.

Pro Trader: AdoptiIon

Readers!

I want to continue what I started last week with comparing Core Sets in an article I called “Adoption” so here’s the sequel. It’s the remix to Adoption, another finance concoction, I can’t make you make money but I can give you the option.

Core Set 2021 could be one of the least-opened sets of all time which could lead to a weird situation where the market isn’t sure how to equilibrate the rising cost of singles with the flow ox boxes that trickle in months later than they should have. If the set is largely weighted away from Standard, that won’t matter because it’s never too late for EDH, but if the set was relying on Standard to soak up a lot of the value, at least initially, we could end up with a lot of $5-$10 EDH cards but a bunch of cards for Standard worth nothing which would make the boxes a terrible gamble. The EDH cards are free to grow unbound at that point since the boxes aren’t getting popped to inject those copies into the market. How is the set weighted now?

All I did was search TCG Player by set and then list from highest price to low to see which format the expensive cards in the set are from. The first page is largely sealed product and 12 of the 19 Teferi promos, but Page 2 gets more interesting.

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