Guilds at Rotation

ADVERTISEMENT:


Quick reminder that Magic Finance 101 calls for you to sell all the cards you may get this weekend the moment you can. Lock in that value, because many of them are going to lose a lot of value. (Yes, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, I’m looking at you and you’re trying to hide in the back.)

More notable, though, is that with the release of the Core Set we are now about three months away from rotation. We’re losing four sets: Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, and Core Set 2019. There’s some gems hiding in these sets from more than a year ago, and we’re looking for one of two things: casual appeal and Eternal appeal. 

To clarify, Eternal means all of the nonrotating Constructed formats: Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and Pioneer. (Historic is pretty irrelevant, financially speaking, until the day that Historic lines up with Pioneer, and then it won’t matter.) Casual appeal isn’t just the kitchen table player, it’s also Commander and Cube considerations.

To the cards!

Divine Visitation ($15 nonfoil/$20 foil) – I’ve written about this card before, and right now, there’s 14 vendors with NM copies on TCGPlayer. It’s a mythic, one of the best things a token deck can do, and very likely to get reprinted at some point. This means you should grab foils, which is more protected against losing value when the reprint lands. If you like numbers, this is in about seven thousand decks over on EDHREC, which is respectable for a card nearly two years old. What you’re really hoping for is 1) no reprint and 2) a token-themed Commander next year (or later this year in Commander Legends?) that has white in its color identity. It’s pretty easy to see this hitting $40 in foil.

ADVERTISEMENT:


Thousand-Year Storm ($9/$18) – Another card on the rise, it’s jumped several dollars on the back of Kalamax, the Stormsire. If you bought in earlier this year at $2, you’ve had chances to get out at $7. Again, it’s a mythic that has a lot of casual appeal and there’s been combo decks built around the card, lots to like as long as it’s not reprinted. Only 15 sellers of NM foil copies on TCG here as well, and that’s an easy card to like long-term.

Chromatic Lantern ($8/$12 foil/$95 Masterpiece) – I don’t think this is a good buy. It’s been in a couple of reprints, including the Mystery Booster, and there’s a large supply out there. The price it’s at will be the price for this card for quite a while, and that’s before the inevitable reprints that are coming. I think the Invention version is an excellent investment, though, and you should definitely get your personal copies now while they are under $100.

ADVERTISEMENT:


Arclight Phoenix ($5) – Let’s take a look at the price graph, remembering that Arclight was in the Challenger deck announced in March of 2019:

Arclight was a $25 card before it started sliding, and the slide never really stopped. The deck still exists and is good, if not top-tier at the moment. Here’s why you want to have a stack of Arclights ready to go: At some point, Wizards will screw up and make a free spell in Pioneer that’s worth playing. Modern has a lot of such spells to abuse, and Phoenix is an established deck there. Pioneer is close, there’s a lot of good things to do, but there’s going to be a tipping point card and that’s when you’ll want to buylist a brick of these at $10 or $12 each.

Drowned Secrets ($1.50/$3) – With Mill being a keyword at long last, there will be a lot of interest in cards that mill, and in Commander you need to do a lot of milling…which this can do. One or two reshuffle effects and you’ll really churn through a deck. I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a strong mill Commander yet…and then Jumpstart brings us Bruvac the Grandiloquent. Doubletime, everyone! (yes, I think this is a good card to end up in Double Masters)

Chance for Glory ($1.50/$5) – Finally, a card I don’t own any of and I keep meaning to buy copies of, this will be used in some sort of crazy combo deck in Modern and Pioneer. You’ve got safer ways to take extra turns in Commander, but if you’re trying to go off in some way, this is the winner on how to wrap it up and finish the game off. I do love picking up lots of foil mythics that are underpriced, and when this hits, it’ll hit big. You can get in for a little less than $5 if you shop around and combine shipping, but the profit will be there when this takes off.

Shocklands (varied) – I don’t think it’s a good idea to try and stock up on shocks. We have had three large printings of shocklands, along with some random extras in Challenger decks and the like. There will 100% be Ravnica 4: Jumping the Sharknado at some point, and it’ll have these again. If the shocks manage to make it to $5 again I’d like buying in, but it took several amazing Simic cards straight for Breeding Pool to be to expensive. Please don’t try to buy these up for future value.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT:


Unlocked Pro Trader: Can’t Wait-A for Data

Readers!

With so many sets dropping at once, it takes some time for EDHREC to have the sets input and to have enough decks to scrape from the various sites it scrapes. I’m going to do some brute force work to try and figure out which Core Set or Jumpstart Commander is most popular this week and then analyze the cards that likely go in the deck. I’ll be using just Archidekt because we are going for qualitative not quantitative results here. I’m tallying up the number of “hits” when I query each commander’s name because I want to know which commander has the most hits on Archidekt, not the number exactly. I don’t think there’s any indication Archidekt is not a representative sample – I think the most popular commander will be the most popular on any site I check, provided there is a clear winner. If there are 50 Inniaz decks and 49 Emiel decks on Archidekt, I’m not going to scrap my hypothesis if there are 49 Inniaz decks and 50 Emiel decks on Moxfield. If there are 50 Inniaz decks and 11 Emiel decks, I don’t expect there to be more Emiel decks anywhere else, savez?

I’m just going to lump both sets together and do a total number of hits from Archidekt for each one to see which one I drill into today. This will be guesswork but I don’t think we won’t be able to come up with good picks and it beats waiting for next week when we’ll have more data. Let’s do SOMETHING, shall we? Also, I’m going to Mythic spoiler, starting at the top and working my way down. These are in no kind of order. Again, this is unscientific because literally none of this matters except which commander gets the most hits. Some “decks” are 9 cards that someone intends to put in the deck later so he doesn’t forget it’s hilarious to give someone a copy of Nine Lives with Inniaz (I’m already laughing because I’m going to do this as often as I can and meow loudly at the person to my left as I murder them). Is an incomplete deck something I should disregard? No, because to me, it reflects the intention to make the deck later and I think people will make these deck fragments for every commander so it’s likely a wash. A signal is a signal so I’m counting it. If my methodology is so bad that I accidentally spend some time this week looking at the second most popular commander, oh no. Xyris was the most popular commander for 2 weeks and now it’s barely in the top 20 because it’s boring. We still made money on wheels, didn’t we?

There is a problem immediately – Archidekt does a poor job of differentiating between the 2 Mangaras and I can only search for decks with Mangara in the title. I don’t care, there’s no way both Mangaras combined are as popular as an actual good commander, so I push on. All of the Core Set 2021 Legends already have another card with the same name. Cool. Cool cool cool cool.

Mangara – 30?
Kaervek – 15?
Barrin – 27 (total)
Jorael – 20?
Gadrak – 18. I am sure of this number
Subira – 26
Vito – 31
Rin and Seri – 54
Niambi – 26
Radha – 40?
Inniaz – 35
Zurzoth – 21
Tinybones – 110
Muxus – 8
Bruvac -21
Yes, I’m still doing this after seeing Tinybones has over 100 decks
Kels – 28
Sethron – 10
Neyith – 31
Emiel – 12
Ormos – 7

ADVERTISEMENT:


With Tinybones the clear winner, as I half expected, let’s drill down and see what this widdle skewwyboi will play.

Tinybones does not steal trinkets, scale up if you make them discard multiple cards or help make their life total 10. However, he comes down early, draws cards, rewards you for getting creative with making them discard and he can kill people at low life totals. We can work with this.

Sorin makes their life total 10. It only works on one person, but if you can throw this out and you’re playing Tinybones, people will immediately know what’s coming. I don’t see this paired with Boney as much as I should but when we get more data, I expect to. This is a card that flirted with $25 that is gettable for $5 out of Mystery Boosters. I think that $5 may be a bit higher than I like to pay, but this card has demonstrated the ability to shrug off reprints before and the last time it flirted with $25 was less than 12 months ago. The Mythic Edition version probably has the most upside but I don’t love a $25 buy-in, personally. If you’re less risk-averse than me, that is an option for you.

This is a repeatable way to make every player discard every turn. That means you will trigger Boney Maroni once for every player in a turn cycle and draw a card for each one. Who cares if it makes you Discard? You’re playing Mono-Black, I think pitching a Sheoldred to reanimate later is a small price to pay for triggering your commander every player’s turn. T his could hit $10 on Card Kingdom if it sells out.

These are under 3 Euro on MKM. Do you not have a way to get cards from MKM? I don’t make any money when someone signs up for Pro Trader nor do I think I should, but I think if reading my article 48 hours early isn’t enough incentive, I think finding a hookup in our Discord channel to help you buy a $12 card for 3 Euro should make you enough money for your membership costs for the next year or so. You are smart, you could figure out a way to get these cards on your own, but why not just use our connections?

This graph is a mess because it’s currently spiking. You can pay like $3 on TCG Player or you can find these in bulk at your LGS -provided you can go to your LGS and paw through bulk. If this can go from $0.80 to $4 and maybe higher, I like Necrogen Mists even more. Dig through your own bulk.

There is no indicator of organic demand more clear and unequivocal than an EDH card selling out on Card Kingdom for $3.50 before it sells out on Coolstuff for $2.50. If you don’t understand what I mean by that, I’m happy to explain in the comments or a DM, but I think this graph really speaks for itself and it’s speaking volumes.

I use Card Kingdom’s prices on my graph to make a point – there are lots and lots and lots of Magic players who are better at building decks than they are at buying singles. Card Kingdom is the go-to place to buy singles for EDH players. Card Kingdom’s prices are linked underneath the card on EDHREC and even though they’re almost always higher than TCG Player’s prices right next to them, people still buy from Card Kingdom. Their generous buylist makes it worth buylisting to them to pick up specs at retail because the trade-in bonus negates some of the squeeze you feel from their prices being higher than other sites. If a card flirted with $8 on Card Kingdom and it’s getting a lot better now, pay attention to those $4 copies on TCG Player because those won’t last and people are OK with this being an $8 card, especially if they need it.

I don’t know why this spiked to $9 briefly but I do know that a card that flirted with $9 once and raised the buylist price to $4 (it stayed at $3) is a buy at $6. This is on the move – lots of Tinybones cards are and this, despite 2 printings, is a very brutal card in a Tinybones deck. Even if Player A doesn’t discard anything during their turn, Player B playing an instant and having to discard means you still trigger David Boreanaz over here.

When EDHREC has data, I’m sure it will bear out what I’m saying here. I manually searched lots of the 110 decks on Archidekt and everyone is building basically the same deck with the same cards. Consensus is cash money in this bidness so pay attention to what people are trying to tell you and snap the cheap stuff before it’s not cheap anymore. This deck is very obvious and there isn’t much room to add personal touches but I also don’t think it will be boring and fall out of favor. Xyris was obvious but also boring and Kalamax eventually moved in to eat its lunch. This strikes me as closer to Teysa Karlov except this wasn’t never overshadowed by an even more obvious, boring deck like Vannifar.

That does it for me this week. I feel better about these specs than I have about anything else I have written about this year, even stuff I found out later I was right about (which was a lot of them, this method uses actual data, I barely have to do anything that approaches guessing) and if you can snap some of the Megrim type cards out of bulk, you’ll make free money which is even better than speculating. Until next time!

The Watchtower 06/22/20 – Checking In With Modern

The main focus of competitive Magic over the past couple of weeks has been on Standard, with four Arena Pro Tours taking place over two weekends. Standard doesn’t usually make for brilliant specs though, especially with rotation looming on the horizon. I was tempted to talk about some Jumpstart cards this week, but I might leave that til next week. Instead, I’ve taken a look at how Modern is doing at the moment, with some picks that also branch into other formats.


Wilderness Reclamation (Foil)

Price today: $12
Possible price: $20

Wilderness Reclamation is plaguing the Standard metagame at the moment, with a solid half of the top 8 decks across all four of the recent Arena Pro Tours being Temur Reclamation. Ravnica Allegiance will be rotating out of Standard soon though, so we’re not looking at it through that scope. Reclamation decks have been popping up in Modern over the past couple of weeks, with a fair amount of variation between decks but common themes being Uro, Ice-Fang Coatl and a whole bunch of spells.

Wilderness Reclamation is also the 5th most popular EDH card from Ravnica Allegiance, being a highly rated inclusion in Simic-based spell decks and morph decks. An additional Seedborn Muse effect that’s arguably more difficult to remove is definitely something that EDH players love to use.

Foils are in pretty low supply already, especially for a recent uncommon. This set was released before the increase in foil drop rates, so there are going to be fewer foils around than the latest sets anyway. It’s a single foil printing and due to its problematic nature in Standard, I don’t think we’ll be seeing another foil printing any time soon. There are only 20 NM foils on TCGPlayer at the moment, and seeing as this is the only premium version of the card, it’s the one that a lot of players will go to for their decks.

General Kudro of Drannith (EA Foil)

Price today: $20
Possible price: $35

Humans is a deck that hasn’t seen a huge amount of success in Modern for a little while now, but more recently the archetype has resurfaced. General Kudro of Drannith has given the deck some new life, as a second ‘lord’ effect is something that was sorely missing before now. The deck had plenty of disruption but could often falter and fail to push through those last points of damage before being overwhelmed. In addition to that, Kudro has another two relevant abilities stapled on to hedge against both graveyard and big mana decks powering out Primeval Titans.

As a set released during a global pandemic, Ikoria is sure to be one of the least opened sets in paper of the past few years. People and stores may have still been ordering and cracking product, but the entire lack of paper drafts and in-store purchasing has meant that secondary market supply is definitely on the low side. And now that stores are starting to reopen, it isn’t long at all until Core 2021 will be on the shelves and Ikoria won’t be being drafted any more.

This supply problem is reflected in stock levels of some of the more premium cards like EA foils – only 17 listings of General Kudro EA foil on TCGPlayer. If we compare this Ox of Agonas – a Mythic from Theros Beyond Death with a similar amount of Modern play – Ox has almost double the number of listings for the EA foil as General Kudro. When paper Magic starts back up again, Modern players are going to need their new lords, and there are going to be more than enough people wanting these to push the price up.

Yorion, Sky Nomad (EA Foil)

Price today: $18
Possible price: $30

Since the change to the companion rule, the power level of companion decks has dropped off significantly. The extra 3 mana is a huge hurdle for the cheaper companions like Lurrus, and making Obosh an 8 mana card instead of 5 is backbreaking for the aggressive decks looking to top their curve with it. Gyruda is all but gone from competitive metagames as well, the extra cost being too much to power it out as quickly as possible.

The companion that this rules change affected the least is probably Yorion, Sky Nomad. Yorion decks (in all formats) weren’t about consistently curving out; rather they’re grindy value-based decks that can afford to take the time to add Yorion to their hand before needing to cast it. It also helps that a lot of these decks have been playing mana dorks and Uro to ramp their spells out more reliably. This has meant that Yorion is now the most popular companion across Modern and Pioneer. Lurrus is still holding the fort down for Burn in Modern, but there are multiple different Yorion archetypes that come out on top in the number crunch.

EA foils start from $18 on TCGPlayer, with 40 listings at present. This is a popular EDH card too, and the fact that you can now have a Commander and a companion seems a little bizarre, but I suppose we already had the Partner mechanic, so why not I guess? Either way, I think Yorion is here to stay in Modern and Pioneer, so $18 to $30 on a 12 month timeline seems reasonable.


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.

Leaving Ikoria Behind

It’s crazy that all of this is true: we are a week from the launch of Core 2021, we’re in the middle of JumpStart previews and Double Masters is about to wreak some havoc.That’s just the Magic drama, to say nothing of political, social, and public health problems. (I’ve never oversimplified as much as I have as I did in that sentence.)

But from an MTGFinance perspective, there’s something clear worth a moment of focus: With the Core Set about to be the main event, Ikoria is at maximum supply and prices are at their lowest. Granted, the virus has caused slowdowns in supply and a lot of stores didn’t open their allotment, but until I get different data, this is when prices are lowest. Let’s talk about what you should buy, either for Standard, Eternal, or Commander.

Fiend Artisan ($17)

The graph shows it clearly but it bears repeating: This is a non-legendary mythic, only two mana (and flexible at that), and if you’re playing it you don’t mind the extra copies that are either huge or fodder for the first one. I like this as a spec to hit $25+ by Christmas under normal circumstances.

I have to admit these aren’t normal circumstances, though. Picking up cards for later Standard growth is not as stable even if there were no COVID-19. Lots of factors make this scary: the cancellation of all MagicFests in 2020, unknown amounts of product still waiting to be opened, and local stores not being a safe place to play paper. This might be too risky and I’d totally understand if you wanted to stay away.

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast ($10)

Lukka hasn’t fallen much in price since the banning of his favorite Agent, but between Lukka and Transmogrify, that’s a lot of ways to upgrade a token into a real creature. These two cards will be legal together for the next 15 months or so, and I’d expect every big creature to get evaluated for this. Top targets currently include Drakuseth, Maw of Flames, Yidaro, Wandering Monster (both of whom are on-color) and End-Raze Forerunners. All are fun in different ways, and I wouldn’t rule out tutoring up Nyxbloom Ancient and then some mighty Volcanic Geyser action.

Ruinous Ultimatum ($2 regular, $2 foils, Extended Art $4, Extended Art Foils $12)

This is probably the ultimatum I want the most of for long-term holds. Yes, it’s lame if your opponent managed to land a Darksteel Forge or something like it, but for just about any Commander game this is the spell you’re working towards. Being three colors is a price, and all the Ultimatums are worth thinking about, but this is a pretty unique effect. For example, we’ve got Rise of the Dark Realms that is better than Eerie Ultimatum, and only in one color to boot. Planar Cleansing is too symmetrical for my taste. I love being unfair.

The Triomes ($5-$7, depending)

We’ve got the Temples in Core 2021, and the Triomes allow for the Castles from Eldraine to come in untapped. The Triomes are likely to be a feature of Standard for the next 15 months, as well as being awesome in Commander and splashable in Modern. This is the price when supply is at max, and given that we’ve got $20+ shocklands, having Triomes at $10+ doesn’t seem unreasonable. At the very least, you should get whichever ones you want for your Commander decks now, especially the sweet alternate art versions.

Heartless Act (about 75 cents each)

You might be able to get these for cheaper, and I would commend you for doing so. This is more than just good Limited removal: it looks to be one of the cheapest catch-all answers around. I looked at the top creatures being played in Standard, and blessed few of them don’t have counters. Heartless Act misses on a big Hydroid Krasis, or a big Stonecoil Serpent, but takes out almost everything else, as an instant, for just two mana. We’re going to see a lot of this little spell, and while it’s not Mystical Dispute, I wouldn’t be shocked if this was on buylists for $1.50 in six months. Get a stack of them now, and be prepared to ship them to a buylist for a comfortable flip.

Extinction Event (nearly-bulk prices)

Four mana is the sweet spot on board wipes, and before Companions were modified, this was unfairly good. You knew what you’d be naming from the getgo. I still think this is an amazing card, capable of dealing with the indestructible Gods of Theros or annoying Hexproof creatures if someone built a Bogles-style Standard deck. Plus, with the return of Heroic Intervention, just destroying things might not be good enough. Again, I think the play here is to purchase a brick of these at low prices, and when the buylist creeps up to $2-$3, ship the whole thing out.

Gemrazer ($1.50)

You can get some sweet Godzilla art or awesome comic-book-style art for a couple bucks more, but this is also a buylist play. Gemrazer is a four-of in the assorted mono-green aggro decks that have been popping up, and that’s because upgrading Gingerbrute to a 4/4 is a big game. Fires of Invention is gone, and that’s the big enchantment that was worrying folks, but the mutate ability does hit a lot of incidental value in the current environment and that’s a pretty great deal for three mana. I don’t want to hold this too long, I’ve written before about how Valentine’s Day is about the time when I want to get out of Standard cards that’ll be rotating.

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.

MAGIC: THE GATHERING FINANCE ARTICLES AND COMMUNITY

RSS