Unlocked Pro Trader: The Secret Handshake


If you’re looking for a way to get a jump on the competition, might I recommend learning how to use your resources to their full potential? If you’re able to have access to information others don’t, you can make better informed decisions earlier, meaning you have an advantage of both time and a larger pool of available cards to try and get the best price from. By now, most people at least superficially know how to use EDHREC to look at the numbers and interpret them to the best of their ability. I see a lot more people using EDHREC data to reinforce their pre-conceived notions, which is not a thing I can easily teach them how not to do if they won’t read this column or listen to me filibuster for an hour on a podcast. If using EDHREC “wrong” is easier than using it “correctly” then hypothetically we all have an advantage if we figure out how to use it correctly. To that end, there is data on EDHREC right now that I bet more than a few of you are waiting on patiently. It’s there, it’s easy to access if you know you’re supposed to and I’ll show you exactly what it says and what I think it means. It’s never too late to figure out how to use a thing better, so let’s stop my meandering and focus in on the value, shall we?


Currently if you click on the “sets” dropdown, the latest set is Adventures in Forgotten Realms, but not the EDH precons. However, if you click on “All Sets” at the top (something that took me a while to figure out), the page it takes you to is maybe a little bit different…

Nope! Same thing here. Too bad, I was going to look and see what people are putting in the EDH precons to see if there were any specs there, but if there’s no data, there’s no data. OK, that’s it for me this week, everyone! Join me next week for another exciting article full of specs and edutainment.

You’re Still Here?

OK, I kind of promised I’d show you some harder-to-find data and if you insist, I’ll follow through. You see, while the pages for the sets are completed, EDHREC is scraping data for every deck we can find and sometimes that data doesn’t have a page built for it. So where does it go? Well, as it turns out, we build the pages for each commander before we build the overall page for the precon set because that’s easier to do as soon as the card is spoiled and we don’t know how the page will be organized. So the data has been scraped and pages built for each commander. So how do we get there?

The search bar at the top right part of the page.

Yes, it’s obvious, really, but how many people opened up EDHREC looking for the precon decks, didn’t find them, and closed the tab? Lots. If you can perservere where they gave up, you can get access to the information they wanted sometimes days or even weeks ahead of them. You will have to know the names of the commanders and check manually, but there are worse inconveniences to endure for access to complete data. Type in Galea or let me just link the page for you.

We did it! We are magically transported to the page. So is there anything juicy in this deck? Let’s explore together.

Hard to believe this ever flirted with $5. You see it now and think “Yeah, $10 is about right” and being about right now means it might not be the best time to buy in. It’s never hitting $32 again, and you’d need it to hit at least $20 to be glad you bought in now. I think $20 is actually doable if it dodges reprints. Let’s not forget to check the same place I’m getting the commanders’ names from to see if Hammer is in the deck before we make any proclamations about future reprints, though, shall we?

It’s not in there. I don’t think this is the least risky bet of all time, but I think hitting $20 is reasonable. Also, there is only one foil printing of hammer, so let’s look at that.

I… would not have predicted this shape. OK. So the buylist is about to converge with retail on the only foil version of a card that is going to be a shoo-in with upgraded copies of the precon about to release. I’m going to call this a pick-up officially. Again, I don’t know anything about foils so make up your own mind, but, come on. Look at that graph. This trend can’t continue.

I am going to be honest, I’m surprised Shikari recovered. It was buried in a value-dense cat precon and seemed like another bulk rare that got dealt a deathblow. Now it’s half of its pre-reprint price and basically to make money buying now, it would have to flirt with $9 again. We may have missed the boat on this one and we’ll have to use this as a data point when we examine precon reprintings and which cards can recover in a future installment.

The one juicy opportunity I see here is Counterbalance, a card currently plummenting and currently in one of every five Galea decks in the database. I think the supply is low enough that EDH can pick up the slack.

This is sort of an ugly wedge of the page to show off, but I did it for Galea and thought I might as well keep it up. Here’s Vrondiss’ page.

I am going to come 100% clean here – when the original Ixalan dino hype around this card died down and the card plummeted sub-$2, I sort of stopped paying attention. This is baseline at the pre-plummet price and it’s on its way up. This is due a second spike and without the cheap copies everyone hoovered up last time it popped, the supply is in the hands of dealers and it’s going to flirt with $10. Do we have time to make money?

Yes? Sure? If Citadel, a card in one deck that was 6 months and 12 expansion sets ago can maintain value, Pyrohemia, a second spiker, is in great shape.

Dragon’s Hoard is in the deck and is currently solidly $5 on Card Kingdom. If Hoard goes to bulk, do we see a return buying bulk copies of a card that quintupled in a 2 year period? I don’t hate it when it tanks, and M19 will have the only foil copies, something not getting reprinted.

The foil isn’t much more than the non-foil, maybe both deserve a look.

Here is Sefris’ page on EDHREC, although I’m sure you could find it yourself by now, right?

There is basically nothing I could find here. It’s all pretty standard reanimator stuff that’s evergreen good and then new cards, a lot of which are in the precon, to help you dungeon crawl. I think the dungeon thing is cool and a subgame that gets you value only you have access to is fine. I’ll likely build Sefris and keep the deck together, but I don’t see opportunity here.

Can you find Proper on your own? I’m sure by now you can – can you tell I’m weaning you off of my help? You might have attributed it to laziness or forgetfulness on my part, but, no, I wrote a whole paragraph which took longer than linking would have. I just want to teach you to fish.

Old? Low supply? Popped already so the dealers have most of the copies? Included in a majority of the registered copies of a new deck that hasn’t come out yet? Yeah, this hits all of the beats I like to see. I’m going to call this a buy, especially since it’s like $2 lower than the price it already established it was capable of hitting. The supply here is dwindling and I like it very much. I’m much more bearish on the $30 foils, but you knew that.

It seems like TCG Player is lagging behind and currently has robbers for half of what CK has them for. Take advantage.

Or kick it old school and save even more, provided you find enough underpriced cards in those sellers’ inventories to justify what is likely $10 for shipping.

Of everything we came across today, I like Uba Mask the most, but we’re not done delving into these decks. There is still the matter of the other decks possible from the precon, built around the new Legendary creatures in the decks. There isn’t a ton of data on those or time for me to write about it this week, but since no one will know how to access the lists except you, it can wait. That does it for me, until next time!

Specs in the Forgotten Realms

Magic’s new D&D set, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, isn’t out in paper for another 10 days, but it’s already released on Arena and MTGO and people have been building decks with the new cards. Preorders are up and so today I want to take a look at some of the cards I think might be good to either pick up early or keep an eye on for when prices hit their lows.

Treasure Vault

Price today: $8 in US/$4 in EU
Price I want to buy at: $2
Possible future price: $10

In general, preorder prices in the US are always too high because not enough vendors put copies up (especially on TCGPlayer), whereas over in Europe, MKM tends to have a lot more preorders up early. As such, Europe has Treasure Vault (along with most other things) priced quite a bit lower than the US, with plenty of copies available around $4.

Treasure Vault is a kind that looks fairly unassuming at first, but the fact that it’s an artifact land changes things up quite a bit. I’m looking at this from both a competitive and EDH perspective, as I think it’s going to have legs in a lot of formats. The original artifact lands are famously banned in Modern, which just left us with Darksteel Citadel (and Inkmoth Nexus I guess?) for a long time until we got the artifact duals in Modern Horizons 2. These enter play tapped though, and as such haven’t seen much play in Modern – but I feel like Treasure Vault is going to do a lot more than that. As well as it just being an artifact land to boost your artifact count for free, you can pump mana into it for a surge of new artifacts when you need them as well.

On top of its competitive potential, Treasure Vault has already been picked out as a popular EDH card. Any deck that has anything to do with artifacts is going to want this, as well as any strategies just doing things with Treasure tokens (or even just tokens in general). Albeit very early days, it’s already the number one card from the set going by raw numbers played on EDHREC, and I think that bodes well for its outlook. Yes, it’s only a rare and so there will be a lot around, but I want to look for the low point on this ($1-2 would be nice but we’ll have to wait and see), pick up a bunch and sit on them for a bit. If it pops off in Modern then you might be looking at $10+ quickly, but otherwise this is a prime target to out to a buylist in a year or two.

Circle of Dreams Druid

Price today: $5
Price I want to buy at: $3
Possible future price: $10

Now onto what I think is purely an EDH card, Circle of Dreams Druid is the Magus of the Cradle we never knew we needed until now. Okay well, some people have probably wanted it for a while but that’s beside the point – we’ve got one now and a lot of folks are going to be wanting it for their green EDH decks. It’s a tad more fragile than a real Gaea’s Cradle and costs 3 mana more, but apart from that it’s all upside…right?

Jokes aside, Gaea’s Cradle is an $800+ card now and this is approximately $800 less than that for the same effect, just a bit slower. It’s also an Elf so you have synergies there, and it’s definitely going to be a big hit with the casual players. The triple green cost does make it slightly restrictive even in EDH, but it’ll still be viable in 2-colour decks and any mono-green deck would likely be foolish not to run it.

We’ll have to keep an eye on the prices for FEA copies, but I think that if we can get a good price on them then they’ll be a great spec as well as the regular non-foils. Sub-$10 is likely good for the FEAs and we could well see them push lower than that, but it depends how quickly the EDH and casual market is to react to the card and grab their copies. Europe is well stocked on regular versions around $5 at the moment and I expect to see that mirrored in the US before long, with them probably dipping down to around $3 where I want to pick them up.

Tasha’s Hideous Laughter

Price today: $5
Price I want to buy at: $1
Possible future price: $8

Back onto a cross-format card for today’s last pick, I’m looking at Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. In terms of any competitive play this is purely a mill card, and although it could have some other uses in EDH and casual it’s likely to just be milling people out there as well. Modern Mill has always been a bit of a fringe deck, sometimes spiking tournaments here and there but never being consistently at the top of the metagame. Now I’m not saying that Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is going to completely change that, but it is a card that mill decks have started playing four copies of almost immediately.

The majority of decks in Modern play low cost spells to try and maximise efficiency, which makes this card all the better for trying to mill out as many cards as possible – if you’re playing against an aggressive deck like Blitz or Hammer Time, then it’s entirely possible that you’re going to be able to hit 15 or so cards off this for just three mana. That gets things going pretty speedily, and so I think that mill could be a more real contender in the format.

Aside from that, mill has always been a popular casual deck, and the templating that Wizards are using on cards like this nowadays (“each opponent” rather than “target opponent/player”) makes cards like this a lot more viable in EDH. When you’re using one card that hits all three or more of your opponents at the EDH table, you’re getting way more out of your cards than you used to, as well as the added benefit of a single player not feeling targeted and so perhaps not coming after you in retaliation.

All of that means that I think Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is a great pickup when it starts to hit bulk-ish prices below $1 (which I think it will). FEAs could easily go under $5 as well which could be good too, so keep an eye on those and grab them at their lows. Buylists for regular copies should look great a year or two out – maybe less if the Modern deck picks up a bit more.

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, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Math of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms

Yes, with another set comes the need to look at booster pack formulations and see what’s out there. We have an article about how to get the special Monster Manual versions of cards, or the Dungeon Modules, and we’re going to figure out how to get the cards that we want. 

For once, this is pretty straightforward, and I appreciate Wizards giving us a break from the wacky things they’ve done in sets to make certain things more scarce than usual. First, the basics: We have 101 commons, 80 uncommons, 60 rares, 20 mythic rares. That’s for the nonfoil, basic frames, and that’s what you’re opening and drafting if you’re doing this in paper.

Let’s start with the Showcase variants for this set, of which there are two: Monster Manual frames and the Classic Module treatment.

The Monster Manual is meant to be a throwback to, well, the Monster Manual from days of yore: 

Apparently these really pop in foil, but we will see. There are 16 commons with this look, plus 18 uncommons, 15 rares, and two mythics.

Then we have the Classic Module, which is only for lands: 

Since this is a lands-only treatment, it’s on one common, one uncommon, and seven rares. 

To go with the Showcase treatments, we get what we’re used to: Borderless cards with different art than their original card (5 uncommon dragons, one rare dragon, and eleven mythic dragons/planeswalkers) and Extended-Art cards (30 rares, seven mythics) to round out the set. Interestingly, the seven rare class cards don’t have any special treatments.

It’s pretty neat that there are four different treatments, but pay special attention to the lack of etched foiling here. We’ve got four treatments, and it’s either foiled in the traditional method or not foiled at all. No in-between of the etched versions to worry about.

Let’s take a moment and reflect on what you can find in a Draft Booster or a Set Booster. You will not find Extended Art cards, but you can get the other three treatments, in foil or nonfoil. Your odds are pretty terrible, though. 

We were told that 10% of Draft Boosters will have a rare or mythic with a different treatment. We also know that 33% of Draft Boosters will have a foil of any rarity replacing a common. Your odds of pulling an alternate-frame rare or mythic aren’t just 3.3% though. 

First, your odds of getting a foil rare or mythic in a Draft Booster are pretty bad. One in three, multiplied by the collation of rares/mythics to commons/uncommons gives you 5.3%. That’s the drop rate for foil rares and mythics, about one in every 20 packs. 

To get the variant foil frame in rare or mythic will be .53%, or roughly one in 189 packs, and that’s for any rare or mythic with a non-EA frame, of which there are 36 to choose from. So that Borderless Foil Tiamat will appear in one out of every 6,804 Draft Boosters, give or take.

If you want another way to talk about these numbers, you’ll get a foil rare or mythic rare in a variant frame about once per case of Draft Boosters.

When it comes to Set Boosters, your odds are improved, but I’m sad to say that I don’t have enough information to give you a percentage. You start with a guaranteed foil, but they haven’t yet published enough information about the collations for me to know how they got the 27% for two rares, 3% for three rares, and less than 1% for four rares. 

If more information gets published, I will update this section. 

Collector Boosters are the main event, though. First of all, it’s the only place to get Extended Art versions of cards, though as we’ve seen, the foil versions of the Showcase frames aren’t plentiful either.

The big draw is going to be that first slot. A foil rare or mythic of anything special, and this we can indeed calculate:

BorderlessClassic ModuleMonster ManualExtended ArtTotals
# of Rares17153053
# of Mythics1102720

Given that rares are twice as common as mythics, your odds of any specific rare from these four categories is 1/63, and for a particular mythic it’s going to be 1/126.

This is in line with the ratios from Standard sets, but keep in mind that there are often special cases, like a Mystical Archive or a foil Phyrexian Vorinclex messing with our perceptions of scarcity. Let’s do some comparing:

Odds of a specific rareOdds of a specific mythic
Forgotten Realms1/631/126
Strixhaven 1/154.51/309
Modern Horizons 21/126.51/253

I don’t want to compare TSR here (no Collector Boosters) or Commander Legends (see gimmick below) but you can see that Forgotten Realms is going to play out a lot like Kaldheim did, only without the Vorinclex to be the chase card.

Also, the way that the Mystical Archive skewed the heck out of Strixhaven bugs me. Just a whole lot of rares crammed into one spot. Should have been 1/159 for mythics and 1/79.5 for rares. 

I’ve talked in other recent articles about how this set is going to fall fast, given the lack of truly chase/powerful cards, and I haven’t seen anything in the distribution of the set to make me think otherwise. Commander Legends had a gimmick where in one slot, your Collector Boosters had only a 30% chance to contain a Foil Extended Art card. They have upped that ratio considerably, thank goodness. 

However, keep in mind that if a set is viewed as underpowered or low value, then less people will open it, making it more scarce. That’s a fine line to walk, and I think we will have our chances at buying AFR at very low prices. Just be aware of the complications, which we will address with individual cards as we go forward.

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: Venture Into THe Dungeon


This week, confronted with a set that has a lot of commanders but none that do anything new, I’m a bit stuck. In the past for this series, we have looked at how new commanders will make older cards go up in price as a new archetype makes previously less played cards played more. I thought I would have my work cut out for me, frankly, since there are like 900 new commanders in this set and they’ll all require new, unique builds with tons of opportunities to speculate. Is that really the case?

Ur-Dragon, Sen Triplets, Griselbrand, Thrasios, Tolsimir Wolfblood, Edric… None of this is new. Modern Horizons two gave us a bunch of tribal commanders so I guess buy Coat of Arms?

I think we’re going to have to really nitpick to find some specs here. I will do it because I want to, but I don’t think we can do a whole article about one commander anymore. Wizards doesn’t have original ideas for new commanders but they also want to make 10 times as many as they used to before, so of course they’re going to just recycle ideas, or make them hyper set-specific.

Why did 2 people build this deck? Are there more out there that EDHREC hasn’t scraped yet? One of these decks is probably Brian Canada, but who is the other lunatic?

The point is, we could look at what goes into a Hama Pashar deck, but even if there were hundreds of them, a lot of the cards involved will be in the D and D set and nowhere else, so anything older isn’t really going to pop as a result of people building it.

Instead of doing a deep dive on Tiamat (look at the Ur-Dragon page, it’s the same deck) or even Xanathar (everyone is bafflingly building a mill deck, I guess to optimize what one card you get?), I think I’m going to do a real shallow strafing run through everything to get the big hits out of the way first. We can get granular on Osawld Fiddlebender later, but I’d hate to make you wait 2 weeks for me to even mention something obvious that already popped while we were struggling to find anything to talk about for commanders with more decks. Let’s do a quick hits article and call it a day – I’m sure I’ll find enough that you care about.

It’s Birthing Pod for artifacts. While that means some obvious stuff will get played in this deck, some stuff that isn’t obvious goes in, too, and I think there is money to be made.

Doing this for years has taught me to notice when a card costs more on TCG Player than on Card Kingdom out of the corner of my eye and focus on the card before I even realize why I’m doing it. Not every instance checks out based on how the prices can sometimes be reported and not every instance shows you an opportunity to make money, but the cheaper version on CK is the foil from The List and that card is like $9 on TCG Player, so someone is wrong. CK should never be cheaper than TCG Player and when they are, something is going to get corrected.

I wish I had noticed the trend sooner. This is currently the third most expensive card in Nemesis after Moggcatcher and Kor Haven. This is worth less than Kor Haven, a card with multiple printings (not that this doesn’t have an FTV printing) that basically used to see EDH play. This shouldn’t be worth less than Kor Haven. It would have been nice to pay $2 on these, but I think these are fine at 8.

Wish I had gotten some foils of these before they hit $25. I think Liquimetal Coating was a card that was underplayed for reasons that included just one copy stranded somewhere in your deck wasn’t enough to bother building around. With the addition of Liquimetal Torque, you have twice as many copies, and you have a commander like Oswald that rewards you for playing them like no commander before. That’s a recipe for this hitting a few bucks.

Minsc, Beloved Ranger

It seems like there is a consensus on what the best creature to use Minsc’s ability on will be.

Two out of every three Minscketeers agrees- this is a Hulk deck. Hulk is a card not a ton of people like very much but it’s not illegal and people are going to jump at another chance for it to be relevant. Being able to sac this for 0 mana is solid.

Erstwhile $40 card dips to $21 and is beginning to show signs of recovery? I’m listening…

Erstwhile $9 foil with only 1 foil version over its 3 printings is relevant again? I’m listening. This didn’t drop to 0 on CK, they sold out of NM foil copies. CK doesn’t report the price of lower-than-NM conditions when NM sells out, so you need to check the site to make sure there are MP and worse copies available (there are) but this is selling out at $4 and that makes me think it could be $9 again with some help. Printing non-foil versions makes the foil better, not worse.

Gretchen Titchwillow

This is basically Thrasios, so “put a Training Grounds in the deck” isn’t new advice, but Training Grounds has been put on “The List” and maybe we should look at its graph.

Can you show me on the graph where this was added to The List and copies started becoming available? Gretchen won’t be the reason Training Grounds soon hits $50, but it did make us look up the price and now we’re convinced it will.

These commanders don’t represent a ton of new ground being broken in EDH. It’s possible that’s not really a thing anymore, though. Re-introducing an old mechanic in an EDH deck will likely move the needle on one or two specific cards from a specific block, but have the good old days of the printing of Teysa Karlov making people realize Massacre Wurm is broken passed us by? I don’t know, but I do know that I’ll be paying attention so you don’t have to. Until next time!