Crimson Vowing To Beat The Rush

All the attention being on Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and the Werewolf spikes, let’s take a moment and look at some of the Vampires who are getting new toys in the next set. Some of those Werewolves went to the moon (pun 100% intended) and we want to suck all the value out of the coming Vampire rush. (again, totally intended)

What we’re looking for are Vampires and Vampire accessories. Some of these will be obvious, sure, but if obvious stuff doesn’t pay off, why didn’t we all buy up Mayor of Avabruck when it was under $5?

The obvious things can pay off nicely, and let’s start with a couple of obvious doozies:

Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose (cheapest nonfoil is $5, most expensive Foil Extended Art is $18) – I’ve written before that Vito is a great spec, because the abilities work so well to just kaboom someone out of the game in Commander. I appreciate when a legendary creature tells you what to do with the deck you’re building. 

We should expect that Vampires are going to make opponents lose life and you’ll gain that life. Vito doubles up the damage dealt and will go well into any deck doing those sorts of things. Get your copies now, as prices have crept up a couple of dollars lately but there’s still plenty of profit to be made here.

Bloodline Keeper ($14 to $30) – There’s hardly any NM foils from Innistrad left, so that opportunity may be lost, but there’s a lot of FTV: Transform copies left out there for under $20 and that’s a prime opportunity. This isn’t the only lord that’s going to show up on this list, but it carries a caveat: This has the vertical, slick foiling that turns a lot of people off, and that’s likely why this price is so close to the original price. FTV is the last to go, but go it will. I dearly love cards that represent more than one card’s worth of power, and Bloodline Keeper definitely fits there. Easy double-up.

Malakir Bloodwitch ($1.50 to $4) – I used to have an all-foil Garza Zol deck, tribal Vampires. One of the insta-kills in the deck was Bloodwitch plus Rite of Replication kicked. Boom, game over, shuffle up for the next. This card has a nonfoil reprint in Commander 2017 that hasn’t really budged, though foils have moved on TCG lately:

Tribal decks can struggle to do things outside of combat, but with this around, Vampires don’t have that problem. This is cheap enough that I’d recommend getting the foil, as the Commander deck from this set is highly likely to have this card.

Sanctum Seeker ($2 to $8) – This has started to move int he last week or so, but there’s a lot left out there. This is an upgrade over Hellrider, and triggers all of your lifegain synergies too. Please note you get a drain for each Vampire. Yes, it’s a little undersized at a 3/4 for four mana but it’ll perform like a much bigger creature.

Legion Lieutenant ($1.50 to $6) – There’s very few foil copies left on TCG, but the big concern here is the two-color nature of the tribe. I think they will give us black-red and black-white vampires, making the blue ones in Ravnica and other random ones obsolete. I would much prefer to own a stack of foils, as the reprint risk in the Commander deck is very high here too.

Blood Tribute ($0.75 to $10) – Only foil copies are from Zendikar, and that’s where I’d prefer to be. There’s already a c17 reprint sitting around at the floor, and if this dodges reprint, that’s going to be a profitable buylist play. There’s no denying the power of the card, for six mana you’re swinging a huge amount of life. Problem is that pesky Commander deck that’ll be coming out at the same time, as this is a fantastic card to print there.

Blade of the Bloodchief ($4 to $20) – I can tell you, as someone who played this card, it’s got the potential to be amazing but it’s only great with point removal or one-sided Wrath effects. If you can get a sacrifice engine going, or a repeatable form of creature kill, you’re in business, but it’s a huge target. It’s already pricey for the nonfoils, and it’s got huge reprint risk, but the day the Commander lists come out I’m ready to buy this up like mad. 

Captivating Vampire ($11 to $15) – The nonfoil price and the foil price are really close in price, which is a surprise to me. I don’t think that’ll last too long, though. This card is bonkers, just yoinking away the creature you want most and making it into fodder for your next conquest. It’s only three mana, so you can play it and leave mana up, and while there’s a Commander nonfoil and a nonfoil from The List, the price has gone up as anticipation rises:

That graph doesn’t scare me, though. Sure, it’s more expensive now, but this was only widely available in Magic 2011 (eleven years ago), The List is a joke for reprints and the Commander copies weren’t really put out onto the market. If you bought the C17 deck, you were playing all those Vampires and especially this one. If it’s reprinted, much will depend on the other cards, to determine if this is worth cracking the package open and selling the cards.

This wasn’t a list of every Vampire that I thought could get played, but these are some of the best bets that are around for the bloodsuckers. I’d strongly encourage you to check these out in Europe, if you have that connection. Casual cards tend to be cheaper there, and every bit helps when you’re forecasting for profit.

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: Prima Facie

Let’s do a quick and dirty one this week, just blow through the new commanders and their high synergy cards. We need to be more nimble than we used to have to be, especially with Werewolf cards starting to dry up weeks ago. If there are any Stolen Strategies in this set (the card, not the metaphysical concept of stealing someone’s strategy, something I encourage you to do to me) we should find them before the masses. This won’t be as accurate as my picks usually are, but I think risk and certainty are inversely proportional and it’s fun to write for both extremes. 

When applicable, I’ll try to give some of my input as an EDH player rather than financier regarding whether I think something is real or not. Also, we have very few decks in the database as some of these cards were spoiled today or yesterday. Still, incomplete data is better than no data, so let’s dive in.

These are very new and we’re trying to work out some bugs so the number of decks isn’t displaying, but if you click on each commander, it’s listed under the cards.

Welllllp. Looks like we have data on 3 decks. That’s not shocking – these cards are hot off the presses. 3 commanders is enough to do some snooping around to see if we can figure anything out and next week we will have even more data. Remember, this week was quick and dirty and next week we’ll drill down a bit. Let’s get into it.

It’s all Werewolves, which isn’t a surprise. What WAS a surprise is that they reworked the Werewolf flip mechanic so old cards like Moonmist don’t flip the new Werewolves, making the decks irreconcilable with the old decks to any but the most stalwart of Werewolves fans. Fans of the deck are used to getting the shaft, though, considering they were playing an Ulrich deck before which didn’t really synergize with Werewolf cards at all and before that they were playing with commanders like Ruric Thar because they didn’t even have a bad commander like Ulrich. Gross. And yet it’s the most popular deck so far on sites like Archidekt. You could have guessed all of this before we got this data – it’s all cards from Ulrich, which was a deck that didn’t make any money before. I’m glad I don’t want to build Werewolves because WotC does NOT care about those people. And yet… here they are trying. So let’s try – digging below high synergy cards, is there anything play elsewhere on the page?

It would take considerable effort to make this ascend to more than a buck, but it’s not a bad card, at least. I don’t know, Werewolves are bad and they didn’t make anyone any money and I’m mad about it.

You needed to get in way quicker to get anything this obvious for cheap enough to make any money on it, imo.

I look at this and I think about how exactly nowhere the price of all of the obvious foil cards from Lonis went. I bet more people built Lonis than will build… I literally already forgot the name of the stupid werewolf and I have to scroll up. Tovolar. I bet Tovolar gets built less than Lonis, and look at this.

I get that Werewolf foils were in play before and Toblerone is people’s third try to get the deck going, but I also think Lonis is good (I love the deck), it was just as obvious and these also bad cards don’t sell as well.

They went up more between 2019 and 2020 than they did after Lonis was printed. I think if you can get foil Howlpack Resurgence for a good price and try to flip to a buylist this month, do it, but good luck doing that considering we already had that Ulrich false alarm to scare up all of the cheap copies you’d have to find at the LGS to make money this time around. Tove Lo here is a bust imo.

Humans kind of suck in EDH, but they’re good in other formats which means the good ones are already either expensive or they’re reprinted into powder. I like old Sigarda at its current price, but the cheap copies are already drying up. CK is sold out of foils, a card it was asking a mere $3.50 for when it disappeared from stock. They had to prerelease foil for $7.50 which makes me think it sold out much later, maybe today. Non-foils are probably a great buy.

ABU still has some, but the foils are gone everywhere by now. I think the demand for foil cards for casual decks is overstated, but I’m sure someone made money buying at $4 when they were $7.50 on CK.

Most of the deck is under a quarter, but this bad boy is in the mix. Rather than look at the foil price for every $0.15 human with 3 printings, I opted to look for an actual good card that has demand outside this deck and is underpriced. This is underpriced since it still hasn’t gotten over its all-time high and it keeps being relevant. This card is good, play it.

TSR versions of this are under $10 and that’s a great buy. It will go up because it got reprinted and is useful, something that happens with all reprint sets. If it wasn’t Sigarda, and it might not be, it will have been something else that did it, so buy with confidence.

This is a $10 card and a Jumpstart printing which no one could access won’t slow it down much. This is on a rocketship back to… you know, its historic high, but probably beyond that, barring another printing. I like it.

Any one of these enchantments costs more than the entire creature base, and I’m barely exagerrating. I don’t have any advice for this section, just recreating it so we can laugh. Maybe Ulvenwald Mysteries, which didn’t spike after Lonis, will have some success here.

Draugr Necromancer for the command zone? Don’t mind if I do! This card rules, but with 4 decks, will we see anything we can use?

Wow, this is some uninspired deckbuilding. It looks like Gisa is a goodstuff deck, which bodes poorly for us financially since goodstuff decks use cards everyone already knows about.

One person is using Cold Storage, which is hilarious. It’s not on the Reserved List, only 16 cards from Tempest are, but it’s old enough to rent a car and it’s under $5. I don’t think this will be a Gisa staple, but it’s a funny way to remind me this card exists and it’s above bulk.

Really, the only surprise for me was this –

This is a $10 foil, easy. Like, if Wolf of the Howlpack foils are sold out at $7, how long do you think this stays under $7? This is a $10 foil and any product that reprints it doesn’t give us a foil of the same art. Maybe it’s new, better art, but then purists prefer the original.

We didn’t find much today, but we found less than nothing. It’s possible this set gives us nothing real for EDH, which is fine, but we also have more decks to get through next week.

That does it for me, nerds. Until next time!

Are There Any Good White Cards?

White has pretty much always been the weakest colour in Magic, and although Wizards have said that they’ve been working on giving the colour some more power, it does seem to be coming in dribs and drabs. That being said, there are still some good cards to be had in white, and some of them even make good specs – so let’s see what we can find.

Ephemerate (Retro Foil)

Price today: $2.50
Possible price: $10

With the continued popularity of the Elementals deck in Modern, Ephemerate has become more and more popular in the format, almost always seen as a four-of in the tribal deck and sometimes played in Stoneblade decks too. I think that it’s the best blink effect we have in Magic now, and as such is also in nearly 13,000 EDH decks on EDHREC – not to mention its popularity in Pauper too. It’s a good card and it’s here to stay.

Even since its printing in MH1 a couple of years ago, we’ve had a few different versions presented to us since then: regular, Mystery Booster, Mystical Archive and now retro foil. That is quite a few different printings for a common, but really I think that we should only be looking at the two most premium versions – the retro foil and the JPN alt art Mystical Archive foils. Now the JPN Mystical Archive printings are already close to $25 (and rightly so; they’re gorgeous compared to their global art counterparts), but the retro foils are still somewhat languishing around the $2-3 mark.

I don’t think that price is correct in the mid to long term, both because of the wide playability and popularity of the card and the amount of supply there is. Some people will just prefer this version to others and some will be priced out of the Mystical Archive printings, but either way there are only 31 NM foil listings on TCGPlayer right now, and not many more over in Europe. This is prime time to pick up personal copies and a good opportunity to hunt for all the sub-$4 copies you can find – give it 6-12 months and I think this is easily a $10 card.

Teleportation Circle (FEA)

Price today: $4
Possible price: $15

On the theme of flickering things, Teleportation Circle has caught my eye as one of the best white cards for EDH out of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Enter-the-battlefield effects have always, and will always, be incredibly popular in EDH, both because you generally want your cards to do something immediately rather than give three players a chance at removing it before you might get to use it, and because cards like Brago, King Eternal and Yorion, Sky Nomad exist as commanders.

We’ve seen time and time again how popular Conjurer’s Closet is; every time it gets reprinted the price tanks and then creeps back up and up – and Circle is a whole mana cheaper! Even though it puts you into white, most of the decks that are doing that sort of thing put you into white anyway, and Teleportation Circle even hits artifacts as well as creatures, so it’s just an easy shoe-in.

There are around 30 FEA listings on TCGPlayer at the moment, which honestly isn’t a huge amount compared to some of the other rares from the set – even Circle of Dreams Druid has more listings than that. I think that this is going to be a popular card in any kinda of flicker/ETB deck going forwards, and any white deck that’s got Conjurer’s Closet in is going to be playing this one too.

Castle Ardenvale (FEA)

Price today: $20
Possible price: $50

Yes, I know, it’s technically not a white card…but it’s going in white decks and I think it’s a good buy, so I’m bending the rules for my last pick this week! We’ve already seen some of the other utility lands from Throne of Eldraine head moon-wards – Castle Garenbrig, Locthwain and Vantress are all $50+ FEAs, and I think that Ardenvale is going to be the next one to go. In nearly 15,000 EDH decks listed on EDHREC, it’s a little behind the 20k+ of the aforementioned lands, but nevertheless a very popular EDH card as well as being utilised in a variety of Modern and Pioneer decks.

Currently sat around $20, there are only 12 TCG listings for NM FEAs, with almost all of those just being single copies. It’s a similar story over in Europe, with no real arbitrage available here, which means that supply really is quite drained at this point. We’re almost two years out from the release of Eldraine (although it feels like five), and I don’t see any more FEA supply incoming any time soon for these cards, so I think that Castle Embereth is worth a look at too, and might be a decent pickup at $10 for a slightly longer hold.

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.

Core Set 2021 at Rotation

The last set that rotates out in less than a month, Core 2021 offers a whole lot of cards we need to keep an eye on. Some of these I’ve already bought deep on, and others I’m debating when I want to start buying. Truth is, this set has a whole lot of goodies for Commander players, and that means we need to pay attention.

Keep in mind that while Commander demand makes us happiest, we also benefit from these being cards popular in Standard that people might be selling off as rotation hits, causing a further drop in prices.

Terror of the Peaks ($26 for the cheapest version to $80 for the Foil Extended Art) – As a card that sees play in a few different decks, though never a four-of, this is high on my radar. It’s got serious applications as a combo piece, is a very good Dragon to put in play before slamming down 6/6’s, and is going to get at least 3 life out of someone. It’s been on an upward trend lately, probably due to Tiamat/Ur-Dragon popularity:

So what I’m hoping for here is that people sell the copies they wanted to use in Standard decks, but this card’s price probably has more to do with the Commander demand than anything else. The ship has definitely sailed on its Foil Extended Art copies, but if this comes down below $20 for the regulars, I’ll probably be in for a few.

Garruk’s Uprising ($1 to $2.50) – Believe it or not, this is the most popular new card from Core 2021 on EDHREC, being registered in just under 21,000 decks. It’s not hard to see why: It gives a very relevant ability to green creature decks, it tends to cantrip, and it rewards you for doing what green wants to do: pump out big creatures!

The showcase version looks better, in my opinion, but the pack foils are slightly more expensive at this point. I don’t think that will hold, and I’m already 40 copies deep on showcase foils for about $2. I’m not expecting them to get cheaper from here, but I think these are an excellent candidate to gain a lot of value in the coming months.

Chromatic Orrey ($19 to $42) – I’m not sure what caused the spike a few months ago, but Orrey does what you need in a big-mana, multicolor Commander deck. It’s never seen Standard play, so it’s not going to have a price drop. Since the jump earlier this year, the price has been trending down, though:

I’m probably going to wait a bit longer for regular copies of Orrey to get cheaper before buying in. If you want to get your FEA copies for your decks, though, that’s a valid plan I can believe in. 

Fabled Passage ($7 to $40) – This has been printed twice, and is the only fetchland legal in Pioneer. I’m looking extra hard at the WPN promos, the foils in a retro frame, because they are plentiful right now in the $7-$8 range and if that’s the price of the most basic ones, why not upgrade? This is in 75,000 Commander decks, so you don’t need to preach the virtues much farther than that. There was a chance to get in on the special foil for a little cheaper, but that’s in the past.

Given the popularity of the card, especially in Standard, I’m hoping that rotation hits this pretty hard and the regular nonfoils drop to under $5. They are a steal at that price, and your only concern going forward would be a reprint. Considering that they did this twice in a year, and made sure it would all rotate at once, I think you’re pretty safe. Given the popularity, and now easily it fits into a wide range of decks, being in a Commander precon wouldn’t damage the price very much, as anyone who bought the deck would have a place to put the card.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking ($7 to $111) – Azusa has really ridden a rollercoaster over the years:

The Masters 25 reprint brought her price low, and it recovered eventually, taking another hit when the Core 2021 reprint came around. She’s another card with a wide range of play: Popular in Commander and big in one of Modern’s top-tier decks, which has explained the ups and downs over the years. She’s at a low point now, and this is a good time to pick up copies.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon ($26 to $147) – The reprint hit hard, yes, but this was a card pushing $90 at one point two years ago:

Now we get a chance to buy up cheap copies? Sign me up. Ugin is incredibly popular in Commander, mainly because he solves almost all of your problems. I’d prefer to get copies cheaper in about a month, but I don’t think he’ll ever spend long under $20.

Grim Tutor ($16 to $90) – Being $300 at one point, due to only being the 1999 Starter deck, means that this has a lot of price memory. People think it’s expensive because it was so expensive! It’s not useful to think of cards that way, because this is not a very good tutor. It’s better than no tutor, though. Surprisingly, this is in nearly 20k decks online. That’s only 20% of the numbers Demonic Tutor has. I’d be looking for this to get a LOT cheaper before I bought in, though.

Heroic Intervention ($9 to $21) – Just over 69,000 decks online, with all of the price being due to Commander. It’s been $20 in the past, and could be again if it’s not reprinted. The prices being so close together makes me nervous, meaning that there isn’t a premium for the most premium version.

Elder Gargaroth ($16 to $34) – This might not be the best green creature ever, but the efficiency is amazing. If it lives! It’s only in 6000 decks online, which is low for a card with this price tag. This should have its price drop after rotation, as it’s in some Standard decks, but if it’s this much now, I doubt enough copies will be sold to get it to $10 or less. A more reasonable target is $12.

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.