The Watchtower 10/12/20 – Dodging Commander Legends

In the never-ending onslaught of product being fed to us by WotC, Commander Legends previews start today. We already know that we’re getting a LOT of new legendary creatures and planeswalkers here (71 new ones, to be precise), along with a tonne of “oft-asked-for” reprints as well. I’ve no doubt that we’re going to see some big hitters reprinted here – things like Imperial Seal, Mana Vault, Cabal Coffers; as well as some slightly less pricey crowd favourites like Rhystic Study and Smothering Tithe.

Today I’m going to be taking a swing at some great EDH cards that I don’t think we’ll see reprinted in Commander Legends. We may have already seen some cards previewed by the time I publish this article, so let’s hope I don’t screw it up eh?

Narset’s Reversal (Foil)

Price today: $10
Possible price: $20

I don’t want to be too ‘safe’ with my picks today, but at the same time I don’t want to go off the rails and pick a bunch of cards that are highly likely to see a reprint in Commander Legends next month. Having said that, I think that Narset’s Reversal is a fairly safe bet here, and I also think that this is going to be your last chance to get foils under or around $10 for a fair while.

This is a Remand and Redirect rolled into one, all for the low cost of only two mana – efficient and powerful; something that EDH players (especially blue mages) can’t resist. The EDHREC numbers back that up, with it being the second most popular card from War of the Spark on raw numbers (just a touch behind Narset, Parter of Veils), and polling sixth on percentage inclusion. 

It’s worth noting here that WAR was the last set before WotC increased the foil drop rate in booster packs, so your foil Narset’s Reversals are going to be more rare than subsequent foil rares. TCGPlayer has some foils at $10, but not many copies before listings start hitting $15 and up. There are some cheaper copies if you take a look at the FNM promo pack foils, but supply on those is pretty low as well. Although it’s a popular card, I don’t think that this is enough of an EDH staple or household name yet to warrant a reprint in Commander Legends, and it’s not as if it’s a prohibitively expensive card, so it should be good for a little run yet. I can see foils hitting $20 within the 6 month mark, and could potentially go even higher than that before a reprint.

Morphic Pool (Foil EXP)

Price today: $37
Possible price: $60

Commander Legends is giving us the second half of the cycle of Battlebond Duals, which come into play untapped if you’re playing EDH you have two or more opponents. I feel fairly secure in saying that they’re close to auto-includes in any two-or-more-colour EDH deck (budget allowing of course), with the only downside being that they’re not fetchable. The non-green ones (Morphic Pool, Sea of Clouds, Luxury Suite) have always been more popular, as those colours don’t have as much access to the easy ramp and colour-fixing that green is allowed to play with. Morphic Pool is the clear winner though, included in four thousand more decks than the next best dual from the set.

Original Battlebond foils of Morphic Pool are around $50 now, but the new foil Expedition versions from Zendikar Rising are priced down at $37. The Expeditions are assuredly the ‘better’ version, so one of these prices is wrong – and I’m willing to bet it’s the Expeditions. Supply is very low on original foils which does help to keep the price high, but if someone’s choosing between the two for their deck then almost all of the time they’re going to go for the cheaper foil with better art and a cooler border.

People are selling these to try and recoup costs from cracking Collector Boosters, but that $37 price tag won’t last too long. Collector Boosters are the only place that you can find the foil Expeditions, and although it’s a higher print run than normal the market on them isn’t really that deep: 48 listings on TCGPlayer and almost all are singleton copies. It’s basically 100% that we won’t see these lands in Commander Legends due to the other half of the cycle being in there, let alone with the Expedition frame – and I bet it’s going to be quite a while before we see another similar premium version of these lands. Morphic Pool is my top pick here, but Sea of Clouds and Luxury Suite are good hits too around $24 and $22 respectively.

Drannith Magistrate (EA Foil)

Price today: $17
Possible price: $35

You’d think that the Triomes from Ikoria take the top five slots for the set on EDHREC, right? Well, going by percentage inclusion you’d be right. But on raw numbers, Drannith Magistrate actually beats out all but Ketria and Zagoth Triomes, coming in at 6282 decks listed. I was fairly surprised by this, but it makes sense the more you think about it. There aren’t a lot of white decks that don’t want to be playing this card in EDH – it does a whole lot for a little 2 mana creature.

Aside from stopping people from casting their commanders (ya know, the whole thing the format’s about?) Drannith Magistrate also stops any kind of shenanigans with casting cards from graveyards or from exile (looking at you, Narset). That’s a powerful effect to bring to the table, and it might just draw out a removal spell whenever it lands, but if you can protect it then it’s going to put a spanner in the works of a lot of peoples’ plans.

EA foils are starting to run thin on the ground, down to 27 listings on TCGPlayer starting from $17. Again it’s mostly singleton copies, and so won’t take much to move the price fairly rapidly. Over in Europe you can still grab copies around $14, but supply isn’t exactly deep there either. I think that this is going to end up a relative staple for a lot of white decks, so don’t hang around too long on these – and if you want any personal copies then now is the time to grab them!

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.

Double The Floor, Double the Value!

Yes, we are neck-deep in Zendikar Rising (The Age of Omnath?) and we’re getting Commander Legends previews starting soon.

It’s crazy that we’re getting those previews even though the set itself is delayed a bit. It’s going to be a super frantic period, as all the legends cause all sorts of spikes and drops. Be prepared for that.

However, there’s a different set of opportunities available to us right now: Double Masters is probably near its bottom, now that we are two months past the release. A lot of the value is in the VIP boosters, the Box Toppers in foil and nonfoil. A lot of the future value is yet to be gained, though, and that’s because these are reprints of staples that will go back up.

It’s time to buy low, before we sell high.

Remember that this set has double the rares, two per pack, and two foils per regular pack. I’m going to focus on the nonfoils for a specific reason: I hate storing large quantities of foils due to curling. The prices of foils and nonfoils have become very close, thanks to the increased foil drop rate and the high-end focus on Extended Art and Box Toppers. If you’d prefer to focus on foils, I don’t think that’s wrong, I just have my preference. 

One more caveat that applies to all of these: Commander Legends is likely to have some of these as well. Since these are staples, there’s a chance to buy in when the price is even lower! The other case is, if it’s not printed, then it’s going to go up quickly as people build new decks.

Cyclonic Rift ($17) – This was $40 earlier in the year, and might hit $10 if it’s reprinted again this year. I hope it does, because that’s super easy money. This is as staple as staple gets, being in 40% of decks that can run it, 82,000 decks registered online. I don’t think I need to tell you how good it is. The card was $5ish for the longest time, thanks to regular reprints: Commander 2014, Modern Masters 2017, and now Double Masters. 

Cyclonic Rift is a very good Commander card that can’t be reprinted enough for the demand that exists. Just about every blue deck ought to run it, and most do. You have to decide what you’re going to do, though, before we find out about if it’s in Commander Legends or not: prepare to buy at this price, or prepare to buy in around the first of the year. Rift was never a mythic, always a rare, with regular supply injections. It’ll hit $40 again eventually.

Mana Reflection ($10) – First of all, there’s about a $10 gap between the Shadowmoor version and the 2XM version. It’s not the old frame, so that’s purely price memory. Secondly, there’s a big gap between cards that do the same thing when it comes to EDHREC: 

I’ll give you that the card draw is a big game when is comes to Zendikar Resurgent, and yes, Wake is one mana less, but for the longest time Mana Reflection just wasn’t available for under $30, and that put a damper in the number of people who added it to decks. Wake and Resurgent were very good and loads cheaper. Mana Reflection is a very good card, and one that people will start adding to decks now that it’s cheaper, but it won’t stay there for long. Remember that this doubles the output of all your permanents, where the other two enchantments are just one extra mana for lands only. A card that was this limited in supply is expected to take a dive, but once it’s featured someplace, it’ll at least climb to $20 and match the original printing.

Doubling Season ($40) – Let’s look at a graph, which shows how resilient this card is to reprints: 

Every time this has been printed, it’s made a comeback. I’d understand if you didn’t want to spec on the card, given that it’s a $40 buy-in, but what you should do, at the very least, is get the copies you’ll personally be using. Now is a good time to get in on the Box Topper in foil or nonfoil, if that’s an art/style you prefer. I like the regulars because it’s still a mythic and it’s the cheapest copy of an effect you can’t get anywhere else. Grab the ones you need, plus one or two, so that when you build a new deck you don’t feel dumb paying an extra $20.

Walking Ballista ($8) – Let’s see, I wonder if a Secret Lair printing and the 2XM printing at once affected the price:

Oh look, it’s a glorious buying opportunity for all of us. It’s up to you if you prefer the Secret Lair art (I gloriously do, but to each their own) but you can snag this for $8 when it was $25 at the beginning of the year. It’s an easy way to deal infinite damage off of infinite mana, but it’s also good with a lot of other synergies. Being in 14k Commander decks online helps a lot with that.

Again, I like picking up the cheapest versions, but you can raid TCG for the Secret Lair versions that are under $25. That seems quite solid to me as well, considering that the initial rush had these as high as $60. Patience, as always, pays off in Magic finance.

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: You Down With DFC?


After playing some games of Magic: the Gathering with the cards from Return to Return to Zendikar, I have to say, the DFCs are much better than I had anticipated. I liked a few of them – namely cards that were just fine as cards and where the ability to flip them over and play them as the card on the back was gravy. Valakut Awakening needn’t be a DFC to get play, for example.

Valakut Awakening

A personal Wheel that gets played at Instant speed, doesn’t require you to Discard cards, doesn’t require you to wheel your entire hand and which doesn’t net you -1 card is frankly pretty absurd. Do you NEED the ability on the back? Certainly not, not. However, it’s there should you need it, mitigating mana screw, ensuring you ramp up, and saving you from discard effects if you’re playing a card like Meloku that lets you pick a land up and put it back in your hand to be played as a Wheel later. It was obvious to a lot of people that this was good, and it’s currently the #5 played DFC per EDHREC, the first that doesn’t have a land on both sides.

It’s becoming clear the more I play that the DFCs are much better than just “good spell plus gravy” and players are playing the DFC lands a lot more than we’d anticipated. I want to look at each one and talk about whether or not it could get more play and, given how there is basically a 0% chance they’re ever reprinted outside of a very specific supplemental set, which ones could potentially be worth more later than they are right now. Let’s make a boring chart, first.

I sorted by Percentage of decks the way EDHREC does, but either way, the cards that are overperforming relative to their rarity will be obvious so how you sort doesn’t matter a ton. You notice what I notice right off the bat?

Recovery is performing better than a lot of rares and all of the Mythics. The 1 mana more than Regrowth is trivial in EDH and being able to play a land on the back is just gravy. This is exactly the card Recollect with upside.

Recollect sees a non-zero amount of play. Granted, quite a bit of that has to do with players just having a bulk uncommon lying around and Regrowth costing more until recently. There’s no real reason other than “I grabbed what I had on my desk” for not playing Bala Ged Recovery if you think Recollect is fine (it is. It’s fine). I don’t know if non-foils are a great investment, but I do think foils have some upside.

Under $3, I think foils of this are just fine. I don’t like foils, personally, but these are hard to reprint and I like that. Recovery is a good card and I think people are going to realize that more and more.

Basically anything we can say about Bala Ged Recovery, we can say about this except that there really isn’t an analogous card to this getting play. A novel spell with upside is very tempting. Black doesn’t get a ton of flicker effects and this takes some work but it saves a creature in a pinch. I am adding this to my Gonti deck, for one.

This is even cheaper but its future is a little less certain. However, despite a lack of an analogous card to compare it to, this is seeing quite a bit of play, it’s performing better than half of the mythics and a third of the rares and whenever you get an uncommon doing that well, it doesn’t hurt to look at foils. Under $2 this seems like a strong pickup and I could see this hitting $5 if it continues to see play. I think Bala Ged Recovery is much better but I think I can still recommend this as well.

I mentioned this at the top, but this card is very, very good. It’s not a strict replacement for a wheel all the time – it’s not good in Nekusar, for example. However, lots of Red players swear by Wheel of Fortune as a way to reload their hand even if it benefits opponents and this doesn’t do that. There are plenty of other wheels already in Nekusar, so why not give The Locust God a new toy that Boros decks can use to turn dead land drops late in the game into gas? This doesn’t play the same as Wheel but it doesn’t have to, it does quite a bit of work and people are on board, it seems. If Card Kingdom is getting $5 for this, you can confidently pay $3 on TCG Player imo, and when Card Kingdom is getting $8 for this, they’ll be paying $5.25 in store credit, but I would try to get out for cash. I think this is a good card and it’s going to get more play when people test it, not less.

Trade Routes is a card I have liked in landfall decks for some time, but it was always so cheap it didn’t seem worth mentioning. It spiked precipitously with the printing of Omnath, Locus of the Roil and is beginning to sell out at its “old Omnath” price because it’s also good in new Omnath but also it’s great at picking up a DFC land and letting you replay it as a spell if you want, or flip the mana it produces. If you can get these under $4 still, do so because this is on its way to $10 despite the large number of printings.

Meolku is another excellent way to pick up lands and give them another chance to be something different and it gives you some dorks, to boot. It had a Masters set printing, which hurts the insane foil multiplier, but setting this back to $1 so it could climb back up was a blessing. I wish I had snagged more when it bottomed out, but I had other fish to fry back then and I would have been sitting on them a long time. There’s still money to be made here, I guess, but I mostly included this to remind you to play it.

That does it for me, everyone. Next week we’ll have some more data to parse and soon we’ll get Commander Legends spoilers trickling in. Can’t stop, won’t stop! Join me next time for more hard-hitting analysis. Leave a comment in the comments section if you’d like to see the article I wrote about the Captain format and had to scrap 5 hours later. Until next time!

The Watchtower 10/05/20 – Oops, All Spells!

Between the rather lacklustre banning of Uro in Standard and the new Walking Dead Secret Lair, nobody seems to be particularly happy with anything Wizards are doing at the moment. Standard is still a mess, but other formats seem to be a lot healthier (except for Captain, which lasted all of a day, lol).

But people are doing absurd things with Omnath in Modern and Pioneer, and EDH keeps on EDHing regardless of Secret Lair cards, so let’s forget about the bad stuff for a second and focus on some really good spells.

Hour of Promise (Foil)

Price today: $5
Possible price: $15

The appropriately named “Uro Piles” decks in Modern have started playing the new Omnath, Locus of Creation that’s been ruining the Standard metagame since before Zendikar Rising’s release, and are really stretching the limit of what’s possible with their manabases. Even with Arcum’s Astrolabe banned from the format, we’re still seeing Omnath right next to Cryptic Command and Supreme Verdict…and all the while playing Field of the Dead and Field of Ruin in the deck.

To help with these (admittedly self-imposed) problems, people have started playing Hour of Promise – both to fix colours and power out an early Field of the Dead to start dropping Zombies into play. On top of that, the card is a moderately popular EDH card, currently in around 6k lists recorded on EDHREC – but the important thing to notice is that it’s being playing in 77% of Omnath, Locus of Creation decks as well as being a high pick for landfall strategies in general. This recent uptick in popularity in both casual and competitive formats has meant that foils have been draining out, and only a few remain now.

Foils start at $5 on TCGPlayer, but with only 12 NM listings (and only one of those with more than one copy), it won’t take much for those to disappear and a new floor to be set at $10 or $15. Major vendors are almost all out (go check CoolStuffInc though) except for a few LP copies, and supply isn’t too deep on MKM either. If you think you’ll ever want a foil one of these then I’d grab it now, because this is going to be $15+ in a few months.

Valakut Awakening (EA Foil)

Price today: $8
Possible price: $20

Despite others’ excitement about it, I wasn’t fully convinced by Valakut Awakening when we first saw the card previewed. Everyone was saying it was a great one-sided Wheel effect, but I couldn’t help but imagine how many times you’re only going to draw a couple of cards with it. I’m happy to say I’ve come around since then though. I don’t think that comparing it to Wheel is very helpful, but if you take this as its own card it can be some pretty powerful card selection.

Anyway, the stats speak for themselves, and this is already one of the top EDH cards from ZNR. Red is generally lacking in card selection, and so being able to choose which cards you Wheel away whilst also having them back in your deck instead of in your graveyard makes the applications for this wider than Wheel of Fortune might be, especially seeing as it’s a one-sided effect. It’s far less of a combo or synergy card and more just good value. But I haven’t even talked about the fact that this is a land, too! Albeit a tapped land on the other side, this means that you can almost replace a land with this card in your EDH deck, which is many EDH players’ dreams – people hate cutting cards.

Only being found in Collector Boosters, EA foils are never going to have a glut of supply, and so especially with rares (as opposed to mythics) I prefer picking up the more premium versions here rather than the regular versions, which there are a tonne of and will move much more slowly. EA foils start around $8 on TCGPlayer, which seems pretty low for one of the most popular EDH cards from the set (7th on raw deck numbers). Give it 12 months and I can easily see this as a $20 card.

Assassin’s Trophy (Foil)

Price today: $22
Possible price: $40

Despite only having been release two years ago (to the day, in fact), Assassin’s Trophy has climbed past a multitude of other EDH staples to become one of the most popular multicoloured cards played in the format. Clocking in at almost 24k decks registered on EDHREC, it makes the top 10 lists for both multicolour cards and Instants, earning its place among the best of the best. As well as this, it’s proved itself a solid roleplayer in competitive formats too, being played in a multitude of decks in Modern, Pioneer and Legacy.

Continued popularity and competitive applications mean that Assassin’s Trophy foils are creeping up and up, and I think it’ll be an easy train to ride along with. I don’t see this being reprinted too soon – it could show up in Commander Legends but I honestly doubt we’ll see it there. Barring a reprint there, the cheaper copies of this card are going to keep draining out until it’s $40 without anyone noticing.

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.