Unlocked Pro Trader: Time Spiral Recovered


I know you wanted me to trifle with Strixhaven a bit more, but I taught you what I would do and given the choice between putting a ton of cards in lists and comparing them like I almost did and doing something potentially more valuable, I opted to switch things up. New cards are exciting and all, but I talk about how a lot of the money I make is unsexy and I’m going to make you eat your vegetables and make some ugly money this week.

Time Spiral Remastered gave us a nice mix of Time Spiral favorites and spicy reprints and it was a pretty nice set. The cards that got a reprint should recover, especially since Time Spiral Remastered wasn’t as widely available as maybe people thought.

So with that in mind, why don’t we sort by most used in EDH and take a look at which cards we think have been reprinted past the point of recovery and which cards are bound to net us a big return if you buy in right now.

I don’t know how much this info matters, per se. I wonder if cracking a Feather in a booster made anyone who didn’t already have a Feather deck go out and make one. What I CAN say is that I never saw a TSR commander crack the Top 25 weekly list on EDHREC since the set was printed, even with people updating their lists. I don’t think any of these commanders were so expensive that people help off on making the deck until the commander got cheaper – the only card I could see that being the case for is Yawgmoth, but EDH is a format where decks are like $300 most of the time and a $30 Yawg probably won’t stop someone who really wants the deck from making it. That said, did this do anything for Yawg?

The printing in TSR didn’t impact the price of Yawgy at all. Which one of these dips is from TSR? If you didn’t know, you’d swear it was the one in April of 2020 since that was more significant than the mere 25% dip in the price as the result of a lot of new supply. Not only that, it’s a brand new border meaning people who have a Yawgmoth but like the new look more (like me) might be inclined to switch.

I think the cards likely to tank enough that you can bank on a recovery are going to be non-commanders.

This seems… discouraging. The cards at the top of the list are staples with multiple reprintings and most of them are non-rares. Could any of this go up?

Stats indicate Dovin’s Veto isn’t even the cheapest it will possibly be, yet. Do we like it at just under $2 or do we wait to see how much cheaper it can get? $2 is currently between the non-foil set price ($1.50ish) and the foil ($4ish) and I like this long-term more than the set foil, personally. This is the version of Veto I’ll play in my decks. Just how much is this getting played, though?

That’s a lot.


Dovin’s Veto is the 8th-most-played multicolor card in the format. I’d say that buying in at $2 for a unique printing is safe. If you buy in at it goes to $1, don’t tweet at me to call me a dummy, buy a bunch until your average cost is $1.25 and thank me when you buylist them for $5. With a card played this much, the phrase “reprint risk” hardly applies because the rate of new decks will just absorb printings. If you can make money every year on Swiftfoot Boots when it gets reprinted then goes back up, imagine how you’ll do here if it’s not reprinted in the next year. Imagine how well you’ll do if they never print a better version than the old border and the original art. Will they ever?

I feel similarly about a few other uncommons that might as well be rares since they’re worth more than most of the rares in the set they’re in.

If this gets any lower you can arbitrage these sumbithces. I honestly think that since there is a new set every 2 weeks, people just aren’t paying attention. These seem really ripe.

It’s a $100 foil, so don’t even worry about it.

Do you like a $3 set foil in a world where the TSR foil is like $100? I am not sure I do, but I do like the TSR non-foil in that case. I really think with the spread approaching 0% you basically cannot lose.

Card Kingdom is already raising the price on Vandalblat? That makes those $5 copies on ABU look pretty tasty to me. If CK is already on its way to $10 and they’ll sell them because CK sells ALL of the EDH cards, paying under $6 anywhere is easy money RN. I’m glad I did this today and not a month from now, goodness. Sure we’re not sure if Mystic Sanctuary or Veto have bottomed out but Vandalblast already hit an all-time high.

I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t expect THIS. This graph shape tells me very little about what I should do. I guess we wait?

As long as we’re not sure what to do about cards, I want to watch Bondy here as it heads toward an arbitragedy. This is far from the only Bond and it’s not the last, certainly, but could this be the “best” Sanguine Bond? The old border is sexy and the only reservation I have about calling this the “best” is the fact that the Exquisite Blood doesn’t match the border. If we get an old border Exquisite Blood, this probably goes way up. As it is, this probably goes way up. I like this less than Veto, which is why it’s last, but watch to see if this becomes arbable. Remember, we have the buylist on other versions of the card basically enforcing a price floor for this. Could this head toward $1? Something drastic happens if it does. Remember, these Time-Shifted cards are fairly rare, so this isn’t a ton of supply, and with any demand at all, especially with lifegain as a theme in both Strixhaven…. Golgari (I forget the dumb house names) decks and Commander 2021 as well, there is more demand this week than ever before. I like this. Look at the graph!

There may be more opportunity in TSR, but these are mostly can’t-miss picks so don’t miss them. That does it for me – until next time!

Back to School

It’s been a couple of weeks since I first wrote about some cards from Strixhaven, School of Mages, and so I think it’s time to revisit it armed with a little more data.

Culling Ritual (Regular Non-Foil & FEA)

Price in Europe: €0.50/€5 ($0.60/$6)
Price in US: $2/$10
Possible price: $4/$20

Culling Ritual has quickly become almost the most popular EDH card in its colours from Strixhaven, only being slightly edged out by Mortality Spear. Mortality Spear is an uncommon though, and so doesn’t have the best spec prospects…Culling Ritual on the other hand is a rare and has FEA versions to go after as a result.

In almost 20% of all decks registered since the set came out, Culling Ritual is a pretty powerful EDH card to be reckoned with. It may seem on the surface that only hitting cards with mana value 2 or less might not get a lot of things, but you need to remember that EDH is stacked with low cost artifacts, mana dorks, and tokens. Early game this could take out a Sol Ring and Mana Crypt, and later on you could hit a bunch of things and be rewarded with a huge amount of mana for it, which you can then use to ramp into your own threats.

I like the look of these in Europe at the moment, because as we know the EDH scene is a lot smaller than in the US and so prices on these sorts of cards are inherently lower. Regular non-foils at €0.50 seem like a great brick pickup, and FEAs at €5 should easily be set to double up and more in the long-term. I’m not too keen on the US pricing at the moment and do think that it’ll drop a bit as more supply hits the market, so watch out for that and pick some up when you can.

Prismari Command (FEA)

Price today: $10
Possible price: $30

Looking at another multicoloured, but otherwise very different card here, Prismari Command is another one that’s understandably popular in EDH with the Izzet mages, but I’m more interested in it from a competitive standpoint. Modern and Pioneer have started playing this card here and there, in both Niv to Light and Delver-esque decks. It’s the kind of card you look at and half expect to cost four mana, but at three it’s definitely a contender for some of the most powerful spells in the formats.

It offers great flexibility, like the fact that you get artifact destruction tacked onto a card that’s always going to be maindeckable, and the other modes are pretty strong too. Creating a Treasure token isn’t the greatest thing in the world but could come in clutch when you’re missing a land, and I think the looting ability on it is great. Overall this is a great tool for a bunch of different decks, and honestly might be better than Kolaghan’s Command, a card that has seen prolific Modern play in the past. It’s worth mentioning that this is also a very popular EDH card from the set, so the cross-play helps out here as well.

A good indicator of this card’s popularity in competitive formats is that it’s more expensive in Europe than in the US. You can pick up FEAs on TCGPlayer for around $10 at the moment, and I’m reasonably happy with that price for a slightly longer-term hold. We could see this dip down a little as more Collector Boosters are cracked, but I just see that as an excuse to pick up more copies.

Teferi’s Protection (Mystical Archive Foil)

Price today: $40
Possible price: $80

Hopping over to the Mystical Archive cards for our final pick of the week here, I think that Teferi’s Protection is one of the best pickups from the set at the moment. It’s also one of the very few that I actually think the global art version is better than the Japanese alternate art version (and I’m sure people will disagree with me, but that’s always going to be the case). We’re at the point now where Teferi’s Protection has had a few different printings, but I think that this is by far the best version we’ve had so far, and I don’t see any reason for another printing – let alone another premium one – in the near future.

The Judge foils of this card are all over $70 with very few copies around, and I think that the Mystical Archive copies could be headed in a similar direction before too long. The art and frame are stunning, and the foiling on these cards is pretty excellent from what I’ve seen so far (I’d avoid the etched foils though as they look basically the same as the non-foils but for a higher price). At 35,000 EDH decks it’s a top 10 white card and provides one of the best get-out-of-jail-free effects in the format, and is just great in any deck that can cast it.

Global art foils are sitting around $40 at the moment, which is only $10 more than the non-foils and around the same price as the Secret Lair versions. I reckon that this is going to be one of, if not the most sought-after version of Teferi’s Protection, and so the $40 is definitely way too low in the long-term. I’d definitely pick up personal copies now and keep an eye out for anything around or under $40 for spec copies. The JPN alt art versions are a lot more expensive at $85 and up right now, but those could realistically still see $150+ in the long term if we’re lucky.

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.

Acquiring the Archive

It’s been a week of having Strixhaven in hand, and the Mystical Archive prices are settling out. There’s been some outliers, and some runs, and you can always get lucky and find certain things at a ridiculous price thanks to someone not paying attention, but that’s not worth counting on. 

My attention has been on the gorgeous Japanese alt-art foils. Etched foils have shown to be underwhelming, an interesting aesthetic choice and a nightmare for the people who have to code six versions of a card into assorted databases. The English versions are just as rare (and that’s an important point to come back to) but it’s time to compare how played a card is with its current price, and gain some value now that supply is at such a high point.

Please remember that these are current prices, and while they might fall another 10-20%, these are relatively rare cards, only found in about 25% of Strixhaven collector boosters. Note that the traditional foil English versions are precisely as rare, but the lack of a title bar and no banana-yellow frame color mean that the JP alternates look much more like works of art. I understand if you prefer cards in your language, I only have English versions in my cubes, but these are just breathtaking:

Swords to Plowshares (current price for JP alt art in traditional foil: $30) – There are a few versions of this card that are more than $30, but those are judge promos or Unlimited and older. This is one of the all-time staples, efficient, powerful, exiling for a single mana with a pithy drawback of a few life points. Most white decks make space for it, a full 52% of decks registered on EDHREC and it hasn’t even been in a Commander product since 2017. Thirty bucks is too cheap.

Chaos Warp ($40) – The mythics of the Mystical Archive are hyper-rare in foil, taking 309 packs on average to get one of a specific mythic. Chaos Warp has not been reprinted in foil since it was in Commander’s Arsenal in 2012, though it’s been in a ton of Commander decks since then. Being in so many precons has goosed the numbers on EDHREC, but still, that’s 70,000 people who took the time to say it’s worth including. This is not the cheapest mythic in the Archive, but it’s one with a whole lot of upside.

Krosan Grip ($12) – Commander players loathe having other players mess with their plans. Dovin’s Veto is one of the most popular spells in Commander, because you want to say no and ignore the protestations of other players. Krosan Grip is the same way, allowing you to kill that annoying thing without any fear that counterspells or other tricks will prevent it from going away. This is also one of the arts that really helps players remember what it is, as it echoes the original spell quite fondly:

Counterspell ($45) – Notable is that there’s less than 20 vendors on TCG with copies of this available. Counterspell is all over the place in Commander and Cube circles, and this just looks badass. It’s not iconic like the original ‘womp-womp’ art is, but damn it’s pretty. I fully expect this to be $60+ within a month.

Putrefy ($6) – Honestly, this should be more expensive already. It’s one of the more popular ones, percentage-wise, and I dearly love picking up the cheapest parts of sets with a wide delta. Importantly, this is a rare, so it’s only in every 150 packs, because if it was an uncommon, it would be every 36 packs. That’s why I don’t want to be buying any uncommons yet. That market, I want to be super patient with before buying bricks of a card.

Crux of Fate ($30) – As a mythic, there’s never going to be a huge quantity of these, but there’s been a sneaky drain on foil Dragons as of late. Foil Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is down to a handful of copies. Foil Dragonlords are draining. The good Kamigawa dragons have all seen recent gains in original foil. Dragons are one of the top EDH tribes (full disclaimer, I’m one of those people with a Dragon deck and I love it) and this art is gorgeous. Also, getting the alt-art is way better than having the copy-paste job that Jason Felix did for the global version. What I’m saying is, things that are good in tribal Dragon decks have a lot of fans, and this is both iconic art and fantastic gameplay.

Natural Order ($40) – There’s not a huge number of Commander decks that play this, it’s more of a Cube card or a combo piece in Legacy Elves. A card that’s run as a 3- or 4-of in Legacy, with roughly 1200 Collector Booster boxes needed to make a playset? Doesn’t take many of those players, plus the collectors, for this to spike pretty hard. Plus, this is some pretty cool art, as opposed to ‘majestic tiger’ art that’s been on every version of the card. EMA foils are $40 or so, and the judge foil is $70. This new version will surpass both of those.

Blue Sun’s Zenith ($30) – Again, this is a mythic of a mid-tier card in Commander. Lots of printings of this already, so you’re dealing with people who’d want to upgrade what they have from Mirrodin Besieged foil or Masters 25 foil. I can’t imagine this stays cheap forever, and TCG has a real mix of people who expect this to be $60+ and a few others who are trying to undercut everyone else and get the quick sale. That’s a valid tactic right now, trying to cash in before others do too. It won’t last much longer, though, and you should be ready for the increase that will come along.

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: Early Quick Hits 2: Hit Quicker


I’m back with the follow-up to last week’s article, which can’t possibly surprise you because I promised last week I’d do exactly that. If you didn’t read last week’s article, this is a weird place to jump in, kind of. You should really go read it. Is this the first thing of mine you’ve ever read? Welcome, it’s always great to make new fans. You should really read last week’s article and come back. Let that serve as the introductory paragraph where I get you used to some finance info by priming the pump with some high quality banter. If I’m doing that, I can probably cut this paragraph a little short and cut abruptly to

Strixhaven came along with some baggage in the form of Commander 2021 which was kind of Strixhaven but not really. It’s like how Commander 2020 was Ikoria but not really. Strixhaven dumped like 22 legendary creatures on us, so why not dump 20 more the same week? It’s been a lot to slog through all of this set, but it’s my job, so let’s move on, shall we?

Commander 2021 resembles Strixhaven a lot in that it has the same “colleges” which are what we’re calling guilds in this set. The colleges don’t have much overlap with the guilds from Ravnica but they have overlap with Strixhaven which means stuff that matters there will matter here and there are multiple commanders that can make the same “class” of cards relevant. There are quite a few utility cards that have extra chances to go up. Remember when we used to build a new world and then stay there for 3 sets instead of moving on immediately? It’s like that’s still a thing. Extus, Oriq Overlord is the number one commander from Strixhaven so I bet you can guess what the number one from Commander 2021 is, right?

Wrong, you guessed wrong (I assume). I know I did. The strange thing is, there is one commander from each deck represented in the rankings before any of the decks repeat, and the second commander from a previous deck isn’t from the same deck as the most popular commander. The top 2 are very close, closer than in past sets.

Osgir is VERY popular, and it’s funny that the other commander from the deck, Alibou, is the least popular and is in fact ranked below a mono-colored talking bear.

Osgir represents a trend in Commander, which is Wizards reaching out to people like Sheldon Menery for help designing Boros cards that don’t suck. People have been waiting for a Boros commander that doesn’t suck for a long time, and while Osgir is pretty boring to me, players seem super into it. In fact, let’s look at Osgir before we look at Veyran.

This deck is fairly straightforward, which is a bummer. That means it’s very playable with cards out of the box it’s in, which means that the good cards just got reprinted and anyone who bought the deck doesn’t need them from you. The other good stuff just got reprinted in Double Masters or something. That’s bad news for Ichor Wellspring, but good news for this guy.

This is absolutely going to recover from its reprint until it gets rereprinted. We’re at the bottom and I expect it to recover nicely given how strong it is. I doubt it goes back to $8, but $5 is pretty reasonable, which means it will buylist for about triple what you paid if you get in cheap, and that’s free money.

I like this under $5 as well. It’s reprinted in the deck, but while we’re talking about cards that will recover, this will recover.

I don’t see a ton of additional opportunity here, but look for yourself.

I’ve talked about this card at length in the past, but this is basically your last chance before these dry up everywhere forever.

My rule of thumb for all of the cards you look at today is that if it’s from Double Masters and you think it can recover, now is the time it would start doing so. Look at Scepter for example.

It’s basically sold out everywhere at $10, up from its all-time low of $4, so Double Masters stuff is ripe.

This was reprinted in C19 and dodged one in C21. I think this would be closer to $10 than $5 if it hadn’t gotten that reprinting, so make sure you stock up.

See that U shape we love to see? It took 5 years but got there. It’s at its pre-reprint price and climbing. It’s not the best time to buy these, but this has demonstrated it can recover from a reprinting and I think it’s about to get real affordable to buy in.

Cards like this are the reason I started developing the method I now use. It went from a completely obscure bulk rare to a car that was in a large percentage of the iterations of a new deck. This was always useful, as people will find soon, but since it damages your creatures, people never wanted to use it before Gyome made them indestructible. This is the perfect card for this deck and that’s about it. Try to get ahead of this one and sell into the hype, but I think we have a perfect graph to look at for the exact “Black Torment Rare goes from obscurity to prominence based on a Commander deck” parallel to look at the price trajectory we can expect.

Will Last Laugh hit the same as Insidious Dreams? Maybe? I don’t know. I DO know that a lot of the conditions I can think of are the same, so it’s up to you to figure out a factor I didn’t think of, otherwise you could be the one getting the last laugh (cause you’ll laugh when you make money on it, but also to make money, you’ll need copies of the card Last Laugh so it’s like a double pun. I spoil you).

Anyway, that is all of the obvious stuff. I’ll dive deeper next week, but I should say a LOT of the cards in most copies of the decks are in the precons and therefore not really financially relevant. We can talk about whether they should be, but they are and that’s reality. We need to dig deeper to find cards like Last Laugh, but once we do, we should be prepared to bet money that they’ll hit like cards that are obvious to non-players did. I’m rooting for it, that’s for sure, and not just because I suggested it. That’s it for me, readers. Thanks for reading, and hit me up in the comments for once. Until next time!