Where do we go from here?

Last week I wrote about the difficulties in finding specific foil extended art cards that are in Commander Legends. Today I want to look at a few specific cards and compare the current prices to where I think those prices are going to go.

As I said last week, the foil extended art cards are going to be highly sought after and not terribly common. You’ve got the math for the foil or nonfoil extended art rares and mythics, but the uncommons and commons require a little explaining first.

One slot in a Collector Booster has a nonfoil extended art common or uncommon, from this list:

Then we have two slots for foil regular-frame uncommons and five slots for foil regular frame commons. Under normal circumstances, I’d expect the regular frame foils and nonfoils to end up at the same price, but we have a pair of relevant cards here that have never been in foil: Path of Ancestry (32,700 decks on EDHREC) and Opal Palace (nearly 18,000).

Those two are going to be helped out a lot, price-wise, by being in the common slot. Those are 2/141, but five slots as opposed to the two uncommon slots in a Collector Booster. Even more important, each of those two slots has a 20% chance to upgrade to a foil extended art (FEA) common or uncommon.

Let’s look at some current prices, given the preorders on TCGPlayer.

Command Tower (75 cents for a regular, $9 for regular foil, $13 for EA and $50 for the FEA) – This ought to be in every non-monocolored Commander deck, and there’s already two foil versions: Commander’s Arsenal ($100) and the Judge Promo ($125). Given those two prices, the FEA at $50 feels cheap and the $9 regular-frame foil feels obscene. 

However, I do expect the prices to drop for the first few weeks, and then these are going to be a VERY attractive purchase. Picking up the regular-frame foils for under $5 is going to be a total steal if they drop that low. The FEA isn’t going to stay cheap forever, either. Don’t buy them now, but I’d be surprised if this went under $35. 

Arcane Signet ($2/$15/$10/$38) – Being the first foil printing, this will have quite a premium attached. It’s not going to be the only foil printing, though, and that’s got me feeling a little wary. They haven’t used different art yet, it’s been the same for a year and a half. That’ll change too, and if there’s a new art being used in the reprint (or the Secret Lair) then that’ll preserve some of the price. 

Note that for right now, the foil is pricier than the EA nonfoil, and I suspect those will come closer together. People desperate for a foil are going after them hard right now, and patience will pay off. Forty seems reasonable for the most chase version, especially since you’ll get one FEA Signet approximately every 87 packs. I want the price to come down a little before I buy my personal copies, but it might not.

Keep in mind that in terms of preorders, the Signet is more expensive than several mythics, even though it’s going to be much more common.

Thought Vessel ($3/$8/$8/$22) – Now we’re getting spicy. Just a little more than $20 can get me the FEA version of this first-time foil present in nearly 40k decks online? I don’t know how much lower this can go, but logic tells me it does have a little bit of a dip coming. I’m very very tempted to buy some of these right now for the $22 price, and there’s vendors willing to oblige. 

I’d like to get in on a stack of foils around $5, or hopefully less. This is a very popular mana rock, and ramping from two to four is where you really want to be. 

Terramorphic Expanse (bulk/$0.75/$3/$20) – These FEA commons and uncommons are going to carry a lot of value in these packs, and even if they dip it’s going to be a few bucks. Too many people play this alongside Evolving Wilds on a budget for it to be a cheap FEA. What’s really going to be amazing is that when it drops down to $10, it’ll jump back to $20 eventually.

Path of Ancestry ($1/$5/$7/$15) – Remember that this and Opal Palace (a quarter/$1.50/$4/$15) drop much more often than the uncommons, at least when it comes to the regular-frame foils. These drop at the same rate as Arcane Signet in FEA, but are played a lot less commonly. Path is my favorite preorder right now, given that it’s in 37k decks online and should be in every tribal Commander deck. Frankly, I want to buy a bunch of these right now, but I’m being patient. 

Reliquary Tower ($2/no foils on sale/$4/$13) – Given that this is 31% of all EDH decks online (130,000!) this is another surprisingly cheap staple. There are other foils available of this card, from the original in Conflux to reprints and FNM and the special ‘bring a friend to your LGS’ version. The FEA version is probably going to be the most expensive going forward, but I don’t think it’ll drop much below $10, given the demand.

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: Let’s Get This (Turn) Over With


We have data! You know what that means! I get to stop guessing!

Before I run headlong into data, I should write a *bit* above the fold. I have done a lot of these “first data we have” articles by now and I have noticed some trends. In general, you can get a feel for whether the most popular commander initially is a flavor of the week or whether it’s going to hold strong. I think obvious commanders are built the most first and good ones last the longest. Sometimes a card is Omnath, Locus of Creation and it’s both good and fairly obvious. Sometimes Golos is in tenth place for 3 months then it’s in the Top 25 commanders from the last two years once people realize how absurd it can be. I think Commander Legends has so many cards that are obvious and powerful, the “most built” doesn’t mean a ton – this set will cause more decks to be built than any set in the last two years. I’m literally picking the most popular because I have to write about something. That said, I didn’t see this coming, and you probably didn’t either, so let’s talk about what came out on top.

At 66 decks, Obeka is running away with the top spot. Right now it’s not all that close, either. What makes Obeka so compelling? Let’s look at that in a minute. First, how not close was it?

I expect this list to change a lot in the coming days. We are looking at 66, 39, 36, 30, 28. A lot of the counts are fairly tight except Obeka is lapping everything. Why? Let’s take a look at what the deck plays.

I expected Sedris to feature heavily. This card being in Grixis was no accident – we were meant to think of Unearth right away. Sedris decks have been ending the turn to keep Unearth creatures around for years and now instead of our Unearth enabler needing to find ways to end the turn, we have an end the turn enabler with no shortage of juicy payoffs for that ability. Final Fortune and Last Chance already shot up, so there’s not much chance you can make money unless the copies you get are mispriced. However, there is still a lot of meat on the bone left. Let’s look at some of it.

Glorious End is selling out, but it’s a fairly high-volume card given how recent it is. However, it’s a Mythic and a lot of the copies have been relegated to bulk binders and boxes to dig through rather than being accounted for in store inventories. This means copies are still out there and their introduction into the market will delay a big price spike. If you can track down some loose copies, this seems like it goes to at least $5. It may not hold there, but if you get in for a buck and out for $3.50, can you complain?

The good thing about Kikity-Jikity is that it’s good in almost every Red deck and will be money whether or not Obeka stays on top. The bad thing about Keeks to the Jeeks is that it gets printed roughly every year. Kamigawa original copies do a better job of shrugging off the reprints than the new versions with the new art, but Iconic Masters dragged the price down to around $10, $20 for foils. I like both of those prices. I’ll pay $20 for a foil if the Kamigawa original is more than that. I think Kiki could get reprinted soon, but I also think we can make a bit on them before that happens. I don’t have the utmost confidence in this as a spec, but this is a card you’re never going to lose a ton of money on, and that’s worth knowing, especially if it gets reprinted again and you can buy in for like $8 again.

The Iconic Masters version has grown by 50% over the last two years and I don’t see Wizards adding cards that make it better making it a worse gainer next time it’s printed.

Sundial is already going up, but it went up a year ago so I think even if you buy in around $3, enough copies were concentrated in the hands of dealers after the first spike that there won’t be loose copies the market can soak up and retail operations holding large quantities will determine the price, meaning this is headed to $10, at least for a bit. The Mystery Booster retail edition copies will slow things down but not forever. This is a solid pick-up and there are plenty of copies for you to get in slowly and not have to worry about panicking.

A commander that makes good cards way better is just as good as a commander that makes bad cards good. Sure, you can grab a bunch of bulk copies and cash out at the top with a commander that enables bad cards, but you can also have other chances to dump good cards made better. Whipe of Erebos was always a solid pick-up and has been a nice gainer, but having another reason for it to go up in price is great. The other demand will sustain and help justify a higher price meaning it won’t crash of people grow tired of Obeka. $4 copies on CFB while the card heads to $10 on Card Kingdom is just what I like to see.

This is on its way to the moon by now. If you snag a cheap copy forgotten in a box or bin, good on you, but being on the Reserved List and being from a set with no good cards in it will make this a $20 card soon. Will it hold? I don’t know. It’s just worth noting when cards like this pop.

This is way less sexy but it’s almost as old and rare. It’s not on the Reserved List, but no one is reprinting Dawn of the Dead, so you basically have a $5 Obeka card that you can get for just over a buck at CSI. Sounds good to me.

There are a lot more cards on the page for Obeka and some of them might never pop and some have already, but I think paying attention to the deck and how it’s built could yield some benefits, particularly with Sundial which is a backup for the commander and which is underpriced currently.

That does it for me this week. If you want to discuss any cards I missed or omitted, do it in the comments or message me in the Mtg Price Pro Traders Discord server if you’re a member. Until next time!

The Watchtower 11/09/20 – Reprints Are Coming

Don’t brace yourselves, because Ned Stark never said that, but what you should do is brace your wallets for Commander Legends. Along with a billion and one new Legendary Partner cards (which for the record I still think is a stupid mechanic that they shouldn’t have doubled down on), we’re getting a decent slew of reprints in Commander Masters Legends. Preorder prices have been racing downwards since previews were revealed, and there are going to be some really tasty prices for us to feast on.

This is another of my ‘don’t necessarily buy right now’ articles that I like to do in the run-up to set releases, but I’ll discuss that further in my individual picks – so be sure to take note. Especially heading into the holiday season prices are going to be getting lower than average, with people spending more of their money on presents and less on cardboard.

Vampiric Tutor

Price I want to buy at: $30
Possible future price: $60

$30 might be a slightly optimistic buy-in point for Vampiric Tutor, but honestly I don’t think it’s far off. Although preorders on TCG are always thin on the ground at this point in time, over on MKM they’re already preselling for under €30 (~$36), so if you have access to that market then I’d be sorely tempted to grab a few right now, especially if you’re just looking to grab any personal copies. We could see it dip below that before release, or as we head into peak supply, but if it does then I doubt it’ll be by much. After its printing in Eternal Masters we saw prices around $30 so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar trend here.

Vampiric Tutor is in over 36k decks listed on EDHREC – a pretty staggering number to be sure – but we know that EDH players just love their tutors, and an instant speed tutor for one mana is too good to pass up for a lot of black decks. This reprint will be a big opportunity for a lot of people to pick copies up that were previously priced out of the card, and the bling-minded among us will be scooping up the gorgeous foil EA copies.

I’m picking the regular version here instead of the Extended Art for a couple of reasons: I think it stands a lot to gain over a 1-2 year horizon, and I’m honestly not sure what kind of pricing we’re going to see for the EAs and EA foils. I don’t mind saying that I don’t feel confident enough to give you an exact dollar amount that I want to be buying EAs and EA foils at, but I will say that I’m going to be keeping a close eye on them as prices tumble once Collector Boosters start to get cracked and we head into peak supply. The lowest EA non-foil is currently $100 on TCGPlayer but I think that’ll come down towards $60-80, with foils probably staying $100+ for the most part.

The EMA version with the same art as this had gotten up well over $100 before the reprint had been announced, so I think that $30 to $60 is rather a conservative call and you can probably make a decent chunk more money than that depending on how long you want to hold onto them for.

Mana Drain

Price I want to buy at: $50
Possible future price: $100

Blue mages rejoice! The best counterspell in Magic (probably) has been given to us again, meaning that even more people at the EDH table can counter an Expropriate and then cast their own almost for free the next turn. Ugh, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Anyway, if you’re the type of person that wants to do…that, then Commander Legends has just taken $100 off the cost of doing so.

Anyway, pretty much everything you just read about Vampiric Tutor goes for Mana Drain too. We last saw it in Iconic Masters, which depressed prices down to a little under $50, and I fully expected to see prices around the same with Commander Legends. It’s almost as if I’ve just checked MKM and can see that they’re currently preordering for $53…

Despite being a little less popular than Vampiric Tutor, Mana Drain has always retained a higher price tag – it has fewer printings and is slightly less replaceable than Vampiric Tutor can be. Although we’re moving into an era of more frequent reprints across the board, the high price tag on both of these cards means that Wizards need to be careful where they print them, and so we probably won’t be seeing them again very soon, meaning that we can get a good run out of them in the meantime. Mana Drain was $150 before this reprint, so $100 seems pretty easy to get to again.

The EA versions of Mana Drain we’re getting in Commander Legends are especially hot, using the swirly vortex art from the Iconic Masters printing. Same as Vampiric Tutor, EA foils will be big money so keep an eye out for when they hit lows.

Austere Command (EA Foil)

Price I want to buy at: $5
Possible future price: $15

For my last trick card, I am actually picking an EA foil specifically. Although we’ve pretty much just had Austere Command printed in Double Masters, we’re being given it again in Commander Legends. Why that might be is a question scientists still can’t answer, and I amongst many others are caught holding copies from 2XM that have just had their spec timeline lengthened considerably.

Never fear, however, because we are being indulged with an EA version of the card, which I think outclasses any premium versions of the card we’ve had before. The original Lorwyn and Commander set copies have, in my opinion, the best art, but they’re cursed with the absolute mess of text that Wizards used to use for modal choice cards, rendering them a lot less popular than they otherwise might be. After that the other printings in Iconic Masters, Double Masters and now Commander Legends use the newer art, with the final version being the (ugly) Invocation from Amonkhet.

For the vast majority of people I think that this EA foil will certainly be superior to the Invocation, which is the only other ‘premium’ printing, and probably better than the Lorwyn art copies as well. That means that a lot of EDH players are likely going to upgrade their copies for their decks, pushing up the price of this Collector Booster-only item. Preorders are low in supply at the moment, but copies can be found for €5 on MKM and around $10 on TCGPlayer, which indicates to me that we could easily see these around $5 at peak supply. Another EA printing is probably quite a way off after this one, so I think that they’ll have a good amount of room to grow towards $10-15.

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.

The Amazing Math of CLCBs

Commander Legends has been fully previewed, and I’d like to express my appreciation to Wizards for doing this on Thursdays. Makes my life that much easier.

We know what’s in the set, what’s got special frames, and the formulation of each Collector Booster. That means it’s time to do some math and figure out how rare some of these cards are going to be, and that’ll inform our buying decisions.

First of all, let’s look at the raw numbers on the set: 141 commons, 120 uncommons, 77 rares, 22 mythic rares, 1 special (The Prismatic Piper).

Of those, 69 legendary creatures (from any rarity) can show up as foil-etched in a special frame. Add to that 32 more reprinted legends in that frame, including all of the original Partner commanders.

From a finance perspective, the most relevant pieces of information are that Extended Art foils and nonfoils are ONLY in the Collector Boosters. The etched foil legends (Only foils, there’s no nonfoils of these cards) can be found in the draft boosters, as can the borderless planeswalkers in foil and nonfoil. We know there’s one foil of any rarity per Draft Booster, but that’s a regular foil, not an Extended Art foil, but it could be a borderless planeswalker in foil.

Thankfully, we also have a breakdown of precisely what’s in the Collector Boosters. Feel free to look at the breakdown, but I’m going to be focusing on the odds and the chase cards.

Most regular-frame common and uncommon foils I’m not too worried about. Yes, this is a first foil for a lot of Commander-specific cards, but there’s a special list of 33 commons and uncommons available as extended-art foils, and that’s the spicy stuff. 

Collector Boosters have one slot for a nonfoil EA of one of these cards, so you have a 1 in 33 chance of getting a particular nonfoil EA from this list per booster. 

For foils, it’s notably rarer. There are two slots for foil uncommons from the entire set, but about 20% of the time, that upgrades to a foil EA from this list. So in one pack, you have two runs at these, at 1/5 the rate of the nonfoil. 

That works out to a 1.2% chance, per pack, of getting a specific foil EA common or uncommon. If you like fractions, I did the math and it’s 1 in 82.5 packs for getting that foil EA Arcane Signet. At 12 packs per box, and six boxes per case, you will get .87 FEA Signets per case, or any other particular card from the list of 33.

For the foil-etched legends, there’s a slot for the 36 uncommons, a slot for the 32 reprinted legends, and then a slot for the 23 mythic and rare ones. Those are guaranteed, so the rate is much better than the 20% drop rate for the FEA uncommons.

One slot is dedicated to nonfoil EA treatments, and that will help keep those prices in line, but there’s 65 of those cards that could drop. That’s just a 1.5% chance of getting a specific EA rare or mythic rare in your collector booster pack.

Now, the super-chase cards: The foil extended-art cards at rare and mythic. There’s one slot for a foil rare or mythic rare, and 30% of the time, that card upgrades to a foil Extended Art.

In that slot, 30% of the time, it goes to FEA rare or mythic. There’s 52 rares and 17 mythics. That means that on a sheet of 121 cards, each rare is on there twice and each mythic once.

If you don’t like percentages, let’s expand it out a little.

Percentage of opening a specific cardHow many packs you have to open to get one copy of that card (roughly)How many of this type per Collector Booster box
Rare Foil1.15%877.2
Mythic Rare Foil0.58%1721.2
Rare Extended Art Foil0.49%2043.1
Mythic Rare Extended Art Foil0.25%4000.5

How about a visual? Each column is the foil rare/mythic rare slot in a Collector Booster:

Many thanks to sods, Alexis, and Ra0Ra in the MTGPrice Discord for explaining math to me over and over again.

So what does this mean for us? 

First of all, these Collector Boosters are going to have some very big swings in value. The Extended Art cards will carry a lot of value in the big ones, and some won’t be very expensive, but FEA mythics are going to be hyper rare. 

There will be excellent value in the FEA uncommons as well. The first-time foils like Arcane Signet and Thought Vessel will carry value even without being Extended Art, but the FEA Signets and Vessels should be very high out of the gates and likely won’t come down too much. Don’t sleep on Path of Ancestry (first foil), Myriad Landscape (78k decks on EDHREC, second foil printing) or Three Visits (a P3K reprint).

Commander Legends is already impacted by production delays and the coronavirus shutting down North American stores. It’s quite possible that some of these cards never have a chance to get cheap–Jeweled Lotus will be in FEA once every 33.3 boxes, or 5.55 CASES of Collector Boosters.

I don’t have enough information on the delays and the impact on the total number of Collector Boosters out there to predict the effect that’ll have. I do advocate that you definitely get your personal copies before Christmas, but don’t be a buyer the first week or two. Let the frenzy calm down a little and then get what you need. Be more patient when it comes to your investments in this set.

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.