When Nothing Is Worth It

Right now, presuming the Collector Booster is $20, there aren’t a lot of cards that you can hit to make it worthwhile. I’ll give you the list in a moment, but first let’s talk about what to do when a set isn’t being opened very well, and the opportunities that represents. Plus, some cards that you ought to have in reserve for later.

Here’s the list of cards that are selling for $20 or more which you can get from a Kaldheim Collector Booster. 

Vorinclex regular nonfoil$35Valki, God of Lies regular nonfoil$25
Vorinclex regular foil$42Valki regular foil$28
Vorinclex Phyrexian foil$300Valki Showcase nonfoil$35
Vorinclex Phyrexian nonfoil$60Valki Showcase foil$85
Vorinclex Showcase nonfoil $50Valki Borderless nonfoil$31
Vorinclex Showcase foil$110Valki Borderless foil$55
Goldspan EA nonfoil$25Goldspan EA foil$40
Goldspan regular foil$20Esika Showcase foil$50
Koma regular foil$25Koma Showcase foil$55

Considering that the set is only a couple of months old, that’s not a huge list, and more than a little worrisome. There’s only five different cards represented in this list of eighteen, two-thirds of which are versions of Vorinclex and Valki. With so much value concentrated in a few chase cards, there isn’t a lot to be gained by opening Collector Boosters. If you miss, you lose out pretty significantly. 

Now part of this problem is recency. This is the new set and it’s one month away from the next set coming out. We’ve even got a special release in Time Spiral Remastered on deck, so all the attention is about to fade away from Kaldheim. This is a confluence of factors making sure that the set isn’t going to be opened in big numbers anymore, which tells us that the prices aren’t going to fall any further. From this point, I’d expect to see prices start to head upwards slowly, or jump if new and awesome interactions occur.

Since we’re at the bottom, there’s a few more cards that I’m looking at worth buying, because they do something pretty unique and worth hanging on to.

Pyre of Heroes ($1 for the cheapest version, $5 for the most premium, Foil Extended Art) – For a lot of tribal decks, the ability to upgrade one of your creatures into the next level of the tribe is a very valuable one, especially because it’s put right into play. There are some tribes where this drawback is actually an engine all its own, for Zombies or some other tribes that like to hop in and out of the graveyard. Tribal enablers often have their own growth cycle, and while this has a lot going on to stop Birthing Pod-level shenanigans, matching this with Maskwood Nexus puts any interaction on the table. Value engine plus potential combo goodness means I’m in. 

Draugr Necromancer (fifty cents to three bucks) – This isn’t in a lot of EDH decks yet, and frankly I’m not sure why. First of all, it exiles all your opponents’ creatures instead of letting them go to the yard. That’s generally a very useful ability, but the replay value to those exiled creatures is really wonderful. Yes, the Necromancer has to stay in play for you to cast those creatures, but this bad boy is a Zombie, the tribe which has the easiest time coming back into play. Having this plus snow basics in your deck is a pretty easy ask, with a potentially enormous payoff. I’m a big big fan of what this offers in Commander games, and all it will take is one experience or popular stream with the Necromancer for this to find some glory days and big prices. 

When I looked up this card, it made me think about what I’d pay for an easier time of things. Here’s the cheapest listings for single copies of the card:

Now, I hate buying spec copies one at a time. Unpacking a whole bunch of copies, filling up my PO Box, paying a bunch of shipping fees, all of those make me like checking the ‘who’s for four or more copies’ tag. Let’s see what that has…

Hmmmm. Am I willing to pay more for my 4x copies than I am for a bunch of singletons? In this case, a dollar or so each is a pretty significant percentage. If it was a wall of 20+ copies it would be an easier choice, but just four here and eight there isn’t terribly appealing. This doesn’t happen on a lot of cards, but it’s something to keep in mind. How much is the time and energy worth? How much extra will you pay to get just one or two packages rather than 16? I don’t have an answer for you there, as only you know how much time you have to spare to do that. Bonus points for this optimistic person listing copies at $50.

Toski, Bearer of Secrets ($2-$7) – Finally, a card that’s Commander gold in the color it was always meant to be in. There’s two versions of this effect as blue enchantments, but having a tiny squirrel who’s rabid to attack is just perfect. Toski hasn’t been widely adapted into Commander decks yet but I like the odds that this becomes quite the staple. Playing Toski as a Commander also lets you build some Voltron version, loading up on equipment or other enhancements and drawing cards when he gets in there. The graph puts us where we want to be, at lowest price due to maximum supply and ready to stock up on copies in anticipation of their future increase. I prefer to have any of the more premium versions, as this would be a fun reprint to see in a future Commander deck.

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.

Pro Trader: The Next Tatyova


This week, instead of giving you a bunch of picks and letting you figure out which one you want to buy, I’m going to… give you a bunch of picks and let you figure out which ones you want to buy. Yeah, halfway through that sentence I realized I actually was doing that thing, but with extra steps which is the best way to say you’re not doing something but actually do exactly the thing you said you weren’t. I thought I wasn’t going to do a normal article, and I’m not, but I realized that you can approach the rest of what I write the way you approach this one and have a very high success rate. So, rather than give you 5 picks I’m medium-to-high on, I’m going to give you a bunch of candidates for a future slam dunk and let you figure out what’s what. Sound complicated? It’s not, I promise. I’ll walk you through it.

As the title indicates, I want to talk about Tatyova, and, with any luck, figure out the next Tatyova while it’s still cheap. “But Tatyova is cheap” I can almost hear you thinking before you double check, glad you didn’t blurt it out for everyone to hear.

This is NOT cheap. This is an uncommon from a recent set that hit $3 AFTER it was printed in Mystery Boosters. Will there be another Tatyova ever again? Maybe, maybe not. I’m going to identify a few potential candidates and kick myself for not going deeper on foils when Dominaria just came out.

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

The Watchtower 02/22/21 – Finally Some Good Flipping Bans

Last week we had a Banned & Restricted announcement that gave a colossal shakeup to four different formats (plus an unban in Vintage). We had fifteen bans across Historic, Pioneer, Modern and Legacy, and a lot of those bans have opened up opportunities within each format for both new and old decks to be played again. With so many bans it can be difficult to figure out what’s a good pickup and what isn’t, but I think that I’ve identified a few good targets here for you to have a look at.

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Price today: $20
Possible price: $40

Uro has finally been given the boot in Modern, Pioneer and Historic, and I’m half surprised that they didn’t kick it out of Legacy too, just for good measure. It’s a card that has been incredibly dominant for far too long, because Wizards just can’t resist printing busted Simic cards but then want to wait long enough to ban them that their sales don’t get impacted by it.

Anyway, the point is that although Uro is gone from almost all competitive play now, it’s still an absolute powerhouse in EDH. At 671 decks as a commander it’s the fourth most popular general from Theros Beyond Death, and comes in at a medium eighth place for top cards from the set overall. It’s never going to be as ubiquitous as something like Dryad of the Ilysian Grove or Thassa’s Oracle, but the advantages it has over those is that it’s a mythic not a rare, and the fact that it’s now banned everywhere means that it’s incredibly unlikely to ever be reprinted in the next however many years.

People have been dumping their copies into the market post-ban, and you can now pick regular versions up for $20. For a card that flirted with $50 not too long ago, I think that this has a reasonable future ahead of it. It’s going to be a longer hold but I definitely don’t mind grabbing a few copies under $25, because there aren’t actually that many copies before the ramp on TCGPlayer hits $30-35. Given a year or two I think that this is a great gainer.

Lurrus of the Dream Den (EA) – Arbitrage

Price in Europe: €15 ($18)
Price in US: $27
Possible price: $35

The only unban last week was Lurrus of the Dream Den in Vintage, and although Vintage might not drive prices like other formats do, FEA Lurrus was on the way up anyway and with last week’s announcement it popped to $100 and has stayed there. There are only 13 foil listings on TCGPlayer and I don’t think that they’re a great buy right now (although I hope that you were in on them at $30 when I called it in my article back in September), so now I’m looking at the non-foil EAs instead.

Lurrus is still the best Companion for competitive play, and is a big role-player in Modern and Pioneer. Non-foil EA copies have seen a bump along with the foils, and will now set you back around $27 or more. What’s more, supply is looking very low – only thirteen listings on TCGPlayer with a steep ramp, and not much resupply on the horizon.

Over in Europe you can still pick up a load of copies at around €15, which seems like some very solid arbitrage to me. If you’re able to grab these in Europe for sale in the US then go right ahead, because you’ve already got a safe backing with CardKingdom offering $20 credit for them, and TCG prices will be well above that. You could flip these quickly or sit on them a little while, but I think it’s a great opportunity if you have access (see my arbitrage article for any help with that).

Force of Negation (Foil) – Arbitrage

Price in Europe: €160 ($195)
Price in US: $250
Possible price: $300

Okay I can’t resist another arbitrage pick, because I haven’t done any dedicated arbitrage specs in a little while (I think?). With Mystic Sanctuary being banned from Modern you might think that the stock of blue control decks would go down, but in fact the opposite has happened. Azorius control decks have been at the top of the Modern metagame for the past week, opting to play more Snapcaster Mages again now that they don’t have access to Mystic Sanctuary.

Force of Negation has been a staple in Modern blue decks since it was printed in Modern Horizons, and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon. It’s also in over eighteen thousand EDH decks listed on EDHREC, and foils are in very scarce supply. With only thirteen NM foil copies on TCGPlayer, and only half of those under $300, the €160 copies in Europe are a tasty target.

This could see a reprint in Modern Horizons 2, but that’s not coming out until Q3 this year and so I think you’ve got plenty of time to arbitrage some copies of Force of Negation before then. It’s not one to go deep on but if you can grab a copy or two under $200 in Europe then you should do just fine to sell close to $300 in the US.

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 Followers of the Pack

Right now, one card, with two versions, is soaking up most of the value of Kaldheim packs, and yes, it’s Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider. It’s been a while since we had a set that was underwhelming financially, and it’s worth discussing what happens to everything else in the set and how we got to this point.

Vorinclex has hit his low price, and from here, I expect it to trend steadily upwards: 

The Phyrexian version is more common than the Showcase version, because packs in every language can end up with a Phyrexian-language Vorinclex. The demand is that much higher, though, as evidenced by such a high pre-order price for the nonfoil.

Kaldheim still has some cards that are nice to find in a booster pack, but past the top handful, it gets pretty rough. The last time we had a set with an effect like this, it was the Masterpieces. I’m thinking of both the Inventions from Kaladesh block and the Invocations from Amonkhet block.

When there’s a chase version of a card every X packs/boxes, it depresses the prices of the other cards. Phyrexian foil Vorinclex is going for $300 and rising, which means at distributor prices, you need to open one of those at a certain rate to make it worthwhile. It was worth it for the Masterpieces, which were more common as a set than Phyrexian foil Vorinclex, but it’s not quite there yet.

It will be, though. The demand is real from Commander players and collectors who want the hottest things from each set, regardless of price. It doesn’t take a lot of those folks to really move the needle, and that’s how we get FEA Jeweled Lotus at prices that are consistently rising:

So what do we do, when there’s a high-value singleton and everything else is falling in price as expected? We should prepare for the rest of the cards to keep falling as the star rises, and adjust expectations accordingly.

It also needs to be said that while the set has a lot of good cards, there’s a noticeable shift in power level, away from the tremendousness that was most of the past year and all of the bans that happened are testament to that power level. Kaldheim isn’t a bad set, it’s just that there’s very few cards which compare favorably to the sets that came before. 

With all the interest on the top few cards, there’s a few cards I’ve got my eye on and I’m hoping that they fall to a target price. I’m prepared for them to not fall that far, but the combination of lower power and leftover financial interest means they’ve got farther to go.

Reflections of Littjara – Currently at $1.50 for the regulars and falling, this is a card that every tribal deck should give serious thought to. It’s part of the class of Commander cards that say ‘I don’t do anything right now, but I’m about to make the table groan in disgust and envy.’ I like this card a lot in the long term, but I’m fully willing to be patient for this to creep down to a dollar for the regular version. There’s a promo foil from the Kaldheim bundle, and that’s available for $2 or less, but that isn’t borderless foil. Once these sink lower, I think they will be an excellent long term hold.

Maskwood Nexus – This isn’t as cheap,with regulars being $2.50 and the FEA versions pushing $10, but the effect is real and this being colorless means it’s a backup to the decks playing Conspiracy, Arcane Adaptation, or both. The early adopters all have their copies, and now we’re in the waiting game for the rest of them to fall in price. Arcane Adaptation doubled in a year, and while I don’t think this will go to $20 that fast, I do think it’ll trickle down to $7 or even $5 and that’s really when I want to pick up a few copies.

The World Tree – Obvious cards are obvious, and this is no exception. It has to go into five-color decks but that’s the sort of deck that really needs fixing that’s as simple as playing a tapped land. This has come down notably since the beginning of the set:

It’s flattened out for now but I’m letting this cool down even more. I grabbed a personal copy already but the spec copies I’m being patient on the rest of the copies I want to get. I don’t know how much farther down they will go in full-art foil, but I’m more intrigued by the regular copies at $3 or so. I don’t think it’s a reprint risk, either, even if they do a five-color Commander deck I doubt it would be in there.

Mystic Reflection – There are a lot of meme-level interactions with this card, and that’s the only reason that I can think of for this to still be as expensive as it is. It’s not a huge Commander card, though it’s got lots of amusing interactions. Frankly, this feels like it should be a bulk rare, and that’s the sort of price I want to get in on. This being about $14 for the foil full art is especially confusing, and I definitely do not want to be buying a card with no obvious uses.

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.