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!

Time Spiral Revisited

As it is like to do, the hype cycle has already moved on from Time Spiral Remastered – which only came out *checks calendar* a month ago – and onto Strixhaven along with all the Mystical Archives. We’ve been getting some more supply of TSR boxes trickling in via Amazon and prices are being suppressed a little in the short-term, but I don’t think that’s going to hold for much longer.

Some of the best deals were to be had on day one, but there are definitely still some good targets hanging around – so let’s take a look.

Eternal Witness (OBF)

Price today: $65
Possible price: $100

Eternal Witness is in danger of becoming one of those cards that has too many premium versions, but I don’t think we’re there yet – and so the old-border foil (OBF) from Time Spiral Remastered looks like a pretty good target to me right now. At the moment the best versions we have are this, the Box Topper from UMA and the FNM promo. The FNM promo has an extremely low supply and art done by a problematic artist, so it’s not really competing with either the Box Topper or OBF at this point. The UMA Box Topper is nice, but let’s be honest it’s just not on the same level as the OBF – so why are they the same price?

Box Toppers start at $60 on TCGPlayer with a reasonable ramp up towards $100, and the OBFs are only a touch higher at $65 (also with 22 listings). If you compare this to something like Bojuka Bog, which is in a similar number of EDH decks (76k vs 79k), Bog’s price is much higher starting at $85 and ramping well over $100. Although Bog is a card with fewer premium versions, I don’t think that $65 is correct for OBF Eternal Witness in the mid or long term. This should be close to a $100 card before too long, and if you want any personal copies then now is the time to grab them.

Reclamation Sage (OBF) (Arbitrage)

Price in Europe: €30 ($36)
Price in US: $50
Possible price: $70

Reclamation Sage is a card that’s been begging for a real premium version for a while now. It’s had a million and one Commander set printings but the only foils have been M15 and Double Masters, with the only other fancy version being the Game Day promo (which didn’t come in foil). Now that we’ve got the OBF version, it’s clearly the best version you can get and will be the one people want for the true bling.

I don’t really need to talk about how popular Reclamation Sage is because it’s in 57,000 decks on EDHREC and is played here and there in competitive formats too. If a player wants the fanciest version, this is going to be the go-to for quite a while I think, and even if the $50 price tag in the US isn’t too tempting, I think that $36 in Europe is definitely too cheap.

If you’ve got access to the European market then I recommend grabbing a couple of these around €30 – I don’t really think you can go wrong at that price. Even at $50 in the US that’s not too bad, at least for personal copies if not spec copies – TCGPlayer is at 30 listings with a steady ramp up over $70, so I think these are good pickups on either continent.

Dovin’s Veto (OBF)

Price today: $38
Possible price: $60

The old border multicolour cards from Time Spiral Remastered use the original gold-ish border that the first multicolour cards had back in Legends, and I’ve found that they split opinions somewhat. Some players love them, some think they’re awful – but either way I think that these are the best version of the card, beating out the FNM foils and set foils.

Veto is one of the most popular counterspells in EDH, being beaten only by the one true Counterspell itself. It’s close to infallible and will get you out of a lot of tight spots in the format, coming in clutch against Time Walk effects and obscene game-ending spells like Torment of Hailfire or Expropriate. If you’re able to play it in your deck then you almost certainly should (unless you have certain stipulations in your deck), and 34,000 decks agree with me.

Supply isn’t very high on these, with 30 TCGPlayer listings and almost all of those are single listings. Prices start at $38 but there are only a few under $40 and it looks set to post over $60 before too long. They’re not too much cheaper in Europe starting at €25-27, but that’s obviously still a good price if you can get it.

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.

Hofri? No, hof You!

I love Hofri Ghostforge, not just because he does awesome things like make your Spirits get haste and trample, not just because he enables all sorts of extra value shenanigans, but because he’s a Commander in a tribe and color combination that hasn’t had a lot of direct support. Sure, Kykar makes spirit tokens, but that’s a commander for a spells-based deck that wants to get degenerate.

My personal preference is almost always tribal goodness, where synergies can grow and thrive. Hofri offers that, telling us to play a R/W Spirit deck and all the enablers we can think of. Let’s dive in, and see where the value is before others catch on.

Some of these are decent specs anyway, but keep an eye on Hofri’s status on EDHREC’s list of commanders. Currently #8, if that creeps upward some of these are going to spike hard, and that’s when you want to be selling.

Balefire Liege ($3 nonfoil/$14 foil/$3 MYB foil) – This was the first card that really caught my eye. Eventide was forever ago AND had a pretty small print run. It’s had two reprints: Planechase (also forever ago) and most recently as a Mystery Booster retail foil. There’s only 27 EVE foils on TCG right now, and only 7 are NM. That’s a really low supply, and MYB foils weren’t exactly common to begin with. An excellent pickup, even before you get into the awesome synergies that the Liege offers with all the things you’re doing. 

Eternal Dragon (less than a buck) – Mostly, I’m looking at the Pro Tour promos for $10 or less, and thinking about how there’s none of the original foil left. Right now on TCG there’s three LP foils, for $60, $225, and $275. Someone read my mind already, as that foil was available for under $40 until just a couple of weeks ago. It does everything a deck like this would want, giving long-term value and even giving you a way to trigger all of the ‘leaves graveyard’ effects on a regular basis. 

Hokori, Dust Drinker ($8/$25) – Hokori has never had a reprint, and is one of those cards that makes a table grind their teeth in annoyance. This is not something you can apply one-sided, like Urza and Winter Orb. A reprint would hit this card pretty hard, as it’s not in high demand anywhere. This price is all the scarcity of being the middle set of a block that did not sell particularly well and was 16 years ago. That said, because copies are so rare, it won’t take much to cause a price bump.

Jiwari, the Earth Aflame (50 cents/$3) – 5 NM foils on TCG for a card that’s both niche and should see a lot more play. Channel is an ability that is hard to interact with. You can Disallow the ability, but you can’t Counterspell it. It’s repeatable killing on the table, or a semi-boardwipe, all in a tasty Spirit package. 

Karmic Guide ($7 up to $140 for the OG foil) – There’s been a few versions of this over the years, but it’s such a ridiculously easy card to abuse! Being from the first foil expansion set has kept the foil value high over the years, and the Angel synergies tend to play a part too. If Spirits start taking off as a tribe, I’d expect these $7 copies to hit $15 quickly.

Kataki, War’s Wage ($1 up to $35) – Two reprints to check on here: One was Modern Masters 2013, the other was the infamous Modern Event Deck, the only one of its kind. Should Commander players start picking this up, look for the MM foils to shoot up first, as there’s about a $20 gap between that one and the Saviors of Kamigawa original.

Myojin of Cleansing Fire ($3/$25) – Only one NM foil on TCG, for a card that’s never been reprinted. Sure, it’s eight mana to destroy all other creatures, but that’s the dream in Commander-land. Triggering this with Hofri out will get you all the tokens for the other creatures you control, so use with caution.

Nobilis of War (25 cents up to $5) – Having the Modern Masters 2015 reprint probably means this won’t take off, but it’s fantastic in the deck. Giving this Spirit a boost, plus trample and haste, means that it and any other Spirits are going to come down and hit hard. Unlikely to have a huge gain, unfortunately.

Oyobi, Who Split the Heavens ($1/$7) – I get that this is a seven-mana card that requires you to cast more Spirits, but to Commander players, that’s not a downside. We run a search for the creature type in the text or type line and get to it. This will have wonderful returns once it’s in play, and is the kind of card more casual players fall in love with. So many Spirits!

Ryusei, the Falling Star deserves special mention here as it’s got not just the OG foil from Kamigawa, but the alternate-art prerelease foil that is a sweet-looking Dragon Spirit as well! There’s a whole lot of cheaper versions, and also two other foil versions from Iconic Masters and Modern Masters 2013. 

Twilight Drover ($3/$10) – One of the most incredible token enablers ever, the Drover has surprisingly avoided much reprinting. One Duel Deck appearance, and then that’s it. The foil is primed to explode, with only a handful of copies left and very few of those NM.

Yosei, the Morning Star ($2 up to $15) – Either go for the OG foils or the IMA foil with the sweet new art. 

Now, a couple of enablers I love:

Emeria, the Sky Ruin ($10/$40) – The foil price is a bit misleading, as there’s very few NM foils around. White has a whole lot of one-shot reanimation effects, and I like to plan for the inevitable mass death of creatures. I was gobsmacked to find that this hasn’t been reprinted even once, but if you’ve ever seen someone recur Sun Titan with this, you’d understand the power level.

Homura, Human Ascendant ($3/$10) – Not a spirit, but a card that’s got tiny supply and is begging to be abused in an aggressive deck. 

Marshal’s Anthem (50 cents/$6) – This is one of the only ways for white or red to get back more than one creature at the same time, but having the anthem tacked on is a nice bonus. No foil reprint for this, but it’s only in 3300 decks on EDHREC. It’s been in several Commander decks over the years, including Kaldheim’s set. Focus on the foils here.

Sword of Light and Shadow ($25 up to $100 for a Masterpiece) – A lot of Masterpieces have seen recent spikes as collectors exert a heavy toll on prices, but this hasn’t gone up yet. White doesn’t have a lot of creature recursion, and this is one of the few re-usable effects. I’d prefer that it comes back into play, but you can’t have it all. The Masterpiece is where I’d want to be, although the old-border judge foil is also super sick art and has been more than $75 in the past.

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


Usually I pick one commander, the most popular one, and do a whole article going very deep on just those picks before moving on to the next commander. The problem then became that by the time I got to the 4th or 5th article, all of the obvious picks had dried up. I feel like I was doing you a disservice by not mentioning big, obvious stuff while there was still time to get it. I can get granular for granularity’s sake later when the obvious stuff dries up. I think that money is money and picks are picks, but I also think you’re going to get sort of annoyed if I don’t mention obvious stuff because I tackled the subjects in the wrong order.

To that end, for this set at least, I’m going to try and cruise through quick hits for the set this week and for the precons next week. It’s not ideal either way – ideally I’d write a huge primer the second I had any data and you could all read it at once, but since that’s not really an option, let’s at least pick the low-hanging fruit, shall we?

The distribution so far isn’t quite how I expected it to go, but I think the precon commanders are liable to overshadow the set commanders a bit. That’s fine, I don’t love the idea of them jamming 35 Legendary creatures into every set now, anyway. We’re drowning in commanders and that has the effect of making everyone make every good one just to keep up rather than getting to spend some time with some silly ones. I don’t love it but that’s my commentary as a person who cares about the format. As a person who cares about prices, it’s probably not going to tip over the house of cards yet.

I didn’t really expect Extus to be number 1, but I was basing that on the fact that I like Extus a lot and usually the commanders I like a lot aren’t as embraced by the community. I also like Uvilda and Nassari and that deck isn’t even in the top 18 here.

I’m going to do the most obvious stuff from every deck in no particular order. Sound good? Don’t worry if it’s a little jarring, we’ll do this again next week and we’ll go deeper the week after. Let’s begin.

People tend to be running things they can sac, things they can sac creatures with, and ways to copy spells. I think there could be a bit of upside there.

Fury Storm is perfect. It’s cheap for now, on its way up for the second time in the past 4 months, and most importantly, it does more copying for every time you’ve played your commander, which happens to be the spell you’re copying. This card was made for this deck and supply seems to be on the move.

No real deep analysis here – this is a bit of a no-brainer.

This would be a no-brainer if I wasn’t so afraid of a 4th printing, which I am. Still, this card does WORK and if that printing doesn’t come soon, there’s money to be made on a card that gives you an absurd number of tokens. Also, with Divine Visitation out, you never make a Thrull and he goes OFF.

I’ve been on about this for a few sets and I think this probably can’t get cheaper, but it HAS already flirted with $15 and it’s gettable for under $10 on TCG Player but selling out elsewhere. Seems significant.

I’ve called this before but it doesn’t appear to be too late, wow. That’s great growth and while a reprint will stamp on us pretty hard, I don’t know if one is coming in the next year.

While there was never a truly cheap time to buy in, it doesn’t look too bad now. A year on and things are starting to trend up. I wouldn’t wait if you’re going to buy these. Consider the extended art.

While it was obviously better to buy right when this got a Mystery Booster printing, isn’t it nice to know it completely shrugged that off and continued on its upward trajectory? This card is a monster.

After I wrote this, a reader pointed out that Archive is in the Witherbloom precon. Do I think it can shrug that off? Yes, and I think when it bottoms out, you can safely buy in. It will go lower than $10 this time, which is nice.

This card can’t decide if it’s $5 or $10. When it finally makes up its mind, what are the odds it decides it’s going to stay at $5?

With Witherbloom being a lifegain school, I think just about every Witherbloom deck can use this. This is like $2 and it could be like $20 under the right circumstances. If all you want to do is pay $2 and buylist for $5 later, this seems like a slam dunk.

This was going to go up anyway.

That’s a lot of picks! I’ll go deeper later, but make sure you think about what each deck does and buy cards that go across lots of them, Lifegain, copying, saccing – some of the cards there are staples and some of them are specific to these decks. Go to EDHREC and mess around, find your own specs. I’ll be back next week! I’m out!