Unlocked Pro Trader: Couldn’t think of a Runo Pun

I really tried. I thought about the Elliot Page movie “Juno,” or Runo the red-nosed Zombie Cleric, or Runo nothing Jon Snow – I probably spent two hours and 45 minutes trying to come up with a good pun for the title of this article so you’d know that I am writing about Runo and also that I am very funny and clever. Disarmed by my wordsmithery, you’d immediately drop any pretense of skepticism and follow my finance advice to the letter. I’m sad to report that I wish I’d spent that time teaching my daughter to read instead and that I’m still no closer to pulling off a decent pun title. I hope that’s not a problem because I’ll be honest, I’m feeling some pretty bad writer’s block, but just about puns. You see, this week I aim to let my specs do the talking for me. It’s an installment of my Pulitzer-prize-eligible series, my babies, and it’s all about Vampire Clerics and the betentacled sea monsters that they somehow make clones of.

First up, why Runo?

Umbris is last week’s news, this week we’re all about Runo. And Grolnok? @#$%ing Grolnok? There are like 6 total frogs in Magic, and it’s just another boring self mill- you know what? I’m not going to let myself get angry at data today. I don’t get paid to be angry at data or I’d be a climatologist. I’m someone who has to digest and regurgitate the data for my hungry spec babies and if I don’t like how some of the data tastes, it’s not my job to pass that info on. I just look at it and say “Oh wow, I guess Umbris isn’t as popular as a stupid tribal Frog deck that doesn’t even make the Frogs harder to kill in combat, which is great because they’re all like 5 mana 2/2s. Let’s all buy Xenograft since, you know, no Frogs.” The data has me mad enough to dump on a Simic deck. Jason Alt is disrespecting a Simic deck.

Toxrill at #2 seems legit to me, it’s a -1/-1 counters deck that doesn’t interact with any of the previous cards that gave creatures -1/-1 counters, so that’s neat. I hope you own Swiftfoot boots because Dimir decks do not have a good track record when it comes to paying 11 mana to get their commander out of the command zone. Dimir also doesn’t have a good track record of supporting Krakens and Sea Monsters and Leviathae (I assume that is the plural of Leviathan). No color combination supported it, until a Vampire came along and did it for us. I bet the high synergy (played in a large percentage of Runo decks and a small percentage of decks in general, meaning they’re overrepresented here) cards are going to be a trip.

I know I normally like to look at High Synergy cards first, but in this case, it’s going to be a lot of garbage cards under a buck. I think foils might be in play, and maybe some alternate art versions, but in general, we’re going to look for cards that can give us some more help.

A lot of the high synergy cards that were going to pop because they’re obvious have. Sure, Wrexial is good in the deck, but it’s not something you think of when you think “Sea Serpent tribal” the way other cards are.

Wow, you just straight cannot even blame Runo for this. If anything, this is actually a good buy at $5 since it has flirted with $9 without any help from Runo. I have to assume Koma did this? Imagine having a deck where you can tap all of their blockers and paying 6 mana for a card that makes some of your creatures unblockable. Maybe I’m the one who sucks at building Koma? All I know is that people complained when I play the deck so I took it apart. That’s right, I’m THAT guy, I’ll build any Simic deck, and even I don’t get Grolnok. Calm down, Jason, you said you weren’t going to do this. Just bring it back around to a spec and stop losing your cool, you can do this OK everyone I think this is actually not a bad buy under $5 but I bet there are better picks. File this under “maybe” and I’ll show you something remarkable.

You can be forgiven for seeing a $6 serpent that looks like it should be a bulk rare sitting there and thinking “Oh man, all of the good Serpent cards spiked already” and abandoning this page entirely, but I think that despite Quest for Ula’s Temple (BSB potw) popping, people just don’t know what goes in a Sea Serpent deck and don’t all know how to go to EDHREC and check. Also, there wasn’t a ton of data last week. We knew less than, so obvious stuff like Quest and SOYD for short popped but the meat and potatoes of the decks were tougher to sus out. Know how I know there is more money to be made than there is money made already?

You see it? Just in case you don’t, let me help.

This isn’t that unusual, though. You see this a lot when a card sells out on Card Kingdom. They went out of stock at the old price and it never updated, meanwhile TCG Player has been getting cards back in stock all day as individual sellers, responding to the spike, list their copies for more. If you click the link and go to Card Kingdom, you’ll see they’re out of stock.

OK, then. I’m stumped. It seems like there wasn’t actually a run on this card yet, despite it being in a third of all of the instances of the most popular deck from this set. Surely this is the only example.

OK, this is really shooting a lot of my holes in the “we missed the boat” hypothesis. We missed the boat on 2 cards, both of which went up when Maro wrote that teaser article and we went through it. Didn’t I even call Quest for Ula’s Temple IN THIS ARTICLE SERIES like 3 weeks ago? I want to say I did. If it was obvious to a dip#$% like me who didn’t notice that the wording on Necroduality was NOTHING AT ALL like the wording on Parallel Lives, it was obvious to savvier people who scooped up those obvious Leviaspecs. Eww, that doesn’t sound good to me, give me another crack at it. 3 colorless and 2 Blue chips. Eww, no. Krakenvestments. This is hard! The point is, there are more cards to make money on, so let’s do that.

These are at an all-time low, Gyruda is actually kind of good in Commander even if you don’t run him as a commander or companion, and this is collectible (within reason, come on). Gyruda is good in this deck and in general. Does the existence of a $0.50 copy or a $3 extended art foil dampen things?

Sure does! Extended art foils may be a better play. Gyruda is very good in the deck, but there are a lot of copies and there are a lot of cheap ones before the good ones go up. What is older than Ikoria? How many more cards from the Teferi precon that’s already insanely expensive can hit $10 this month?

3 printings, already went up in January and one of those printings is “The List?” *audible fart noise*

Who’s next?

Neither at an all-time high nor low. Maybe we can look at another graph for comparison to see if we see a similar shape.

Cryptbreaker, a card with many more copies out there, suggests the ceiling for Kederekt Leviathan could be as high as $10 a copy on Card Kingdom. Is that good?

Paying $4 a copy for a card you can flip into $6.50 in credit isn’t sexy, but it does seem safe, and I’ll take safe sometimes.

I have buylisted Heartless Summoning for $3 more than I paid on more than one occasion. It seems only right that it should happen again. Heartyboi would be a little tricky to reprint, synergizes well with the raft of expensive creature tribal decks we’ve been seeing lately, is popping up more and more, is between its historic low and historic high and is one weird Modern card away from being $10 again. This isn’t as sexy at $2 as it was at $0.50, but it doesn’t suck at $2 if you ask me.

You know I don’t like foils, but I don’t hate them, either, especially since a lot of this deck outside of “tribal deck” staples is $0.39 cards, making it an attractive deck to try and foil out.

If this stops at its historic high, it will hit $6. I am not sure it will stop at its historic high. That said, there are a ton of copies of the Commander Legends foil out there – I singled out M11 because the first printing is usually considered the “best” foil, but that stuff barely applies here. That said, stock is very low. Not trying to trigger that Fight or Flight response some human brains have to FOMO, I’m simply, as they say, sayin.

This is a lot of specs, I did a good job this week and I had fun doing it. Did you have fun reading it? Who asked you? Rude. Anyway, your homework for the week is coming up with 3 specs of your own and posting them in the comments section. I bet there is a lot that I glossed over. Always remember to investigate every instance of Card Kingdom being cheaper than TCG Player and don’t take any wooden nickels. Until next time!

A Diverse Format

Modern content? In my articles? It’s more likely than you’d think. I love Modern and I think that it’s always got some good opportunities for specs, especially with so many viable strategies in the format at the moment. Week to week there are different decks on top, and it leaves a lot of room open for brewing and building variations on established decks.

Conspicuous Snoop (FEA)

Price today: $5
Possible price: $15

I wrote about the Goblins deck in Modern a few weeks ago, and although it hasn’t quite taken over the meta yet it’s still been putting up decent results here and there, and deserves at least some of our attention. Munitions Expert foils have been drying up and Boggart Harbinger foils are already over $20, so it’s clear that some of these foils with fewer printings are popular enough across Modern and EDH to drive prices.

Conspicuous Snoop FEAs are close to 18 months old now, and although you can still pick a few copies up around the $5 mark, there aren’t many of those left and the ramp up to $10 doesn’t take long. Snoop is in around 5000 EDH decks listed on EDHREC as well, unsurprisingly in almost all of the Goblin tribal decks, and with cards like Skirk Prospector that can generate a load of mana you can just churn through all the Goblins in your deck, not to mention Snoop enabling combos off the top of your library.

The Modern deck can go off as early as turn three by casting Snoop and then tutoring Kiki-Jiki to the top of your deck with Boggart Harbinger, creating infinite hasty copies of the Snoop to attack for lethal. This of course works in EDH as well but might lose you some friends if you keep doing it, but either way Snoop is an important part of any Goblin deck now and the FEAs are going to be heading up in price soon.


Price today: $14
Possible price: $30

Solitude has arguably been one of the top cards in Modern for a little while now; it may technically only be the fourth most popular creature in the format, but it’s such an important part of so many decks at the moment that its impact cannot be understated. Grief isn’t quite on the same level but it’s not far off, and I think that it’s set to be on a similar price trajectory to Solitude before long. It’s become a staple in the Reanimator and Living End decks (with the new Reanimator deck becoming more and more popular over the past couple of weeks), as well as featuring in various Yorion and Rakdos midrange builds.

Early hand attack is super powerful in a fast format like Modern, and doing it for no mana is even better. Regular versions of Solitude are $45 and up now, and with Grief only at $14 I think it’s got a decent run ahead of it. A Mythic from MH2, I think it’s in the same boat as Fury at the moment, and both cards look like they should be set to reach the $30 mark in the next 12 months or so.

Prismatic Ending (OBF)

Price today: $10
Possible price: $20

I’ve written about Prismatic Ending before, but I think it’s worth revisiting now because you can still pick up some OBF versions for around $10, and for the most played card in Modern (yes you read that right), I think that’s just too cheap. 43% of decks are playing an average of 3.3 copies of this card right now, and honestly those are some wild numbers for a removal spell. Ending deals with so many relevant threats in the format at the moment, and although it’s only sorcery speed it’s still much better than Path to Exile; it doesn’t ramp your opponent and can remove things like Æther Vial, Chalice of the Void and Sigarda’s Aid rather than just hitting creatures.

Europe already has these closer to $12 and so I think that anything you can snag under $10 is a sure thing, whether it be personal or spec copies. We probably won’t see the OBF version reprinted for a long time and so you should get a good run out of these foils, as I doubt its popularity will dip much in Modern any time soon.

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 Math of Crimson Vow

Here we go again! There’s some variable math here in Crimson Vow, and it will add up to some really unusual options when it comes to what you’ll open from a Collector Booster.

There’s a change I’m making to the calculations to these articles, so let me explain what’s up in this set and why it’s so unusual. To the math!

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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: Crimson Vowing to Make Money


Usually the first second we have some EDHREC data, I write a “quick hits” article where I very briefly go over everything I think is in play, but with the EDH decks being spoiled, I think it doesn’t make sense to do that for this set specifically for a few reasons.

First of all, there is a card that’s lapping the other commanders, and it has been revealed for less time.

Second of all of the Vampires cards were either reprinted (the precon is actually packed with gas, to an insane degree) or they went up weeks ago when, frankly, every finance writer told people to buy them and, also frankly, you already knew that. If you care enough about finance to read this, you pay enough attention to know the writing was on the wall for Vampires. What wasn’t anticipated, however, was a card that is a Commander card but a set booster exclusive? I guess? It’s really unclear where this card came from. What I do know is that it’s not in the Commander decks but it’s a Commander card and people are excited.

Umbris, Fear Manifest

Excited it putting it super mildly, sorry for burying the lede. People are hype.

If you add the number of Stefan decks projected to the number of Olivia decks projected, there are more Umbris decks being built right now than the two top Vampires combined.

Is that a lot? Is it not a lot? I don’t know. I do know that Umbris hasn’t been known as long and it’s making a ton of waves. Since the Vampires stuff is basically picked clean and Umbris came out of nowhere, I want to focus on it. Since the Umbris stuff is very specific, very potent and a lot of it is much older stuff that people forgot about it, I really want to focus on it. Focus on it I shall. Let’s get into it!

I could literally call it an article here and it would be nearly as valuable as me continuing. If a picture is worth 1,00 words like I’ve argued it is, here is 14,000 words on why Umbris is a game-changer for EDH. Some of these cards are EDH heavy hitters, but some of them have never really made an appearance and are going to go from 0 to 100 real fast. Let’s look at the very underplayed ones first.

Very, very, very good in the deck, mythic, from a set full of gas so the value is basically already established for the set, historic low price – believe me when I say I considered posting this and like 2 more graphs without comment and calling it a night.

You’re telling me that there are 2 Ashioks that are going from trash to treasure? You can’t miss here. Remember, I established that Umbris is very popular and that’s going to take these bulk gems that are at your LGS for their old price right now and make them into real cards people want. The demand looks like it will be there, and the supply is very much still in the woodwork. These have me salivating.

I LOVE this pickup. This card is very good but for some reason, people needed a better excuse to play this. Well, here it is. On the podcast this week, Corbin mentioned that irrespective of everything that is great about this card, we’re one “whenever a card goes to your graveyard, gain a life” away from this drawing your whole deck, also. This is not Griselbrand, but it’s legal and that has to count for something.

There’s even more gas here! I might argue that a few of these cards might be even better because they’re high play but low synergy but not generally considered staples. Once you filter out format staples like Cyc Rift and Rhystic Study, you wonder; which decks are playing Sire of Stagnation and Hell’s Caretaker enough to drop the synergy score? If Sire and Caretaker, and I suppose Forgotten Creation are getting help from other decks, but their supply is low because they’re not attractive buylist fodder, they could go up as high and hard as the high synergy cards.

This has been very sneakily going up. Buying at $1 feels better than having to pay $4, but this is a mythic and it could easily hit $10. Would Umbris be enough to get it there? Well, no, but something made it quadruple over the last couple of years and that trend seemed likely to continue.

Sire sees quite a bit of action and some more is absolutely not going to hurt, especially when supply hits a tipping point.

7 NM copies left and that’s all she wrote for CK’s supply, a site that, whether you like it or not, is a better indicator of EDH demand than any other site.

I love to talk about the reverse-J shape that is the first half of a u-shape, right? The U shape is a price recovering, so when you see that nice J shape, you know you have a choice to make – do you bet money that the price will recover? I would absolutely bet $7.78 a copy that these can flirt with $15 or more again, if not from this than from something else. Phenax being on the list kind of sucks, but I don’t know that it will be enough supply to keep Phenax down.

This is this set’s Chain of Smog and I don’t see a single person talking about it. Will it go up like Chain of Smog did? No, because Chain of Smog was obvious to people who don’t play EDH and this pick is only obvious to people well trained in sifting through EDHREC data. I bet there are half as many Planar Voids as there are Chains of Smog, though. This is really looking good to me and there is no reason not to play this unless it’s a nonbo with other cards you have.

It is difficult to overstate just how many cards are ripe to pop off on the basis of this new deck. Gravestorm was a middling card, but in this deck, it’s a painless Phyrexian Arena when it’s not growing your commander. Umbris is going to straight 1-shot people, I can’t wait to get a copy and built this dirt.

Safe to say we’re shaking off the Double Masters printing.

Seriously, just go to the page yourself and look. There is insane value in this deck. If it’s played as much as people say it will be, which is to say as much as the top 3 Vampires combined (and people are spit building Odric because other people said it sucked on Twitter, I think it’s just bad) then we are going to see a ton of cards go off hard. Be someone who has them because you heeded my warning. That does it for me, nerds. Thanks for reading. Until next time!