Dominaria United on Release Day!

Here we are, the day where the set is legal to buy and sell on the major sites, and it’s time to see if we can pull the diamonds from the rough. I have advocated repeatedly to not pre-order cards, and here I am, wondering if these are priced too low.

So let’s get to the cards, both the things I want to buy now and the things I’m going to be patient on. Prices right now can be a little wild, so if you spot copies that cost a little more or a little less, act accordingly.

Liliana of the Veil (DMU copies available from $40 to $73) – The big reprint of the set, it’s been a while since we’ve had a lot of copies around. 

We’ve gotten some reprints, but there’s a big difference between being a Modern Masters 2017 mythic and a Dominaria United mythic. I’m not expecting her to fall too far, as she’s being rapidly adopted in Pioneer, but I think she’ll settle out near $30 for the cheapest versions. The premium versions from DMU are not really on my radar, as there’s Box Toppers and Pro Tour Promos to chase. 

Long-term, I think Liliana is an excellent place to gain some value, though I won’t be buying any for a few months.

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse ($38 to $117) – Sheoldred is a card I expect to take over a lot of Commander tables. I wrote an article about good specs for her deck, but Neksuar is three colors, blah blah blah. Black decks will need an explicit reason not to run this gem of a card, which is also a combo enabler in many ways. 

If it seems expensive right now for a Phyrexian foil, I’d agree with you, but I also want to keep in mind that Sheoldred’s most sought-after version is impressively hard to pull from Collector Boosters. As I pointed out last week, for every 100 Borderless foil Liliana of the Veil, there’s 50 Phyrexian Sheoldred and 50 Showcase. 

The graphs for Vorinclex and Jin-Gitaxias and Urabrask are pretty similar, but no one’s got the early hype spikes that the green one did:

Vorinclex showed up every 296 Collector Boosters, Jin-Gitaxias was every 544 but is now under $100, and Urabrask is every 492. Sheoldred is every 346 boosters for a Phyrexian foil, and is a much stronger card being both cheaper to cast and with a nasty backhand of an effect. Commander players love drawing cards!

I’m expecting Sheoldred to follow in Vorinclex’s footprints: an early spike followed by a gradual decline. Buying now for your deck at about $117 is not too far off where the price will be in three months, and if it makes you happy, go for it.

Ajani, Sleeper Agent ($8 to $45) – Foil Phyrexian Ajani is twice as rare as the Sheoldred, checking in at once every 692 Collector Boosters and the rarest non-Hidetsugu card of the last couple years. (I’m not counting the Legends inserts.) However rare he is…his card isn’t terribly powerful. Tamiyo in Phyrexian is available for just about $20, several months later. 

Planeswalkers who come down early and can get you ahead are good. Ajani on three (plus the 2 life) is still capable of ticking up and gaining card advantage, but not for control-themed decks. He’s good but not broken, and so I think his curve will follow Tamiyo’s, unless some other amazing combo comes along.

Leyline Binding ($10 to $21) – I’m terrified of making a prediction about this card. It seems too good to be true in Modern, where a Triome and a shockland make this a one-mana Oblivion Ring. However, Modern already has lots of great removal. In the last year, we’re seeing decks run some combination of Prismatic Ending and March of Otherworldly Light. If the domain decks are big, I’d be delighted to see cool stuff like Scion of Draco have its day, but we’ll see if that takes off. I think this will see play, but it’s not going to be Ledger Shredder. I think there’s enough demand to keep the price high, yet not too high. I don’t think it’ll hold a price of $15, nor go below $7.

The Defilers ($5 to $21) – All five are decent to good, but the blue one that fuels itself and the green one that grows your team are probably the strongest cards. Green especially has a lot more ‘green mana only’ costs, topping out at Primalcrux. I will want to have some of these long-term but for now, I’ll be content to let their prices drop.

Plaza of Heroes ($9 to $18) – It’s nice to have the last ability that saves a legendary creature, but right now, I don’t think this is a card anyone needs to go deep on. I know there’s a lot of chatter about legendary humans especially, but given the lands that already exist (Cavern of Souls, Unclaimed Territory, Secluded Courtyard) I don’t think that deck needs more. This should fall by at least half, if not more.

One other thing I want to note: The rare and mythic artifacts do not have a special version in this set. I strongly suspect we’re going to see some special version before too long, and therefore I don’t want to go deep on any of these until that shoe drops.

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: The Long View


We have some data, and like always, we have some surprising data. I decided to look at which commanders we should look at in-depth based on how they charted this week. There were some VERY clear winners.

I expected Jodah to do OK, but to be built more than Atraxa, even in 2022 is a coup. Like, I’m not saying a boring deck like Atraxa SHOULD be built this much, I’m saying it is and that’s reality. A deck that claws its way to the top of a pile of profoundly boring decks is worth celebrating. Let’s take a look at Jodah and Ivy for specs, shall we?

Jodah really isn’t built that interestingly, unfortunately. All of these cards are cards we’ve gone over in the past. Still, there have to be some challenges associated with being built 5 color. Are there any unique cards?

Now THIS is what I call podracing, or whatever. I’m not rewatching that movie just to look up what he says.

The cards here are going to get jammed into every “Legendary matters” deck from here until the end of time, and with 70 new Legendary creatures every 2 months, the odds of them having to revisit the topic soon are 100%.

This is just starting to rebound despite being hideous.

This is the better buy, IMO, but it’s hard to go wrong with either. Enough people like the showcase version that there is no clear winner. Either way you go, this is a buy under $5. It’s not a broadly-appealing card but for the decks where it’s useful, there is no substitute. It’s cheaper than Mirror Gallery and it’s way better. Everyone forgot about this card because it was 20 sets ago, but this is quite, quite good.

I am shocked to see this card is worth money, but it seems like if you can get the non-foil around $2 and the extended art under $5, it seems good right now.

Sometimes Cool Stuff is actually the lowest price and not because they ran out of stock first.

Wild stuff!

This deck is going to be split between random new stuff and old Orvar staples, which is great. Any Orvar card is going to be second spiking and therefore that’s what I would prefer to focus on.

You won’t often find me advocating for the foil copy of a common card whose price appears to be declining but you also won’t NEVER find me doing that, so here we go, I’m doing that. This is the foil and it’s an $8 foil under the right circumstances, seems like a buy at $2 or $3.

This is still too cheap.

Here is 1,000 more words in support of Mirror Box as a spec.

I suspect this would be higher if not for the Conspiracy reprinting, but this card is bugnutty.

I think it’s rad that two commanders from the new set are in the top 10 for the week, especially Ivy which is running my favorite card from the set and breaking it wide open.

The set seems good, we’re going to have 70 new EDH decks to contend with and then we’ll do it all again in a matter of weeks. You guys don’t want to hear me gripe about my job in the content mines but it’s less than I’m bitching about being busy and more that I’m worried that everyone will feel like they’re drowning the way I do soon and that’s bad for the long-term health of the game. Back in my early finance days, we used to say “You can shear a sheep every year but you can only skin it once” and I’m starting to worry about what’s going to happen when eBay/TCG/CFB sets its sights on Hasbro in a big to make the ultimate Katamari Damacy amalgam to take on Disney. When that happens, you’ll hear about it here first. Thanks for reading, nerds. Until next time!

Pro Trader: Dominaria United Breaks into Modern, Pioneer

Dominaria United (DMU) had an immediate impact on Pioneer and Modern tournaments over the weekend, which was a much-needed change after four months of lingering without new cards. Liliana of the Veil lived up to the hype, seeing significant play across Pioneer. This was generally expected, and I discussed this topic last week. But there were many other breakout stars from DMU that slid into existing shells along with a few that helps push old archetypes back into the spotlight. These early results will be studied further, tested, and refined in the coming weeks. The result will be that some of these cards will stick around while others will slowly fade away as quickly as they came. Let’s check out the new hot tech, shall we?

Leyline Binding was the most talked about Modern relevant card leading into last weekend and it did not disappoint. In the end, it was included in a combined 9 decks across two Top 32s from both Modern challenges over the weekend. This included two second-place finishes in different archetypes focused on Glimpse of Tomorrow and Indomitable Creativity. Both featured five-color mana bases, making Leyline Binding effectively cost one mana, which obviously is very good. Leyline Binding also did well in a Crashing Footfalls and a more generic good stuff build too. I will be curious to see if there is a backlash to decks leaning even harder than they have been into 4-5 color mana base in the next week or two via Blood Moon type strategies, but for now, Leyline Binding is having a fairly very large impact on Modern.

Over in Pioneer, Leyline Binding was only played in one Bring to Light/Niv-Mizzet Reborn deck, which is not that shocking considering the format lacks fetch lands that make Triomes so easily accessible.

Goblins won the September 3rd Modern Challenge, the first MTGO Modern Tournament that took place after the release of DMU. The deck was fueled by the addition of its new powerful two mana lord Rondel Hordemaster. This card is pretty crazy. A two-mana lord is pretty good in its own right, but in addition, this card provides card advantage to goblin decks every time a goblin dies, which is a regular occurrence already via combat or though Skirk Prospector, Mogg Fanatic, and Mogg War Marshal’s echo cost. Goblins will do goblin things – I expect this deck to pop in and out of the meta going forward based on the power of Rondel Hordemaster.

Streamer Aspiringspike was playing around with an Oswald Fiddlebender brew a while ago, but we haven’t seen much of the deck since then. But this week featured a new iteration of this deck that ended up in 3rd place. This new version is different than the old version but still leans heavily into Oswald Fiddlebender’s unique ability. It helps find the combo of Thopter Foundry/Sword of the Meek, which makes as many 1/1 flying thopters as you have mana. It will also set up Crackdown Construct/Lightning Greaves combo, which makes Crackdown Construct as large as you’d like (by equipping and re-equipping lightning greaves for free) and then attacking for the win.

I would love to see film of the pilot running this deck, which provides so many options it would take a significant amount of time to learn and optimize. I mention this deck here because Serra Paragon – a clearly powerful card – is featured with a full four copies. Interesting indeed. No doubt Serra gives the deck more reach and inevitability if it isn’t dealt with – similar to Lurrus prior to its ban – but at four mana making it a little slower, especially if it’s played on curve. And of course, it’s not a free companion. I’m hoping and looking forward to seeing more of this unique and interesting deck.

Although Sheoldred didn’t break into the Pioneer top 8 this weekend, the deck below did well and has potential moving forward. It also notably includes four copies of Liliana of the Veil – no surprise there. This deck’s curve is about as strong as it comes – with solid options in each key stop – plus additional ways to play a long game with Tenacious Underdog’s Blitz cost and drawing card via Castle Locthwain. This strategy is a great counterbalance to the other things going on in the Pioneer format right now – I hope it continues to do well.

Turning to Legacy for a brief moment, Shivan Devastator surprisingly snuck into the Top 8, in a mono-red list, while Vodalian Hexcatcher barely missed out, ending up in 12th place this weekend. While one-off Legacy finishes aren’t going to move paper cardboard, anything that does well in Legacy typically has potential in other formats. I’m going to keep an eye on these two going forward to see if they are one-hit wonders or perhaps something more.

Oko (@OkoAssassin) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2020 with a focus on competitive play and Magic Online. In his personal life Oko is a lawyer, father, ice-hockey player, runner, and PC gamer.

The Math of Dominaria United

It’s become a tradition, and one that tests my limits for going back and redoing things, but here we are, with a new set and a whole new list of things to figure out.

As always, I want to figure out what the rarest of rare things are, and just how rare they are, especially as a historical comparison. Plus, I need to do some calculations about Legends boosters!

Let’s get into it.

The headliners, of course, are the ‘Lost Legends’ that have been added to these packs. One thing they did for us is they said, straight out, that 3% of Collector Booster packs will have one card from a Legends pack. Now that card can be any rarity, so calm yourself down. You have a 3% chance to open a Zephyr Falcon!

For those who want it, here’s the list of cards. We can break this down a little further, and in fact we need to.

Number at this rarity in the original Legends setHow many are excluded, for one reason or anotherNumber possible for the Lost Legends

We have the same distribution as always: 10 commons and 3 uncommons for every rare, so the pool for this slot is 1403. Therefore, your odds for getting a card at each rarity IF you hit a Lost Legend:

1150/1403 = 82%183/1403 = 13%70/1403 = 5%

Remember that these are only in 3% of packs, so we have to multiply each by .03, and so there’s a Common in 2.46% of Collector Booster packs, Uncommon in 0.4% of packs, and a Legends Rare in 0.15% of those packs.

Want a specific card? Buckle up. You’ve got to multiply the above numbers by their number of options. So for example, if you want to hit a Willow Satyr, it’s (3/100) X (70/1403) X (1/70), and now we’re getting into negative exponents.

Rarity of the specific card% of Collector Boosters that contain that card (approx.)Packs needed to open one (approx.)

We can estimate how many of each Legends card is about to enter circulation, too. If we’re using 100 boxes as an estimate for what got opened, that’s 54,000 cards. Divided by the pool, that’s a max of 38.4 copies of any particular rare, 115 of any uncommon, and 1150 of any common.

This number is almost certainly an overestimate, as some cards were just straight removed and new ones weren’t added back in, but it’s a good reference point to know that we’re not getting any appreciable supply of Legends cards added to the mix.

It’s almost as an afterthought that we have some sweet Dominaria United cards to look at and think about! 

Frame/Treatment# of uncommons# of rares# of mythics
Showcase (Stained Glass)402815
Textured Foil20147
Extended Art415
Legends Retold1010

It’s a relief to work with some normal-ish numbers here. Let’s look at how these frames are distributed:

Let’s go over this, from the top down. (If you open the pack this way, it’ll be from the back to the front)

Slot #1: Textured Foil Stained Glass U/R/M

They added uncommons in this slot, and that makes for quite rarer cards. We know that the distribution is 10c:3u:1r:0.5m, or to make it easier, 20 commons:6 uncommons:2 rares:1 mythic. Therefore the pool of cards in this slot is 215.

RarityPercentage of packs that hold any card of that rarityChance for a particular card of that rarity# of packs to hit a particular card

Slot #2 and #3: Foil-Etched or Nonfoil Alternate Border R/M (Stained Glass, Phyrexian, Borderless, or Legends Retold)

This is crazy. Wizards has a history of changing what they collate into different slots in order to get to the percentages they desire, but I can’t remember a slot having such a wide variety of treatments, and in nonfoil, except for the set of Legends Retold which can be in etched foil but NOT traditional foil! They are trying to make me lose my mind.

Stained GlassPhyrexianBorderlessLegends Retold
Rare Nonfoil28610
Rare Etched Foil10
Mythic Nonfoil152510
Mythic Etched Foil10

The pool here is 150, and so:

RarityPercentage of packs that hold any card of that rarityChance for a particular card of that rarity# of packs to hit a particular card

Remember that there’s two of that particular slot, so there’s going to be a lot of nonfoil rares from that grouping that get opened. The foil-etched mythics will be 1 per 75 packs, which is pretty common as these things go.

Slot #5: Traditional Foil Alternate-Border R/M

Too many options here, let’s organize it with a table: 

Stained GlassPhyrexianBorderlessExtended Art
Rare 28641
Mythic 152*5*5

The asterisk here is for the Phyrexian cards: Sheoldred, the Apocalypse and Ajani, Sleeper Agent. Sheoldred has a showcase and a Phyrexian frame, cutting your odds in half. Remember that more versions of a card does not mean that there’s more copies of a card out there. So if there’s 100 Borderless Liliana of the Veil (only one special version), there’s 50 each of Showcase Sheoldred and Phyrexian Sheoldred. There would also be 25 each of each of the Ajani variants.

Textured foil is different, because that’s a special subset put in Collector Boosters only.

Because there’s four extra versions, the pool is 173, and as a result:

RarityPercentage of packs that hold any card of that rarityChance for a particular card of that rarity# of packs to hit a particular card (except special versions of Sheoldred or Ajani)

With all of that calculated, let’s look at some example cards and see how they stack up against each other for a Collector Booster: 

Card with Rarity and TreatmentNumber of Collector Boosters needed to open to get one (approx.)
Textured Foil Stained Glass Jodah, the Unifier (M)215
Foil-Etched Sivitri, Dragon Master (M)75
Borderless Foil Liliana of the Veil (M)173
Phyrexian Foil Sheoldred, the Apocalypse (M)346
Foil Compleated Ajani, Sleeper Agent (M)692

One foil special Ajani, Sleeper Agent every 692 packs is among the rarest of drops we’ve had in Collector Boosters, except for two very special entrants: Hidetsugu and the Lost Legends. Let’s compare these numbers with a list of other big tickets.

Card/SetCollector Boosters to open one (approx.)Card/SetCollector Boosters to open one (approx.)
Phyrexian Foil Vorinclex (KHM)256Foil Etched Food Chain (2X2)280
Japanese- Language Alternate Art Time Warp Foil (STX:MA)309Textured Borderless Foil Emrakul, the Aeons Torn (2X2)160
Foil Extended Art The Meathook Massacre (MID)151Green Soft Glow Hidetsugu (NEO)444
Foil Fang Frame Sorin, the Mirthless by Ayami Kojima (VOW)171Red Soft Glow Hidetsugu (NEO)1,828
Extended Art Foil Jeweled Lotus (CMR)400Borderless Foil Liliana of the Veil (DMU)173
Phyrexian Foil Urabrask, Heretic Praetor (SNC)492Phyrexian Foil Sheoldred, the Apocalypse (DMU)346
Borderless Foil Ancient Brass Dragon (CLB)352Phyrexian Foil Ajani, Sleeper Agent (DMU)692
Phyrexian foil (or foil-etched) Jin-Gitaxias (NEO)544The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale (DMU:LL)46,767

I hope that this breakdown helps you make decisions about what to buy. The biggest takeaway for me is that the special versions of Sheoldred, a clearly busted Commander card, will go for a pretty penny indeed. If Ajani takes off, those twice-as-hard-to-pull versions will hit the stratosphere. And whatever you do, don’t go cracking packs hoping to hit a lottery-ticket-level rare Legends card.

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.