Unlocked Pro Trader: I Forgot the Precons


I considered, as a bit, saying “I forgot the precons” a bunch of times in this article like they said “We bought a zoo!” in the movie “We Bought a Zoo.” I say “they” because I honestly don’t remember if it was Matt Damon or Brad Pitt. It was one of those two. Or Greg Kinnear. One of the three out of Matt Damon, Brad Pitt or Greg Kinnear. The point is, one of them, or Liev Schreiber maybe, I literally have no idea, but it’s one of those four, said “We bought a zoo!” every time something zooey happened. I think. I only saw the trailer. The point is, I forgot the precons.

I didn’t mean to, it’s just that last week we didn’t have data and this week we do, so I was all set to write the “We have data now!” article for the main set and I remembered I haven’t even TOUCHED the precon commanders. It’s cool, I remembered in time. While the precons are less ripe for giving us good specs, I think the top ones will have had enough cards removed and replaced that a consensus can start to form. Let’s see what we see, shall we? I forgot the precons.

This is the top 8 so far, but there are literally 30 Legendary creatures in this set of 5 decks and that’s… just so many. I like that Tor Wauki is currently winning, a lot, and I think it’s as good a place to start as any.

This is a pretty standard variation on the “Torbran turns a ping into a BANG” formula, and access to Black is very good. You wouldn’t know it from the High Synergy cards, but there are some high inclusions that deserve a look.

Perhaps then the foil?

This is a good card, a gorgeous if curly foil and a card that has flirted with $3 when it was getting played not at all. Obossh made people remember this card existed, Tor Wauki makes sure they never forget again.

Man, that was a sick sentence. I should write flavor text.

This is far from the best time to buy Sedgemoor Witch but it’s very far from the worse. I like this card a ton as I am beginning to like all Extended Art cards. This was basically the price of the regular frame for a while and a year on, this is how it looks. Just sayin.

If anything with Suspend on it ever gets cheap, buy a lot. Of all of the mechanics that seem to get broken and turn into free spells accidentally, Suspend seems to do it 5 times as often as anything else.

There will be a time when people stop caring that their copy of a Magic card is butt ugly because it’s a $16 copy of a $24 card. This isn’t there yet, but it’s rebounding already because this card is unfair. Both versions are under $5 right now and both are a buy.

Ditto. This version is more polarizing than ugly which should help the price of both, and both versions are too cheap, currently.

If someone is willing to sell you this powerful foil card for $1, you should take them up on it.

Here is Exhibit A, I could find an Exhibit B if you needed it, but I kind of feel like anyone who needed that would have acquitted OJ.

Fine, here is a card I told people to pick up at $1. Not bragging, just saying sometimes it’s so obvious even I catch it. This goes in the Hazezon deck but the nonfoil is trash, so consider foils when a new commander makes an old uncommon relevant.

Now THIS is a wild pile of cards, good gravy.

OK, kidding. I mean… kind of? Legends cards coming in Dominaria packs are going to be somewhat likely to spark some interest in the old set and with legendary status mattering to this absolute bat$*@# commander, some of the older stuff could move again. This card is old enough to have gray hair, there is something to be said for it not being actually unplayable since you can draw it with the middle ability on your Planeswalker commander that has a built in Insurrection you should probably be building to? I don’t know, what I do know is that the cards in this deck are all in the precon and people aren’t adding much and I wanted to finish with a whimper to give some other writers a crack at the title of “best article of the week” for a change.

I will go over more of the 70 Legendary creatures in this set next week because I am Magic’s Sisyphus. Thanks for reading, nerds. Until next time!


The August 2022 Superdrop

Yes, our eyes are full of Dominaria United cards, but the August Superdrop is here and this is a much more appealing target. I’m not buying any DMU for a while, but I’m very likely to go wild on these drops.

Secret Lairs are mostly decent value, and occasionally great value. They are really rewarding patience and those who got the short-lived drops, and it’s worth it to look at these drops to see what’s appealing. 

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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: Domoneyaria Monited


There’s a new set, we have spoiled commanders and it’s going to be a wild ride. Let’s take a real cursory glance at what I think matters and let you figure out the more mundane details. It’s more helpful for me to say “Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief makes me think of the cards that spiked from Orvar” and let you figure out what those are than to have you wait 5 weeks for me to get to Ivy in the rotation. Let’s do some real quick hits and cover a lot of ground quickly – I’ll give you a general idea of the landscape and we can get granular in the coming weeks sound good?

Soul of Windgrace seems like it will be fairly popular commander because it says “Draw a card” on it and it’s not Blue. People love landfall and getting lands out of the yard is a challenge that Soul of Windgrace BARELY ADDRESSES. I hate having to attack with my commander so there has to be a better way to not dump your entire mitt to this card. There is!

This got a reprint recently which really tanked the price. It has flirted with $7 before and while I don’t necessarily think we will see $7 on a card that can get reprinted a lot, let me suggest a card that is harder to make obsolete with a reprint.

The extended art version is a real good-looking image depicting some sort of tree planeswalker that I assume people who play landfall decks will be familiar with. This art is unlikely to come back up, is cheap right now and foils are garbage thanks to collector boosters. I think this will have the highest price slope out of all copies and I want these badly right now.

This gets better the longer you look at it. You aren’t obliged to copy anything bad but you have the option to copy anything anyone plays and make it target Ivy. I just saw this card spoiled a few hours ago and don’t have a real plan, but here are 2 cards I would yank out of bulk.

This is the foil in case you wanted to buy, but I bet you have these in bulk and should go check. A more recent one I KNOW you have in bulk is this one.

I know foils are bad, so maybe don’t buy, but look where these cards could go. Ivy isn’t as obvious or as ridiculous as Orvar, whose page is here, but people love value and Ivy as a value maven.

You can probably just read my Slimefoot article from 2018, but everything on Slimefoot’s page is likely in play, and this was a predictable outcome even back in 2018.

This might not be headed to $10 but I bet it gets to $5, and maybe even $7 again. Slimefoot was a big deal and Nemata is even better. Nemata’s first ability is actually insane in Commander, so expect Nemata to get built more than Slimefoot did. It’s a cheap deck, to boot, with a lot of the cards that care about Saprolings being common and uncommon and Corbin Hosler spilling Red Bull on an entire stack of copies of Parallel Lives, making them cheap pickups.

This is just another Depala, this set is kind of boring with respect to the 40 Legendary creatures I begged them not to put in the set. A lot of them are really uninspired, and what do you expect when you have to come up with more Legendary creatures than were printed between 1993 and 1998 every 2 months? Don’t bother looking that up, I’m being (barely) hyperbolic.

This is as good as Displacer Kitten in like half of the decks in the format. This costs half of Kitten and it probably still will in a year when Kitten is 20 and Ship is 10.

This is, of course, the money. A lot of cards are going up and I’m covering this commander in depth next week. Anything and everything that makes Proliferate happen is getting jammed in this deck, and really big, expensive Artifact Creatures are back on the menu for a Jhoira deck just like in 2009.

This is already in the midst of popping, but $10 for a rare with 2 printings, one in 2010 and 1 in 2015 is not entirely out of the question and might, in fact, seem quite reasonable. More about this commander next week, but keep an eye on big Proliferate cards – maybe think about those Contagion Engines before next week?

That does it for me, nerds. A lot of commanders are going to move a lot of cards so our time is fairly short, but there is no need to get into real detail until there is real detail to be gotten into. That does it for me – until next time!

Pro Trader: Will Liliana Break Pioneer?

The announcement that Liliana of the Veil will soon be legal in Pioneer made Magic boomers everywhere rejoice! Liliana has long epitomized the good old days of magic, in which accruing value and 1-for-1’ing your opponent was a winning strategy.  

For those who haven’t played with this iconic necromancer, Liliana is a strong card because if you build your deck properly you can break its symmetry through discarding recursive threats, cards with flashback, or things that will later be reanimated. Its -2 forces your opponent to sacrifice a creature is important too – as is the ultimate if you can get to it – and when combined Liliana is a very well-rounded card indeed.

Power creep is real and whether Liliana is good enough in 2022 Magic is an open question. Most on social media assume Liliana will become a centerpiece of various strategies going forward – I tend to agree since Rakdos is already one of the best decks – but its success will depend on its tools, so let’s check out the cards that may benefit from Liliana’s inclusion in Pioneer.

Discard Spells

It’s rare to see Liliana played without targeted discard spells like Thoughtseize. This approach makes a lot of sense – the target hand destruction clears the way – permitting Liliana to land on turn three causing havoc to your opponent’s plans. While Thoughtseize may not be an actionable speculation target since we’re so far away from its most recent printing, those who are holding old border TSR reprints may be rewarded based on the additional demand for the best discard spell in the game.

Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger

Kroxa is a very strong card in its own right, but it gets even more powerful when you can pitch it into the graveyard for free while costing your opponent a card. Even better, Liliana fills up your graveyard, giving you the ammunition to escape Kroxa reliably. Current Rakdos Midrange builds in pioneer currently run one copy of Kroxa – I could see this expanding to two copies going forward in Liliana builds.      

Tenacious Underdog

The effectiveness of Tenacious Underdog will depend on the match-up. If your opponent is a combo deck, Tenacious Underdog likely doesn’t make the cut. But on the other hand, if you’re playing against a control deck, Tenacious Underdog can provide you with a threat that is resistant to removal and draws you an extra card every turn in the late game for four mana. When you pitch this to Liliana – you remove the mopey 3/2 creature and only heavily rely on the value of a free graveyard threat. This approach is much more effective and permits pilots to run 2-3 copies without too much risk, as opposed to the single copy that is typically run in current Rakdos builds.

Ob Nixilis, the Adversary

Ob Nixilis is getting a new fresh round of hype as people consider combining Liliana’s discard requirement with Ob Nixilis’s +1 ability. While Ob Nixilis is seeing a small amount of play in Pioneer currently in both main and sideboards, I’m a bit skeptical that two planeswalkers with the same mana value will gel together in the same deck. While both Liliana and Ob Nixilis are good in their own right, I’m just not sure they will be good together. I can see the potential synergies, but we’ll see.

Deathrite Shaman

Could Liliana make the powerful “1 mana planeswalker” playable in pioneer, i.e. Deathrite Shaman? I’m skeptical but would love to see it. One of the challenges with Deathrite is that fetch lands are banned in Pioneer. This leaves cards that barely see play like Fabled Passage as the only “fetch” option. But some Abzan Greasefang builds have been running four copies of Deathrite already – granted these versions of the deck are very fringe at this point. Perhaps when combined with Liliana, you could make Deathrite work for real as a mix of ramp, graveyard hate, and life gain. Doubt it, but could be fun.

A much less played variant of Abzan Greasefang.

 Greasefang, Okiba Boss

Speaking of Greasefang, its namesake stands to benefit tremendously from Liliana being legal in Pioneer. Providing a consistent discard outlet that is also a solid card overall would provide a lot to this deck that runs questionable cards like Raffine’s Informant. Liliana would permit pitching both vehicles (Parhelion II and Esika’s Chariot) plus Can’t Stay Away, which provides value with its flashback option.  

Unlicensed Hearse

Unlicensed Hearse is good under normal circumstances, providing main board hate to Pioneer decks like Greasefang, Phoenix, among others. But being able to come down on turn two followed by Liliana on turn three providing graveyard fodder forever compliments each other very well.  

Boost to Mono-Black Value?

It seems like forever ago now, but for a long time, Mono Black value was one of the top decks around, with these value cards being a core part of the deck. Liliana does a great job taking advantage of these cards’ ability to be cast from the graveyard. I’m not sure if that’s enough to combat the other big things happening in Pioneer at the moment, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

The four-drop spot stop in black decks is someone lacking currently. There are some powerful planeswalkers that play a supporting role, but very few cards provide as much value as Kalitas, which only gets better under Liliana. Currently when you play Kalitas you have to untap to gain incremental value. With Liliana on the board, you can play Kalitas and immediately -2 Liliana, gaining you a 2/2 zombie while exiling your opponent’s threat.     

Will Grixis Ever Become Viable?

I’m always shocked at how little play Treasure Cruise sees in Pioneer. I’m hoping against all odds that Liliana’s inclusion in Pioneer makes some new archetypes competitive, like Grixis featuring value cards like Treasure Cruise (due to filling up your graveyard), alongside cards like Nicol Bolas. I doubt it, but here’s to hoping!

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.