Unlocked Pro Trader: Going Wide

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If I’d written this article yesterday, it would have been about the most popular commander of the week on EDHREC.

Alela is a far more interesting commander than Korvold and I’m going to ignore Korvold for now. Sure, Korvold may give some cards some upside, but I also think the upside is for cards that are already expensive or never going to be expensive. Think either Food Chain which is a million dollars or Smothering Abomination which has a million copies out there. Battle for Zendikar was one of the worst sets ever but it was also one of the best-selling sets ever, so figure it out. I think Korvold may be worth talking about at some point but not today. Today I want to focus on Alela because I think cards that don’t get a ton of play are in play now and that’s a thing worth knowing. No preamble today, let’s just get down to bidness.

It’s possible we’re too late here, but with these gettable some places around $6 and the trajectory shooting at $10 or above, I’d say getting these today would be smart. These went to nothing with the Modern Masters printing but if you were savvy, you scooped them cheap because it’s a Lord. I won’t pretend I was savvy or that I recommended to anyone to get these for cheap, but here we are faced with the prospect of a $10 non-mythic. It’s very good in that it doubles the power and toughness of the tokens Alela spits out. This isn’t an “I predict this” pick as much as a “Well, I missed the best time to get this but they’re still gettable at the old price if you hurry” pick which is the kind of pick Corbin Hosler made an entire MTG Finance career out of.

I’m kidding him.

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A little.

There was basically never a better or worse time to get this card. It used to be something like this would hover at a lower price while not seeing play in Standard then tank at rotation and we could scoop them up but so many people play EDH now that there is basically no good time like that. I remember Parallel Lives was like a buck or two and I could take my time getting them. We didn’t see that same concept for Anointed Procession, really. It caught on a bit in Standard and never became reasonable.

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Divine Visitation has been the same price for half a year. Could it drop? Yeah, maybe. But it could also end up a lot more than it is, now, and with it being sort of awkward to reprint it in a Commander precon, I think we’re safe. If the price does drop significantly, get greedy and buy twice as many copies so your average price paid feels better to you. That said, I don’t see a drop. Visitation is trending down a bit but it’s not likely to tank and the relative stability tells me that it’s been adopted and the more decks that want it, the fewer copies to go around. Also worth noting, this is legal in Brawl and not in the precon. Are people going to build Brawl? If they do, Alela making big angels is big game.

This is premium removal in Blue but I’m kind of puzzled with an Esper deck has so many instances of it given access to Black and White.

Stranding their commander in play given the changes to the tuck rule has become increasingly important and when those rules went through, I didn’t properly re-evaluate cards like this the way I did for cards that got worse. Lignify and Song of the Dryads are legit cards and this is a very permanent way for Blue to deal with commanders because bouncing and countering is not that effective. This isn’t specific to Alela, but I bet you didn’t know this was closing in on $3 already because I sure didn’t.

One of these prices is almost certainly wrong. My guess is that Card Kingdom is selling these at $20 for Near Mint and TCG Player will eventually get with the program. The cheapest NM on TCG Player is $14 and the thing about these getting bought out on that platform is that played copies that are only a buck or so cheaper than NM when the price starts to shift get stranded and go last, obscuring the signal that the price is shifting. The Market Price shifts slowly so if there is a run on these, it will take awhile to register. I don’t know if this is going to be $25 on TCG Player anytime soon, but look at that price disparity between the two platforms and tell me something isn’t going to change soon.

The floor is now.

I mean, the floor was mid 2018, apparently, but the post-rotation floor is now. At the very least, there will be one copy of this for every copy of Morophon, but it’s not like tribes that already have Lords won’t run this. This is tribal, EDH like tribal, casuals like tribal and Kaladesh boxes are about to be very expensive. This is a no-brainer.

That does it for me this week. As always, take a look at the page and try to find a pick or two on your own. If you aren’t sure, you can always leave me a comment below or tweet to me @jasonealt. Until next time!

MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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Week one with Eldraine

This is likely the best weekend of the year when it comes to Constructed Magic.

We’ve got the double whammy of four sets leaving Standard and a new set coming in. The cardpool is narrower, the brewing is hot and heavy, and there’s an Arena event that is just perfect to get people burning wildcards.

Thank goodness SCG is broadcasting this weekend, a Team Constructed event that’s likely to focus on the Standard player but this first week, all bets are off.

We’ve had some impressive movement on cards, some of which is permanent and some of which is a motivation to sell…

One thing to keep in mind about Throne of Eldraine cards: They are about to be legal in Standard for the next two years. These are going to be cheaper in three months, and that’s when I’m planning on buying lots and lots of some of these, the staples and the most-easily-abused cards.

Oko, Thief of Crowns ($36)

I was super wrong about Oko. I didn’t see the Food synergies coming, nor the brokenness with Gilded Goose, and there’s a lot more ways to abuse the Food than I’d expected. I also didn’t see how high the loyalty can get, until I saw some games with it and against it. Pretty sick stuff. Oko is going to be all over the place this weekend, but this price is an artifact of the enforced scarcity of prerelease week. If you opened one, I’d sell right now, as the orders can go out as of today and the price will fall back under $30, more likely to $25. 

Knight of the Ebon Legion ($10)

A month ago, this was $3. Knights are well-positioned for Week 1, and this is also good in an aggressive black shell. The price has been climbing steadily these past four weeks, and I’m a seller at this point. It’s pretty unusual for a rare to break $10 without a lot of cross-format appeal, and the only reason this is doing so is because it’s a four-of in every deck that’s playing it. 

For reference, here’s the cards worth $10 or more from the last few sets:

SetCardsPrice
Core Set 2020Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Knight of the Ebon Legion
$14
$10
War of the SparkTeferi, Time Raveler
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Finale of Devastation
$14
$12
$11
Ravnica AllegianceHydroid Krasis
Breeding Pool
Godless Shrine
Blood Crypt
Stomping Ground
$19
$15
$10
$10
$10
Guilds of RavnicaAssassin’s Trophy
Watery Grave
$17
$11

Knight of the Ebon Legion is good, but you’ll be best served getting rid of all extra copies in the next couple of weeks.

Once Upon a Time ($12)

This has been trending downwards in the last couple of weeks, and that’s a surprise to me, given the number of decks that likely want to play this effect. I think $12 is too high in the long term, but what I’m eyeballing are the foils and the special versions. If this card is Modern-level good, it’s going to be $20 easily. The pack foils are $25 or so right now, and that’s a very tempting buy-in price.

Spawn of Mayhem ($8)

A card that’s doubled in price in the last two weeks, there’s a lot to like. It’s a mythic, it’s cheap to play, good in multiples, and if you are in the aggro deck, it’s possible that the other player is just dead before they can answer it effectively.

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I’m not buying in at $8 and hoping it climbs to $15 or $20…yet. Let me see one or two good matches on camera, and then I’ll be in to buy at this price. 

Murderous Rider ($12)

I really can’t believe this is a card. I keep thinking that there’s got to be more of a drawback than the two life, that it can’t possibly be this good. We know that Hero’s Downfall and Vraska’s Contempt both hit early $10 highs, and then fell back down to earth while it was in print, then popped back up to be a staple for the duration of Standard. Here’s the graph for Vraska’s Contempt:

Murderous Rider is going to drop in price. That’s a given. How far can the best removal spell in years fall? This is enormous value, and given how many annoying planeswalkers are running around, the Rider is going to be a mainstay for years.

I’m a seller at $12, but I no longer think it’s going to go as low as $5. Instead, $7 feels like the floor, as people realize they are going to need four copies for the next two years.

The Great Henge ($12)

Now this, I’m a buyer on. It’s been a long time since I saw such an unfair card for any format, and don’t overlook how Commander players are going to be sapping copies out of the market. There’s blessed few cards I want more in any creature strategy, and luckily that’s a wide swath of Commander decks. 

I think that someone is going to go off with this card on camera this weekend, and it’s going to rocket to $20+. It’s definitely the card with the most long-term casual appeal, and that makes me feel pretty safe and sound when it comes to picking up extra copies. It’s got two years to make waves in Standard, and even if that doesn’t pan out, it’s a solid Commander pickup. I am waiting to see what the extended art foils go for, though. How high can it go?

Fires of Invention ($3)

This was a little over $1 early on, but people have figured out that this is good. Who knew? I like this as a component of decks that want to use activated abilities, especially Planeswalkers. It’s important to note that on your turn four, you can put this into play and then immediately play one more spell. Yes, the enchantment is one of your two spells, and while that’s no fun, this is a card that is going to get broken. I would have preferred the $1 price, but if this does well, I can see it rocketing up to $10 early in the season before settling back down.

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 Legacy of Brawl

Readers,

These Brawl decks might not do much to get people playing what is at its core a flawed format given its reliance on new manabase support every time Standard rotates and decks having a short shelf life, something EDH players traditionally hate, but they are impacting EDH quite a bit. How much, you ask?

Well, Throne of Eldraine gave us Emry, Lurker of the Loch, an artifact combo creature and it was kept out of the top 21 decks of the week by all 4 Brawl commanders. What is your LGS going to charge for this product with no MSRP, creatures that Standard control players will want multiple copies of like Shimmer Dragon and Alela, Artful Provacateur and a $20 mana rock? More than the Commander precons, I bet, and that’s a problem.

It’s not my problem to solve, my problem to solve is to come to grips with the fact that the #1 commander for the week Throne of Eldraine releases is a boring, linear tribal commander.

Boring and linear is something I’ll gripe about when I’m wearing my “EDH Deckbuilder Thursdays on CoolstuffInc.com” hat but today I’m wearing the visor I got in Vegas that says “La$ Vega$” on it and has the visor part tinted green so I can count money for hours without eye strain from fluorescent bulbs and I can tell you that linear and boring is good because the easier a deck is to build, the more there is a consensus on how to do it. That’s a good thing because it makes key cards go up in price and makes people have to buy them from us. Let’s look at Ser Gwyn and the future of Knights.

The ship has sailed on a few of the kittycats and that’s fine. Puresteel Paladin was a card we all saw coming a mile away but if no one played the deck, I figured the copies would be difficult to offload. Kittycats like this feel bad if you miss them, but if you were going to play the deck, you would have bought the card already and if you’re looking to make money, misses aren’t a big deal since there are plenty of other cards you can hit on. We have more turnaround time on other cards than we would have on Paladin and that’s what we should focus on. When people were looking at Ser Gwyn and saying “KNIGHTS” with no data from people building the deck, what did they miss when they were buying Puresteel Paladin at $10?

Anyone who doesn’t play EDH can see Knight Exemplar coming, but for whatever reason, it seems like people who don’t play EDH didn’t go that deep on Sram, a slam-dunk in the deck. The foil is currently less than twice as much as the non-foil, which is also underpriced. Sram is a card that’s kind of tough to reprint, works as a commander and as part of the 99 and draws a ton of cards. Kaladesh block was also really nutty so the price of boxes is going to grow by a lot so the odds of being able to get these for a reasonable price are pretty remote after the current supply is gone. Sram foils under $3 seems like a really obvious play to me.

One advantage of the kittycat deck being approximately a million dollars on eBay sealed is that it’s not attractive to snag these in bulk and bust them for singles, so while the reprinting did some damage to the price, it basically shook it off and recovered.

It looks like the price on this foil hasn’t changed a ton lately (the down trends are the card going out of stock, not plummeting in price) and it looks like some sites had it for $6 basically since it was printed and it’s still gettable under $10 a few places. Go get. Conspiracy cards are hot despite boxes being sold on eBay for basically dealer cost a while back and now that that feeding frenzy is over and there prices are still pretty high for a set like this, it’s safe to say the supply is what it is and this is a $10 card if Gwyn maintains. I normally don’t care for foils but this is a rare case with a dwindling supply that hasn’t triggered a price change.

Speaking of Kittycats, we’re seeing the fallout from a deck that never really was. Nazhan and Balan decks seemed like a good fit for Darksteel Plate and the shape of the graph bears that timeline of events out but it also reveals that demand was perhaps overstated. Be wary and nimble and if you want to capitalize on a potential second spike here, get in and out. I don’t know I like the inclusions page for Plate just yet.

Still, second spikes are harder and Plate IS a casual favorite and a pretty absurd card to boot. Equipping for 0 at Instant speed means you could save anything at any time, so maybe buy it AND Shikari.

This is gettable at $5 and the keyword “infect” makes this really difficult to reprint. Gwyn lets you load up 1 creature with all of your equipment if you want to and this is an excellent target. It has protection already, swords could give it more and you could KO someone, untap and have another combat phase in these colors. That’s spicy.

Ultimately, you should check the page out yourself, and we’ll delve into the less obvious decks like Alela and Korvold next week because there is a bit more time on that stuff because of the lack of kittycats in the decks. That does it for me but if you wouldn’t mind, leave me a comment to let me know what you would like me to cover or clarify and remember to like and share on social media. Until next time!

The Watchtower 9/30/19 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.


I know you were all concerned about my wellbeing but fear not, I was simply on vacation. I have returned, eager to share with all of you my indispensable Opinions About Magic Cards. Throne of Eldraine has lit a lot fires under a lot of butts, with two of the more prevalent discussions regarding Oko’s strength, and the viability of Paradoxical Urza in Modern. Although now that I think about it the latter is unrelated to TOE at all, since it uses no cards from that set, and is simply occurring within the same chronological space. Whatever. We’ll talk about both!

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  ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2013. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


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