Unlocked Pro Trader: 20 Thoughts About 2020 Going Into Prerelease Weekend


Not all of these are going to be gems but there is a lot going on with this set and coinciding with the release of this set which stomps on some potential Modern Horizons drafting. I got like 4 articles’ worth of ideas and rather than make you wait for them, I’m going to get everything pertinent to the prerelease out there before the prerelease. With that said, no more preamble, let’s get this show on the road. Also, I lied – I have 10 thoughts and 10 cards I’m thinking about.

1. The Most Built Deck This Week is Nuts

What in the world? Of course I get that Modern Horizons gave us new ninjas, rather a lot of them and people re-submitting their decklist will trigger the algorithm so it’s impossible to know who made new decks and who updated old ones, but Yuriko beat out Yawgmoth and Urza which is fairly nutty. I imagine a lot of the Edgar decks are updates based on a few, sexy new vampires in Core 2020 and cards like Wren and Six pushed up the Windgrace totals. Still, Yuriko winning the day is nice.

2. Other Surprises Abound

Kykar coming in at number 10 is pretty solid considering no one has their cards yet and the competitive players who are more stoked about Kykar tend not to post their decks where EDHREC can scrape them. That means Casual players are excited, too.

Sisay being built almost as much as Windgrace, a deck that got new cards and is the only fun Jund deck to play in EDH (I say that as a Prossh player) surprised me. Take a look at Sisay’s page – there isn’t much to spec on in there – it’s mostly clunky Dominaria cards and stuff that was already expensive. If you find some gems in there, let me know, but I didn’t find anything I cared about.

3. Muldrotha?

With Yarok on the horizon, it’s surprising to see Muldrotha still hanging on in there, but maybe this will help.

It seems that in addition to Yarok coming out and making stuff happen, people who are dead-set on playing Muldrotha plan to use Yarok in their decks, and Ashiok is about to join the party. 2 new lands that draw cards when you sac them also joined the party, so while I think Yarok is the new hotness and will get built a ton in the next few weeks, Muldrotha players are benefiting a bunch, too, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those new database entries are brand new decks. After all, Muldrotha gives dumb card advantage and you can play stuff like Mystic Remora and other cards with cumulative upkeeps.


4. Speaking of Which…

The best time to buy these was 2017, but if you didn’t buy an entire store’s inventory in 2017 like I did, you might not have a hundred of these (all LP) laying around. Muldrotha made this pop but I think with the recent changes to Pauper, they’re not done ascending.

Pauper paper people can play paper pauper for pay. The format has officially become sanctioned and they are unifying the legality, meaning cards that are common either on MODO or paper are legal. This only works one way – nothing is legal in paper that isn’t legal on MODO, but there were some cards that were common in paper but not common on MODO and therefore couldn’t be played. Among them were Sinkhole, Hymn to Tourach and Remora. Sinkhole and Hymn were banned outright along with the announcement of the format being sanctioned, but Remora and, I think, Merchant Scroll have some upside. Remora isn’t that reprintable imo and it could ascend to $5, considering how expensive Rhystic Study is from a much later set and with no pauper appeal.

5. Speaking of Which Part 2

Second spikes are harder and with this price recovering rapidly, you may want to lock down foils before they hit $100, which is achievable. There’s a possibility Scroll gets banned out from under you, but I think with how playable it is in Vintage, having the only foil printing with this art isn’t bad. The Judge foils aren’t a bad place to park money, either, and they’re generally below $40 on TCG Player, still.

6. Core Set 2020 Top Cards

On EDHREC, there is a series of dropdown menus at the top of the main page and one of them says “sets” and clicking on Core set 2020 will reveal that, while we don’t have a ton of data, some cards are beginning to emerge. Risen Reef is a card I like very much because while it’s a bad, 3 mana Coiling Oracle at first blush, you can probably play a few elementals in a lot of decks and trigger additional rips. It’s no worse than Oracle beyond costing an extra mana (and not being an Elf, I guess, which can matter) but it is significantly better in a lot of other situations. There are a lot of good elementals in the decks that want Reef and foils will be dirt cheap on what could end up a staple.

7. Coremmanders

No real shocks here, per se, but it is intersting that more people have so far built Rienne than Kaalia. I expect that to change.

Also, Sephara was built using EDHREC by The Prof in his preview of the deck and while that may or may not get people excited about the deck, his specific list is more than likely a jumping-off point for people to a greater extent than decks not generated by him. Watch his video and watch his list.

8. Sephara in Depth

Looking at Sephara’s page on EDHREC so far, there is quite a bit of overlap with Teysa Karlov, at least the white portions of it. Those cards that overlap used to be bulk and Teysa got them wrested from their hiding places and any with upside could climb to a respectable number now that people are forced to deal with a store to get their copy rather than just having one in a junk box. Not that having a card in a box somewhere has stopped me from just buying a card so I don’t have to look for it.

I like the new Bishop of Wings with Divine Visitation and a sac outlet, but Divine Visitation is just nuts on its own and it’s too cheap right now. Visitation is a $10+ card waiting to happen but you probably have some time to grab yours (also, the reprint risk is Medium/Medium High).

9. Gargos in Depth

Gargos is getting more decks built than I had expected. A Hydra tribal commander without red or blue seems really silly to me, but it’s happening and with a few new mono-green hydras, we may be right where we need to be for things to happen.

The Gargos page shows all of the green hydras, but there are a few interesting cards used in those decks on the utility side. I might as well discuss those at the end.

10. Kethis in Depth

Yawgmoth makes an appearance in a ton of Kethis decks. He’s a sac outlet and a discard outlet which makes him perfect for a deck that can bring creatures back from the graveyard. I’m not sure exactly how I want to build Kethis so I have been avoiding trying in my Coolstuff articles, but people seem pumped despite, you know, the enormous card advantage, negligible cost reduction, limited window to play spells without having to re-activate, limited scope of creatures able to be reanimated and being a worse Karador in every single way. You can get back Planeswalkers, though, so that’s neat.


10 Picks With Minimal Explanation

Nice trend, low reprint risk and high synergy with Gargos.

Kethis and new Sisay both reference Legendary creatures.

You don’t want to build a new Omnath deck and not include this.

Good in Omnath and also fetches Ingot Chewer and Wispmare in the Hogaak deck I hope gets banned.

This is entirely too cheap and I can’t figure out why.

If Gargos didn’t do this, and it didn’t, imagine what’s going to happen now. Casuals don’t foil their casual decks per se, but look at that price graph.

I don’t know where this foil bottoms out but when it does, I’m a buyer. Too good on its own, in Oathbreaker and in Kykar to be ignored. Look at the price of Narset for its absolute ceiling and extrapolate from there given its smaller degree of appeal compared to Narset.

I get these as bulk rares all the time. You should buy bulk rares sight unseen.

Cards that cost more on TCG Player than Card Kingdom make my Spider Sense tingle.

That was a lot of work but you’re worth it. Catch me next week!

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.


The Watchtower 7/1/19 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen

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.

Alright guys, hang on here. All of the Magic 2020 spoilers are out, the set releases this weekend or something, and then we can breathe free and easy for at least a few weeks. Commander 2019 is due out August 23rd, and if we get two weeks of spoilers, that means we’ve got possibly a full six weeks without any spoilers. Six whole weeks without checking Twitter compulsively (yeah right), six whole weeks without arguing about whether a new combo works (as if), six whole weeks without needing to scurry to buy new cards (sure). We even got the SDCC promos revealed last week, so we don’t have that hanging over our heads either. Enjoy your summer! You’re free!

Goblin Engineer

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $15

SCG hosted a Team Modern Open this past weekend, which brought out plenty of Modern Horizons brewing. What quickly caught my eye was seeing Grixis Urza in both the second place team’s stable, as well as fourth place’s. Grixis Urza is the abhorrently named, latest iteration of Lantern Control, a deck which strays further from its roots and god’s light with every passing tournament. To be fair to the naming convention, I’m not even sure you can consider this deck anything other than a cousin to Latern[less] Control, as other than the archetype-agnostic staples of Mox Opal and Mishra’s Bauble, the only real card in common is a single copy of Ensnaring Bridge. 

Of course, with four Goblin Engineers, that one copy of Bridge plays more like five. And even more than that, honestly, since Engineer will let you recur it should your one copy be destroyed. It’s in this way that a single copy of Bridge feels, to opponent and pilot both, to have a nearly limitless number of copies in the list. That’s the more understated half of Goblin Engineer; you’re able to recur a specific artifact over and over, typically after having tutored for it, granting pilot far more mileage out of a single copy than would otherwise be able. Expanding on this, you’re able to cut Bridge slots for other powerful artifacts, and each becomes fetchable during each game, representing a major hurdle should your deck be stymied by Ensnaring Bridge, Pithing Needle, Grafdigger’s Cage, or whatever else.


Grixis Urza (ugh) is just the beginning for Engineer. We’re going to see a lot of this card in Modern over the coming months and years. It’s flexible, cheap, fast, and has two relevant abilities. Prices are down in the $3 to $4 range at the moment, which is sort of surprising, given that this is perhaps the most Modern playable rare of the set. Supply is deep, which isn’t surprising, as vendors are still trying to liquidate their initial inventory that was only put on shelves a few weeks ago. Come the fall it’s not going to look like this, and there won’t be too much more added to the global stocks, as player money is going to be tied up with Magic 2020, Commander 2019, the fall set, all while dissuaded by Modern Horizon’s higher pack prices. There will be a day that Goblin Engineer is $10 or $15, and it’s only a question of when.

Tatyova, Benthic Druid (Foil)

Price Today: $5
Possible Price: $15

Magic 2020 brings with it several new wedge commanders, and each is going to spur price movement. I’m inclined to believe the leader of the pack, at least in terms of overall popularity, will be Yarok, the Desecrated. It’s not hard to understand why; he is literally Panharmonicon on a stick. Like, the exact same wording. Foil Panharmonicons as a result have been quite liquid, and TCG low is up to $22. That’s a health gain from the $10 you would have paid for them this time last year. Once Yarok has actually hit the street and is in players hands, supply is going to start to feel the real pinch of players building it. That’s Panharmonicon though, and not what we’re talking about.

Rather, I’m looking into Tatyova this week. Tatyova is an uncommon — yes, uncommon — from Dominaria. There are few cards that are such a clear distillate of their color pair. A merfolk Druid, every time you put a land into play — not play, but put into play — you  gain a life and draw a card. That’s blue and green to a T. This utility hasn’t gone unnoticed, making Tatyova one of the most popular cards from Dominaria, and seating her at a respectable 52nd rank of popular commanders over at EDHREC. That’s no small feat, considering how long many of those commanders have been available. She’s only going to improve her position from here, as what Yarok deck isn’t going to play Tatyova? None of them, that’s how many.

Dominaria has a few seasons under its belt, and as a result, inventory isn’t quite as robust as MH1. There’s maybe 30 vendors on TCG with foil copies, and for the most part, those are sold as singles or pairs. It’s a similar story with the buy-a-box promos. As players start to build Yarok, expect inventories to drain and prices to rise.

Reki, the History of Kamigawa

Price Today: $9
Possible Price: $18

Kethis, the Hidden Hand is a commander that plays in a space that’s otherwise sparsely populated. He rewards and encourages players that stuff their deck full of legendary spells. There’s a few payoffs for this out there, though not as many as tribal, or artifacts, or whathaveyou.

Immediately I went to Reki, a card that has stuck with me for no particular reason. I’ve never sleeved up the card a single time, yet I recalled it instantly when looking at Kethis. Reki is an old card from an old set; Saviors of Kamigawa specifically. You can’t pick a card better suited for Kethis. He’s going to reduce the cost of virtually every card in your deck by one, and cantrip each time you cast any of those spells? Yeah that sounds perfect. If you’re building Kethis, you’re including Reki.

Typically I’d want to search out foils here, but those jumped a year or two ago and now cost upwards of $50. There’s possibly room for those to grow from here, but it’s going to be tough selling these for $80 or $90. Instead I’d rather focus on the non-foils, which you can find scattered copies of in the $8 to $9 range. They’ve been hanging out there for awhile, so this price isn’t the result of Kethis’ reveal. Once players start cracking Kethis in their M20 packs and begin crafting their 99, Reki is going to be one of the first cards into the shopping cart. It’s not going to take long at all to eat the remaining inventory out there.

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 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.

Cored to Death

There’s a disturbing trend at work right now in the Core Set, and maybe it’s for the best after the wild rides we’ve been experiencing: This core set has booster pack card currently being sold above $20.

The caveat here is that some of the Planeswalker Deck specials are above that over on TCG, but they are an exception. Leyline of the Void, a $60 card two weeks ago, is being presold for $17 and that’s before anyone has opened a pack of this set. Ouch.

To put that in perspective, there’s currently two cards from Core Set 2019 which are more than $20, and that set was released a year ago. It’s been quite some time since we had a set so full of unexciting and cheap cards, lacking headliners or chase cards.

What’s this mean for us? A couple of things, and you should get your wallets ready.

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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: Yaroktopus’ Garden


I’m not going to sugarcoat it – I’m not really in the mood to write my normal type of article. I have a bunch of ideas about picks and I want to get them all down before I forget any of them and that means the structure of the article is going to suffer. I really like to write two or three paragraphs before the Pro Trader paywall comes down and if I don’t do that, the transition is going to be pretty abrupt and

OK, everyone still with me? Let’s talk about the card I think is going to make money moves and then we can talk picks. Here’s your boy.

Dwayne Yarok Johnson over here is in some serious card advantage colors and ETB effects abound. Panharmonicon was already a sick card and now we have one in the command zone, in good colors, with good stats to boot. Luckily, we already have EDHREC data flowing in so I don’t have to guess like I did for Kykar (I nailed it, though). I mean, there are 4 decks in the database but I poked around reddit and other places deckbuilders hang out and I also know how to build EDH deck so I think we’ll be fine. Let’s look at what’s inclined to be on the move on the basis of this elemental horror.

Ob is recovering nicely from his reprinting, as predicted. This isn’t the first time I have mentioned Ob since Iconic Masters but it may be the last because this much growth isn’t sustainable. The good news is that the card has plateaued and new usage will trigger more growth. Before the reprinting, the peak price of Ob was lower than it is now, meaning it’s at an all-time high despite more copies. I think this may be a weak buy considering how high it’s already gone but I also think if you can get them below $10, you can probably get out at $12-$15 fairly easily and I don’t know that another printing is coming soon. This card is too good in this deck but also elsewhere.

For years, “stagnation” described this card’s price but it has picked up a bit lately and also, it’s really dumb in this deck. Every time they play a land you draw 4 and they exile 4? It’s pretty powerful and you may need to quickly find a way to get rid of Sire before it kills you. Check yourself before you deck yourself, if you will. These are gettable under $2 and Yarok could make them $5, especially since it’s a mythic long out of print.

This is down from its peak which means another peak would be higher, but this is mostly just a safe bet. I’m not sure how many people are going to jam a $40 card in this deck, but I think with Palinchron being on the Reserved List and the odds of a Lotus Field situation being pretty remote given what a mistake the “untap X lands” cards were, I think this is just a safe buy that goes nuts. You untap 14 lands when you resolve this and that’s a lot of lands.

Even if you think this is reprintable, which do you think happens first? A reprint or this thing selling for a solid Hamilton on TCG Player? Gettable under $7 right now, the clock is ticking on this. I think you can easily makes 30-40% even if you think it’s getting reprinted soon.

I actually like the financial metrics of this less than other cards, but unlike other cards, it hasn’t gone up already and that’s good. I think this can shake off its latest reprinting eventually and even if Yarok doesn’t do it, something will. Let’s look at EDHREC, shall we?

4,851 is in 5% of total decks, but how is it performing versus other Green cards?

Despite Green being the “creatures” color, Primus, which is the 11th-most-played Green creature doesn’t crack the Top 100 Green cards. However, it’s played more than Kalonian Hydra and almost as much as Fertilid. I think Yarok could move the needle and if not, the other things that made this card peak at $10, get reprinted and peak at $10 again are still likely true.

It’s worth noting that this basically doubled to 30 over the last month and some stores online have them for $15. I snagged a couple of copies from a site I use but there are plenty of other obscure sites and some have copies. This needs a reprint, badly and perhaps the Invention printing shows they know that, so be nimble.

That does it for me this week. I recommend keeping an eye on the EDHREC page for Yarok over the coming weeks because this card is Muldrotha-tier advantage engine and people love Deadeye Navigator shenanigans. If you think of anything else, leave me a comment. Until next time!