Unlocked Pro Trader: Deeper Analysis Needed

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Readers!

We used to talk a lot about how things tended to meander a bit in EDH land. Prices were going to move based on authentic buying patterns and not on speculation. Things are moving a little more swiftly these days with more people having at least one EDH deck and a little bit of knowledge about the format, decks being more exciting to build (and sometimes more obvious like in the cases of Xndrsplt and Okaun, for example, who were exciting AND obvious and whose cards all spiked immediately) and because of, well, me. Me and people like me, writing about how the speculation community was ignoring EDH because they didn’t play it and how foolish that was. Some decks and their cards are going to take a lot longer to move – we saw this with Vannifar cards moving immediately and Teysa cards taking a week or so and Nikya cards taking several weeks and then some Vannifar stuff like Craterhoof going up much later. 

What we’re seeing now is Feather cards bounding upward within 24 hours of Feather being previewed, which is kind of alarming because not only is the deck a little less obvious if you don’t think about how you’d actually build it, some of the cards I expected to take longer have popped in the last day, also. Let’s look at Feather, first up.

This card is obviously ridiculous with good stats, high recastability given its low CMC, relevant creature type and most importantly, actual card advantage in a Boros deck which, what? I don’t even know how to respond to that.

I expected people to scoop some low-hanging fruit here early. Sure, the cantrips themselves are pretty much immaterial since I think it’s real low reward to speculate on something like foil Temur Battle Rage, but the mechanism for finding the right cantrips is material, I think, and it’s a card I’ve made money on twice already. We thought a reprint nerfed it, but it’s BACK, BABY!

What a precipitous climb from $0.50 to $10. It’s likely to settle lower and if you didn’t snag these or already have them, you likely aren’t benefitting much from a 96 hour hype price. It was basically too late to warn you as soon as I noticed, which happens. What I did NOT expect was for cards that people really would have needed to think a little harder about to go up. Maybe it was people posting every rules interaction I could think of and the high volume of cards that form soft locks with cards in War of the Spark (Mycosynth Lattice popped within minutes when people thought about using it as a lock with New Karn, which is, whatever. You don’t see the Lavinia decks people theorycrafted on Twitter and Knowledge Pool was about to tank until it was rediscovered as part of a new combo with WAR card. This is a long-ass paranthetical, sorry.) because people see “lock” and it makes cards pop.

It takes a lot of mana to do it, x(x-1) mana where x is the number of people in the pod, but you can keep everyone from being able to play non-creatures on their turns indefinitely. x(x-1) mana is usually either 12 or 20, so it’s a real investment. However, even if you only do it on your own turn for x mana, it’s going to Xantid Swarm everyone so you can do your shenanigans, and you can keep getting fury back as long as you target one of your own creatures with it while Feather is in play. And hey, if you want to do it on your turn and theirs, we’re now talking x squared mana which is almost always at least 16.

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People latched onto Fury as quickly as they did Sunforger – so quickly in fact that people who whine about this sort of thing are whining about Sunforger and don’t seem to have noticed Fury selling out. This means the speculators are a day or two ahead of the theoretical theorycrafters who typically are the ones who build the decks weeks later and buy the cards from me. We need to dig a little deeper if we want any hope of finding some cards that are likely to go up. Luckily for us, I know that this exact deck already exists, basically 90% in the form it’s going to end up when people build it around Feather. I know this because you pay me to know about EDH. Behold, Feather from 5 years ago.

In what way is this Feather? Well, in every way that counts. It has this weird, team Prowess that people have been pairing with cheap cantrips for years and this is already a Sunforger / Zada Hedron Grinder / Monastery Mentor / whatever else deck. We can go deep on Anax’s EDHREC page and find the stuff Feather players have no idea they need yet. They are going to buy $12 sunforgers from some guy who doesn’t even know anything about EDH, why not buy some expensive cards from us because we leveraged our knowledge or paid some dude named Jason for his? Either way, let’s look at what I see as potential overlap between the decks.

I think the best builds are going to go wide because you get the most out of Anax and Cymede and Zada being in the deck. True, you can make Feather a kind of Voltron deck and just Temur Battle Rage her and win via commander damage, but if you’re casting Temur Battle Rage at Feather, why not cast it at Zada and swing with an army of 1/1 soldiers from Assemble the Legion? Going wide makes the most sense and has the most synergy with the cards already in the deck. Of the Voltron stuff in Boros, most of it is Enchantments and Equipment and you’re not even playing to Feather’s strengths. I truly think the deck will be a go-wide build most of the time. That said, here’s the Anax and Cymede stuff I like. I linked their page, so take a look yourself.

I have believed in this card a lot longer than a lot of people so I bought in dirt cheap. It has decent reprint risk but it’s also gone from 25 pennies to 25 dimes so what do you expect from it on top of the 1,000% gain I’ve already realized with a lot of my copies? (I bought in at $0.50 and when it went lower, I bought even more. It was reckless and dumb and I should have eaten a reprint by now). I expect this to hit $5 fairly easily if it’s not reprinted in Commander 2019. The card is too good and with Boros being less boring, it’s a card you just jam in there.

Foils are growing at the same rate if you like that kind of thing. I think if it goes from “fringe EDH playable” to “multideck staple” or “Card in deck of the year” then it could go beyond a 2x multiplier and your gains go up exponentially. $6 is a high buy-in but it’s also a solid card.

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Mentor is actually trending down and Feather decks could just be the shot in the ass this card needs. With Sai, Master Thopterist and the new Saheeli, not to mention Genesis Chamber, my personal favorite, Mentor decks in Vintage need Mentor itself less and less. It’s not stellar in Modern where Young Pyromancer is the reigning champ, either. The time to buy Mentor has never been better if you think it has upside and anything under $10 seems fine to me.

A flying Zada with pseudo-protection against removal spells if they have creatures they care about? This has bumped a bit but it’s not done, and it’s a mythic from a few years back. Yank these out of bulk binders.

The foil has basically doubled overnight but if you find these mispriced, go to town.

This is steadily shrugging off a reprinting in a commander deck that was the least popular initially and the most valuable later. No one wanted to jam Iroas, but Douglas Johnson from Brainstorm Brewery made a mint buying the decks for half their singles cost and shipping Iroas, Urza’s Incubator, Blade of Selves, Magus of the Wheel and Fiery Confluence. The Kalemne deck was a treasure trove of goodies and Iroas tanked hard because there was literally 0 pressure on the card to be worth anything. Now it’s worth something – it’s worth playing, so expect it to also be worth more money presently. Look at that growth for Heliod’s sake.

Don’t play a Sunforger deck that doesn’t have this in it. This was printed a lot and it’s having a hard time recovering, but this impetus may be the impetus that does it.

Or buy the one foil printing out of 5 total printings. It’s on an up-shot already.

Finally, here are a few cards you won’t find on Anax’s page that I know about because that’s my job.

Ship has sailed on the foils, imo. $0.50 would have been where you buy these.

This price is actually on a bit of a downswing, having peaked at about $4.50 earlier. I don’t hate this buy-in price at all given its two printings, one of which is shook off. This goes in Feather decks for sure, especially if you’re going wide, which you should.

So the obvious stuff like Sunforger and Aurelia’s Fury got snatched up. Don’t complain, dig deeper. Intruder Alarm spiked early and was practically in price freefall by the time anyone remembered the deck would play Craterhoof. I made a lot of money ignoring what they focused on and focusing on what they ignored. Thinking differently usually means thinking ahead, so let’s stay positive. There’s a lot of treasure left when the first wave of strip miners goes through. Until next time!

Oh, one last thing – I was looking for HD pics from the set and I found one of Dovin Baan that they had to release because so many nerds tweeted “Durr he’s supposed to have 6 fingers, not 5” and they had to show an HD pic so you could clearly see all 6 fingers. Magic players are the worst, that’s all I wanted to say. Good day.

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The Watchtower 4/8/19 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.


With a full week’s worth of spoilers behind us, everyone is sufficiently excited for War of the Spark. Static abilities are a big hit, with plenty of players eager to see that become a more permanent part of planeswalker design space. At the same time, there’s been a lot of chatter about formally making planeswalkers a legal commander, which while available as a casual option at friendly kitchen tables, isn’t something you can technically do at FNM, GP side events, and what have you. This change would be meaningful for our interests of course, as that would mean a massive influx of new commander decks centered around old walkers, and there would be a newfound reason to play counter support, proliferate, and the like in virtually all of those strategies. Something to keep in mind at least.

Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner (Foil)

Price Today: $2?
Possible Price: $8

One of the first cards that jumped off the page at me when browsing through the spoilers earlier last week was Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner. Longtime players will recognize the rules text here as a faint nod to Mayael the Anima, one of the very first mythic cards ever printed, and a popular early commander. Mayael wasn’t the originating point of this effect though, as that distinction belongs to Kavu Lair. Since then it has been repeated in form several times. Garruk’s Packleader, Elemental Bond, Temur Ascendancy, and now, Kiora. Kiora will perhaps stand as the strongest iteration of this effect for quite some time.

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While the power cost has been turned up 33%, one imagines that is for the most part addressable during deck creation. Shift your mana curve up a hair to accommodate more four power creatures, keep the three or lesses you absolutely need, and accept you’ll draw an average of one less card per game than you would have with Packleader. (Packleader is certainly easier to kill though, which is good for Kiora.) Landing Kiora and turn three and then churning out a sizable creature every turn is going to pay off in spades, keeping your hand full and your board dense. Of course, this is before we even take note of her -1 ability, which lets her untap a permanent. An ability she can use seven entire times before finally heading home. Seven is a lot of turns in EDH, assuming no pressure and no counter manipulation. And what permanent would you be untapping? Probably not Avenger of Zendikar for psuedo-vigilance. How about Vannifar for a second activation? Or, uh Gaea’s Cradle? Is that one good to tap twice in a turn?

I haven’t found any foil preorders for Kiora yet. Most vendors wait until the full set is revealed, I believe. Once they start, look for any especially cheap foil sources, maybe $1.50 or less. Garruk’s Packleader is in 7700 decks, and Kiora is going to be a tempting upgrade for virtually any list that can use it, and then some. Foil Kioras could quietly sneak towards the upper end of single digit prices within a few months of release.

Butcher of Malakir (Foil)

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $10

First thing’s first: I’ve got about ten copies of these. That said, I don’t think that inhibits this as a card to watch. Have you gandered at that supply? While Butcher has been printed something like seven times, the original Worldwake copies remain the only foils. And at the moment, there are eight total foil English NM copies available on TCGPlayer. And, if you’ll gander at the EDHREC page for Butcher, she’s found in over 17,000 decks. I feel like I could probably stop writing, but I’ve got a soft word count to hit, so let’s see.

Butcher is a Grave Pact on a body. Grave Pact is actually only in just under 17,000 decks, attributable to the price difference between the cards, I imagine. As a creature rather than an enchantment, Butcher isn’t quite as resilient, but she’s much easier to apply cost reductions to, easier to cheat into play, easier to reanimate, easier to tutor for, easier to copy, and is capable of getting in for damage on her own occasionally.

I’m not sure why Butcher hasn’t hopped up into the $10+ region already honestly, but it really couldn’t look any better. It will happen eventually, and when it does, you’ll be happy you own some.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury (Foil)

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $9

Gonti snuck in with Kaladesh, and while we were all excited about the Inventions and vehicles and Smuggler’s Copter, he quietly set up shop in EDH as a powerful option for stealing other people’s resources. Whether you’re just grabbing their Sol Ring, or you got lucky and hit some card whose effect would be excellent in your deck but you just aren’t allowed the colors, he always seems to have an application.

If you find Gonti to be a touch underwhelming, well, don’t take my word for it.  He’s clocking on on EDHREC at over 7k, which is solid for a card that’s fairly fresh. Panharmonicon, the EDHest card since Doubling Season, is around 17k for reference. Holding not quite half as many decks as Panharmonicon is no mean feat.

What really drives Gonti home is the supply. Aside from the now-familiar CFB wall of 50 copies, there’s few remaining. 17 vendors, 1 of which is CFB, and 8 of whom are selling for $5 or more. And if you’re hoping to score cheap prerelease foils, you’re out of luck. There isn’t a single NM copy left on TCG.


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.


Week 1 of WAR Previews

War of the Spark preview season is here!

Cards are getting released in specific order, each day showing a new facet of the overall story, such as Sorin and Nahiri taking time in the middle of a huge war to have their own private battle.

Previews will be done by the time of the pre-prerelease on April 19, and the rest of us get to play a week after that, including the either brilliant or awful idea of a Grand Prix prerelease.

This first week has caused some big waves in cards, and there’s two classes of spikes: Ones that are due to new interactions in old cards and you should sell sell sell and ones that have larger appeal and are not ‘get them out of your hands now’ level of hype.

Let’s dive in!

Before we go too far, I want to take a look at what preview-season spikes have done to prices over time. Let’s go back to this past summer, and the hype around Arcades Sabboth. Did the defenders hold their prices?

Stalwart Shield-Bearers, a common from 2010, jumped up dramatically, with a couple of eBay sales above $4, but settled back down about $2 after being consistent at $3. This sort of graph is consistent with most sudden spikes: the ones buying too late will pay the most, and a little patience will reward you in the majority of cases.

Not all spikes are the same, though.

Doubling Season

Doubling Season has gone up about $20 in the past week, entirely due to people buying up copies because of 37 new planeswalkers in this set. The price increase is correct, but now because of new planeswalkers, but because the price had reached a low after being in Battlebond this past summer.

This price isn’t likely to go back down. It’s one of the most popular casual cards around, an effect that anyone who ever played Magic can look at and say, “Oh my goodness, this card is bonkers with <insert any of 10,000 cards> and I want to durdle with it in Commander!”

We’ve seen what happens over time to this card. It gets expensive, gets reprinted, but a large number of copies never get into circulation because we want to play with a silly card like this, instead of dumping it to a buylist.

If I have extras of Doubling Season around, I might let one or two go at this new price and cover what I paid, and hold on with the rest. This is, in many respects, THE Commander card and iconic of what that format loves to do.

Some cards, though, live in a magical Christmasland of silliness.

Proteus Staff is not going to hold its new price. I had to zoom in on the weeks of pricing because for years upon years upon years it’s been a $3 card, and now it’s $15 because Fibblepits can get you two cards over and over again. Yippee? I respect anyone who wants to work this hard to draw two over and over again, especially in a deck that can’t play other creatures.

Sell your Staff as quickly as you can. There’s ten on eBay right now, buylists aren’t taking much, go sort your bulk rares.

Liliana, Untouched by Death (up to $12 from $5): We’re seeing the return of the Eternals of Amonkhet finally, in the new Amass mechanics that brings along Zombie Army token for fun and profit. The hope here is that she interacts favorably with the new Zombies in Standard, but this is a high buy-in for a card that will have no value when rotation happens in six months. I’d be selling every copy I could.

Mycosynth Lattice (up to $35 from $10):

Reprinted in Battlebond as a mythic, an older card whose price was due to rarity and not demand, this has been almost its own meme in terms of what it could theoretically do, since it made everything into an artifact. The new Karn works with Lattice to literally shut off every card’s activated abilities, including their lands. Good times!

I would be selling quite confidently. If you bought one even at $20, you can get your money back. If you got in at $10, it’s a lot of profit.

Thought Lash (up to $10 from $3): Keep in mind that this was already a combo with Laboratory Maniac (a card which just got reprinted in UMA as an uncommon, else it’d be hitting $10 too) and the new Jace gives you a second ‘I win for having no cards in my library’ effect. This is a Reserved List card, so there’s that pressure in addition to having some super-weird art and being from a set released more than twenty years ago. I would happily sell all my copies, and here’s why:

It’s possible that the card grows again to $15 at some point. It’s on the RL but it can’t be a Modern combo, so people have to do this in Legacy or Commander. I don’t know how long it’ll take to grow that extra $5, and I’d rather take the $5 I made from this and put that into something that could grow more quickly. Taking the profit and moving on is a key part of this hobby, especially if it trickles back down to $6 or $7.

Knowledge Pool (up to $2.50 from fifty cents): New Teferi doesn’t allow people to play things except as sorceries, which is defined as ‘either main phase when nothing is on the stack.’ This means that they literally can’t cast anything from the Pool, it’s a hard lock. This one is indeed Modern legal, it was on an MTGGoldfish video about a year ago, and having an extra piece to this lock is very intriguing. So far, the profits are quite small, even if you have this in your bulk box, and so I’m going to say to be conservative and wait. It’s such a small profit that I would advocate patience, you’ll want to get more than $1 buylist for this.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, 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: Sparking Creativity

Readers,

I don’t want to do a deep dive on all the implications of a specific commander this early, mostly because we can wait a bit, but there are a few two-card combos emerging and it’s best to be apprised of them so you’re not left in the dust when cards start selling from your TCG Player store or someone else swipes the cheap copies from your LGS. The ship may have sailed on some of these questionable beauties but you can snag some others so let’s get to it.

The New Card


The Old Card(s)

Lashy boy went up before, notably when they printed Laboratory Maniac and also when people thought you could donate it to opponents with Zedruu. I don’t think it’s any better here than it was with Laboratory Maniac, but what do I know? The card’s going up regardless. In fact, “the card’s going up regardless” shall be my catchphrase for the rest of this article.

Speaking of which, I have another spicy pick for you AND as an added bonus, the voice in my head now has a stereotypical Italian accent. Badda BING.

Eyy, why are you out heah buying Leveluh when $0.50 per copy can buy you some nice gabbagool? OK, I’m done with that bit, writing it out phonetically is a pain and I’m not sure which Italian slang is OK to write. Look, this is a pretty dumb spec and this is not a good combo, nor a new combo. But, hey…

And even though I think that may be the end of the Jace shenanigans I have taken note of, there are other cards poised to make things happen.

The New Card

Activated abilities of artifacts your opponents control can’t be activated. 

[+1]: Until your next turn, up to one target noncreature artifact becomes an artifact creature with power and toughness each equal to its converted mana cost. 

[-2]: You may choose an artifact card you own from outside the game or in exile, reveal that card and add it to your hand. 

This is a pretty formidable card. I expect its price to be $1 for every pixel in the picture on Mythic Spoiler.

The New Card

This was going to shake off its Battlebond printing anyway, but the combo with Karn is irresistable. They can’t use activated abilities of… their cards. It’s pretty boss. If you hate your opponents playing Magic, you’ll love this.

The card has mostly popped already but there are still a few reasonable copies out there, especially with the Battlebond printing tanking the price for a bit. Even if you don’t think people want to be about this Chinese Fingertrap life,

New Card

Fblthp is totally lost and while he might appear to be a Blue Norin the Wary, I think he has some utility people latched onto right away that Norin players don’t get to experiment with.

The Old Card

Jeleva players immediately latched onto this combo which is strange because I didn’t think anyone playing Jeleva in 2019 wanted to innovate anymore. However, just in a deck with Flippleblips as your commander, you can order your entire library and draw two cards provided you don’t have any other creatures. Quelle Combo. Staff went up on the basis of Narset hype and it’s still a nutso card with a decent foil multiplier and you should put copies of it into your life. Even if you don’t think there are enough Jeleva players to move the needle or lunatics who will build around fibblips, guess what?

One more, nerds.

The New Card



This is a card, huh? I nicknamed it “Bad Nauseam” but it will probably have an impact on a few formats. People are talking about cards that gain life and draw cards as a way to go infinite off the top without having to play a bunch of bad, 0-mana cards in a 100 card deck. I think there’s another combo worth looking at.

If you weren’t buying $5 Tops when Eternal Masters was at its peak, I feel bad for you, son. I got 99 missed specs but Top ain’t one. Recovering nicely, the only real question was whether it would go up on its own or whether some event would happen to give it a nudge. I guess we have our answer.

That does it for me this week! Next week I hope to have a few commanders in the set to write about because if I have to write about Atraxa, I’ll probably need a beer or three to get through the article. Until then, keep your eye on two-card combos and remember to buy double. Until next time!

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