Validation comes in two forms; emotional and material. When I was telling my local GP-winning friend, MTG Fast Finance co-host James Chillcott, and pro Magic player Dan Fournier all that I thought Hogaak looked like something special, they were dubious all. “You guys,” I’d exclaim, “it’s an 8/8 trample for sort-of free. Somehow, that is going to matter.” Each one of them blew me off. Now, with Hogaak taking something like four of the top eight slots of this weekend’s Modern Challenge, I’m feeling quite validated. That’s the emotional side. The material side would have been buying them for $1 each five days ago and selling them for $20 or $40 or whatever nonsense they are today. Hindsight is 20/20, they say. I wish I were dead, they also say.
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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.
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.
I have to admit, I didn’t give Oathbreaker a second thought when it came to my mind. I dismissed it as the new Tiny Leaders, as a flash in the pan.
I’ve come around, dear reader, and give me a moment to explain why.
Tiny Leaders, Brawl, and now Oathbreaker are trying to solve the main problem of Commander: games frequently become attrition wars that take forever. A variant of Commander that’s faster but retains the spirit of the original format will take off like mad.
Oathbreaker is the best so far at being the ‘quick Commander game’ variant, and we need to start paying attention.
Tiny Leaders flamed out because it got solved relatively rapidly, Elfball Ezuri and ‘I just want to die please end this tempo game’ Geist of Saint Traft decks quickly established their dominance, and because the format is restricted to the cheap spells, only the things that are cheap and powerful will cause innovation.
Oathbreaker also gets around one of the main restrictions in Commander: that only a handful of planeswalkers are legal to be your Commander. Yes, those are some powerful planeswalkers indeed, but players are enamored enough with the characters created that there’s been some pushing on the Commander Rules Committee to legalize all planeswalkers. So far, they’ve resisted (probably a good thing, especially given Teferi, Time Raveler) and now the presence of this alternate format is a real winner.
One of the things I like, and also am wary of, is the wide variety of interactions between the planeswalker and the signature spell. I don’t feel like doing the math, but it’s somewhere been a ton and a whole giant googleplex of potential interactions. Some very fun things are possible. Some very broken things are possible.
The combo I heard about immediately:
And then your deck is all lands. Yay?
Sure, there’s problems here. Everyone sees it coming, you can’t have countermagic, your face is now the magnet for everyone who can attack, etc. But it represents the problem of having a certain instant or sorcery always available to you.
With all that said, I like the format and am trying to turn my Warrior tribal Commander deck into an Oathbreaker deck. The aggro of Zurgo Helmsmasher just wasn’t getting there in the 40-life format, and I’m hoping that this is a better home for what I want to do.
EDHREC has jumped into the format, and we have some early lists. Unsurprisingly, there’s one Big Baddie who is all over the place: Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God.
The top spot, though, the most-built combination of a planeswalker and a single spell is likely going to surprise you:
Oh yeah, let’s get our howl on. There’s not quite enough Werewolves for a full Commander deck, Ulrich is a mediocre Commander, but this sort of lower-life, smaller-deck format is exactly what this tribe wants. Cheap, too, since Huntmaster of the Fells is the most expensive creature and if you avoid some obvious/expensive staples (Sylvan Library, etc.) you can build a good, synergistic, and fun deck. Moonmist as the signature spell is exactly what this format is about, too.
Financially, I’m into the key cards of the deck. Immerwolf is one of those, and as a $4 (in foil) uncommon that simply MUST be in any self-respecting Werewolf deck, I’d start there.
Tribal decks in general are going to be a popular choice, since you don’t need the same huge number as in Commander. There’s a few cards in particular that deserve to be thought about, especially because we know they aren’t in a Modern Masters this year, so they have to dodge Commander 2020 and Core Set 2020 (The Core Set not having a specific plane means they can toss in anything that won’t unbalance Standard too much, a potential pothole for any spec purchases!)
Can I interest you in some free creatures?
Path gets a lot of hype for big stuff like Eldrazi but it’s a card any tribal deck loves. Best friends with Mutavault, a card that ought to be in more decks but is pretty low in price due to all the GP versions floating around.
How about uncounterable creatures?
Cavern is a card I’ve mentioned before and just six months ago it was $45, right at release. If you need it, get it now, because it’s going to be $100 again relatively soon. There’s just too many different audiences that want this card, and hopefully this time they put it at rare in some set. Another printing at mythic will cause this same dent but not a meaningful reduction.
One more tribal card, a personal favorite:
This feels so very good to have in play. It triggers on token versions too, so if you have a blue/white Warriors deck, that Secure the Wastes is going to be good for a new hand. It’s the most expensive of the Kindred cycle, and for very good reason.
Some other cards to watch in this vein: Guardian Project, Metallic Mimic, Urza’s Incubator, and absolutely Path of Ancestry. Depending on what does and does not get printed by the end of August, these are the cards I’m watching and I’m getting ready to buy.
Oathbreaker’s focus on planeswalkers makes it a natural home for Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God, but I’m not ready to dive in on that yet. Narset, Parter of Wills is a card you should buy right now, for Oathbreaker reasons and for ‘taking over all the formats’ reasons. There’s no format where she’s bad, and I do believe that she’s the most expensive in-print uncommon we’ve ever had. Even Fatal Push didn’t get to more than $30 foil when it first came out, and Narset is at $50 in English foil.
If Narset decks take off in Oathbreaker, please spare a thought for Font of Mythos, Geier Reach Sanitarium, Jace’s Archivist, Lore Broker, and my personal favorite pick since it’s on the Reserved List: Anvil of Bogardan.
It’s spiked a couple of times and trickled back downwards. Right now there’s 110 copies on TCG but only 20 are Near Mint. Won’t take much to get this card to double up or more.
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.
It’s clear that Urza is the favorite deck to emerge from the new EDH Masters set called “Modern Horizons” and it’s not hard to see why. Him plus Paradox Engine plus a few other artifacts means you cast your whole deck pretty reliably and that’s pretty good. Artifacts are good, blue is good, both together is good. Urza is the Vannifar of the set but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a Teysa of the set, and I think I’ve found it.
EDHREC is on top of their game this go-around and since all of the cards are in Scryfall and people are building decks already, EDHREC is scraping data already. The integration with sites like Archidekt which let people make decks almost as soon as card are spoiled means we have data earlier, which is apparently something we need because people are jumping on EDH stuff way earlier than they used to. That’s fine, once we get over the feeling of missing out, it turns out those people miss a lot of stuff because they don’t know what they’re doing. Still plenty of money to be made by listening to people telling us what they’re actually doing. Let’s listen.
Behold! 26 decks – hardly a huge sample size but since we’re getting ideas and nothing else, it’s enough. We want to see if any tech is emerging and these early decks also have the benefit of informing later deckbuilders so actually these cards that may be erroneously over-represented now may actually make people more likely to play them and therefore fulfill their own prophecy. Archidekt integration with EDHREC means people can now build their deck with the suggestions from other decks right in front of them more easily than ever. It’s not that these suggestions are bad, but it does have a snowball effect as the first to get their ideas down on paper have an influence over every subsequent builder.
That said, enough editorializing about problems I personally helped create. Let’s make some money.
Not on the Reserved List but not exactly easy to reprint, either, this card is one the move and $3 is not where it’s going to stop, either. If you can still get these around the $1 they were for basically ever, you should be able to get out above $4 soon. The tipping point on these are coming and being an uncommon from Saga means there are fewer copies than there are copies of uncommons from recent sets with similar trajectories.
Ogre is more explosive, true, but Skirge Familiar is the only card like this in Black and with Yawgmoth’s ability to keep your hand full, you should have no shortage of garbage to pitch to turn into a spell, perhaps a big Exsanguinate. I think if a small number of people discovered Skirge Familiar, it’s going to go. In at $2, out at $5 seems reasonable to me.
Foils of this are falling but considering a foil is currently cheaper than a non-foil Masques copy, we could see some movement back up. This can go off constantly given your ability to proliferate a ton, and unlike a lot of Time Walk artifacts, you don’t have to “bank” a turn to make it work, so if there are 9 counters on it, just take 4 turns in a row and laugh. If you can’t manage to put 3 counters on it during those extra turns with Yawgmoth as your commander, you don’t deserve to win, anyway. I think Masques copies and m19 foils are both pretty good bets, especially since it spiked already on the basis of different cards and copies are more scarce in the wild.
You like this graph shape? I know that you do. I like it, also. This is the “reverse-J” shape that precedes the “U-shaped” graph that is a card recovering from a reprinting. This is obviously a battlebond reprinting based on the time the card’s price plummeted. Why no recovery yet? Was it rarity-shifted? Does it see less play? Was the set overprinted? No, no and no. This seems like an opportunity to me!
Here’s the culprit. I think Revenant is due for a slow climb back to maybe 2/3 of its pre-reprinting price if it’s not reprinted again given how powerful it is. Although people are latching on to the budget version, Crypt Ghast, Ghast is making a case for a higher price tag itself and anyone who is serious about building like redundancy more than they like budget alternatives to non-RL cards. They will buy both and so should you.
Ready for another guess?
Here is a card I have raised the alarum about on several occasions but never really bought into myself, which was foolish because I was right, this card is the truth and it’s only going to get better now that Yawgmoth is a sac outlet for the ages. You’ll like this reveal a lot.
This card is honestly probably not done growing despite having grown quite a bit. I feel like it should have gotten a commander deck reprint by now and it’s strange that it hasn’t, but when they finalized last year’s decks, like 18-24 months ago, this card was steady at $8 for a while. Can it grow more? Is it getting reprinted this year (I doubt it)? Time will tell. I like this card, though.
One last thing – Ultimate Masters didn’t really inject as many copies into the market as anyone expected and prices are really holding up. I wouldn’t wait to buy anything that got reprinted in that set, and this deck has quite a few.
Tower and Urborg are staples in any deck like this so grab them now. They’ll shrug off another reprint and they’re not going to get cheaper so it’s a real low risk buy.
That does it for me. Next week we will have more data so be sure to tune in. Until next time!
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