Unlocked Pro Trader: Good Kitty

ADVERTISEMENT:


Readers!

We have some Core Set cards to discuss and while not all of them are commanders, some of them matter, so let’s get to discussin’ them, shall we? I realize this is my preamble paragraph and it’s jarring to hit the ground running,

The Main Section of the Article

but life comes at you fast and since it’s been 19 hours since Ikoria spoiler season ended and we have another set to discuss already, we need to learn to adapt. Let’s talk about some cards and why only some of them are good ideas.

This is a pretty bad card a lot of the time. I think multicolored decks can use it to draw 5, which could be pretty good and it’s a Chromatic Lantern, but I think seeing this card and thinking “wow, combo piece” is silly. “But infi mana, Jason.” Wow, good point, didn’t think of that. Perhaps that’s why

$35 for a foil bulk uncommon, $4 for the non-foil on Troll and Toad’s new selling platform. Because you know, infinite mana. I’m assuming this is for Modern or some junk because we’re not going to care about this in EDH. There are easier ways to get infinite mana where the combo pieces are your commander. Remember this?

Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy · Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO) #192 ...

Kinnan made infinite colorless with Basalt Monolith and it didn’t send people scrambling to buy copies of bad cards. If you have Filigree Sages, sell into the hype if you can find them in your bulk, I guess, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up about this combo materializing. If you have a Kinnan deck already made, I guess throw both cards in it but the deck needs a $75 Thrasios, so good luck with that.

The reason I mention this at all is that I have noticed cards that don’t really pan out get a lot more hype than the ones that do. Infinite mana of every color is sexier than infinite colorless mana, but having a card that combos with your commander is a million times better in commander than assembling a 2 card combo with 2 bad cards. Let’s bear that in mind when we look at the rest of the cards in Core Set 2021.

Of course this got people talking about Solemnity again, but the thing about Solemnnity is that it’s more fun to talk about than play with.

ADVERTISEMENT:


EDHREC doesn’t currently take cards out of the database when people cut them from their decks because how could we? 3,875 isn’t an insignificant number, but the thing about this card is that people like to brew with it more than they like to play with it because Enchantress decks have a finite amount of space and this doesn’t synergize with anything else in the deck. Non-enchantress decks with the exception of Zur can’t find Solemnity. Look at the decks who purpot to be playing this card.

These are all generic, try-hard prison decks. These decks can already run stuff like Energy Field and Rest in Peace. I think a number of them might jam Nine Lives since Solmenity is already good in those decks with Decree of Silence, the real winner since it’s good in Gavi decks, but I think even if Solemnity goes up, which will be tough since it just went up, it will go back down like it always does. It’s funny that the first money I ever made from Solemnity was from it making Decree of Silence spike the first time and now it’s a winner rather than an impetus. Making a shield around yourself isn’t the most fun thing to do with Nine Lives, though.

ADVERTISEMENT:


Give it to them. I don’t think Zedruu with its multiple printings is in play, but I think other cards like it could see a bump.

If it’s not Nine Lives, SOMETHING will come along to make people realize it’s fun to donate cards that kill their user to other people. Transcendence is a good example, Demonic Pact is another. Bazaar Trader can’t give someone an Enchantment which is annoying. No one is going to build a Zedruu deck for 9 lives but I think if you buy some foil copies of Harmless Offering for a buck, there’s a solid chance you’ll be happy later. This is either $2 in 5 years or it’s $12 in 9 months, there probably aren’t any in-between scenarios. I like it more than trifling with Solemnity is all.

It’s a day late, but if you didn’t already snag foil Hondens, snag foil Hondens. They’re out there, still, but a lot of people got wise immediately. I considered publishing this yesterday just so people would have a chance at them before they dectuple in price. In general, I’m not a fan of buying into hype so I figured I’d work my typical method and uncover non-hype stuff but in case you come across copies at the old price, go for it. I wouldn’t mess with the non-foils because they were reprinted in a Masters Set.

Kitty Cats are legit specs now and I’ll need another derisive term for bad specs for non-players, I guess. This is going to be a bad deck played by casuals but that doesn’t mean it will make for bad specs. In fact, good players try things and when they don’t work, they stop doing the things and sell the cards. Casual players never abandon a bad deck because being bad and never winning is not a reason not to play a casual deck.

Not that there is not currently a 1/1 Green Cat token or 1/1 White Dog token, so the only ones available will be in packs of Core Set 2021 (or Jumpstart, maybe) so grab those out of draft chaff and put them in a box until they’re like $1 each. Anyone who plays this deck will want like 10 of each.

Secret Lair Regal Caracal is gone, but the set foils are still pretty reasonable. I’d look at those.

There is no deck data for Rin and Stimpy but you can at least look at the high synergy cards for Pride Sovereign and look at some cat decks.

That does it for me. When we have some more data, it could be worth drilling down on Kitty Cats but until then, stay safe, stay healthy and sell into the hype.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT:


The Watchtower 06/15/20 – Core 2021 Preorders

I’ve titled this article ‘preorders’ for the sake of brevity, but that doesn’t mean “go and preorder these now because it’s the lowest they’ll get”. Some of these cards may well dip a little lower than their current prices, but I doubt it will be by much, and so this is more of a notice for cards to keep an eye on and buy down the ladder if you can. This article series is, after all, entitled “The Watchtower”…so keep an eye out!


Heroic Intervention

Price today: $4
Possible price: $10

When Heroic Intervention was first printed in Æther Revolt, it was pegged as a reasonable EDH card for most green decks. What I (and a lot of others too, I think) didn’t expect, however, was that it would go on to make its way into over 27,000 decks recorded on EDHREC, putting it into the top 20 green EDH cards of all time. From close to bulk status during its time in Standard, since then it topped out at an impressive $17 (and that is impressive for an EDH-only card printed in the last 3 years).

Now we’re getting a reprint in M21, and the price has plummeted down to around $4 for the M21 preorders. I could definitely see it going slightly lower than $4 when the set releases, but I definitely wouldn’t hang around too long on this one. It’s a card that’s in 15% of all the possible decks it could be in, which is strong numbers for a mono-coloured card, and this means that people know how good it is now. It’ll get put into at least 15% of the new decks people build going forwards, and people that didn’t buy copies because they were $17 will for sure pick these up below $5.

I’m calling Heroic Intervention at a conservative $4 to $10; I think it’s entirely possible that this card could see $15 before it’s reprinted again, but I feel pretty confident saying that $10 inside 18-24 months is very reasonable. This is an easy one to buy a stack of and put away in the closet and forget about for a couple of years, leaving a nice surprise for your future self.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking – Arbitrage Pick

Price today: €5 ($5.50)
Possible price: $20

Azusa being reprinted into Standard during this era of green-based midrange and ramp-esque decks is an, uhh, interesting decision, but I’m not here to talk about Azusa in Standard. I won’t pretend to be someone that can accurately predict the future metagame in Standard, but what I will do is say that Azusa is preordering for under €5 on Magic Cardmarket. Over on TCGPlayer, preorders start at around $10 which is far less enticing, but picking this up at €5 seems pretty insane to me.

Bear in mind that before the reprint announcement, the A25 (Masters 25) version of Azusa was $35, and the older versions more expensive. Sure, there’s going to be a big influx of supply with the new printing in M21, but there are going to be a lot of EDH players that pick copies up now that they’re cheap, and that’s not even accounting for its potential for play in Standard. We’re going to be entering a Standard with Azusa, Cultivate, Solemn Simulacrum and Ugin, so a streamlined ramp deck seems like it could be quite powerful. Yes, I know I said I wouldn’t talk about Azusa in Standard, but come on. It’s a very powerful card.

Anyway, back to real data – Azusa dropped down to $16 after the A25 reprint and climbed back up to $35, so buying this at €5 is surely a slam dunk. If you’re in Europe or have a contact, then I’d get on this. As I said, she’s preordering for $10 on TCG which is still fine, but I’d keep an eye out to see if it drops lower on or after release. Additionally, we’re getting an extended art version in M21, so I’ll be looking out for the prices on those to bottom out.

Mangara, the Diplomat

Price today: $7
Price I want to buy this at: $4-5
Possible price: $10+

ADVERTISEMENT:


This has been a slightly contentious card in the MTGPrice Discord over the past couple of days, but for the time being I’m coming down on the side of “I think this card is really good”. I’ve played enough games of EDH with various playgroups to see how many people don’t bother paying the tax for Rhystic Study, and I think that this card will see similar play patterns. Restricting your opponents to only playing one spell per turn (unless they let you draw a card) is more harmful than you might think, and I predict that a lot of people will just ignore it and let you draw the card. After all, it’s only one card – how bad could it be?

I think that the attacking clause on Mangara is going to be far less relevant than the spell clause, but even so I think that this is going to become quite a popular card in white EDH decks, particularly prison style builds. I’m definitely going to be trying it out, at any rate.

I’m cheating slightly with this, in that I don’t quite like the current preorder price of $7, and would like to wait a bit for it to come down to $4-5. I think that this will happen because it most likely won’t be a relevant card for Standard, and EDH players tend to be much slower at picking their cards up, but once it bottoms out then I’m definitely going to be picking some of these up. I’d be far less excited about it if it were a Rare, but the fact that it’s a Mythic means that once players start to pick their copies up, the price will rise far more sharply. I think $10+ in a 12-24 month time frame is quite doable.


David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

The Mythics of Core 2021

Well, here we go, the endless preview summer is underway. Between Core 2021, Double Masters, Zendikar 3, Commander Masters, and assorted supplementary sets, plus surprises like Secret Lair, we are going to have a whole lot of new product coming out. Not all of it is available immediately, and there’s a very good chance that some places go back under a shelter-in-place order, further complicating things. 

As a result of the complex situation we’re in, some people are near a store that will happily run a prerelease, and others won’t have a store within 200 miles. The pandemic is proving that prices can still go crazy and people can still overbuy cards during a frenzy/spike.

For now, though, let’s look at where the Core Set mythics are at, and where they might go from here. I’ve looked for some prices and I’m listing what I find. Given that these are presales, moving fast and operating off of predictions for supply, some of these things can change quickly.

Rin and Seri, Inseparable (no prices yet)

Rin and Seri, Inseparable (M21)

Buy-A-Box cards generally aren’t too expensive, but much will depend on the amount of Constructed play that the CatDog sees. Nexus of Fate was the worst-case scenario, and even if Rin and Seri see some play, there will be extra copies in the Collector Boosters. I don’t think this will stay above $10, and will dip as low as $5.

Teferi, Master of Time ($25)

Teferi, Master of Time (M21)

The play pattern here is exceedingly predictable: Play Teferi, loot, then on opponent’s upkeep phase out a problem creature. Control decks probably won’t play a full four of this Teferi, but 2-3 is the most likely. You can imagine how good this is with Teferi 3, playing board-wipe sorceries during their attack step. 

I think $25 is a pretty reasonable price here, and given the wide array of versions available, that should be a stable price for his lifetime in Standard. Remember that Core 2021 has the shortest Standard window, rotating in a mere 15 months. If cards from this set are going to spike, it’ll have to be in about six-eight months.

Grim Tutor ($28)

Grim Tutor (M21)

Honestly, this has fallen from some terrifying highs early on. People didn’t seem to understand just how few copies of the original were out there from Portal: Three Kingdoms. This is a backup Demonic Tutor, a fixed one, whose only drawback is the life loss. We haven’t had an effect like this at less than four mana, even though there’s been drawback-laden versions such as Scheming Symmetry or Wishclaw Talisman.

Commander players will keep this from dropping very far, though you’re going to see some super-premium prices for Foil Extended Art versions. Demonic Tutor is $30 for the cheapest, and from there, we can figure that Grim Tutor will end up in the $20 range. I wouldn’t be shocked if it was $15, either, depending on its usage in Standard. Three mana and three life is a steep price for getting just what you want, and it’s useless early game.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon ($25)

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon (M21)

The original nonfoils from Fate Reforged have lost about $10 since this was revealed, and personally, I’m not hyped to see this in a Standard full of effective ramp strategies. Nissa, who Shakes the World combos well here, as the Elemental lands remain on the field after Ugin exiles most everything else. 

There’s no deck, aside from Modern’s Urzatron, that plays a full set of Ugin, but there’s a whole lot of Commander decks that wouldn’t mind having a copy. Being $25 this early means he’ll likely end up in the $10-$15 rage by the time we’re done. 

Chromatic Orrey ($14)

Chromatic Orrery (M21)

Seven-mana mana rocks kind of defeat the purpose of mana rocks, though this is the most mana you can get from a single tap without crazy Everflowing Chalice or Nyx Lotus shenanigans. I can see three-color decks playing this, though obviously your best uses will involve all five colors. I’m not enthused, though, because this is niche and awful for Constructed Magic. This will be $5 in weeks and possibly less.

Fiery Emancipation ($12)

Fiery Emancipation (M21)

While you can do a lot of neat things with this, be careful with your Earthquakes and Pyrohemias. Not every deck will want to play this, though most red decks should think about it. It’s ‘a source.’ Not a spell, not a red source, but anything you control. Use carefully. I wish this was five mana so people could play it alongside Obosh, the Preypiercer, but at six mana it’s a worse finisher than the companion or Embercleave. I’d be thrilled to see this in Standard, but even something as delightfully modal as Shark Typhoon is 

New Garruk, Chandra, Liliana ($10-$13)

Decent cards in Commander, especially if new Garruk can come down with a Doubling Season out, but the setup cost is pretty high in Standard. New Chandra offers the greatest utility, able to Shock every turn as a plus ability, but overall these are mediocre and will have prices between $5-$10.

Elder Gargaroth ($11)

Elder Gargaroth (M21)

Let’s look at Questing Beast’s price graph, shall we?

This is a card that does it all, and with haste. Elder Gargaroth does not have haste, and while it’s got incredible value on the attack or block, it does nothing on arrival. It’s a very good card, an example of how good a 6/6 for five mana can be, but the removal and bounce and counters are all too good. If this gets super cheap, I can see it getting back up to the $15 range, but it’s not going to be that expensive right away.

Mangara, the Diplomat ($10)

Mangara, the Diplomat (M21)

So this card…I feel like it’s pretty terrible, mainly because your opponent has complete control over when you draw a card. If they are casting two spells and neither is removing this creature, then you’re likely doomed anyway. Same for the multi-attack. Ten bucks is generous for this card, and while you’ll see some optimists putting it in lists, it’s not going to go well. I have a hunch this drops down to a buck or less pretty fast.

Massacre Wurm ($10)

Massacre Wurm (M21)

This, at least, has sideboard appeal and Commander demand backing it up. It was a mythic way back in New Phyrexia, which was forever and a half ago. Most of the supply has been soaked up by Commander players over the years, which has kept the price high. Now that it’s getting a reprint, the price will fall to about $7. Juuuuuuust enough people will want this, and not trade it away, that it’ll hold some of its value.

Basri Ket ($7) 

Basri Ket (M21)

I like the potential on this card. If you’re playing defense, the plus helps you maintain that. If you’re on the attack, the -2 closes things out with ridiculous speed, though it does say ‘nontoken’ and that rules out the double-double if you get to use the ability twice. However, it’s already fallen to $7 and will only have appeal in the aggressive white decks. Three mana planeswalkers are no joke, generally speaking, and I’d be surprised if this went below $5.

Baneslayer Angel ($5)

Baneslayer Angel (M21)

This was a mythic twice in a row, ten years ago. Even with all the power in this card, it wasn’t above $10 before the reprint and this is going to crash the prices pretty hard. It’ll hold $3 or so, and with Kaalia of the Vast about to get a new printing, there might be some renewed interest, but I will not be expecting too much from Baneslayer.

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: At Last! An Event!

Readers,

I bring to you glad tidings, for there was an event!

Maybe not what you’re hoping – there wasn’t a Magic Fest or anything, people are playing paper Magic and communicating a virulent pathogen to each other (yet), I mean an event in the sense that a thing happened that triggers another thing. That sounds vague, I agree, that’s why I use the word “event.” Printing new cards and spoiling them is an event. Covid shutting down stores like TCG Player was an event. And, this week, the EDH Rules Committee announcing that since someone on the CAG didn’t understand how Elenda, the Dusk Rose worked (if you believe that story) they changed the rule so that commanders going to the command zone instead of the graveyard when killed will now trigger “when this creature dies” abilities.

Elenda the Dusk Rose, already a decent gainer, shot up. Since people who sell cards have social media, lots of sellers have weighed in on the “INSIDER TRADING! CONFLICT OF INTEREST! OTHER WORDS I KNOW FROM TV!” charges from the community with “nah, I sell a few copies this card a week, always have, and this week they went out one at a time” which did nothing to quiet the mobs but which makes us in the finance community at least remember that we’re unfairly maligned but we’re also making money off of a children’s card game and that’s going to rankle the rabble a bit. I think a degree of the demand for this card is organic and since it was useful in the 99 before, got a non-trivial amount of play as a commander even in the last 2 years and the fact that it just got better, let’s look at what people will need if they’re building the deck.

When I said Elenda was getting a “non-trivial” amount of play as a commander, I was perhaps being charitable. Viewed as an inclusion, the metrics are significantly better.

Elenda is great as an inclusion, and not necessarily in Vampire decks, either, whereas she was weak as a commander given the way the rules worked before. Now that you have access to her and can do her shenanigans early and often, taking a second look at the cards, especially new ones, that are in play is prudent.

There have been 22 new Elenda decks made since Ikoria was spoiled, many in the last 24 hours on EDHREC, and over half of them realize that this card is bonkers. It’s bonkers elswhere, too. The Ozolith happens to be good with another commander who just got a boost from the rules change as well.

I don’t know that you play Roalesk when Pir and Toothy exist, but I have more than one Simic deck and they all play 90% the same cards so who am I to judge? We’re not here to talk about Roalesk, but it is worth noting that The Ozolith matters in 2 decks that just got a boost literally this weekend.

I don’t think we’re going to see The Ozolith approach bulk before rotation like we did in years past, I think EDH cards hit hard, immediately and I think they stay good places to park money forever whereas Standard cards are very volatile. I’d trade out of Standard stuff from Ikoria and into EDH stuff – you can never have too many copies of Luminous Broodmoth.

Siona demand couldn’t quite soak up all of the extra copies from the Gideon box set but maybe with some help we can get there, now. I’m not sure how reprintable this card is (or isn’t) so this is risky but I was all-in on this card earlier this year and I’m not about to back off now that it’s better. Buylist trends looked good until buylists stopped being a thing.

Vona is OK as a commander and OK in the 99 but in the 99 of a lifelinker than makes lifelink tokens, specifically, this card shines. It’s a casual favorite and was going to go up anyway and indeed has on Card Kingdom. I trust Card Kingdom’s instincts on EDH cards more than any other site which is why I use their prices and if other sites are lagging behind, I see that as a buying opportunity rather than an indictment of their algorithms. I’m not advocating buying from them but I am advocating watching their price graphs and you should absolutely be selling to their buylist, that’s not even close to controversial.

This will be a $5 foil very, very soon and you are all going to be very surprised. Card Kingdom’s price looks wonky because they sold out. Let’s look at some other stores. Oh, we can’t? Everyone is sold out and ABU has their NM copies at $2.50 but Mint at closer to $5? So then the only store that has these in stock under $4 is TCG Player where there are a lot of foil copies? Looks like meat is on the menu. Go to town on these, I promise you’ll be glad when you can buylist them for $5.

WHAT AH YER DOON IN MAH SWUMP?!

It’s all ogre for copies of this card under $5. It’s already flirted with $5 on CK and the $3 copies elsewhere are not long for this world. Help Elenda finish what Teysa started.

The rest of the deck is fairly either super cheap or super expensive. I feel OK about the new Erebos and a few other cards, but you really can’t go wrong with these picks, except maybe Gift which may have been a whiff on my part. Those Gideon Spellbook copies threw me for a loop.

That does it for me! Join me next week where we’ll likely have some Core set 2021 shenanigans and henanigans to discuss. Until next time!

MAGIC: THE GATHERING FINANCE ARTICLES AND COMMUNITY

RSS