Swords Across the Seas

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a dedicated arbitrage article, but there are some fantastic opportunities at the moment for those of you who are able to pick cards up in Europe and either sell them internationally or send them overseas for resale in the US. As always, I’ll link my article on arbitrage here for you to have a read of.

EDHREC is doing a series on Equipment at the moment where they rank every single equipment in the game, and this had me looking at some of the more popular ones. Equipment cards are somewhat unique in that they’re broadly a card type that only ever really sees EDH play, which means that Europe is generally behind the curve on them, and this provides us with some good arbitrage opportunities. No, they’re not all swords, but it made for a catchy title so I’m sticking with it!

Shadowspear (All Versions)

Price in Europe: €5/€8/€30 ($6/$9.50/$35)
Price in US: $10/$17/$63
Possible price: $15/$30/$80

Since its release in Theros Beyond Death last January, Shadowspear has pretty much just gone up and up – in both popularity and price. It’s climbed its way right up to over 17,000 decks registered on EDHREC in the last two years, locking in a solid 9th place in the Equipment rankings. It’s honestly a fantastic card for almost any EDH deck – costing just one mana to cast and two to equip is peanuts for the effects you get strapped on (just compare it to Loxodon Warhammer), and being able to remove Hexproof and Indestructible from your opponents’ creatures is a big move at the EDH table.

I said prices have been going up, and that’s certainly true in the US – however over here in Europe prices are dragging significantly in comparison, as is likely to happen with EDH-only cards. Copies can still be had at €5/€8/€30 for regular/EA/FEA versions on MKM, which is honestly still a bargain on all fronts when you compare them to the prices on TCGPlayer.

Stock is especially low on EA and FEA versions now, and although we may see the regular card printed again sometime in the not-too-distant future, it’s unlikely that we’ll see it in the EA treatment any time soon. THB Collector Boosters are getting pretty pricey now, and with the big hitter Uro banned in most relevant places, they’re much less attractive to crack – meaning that not many more EA and FEA cards from the set are making their way into the market any time soon. These are all good for immediate flips but much better to hold for a few months!

Helm of the Host (Foil)

Price in Europe: €8 ($9.50)
Price in US: $25
Possible price: $30

Helm of the Host foils finally popped in the US last week, after years of thinking “any time now I’m SURE it’s going to pay off”. Well, to those of you that held out this long: well done. However, as is tradition Europe is lagging and there are still foils available around €8 on MKM. I don’t think that those will stick around too long as people begin to realise that prices in the US have moved significantly, so I wouldn’t hang around on these if you want any cheaper copies.

If you were in any doubt about how good or popular this card is, just take a look at the EDHREC stats: over 22,000 decks listed clocks it in at number seven in the Equipment rankings, because it turns out that being able to have multiple copies of your commander out can be preeeeetty good in the right deck (and it works just as well on other creatures too!), despite the relatively costly mana and equip costs. I like this as a quick flip target across the pond, but holding could be totally reasonable for you as well, and you might be able to get closer to $40 for this a couple of months down the road.

Dowsing Dagger (BaB Foil)

Price in Europe: €5 ($6)
Price in US: $25
Possible price: $50

Now for my last pick, I know that this is really only played for the back half of it, but it’s still technically an equipment and it’s also got a ridiculous price disparity between the two continents – and it’s also the closest thing to a sword in this article! This card spiked in the US a few weeks ago, but – you guessed it – Europe is dragging its heels, and there are still €5 copies on MKM. Not too many of them, mind you, but the opportunity is there and waiting for you to grab it.

This is a much less popular card than the other two I’ve talked about today, but it’s a lot more unique in the fact that I don’t think the Buy-a-Box promos from Ixalan will ever be printed in the same fashion again. These are the ones with partial maps on the back, that if you line them all up together they make a big map of Ixalan. It was a really cool idea and makes these a great collector’s item, as well as the cards just having good art and foiling on them.

If you’re wanting a premium version of Dowsing Dagger then you’re choosing between this, the set foil and the prerelease foil – and I think we all know what the best option there is. I think you’re even good to pick off the sub-$30 of these in the US, as they’re heading towards $50 in no short order. Growing Rites of Itlimoc is already there and some of the other BaB promos from Ixalan are well on their way – they’re all pretty good EDH cards and if you can get them cheap in Europe, I’d strongly advocate for it.

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 Math of Strixhaven

Buckle up, everyone, because Wizards made some unexpected decisions when it comes to the distribution of special frames and foils. This will DEFINITELY affect your buying patterns once the set is out, so let me walk you through how frequently you’re going to see different versions of the cards in the set.

We don’t know exactly all of the cards in the Mystical Archive yet, but we know how many of those cards there are, and therefore how many alternate-art, Japanese-language Mystical Archive cards there are as well. All of this information has been taken from the stream on Thursday and the Collecting Strixhaven article released the same day.

Just to make this easier for me to write, when I say Japanese version, I mean the alternate-art Mystical Archive card. Global refers to the language that the rest of the cards is in.

A few overall things to note:

When it comes to the Mystical Archive spells, there is both a traditional foil treatment and an etched-foil treatment. This applies to both the global and the Japanese. So yes, there’s four foil versions of each Mystical Archive spell to go with two nonfoil versions. (Note that nonfoil Japanese alt-art versions can only be found in Japanese-language Set and Draft boosters.)

Non-foil Mystical Archive spells have a guaranteed slot in Draft Boosters. For that slot, 10/15 openings will be an uncommon, 4/15 will be a rare, and 1/15 will be mythic. That’s how it works out with the 67%/26.4%/6.6% math that we’re told.

Draft Boosters also have a chance for traditional foil Mystical Archive spells, but the exact ratio isn’t known. When I’m able to find that, or some helpful person links it to me in the comments or on Twitter, I’ll update this post.

In Collector Boosters, you’re going to get at least one global Mystical Archive spell and one Japanese Mystical Archive card. Your booster will have a third Mystical Archive card, which has a 50/50 chance for being global or Japanese.

I’m writing this guide before we know all 45 cards that are in the Mystical Archive, but when a card’s rarity is revealed, you should remember that rares will be twice as common as mythics unless they tell us something else specifically, like they did with the Draft Booster slot. This is also why uncommons get their own slot.

With that settled, let’s get into some of the details. Here’s the image Wizards used as a summary, and what the odds are for certain cards. 

Slot #1: Foil-Etched Mystical Archive rare or mythic – With 30 rares and 15 mythics, you’d expect a 1/45 chance for any given card. Turian uses a misleading framing here, saying you can get any of those 45 cards. This is true, but the chances aren’t equal. You have a 1/37.5 chance of pulling a given rare, and a 1/75 chance of getting a specific mythic. If this one is in the global language, then Slot 2 will be a Japanese card, or vice versa. You’ve got a 50/50 chance of this card being global language or Japanese.

Slot #2: Foil-Etched Mystical Archive Uncommon – There are 18 Mystical Archive uncommons, so this is very straightforward. You’re still 50/50 on global vs. Japanese, but the uncommon versions of these cards are going to be impressively easy to use.

Slot #3: Traditional foil Mystical Archive (global or Japanese alternate-art version) rare or mythic rare, borderless mythic rare, or extended-art rare or mythic rare – You’re reading that right. Your third slot is going to have a whole lot of options, each one making the other more rare. We need to break things down here. This could be:

Traditional Global foil for the Mystical Archive (30 rares, 15 mythics)

Traditional Japanese foil for the Mystical Archive (30 rares, 15 mythics)

Foil Extended Art for the rares and mythics of Strixhaven (69 rares, 12 mythics)

Foil Borderless Mythics (9 mythics – the five elder dragons and four planeswalker cards)

Again, the numbers are misleading. It’s not an even 180 cards, and you get one of those. It’s one out of 309, for a given mythic of the assorted types, with your chances of a rare being doubled to 1 in 154.5 packs. 

That’s really rare for any of these, the only slot with Foil Extended Art versions, a throwback to the Commander Legends treatment. This is bonkers. If you’re wondering where Turian got the 48% figure when discussing getting a fourth Mystical Archive card in a single pack, this is where. Take 150/309 and you get 48.54%.

Slot #4: Traditional foil Mystical Archive uncommon – Again, a 1/18 chance in this, very straightforward, there will be lots and lots of the uncommon Mystical Archive cards.

Slot #5: Nonfoil Borderless/Extended Art Rare or Mythic –  With this being nonfoil, some might not care as much, but this slot will have a lot of value because there will be a lot more copies. You’ve got 69 rares and 12 mythics, so you’ve got a 92% chance of pulling a rare and only 8% of all Collector Boosters will have a mythic in this slot.

Slot #6: Nonfoil Extended-Art Rare or Mythic from Commander 2021 – Yes, the five decks are upon us, releasing the same day as Strixhaven itself. There’s a total of 80 cards that are new to Magic in those five Commander decks, and this slot in a Collector Booster will give you an extended-art version of those cards (but nonfoil). The only foils of these new cards are the five ‘face’ commanders, but even the EA versions in this slot are nonfoil. 

Slot #7: Foil Lessons – As colorless cards, there’s going to be some interest in these cards, especially the rare and mythic. We know there’s a total of 20, and we’re given a rough breakdown of the odds: “On average, if you opened six Collector Boosters, you would expect to get a combination of 5 common and/or uncommon Lesson cards, as well as 1 rare or mythic rare Lesson card.” Once I know exactly how many of each rarity there are, I can do a bit more math.

Slot #8: Foil rare or mythic – Pretty standard, but again, 92% to be a rare and 8% to be a mythic. I’m not expecting a lot of value here, or from the rest of the slots which are commons, uncommons, and tokens.

So let’s have a chart, giving us what sorts of cards we’re looking for, which slot of a CB they are in, the percentage for that, and the number of packs to open to get a specific card. Remember that global language refers to the language it was printed in. English will be the most common, but they are also available in French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. All languages will have Japanese alternate art versions of the Mystical Archive.

Card type/raritySlot numberPercent chance in a single CBNumber of packs to get one particular card (approx)
Global foil etched Mystical Archive Mythic Rare117.5%150
Global foil etched Mystical Archive Rare133%75
Japanese foil etched alt art Mystical Archive Mythic Rare117.5%150
Japanese foil etched alt art Mystical Archive Rare133%75
Global foil etched Mystical Archive Uncommon250%36
Japanese alt art Mystical Archive Uncommon250%36
Global Traditional Foil Mystical Archive Mythic Rare34.8%309
Global Traditional Foil Mystical Archive Rare319.4%154.5
Japanese Traditional Foil Mystical Archive Mythic Rare34.8%309
Japanese Traditional Foil Mystical Archive Rare319.4%154.5
Extended Art Foil Mythic Rare33.8%309
Extended Art Foil Rare344.6%154.5
Borderless Mythic or Planeswalker32.9%309
Global Traditional Foil Mystic Archive  Uncommon450%36
Japanese Traditional Foil Mystic Archive  Uncommon450%36
Nonfoil Borderless or Extended Art Mythic Rare58%150
Nonfoil Borderless or Extended Art Rare592%75
Nonfoil Commander 2021-Exclusive Mythic Rare612.5%80
Nonfoil Commander 2021-Exclusive Rare687.5%40
Nonfoil Mystical Archive UncommonDraft Boosters67%27
Nonfoil Mystical Archive RareDraft Boosters26.4%114
Nonfoil Mystical Archive Mythic RareDraft Boosters6.6%227

For two comparisons from recent sets, you were one in 256 Collector Boosters for a Phyrexian Vorinclex, and one in 400 for a FEA Jeweled Lotus.

So to summarize, that third slot is going to have a FEA rare more than half the time, a Mystical Archive about 40% of the time, and only 7% of Collector Booster packs is going to have a FEA mythic or a borderless card in that slot. FEA mythics, borderless foils, and traditional foil Mystical Archive mythics are all the same rarity in this slot: one in every 309 packs.

Another notable facet of this is that the etched-foil versions of the Mystical Archive will be at least twice as common as the traditional foil Mystical Archive of the same card, requiring roughly twice the number of packs to open to get one particular card. 

I hope this table and this information helps you make good decisions as Strixhaven previews continue. If you found an error, leave me a comment or drop me a line on Twitter.

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: Let’s. Get. GRANULARRRRR


We are in a weird limbo period where we have only had like 5 spoilers from the Hogwart’s set and it’s too late to do anything about the one relevant spec that has come from those spoilers.

It’s too long since Kaldheim, basically, there is nothing EDH-specific to say about Time Spiral Remastered and we don’t know enough about fantastic specs and where to buy them. I’m sure in the next few weeks will be full of specs that make you say “10 points to Hufflepuff Lorehold,” but until then, let’s look at something else.

The EDHREC programmers are very busy right now and when they’re not busy, they’re not super inclined to implement my proposed feature for a toggle between sorting by percentage inclusion and by absolute number of inclusions. I think that’s good and bad. It’s good-ish because it tends to weed lazy people out and buries decent specs, it’s bad because if you want to be not lazy, you have to do some digging. Well, you don’t have to do digging. I have to. Me. So I guess I’ll do it, then. Today, I want to get really granular to overexplain why I think some cards that have none of the things I like to look for in a spec could be good specs in the very long term.

Define “Very Long Term”

I was gonna, jeez. Literally don’t even give me time to hit the enter key to start a new paragraph and you’re already all over me.

I think some of the cards in Kaldheim are somewhat insulated from reprints. Set-specific keyword abilities are usually considered too confusing for inclusion in EDH precons, cards that start at a buck and go to $7 rarely end up on “the list” and is there even a third way to print cards? Kaldheim has some cards that I think are potentially hidden gems, and it has to do with the lack of sources for information. People are still making finance decisions based on their own flawed perceptions in year of our lord two thousand and twenty one and if someone like me who makes almost all of his decisions based on data can screw things up, imagine how bad people who don’t do that are doing.

I think there are a few cards from Kaldheim that are probably going to make some moves long-term, and I’m going to try and find historical corollaries to prove it lest I look like I’m guessing. This will be fun, promise.

This is what the top 90 cards in the set look like represented as posters for ants. I’m not trying to show you a specific card, I’m trying to prove a point about scale. Specifically, I am trying to prove a point about where Reflections of Litjara is in the Top 90. It’s here.

Middle of the pack when sorted by % inclusion. Hypothetically sorting by number of total decks doesn’t do it as many favors as that sorting would do for other cards, either – it’s hovering around 669 (nice) decks or 6% of the last 11k decks registered. However, I don’t think this is going to be “OMG hidden gem, overnight $10 card” spec, but rather a “crazy I still get these in bulk after it’s crept up to $1/$2/$3 “card. It’s a bulk rare version of Kindred Discovery and while Kindred Discovery is much better, that “much better” comes with a hefty $40 price tag. Not only that, I am not 100% convinced that people with the scratch to pony up forty bones for an EDH card won’t play Reflections in the same deck. We’re looking at a card that’s potentially going to see some use the next time a tribal set comes out and people go back through old cards to see what could go in their deck. I don’t know if you buy these now, but they’re going to bottom out and I like it, especially the extended border versions, at bulk-ish because they’re going to creep up.

As far as historical cards go, I’d compare this to something like Icon of Ancestry, not in terms of its price, but in terms of its trajectory.

Icon goes in a lot more decks than a Blue Enchantment does, obviously, but I think the trajectory should be similar. Besides, you’re not turning a $3 card into a $5 one, you’re turning bulk into better than bulk, and that’s very doable. Look at a card that is printed less but is also narrower.

Besides, even if you’re not convinced about Reflections, I have good news, I was just buttering you up for the grand finale.

See this bad boy? What if I told you that if we sorted by # of inclusions, he’s actually the 10th-most-played card in the set? When you open up EDHREC, it places him in the 3d or 4th row depending on your monitor, and that’s not generally where people go for the “top” cards in the set. 10th-most-played card and it’s a tutor on a stick? Granted, it’s tougher to use than some tutors, but if he lives, it’s reusable. You can also force someone else to tutor, making him a nice pairing with Opposition Agent.

I don’t have a great 1 to 1 comparison, but I would like you to peep this graph in particular.

Again, let’s not get too caught up in the numbers, but let’s take a look at the trend. Sidisi caught on after it went out of print and it’s been on a steady climb ever since. I don’t know if Varragoth can be equally ubiquitous, but I also don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that Varragoth will do some work.

It’s not quite a 1 to 1 comparison, again, but of the roughly 12,000 decks registered since Varragoth entered the system, Varragoth has been used in 6% of the Black-containing ones, the same percentage of total decks ever including Sidisi. I don’t know if we’ll be paying $13 at Card Kingdom for Varragoth ever, but I do think Varragoth is a very interesting card and I think it’s gone largely unnoticed.

And then there’s the thing that Sidisi doesn’t have – a super metal stylized version that costs basically the same as the set version. I think the foils and non-foils of this card will diverge from the regular version, making the showcase version a nice happy medium for people who don’t want to play the boring set version and don’t like foils. I expect an exponential price diversion, and the existence of the showcase version as a spec further insulates us from reprint risk given that the regular version, as tough to reprint as it may be with its Boast ability, is even tougher to reprint. These are all causes for celebration.

I spent a lot of time on two cards, but I wanted to prove I actually thought a lot about this. It’s weird speculating on in-print, non-mythic cards only played in one format, but if Sidisi can flirt with $15 on Card Kingdom, I don’t think it sucks to not dismiss Varragoth at 3, especially in a world where Opposition Agent and Rogue’s Passage exist.

That does it for me, folks. Join me next week where we’ll be talking about “totally not Harry Potter, you guys” the set. Be there. Until next time!

Commander Legends Draining

It’s already been four months since Commander Legends was released, and supply is continuing to run thinner and thinner. Despite a couple of restocks of Collector Boosters here and there we haven’t seen a lot of those singles injected into the market, meaning that prices are only going up on the most sought-after EDH cards.

Cards like Jeweled Lotus and Hullbreacher are already very expensive in EA and FEA, but there are still some good deals to be had on a lot of the ‘tier two’ cards from the set, that I think will be the next ones to pop.

Akroma’s Will (EA/FEA)

Price today: $7/$18
Possible price: $15/$35

I’ve talked before about white needing as much help as it can get in EDH, and this is a card that really pulls its weight. It’s the second most popular card from Commander Legends, and fits into just about any white deck you’d like to put it in. The flexibility and power level it provides means that it can boost your creatures and really go over the top to launch your opponents into the sun on a final attack, as well as being able to protect them from pretty much anything – or both!

EA copies are currently around $7 on TCGPlayer and €4 on MKM, whilst foils will run you $18 or €18. I’m actually more of a proponent of the regular EA copies here, because I think that they have the potential for a higher multiplier than the FEA version. I could see the $7 copies being $15-20 in 6-12 months, whilst the FEAs will probably land somewhere between $30-40 in the same timeframe.

The supply is lower on the FEAs, but not by as much as you’d expect – there are 33 non-foil listings and 27 foil listings. I think this likely has to do with the bad curling issues on CMR foils, causing a lot of players to opt for the non-foils instead (but if you want to uncurl your foils, check out our article on it here).

Apex Devastator (EA/FEA)

Price today: $15/$55
Possible price: $30/$100

I’m honestly not sure how good Apex Devastator is in EDH, but I don’t think that it being really good is quite the point of playing the card. “Cascade, cascade, cascade, cascade” is quite the text to stick on a card, and it’s definitely something that is a lot of fun to play with. One of the best things about Cascade is that even if your 10-drop gets countered, you’re still going to get all of those triggers regardless. I’m also a huge fan of the clean textbox on the EA and FEA versions, just having those four words with nothing else to distract.

At just over 2000 EDH decks it’s not the most popular card, but its Mythic rarity means that there are much fewer copies around than any rares, and so the price is going to jump a lot faster than it might do otherwise. Calling the FEA from $55 to $100 here might be a slightly bold claim, but honestly I think that it’s going to get there at some point in the not-too-distant future.

There are a total of twenty copies on TCGPlayer, and only seven of those are under $60 – I think that those ones are ripe for the picking, and should head up towards $100 within the next 6-12months. That will in turn push the regular EA copies up along with them, heading for $30 or more in the same timeframe.

Commander’s Plate (FEA)

Price today: $40
Possible price: $80

Rounding things off with another Mythic FEA today, you have to scroll down the EDHREC page a little bit to find this one because it’s an artifact and the cards are sorted by inclusion percentage rather than raw numbers. Despite that, it’s in almost 3000 decks listed, which puts it right up there with some of the most popular cards from the set. Costing only one mana to play and three to equip to your commander is pretty cheap for such a strong effect, especially if you’re jamming it onto a mono-coloured or colourless Legend.

My comments about Apex Devastator’s rarity ring just as true for Commander’s Plate, and with only 19 FEA listings on TCGPlayer I expect to see the price pushing up and up over the next few months. This is actually one of the few CMR FEAs that have some slightly cheaper copies in Europe, with a few available around €30-35 (~$35-40). There aren’t a lot so you’ll have to be quick, but I think that it’s a decent arbitrage opportunity to squeeze some extra dollars out of your spec if you’re able to leverage it.

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.