Unlocked Pro Trader: Cleaning Up


As usual, there is a bit of a feeding frenzy for obvious stuff and cards that are less obvious to people who are just reacting to what they see on Twitter but are just as obvious to us are still available. Let’s see what all is going in these decks and see if we can’t make some money while everyone else is fighting over the obvious stuff.

I’m tempted to go super shallow across all of the top commanders, but I think there is enough time on the non-obvious stuff to do that over the next few weeks like I always do. Let’s go pretty deep on one or two commanders and see where we end up. This set is pretty bonkers, especially for a set not called “Commander Horizons.” Let’s take a look at what I think matters.

We have a non-zero number of decks and some of these cards have only been spoiled for a day or two, so it’s good to have any amount of data. I don’t expect Chatterfang not to be #1 long-term, but I don’t expect Yusri to stay #2. I expect people will realize Garth is boring but it will stay Top 5 because 5 color goodstuff decks are fun and might I suggest good for the format, actually, as long as they’re not like… Golos. I think Ragavan will join Chatterfang, Yusri, Garth and Lonis in the Top 5. Lonis is nutso, by the way, and I think Aeve is slept-on because it’s mono-Green but I think it is very powerful and fun.

Not much new out of Chatterfang since it’s Squirrel cards that were all obvious, token producers that were already in play because of Strixhaven and token deck infrastructure that is, again, already moving or having moved because of Adrix and Nev. I’m going to ignore Chatterboi.

Yusri, though, is kind of interesting.

Yusri, Fortune's Flame

Krark came along and despite having partner and getting paired up with Sakashima a lot, Krark made thumb and a few mono-Red coin flip cards go up, but not the Izzet ones. This is interesting because without an impetus to do much since Okaun/Zndrsplt (sp?) a lot of those are on the way down. I’ll show you one card I think is particularly interesting.

Extra turns cards and coin flip cards are both in play right now, but for some reason, Stitch is lagging pretty far behind some of the other coin flip cards. The only Izzet one that’s really going off is Frenetic Efreet and that has more to do with it being on the Reserved List than it does coinflip shenanigans, imo. Krark’s Thumb is going off early and often but I think some of the other cards are a bit slept-on.

The craziest card to go off because of coin flipping was Chance Encounter.

But Chance Encounter is dead as a spec, in my opinion because of this.

The reprinting made Yusri more interesting in some Limited games… I guess? Maybe? Anyway, it’s not a big deal, Yusri doesn’t really have a lot going on if you drill down. Apart from Stitch in Time and picking cards like Mogg Assassin out of your bulk, I think Yusri is mostly old specs paying off again. Yusri kind of sucks, if I’m being honest – it’s cool to dump your hand but it’s crazy to rely on it and Okaun and Zndrsplt can kill someone if you win like 3 flips, let alone 5. I think this is a meme deck, mostly, but people like memes.

Lonis, Cryptozoologist

Lonis is the coolest commander in the set, and while it’s not terribly novel for Simic, there are a few brand new cards that are in play, in my opinion, and I want to spend the remainder of the article focusing on them.

Shrieking Drake flirted with $2 before when people were excited about Chulane. I think the second spike is bound to be harder and higher because no one can find these for a nickel at the LGS anymore – anyone who wants one is paying retail. I think this is an easy $2 buylist out in 2 months and I think you can clean up if you buy these, even at its current $0.50 to $0.75. I don’t love paying a buck but if enough people pay a buck, everyone has to buy them from you for more. If you have these in your bulk, and you might, here is your shot. I was lazy and missed a bunch of these when they were getting outed at $2 but I set them aside and I’m ready for this to flirt with $3. If you’re not looking for a card that spiked already because everyone rooted them out of the bulk boxes at the LGS and that’s what you like to do, here’s a card like that for you.

An uncommon from Kamigawa is in higher supply than an uncommon from Visions, true, and maybe this can’t hit $2, but if Loomis is played about as much as Chulane (and maybe for longer since Chulane got stale quickly) this could be a card you buy a pile of for a quarter each at the LGS and buylist for a buck, and depending on the size of the pile, that could be very worth it. Not looking for nickels and dimes? OK.

Loomis likely makes this a $10 foil, then. The deck is pretty cheap to foil out since it’s got a lot of commons and bulk rares in it (although it has a lot of Legacy cards like Scryb Ranger, too) and being able to snag these around $3 seems like a no-brainer.

Actually, this deck probably doesn’t stay cheap to foil out for long.

Weirding Wood in particular has some overlap with potential emerging Enchantress decks spurred on by new Enchantress cards in Commander Legends 2; 6 months later edition. I like a lot of these low supply, low price foils that all absolutely go in Lonis, a card I think is potentially the most fun Simic commander in years.

This barely counts as uncommon since it’s worth more than like 9/10 of the rares in that set.

I think Lonis is a deep well and even if you’re not looking to buy foils of durdly Investigate stuff, there are a ton of solid cards that have other reasons to be on the move – Second Harvest, Ice-Fang Coatl, Inspiring Statuary, etc. Check out the whole list.

That does it for me this week. Next week I’ll be back with more Commanders that are moving the needle on your Kamigawa bulk, but until then, do some browsing of EDHREC yourself, and mop up that low supply goodness. Your LGS will be so glad someone came in to dig through old boxes, they won’t even notice you’re taking all of the underpriced goodies. Until next time!

Strixhaven Bulk

Strixhaven: School of Mages has been out for a little over a month now, and I think that we’re round about peak supply right now – which means it’s likely the best time to be picking up your spec targets. Today I want to have a look at what I think are some of the best options to be looking at grabbing in bulk – cheaper cards where the regular versions are probably going to have very attractive buylist outs in a year or two.

Solve the Equation (Foil)

Price in Europe: €1 ($1.20)
Price in US: $3
Possible price: $5

Solve the Equation is one of the top EDH cards from Strixhaven, clocking in at over 4000 decks registered since Strixhaven’s release. It’s kind of better and kind of worse than Merchant Scroll – it costs an extra mana, but you aren’t restricted to only blue spells, and to be honest I think that’s more upside than downside. Unfortunately not instant speed like Mystical Tutor but you are getting the card straight to your hand instead of the top of your library, meaning that you don’t need to wait for your turn again or draw an extra card to have access to it.

Merchant Scroll is a staple in combo decks as well as just being useful to go and find counterspells or a Cyclonic Rift to reset the board, and I don’t doubt that Solve the Equation is going to be put to similar use. The US seems to have realised this already and albeit an uncommon, Solve the Equation is already a $3 foil and $1.50 non-foil. Over in Europe it’s a different story, with foils at €1 and non-foils right down at €0.25 or so.

That’s some great arbitrage to take advantage of, both for the foils and non-foils, so if you can target some bricks in Europe then you’re going to do well. I think that buylists for this are going to be strong a little way down the road, and foils might even get high enough to be worth selling on TCGPlayer or eBay as well.

Wandering Archaic // Explore the Vastlands

Price today: $5
Possible price: $10

Wandering Archaic isn’t quite as bulk-ish in terms of price as I’d like, but it is a really popular EDH card that I think has great long-term growth potential despite the relatively high current buy-in price. You have to scroll down a little way to find it on the EDHREC page because it’s colourless and so going by percentage isn’t that high on the list – but when you look at raw deck inclusion numbers, it’s damn near the top of the pile.

At nearly 5000 decks already this is a hugely popular card, and being colourless it can slot into any deck you’d like to throw it in. I honestly don’t know how good the Explore the Vastlands side is, but I’m pretty sure that most people are using this card for the front side. Putting a tax on your opponents is always going to turn out well in EDH, because if years of Rhystic Study and Smothering Tithe have taught me anything it’s that people never pay when they should. That means that more often than not I think you’re going to get to copy your opponents’ spells, which is just an incredible amount of value from your five mana 4/4.

As I said, $5 for these might be a little high of a buy-in and we might even be able to get these cheaper in a couple of weeks or so, so my advice is to pick a few up now and keep an eye on the price to see if you can’t get them any cheaper in the coming weeks – and if you can, buy down the ladder. Again, this is the third most popular EDH card from the entire set by quite a wide margin and so even as a regular rare, it’s going to hold up in the long run.

Valentin, Dean of the Vein // Lisette, Dean of the Root

Price today: $1
Possible price: $4

Valentin is an intriguing card to look into, because despite already being in 1800 EDH decks on EDHREC there are only 77 decks built with it as the commander. And honestly? I think it’s being slept on. Being played in the 99 is great, but I think that having access to Valentin as your commander is so much more powerful and can be a great build-around.

There are very few good one mana commanders, but being able to keep casting them for cheap makes the good ones even better. Valentin exiling your opponents’ creatures instead of sending them to the graveyard is an excellent passive ability considering the amount of graveyard interaction there is in EDH, and if you have the spare mana then being able to also turn that into tokens is a nice bonus. If you want to build around that then you can easily fill your deck with sacrifice outlets to throw the tokens at, and and potentially lifegain synergies to go with it. Lisette on the other side of the card can help out with that too; once you have an army of tokens and a way to gain life you can pretty easily steamroll someone.

Regardless of whether you’re playing this as a commander or in the 99, I think that it’s a great card and a solid pickup in bulk at $1. I could see this hitting $4-5 retail and $3-4 buylist a year or two out from now, and I’m actually a big fan of the FEA versions sat at around $4 now as well.

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 Modern Horizons 2

Here we are, another set and another whole raft of treatments for us to obsess over. We’ve got some odds to break down, some examples to peruse, and tables to try to make everything simpler. Let’s get to it!

Let’s start with the things they made easy: a link to the treatments in MH2 and the official Collecting Modern Horizons 2 post. 

In Wizards’ ongoing effort to make sure that programmers and sorters and sellers lose their minds, there are going to be a whole lot of different treatments available for Modern Horizons 2. I’ve tried to make this easy for you with a handy-dandy chart:

Type of frameAvailable in nonfoil?Available in foil-etched?Available in traditional foil?
Basic (Regular? Original?)XXX
Old Border (WotC likes to call this ‘retro’)XXX
Old Border MH1 reprintsXX
Extended-Art XX
Old Border Fetch LandsXXX

Does that make it easier? This is a LOT of stuff that they are cramming into one set, and I want to try and clarify things whenever possible.

We’ve seen some short videos with the foil-etched cards, and so far they seem closer to Commander Legends than Mystical Archives, which should bode well for their popularity. That said, the old border foils are clearly the most important variants in this product formulation so it remains to be seen how the market will price the etched foils given their higher drop rates and lesser importance.

Notable from this chart is that the Modern Horizons 1 reprints are not available in nonfoil in any MH2 products at all. If you want the old border, you are getting something shiny, and you have to go through Collector Boosters to get them.

Now, let’s talk about how you get these different cards. 

In Set Boosters, you’re going to find a wide variety of nonfoils. Clearly, these won’t be as hard to find as the foil versions, and I can’t say for sure how many people are going to open Set Boosters when the Collector Boosters beckon. Still, understand that each Set pack will give you at least one (and as many as four) rares and/or mythics.

There is one slot for traditional foils, but you can get a card of any of these: “It can be a main set card of any rarity; a new-to-Modern uncommon, rare, or mythic rare; a showcase treatment card of any rarity; or a borderless rare or mythic rare.” I won’t even calculate how many potential outcomes there are here, but rest assured, this is the lowest-probability slot I’ve ever seen… 

…until we get to Draft Boosters, where it’s even worse. You have a 1 in 3 chance at a foil from that same formulation, so whatever infinitesimal chance you had at a borderless mythic rare from that slot in a Set Booster, take those odds and multiply by .33 to get your odds in a Draft Booster.

Fine, I did some of the math before I got disheartened. For just the ‘main set card of any rarity’ you’re at 0.76% to hit any foil mythic and 4.6% to get a foil rare in a Set Booster, and for a Draft Booster it’s 0.25% for any foil mythic and 1.5% for any foil rare. All of those are before I add in the new to Modern cards plus the rest, and since not everything is spoiled, I can’t tell you how much more tiny those odds will get.

However, as we get more data from big operations who crack lots and lots of boxes, we’ll be updating this section. Figuring out the distributions of foils and special cards in the Draft Boosters especially is a priority, and we’ll keep you aware of new developments.

Now let’s get to Collector Boosters, which has some attractive guarantees and one wild-as-hell slot, which is what Wizards seems to have settled on for these boosters. Here’s the handy guide that they’ve released to us:

Slot one we care about, as it could be any rare or mythic from the set, but in a regular frame. This could include fetchlands! Counting up the numbers we’re told when discussing foil-etched cards (main set, new to Modern, and MH1 reprints), there’s 61 potential rares and 16 potential mythics. You have an 11.6% chance to hit a mythic in this slot, and you’ll have a 1/138 chance of a particular one when you open a pack. For rares, you’ll hit on 88.4% of packs, and a particular rare will show up every 69 packs. Nice!

We don’t really care about slots 2 and 3, those are basic lands and C/UCs, just know there’s gonna be plenty of those around.

Slot 4, however, is where the big money is going to be found. You’re guaranteed a traditional foil rare or mythic, and this is the only spot where traditional foils of the new frames can be had. Also, this is the only spot for Foil Extended Art cards. All of these are crammed into the same spot, though, and that means this one slot is going to be carrying most of the value of a Collector Booster. If a CB box is $400, at 12 boosters that’s $33 each, just to give an idea of the spending people are about to do.

The big table:

How many can show up in Slot #4Odds of getting one in Slot #4How many packs, on average, to get one?Cost per copy (given $33.33/pack)
Traditional foil retro frame rare4334%126.5$4,216.25
Traditional foil retro frame mythic rare124.7%253$8,432.50
Borderless traditional foil rare43.2%126.5$4,216.25
Borderless traditional foil mythic rare197.5%253$8,432.50
Traditional foil rare in a sketch frame2116.6%126.5$4,216.25
Traditional foil mythic rare in a sketch frame83.2%253$8,432.50
Traditional Foil Extended Art Rare3930.8%126.5$4,216.25
Traditional Foil Extended Art Mythic Rare0N/AN/A

Yes, you’re reading that right. There are NO FEA mythics in this set. They are all borderless/sketch/retro framed. Borderless is basically EA, just with different art. Here’s an example, a subtle one no less.

Showcase borderless for the mythics means they aren’t CB limited as per usual.

For some historical perspective, this 1/253 chance for specific treatment mythics means that each one is about as rare as Phyrexian foil Vorinclex (1/256 packs) but more common than traditional foil mythics in the Mystical Archive (1/309 packs) and way more common than FEA Jeweled Lotus (1/400 packs), which is a rarity I doubt we’ll see again.

Slot 5 has a nonfoil borderless or sketch frame card, either rare or mythic. Given the numbers of those, you have an impressive 35% chance of getting a mythic and 65% to pull a rare. To get a particular mythic, it’s 1 in 77 packs for that mythic and 1 in 38.5 for a particular rare.

Slots 6 and 7 are going to be more commons and uncommons, and again, in nonfoil these will be plentiful. I expect some great spec targets here once we know the whole set, though.

Slot 8 is the last one of any financial significance, having an extended-art rare. There’s only 39 of these, so your odds are 1/39 to nab something specific, but these are nonfoil. Secondary targets financially, but potentially worthwhile if they start off cheap or end up cheap. Remember that the non-foil EA of Jeweled Lotus isn’t cheap, nor is nonfoil Phyrexian Vorinclex. 

The other slots are foil commons and uncommons, plus a land and a token, none of which are going to make a serious dent in prices for a long time. 

So to review, the rarest cards from this set are going to be the Traditional foil mythic rares, in sketch/retro/borderless frames. You’ll have a 1/253 chance of pulling a specific one of those rares from a Collector Booster. Interestingly, about one in 8 Collector Boosters will have a mythic of some kind in slot 4, but because there’s so many variants, each individual one will be quite rare.

Because people tend to focus on fetchlands, let’s do a little more math for those. You can get them in Slots 1, 4, and 8. Slot one has a 5/69 chance of a fetchland (foil etched modern frame), Slot 4 has a 10/126.5 chance (5 traditional foil old border plus 5 foil extended art), and Slot 8 has a 5/39 chance (nonfoil extended art). This comes out to about a 28% chance of any one Collector Booster having any fetchland of any type, and the average CB box will have 3.3 fetches. That’s not a guarantee, it’s just the probability. Some will have more, some less. Note that about half the fetches opened will be nonfoil EA, and that might be the place to invest.

It’s also worth mentioning that the sketch frames are another unique twist on Magic cards. Adding the art description is inspired here, giving an insight into the process that a lot of players don’t get. If you don’t like this look, I can respect that, but don’t overlook the opportunities if these get cheap. A lot of people like this look, and this popularity might lead to some surprising prices.

If you’ve noticed some discrepancies here, or if new information comes out that changes these numbers, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter, drop a comment on this page, or come tell me about it in the Protrader Discord. Good luck with your packs!

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: You Can’t Find Your Specs Cuz They On That Gravy Train

In 1959, General Foods created a new type of dog food that revolutionized how people fed their dogs. It was shipped dry in the form of kibble but was coated in a powdery substance that, when mixed with water, formed a brown gravy that made the food more appetizing for dogs, an animal that routinely eats its own feces. It was all of the saucy appeal of wet dog food but without the heavy, space-consuming cans that came with feeding your dog wet food. The product is still sold today, so presumably it’s fine… question mark.

Why do I bring up Gravy Train, an acceptable form of animal nourishment, in what you were presuming was an article about Magic: the Gathering? The answer is simple – sometimes things make their own gravy. Gravy Train does, you don’t need to add gravy to Gravy Train food because it makes its own gravy, you only need to add water. Have I belabored the point enough – is everyone clear that Gravy Train brand dog sustenance pellets don’t need to have any gravy added to them because you only need to add water because Gravy Train brand edible dog pebbles make their own gravy? You get the concept, right? Are you sure? I only ask because

this card makes its own gravy, and people are out here buying gravy.

And the stuff you’re buying isn’t even good gravy.

Squirrel Decks on EDHREC

I’ll prove to you that a lot of these cards that make squirrel tokens aren’t great in Chatterfang decks by showing you what actually goes in the average squirrel deck.

Just gonna click “tribes” here…

Just gotta scroll down to Squirrels as a tribe…




Are people not building Toski squirrel tribal?


Look, I get it. Believe me. Here’s the decklist from the article I wrote about Toski. Yes, I write for another website. Yes, I think there are financial implications to them. No, I don’t expect you to read them. In fact, you don’t even have to read this one, just read the title. Toski is a bad Squirrel deck. I made a Squirrel deck once. Guess who the commander was. It wasn’t Toski. Squirrel stuff went up when Toski came out, just like it did when Earl of Squirrel came out, and even though we never got the deck out of it that we wanted, people still demonstrated their willingness to build a Squirrel deck. EDHREC can’t help us, we’re going to have to either look at decklists manually, or we’re going to have to stop trying to find the right brand of gravy to buy for Chatterfang which, and I can’t stress this enough, is kind of like Gravy Train brand canine subsistence fragments – it makes its own gravy. All you need to do is add water. So what water are we adding?

Off the top of my head, here are like 10* cards that are better in a Chatterfang deck than Liege of the Hollows is (I’m probably going to do like 4 or 5 and assume my point is made and give up).

Baloths is objectively not even a very good card, it just makes tokens a lot easier than a lot of the cards that make squirrels and Chatterfang takes care of the rest.

Can I point something else out? Chatterfang doesn’t make very good use of Squirrels.

That’s it? That’s the Squirrel Lord we’ve been waiting for? Like, don’t get me wrong, it’s a cool sac outlet; it’s removal and the ability to double the number of tokens you make (albeit not the kind) is useful and all, but this sac ability isn’t really the reason to go pay $50 for Deranged Hermit or whatever the @#$%.

I think if people DO end up building a Chatterfang deck, they’ll need as many of the cards that make the deck actually work as they do middling Squirrels cards and we already know what those are. I would focus on getting the cards that will go in the deck but aren’t in the middle of a feeding frenzy today. Without EDHREC to tell me what those are, I’m forced to guess and go to archidekt to look it up manually. The things I do for you, dear readers.

I know we’re not exactly buying in on the ground floor, here, but we’re also going to see gains out of this until it gets reprinted, something that didn’t happen in Commander 2021. This gets printed every year and is almost $10 again – Clamp is the real deal. If you buy in at like $7 and it catches a reprint, buy a bunch of reprinted copies until the average price you paid is like $4 so you feel like a genius when you buylist for $7 later, or sell these for $12 in like a year before Commander 2022 comes out.

This card is a brief mopping-up procedure away from a sharp spike and it’s nuts (GET IT?!?!?!?!!11) in Chatterfang.

What is keeping this from being $10?

What is stopping this from being $5?

I think there are a lot of cards that are good in deck that aren’t Chatterfang that could benefit from the additional attention Chatterfang will bring them. I think Chatterfang kind of sucks and I think people overestimate the ability of casual appeal to sustain high prices.

How big do you think the middle segment is, really?

Anyway, enough ranting. Continue to buy staples for the format and if a card comes along that threatens to make stuff more expansive, make sure you’re not buying gravy.