Commander 2013 – Price Drops and Undervalued Cards


This week I would like to delve into both the new cards and reprinted Commander 2013 cards to see the monetary potential of new commander staples, reprinted commanders, and reprinted commander staple cards that are found across a myriad of decks and archetypes. I will try to pick out cards that I feel are either undervalued or have dropped so much in price that now would be a good time to pick them up if you are so inclined. I’m going to avoid talking about True-Name Nemesis because it has been covered quite well already (see here, and here) and I don’t have much else to add to the conversation.

Toxic Deluge

Toxic Deluge

Speaking of TNN, Toxic Deluge is a great answer to him! Outside of the TNN hype though, I think that Toxic Deluge has a lot more going for it than first meets the eye. Let’s compare it to similar spells that can be played in Legacy:

I will argue that Toxic Deluge is better than all of these cards because:

  • Its effect is stronger than similar cards (Perish, Nature’s Ruin, Virtue’s Ruin)

  • It is cost efficient (cheaper than all other options for mass creature removal except Pyroclasm, Cave-In, or miracled Terminus)

  • It gets around protection, particularly dealing with TNN and Sword of Feast and Famine

  • -X/-X can deal with indestructible , regeneration, or other effects that are seen from time

I have a feeling that as creatures become more powerful and players are left looking for answers to cards like TNN or various protection effects, Toxic Deluge will become more and more popular. With popularity will come an increase in price. For $14 I believe that Toxic Deluge is undervalued.


Unexpectedly Absent

Unexpectedly Absent

Though on the surface Unexpectedly Absent appears to be marginally good, this card has more going for it than others give it credit for. In Legacy, the option to remove any nonland permanent for a turn should not be underestimated. Combine this with the use of fetchlands and other shuffle effects that are found in the format and it can be a real beating if played at the right moment. Though Swords to Plowshares in my opinion is still a better card, Unexpectedly Absent does not give your opponent life back. This could be important in a deck like Death and Taxes where not only could you get rid of something later in the game, but you could use your mana denial resources to make it harder to play that spell. I’m not sure if $14 is the right call for this card but I will be watching its price as time goes on.


Baleful Strix

Baleful Strix

Baleful Strix has seen a large drop in price since its reprinting – it can currently be had for around $9 from many vendors. A very popular casual card with a small following in Legacy, Baleful Strix will continue to have a significant level of demand moving forward. I don’t think Baleful Strix is quite done dropping in price, since C13 will continue to be restocked going into the next year. His popularity will be enough reason to keep this as a prime target to watch moving forward. Once it gets down to the $5 price range it will be time to get in.


Primal Vigor

Primal Vigor

I would like to say that Primal Vigor is the next Doubling Season and that you should be actively picking them up, but Primal Vigor has two huge drawbacks against it.


One, it affects all players in the game. In the way that Caged Sun is slightly better than Gauntlet of Power (though Gauntlet does cost 1 less mana, but work with me), Primal Vigor is slightly worse than Doubling Season because it allows your opponents to take advantage of the effect before you can most of the time*.

*As an aside, I find it interesting that Wizards gave this enchantment a global effect since many of the new cards that they have been printing have moved away from this design philosophy and have instead focused upon only granting the abilities to things you control. A prime example of this are the M14 Slivers compared to “classic” Slivers from Time Spiral, Legions, or Tempest. Though I can understand in Primal Vigor’s case, since the card was in a multiplayer product and having cards that can take on a political role adds another element to the game.

Two, the second ability only utilizes +1/+1 counters rather than any type of counter. The fun part about playing Doubling Season is all the non-P/T counters: Planeswalker loyalty counters, charge counters, and many other types of counters. (Cool trivia fact – did you know that there are over 90 different types of counters that have been created for MTG cards over the years? Many of them are used only on a single card, but because of Doubling Season, casual players have the option to to expand their usefulness). Restricting Primal Vigor to just one counter type takes away the other cool options Doubling Season offers.

That being said, I still believe that Primal Vigor is undervalued right now and in the future I can see people wanting them in order to have a “cheaper” Doubling Season. Pick them up while they are still fairly cheap because I think this enchantment has room to grow.



Karmic Guide

Karmic Guide

Karmic Guide has never been cheaper! Now down to as low as $4 per copy, Guide has quite a bit of casual appeal. It might go a bit lower as more C13 is released, but I think Karmic Guide has almost reached the floor of its price. It can’t go too far though, so I recommend picking up your copies before C13 goes out of print and they become harder to find.


Sydri, Galvanic Genius

Sydri, Galvanic Genius

I think that Sydri is undervalued right now but that she has not reached her floor yet. I will compare this general to Animar, Soul of Elements. Currently sitting at around $7 and rising, Animar needs a deck to be built around him similar to Sydri, and is in a popular slice of the color pie for commander decks. At his low point, Animar was almost at bulk status for a long while but then this year he really started going up in price to match his popularity as a commander. Sydri will follow a similar path since she is Karn 2.0 with a little more flair that players will love to build around. I’m going to wait for her to reach her floor and then will trade for them.


Bane of Progress

Bane of Progress

Bane of Progress is probably one of the more powerful cards to be created for the C13 product line. By having an ETB ability that destroys all artifacts and enchantments, this creature can be abused very easily through reanimation, blinking, or other effects that get him into play cheaper. While he is amazing in Vintage, that format is not really a driver of prices and I will be looking at the casual crowds and possibly Legacy to start adopting Batman’s latest villain. I think that he is undervalued at $3 and should be picked up in trade whenever possible. It will be interesting to see how high this card can climb.


Other Specs

For a quick roundup, I think the following cards should also be watched going forward because they definitely have the potential to be popular casual cards and in addition may shakeup an eternal format from time to time:

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
Marath, Will of the Wild
Serene Master
From the Ashes

Also, the following reprints are now super cheap and can be picked up for quite a discount. Until their next reprinting, I can only see these cards going up from their floors:

Strategic Planning
Sol Ring
Command Tower
Decree of Pain
Sharuum the Hegemon

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.


Five Things to be Thankful For

By: Cliff Daigle

Thanksgiving was last week, and I hope you had a pleasant holiday.

The festivities got me thinking about Magic, what we should appreciate about it, and the people who make it.

#1: Wizards is made up of people who love to play Magic.

This may sound a little self-evident but it needs to be said and appreciated: the employees of WotC are frequently people who really love to play this game. Because they love to play it, they don’t want to mess it up. This leads to a game that is continuously new and consistently interesting.

#2: Those folks at Wizards actually listen to the community.

It doesn’t always feel like they do, I know. However, every tweet I’ve ever mentioned Helene Bergeot in, she’s replied to. The recent outcry over Magic Online’s stability problems is a reflection of the continuous demand for a more stable game and interface. It used to be that prerelease weekend was easy money: you’d enter an event, crack your packs, play your games…until the event invariably crashed, at which point you’d apply for and get a refund. I’m told MTGO very rarely has those sorts of issues now – I haven’t played online in several years.

#3: They have an incredible lead time for new cards.

I write something every week. It takes me a couple of hours. Perhaps you work in a field where you need to create some form of content or project on a regular basis. Imagine working in an environment where you get YEARS to get that content right, and you’ve got a peek into how R&D works at Wizards. I’m sure they feel the pressure of time, but designing and developing the cards is not a fast process, especially when it comes to figuring out how cards fit into every one of the formats we play.


#4: The variety of supported formats

The good people of Wizards of the Coast know that you really, Really, REALLY wanted that legendary Green-White-Red beast for your beast tribal EDH deck. They gave minotaur players a White-Blue-Red legend in the first Commander preconstructed decks. They will eventually give you the legendary werewolf you want so very very very badly. They will shortly have horde Magic decks as part of the Hero’s Path. They gave us Archenemy, and Planechase, and Vanguard, and all sorts of ways to play this game.

#5: The community

If you’re reading this, then you’re part of the community. You are reaching out to learn new things, either with a financial bent or just in general. You want to expand your knowledge of this game in order to maximize the enjoyment you get. That’s all we can ask for. Magic is a fun game, something that creates personal connections, and when you strive to know more, you’ll pass that on and help others in the same way.

My on-topic tip for this week is Master of Waves.  I told you before that you should stock up on Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx while it’s easily available and cheap. It will not remain that way for long, nor will the Master. His hype and previous price spike will make it easy to trade these away for $20 or more within a year, so if you can pick them up now in the $11-$12 range, you’re setting up for long-term gains.

Real Value from Small Gains

By: Travis Allen

MTG writers are frequently telling you what cards to be on the lookout for, especially in Standard. Anticipated shifts in formats and mid-week articles can herald the coming of a previously-overlooked rare, resulting in both greater demand and greater price for the card by Monday morning. This happens all the time, and we don’t need to look too far back to see examples of it.


When Mono-blue exploded after the Pro Tour, the big winners were obviously Master of Waves, Thassa, and Nightveil Specter. Then there was Tidebinder Mage. Tidebinder jumped by a dollar or two. If you bought in Friday morning at ~$1.50, you saw a nice uptick to about $4 retail. Buylists didn’t move much though, and even if they did, it wasn’t for long.

More recently we experienced the same thing with Pack Rat and Underworld Connections. Both were under $1 before the Mono-black list exploded at Louisville the weekend before Halloween. After that, they jumped to a good $2-3 each, and thanks to black’s continued success, remain there today.

Let’s say you are excellent at speculating, and saw the Pack Rat/Underworld Connections jump coming. You likely would have looked at Nightveil Specter, saw a card gain $10 in two weeks, and had dollar signs in your eyes. You bought and traded for a bunch of copies of Rat and Connections, followed by spending some time adding all sorts of cool foils to a shopping cart, just waiting to make bank.

Your prescience paid off, and you indeed made profit. Well, kind of.

Pack Rat and Underworld Connections jumped, sure. But how much, really? The cards quadrupled in value, which sounds amazing on paper, but what is your actual rate on that? They went from $.50 or $.75 to $2 and $3? You definitely came out ahead, but realizing actual concrete profit on that is tough. A quick review of a few buylists shows that you may be able to get $1 to $1.50 on those now. That means if your cost was a true $.50 per copy (making sure to factor in tax and shipping), you may make a net profit of $.50 on each card sold back, minus the shipping fees to get the cards to the buylist. (If sending more than five or tend cards, your shipping could easily be $5+, which is ten cards worth of profit alone.)

That giant spike sadly only represents a $2 rise.
That giant spike sadly only represents a $2 rise.

How many cards would you have had to buy to see actual cash in your pocket? 200 copies of Pack Rat would net you somewhere around $90 in profit, assuming some store actually wanted 200 copies (or multiple stores were offering $1). That sounds nice and tidy, but you would have had to shell out $100 upfront for 200 copies of Pack Rat. How often are you that sure of your success? Sometimes you Just Know, like the guys that preordered huge piles of Deathrite Shamans, Bonfire of the Damneds, Sphinx’s Revelations, or Snapcaster Mages. It’s not uncommon for people to just buy several playsets though, hedging their bets in case the card doesn’t pan out the way they hoped. In a situation where you pick up four to twenty copies, it isn’t even worth your time to go to the post office to mail them to the buylist. What then?

One of the side effects of a card jumping like this is that not only did the price rise, but demand also rose as well. Because of the general floor of rare values, as well as a seemingly invisible casual market, many rares will hold a price of $.25-$.75 with only the remotest chance someone actually wants to trade for any. When they hit $2-3, not only did the value go up, but that means the demand at your local store will have went from a stone cold nothing to an appreciable amount. This is where your best opportunity is to capitalize on small-value cards with large percentage gains.

Imagine you bought four playsets of Underworld Connections for $.75 a card, hoping they’d spike. Your spec didn’t completely bomb, as they’re currently around $2.50 in trade, with a best buylist of $.90 as of 12/2. That’s hardly worth shipping to a buylist though. Instead, you should stick them front in center of your binder and head off to your LGS. With a trade value of $2.50, you can ask a good $10 in trade for the set. You can then utilize good trade practices and disparity of information to perhaps grab a Master of Waves from someone looking to move into black. Now, suddenly your $3 investment on a set of Connections has turned into a real card. If you can manage that three more times, you’ve managed to turn a mildly successful spec into a hot playset of Standard mythics.

You can further take advantage of this situation by identifying cards with a good buylist spread. The long and short of it is that the smaller the spread, the better positioned the card is on the market. If Card A sells for $10 but has a buylist of $3, it has a huge spread and is less appealing to trade into. If Card B is a $10 card with a buylist of $7 or $8, a considerably smaller spread, it will trade at the same value as Card A but will make you more than double if you decide to buylist it. Those are the types of things you really want to be aware of when making trades in search of profit.

This is physically painful for me to look at.
This is physically painful for me to look at.

Remember how I said Master of Waves is around a $10 card? As of 12/2, his best buylist is $4.18, and you may have a tough time getting one for a set of Underworld Connections anyways. Desecration Demon, meanwhile, has a slightly lower trade value, and has a best buylist of a whopping $6.30. If you sold those sixteen Underworld Connections at buylist for $.90 each, you would have made $2.40 in profit, which wouldn’t even cover shipping the cards to a store. Four Desecration Demons will make you $13.20 net cash profit from a buylist for the exact same trade value, whose trades you may even be able to get a throw-ins on. Smart trading indeed!

Buying a few playsets of a card with good a outlook is common practice in the Magic world for those with a keen eye and prudent sense. Sometimes they jump, but you aren’t quite sure how to actually make money if the gain isn’t large enough. Now you have the knowledge of how to profit from these meager market shifts. Happy trading! 

MTG Market Insight – The Power of Market Leader Information


We have also been “asked” to remove Starcity prices form our site. We have pulled the prices for now.

The reason for removing the prices was simply that it wasn’t worth the time and effort required to keep up with their constant attempts to hide the data and they were almost NEVER the lowest prices vendor so the added gain to our users was very minimal.

On average, Starcity was 12% more expensive than almost every other vendor for almost every other card we looked at. Since each vendor is selling an identical good, sending people to SCG seemed silly.

That being said, some people still want SCG prices for comparison. Since has some funding, we’re fortunate to have some excellent IP and Internet lawyers available to us ( Rough advice from them follows (note: this is NOT advice to anyone else, it’s just me paraphrasing our own personal legal situation):

1. Price information is simply a statement of facts. You cannot copyright it. This is a 1991 Supreme Court decision. Relevant case law is here:

In my opinion, for the C&D author to claim “such action may also constitute an infringement of SCG’s intellectual property rights” implies that one of the following statements is true:

a) They are a terrible lawyer that doesn’t understand basic case law.
b) They are lying.
c) They think the word “may” means “doesn’t in any way”.

2. Terms and Conditions on a website need to be affirmatively agreed to to be binding. If I added to the T&C on “Anyone from that visits this site owes me $1 Million USD per visit”, it would be irrelevant. (Even if they DID agree, it would be unconscionable but that’s besides the point). Importantly, we have been careful to never accept these terms and conditions (which is why we stopped offering buylist prices earlier this year).

3. The recent 3Taps/ Padmapper/ Craigslist ruling CAN make “circumvention” unlawful, however the exact definition of circumvention is hazy. The EFF has a nice writeup of this case here:

For us, we decided that the simplest possible thing to do would be to use Amazon Turk to crowdsource the pricing data. In other words, get real humans to connect to and simply tell us how much they are charging for each card. Using Turk, we estimate that we could get every modern card’s price for less than $10/day. If there is demand for this, we will probably go this route since it both avoids all of the technological measures SCG are using and it’s 100% legal.

Please note: We have repeatedly offered Starcity free advertising for their data. We are also willing to pay directly for it, or to take any reasonable steps needed to limit any server load they may encounter.

Ultimately, we doubt this is about server load. We feel that Starcity simply don’t want people to be able to compare their prices as SCG prices are so frequently much more expensive than their competitors.

This is something we are willing to fight if it’s of benefit to our users. If you’d like to continue to see SCG prices on our site, please let me know at or post below.


By: Jared Yost

How much power does Magic market information have when it comes directly from a market leader? To what extent are we willing to go to make sure that we are getting the best price for the cards that we trade or buy? To what extent are companies willing to go to protect their business data from being used in ways which they may not approve? A controversy has come to light surrounding these questions.

Recently, an interesting post has appeared on Reddit about Starcitygames (SCG) locking down the information on their website. A brief history of dawnglare is as follows. Reddit user dawnGlare created the website, which is a price scraping tool used to display card prices for Magic cards. Some of you may remember the website ark42, which is what Dawnglare is based upon. It was the original Starcity price scraper that was used to quickly lookup sell prices, and was quite popular to boot. The owner of the ark42 website seemed to have a falling out with their local Magic community, which is explained in his monologue that has replaced the original website. I don’t think Starcity had any hand in ark42 shutting down like the current dawnglare situation. It operated for quite a while before it was shut down and it was a shame that such a wonderful contribution to the community is now dysfunctional because of a few bad apples.

Dawnglare is the replacement for the ark42 tool, with both of the websites utilizing similar, if not the same source code to display card names, prices, and mouse-over pictures of the cards. The tool has not been available too long; a few months at most. Like ark42, Dawnglare utilizes Starcity prices, and in addition have stated that their goal is to incorporate TCG mid prices for cards as well. The website is still functioning with only Starcity prices because it appears that the owner is seeking community input before they move forward with either improvements to the service or shutting it down.

This article is not providing input on whether or not they should keep the website, but rather analyzing the situation and providing commentary.

A summary about the case against Dawnglare:

  • Starcity sent a cease and desist letter to the Dawnglare site admin, which means that they are utilizing legal representation in order to enforce their data policy (in other words, they aren’t playing around once they get lawyers involved.)

  • Starcity quoted their website’s terms and conditions in the letter, which state that ANY type of information on cannot be scraped programmatically

  • This point is important, because information defined here also includes the sell prices of the cards, not only just the buylist prices. Many people on the Reddit post were confused on this point because Dawnglare reads only the sell price, not the buylist for Starcity, which specifically carries a set of terms.

  •’s terms and conditions state that the user must agree to them

  • This is interesting because there isn’t any agreement page that you need to go through before accessing the main website in order to see sell prices, unlike the buylist. However, though this may seem unintuitive, it could actually be the case that just using the website makes you subject to the Terms and Conditions. It could be argued either way.
  • Starcity stated that dawnglare has committed a breach of contract with the website for its automatic scraping

  • Staricty claimed that the sell price data on its website are valuable rights of the organization

  • Starcity gave the Dawnglare site admin until December 2nd, the date of this article publication, to comply with their demands or face legal recourse

  • Starcity mentioned that legal disputes can only be fought in a court in Roanoke, VA, where their physical store is located

  • I’m not sure about state law in regards to the internet, though it would definitely be weird to go to court with this if the Dawnglare site admin is not located in VA

Let me say this now – I am only providing my opinion on this controversy based on the details outlined by Dawnglare on the original Reddit post. I have no idea if the Dawnglare site admin altered the letter Starcity sent them in any way nor do I have any way of knowing if Starcity will continue with their legal recourse for the Dawnglare price tool. I simply wish to start a conversation with players about how far organizations are willing to go to protect their data about real-time card prices, even if the data seems innocuous. Moving forward, this can also lead to implications about access to financial data of cards.

First, let me address one issue at hand – Starcity wishing to protect their data from a technological perspective. As an organization, especially one with a detailed terms of service expressly forbidding certain actions, they have a right to protect their business interests if they feel it will affect them in a negative way.

How can a price scraping tool affect Starcity negatively? A major concern is that external sites could cause a massive strain on server resources for Starcity, such that if several tools like Dawnglare are scraping their website for information it could hamper the website’s response speed. If any of you have used the Starcity deck database search or advanced card search, you can already see that their searches are somewhat slow. It can take quite a while to return a results from an advanced search. With so many users already searching the database, adding a scraping tool that is constantly pinging the database only stands to make things worse.

Of course, you could argue that Starcity should upgrade their servers and increase their bandwidth to the website to eliminate these problems, which would negate the effects from any tool that would also scrape the information (think Google, Amazon,or any other big name retailer – programs scrape their information all the time and it does affect the website’s speed). Unfortunately, Starcity is either not in the position to do this or is allocating their budget elsewhere, which means trying to cut bandwidth costs in other ways.

If Starcity uses legal recourse to cut server bandwidth overutilization rather than put the funds towards upgrading their server capacity, which could be argued to be the cornerstone of their business then there may be other motivating factors at work. This leads me to believe there are business considerations for going after tools like Dawnglare. I am not alone in this analysis of the cease and desist letter.

The other reading of the situation is that Starcity is not only protecting their data from a technological perspective, they are also protecting their data from a business perspective. This issue is centered around whether or not Starcity went too far in persecuting Dawnglare for creating a tool to scrape their prices. From a legal perspective, could you define any type of data on your website as “valuable rights of the organization”? Is the information considered public or private if anyone with an internet connection and the website address can access the information? Whether or not it is public is not up to me to determine, only someone with a better understanding of business and internet law can make that determination. When looking at the website though, anyone can access Starcity’s sell prices- all you need to do is go to and and start typing.

Even this set of questions brings up another question – does this mean that you are already agreeing to Starcity’s terms of service just by executing searches against the information that they make available on their website? Since you don’t have to actively agree to anything in order to just search for the sell prices, this could definitely be contentious when arguing whether or not issuing a cease and desist is the right call.

After considering all the information as we have it, the next issue is whether or not a programmatic search through a tool like Dawnglare, even though it may execute hundreds or thousands of searches per minute, has the same rights and merits as a manual search executed by a single user. It could actually boil down to the rights of the user to access a particular amount of data on the website, measured in kilobytes, which is really the only difference between the tool and a normal website user. If the tool really is causing negative harm to Starcity (for example having them complete extra server maintenance due to all the extra searches from a single source) then there is an argument to taking down the tool – after all, DDOSing a website is a real thing and can wreak massive havoc on any web service.

From the community’s perspective on all this, Starcity does not appear to be operating any slower than usual, so there must be something going on behind the scenes that Starcity does in order to balance out the extra load from the scraping tools. Maybe not though. It could just be that they are trying to protect what they perceive as their business model.

Circling back to the cease and desist, the real issue is that Starcity is trying to stop application scraping of their website through third party applications and whether or not their outlined legal explanation (as per user dawnGlare on Reddit) is powerful enough to stop this type of behavior in the future. Since I a not a lawyer, I can’t give a grounded legal argument for continuing or discontinuing the scraping of information that is outside of the website’s terms of service, but it is interesting at this point in time that Starcity is cracking down on applications. I’m not even sure if Dawnglare is the first site they’ve contacted about this issue. There could be others out there who have decided to shutter their applications once they received the letter.

In addition, I think it is intriguing that Starcity is choosing to enforce their rights against someone who is not just scraping buylist prices, but sell prices as well. I’m not sure why the sell price in particular needs to locked down. In order to access buylist prices for Starcity you need to log into the website and agree to their terms by clicking a specific button. This can easily be linked to agreeing to their terms of service – the terms are on the prompt before the buylist. Whether or not this information should also be heavily protected behind this type of agreement can also be debated, since the buylist information can also technically be accessed by anyone because technically anyone can create an account with Starcity and access the buylist. Starcity most likely put that road block in place in order to easily shut down accounts that were created strictly for applications that intend to scrape buylist information.

The real root question here is why does Starcity care so much about people mining its sell price information? Do they have so much sway that if they change their sell prices it could possibly create a market-wide shift, ultimately interfering with their business practices? I will definitely be following this case in the future to see what happens, because the outcome could have major impacts on the way that people access card price information if other organizations follow suit.

The outcome of the Dawnglare website cease and desist notification will have implications for buylists and possibly more going forward. It might even spark conversation on the power that Starcity wields over the market and the lengths that they will go to protect their market position. It could also mean that in the future other stores may start locking down their website information, which further and further separates the movements of big box Magic stores from the community. I’m personally against restricting access to information, however with private organizations my opinions don’t matter and at the end of the day. It comes down to the fact that an organization should have a way to protect their data.

But how far is too far? I think that is question that everyone is trying to answer, in order to find a happy medium between Starcity operating as a business and other third-party tool creators wanting to use their data in order to create more valuable applications for the Magic community. After all, we all love this game – we all want to see it succeed both through Wizards and the stores that support them. I hope that both parties are able to resolve the dispute amicably and in a way that still benefits the Magic community at large.