Tag Archives: casual Magic

Wherewolves and Whywolves

I Have Returned

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So, I’m back. It’s been a while since I’ve actually had the chance to sit down and write, so let me explain. If you don’t give a crap about my personal life and explorations, I don’t hold a grudge against you for skipping ahead to the bold heading a few paragraphs below that reads “Finance Starts Here”. I promise there’ll be an entire article’s worth of content down there. I’ll start by saying I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks, and we have a hell of a lot of content to talk about. WordPress decided to mutiny and failed to publish my article (the one that was published last Thursday) on time, and Corbin wasn’t able to catch it because of a battle with the flu. Therefore, the article that went up last week was supposed to go up the week  before that on the 11th, and I didn’t catch it because I was on a 15 hour drive. Mistakes were made by multiple people on the team, and we apologize.

Okay, so remember that trip to Georgia I was talking about a few weeks ago? Remember how I said I was going to shopcrawl? Well, I didn’t get the chance to. I had a bunch of stores picked out, and our plan to leave at 3AM from upstate NY was in place weeks in advance. While Oswego is normally known for its’ incredible levels of snowfall and cold weather, the weeks leading up to our trip had left us with zero snow whatsoever.


Unfortunately, the powers that be were saving up all of the snow over the past month, and felt the need to dump it all on us on the evening before our trip was scheduled to begin. When we braved the storm outside into the campus parking lot, we learned that we were completely trapped until the snowplow came through so that we could shovel ourselves out.

Except that it never happened. It wasn’t until 9AM that we managed to give up on the plow coming through, and tried to dig ourselves out and use tracks that someone else had made, so we were six hours late on the start of our journey. No shopcrawling, as we needed to actually make it to the hotel in time. Alright, fine. I’ll just shopcrawl on the way b–

Nope. A deadly combination of a personal emergency on Sunday night combined with another ridiculous snowstorm up north meant that we had to put the bulk buys on hold as we rushed back to NY on Monday. One small vehicle collision on I-81 at 12:30AM later, and my fiancee’ and I were stranded at a motel for another day in Pennsylvania while we waited for information on a rental car from the insurance. Thankfully we’re both okay, but it was certainly a stressful event overall.

Finance Starts Here

Remember that trip to Georgia I was talking about a few weeks ago? Contrary to what you may have thought, I didn’t drive all the way down there to unload pricey staples, post-spike Modern cards, or anything like that. The real treasure here was the fact that Card Advantage’s buylist is one of the deepest in the entire country. In the pictures below, ignore the first three categories. Then, convert the numbers into cents.

These are the real treasures of #mtgfinance, because it’s impossible to lose while buying bulk. While we spent almost an entire day pricing out everything and settling the final cash number, it was made much easier by the fact that everything was alphabetized beforehand. I’m sure some people reading this will take this photo as a humble brag, but it just goes to show that with a good network and the willingness to pick the dimes and quarters, you can walk away with a lot of cash that nobody else will even care to sneeze at.

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The Next Spawnsire?



So for the past two weeks or so, I was planning to write about how Mayor of Avabruck was a darn fine spec target at his current $2. I had this whole repeat Spawnsire argument planned, and how werewolves are a slam-dunk casual tribe that were going to receive new support in Shadows over Innistrad. I was going to advise you to buy into the puppy lord so that we can all revel in his future $5 price tag together. Part of my argument included the SOI checklist card that was leaked a few weeks ago, and how Mayor was obviously not going to be included.




That argument fell apart about ten minutes ago, when I actually put a little bit more thought into the comparisons between Spawnsire of Ulamog and Mayor. As you can see in the linked picture above, Lars on Twitter said that the possibility of receiving a Legendary werewolf this time is 99%. I thought so too, until I actually read all of the names on that checklist card. Tell me, out of all the double-sided cards that are in this set, how many of those feels like a name they would use for a legendary werewolf?

None of them. We don’t even have a character name on the sheet. Unless this is only one checklist card of two in the set (You’ll notice that we can see CH1/297 in the bottom left corner of the card), then we’re not getting a legendary werewolf. In fact, it looks like there’s less than ten werewolves in the entire set. This is a whole different level of archetype support than Eldrazi were receiving in Battle for Zendikar. None of the other rarewolves have moved an inch over the past four and a half years. If you want to, it’s still extremely easy to build a werewolf deck for less than twenty or thirty dollars because all of the pieces are literally pure bulk, and the supply is plentiful.

Because of these factors, I honestly don’t think Shadows over Innistrad will spark a surge of werewolf demand like BFZ did with the Eldrazi. While the buy-in is certainly cheap and you’re running a very low-risk operation, I think you’ll at least have to wait until more news about Eldritch Moon before we can expect returns on Mayor. or any of the other werewolf creatures.

If you’re someone who wants to throw a few dollars into the ring for fun, I can think of a couple cards that I expect to stay under the radar for a while longer. While neither of these are cards you want to buy from the internet at full retail, I’ve been stocking up on these for several years in slight hopes of a casual resurgence. I had the opportunity to move them to Card Advantage for a fair 8 cents a piece, but I quickly declined.

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As I said before; I really don’t expect demand for werewolves to spike significantly enough from SOI to put a dent in the current supply. When we look at the amount of stock that stores have below, it’s hard to expect commons and uncommons like this to move any meaningful amount.


What we can do, however, is hold onto the cards with the hopes that we can network and make connections with non-competitive players at the prerelease, managing to get “full retail” (and by full retail, I mean the full 50 cents a piece) for our five year old commons and uncommons that have dodged reprints up until now. Putting playsets of Moonmist in your trade binder at the SOI prerelease will go a long way towards shaving discounts off the new Standard staples that you’re hunting for in the set.

End Step

While we’re still on the subject of double-sided cards, I want to talk for a minute about Delver of Secrets. Once heralded as the Nacatl of the skies while terrorizing eternal formats, Delver’s wings have been clipped for a while now, and we haven’t seen him show up recently in any sort of high-level event. What I have seen, is a group of people advocating picking them up at their current $1.50, and foils at $10, as a result of the checklist card from before confirming an absence of reprints. I honestly don’t think that alone is enough to cause demand for Delvers to increase, so I would personally away away. As a matter of fact, I sold every single Delver that I owned to Card Advantage back in Georgia for $1.00 each (which is also an example of how strong their buylist is).


PROTRADER: A Reminder Not to Forget about Casual Favorites

What do these cards have in common?

Asceticism Balefire Dragon

Chromatic Lantern Exquisite Blood

You probably cheated and read the article title, so you already have an idea, but I’m going to stubbornly pretend like you’re struggling here so I can post more card images.

Darksteel Plate Parallel Lives

Utvara Hellkite Consuming Aberration

Surely you must what I’m getting at now? (Yes.) No? (Yes.) Here’s a few more hints:

Caged Sun Endless Ranks of the Dead

Increasing Confusion Hellkite Tyrant

“Ah-ha!” I’m imagining you saying. “I’ve got it now!”

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

PROTRADER: Standard Pickups as Magic Origins Hits

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Modern in this column recently. And it does make sense, after all. Modern is the new Legacy. Modern is the place with all the news happening. Modern is the place with the price spikes (did you catch the Living End spike? That one seems random). Modern is the place with high-profile events, and Modern is the place with the exciting innovation.

That could be changing soon.

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Casual Hits of 2015

By: Corbin Hosler

Hello, everyone! I appreciated the response to my article last week, which I think exemplified one of my core tenets when it comes to MTG finance: playing it safe.

There is plenty of money to be made in this game with proper planning and timing. What isn’t needed is speculation-fueled buyouts, huge positions in Standard cards that may take off tomorrow, or supply-side buyouts.

Why go through all the trouble of that when there’s so much easy money waiting to be made, assuming that you have a little patience?

As I explained last week, that’s why I love casual cards, and it’s why I focus most of my speculation decisions around that. I’m not the guy glued to Pro Tour coverage to see what gets mentioned early Friday morning and buying out whatever that is. I’m the guy playing Commander at the LGS and finding out what cards are going to still have demand for them in two years.

Of course, with such a long time frame on these cards, it can be easy to forget about some of the good targets in this category and lose yourself in the Standard or Modern happenings. That’s why one of the things I like to do every so often is centralize all of these will-be targets in once place.

Almost six months into 2015, now seems like as good a time as any. I’m sure I’ll revisit this at the end of the year with an update, but now represents basically the optimal buying opportunity on some soon-to-rotate cards, so this should be helpful in the short-term as well.

Last week, I added a list of some cards that fill this category that were already seeing movement. I’ll repeat the list here for convenience.

  • Akroma’s Memorial. The Magic 2013 version is at an all-time high of $12, and this was a $20 card before the reprint. It’s going to get there again.
  • Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is on a tear, and is almost $9. Again, we have what was a $20 card before a reprint. This has seen a lot of growth already this year, so it’s not quite as attractive, but this is going to continue to climb.
  • Door of Destinies is at an all-time low of $3.50, and this will continue to climb back toward the $8 it was before the reprint.
  • Rise of the Dark Realms sits at $4.50 after some momentum, and as a mythic, this one should rise at a faster clip than the others.
  • Gilded Lotus is also at an all-time high of $6.50 (noticing a theme of “casual reprints in Core Sets?” and will be $10 within in a year.
  • Looking further ahead, Darksteel Forge has three printings and hasn’t shown much momentum this year, but it fits the exact same mold as Gilded Lotus, and Darksteel versions of this used to be $12.
  • Dragon Tempest and Dragonlord’s Servant are both on their way to bottoming out, and once they hit near-bulk status they become very good long-term players.
  • Adaptive Automaton is showing some steady progress over the past three months, and is likely due for a correction upward within the next year.

What do all these have in common? Besides being sweet casual cards, they also have all already seen at least a little movement, and in some cases more. While this is a great sign of things to come and represents a reason to get in, it also necessarily means less upside. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, and all those are picks I like moving forward, but we’re not exactly getting in at the very bottom, either.

Today, I hope to shed some light on those cards that are actually near the bottom. Getting in at the valley may mean a longer timeframe to cash out, but it also means maximizing profit.

So let’s dig in.



I know I said I was going to focus on 2015 today, but I can’t help but look back to last year as well. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it brief.


Basically, I’d be remiss to talk about casual cards and not mention gods (holy crap, these are actually from 2013, huh? Getting old, here). Either way, these are basically mini-Eldrazi that will see growth over time, even if it’s not the momentous growth that Emrakul and friends saw.

Of these, the mono-colored five are certainly good, but I feel like the upside may be more in the Born of the Gods and Journey Into Nyx copies that were opened much, much less. You already know the score on these, so I won’t dawdle.

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

This bottomed out back in February (when it was my Pick of the Week on Brainstorm Brewery), but since then it’s climbed back to $6. I expect this will have to wait until rotation to go lower, but it’s well worth picking up then.

Prophet of Kruphix

It’s hard to know what the right call here is, but I imagine it’s the alternate-art printing, though neither is expensive and regular foils are trending toward $5. This thing is straight bonkers in Commander, and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.


Specifically, Dictate of Erebos (especially the foil) and Dictate of Kruphix (Game Day promo). These are solid Commander playables, and while they’re certainly going to take some time to move up, move up they will. Grave Pact is $8 after six printings. Dictate of Erebos has huge long-term upside.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Again, a card that’s not cheap enough yet. It’s $9 but was $20 before the reprint. Standard play likely props this up a little, so if this settles down by rotation it will be a great pickup.

The biggest reason? How nicely it plays with Cabal Coffers, forming the most dangerous combo of any black deck in Commander.

Sliver Hivelord

I’ve talked about this several times, but for good reason. Every other five-color Sliver bomb is at least $15. This will be too.

Crucible of Fire

Again, a long-term gainer here. But Dragons, yo. People like them. This was $5 card before the reprint.

Clever Impersonator

Phyrexian Metamorph is $5 with one printing and a promo. Impersonator isn’t exactly that, but in practice it comes pretty close. On top of all that, it’s a mythic. As we’ve seen with sets like Zendikar and Innistrad, coming from “the most-opened set of all-time” isn’t the drawback you might expect. At $2 there’s a lot of upside on the Impersonator.

Temporal Trespass

This isn’t one I’m as hugely excited about, but it will certainly make its way into plenty of Commander decks over the next few years, and importantly, it is a mythic. It’s essentially a “dollar rare” these days, and it’s hard to lose at that price.


Again, not one I completely love, but it’s worth noting that Cairn Wanderer is $2 so this could end up there one day, too, especially since it’s ostensibly better.


Of course, this encompasses a lot. Looking at Dragons of Tarkir, I see a lot of cards that need to drop quite a ways before I get particularly excited about picking them up.

That said, some are head and wings above the others when it comes to the long-term. The Dragonlords, especially Silumgar, Atarka, and Dromoka, are good casually. Ojutai is just plain good, but I can’t foresee this hitting a price that makes it worth picking up until at least rotation. Thunderbreak Regent is actually the clear winner, though again, it’s too expensive right now to want in on. But it has so many things going for it, not least of which is just being red and therefore more flexible, that it’s hard to not see this as the best long-term pick.

I’m interested to see what happens with the Game Day promo of this card, because that’s definitely the most attractive version, as Guo Heng Chin touched on earlier this week.

Haven of the Spirit Dragon

This definitely competes with Nykthos for the title of “best casual land currently being supported financially by Standard,” and it may actually surpass Nykthos in that regard. I hope every day that this gets cheap soon, because it’s just such an appealing target if it hits $1 to $2, even if we have to wait for rotation to get there.

Sidisi, Undead Vizier

As sweet as the other cards in this set are, this may actually be the best in Commander. It’s finally starting to fall, and I can’t wait for this thing to bottom out.

Risen Executioner

Rounding out our list today is a pretty solid zombie, which has both the benefit of being cheap and being mythic. Lord of the Undead is $8 after several printings, and while Executioner may not be that good, it’s still an extremely-solid zombie lord. Lots to like here.


And that’s my list of casual targets for the past 18 months. There are a few lesser ones that are interesting, but this represents the best of the best. Until next week (when we have a full Modern Masters 2 spoiler), keep it casual!


Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter