Tag Archives: Commander

From the Vault: Random Stuff Laying Around

The new FTV is out and it’s… full of cards? I don’t know, what do you want me to say about it? Usually they have a theme and this has to be the loosest possible theme ever. Literally anything could be in FTV: Lore. There’s lore behind Joven’s Ferrets and those have never been foil. The worst part is there are going to be people who wanted the lore they like in here and it didn’t make the cut. “No Helvault? This is bullshit” I’m sure at least one person has said. Can you imagine?  Everyone thinks the stupid lore crap they like is the most important which is why doing this particular FTV is bound to be fraught. The people who don’t give a hot fart about lore won’t care about the flavor of the junk you jam in here, we’ll just be upset that we’re paying our LGS $80 for a set that has Near-Death Experience in it. The people who give all of the farts (of every temperature) about the lore are going to be upset that you didn’t include Argus Kos, Wojek Veteran because they were reading the Ravnica book the first time they touched a pair of boobs or whatever reason people get nostalgiac for M:tG Lore.

Luckily, we have additional metrics for judging the success or failure of FTV sets apart from “Do we care about cards with terrible foiling?” and “Do we care about Vorthos crap?” and that is “dollar sign question mark” which is all we should be caring about. Should I write this article with at least a bit of an eye toward EDH? I guess, sure. Fine. I can’t imagine writing this from an EDH perspective without a finance bent and I can’t imagine writing this from a finance perspective and being entirely agnostic to EDH. Either approach is going to result in roughly the same article, anyway. Let’s just talk about these stupid cards and get it over with, shall we? I mean, I’m getting it over with, You’re being entertained and educated so I guess you’re trying to savor this experience. Just remember this took hours to write and will take minutes to read. What do you care about? EDH playability? Accessibility? Finance? I’ll try to talk about everything I think is relevant. Let’s light this candle.

Cabal Ritual

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Traditionally, FTV printings tend to affect the non-foil price way more than the foil price, especially if no foil was available before. This is a $1 card with a $13 foil and I don’t see a garbage, curly FTV foil dragging the foil price down a ton when it’s hardly a credible alternative. People who like foil cards do so because they like the best version of the card and an FTV foil hardly qualifies. I imagine the FTV foil doesn’t do much to the foil price. If this had never been foil before, this would be closer to Hymn to Tourach but even then we got a set foil very soon after and people couldn’t wait to not have to play it.

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Cabal Ritual has a good foil already and there’s not much reason to expect the FTV version, even for people who prefer the new art, to replace them. If anything, this is close to Kird Ape which had been foil once before. We don’t have pricing data that goes back that far but assuredly, the FTV foil wasn’t a threat the the 9th Edition version.

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Especially not long-term.

Ultimately I think the foil may get dinged a few bucks but will go back up, unless we get a reprinting of Cabal Therapy in a future set that doesn’t have FTV foiling. If it has this same new art, all bets are off. For now, I don’t expect much movement, nor for EDH players to care much.

Conflux

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This is a different ballgame. EDH players are less antagonistic toward FTV foils than Legacy players, especially given the fact that sometimes FTV or Commander’s Arsenal foils are the only foils we have. That’s not the case here with Conflux foils fetching $15, which is a decent multiplier for such a weird card. I think the $15 price tag of the foil could take a minor hit and I bet a lot of the new foil Confluxes end up in decks and may keep the price from recovering. This saw a bump in Legacy Dream Halls a while back and that obscures the price a bit. I think it’s possible that new supply could reveal that there’s not as much demand as anticipated, although Conflux is getting a decent amount of play in EDH per EDHREC.

A good corollary is a recent FTV card from the same set and same price point, though a different rarity, something there being a set proportion of FTV cards smooths out a bit.

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I’d compare Conflux to Martial Coup, though Coup’s drop is obscured by Commander 2014 and FTV: Annihilation reprinting the card twice within months of each other. You see the big hit to the non-foil price, so let’s see what happened to the foil price since C14 didn’t do any of that.

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No change. You’d swear FTV Annihilation never even came out in August 2014. That’s something to bear in mind. It did seem to reverse some growth and hurt the long-term prospects of the set foil despite being a garbage FTV foil, though, so if you have money tied up in foil Conflux, maybe get out, though it seems like you have some time.

Dark Depths

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This won’t do as much as we want, I fear. This may give some people a chance to buy a $58 card at MSRP if they’re very lucky, a set with a $58 card in it plus some other cards for like $80 in a lot more cases and could see people upgrade to a foil affordably. At $215, the Dark Depths foil is sure to take a bit of a hit, or a big one. The FTV foil is obviously less desirable. This is the money shot for this FTV so let’s really try and accurately predict what this will do.

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This is an awkward corollary. FTV: Realms came out in August of 2012 where I drew the arrow, but demand in Modern Tron that people didn’t anticipate when Punishing Fire was banned saw this card still being purchased 4 copies at a time. I don’t see Dark Depths maintaining the same insane growth curve as Grove, but this does show how little of an effect the FTV can have on price if there is sufficient demand. I think the FTV copies can smooth out the growth curve of Dark Depths and dampen it a bit but the copies won’t be enough to hold the card back if it continues to be as good a card. Banning it in Modern attenuated its price to a great extent and Modern demand ultimately made it go nuts, something I’m less convinced will happen to Dark Depths with demand from Legacy and EDH, 1-of formats for the most part.

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Again, the FTV printing barely had an effect, although Ancient Tomb was a sleeper in Legacy (which was weird because City of Traitors spiked twice in the time Tomb was doing nothing). It could be argued the FTV printing delayed its price explosion, but demand couldn’t be staved off for long. I think we could see Dark Depths’ price flatten a bit, but ultimately I think another reprinting in another venue will be needed.

Glissa, the Traitor

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$3 card with an $11 foil? Seems pretty straightforward. This should attenuate but not entirely inhibit growth. Douglas Johnson cares a lot about this but I don’t expect anyone else to. They didn’t even give it new art.

Helvault

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Wait, Helvault IS in this set? Gross. I was just making a joke earlier about how Vorthos people care about dumb cards like this. You know what? I’m leaving it. I don’t care if it makes me look dumb for reading the list of cards in this set and forgetting I saw Helvault in it and then making a joke about how Helvault wasn’t in it. That’s how little I care about a $0.60 card with a $2 foil that’s getting a printing with a bad foiling process that no one will care about.

Memnarch

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$8 card despite an Archenemy printing? $30 foil? Popular EDH General? It’s going to be tough to find a corollary for this to predict what will happen. Even with a whole FTV: Legends to look at, are there any cards around $8 with 2 non-foil printings and 2 foil printings? I guess the best we can do is look at what FTV: Legends did to $8-$10 cards that were growing steadily before the FTV.

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Oona was still growing after the FTV printing and it only fell off with its reprinting in Modern Masters. The foil took a hit from Modern Masters, also.

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Oona cost roughly the same as Memnarch does now right after her FTV printing and while I don’t have data, I can speculate the numbers were very similar. Modern Masters brough Oona’s price down in a way the FTV didn’t seem to be able to. Oona might have stayed an $8 card with a $30 foil even after FTV if not for Modern Masters, so I think Memnarch’s price will remain relatively stable.

Mind’s Desire

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A bulk rare with an 18x multiplier? Have we seen something like that in a previous FTV set? How about Upheaval? Bulk rare, $15 foil, small amount of demand from cube weirdos. What did the FTV do to that price?

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It reversed some modest growth on the non-foil (I’m not sure what the growth was predicated on, honestly).

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It likely held back a little growth in the foil, though it’s obscured by some shenanigans. Honestly, foil Upheaval is going in cubes and cube players don’t want an ugly FTV foil if they can avoid it. I think Mind’s Desire likely has the same fate, although maybe Mizzix or something goofy like that wants it in EDH? I think Mind’s Desire likely has a similar trajectory as we saw with Upheaval. Mind’s Desire isn’t banned in EDH the way Upheaval is, and that helps, but otherwise the cards are eerily similar.

Momir Vig

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Momir has new art and all bets are off. If the card sits in your Command Zone the FTV foiling process is less worrying and the new art could see Momir players upgrading.

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Momir was seeing very positive trending and his plateau preceded his annoucement in FTV: Lore so I imagine it could reverse itself a bit, although I’m not sure. The new and different art is a bit of a game-changer. Nothing in FTV:Legends quite compares but let’s take a look.

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Rafiq more then recovered from its lowest point on our graph, which was months after FTV: Legends came out. The set foil is a bit above where it was also, but not a ton. I feel like the new art may have helped Rafiq out and I predict pretty similar price trajectories for Momir based on what we saw for Rafiq.

Near-Death Experience

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Bulk gets bulkier. I want to like this card but can’t, even in a pillowfort deck with Worship.

Obliterate

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If I had to guess, the Invasion version is so much more expensive than the 8th edition version is someone guessed people hated white borders and they bought out TCGPlayer and the other dealers updated their prices because they do it with an automatic algorithm instead of a human brain which lets this stuff happen. Whatever the case, this is a $4 card in my view and the FTV won’t change that given how much price shock can be absorbed by a lot of copies floating around and this being the third time they printed the card foil. 8th foils have a black border, also, so any appeal Invasion has over 8th for non-foils is gone. Ultimately, this won’t matter.

Phyrexian Processor

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This has never been foil before! Too bad no one plays it in anything.

Tolaria West

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$8 uncommon with a  $25 foil.  This card is going to be tough to nail down, but if I had to guess, I’d predict price drops for both and the plateau in the price means that demand needs to catch up to supply before the price moves, and additional supply will only put that day off.

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If the price dips for Tolaria West the way it did for Dryad Arbor, I think you want to buy in. Arbor isn’t played nearly as much as it used to be and its price is nutty. With Tolaria West able to tutor for 0 cost stuff it will always have a place in the game and barring another reprinting, I think it’s a solid pickup if it drops. For reference, here’s the foil trajectory for Arbor, also.

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Demand overall is clearly up, so if Tolaria West’s FTV graph looks like this did at the beginning then tanks, buy at the floor, clearly. Tolaria West is a good card and it’s only getting better as more people find uses for it in Modern.

Umezawa’s Jitte

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Jammed in a $12 precon, reprinted as a GP foil, banned in Modern – nothing can hold this card down. I don’t think the ugly FTV foil will hurt this card much and there won’t be a ton of demand for the ugly FTV foils. Could the $240 set foils suffer? They could, a bit. Foil Jitte is out of proportion with non-foil Jitte because the precon copies diluted the number of total copies a bit which explains the multiplier. This is a Legacy and cube and EDH staple and the price will go up over time unless they keep reprinting it. I don’t see this dipping much even in the short term, but if it does, there’s opportunity there.

Unmask

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A $4 card with  $30 card seems like the exact profile of a card that an FTV printing won’t do much to. The non-foil can’t go down much more and the foil is clearly demanded by people who will pay extra for a nice foil and don’t care about an ugly FTV foil. I imagine the FTV one ends up almost exactly the same price as the non-foil and that’s all I have to say about that.

Well, that’s all. Come back next week, I guess.

Article on Redundancy Article

Last week, I wrote about cards that I thought were redundant copies of cards that are already played in EDH and were liable to get jimmy-jammed in EDH decks because who doesn’t want two chances to get the effects they like? I didn’t mention anything from Eldritch Moon because you’re not my boss and I do what I want.

I think this week I am going to scour the Eldritch Moon spoiler and pull out like two or three cards and say “Why did I think this was enough of a premise for an entire article?” and have to scramble to do something at the end. My plan is just to mention all of the cards from Eldritch Moon that I think will be good in EDH regardless of whether or not they are redundant copies of cards already getting use. Sound good? I’m asking a question that you can’t answer because I can’t hear you and if you think about it for a few seconds, you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s because I don’t care what you respond. You’re getting the article you deserve, not the one you wanted so buckle in, nerds, because I have no idea how this article is going to turn out.

Eldreduntant Mooncy

There are cards in Eldritch Moon that are going to be basic reprints of cards that already exist. Probably. I literally haven’t looked at the spoiler with that in mind. I mean, there is one obvious one I can think of off the top of my head, but I haven’t really looked much at uncommons with respect to… I’m just going to go look now and report back.

eternalscourge

Wow, I found one right away. This makes infinite mana with Food Chain, so that’s cool. You can play this in decks that can’t run blue for Misthollow Griffin, such as Prossh. I don’t know why you’d go infinite with a card other than Prossh, though. Still, Food Chain pairs with this and it’s a second Misthollow in the blue decks that run the combo. This has Legacy playability, also, so keep an eye on this.

longroadhome

There are officially more cards than I had anticipated. Good.

This one is solid. Flicker effects are always welcome and spells like this that can flicker creatures and have upside are always welcome. This can even blank their creatures in combat though the +1/+1 counter isn’t really upside at that point. Still, this has a lot of parallels.

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This was nearly arbitrageable (That’s a word) before its 5th printing. I’m glad they gave us a new card because a 6th printing would have been silly. Not as silly as having an arcane spell in Innistrad, but still silly.  A new card is likely to be in draft chaff for free and is likely to buylist for a quarter. I don’t know about you, but I’ll pick up a quarter off of the ground so I’ll surely take a quarter out of draft chaff. It ain’t sexy but it’s worth identifying these cards before they go up rather than after.

mausoleumwanderer

This isn’t exactly Judge’s Familiar, considering that can go in a white deck, but this has a bit of upside in the right deck. Equipment can make this a floating Mana Leak and there is precedent for cards like this seeing play.

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The $0.50 retail is less impressive when you see it buylists for literally nothing. Being a rare and not being an FNM promo should help wanderer, and having its power affect the cost of the spell should, also.

summarydismissal

EDH players LOVE Voidslime. They can’t get enough of it. Why? Because it does two very important things. This is a Voidslime that doesn’t have to go in a green deck, but can, meaning Voidslime players now have a second Voidslime and people who couldn’t play Voidslime now can if they have access to blue. Is being compared to Voidlsime flattering? Let’s find out.

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I would say so. Do I think Summary Dismissal will be $11? Not really. That doesn’t mean buying in at bulk is a bad idea. I think Summary Dismissal has a lot of upside and I think Voidslime does a pretty good job of demonstrating that. Anyone who argues that 4 CMC is harder to hold up than 3 CMC has never held 5 CMC up for Desertion all game like I do routinely. I think the mana difference is pretty trivial and not having green in the casting cost more than makes up for an additional total mana. If you’re playing Voidslime but not Plasm Capture, I’m not sure what you’re doing with your life, anyway.

imprisonedinthemoon

This is another Song of the Dryads, but color shifted. Color shifting as a way to reprint cards is going to piss me off before this article is over, I can feel it. Is there upside here?

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You tell me. Song of the Dryads is in a precon where the total cost of the cards that aren’t this one are already well over MSRP because it’s full of elves. This doesn’t need to be $4, it wants to. I think Imprisoned in the Moon at bulk has some upside based on a $4 analog existing.

collectivedefiance

This is a wheel effect. Nekusar likes wheel effects. It only affects one player, but I don’t think that’s a reason not to play it if you have room. I think that this could have some upside.

Plus, every other red card in Eldritch Moon is trash in EDH.

harmlessoffering

“But Jason, didn’t you just say that every other red card in Eldritch Moon was trash in EDH?”

Yes, and I meant it. This is not a red card. Oh, no. Oh, no no no. This is a blue card. You can dress it up in a fancy pink border and paint a kitty cat on it like a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper but I know this is Donate. It’s Donate. It does what Donate does. It’s Donate.

Am I mad that we have Donate in red? @$#% no, I’m not! It’s in Bazaar Trader colors! It allows it to be played in a ton of different decks that Donate couldn’t be played in. So why am I miffed? Because the phrase “It allows it to be played in a ton of different decks that Donate couldn’t be played in” is their justification for color-shifting a card on the Reserved List and pretending it wasn’t a functional reprint.

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I don’t want to live on a planet where Harmless Offering can cost as much as Donate, so realistically, the ceiling is like $1.75. Buy with that in mind.

mercurialgeists

This has super prowess! Anyone playing Wee Dragonauts is likely to want to jam this along with Chandra’s Spitfire. Neither of those cards is worth a ton, but, whatever.

geierreachsanitarium

This can be construed as a lot better than a card that just makes each player draw. Making them loot is essentially milling everyone and if you’re set up to be milled and they aren’t, you can benefit when they are at a disadvantage. This can give you hella Waste Not triggers, ensure even players with empty hands have to discard and generally it can squeeze people who are behind. It can also be seen as a benefit to everyone, letting players all draw and discard land or excess spells if you want to play a group hug thing. There are a ton of ways to build around this and it’s bound to impact EDH. That’s good because it reminds me of another land that’s similar.

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This is a $1 land that just came out that is situationally better than (although situationally worse than, also) a card that is $13 and climbing. Have we seen something like this before? We sure have. Every card from last week’s article, basically. This is a great example of a card that we’re fairly certain we’ll see get there in price it’s only a matter of time. I imagine the graph of the price of GRS will be Nike Swoosh-shaped. So if you’re on the fence about picking up a bunch of cheap copies when it’s bulk, just do it. 

Do you see what I did there? I referenced the Nike thing. From the thing.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you this week, join me next week where I’ll be talking abou… I just wrote like half an article. I knew this would happen.

Well, since I still have some room, there are some cards I like for EDH that are going to get cheap and then get expensive so it’s worth discussing them.

brunathefadinglight

This is a bulk rare that will be a decent commander, melds into a beast of an Angel and is a Legendary angel. This is a great card to snag hella copies of in bulk.

Since it’s a bulk rare, I thought “I bet foil copies will be reasonable” and then I remembered that the back is half of Brisela, so the foil price of Gisela is going to really screw with the foil price of Bruna. Either Gisela’s foil price will price everyone out of the market or Bruna’s price will be dragged up? It’s still a foil Angel on the front…

Personally, I think this will be like the McDonald’s Monopoly thing. You know how there are like 0 Boardwalk game pieces but they put Park Place in just about every meal? It doesn’t make the Park Place stickers worth more money just because all you need is Boardwalk after that. I feel like since there will be like 3-5 times as many foil Brunas, it shouldn’t matter and foil Gisela will be all that matters. Buy accordingly.

collectiveeffort

Would you play your Disenchant at Sorcery speed if it meant you could kill a creature? You would? Me too.

deploythegatewatch

How hard is it to throw a Scroll Rack into your Superfriends deck? Besides, we already have Oath of Jace to help us Scry. This could be a very fun card.

sigardasaid

This will hit bulk. There is absolutely nothing to enable this in Standard and it’s probably not good enough for Modern or Legacy. This card is a snap-include in a lot of EDH decks and when this is bulk, trade for these. You get players wanting to trade some bulk rare for their FNM deck. Good. Get rid of Standard bulk rares and trade them for EDH bulk rares because in two years, you’ll look like a genius. Skirsdag High Priest used to be worth two Parallel Lives in trade. I was happy to ship my priests out.

thaliaslancers

This card is simply amazing. It tutors for stuff that isn’t always easy to tutor for, especially in white and the fact that it’s a creature means it’s easier to recur in white since you have flicker effects and not Eternal Witness effects. Grabbing a Serra’s Sanctum or Jitte with this seems dirty.

coaxfromtheblindeternities

Stuff like this just goes up over time inevitably. I don’t know if it’s EDH or casual that will drive it, but this has upside and it’s liable to be bulk for over a year.

mindsdilation

This is the cheapest EDH mythic in the set and I can’t figure out why. People are so Standard-centric in their initial pricing. If this is still under $2 when the set comes out I will consider my readers sufficiently informed and drop a couple hundo on these guys. I don’t see them getting a ton cheaper because bulk mythics aren’t that much less expensive than these are now. Have you READ this card? I expect a 5x foil multiplier and I expect these to approach their closest analog.

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These cards aren’t exactly the same, but Mind’s Dilation is pretty close in terms of power level and I can see a mythic hitting $4 if a non-mythic is $6 or $7 and climbing.

oathofliliana

I am not super impressed with this, but I imagine people play it, if only to run the whole cycle.

treeofperdition

This is stupid in EDH where you can use it to deal someone 27 damage. Killing them with Tragic Slip or Triskadekaphobia after is optional.

splendidreclamation

Buy these at their floor. Lordy, lordy; this card brings the heat. It’s a personal Planar Birth in relevant colors? Be still my heart. This card is ready to go in any dredge deck, in The Gitrog Monster or Titania and basically any deck running Squandered Resources. Hot diggity.

gisaandgeralf

I have exceeded my word allotment once again. Is this the last card I wanted to discuss or were there more cards I could mention but I don’t get paid extra to talk about them? I guess you’ll never know.

Join me next week where I may start out by talking about leftover cards from this article. Or not. You have no idea.

 

Redundancy

I’m going to take a bit of a break from speculating about Commander 2016 this week

It’s occurring to me that I didn’t write about Commander 2016 last week, either. We’re off to a pretty bad start, here. It’s not that I didn’t go back and read last week’s article again, it’s just that I guess I just assumed I was going to cover Commander 2016 every week until we got some stupid spoilers and then cover it every week after that until I had a compelling reason to do something else. Last week I talked about a single card and how it could conceivably drive a ton of prices up because there was suddenly a flickerable way to tutor for them and it could be hilarious. Stoneforge Mystic, Stonehewer Giant and now Thalia’s Lancers can all get jammed in a deck with Restoration Angel and Eldrazi Displacer and that kind of power and advantage is what kids these days are calling “bae” and “in fleek”. You know what else is totally YOLO? Redundancy.

I actually really like the idea of peppering my articles with garbage clipart from now on
I actually really like the idea of peppering my articles with garbage clip art from now on

If you live in the UK, you probably don’t like the term “redundancy” because for some reason the UK refers to being laid off from your job as “being made redundant” which is a goofy euphemism. The US isn’t like that. “It’s not that we have too many people to fill a limited number of positions and we need to clear up a few redundancies, it’s that we’re shipping all of your jobs to Mexico and all of you are going to be left to fend for yourselves, now. Maybe if we hated your faces less this wouldn’t have been necessary.” I could go on and on about goofy stuff people in the UK say that makes no sense despite them being able to say “We invented this language so we get to decide what’s goofy or not” but I think we need to move on.

Make no mistake, we’re talking about multiple cards that fill the same role in a deck, usually by having identical effects. If a card is good enough for a deck, why would a carbon copy of that card that’s the same in everything but the name not be good enough? It would, especially if that effect is what your win condition or advantage engine hinges on. Are redundant cards always the same price? No, not at all and there are a number of different reasons for that, all of which are too obvious to bother listing as section headings. Honestly, they’re too obvious to bother with a bullet point list, either. They’ll probably just come up. If you can’t make a list right now of the reasons different cards are different prices, your Mommy and Daddy are going to be very upset that you’re using their computer, but I’m impressed at your reading comprehension level for a toddler.  I won’t waste your time or insult your intelligence by listing them out, we’ve got ground to cover.

Do you get it? CLASSIC
Do you get it? CLASSIC

“Why is looking at redundancy important?”

That’s a really stupid question that I’m going to pretend you asked by using quotation marks. I’ve long said in this series that buying reactively is basically dead and the only way to make out is to be ahead of price trends. Way ahead. You want to buy in at the floor by buying in when no one else knows it’s the floor. That’s how we make money in MTG Finance after all. That and arbitrage. OK, we make our money in MTG Finance by buying in at the floor when no one else knows it’s the floor and arbitrage. And collection flipping. Right, we make our money in MTG Finance by buying in at the floor when no one else knows it’s the floor and arbitrage and collection flipping. Also, fencing expensive collections that you’re almost certain are stolen And that’s all the ways we make money in MTG Finance.

How do we use analysis of redundancy to make sure we’re buying in at the floor?

You really ask a lot of dumb questions, you know that? I was literally just getting to that. If you had waited like half a second I would have just gotten to it and it would have looked like I knew what I was talking about. But, no, you had to go an pretend you’re doing some sort of Socratic method thing and guiding me toward the perfect article. Knock it off.

It isn’t about following price trends of older cards so much as it is just sort of knowing two things about the redundant cards in EDH as a format when it pertains to MTG Finance.

  1. Redundant cards will be played as much as the identical versions where reasonable financially and will be played still an unreasonable amount when unreasonable financially.
  2. It sometimes takes a really long time for the new card’s price to catch up which can make us doubt our picks and sell out early like cowardly people who want to nail a spec but not make any money on it.

Point 1

I am going to be brief on point 1 because I think sometimes the lengths that players will go to for redundancy is ridiculous. The problem is that if the supply is sufficiently-low, a very reasonable amount of demand from unreasonable people who will pay unreasonable prices puts an unreasonable amount of upward pressure on cards with an unreasonably low supply if they are a reasonable facsimile of card they’re already playing. I use MTG Finance to pay bills and I prefer to sell pimp cards rather than put them in my deck to show off so I’m going to show you an example of a card I do play and then a card I don’t play.

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I play this in my Riku deck.

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I wanted more of the effect so I opted for this.

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Not this.

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And certainly not this.

Portals 2 and 3 (Get on it, Valve) printed a lot of redundant cards that had slightly different names but the same effects, meaning that people could play two copies of a card, one that was reasonable in price and one that was not reasonable. Do you really want a second Armageddon badly enough to pay $300 for it? Someone clearly is.

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There are a few P3K cards worth a lot because the unique way they are worded (usually vis-a-vis horsemanship) makes them break Legacy like how Rolling Earthquake hits fliers or Riding the Dilu Horse makes a creature unblockable. The rest of the expensive P3K cards are Eternal staples or EDH staples, and the EDH staples are either commanders or cards like Ravages of War or Three Visits.

Point 2

I’ve covered how long we have in previous articles. I could comb through all of my past like 10 articles to find the one I mean, or I could just recreate the section as best as I can remember it. Ironically, doing it over again seems like less work, so I’m going to go that route. It can also serve as an example of a redundant card. You may start to see a lot of the cards I’ve really nailed because of how obvious they were as specs and realize, as I’m realizing now, that the easiest picks in EDH finance are basically functional reprints of older cards. They’ll be cheaper at first because of the higher supply, now, but that won’t last. Here’s a card that’s a great example of both a pick based on redundancy and a spec that we had like a million years to move in on.

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Look at how long this card was cheap. This brought the price of Grave Pact down a smidgen but it mostly just brought itself up and I’m not entirely certain where it’s going to stop. If you bought these as bulk rares, you’ll be happy getting out at $5, I’m certain. It took long enough for a few people who heard me call it basically when it was printed to tell me I was an idiot, and they were happy to send me this graph.

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“Nice spec, idiot.”

You have to remember to be patient because there were approximately one megashitton (1X10^100) more copies of Dictate of Erebos than there were of Grave Pact. And yet… It’s approaching $5. Why? Because people who are already running Grave Pact are going to just slot Dictate of Erebos into the same deck. Some people might use Dictate as a budget replacement and the demonstration of a willingness to print and potentially reprint a functional reprint (that sentence got awkward quickly, didn’t it?) of an older card eroded some of the confidence in that card as a monolithic staple in that color for that effect.

It’s worth noting that Dictate of Erebos costs more mana but has two distinct advantages over Grave Pact – it has flash so it can be used as a surprise and can just wipe a board through an Aura Shards or something and it only costs BB instead of BBB. The easier mana requirement makes it way less awkward in a three-color deck and it’s possible a number of people took their Pacts out and replaced them. As much as Dictate is a redundant Grave Pact a lot of the time, sometimes it’s a little better. That means more for the price of Grave Pact than it does for Dictate, though. A better reprint will tend to shove the price of the new one up way more than it shoves the price of the old one down. And what about when the card is mostly the same but is a little worse than the older card? That’s what we’ll see almost as often.

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Primal Vigor did even less to the price of Doubling Season than did Modern Masters and even though Primal Vigor isn’t nearly as good as Doubling Season, it’s still good enough to get played in most of the same decks so Vigor was all upside. It more than doubled from its floor and it isn’t done growing. Sure, this card helps your opponents out and doesn’t interact with Planeswalkers in quite the ridiculous way that Doubling Season does, but this does a lot of the same things in a lot of the same decks. It’s not as expensive, but if you bought in at $4, you’re OK that it’s not $40, you’re just happy it isn’t $3 so you’re probably thrilled that it’s $10. Sell out now and be happy or wait and be happier. Either way, I endured over a year of sub-$5 pricing on this card which was plenty of time to foster a little doubt and think about how I could re-invest the money if I cut my losses and sold my copies to a buylist for $2 each. Primal Vigor is a very bad Doubling Season, but apparently not bad enough not to get thrown right into the deck along with it.

“Make Me Some Money”

Right, talking about cards after they go up isn’t very useful for anything other than getting a bunch of Twitter followers, so let’s try and look at a few cards from recent years that could be nearing their floor and see if any of them are likely to get jammed into decks. I am like 100 words away from my  cap so we’re going long this week. Screw it. Let’s make some picks.

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The whole Dictate cycle is  good example frankly. They are all flashy (heh) versions of previous cards and the decks that play them can spare room for redundant copies provided the effect is good enough.

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Obviously this is nowhere near as good as Time Warp, but some decks might enjoy casting this for cheaper, although getting it back with cards like Eternal Witness is out of the question. Generally, cards that say “Take an extra turn” get there, even terrible ones.

Exhibit A
Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Exhibit B
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Exhibit C
Xzibit pimped my deck
Xzibit pimped my deck

Surely someday someone will value a card that can cost as little as 2 mana and which will definitely give you an extra turn over a card that will maybe do it but you can keep recurring it for more chances to maybe get an extra turn.  Trespass is future $5.  Besides, Part the Waterveil came after and it already hit the $5 we predicted. It will happen for Trespass.

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Exzipit 4

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What is the ceiling on this card? We can compare it to Awakening Zone, a card it is better than despite costing one more mana. After all, it makes powered creatures and it has an additional mode. With multiple printings, it’s not unreasonable to compare the current price of Awakening Zone to this, is it?

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Do you think it’s unreasonable for From Beyond to hit $5? I sure don’t.

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This is currently double its all-time low but it’s also probably not at its all-time high. I know because there is another card that costs more money and probably would have grown at an even faster rate than this card if not for a reprinting.

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Maybe Zuaport won’t hit $6. But maybe it will hit $3, and if you can still buy these for $0.50, merely sextupling up seems OK to me.

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The duel deck printing hurts this card a lot, but maybe if we see which card we should be comparing it to, we might get some perspective about a ceiling we can at least look at and then try to scale down on the basis of there being more copies of the new card.

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This was still like $6 and growing before some Modern deck went like 6-0 with 3 byes with this deck and a bunch of people bought out the internet, making this basically $8 now. I think if Ghostway can be $8, Interlude can be $3 in a year or two. The duel deck copies don’t help, but if all Interlude does is replace Ghostway in a few decks, it has upside. But why not play both?

That’s enough food for thought for now, I think. Always be on the lookout for cards that are suspiciously like cards that are already played in EDH. The closer they are, the closer their prices are bound to be, especially if the new card is better, which helps mitigate the fact that newer cards have larger print runs and are more readily available than old cards that have been scattered to the four winds.

Did I miss anything? Do you have a suggestion for next week’s article? Did you stop reading at exactly 2000 words and miss all of my picks? Join me next week for more insanity.

 

The Game Done Changed

Today on the next episode of “Can one Magic card change EDH completely?” we have another white card. That’s odd. I feel like we get a lot of white cards in this game lately.

Past winners have included:

starfieldofnyx

White card

eldrazidisplacer

White card

bladeofselves

I mean, Stoneforge Mystic is a white card

thegitrogmonster

C-C-C-C-C-Combo breaker!

thaliaslancers

Annnnnd white’s back.

This card is stupid and it’s going to make a huge impact on EDH (I’m calling it a bit early to say “biggest impact of the set” but it’s hard to imagine a bigger impact from another card) and the number of cards that just got a whole lot better is huge.

The Actual Scope

Unlike cards that are very good in very specific decks like how good Fevered Visions seemed, but basically just in a small number of decks, mainly Nekusar, this has broad appeal. Instead of being a card that goes into 90%+ of all Captain Sissay decks and nothing else, this could see that sort of coverage in the specific decks it seems tailored for but has wider-reaching implications. Captain Sissay likely jams this card. And why not? It does what you want, it’s in the right colors, the body isn’t irrelevant. But unlike a card that’s perfectly-tailored to one deck but little else, I think Lancers can grab so many different cards that it’s going to get a look in a lot of different shells and give a lot of different cards upside. Legendary stuff just got a whole lot better, and not just creatures.

The Decks

Sisay

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This deck obviously has the most targets, making Lancers a sicko toolbox card in the deck. If people play Sisay a bit more, it could see some upside. It’s mostly plateaued, owing a lot of its lack of growth to the injection of copies with the FTV printing. $23 isn’t even close to the all-time high for the foil, but it could climb again since the FTV foils are about as visually appealing as that Billy Squier “Rock Me Tonight” music video.

Do an impression of your future record sales!
Do an impression of your future record sales!

More than just the commander could see a bump from new relevance vis-a-vis being more fetchable.

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This card hasn’t quite recovered from its Commander’s Aresenal printing and the CA printing shown above shows how the new price doesn’t know what to do with itself. With new relevance on Legendary stuff in white, this could be the bump it needs to approach the $50 people want for the non-foil copy. Legacy isn’t going to do it, so EDH needs to pick up the slack. This card can’t be as cheap as it is forever and there isn’t much impetus for a reprint so this feels safe. This is a good card to just have because Legendary creatures will always be good in EDH. I mean, duh.

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These two cards are good together and Reki is already taking off. If people play more Sisay because of Lancers, they’ll play more Reki, one imagines. Look at Azusa for the ceiling on a Kamigawa green Legendary creature, and I guess look at Dosan the Falling Leaf for an example of a card which currently see as much play as this could, soon. This could be an easy quadruple-up.

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Did you know this was almost $2? Well, it is. It seems like it’s not done growing. This is practically a planeswalker and if it’s easy to tutor for, why not play it? Stashing dead Legends back in the deck to be tutored for seems OK to me.

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This seems tied to Sisay directly more than most cards, but this IS growing, unlikely to be reprinted and solid. It’s a very, very EDH card and if it gets played more, its price should go up.

Ra-Ra-Rasputin, Magic’s Greatest Love Machine

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Eldrazi Displacer didn’t make this $30 Legend bump as much as it could have but it’s being built more. I used Rasputin for the heading but it could easily be Roon or Brago. I basically think it’s vital to talk about the interaction between Lancers and another white card.

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Bliggedy-BLAM. This was made to pair with Lancers. Sure, Mistmeadow Witch and Deadeye Navigator pair just as well (well, maybe not JUST as well) with Lancers but Displacer doesn’t require you to be in blue at all. Displacer and Lancers are a great team and I expect white decks to use this pairing to great effect. Decks with access to blue get more flicker redundancy so I expect the decks that can run blue to do so, but if you can run Lancers, you can run Displacer, something I can’t say for the other flicker creatures.

Rasputin is bound to start moving, but I have a feeling his price spiking on principle back in 2013 just because a lot of Legends did means it will take a minute for demand to push the price at all. Still, it’s a Legend, it combos well with flicker effects, which are popular and it’s never getting reprinted. Rasputin is worth what he’s going for now, but it could be a minute before he’s worth more than that.

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I bought in at $0.50 and basically misplaced a big stack of these. It made me happy to find them in a box of shame with cards like Nivmagus Elemental. This card didn’t get banned and that sent it price up when the uncertainty surrounding its status was cleared up. Just like Consecrated Sphinx, mentioning this card when they talked about why Prophet of Kruphix was getting banned emboldened people. This likely isn’t done growing. This card is dope and does dope shit.

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This is the kind of growth you want to see following a reprint. This card is too good not to have in your deckbuilding box and if you don’t have one, better buy one, soon. It’s at a historic (post-Standard) high and doesn’t seem to want to slow down. If you’re running blue and flicker stuff, you want this.

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This graph shape is a little discouraging, but I think this is bound to climb a bit more. It’s certainly unfair with flicker creatures and can lock people out of playing spells and can also get big enough to rule the unfriendly skies. This flirted with $5 a few years ago and it didn’t stick, but I think that could be the new reality for this card in a bit and new flicker cards certainly can’t hurt.

Mangara

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This card couldn’t possibly have more going for it. I think the new Brisela deck can be built very easily on the shell of an existing Mangara flicker deck. Not only will this see more EDH play with Lancers and Brisela running around, this is a second spike, has potential upside from people playing Death and Taxes and D&T variants in Legacy since Eternal Masters has made some of those cards a little cheaper and new flicker cards make this card even better. I think Mangara has a ton of upside and has already established that it can be an $8 card.

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Another potential D&T inclusion, it’s actually insane how well this card has recovered from 4 printings. It’s like Wall of Omens. I think if this gets printed again and dips at all, it likely recovers. Mostly, though, just be aware of this card so you don’t accidentally bulk it out.

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This has a high degree of affinity with Mangara decks because the same untap and flicker shenanigans that can help you stack multiple triggers of Mangara destruction can also turn this into a murder machine. Lots of printings have hurt the upside, but more Mangara in EDH means more of this and it’s worth watching.

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I like second spikes a lot and the shape of this graph is giving me really positive vibes. I think something is going to happen, here.

What Else?

Well, I covered a few of the decks that have cards in them that could incidentally spike if Lancers makes those decks get played  bit more, but I think I want to finish the article just by mentioning some Legendary stuff that you can grab with Lancers that gets a lot better with a convenient (and flickerable) tutor.

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This recovered from its reprinting and then some! This card is super popular and Lancers probably don’t make a blip in its price, but knowing you can fetch this with something other than Tolaria West and Expedition Map means Esper artifact decks have another tool in their arsenal.

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EDH gold, unlikely to get another reprinting, now easy to tutor for with a decent creature. I think Memorial is going to be more than it is now this time next year. This is a safe place to stash value and a good card to play with.

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When this card is $12, we’re going to look at this part of the graph and marvel that it was $5 for an entire year. You still have some time on this card, but this card is dumb, it doubles two important resources and it’s an artifact. Lots of stuff that tutors for Legendary creatures leaves this out.

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Somehow EDH made this an $8 foil but it hasn’t been able to do anything for the non-foil price despite it coming from a set where most of the boosters contained metaphorical herpes back in the day. Packs of this set are way more appealing, now, but this set was under-opened. I channel Arashi more than I cast it and this is worth playing. It’s got some work to do to unseat Silklash Spider, but it could happen.

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Who saw this coming? I didn’t and I played EDH back when this was $5 and I used to talk about how unfair it was. $20? OK, then. I don’t think this is done growing. This is aching for a reprint – let’s hope one is forthcoming.

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We’re not doing anything to this price, but Lancers fetch half of the combo, whether it’s the one with Thespian’s Stage or the one with Vampire Hexmage.

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More people than are playing this should play it. Oh well. When I win the game with this, people didn’t see it coming, so that’s cool. I like having the creature that fetches it able to turn this into an overrun if it’s the biggest creature I have, and in a deck where I run Assemble the Legion, sometimes it is.

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There are worse things to go grab

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Again, we’re not doing anything to this price, but it’s nice to know you can grab a Cradle. That fact may add more upside to the price of Lancers than Cradle.

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Someone is making this card $8. Maybe those people will play it more now that there is one more way to grab it out of the deck, and it come with  better body to staple it to than a 1/2 Kor.

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This costs a lot to activate, but it solves problems and the price can only go up. I mean, look at the chasm between retail and what dealers will touch it at. Ugly.

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How good is this equipped to a four-color Legendary creature? We’re about to find out, I guess.

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This may be one of the best cards to go and get. It’s not Maze of Ith, but it’s close and it’s in your colors.

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I don’t want to do this anymore and I’m only on “K”

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Do all of these even need a justification? Probably not, right?

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I could probably put just about anything here and my editor won’t even notice

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Taxation is theft

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9/11 was an inside job

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I want you all to know I contemplated going back and changing the first letter of every paragraph to spell “And his name is Jon Cena” but I didn’t because I’m lazy and you’re not worth it.

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From a piece of Laura’s secret diary, Cooper discovers that he and Laura shared the same dream; Catherine tricks Ben into signing away the mill; Andy and Tremayne – the potential fathers of Lucy’s baby – confront each other; James leaves town; and Laura’s killer is unmasked.

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When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.

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Anyone else watching Preacher on AMC? What are they even doing? It’s like they never even read the comic books. I mean, The Walking Dead is diverging from the comics a lot which makes things exciting for the people who have read the books because we can still be surprised by the show, but, come on. It’s like the team making Preacher wants to hurt us for reading the source material. I may give up on it. No, I’ll give it a season. One season to turn it around, but that’s it.

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I can probably start my closing paragraph in here so I don’t have to write it at the end and you can be done reading this article when you see the last card.

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Cards like Serra’s Sanctum make me very excited about Lancers. There are a ton of good cards we can grab and while we could tutor for them before with other cards, this exciting creature is easier to flicker and rebuy than those other cards, making it the ideal way to go grab them.

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That about does it for me this week.

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If there is anything you think I missed or which you want to discuss, leave it in the comments section below.

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I’ll be back next week with more value.

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Until then, stay safe and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Until next time!

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