Tag Archives: Corbin Hosler

Let’s Get Supplemental

Back in December, I decided to have some fun with an article. With Standard largely solved at the time and Modern in a lull, I took the opportunity to look ahead to 2016, and made some bold predictions. Looking back at that article, things turned out pretty well, as Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger went from the $15 I called it at then to $30. While I hope I saved or made people money with that call, it’s actually the less interesting one to talk about today.

“The Summer 2016 Specialty Release will be Multiplayer-focused

Let’s take a brief walk through history.

2009: Planechase

2010: Archenemy

2011: Commander

2012: Planechase 2012

2013: Modern Masters

2014: Conspiracy

2015: Modern Masters 2015

The Modern Masters sets throw it off over the past few years, but if you look back at the history it’s pretty clear that Wizards highly values a multiplayer-centric release during the summer. The annual Commander decks have taken some pressure off of this trend and made room for Modern reprints, but I have to believe that 2016 takes us back to multiplayer land.

My prediction? Archenemy 2. The inclusion of Surge — and multiplayer-centric cards in general in Oath of the Gatewatch — is not a coincidence, and I don’t believe that Matt Tabak’s seemingly-random reference to the Archenemy in this article is either.

Archenemy 2016. Maybe.”

Okay, so I get half credit here. While we didn’t receive Archenemy 2, we did get our multiplayer set in Conspiracy 2, though it remains to be seen what the set’s full title actually is (IS BRAGO KING ETERNAL OR NOT?!? I NEED TO KNOW). Or maybe I only get a third credit because they also announced Eternal Masters as one* of our summer sets. I don’t know; it’s all confusing in 2016.

If that were all there was to this, I wouldn’t have approached the topic of supplemental sets. But I’ve been kicking around this article for awhile and Conspiracy 2 is simply the latest in the line of supplemental sets. And while they may not all be of equal interest to us, the fact is they are becoming more and more important financially. I’m going to focus on the Commander series today, and circle back next week to handle the Planechase, Archenemy and Conspiracies of the world. I’ve been posting about a lot of these cards in the ProTrader forums over the past few weeks, and there’s been some great discussion about the future of some of these there, though the following card took us all by surprise.

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As you can see, this is a seemingly random buyout, but it’s far from the first when it comes to these sets. Take, for example some of the other cards in that set. We saw major price corrections on Damia, Sage of Stone, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave and XX a while back, and it seems Magmatic Force has joined them.

This one came as a particular surprise because I’ve kept a pretty good eye on Commander over the past few months, and it didn’t look like any more of the cards were primed for a spike. Even those with a little growth still had a ton of stock left, so this came as a bit of a surprise to me Tuesday morning. That said, it only reinforces my standing theory: these spikes are due to scarcity more than anything else. Yes, they’re good cards that see a decent amount of play, but the truth is there’s just not that many of these cards out there in 2016, a full five years after the first Commander set released.

Commander sets are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to supplemental products over the past five years, and today I want to do a deep dive into these to discover any potential opportunities.

Commander (June 2011)

Not exactly Wizards’ first foray into this market, but the original Commander set was one of the first times they experimented with putting major new cards into a supplemental product. The results were enlightening, if not ideal.

Scavenging Ooze may be super affordable now (on that note, it’s showing some momentum and is likely headed upward before too long – fair warning), but when Commander came out ScOoze was pushing well past $40 and sold out everywhere. Wizards didn’t anticipate that the set would be as popular as it was, and it sold out very quickly and led to shortages.

At least, some of them did. The deck with ScOoze was the first to go, and not long after was the Angel deck with Kaalia. Meanwhile, Political Puppets set on the shelves for months. As players flocked to pick up the “good EV” sets, the others were ignored. Which, in my opinion, is a big reason why Flusterstorm is now over $60 and the most expensive card in the set.

But it’s far from the only card from the set to undergo some movement recently. We’ve seen price corrections in the past year on stuff like Collective Voyage, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave, Damia, Sage of Stone and more.

Which begs the question – is there anything left from this set to invest in?

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Riku is the most striking of the bunch. Seriously, this thing is going to see a correction up to at least $15 in the next two or three months. There’s too much momentum in the graph and dwindling supply for it to stay sub-$10 long.

But RIku isn’t the only one worth looking at. The following cards all have some things in common: steady demand, slowly increasing price and shrinking supply. Sooner or later these things converge and hit a breaking point, and a major price correction of 20-30% or more occurs.

  • Aura Shards
  • Martyr’s Bond (this one has moved a decent amount already, but keep an eye on this as it could go higher).
  • Homeward Path
  • Propaganda
  • Wrexial, the Risen Deep
  • Champion’s Helm
  • Austere Command
  • Zedruu the Greathearted

I’m not saying to go out and buy these cards and watch them spike in the next two weeks. But I am saying that almost all of these (some more than others) fit the Magmatic Force profile, and could easily spike in the same way over the next six months. If you’ve considered picking any of these up, now is the time.

Commander 2013

Apparently Wizards didn’t learn from the Scavenging Ooze debacle, because they repeated it with True-Name Nemesis. Everyone’s favorite Merfolk (just kidding, mine is Silvergill Adept) came out of the gates at $50 as it completely reshaped Legacy, teaming up with buddy Stoneforge Mystic to wear all the equipment and wreck opponents.

Then again, maybe Wizards learned something, because this time they flooded the market with copies of Mind Seize, the deck containing both True-Name and Baleful Strix. This had the effect of lowering True-Name to $15, though it still messed up the dynamics of the full release on the market.

True-Name itself seems fairly constant at $15, but what about the rest of the set?

  • Primal Vigor. Spiked a while back in the most obvious-to-predict jump ever, and has recovered from where it settled to near an all-time high again of $8. While I have no doubt this can double in the next year or two, it’s also got to be on Wizards’ list of a reprintable targets. Still, nothing not to like in the short-to-medium term.
  • Thousand-year Elixir. There’s definitely something to like here. This was pushing $10 when it had only one printing, and it’s currently sitting at its highest price (just under $3) since its release. Stock is there for both printings, but there’s a lot of momentum here and that stock won’t last forever. Maybe looking at a year before the true “spike” on this, but worth picking up now if you want them.
  • Sanguine Bond. At $2, this is finally rebounding from a mess of reprints. For those who don’t remember, this was $10-15 five years ago, and after being pushed to near-bulk by reprints in the last few years it’s starting to rebound. This is one of those you can nearly guarantee will be $5-8 within 18 months.

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  • This is moving as well. We can use the original Commander as a baseline for a lot of these cards, and like the original set this set seems apt to experience some spikes as well, and soon.
  • Bane of Progress. Hurt by a second printing, this is near-bulk right now despite being enormously powerful. Don’t lose these in your bulk box.

Commander 2014

Another Commander set, another one with low-print run cards with rising prices and dwindling supply. Here’s the highlights.

  • Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury. Not the most powerful planeswalker objectively, Freyalise is nevertheless a solid option in most decks that can play her, and has been showing some growth this year. Not perilously low on supply or anything, but it also doesn’t feel like this will be cheaper than the $6 it is now ever again.
  • Ghoulcaller Gisa has actually already gone crazy, and I doubt there’s a ton of short-term upside left at $5. But this is an excellent example of what other cards in this set could do over the next year or two.
  • Emeria, the Sky Ruin. Solid growth on this over the last year, and it shows no signs of slowing. If this doesn’t get reprinted, there’s almost no doubt it will be $10 within the next two years, and if things break right it could get there even faster.
  • Caged Sun. I went very deep on these when they were first printed in New Phyrexia, and they represented strong and safe money. The reprint came to me as a chance to pick up even more copies on the cheap, and I love picking these up around $3.
  • Rite of Replication. I’ll hit this one here even though it was also in Commander 2015, but this represents a chance to grab this previously $10 card at a buck. It’s a long-term hold, but a sure bet at current prices.
  • Arcane Lighthouse. This may actually be one of the best targets on here. Available at a dollar today but with dwindling supply. Much like Myriad Landscape experienced a big price correction a few months back, this is likely the next in line.
  • True Conviction. This was a card that saw strong growth in the year before a reprint, and it’s showing some rebound momentum after that reprint. Another dollar rare, another great medium-to-long-term hold.

Commander 2015

As the most recent Commander set, there are some good and bad things about this edition. One of the biggest pros is, of course, the price. With these so recently released and is even still available on shelves, the price on most of these cards is rock bottom.

The downside is that we don’t know which ones will do well over time. Sure, in many cases we can make accurate predictions, but it’s a lot harder for me to sit here and predict a card will rise than it is to study charts and let the data do the talking for me. Still, let’s see what we can find.

  • Command Beacon. As the most expensive card in the set and a hugely popular land, I imagine this will almost certainly see a reprint in 2016, and 2017 if not. At the current buy-in of $11, I’d rather just stay away from this.
  • Blade of Selves would fall into the same category, except it has a set-specific keyword. While they could put this into another product, it doesn’t seem easy for them to do so. I don’t necessarily want to buy these to hold, but if you need to pick one up for yourself you should probably do so.
  • Meren of Clan Nel Toth. I love this card, and have been on the lookout to pick one up for my Karador deck. At $9 and with another set-specific mechanic, I don’t see this falling either.
  • Coldsteel Heart. This was a $2.50 mana rock before the reprint, and is a random uncommon I see forgotten about these days. Great pickup at current prices.
  • Eldrazi Monument. Not only are our new Eldrazi overlords everywhere and this is on theme, but it was a $10 before the reprint. Cards like that are certain to start the climb back to those heights within a year, and $4 is the ground floor on these.
  • Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. The climb back up has already started on these, and there is no reason to think it will stop anytime soon. Don’t forget this was a $15 card before the reprint, and available today at $4 for a Mythic Angel with a huge effect on games. This is the stuff mtgfinance dreams are made of.
  • Lightning Greaves. It’s had a lot of printings, and for a long time those printings were $7-8. It’s been reprinted a lot so expectations can be tempered, but I’m mentioning this because it is at a floor.
  • Blatant Thievery. This one is a little more narrow but still incredibly powerful, so at $1.50 there’s a lot to like for a previously-$7 card.


There you go. That’s a lot of cards, but I warned you in advance it was going to be a deep dive. Truthfully, these Commander sets and other supplemental products have been great on the finance end, as they make cards that were moderately priced available cheaply for players, and “reset” the copies out there for people looking to hold onto theirs for the long haul.

Come back next week when I dive into the rest of the supplemental sets!

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter/Twitch/YouTube

PROTRADER: Catching Up With the Times

Hey everyone, before I go any further let me apologize for being absent the last two weeks. I certainly didn’t expect when I left to work Grand Prix Mexico City what the next few weeks would hold for me. And, unfortunately, those few weeks haven’t been great. I got sick while working Mexico City solo, and was back home for about 8 hours before jetting off to the Pro Tour in Atlanta.

The Pro Tour was great (how ‘bout them Eldrazi?), but even as I recovered from being sick and felt things were on the upswing, the flu hit me during the Top 8 on Sunday. And hard. Sunday and Monday were a fever-induced blur, and the only real memory I have from those days is that somehow my Canadian Highlander deck — fully decked out with foils, Expeditions and expensive crap like Library of Alexandria — didn’t make it back home with me. I don’t have any idea what happened to me over those two days, much less what happened to it. So that’s pretty disappointing. I came home from the Pro Tour and spent the next four days in bed, eliminating any chance of an article last week.

That’s a few hundred words about my personal life that don’t affect your Magic finance, but I did want to offer an explanation of why I’ve been away. Sorry about that, and let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.

Now, I hear a few things happened in the Magic world while I was gone, so let’s talk about those.

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

PROTRADER: Buyouts, Buyouts Everywhere

I don’t even know where to begin. I spent last week in Florida, enjoying a pleasant New Year vacation while largely disconnected from the MTG world, though I did check in from time to time.

I come home, and everyone’s gone crazy.

The Buyouts

First, I want to link to Jim Casale’s piece on the use of the word “buyout.” In most cases, it doesn’t mean what you think it means, and the negative connotation attached to the word doesn’t always ring true.

Take, for example, Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple. Sure, in the simplest terms they were “bought out.” But rather than plummeting over the next week as the race to the bottom began and people saw that the market manipulation couldn’t hold true, the prices actually held over the course of the week. That doesn’t happen unless there’s real demand for a card, and it’s another bit of proof that shows that manipulating the market is not as easily done as many like to claim. Anyone can buy out TCGplayer and move the price of a card for a day, but all that really matters is where those prices settle after a few weeks or months. Simply raising the TCGplayer average doesn’t make anyone a profit, and I’ve written before at length about The Myth of Making Money.

So where does that leave us today?

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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Six Things to Expect from Magic in 2016

Yeah, I know, list-style articles are a bit clickbaity. That said, there’s a ton to cover as we head into 2016, and with so many other authors writing great pieces wrapping up 2015, this feels like the best way to lay the groundwork for a big year for Magic.

The year of 2015 wasn’t bad, exactly, but it certainly didn’t continue the momentum of previous years. In many ways, this was expected. You can keep up monstrous growth year-over-year forever, and with the power level on sets being cut back—which I’m a fan of in terms of what it means for the game’s sustainability—it’s not exactly easy to push Magic sets these days. That leads to gimmicks like Expeditions (a fun set), but it also doesn’t sell sets forever the way Snapcaster Mage, Delver of Secrets, and Liliana of the Veil do. It’s not a huge surprise, then, that the numbers so far this year haven’t lived up to years past.

That means 2016 has to, if not increase, at least sustain where Magic is at. Shadows over Innistrad seems like a great way to do that, and we’ll see how the rest goes. On that note, let’s begin.

The Rise of the Colorless (Eldrazi)

Whether it’s Standard, where Eldrazi ramp was already a deck and figures to be greatly helped by Oath of the Gatewatch, or Modern, where decks built around exiling graveyards for Blight Herder and Oblivion Sower are taking off, Eldrazi are everywhere these days.

There’s no reason to expect that to change anytime soon. Eldrazi are going to be a force in Standard until rotation, and possibly even more of one after. I think we can look forward to at least nine more months of Eldrazi in Standard, and possibly 15 before Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch leave the scene. The biggest beneficiary to this is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, who is up from $13 to $16 and shows no signs of slowing down, but the big guy is bringing along plenty in his wake. Awakening Zone, for instance, has been on absolute if predictable tear (I’m proud of how well the community here on MTGPrice got out ahead of that one), and now Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin are joining the fray (Edit: apparently these have spiked hard in the last two days. These will settle much higher than they were pre-spike, but the current inflated prices won’t hold, especially on Eye of Ugin).

Looking forward, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect Ulamog to top out around $30 if Eldrazi Ramp becomes top-tier, and Sanctum of Ugin and Shrine of the Forsaken Gods won’t stay bulk long. More long-term, From Beyond is a surefire bet for future gains.

From Beyond

The Summer 2016 Specialty Release Will Be Multiplayer-Focused

Let’s take a brief walk through history.

2009: Planechase

2010: Archenemy

2011: Commander

2012: Planechase 2012

2013: Modern Masters

2014: Conspiracy

2015: Modern Masters 2015

The Modern Masters sets throw it off over the past few years, but if you look back at the release history, it’s pretty clear that Wizards highly values a multiplayer-centric release during the summer. The annual Commander decks have taken some pressure off of this trend and made room for Modern reprints, but I have to believe that 2016 takes us back to multiplayer land.

My prediction? Archenemy 2. The inclusion of surge and other multiplayer-centric cards in Oath of the Gatewatch is not a coincidence, and I don’t believe that Matt Tabak’s seemingly random reference to the archenemy in this article is, either.

Archenemy 2016. Maybe.

The Price of Standard Will Fall

We know that it already is, as the price of Gideon falls and everything else evens out after the post-Battle for Zendikar spike. But while Jace will remain expensive, the other reason for an expensive 2015 Standard season—fetch lands—will rotate. Say what you want about WOTC’s design decisions over the past few years, but rarely have we seen a single dominant deck. Even Mono-Black Devotion, hated during its run in Standard, wasn’t the only deck to see success, just as Dark Jeskai isn’t the only deck doing so today. Of course, there’s another argument to be made that Modern-focused reprints (Thoughtseize, fetch lands) do Bad Things™ to Standard, but that’s a topic for another day.

Once fetch lands rotate, people won’t be able to put together whatever four colors they feel like playing, and that means more dissemination of the strongest cards in the format. When Shadows over Innistrad releases, I expect the two poles to be Jace decks and Ulamog decks. The difference between then and now is that neither deck will be running $200 in fetch lands just because it can. That should lead to a less-expensive Standard, and while it may not be low enough to satisfy everyone, it will be a step up from what we saw in the second half of 2015.

Emrakul Awaits on Innistrad

Fair warning: I’m not a flavor expert. But I do know storytelling, and it certainly seems like the Eldrazi are too all-encompassing to go away anytime soon. With Kozilek rising up to join Ulamog (RIP Lorthos), it certainly seems like the coalition to drive the Eldrazi off of Zendikar won’t be anything more than a stopgap. I don’t see our planeswalker buddies “killing” the Eldrazi in any way, and even if they do manage to force them off Zendikar, I doubt these monsters are gone forever. As Magic builds toward a coming blockbuster movie in the next few years, it makes sense for Wizards to keep the Eldrazi around—and notice that we haven’t heard from Emrakul in a while.


Furthermore, there’s speculation that Shadows over Innistrad is a reference to Shadows over Innsmouth, a Lovecraftian story that has Cthulhu—the baddest Eldrazi this side of the Multiverse—as its villain. I wouldn’t put it past Wizards to title the set after the novella on purpose, and have Emrakul fill the role of said shadow.

A Major Shakeup to the Modern Banlist

The announcement of the Stoneforge Mystic Grand Prix promo is the biggest giveaway here, if you want to read it that way. Personally, I could see it going either way. It wouldn’t shock me to see it included just as a “good promo” even if it wasn’t legal in Modern, thanks to its Legacy playability.

On the other hand, these cryptic words from the announcement article would seem to indicate otherwise: “I wonder how many promo Batterskulls we’ll see next to these new promo Mystics by springtime next year…” The ellipses was included in the original, and it’s no secret that Wizard likes to shake up the banlist before a Pro Tour. I think it’s probably better than 50-50 that Mystic sees an unban before Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch in February, and to answer Mike’s question about how many Batterskulls we’ll see: a lot.

Magic Will Gain Increased Acceptance as an eSport

This is a larger-picture issue, but one that is important to me and worth talking about. I work full-time in Magic, from managing the content on this website to working event coverage for Wizards. I also shoutcast League of Legends and other games regionally, and follow eSports as a whole pretty closely.

For those of you who may not know, eSports is blowing up. League is the largest video game in the world and is being injected with tons of money from venture capitalists right now. It’s sending salaries skyrocketing and quickly driving it toward the “only the big businesses can thrive.” Heroes of the Storm was on ESPN. CS:GO is getting a weekly league aired on TBS in 2016.

The field is, as a whole, going nuts right now. And there’s little reason to believe it will stop. With an incredibly young audience demographic right now, the money isn’t quite there yet. But as these people grow up watching competitive gaming instead of football or basketball, they’re going to retain those loyalties and preferences into adulthood. Ten years from now more, and more 30-year-olds will be watching videogames on TV, and the advertising money is going to truly start flowing.

Magic is doing its best to not be left behind. While video coverage won’t be as frequent in 2016, many people have characterized it as taking a step back to take a step up, and I hope that will be true. Magic may not be as visually exciting as some other games, but it has all the major attributes of other successful eSports, and the Pro Tour scene features both high-level play and a number of intriguing personalities. Viewership on Twitch has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years—both in professional play and streaming—and I have high hopes for the digital and professional future of Magic. The 2016 year will be a key one for the game’s growth, because eSports are no longer a thing of the future: they’re a thing of the now, and Magic needs to continue to grow in this regard.

A bit over my word limit this week, but there you go! This year was a big one for me personally, and as I enter my first full year working full-time in Magic—and with my first kid on the way in May—I have big hopes for 2016.

See you on the other side.


Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter/Twitch/YouTube