Tag Archives: MTGPrice

PROTRADER: Game Day Deck Tech, KLD Edition

Today is not going to be about the new (old?) Standard rotation structure. I’ll tell you that I like it, though, and I suspect that my LGS’s lagging FNM attendance will improve because of it. Today is going to be the start of a new mini-series, and it’s focused on the aspect of Magic finance that tends to get overlooked.

Players new and old tend to approach the concept of Magic finance as “how can I make my hobby cheaper or free?”, only to realize that most of the conversation in that sphere is between vendors. In honor of Game Day Weekend (and a month of [NEW SET] singles pouring into the market), I’m going to tell you which Standard deck I recommend for the upcoming format. This is for the people who want to play in FNM, PPTQ, and 5k level events but don’t have the time, energy, or resources to learn and buy-in to the entire format. These are not going to be “budget” decks, but a key component in my selecting them is that they are cheap enough to give you a good shot at breaking even. I think this first installment does a good job encapsulating a lot of what I want to get across with this series, so let’s dive in!

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Casual Appeal

I do not spend much money on Magic. In fact, I actively try to invest at little hard cash as possible into this hobby.

My usual spending habit is to get in a draft for about $15, crack those packs, and get my single elimination on. Occasionally I buy individual cards, especially if they are EDH foils, but mostly I limit my spending.

I think of myself as a casual player, despite having written for MTGPrice for more than two years. There are a few cards that I’ve gone after hard and traded for many copies of (Thespian’s Stage, Prophet of Kruphix) because I believed, but I’ve never spent a lot of money.

I have never been a person who is heavy into speculation, but my collection’s value has gone crazy because I rarely dip into my old cards.

We are living in a very strange time for Magic. There’s more people playing this game than ever before, and the players appear to have more money to spend than ever. The structure of the game allows for people to play at the level they are comfortable with, be it in terms of finances, format, styles, anything.

My advice to you is now to never sell your bulk. Store everything. I’m not sure about the cards that are bulk from sets as recent as Theros (just as an example) but the spikes are coming so fast and so frequent that I would hate to move bulk unless I was moving to a much smaller home. Commons are probably okay to get rid of, but uncommons might have some legs, especially selected good uncommons.

Let me give you an example: Inquisition of Kozilek.


I sold 20 of these to a buylist for $5 apiece when they first went to $8, but that was simply because I didn’t know they had gone up to $4 months before. I went back to my Rise of the Eldrazi boxes and got them all out, cackling as I made $100 off of a card that I thought was a crap uncommon. It was crap, too: Inquisition was easily a last-pick card in ROE draft.

I don’t regret selling at that price, because I didn’t expect that three years later, it would be a $25 card. A card spikes and I want to move it out. I’ll have made a ridiculous profit already, and I have zero way of knowing if it’ll get reprinted or banned.

It started as a budget alternative to Thoughtseize but because there’s so many terrifyingly cheap cards in Modern and Legacy, though the reprint version is now cheaper. Thoughtseize also provides a strong example of what can happen if you hold a card indefinitely: If you had them in the summer of 2013, they were at $75, and who knew how high it could go…until it got reprinted in Theros and the value dropped.

I think there are cards in recent sets that are very cheap, which given the right circumstance, might really take off. For instance, Become Immense has proven to be a very potent card, especially with Temur Battle Rage. So far, no one has added Become Immense to Prophetic Flamespeaker, saving a card. Flamespeaker is about $1 now but it could go crazy as soon as one deck puts up results.

I want to look at a pair of recent spikes and think about if there’s room to grow.


I’ve given up trying to predict what card people will latch onto in a fit of hope and speculation. Descendants’ Path is one example, where people decided that they could use Conduit of Ruin to set up for a free Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. This seems awesome, but it hasn’t translated to a deck yet, or at least one with measured success. The card itself hasn’t come down in price yet, and that’s the key for people that were playing and drafting way back in 2012: it was bulk, or just about that price as an EDH card good in tribal decks. Now it’s a $7 card and the time has come to get rid of all the ones you have.


This is different. First of all, it’s from Worldwake, a set that was opened in ridiculously small numbers. Think about it: Zendikar is the most popular set ever at the time (2010!), and the draft format is ZEN-ZEN-WWK for three months before Rise of the Eldrazi came out. There’s not a lot of this card around, and there are decks doing very well with it. Until it’s reprinted, it’s got room to grow but if you have some of these I’d get rid of them now.

Finally, I want to point out that new formats offer unparalleled opportunities. Just in the last couple of years, we’ve seen Tiny Leaders take off (and crash, to some extent) as well as 93/94, also called Old School, and those cards have seen significant growth. Who knows what the next format will be?

Keep everything. Once it spikes, let it go, but until it does, store it all in a safe, dry, and cool place.

PROTRADER: Cube Watch, Oath of the Gatewatch Edition

Greetings! We’ve got a sweet new set in Oath of the Gatewatch, and lots of potential cube cards to cover today, so let’s get right into it.

A couple quick notes: First, I’m saving everything with the new colorless mana symbol for the end, because that’s going to require some extra words. We’ll start with the traditional stuff. Second, while I might mention foils for commons and uncommons, my goal with my Cube articles is to keep costs down as much as possible, so the object here is not to find the cards that are going to go up the most, but to find the best time to buy the cards that we actually want to play with in our cubes. Got it? Let’s go.


Linvala, the Preserver

This is a powerful card, but I’m not sure it beats out cards like Sun Titan or Elesh Norn at the top of white’s curve in Cube. It’s definitely one to test, but I’m not convinced it will make anything but the most expansive lists.

As for its financial future, Standard could bring its price up in the short term, but there’s no way it sees play in any eternal competitive formats. It’s probably fine in Commander, but it doesn’t seem insane. While it could surprise us in the short term, this should be way less than its preorder price in the long term.

(Note: All TCGplayer mid prices cited in this article were pulled on the day of writing, January 15, 2016. They may have definitely changed since that date.)

TCGplayer mid: $7.49
Likelihood to get a cube slot: Medium-low
Verdict: Wait to buy

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Five Oath of the Gatewatch Cards to get Excited For

It’s that time again, and it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since Battle for Zendikar, does it? Just yesterday, we were gushing about the new Eldrazi cards and going wild over Expeditions lands that were going to make us all rich.

Or maybe that was yesterday, and we were recording the Brainstorm Brewery set review (which you can find here) and getting excited about Oath of the Gatewatch. Either way.

The point is, this set looks poised to deliver in a way that Battle for Zendikar did not. While the BFZ draft format was fun (certainly better than Magic Origins), the set itself didn’t blow everyone away, thanks to a lack of objectively powerful cards and any new ground tread. Whatever the reasons for that—not wanting to upset Modern, creating a good Standard environment, late changes made to the set—there’s no doubt that Battle for Zendikar left plenty of people wanting.

And Oath of the Gatewatch delivered. The introduction of the “sixth color,” or in reality colorless mana, is a touchstone moment in Magic’s history, and we’re going to see the repercussions of it for years to come. Whether it’s with a return of Eldrazi or something else, or maybe just making colorless evergreen, Oath looks like it will forever change the future of Magic thanks to that step.

Oh, one more thing. The cards aren’t half bad, either. Let’s talk about a few of the most impactful.

Thought-Knot Seer

Thought-Knot Seer

This guy is actually nuts. It’s a mix of Brain Maggot meets Vendilion Clique, and this guy’s ability may just be better than them both. The reason Vendilion Clique is good is obviously tied to the 3/1 flying body, but there’s also the fact that unlike something like Brain Maggot—where what you take is something good and you’re guaranteeing them a good card back when it dies—Clique provides them with a random card from their deck, which the odds are is worse than the card you bottomed.

Thought-Knot Seer mixes both abilities to an even stronger configuration. Now you get to exile the card of your choice (relevant at times), but they actually have to do work to get a random card back! With V-Clique, when you take their removal spell, they have to find an answer to the faerie, but at least you’re “helping” them dig to it. With Thought-Knot Seer, they get no such help.

Pro players are excited about this card, and for good reason. I expect this to be a huge player in Standard, and while it’s certainly powerful enough to make it in Modern, the colorless requirement may hold it back some. At the very least, look for Tron to find a way to fit these into the sideboard for combo matchups.

Is $7 the right price? It’s hard to say. If the Pro Tour were Standard, I’d be happy to trade for them at that price. But it’s not, so its upside is limited in the short term. Let this get a little cheaper, then move in hard before rotation.

Linvala, the Preserver


My castmates on Brainstorm Brewery and I disagreed heavily about this card. Frankly, I think they’re crazy to not see this as a bomb.

Linvala does something very few cards in Magic—and especially Standard—do well: help when you’re behind. Ugin is the shining example of this right now: no matter how far behind you are, he will always catch you up.

Linvala obviously isn’t as powerful as an eight-mana planeswalker, but she makes a huge impact. Imagine the following scenario, one I’m sure will occur before Linvala finishes her run in Standard: your red opponent has a few guys out and has wittled your life total down against your midrange or control deck. You’re starting to battle back, but you’re still in burn or burst range.

What answers everything possible? Linvala does. The life gain puts you out of burn range, the two bodies block, and the fact that you do get two bodies helps to guard against removal. It may not be the second coming of Thragtusk, but let’s remember that Thragtusk was pretty oppressive in Standard, so anything even approaching that is pretty darn good. And the great thing about Linvala is that if you’re ahead and she’s at her worst, then you’re already ahead! I see control decks making heavy use of Linvala before she’s done in Standard.

Financially, I think this will go lower before it goes higher. Standard right now is actually not a bad place for Linvala, but she still has a lot of competition. Again, I can’t stress how important the Modern Pro Tour is here, because it’s going to draw attention away from Standard. Let this angel hit $3 or $4, then move in hard.

Eldrazi Displacer

Eldrazi Displacer

I know everyone is psyched about this card, and for good reason. Not only is it just plain dumb with Siege Rhino, Jason Alt says it will reshape Commander as we know it. Obviously that’s a strong statement, but holy Heliod, this card does it all.

Still, it’s a rare in a set with Expeditions lands looming overhead, so I think this guy will be coming down from the $5 preorder tag, if only by a few dollars. If you want yours immediately, don’t feel bad paying this, but also don’t expect it to shoot up immediately. I love this as a long-term spec if it can avoid a reprint during its Standard run, but in that sense, you’ll have a few months before you want to pick them up.

Zendikar Resurgent


You won’t find a better Commander long-term foil bet than this, assuming the foils land in a reasonable place. Sure, it’s no Mana Reflection, but Mana Reflection is a completely absurd card, and very expensive at that. Resurgent slots perfectly into Maelstrom Wanderer decks (a card that is on the precipice of exploding in price itself), and there are a ton of other decks besides that will want this thing.

I don’t see this thing making any waves in Standard, but that doesn’t matter with such a surefire Commander hit as this. I’ll have more guidance where we see where foils land, but for now I’d be interested in picking those up this weekend.

Bonus casual card callout: Call the Gatewatch. People love planeswalkers, and a few years from now you’re going to be happy you grabbed them for bulk.

World Breaker

World Breaker

I know the Eldrazi decks can only run so many ramp targets—and I haven’t even mentioned Kozilek—but World Breaker has that baby-Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger thing going for him, and the random reach ability is actually super relevant in the current Standard format.

Just like Oblivion Sower is a key card in the ramp mirrors I expect will become more and more of a thing now and after rotation, so too is World Breaker. Hitting their lands can be very key, and there’s actually a ton of relevant enchantments running around Standard right now thanks to Silkwrap and the new Oaths that are being printed. World Breaker isn’t going to set Standard on fire, but he is going to see play, and at $3 on a mythic from a set that will only be here a few short months—and not even get a Pro Tour to show it off—I like picking this guy up this weekend.

I know I’ve only touched on a few cards here, and there are plenty more I’m excited about (Matter Reshaper, get in my Karador deck already), but I wanted to touch on the ones I find most intriguing, and in some cases worthy of picking up, heading into the prerelease.

Until next week, may your teammates always support you!


Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter/Twitch/YouTube