Tag Archives: value

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Shadows over Innistrad at Rotation

Ixalan previews should be starting next week, to match with the pre-previews that are being officially released due to geotagging and if you want to ignore the unofficial leaks, I respect that.

Today, though, I’m continuing to look at cards that are about to rotate, and what I want to pick up now that they are super cheap. A couple of weeks ago I looked at some great targets from Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch, and it’s time to look at the other big set that’s rotating out. (Eldritch Moon will be soon!)

We are looking for any of the following factors, or a combination thereof: Modern use, Legacy use, Commander use, Cubes, and other casual play. The more of those groups that want these cards, the better a bet they are.

The caveat, as always: We don’t know what will and won’t be reprinted. FTV: Zendikar could happen. We’ve got several Commander 2017 cards that should have been reprinted but weren’t, and a lot more that it’s a relief that they did get reprinted.

Foils are not a totally safe bet either, with Masters sets and Conspiracy and special releases, but foils can go up if the nonfoil is reprinted in a set like Commander 2017.

On to the cards!

Nahiri, the Harbinger ($10 regular/$35 foil): The foil is at the upper end of where I’d expect a card to be, and that’s because she’s really good at what she does. Exiling permanents is quite powerful in Commander, but you have to tap the creature or artifact first. It’s unlikely that she’ll nail a Darksteel Forge, for instance.

She pops up in Modern from time to time but never with frequency and isn’t the focus of a deck. I want to wait and see if she falls a bit further, as $10 is too high for my taste. I’m more comfortable getting in at $7 and playing a long game.

Relentless Dead ($7.50/$15 foil): I’ll be honest: I had a stack of these that I picked up when this was around $5 and moved out at the spike. This is an amazing tribal card in one of the most resilient tribes, and it can do some truly disgusting things in Commander. I’m surprised that the foil is so low, and this is one of my top targets at rotation for long-term growth from the casual market.

I would prefer the card to get cheaper, but the $15 foil is incredibly tempting. Zombies would seem to be a lock for the next time the Commander decks get tribal, and the foil will be much more resilient than the nonfoil in such a case.

Archangel Avacyn ($6/$15): She’s got one hurdle to clear: FTV Transform in November. I’m hoping she’s trickled down to $5, and if she dodges reprinting in that set, the difficulty in printing double-faced cards means she’s probably safe.

Startled Awake ($5/$8): Now this…this is a foil I want to have, but I can’t shake the FTV idea for this either. It’s a powerhouse mill card, and it’s reusable, and casual players are why Fraying Sanity isn’t a bulk rare. There’s only about 50 foils on TCG, the multiplier is low, but I’m not moving till that FTV list is out.

Arlinn Kord ($4/$8): We are now in an era where there’s enough planeswalkers to fill out a Commander deck easily. That means mediocre ones like her aren’t guaranteed to grow. She’s cheap, sure, and pops right into your Werewolf tribal deck, but it’ll take so long to grow that I don’t think she’s worth it.

Tireless Tracker ($4/$11): I’m picking up foils of this as fast as my budget can stand. There’s less than a hundred on TCG right now, and that includes prerelease foils. What you need to know is that this is popping up in several Modern decks as a value engine, and even in the sideboard of Lands decks in Legacy. This will be going up, and it’ll spike into the $20-$30 range when it settles.

Traverse the Ulvenwald ($4/$13): Another card with a relatively low number of foils on TCG (less than 80 total as of this writing) everything depends on which build of Death’s Shadow you like in Modern. If you like the Grixis better, this is worthless. If you play a version with Tarmogoyf, then you want four Traverse. These are not going to go down much, but I like the foils more for a spike in the next year, with nonfoils coming along for the ride. The Delirium mechanic makes it a little less likely to be reprinted soon but nothing is for sure.

Thalia’s Lieutenant ($1.50/$3): I dearly love this foil at $3, for two reasons: First, it’s an automatic four-of in any competitive Humans build that might pop up in Modern. A couple decks have tried, but no traction yet. Second, as a tribal enabler in foil, it will go up, even if the card is reprinted in a future tribal set.

For an example of this effect, here’s the graph of Dragon Tempest in foil:

The nonfoil has taken a small hit, but it’s in the Dragon deck, so the foil is where you want to be. Grab your foil Lieutenants now.

The Gitrog Monster ($1.50/$10): It doesn’t seem like that long ago, when all kinds of stuff was spiking madly due to his use in Commander. The enormous foil multiplier remains a strong sign of his appeal there, so picking him up now is an investment in slow growth over a very long term.

Seasons Past ($1/$3): I’m pretty bullish on this, especially for such a cheap foil mythic. We’ve already seen that with a tutor, it’s viable in Standard, so imagine the work it’ll do in Commander. This is probably not going to spike, so you’ll be on the ‘stick in a box and be patient plan’ that has served well for a number of EDH cards.

Prized Amalgam ($1/$5): It’s been pointed out as an easy target, and it has a surprising foil multiplier for a card that’s hard to use in casual formats easily, but this is easy mode. It’s a four-of in a Modern deck that comes and goes in waves, $5 for the foil is too cheap. It’ll spike to at least $10 after it does well on camera in some event, and with Modern being back on the PT, it might spike a lot harder.

Duskwatch Recruiter ($1/$4): Not only is this difficult to reprint, it’s one of the ways the Counters Company deck can instantly win, finding Walking Ballista at instant speed. It’s also a fantastic place to dump mana in Commander, and as an uncommon, there aren’t even any prerelease foils to mess with. TCG currently has 23 foils in assorted conditions.

I would love this a whole lot more if it didn’t feel like a very strong contender to be in the FTV this November, so as you can tell, I’m hesitating until we know what’s in that set.

The Grand Plan

For those of you who are experienced at the ebb and flow of Magic, today’s plan is not going to be a shock to you. What I’m doing is old hat and a plan that has served me well so far, and I haven’t seen a reason to change yet.

For those of you who are more new to the game, and the idea of how drastically values can change for a card, prepare for some sage advice. Even though the Pro Tour is underway, and you should stay tuned for cards that bust the format open, that’s a skill I don’t have. Today’s plan, though, has worked for me over and over.

Aether Revolt has some really powerful yet really cheap cards. This is good for us who seek to accrue value while cards are inexpensive, back to the original profit idea of “buy low, sell high.”

We are going to do a lot of buying low and hopefully a lot of selling high, but instead of lots of cards, I’ve got a timeline in mind.

Aether Revolt is the current set for drafting and events, but on March 15, Modern Masters 2017 will arrive.  Then on April 22, we have the prerelease for Amonkhet! This is a lot going on in a very short time, and represents some real opportunities.

The cheapest point for a set is right after the following set comes out. So for Aether Revolt, I want to be picking up cards about March 22. I want to be getting Modern Masters 2017 cards around the beginning of May.

I especially want to be getting the cards that have long-term appeal, not just the Standard powerhouses. I would so much rather buy 17 Lifecrafter’s Bestiary right now than one Walking Ballista, for instance.

The pattern of Standard has been one of consistency for the best cards. Let’s look at the headliner for Battle for Zendikar: big ol’ Gids.

He’s dipped down to $20 from time to time but he’s stayed in the $20-$30 range pretty consistently, and I expect the same out of something like the Ballista. It might go down to $10, it might creep up to $20, but nothing too crazy.

Unless Doubling Season gets reprinted in Standard. Then watch out.

I really love a lot of Aether Revolt for long-term holds. Regular and foil copies of the Bestiary, because the card is just amazingly powerful if you can live through the turn you cast it.

Whir of Invention is really intriguing to me, as a card that could be broken in the right deck. The comparison to Chord of Calling is a good one, because the deck that wants Whir will want four of them, and that’s a trait I truly love in my speculative picks.

Aethersphere Harvester is a fairer Smuggler’s Copter, but this demonstrates how good looting is compared to gaining life. I think Rishkar, Peema Renegade plus Winding Constrictor is a turn-two into turn-three that a lot of decks won’t be ready for, especially when something costing six lands on turn four.

I don’t know much about the cards in Modern Masters 2017, but the principle still applies. Conspiracy: Take the Crown lowered prices remarkably, and now a lot of those cards have enjoyed a bump. I want to plan on grabbing cards at their low point, though I need to think more about the actual cards. The 2013 edition of Modern Masters had a lot of amazing cards, but the 2015 was less valuable and more widely distributed. So we will see.

That’s my plan. It’s what I’m going to be trying to accomplish, and I love having targets and ideas clearly drawn. Buy low, sell high, but do that about once a month these days!

PROTRADER: PucaPicks for August 11, 2016

Hello and welcome to PucaPicks!

Each week, I’m going to go over cards that are undervalued, some of the cardboard you should send away right now, and some of the things that have had a lot of movement.

My goal is to help you buy low and sell high, increasing your points just by having the right timing.

For each card, I’m going to give you the current points and the foil price as well.

Today, I’m going to focus on Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch. We only have about eight months left of them being Standard-legal. I’m not sure what the eighteen-month period is going to do to these prices. Are people already selling out? Are they holding on desperately?


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ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Competitive Keeps: Theros Block

By: Houston Whitehead

I hate to be first drop before the waterfall, but I can’t help but think ahead.  We might know October 2, 2015 as the first day to spend our paychecks on Battle for Zendikar, but it’s also the day most of your Theros Block and Magic 2015 magically turn from dollars to pennies.  Just the word ‘rotation’ makes Standard players cringe worse than the last time I cursed in Sunday school. I know you’re thinking, “Dude! It’s June! Why the hell are you writing about rotation?”  In my experience, it’s a lot easier to complete trades with rotating cards when players don’t have rotation on the mind.  You’ll start noticing that ‘keep staples’ mindset right when Origins releases.  Everyone will start hoarding what rares they feel will hold value and start going out of their way to unload the rest before it completely tanks.  This makes Pre-Origins the best time to pick up rares that will keep or gain value after rotation.  Also, if Standard is the only format you play, the rest of this article is not for you.

Keep in mind these are cards worth keeping for competitive play, not casual or EDH.  Otherwise, I’d just say trade for all the gods.



thoughtseizeThoughtseize – Let’s start off with an easy one.  Before it’s reprint Thoughtseize (Lorwyn) fetched a ~$75 price tag.  It’s been in the $15-20 range (Theros) throughout most of its time in Standard despite the massive amount of Theros product opened. This is one of your last chances to pick them up before they start to climb again.  It’s simple the best discard spell.  Pick up as many as you can.  Currently $24 Fair Trade Price

nykthosNykthos, Shrine to Nyx – Though Nykthos has only seen fringe Modern play in Mono-Green devotion decks, the cards power is real.  WotC uses restrictive mana costs to keep powerful cards away from other colors.  No one wants play in a Boros Reckoner + Phyrexian Obliterator fight deck.  Ok, that does sound pretty sweet, but minimizing the amount of decks powerful cards can be in keeps the formats diverse.  Nykthos rewards you for playing all the restrictive CMC cards of a chosen color while also helping you accelerate them out earlier than opponents are comfortable with.  My point is, WotC isn’t going to stop printing restrictive mana costed cards. Nykthos can only get better with each new set printed.  It’s one card away from Tier one Modern play.  At worst, casual players will keep its market demand up. Currently $5 Fair Trade Price

Theros honorable mentions: Anger of the Gods, Swan Song


Born of the Gods

courser of K borderCourser of Kruphix – I know has only been a two-of in a few successful Modern lists.  It falls to Abrupt Decay but survives Lightning Bolt.  It’s dead weight against combo but great for creating card advantage and hitting your lands for the late game.  You know it’s power if you’ve only playing a few matches of Standard.  Speculating on a Bant control deck utilizing Courser might be a stretch, but labeling it as unplayable doesn’t seem correct either.  The current $6 price might still be a bit high, but picking up a playset for $12 at rotation shouldn’t be a bad investment. This might be the only card on this list that’s worth waiting for a lower price. Currently $6 Fair Trade Price.

spirit of labSpirit of the Labyrinth (FOIL) – Why foil? Cause, Legacy.  Legacy players love foils and Legacy foils love having oddly high prices. Foil Spirit has been a steady $10 while only seeing 1-3 copies in successful Death & Taxes lists.  In May, it dropped to $6.  D&T hasn’t put up many high places finishes in a while. But, if you play Legacy, you know the meta is always changing.  It’s only a matter of time before it falls back into favor.  With zero play in any other format, Spirit’s price has been solely dependent on the Legacy environment.  This is a good time to pick up while you can still find them.  Currently $6 Fair Trade Price.


Journey into Nyx

mana confluenceMana Confluence – This upgraded City of Brass will continue to take its place in Modern and Legacy decks.  It’s been as high as $20 but has mostly stayed around $10-12 during its lifetime.  I don’t predict them going that much lower but wouldn’t be surprised to see them follow a slightly slower price trajectory as Cavern of Souls. Plus, it’s a powerful non basic land. Always a worthy investment.  Currently $12 Fair Trade Price.

eidolon of the great revelEidolon of the Great Revel – Probably the best eternal playable card printed in this block. It sees four copies in both Modern and Legacy Mono-Red lists and will continue to do so.  Picking up these should be just as obvious as picking up Thoughseizes.  To be honest, you probably should have picked them up when they were $5.  Currently $11 Fair Trade Price.


Magic 2015

Chord of CallChord of Calling – Chord fell from $40 to $20 after its M15 reprint and has steadily decreased slowly over the past year.  Previously played alongside the villainous Birthing Pod, Chord fell when Pod was banned and never found a home in Modern Collected Company decks.  Its lack of recent play doesn’t reflect the power of this convoking tutor. Though Pod won’t be unbanned anytime soon, I think Chord will learn to stand on its own again in a future Modern meta.  Zero chance this card falls to bulk after rotation. Currently $5 Fair Trade Price.

Final Thoughts

Investing in rotating rares isn’t the quickest way to gain financial value, but it is a perfect way to acquire future format staples with a long term investment bonus. I might only have a few rotations under my belt, but I’ve made a lot of profit being patient with rotating cards like these.  I hope now you can do the same before the ‘rotation plague’ sweeps over your LGS.

As always thanks for reading