Category Archives: The Gilded Goblin

Commander 2014 Price Tracking – Part 2

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By: Jared Yost

This week I will continue with my review of the Commander 2014 decks to see if there is anything currently undervalued now that the set has been in stores for several months and has been widely distributed.

For the white and blue decks, please check out the first part of my review.

Sworn to Darkness

Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath – For this guy, I’ll quote what I said previously about the planeswalkers from Commander 2014.

There are several factors that make me very interested in the C14 planeswalkers:

Only one printing (though this is a mass distributed product, I still feel this attribute is important in this case)

  • Completely new planeswalkers that haven’t been seen before
  • They are tied into the lore of Magic very closely, and they included throwbacks to Teferi and Freyalise which is awesome
  • Unique Commander appeal, due to a slight rules twist that allows these planeswalkers to be played as generals
  • Decently strong effects, since they are the headlining cards of their respective pre-cons

All of these attributes, in addition to the planeswalkers only being $5-$7 each, make the planeswalkers very desirable pickups from the C14 decks.

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In addition, I’ll say that Ob Nixilis interacts well with life gain effects and we all know how players love their Sanguine Bonds and Exquisite Bloods. I think all the planeswalkers are going to be casual favorites for years to come and Ob Nixilis will be a decent pickup for $6 like the rest of them.

Flesh Carver – I really like this card if you can pick them up for cheap. Having a reusable sacrifice outlet for Commander decks can be quite powerful if you have combos that synergize with the graveyard or if you are creating massive amounts of token that can be sacrificed easily. I like the Carver because he also leaves behind a body in case he dies. So evasion in the form of intimidate plus a body left behind if he dies is a pretty good deal for me. If you can pick these up for bulk I’m sure they will appreciate nicely in the future.

Crypt Ghast – Despite the massive reprint it had in the Commander 2014 decks, Crypt Ghast is still about $1 retail. Players love being able to double their mana in formats like Commander and I foresee Crypt Ghast being a black staple for years to come. I like foils and nonfoils as pickups because even the nonfoils will be desired by casual players looking to building black commander decks.

Abyssal Persecutor – The Worldwake version of Persecutor is $3 retail while the C14 version is $1.29. Not sure why there is a huge difference in price but it tells me that Persecutor could eventually be worth more than bulk since some versions are still above $3. Persecutor is a really strong card with an easy to ignore drawback in the right deck. 

Magus of the Coffers – Just like Crypt Ghast, Cabal Coffers on a stick is going to be a thing in black decks in order to generate massive amounts of mana in a single turn. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth has made sure that “swamps matter” effects are powerful in Commander. Planar Chaos copies are still above a $1, so picking up the C14 copies for bulk seems like a good play to me. Planar Chaos foils are actually pretty cheap for this guy too at $6 retail, so those might be worth looking into as well. 

Ghoulcaller Gisa – Cards with lots of lore flavor and powerful effects seem like good pickups to me. Even though she is at $2.75 retail I think there is room for upward movement as time goes on. Outside of an Innistrad themed set, it is going to be super hard to reprint her, so I think the reprint fear with this card is pretty low. 

Sol Ring – I’ll copy my thoughts on Sol Ring from the first part, just so you know I’m not skipping over it for any reason.

Sol Ring has finally been printed so many times that it is now around $3 per copy. I really don’t think Ring is a great place to put your money anymore. Wizards has proven that they’re going to print this card in every single Commander pre-con that they make, so players aren’t going to be looking for copies that often. Foils are another story, however I feel that regular Sol Rings are past their price prime due to being reprinted into oblivion.  

Jet Medallion – My thoughts on the medallions from the Part 1:

The medallions are a great addition to any mono colored Commander deck, so even with the reprint they will continue to gain value over time. The Tempest copies haven’t been drastically affected by the mass C14 reprint, so even if you have the old school version you didn’t lose that much value (due to the new art and card look compared to the old version). I feel like each medallion has entered its low point going into the $1.50 and less range. I will be looking around for extra copies to trade into and buy for all the colors. 

Malicious Affliction – This card is very close to Legacy playable, but unfortunately it is so hard to trigger Morbid in Legacy that I doubt it will ever see play there. However, we might see it in a Legacy deck eventually if the format changes in order to support the card.

Even without Legacy play, Malicious Affliction is still a very strong card in Commander and casual formats. Two black mana to kill two nonblack creatures is very efficient. At $3.50, the price seems a little steep to me. However, if it starts declining down into the $2 range then it will be time to pick up copies.

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Built from Scratch

Daretti, Scrap Savant – I think that Darretti is right in the middle in terms of planeswalkers desired from the C14 decks. He isn’t as popular as Teferi and Freyalise, however he is the most efficiently costed planeswalker at four mana and has a nice card filtering ability which is almost always desired by mono red decks. Since Wizards has now decided that looting is a red ability, the color has been getting more loot effects over time. Daretti is the culmination of those efforts (at least for now), as Tibalt was a failed experiment and the only other somewhat playable looting cards are Faithless Looting and possibly Tormenting Voice (along with of course Wheel of Fortune and similar cards).

One downfall to Daretti is that you have to play him in an artifact heavy deck. Otherwise, you can use him as a loot-walker but sometimes looting isn’t what you’re looking for in a Commander game. Yet, at $5 it is a very low buy-in for Daretti and I think he has plenty of room to move up from there.

Goblin Welder – With Urza’s Legacy copies still going for $6, if you can find C14 Welders for under $2 I don’t think you can go wrong with picking up some copies. This is a known Legacy card, albeit in a pet deck, yet Legacy and casual demand in addition to Commander will drive Goblin Welder’s price back up over time. 

Dualcaster Mage – How the mighty have fallen. What was once a $15 card is now hovering around $4.50. I’m not sure if the judge foil reprinting of Dualcaster Mage and Feldon of the Third Path will affect the nonfoil price, since judge foils are so rare these days due to the foil distribution shakeup. However, I think that Dualcaster Mage is a pretty awesome card for Commander and might even see some eternal play if red keeps getting more love from Wizards over the years. $4.50 and lower is a good price to pick them up if you’re interested.  

Feldon of the Third Path – Though the card never started out at a very high price, I still think that Feldon is one of the stronger mono colored generals to come out of the C14 series. His ability to copy any creature in a graveyard for a turn, without exiling the card permanently (which means that you can repeatedly copy the same things if you choose), is not something that we see Wizards allow very often. Crappier cards than Feldon have required us to exile the re-used cards in graveyards, so I think that for $1.50 you will have a great spec on your hands. 

Solemn Simulacrum – Since we can expect this card to be in every ohter Commander release from this point out, I don’t think it is worth picking up even though it is card that is ubiquitous in the format. At $4, there are better cards to get that will go up in price sooner than Solemn Simulacrum. Like Sol Ring, I think the days of this card gaining value are over since Wizards continues to reprint Sad Robot. 

Wurmcoil Engine – The most exciting card to receive a reprinting in C14, due to the Modern and Legacy applications of the card. I think that $12 is pretty close to the floor for Wurmcoil Engine – if it isn’t reprinted in Modern Masters II. I’m not sure if they will reprint it there, with the C14 reprint being pretty recent, however I can’t rule it out until I see the set list. I’ll be keeping an eye on Wurmcoil Engine and if isn’t reprinted in MM2 then it will only go up over time. 

Ruby Medallion – See my thoughts on the Medallions in the Sworn to Darkness section. 

Chaos Warp – Even though Commanders can’t be tucked anymore, I still think Chaos Warp is one of red’s most solid removal spells. Most of the time, I’m not even targeting someone’s commander with this because something even more threatening needs to be taken out. Though Wizards has proven that Chaos Warp is bound to get the reprint treatment in Commander products, I still think that if you can get them for $2.50 or lower you’re doing pretty good. 

Scrap Mastery – I really like this card because it has Daretti’s picture on it (hard to reprint) and grants red a recursion spell that has never been seen before for artifacts. Being able to return all your binned artifacts is really powerful. This card is currently less than $1, which means that it is a pretty good speculation target. I’ll be picking up a few extra copies for the future.

Guided by Nature

Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury – One of the two most popular Commanders from the release, Freyalise should be a high priority for those looking to collect planeswalkers from the C14 set. I’ve talked about the planeswalkers plenty before, but even though Freyalise is $7 I still think she has plenty of upward mobility due to the casual demand she generates.  

Ezuri, Renegade Leader – This is more a Tiny Leaders spec than anything else. Unless Ezuri is banned in the Tiny Leaders format, the elves deck is one of the stronger decks I’ve seen. At $2 and less, it seems like a good pickup to me. The only issue is if he sees a Modern Masters II reprint, than the price will probably drop to $1 and stay around there. Without a reprint though, I could definitely see Ezuri trending upwards over time. 

Immaculate Magistrate – I like this card because it represents two things casuals love, Elves and counters. +1/+1 counters specifically seem to speak to the casual crowd well. At $1.50 and less it seems like a card that is bound to increase in price over time on the back of casual demand. The Lorwyn version is still $4.50 after all.

Creeperhulk – What an awesome Commander card! Being able to ramp out into the hulk and then turn all of your mana dorks into 5/5’s with trample is pretty insane. I’m not sure how this card is still bulk. I think it is a great spec target for future gains. 

Titania, Protector of Argoth – Though a steep buy at $6, I wouldn’t mind trading for a few as a speculation. This card is awesome in casual player’s eyes since it gives protection from land destruction, one of the most hated types of cards in casual games. Being able to beat someone in the face for destroying all your lands is very satisfying. $6 might not be the floor for this card but I feel like it is very close. I’ll be watching Titania closely for any future price movements. 

Siege Behemoth – I like this card because it provides a way for green players to push through that extra damage, but on a budget unlike Craterhoof Behemoth. Buying in cheap here could yield decent returns in the future. 

Lifeblood Hydra – I think this hydra is pretty awesome. It provides a huge trampler than can draw you a bunch of cards when it dies, kind of a green Sphinx’s Revelation with the life gain considered. Certainly cheap at $1.50 or less, I would expect this card to go up over time based on casual demand. 

Emerald Medallion – See my thoughts on the Medallions in the Sworn to Darkness section. 

Song of the Dryads – Now even better with the new Commander rule, Song of the Dryads was already pretty awesome for green removal. Pick up some extra copies and set them aside for future growth. 

Wave of Vitriol – One of the more powerful artifact and enchantment wipes, this card is sure to be included in mono green commander decks that don’t utilize many of these card types for quite some time. It is so devastating when cast because it gets around indestructible, which is key when playing against cards like Darksteel Forge. This card is super cheap right now, so you can pick up several copies to hold for gains. 

Summary

This concludes my review of the Commander 2014 decks. What did you all think of the decks this time around? I thought they were much more powerful than the C13 decks and provided quite a bit of financial value, in addition to the card and synergy strength of the decks, for the MSRP.

Did I miss anything you think is important from the C14 decks? Let me know in the comments.


 

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Uncommons and Commons of Dragons of Tarkir

By: Jared Yost

This week I’ll be looking at the uncommons and commons in Dragons of Tarkir to analyze their power and see if any have financial value. First though, you should check out the 7000+ word coverage that Travis offered us for the mythics and rares of the set. Though the comments on the article and the Reddit posting may be contentious, I think it’s a great read in order to understand the near future values of the mythics and rares. Since we’re still in the preorder honeymoon phase, card prices are pretty wacky right now. Travis takes them back down to Earth and reminds us that the average value of a box needs to reach a certain equilibrium as more boxes are opened on the market.

Now that we’re caught up on the status of the mythics and rares, let’s get cracking. Of course, I’ll need to cover some ground rules like I’ve done for Fate Reforged.

Since covering just the mythics and rares was such a massive undertaking, Travis tasked me with covering the remaining uncommons and commons in the set that seem powerful enough to see Standard, Modern, Legacy, and even Cube or Vintage play. I’ll stick to Travis’ original article format for this and list out the uncommons and commons I like in the following order:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Red
  • Green
  • Multicolored
  • Artifact
  • Land 

I will not list the uncommons/commons that are bulk, since most uncommons/commons will be bulk and only a select few will wind up seeing tournament play. Also keep in mind that it is really hard for an uncommon to break a $2. Unless the uncommon is insane, then it will almost never be worth more than $2 even at the height of its Standard play. Don’t go around picking up tons of chase uncommons expecting them to spike in price during their Standard life. If an uncommon is really good also expect it to be in an event deck or other supplementary product, furthering the chance none of us will profit from it financially.

I think the best mind set to be in while reviewing uncommons and commons from a financial perspective is to think about the best way to pick them up cheaper than retail, which usually is to set them aside when you crack them or draft them so that you don’t later have to buy these cards at retail prices when you need them for a deck. Foils are nice pick ups for eternal playable uncommons and commons if they are powerful enough to be included in Modern, Legacy, or even Vintage decks. Many times I will prefer to pick up foil copies as they will retain more value in the long term.

Alright, let’s dive into the uncommons and commons in Dragons of Tarkir.

 

White

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Aven Sunstriker
Boy, Skyhunter Skirmisher has come a long way huh? While his Standard applications are questionable at best, I could see it slotting into a warrior deck after Theros rotates from Standard. What I really like the Sunstriker for is Commander or Cube, especially since players are still buying the Forged in Stone deck. Skyhunter Skirmisher is in this deck and this card is an obvious upgrade. Finally, another reason to like this card is because casuals love cheap bodies, with evasion, that can quickly kill an opponent.

 

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Dragon Hunter
Like Sunstriker above, I feel that this card could have a home in a future warriors Standard build. It actually has a stronger case for inclusion, as it has relevant protection in a format with Dragons and is an important one drop that is needed to curve out nicely. However, that warriors deck may never actually materialize. Mardu Woe-Reaper is much better than this card and doesn’t see a lick of play yet. Who knows, maybe Magic Origins will give us more warrior support since it is a pretty generic tribe and we might get a lord in that set, but otherwise this cards future is tenable at best. Still, I’m going to be setting aside all the copies I get since I feel that warriors is on track to become something in Standard.


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Graceblade Artisan
Certainly a weaker Kor Spiritdancer, however that doesn’t mean that casuals won’t eat this card up. Setting our extra copies aside could mean that we’ll be pleasantly surprised in the future.

 

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Orator of Ojutai (and the other four uncommon Dragons of Tarkir “dragons in hand matters” cards)
The “dragons in hand matters” cards might be decent in Standard, however I have a feeling that they’re only going to have a main purpose in limited. Now, if this was a Wall of Omens with flying, this card would be absolutely bonkers. As it is, dragons usually cost too much in Standard to make it worth wanting to play enough of them to be able to draw a card if you play this on turn two. It could have Standard potential but this is more speculation than anything else. I’ll be watching to see if players can make this card work well in Standard.

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Silkwrap
This might actually be usable in Standard since the format is so fast. The only reason Suspension Field isn’t heavily played is because you can’t play it on curve in order to better use it as removal. Silkwrap will pretty much always be played on curve if you have it, though of course it is terrible in the late game when you are in topdecking mode. Not sure if it will make the cut in Standard, though it can’t hurt to set some aside just in case.


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Surge of Righteousness (and the other four uncommon Dragons of Tarkir color hosers)
Looks like we’ve received some color hoser cards in Dragons of Tarkir in addition to Theros. Color hosers are cards specifically printed to be sideboard cards, in case any one particular color becomes too powerful in the format. While Theros gave us color hosers that affected the same color (see Dark Betrayal and others), Dragons of Tarkir went back to a more traditional route of having the color hosers affect enemy colors.

These particular color hosers are great because they affect two colors, not just one. I think this means we’ll be seeing them over their Standard life in sideboards to represent the state of the current metagame. Definitely keep all the color hosers you get from this set and set them aside – any one of them could be good going into the near future and throughout their Standard life.

Blue

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Anticipate
I think that Anticipate has a good chance of seeing Standard play somewhere. Yes, it’s a terrible Impulse and we already have Dig Through Time, Sultai Charm, and Jace’s Ingenuity, yet more card selection usually isn’t a bad thing. This might even slot itself into a new combo deck or even U/W Heroic. I’ll be setting my extra copies aside, if not for this Standard than post-Theros Standard or even Modern.


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Encase in Ice
See my review of Surge of Righteousness above, in the white section.


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Gudul Lurker
Wow, who knew that Triton Shorestalker needed an upgrade already? Definitely a possible inclusion in Mono Blue Devotion, which may be revived now that we have Shorecrasher Elemental. Since it has Megamorph, you can get extra value out of it if the game goes late, which bumps Shorestalker out of the list and slots this in. Even if Standard doesn’t pan out for this card, it is sure to be a casual hit and is definitely a cube worthy if anything else.


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Silumgar Sorcerer
Speaking of mono blue devotion, Silumgar Sorcerer would fit well into this strategy. Keep in mind that Exploit is a “may” effect – you can just as easily keep your mana open to counter a creature spell as to cast this as a 2/1 with flying and flash. That’s some nice value, and a good way of playing Jedi mind tricks with your opponent. Now in Standard, when you draw, play a land, and say go in blue everyone is going to need to consider this card.

I have a feeling that this is one of the better uncommons of the set.

Black

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Blood-Chin Rager
Wow, now this is the two mana 2/2 that warriors have always wanted!  Efficiently costed creature, in a relevant creature type, that grants semi-evasion to the rest of your warriors when it attacks? I think this card is pretty good and will be seen in warriors if the deck starts popping up in Standard.


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Duress
Even though it has been printed into oblivion, Duress will always be worth something on a buylist. Stock your extra copies away, especially foils, and you might be able to cash them out or use them favorably in a trade in the future.


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Self-Inflicted Wound
See my review of Surge of Righteousness above, in the white section.


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Shambling Goblin
Shambling Goblin is a pretty decent 1/1, since it can trade up into x/2’s and sometimes two-for-one your opponent if they have two x/1’s out on the field. Though it is only a common, I feel like it is one of the better commons in the set.


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Ultimate Price
Though Khans was wedge themed, and we’re still seeing plenty of multicolored creature in Standard, there are also plenty of mono-colored targets out there for Ultimate Price. Two mana removal spells in black have always been played heavily in Standard, and this time it will see play again. Definitely one of the best uncommons in the set and will eventually go up to $1-$2 and stay there for its Standard life.


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Virulent Plague
Unless Standard becomes swarmed with tokens left and right, this is almost always just going to be in sideboards. Still though, it is an awesome sideboard card, and should be worth something. $0.50 will most likely be the peak since the effect is pretty narrow.


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Draconic Roar
See my review of Orator of Ojutai in White. Though I will say that this is one of the better “dragons in hands matters” cards in the set since most of the better dragons are red. If you can activate both modes on this card it will be a pretty huge beating for your opponent.


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Dragon Fodder
Even with several reprints, like Duress this is a casual favorite so it will always be worth something on a buylist. It might even see Standard play, so that could further bolster its price in the future.


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Dragonlord’s Servant
Like Douglass Johnson, I believe that this is one of the best casual specs in the entire set. Dragonspeaker Shaman is a very popular card amongst dragon enthusiasts, and this guy fits right along curve at two mana into a three mana Shaman. I would definitely target foils of this card because they will be seen in dragon themed Commander decks all the time.


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Rending Volley

See my review of Surge of Righteousness above, in the white section.


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Sarkhan’s Triumph
If Dragonlord’s Servant is one of the best casual specs of the set, then this is the number one casual spec in Dragons of Tarkir. An instant speed dragon tutor? What more could Scion of Ur-Dragon players ask for in their deck. A staple in any red dragon themed commander deck from this point out. Foils will be especially nice targets.


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Twin Bolt
Maybe I like this card too much because it’s Forked Bolt for one mana more, but that one mana more makes all the difference. Being instant speed does matter, though I still think that doesn’t make up for it costing two mana. Not sure if it will be good enough to be played in Standard but it could be a good sideboard against token strategies if you’re not playing black for Virulent Plague. I think this will be a nice casual card if anything.

Green

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Ainok Survivalist
A nice sideboard card, if anything else. This will keep the Survivalist above bulk at least. I really like this as an addition to Cubes, so I think foils are good targets.


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Display of Dominance
See my review of Surge of Righteousness in White. I will say that I think this is the weakest of the color hosers for now, so in my opinion I think it has the lowest chance of seeing Standard play in the current environment. In the future though it could be great.


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Explosive Vegetation
Though Explosive Vegetation has had two other reprints, it is still usually above $1. The Dragons of Tarkir version will pretty much always be worth at least $0.40, so extra copies should easily be able to be shipped to buylists or offered in trades. I would target foils, as the the only other foil version of the card we’ve had so far is the Onslaught version. Dragons of Tarkir foils can be had for a fraction of the Onslaught foil price. Due to Commander demand, I expect the foil versions of DoT Explosive Vegetation to creep up over time.


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Scaleguard Sentinels
See my review of Orator of Ojutai in White. Scaleguard Sentinels is pretty awesome if you can get the +1/+1 counter – a 3/4 for two green is super efficient, even for Standard.

Multicolored

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Multicolored Uncommon Dragon Cycle
Out of the five, the weakest are Cunning Breezedancer and Enduring Scalelord. Their effects are only really good in limited, whereas the other dragons will be nice inclusions in Commander decks. Ruthless Deathfang could be slotted into a blue/black Zombies build with for example Grimgrin, Corpse-Born as commander or another U/B deck that utilizes sacrifice effects. Savage Ventmaw has a neat interaction with the enchantment Aggravated Assault, where you can have infinite attack phases. Finally Swift Warkite has a nice recursion ability (or sneak ability if you’re putting something into play from your hand) that allows you to keep putting creatures into play for enters the battlefield triggers. 

Ranked:
1) Savage Ventmaw
2) Swift Warkite
3) Ruthless Deathfang
4) Cunning Breezedancer and Enduring Scalelord

Artifacts & Lands

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Dragon Monuments
The monuments will always have a place in Commander, as they provide mana fixing and allow themselves to become 4/4 flying creatures until end of turn if needed. This is pretty nice in a format where board wipes are about as common as water. Though they’ll probably never be more than $0.25 each, I still expect buy lists will want to grab these every so often to fill Commander demands.

Summary

Here’s the top five uncommons and commons (by cycle, if applicable) in list format so that you know which uncommons and commons I think will hold the most financial value in Fate Reforged moving forward.

HONORABLE MENTION: Explosive Vegetation

  1. Sarkhan’s Triumph
  2. Dragonlord’s Servant
  3. Silumgar Sorcerer
  4. Color Hoser Cycle (Surge of Righteousness and others)
  5. Ultimate Price

Here is my top five FOIL uncommons and commons (by cycle, if applicable)

  1. Sarkhan’s Triumph
  2. Dragonlord’s Servant
  3. Explosive Vegetation
  4. Multicolored Dragons (especially the UB, RG, and BR dragons)
  5. Duress

Again, let me reiterate that I am not recommending that players buy thousands of these uncommons/commons en masse trying to make a profit by expecting them to spike. Uncommons and commons are notoriously slow to increase in price, if at all. It takes something like Delver of Secrets level of play to make that happen – and even then it was a few years before it really started going up in value.

I also hope this article will enable players to identify the more powerful uncommons and commons in the set so that they can pick them up for decks if they want to play them, and that it helps players building cubes to identify which foil uncommons and commons are best to pick up.


 

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Commander 2014 Price Tracking – Part 1

By: Jared Yost

I’m going to take a look at the most valuable singles of the Commander 2014 decks to see if there is anything currently undervalued now that the set has been in stores for several months and has been widely distributed.

Since there is plenty of information to cover, I’m going to split this into two posts. Part one will cover the white and blue decks. Part two will cover the black, red, and green decks. 

Forged in Stone

Let’s start with the white deck first, since it makes sense from both a color wheel perspective and because this deck contains the Legacy staple that Wizards decided to include amongst the decks of this type of product – Containment Priest.

Containment Priest – Surprisingly, this card is at an all time low of $16 right now from its high of $24 back in November. You could have even paid potentially more than that if you needed her the weekend of Grand Prix New Jersey, which unfortunately happened within a week of the Commander 2014 release.

containment priest price history

My feeling here is that if True-Name Nemesis can’t even hold a $20 price tag than neither can Priest. Speaking of which, True-Name Nemesis seems like a great pick up right now since they are a recurring Legacy staple and have fallen steeply in price since their $50+ heydays. Containment Priest won’t follow the same pattern though, since she is a sideboard card in Legacy rather than a main deck threat like TNN. As more Commander 2014 is released, the price only stands to stagnate or even drop further. I would avoid Priest unless you need them for Legacy. 

Nahiri, the Lithomancer – I’ll say this right up front. I’m a fan of all the planeswalkers from this set because they have several qualities that I like in long term pickups.

  • Only one printing (though this is a mass distributed product, I still feel this attribute is important in this case)
  • Completely new planeswalkers that haven’t been seen before
  • They are tied into the lore of Magic very closely, and they included throwbacks to Teferi and Freyalise which is awesome
  • Unique Commander appeal, due to a slight rules twist that allows these planeswalkers to be played as generals
  • Decently strong effects, since they are the headlining cards of their respective pre-cons

For all these reasons, plus the fact that they are all in the $5-$7 range, I believe that the planeswalkers from Commander 2014 are all solid pickups as singles. I have a feeling that Teferi and Daretti will become the most valuable in the long run however each planeswalker will grow in time from casual demand.

Grand Abolisher – Grand Abolisher actually didn’t take that much of a nose dive in price compared to some of the other cards that were reprinted in Commander 2014. It went from $4 to $3, a drop of 25% but not that large in the grand scheme of things. I believe that the casual is strong with this card, and that eventually it will start climbing up again in price until the next reprint. Now is a great time to pick up Abolisher if you even wanted one as they won’t get much cheaper than this. 

Sol Ring – Sol Ring has finally been printed so many times that it is now around $3 per copy. I really don’t think Ring is a great place to put your money anymore. Wizards has proven that they’re going to print this card in every single Commander pre-con that they make, so players aren’t going to be looking for copies that often. Foils are another story, however I feel that regular Sol Rings are past their price prime due to being reprinted into oblivion. 

Masterwork of Ingenuity – Cute card, but its price drop to $2 indicates to me that players aren’t clamoring to get extra copies of Equipment to use for their own schemes in Commander games. I don’t think this has a home in Legacy because it is too narrow (and also because Stoneforge Mystic is so good) so future demand isn’t coming from there. Not the card you want to buy enmass for future gains. 

Angel of the Dire Hour – This card has potential to me, especially at $1.50 and lower. If you can pick these up for $1 or less then I think you will do quite well in the future. Angels are a popular casual tribe and this angel is awesome removal that leaves behind a big, flying body. I”ll be picking up extra copies of in trades and other deals. 

Pearl Medallion – The medallions are a great addition to any mono colored Commander deck, so even with the reprint they will continue to gain value over time. The Tempest copies haven’t been drastically affected by the mass C14 reprint, so even if you have the old school version you didn’t lose that much value (due to the new art and card look compared to the old version). I feel like each medallion has entered its low point going into the $1.50 and less range. I will be looking around for extra copies to trade into and buy for all the colors.

Hallowed Spiritkeeper – Spiritkeeper’s future price is going to be hard to guess, as I feel that the price is very cheap at $1.30 and lower. Yet, I just don’t feel like this card will ever have a home in eternal formats like Legacy. Eternal formats are partially what drives the increase in the price of cards, other than casual demand, and I don’t really see much appeal to this card that would drive casual demand. I’m not going to be buying any, but I will keep my eye on this card going forward as the effect is strong and may possibly be desired in the future. The card provides nice wrath protection, at the very least. 

Peer Through Time

Next up in the color order is the mono blue Commander deck, which many view as the weakest deck in the lot. From what I hear, players aren’t really buying the deck in favor of the others due to the weird nature of this deck revolving around large sea creatures.

Teferi, Temporal Archmage – Along with Freyalise, Teferi is the only other planeswalker in the set that is around $7 retail. From what I hear on the ground, players really want to pick up Teferi. I mean, that last ability is a casual players magical christmas land. Giving all your Planeswalkers instant speed activations for all loyalty abilities is one of the Johnniest things you can do. Think of all those triggers that will allow you to control the game, no matter whose turn it is! Think of all those tricky things you can do when responding at instant to speed to something with a planeswalkers ability! Think of all the ultimate abilities that will go off with so many counters being placed so quickly!

So of course, Teferi is going into basically any deck (Commander or casual) that utilizes lots of planeswalkers for maximum value out of all the loyalty activations. Out of all the planeswalkers, I like Teferi the most due to his unique ultimate ability that allows you to have instant speed loyalty abilities. I believe that $7 is the floor for this ‘walker and that he will only be going up from here. 

Thran Dynamo – Despite having two other reprints in supplementary products, Thran Dynamo is still going strong at $5 and higher retail. Like Sol Ring, I don’t think Dynamo is where you want to be for future gains, however I can’t deny that this card has huge casual appeal from all the Timmy’s that want to play their eight drops on turn five. I won’t blame if you pick up a bunch of extra copies but just be wary that Wizards does reprint this card from time to time. Interestingly, they only reprinted it in Peer Through Time, which could be the factor keeping the price at $5 and higher. 

Reef Worm – A great casual card; I will be watching this for any future declines. If it goes below $2 I will be very interested in getting my hands on some copies. This is a card that screams casual to me, so I think it will always have fans in the future that want to abuse the effect. Yet, I think that this is a very slow gainer since you need to do some work to make the card great. 

Sapphire Medallion – See my Pearl Medallion review above. Sapphire is the highest priced medallion at $2.50 retail, and even though it is higher priced than the others my thinking still applies. I believe that Sapphire Medallion will be a long term gainer just like all the others. 

Cyclonic Rift – One of the most powerful sweepers that blue has received for Commander, Rift will always maintain value due to its power in the format. Though it currently sits at $2, there will be room to grow for this card until the next reprint. I even like foils of this card at $10, as it is a staple in pretty much every blue Commander deck. 

Rite of Replication – Like Rift, this is a super power spell that will most of the time win the player the game if it is cast at the right time. My same thinking applies for Rite as it did for Rift, even for foils which are around $11 retail. Actually, that seems pretty cheap for foils from Zendikar compared to Return to Ravnica. Zendikar has been out of print for a while, so I’m surprised the foil price of Rite of Replication isn’t higher. 

Nevinyrral’s Disk – Since this card has received so many reprints, I don’t think we’ll ever see it go above $2 again. I would stay far away from Disk from a financial perspective. It got hit hard by the double Commander reprint, and even if it does start climbing again I feel that this will continue to be reprinted in products like Commander.

That’s It For This Week

I plan on tackling the commons and uncommons of Fate Reforged for my next article, since the full set of Dragons of Tarkir has been spoiled. However, don’t fret dear reader! I will continue to work on this two-part series to make sure that I’ve identified the cards from all the Commander 2014 decks that I’d like to talk about.

What are your thoughts on Forged in Stone and Peer Through Time? Are you looking out for any specific singles from the decks in order to boost your collection or finish a deck? What do you think of the retail value of the products long term? From a sealed perspective, I’ll personally be looking to find undervalued sealed product for long term gains. Though I’ll have to keep in mind that the Commander 2013 decks are still around $20 per copy on TCGPlayer, which is much lower than their original MSRP of $35…

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Dragons of Tarkir First Impressions

By: Jared Yost

We’ve gotten plenty of spoilers so far, so let’s take a look at what the new set is going to offer us for Standard and beyond.

Mechanics – Megamorph

What is this, Yu-Gi-Oh? Come on Wizards, we knew what would happen when you put that on cards. It would be the first thing that popped into those Yugioh players’ heads that you’re trying to convert to Magic. Clever, very clever.

Besides the Yugioh conversion implications, the name unfortunately does not live up to the hype when crossed over to the Magic world. The only difference between Morph and Megamorph is that it places a +1/+1 counter on the creature when you turn it face up. That’s it. Not double its power, double its toughness, give it some crazy new ability that we haven’t seen before… Nope, we’re just going back to old reliable (+1/+1 counters) in order to “balance limited”. Look, I’m not bashing the mechanic here – I actually think it is brilliant in it’s simplicity and flows well with the tie-in to the other sets of the block. But did you have to waste such an awesome name like Megamorph on something that only marginally changes the game at best? Let’s look at two of the better Megamorphs that we’ve seen so far to show some examples.

stratus dancer

Among the first Megamorphs revealed, Stratus Dancer is not something I would imagine as being “very large”, “huge”, or “extremely” morphed. Many of the cards with Megamorph are similarly underwhelming from a flavor standpoint. Looking through some of the first revealed commons and uncommons will show this.

Now financially speaking, Dancer itself has price breakout potential. I’m sure most of you reading this remember when Mono-Blue Devotion was one of the top decks in Standard. The card is quite an efficient beater and will perform exceptionally well in blue aggro decks. Outside of Tidehollow Strix, this is the best standalone 2/1 flyer for 1U (or UB) that Wizards has ever printed. And it has an upside! If you draw it late in the game and already have some flyers to get in and hit your opponent, you can play it as a Morph creature and then have a counter backup for any board wipes, or other nasty instants or sorceries, that your opponent throws at your dudes.

I don’t think we’re going to see a mono-colored blue aggro deck in Wedge Khans Standard, but stranger things happened and right now I can’t rule it out completely. Losing Nykthos hurts later when Theros rotates yet until then it could see a resurgence due to cards like Shorecrasher Elemental. Luckily, the card costs 1U and not UU which doesn’t rule it out from U/X or X/u Aggro decks in Standard. If a blue (or even blue splash) aggro deck does break out and this card appears as a playset in it, the price has a good chance of spiking short term. Stratus Dancer will be one of the Megamorph cards I’ll be watching.

shorecrasher elemental

Speaking of Megamorph, Shorecrasher Elemental seems pretty good in the Nykthos devotion blue I mentioned. Master of Waves is looking great to me right now to work along with Shorecrasher, and not just for Standard. The Modern applications of this card are also pretty interesting. It can dodge the spot removal in the format pretty easily and can buff itself up to block Siege Rhino’s if necessary. Playing one or two Shorcrashers in Modern Merfolk could help bolster the power of the deck.

Mechanics – Exploit

A more aptly named mechanic, Exploit allows you to do something powerful when a creature enters the battlefield by sacrificing a creature (even the creature with the Exploit mechanic). The marquee card spoiled with Exploit was Sidisi, Undead Vizier.

sidisi, undead vizier

This card seems decent to me. It should have a home in Standard, as a one or two of in Sidisi-Whip or a new archetype that spawns based on Dragons, in order to make the most of Exploit by sacrificing a token or other creature like Satyr Wayfinder in order to Demonic Tutor for whatever you need at the moment. At worst, it is a five mana Demonic Tutor. Not awful but not that great either. I’m going to wait for more cards to roll in from Dragons before making a final judgment. Suffice to say, not worth pre-ordering at $5 a copy.

Cards – Allied Commands

allied commands

atarka's command

At least the blue commands were revealed first, as everyone would be left wondering if there would be a command printed to rival the power of Cryptic Command in Modern. Unfortunately, Ojutai’s Command was so close but contained the word “creature” as Saffron Olive pointed out. If Ojutai’s Command could counter any spell, then we could be talking about a potentially game changing Command. As it stands, yes it is still quite powerful yet it will not have the impact in Modern that everyone was hoping for. In terms of Standard, the card is quite good though we’ll have to wait and see where it is played. Something to keep in mind is that it is also the buy-a-box promo, which usually means that Wizards thinks it will see plenty of Standard play.

Silumgar’s Command costs five mana, which is a letdown. That is a huge difference in formats like Modern and will prevent the card from being played as a playset in decks in Standard. However, Silumgar’s Command is powerful for what it does. Its modes can allow you to handle almost any board state in addition to being able to counter key noncreature spells. I like it, though again I feel that its price is limited due to the fact that it costs five and will not be played extensively across all decks.

Atarka’s Command feels Modern playable to me. Burn decks already splash green for sideboard hate like Ancient Grudge and Nature’s Claim, so having another version of Skullcrack opens up more options for them. The other two modes for Burn don’t seem that great but we have to keep in mind that this command only costs two mana – definitely the cheapest command we’ve ever seen. I will be watching Atarka’s Command very closely to see where it goes. 

Cards – Dragons!

dragons1

dragons2

dragonlord ojutai

The Elder Dragons in the set are all good in their own way, though I believe that Silumgar has the highest chance of seeing Standard play due to his Sower of Temptation ability of taking a creature or planeswalker from your opponent. Dromaka, Kolaghan, Atarka, and Ojutai are definitely casual hits but their effects aren’t quite as great as Silumgar in constructed.

Atarka would be my next guess at a constructed playable card, as it has an immediate impact on the game state by Bogardan Hellkite-ing the field. In addition, Atarka could also be played before turn seven due to the ramping nature of green. Though I hate to underrate Kolaghan, six mana is a ton for a finisher. Stormbreath and other cheaper dragons with haste seem much better suited as options. Lastly, Dromoka and Ojutai seem the least favorable to me from a Standard perspective. They are powerful yet don’t have an immediate impact on the board. 

Cards – Planeswalkers!

narset and sarkhan

Sarkhan Unbroken has been the most exciting planeswalker reveal. Shown on Friday at PAX East, the crowd oohed and awed in anticipation of seeing the card. They clapped and clamored profusely as each ability was revealed. As the final, ultimate ability of Sarkhan was finally revealed there was a roar from the crowd and thunderous applause for several seconds afterwards. I can say that this reception was justified.

The foil prices on Sarkhan are going to be absurd. Yes, he is going into every five color dragons Commander deck out there. Yes, he is also good in Standard and will be played in Temur decks for the foreseeable future. Yes, even the non-foils will be driven higher in price by the demand that casual players will place on the walker in addition to the tournament demand he will see. My advice though is just hold on for a little while and let the preorder honeymoon prices dwindle. You wouldn’t want to pay too much for Sarkhan, would you?

Narset Transcendent, while not receiving the type of fanfare that Sarkhan received, is still an awesome planeswalker in her own right. She is the control planeswalker that control decks have been wishing for all this time. She is to control as Domri was to aggro. Yes, she costs one more mana but for control decks it will be totally worth it. Again, like Sarkhan wait for the initial hype to die down, and then pick up copies.

I can see Narset being played in U/W/r Jeskai in Modern, or even Legacy if she proves powerful enough over the coming months. Control can more easily stack the top of their deck in these formats and her +1 ability is powerful alongside cards like Serum Visions or Brainstorm. Also, imagine rebounding Lightning Helix, Path to Exlie, Swords to Plowshares, Lightning Bolt, Brainstorm, etc. Seems like a ton of card advantage to me. 

More to Come

As the previews keep rolling out for Dragons of Tarkir, I will continue to keep my eye on any further cards that add or detract from the previews that have been revealed so far. There have been lots of great cards spoiled and the set release is getting my very excited for the end of March! Which cards have you been anticipating from the new set?


 

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