Magic: The Gathering's Commander (also known as EDH) format has grown in popularity over the past few years. Wizards of the Coast has announced multiple Commander cards and products releasing in 2020. While many players are focused on the new preconstructed Commander 2020 decks, there are still opportunities to acquire underpriced cards. Here are my current underpriced Commander cards with a potential to increase in value. Images have been updated May 25th, 2020 to show current pricing.
Journey to Eternity
A flip card from Rivals of Ixalan, Journey to Eternity is listed in over 9,000 decks on EDHREC. The card had a 2% spread on MTGGoldfish during the first week of May, 2020. It is typically more challenging for WOTC to reprint double-sided cards. Journey to Eternity slots well in popular commanders like Meren of Clan Nel Toth and Muldrotha, the Gravetide. I believe the current pricing (under $5.00) for this card is undervalued relative to its popularity in Commander.
Hostage Taker was a powerful card during its time in Standard. It is listed in almost 7,000 decks according to EDHREC. Hostage Taker had a spread of 8% on MTGGoldfish the first week of May, 2020. The color combination, creature type, and enters the battlefield (ETB) trigger make Hostage Taker a synergistic inclusion. Popular Commander decks for Hostage Taker include Yarok, the Desecrated, Admiral Beckett Brass, Aminatou, the Fateshifter, and Muldrotha. the Gravetide. Hostage Taker should be closer to $5.00 in price rather than $3.00.
Vizier of the Menagerie
It is easy to see the appeal of playing Vizier of the Menagerie in green creature decks. Two of Vizer's three abilities are also found on the Ikoria Planeswalker, Vivien, Monsters' Advocate. Playing both together in a Commander deck seems appealing. Vizier of the Menagerie had a spread of 5% on MTGGoldfish during the first week of May, 2020. The card is played in about 6,500 decks according to EDHREC. It is popular in Commander decks featuring Animar, Soul of Elements, Nikya of the Old Ways, and Chulane, Teller of Tales. I believe Vizier of the Menagerie has the potential to increase from $5.00 to the $7.00 - $9.00 range.
Sitting at a price around $4.00 the first week of May, 2020, Noxious Gearhulk is primed for a price increase. This mythic from Kaladesh sees play in over 9,000 decks on EDHREC. Theros: Beyond Death Promo Packs did increase the supply of available copies. However, the MTGGoldfish spread pictured at 0% is a possible indicator that Noxious Gearhulk's price is undervalued. Noxious Gearhulk has a great ETB trigger, synergizes with artifacts, and sees play in a multitude of Commander decks. It is another card that should be priced around the $7.00 - $9.00 range.
WOTC has printed quite a few "you win the game" cards in recent Standard sets. Such cards include Thassa's Oracle, Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, and Simic Ascendancy. Mechanized Production had a negative spread on MTGGoldfish the first week of May, 2020. Negative spreads can lead to arbitrage opportunities. The card is played in about 5,000 decks listed on EDHREC. It synergies well with Commanders that care about artifacts like Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer and Breya, Etherium Shaper. Brainstorm Brewery recently posted a video about using Mechanized Production as a replacement for Copy Artifact. The potential for Mechanized Production rises as WOTC continues to make new cards like Mirrormade, Echo Storm, and Masterful Replication. I can see Mechanized Production moving up to its old high of $6.94.
*The information in this article is of my own knowledge and opinion. It is meant for informational purposes only.*
New sets in the Magic: The Gathering trading card game are released periodically throughout the year. Each quarter, large sets are released for the Standard format. New Standard sets are introduced in-person to players through prerelease events. A typical prerelease event occurs the weekend before a set's official release date. These weekends are exciting to players as it is the first opportunity to acquire brand new trading cards. Players participate in the Sealed and Two-Headed Giant formats during a prerelease weekend.
What Players Receive at a Prerelease Event
When a player registers for a prerelease event, they pay money to receive a sealed kit for the newest MTG set. This kit contains six booster packs, one promotional card, one spindown life counter, and an insert. Other special items could be included in the sealed kit depending on the featured set.
Players are given around 50 minutes to open the contents of a kit and build a 40 (or more) card deck. A built deck can only contain the promo card and other cards opened in booster packs found inside the kit. The only exception is that decks can contain any quantity of basic lands. Stores provide basic lands for players to borrow during a prerelease. There is a bit of luck and variance involved as some cards in the set are more powerful than others.
The Basics for Building a Deck
Building a deck can be challenging for new players or those unfamiliar with a set's mechanics. Other players and staff at the event will typically help newer players who ask for assistance. In general, a sealed deck contains 17 lands, 15 creatures, and 8 spells. These numbers can fluctuate depending on how a deck is built. For example, the pictured deck below contains 17 lands, 16 creatures, and 7 spells. There are multiple strategies involved in building a deck from a limited pool of cards.
One basic strategy is building around the most powerful cards opened. The most powerful cards are usually found at mythic and rare. Uncommon and common cards compliment many of the mythic and rare cards centered around particular mechanics. Multicolored cards at uncommon often act as guideposts for a set's themes and mechanics. In addition, non-basic lands that produce two colors of mana are used in preferred color combinations.
It is important to have creatures and spells at different mana costs. A good rule of thumb is to have seven to nine creatures with mana costs between one and three. This allows the deck to potentially cast a creature on each turn. Creatures and spells with mana costs between five and seven should be limited in quantity. Having one or two cards between six and seven mana is typically enough in an average deck.
Once a player has determined which cards to use in a deck, they need to decide the quantity for basic lands in each color. Sealed decks typically contain two colors. A common method to calculate a land ratio is to count the mana symbols on each card. Compare the results and use those numbers to determine basic land counts. For example, the deck below contains 11 black mana and 13 blue mana symbols. Since a dual color land was available in the pool, the remaining basic land slots were split evenly. Otherwise, the deck would likely contain 8 swamps and 9 islands. If a deck contains multiple cards with two of the same color mana in the casting cost, consider running more of that color's basic land. When splashing a third color in a sealed deck, ensure there are at least three sources of mana generation to cast one mana symbol of that color. Beyond basic lands, a source can be a creature that produces other colored mana or a spell that finds a basic land in the deck. It is recommended not to add a card containing two splash color symbols in its casting cost.
Playing Against Opponents
A prerelease event usually consists of three rounds against different opponents. When deck building is complete, players are randomly assigned an opponent for the first round. A player wins a round by defeating their opponent in two out of three games. A draw can occur if time is called and each player has won zero or one game. In Two-Headed Giant, players only play one game per round. Pairings for the next two rounds are assigned based on a win-loss record. Booster packs are awarded as prizes when the event ends. Players receive a quantity of prize packs based on their overall win-loss record.
Prereleases are a fun way to experience a new MTG set. They offer a casual environment for new and veteran players to compete in a Limited format. Many players believe prerelease events are the most exciting MTG event offered throughout the year. Prerelease events are something a MTG player at any skill level can participate in and enjoy.
One of the social aspects of playing Magic: The Gathering is trading collectible cards with others. When building decks, players often have to purchase or trade for individual cards. Trading cards has the benefit of exchanging something of value you are not using for something you can use. One issue with trading is that both parties have to find cards to trade that are of similar value. Another issue is that players have to carry around extra cards for trading in person. Using a website like Deckbox helps alleviate some of the in-person trading problems.
Deckbox is a website dedicated to organizing, trading, and selling collectible trading cards. The website supports Magic: The Gathering, World of Warcraft, and Warhammer: Invasion. Individuals can create a free account to trade, organize, and inventory cards. In addition, premium features for collection management and deckbuilding are available for $3.99 to $4.99 per month. Selling cards on Deckbox requires individuals to enroll in a seller account. This guide focuses on new users interested in trading cards for free through Deckbox.
The first thing anyone must do is create a free account. This requires entering information like a user name, shipping address, and bio description. I strongly encourage adding a bio that states your trading interests, tracking value minimums, and expectations. The best way to write a bio is to look at bios of users with high feedback. You can get an idea of what verbiage others say and tailor it to your preferences.
The second step is adding cards you have available for trade. This requires entering cards individually to a tradelist or general inventory. One benefit of adding cards to inventory first is that Deckbox allows users to upload a CSV file. You will still have to mark cards in the inventory for trading purposes. It is important to specify the set and condition of the card. For more information on conditions, refer to this page. Filtering options are available to quickly sort the inventory and tradelist. If a tool or function is unfamiliar to you, just hover over the name to see a description.
The third step is to create a wishlist. A wishlist is used to show other users what cards you are interested in acquiring. Adding cards to a wishlist is easy. Simply add the name of a card, specify the edition, and pick any ancillary details. Deckbox will show general market prices of cards added to your wishlist, inventory, and tradelist.
The final step is to read through the trade rules on Deckbox. I recommend reading it a few times to ensure you understand the guidelines.
Initiating a Trade
Options for trading are found under Trade & Market in the top left corner of the website. Trading shows current trades in progress and feedback from previous ones. Trading opportunities display users who have cards you want and cards they want from you. The tool calculates total values that you can give and receive from different users. Marketplace lists users selling cards that are on your wishlist. If you are looking for a specific card to acquire, try searching for it at the top of the page. You can find a link for users trading a particular card on the right-hand side of the results page that appears.
For new users, I recommend using the trading opportunities function to see who has a similar value of cards available for trade. Your wishlist will feed into trading opportunities. Click another user's name to compare wishlists. Read through the bio of a user before initiating a trade. Some users have a minimum dollar amount or other requests for trading. Also, many users prefer to use TCGPlayer's market price for comparing values.
Initiating a new trade is easy when viewing another user's profile. Click the new trade with X (user's name) option in the top-left of the user's profile. After clicking the new trade button, a few options appear. You can name the trade, choose if it is mail or local, and agree to the trading terms. The new trade will now appear under the trading section.
You will need to add cards under each user's side on the trading page. Start by adding cards that balance the value of Deckbox's average market price. You may want to reference other websites for double checking card values. Sometimes the values on Deckbox do not reflect current market conditions. I also recommend writing a comment at the bottom of the page once all cards are added. This comment will explain the trade and notify the other user you have initiated a trade. Finally, you will click the propose this trade button to complete the trade request. The other user will have an opportunity to edit the trade and write additional comments. They may swap out cards and re-propose an offer. Once each party agrees to a trade, you will submit your shipping address. I recommend pulling all cards and checking their conditions prior to submitting your shipping address. If there is an issue finding a card, you can still edit the trade. It is frowned upon to submit your shipping address and then make changes to a trade.
After each person has submitted their shipping addresses, you can send the cards. Deckbox users typically mail cards at the same time. However, you may be expected to send first if you have low feedback. Use recommended packing methods when shipping cards through the mail. Allow at least two weeks for cards to arrive; especially, when sending without tracking. When the cards arrive, go back to the trade and mark them as received. Once each user marks a trade received, a feedback box appears. Giving and receiving positive feedback earns one point per trade. Feedback is very important on Deckbox. It is expected to leave positive feedback when trades go smoothly. When issues arise, a trading dispute can be opened. I recommend giving someone the opportunity to resolve an issue before filing a dispute.
Tips for a Positive Experience
I have completed over 100 trades on Deckbox during the last two years. Almost all of my trades have gone well. Only a handful of trades had an issue. I never had to file a trading dispute to resolve a situation. Here are ten tips that will help ensure you have a positive experience.
Playing Magic: The Gathering with paper cards has seen a downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals are staying at home and local hobby shops remain closed. There has been much discussion on the r/mtgfinance Subreddit about COVID-19 causing a decrease in MTG paper prices. While outlets for playing MTG in paper have decreased significantly, these unfortunate times will not last forever.
Pioneer, one of MTG's newest formats, has been a popular addition to competitive play. Many cards increased in demand and price following Pioneer's announcement. However, the uncertainly surrounding COVID-19 has led to price drops for many of Pioneer's format staples. While COVID-19 has negatively affected the financial situation for millions of people, I believe it has created an opportune time to purchase paper cards. The following cards are my current recommended buys for Pioneer.
Kaladesh Fast Lands
The rare lands from Kaladesh are known as fast lands. Most of them are found on MTGGoldish's top 50 lands in Pioneer. These lands also appear in Pioneer's top decklists. Market prices on TCGPlayer are at their lowest since Pioneer's announcement. I particularly like Botanical Sanctum, Spirebluff Canal, and Blooming Marsh. Personally, I completed a set of Spirebluff Canal at $5.50 per copy. The other two fast lands, Concealed Courtyard and Inspiring Vantage, are priced around $3.00 each.
Vivien, Archbow Ranger
The market price on TCGPlayer for Vivien, Archbow Ranger has fallen from a high of $21.00 in November, 2019. The card is one of the most played in Pioneer according to MTGGoldfish. Vivien sees play as four copies in multiple competitive decks. Her strength and staying power in Pioneer give reason to purchase copies for about $7.00 each.
The Throne of Eldraine set brought new and powerful cards to Pioneer. Stonecoil Serpent found inclusion in the Hardened Scales and Izzet Ensoul decks. Also, Stonecoil is one of the most played creatures and overall cards in Pioneer. With a current price around $2.00, it is an inexpensive card with versatility.
Since the release of Throne of Eldraine, Murderous Rider has remained a format staple in Pioneer. Murderous Rider sees play in many black decks like Sultai Delirium and Mono-Black Aggro. It is currently a top ten overall most played card in Pioneer. The 2020 Challenger decks did increase the available supply of Murderous Rider. However, it is only included as two copies in one deck. With a current price hovering around $2.00, I believe Murderous Rider is a decent buy.
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
My sleeper recommendation for Pioneer is Ashiok, Nightmare Muse. This card has quickly become one of the most played in Pioneer. It is commonly found in the Sultai Delirium and Dimir Inverter decks. Currently, the card is available for about $5 on TCGPlayer. The floor price for Planeswalkers playable in Standard is generally around $3.00. Ashiok has a long road of playability ahead in Pioneer and Standard.
*The information in this article is of my own knowledge and opinion. It is meant for informational purposes only.*