Insider: 10 Cards You Didn’t Know Were Valuable

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With Innistrad flowing in steadily and States happening tomorrow, we can easily see where the metagame is at. Solar Flare is huge, and UW lists are still performing well, as is Red.

What isn’t doing so good is Birthing Pod. It’s been completely absent from the top decks so far this season and the price on Pod hasn’t really come down yet, but I can tell you from anecdotal evidence that demand on the trade floor sure is. As I tweeted about early last week, dump Pods quickly. It may make a comeback in the metagame, but the price is going to have a really hard time sustaining $12.

Wolf Run Green, on the other hand, seems sweet, but I watched it get crushed over and over by UW variants last night. While it’s good (and continue to pick up the pieces of it), it’s not going to consume the format.

States is this weekend, and you’ve probably completely broken the meta with your homebrew. But on the off chance you aren’t winning States this year, chances are you’re going to be trading. So this week I wanted to do something a little different – let you on to a few valuable cards you might not have known about, and ones that most players don’t.

I’ve talked about a few of these before, but chances are something on this list will surprise you. People criminally undervalue this group of cards, and there is literally no better way to pad your margins than to pick these up as throw-ins.

This type of list is why I love Doug’s set reviews every week, because they set up the money cards that I otherwise wouldn’t know about. I’m going to aim for some stuff more recent than that, hopefully some cards you can pick up on the cheap at States. While these aren’t incredibly expensive cards, and certainly aren’t sexy, there’s no better way to make some money on a trade by picking up a few random cards that happen to be expensive.

This top ten is in no particular order, and I’ll be quoting Star City buy prices, which means you know you can get AT LEAST this amount in cold hard cash for these cards. I’ve also double-checked other sites on these, this isn’t a case of one dealer needing to fill stock, these cards are legitimately expensive across the board.

10. The Liege Cycle

I would like to think that most of you know about these, since I talk about it regularly. This is one of my best profit centers in Magic. People let these go for a dollar or as throw-ins in trades, and they are deceptively valuable.

The highlights of the cycle are Deathbringer Liege and Creakwood Liege, both of which are being bought by SCG at $3. Murkfiend and Balefire come in close behind at a $2 buy price. If you spot one from Eventide, pick it up for sure. The Shadowmoor ones are less valuable, but still worth targeting as “throw-ins.”

Why are you so good to me, my Liege?

9. Immaculate Magistrate

Who would have thought this Elf “Lord” would command the same buy price as Legacy and Modern silver bullet Gaddock Teeg? Casuals are crazy about their Elves, and this card is very easy to pick up as just another dollar rare and then flip for twice that.

8. Door of Destinies

If you’re noticing a trend so far, it’s that “lord” type cards are crazy popular casually and command a high price tag as such. Most serious players don’t have any idea about this market and even those who are learned in EDH values on stuff like Divinity of Pride ($3 SCG buy price) or Rhys the Redeemed ($3 buy price) can miss out on a card like Door. Keep your eyes peeled, and if in doubt, trust the Lord card from a small set like Morningtide or Eventide.

7. Amulet of Vigor

Another goodie. If you are starting to see the pattern here, you’ll see that Vigor also has a Lord effect of a sort and actually just screams “CASUAL” to you. Admit it, when you started playing Vigor would have looked insane. That’s the kind of thing that lets you start to get a handle on finding these cards in the dark. Necroskitter, anyone? ($2 buy price)

6. Greater Auramancy

I first stumbled onto this card when I was helping a friend of mine build a casual Enchantment deck (which is actually insane). You’ll get $2 from SCG for this one, but most players will let it go for just about anything.

Speaking of enchantments, Mana Reflection will also net you two bucks.

5. Death Baron

I’m pretty sure this one is just a reaction to all the Zombies from Innistrad, but SCG will give you $3 for it. Jump on this one and move out quick, since it has no tournament application. Zombies, however, are pretty big casually as a tribe (more of that pattern thing), and this is a pretty good Lord for the tribe.

It’s really not even unreasonable to find local dealers mispricing these still, and if you can get them at $2 you’re making easy money.

4. Nirkana Revenant

The other night at my local shop I was trading and spotted these in a guy’s binder. I pulled them out along with some other reasonable cards and a bulkish rare I was getting for a friend. This guy called the bulkish rare “about a dollar,” and said the Revenants were “literally valued at fifty cents.”

Forget being confident, THIS is like catnip to my ears. SCG gives $2 for these, and I’ve seen other dealers giving up to $4 at events on these. Being from Rise of the Eldrazi, these aren’t even that far out of print, so you should definitely be able to find some in a binder at States this weekend.

3. Reliquary Tower

SCG will give you a dollar for this Uncommon. While this is no secret to EDH players, I include it on the list because most people are still extremely happy to trade this uncommon for a bulk rare, since they’re getting the rare, after all. This is strictly driven by EDH demand, and as such isn’t as easy to find from players who don’t know what it’s worth.

That said, knowing this is worth a dollar to a dealer is a very nice weapon to add to your trading arsenal.

2. Mill cards

Ever since the days of Glimpse the Unthinkable, casuals have been going nuts for milling cards. That trend hasn’t stopped in recent years, even if there hasn’t been a marquee $10 Glimpse to sell the genre.

Some of the recent Mill pickups you’ll want to be on the lookout for – Mind Funeral ($1 buy price), Nemesis of Reason ($1 buy), Archive Trap (not being bought by SCG at the moment, but usually good for at least fifty cents), Hedron Crab, and basically anything else that has Mill on it.

Grab them as throw-ins, you won’t be disappointed.

1. Sanguine Bond

I’ve touched on this one before, but it’s worth repeating. Dealers online have paid me $3 on this, and yet it’s thrown away in trades.

Bond, I think, is a bit different from some of these other cards, because it’s from Magic 2010. M10 was hugely popular and supply ran short when Wizards didn’t print enough product quickly enough to meet demand. That means a casually popular card like this never got a chance to come down to lower price levels before being pushed out of the market. I pick these up for a dollar in trade all the time, and chances are you can too.

Even those traders who know that Bond isn’t bulk often don’t value it at $7-8. I wouldn’t love trading these at $5 or so, but it’s entirely reasonable to do so, knowing you can get $2-3 in cash on them, which is often a better percentage than you’ll get on some Standard cards.

Wrapping it up

I know none of these are groundbreaking cards, but they add up incredibly fast, accounting for a lot of the profit you’ll make during a typical trading day at a big event. When I’m at a big event where I can cash out on site, I love to trade down to get cards like these, because they sell at or higher than their perceived value when trading.

If you knew about all of these cards, then congratulations, you’re awesome already. If not, I hope I helped to make you some more money the next time you take to the trading floor.

That’s all the room I have this week.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

3 thoughts on “Insider: 10 Cards You Didn’t Know Were Valuable

  1. Just want to mention that Death Baron has been on SCGs buy list for between $1 and $3 for a couple of years now. Also worth noting is that for the first 2 months or so of any set that contains a lord, there is usually decent casual demand for that lord, especially if it's for an under-supported tribe. During M11 I used to get Knight Exemplar and Captivating Vampire as throw ins from the competitive player, and then trade them in at $5 to my local store, using that to obtain Force of Wills, Jaces and other such goodies.
    Another good note is to ask your LGS if there's any casual cards they never seem to keep in stock and just target those in trades

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