As speculators, our instinct is to watch tournament results for quick money on cards that suddenly gain popularity. However, there are also cards that slowly rise. I'd like to delve into those a bit, and instead of pointing out the cards that are on an increase, I'd like to discuss something that makes for great random trade targets: casual and EDH cards.
The first thing you have to do is spot them. This can be tough. Many of us are competitive players, or at least have a competitive mindset. Yet, we need to look at cards and decide which ones are “fun”.
Now, if you don't run into casuals often, this week's article may not be for you. But if casual players are at your FNM, and you need to fill in trades, look here for ideas. These cards may creep up a bit as stock lessens, but we won't see many huge increases in price.
There are a few important things to look for, which I intend to outline in this article.
Doubling –- Casual players love doubling things, especially when it stacks. 4x Parallel Lives and 4x Doubling Season on the board? Lingering Souls gives you 512 Spirits. Tell a casual player that, and he will want to build this slow and terrible deck right away.
X Spells –- Casual players love things that don't have a limit. Ivy Elemental can be a 1,337/1,337- and what nerd doesn't love that? Biomass Mutation could be a casual all-star also, and I can't keep Diabolic Revelation in my binder.
Mill -- “Target player mills X,” as it probably should say, is also a popular strategy among casual players. The majority of people don't run Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in casual lists, so this is fairly viable. Instead of using combos to do it (I'm looking at you, Helm of Obedience), they tend to use efficient mill cards such as Increasing Confusion.
Indestructible -– Yeah, nice Accessories to Murder, bro. Is that a Wrath of God in your hand? That's cool, you can't kill this... Casual players drove [card]Predator Ooze up to a few bucks far before Brian Kibler decided it was the only deck in existence.
Casuals often have particular creature types they prefer. Some types are quite common, however I have run into odd collectors, for example a guy who collects Kobolds (yes, he collects Kher Keep too). I would like to go over a few of the notable types. Importantly, these usually buylist for more. I have heard legends of stores auto-offering $.25 each on bulk angels and dragons. Which brings me to my first point...
Angels –- People love angels. They are often undercosted for their abilities. When they are, they shoot up fast, and the foils shoot up further. Legendary angels often make good EDH generals, and the foils can be 250-700% of the nonfoil. Take Sigarda, Host of Herons, for instance. It is on a price dive at about $9.5, but the foil is $24.94. One more note –- I have seen guys building angel decks for girlfriends, which may increase some that otherwise would be bulk.
Dragons –- Guys love dragons. Specifically the type of guy who things those keywords above are so awesome. They will snap-trade for big, scary dragons with awesome abilities. Many cards you may have bulked in can be traded at a $1 rate to these guys, and they are amazed that you only want a buck for it.
Elves –- People often like these just for the lore, but elves as a tribe work very well. Just ask Riley Curran, the guy from one of my LGS who recently took down a Legacy Open with Elves. Casuals love even the bad ones, and the lords are huge. Buy these cheap and stock your binders, as they will fly right out.
Beyond keywords and creature types (although the lists above are far from all-inclusive), many other things can make casual players go insane. Here are a few examples for you:
Vraska the Unseen –- Three 1/1 Assassin tokens? I don't even care about the Vindicate ability, I just want to kill someone with those tokens. Many casual players agree, and this could be a $10 planeswalker down the road. However, I've never kept one in my binder through an FNM.
Stuffy Doll –- It was in the list earlier, but this card is really fun. Your opponent doesn't like to attack, you ping them for one every turn, and Blasphemous Act becomes amazing. Trample is tough, but casual players don't think about that until it happens. Stock these, trade them, make money.
Curse of Stalked Prey –- Just about everyone on these forums knows that an Ash Zealot is a better two-drop in 97% of situations, but casuals love trying to blow you out with Red Deck Wins packing 12 enchantments. You will see it played by the lower end of the FNM bracket, and it will finally deal 20 damage on turn eight.
Havengul Lich –- Oh, the potential. I played the Heartless Summoning combo deck with this, and it was pretty fun. That deck has gone, but this card will be in casual decks for years to come. I have also seen it in a large number of U/B EDH decks, and if I had one, it would be in there too.
Biovisionary –- Try to have four for trade. Someone will want to try it. It may even be semi-viable in Standard, and hit Tier 1.5 status. It is very win-more, but casuals will love the bragging rights of the Biovisionary kill.
Keeping Cards on Hand
There are tons of other cards to consider, but the main point is that it's beneficial to keep EDH and casual cards available for trade. I have given away a stack of bulk rares for a few $10-$20 cards more times than I care to count. Sure, you want to have expensive and overpriced cards in your binder, like Thundermaw Hellkite and Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells, but these casual cards are often worthless junk that you would rather get rid of.
So, remember that casual players exist, and you can make money trading with them without ripping them off. You probably have a pile of bulk that they want, and they have that Snapcaster Mage they never even use. Get out there, fill a binder with junk, and make some money!