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Insider — It’s Worth HOW Much?

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Welcome back readers. Today's article will focus on some cards you may or may not know have jumped in price. (I'm purposefully avoiding cards that got their bump from Modern.) The main purpose of this article is to help major event traders bone up on some prices you wouldn't expect when searching through your trade partners' "box of randomness." Without further ado, let's jump into it. All prices are TCG Mid and in USD, rounded to the nearest $0.25.

Blightsteel Colossus ($8.25) -- This EDH dream machine can (depending on your house rules) let you one-shot someone. He's also indestructible and colorless. He quickly knocked Darksteel Colossus off his high horse as king of the robots.

Platinum Emperion ($7.50) -- Another EDH robot, this second coming of Platinum Angel makes it hard for you to die. Of course people often forget/don't realize you can't pay life as a resource either (so no more fetchlands)/necropotence/etc.

Celestial Mantle ($4.75) -- Casual/EDH players do love to gain them some life. I remember trading these away at a quarter when it was Standard-legal (and getting them back at a quarter). Sigh.

Felidar Sovereign ($9) -- This guy's built-in alternate win-condition sets him apart from the plethora of other white life gain cards. I remember the days when he too was a "bulk" mythic.

Nissa Revane ($10) -- Planeswalker that's been printed once, check. Seems to do next to nothing but mentions the word "elf," check. $10 card, check.

Oracle of Mul Daya ($5.50) -- I knew this EDH staple card would be valuable one day because Exploration is valuable. And this one is easier to tutor, as it's attached to a green creature. (That also happens to be an elf.)

Warren Instigator ($7) -- He was hyped pretty hard, then plummeted into the almost-bulk category. So the lesson from Zendikar block appears to be, if it looks like bulk but is in a popular tribe, hold onto it for a couple years and you'll make a 400%+ profit. Same goes for life gain cards.

Dragonmaster Outcast ($9) -- This guy was often borderline playable (and quite good against control decks) as you could land him early and sit back, forcing them to play their mass removal to one-for-one you.

Basilisk Collar ($5) -- Another EDH favorite, this card is now back up to it's high during its Standard run, when it was discovered that Cunning Sparkmage and this card made a mini Viscera the Dreadful.

Joraga Warcaller ($3.75) -- It's an elf and a lord of sorts. The fact that elves can make stupid amounts of mana and you can multi-kick him pretty much guaranteed he'd retain a decent price.

It That Betrays ($6.00) -- Yep, this bulk rare from Rise of the Eldrazi has proven itself as an EDH staple, allowing the owner to take advantage of the plethora of sacrifice effects throughout the game's history, some which hit multiple players.

Khalni Hydra ($5.75) -- This previously bulk mythic has proven once again that green creatures can have absurd mana requirement as long as they have awesome abilities.

Eldrazi Conscription ($5) -- This half of the Mythic Conscription combo is most often seen in EDH decks running Sovereigns of the Lost Alara. In EDH, eight mana isn't as ludicrous as in other formats and players like to Voltron up their commanders. Few enchantments can match this one for that kind of power up, and annihilator is just gravy.

Sarkhan the Mad ($4.75) -- See Nissa, but replace "elf" with "dragon" and voilà.

Kargan Dragonlord ($4.50) -- This once-proud mono-red staple from his Standard years has managed to return to a respectable price. Despite the fact that level up in EDH is a little underwhelming, when coupled with Mana Flare effects and an abundance of artifact mana he becomes a pretty powerful creature.

Guul Draz Assassin ($3.00) -- This guy was also the buy-a-box promo so I'm really surprised at his non-bulk status, but leave it to EDHers to keep anything with the word Assassin out of the bulk box.

Kor Spiritdancer ($3.00) -- I'm not sure if I can blame the casual crowd or the Modern surge from the Hexproof Enchantments deck for this one. Perhaps both.

Godsire ($5.00) -- This token generator in Naya colors is the definition of a one-man army. His corresponding token card is actually worth something as well.

Lich's Mirror ($3.00) -- Another bulk mythic from Shards block that transcends bulk status. If I've learned anything from this list it's that any "casual" mythic in Standard is pretty much $3.00 or more once it's been out of rotation for about 2-3 years.

Future Gold

I noticed some trends when researching this information (not everything is listed, but a lot of cards from these sets haven't broken the $2 range but are much higher than bulk.)

1. Casual players love their tribes and cards that help popular tribes tend to creep up in value over time. This is especially true for once-printed planeswalkers.

2. Any big, swingy life gain cards (that haven't been reprinted too many times) also trend upward over time.

3. Cheap artifacts that can fit into a lot of decks and have a broad use are often ideal for casual players because they can fit into any deck and keep options available to more budget-conscious players. This means it's better to pick up Chromatic Lanterns than Prismatic Omens (if your goal is to trade to casual/EDH players), as both provide basically the same effect, but one can be played in any deck whereas the other requires green.

4. You can often gauge an EDH/Casual card's chance of becoming more valuable by checking to see if it's similar to anything that already exists which is highly in demand. The best example here is Oracle of Mul Daya, which combines abilities from Exploration and Future Sight, both popular above-bulk casual cards.

5. Giant mythic artifact creatures with even remotely relevant abilities often stand a chance to grow over time. Even non-mythic artifact creatures can benefit from this phenomenon. For example I fully expect Steel Hellkite to break $2-2.50 in the next year or two (even with it being a release promo.)

6. Bet on cards that get better with more players (the Primordial cycle is the most recent, but It that Betrays is another excellent example.)

The Bulk Box

We covered Scars, Zendikar and Shards block in this article, as the most recent blocks tend to exhibit considerably lower price memory on many cards. These are the ideal ones to pull out when going through bulk binders and boxes at your local game shop or a major event. While most stores are smart enough to pull any mythics out of the bulk box, they may have a slightly more expensive mythic bulk box or binder you can dig through. I know I've found quite a few gems doing this at various stores and events.

It's also a good idea to become familiar with the artwork of the cards. At GPs, many vendors often have giant bulk boxes with many foreign cards. While many EDH players dislike foreign cards (as they have to explain and sometimes look up the cards for their opponents), you can often find great EDH gems in these boxes.

6 thoughts on “Insider — It’s Worth HOW Much?

    1. Well that would help you in other aspects of your life, however, given the large number of potential languages and the randomness of the cards in these languages, learning another one might help you 2% of the time with those big boxes.

  1. I think most of Kor Spiritdancer’s price is due to Bogle.dec, although I can see it being solid in a Uril, the Miststalker or Hanna, Ship’s Navigator deck.

    Blightsteel Colossus and Steel Hellkite also see Vintage play, though I have no idea how much this really affects prices.

    Oracle of Mul Daya is awesome in EDH, but I recall seeing some Modern lists (Scapeshift, Amulet of Vigor.dec) that had him in it. No idea if these lists actually performed well, but something to keep in mind.

    Asceticism and Darksteel Plate have been mentioned in past articles, but these are also good to pull out bulk boxes. Sarkhan Vol is definitely not bulk, but I’d imagine you might be able to pick him up at lower prices since casual is the only thing propping up his price.

    Regarding future prices, a lot of the Angels (especially from the special sets, i.e. Planechase and Commander) seem to be trending up in price right now and could be good pickups.

    All around, solid article.

    1. Excellent point regarding the special sets with emphasis on the tribal cards. These are the cards that have a LOT of potential in the future (if you read my articles regarding the Portal/Starter, you’ll notice that the Dragons/Angels are considerably more valuable, simply because of their tribe and the scarcity of the product and while the Planechase/Commander decks were mass produced, they are still quite scarce, so cherry picking the popular tribal creatures from them is definitely a solid trade strategy)

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