An increase in EDH popularity has caused some dramatic price shifts that have more competitive players scratching their heads. Casual magic opens up an area for speculation in what are often fringe playable card. These casual cards are a risky investment, especially compared to shocks/fetches or well timed Standard staple trades. In order to account for risk I try and target cards that are on the reserve list, unlikely to be reprinted or have mythic rarity. Finding a favored creature type also adds value to potential targets.
Unlike investing in a Standard format that can shift quickly, casual cards generally offer lower entry points and have a longer investment horizon. Occasionally another format lends a hand and your casual specs get some play in another popular format. That is generally a time to unload. Two recent examples of this kind of trade are Prime Speaker Zegana and Angel of Serenity.
Angel is a position I've traded in and out of, buying at $10 or less and selling at $15. While I like the Angel's chances to get to $20 over time, I've been happy with 50% returns in 60 day periods. I've also used profits in those deals to pick up some foil copies, as I expect the ceiling on that foil to be much higher.
Prime Speaker Zegana is a card I am acquiring at today's prices. For this close to playable in Standard to be trading under $10 represents good value considering it's a mythic commander in EDH. I can easily see this U/G merfolk at $15 soon or $20 eventually. Here foil pricing acts as a leading indicator. With foil Zeganas going for almost three times regular copies, I think we can safely read that as EDH appeal.
With Dragon's Maze ready to launch, pre-sale pricing remains mostly overheated. While I cannot recommend pre-ordering for the same reasons Sigmund outlines, there is at least one good trading opportunity for a speculator moving into EDH casual cards: Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts. Buying into this cards means breaking some rules. She is in a Dragon's Maze intro pack, and could easily be reprinted. With playsets selling for just under $7 you can look to trade into her with other over-hyped cards.
Teysa is a card I can only justify spending $1 on, so why is it an interesting EDH target? She looks like a great commander for Tax/Stax builds. Opening up enchantment fetch, great removal and black tutors while destroying creatures that can fight through her and a Ghostly Prison seems decent. Once out of Standard I'm looking for a slow climb to $5. She reminds me a lot of a legendary Vengeful Pharaoh with better functionality.
If you are playing black in EDH you are are going to want to run a Coffin Queen. While she dodged the reserve list, this instant speed animator remains a Tempest only print. With copies floating around on Ebay for less than $4, this card is VERY easy to move at $5. Sell it as a graveyard animator AND dis-abler. Targeting their animation targets can net a player +2 card advantage. Also a fun way for local Johnny's to abuse ETB effects.
Speaking of ETB effects, lets take a look at the completed auction pricing for Caller of the Claw. See the single copy going for three times it's normal vale? I imagine adding the words EDH to the title made this seller a nice return. Much like the Queen above, Caller can also offer consistent returns if you buy at $1 and change and move at $3+. A great answer to EDH's omnipresent board wipe or just a great way to turn around an otherwise unfavorable combat exchange.
Any EDH player with access to white and green is going to run Worldy Tutor, but why not turn them on to Eladamri's Call? Both these cards are worth about the same, but only Eladamri's Call puts a creature into the player's hand. Another chance to extract value is open with both these creature tutors, but I like the Call as a longer term play. With it only being printed in Planeshift, I like its chances at a casual spike.
Remember those crazy Planechase cards? I am always going to love Baleful Strix and will always pick them up in trade. I am not expecting a reprint of this card in anything that would make it legal outside of Vintage, Legacy and EDH. This card is a flat out steal @$10 or less. Strong Ebay pricing means pushing hard locally to get these with cash. A blue and black artifact permanent makes this card a winner in every format it can be played in.
Somehow I missed Shardless Agent until very recently. Too bad for me as this is another card in limited supply and very playable in every format. Once again I am always trying to pick this up in trades and actively buying at $10 or less. In edh being a green creature is arguably better than being an artifact. Of course, this is both and if a limited print run didn't excite you it's cascade into Hypergenesis potential should. In fact, putting those two together on a page in your trade binder will get you value.
Sakashima's Student is available for less than 5$ on Ebay. For a card that consistently fetches close to $8, this seems like another limited print no-brainer. Sell this next to Body Double, Vesuvan Doppelganger and Clone as a mimic package to a blue EDH player and your unlock more value than the sum of these parts suggests.
Three more Planchase exclusive cards catch my eye: Illusory Angel, Preyseizer Dragon, and Brindle Shoat. Both the Dragon and the Angel show what I'd characterize as strong pricing. Their online mid and Ebay sell prices are equal or slightly higher on the auction sight. They've both been blessed with favored creature types and limited supply. While unlikely to be considered for more competitive matches, both are likely to find a home in more theme based decks. The Angel would move nicely next to Serra Angel or Stasis and Supreme Verdict.
Brindle Shoat is just a really cheap low print run card that might give you a shot at cornering the market. I could at least (try to) make it look reasonable next to my Caller of the Claw. While there are plenty of other interesting Planechase exclusive cards to consider, before I bought into any of them I'd look into sealed Spanish language boxes.
Every Magic player is casual at some time. Sitting down to have fun is more likely to mean something other than winning the longer anyone plays Magic if for no other reason than winning all the time is impossible. Look forward to the future of casual and you'll see EDH. The more social EDH becomes (2-headed giant, >2 players) the less competitive it can play. Allow this to inform your decision making process when looking for the next Aluren, and happy hunting!