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Unlocked Insider: Money Where My Mouth Is: Part 1

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Welcome back readers. Today I will go over the cards I am personally speculating on, but more importantly why I've chosen each one. Let's begin.

7x Drogskol Reaver

This near-bulk mythic started out in the $15 range before eventually plummeting to its $1 status. It never found a home in any Standard decks and is unlikely to see play in Modern, Legacy or Vintage.

However, I still feel that he can be very good in casual and EDH decks. The ability is quite powerful in a deck with a life gain sub-theme and double strike is a powerful ability.

The fact that it comes from a second small set (with third-set syndrome) means there are far fewer in circulation than Innistrad or Avacyn Restored mythics. While I feel this is a safe bet, the length of time it will take to pay off deters me from going much deeper.

7x Grimgrin, Corpse-Born

This is another near-bulk mythic, who at one time sat in the $3-4 range, when U/B Zombies was a solid archetype in Standard. Being a legendary zombie means that he will always have a small following in the casual crowd.

His abilities are similar to Thraximundar, but with a converted mana cost much easier to stomach. While Thraximundar gives an EDH player access to another color, Grimgrin can be exploited by being untapped multiple times in a turn.

While I don't perceive this card as a huge money maker, the fact that you can also put him in Thraximundar EDH decks means he'll always have a home in a popular Commander deck. Picking up copies for less than 50 cents seems like a safe bet long term (I can see him being $2-3 within a couple years). As with Drogskol Reaver, the projected length of investment prevents me from buying more at the moment.

9x Terminus

This miracle wrath brought real control decks back into Legacy. The format has so much deck manipulation that for the same mana as Swords to Plowshares (the most efficient targeted removal spell ever) you now get a wrath effect that puts creatures on the bottom of the library (which in some cases is considerably better than in the graveyard).

I will be picking up a lot more of these right at rotation (when I see them being at their lowest price) and I feel this is a pretty safe speculation target, given it has the miracle mechanic which is an AVR exclusive. I'll buy every copy I can at $1-1.25.

1x Restoration Angel

This is another card I'll be picking up more copies of post-rotation. This card is already seeing a lot of play in Modern as a teammate to Kiki-Jiki as well as simply a solid suprise blocker slash EoT threat. The only reason I haven't gone deeper is I feel the price will continue to trend downward until a couple months after rotation when people start looking towards the Modern season. I will pick up every copy I can at $3.

1x Legion's Initiative

This was a $10-15 card at release time, and while many of us thought it was overhyped, it has since plummeted to the $2.50-$3 range. The ability is still good, but the color combination is not usually strong in older formats. I got this as a throw-in, but if it were to hit the truly bulky status ($1) I would probably pick up another couple playsets. It's not a card I would advocate going deep on currently, but it's not a terrible card to pick up if you need a throw in to even out a trade.

8x Snapcaster Mage

This one's pretty obvious. He's a multi-format all-star. The biggest thing holding him back is the fact that's he's a rare in a heavily opened set. The playset I have in my trade binder is constantly requested, so I feel the demand for him is high enough to warrant solid profits in a 6-9 month time frame with the possibility of greater profits the further away we get from the Innistrad block. I feel he's unlikely to drop that much lower with rotation, but if you can pick up any from Standard-only players in the $15 range, I would.

3x Enter the Infinite

This card has already seen Legacy play in the Show and Tell decks (in fact it's pretty much the festablished win condition). Its power level is insane with a card-to-mana-cost ratio greater than Ancestral Recall, however its prohibitive mana cost means it almost always gets cast via an alternate method. The fact that it's a mythic from a less-drafted set (Gatecrash) means that it always has a solid profit potential with a good showing or two in a major Legacy event.

5x Cyclonic Rift

This card sees a lot of play in our local EDH decks that can run it...the fact that it's on par with Upheaval makes me think that it will remain in demand for casual players. The only real concerns are that it's a rare in a heavily-opened set and that its power level is high enough that many locals want it banned in EDH. Barring the banhammer from the EDH community this is a solid $3-5 card a couple years from now.

8x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben (German)

I picked these up from CFB when they were a deal of the day ($2 per card I believe). This is another multi-format all-star, though her ability is more limited in which style of deck she'd want to go in. She has single-handedly given Legacy Goblins new hope in a combo-centric metagame. Her ability is powerful and having first strike in a world with a lot of two-or-less-toughness threats comes in handy.

She comes from a second set which was under-drafted and had she not shown up in the Rally and Route event deck she would easily be sitting at the $4-5 range. I will be targeting this card around rotation as well.

16x Borborygmos Enraged

When I picked up most of these they were in the 50-cent range, as I believed he was incredibly powerful and would make a great EDH general. I've seen two EDH decks based around him in our area and he has proven his power level. Unfortunately, he hasn't and is unlikley to see any play in other formats (discounting his brief time in the Unexpected Results decks of Standard). He is a mythic from Gatecrash, a less-drafted set. I have no issue with picking him up as a throw in on trades to even them out, but I have cooled on my interest in him and my long-term price is closer to $1-$1.50 within the next two years.

12x Black Vise

This card is a speculation target based on the fact that it's on the Legacy banned list, but seems so out of place on it, I can see it becoming unbanned. If so, I don't foresee it having that big of an impact on Legacy anyways, but the rush of players and stores to stock up similar to the Land Tax rush would be my selling time. These I also tend to get as throw-ins on larger trades when I can.

9x Deadeye Navigator

This card has proven ridiculous in EDH play. Given the large number of enter-the-battlefield creatures that are played, his power level is through the roof. I played him in a Momir Vig deck that used Sylvan Primordial, Diluvian Primordial, Acidic Slime and other nastiness that made my opponents cringe. The foil was in one of the theme decks, so his price will likely be kept in check by this printing, but I think long-term he's a solid $4-5 card.

12x Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius

This is a pet card that helped me top-four a SCG-IQ, but his ability is incredibly powerful, he makes a good EDH general, and I honestly believe if the Standard format slows down enough with rotation, he could see a resurgence in play.

People often forget that his second ability can ping creatures, so while you may not draw a card off of it, you can kill little annoyances, and with enough mana available, big annoyances. His biggest hindrance is the double-red/double-blue in his mana cost which make him unlikely to be splashed. If Theros doesn't provide solid mana fixing, this would likely be the reason he doesn't see play.

6x Past in Flames

This card had a lot of hype when it was spoiled, many considered it the second coming of Yawgmoth's Will, a card that is banned in Legacy. It has since proven it's not that good, but it's still incredibly powerful. The biggest thing holding it back is that it's a one-of, thus the demand for them is severely limited. I got these when they were $0.75 and I don't regret that pickup, though they haven't gained much since then.

3x Grafdigger's Cage

When this card was spoiled, Dredge players around the world moaned, as it seemed WoTC was determined to kill their deck. Since that time it has seen a little play, but ultimately the hype died down quickly and the card faded into semi-obscurity. I still like it as a pickup for Modern as it shuts down Birthing Pod and Chord of Calling and also hinders Snapcaster Mage.

12x Counterflux

This card saw a brief spike after a solid performance during Standard. Currently it's in the near-bulk category, but an uncounterable counterspell that can also be used to stop storm from going off always has potential. While its mana requirements are stringent enough to keep it from really breaking out in older formats, I still like it as a sideboard option in Standard/Modern for the foreseeable future.

3x Griselbrand

A card that warped Legacy from its release date. This card is incredibly powerful. It provides Yawgmoth's Bargain on a 7/7 lifelinking flier and it's played in both Sneak and Show, Reanimator decks, and the newly-spawned Grisel-storm deck.

He's currently sitting in the $10-12 range and soon to be rotating out, however, given his current value has almost no relationship to the Standard format, I don't expect him to drop much. I would aggressively pick these up from Standard-only players, but keep in mind that there is a risk of banning (it's not likely, but of the Legacy cards that could get banned he is near the top).

1x Huntmaster of the Fells

This card was $25-30 in its Standard heyday and has since dropped to $5.50-7. He's currently considered the default four-drop to replace Bloodbraid Elf in Modern Jund decks, so should Jund retain its popularity this upcoming Modern season I can easily see him going back to the $15 range. I will happily pick these up post-rotation and I expect his price to drop even lower at rotation ($3's or so) and then I will be picking up several playsets.

Next week I will continue with Part 2 of my speculation targets. If you have any comments/suggestions please feel free to post below.

45 thoughts on “Unlocked Insider: Money Where My Mouth Is: Part 1

  1. I’ve noticed you have a lot of casual / EDH targets in your list. Is there a particular reason you like to speculate in this area? Is this the format you know best, or are you attracted to the larger potential gains when acquiring cards <$2?

    Why Graftdigger's Cage over Torpor Orb? Could they be complimentary specs?

    Love the Terminus play. I only have a few, but I plan on acquiring a few sets in the near future.

    Finally, no offense but I really hope we never see Black Vise in Legacy. Maybe it'll happen, and maybe the card doesn't have the same power it once had. But the card is just no fun at all. I suppose it punishes control decks trying to keep 7 cards in hand, but I still think feel playing the card requires no skill. A turn one Black Vise followed by a turn 2 Sinkhole or Wasteland just makes me cry.

    1. The reason I tend to go for casual/EDH targets is because more often than not, when they are in standard they are traded at bulk rare levels and are very easy to pick up from the competitive standard players. You hit the nail on the head with the <$2 comment…I am a naturally conservative person who prefers to mitigate risk whenever possible. By targeting cards that are near bulk prices (and potential casual favorites) I know that if it doesn't pan out, then I can sell them at bulk rates and I don't risk losing a lot of money. I actually do like Torpor Orb as well, it has proven truly brutal against many EDH decks and one that I'm inclined to add to any deck that is either meant to be mean (which I don't often build) or police the game (which I do like to build). Last but not least, while I understand that the Black Vise strategy can be brutal, I don't feel like it would be that oppressive, though a concern would be RUG players adding it to RUG as the best creature they have…Wasteland/Sinkhole isn't a huge concern because that strategy while good hasn't proven itself to be oppressive to the format as we already have that style in RUG (wasteland your duel and stifle your fetch) are equally as bad if not worse than wasteland/sinkhole.

  2. Yeah, I just bought some Terminus and Entreat the Angels, inspired by this article. I like both cards anyways. I also wanted to buy Snappy, but I found $20 to be a bit on the high side. There’s almost no reason to run Niv-Mizzet (or any of the guild bosses with blue) over Aetherling though, if you’re talking Standard. I also have a small pile of Past in Flames.

    What do you think of Training Grounds?

    1. When I picked all my Niv-Mizzet’s Aetherling hadn’t been spoiled/released yet, so I figured if a U/R control style deck appeared he would be the finisher of choice, he has evasion, card advantage, and a very powerful/useful ability that can be done at instant speed. Now he’s in direct conflict with Aetherling, except he can’t protect himself on his own. You can find Snapcaster’s for $16-17 if you look hard enough.

  3. I see you keep a very diverse profile with a very low investment in any one card. When you go to offload, do you send each card off to the highest buyer, potentially only making a net profit of $5-10 on each buylist sale, or do you have a better method of dumping cards? Because I am lazy and don’t like to ship to a lot of different people, I typically have just gone very deep on only a few cards at a time.

  4. I usually sell on ebay…it’s not as time consuming to unload smaller quantities (ancestral vision is a great example….i purchased about 24 copies around 3 per…and have sold 2 playsets at 8.50 per)

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