Insider: Eldrazi Specs & Holding onto Bulk

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Have you ever had the Grand Prix or Open experience where you quickly lose three of four matches and spend the entire weekend cheering on friends or grinding trades, dealer booths and dollar boxes? Yeah, me too.

Two of the four friends I attended GP Minneapolis with made Top 8. So I had a lot of cheering to do. I also spent a lot of time trading and buying cards as an investment. I always say: "If you can't win in the tournament, you can always win at the trade tables!"

Eldrazi Standard Specs

I spent the vast majority of my actual trades targeting basically anything that was an Eldrazi creature. If the offer was right, and the price was cheap, I wanted every playable Eldrazi I could get my hands on.

I have a couple of reasons for suspecting that the Eldrazi are among the best value pickups in Standard right now.

1. Many are realistically hitting their bottom prices. How low can cards that are Vintage, Legacy, and Modern staples really get? Likely, not much lower and not for too long.

2. There's a significant chance Eldrazi will be a top-tier deck when Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins rotate. Those two sets have a ton of significant Standard-defining cards and when they leave things will change dramatically. Goodbye CoCo!

3. Eldrazi are iconic, unique, and a fan favorite. People collect dragons. People collect angels. People will collect Eldrazi. In a lot of ways Eldrazi are even more interesting than other creature types because the lore is 100% unique to MTG. It helps that many are busted-in-half powerful, as that contributes to the unique feel and flavor of the cards.

4. There could be more Eldrazi in Eldritch Moon. When Emrakul comes bursting out of the moon and going buns wild on Innistrad, maybe she'll bring some more Eldrazi scions with her? I mean, all of the sweet Thought-Knots and Smashers are minions of Kozilek, and Emrakul may have some friends of her own! (Assuming she is in the set, of course.)

All of these are great reasons to love Eldrazi cards. Here are my prime targets:

Eldrazi Displacer

I designed the Humans deck splashing Eldrazi Displacer that Andrew Elenbogen made Top 4 of the GP with. The card is so sick that making the mana worse to play it in a human tribal deck still makes the deck significantly better...

Also, a recent MTGO Vintage event had four mono-white Eldrazi decks with 4x Displacer. The card is easily the best Eldrazi card ever printed and will be a format staple of every format where it is legal.

To me, Displacer "feels" more like a $10 card than a $4 card. I'm very interested in continuing to pile up more copies of this card. I've written about it before, for a few weeks, but I really think this card will take off at some point in the near future.

Matter Reshaper

I have a hard time fathoming how Matter Reshaper is a sub-$2.00 card. I've been very happy to try and pick up as many copies as possible as they have dipped down into the gutterball price range. The card is a good analog to Kitchen Finks, and Finks is a $10 uncommon with multiple printings!

It's the kind of card that will be a format staple if Eldrazi becomes a thing post-rotation because every single Eldrazi deck would be forced to auto-include it! The card is also actively great in Legacy versions of the deck. Legacy staples always have a home. Forever.

Reality Smasher

In what smashed reality is this a $3 card? It is one of the best aggressive cards of all time and helps define an entire archetype in Legacy! Nice Jace, think I'll smash it.

The big separation between foil and paper versions is pretty telling. It means people speculate that the foil will be expensive because there will be demand in the future. If there is demand for foils there will be demand all around which means these cards will likely hold and gain value.

Corrupted Crossroads

You guys mark my words: When the Origins painlands rotate and Eldrazi are a thing in Standard they will all play four copies of this card and it will jump in price. Its price right now is basically $0 which makes it a great time to pick up a stash to hide away just in case.

The Bulk You Trade Is Equal to the Bulk You Save

I had a pretty interesting experience at the Grand Prix. After a scrubbed out I noticed that one of the dealers had an offer going on their bulk. Basically, they had 20,000 or so "bulk rares" and "random foils" and were letting people dig through them and charging $0.25 per card.

Typically, I see this kind of offer at $1 a card or $0.50 a card. At a quarter I felt compelled to dig through the junk to see what I could find. I decided as an experiment that I'd spend about $50 and pick out the best 200 cards that I could find in the boxes.

Obviously, when you look at that many cards you're going to find some good deals. You don't need me to explain why buying a bunch of copies of Awakening and Cover of Darkness for $0.25 is a good deal.

The point is that 99% of the cards in the bulk box retail for below $1 on TCG Player, but some are destined for higher prices. Here are some of the ones I gravitated towards that I was happy to pick up for a quarter.

Hold onto these cards for a year or two and see if you are not pleasantly surprised. Maybe even pick these cards out of bulk or from local game stores.

Lifebane Zombie

I was pretty shocked to see stacks of Lifebane Zombies being sold for a quarter a piece. I know they plummeted from their glory day prices in Standard but I didn't know how tough the times had gotten.

First of all, LBZ is a messed up, busted, and ridiculously good Magic card. It made Voice of Resurgence (an equally busted card) basically terrible in Standard for its entire lifespan!

Secondly, Lifebane Zombie is a zombie. Casual people love zombies. Also, zombies could get even better after Eldritch Moon. You never know.

My thought process is that the card is extremely powerful. It is a great tribal card. And I think it has fringe Modern applications. I can't even tell you how many times I've seriously considered trying to Collected Company into this card in Abzan!

Devastating Dreams

Another card that I was kind of surprised is basically junk. Devastating Dreams is a pretty powerful spell. Anything that just randomly blows up tons of lands for two mana is playable somewhere!

Another thing to think about is that Wizards has hinted that a new eternal format isn't an 'if' but a 'when.'

I've speculated at what such a format might look like. Maybe it could be Legacy with all Reserved List cards banned (duals, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Gaea's Cradle). Maybe it would be Mercadian Masques-forward because the Reserved List ends with Masques?

I have no idea but it opens up some space for random old cards to once again shine. And they sure don't make cards like Devastating Dreams anymore.

Destructive Flow

According to the lowest listed price on TCG I actually lost money on Destructive Flow! Hard to imagine.

The card is unbelievably messed up. Cheap, recurring land destruction? Centerpiece of an old Extended deck? Doesn't seem like the kind of card that should be worth less than a quarter.

Scab-Clan Berserker

It is worth noting that Scab-Clan Berserker literally won the last Vintage Bazaar of Moxen tournament. Yeah, 4x Scab Clan > Gush in Vintage. Somehow. Don't ask...

The cool thing is that Scab-Clan is a human which means it can be cast off Cavern of Souls in a tribal human deck. It becomes a 3/3 Eidolon of the Great Revel that targets all of your opponent's spells! The card is pretty unique and great in eternal formats, especially Vintage.

Beastcaller Savant

Yeah, how the mighty have fallen. This card was pre-selling for something ridiculous like $6. I think it is safe to say that we are all pretty good at identifying things that are unique and have potential. Whether things turn out to be good is to be determined.

Beastcaller Savant is a card that hasn't found a home but is kind of cool. Haste and making mana of any color don't usually come on the same card. It's also an elf.

At thirty cents I'm pretty interested in having a couple playsets set aside just in case the card does something in the future.

Woodland Wanderer

Maybe we can pair this creature up with Beastcaller Savant in Standard!

6/6 trample for four is a pretty big game no matter how you cut it. You never know what a format will look like but this is something that interests me. It's kind of hard to lose when cards get so cheap in the here and now.


Two takeaways from today's article:

  1. Eldrazi are great. I think they are the most undervalued cards in Standard.
  2. When you bulk out cards be careful about what you give up. Plenty of cards that are undesirable now suddenly become valuable down the road. I can't even imagine how many Dark Depths people bulked off before Vampire Hexmage got printed!

You never know what will suddenly form a combo with some new printing or become well-positioned in a new metagame. Always err on the side of holding cards that are unique and interesting.

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