On Wednesday and Thursday, an Instagram account named “Turn1Thoughtseize” leaked images of new cards from the Commander 2017 decks slated to be released on August 25, 2017. Whether or not you agree with the leaks on a moral or ethical level, having access to this knowledge three months ahead of time means there is likely some money to be made by staying ahead of the market.
The main theme of the leaks is Dragons, with four new legendary Dragons and potential commanders being revealed, along with reprints. It’s presumed that all of these Dragons are included in the same Dragon deck, headlined by its commander: The Ur-Dragon.
The Ur-Dragon brings a new ability to the command zone, eminence, which in this card's case reduces the cost of all other Dragons played by one. This five-color Dragon will be a fantastic commander for Dragon decks and a replacement for Scion of the Ur-Dragon, which has seen its god finally arrive. Once in play, it’s a huge threat with a triggered ability that creates a massive advantage between the card draw and putting permanents into play for free. Some have noted that decks including it need not play all five colors – it would be a functional but uncastable commander for a Dragon deck with fewer colors simply because its eminence ability will be so useful.
Ramos, Dragon Engine
Also included in the deck is Ramos, Dragon Engine, which offers a potent five-color ability that both grows its size and generates mana. It’s a fitting homage to Mercadian Masques block, which included a cycle of mana-producing artifacts made of this Dragon's body parts, like Eye of Ramos. Growing after every spell is quite powerful and will lead to wins, but I expect even more useful will be the mana ability, which will generate a significant advantage and help to cast the next spell, which will generate mana for the next spell the following turn, and so on, allowing one to deploy threats much more quickly than normal.
It’s also the sort of effect that looks like it could become degenerate and create an endless amount of mana with the right combination of cards. EDIT: It has been pointed out that the text "use this ability only once per turn" ensures the card can't go infinite.
O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami
Another new five-color Dragon is O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami, which beyond its large size comes with the ability to exile a permanent from a player if they attacked you on their last turn. It certainly adds a fun dynamic to multiplayer games and is definitely a powerful effect. It’s also a Spirit, which gives it fun interactions with cards from Champions of Kamigawa block and Innistrad block.
Wasitora, Nekoru Queen
Wasitora, Nekoru Queen is a Jund-colored dragon with a very Jund-like ability which either kills an opponent's creature or puts one into play on your side. It’s accompanied by a Cat Dragon token, which has the internet very excited. The dragon itself is also a Cat, so there are fun tribal implications here.
All of these new Dragons are sure to increase demand for the full range of Dragon cards in Magic’s history, and identifying the right ones could lead to profit.
That said, the deck is also going to include reprints of many dragons, some likely iconic, so tread carefully. The leaks contain a look at some of these previous dragons that are slated to be reprinted.
The spoilers also show a Sandsteppe Citadel, which could mean the rest of the the Khans of Tarkir wedge lands will be reprinted too.
Taigam, Ojutai Master
Another leak features a potential new commander in Taigam, Ojutai Master. This Monk comes with the very powerful ability of giving rebound to a spell – if Taigam attacked that turn. The possibilities are endless, and it’s certainly extremely powerful with Time Warp-style effects that will lead to extra turns, more attacks and even more rebounded spells. The card also comes with a passive ability that prevents said instants and sorceries, along with Dragons, from being countered.
There are applications here for any spell-heavy white-blue deck, but the Dragon clause is certainly very interesting and sheds some light onto what the rest of this summer’s Commander product has in store. It’s possible it is included in the Dragon deck, but it’s much more likely the Commander of its own deck, which may have some Dragons included. It’s possible this paves the way for other Dragon-themed commanders being released alongside it.
The reality of leaks like these is that on they are bad for Magic. Leaks undermine WotC’s official spoiler process and marketing plan. This also eliminates the ability for websites and content producers to share preview pieces. Leaks serve as a blemish on the credibility of WotC and Magic, and this sort of negative press erodes confidence. Being a good Magic citizen means not widely sharing and perpetuating these leaks. That said, it’s simply our human nature to be drawn to new things, especially illicit things we weren’t supposed to see or know about. Secrets are alluring, and so can be sharing them. As long as someone can claim their moment by leaking cards, it will happen, and players are going to flock to them to get a look for themselves. On the bright side, new cards are always going to generate excitement and buzz in the community, even if it wasn’t according to WotC's schedule.
The market simply doesn’t care if leaks are right or wrong, so if you are invested into Magic’s financial world, it’s important to be informed of them so you can assess the information and potentially take action. The leaker is reported to have said they will continue to release more cards, but they have since closed their social media accounts, likely in fear of prosecution after the community went into an uproar. There may be more cards coming, but the leaks are likely to have ceased for now.
The market is already reacting to these leaks. Zirilan of the Claw has seen a spike from $3 to $9 in anticipation of a further increase in demand, and likely a price correction for a unique reserved list card that seemed very undervalued.
What do you make of these leaks and their impact on Commander and the market?