Insider: Bulk Vampire Tribal C17

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Most of you are aware that I record Brainstorm Brewery every week with Jason Alt and Corbin Hosler. I say "most" because I like to imagine that there's someone new reading my articles each week, in which case, welcome to the show!

Most of the time, we talk about bulk here. Buying bulk, selling bulk, bulk rares, bulk common/uncommons, picking bulk, selling picks from bulk – you name it. Every now and again, I jump ship and jam an article about something else, but it always comes Back to Basics.

I had an entire article drafted up for this week about bulk predictions for Commander 2017, which is releasing sooner than you think (August 25, 2017). I was going to discuss the possible tribes they would pick, and then focus on bulk picks that you should be aware of in those relevant tribes. Some could get reprinted, some might not. To make a long story short, I didn't really like the direction that the article was going ,so I scrapped the entire thing. (If you're interested, I could throw it on the burner for next week. Let me know in the comments section, or shout me out on Twitter @Rose0fthorns. I want to write about what you want to read about, because you're paying money to make money.)

So if I put that article on the back burner, what kind of text are we about to scroll down towards? Well, this is another experiment I'm going to test run. I mentioned Brainstorm Brewery earlier, and most of you will be familiar with the Breaking Bulk segment. We try to pick out cards that you probably didn't know about, or at least didn't know their value. It's the kind of segment where we go: "Hey did you know Tyrant's Familiar is up to $2.50 and not a bulk rare?" or "You can sell those Dawn Charms for $.50 each buylist."

So basically, it's a segment that basically is my wheelhouse in Magic finance. This article is going to contain a whole bunch of raw Breaking Bulk picks, and some attempted explanations as to why the cards are worth money. Some of it just boils down to "low supply," but hopefully you'll leave this article today with more knowledge of casual cards than when you came in. If you enjoy Breaking Bulk on Brainstorm Brewery, buckle up.

Let's start it off easy with a couple of more well-known picks. If you've ever wanted to throw together a Krenko, Mob Boss Commander deck, you've probably seen this little gobbo popping up on For a whole dollar, he turns your little 1/1s into a phalanx that can take down the Voltron-est of decks with first striking goodness. The scarcity of Shadowmoor makes this guy hard to come by, but he's close to mandatory for anyone looking to win through combat damage with their Goblins.

My first Pauper deck I ever built had this card in it, combined with Kiln Fiend and Wee Dragonauts following the release of Rise of the Eldrazi. I played that deck in one event and learned my distate for Izzet colors, but this one-mana sorcery continues to entice less competitive players with the one-shot potential it allows. The rebound is less of a deal than the +1/+0 it offers, often giving a double striker or infect creature the last bit of reach to end a game. I've always been surprised by this card's lack of a reprint, which is probably the only thing holding it from the dime level of buylisting. If it ever gets hit in a Commander deck or other supplemental product, you should have a good chance to pick these up for cheap while holding onto them and waiting for the creep back upward.

Both of these guys are pickable, but only Mr. Silver gets the rights to being worth more than a dime at the moment. Sometimes stores will run out of Blood Knights and offer quarters on them to restock, but the real prize is the Duel Deck Silver Knight. You can off that guy for at least 50 cents, and it's really common for that card to be left behind once all the rares have been pillaged. People will pull out Thunder Dragon because they don't want to "leave the good stuff", but then Spidersilk Armor and Silver Knight are yours for the taking. Duel Decks are extremely easy money, especially when combined with new artwork. Even the aforementioned Bloodmark Mentor comes in this product, making it easy to pull even if you don't come across Shadowmoor block bulk very often.

Here's another version of Duel Decks ramping up the prices of commons with artwork changes. While most Doom Blade effects aren't really worth picking unless they're Standard-legal, this version of Snuff Out sidles up right next to Go for the Throat in terms of buylist power. You know that 78-card unsleeved casual player we talk a lot about in this column? This is their card, and this is their version of that card. They want to play Liliana Vess with Liliana's Caress, while playing other cards that feature the Dominaran necromancer in every variation; flavor text, card art, etc.

There's a niche Spirits deck running around in Modern, that plays off Geist of Saint Traft and Steel of the Godhead. If not interacted with quickly, the deck can end games out of nowhere and is a lot of fun to play when your opponent has to read your Tallowisp.  Obviously, the fact that it only has one printing from Betrayers of Kamigawa helps the price point of $1 as well, and the rest of the value comes from those invisible casual players we all know and love. Breya doesn't really play enough Spirits to make it worth running, so I keep finding these guys in "picked" Kamigawa bulk.

Born of the Gods gets a mostly well-deserved reputation for being a hot dumpster fire of a set. The most expensive mythics don't even hit $10, leaving box value at below $50. Yuck. I think the commons and uncommons have a similar bad reputation, but it's undeserved: there's some goodies in this set such as Sunbond. You can ship these off at 40 or 50 cents a piece, higher than the fifth-most-expensive  non-mythic rare in the set. Searing Blood and Archetype of Courage are similar heroes that have made BNG uncommons worth pulling from.

Alright, let's interlude with a more recent card. I picked a couple playsets of these from "picked" Aether Revolt bulk, which basically means I took out the rares and Fatal Pushes. Little do people know, this miniature Vampire Nighthawk is worth more than the original vampire himself. A dozen reprints will do that to a 2/3 flier, even if he is still solidly 25 cents on most buylists. Still, this card curves out into lords much more efficiently, and I can see it creeping towards $1 as AER gets further and further away from being the hot goodness. Ironically, you can scale down the graph of Fatal Push to predict how this card will go up in price over time. We see Push hitting $9 now because of how little Revolt was opened, so expect casuals to dry up the supply of this card by putting it in unsleeved vampire decks.

Okay, so picking Shadowmoor is kind of cheating, because it feels like practically everything in that set is worth money. I'm doing a double-take on these two above cards, though, because of the recent resurgence of -1/-1 counter shenanigans. Again, I found both of these in picked bulk. The seller said they pulled out everything worth something, and yet here I am staring at $10 worth of wither. Corrosive Mentor will be easy to ship to someone building Hapetra, Vizier of Poisons, but you'll have to buylist or hunt down a casual player for Kulrath Knight being R/B. Even if someone says their bulk is picked, you should buy it. Jason Alt said it best: buying bulk gives other people thousands of chances to make mistakes.

This card got a little more popular with the release of Kaseto, Orochi Archmage, but that doesn't explain the continued creep upward in the past 12 months. I think Snakes have been revitalized a bit with the introduction of more Naga, even though the two tribes don't technically mix the way people want them too. Heck, Seshiro the Anointed spiked to $9 recently; while he'll probably settle at around $6 or so, it shows a lot of interest in Snake tribal. Obviously, this card is a little difficult to reprint considering they didn't put it in the Commander deck with Kaseto, and it references a specific long-dead Kamigawa-block character. I literally found these next to Tallowsisps in bulk today. Card Kingdom is paying you $1.15 a piece to send you these. The card has legs. The snakes in the art have legs. Kamigawa was weird.

Were You Surprised? 

My goal today was to make you think "I did not know that card was worth at least $1! Thanks, DJ." Let me know if these were too easy, or if there's a spicy card you think that I won't know about! I only recently learned of Corrosive Mentor from Jason when he used it as his Breaking Bulk pick a couple weeks ago, and I thought I knew Shadowmoor like the back of my hand. Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Insider: Bulk Vampire Tribal C17

  1. You could easily do an article like this every week. What’s your suggestion for the leftover bulk after you pick it bone dry? Doubt I’m going to find a buyer for my stack of Vampire Nobles

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.

Quiet Speculation