Insider: Hapatra and other Commander Spikes

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Amonkhet brought -1/-1 counters into the spotlight, and its impact has been greatest in the Commander format.

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons

The new legend, Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, is a great commander that has introduced a new deck archetype. This deck has suddenly increased the demand for certain cards, many of which were previously obscure and not very playable. A handful of older cards have seen massive spikes that have made them the best price performers in the past week, which calls to attention just how important 100-card decks are to the financial market. It’s also been a very revealing case study about how the market reacted to a new commander and a lesson about how to profit from it in the future

Flourishing Defenses was the single biggest percentage winner from last week, growing 690 percent from $0.35 to $2.77. This spike is remarkable not just because of the scale of the price change, but because it was entirely predictable. When the Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons deck broke out on the internet, we immediately saw some of its components spike, starting with Crumbling Ashes from Eventide and Blowfly Infestation from Shadowmoor quickly following.

Flourishing Defenses is another -1/-1 counter uncommon from Shadowmoor, and anyone paying attention to the Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons deck could have noticed its bargain price having nowhere to move but up.

What’s even more remarkable is the price spike of Dusk Urchins, which has a percentage gain nearly as high as Flourishing Defenses's 670 percent, but a much more significant pure dollar jump, from $0.83 to $6.40 (fallen from its post-spike high over $8). This spike occurred after Flourishing Defenses, and with a long lag after the original spike of Crumbling Ashes.

Adding insult to injury, the spike of Dusk Urchins came a full week after the price of foil Dusk Urchins spiked a couple days after Amonkhet’s release. The strong demand for foils in EDH decks mean the price of foil cards will often increase first, with the price of nonfoils to follow. In this case, the potential for Dusk Urchin to spike was out in the open after the foil version spiked. By paying attention to the spikes of foil cards in the future, it will be possible to get insight into the mind of savvy EDH players and see into the future of the format – and predict the price increases of non-foil staples.

These spikes teach many lessons. They show that the EDH market has great impact on card prices, and that any new legend with EDH applications has the potential to send cards spiking, so getting ahead of the curve and figuring it out soon after the card is spoiled could yield massive profits. They show that card prices don’t change in a vacuum, and that the effect that causes one card to spike is likely impacting the demand for other cards too. Taking this example further, the spike of Quillspike and Devoted Druid is not simply because of Modern speculation and potential, but also because of actual applications in the Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons deck.

It seems obvious now, but there was plenty of money to be made for anyone who looked a little deeper. The simplest way to get ahead of these spikes would have been to look at what card Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons EDH decks have been including, which would show all of these spiked cards and the others that players are using with the potential to spike in the future.

This makes me wonder what cards in the [card]Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons[/deck] deck are still undervalued and could see a spike. Looking through the decks shows some possible targets, and a few look particularly attractive.

Corrosive Mentor is in 45 percent of the decks and is starting to creep up in price, now at 90 cents after being at 50 cents when Amonkhet was released. It could be poised to spike further, especially considering that the foil version has spiked from under $2 to over $5.

Another card from Shadowmoor, Grim Poppet is being used in almost 40 percent of the decks, and at just $1 it looks like a bargain. Making it look even more attractive is the fact that the online price has moved up to almost a third of a ticket after being just pennies before Amonkhet’s release.

Deity of Scars is used in about a third of Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons decks, and as an Eventide rare without reprints, it looks like a bargain at just $2.25. It’s also interesting that the online price has spiked from pennies to 0.3 tix over the past few days, so this interest could indicate a coming paper demand spike. The foil version has seen no movement, and is just twice the price of the nonfoil at $4.50, so it could yield some serious profits if the demand does increase.

A fascinating spike this week was Debt of Loyalty, which grew from $2.3 to $9, nearly a 400-percent price increase. This reserved list card sees play across a variety of different commanders, but there wasn’t any specific Amonket card that sent its price upward.

It’s interesting that Sigmund Ausfresser discussed the card in his article a couple weeks ago that focused on getting ahead of a buyout. He identified it as a card with a great graph and numbers that could be headed for a buyout and price spike, and that’s exactly what has happened.

The price of both prints of Flash saw a spike of around 150 percent this week after the unbanning of Protean Hulk in Commander, which opens up the card to combine with the card it got banned in Legacy.

What’s the next Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons Commander deck card to spike? What are your Commander specs? Let's discuss in the comments below.


5 thoughts on “Insider: Hapatra and other Commander Spikes

  1. Thanks for the mention. I was ahead of the curve on Debt of Loyalty – I will note, however, that I listed my copies on eBay at around $7 and none have sold yet. So the price isn’t sticking yet. Fingers crossed!

    Indeed Hapatra has made lots of people good money, nice summary.

  2. Harbinger of Night and Fevered Convulsions are both reserved list rares that have synergy with Hapatra and have slowly been dwindling in numbers on tcgplayer.

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