Insider: My Version of “Pick of the Week”

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I have been a walking embalmment of the strategy I depicted in last week’s article. Rather than buy deeply into high-dollar targets, I’ve been picking up some lower-end cards and flipping them on eBay for modest profit. I made good money on a few targets already, including foil Dusk Urchins (in at $2, out at $8-$10.50), Conqueror's Flail (in at $3, out at $6-$8), and Debt of Loyalty (in at $2.50, out at $7).

The process has gone so well that I think this strategy will be one I stick with for a while longer. Again, this doesn’t mean I will ignore all other opportunities. But I believe there are still a number of lower-end cards with limited stock online, coiled like a spring and ready to jump.

This week I’ll share some of those buys, along with a couple that are on my radar which I haven’t bought yet. I don’t normally write straightforward recommendation articles, but I feel pretty good about these picks so I really wanted to share them broadly. After listening to multiple MTG finance podcasts with a "pick of the week" segment, I feel inspired to share some ideas of my own.

Cards In Hand

I’m sitting on a handful of foil Modern Masters 2015 Necroskitters. While the returns haven’t come as quickly as I’d hoped, I still believe in the profitable potential for this card—even with the suboptimal foiling in MM15.

Haptra remains one of the more popular Commander generals, and the number-one card in the deck according to EDH REC is Necroskitter. The synergies are very strong with the card and I expect it to be a Hapatra mainstay for quite some time. Perhaps we’ll get even more -1/-1 counter cards in Hour of Devasation which will rekindle demand for this strategy and create more upside.

Yes, I still believe in this card. Yes, I understand there aren’t enough good Minotaurs yet to really break it. You have to remember this is an extremely old Reserved List card that suddenly has some relevance in Magic—perhaps for the first time ever. If you print a legendary creature Commander decks will follow, and Neheb, the Worthy is no exception. If we get more Minotaurs—in Hour of Devastation or any other future set—Didgeridoo will gradually get better and better.

It already has a presence on EDH REC and this will not go away. With supply so thin on TCGPlayer, this is bound to pop. If you can still track down $2-$3 copies, I’d suggest buying a few.

Here’s a cheaper one I’m sitting on. As Wizards prints more ways to cast spells for free, Arclight Phoenix steadily improves. It’s not so farfetched to imagine a Modern deck that takes advantage of free spells with As Foretold and becomes a Tier 1 deck. Should that be the case, Arclight Phoenix could very well slot into the sideboard of any blue deck. In the meantime, there really aren’t that many copies in stock and there are only 16 sellers on TCGPlayer with at least a playset for sale.

Pop Quiz: how many foil Temple Bells do you think are in stock on TCGPlayer right now? Well, as of Sunday morning, the answer was four (excluding the two damaged copies and one MP copy). Oh, and one of those copies is listed at $20. Turns out I have more stock of this card than TCGPlayer! I think people are overlooking this card in foil. It only has the one foil printing, and occurs in over 4,000 decks on EDH REC. It’s only a matter of time.

Cards on My Radar

I want to repeat the full disclaimer that all cards mentioned above are in my inventory at this point in time. While I am testing the market on foil Necroskitter, I haven’t sold any copies yet. The other cards I mentioned above I own but are not for sale yet. I’m waiting for more upside.

Now I want to shift focus to cards I’m tempted to buy but haven’t pulled the trigger on yet. Perhaps that will change by the time this article goes live. But in the interim, these are ideas I’m presenting for your consideration.

I mentioned this one recently, but I wanted to make sure I included it here as well. This is a Reserved List rare with occasional Legacy playability. It also has spiked in the past so there is some precedent for a higher price. One of these days a speculator will get trigger-happy and pick up a bunch of copies. There are not many other ways to draw four cards for three mana, after all.

This Gatecrash rare is a signature card in the Queen Marchesa Commander deck. It has excellent synergy with Amonkhet rare Anointed Procession. But its utility doesn’t stop there. According to EDH REC, Assemble the Legion appears in nearly 5,000 lists, ranging from Queen Marchesa to Hazezon Tamar.

I anticipate this card’s popularity will continue to rise, and as such I have my eye on picking up some copies. I much prefer foils, which are extremely low in stock online and offer the most upside.

Technically I do own a few copies of this card, so it really belongs in the previous section. But I included it here because I’m looking to acquire more copies in the future. This is a cheap alternative to Choice of Damnations that offers synergy with the new Hapatra Commander decks. But the recent printing of Hapatra is just a cherry on top of the cake.

Black Sun's Zenith is played in over 8,000 decks on EDH REC, likely due to its inclusion in the prepackaged Commander decks. The fact that this card’s top Commander is Atraxa makes me even more interested in its long-term trajectory, especially if Wizards takes a year off from reprinting it. Stock is low on TCGPlayer, and we’ve seen how quickly these Commander staples can move. I’m definitely a buyer.

I had to include at least one Old School card, and this one is particularly interesting to me. It’s already fairly expensive, so it doesn’t really fall in the “$2 to $5” category. But White Weenie is an ever-present strategy in Old School that’s not likely to disappear. Jihad is a powerful card in the right matchups, and being a Reserved List card from Arabian Nights means you aren’t likely to lose money on this one.

The buy/sell spread is pretty low too, given that Card Kingdom pays $28 on their buylist for NM and $21 for VG copies. MP copies are in the $23 range now, but once a few are bought the price rapidly becomes $30-plus.

There are hundreds of this card in stock. Between its printing in Born of the Gods and Commander 2016, it’s no surprise that this is virtually bulk. But when was the last time you looked for foils of this Atraxa staple? I did a quick search on TCGPlayer and I see only 15 sellers with foils in stock. Given Atraxa’s popularity, there’s no way this doesn’t climb higher in the coming months. Stock will dry up and suddenly someone will realize they can invest $80 to make this a $10 foil. It’s a matter of when, not if.

There’s no shortage of Myr Battlespheres for sale. After being reprinted in Commander 2013, Commander 2014, and Commander 2016, this card will never again be worth more than a quarter. There are simply too many copies in existence, and there’s a likelihood it gets reprinted again and again going forward.

However, there has only been a foil printing once: the original Scars of Mirrodin printing. As a result, these foils are up near $8 and there are not many in stock on TCGPlayer. I definitely have my eye on this one, though it may take a long time for these to really move profitably. It may be a better card to pick up in trade.

Wrapping It Up

My daily commute to and from work is roughly 45 minutes. During this time, I am able to catch up on a number of podcasts I follow, including multiple MTG finance casts. One of my favorite components of these casts is the famous “pick of the week.” The ideas inspire me to shop around and speculate in areas I would normally ignore.

In this same vein, I consider this article a summary of “picks” that are on my radar. Some of them I’ve already made a move on (in fact I purchased a foil Assemble the Legion while I was writing this article). Others are interesting to me, but I’m not sure I want to pull the trigger. The latter are merely ideas for you to investigate further for yourself. If you believe in the opportunity, by all means make your purchase. If there are others that don’t interest you, feel free to ignore them.

In reality, there are bull markets all over MTG finance. Commander staples are supreme right now and have a lot of my attention, but there are other opportunities out there. It’s impossible to chase every single idea, so hopefully my research can be a valuable guide as you look to make your investments. At the end of the day, that’s the name of the game: buy low, sell high, help each other find the right targets. It’s what I love about MTG finance podcasts and it keeps me involved in the hobby!


  • Star City Games is completely sold out of Jihad with a $59.99 price tag. I really think this card can climb higher, which is why I mention it a second time. Also, I forgot to point out the connotation the name of this card carries—even if the Reserved List were to disappear one day in the distant future I can pretty much guarantee this card will never be printed again. I place it in the “Wizards wishes this card didn’t exist” category given the religious undertones.
  • Thanks to some hype from MTG financiers, along with a sudden disappearance from store shelves, Breya, Etherium Shaper has spiked drastically. Star City Games is completely sold out, with a $14.99 price tag. Without new supply entering the market, it’s hard to see this card coming back down in price any time soon. I would say you could buy Invent Superiority Commander 2016 decks as an alternate approach, but these are also sold out on SCG at $39.99!
  • Star City Games has many Jandor's Saddlebags in stock, but none from the original Arabian Nights. I’ve noticed this card on MTG Stocks lately, and I suspect it will continue to climb in price despite not being on the Reserved List. The fact that SCG has a $7.99 price tag whereas the market price is much lower tells me they see this card climbing higher over time. Keep an eye on this one, as it’s another card that may be worth picking up for long-term growth.

5 thoughts on “Insider: My Version of “Pick of the Week”

      1. Could that be cultural? It doesn’t seem to have a similar connotation to me. Unless you discuss it together with Cleanse I suppose (white creatures are martyrs, black creatures get cleansed), but alone it’s not obviously offensive to anyone in my mind?

        1. To me, the art depicts a ceremonial burning of a religious figure. I’d argue this is a social taboo and should be avoided in a game made for all ages.

  1. Debt of Loyalty seems like a good commander card that really isn’t. Its surprisingly difficult to use, and unless its super late game, theres better things to be doing with 3 mana. While there are a few lists that can certainly support it, its not something you just want to throw in every white deck. Anyway that’s all playability stuff, congrats on making money on it!

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