Insider: Commander 2017 – Draconic Domination

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Lots of cards to get to today, so let's get to it!

Disclaimer: at this stage, any pricing is complete guesswork (including my own). Your average internet retailer is going to want to make sure these decks are going to be worth opening and will try to spread the risk. As a result, you will see a very high deck value if you add up the singles, and in particular, low-value cards will sit higher than you would expect, because this is really the only time they will be somewhat likely to sell. I'll note that as an individual merchant, our source typically prices a little bit above market value, so these prices will not be reliable for long, and I strongly urge you to do your own thinking like I've tried to show in my analysis of the new cards.

New Cards

Boneyard Scourge

Star City Games: $2.99 with 40 in stock.

In a casual game, a 4/3 flier for four mana is a pretty decent deal. Wizards has been kind enough to throw in a very relevant recursive ability, making this a great card. I imagine finding this card in decks that like to sacrifice their creatures for profit, like my own Lyzolda, the Blood Witch deck, but I realize that the Dragon condition may be a challenge for such a deck (if only they made it Dragon or Zombie!).

In fact, this is where the big problem with this card lies: this looks like a card for such a deck, but there aren't enough dragons with similar abilities to really make such a deck tick. As a result, I expect some early interest in this card, but eventually this will start approaching bulk as people realize that beyond dedicated Dragon decks, this card isn't really worth playing.

The Star City Games numbers seem to confirm this – only the very worst new rares are listed below $2.99, and at 40, they have plenty remaining in stock. I recommend moving this quickly if you can.

Curse of Bounty

StarCityGames: $0.25 with 60 in stock.

This is certainly a very fun effect. It's a bit hard to see what this will do in an actual group, as they won't want to give you the benefit on an untapped board, but on the other hand, getting their own untaps is a very big reward. I suppose that interest in this card is going to be very group dependent as a result. I expect that with it being in two of the decks (it's also in Feline Ferocity) while also being unpredictable in its efficiency, there won't likely be more casual players looking to pick these up than there will be copies on the market.

But wait, what if you were to play this in a one-on-one game? At worst, we have a Serra's Blessing that is also going to untap some of your non-lands that have been used for things other than attacking. This seems like a pretty nice effect, but I highly doubt that it's going to make waves in the tournament scene, as you have to jump through too many hoops to really benefit.

Price wise, the big problem here is that this card is an uncommon. It's only twice as common as a rare or mythic from the same set, but people are always going to group them with other uncommons and value them accordingly. I believe that Star City Games's 25-cent price has some growth potential, but I would certainly wait until that time comes rather than invest now. These will certainly be available for less in the meantime.

Curse of Opulence

Star City Games: $0.25 with 29 in stock.

Where for the Curse of Bounty I felt the huge effect would lead to an interesting dynamic here, the reward you and the other players gain is so small they're barely going to consider it relevant. I just don't see this making a lot of decks simply because the effect is too small. Some decks may like to sacrifice the Gold for other fun effects, but there won't be enough to compensate for the copies entering the market from two decks (Arcane Wizardry has one too).

The numbers seem to suggest that more people like the Curse of Opulence over the Curse of Bounty, as fewer remain in stock. This may be due to the former looking safer than the latter, but I would still put my money on the Curse of Bounty if I had to.

Curse of Verbosity

Star City Games: $0.25 with 62 in stock.

People love to draw cards. Trade Secrets was banned because players would collude and draw way more than the rest of the table. I feel it's likely that a player is going to feel okay about giving another player a card in exchange for drawing one themselves. Unfortunately, this is another card found in two decks (Arcane Wizardry), and one has to wonder if with the plethora of card drawing available in blue this is going to draw enough interest. I suspect that people will be somewhat more likely to hold these than they are likely to hold the Curse of Opulence, but I don't expect enough demand to really push the card.

I believe that the numbers are about right. You're going to want to look for other prospects.

Fortunate Few

StarCityGames: $1.99 with 31 in stock.

I love the flavor of this card! Unfortunately, I fear it will play out really badly in actual games as you have almost no control over what will be chosen by others. I just can't see people looking for this effect when a mere mana more gets you Planar Cleansing. Bulk.

It's astonishing that SCG has sold as many as they have. On the other hand, their pricing is as low as they'll go for a new rare in this deck. Move this if you can, but you'll likely end up bulking it out.

Fractured Identity

StarCityGames: $2.99 with 32 in stock.

The first thing I am thinking of is a card like Steel Golem that you yourself play and then target to keep everyone else from playing creatures. Practically speaking,  Fractured Identity is a card with an identity crisis: it is removal that actually multiplies the problem! Granted, you do get a copy yourself, but there are few targets for which that is going to compensate for three or four more of them around the table. I expect little interest in this card as a result.

I'm not sure what people are planning to do with this card, as apparently SCG thinks it's a bit above bulk, and it seems to be selling. Maybe there are enough Johnny's that are going to take on the challenge? I would certainly approach this cautiously.

Herald’s Horn

Star City Games: $1.99 with 28 in stock.

Casual tribal decks are going to want this card for as long as Magic is being played. It's not a particularly good card, but it promises so much! Just imagine that you get lucky and keep drawing extra cards with it that it then even helps cast. I would certainly consider setting these aside, as when supply dries up, these will start to rise due to casual demand.

And as for the price, now we're talking! This card has the opposite “problem” of the Curse of Bounty: people are going to undervalue it because it's an uncommon. You will both be likely to pick it up considerably lower as well as face difficulty moving it for a higher price. I would pick these up if you can find them low enough.

Kindred Discovery

Star City Games: $2.99 with 12 in stock.

This is what the Curse of Verbiosity aspires to be. This is going to draw a ton of cards in any blue tribal deck. Unfortunately, 3UU is not cheap for this effect, but I can certainly see this card remaining in demand. This would be a very logical fit in the Wizard deck, but I suspect the card was thought too good for it! I don't see a huge price for this, but it will be good to have a few in stock as these will move regularly.

This has the lowest stock numbers of any new card I am discussing here, which is no surprise at all. This will speak to a lot of blue tribal players, and $2.99 seems like a fair price. I would have no problem picking these up around $2 if I can find them.

Mirror of the Forebears

Star City Games: $1.99 with 59 in stock.

As a Clone effect, this comes at a low price with great flexibility. It even comes with some protection as sorcery-speed creature removal is never going to catch it. I believe this is a strong card that many tribal decks are likely to want. I would predict a bright future for this card; these will start to rise eventually. My first thought was that this could nicely copy Glissa, the Traitor to reset itself when an opponent's creature is dying, but that is rather convoluted and weird.

Basically, I could repeat what I said for Herald's Horn. This is definitely a good pickup if you can find them low enough.

O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami

Star City Games: $4.99 with 32 in stock.

We've hit our first potential Commander, and it's a nice one! Flying and trample makes for a pretty good combination when you want to get some damage through, as not many fliers are big enough to survive such a hit. Politically, people will be hesitant about attacking you, as they will probably have some goodies they won't want to lose. And I'm sure that Spirits appreciate having a commander now. Basically, I see this card retaining interest, but I don't expect it to sore to great heights, as in effect, he'll probably mostly be a deterrent rather than an offensive force. I can easily see this being a decent mythic, though.

SCG's pricing agrees with me that this is a card that should bring in a bit more. I think they're spot on here, so it's not a card you'll want to buy from them, but something you may want to pick up if you come across a good deal.

Path of Ancestry

Star City Games: $2.99 with 72 in stock.

The big question here is simply whether the demand for this card is going to outpace the supply coming from four different decks. If we look at Opal Palace for comparison, we can see that we can probably expect some value and a gradual rise as supply is depleted, but that this isn't going to bring in huge amounts.

In my opinion, SCG is overvaluing these. With one in every deck, there are simply going to be too many to go around. Get out and rebuy at the bottom.

Ramos, Dragon Engine

StarCityGames: $4.99 with 25 in stock.

I have to like a colorless commander with a five-color color identity. Many low-budget five-color decks have some difficulty getting their commanders on the table, and as such, I would usually recommend beginners to focus on fewer colors. Ramos, though, is a lot easier to cast, and could even be in a deck that leaves out one or more colors even though they could be played. In addition, Ramos is a bit of a combo engine: a Shrieking Drake or Cavern Harpy will turn five mana into ten, while a Stonecloaker will be mostly paid for, and obviously, any of these with Aluren thrown in makes a lot of counters. Even if you don't combo, Ramos basically gives all your spells a nice return on your money. I see Ramos being a very popular pickup that is bound to sit quite high.

SCG and I definitely disagree on price here, which is nice, as it means I could likely obtain this card for a bargain. I strongly believe that this card should sit well above O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami and that SCG's $4.99 may actually turn out to be a very good price. I can see these ultimately move towards $10.

Scalelord Reckoner

Star City Games: $2.99 with 33 in stock.

It's always good to get to take revenge, but the control is on the opponent's side, though. As a five-mana 4/4, the Scalelord is not all that impressive, so the question is whether his ability would carry him. What I fear is that many Dragon tribal decks are going to have difficulty finding room when they can pick from all colors and from all the Dragons in Magic's history.

This price seems about right at SCG levels – you can't fault them for trying to sell it for a bit more than bulk, but I do expect it to eventually go there. Move these while you can.

Taigam, Ojutai Master

Star City Games: $2.99 with 32 in stock.

Taigam seems like a weird addition to this deck. He has the potential to be an interesting commander, but it almost feels like making Dragons uncounterable was added as an afterthought. I expect that many who open this deck would be happy to move him as they make upgrades, while I see more spell-focused players happily picking those copies up. I expect that it takes some work to build a good deck around him, but I'm sure Johnnys all over the world are up to the challenge.

I expect this to eventually hit around $4 or $5, potentially increasing slowly beyond that as these make it to the players who actually desire them. In the meantime, though, SCG's price is probably about right, as I can see many being taken out of the deck in lieu of something more Dragon-oriented.

Territorial Hellkite

Star City Games: $1.99 with 24 in stock.

Blugh. I'm afraid that there isn't really anything I like here. Uncontrolable, unreliable and confusing are things that come to mind. I would expect this to be bulk.

Given that SCG considers $1.99 its bulk rare price, it seems they agree. Stay away.

The Ur-Dragon

Star City Games: $9.99 with 31 in stock.

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic has always been a very popular general because he functions while in the command zone. I can see this making Scion of the Ur-Dragon very popular too.  

In addition he's huge, flies and has an incredibly strong effect. People will want to build around him.  Just because of his wow-factor alone I would expect him to be the most expensive card in the deck. I expect these to start pretty high, so they may be a good sell initially, but I would certainly expect them to remain in high demand.

I think SCG's price is reasonable at this point, but I could see it creep towards $15 eventually. The difficulty is that that eventually may come only slowly. I would be happy to temporarily store some value in a couple of these, but I'll only buy if I find them below $7.

Wasitora, Nekoru Queen

Star City Games: $2.99 with 31 in stock.

It's always nice to have a way to make players sacrifice creatures. Players also like to make tokens, and I am sure some highly appreciate making some Cat Dragons. Stats wise, I think Wasitora gives you a very decent deal. I can't help feeling a little underwhelmed though. Objectively she looks nice, but she doesn't really inspire me to build a deck the way Ramos or Taigam do. My mind gives her a higher rating than my gut does. I prefer going with my gut and would stay away from these, as I fear they won't be as easy to move as the whole package seems to suggest. I do expect to see her above bulk, but no higher than a couple of dollars.

This seems priced about right relative to the other cards. This is probably not going down much, but that in itself is not reason to pick up any copies. I would stay away.

Reprints of Note

I strongly believe that you should get out of any reprints you're holding except for foils (which will likely rise for the good cards). Almost anything that has value will crash. Some cards will recover, but most of those in the deck are already (near) bulk. I believe the following cards require your attention in particular, as they are the most expensive currently. Pricing data is for the most recently printed version of each card; the C17 prices will obviously differ slightly – and most versions are likely to drop due to being reprinted – but this is where these cards sit now, when the reprints have been announced but not yet taken place. We're seeing the first buylists adjusting to the news already, so you may have to be quick if you want to sell them that way.

Bladewing has been reprinted before but was still showing a steady rise regardless. I suspect that Bladewing will recover from another reprint, but I do expect an initial drop.

There are simply too many of these on the market. Obviously these will retain a huge interest from the Commander crowd, but this has been printed in really large amounts already, and I just don't see the price ever rising again.

Crosis was already on a steady decline and a reprint will not help him. I don't expect him to stay much above bulk.

We were seeing a rising price here. The card is interesting and will remain popular, but added copies will probably bend the graph in a downward direction.

Scourge is an old set by now, but there have been a few other printings. I'm not sure the card could recover from yet another reprint. I personally think this is a particularly good foil to invest in and have been saying as much on the forum since May. You may be too late now, though. This would be a perfect example of knowing that there will be a Dragon deck and therefore picking up cards likely to be relevant for it.

Fist has plateaued for a long time now, and I would fully expect this to retun to its pre-spike price of about $1.50 to $2.

Reprinted in many Commander decks, yet still a valuable uncommon. Considering that it has shrugged off all the other reprints, I think this might be a rare safe hold.

The Scion spiked a while ago and has since made quite the drop. I expect this reprint to only hasten its decline back to its old $1.50 to $2 price.

Core sets have never been all too popular. I would suspect that its rarity has quite a bit to  do with the Scourge's current price. Adding a considerable amount of supply to the market will not help it.

Everything that applies for Lightning Greaves applies here too.

The last of the valuable cards I want to point out to you. I can see some prospects for recovery considering its rising price, but as for most cards, a reprint isn't good.

Everything Else

I full expect all of these cards to become bulk if they aren't already. The good news is that many already are, so most won't actually lose value.

Deck Value

Dragons are a popular creature type. I expect this deck to be in high demand regardless of the value of its contents. I believe that Scion of the Ur-Dragon and Ramos, Dragon Engine will be highly sought after to the point where I would expect their retail prices combined with the rest of the deck to sit well above MSRP.

I would also expect the total value of the contents to decline as more decks are opened, with just the few top cards retaining significant value. I expect the deck to be one of the better decks of the Commander 2017 set for both opening and holding, but I would be surprised if it was the best in either category. If you do intend to hold, you should be ready to do so for many years.

Ultimately, I think that at MSRP you barely get the financial value, but the further the deck is discounted, the more interesting it becomes.

As a player, I am happy to pick this deck up and give it a spin. I suspect it will be fun, but that it might not live up to the strength that Dragons as a tribe promise. From a player standpoint, I certainly believe the value is there at MSRP.

2 thoughts on “Insider: Commander 2017 – Draconic Domination

  1. Looks like you had the same problem I did with the [draft] function in wordpress….but as for the article itself I actually like Ramos the most of all the new 5 color Dragon commanders. I think he has a lot of potential for broken combo decks. I like the rest of your analysis and agree with it.

    1. I swear I did not put those Pteron Ghosts there! Also not sure what’s going on with the Utvara Hellkite.

      I think both it and The Ur-dragon are very good. It feels to me like the latter may just be a little more accessible and it has a bigger wow factor. I certainly feel that Ramos has more potential at SCG’s current price. Ramos’ big problem for broken combo decks is of course the once per turn limitation. He can still easily be made infinitely large, but you cannot repeat the coolest part of his effect.

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