Summer is known for being a slow and quiet time in Magic finance, but there’s still plenty of action occurring. A major catalyst, and the biggest news right now, is the impending release of the Commander 2018 decks, which are still being spoiled and will be released just a week.
We know the deck themes and some of the cards—most importantly the commanders themselves—so it has set off a wave of speculation. The Commander market has also been stimulated by Core Set 2019, which provided the new Elder Dragons as great commander options. In particular, Arcades, the Strategist has spawned an entirely new archetype that's driving demand for a swath of old creatures with defender.
Arcades, the Strategist
One example is Perimeter Captain, notable because it comes from a set—Rise of the Eldrazi—that has always demanded high prices. This card recently spiked from $0.5 to $3.
Another key card for the deck is Oathsworn Giant. This has also seen a significant spike for an uncommon, from $0.50 to $2, and again up to over $3, which makes it seem like the demand is very real.
It took me quite a while to figure out why all of the many printings of Meekstone were spiking, from a few dollars to ten or more. I finally got my answer when looking through the EDH REC decklist of Arcades, the Strategist, which showed it as a key staple of the deck. It’s a perfect fit for a deck focused on toughness rather than power.
The new Commander deck driving prices the most this week has been the Bant deck built around enchantments.
Enchanted Evening is quite the powerful effect in a deck that cares about enchantments, and it’s from a set that is know for high prices and spikes, Shadowmoor. This has already seen a significant spike and is maintaining the new price point.
Aura Thief could be a fit in the enchantment deck as a way to benefit from the random enchantments opponents might have, but it’s also a very strong hoser against the deck that some sneaky players will turn to as a way to attack their play group. Its price has spiked from a few dollars to over ten, but I am curious if the price can be maintained as a new staple or will turn out to be a fad that falls back in price.
Opalescence is a classic enchantment-matters card. It’s also on the Reserved List, so it’s no surprise that it saw some growth this week, and it should only continue to do so.
Starfield of Nyx has maintained a solid price since rotating out of Standard. Being a few years old now, it makes sense that demand has caught up with supply and that the price is increasing.
The Jund lands deck has been a big driver of prices as well, with a few cards standing out.
Titania, Protector of Argoth is a busted card that has actually made its way into Legacy and even Vintage, and a clear Commander all-star right at home in a lands deck. Its price spiked this week, and has actually continued to grow higher above $10. I see it only continuing to grow until a future reprint.
The Gitrog Monster has strong Commander demand because it works in all sorts of decks. It's perfect for a Jund lands deck, which has driven demand to the point that it has grown from around $3 to $10.
The Esper top-of-the-library deck has been mostly quiet so far in terms of moving the market, but it has a lot of potential. I expect action will pick up once it is fully spoiled and we have a better idea of what cards might work well in the deck.
What has been moving are a few foils, which could be the precursor for paper versions following suit. Cards of note are Morality Shift, which definitely makes a big impact on the top of the library; and Charmed Pendant, which seems perfect in a top-of-library deck as both a payoff and as a way to manipulate the library.
One of the biggest spikes this week was another Commander card unrelated to the new releases, foil Words of Wind. This card combos with Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain to create an infinite engine. The nonfoil version has followed its lead up to nearly $4 from $3, and will probably keep heading higher.