Speculating Around Yarok, the Desecrated

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***Warning Magic Core Set 2020 spoilers***

We got quite the bomb dropped on us June 19th with the spoiling of Yarok, the Desecrated. This legendary creature is sure to be a huge hit in Commander and I wouldn't be surprised to see him make the top 5 favorite Sultai commanders. Panharmonicon has been a casual favorite since it was spoiled and now we have a more powerful version, as Yarok affects all permanent's enter-the-battlefield (ETB) triggers and not just artifacts and creatures, and it's stapled to a legendary creature in arguably the best three color combination.

Now not surprisingly we already have a good Sultai commander that tends to play a lot of creatures with ETB abilities in Muldrotha, the Gravetide, so we can begin looking through the top creatures in that deck and focus on ones with ETB abilities.


This is my number one speculation pick for Yarok. It checks all the boxes;
  1. Reserved List
  2. Creates an infinite combo with Yarok
  3. Already desirable
The biggest downside is the relatively high buy-in of $23-$30 (depending on condition). I purchased 7 copies after Yarok was spoiled and while the price hasn't gone haywire yet, it definitely went up a few bucks since Yarok's spoiling. The fact that the "diet" version of this card Great Whale is already $8+ dollars and doesn't go infinite means that this card could easily be $35+ once a lot of people jump on the Yarok train.
Now, it is important to note that while this combo does provide you with infinite mana, that isn't necessarily an automatic win. You still have to have something to do with all that mana to actually win the game. Usually, when you can get infinite mana you can do whatever other broken things you want to do and win from there.
My number two pick is another card that's already popular in a multitude of Commander decks and is another "auto-include" in Yarok. The buy-in price on this one is in the $5.5-$6.5 range so it's not as painful to go a bit deep on. Foils already have a pretty significant multiplier of 3.5x. As we would expect any Yarok deck to play a significant number of creatures and artifacts that have ETB abilities, it's a no brainer to add another artifact that will add an additional trigger, giving you potentially three of every trigger.
My number three pick is one I'm actually ashamed I didn't immediately think of when Yarok was spoiled. In fact, my friend brought up that he'd purchased six extra copies during a ride back from our Thursday Commander night at our favorite LGS. I was able to buy 13 regular copies and one foil while riding back home.
Deadeye Navigator is an extremely powerful card in any deck with decent ETB creatures and he allows you to get infinite mana with Peregrine Drake, Great Whale, or Palinchron and you can at least get infinite ETB triggers with Cloud of Faeries. Deadeye Navigator already has a home in a lot of existing Commander decks and with a buy-in of around $3.5 for non-foils it seems like a relatively low-risk speculation opportunity with good potential upside of being an $8+ card.
One important aspect that Yarok provides that we previously didn't have available was that all ETBs from any permanent trigger twice. This is critical because it means it can double abilities like Landfall. As this is a three-color deck that is likely to be very mana hungry, having a creature that can generate absurd amounts of any color of mana seems necessary. It's had a total of three printings, one of which was as a gorgeous GP promo, the most recent was in Iconic Masters, which was a limited print run set, and its original printing was as a mythic in Zendikar.
I bring all this up to imply that there are likely fewer copies floating around than you might initially think. Looking through TCGPlayer at the time of this writing there were 10 pages of Iconic Masters and 12 pages of Zendikar non-foils listed. Admittedly that is a decent supply, but I expect we'll start to see movement on the cheapest copies in the coming weeks as brewers start posting decklists on EDHREC and an "optimal build" begins to materialize.
Eternal Witness has had numerous printings thanks to it being a Commander staple and yet it still always manages to rebound in price somewhat. With most copies sitting around $4 currently. What intrigues me more is the foil Modern Masters copies which are under $10. There have been five opportunities to get foil copies of Eternal Witness; the UMA and Modern Masters ones are both under $10, but the Modern Masters version has the original Terese Nielsen art which is both iconic and beloved.
This is one of the rare occasions in which I advocate for not the cheapest option, though I wouldn't fault you for picking up some foil UMA ones given that they have less than a 2x multiplier to their non-foil counterpart.
Eternal Witness's bigger brother, Greenwarden does see less play thanks to it's higher CMC, however, what amazes me is that foil copies can be had for under $4 currently. I do understand that Battle for Zendikar did get opened a ton due to people hunting expeditions, but still, that does seem awfully low for such a powerful card.
I picked up two copies writing my article just so I'd have them for myself. You could also spec on non-foil copies, but as so much product was opened I'd rather buy 1/3 as many copies of a foil mythic than a plain mythic in this case.


It's important to note that our Discord chat went a bit crazy when Yarok was spoiled, as there are so many good creatures in the Sultai color range with powerful ETB abilities. There are a lot of cards that could and likely will become "auto-includes" for this commander, but my focus is on the ones I feel will be in 80%+ of the decklists posted on EDHREC as those cards will be the ones with the most potential for significant gains.
Obviously, if they are good enough cards that they fit into a lot of other decks, that can be a huge plus. We'll have to wait and see how things shake out when Core Set 2020 is released

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