I apologize to my regular readers for the hiatus recently. My wife and I took a 12 day trip to Italy paid for with my MTG profits this year. It was an amazing experience and it was a lot more affordable than I initially would have expected. This is the third year in a row in which I sunk my MTG profits into non-MTG things; two years ago it was an engagement ring, last year it was a wedding, and this year it was the Italy trip.
I used to sink all my profits into expanding my collection and inventory. However, I’ve found that it’s important to diversify where you get your enjoyment, and to be 100% honest, I don’t find the same joy in the game as I used to. Having non-MTG related goals financed by MTG has helped me enjoy the game from a different angle. Also, it helps me justify some of my purchases to my wife. If anyone wants to discuss this topic or what site I used to book my vacation please feel free to personal message me in our Discord chat.
Now it’s time we get into the actual MTG finance part of this article.
If you are a member of pretty much any MTG buy/sell/or trade groups on Facebook, you likely saw a ton of people trying to sell the Brawl decks for significantly higher than the “MSRP” of around $20 that they were expected to go for. The reason for this is that it seems that many local game stores had a very limited allotment of these decks and they all contain some fantastic Commander cards, as well as some very fun “build around me” commanders.
Looking at the graph below we can see that Arcane Signet started out very high. In fact, if you were able to pre-sell them you could have paid for any of the decks they came in.
In fact, many of the cards found only in these Brawl decks started out quite high due to this initial scarcity including all four of the commanders;
We’ve seen quite a few cards spike in price thanks to just these commanders and I expect we’ll continue to see more as players finally get there hands on these decks.
The biggest winner though is a common from Visions that when you have Chulane out reads; “pay one blue mana and Explore”.
Shrieking Drake has actually sold on TCGPlayer for $4.47.
These spikes show that the Brawl commanders have strong demand, so I’ve come up with a list for each commander of cards that haven’t moved much yet but have some potential.
Chulane, Teller of Tales
While Vizier is a relatively recent card, it was printed at mythic and it managed to hold a $2.50 price tag despite seeing virtually no play in standard throughout its life. It has crept up to around $5 (mid) though there are plenty of copies sitting in the sub $3.50 range as of October 20th. According to EDHRec, it’s currently in 20% of the lists submitted which is significant enough to take note of.
Karametra is a bit older and came from a very underpowered set. This card has seen very steady solid growth over the past few years and it could easily jump should it fall into the “auto-include” category for Chulane decks.
Alela, Artful Provocateur
Coastal Piracy has been printed twice, once as an uncommon in Mercadian Masques and the other as a rare in 8th Edition, thus both printings were long before the playerbase booms of the mid 2000’s and thus there are likely a lot fewer copies of this card floating around than you might think. It provides a powerful effect that is highly desirable in a deck that generates evasive tokens. It’s also important to note that Alela is the only one of Brawl commanders that doesn’t include an ability to draw cards.
Grand Architect seems like an auto-include in any Alela deck. It is a lord effect in a color that doesn’t often get them and it allows you to tap the tokens Alela makes for mana to cast artifacts which then make more tokens. It has a single printing from 9 years ago and it belongs in most blue-based artifact Commander decks. It saw a spike a few months ago but has rapidly cooled back down and it sitting below $5.
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
Awakening Zone seems like it should be considered an auto-include for any Korvold deck. It generates mana producing tokens with a built-in sacrifice outlet for no mana every turn. While it has been printed 4 times, 3 of those were in small print run sets like the original Commander decks and Planechase products. It once held a price of over $5 but has slipped considerably to around the $2.5-$3 mark.
While typically everyone who bought the Plunder the Graves deck focused on Meren of Clan Nel Toth, Mazirek was the other option as a Commander. There is only the one printing and people often forget that Commander players tend to hold onto the unique Commanders. Supply is often a lot lower than you’d expect; in fact, a glance at TCGPlayer shows only 65 vendors with copies most of which are one-of’s.
Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale
Syr Gyn is an interesting one because he has a few different “build around” options; one can go with a heavy equipment theme which is why we see cards like Heartseeker spiking or one can go with a knight theme which is why we see Knight Exemplar up 200% in the past month.
Sigiled Sword plays perfectly in both builds. It is an equipment that creates knight tokens. It’s also a bulk rare so you have very little risk and a fair amount of potential reward on this one. It is obviously a very recently printed card but core sets typically get opened less than block sets. I would imagine this would be close to an auto-include in any build of Syr Gwyn.
This is one of the few instances where I likely wouldn’t play both partners of a Battlebond partner pair, however, Korvath providing flying and haste to all your knights seems extremely strong in a deck whose commander that lets you draw cards when knights attack.
I’m actually a big fan of the Brawl decks that WoTC released with Throne of Eldraine. The new Commander options are causing random price spikes that us MTG financiers love and I am excited to build my Chulane deck. It’s also very important to note that all of the Brawl cards are legal in Standard.
You would expect WoTC’s R&D department to vet these additions to their bread and butter format, and should any of them find a home in Standard that card could see massive gains given that the easiest way to acquire them is to simply buy the decks. Though, I do believe that WoTC did promise that any Brawl deck cards could also be found in the Collector Boosters, but at $20+ each this seems like an unlikely source for significant Brawl specific card supply.