Often times, I like to focus on significant investments in Magic. Whether it be trading up for Power, speculating on Dual Lands, or shopping around for attractive deals on Reserved List cards, I tend to focus on higher-end and rares/mythic rares. Often time, those are the splashy cards with the biggest price change potential.
This week I want to change that. The reality is there are many low-cost commons and uncommons (not on the Reserved List) that are on the move for one reason or another. Rather than gloss over them and ignore them, I am going to bring some movers and shakers to the foreground for examination. What’s driving the movement? Are these cards set up to climb even further? That’s what I want to investigate in this week’s column. After all, for a common or uncommon to move, there must be a lot of buying taking place simply because there are many more copies out there.
Before diving in, I want to briefly touch upon my data source so you know where these ideas are coming from. I navigated to MTG Stocks’ Interests page and then clicked specifically on the “market” and “market foil” tabs. With this filtering approach, there are no garbage buyouts diluting the numbers. I’m looking at actual trends of sale prices (at least on TCGplayer) as indicators of price momentum here.
Without further ado, let’s see what’s on the move!
It’s immediately apparent the top movers from last week are mostly rares and mythic rares—again, these are lower in supply relatively speaking, so they have more room to run when there’s suddenly more demand. But of the top fifteen or so cards, I see two uncommons worth looking at.
First, there’s Cloak and Dagger, the Morningtide uncommon.
While a modest move of just over a buck isn’t making anyone money, the fact that this card is selling for 60% more this week than it was last week must indicate a market trend. One glimpse at the card’s effect, and it’s readily apparent what that trend is: Rogues.
Rogues are all the rage right now, thanks to the significant amount printed in Zendikar Rising. Included in this list is Anowon, the Ruin Thief. This legendary creature is drawing a great deal of market attention to all things rogues. In fact, he’s currently the second hottest Commander according to EDH REC (behind only Omnath, Locus of Creation! Even if we don’t trust EDH REC data, this trend is significant enough for me to take an interest.
This is exactly what I’m looking for when I examine common and uncommon market movers on MTG Stocks. For a common or uncommon to move and show up on the Interests page, many copies need to be selling (especially when looking at market pricing). When many copies of a card are selling, it implies there’s a greater trend. In this case, it was rogues! Other rogue speculation could take place as a result—keep an eye out for other “rogues matters” cards. If you’re looking to build a deck with rogues, I’d recommend prioritizing some of the older cards ASAP.
The second uncommon on the Interests page that cracked the top ten is Inkfathom Infiltrator.
This is not the most exciting card either. It’s a 2/1 creature for two mana and it can’t block and is unblockable. It kind of reminds me of the good old days with Shadow creatures. If you’re the only one at the table with a creature that has Shadow, it’s effectively like Inkfathom Infiltrator.
Anyways, what makes this card so interesting right now is its creature type: it’s a rogue! Now there are two uncommons on the move with a rogue theme. Clearly, Anowon is moving markets, and I suspect foils are especially tough to find and expensive right now. Speaking of foils…
To start, let’s take a look at the top market foils from last week on MTG Stocks:
Again, mostly rares and mythic rares top the list. But a few commons and uncommons stand out. Let’s see if there’s a trend here.
First on the list is Highland Weald, a card I’ve never heard of before. I took a quick look at the card on TCGplayer—I don’t think this is moving for any particular reason other than it’s useful for mana fixing in Commander and it’s from Coldsnap, a set with a tiny print run. In fact, I see some lightly played copies for just a couple bucks in stock now. Nothing to see here.
Next is Withstand Death.
This one is a little more interesting. Green is particularly popular right now thanks to Wizards’ pushing the color’s power in recent sets. Many green commanders may be interested in effects like this one. It’s also playable in Pauper because it’s a common, though I’m honestly not sure if this is a factor. I’m not sure if this is indicative of a trend, but I will say it may be worth keeping an eye on foil green cards with similar effects (e.g. Vines of Vastwood, Ranger's Guile, Mortal's Resolve).
Next on the list is an Innistrad uncommon, Inquisitor's Flail.
There are only a handful of foil copies in stock in lightly played or near mint condition. So what’s so special about this equipment? If I had to make a guess, I’d say it lies in one key word appearing in the rules text: “double”. Players love effects that double anything (hello Doubling Season).
Throwing this on a beefy creature in Commander, especially one with trample, is sure to impact a game. The drawback can be navigated around, and at just two mana to cast and two to equip, this card can come down early and immediately change game states. A quick search on EDH REC and I see this card has also been showing up with Akiri, Fearless Voyager. I’m not sure if Inquisitor's Flail is in the top ten when it comes to equipment, but it’s clear some players are looking at it.
Oh, and it’s also showing up alongside Charix, the Raging Isle but I’m not sure if that trend will last. The blue creature is fun on the surface, but looks rather one-dimensional.
Next on the list is Fireshrieker, another card I’ve admittedly never heard of.
Guess what? This is another uncommon equipment that plays alongside Akiri! This equipment does cost three instead of two, but it still just equips for two and gives a creature double strike—that’s a powerful equipment! Double strike can become especially potent when you’re assembling Voltron and putting multiple equipment on a single creature (have you ever considered how awkward that could be, flavor-wise?).
The takeaway here: powerful equipment from older sets, even uncommons, are in-demand right now! Just like with rogues, I’d start browsing for other equipment with powerful, unique effects. There could be some real opportunity here if Akiri remains popular for a while.
The last card I’ll mention is Core Prowler, an artifact creature from Mirrodin Besieged. I honestly can’t link this card to any new trend in Commander. But a quick search on TCGplayer and I see there are literally only four LP or NM copies in stock! I don’t think this card is going to start selling for twice as much overnight, but if you’re looking for a copy for some reason I wouldn’t wait too long. Infect has always been a casual favorite, so maybe supply on this foil just dried up gradually over time. I suspect other foil infect cards, with no reprints, may be equally sparse out there.
Wrapping It Up
Rares, mythic rares, Reserved List cards, Alpha…they’re all flashy and exciting. But oftentimes, movement in commons and uncommons can signify an unfolding trend in the market. Usually, I overlook these, but this week I wanted to examine them to see what I could uncover.
Sure enough, I identified two significant trends that I was previously unaware of. First, rogues are “in” and Anowon, the Ruin Thief is to blame! This is one of the hottest commanders to build around right now, and it will likely drive prices on other key rogue cards higher. While newer cards may not move as drastically due to larger, more recent prints, older rogue cards (e.g. from Lorwyn block) may have much thinner supply. These are definitely worth looking at more closely.
Second, Akiri, Fearless Voyager is a popular commander to build with coming out of Zendikar Rising. Wizards will always make new, exciting equipment (Maul of the Skyclaves for example) so Akiri will only improve over time. Again, newer equipment may have a ton of supply. But older equipment from many years ago—those, especially in foil, could slowly disappear from the market.
I know I learned a few new trends in Commander from doing this research, and I hope it was helpful to others as well! It turns out commons and uncommons (especially market pricing on MTG Stocks) may be key to parsing out what’s really moving due to demand versus speculator hype and price manipulation on TCGplayer!