Welcome back to Cards to Pull from Bulk! In this series, we highlight juicy cards one may find while digging through bulk. Each installment focuses on a different color of bulk cards. So far we've covered gold, colorless, white, black, red, and green cards.
We'll ignore cards whose value is tied to being from Magic's very early sets, i.e. anything that is from The Dark or earlier. I have saved blue for last because thanks to its initial abilities of countering spells and card drawing cards, it is undeniably the most powerful of the colors, and therefore has the most cards that tend to be worth picking from bulk.
The list for blue is big enough that I have to split it into two parts. Today, we will go over the Commander cards to look for, and next time we'll look into other formats.
To keep our list manageable, I'm restricting it to some of the best sub-$5 finds in each color according to TCGPlayer-mid price. I have found that understanding the reason for a card's value is extremely beneficial in evaluating other cards and their potential, and have included a bit about each card. Note that I may include cards that are very near to $5, even though there is potential that they breach $5 in the near future.
Blue Bulk to Pick: Commander Demand
Taxing opponents in Commander has shifted to be more of a white ability, but the original card behind the idea is good ol' Propaganda. Commander is a format where many decks go wide and people want to play big spells, so "charging" them 2 mana per creature to attack you is a great way to dissuade being attacked.
Impressively, while this card has 9 printings, it still regularly resells for $4+ and it always recovers after every reprint (so far, at least). I bring this up because it is included in the new Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate set and is currently going for under $2, which is unlikely to remain that low forever.
2. Psychic Corrosion
"Mill" decks have a cult following in Magic. While they typically are not powerful enough to be Tier 1 in any format, the players who enjoy trying do so with gusto. Many mill cards target a specific player; Psychic Corrosion is a break from this mold. Given that it triggers off of drawing a card, something you already want to do in Commander as much as possible, it is possible to turn Corrosion into a win condition that can hit all players in one shot.
3. Freed from the Real
Freed from the Real originally spiked in price thanks to Zaxara, the Exemplary. However, Wizards keeps printing creatures that generate multiple mana that can go infinite with this card, so it will likely continue to be worth something until it gets reprinted into oblivion.
Mono blue decks don't have a lot of choices when it comes to permanent creature removal, so the few instances that do exist tend to be highly desirable. The other option is Rapid Hybridization, which also makes the list.
Unexpected Windfall has been abusable since it was first printed in Urza's Saga. It pretty much always allows the caster to gain card advantage over their opponents and encourages players to empty their hands quickly. Thanks to Commander decks often drawing a lot of cards, it can easily be more powerful than Wheel of Fortune.
6. Split Decision
Split Decision is a new card to the $1.49+ club, its arrival likely tied to the return of the "Will of the Council" mechanic on Tivit, Seller of Secrets. The abilities themselves are both good, but I don't see this card remaining at this price in the foreseeable future, so I would list any copies I had now.
7. Peregrine Drake
The Urza block creatures that untapped the same number of lands as their CMC have been abused since the days of Rec/Sur. Any land that taps for more than 1 mana lets these creatures potentially go infinite. Peregrine Drake happens to be one of the cheapest options in the cycle.
8. Reality Spasm
This card has been bulk for quite some time, but if it seems familiar to you, it may be because I called it out in my Hinata, Dawn-Crowned article a few months back. Since it doesn't fit into a lot of other decks, this is one I would list as quickly as possible while demand is still somewhat high.
9. Diffusion Sliver
As we have seen in my other articles, the Sliver creature type often makes these lists because the tribe is unique and beloved throughout Magic's history. With few exceptions, the unique uncommon ones with useful abilities will eventually break the $1.49 price point every time.
10. Muddle the Mixture
Muddle the Mixture used to fall into the Modern demand group. Now, it seems to have fallen out of favor in Modern, but remains a useful counterspell/tutor for Commander.
11. Long-Term Plans
Commander is a format that loves its tutor effects, so even ones with noticeable drawbacks can still find a home and when you factor in the rampant card draw of the format it's not difficult for this to be an instant-speed Demonic Tutor.
12. Arcane Denial
Arcane Denial is a card that has waffled on this list over the years. It is a powerful Counterspell that draws the caster a card and provides a little solace to the person who had their spell countered. I have found a lot of copies in bulk throughout the years as people tend to ignore it thanks to its far more powerful big brother Force of Will from the same set.
13. Ophidian Eye
This card has been a Commander staple ever since the days of the original Niv Mizzet, the Firemind[card] decks of old. Card draw is one of the most desirable mechanics in Commander and the fact that [card]Ophidian Eye triggers on any damage to an opponent, not just combat damage, means it is one of the more abusable ways to draw lots of cards repeatedly.
14. Rapid Hybridization
As mentioned, this newer version of Pongify also makes the list and for the exact same reasons.
15. Guildpact Informant
While many might see this as simply a worse Thrummingbird, its value is mostly based on the fact that it was not in regular packs of War of the Spark; it was only found in the Jace, Arcane Strategist planeswalker deck, thus far fewer copies are floating about.
16. Honden of Seeing Winds
We have seen Hondens of all colors on these lists thanks to Go-Shintai of Life's Origin. Sadly, the prices have pulled back considerably since the Go-Shintai was originally spoiled, so I suggest selling any copies you have while there is still demand. We saw similar price spikes back when Sanctum of All was first spoiled and it seems like most of those who are truly devoted to building a Honden deck likely have their copies so demand is waning.
17. Laboratory Maniac
Thanks to Thassa's Oracle we have seen a lot of more competitive Commander decks utilizing cards that win the game when no library remains. While Laboratory Maniac used to be a mostly casual win condition, there are enough ways to exile one's own library now that it has become a viable win condition for any deck.
18. Coastal Piracy
Repeated card draw on an enchantment is almost always going to find a home, especially when said enchantment is blue. While blue isn't often known for creating swarms of creatures, one doesn't need a huge army to take advantage of this enchantment.
19. Merrow Commerce
Merfolk are a beloved tribe and often straddle the line between casual and competitive. This fact that over the years we've gotten multiple Merfolk that have tap abilities simply makes Commerce get better with each new Merfolk.
20. Aphetto Alchemist
This is another one of those cards that has flown below the radar for quite some time, yet its value has been above our $1.49 threshold for 5 years now. Blue doesn't have a lot of "mana ramp" and very few creatures that can untap artifacts, which often tap for multiple mana; Aphetto Alchemist is often even more than a 2+ mana ramp creature in blue.
Blue to the Bone
We've saved blue for last, and it's certainly not disappointing us so far. Join me next time for our foray into the blue cards to pick from bulk who have their demand come from non-Commander formats. Until then, happy picking!