Friday, February 1, 2013

Cash Rules Everything Around Me


Wherein our Humble Author pretends he knows jack shit about the Financial side of Magic.

So, I don't really do financial articles here, because frankly I'm not really "qualified" to do so. Meaning, I don't do Excel spreadsheets or analyze tons of card prices from all over the net to see what's "trending" right now. That said, I do keep an eye on current Standard cards likely to be valuable and I look for random old cards that are cheap that suddenly become Legacy staples and skyrocket in price overnight.

For example, I was aware that Daybreak Coronet went from a $1.00 card to a $20.00 card quite suddenly, and this is the kind of thing I'm looking to cash in on. I have some Coronets, so when the price spiked I made note to add a few to my trade binder, and if I happened to see any copies at an LGS that hadn't caught wind of the price spike, I'd pick them up.

Serra Ascendant is another example - it went from about 5 bucks to 20 bucks almost overnight, and the next day I picked up an extra copy at an LGS that was still marked at $5. But, I'm not a speculator. I don't try to predict what's going to happen, I just wait for it to happen and try to get in on the action. If a store doesn't update their pricing on singles and keep up with the market, well, that's their problem.

That said I'm not going to go buy 50 copies of a 1.00 rare that is expected to go up to 4.00 just to make a tiny little profit. For one thing I don't have a big enough Magic community in my town to be able to unload 50 copies of ANY card! For another, I'm not trying to make a living doing this shit.

I just want to have good cards in my binder to make trading with other players compelling and rewarding. I want to have a page or two of cards that are at least $20 at all times. And I want to know if some jank bargain rare that has been in my binder for years is suddenly worth $10.00 for some reason, so I don't get ripped off.

Anyway, none of that really has anything to do with what I want to talk about, which is Gatecrash and what is currently worth trading away, or trading for. My data is based solely on prices, because I'm too lazy to look elsewhere, just FYI. And take any predictions on my part with a grain of salt, because, again, I'm not a money wizard.


The top five most valuable cards in Gatecrash are:

1. Aurelia's Fury                            $30
2. Gideon, Champion of Justice      $30
3. Obzedat, Ghost Council             $25
4. Aurelia, the Warleader               $25
5. Domri Rade                               $25

Before the Prerelease, Aurelia was preordering at $15.00 but now she's jumped $10 in price to knock the $20 Duskmantle Seer off the bottom of the list. Not sure what all the buzz is around Aurelia, but her X Spell, Aurelia's Fury is definitely going to be an important card in Standard, so maybe it's a combination of that, plus hype from the prerelease where Boros seems to have exceeded most people's expectations.

The rest of the mythics have not changed from their preorder prices now that they're actually on sale. I won't even try to predict the planeswalkers, as they are still a big x-factor. Most of them start out very high, then when they fail to set any competative formats on fire, they drop off sharply.

I plan to keep any Domri Rade's I open and will aggressively trade away any and all Gideons I crack, mostly due to personal preference. I think Gideon sucks but if he holds his value I'll be happy because he'll be great trade fodder for my binder.

On the other end of the spectrum, Lord of the Void and Giant Adaphage are both $3.00 which is a GREAT deal for Mythics that are certainly EDH playables. I don't expect them to be worth investing in - neither are likely to appreciate, but on the other hand they don't have a lot of room to drop either. So if you're just looking for cool new toys for your EDH decks, both are solid picks at a great budget-friendly pricepoint.


The biggest mover in the Rare category is Boros Reckoner, which jumped a full six bucks, going from $4.00 to $10.00. Personally I think $4 made more sense, and I expect it to settle back down at around $5.00 but clearly someone knows something I don't because a six dollar jump is a big deal for a non-Mythic rare.

I traded for one at the prerelease, getting it for about a $3 value, so I feel good about that - but now I'm wondering if I should try to trade it off again, or just hang on to it and wait. Well, actually, I've already put it into my Gisela deck, so I guess it's a keeper.

Other increases of note: Crypt Ghast and Firemane Avenger, both went up by $1.00. Not surprising in the Ghast's case, as it is clearly a strong card. Even without a home in Standard, it will be a popular casual and EDH card.

Firemane Avenger suprises me a little, simply because it is available in the Boros precon deck. As a precon rare, it should drop off soon now that the set is widely available. But if it becomes a key Standard card, it may hold it's value or even rise, despite being a precon rare.

Similarly, High Preist of Pennance is holding steady at $6 despite also being a precon rare. This makes the Orzhov and Boros precon decks fairly compelling purchases. Both have playable foil rares, but it's the other rare in both cases that is the more valuable. If your going to buy one of the intro decks, I'd go with one of those two.

The Primordial cycle is very inexpensive right now. The green one is 3 bucks, and the rest are all $2.00 or less. Makes sense, as the Green one has echoes of Primeval Titan (though he's clearly less broken). EDH players will be grabbing these up right and left, so after Gatecrash has been out of print a while, these might wind up increasing in value somewhat. I wouldn't expect to profit much off the regular ones, but the foils will definitely be worth picking up if you see them. The Green one is already $10.00 in foil, and I wouldn't be surprised if it climbed to $20.00 eventually, once Gatecrash has been out of print a while.

The only card in the set to DROP in price from preorder to sale is, surprisingly, Thespian's Stage. This is destined to become an EDH staple, and so dropping from $6 to $5 was not the movement I expected to see. I'd definitely suggest snatching these up while they're cheap, especially the foils ($15 for a foil is not cheap to some, but for an EDH staple non-basic it is likely to only ever go up from here).

Finally, I wanted to mention Merciless Eviction, a card that isn't particularly valuable right now, but could potentially take off. It's definetly one of the most EDH-worthy cards in the set, outside of the Primordials. Foils are cheap, regular ones are rock bottom. I'll be snaging a few of these, mostly to play them, but I wouldn't mind having a few for trade as well.


A foil Boros Charm is $10 to $12 right now. This likely has a ton of crossover appeal right now, because Standard players seem to be favoring Boros heavily right now, and it's the best Charm in the cycle for EDH as well. Unless you really, really need it for your deck, I'd trade it ASAP. Who knows if it'll hold or not, but if Boros doesn't dominate Standard it might depriciate quite a bit.

Some other valuable uncommons:
Burning Tree Emissary (Foil) - $4
Dimir Charm (Foil) - $5
Experiment One (Foil) - $4
Ghor-Clan Rampager (Foil) - $4
Rapid Hybridization (Foil) - $4
Simic Charm (Foil) - $5
Skullcrack (Foil) - $6
Urban Evolution (Foil) - $4
Vizkopa Guildmage (Foil) - $4

There aren't really any commons that are valued above the norm. Guildgates are usually about $2.00 for foil versions, so those seem like an okay purchase. They're not as good as the original Ravnica block's common bounce lands, though, so they're unlikely to ever appreciate significantly.


Below I will list my recommendations of "trade" or "keep". Of course this is based solely off EDH, and if you play competatively in addition to EDH, this won't really apply to you.


Obzedat, Ghost Council (keep one if you like, trade additional copies)
Duskmantle Seer
Gideon, Champion of Justice
Domri Rade (unless you have a Stonebrow deck or something)
Aurelia's Fury (Keep 1 if you have a deck for it, trade the rest)
Glaring Spotlight
Frontline Medic
Boros Reckoner
High Priest of Penance
Legion Loyalist
Spark Trooper
Boros Charm (Foil)

The Guild Leaders (besides Obzedat)
Any and all dual lands (unless you're trading dual for dual)
Any Mythic under $10
Thespian's Stage
Mind Grind
Merciless Eviction
Crypt Ghast
Clan Defiance
Blind Obedience
Any Primoridals, especially if they're foil



  1. Why did Serra Ascendant jump? thanks for sharing :)

    1. I only noticed this recently when I was looking for cards for an Obzedat deck. Although I'm not sure myself my guess is the Martyr of Sands, lifegain deck in modern.

    2. I don't remember why, I just saw that it had. Most likely Soul Sisters or some variant made a splash in Modern, but I can't swear to that.

  2. Although you may not be a "financial expert" I still think this sort of article is useful if only because it offers a nice snapshot without having to sift through some store's inventory or worse, pay a subscription fee. Would not mind seeing more of these!

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I really wasn't even planning to blog this, I was doing the research for myself so I could make smart purchases the day of Gatecrashes release (I tend to go a bit overboard on new set day). When I was done, I had some free time, and thought "what the heck, might as well write it up".

      Anyway, I got some good feedback in person too, and so I hope to do this a bit more regularly. We'll see if I can make it happen.