Disclaimer: This is not investment or financial advice. This is just hobby, casual, entertaining banter. Do not go and empty your 401k or drop your rent money to buy magic cards. Consult a real financial expert when you are messing around with more than your "fun" money.

Today's Pick

You should consider adding copies of Crypt Rats to your want list on Cardsphere. I know, wasting your hard earned money on commons is not something Rudy would agree with, and I get that, but hear me out and give me a chance to change your mind.

I have been making lowball offers for these on Cardsphere and still picking them up for about $1.50 a copy. And hey, the nice thing about Cardsphere is you do not have to offer full price, and for commons few people do. Almost nobody, except for me, has Crypt Rats even listed as a want on Cardsphere right now. I am only offering around 50% because I already picked up extra copies when they were cheaper. I think I have around 40-50 now total.

According to MTGgoldfish.com, the price of Crypt Rats has skyrocketed up from under a buck to around $3.00. Of course, also keep an eye out to pick these up in trade or buy from your local game store. If you are into Pauper get on Cardsphere and offer 60-70% value, thus overcutting my lowball offers. Most people will be happy to unload some commons in your direction and Crypt Rats will not get any cheaper anytime soon. (Pro Tip: If you just want to play with a lower value card and you are buying on Cardsphere, try offering to buy moderate to heavy played copies. There is an automatic nice discount even if you offer 100%, and instead of worrying that what you are getting might not be up to your NM standards, you can be happy that there might be upside since someone with an SP copy may have just wanted to out what they have on hand.)


What's driving the price on Crypt Rats?

Pauper. Crypt Rats are one of the few board sweepers in the format. In a format that is limited to all commons there's no Wrath of God, no Damnation, and not even a humble Pyroclasm. As far as board sweepers in Pauper go that will do more than kill a 1/1, the main options are basically Crypt Rats and Pestilence. There are also other more strained options like Rolling Thunder, if you have the mana, or Swirling Sandstorm, if you can get seven cards into your graveyard, or Martyr of Ashes if your mono red.

There is some access to creature recursion in Pauper as well. So being able to have a board sweeper on a body is not irrelevant. As far as decks go, Crypt Rats are played in a lot of mono black lists and in other various lists that have black in them.

How does the supply look?

Crypt Rats were printed at uncommon in Seventh Edition, released in 2001, and at common in Visions, released in 1997. There is no other current supply.

What's the reprint risk?

It's no accident that Crypt Rats have not been reprinted in over fifteen years. Having a walking wrath effect that can very reasonably kill creatures larger than 2/2s is something that modern Magic design does not want at the common/uncommon slot. Crypt Rats simply do not fit in standard or even supplemental products targeted to new players.

What about Masters reprints?

Beyond the current philosophy of design at Wizards of the Coast, a draft format with a wrath effect at common or uncommon is pretty warped by most people's standards. Because of what Crypt Rats would do to a draft format, the odds are extremely low that Crypt Rats would be included. Masters sets are sold with draft potential in mind and Crypt Rats are not healthy for draft unless shifted to rare. There are more important cards that need reprinting in more relevant formats as far as the rare slot goes in masters sets. Bottom line, I am telling you now, Crypt Rats will not be in a Masters set anytime soon.

What about supplemental products?

This could happen, but not this year. The most likely place for Crypt Rats to show up would be in a Commander product. Doing so dodges warping a draft environment or the card making its way into standard. Crypt Rats are sort of fringe played in Commander (included in 911 decks on EDHREC.com). So if you pick up some Crypt Rats and hear rumor of a Commander rats deck coming down the pike, then it might be time to unload them before picking them up again after the price plummets. This will not happen, however, in 2018. Wizards cannot react to market items at the last minute.

It takes planning, timing, and logistics to launch any magic product, and Crypt Rats just spiked up over a dollar recently. Even if the price goes up to $5.00, and it will if there is no reprint this year, there just is not enough time for Wizards to include the Crypt Rats in any supplemental products during 2018. Rats generally, and Crypt Rats in particular, are just too fringe in the Commander, or any other Magic format, to be worthy of inclusion in any supplemental product unless the price spikes up a fair bit, which it will, but probably not that fast.

So, when will a reprint happen?

Maybe next year at the soonest. Wizards will not stop all the gears turning on any product just to help ease the Crypt Rats price point, until Crypt Rats rises enough to be a free value grab for Wizards. While they do not want to say they pay attention to the secondary market, they have no choice. When they release a supplemental product for $35 they want the goodies inside to be worth more than that, since few people will spend $35 on a product that only has $30 of value included. They do not want to include too many valuable things, since reprints are assets that they need to use in lots of products, so they have to carefully manage how much of the reprint-resource they use up.

I do not think Pauper is important enough right now for anyone inside Wizards to really care about Crypt Rats in any Pauper context. However, when the time comes, Wizards will throw Crypt Rats into some product to help get the value of that product up over the value point that they need, and since Crypt Rats are not relevant in any other formats they do not have to worry about having "wasted" a relevant Modern or Legacy card, that could have been used to juice the value in a masters set.

Other Risks

The other risk for Crypt Rats is that Pauper fades away, and so too does the value of Crypt Rats. This is not going to happen. There are too many important voices, and too large a number of players for Pauper to just fade away. In fact, I expect Pauper to have either slow and steady growth going forward, or more explosive growth if Wizards ever sanctions the format.

How likely is $10.00 Crypt Rats before a reprint? I'm going to say Very. I doubt I will be this confident on most things, but this one is just obvious if you really do your homework and dig into the fundamentals. Also I think $5.00 is conservative. I think this card could even get up to $7.00 if we get a couple of years down the road with no reprint, and if Wizards is slow to find some random product to plug Crypt Rats into $10.00 is not out of the question. Even if Wizards plugs a reprint next year, $5.00 should be reasonable by the end of this year or early next year.


If you're going to play Pauper get yourself a playset of Crypt Rats right away. If your going to invest, Crypt Rats are a no brainer if you can get in at $1.50 - $2.00. Obviously, and as always, get in as cheap as you can.

A lot of people on Cardsphere could care less about commons, so again, if you're a Pauper player who doesn't have a playset of Crypt Rats yet, make a good offer and get yourself a set right now. If you just want them to play with, do not feel bad about picking up heavily played copies at a nice discount. If you offer 90%-100% often cards start showing up in the mail. If you are looking to invest be sure, if possible, that you buy in quantities of four. When you go to offload these, whether you trade them, sell them on Cardsphere, or especially if you use one of the other platforms that will really eat into you with costs, it is important to move a playset all at once. If you pick up a card for $2.00 and it goes to $5.00 you have not made much after shipping and fees. However, if you are moving these together as playsets, then there is reasonable profit to be made.

Even if you do not care about my thoughts on Crypt Rats, consider this: Pauper is a sweet format, and with Cardsphere you can probably trade your want into a pauper deck at 60% of the normal cost. A lot of Pauper decks price in around $60. So for around $35 you could try out the format. I realize I am an amatuer goof, but hey when people like Todd Stevens and LSV say Pauper is a sweet format that should count for at least something.

Closing Thoughts

I realize this is not a very sexy pick, but mtg finance is not always about making the most sexy or exciting call, it's about trying to find something with low downside risk and high upside potential. At the same time I am just an amateur, and I do this for fun. I do not need to make a ton of money on this. For this reason I really enjoy cheap speculative targets. Low risk, low stress, and some nice upside. Obviously we do not want to go too cheap because of transaction costs and shipping, but I like looking for something I can get into for around $30-$80 and hopefully double up on or better is my cup of tea. However, that does not mean that I am totally unwilling to go for bigger items. Good luck and watch out for next time when I hit you with some even more exciting, and expensive prime janky investment targets.

/Tom50 on Cardsphere


**P.S. If you're interested in hearing more Pauper related nonsense you can also hear me ramble about decks and argue with myself about how awesome Pauper is on Youtube. My channel is The Pauper Metagame.

I also occasionally talk about finance every once and while as well.**