We have known for a while it’ll be a summer stuffed with Magic releases. Wizards likes to pack a summer more full than Disney plotting phases of the MCU. There’s several sets coming, plus Secret Lairs, and more than one way to get reprints into players’ hands.
Here’s the highlights: March of the Machine is April 21st, a relatively normal set. About a month later, on May 12, we’re getting the micro-set of the Aftermath, which will have smaller boosters, no commons, and a total of 50 cards.
Six weeks after that, on June 23rd, we’re getting Universes Beyond: The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth. Previews for that have already started, and we’ll get to some of those cards in a moment. Finally, on August 4th, Commander Masters will be released.
Three of those sets are confirmed to have Commander precon decks, with likely a mix of old and new cards. Commander Masters is all reprints, while LotR has a reprint sheet. There are a whole lot of new cards and a whole lot of reprints coming down the pipeline, and if you’ve noticed some cards spiking, let’s talk about why.
We can’t have The Lord of the Rings and not have The One Ring. I approve of having serialized Rings for Humans, Dwarves, and Elves, but having a 1 of 1 collectible in a regular booster pack seems far too easy to game, or what about if you opened a damaged copy because it was rattling around in a booster pack!
The One Ring is a good-to-great Magic card, and one that’s led to this particular spike:
Mind over Matter is a card that has spiked before, and frankly, I don’t remember the combo that shot it past $100 two years ago. Four blue pips is a lot for any deck, but with The One Ring, you can instantly draw your deck. If someone tries to interrupt this process, unless Split Second is involved, you can still get your infinite draw going. Resolving
Thassa’s Oracle afterwards is more problematic, so go for the cooler Psychosis Crawler kill.
I don’t think Mind over Matter is done yet, either. We’re seeing the speculator effect here, and I think once folks actually have their copies of the precious, and can combo off in person, it’ll go to $120+. What won’t happen is none of the big streams will be playing this combo in their YouTube games, otherwise it would break $200.
Also in the previews for LotR, we’re given a look at this wonderful fella:
Tom is clearly the king of Sagas, and that’s a card we’ve needed for Commander. Urtet led to Myr spikes. Neksuar spiked wheels, way back when, and now Tom is unleashing all sorts of spikes for Sagas and Saga accessories.
We can already see this effect on the Surge foil Sagas from the Warhammer 40K decks, a subset of cards that didn’t have a huge supply to begin with. That ship has sailed, but depending on what gets reprinted in the Commander decks for this and for Commander Masters, some Sagas are going to go wild.
You’re also going to see a lot of shenanigans with removing counters from Sagas, and Tom’s ability interacts with this very favorably. Final chapter abilities mean the Saga is sacrificed if the ability has resolved and the right number of counters are on the card. You can put the third counter on, and while the ability is on the stack, do something else to remove a counter at instant speed. Boom, you will get to do the third chapter again next turn. This interaction also means Tom’s second ability will trigger, even though you didn’t lose the Saga.
This would be a straightforward exercise normally, just buy up all Sagas and things that interact with counters. The complication is that six weeks later, we get a full reprint set: Commander Masters. LotR also has a reskinned reprint sheet, with
The Great Henge showing up as the Party Tree and
Wasteland saying hello as Valley of Gorgoroth. We don’t have the list, or the stats, but expect some price changes there.
Commander Masters is all reprints, making it tricky to profitably speculate. Whatever you buy now for Tom Bombadil might show up in the main set, or in one of the four theme decks: Slivers, Enchantments, Eldrazi, and Planeswalkers.
Enchantments dovetails nicely with Tom, so I’m going to think carefully about what I’m buying right now. Wizards has shown us that they’re willing to do premium versions of an entire deck, so just sticking to premium foils might not be as safe as one would hope. Sure, they can’t reprint everything, but they’ve already announced that Commander Masters Collector Booster boxes are four packs, so the set should be pretty juiced with value.
The two creature-themed Commander Masters decks will turn heavily on the presence of premium decks. If everything is standard and nonfoil, things like the Secret Lair Cereal Ulamog will hit the stratosphere, as we can presume there will be new and powerful legendary Eldrazi. We have also seen the Foil Extended Art Slivers that were Secret Lair inclusions start to spike, as
Manaweft Sliver has done and others will likely do:
I’ve tried to give a sample of the wide range of things Wizards has shown us, but I haven’t gotten to the Dragons (Ur-Dragon is back!) or the Planeswalkers (I wouldn’t buy
The Chain Veil right now) or the legendary reprint sheet in March of the Machines! There’s so much to cover, and so little time. Hopefully, we can stay organized and on top of the biggest movements in card prices.