Here we are, with a new set about to drop and once again, I’m having to divide my attention between the things I want to buy for myself and my decks, and the things I’m buying in order to sell later at a higher price.
The rule for the first category is to be as patient as I can, as explained by the second rule: It takes about six months, or roughly two major sets, for cards to come down to their lowest price. It hurts to know that if I’m adding a new and sweet card to a deck, I’m going to be spending more than I need to.
For example, on September 12, I bought a Foil Extended Art
Defiler of Vigor, for my
Zaxara, the Exemplary deck. Defiler does two good things, both letting me spend life in place of mana and increasing my Hydras’ number of counters with every spell. That Defiler cost me about $15, let’s see where it is now.
Ouch, nine bucks. That’s not too bad, but it stings all the more to know that I’m probably going to take the card out soon, as it hasn’t lived up to my hopes in Commander. When I buy cards for personal use, that’s the risk I’m taking. I accept it, I let the desire for the new toy cost me more than I would otherwise spend.
My purchases for later resale, though, that’s a different matter. I want my buy-in to be as low as possible, so that my profit may be more easily realized. So if I’m waiting two sets, that leaves three major groups of cards: Double Masters 2022, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, and Streets of New Capenna.
Some caveats: In this era of Secret Lair Drops, of a dozen Commander decks a year, I need to be aware that the reprint risk has never been higher. That’s just the presumed risk underpinning all of this. No help for it, no predicting it, and nothing to do but diversify in the face of it. Foils with special frames are less volatile in the face of reprints, but there’s no guarantees here.
Ideally, I’m looking for cards with high EDHREC numbers, not a huge cost, and hopefully some appeal in formats outside of Standard. I’ve learned to avoid Standard-based specs, just because paper play isn’t all the way back yet.
Streets of New Capenna
An Offer You Can’t Refuse Promo - 96k decks, $7.50 foil - The most popular card in the set by a fair margin, the promo version is a unique look and the one I want to have in stock when this goes up by $5. One mana hard counters are good cards!
Rumor Gatherer Promo - 26k decks, $1.50 - It’s a surprisingly popular card, considering how many ways there are to draw a card every time you get a creature, but having the scry ability is also very good too.
Halo Fountain - 19k decks, borderless foil $9 - Alternate win conditions are a popular thing in Commander, and cheap borderless mythics always end up on my radar. I also appreciate how this works with one or two creatures. One good showing on a Commander stream and this will double in price.
Bootleggers’ Stash - 19k decks, Borderless foil $10 - This started out at more than $50, and given how Treasures are all over the place, there’s going to be some ridiculous combo. I fully expect nonfoil reprints in some Commander decks, so be ready with these special foils.
Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate
One thing to note about CLB cards is that the market does not like these showcase foils. Almost across the board, showcase foils are notably cheaper, in foil and in nonfoil. There may come a time when the regulars are so expensive that they drag the showcase versions up, but mostly, the Monster Manual frame is unpopular.
Decanter of Endless Water - 46k decks, $3 foil, but has fifty cent showcase foil - People love drawing lots of cards and they really don’t like having to discard to hand size. CLB was under-opened, but this is one of the most immediately popular cards. Pick up some copies while they are cheap.
Jaheira, Friend of the Forest - 20k decks, $2.50 foil - Jaheira is not a popular Commander, but does allow for all sorts of good things to happen. Every Treasure, Clue, and Blood token is now a Mox Emerald, on top of token creatures helping big mana costs. I’m looking forward to the next infinite combo with this card.
Wrathful Red Dragon - 14k decks, $3 FEA - Dragon decks got a lot of toys this past year, and Wrathy Boi is one of the best. It’s a very strong candidate to be an auto-include, turning damage-based removal or sweepers into a losing proposition.
Double Masters 2022
As a reprint set, the numbers for inclusion are a lot higher, but this is the perfect time to buy low for all the decks that could use a given card.
Smothering Tithe - 249k decks, $45 borderless foil
The chart tells the tale: the card started out over $100, and has trickled downward to its current price, which in a special frame and in foil, is a very safe bet to regain at least $20 in value, depending on how long they wait to reprint the card. Another reprint is inevitable, only question is when.
Dockside Extortionist - 182k decks, borderless foil $65 - Similar thinking applies here. It’s at about half what it was opening day, super popular card, now a mythic whose price should start trending upwards soon.
Oracle of Mul Daya - 56k decks, borderless foil $7 - The first major reprint of this card, and it’s fallen hard. It remains a ramp strategy all on its own, and will always merit removal. I have picked up a few of these and am very likely to buy more.
I want to highlight two cards as things I’m avoiding: The Triomes from SNC are in line with the Ikoria versions, and so I don’t think there’s much profit to be gained there. I’m also certain that there will be a ten-card matched set Secret Lair for the full set, much like we got for the shocklands.
I’m also staying away from
Chaos Warp from Double Masters 2022, mainly because there’s already a special version from the Mystical Archive and it’s going to take a long time to climb back up.