Last October, Wizards told us to expect a lot of cool things and reprints for Commander in the coming year.
We are getting a taste of the reprints that are coming down the road, first the Mystery Boosters, and then Secret Lairs, and now the Promo Packs for Theros: Beyond Death are going to contain a card that’s not in Standard... it’s a lot to keep up with!
First of all, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, Cardsphere puts a freeze in place the moment a card is revealed as a reprint. Our goal is to prevent you from having the floor yanked out from under you. I got a stack of these notices with the shocklands being reprinted; my The Ur-Dragon deck was raided for parts and now I need some replacements!
If 2020 is going to be a year of reprints, how should you prepare for this, as a value-minded, trade-savvy spellslinger?
Step One: Understand the Market
Expensive cards become expensive because lots of people want copies and there’s not enough in circulation. Commander players (and Cubers, and people with a pet Constructed deck, and the hardcore collectors…) tend to act like Gollum. Acquire the precious, and don’t ever let go!
Take a step back, though, and look at the price of
Sol Ring, a card that is as powerful as a Mox.
I picked the 2016 chart, but you can fill in with whatever Commander release you want: this card has been in literally every Commander preconstructed deck. It may well be that you didn’t expect Sol Ring to be a $4 card. I always forget that it’s not a bulk card at all, even though this has been printed in EIGHTEEN sets, at minimum yearly for the last six years.
That is a ton of Sol Rings, with new supply entering the market all the time with Commander releases and the promos being given out at CommandFests.
Sol Ring from Revised shows no sign of a yearly injection. You might expect a lot of hills and valleys, as supply rises and falls, but if you’ve got the Revised copy, you’re pretty safe.If you have a card that gets reprinted and it’s one of the top cards on EDHREC, you’re not going to lose much, if anything.
Step Two: Know When To Climb On
Let’s look at a card that exemplifies Commander:
This was printed in Ravnica, 2005, and then reprinted in 2011 as a Judge Foil, and then 2013 in Modern Masters, and most recently in Battlebond in 2018.
The price graph shows that: There are dips in price every time it got printed... but because it is the most awesome card in Superfriends, or +1/+1 counters, or tokens, or whatever theme you’re doing, people snapped up copies and the price rose again before too long.
Doubling Season has recovered every single time, and most recently, the price dip only lasted a few months. Seems that when you announce 36 new planeswalkers in War of the Spark, people want to double them up!
The next level, though, is buying when the card is at its lowest point. If you’d picked up copies of this at the recent low point of $40, you’re already up $10 in value. Modern Masters sets were famous for this price trajectory, of the initial dip and then the rise back to its previous level as people picked up cheap copies and could build decks.
I would take bets that there will be some sort of fetchland reprint in 2020. Commander players use these a whole lot, even though it’s not always needed. Your choices for lands, even in five colors, are wide enough that fetches aren’t a requirement, but it sure does feel nice to go get exactly the land you need.
When that reprint comes, you’ll do well to get as many copies as you can. Modern and Legacy need lots of copies, even if Legacy is less-supported Modern will bounce back from the Pioneer craze. It’ll be difficult to figure out the lowest point on a card, but if it’s at least 30% cheaper than it was before the reprint, I’d be comfortable getting in.
Step Three: Get Lucky
Oracle of Mul Daya hasn’t been reprinted yet.
This is a card that needs to get reprinted for Commander players who need eight lands in play on turn four, and you know who you are.
I don’t think there’s some master plan about why it hasn’t ever gotten printed in the last eleven years: Other things have simply taken its place. I’m sure that it was on lists for promos and Masters sets and whatnot, but sometimes, these cards fall through the cracks.
Some of your cards will get this treatment. Not because they are special, but because they literally can’t reprint everything.
Step Four: Don’t Panic
Wizards is putting 20 non-Standard cards into the mix for the Theros: Beyond Death promo packs, and one of them is casual all-star
The addition was announced on January 15, and we haven’t yet gotten the cards in hand. The card itself hasn’t lost any value yet, and I wouldn’t expect it to take too much of a hit in the next three months, which is roughly the time period that the promo packs are being opened. Even with that timeframe, it’s one out of 121 cards, and only in the promo packs, which aren’t exactly common anyway.
At the end of that three months, though, when supply is at its peak, you can be sure I’ll look up as many $2 copies as I can. I’d even be interested at $3, because the card is that popular in Commander.
One more thing, everyone: We’re about to hit a glut of supply on the new lands. I’m going to be trading for them at every paper draft, and since each Collector Booster has TWO foil Nyx lands, everyone who picked up those boxes early will be looking to sell out immediately. It makes sense to me: If I can make $10 per pack by selling the foil Nyx lands, that lowers the cost of Collector Booster packs significantly.
It doesn’t matter if you personally like these lands or not, people are hot to get them and you should plan accordingly.