Top Trades: June 24-July 1

Harvey McGuinness • July 4, 2024

Welcome back, everyone! It's that time of the week, when we take a look through the top movers and shakers over here at Cardsphere and see what the most traded cards of the past week have been. So, what's been swapped around the most this week? Let's find out.

Honorable Mention - Vexing Bauble

Number of Trades: 22 --- Number of Cards Traded: 25

First off, our honorable mention of the week: Vexing Bauble. It seems we've broken out of our trend of having the prior week's most traded card serve as the next week's honorable mention, as Vexing Bauble was crowned #3 last week. So, what does the card do?

For one generic mana of any color, you get an artifact that shuts off all free spells. Try as your opponents might, but any spell cast without paying mana will be countered so long as Vexing Bauble is on the field. Additionally, should you ever want to cast a free spell (or maybe make a deal with an opponent to interact with a free spell against a shared threat when you can't), the Bauble comes with a failsafe. Simply pay one mana, tap it, and sacrifice it to draw a card. Ta-da! You've gotten a card in hand and unlocked the game.

#5 - Invert Polarity

Number of Trades: 18 --- Number of Cards Traded: 18

Alright, on to the list. Coming it at number five on our list is Invert Polarity, a wacky sometimes-steal, sometimes-counterspell that's many an Izzet mage's dream.

At the cost of three mana - double blue and one red - Invert Polarity reads "Choose target spell, then flip a coin. If you win the flip, gain control of that spell and you may choose new targets for it. If you lose the flip, counter target spell." So, unlike most cards that have "flip a coin" in their text, there really isn't a downside for Invert Polarity. Sure, sometimes you'll have a full board and an opponent will cast a board wipe, a situation where gaining control doesn't really do much for you, but that's the worst-case on a card with a million and one use cases. Scared of a Cylconic Rift? Steal or counter, either one will do you well. What about an Emrakul, the World Anew? Well, while your opponent is still stealing your creatures regardless of the flip, at least you can either get rid of the Emrakul on the stack or steal it for yourself. Not too shabby.

#4 - Kozilek's Command

Number of Trades: 18 --- Number of Cards Traded: 19

Next up on our list is Kozilek's Command, the first colorless installment in Magic's long-running Command cycle (boy oh boy, do I miss when Cryptic Command was a more common tournament sight).

One of my favorite things about Kozilek's Command is that it's a flashy colorless spell that scales as the game goes on. Colorless mana is often associated with making a lot of it - *cough* Sol Ring *cough - and Kozilek's Command is an excellent way to put that excess mana to use. For two colorless and X generic mana, this Eldrazi-subtyped kindred instant lets you pick two from among creating X Eldrazi Spawn creature tokens, scrying X then drawing a card, exiling a creature with mana value X or less, and exiling up to X cards from among graveyards. Needless to say, these are all good options, which makes the flexibility of being a modal spell all the more worthwhile here.

It may not make the most sense to spend boatloads of mana just to bank that much mana, minus two, for a later turn, as the first mode allows. But then you remember that this isn't just a mana bank, it's also blockers at instant speed. Plus, in any sort of go-wide or Eldrazi-typal strategy, it's not hard to imagine these creatures getting bigger very quickly. Just look at the new Kozilek, the Broken Reality. Now that's a lot of damage. As for scrying and drawing a card, just ask good ol' Cryptic Command how useful a cantrip effect can be. "Draw a card" just might be the three strongest words in Magic.

The next two abilities are nothing to scoff at, either. Exiling a key threat is always good, especially at instant speed. Additionally, given that X doesn't have to exactly match the target's mana value (only be greater than or equal to it), this mode will always be live even when you want to go overboard. Want to make eleven Spawn tokens but only have a two-drop to exile? No matter, Kozilek's Command has got you covered.

The last option on Kozilek's Command, while likely not the most omnipresent selection across your games, is certainly a valuable option to have nonetheless. Reanimator is a real threat in Modern and beyond, so why not take out those pesky graveyard-based threats at a moment's notice?

#3 - Refurbished Familiar

Number of Trades: 18 --- Number of Cards Traded: 29

I might not know much about Pauper, but I do know this: affinity is a strong mechanic (as are artifact synergies in general; just ask the long-banned Atog or the pre-banned Cranial Ram). So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Refurbished Familiar, an artifact creature with affinity that can cost as little as one black mana, is a very strong card. So what does it do, beyond give Frogmite a run for its money?

For three generic and a black, Refurbished Familiar is a 2/1 artifact creature with affinity for artifacts, flying, and "When Refurbished Familiar enters the battlefield, each opponent discards a card. For each opponent who can't, you draw a card." Immediately, Refurbished Familiar stands out as a creature that just about any black artifact-synergy deck is going to have at least some interest in, as paying one mana for a 2/1 flyer is already good. But that's not all.

Zoom out to Modern, and one of the most popular decks there is Scam, or some variant of a deck which has the core of Grief and any number of a dozen Not Dead After All effects (cards which allow a creature to immediately return to the battlefield the next time it dies). Well, Refurbished Familiar might not have all the immediate synergies as Grief does in the modern Scam shell, but it does have a very powerful enter-the-battlefield trigger, which combos pretty well with Pauper's selection of pseudo-reanimates. All to say, be alert for Refurbished Familiar. You might be facing that enters trigger many times over.

#2 - Glimpse the Impossible

Number of Trades: 20 --- Number of Cards Traded: 34

Speaking of powerful commons, lets chat about Glimpse the Impossible, a breakout card that has drawn attention thanks to its success in the new Ruby Storm deck made possible by cards like Ral, Monsoon Mage and Ruby Medallion.

For two generic and one red, Glimpse the Impossible is a sorcery which exiles the top three cards of your library and lets you play them until end of turn. Then, at the end of your turn, for each card exiled this way which is still in exile, you put that card into your graveyard and create an Eldrazi Spawn token. So, what to make of this?

First things first, some context behind Ruby Storm. This deck makes use of cost reducers in order to go increasingly mana-positive on cards like Desperate Ritual and Manamorphose, chaining together many instants and sorceries until eventually the storm count is high enough that Grapeshot becomes lethal. Glimpse the Impossible fits into this two ways: first, by giving you access to more cards on your combo turn (hopefully hitting some combination of rituals and impulse draw, such as Reckless Impulse); and second, by providing you with mana and potential blockers for your next turn if the combo turn stalls out early.

Altogether, Glimpse the Impossible is a pretty interesting card which will likely float around competitive tables for the near future, but after watching the Pro Tour this past week it appears that Ruby Storm may be trailing off a bit. Keep an eye on this one - who knows, maybe Ruby Storm has more staying power than I think.

#1 - Basking Broodscale

Number of Trades: 21 --- Number of Cards Traded: 38

Finally, we come to our most traded card of the week and a combo favorite of mine, Basking Broodscale. Remember how with every time I talked about Evolution Witness these past few weeks, I kept coming back to how people love +1/+1 counter synergies? Well Basking Broodscale here takes those synergies and turns it up to eleven, offering up the option of an infinite mana combo if you are so inclined. But first, what does this little Lizard actually do on its own?

Coming in at one generic and one green for a 2/2 Eldrazi Lizard (boy does the casual player in me love that typeline) with devoid, Basking Broodscale reads "Pay one generic and one green: Adapt 1" and "Whenever one or more +1/+1 counters are put on Basking Broodscale, you may create a 0/1 Eldrazi Spawn creature token with 'Sacrifice this creature: Add one colorless.'"

Now, as a cEDH player, my mind immediately wanders down the combo lane to see how easily I can break this card, and the first thing that comes to mind is Blade of the Bloodchief. In short, what we're looking for is a card that puts +1/+1 counters on things whenever a creature dies, and Blade of the Bloodchief does exactly that. This means that, once we have our first trigger, we can readily make Basking Broodscale an infinitely large creature that generates infinite colorless mana. Pretty cool for a common, right?

This isn't to say Basking Broodscale is only a combo card. Sure, I'll be using it that way, but there are plenty of other options, too. Most green Commander decks want all the mana they can get, even if it's colorless, so running Basking Broodscale as a pseudo-mana dork in +1/+1 counter decks seems like a natural extension of that logic. Alternatively, if you aren't going to be sacrificing your Eldrazi Spawn, don't forget that they're creatures, too. Make them bigger a la Craterhoof Behemoth or use them to chump block turn after turn. The choice is yours.

Wrap Up

Well, we're now up to week three of Top Trades being all Modern Horizons 3 cards, showing just how impactful that set has been across formats. Modern, Pauper, Commander in all its forms - everything seems to want a piece of this set. What stood out the most this week, however, is just how powerful the commons from premium sets like this one can be. We've seen good rares, mythics, and even uncommons on our lists before, but this week the majority of our picks - most traded card included - are all from the common slot. So, keep your eye on your bulk - it just might be the next breakout card.