Imagine this: in front of you is a shoebox full of commons you haven't sorted through in years. Maybe a friend of yours asked you to help them look through their old cards, or maybe a new player's trying to figure out what kind of deck they can build with their collection. Maybe this box is tucked away somewhere in your house or apartment, just waiting to be cracked open full of now-valuable cards. I've certainly done my fair share of spelunking for older commons that suddenly became valuable. Scrap Recycler comes to mind immediately.
It's hard to keep track of values for thousands of Yu-Gi-Oh cards, so it's easy to miss a high-value common sorting through a box of jank. This week I'm here to give you a shopping list: twenty commons, all from sets that received mass circulation that are worth digging for.
There's no Duel Terminal Preview cards, weird promos, or Tournament Pack gems here. This is purely stuff that may be lurking under your bed as you read this.
So let's make you some money.
No discussion about valuable commons would be complete without at least a glancing mention of Upstart Goblin. Depending on the condition and set, you'll find Upstart Goblin ranging from $1 all the way up to $6, with the Retro Pack 1 version typically being the most valuable. It's a former competitive staple and it's still not a bad pick in today's game, even though end of match procedures have changed how competitive players feel about it. Giving your opponent 1000 Life Points and potentially opening yourself up to Droll & Lock Bird can backfire these days, but Upstart Goblin still held value.
Melffy have driven up demand for Rescue Cat, and it's now settled between $3 and $4 for its original common printing. Ultra Rares from Duelist Saga are nearly twice that, so a frugal Melffy player might consider picking up the Flaming Eternity version.
I don't think there's a single card in the game that's managed to have so many common printings while remaining above $3. Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands easily among the best Normal Summons in any Ritual strategy, and that title hasn't really been disputed for over a decade. This card debuted in Invasion of Chaos as a short print, and since then its common printings have almost all been short prints. The Super Rare from Hidden Summonersis probably the most accessible version in circulation today, but it's just as valuable as its common counterparts.
There've been several occasions where Appointer of the Red Lotus suddenly appeared in Side and Main Decks in big Top Cuts. It has exactly two printings, including an original print in Stardust Overdrive, and at about $4 to $5 per copy it's worth looking through your bulk commons to see if you stashed any away. Appointer was totally overlooked upon release, so there are probably thousands of copies sitting in long-term players' collections.
Skill Drain another ridiculously over-printed card that somehow manages to stay at a solid price point. At around $5 for the Dark Crisis base Rare it's actually cheaper to pick up the original printing from way back at almost the beginning of the game instead of its more recent reprints. Skill Drain previous common print was a while ago in 2008's Gold Series, and since then it's really only seen mass printings in draft play boosters and OTS support packs. There's a lot of printings of this thing, but very few of them were ever in wide circulation.
Legendary Collection 5D's is a gold mine of valuable commons thanks in large part to the set's alarming number of short prints. Avenging Knight Parshath is fairly valuable in all of its forms, even though its only real appeal is to collectors.
Gatling Dragon is just a few cards down from this one, summoned with Metamorphosis in Goat Format, so naturally Metamorphosis itself is on this list too. Both of its common printings are valuable at around $5, though the real prize is the Champion Pack 1 Super Rare worth several hundred dollars.
By now you've probably seen how Smoke Grenade of the Thief is leveraged in Infernobles. At $6 to $10 a copy the price of Smoke Grenade of the Thief varies widely based on condition, but it'll probably continue to climb if Infernobles find competitive success.
Droll & Lock Bird
The recent common reprint of Droll & Lock Bird in Structure Deck: Order of the Spellcasters drastically reduced the price of a playset, but that doesn't mean it's cheap. Droll & Lock Bird is a must-have for long-term competitive players and I'm sure we'll be picking copies of it out of old collections years from now.
You won't be surprised to find out that Phantom Knights' Fog Blade spiked in price with the return of The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche on the latest banlist. At around $7 it's definitely a great find, although Legendary Hero Decks is two years old. I wouldn't expect to stumble across Phantom Knights' Fog Blade in an old collection quite yet, but you might find it in the binder of a player who forgot they even bought Legendary Hero Decks.
This is a great example of what happens when two separate audiences are chasing the same card. Gatling Dragon a worthy collector's pick from Legendary Collection 4: Joey's World, but it's also relevant in Goat Format. Gatling Dragon a rare form of removal attached to a Fusion Monster, and as noted earlier, it's available to Goat Format players through Metamorphosis.
Creation Resonator an overall solid Tuner for decks that are frequently summoning high-level Synchros, and it benefits from all the new Resonator support released over the years. I can imagine it cruising past the $10 mark if more Resonator support is revealed at some point. Heck, with such limited supply even just a small buyout could get it there.
No, this isn't Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon. This is Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon: the cover card from Structure Deck: Dragon's Roar and an ancient piece of retro support for Red-Eyes Black Dragon. This one's all about the nostalgia, and from a seller's perspective finding the common is actually preferable to the Ultra Rare. It's hard to find an original printing that isn't damaged, but you can easily find commons in excellent condition.
Maxx "C" might be Forbidden today, but that could very well change in the future. Currently it's roughly $6, but Maxx "C" is a must-play staple at any amount. Expect that price to change very quickly should it ever return to tournaments in the TCG.
Believe it or not, Rainbow Neos is actually seeing a bit of play in Mekk-Knight Crystal Beast builds. It hit the board during a stream by Team APS a few weeks ago, shuffled the field into the deck, and attacked for a devastating 4500 damage. Is it more of a casually-oriented tech pick? Sure, but it's super fun to see it in action thanks to Predaplant Verte Anaconda. Don't miss out on other versions of this card: the common might be $7, but the market price for the Secret Rare is $45.
Ancient Gear Fortress is somehow the most expensive card in the Ancient Gear deck despite being a common. That said, at around $8 it's still not the most expensive card from a Structure Deck on this list.
Cyber Harpie Lady the first common on this list to hit the $10 mark. It's not particularly strong by itself, but it's an alternative to Harpie Lady 1 that comes with a bit more ATK by default. Some Harpie players are going to see it as a must-play in the deck, and as a result it's one of the game's most expensive commons.
Once again Legendary Collection 4: Joey's World proves that nostalgia sells, and Gate Guardian is no exception. At $11 it's exclusively pursued by collectors and nostalgists, although interestingly the original print is only about three times the price.
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
Surprised? Probably not. Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring a mainstay competitive pick that floats around $12 with no signs of dropping. It'll likely continue to be a top tech choice for years to come, and it's an excellent reason to pick up Structure Deck: Soulburner if you spot it in the wild.
Power Tool Dragon might be the single most expensive common in mass circulation, and it's yet another Synchro short print from Legendary Collection 5D's. It typically sells for around $15-16 a copy, which is about $10 less than the Secret Rare from the 2009 Collector Tin and its original print in Raging Battle. The Ghost Rare version is nearly $100, fueled by a desire to search Equip Spells in Infernobles.
You should also keep an eye out for cards from the Toys "R" Us promotions, any Duel Terminal cards, and Tournament Packs. Those cards are significantly more rare than the ones I've listed above, but they're hugely valuable as collector's items. I avoided listing them here because the vast majority of collections won't have a single card from any of those sets. In fact, if I did list them here you'd see cards from the Duel Terminal Preview take up nearly every spot in this article.
There are lots of great commons out there with lingering value that's continued to build long after they were first printed! Keep these twenty cards in mind and you'll be digging up extra value the next time you're looking through a pile of commons.
Until next time then