We're just days away from the official release date for Commander Legends, and it's time to plan our buying decisions for Magic's first ever Commander-centric set.
Unlike most Magic sets, where card prices fluctuate based on format legality and changes in the competitive metagame, Commander Legends should have a remarkably safe and stable future. None of these cards are ever going to rotate out of Commander, and casual metagames never really change all that much. While I'm sure that a few of the Commander Legends cards we now think of as bulk will spike the next time WotC decides to print more "Pirates Matter" cards or whatever, the Commander Legends cards that are popular now are likely to remain popular for years to come. This level of stability doesn't even happen for Masters sets, which are subject to the whims of the Modern metagame. As a result, Commander Legends is one of the safest buying targets we've had in a long time.
But what cards should you target, and when? That's the purpose of this week's article.
First things first, I'm going to wrap up my Commander Legends financial set review with the 29 rares that we haven't had a chance to discuss yet. If you missed the first two parts of my financial set review, covering heavy hitters like Jeweled Lotus, Mana Drain, and Hullbreacher, you can find those links right here:
After covering the remaining rares, it'll be time for a quick recap of the set as a whole. I'll talk about which cards are rising, which cards are falling, and which are worth picking up on release weekend. Then we'll examine the Collector Boosters and etched foils, including an investigation into their likely price futures. By the end of this article, you should have a good idea of where the value is in Commander Legends, as well as the best time to pick up the hot new cards that I know you're itching to add to your collection.
Excited? Me too! Let's start by finishing that set review, and we've got a doozy of a format staple to talk about first:
Kodama of the East Tree is quite good. Not only is this one of the most powerful green Commanders I've seen in a while, it's a solid main deck inclusion in Stompy, Reanimator, Ramp, and Tokens strategies. Kodama doesn't say "non-land permanent," so you can use this to do some pretty absurd stuff with ramp spells, too. So far, Kodama seems to be pretty stable in the $4-$5 range. I don't anticipate too much movement in either direction over the next few months, either. It's a totally reasonable card to pick up right now, or you can wait a few weeks if you'd prefer. I don't think it'll break out, nor will it collapse. It's just a solid card available at a solid price.
Livio, Oathsworn Sentinel is kind of sweet. Not only can it save your creatures from a board wipe, but you can play some politics with your opponents as well. It's solid in a white deck with a bunch of wrath effects, and it's also quite good in blink-based strategies.
My issue with Livio is that I really don't want to play this card unless it's my Commander. If I can't guarantee Livio's safe return from the command zone, this card is basically just a much riskier Roon of the Hidden Realm. I do think Livio will see play, but it won't be widespread enough to keep it over the $1-$2 range. Feel free to grab a copy now if you want it, but there's no rush to buy in.
The competitive part of my brain wants to just shout "BUT THIS IS A WIN-MORE CARD!" at Eligeth, Crossroads Augur, even though I know that such things don't matter that much in the world of Commander. The point is that Eligeth is sweet, and people are going to want to turn their Serum Visions into Ancestral Recalls. I can't really blame them, either.
Even still, six mana is a lot. Eligeth will see some play, and should be worth a buck or two, but this card is too expensive to be a future format staple.
I don't want to ignore a four-mana card that lets you become the monarch, and I expect Emberwilde Captain to have its fans, but this is a pretty niche creature that won't see much play out of dedicated monarch or Pirate decks. Emberwilde Captain's power level is also a bit low. Future bulk rare.
Magus of the Order isn't very good. You have to pay four mana, wait a turn, pay another mana, and then sacrifice your Magus of the Order and another creature in order to tutor up a Craterhoof Behemoth or whatever. There are better ways to do this. Future bulk rare.
Keeper of the Accord is quite powerful, and I'm going to consider it for every heavy white deck I have. It only has to survive for one or two trips around the board to put you back near the top of the pack in terms of resource development, which is all you can really ask for in a four-drop. It might lag a bit in popularity because it's no good if you're ahead and it costs too much to help you with any truly abysmal draws, but token makers are always going to draw enough interest to keep Keeper of the Accord in at least moderately high demand.
Price-wise, it's at $4.50 and trending down. I don't think it drops below $2-$3, though, and long-term this has the look of an $8-$10 card unless it's reprinted soon. I'm definitely going to pick up a few when the set hits peak supply.
Laboratory Drudge seems perfectly mediocre to me. I don't think I'd hate having this in a dredge or "graveyards matter" deck, but a four mana non-threat that forces you to jump through hoops to draw a card or two seems behind the curve to me. It's one mana too expensive to make the cut in most of my decks. Future bulk rare.
I'll always love Sengir, the Dark Baron for its cool old-school flavor, but the power level just isn't there for me. Six mana is so much, and the Dark Baron doesn't do anything except get kind of large until another player dies—not exactly the most common occurrence. Sengir is a fine card that will win its share of games, I guess, but I can't see demand getting high enough to keep this card out of bulk rare range.
Krark the Thumbless
Krark the Thumbless is awesome, and it wasn't much of a shock to see a bunch of coin flip cards spike over the past few weeks after this card was first previewed. For instance, here's what the price chart looks like for Krark's Thumb right now:
A lot of these spikes should remain fairly steady for the next month or so, as Commander Legends hits shelves and more people decide to buy cards to pair with Krark. My only worry about Krark himself is that it's not actually a better coin flip commander than Okaun, Eye of Chaos and Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom, both of which are currently available for fifty cents or less despite the relative scarcity of Battlebond cards. My guess is that Krark ends up being a fifty-cent card as well, and I don't want to touch him at his current $3 price tag.
The ship has pretty well sailed on all the coin flip cards—the time to speculate on those was a few weeks ago, when Krark was first revealed—but I don't hate nabbing foil copies of the Battlebond coin flip Commander duo right now. Their price tags haven't budged since the summer, and people who open Krark might choose to build Zndrsplt/Okaun decks instead. After all, Krark is still good in those decks even when he's not your Commander.
People are sleeping pretty soundly on Amphin Mutineer. I've seen very little discussion of this guy, but for four mana you get a 3/3 and you get to permanently turn the best opposing creature on the board into a 4/3. That's excellent for a color that usually doesn't have access to this sort of removal. Beyond that, the encore ability isn't that expensive at all, and it's potentially game-winning.
Right now, you can find Amphin Mutineer for just under a dollar. My guess is that this is ultimately a $4-$5 role-player, and I'd buy copies accordingly. It might take the Mutineer a while to get there, but I do think you should snag a couple of copies before people start playing with this card and seeing just how good it is.
Jared Cartalion is a flavor win. It's a full story in a card—you declare who the monarch is, and then Jared attacks that person, takes the monarchy for himself, and becomes far more powerful.
I definitely want to play with Jared because I adore Vorthos-y cards like this, but his power level is unfortunately quite low. I don't want to give the monarchy to an opponent unless I'm playing a group hug deck, and I really don't want to jump through several hoops to make this card anything other than a three-mana 3/3 that helps someone else beat me. Future bulk rare.
Bell Borca is pretty unique for a Boros commander. The Outpost Siege style card draw is nice, and you can really make this creature large if you try.
Financially, my worry is that Bell Borca falls into a bit of a demand hole—it doesn't really fit into most of the established Boros strategies, it's not interesting enough to spawn a whole new architype, and Boros is one of the weakest and least-popular color pairs in Commander as it is. This looks like a future bulk rare to me.
Howling Mines are always going to be popular in Commander, though it's worth remembering that Kwain's card draw is optional—not ideal if you're looking to mill your opponent or tax their hands or something. Instead, I suspect Kwain will end up almost exclusively in group hug decks, where this adorable Rabbit Wizard will be the hit of the table. Future bulk rare, but a fun and cute one.
Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn is a must-play in any life gain deck that runs Selesnya colors. Lathiel is quite powerful, fairly unique, and probably good enough to spawn a few archetypes of her own.
Financially, this card is almost down to $1 and continuing to drop, but that's to be expected for most of these narrow non-mythic Commanders. By and large, they'll all end up in the $0.50-$1 range. I do think that etched foil copies of this one should make for a nice hold, though. The people who love unicorns (like me!) are going to want a shiny copy of Lathiel.
I really like Nevinyrral, Urborg Tyrant. It's a solid Commander for any sort of aristocrats-style deck, and it's also just a decent value engine in Esper. You can combo this card with a wrath spell, but you can also just combo Nevinyrral with itself, sacrificing itself in response to its own ability. Future $2-$3 rare.
Hans Eriksson is a very cool card, and I love the flavorful reference to our old pal Lhurgoyf. Unfortunately, Hans is not very good. Nearly every creature you want to rip off your deck is going to kill poor Hans immediately, and "this creature would be good if you had a Darksteel Plate on him" is the kind of hoop-jumping I can't really abide when doing a financial analysis. Also, Gruul just isn't that popular a color pair in Commander. Future bulk rare.
Gnostro, Voice of the Craigs is unique, but it doesn't play all that well with most of what I want to be doing in Jeskai, and the power level isn't high enough for me to warp my deck around Gnostro's abilities. This is a future bulk rare, through and through.
If you believe in Gnostro more than me, however, definitely pick up Jeskai Ascendancy ASAP. That's the perfect card to combine with Gnostro. I haven't seen any signs of a spike thus far, though, and I suspect it's because most people just aren't that excited about this card.
Despite being named like a Cardassian spy, Gor Muldrak, Amphinologist does not seem powerful to me at all. This effect is far too symmetrical, and there are about a billion more powerful cards to consider in Simic. I can imagine some folks wanting to build weird and goofy decks around Gor Muldrak, but its price should remain firmly in the bulk rare range regardless.
I don't think you want to run Averna, the Chaos Bloom as your Commander, even in a dedicated cascade deck. Having access to Maelstrom Wanderer or Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder in the command zone seems a lot more important to me. Averna is a solid role-player in those decks, though, and I'm definitely slotting her into my "cascade matters" brew.
Financially, however, Averna, the Chaos Bloom is just too narrow to be worth much. I'm not running this card without a critical mass of cascade cards, nor is anyone else. I'm surprised this card is still worth almost $2, and I expect it to be under $1 by the end of the year.
I definitely want to run Blim, Comedic Genius in a deck that I'm calling "angy Zedruu," where I can gift my opponents all sorts of horrible pacts. Demonic Pact has already crept up a bit this week due to Blim, and Colfenor's Plans has been the target of a few haphazard buyout attempts as well. Both of these cards have some potential, and I recommend snagging copies ASAP if you want to build around Blim. As for the Imp itself, it is likely going to be niche enough to remain a bulk rare for the foreseeable future.
I adore Liesa, Shroud of Dusk. She's both incredibly powerful and incredibly unique, and I love that she's in a color pair that's very popular without being oversaturated in powerful Commanders already. That leaves a lot of room for Liesa to catch on.
Liesa is currently selling for right around $3, with stable demand. That said, I'd focus almost exclusively on etched foils here. Unlike Kodama of the East Tree, which is a solid role-player in your 99, Liesa is best as a Commander. The regular version might drop off a bit over the coming weeks, but the foil should be a great long-term hold.
"Flash Tribal" isn't really a thing yet, but Nymris could change that. If you get to draw gas every single time you play a card on one of your opponents' turns, you can put the game away in an awful hurry. We could see some price movement for cards like Mistbind Clique and Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur over the coming weeks if Nymris catches on, although neither card seems to be heading in that direction yet. As for Nymris itself, I think we're looking at another bulk rare, albeit a solid one.
Oh boy did Rings of Brighthearth take a tumble. This card was selling for $60 back in mid-September, but it's readily available for around $10 now. That's what happens when a powerful Commander staple isn't printed for over a decade. Take a look:
It's possible that Rings of Brighthearth will fall even farther, especially since this is a non-mythic rare, but price memory should help. It's hard enough for a card to drop from $60 down to $10, much less fall into the single digits. I'm personally hoping to buy in closer to $5-$6 in a couple of weeks, but that might be asking too much. At any rate, this card should start creeping back up toward $20 at some point next year. It's still incredibly good, but the supply is a lot higher now.
I can pretty much just copy my Rings of Brighthearth review and paste it here for Staff of Domination. Check out this incredibly similar price chart:
This is a bit of a sharper drop, and Staff of Domination has cleared the $10 threshold—it's currently sitting just below $8. This makes sense, because the card isn't quite as universally powerful and necessary as Rings of Brighthearth. As with the former card, I'm hoping to scoop up a couple of copies in the $5 range as long-term holds. This is never going to be a $60 card again, but it could easily hit $15.
Horizon Stone is currently being overrated because it's an artifact with a unique ability. We all know that these cards can be worth $20+ under the right circumstances, and nobody wants to miss out. Unfortunately, this card is basically only good in decks that already run Kruphix, God of Horizons as their Commander, and I don't expect it to see much play beyond those strategies. Future bulk rare.
Bladegriff Prototype is fine in the mid-game of a large Commander multiplayer scrum, where you can play politics against the biggest threat at the table, but it's abysmal in every other stage of the game. I'm basically never playing with a 3/2 for 5 that requires cooperation before it does literally anything, though. Future bulk rare.
The Enemy Battle Lands
These are all available for $8-$9 right now, and the price is incredibly stable for a pre-order. Take a look at Spectator Seating:
And here's Training Center:
These prices seem really good to me. The fact that there's no downward pressure on them at all right now tells me that we're already pretty close to their price floor, and I think it's safe to buy up as many copies as you think you'll need right now. Looking at the price charts for the allied Battle Lands only ups my desire to snap these up. Here's Morphic Pool from release date through today:
And here's Spire Garden:
Even the less-popular members of this cycle have been as high as $15, and the better ones have hit $25. These lands are wildly popular, and it's starting to look like they're going to have a floor in the $8-$9 range going forward. Don't get cute here—just grab the copies you need.
And now we're back to reprints. Command Beacon dropped from $30 down to $7 on the reprint, and it looks like it might even drop a little further. Take a look:
Command Beacon is fine, but it's not a must-play like Command Tower. Sacrificing a land is rough, having a colorless land in your deck can also be rough, and really all you're doing is bypassing the Commander tax once. My guess is that this thing will eventually creep back into the $10-$15 range, and buying in for $5-$6 is fine, but I can see why this is currently the cheapest of the three major reprints we've discussed this week.
War Room may look like the kind of card that can fit in any deck, but it's really just for Mono-White, Mono-Red, Colorless, and possibly Boros. The other colors all have access to better card draw, and you don't want to play this card in a multicolored deck unless you really don't have any other options. It's pretty comparable to Bonders' Enclave, and that card has remained above bulk due to its Commander playability. War Room should as well, though I bet you'll be able to pick it up for less than a buck at some point in the next few weeks. Long term, it's probably a $2-$3 card.
Now that we've reviewed the whole set, let's take a quick look at what's going on with the price of every mythic and rare in Commander Legends right now. I've categorized these cards based on their current price movement, as seen in the TCGplayer back end database—the same place where I generate my pretty bar charts. That way, we can get some more objective data to go with my subjective analysis.
CARDS THAT ARE RISING:
There aren't too many Commander Legends cards increasing in price right now, which makes sense. As the supply of Commander Legends cards increases from a trickle to a deluge, prices tend to drop, not rise. The cards that are increasing in price right now are quite likely underpriced relative to demand, and could be worth picking up ASAP.
Also, a lot of the best cards in the set have already spiked in price since first being previewed, and they're now stable at their new price points. For example, Opposition Agent and Sakashima of a Thousand Faces have both seen major leaps since we first talked about them, but they're not on this list because they're not continuing to gain value.
Hellkite Courser, Akroma's Will, and Jeska's Will were all cards that I highlighted in my set review as potential underrated gems. I still think all three cards are terrific, and they are still worth picking up now. They all look like future format staples to me, and I'm not shocked to see them climbing in value already.
Court of Grace isn't that surprising to me, either. Commander-centric token generators always do well financially, and Court of Grace makes a lot of little friends. This is one of those cards that will probably end up being worth double or triple its current price in a year or two, even if it falls off a bit in the interim.
Obeka, Brute Chronologist is a tad more surprising. Most of the other non-rare legends are bulk rares already, but Obeka has proven incredibly popular in the early going. We talked a bit last week about how this card caused Final Fortune and the other red Time Warp variants to spike a bit, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see more secondary spikes thanks to this card. It's also likely that the etched foil version of Obeka is being a bit underrated right now, at least relative to this card's surging popularity.
CARDS THAT ARE STABLE:
This is a thoroughly unsurprising list filled with some of the best cards in Commander Legends. Most of these cards will probably drop a bit in the coming weeks, as the set hits peak supply, but the fact that they're this stable in the early going tells me that there's a reasonable correlation between supply and demand for all the cards on this list. That means that you can pick most of them up now without having to worry about losing massive chunks of value. This level of stability also bodes well for the future price of chase cards like Sakashima of a Thousand Faces and Opposition Agent, though my favorite buys on this list right now are the enemy-colored battle lands, Amphin Mutineer, Commander's Plate, and Kodama of the East Tree.
CARDS THAT ARE FALLING:
I wouldn't pick up any of these cards just yet. They're all still falling from their pre-order highs, and prices will continue to drop as the set reaches peak supply. Note that most of the high-profile reprints are on this list, as are chase cards like Jeweled Lotus and Hullbreacher. If you're after any of these cards, just be patient and wait a few weeks. The price will level out soon enough.
Commander Legends has a lot of bulk. Part of that is because the set is incredibly large, and the fact that Legendary creatures have their own rarity slot means that there will be more copies of some of these cards than you might realize.
At any rate, these cards are all below a buck already so there's not much risk in buying whatever you want whenever you want them. While most of these cards will end up in the twenty-cent range eventually, a few of them will probably break out, too. I still really like Nymris, Oona's Trickster and have heard some good things about Elvish Dreadlord in the early going, too.
While I wouldn't go deep on any of these cards right now, it's totally fine to buy whatever personal copies you want to play with whenever you want to. Bulk is bulk, and you might as well just snap up the cards that intrigue you and have fun with them. Who knows? Maybe you'll hit the right spec target and your favorite rare will break out.
Let's start by taking a look at the breakdown of what you get inside every Collector Booster:
I'm not going to spend much time discussing the commons, uncommons, or tokens. Some of them will have a little bit of value, but that's not why anyone is opening these packs. For our purposes, each Collector Booster has a chance of delivering:
This is an interesting breakdown, and I want to compare it to the key slots in Zendikar Rising Collector Boosters:
As you can see, the Commander Legends Collector Boosters have more "good" slots than Zendikar Rising Collector Boosters did. The Extended-Art Rare or Mythic slot is the same as it was in that set, but the Extended Art Foil Rare or Mythic slot has been added to the Foil Rare or Mythic slot, which had previously been the worst "good" slot in these boosters.
In addition, we get a guaranteed Showcase Legendary Mythic Reprint, a guaranteed foil etched showcase card (or borderless planeswalker), and the potential for nabbing a rare in one of the Legendary Creature slots. That's not bad at all. This set might not have any fetchlands in it, but you're going to open (on average) a greater number of good cards in a Commander Legends Collector Booster than you would have in a Zendikar Rising Collector Booster. This doesn't mean that you should all go out and buy all the Commander Legends Collector boosters you can find, but it does mean that they're not a bad call if you like cracking packs.
I've seen a bunch of people on Reddit try to crunch the numbers on whether the Extended Art and Etched Foil cards will be more or less scarce than their compatriots from other sets, and I've come to the supremely boring conclusion that everything should shake out more or less the same. There are more cards overall in Commander Legends, but they're spread out over more different slots in the Collector Booster packs. As a result, it should be possible to estimate scarcity and future prices for these cards using what we know about previous Collector Boosters.
What do we know about the last round of Collector Booster chase cards? Let's take a look at some charts! Here's Foil Extended-Art Lithoform Engine:
Here's Foil Extended-Art Agadeem's Awakening:
And here's Foil Showcase Omnath, Locus of Creation:
As you can see, waiting was the smart play on all three of these cards. They've all been slowly trending down for over a month at this point, and patient buyers have been rewarded with far lower price tags. If you don't want to be that patient, however, the best time to buy is 2-3 days after release. That's when the initial supply glut hits the market, and there's usually a little dip. If you can buy in at the bottom of that dip, you'll probably be at least somewhat satisfied with the deal you get.
But what happened to the Zendikar Rising Expeditions? Let's take a look at those. Here's Polluted Delta:
And Strip Mine:
The charts tell a pretty similar story here, too. There's less of a release weekend dip, though, and more of a slow and steady drop. It's possible that we've already reached the bottom of the market on some of these cards—Misty Rainforest looks to be slowly ticking back up again—but the point I want to make today is that you should be patient when you buy your Etched Foil Mythic Reprints as well. Just like with these Zendikar Rising expeditions, the price is likely to keep dropping for the next 4-6 weeks. As with most cards in this set, I'm probably going to pick up most of my copies in late December.
The other good window to buy? Black Friday. TCGplayer is doing a kickback sale all day long, and getting a reasonable percentage of your purchase price kicked back to you after buying any of these cards is a pretty big game. I'll be putting out a guide to navigating this sale early next week, so be sure not to miss that, but if you are going to buy any expensive cards from this set at some point over the next month, be sure to do it during the sale. I know I'll be picking up quite a few cards myself late next week.