Last year brought many changes to Magic: The Gathering. The global pandemic halted in-store play, canceled Magicfests, and delayed product releases. Amid the pandemic, Wizards of the Coast made product line adjustments: introductory Commander preconstructed decks replaced Planeswalker Decks as a way to offer more products to Commander players.
A total of six intro Commander decks were released between Zendikar Rising, Commander Legends, and Kaldheim. Each intro Commander deck contains reprints and new cards, with an estimated retail price of $20. Interestingly, market prices vary between the intro Commander decks. Let's take a closer look at each of the intro Commander decks to understand their current market prices and potential price appreciation.
Land's Wrath is Zendikar Rising's Naya-colored landfall Commander deck. The exclusive commander is Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor, an Elf Spirit that can animate lands into creatures. Supporting Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor are popular landfall reprints along with Geode Rager and Trove Warden.
As one of the exclusive cards in Land's Wrath, Geode Rager is an excellent addition to Moraug, Fury of Akoum or Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant Commander decks. Trove Warden, the third exclusive card in Land's Wrath, is a consideration for Cat tribal decks or in the 99 of Quintorius, Field Historian.
Land's Wrath includes the makings of a solid landfall deck, but it does have some upgrade opportunities. An obvious omission to the decklist is Avenger of Zendikar, which is found in Reap the Tides. Another omission is Fall of the Thran, part of a three-card infinite Landfall combo with Emeria Shepherd and Evolution Sage. Due to its low price point and synergy, WotC could have easily added Fall of the Thran to the deck.
With a market price of $15, Land's Wrath is priced well for its power and utility. As an investment opportunity, I predict the market price for Land's Wrath will remain under $30 over the next year. Land's Wrath does not offer any compelling cards that may drive demand higher. While there are probably better MTG products to invest in, Land's Wrath is an inexpensive addition to any Commander collection.
Sneak Attack is a Rogue tribal intro Commander Deck from Zendikar Rising. Anowon, the Ruin Thief pumps other Rogues and possesses a milling ability. Sneak Attack contains plenty of playable Rogues including Zulaport Cutthroat, Sygg, River Cutthroat, Oona, Queen of the Fae, and even Notion Thief! Surprisingly, Sneak Attack also has great noncreature cards like Dimir Signet, Distant Melody, and Obelisk of Urd.
Similar to Land's Wrath, there are two other exclusive cards in Sneak Attack. Enigma Thief is a potent Sphinx Rogue when cast for its prowl cost. Whispersteel Dagger is an exciting Equipment that pairs well with Syr Konrad, the Grim, one of the few non-Rogues in Sneak Attack.
For $20, Sneak Attack offers a fantastic 100-card Rogues deck. There are many opportunities to upgrade Sneak with affordable creatures and spells from Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures of the Forgotten Realms, Zendikar Rising, and other sets.
As a tribal deck with potential, I believe Sneak Attack is ripe for future appreciation. When supply ultimately dries up for Sneak Attack, we could see its market price climb closer to $25. If Rogue tribal becomes more popular, Sneak Attack may eclipse a market price of $30 within two years.
Out of all of the commanders in intro Commander decks, Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait is arguably the most powerful. Possessing the ability to play an additional land and draw extra cards from lands makes Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait an appealing commander. Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait works as a commander for Simic sea monster decks. Additionally, Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait is a reasonable alternative to Tatyova, Benthic Druid in Simic land decks.
One of the exclusive Reap the Tides cards, Stumpsquall Hydra, feels odd in the deck since +1/+1 counters is not a sub-theme. The other exclusive card, Trench Behemoth, is a Kraken that synergizes with Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait abilities. However, the real stars of Reap the Tides are the unexpectedly powerful reprints.
WotC increased Reap the Tides' power level and value by including Eternal Witness, Ramunap Excavator, and Avenger of Zendikar. All three cards are among the top 50 most-played green Commander cards, according to EDHREC. There are several popular Commander cards among the noncreature spells as well.
With a market price of $9, Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait adds noticeable value to Reap the Tides. The aforementioned green creature reprints add another $15 in value to the deck. Reap the Tides has a market price of about $30, a $10 premium over its expected retail price. There is potential for Reap the Tides to appreciate another 15% to 25% in the next 12 months due to its impressive card inclusions.
Arm for Battle focuses on aggressively attacking opponents with creatures. Equipping, pumping, and protecting Wyleth, Soul of Steel appears to be the primary win condition. Arm for Battle includes commonly played white Commander cards like Swords to Plowshares, Generous Gift, Sigarda's Aid, and Sram, Senior Edificer to support Wyleth, Soul of Steel.
Blazing Sunsteel" || "Timely Ward
Blazing Sunsteel is a piece of exclusive Equipment in Arm for Battle that turns a creature essentially into Boros Reckoner. Timely Ward is the third exclusive card that can save your commander in a flash. Both of the unique support cards are serviceable in Arm for Battle, but not exciting.
Even though Arm for Battle offers playable cards for Boros Commander decks, its estimated value is lackluster. Sram, Senior Edificer received two printings in the past six months. Swords to Plowshares also received two recent reprints in an Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Commander Deck and Strixhaven: School of Mages. Half of Arm for Battle's $15 market price likely derives from Sigarda's Aid. Unfortunately, Arm for Battle is a pass as an investable product due to reprint susceptibility.
Phantom Premonition contains Ranar the Ever-Watchful, Kaldheim's foretell commander. Renar the Ever-Watchful also supports blink effects, a theme associated with white-blue Commander decks. Restoration Angel, Brago, King Eternal, and Mistmeadow Witch provide excellent blink effects that trigger Ranar the Ever-Watchful's ability.
WotC increased the exclusive cards in Kaldheim Commander decks from three to eight. The most playable new cards in Phantom Premonition are Cosmic Intervention, Stoic Farmer, and Ethereal Valkyrie thanks to their synergy with multiple Commander deck themes.
While the current market price of Phantom Premonition is only $15, it does show signs of possible appreciation. Eight unique cards create an opportunity for Phantom Premonition's expected value to increase if one or more cards spike in demand. A slew of playable reprints supporting blink Commander decks is a nice bonus. Within a year, we may see Phantom Premonition's market price drift over $20.
Lathril, Blade of the Elves leads the Elves Commander deck for Kaldheim. It is not surprising that this card is the most popular Elf tribal commander on EDHREC. Lathril, Blade of Elves can use its evasiveness to produce 1/1 green Elf Warrior tokens by dealing combat damage to opponents. When Lathril, Blade of Elves cannot attack, its activated ability will quickly close games by draining each opponent for 10 life and gaining you 10 life.
Elven Empire contains some of the best Elves for Commander. Wood Elves, Farhaven Elf, and Beast Whisperer offer land ramp and card draw. Elvish Archdruid and Imperious Perfect also pump the team to secure victory.
Two of the eight exclusive cards in Elven Empire shine above the rest. Wolverine Riders creates 1/1 green Elf Warrior tokens at the beginning of each upkeep and gains you incremental life. Any opposing players will want to remove Wolverine Riders immediately before you can use the Elf creature tokens for Lathril, Blade of the Elves life drain. Pact of the Serpent can fully refill a player's hand for some mana and life.
After looking over all of the reprints and eight exclusive cards, it is hard to believe Elven Empire is an intro Commander deck. Elven Empire's current market price of $27 reflects the premium that players are willing to pay for a great deck. Due to the popularity of Elves and card inclusions, Elven Empire could easily reach a market price of $35-40 a year from now.
Here is my ranking of the most investable intro Commander decks from best to worst: