Hey there! We're back with another week of finance content here on TCGplayer. Last week's article was about high-end cards, and how to go about making those daunting purchases. The week before that was some preparation for Battlebond, going over the impact of some of those Commander reprints like Seedborn Muse and Greater Good. Those are going to be two of the better targets to pick up at their lows, considering how powerful they are in the format and how much increased use they'll get with the new availability. I hope everyone enjoyed their Battlebond prerelease event and got to open their foil Doubling Seasons!
This week we're going to discuss a different product filled with reprints, and that's Commander Anthology: Volume 2. While it might seem like a preconstructed product of known reprints is unexciting, they picked a couple of the most popular decks of their respective cycles (Atraxa, Praetor's Voice and The Mimeoplasm). Those decks are full of several quality reprints like Grave Pact, Atraxa, Damia and Oblivion Stone. Wizards then took it a step further by including the Built from Scratch and Wade into Battle preconstructed decks. If you've been paying attention to this column and my Twitter for a while, you'll know that the Daretti and Kalemne decks have been excellent sources of value in the form of Wurmcoil Engine, Fiery Confluence, Urza's Incubator and several other cards. This year's Anthology doesn't pull any punches in terms of the value included.
With all these sweet reprints, there are going to be a lot of players who simply buy the Anthology to tear apart the decks while adding some serious value to their trade binder. We've talked before in a previous article about how preconstructed decks can hold more value broken apart than the cost of the product itself, and this series is going to follow that trend. One of the trends we saw last year is that the supply on these isn't quite high enough to severely impact prices on the medium range cards; Stranglehold went from $12 to $8 and Freyalise only dropped by a couple dollars. Cards like Path to Exile and Eternal Witness barely even felt the reprint.
So some of these are going to get scrapped for parts, and the expensive cards are getting slotted into binders and decks. That all makes sense. But what about the bulk? When preconstructed decks get taken apart, the remnants get added to bulk boxes and forgotten about. This particular article is going to focus more on the oft-forgotten cards that will help you extract the most out of this Anthology. While Thought Vessel, Reliquary Tower, and Eternal Witness are the obvious cards to pull out, we're aiming for the diamonds in the rough.
This is a weird card; I've never seen a single person cast it in a Commander game but it still fetches a price over $2. If you're thinking; "Wait, that thing is $2? Since when?" It only jumped back in mid-April, and even I can't find a discernable reason for the sudden increase. It sees play in only 2700 decks on EDHrec.com, but there's no obvious pattern to the sudden price increase. My closest guess would be that the demand is being driven by very casual playgroups who are attracted to the chaos-style politics decks where board stalls are more likely to happen.
Being that obscure is going to help you when you're the only one in town who knows to pull this from bulk. Even though it's getting a reprint, the supply is likely going to be small enough to not impact the price too harshly. This is the kind of card you're happy shipping to a buylist because you're the only one in a 30-mile radius that knows it's worth anything.
Return to Dust is one of the top-five white cards in Commander, according to EDHrec. While Sylvan Reclamation hangs out in a lot of the slightly updated Commander 2016 precons, I've rarely seen it cast in a finely tuned list. While most of the time Return to Dust gets cast at sorcery speed, this Selesnya card only costs an additional mana for a lot more flexibility. Market price sits at over $1, and you're going to see this one passed over while everyone is pulling Deepglow Skates and Reyhan, Last of the Abzan out of their Atraxa decks. Pull it out of bulk, and you won't have to pay $1.50 for when you put together your next Naya deck!
I love buying this card at Grands Prix while behind the booth, because we always pay more than what people expect. This is the kind of card that people assume is only worth $1 or so, but it's slowly crept up to a solid and consistent $4 in the past couple of years. A small reprint like this will barely tickle the price of the card, so I'd expect to still be able to get $3 out of these. This is also the kind of card that's really hard to place into a Masters set because there would have to be several hexproof or shroud creatures in the set to make it worth the inclusion. If Arcane Lighthouse stays out of booster packs, you'll be able to turn these into cash with very little trouble.
You can buylist either Commander version of Buried Ruin for at least $1 right now. This innocuous land helps pay for almost 1% of the Anthology product all by itself and fits nicely into most existing artifact based decks. Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain? Breya, Etherium Shaper? Daretti, Scrap Savant? Anyone building those wants a Buried Ruin to bring back that Darksteel Forge, so indulge them by listing them at $1.50 and waiting. That Daretti deck isn't going to scrap itself!
Windfall got hit in Iconic Masters as an uncommon, but rumors of its death were greatly exaggerated. That reprint was the first time we saw the card creep below a dollar, and we've always seen a trend of Commander versions being worth more than previous editions that you can find in booster packs (Check out Arcane Denial and Krosan Verge for solid examples of that phenomenon). Windfall is packed into The Mimeoplasm's deck to help generate both hand and graveyard advantage, and anyone scrapping that deck for parts would do well to not throw away a $1+ uncommon, especially one that sees play in almost 16,000 lists on EDHrec.
16,000 decks is certainly a lot – Windfall sees play in plenty of decks. Oh, did I mention Commander's Sphere is currently residing in three times that many? While it's not the perfect mana rock and I'd usually run something like Chromatic Lantern in its place, the ability to replace itself for free later in the game is nothing to sneeze at. There's a reason it was in three out of the past four cycles precons and none of those printings have managed to shove it below $1. In fact, the high number of printings is more likely to make people leave in bulk, because they'll think that the reprints killed it to the point of it not being worth anything. If you're someone who builds several decks and is always in need of more mana rocks, keep this one in your arsenal.
Blasted Landscape is a card rarely seen outside of budget builds, though it does find a role as a The Gitrog Monster enabler and gets played in colorless decks. The main factor holding this one up is its low supply from two previous printings: Urza's Saga and Commander 2015 (Wade into Battle). The current TCG low is over $.50 though, so there's always the option to throw a couple on your storefront and hope that someone adds them to their card while they're buying your Platinum Angel or foil Gitrog. Pull them out of bulk, especially your own Anthology box set!
The "tuck" rule was changed years ago, but effects like Spell Crumple and Hinder are still worth a non-zero amount of money. It turns out there's still value in shipping that Eternal Witness or Grave Titan to the bottom of their deck so it doesn't get reanimated on the following turns! Even though Dissipate and similar cards still exist, you can still pick these tuck counters out of bulk and list them on your personal store to try and get some extra value out of them. It's certainly better than letting them rot in the bulk bin and shipping at less than a penny per card!
Many years ago, this card used to be nicknamed Santa Claus (Look at the Urza's Destiny version and it'll become clear). The white beard helps, but he also gives you three presents in the form of card advantage! For those at home counting, Elder has received four printings in total if we include this year's run. Urza's Destiny, Commander, Duel Deck: Phyrexia vs. the Coalition, and Commander Anthology: Volume 2. None of those were exactly a huge print run, so we're going to continue to see Santa Claus being shipped off to the bulk bins where he doesn't belong. It's our job to pick him out and use them as free copies for our decks, or buylist them and turn them into useful stuff.
Wurmcoil Engine's babies have always been a poster child for "Wait, tokens are worth something?" Just like how normal cards have rarities in booster packs, the rarity of tokens depends on the rarity of the card that makes them. It's this reason that the Constructs from Karn, Scion of Urza are almost $3 apiece and why Wurmcoil Engine tokens have remained expensive for so long. Don't be the person that just tosses all the tokens in with the bulk; I pulled out so many Elf Druids from last year's Anthology, thanks to Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury!
The Commander Anthology product from last year was a great way for players to add a ton of weapons to their arsenal by buying in bulk, and this year is going to be no different. For the upfront cost of $160, you get over $200 in value from the higher-end cards alone, not even counting the various $1-3 cards we went over in today's article. Magic finance is more than just trying to churn out a secondary job, it's also about making the most out of your existing money to help bolster your collection. This product is a great way to do that.
- DJ Johnson