Conjured Currency #34: One More Card

Hey there. How have you been? I hope you’re having an excellent Thursday, and that your Magic finance life has been at least slightly improved by reading my articles. I genuinely enjoy writing each week to try and teach at least one person something new, even if I have to stay up until 3 a.m. on the night of my deadline to think of an idea for a topic. However, that’s actually not the case tonight! I’m sitting here at 8:15 p.m. a night before my deadline, and I actually have an idea ready to go.

Do You Have a Ton of Bulk Rares Sitting Around?

If you all have been buying collections or trading away dual lands like I have, then you might have a ton of bulk rares sitting around. However, what if I told you that not all bulk rares are the same? Obviously a [card]Shipbreaker Kraken[/card] and [card]Fated Infatuation[/card] have different text written on them, but not all of my bulk rares go into the same boxes. Some get set aside for later, for when they might randomly become $20 cards one day.

Does this sound familiar? It should, considering two weeks ago [card]Glittering Wish[/card] went from being a $2 or $3 “cute” Future Sight rare with no home, to being a $20 chase rare in a brand new Modern deck that Sam Black hyped up on SCG (and with good reason, the deck looks to be very powerful). While trying to sound the least bit “humble brags” about this as possible, I’d like to mention that I traded for two non-foil and one foil copy of Wish almost two years ago, because it seemed like it could be broken in Modern if the right card were printed. Fast forward, and [card]Jeskai Ascendancy[/card] somehow makes it to print, allowing a fast and consistent combo deck in Modern.

wish

Another example that happened somewhat recently is [card]Phyrexian Unlife[/card]. When the card was spoiled, it was immediately thrown aside as one of the worst cards in the set, because it effectively read “2W: gain 10 life”. However, it does have the convenient ability to allow a player to drop below 0 life and not die while losing life via [card]Ad Nauseum[/card], so  that player can draw their entire deck and win the game on the spot with [card]Lightning Storm[/card]. In one weekend, it went from my $.25 box to selling on TCGplayer for $4.00.

The point I want to focus on this week is the whole “picking up bulk rares that seem to have powerful or unique effects, and could be broken if the right card(s) were printed” thing. Glittering Wish is one of the only cards in Modern that allows you to have access to your sideboard straight from your main deck, and being from Future Sight meant that there were only 54 copies in existence from the start. With that said, let’s look at some of the stuff I’m jamming in my 1,000-count box that’s affectionately labeled “bulk rare specs”!

Tinkering Around

[card]Kuldotha Forgemaster[/card]:

forge
It’s [card]Tinker[/card], but you have to put a bit more effort in. [card]Blightsteel Colossus[/card] is legal in Modern and vulnerable to [card]Path to Exile[/card], but maybe we’re headed for yet another artifact block in the future, and we get some sort of giant metal monster with hexproof, or a way to consistently pop this guy on turn three. Either way, there’s an extremely low floor here at $.78 TCG mid, and I don’t feel comfortable letting people buy this guy out of my $.25 box. Even if nothing breaks him open to cause a spike, I feel like this guy is popular enough with the casual/EDH crowd to make a slow creep into the $3 range.

Cheap is Good

[card]Heartless Summoning[/card], [card]Semblance Anvil[/card]

In Magic’s history, the words “cost” and “less” have traditionally paved the way for stupid, broken effects when paired together. When cards reach that magic cost of zero, combos start happening and people start getting dealt billions of damage in one turn. I’m a fan my opponent being at negative 6 trillion life, so I pack these two cards away into my spec box when people sell me their bulk rares for $.10 a piece, or trade them to me en masse for dual lands. Maybe Wizards will print [card]Myr Retriever[/card] and [card]Grapeshot[/card], and there will be an absurdly powerful deck utilizing these cards that will allow our own Ryan Bushard to take down the next Modern Pro Tour. (In all seriousness, though, these seem exactly like the type of card that’s one card away from being broken as all hell). Semblance Anvil takes this to the next level and allows anything to cost less (at the cost of a sizable chunk of card advantage), but its sweet, sweet, bulk rare status prevents me from wanting to sell it for a quarter.

heartless

All of the Activated Abilities

[card]Skill Borrower[/card], [card]Necrotic Ooze[/card]

In a format where [card]Griselbrand[/card] and [card]Borborygmos Enraged[/card] are both legal, I really want both of these cards to be broken in some form or another. I actually copied a list off of GatheringMagic.com’s “5 Decks You Can’t Miss This Week” a while ago, and recently built it when I randomly bought a [card]Skill Borrower[/card] in a bulk lot. It’s not competitive enough for a Grand Prix whatsoever (Borrower/Ooze having thre toughness in a format with Bolt just plain sucks), but I had a blast testing Modern against my friends with this:

[deck title=Dead by Dawn]

[Creatures]

*4 Birds of Paradise
*2 Noble Hierarch
*1 Children of Korlis
*1 Mogg Fanatic
*1 Lotleth Troll
*4 Skill Borrower
*4 Necrotic Ooze
*2 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
*1 Borborygmos Enraged
*3 Griselbrand

[/Creatures]

[Spells]

*4 Faithless Looting
*3 Inquisition of Kozilek
*2 Zombie Infestation
*2 Life from the Loam
*4 Congregation at Dawn

[/Spells]

[Lands]

*4 Mana Confluence
*3 Gemstone Mine

*1 Stomping Ground
*1 Godless Shrine
*2 Overgrown Tomb
*4 Misty Rainforest
*4 Verdant Catacombs
*1 Forest
*1 Breeding Pool
*1 Hallowed Fountain

[/Lands]

[Sideboard]

*1 Kitchen Finks
*1 Obstinate Baloth
*4 Goryo’s Vengeance
*4 Fist of Suns
*4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
*1 Zombie Infestation

[/Sideboard]

[/Deck]

It was so fun to play….

Bringing Stuff Back

[card]Retether[/card]/[card]Faith’s Reward[/card]

download (1)

For those of you who have been playing Modern for at least a couple of years, you might remember dying from boredom to a silly combo deck that involved both [card]Second Sunrise[/card] and [card]Faith’s Reward[/card], allowing a player to loop near-infinitely and eventually kill you with [card]Grapeshot[/card] or [card]Pyrite Spellbomb[/card]. When Sunrise got the axe, Faith’s Reward fell from its $1 high to true bulk. The effect has been proven to be broken before, and I have faith that a single slip-up by WOTC’s R&D team could prove to allow prepared financiers to profit.

[card]Retether[/card] follows the same logic. Cards like [card]Eldrazi Conscription[/card] exist, and I think putting two copies of that card onto a [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] is cute, even if it is vulnerable to every single hate card ever (graveyard hate, removal spells, enchantment destruction, you name it). Maybe [card]Open the Vaults[/card] is a better pick, but that one’s not quite true bulk, so I enjoy buylisting them for $1 when I get the chance, which lets me buy 10 copies of most of the above cards.

That’s So Aggressive

[card]Aggressive Mining[/card]

Alright, I’m digging a bit deep here (hehe). Maybe it’s the Minecraft player in me from high school, but I think that somewhere, somehow, this card might not be bulk in the near future. The “once per turn” really stings, but a lot of us have probably called stuff like this trash before only to be proven dead wrong in the end. If you can design a card that would make this broken/playable, I’d be curious to see what that card looks like in the comments section.

Cost Less, Spells

[card]Battlefield Thaumaturge[/card]

Again we return to the “things costing less” mechanic that always warrants a second glance. Now that the hype train has ground to a halt and this is a true bulk rare, I feel a need to throw it in a separate pile and forget that I own copies until the glorious day that something silly pops up three years from now and causes Thaumaturge to spike to ridiculous levels. Maybe he goes in the same deck as [card]Retether[/card].

And Now We Play the Waiting Game…

This week, we’re not looking to make instant flips or hunt down collections, so it definitely involves being patient and willing to sit on these cards for who knows how long. The opportunity cost is as close to zero as we can get, so it’s not something that needs to be bought out of TCGplayer tonight. Pick the ones you like or agree with, or post your own ideas in the comments below. Sometimes all it takes is the printing of one more card to make previous cards stupid or broken. Sometimes the cards aren’t even broken, but we can at least sell into the hype. Thanks for reading, as always.

About the Author
@Rose0fthorns     -     Email     -     Articles Douglas Johnson is a 20-year-old MTG player who goes to college courtesy of a scholarship from Gamers Helping Gamers. He is currently found writing a weekly finance column at MTGprice.com, and you can always feel free to contact him on Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit.

11 comments on Conjured Currency #34: One More Card

  1. Toby Stewart says:

    Glittering wish was such a sweet spike. I picked up a set a few months back as something cute that might one day fit into one of my modern decks, as I so love to play wishes in legacy. Lo and behold I was able to make a 300% markup on them when the Jeskai Ascendancy deck hits. Add in the ascendancies that I picked up for $1 each at the prerelease and that deck turned out to be quite profitable for me. While I think the deck is sweet it is not something I would ever want to play myself so it is better to trade away for stuff I actually would.

    A tip would be to dig through your bulk commons and uncommons for stuff like Wind Zendikon, Fatestitcher and Cerulean Wisps, which are seeing play in the ascendancy decks.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Glad to hear you made money off of it! I’ve been pulling Wisps, but I haven’t heard of Zendikon/Fatestitcher yet. Good to know!

  2. Pierre-Marc Gendron says:

    How about High Priest of penance ? That car seems like the type that is one new card away from being broken !

    1. Douglas Johnson says:

      I could be wrong, but I don’t have high hopes about it. Repeatable nukes don’t “insta-win” the game necessarily.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I just watched an old Pro Tour game where a man played Heartless summoning and kicked out a Frost Titan turn 4. This article inspired me to grab 2 playsets to play with, and maybe they will go up some day.

    1. Douglas Johnson says:

      As long as you got them for bulk/near bulk, I think that’s a fine move. It could be a very long wait, but it’ll be well worth it when they print that one card that lets you abuse the hell out of it.

  4. Patrick says:

    I feel this way about Grim Haruspex. It’s a creature that let’s you draw cards when other non token creatures you control dies. Seems too good to be bulk.

    1. Douglas Johnson says:

      I felt the same. I’m biased because I love effects like that in EDH, but I also thought Harvester of Souls would be a casual all-star as well. Seems fine if you can grab it in bulk. Morph cost is cheap too.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Along the same thinking process of “Cost Less”, would something like Chief Engineer be a possibility?

    1. Douglas Johnson says:

      Sure! As long as you can get it in bulk (i.e. $.25 or less), I don’t see a downside in setting them aside. Maybe it gets broken with Grand Architect eventually.

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