Buyouts and the reserved list are still the big driving factor in price increases this week. Like every week, just in time for (digital) FNM, I'll now tell you about the cards that will be the talk of the (digital) town tonight!
#1 Brand $18.99 (508.65%)
My binder still holds the single copy of Brand I once pulled from a Urza's Saga back in high school. I remember the disappointment and puzzlement when I saw what rare I got in my pack. Gain control of all permanents you own?, "What? Why? That's already the case, why is this a rare and not a common?" And I could not believe that a magnificent card like Crash of Rhinos was only a common.
The lesson learned: a card is not always rare because of its power, but because of its uniqueness. Also: you don't want to ruin people's limited tournaments with stacks of useless Brands on common, that don't have much use in the set.
And that uniqueness is why I kept my Brand in my binder. I saw it as a collector's item. This week it spiked to unbelievable heights. It's not surprising that Brand would gain some value at some point, as it is a unique card that protects you from getting your cards stolen by opponents. The big spike and the lack of 'creeping' up on the other hand is rather surprising!
After a spike to $30, Brand started to dwindle in price immediately, as the market price started to creep up. The reason: a buyout. But an interesting one, as there is logic behind this particular buyout, and with that its worth to cover in this article.
Brand has two abilities that both happen to be relevant at this point in time. Its main ability helps against someone playing Agent of Treachery. But Brand is not legal in Standard or Pioneer, the formats that Agent of Treachery sees play in. But it does see play in EDH, in decks commanded by Chulane, Teller of Tales for instance.
The fact that Brand has cycling is relevant too. With Gavi, Nest Warden being popular at the moment, people start looking at any and all cards that have cycling. Some builds run both Agent of Treachery and Brand.
But still. Brand has no business being at a $19 price point. Demand is nowhere near high enough to warrant such a big price tag. I expect the card to end up around the $3 to $6 range, depending on long both commanders remain popular.
#2 Extract $13.88 (+227.36%)
This spike is quite a mystery! It has all the characteristics of a buyout, that's for sure. But why would someone buy this card out? Outside a possible mention in a popular content creator I might have missed, the reason I found concerns EDH.
In Commander 2020, an interesting pair of commanders was printed: Cazur, Ruthless Stalker and Ukkima, Stalking Shadow. On first glance, it doesn't seem that Extract is in any way related to these commanders. But wait until you check out a recent deck list. Decks commanded by Cazur, Ruthless Stalker use Misthollow Griffin and Eternal Scourge as well. On top of many other tutors that are already well known and widely played in EDH.
But Extract does not see a lot of play in EDH yet. And it might be a card that deserves to see a lot more play, especially in decks that put or remove cards from exile. And it is not strange that Extract does not see much play, there are many other cards that search players libraries and exile cards. Surgical Extraction for instance. But not many cards are so cheaply costed (in mana) and search for a card that does not need to be named first.
With a mana cost of , Bitter Ordeal is the next best thing. And that's much more than just for Extract.
If you just want to target yourself you can use Foresight, Mana Severance and Manipulate Fate too. And two of those lets you draw a card as well. But still, they are more to cast.
If my analysis above is correct, Extract has no reason being anywhere around its current price.
Lion's Eye Diamond broke its all time high record this week. Again. A 16.48% gain is a lot for a card that was already $300. Since the Corona Crisis hit, many cards from the Reserved List (like Lion's Eye Diamond) and other evergreen cards have been in demand. This week we see 5 dual lands raking up some more value too!
But Lion's Eye Diamond is a different story. It's the card that comes the closest to the power of Black Lotus in the right type of deck. For combo decks, Lion's Eye Diamond is extremely powerful and for some people new to Vintage and Legacy, it can be quite hard to follow how people use the card. And they discover that discarding your entire hand is no problem because you have no cards left in your hand; or that discarding your hand is a good thing because it allows you to use hellbent.
Lion's Eye Diamond is unique, powerful, used in two eternal formats, and on the reserved list. The perfect mix for a card to become more and more expensive.
Please note: for our 'record low' we consider the price of the card over the past 7 years. Many cards have been even cheaper (a) decade(s) ago. Also note: some cards are still going down, and might be even cheaper pickups next week.
Tarmogoyf $66.14 - Record low and trending down
Arena Rector $9.37 - Record low and bottoming out