Over and Under - The Ring and the Titan

21 Aug
by Harvey McGuinness

Last month it was The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth (LTR), this month it's Commander Masters (CMM). Things are finally starting to cool off from the bevy of recent releases, and now we can take a deep breath, look at our Interests pages, and start to sift through the market rubble for the gems worth picking up – and worth shipping out.

Review: Nesting Dragon

Oh boy, Nesting Dragon. Last month, I pointed to Nesting Dragon as being a prime example of Commander gems which had prices driven almost exclusively by supply, as opposed to demand. Well, a month has passed, and the price of Nesting Dragon has been obliterated. If you ever wanted a copy, now is an excellent chance to grab one.

Review: Dockside Extortionist

Last time on Over and Under, I pointed towards Dockside Extortionist as a candidate for an uptick given its ubiquity and the seasonal spotlight on Commander, courtesy of CMM. Since then, the reverse has happened – for the first time in a while, Dockside Extortionist has started to move downwards! It’s only about a 5% or so move, depending on printings, but nonetheless it is worth mentioning that amidst a flurry of new decks being built thanks to the CMM release Dockside seems to have turned a blind eye and kept its price in check. How long this continues is anyone’s guess – I know I sure am scratching my head over this one – but I certainly recommend keeping an eye on it. A 5% move on a card as expensive as Dockside Extortionist will still end up saving you a couple dollars, afterall.

Now it’s time for this month’s picks. First up, our overvalued pick of the month.

The One Ring

Easily among the most recognizable cards to come out of Tales of Middle-earth, both from a marketing and gameplay perspective, The One Ring is as powerful as it is ubiquitous. That being said, there are several larger shifts coming to the Magic market which all point towards The One Ring as being a prime candidate for a price slash.

First off, the Commander Masters effect – or, alternatively, the problem of crowding out. Similar to Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate and Double Masters 2022, LTR and CMM came out in rapid succession, resulting in the sales of CMM eating into what would have otherwise been a prime cooling off period for LTR. Essentially, CMM served as a competing product, diverting cash towards itself while sealed product for LTR sat stuck on shelves. This meant that the singles within – such as the titular The One Ring – weren’t made as available as they otherwise would have. Now that we are in the waning weeks of CMM, a resurgence has been seen in the purchasing of sealed LTR product, pointing towards more singles hitting the market.

Secondly, there is also the upcoming November specialty release of LTR via, among other things, Special Edition Collector Boosters. While the full list of which cards will be reprinted in this release has not yet been made public, it’s hard to imagine a world where we don’t get another version of The One Ring. Couple this with a few months’ worth of continued LTR pack-cracking, and we’re set to see plenty more The One Rings hit the market soon enough. It may be powerful, but The One Ring is still in-print, and chances are our wallets will thank us if we remember that.

Alright, that brings us to our undervalued pick of the month.

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth (Borderless)

Rarely do I ever talk about specific printings of cards when it comes to selecting a candidate for Over and Under, but this time things are interesting enough to raise a few eyebrows. May I introduce this month’s undervalued pick, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth – the borderless printing from Double Masters 2022.

Just like the Slivers which have been going up across the board thanks to the preconstructed decks which accompanied Commander Masters, so too has there been an uptick in attention for Eldrazi staples. Support for this fan-favorite colorless archetype has been growing for years now, and the Eldrazi Unbound preconstructed deck sure brought with it plenty of new toys to shake things up. This is where the old guard comes in, especially Kozilek here.

For a couple of weeks now, the Eldrazi “Titans” have seen a steady increase across each of their printings as the reprint effect from Double Masters 2022 begins to weaken under the renewed pressures caused by the Eldrazi Unbound precon. This rising price wave has come with a bit of a caveat, however, one which I suspect will soon face a correction: the base printings of Eldrazi have increased in value at a substantially quicker rate than that of their specialty printings.

Overall, the foil-etched printings (when they exist) for Eldrazi have begun to catch up with their regular counterparts, but the same cannot be said for borderless variants. I’m calling attention to Kozilek, Butcher of Truth specifically here because this appears to be the slowest to catch the trend (Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre (Borderless), meanwhile, has begun a slight uptick), but really this applies to all three of the borderless Double Masters 2022 Titans. If you’re in the market for blinging out your Eldrazi, now is the time. Attention is starting to pull back from CMM and towards the rest of the market, so support cards like old Kozilek here will have their time in the sun soon enough.

Nesting Dragon
Dockside Extortionist
The One Ring
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth (Borderless)
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre (Borderless)
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn (Borderless)

Wrap Up 

While we’ve taken a look at specialty printings before on Over and Under, we’ve never focused on a single printing of a card – until this month, that is. I hope this month’s edition serves as a reminder to take a moment to check back in not just on trends, but on outliers as well. Which cards are following the market, and which might be due for a correction? I hope to see you all again next month, where we’ll ask what’s over and what’s under.

Check out these articles:

History, Restapled - Lands, Ho; Prices, Low by Steve Heisler

New Horizons: Commander Masters Decks by Matt Grzechnik

Commander Masters Cycles by Jason Alt

Harvey McGuinness
Harvey McGuinness

Harvey McGuinness is a student at Johns Hopkins University who has been playing Magic since the release of Return to Ravnica. After spending a few years in the Legacy arena bouncing between Miracles and other blue-white control shells, he now spends his time enjoying Magic through CEDH games and understanding the finance perspective. He also writes for the Commander's Herald.

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