Commander 2015 Financial Set Review

How much value are you getting when you pick up one of the latest Commander 2015 precons? Turns out, a lot! See Chas breakdown the singles from the latest big time casual release, and discover which cards stand to be worth more this time next year!

Commander 2015
is here! I love playing casual Magic, so this is one of my favorite spoiler seasons. There doesn’t seem to be an obvious Legacy plant in this year’s batch
of decks-no True-Name Nemesis, no Containment Priest-but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the product from a financial perspective. There’s a lot to
talk about, and I’m hoping to cover it all this week.

Instead of reviewing C15 card-by-card like a normal set, I’m going to go deck-by-deck. Hopefully, that will give you a better sense of where the most value
lies if you decide to pick one of these up. MSRP is $35 per deck, but you can pick them up for $30 each here on StarCityGames if you buy the full set of
five. SCG is also selling two of them at a discount. Let’s start there:

Call the Spirits (Current SCG Retail $29.99)

New Mythics and Rares:

First, a quick reminder-Commander 2015 cards will only be legal in Vintage and Legacy. Even though they have modern borders, you can’t play them
in Modern. This gives every new card an incredibly high bar to clear before we can have a real conversation about tournament viability. Anything over three
mana is almost assuredly not going to make it, nor are creatures with tough color requirements.

The real test of a Commander card’s ability to hold value is its versatility in the casual sphere. Is it the sort of card that every black Commander deck
is going to at least consider? Is it playable in Cube? Is it a card that a kitchen table mage is going to buy four copies of for their 60 card lifegain
deck? There’s a reason why Sol Ring is still worth more than Nekusar, the Mindrazer despite the former being reprinted in every Commander deck and the
latter being a beloved general. (See also: Roon of the Hidden Realm, Prossh, the Skyraider. Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, Sydri,
Galvanic Genius, Shattergang Brothers, etc.)

Even though Karlov of the Ghost Council is a multicolored creature, I think he’ll hold a large portion of his current value. Lifegain is one of the most
popular casual strategies, and it’s worth running multiple copies of Karlov in most kitchen table lifegain decks regardless of the legend rule. I like
Daxos the Returned a little less, but enchantments are a popular casual theme as well and his starting price is significantly lower. He should be able to
maintain a $2-$3 price tag going forward.

Grasp of Fate is another winner. It’s an upgrade over Oblivion Ring in all multiplayer formats that can reach double-white without much of a problem, and
it’s Cube-able in 540+ card lists. I like it to stick around the $3-$4 range.

Righteous Confluence feels like a bust to me, though. Exiling three enchantments is good, and versatility is good, but it’s not a lot of raw power for five
mana in most situations. I expect most decks will opt for cheaper, more direct answers and this card will be under a dollar before long.

Shielded by Faith and Bastion Protector should both have nominal value going forward. Most experienced Commander players don’t overload on cards like
these, but they’re reasonably popular with the kitchen table crowd or people who build glass cannon style decks. They should stay in the $1-$1.50 range at
least. Deadly Tempest and Daxos’s Torment are both outclassed by better existing cards and should drop toward bulk.

Above Bulk Reprints:

Sol Ring and Command Tower are in all five of these decks. They could drop as low as $1 each during the market saturation period, which opens up a solid
buying opportunity if you need any more copies of these for your decks. After that, they’ll slowly start creeping back toward $3-$4 like always.

Phyrexian Arena and Lightning Greaves have been Commander staples since the format’s inception, and they should hold their value well. If either of these
cards falls much further, grab a few extras. Wurmcoil Engine dropped a lot around the release of Commander 2014 last year, but it began to rebound
almost immediately. For cards that are always in demand, a Commander reprint isn’t the end of the world when it comes to future value.

Karmic Justice and Black Market might see a more permanent dip. It’s possible that demand will rise as more people discover that these cards exist-few
Commander deckbuilders consider obscure and pricey Mercadian Masques and Odyssey cards when deckbuilding-but far fewer decks actually
want these enchantments. I expect both cards to end up around $3 after the market settles.

Total value of significant cards at SCG retail:

Possible Upgrades:

Whenever a new Commander set is released, it’s worth taking a look at existing cards that could help spice up the deck. Demand for these cards is likely to
increase, which will cause the price to rise.

In this case, I’d look first toward enchantment tutoring. Plea for Guidance is already an underrated card in my Commander speculation pile. Foils at $1.99
each look especially sweet, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they jump to $5 or $6. At under a buck, Three Dreams is another solid choice for a more
aura-based rebuild. Lastly, Flickering Ward is a fantastic way to max out on experience counters. It’s a Tempest card, too, so supply is already

Wade into Battle (Current SCG Retail $29.99)

New Mythics and Rares:

Blade of Selves might be the most exciting card in the set from a purely casual perspective. It is stellar in every multiplayer deck ever built, and it’s
straight-up nuts in decks with creatures that can abuse the additional tokens/triggers. I’ve already heard talk of this card getting banned in Commander,
but the fact that it requires you to play it, equip it, and swing makes that somewhat unlikely. If it isn’t banned, I expect it to be the most sought-after
card in the set. A $8-$10 price tag wouldn’t surprise me.

I also really like Magus of the Wheel. Wheel of Fortune abilities are always sought-after, and the 3/3 body means that this one can go in both aggressive
and control/combo decks. It’s Cube-able too, which bodes well for its future price. Ditto for Fiery Confluence, which should become a Cube staple at 540+.
Fiery Confluence isn’t as good in Commander, though, so I’d expect the Magus to be worth a little more-it should stay around $3-$4, but Fiery Confluence
might drop as low as $1.50.

Above Bulk Reprints:

Urza’s Incubator is an excellent card in any tribal deck, and I expect it will hold most of its value regardless of the reprint. Ditto Gisela, who is
underrated in both Commander and Cube. The others are all low value cards or they’ve been reprinted multiple times already, so I doubt they’ll move much in
either direction.

Total value of significant cards at SCG retail:

Possible Upgrades:

Sunforger is under a buck thanks to Modern Masters 2015, and it seems like a great addition to this deck alongside Lightning Helix and Lightning
Bolt. Iroas, God of Victory is pretty close to an auto-include here, and I like the God as a long-term value play regardless. Aurelia, the Warleader is
probably the best Boros-colored Commander available, and foils might finally climb above their current $20 price. I doubt many people will keep the deck’s
Giant tribal theme after they start tinkering with this, so don’t worry about going after the other Lorwyn members of that tribe.

Swell the Host (Current SCG Retail $34.99)

New Mythics and Rares:

Command Beacon isn’t a must-play in every Commander deck, but I’d run it all of my mono-colored decks and any of the two-color brews where my commander is
either very important to my strategy or likely to die multiple times in a game. It’s similar to Homeward Path in terms of its power level and versatility,
though players are more likely to want Command Beacon because it’s a proactive card that they can build around. I expect it to end up in the $7-$8 range.

Command Beacon also enables Phage, the Untouchable and Haakon, Stromgald Scourge as potential mono-black commanders. Having a couple foils of each sounds
good, and both are a reasonably strong buy right now.

Ezuri, Claw of Progress and Kaseto, Orochi Archmage are good at enabling the ‘small elusive creatures, +1/+1 counters, and tempo shenanigans’ themes that
WotC likes to push Simic mages toward. Both cards are good, but they’ll end up between $1.50 and $2.50 simply because there aren’t that many good homes for
them in Commander and neither card is playable in Legacy.

Synthetic Destiny and Ezuri’s Predation are interesting because they’re fairly unique in what they do. Synthetic Destiny is fun and easy to abuse in decks
with lots of comes-into-play triggers, and Ezuri’s Predation gives green a pretty solid wrath. They’re both future $1 rares due to their narrow
applications, though they should trade well. I don’t really like any of the other cards as sleepers, unfortunately- Verdant Confluence is the worst in the
cycle, and Scytheclaw is too slow.

It’s worth mentioning Skullwinder briefly here as well. It’s an uncommon, so it shows up in one of the other Commander 2015 decks as well. If you
play in multiplayer formats where you have nominal allegiances, this is a significantly better Eternal Witness. I don’t think enough people play enough of
their games like that for this to end up at $7 or anything, but it’s got some sneaky long-term upside at $2. If it ends up at $0.50, I might buy a stack of
them and hold them for a couple of years.

Above Bulk Reprints:

Eternal Witness could drop down to $4 again once these decks start sitting on shelves, but this card always rebounds if you give it enough time. Ditto
Solemn Simulacrum and Reliquary Tower, neither of which should be cheaper than about $3. High Market and Forgotten Ancient have less real-world demand, and
I could see both of them spending significant time in the $1-$2 range before rebounding in a couple of years.

Total value of significant cards at SCG retail:

Possible Upgrades:

The obvious addition is Edric, Spymaster of Trest, but there are still loads of $1 copies flying around thanks to Conspiracy. Champion of Lambholt
is also $0.99, and Avacyn Restored cards are underprinted enough that this could be a nice spec target. Mycoloth would also be excellent in this
deck, though you can get a copy in one of the other Commander 2015 decks. Vorel of the Hull Clade is nuts with Ezuri, and foils are just $1.99.
Ditto Sage of Hours. Aluren is also fantastic with Ezuri, and it’s a reserved list rare that’s playable in Legacy.

Some people might also choose to build a Snake tribal deck around Kaseto. If so, Seshiro the Anointed is likely to spike. It’s a rare from Champions of Kamigawa, so supply is already very low. Sakiko, Mother of Summer and Shizuko, Caller of Autumn aren’t quite as good, but they’re
still auto-includes in that sort of build and they’re also from an old, under-opened set.

Seize Control (Current SCG Retail $34.99)

New Mythics and Rares:

Mystic Confluence is currently the most expensive card in the whole set. I’m not sure how much of that is due to perceived competitive playability, though.
Mystic Confluence is powerful, but its CMC will probably keep it out of Magic’s oldest formats. Alas, there is no Force of Will-style ‘pitch’ option here.

That’s not to say this card is a bust. Mystic Confluence is an excellent card in Cube and Commander, where the additional 1 CMC over Cryptic Command is a
decent trade-off for a higher ceiling and more splashability. I’d still take Cryptic over this in Cube, but I’d be happiest with both cards in my deck.
Every blue Commander deck has to at least consider running Mystic Confluence, which means that it should be able to stay at least $5-$8.

I wouldn’t buy in now-there’s too much erroneous Legacy hype surrounding the card-but considering the lack of value in Seize Control, I wouldn’t be
surprised if the card maintains a decent price tag in the years to come.

Aside from Mystic Confluence, there isn’t a lot of long-term value here. Arjun, the Shifting Flame and Mizzix of the Izmagnus will find homes in
spell-based combo decks, but they’re too narrow to ever be worth much more than $1-$2. Mizzix’s Mastery is more versatile, but don’t get too excited it for
Legacy-Past in Flames is the better card in almost all situations. I can’t wait to play with all three of those cards, though, so it’s possible I’m
underrating them a little.

My favorite hidden gem? Seal of the Guildpact. The medallion cycle is very popular, and this card is significantly more versatile. I wouldn’t be surprised
if it ends up as a $4-$5 staple at some point, making it one of the more surprising cards in the set.

Above Bulk Reprints:

The three biggest reprints in Seize Control-Blatant Thievery, Etherium-Horn Sorcerer, and Dragon Mage-are expensive more because of their previous scarcity
than their current demand. Blatant Thievery is the best of them, but it’s probably a $2-$3 card going forward. Dragon Mage is probably $2 going forward.
Etherium-Horn Sorcerer might drop below a buck.

Most of the others should hold their value, though. We’ve already talked about Reliquary Tower, Command Tower, and Sol Ring, but Rite of Replication is
right alongside them in terms of ongoing demand. It should be stable at $2. Preordain, Brainstorm, and Fact or Fiction are solid $1 cards no matter how
many times they’re printed.

Total value of significant cards at SCG retail:

Possible Upgrades:

My Riku of Two Reflections deck could use a few of these cards, and that venerable Commander might finally creep above $10 as people use him instead of
Mizzix. Past in Flames and Guttersnipe both belong in this deck for sure, though Past in Flames’ value is mostly tied to competitive play. Cyclonic Rift is
a must here, and that card’s pedigree is solid enough that I could see a strong uptick in value over the next few months.

Plunder the Graves (Current SCG Retail $34.99)

New Mythics and Rares:

I actually think there are two Cube-able cards here-Meren of Clan Nel Toth and Wretched Confluence. Meren isn’t good enough for a highly streamlined 360
build, but it enables a ton of powerful and interesting grindy Golgari or Stax strategies in a bigger list. It’s also good in every black/green
sacrifice-based Commander deck ever made, so it should hold its value better than most of the multicolored legends in the set. $5 long term is totally
feasible here.

Wretched Confluence is probably the third-best in the Confluence cycle, but that doesn’t mean it’s not playable in both Cube and Commander. It’s a very
good lategame topdeck, and it’s another card worth considering in Cubes 540 or bigger. I expect it to stick around $2.

There are a lot of other intriguing cards on this list as well, but most of them are too narrow to be very exciting from a financial perspective.
Bloodspore Thrinax, Scourge of Nel Toth, and Pathbreaker Ibex all have their place, but only a few decks are going to want them. Centaur Vinecrasher is the
most intriguing of all, because it actually seems almost Legacy playable. Betting on a four-mana green creature is lunacy, so I can’t call it a strong buy
or anything, but I wouldn’t be completely shocked if it ended up finding a home in a Delver-esque deck somewhere.

Above Bulk Reprints:

Eldrazi Monument is the most expensive reprint in the set, but I’m not sure it can maintain a price tag this high. It’s quite good in decks that are
overflowing with creatures, but $10 is just too much for an in-print card that’s only really good in a couple of decks in a single casual format. We might
see it end up closer to $5 before it starts creeping back up again.

Note that High Market is reprinted in two of the five Commander 2015 decks. I was already doubtful that it could stay near $4 over the short term,
and this makes me even more suspicious. Skullclamp should stick around $2, though-that’s its absolute floor.

Total value of significant cards at SCG retail:

Possible Upgrades:

Grave Pact and Dictate of Erebos are both solid additions here if you want to build in a Kresh-style direction, which is the route I imagine most people
will take. Both of those cards are good bets to gain value over the next few months. If people decide to build Meren in the Stax direction instead,
Smokestack, Pox, Smallpox, and Death Cloud are all worth considering. Life from the Loam is another auto-include, though that card still derives most of
its value from competitive play and isn’t a great spec at $8.


– Unlike last year, when there were clear tiers among the decks, all five of these feel fairly even to me. Plunder the Graves is probably the best-and
current price tags bear that out-but you could make a reasonable argument for each of them. There’s no reason to run out to your nearest big box store in
hopes of snagging the latest $30 Legacy staple, but that’s a good thing. It keeps these cards in the hands of the casual players who will appreciate them
the most.

– At this point, it’s too late to sell any of your existing cards that have been reprinted here. Casual cards are always tricky, and I’d suggest putting
them back in your collection for the next year or two. While Commander sets tend to depress short-term prices significantly, many cards do eventually
recover most of their old value. Black Market isn’t going to be $15 again, though.

– If you want to buy any of these cards for your own Commander decks, my advice is to wait a couple of months. A few cards might get more expensive-Blade
of Selves, step right up-but the vast majority of them will be significantly cheaper. If you can’t wait that long, don’t worry about the prices and pick up
whichever deck interests you the most. Even the worst of the five decks can lose almost half its value before you’re paying retail for the cards inside.
Once you factor in the fun of playing Commander in the meantime, it’s a perfectly reasonable buy.

This Week’s Trends

– The market for Zendikar expeditions bottomed out earlier this month, and prices are on the rise. If you’ve been waiting for months to buy a set of these
for your Cube or just as a long-term investment, now is the time. The expensive cards are moving first, so don’t save the blue fetches for last if your
purchasing power is limited. Lock them down right away.

– The spring set has been announced as Shadows Over Innistrad. While the number one thing on everyone’s minds is a Snapcaster Mage reprint, it’s
not going to happen. Snapcaster Mage is the 2016 PPTQ foil, remember-no way will they devalue that by reprinting the card in a Standard-legal set.

Liliana of the Veil is slightly more likely, but I doubt that will happen either. “I believe development thinks she’s too strong for Standard,” Mark
Rosewater said on October 8th of this year in response to the question. We know that Liliana of the Veil was supposed to be in M15 but got the axe by
development due to the dominance of Mono-Black Devotion in Standard. Mono-Black wasn’t an issue last month when Mark made his latest comment, though, so I
don’t expect to see Liliana again until MM2017.

– If you’re looking for an interesting Shadows Over Innistrad spec, why not Risen Executioner? It’s close to a bulk mythic, and I have to believe
there will be at least a casual Zombie theme in the new set. Be aware that this isn’t likely to spawn a competitive deck, though, and measure your
expectations accordingly.

– Most Standard cards have peaked and begun to drop, but a few are currently rising. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Sorin, Solemn
Visitor, Secure the Wastes, and Narset Transcendent are the major gainers. Every other card in Standard-even the fetchlands and key planeswalkers-appear to
have begun their downturn toward their end-of-year low point.