by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Ever wonder how some Magic the Gathering cards have significant price tags despite seeing no competitive play? Welcome to Kitchen Table Magic, where anything goes and a card only has to be good in a vacuum to see play. But there are cards that tend to actually be legitimately good that just never got the love they may have deserved. These are the Kitchen Table Magic all-stars.
Common Types of Kitchen Table Magic All-Stars
Legendary Creatures - Beyond simply being potential Commanders, Legends usually have powerful effects that entice you to build around them. Those that benefit from being outside of a singleton and color restricted format like Commander flourish in casual one-on-one and multiplayer environments. There are more examples than we can possibly list.
Mill - Because running your opponent out of cards is dirty and fun... Glimpse the Unthinkable is a great example of this. It sees some random Modern play, but that's not where most of the demand comes from. The same is true for cards like Archive Trap and Hedron Crab.
Multiplayer All-Stars - Cards that have effects that affect each opponent can scale up big time in multiplayer. These can become serious all-star candidates.
Planeswalkers - Because they are usually very powerful cards, especially in a more casual metagame, planeswalkers always have value. Classic planeswalkers such as Chandra, Jace, Garruk, and Liliana and their various incarnations tend to be worth more in the long run.
Tribal - Cards in popular creature types tend to be all stars in the tribal decks that want them. The most popular tribes are Angels, Demons, Elves, Goblins, and Slivers, but there are many others that warrant attention.
How Do We Identify Casual Magic All-Stars?
The criteria for a Kitchen Table Magic All-Star card becoming a great investment include:
So, what are the signs of identifying casual Magic all-stars before the often “invisible” demand causes the price to inevitably climb?
One thing to watch is the foil multiplier. This is simply taking the average price of a card’s foil printing and dividing it by the non-foil price. If you see a card that has a high multiplier, this is usually a sign that the players that want this card want the shiniest version. This usually means it
is a key part of some strategy somewhere.
But many times, the foils of casual cards are less than twice the regular price. What does this mean?
Let’s take a good example of a casual all-star with plenty of room to grow: Chasm Skulker from Magic 2015.
As of this writing, Chasm Skulker is around $3-4 and around $6-8 for the foil version. Not long ago it was much closer to $2 and $4, respectively. Outside of some rogue decks, it’s never seen significant competitive play. It did, however, get reprinted in Commander 2016. Still, it's holding a fair price tag, especially the foil.
The effect? You can get this guy pretty big each time you draw a card. And when it dies? You get a ton of tokens with islandwalk. There isn’t another card quite like this. It sees a decent amount of play in Commander, but isn’t any kind of a format staple.
So yeah, the Skulker is good in Commander where drawing cards and manipulating +1/+1 counters is fairly easily done. But the price tag is a function of people buying multiple copies at a time for a 60-card deck. It’s not hard to run 4 copies of this guy. And because the Skulker is from such a recent set, there are plenty of copies still out there. He’s more of a “fun” card that isn’t the heart of a strategy, but more of a complimentary piece. Many casual Magic all-stars are like these.
We’ll identify more cards like this in the future. It’s not so much about making money in identifying these, it’s about saving money if they suddenly become really good in the future.
Any Kitchen Table Magic all-stars that you have your eye on or have collected to play in your own decks?
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