Commander seems to rule the MTG secondary market with an iron grip. While other movements are present within the market, like Indomitable Creativity’s explosion in price thanks to Reid Duke’s Pro Tour victory, these tend to be overshadowed by whatever Commander card players discovered over the past week. For the second week in a row, we’ve had some strong price trends pop up due to things unrelated into Commander. MTG Hammertime decks are already an incredibly popular force in Modern, but price trends suggest that it’s only getting more popular over time.
The namesake of the Hammertime deck has not been incredibly expensive for most of its lifespan. Colossus Hammer was initially printed as an uncommon in the Magic 2020 set but has been reprinted twice in the Adventures of the Forgotten Realms and in one of the Game Night sets. The hammer does see some Commander play, but mainly sees play in Modern.
As an MTG card, Colossus Hammer does something compelling for its mana value. The card’s downside is mainly seen in its massive equip cost. As you can imagine, there are some ways to bypass this, which make Colossus Hammer an absolute beating. We will get into the most common ways to do this here since those cards have also seen a significant increase in price.
Colossus Hammer’s price has more than tripled across its printed copies over the past month. For a while, the card floated around $1.30 but is now worth around $5 on average, representing a 280% price spike. Notably, the Game Knight copy is currently going for a bit of a premium since fewer copies of that card are in circulation.
Sigarda’s Aid is the most common way MTG players currently cheat the absurd equip cost of Colossus Hammer. Notably, this card is also coming to MTG Arena soon, meaning that this strategy could also find its way into Explorer and Historic on the platform.
Basically, Sigarda’s Aid allows the player to immediately equip Colossus Hammer to a creature upon its entry, bypassing the card’s equip cost. Of course, if that creature dies in response to the equip effect (which happens a lot), the hammer may be a dud on board until the Hammer player finds another way to cheat the equip cost.
If that weren’t good enough, Sigarda’s Aid also allows its owner to cast equip spells at instant speed. This means that you can flash in a Hammer after attacks have been declared or in response to a burn spell that would usually kill your creature. This also means that, in the situation where you have multiple hammers, you can flash them all in and easily push 20 damage. Since both of these spells only cost one mana each, it’s not uncommon for the deck to swing for lethal damage as early as turn two. For reference, MTG Hammertime plays a lot of zero-mana creatures like Ornithopter and Memnite.
Like Colossus Hammer, Sigarda’s Aid has also seen a massive price spike. Originally priced at around $5 a few months ago, the card is now selling for as much as $13. The card tends to average closer to $10, representing the card doubling in price.
This spike is a bit fresher than the other cards here, but it looks like Puresteel Paladin is also seeing a price increase. This is another very popular way to cheat the equip cost of Colossus Hammer in Modern MTG Hammertime decks. The Metalcraft ability allows you to bypass equip costs as long as you have three artifacts in play.
Puresteel Paladin can also be a good source for card advantage since the card offers you card draw whenever equipment cards enter the battlefield under your control. As such, the card will generally be removed on sight if the opponent can do so.
Puresteel Paladin’s price tag a few months ago hovered around the $5 range, and the card’s range it’s currently selling for is quite large. While you can find copies of the card selling for $12, there are still copies of Puresteel Paladin selling for around $7. According to recent sales, finding a $7 Paladin is not outrageous. This, as a result, could signal a spike that is about to happen but could also simply be some overpriced sales.
Unlike the other cards on this list, Esper Sentinel does see play in places other than MTG Hammertime and some rogue equip-centric Commander decks. This is because Esper Sentinel features an effect similar to Rhystic Study that demands each opponent to pay an additional amount equal to Esper Sentinel’s power whenever they cast their first non-creature spell per turn. If you fail to do so, Esper Sentinel’s owner draws a card. This is, needless to say, a very powerful ability.
Sentinel is one of the better cards in the Commander format, so it’s not uncommon to see the card being played in any white deck. That said, Sentinel is still quite powerful in MTG Hammertime because the card offers an early body that can easily turn into a win condition. Additionally, Sentinel taxes most opponents’ removal in the Modern format, allowing the Hammer player to keep presenting threats as the game progresses. Finally, should the Sentinel become equipped with a Hammer, you basically get to draw an extra card each turn as long as your opponent is playing non-creature spells (it is tough to pay 11 mana to prevent card draw).
Because Esper Sentinel has a more significant draw than other cards we’ve seen so far, its price is much higher. The Sentinel’s price tag has increased about $10 over the past three months from $23 to $33 at the higher end of what the card is currently selling for. The range of prices Sentinel is presently selling for does suggest that $33 is currently on the higher side of things, and finding a Sentinel for $30 is a bit more realistic. That said, there are still copies of the card selling for $25, but the card’s average has increased to around $30, according to TCGplayer. Either way, should you decide to try out the MTG Hammertime archetype in Modern, prepare to pay a bit of a premium.