After first being announced back in February, Commander Masters seemed like a godsend of an MTG set. Focused all around Commander reprints, this set could help drive down the price of in-demand cards in a major way. Considering that many Commander staples can cost upwards of $50, it’s safe to say this prospect excited players.
Unfortunately for these interested MTG players, however, initial Commander Masters spoilers were less than perfect. In fact, following the set’s Debut Stream, many MTG players were left feeling outraged at the lack of value. Sure, $6 rares are far from the worst thing in the world, however, when Booster Boxes cost over $400, it’s understandable why players were wanting more.
Thankfully, while these complaints are warranted, Commander Masters spoiler season is far from over yet. Subsequently, there are surely still plenty of high-cost Commander staples yet to be revealed. To prove exactly that point, last night, a handful of $40+ mythic cards were revealed, bumping up the potential value in packs!
Mythic Rares to the Rescue
To kick things off, Archfiend of Despair is the most expensive recent Commander Masters spoiler. Clocking in at $46 on TCGplayer, this card is absolutely a fantastic find within a Booster Pack. After all, not only is this card valuable, but it’s also a Limited bomb.
Effectively doubling damage and preventing life gain, this card isn’t to be scoffed at. In Commander, however, Archfiend of Despair isn’t a powerhouse staple. Subsequently, you might be wondering, why on earth this Demon is so expensive! Thankfully, there’s a simple answer here and it all comes down to scarcity.
So far, Archfiend of Despair has only ever been printed in Battlebond. As a result, copies of this card are scarce enough to drive up prices. Unfortunately, this may mean that, post-release, the value of Archfiend of Despair crashes hard, provided Commander Masters sells well.
Thankfully, in theory, the same shouldn’t happen to Neheb, the Eternal. While only priced at $19 on TCGplayer, this card has not only the potential to retain its value but also be rather expensive. This is all thanks to the card’s Borderless Profile treatment.
Through this new art treatment, and its Textured Foil variant, fans of Neheb, the Eternal are in for a real treat. As, rather than paying $40 for a prerelease promo, these fans can now enjoy some striking art instead! So long as they enjoy this new art treatment, that is.
Last but not least, the newly spoiled reprint for Finale of Devastation is absolutely worth talking about. Available for around $36, this massive green spell is a true Commander staple, so it’s great to see it getting reprinted. Thanks to the gorgeous Frame Break version of this card, finance-focused players should be in for a treat too!
Less than Stellar Additions
Unfortunately, while recent spoilers have given value-hungry MTG players something to be excited about, it’s not all good news. This is especially the case for Curtains’ Call. Last reprinted in Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, this card is a complete waste of a rare slot.
Worth barely $0.30, the only redeeming quality of this card is its situational strength. When played in games with enough players, Curtains’ Call can offer very well costed removal. Unfortunately, however, it’s rather rare to see Commander games with more than four players for good reason.
Alongside this waste of a rare slot, we also have the recently spoiled Azami, Lady of Scrolls. Similarly priced at under a dollar, this card has been reprinted four times since its Champions of Kamigawa debut. In that time, only one variant, a Secret Lair drop, has been worth more than $2. Unfortunately, since the Commander Masters variant doesn’t have new art, this card certainly won’t break the bank.
Sadly for value fanatics, it’s not hard to find new reprints that don’t quite cut the mustard. Braid, Conjurer Adept, for instance, is another newly spoiled example that really has no business being reprinted. Already available for just over $1, MTG players who want this card are easily able to obtain it. Technically, it’s always nice to pick up MTG cards on the cheap. For Commander Masters, however, these cards are a bit of a waste.
Hopefully, these disappointing reprints should, at least, make the Limited environment interesting. Even if they achieve this, however, these cards will be little more than Draft chaff. Disappointingly, there are quite a few rare cards that fit into this category, even in the rare slots such as the $0.50 Magus of the Wheel.
Commander Masters Will Never Be Perfect
Due to the prevalence of the above Draft chaff, unfortunately, it seems many Commander Masters packs may be incredibly disappointing. Even when you factor in the additional guaranteed Legendary rare or mythic rare in every booster, there’s a huge number of lackluster cards. As a result of this, you may be tempted to blame the set’s focus on its Limited environment, however, this isn’t the only problem.
Judging by a recent statement from MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, Commander Masters was never going to be perfect. Responding to a question asking why sets can’t be all the needed expensive reprints, Rosewater revealed “Highly desired reprints are a resource that we have to allocate across our various products. Any one set only gets so many.”
Ultimately, this statement from Rosewater is nothing new, as MTG players have theorized as much for years. Understandably, it makes financial sense that Wizards wants to drip-feed reprints to ensure every set sells. Even with this expectation in mind, it’s nevertheless disappointing to see it in writing. After all, it effectively means that no Masters set will ever be perfect and tackle MTG’s pricing problem head-on.
Thankfully, while not every Commander Masters card is a valuable $20+ reprint, this set should still achieve its purpose somewhat. There are still expensive cards that are being reprinted, after all, which should drive down prices. That being said, however, for that to happen, Commander Masters will have to sell well. Judging by the price of the set, unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that will happen right now.