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Reserved List Cards for EDH Commander #3 – Survival of the Fittest

Hey folks, thank you for joining me on my third installment of adding Reserved List Cards to our EDH collection. I have to be honest with you, I really miss the TCG Low Pricing structure. The new Market Price on TCG seemed like a good idea, but I am finding cards anywhere from $3 to $8 cheaper than the Market Price. Lightly Played condition even. Lucky for us the TCG Low/Mid/High price structure is still available on MagicCards.info. If you click on the Low/Mid/High price, it will actually take you to TCGPlayer.com where you can see the lowest price available. I have updated our collecting rules for this series. They can be found at the bottom of the article.

IF you are new to the game, our mission is simple. We are adding Reserved List cards to our EDH collection at just $1.00 per day. Pretty sweet huh? If you would like to start from the beginning, here is the first article: Reserved List Cards for EDH Commander #1 – Academy Rector.

For September, 2016 we have our $30 monthly allowance to spend along with our remaining $8 carried over last month. Since part 3 of this series is about a month late I hope you set aside your $30 in anticipation of this article! Remember, if you like the exercise and are following along be sure to check back for my recommendations every month! Let’s do this!

What to Buy on the Reserve List for EDH

Survival of the Fittest in EDH CommanderSurvival of the Fittest: This month we will be picking up our very own copy of Survival of the Fittest. During the 2016 Reserve List Buyout scare, Survival was not targeted and saw little change to it’s price tag. Therfore, it is only a matter of time before this classic powerhouse rare from Exodus climbs the price spike ladder. Survival was pro level goodness when it was in Standard and is so damn powerful that it is banned in Legacy. It is an absolute monster in EDH and has achieved “staple” status in Commander decks such as Karador, Ghost Chieftain, Meren of Clan Nel Toth and The Mimeoplasm.

So what is so great about Survival of the Fittest? The simple end of the stick is that Survival allows us to tap one green mana and discard a creature card to search our library for a different creature card and put it into our hand. Having access to tutor for any creature in our library is a powerful prescription for fixing anything that ails us on the battlefield. Do we need to mana fix in the early game? Discard our 8 casting cost creature to go find Sakura-Tribe Elder. Is an opponent’s artifact or enchantment getting us down? Discard a creature to get our Reclamation Sage. Are we looking to swing for the win? Discard the late game Birds of Paradise and go get our Craterhoof Behemoth. Survival of the Fittest allows us access to our utility creatures and game changers at the time we need them.

In graveyard or recursion decks, Survival of the Fittest allows us to discard a card into our graveyard so commanders like Meren of Clan Nel Toth can put it on the battlefield, or in a lesser but still great scenario, return it to our hand. This rations out to be a free tutor ability at the end of every turn. Outside of commanders, cards like Animate Dead and Living Death provide double value. We discard a creature card to abuse recursion AND we tutor for a creature card to put in our hand. Delicious.

Here are a few other tricks and treats that can intensify the usefulness of Survival of the Fittest.

  • In response to an opponent’s Living Death use Survival to throw a fatty in the yard.
  • In response to an opponent’s graveyard removal activate Survival discarding Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and shuffle our graveyard into our library.
  • In response to an opponent destroying survival of the fittest activate it to tutor for Eternal Witness and get Survival back in our hand.
  • Use Survival of the Fittest to dump cards like Anger, Genesis or Glory into our graveyard. That is were they want to be anyway.

Survival of the Fittest is a powerhouse in heavy creature decks. Sure, EDH decks that focus on getting creatures in the graveyard will exploit this classic enchantment to it’s full extent, but there are very few decks that won’t get value from it being on the battlefield.

So what is the main complaint about Survival of the Fittest? The price. However, if you have been participating in our reserved list collecting exercise, this is no longer an issue! I have searched around the web and you can obtain a Slightly Played copy on Ebay or TCG for $35.00. We cannot durdle on this investment folks. Lightly played, low priced copies are getting scarce and most websites have this card cranked up to about $44.99 or higher. It’s time to spend our allowance and get this mono-green staple into our collection before the price spikes out of our reach!

At the time of this article, Survival of the Fittest has a TCG Low of $33.80. Our Price: $35

That’s it for September, one card, but a damn good one! We have spent $35 of our $38 savings so we will roll over the extra $3 to October.

Hope you enjoyed this exercise, see you in October (new article should be here in a few days)!

On to the next!

For your convenience, here are the rules we are following for Budget Reserve List Collecting:

[spoiler title=’Rules for Budget Reserved List Collecting’]

  1. Our monthly budget will be $30. That is the equivalent of $1.00 a day. Most players would spend way more than that on daily habits such as nicotine sticks, fast food, or buying a daily latte, cappuccino, sugar coffee thingy at Starbucks.
  2. Condition of the cards will not be too important since we are simply wanting a single copy of each card so that we can play it in our EDH decks. That is the main reason for wanting the reserve list abolished right? So we can play with the cards? Very well then. Since prices do tend to fluctuate, I will use the pricing for this article series as Lightly Played or Near Mint. With that being said, you may be able to save a couple of bucks by digging into the Moderate and Heavily Played cards.
  3. As of this article, we will be theoretically purchasing cards at TCG Low for Lightly Played cards. We will round prices up to the nearest dollar for ease of balancing our budget. Not all pricing will be exact, but we’ll definitely be in the ballpark.
  4. We will target at least one card every month that is highly playable. There is a lot of cannon-fodder on the reserve list. We want to get cards that could see a buyout at anytime and can be viable in our Commander decks.
  5. In December, we will celebrate the holidays by at least adding $50 to our $30 budget. We should ask our friends and family for holiday gift cards or simply treat ourselves to $50 in solid EDH investments. We deserve it!
  6. Shipping and Handling will not be calculated. We are rounding up our dollar amounts and most shipping is either free or minute.
  7. Occasionally we will “piggy bank” some of our funds. ie: float a few dollars over to the next month so we can purchase some of the more expensive cards on the reserve list.


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