Welcome back to our proactive exercise of filling our trade binders with gold, jank and junk from Magic the Gathering’s™ infamous reserved list. Our goal, is to collect, play and stash cards that will never be reprinted by Wizards of the Coast® barring a complete meltdown or apocalypse of the game of Magic itself. The best part about our monthly exercise? We will be getting our cards by simply spending $1.00 per day. That, in itself, is groovy.
This month’s edition of MTG Reserved List treasures for our EDH collection will center around the golden age version of Karn, Silver Golem. The Legendary Artifact Creature known as Karn is a peculiar card with regards to the reserved list because it has been reprinted twice. Available on the market today is the original Urza’s Saga rare, but there are also two foil versions of the card available at a higher price. In 1999 Wizards printed a foil version of the card as an Arena League promo and in 2010 Karn was reprinted as a foil in From the Vault: Relics. Wizards of the Coast™ was able to reprint premium versions of Karn due to a loophole in the Reserve List Policy; a loophole that was closed in 2010. This situation bodes very well for Commander players and collectors alike as we can get have a foil version of Karn in the old school brown artifact tone, the modern day artifact gray, or simply pick up the original non-foil Urza’s Saga copy.
With that, let’s get started on this month’s treasures that are within your grasp to own and hold!
We have no cash to roll over from last month, as we spent our entire allowance on Volrath’s Stronghold and City of Shadows. No worries, let’s take a look at this month’s treasure and where we can put our monthly allotment of $30! Remember, the goal of the exercise is to buy reserved list cards today so we can use them tomorrow.
Here are the rules of the game:
[spoiler title=’Rules for Budget Reserved List Collecting’]
If you would like to start from the beginning, here is the first article: Reserved List Cards for EDH Commander #1 – Academy Rector.
Magic’s reserved list contains a hand selected lot of cards that will never be reprinted and their scarcity grows with every passing day. While I do not want to discuss the politics or conundrum that is Magic the Gathering’s™ reserve list policy, I do want to discuss obtaining deck building pieces that are on this list. This article series strives to get reserved list cards into our decks or binders today, because who knows what the price may be tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this collecting exercise aimed at being proactive instead of reactive to price increases and buyouts.
- Our monthly budget will be $30. That is the equivalent of $1.00 a day (cue the Sara McLachlan music). 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.
- 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.
- Pricing evaluation will be theoretically based on purchasing cards at TCG Low or Ebay for Lightly Played cards. In my opinion, TCGPlayer and Ebay are the cheapest place to buy singles but if there is a cheaper place to look, please comment below. 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Shipping and Handling will not be calculated. We are rounding up our dollar amounts and most shipping is either free or minute.
- 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.
What to Buy on the Reserve List for EDH
Karn, Silver Golem: As a commander, Karn, Silver Golem brings with it an interesting ability. We can animate any ordinary, non-creature artifact into a ground pounding rusty beast with power and toughness equal to it’s mana cost. Did you ever dream of swinging at your opponent’s with a 6/6 Staff of Nin? How about controlling the board and winning the game with a 6/6 Ward of Bones as a win condition? Did you know that Karn’s ability can ignore the Crew cost and send a 5/5 Flying Skysovereign, Consul Flagship into battle with no one behind the wheel? Karn can also tinker with your opponents. In response to Damnation we could tap and bring a Gilded Lotus to life just in time to be buried in the creature purge.
Maybe you don’t want Karn as your Commander? How about including him as part of the 99 in Muzzio, Visionary Architect or Breya, Etherium Shaper? I’m sure you could come up with some epic synergies, so be sure to leave a comment with your brewing ideas!
At the time of this article, you can pick up a Lightly Played copy of the Urza’s Saga version of Karn, Silver Golem for approximately $6. However, if you have a little extra to spend this month, I highly encourage you to pick up the From the Vault version for $8 or get the Arena Promo for about $17. Myself, I was super excited to receive my Arena Promo Karn in the mail a few days ago. Having a foiled copy of a reserve list card is a fantastic treasure to own!
Al-abara’s Carpet: What can I say? Collecting a timeless antique from Magic’s early expansion sets (Legends, Arabian Nights or Antiquities) is one of the main reasons I love this card game. Playing a card like Al-abara’s Carpet is like sleeving up a piece of history. Mechanically speaking, however, time has not been too kind to Al-abara’s Carpet. The rules text simply boils down to it being a bland artifact with an expensive partial-Fog ability. The carpet itself costs five mana, plus it costs another five mana to activate. And, unlike Angus Mackenzie, this ancient piece of cardboard only prevents damage done to us from non-flying creatures.
While there are very few decks that could find a use for an artifact like this, we could certainly find a home for it in a Karn EDH deck. Karn, Silver Golem can turn the carpet into a 5/5 ground-pounder and swing in with some of the happiest imagery I’ve ever seen on a magic card. Check out that smile! Who wouldn’t want to turn this sideways as an attacker and sing the Aladdin tune… “a whole new world…“? Plus, its that a Genie in the artwork? Heck yeah.
Where was I, oh yeah, using this in Karn. Aside from being a mindless attack cog in the Karn machine, we could abuse the ability in conjunction with Unwinding Clock, Sol Ring and Mana Vault and protect ourselves every turn from non-flying creatures. Outside of a colorless EDH deck, I suppose we could team this up with Archetype of Imagination or Gravity Sphere to keep the dirt off of our jersey.
For some odd reason, this magical artifact has been ticking up in price and is becoming scarce on websites such as TCGPlayer and Ebay. Slightly Played and Very Good Condition English copies are still available on Card Kingdom and Star City Games for about $7-$9, so do your research to find the best deal. We will put a $10 Price tag on this for the purpose of our exercise and to allow for potential shipping costs.
When my Mana Web arrived in the mail I sent a picture of it to my buddy Corey. His response? Fun… Not.. I had to look at the card again. Is it really that bad? Nah, not at all. For 3 mana we get an artifact that simply recommends that our opponents should be careful about how they use their mana because once the faucet is on, it won’t shut off. Mana Web will slow our friends down on their turn or prevent them from performing shenanigans on our turns such as counterspells and targeted removal.
Mana Web is another treasure with the supply drying up. Get this on TCGPlayer in Lightly Played condition while you can for about $6.50. Our Price: $7
Our final card of the day is Scorched Ruins. With Scorched Ruins we sacrifice two lands and use our land drop to have a resource that taps for four colorless mana cccc. While this is definitely an unconventional way to mana ramp, it does get the job done. If mana sources were eggs, however, we have definitely put them all in one basket. Getting hit with a Strip Mine or Acidic Slime could hamper our efforts to be competitive in a game of EDH. However, in playgroup that is light on land destruction Scorched Ruins could be a gem! Pair this up with Flagstones of Trokair, Life from the Loam or Splendid Reclamation and if your playgroup didn’t have targeted land destruction before, they will the next time you play. If we run this in a Karn Commander deck, we should definitely include Crucible of Worlds and Drownyard Temple to help recoup the lands we lost to Scorched Ruins.
Sellers on TCGPlayer have these at about $5.50 as of the time of this article. Our Price: $6
Another great month of collecting cards that will never be printed again! This month we spent $29 so we will carry over $1 to next month. Whether or not you decide to build an EDH deck like Karn or if you can find other uses for these four gems is up to you. For now, they are on your way to your mailbox and will be available to you when you decide when you find a deck to put them in.
What did you think? Are you excited about this month’s pickups? Where could you see Karn, Al-abara’s Carpet, Mana Web or Scroched Ruins used outside of a Karn EDH deck? Would you like to see Karn highlighed on a future EDHREC: Non-Basically Speaking article? What would you like to see as our next reserved list card to add to our collection? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
On to the next!