These prices jumpstart and never stop.
With the seemingly unstoppable deluge of new cards we’re subjected to these days, it’s easy to miss some of the latest offerings while being overwhelmed by sets, supplements, variations and who knows what else. One such set that I more or less completely overlooked was Jumpstart 2022, released in December last year – just two weeks after The Brothers’ War. However, going back to it now and getting up to speed on its important cards reveals that there are quite a few very spicy inclusions, both new and old, and some with eye-catching price tags attached. Let’s get across the 10 most expensive cards from Jumpstart 2022!
10. Karn Liberated
Market Price: $13.31
Believe it or not, there was a time not that long ago where Karn was a comfortable $90, sometimes pushing up towards $100. Tron was one of the best decks in Modern, and copies of this card were scarce with only a single reprint in Modern Masters 2015. However, while Karn is as potent a threat as ever in Modern Tron, Tron simply hasn’t kept up with Modern’s development and is no longer the Tier 1, format-defining archetype it once was. That, combined with the fact that Karn has been reprinted a ton of times since 2018, means that these days you can pick up Karn for the relatively cheap price of $13 – and this Jumpstart 2022 reprint even comes with brand-new art!
9. Walking Ballista
Market Price: $14.35
Another card that has come down significantly in price (although it was never $90) is Walking Ballista, which topped out at around $30 back in 2020. A Double Masters reprint helped to bring the price down, and now it sits at around $13, just like Karn Liberated. And, also like Karn, Walking Ballista remains an important part of an archetype that just doesn’t hit as hard as it used to: Devoted Druid Combo. Nonetheless, Walking Ballista still does alright for itself in 60-card constructed, seeing play in Modern Tron and Legacy Initiative, and I don’t see its price coming down too significantly with this reprint as demand remains steady. Walking Ballista is a powerful and relatively unique card, and will always have people looking for copies of it.
8. Rodolf Duskbringer
Market Price: $13.79
Let’s get into the spicy stuff. Jumpstart 2022 contains around 50 brand-new cards, 14 of which are legendary creatures designed with Commander in mind. Some of these new EDH cards are real stinkers – Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier isn’t even worth a dollar – but others are real hits! At $14, Rodolf Duskbringer is already a reasonably popular pick as a life gain commander – while he has his work cut out for him going up against Liesa, Shroud of Dusk and Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, Rodolf is still a very strong choice for a creature-focused life gain deck, and I expect his price will creep up as time goes on and more people slot him into their decks.
7. Benevolent Hydra
Market Price: $15.50
As a walking, talking Hardened Scales, the floor on Benevolent Hydra is pretty low – and with its ability to scale with your mana and provide other creatures with extra +1/+1 counters, this card has got a lot going for it. Much like Rodolf, this is not a card I expect to remain at this price point – $15 is just too cheap for a card that is so perfect for one of Commander’s most popular archetypes, +1/+1 counters. These decks want every Hardened Scales-type effect they can get their hands on, and once people catch onto Benevolent Hydra and copies start to dry up, I don’t see the price going anywhere but up.
6. Pirated Copy
Market Price: $16.97
You might look at this card and think its $17 price tag is just a reflection of the fact that it’s got a really, really good gag for a name – but no, the story goes a bit deeper than that. How? After all, it’s an overpriced Clone with a marginal ability, and Pirates aren’t hurting for playables so badly that they want a five-mana Clone (they even have a three-mana Clone in Protean Raider). No – it’s got little enough to do with pirate synergies and more to do with how bonkers this card is with tokens. If you’re playing with Birds or Thopters or any other cheap evasive token creatures, Pirated Copy can give all of them an Ophidian ability, allowing you to bury your opponents in card advantage.
5. Preston, the Vanisher
Preston, the Vanisher
Market Price: $25.31
Magic gets its second Rabbit Wizard (the first being Kwain, Itinerant Meddler), and this one is extremely potent. Preston is an absolutely incredible commander for mono-white blink decks, as he naturally doubles all enter-the-battlefield effects by making token copies of creatures. Throw in Panharmonicon, Teleportation Circle, new Elesh Norn and Mondrak, Glory Dominus and you’re going to be swimming in value as you cast your Wall of Omens, Karmic Guide and Recruiter of the Guard. Having said all this, perhaps $22 is a little pricey for Preston, despite his powerful suite of abilities – you are restricted to mono-white cards after all, and most blink decks want access to a wide range of colors.
4. Balan, Wandering Knight
Balan, Wandering Knight
Market Price: $23.47
Speaking of reprints, Balan, Wandering Knight returns from Commander 2017 and can be found in booster packs for the first time. Interestingly, C17 copies of Balan are just $5, while the Jumpstart 2022 version is $23. Such is the power of catgirls, it seems – the new art on this version of Balan has made it highly sought-after. Balan isn’t a particularly special EDH card – there are better options to lead your Equipment decks (Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale, Galea, Kindler of Hope) and better options to lead your cat decks (Arahbo, Roar of the World, Rin and Seri, Inseparable). Still, such is the power of anime – all the weebs out there are falling over themselves for this version of Balan, meaning it’s almost five times as expensive as it would otherwise be.
3. Lita, Mechanical Engineer
Lita, Mechanical Engineer
Market Price: $26.18
Lita isn’t really the sort of card you want as a commander: just as with Preston, it’s tough to restrict yourself to a single color. In decks filled with artifact creatures, however, Lita offers an immensely powerful effect, and is already seeing play in all sorts of artifact and Vehicle-based decks. There aren’t a lot of cards that offer an “untap all creatures” effect like this, and if you fill your deck with artifact creatures with activated abilities (think Hangarback Walker, Chronomancer or the mighty Steel Overseer), Lita is going to provide you with lot of extra value every turn. Again, however, I think $28 is a little high for a card like this, so I’d let things settle a little bit before buying on Lita.
2. Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm
Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm
Market Price: $41.10
$40? For a Rat? It’s more likely than you think. There is a very simple reason this card costs what it does: the enduring popularity of Relentless Rats decks. Relentless Rats is a $3 common that has been reprinted a ton of times, so it’s only fitting that the best commander for a deck filled with Relentless Rats is also confusingly overpriced. In all seriousness, though, given how much people love their Relentless Rats and Rat Colony decks, and given just how perfect Ashcoat is for a deck looking to swarm the board with Rats, Rats and more Rats, I think $40 is actually a pretty unsurprising price. I feel like a fool for chucking out copies of Rat Colony as common draft chaff, given it’s now a $5 common, and I won’t make the same mistake by undervaluing Ashcoat.
1. Rhystic Study
Market Price: $44.28
A Commander classic returns to Jumpstart with brand-new art! At $40, Rhystic Study is not cheap, and so far this new version has not impacted the price whatsoever (in fact, in the last two months it has gained a tiny bit of value, not lost any). It speaks to the power of Rhystic Study, and just how much blue mages love to pester you into letting them draw cards – they could print this thing at common in a core set and it would still be expensive. Of course, the reprint is still a welcome one, as anything that increases card accessibility is a good thing, but given that the price hasn’t meaningfully budged, now feels like as good a time as ever to pick up a copy if you need one – surely the ability to incessantly ask “pay the one?” is worth $40?