While most MTG players, and the internet in general, are currently losing their minds over the state of the game, there are still some market movements happening in the background. Even with the release of The Brothers’ War coming up, the most significant market movement this week comes from a well-known Commander cycle of cards that created a massive amount of controversy in the community. While this is not the flagship card of that cycle, Deadly Rollick is probably the second most famous one.
Deadly Rollick is part of a cycle of Ikoria cards that are incredibly infamous in the Commander community. The cycle contains five Instant cards, one of each color, that become free to cast when you have your Commander in play. Fierce Guardianship is the most famous of these cards since it’s a free Negate, but Deadly Rollick is still incredibly powerful.
Should you have your Commander in play, Deadly Rollick enables you to Exile a creature at Instant speed while tapped out. This ‘gotcha’ aspect of the card allows you to play out your hand while keeping this at the ready if your opponent tries to run away with a threat that needs to be answered.
Deadly Rollick has seen a massive price spike over the past year. Around this time last year, the card was only worth $20. While the average that this card sells for on TCGplayer currently sits around $47, there are instances of this card selling for above $50. The most intense price spike occurred around August, where the card was worth about $30. From that point, we saw a steady increase in price up to mid-November.
These Could Use a Reprint
Should another premium set, like Double Masters 2022, be released in the near future, these MTG cards would be a fantastic reprint target. Four of the five cards in this cycle have a significant price, and part of the reason is that, besides them all being very playable, they only have one printing that is not widely accessible. Not only were these cards exclusively printed in a Commander set, but that product released at the height of the Covid pandemic, making them even more scarce than normal.
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At its height, Fierce Guardianship bypassed $100 primarily due to scarcity. Double Masters 2022 reprints were being announced, and it saw a significant price spike due to not getting reprinted. We can compare this to Dockside Extortionist, another Commander-only product staple that did get reprinted into Double Masters 2022 at a Mythic rarity.
For a long time, people were worried that this card would never again be under $50. Well, as time has passed and the reprint has aged, Dockside Extortionist has seen a massive dip in price from $60 to $40 in just a few months. This shows that while the market will consume this card immediately and sell the product, the lingering increase of copies may result in a decrease that makes these cards more available. As has been mentioned many times on this site, a misprint that aims to fix a premium caused by scarcity will always be a good one.
What’s the Last Card in the Cycle?
Perhaps the last exciting phenomenon with this cycle is that only four of the five cards have major prices on the secondary market. Deadly Rollick, Fierce Guardianship, Deflecting Swat, and Flawless Maneuver have at least some value, but Obscuring Haze is not a popular option in comparison. This comparison can help highlight a more balanced way to create free Commander spells in the future since the main complaint about these cards was that there is a minimal argument as to why you don’t play these cards as part of your deck. Your Commander deck is better when playing four of these cards.
The payoff for Obscuring Haze is incredibly mediocre compared to the other effects. It is a form of protection for your creatures and can sometimes ‘get’ your opponents in weird scenarios where they attack one another, but all of the other cards on this list have a wider range of scenarios where they can get value. Fierce Guardianship counters any non-creature spell, Deadly Rollick exiles any creature card, Deflecting Swat can change the target of any targeting effect, and Flawless Maneuver can protect your creatures from a variety of removal. In comparison, Obscuring Haze only offers a niche scenario where you protect yourself and your creatures from combat damage.
The Key to Card Balance in the Future
Needless to say, the reason why Deadly Rollick is so expensive is a combination of its scarcity as well as its incredible flexibility in the Commander format. Free spells are absurdly strong in Commander, and many MTG players aren’t fans of what they represent at a casual table. The key to balancing cards with a conditional free spell payoff is also to make the card’s ability more niche. In the scenarios where Obscuring Haze comes up, it’s a cool alternative that many players won’t see coming and can create incredible moments at the table. In comparison, a Fierce Guardianship may create some disgruntled groans. I’m not sure if Deadly Rollick will get as unfavorable of a reaction, but the card’s $50 milestone does cement it as a Commander staple that MTG players could get sick of seeing.