When buying and selling in large quantities (often referred to as “bulk”) it can be incredibly frustrating to identify which cards are worth pulling out to sell individually. This article is the latest addition to a series of guides that are meant to help Bulk Box enthusiasts know which cards to look for when sifting through commons and uncommons. In today’s publication we are going to discuss common and uncommon cards above $2 that were printed in Core Sets ranging from Revised Edition which was released in 1994, to Core Set 2021 which was released in 2020. The Core Sets Alpha Edition and Beta Edition will be covered in a future Bulk Bin Bargains article.
Delving into the commons and uncommons contained in Revised Edition, we have 9 above $2 cards worth noting. The first and most impressively priced one is Demonic Tutor. Demonic Tutor is a Commander staple, and carries a premium price with the amount of use it sees! The other 8 cards from Revised Edition to keep an eye out for while searching through bulk cards are Sol Ring, Swords to Plowshares, Animate Dead, Basalt Monolith, Counterspell, Serra Angel, Lightning Bolt, and Hypnotic Specter. While these cards may not be as flashy or expensive as Demonic Tutor, they are still worth pulling out of your bulk cards!
Next up we have: Fourth Edition! This set also has a higher value card, Strip Mine. This card has held an above bulk price due to its efficiency in destroying any land as a part of some powerful EDH and Cube Land Destruction combos. Pair this card with Crucible of Worlds, Ramunap Excavator, or Ancient Greenwarden and you have assembled a quick pathway to keep your opponents from using lands advantageously. Some other meaningful cards from the Fourth Edition are Fellwar Stone, Animate Dead, Swords to Plowshares, and Lightning Bolt.
Our next set, Fifth Edition, does not have an expensive chase common or uncommon card to offer us. The above $2 cards it does have, however, are highly playable staples for a variety of formats. These cards would be Ashnod’s Altar, Fellwar Stone, Nature’s Lore, Animate Dead, Pyroblast, Urza’s Bauble, and Instill Energy. Most of these cards will see most of their play in Commander games, but Pyroblast for example is a Legacy Sideboard staple for red decks that elsewise may not have access to cheap countermagic!
Disappointed the last set didn’t have anything flashy? No worries, Classic Sixth Edition has you covered! Enlightened Tutor, Mystical Tutor, and Worldly Tutor. Together these cards are staples of Commander, Legacy, Vintage, and Cube formats alike. Few cards are as powerful as those with tutoring effects, let alone when they cost 1-mana to cast and are Instants. The amount of demand for these cards brings a hefty price tag for any version you find. The other cards worth finding from Classic Sixth Edition are Goblin Recruiter, Ashnod’s Altar, Insight, Boil, Crystal Vein, and the Diamond Cycle (Charcoal Diamond, Fire Diamond, Marble Diamond, Moss Diamond, and Sky Diamond.)
The next set, 7th Edition, has no high end chase cards in the bulk to be found. However there are a few other cards you can find in 7th edition that are worth pulling out! This list includes the cards Boil, Mana Breach, Compost, Spellbook and the Diamond Cycle featuring new unique artwork specific to 7th Edition. The diamond cycle contains the cards Charcoal Diamond, Fire Diamond, Marble Diamond, Moss Diamond, and Sky Diamond. While some of the individual cards mentioned in the prior two cycles may not currently be above the $2, they are still great budget options for Commander and are also good options to sell or trade.
While looking through Commons and Uncommons in 8th Edition, Merchant Scroll will be the card to keep an eye out for. While this card doesn’t carry a particularly heavy price tag, it is a Commander and Cube staple for Instant & Sorcery based decks. Whether you are looking for a Counterspell to hold up or a Cyclonic Rift to overload, Merchant Scroll is the card you need to find the blue instant you’re looking for. 8th Edition also has some other good finds, including Boil, Choke, Spellbook, and the Urza Tron Lands. The Urza Tron Lands are a grouping of 3 lands that all begin with the name ‘Urza’ and are highly synergistic when used in unison. The names of these lands are: Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant, and Urza’s Tower.
9th Edition is a similar set to 8th Edition in both looks and actual cards printed within each respective set. As such there are a large number of commonly confused cards between these two sets. For this reason, some of the valuable commons and uncommons are also similar between these two sets. 9th Edition has its own printings of Spellbook and the Urza Tron Lands that are worth pulling out of your bulk should you find them. While Urza’s Power Plant and Urza’s Tower have the same artwork as they did previously, Urza’s Mine has a new updated artwork for 9th Edition compared to the artwork featured for the 8th Edition printing. The other commons and uncommons to look out for from 9th Edition are Fellwar Stone, River Bear, Summer Bloom, and Gift of Estates.
Starting with Magic 2010, the naming convention for Core Sets changed to be “Magic” followed by the number of the year that would occur after the product was released. Magic 2010 was released in 2009 for example. Magic 2010 has a few cards worth pulling out when going through the bulk. The most expensive find would be Fabricate. While looking for your Fabricates, you should also pull out any Lightning Bolt, Ponder, Gorgon Flail, Spellbook, Whispersilk Cloak, Relentless Rats, or Burning Inquiry cards that you see! These cards are staples in many formats and are always good to trade or sell.
Magic 2011 brings us some more Lightning Bolts that are still worth pulling out, but the most desirable card to find is Liliana’s Caress. Liliana’s Caress is a discard strategy favorite, and since it has no other printings carries a hefty price tag with it for an uncommon. Other cards worth pulling out in Magic 2011 are Pyretic Ritual, Whispersilk Cloak, and Relentless Rats.
Magic 2012 brings us another printing of Ponder as the expensive card to pull out of your bulk. Magic 2012 also brings along a great equipment for Commander in Swiftfoot Boots. Hexproof giving you the ability to target your commander while your opponents can’t is good in strategies that want to add a lot of enchantments or equipment to your creatures. Both of these cards are very playable at Commander and Casual tables and are always good finds to trade or sell.
Magic 2013 only has one card to keep an eye out for, but it’s well known Commander card Reliquary Tower. This card is great if you want the luxury of having lots of options in your hand without having to worry about discarding down to maximum hand size at the end of your turn.
Magic 2014 has a card that’s worth finding in multiples. Truthfully you can’t have too many of this common. Shadowborn Apostle is one of the few cards in Magic: The Gathering that has no limits on how many you can run regardless of the playset limitations placed on a format. Using 6 of these 1-drop commons you can summon some powerful demons like Vilis, Broker of Blood or Razaketh, the Foulblooded. There is an uncommon to keep an eye out for in this set as well in Manaweft Sliver.
Magic 2015 is interesting because a TOKEN holds the crown for most expensive bulk card to find. Insect Token (Deathtouch) is well known to cubers as the unfortunate side effect of a resolved Hornet Queen. Flying 1/1 Insects that trade up with non-indestructible creatures of any power and toughness are a very powerful set of allies to keep around - especially when they come in multiples! The token has only seen one printing, and is therefore a heavily sought after item with Hornet Queen still being relatively popular. Other cards to keep an eye out for while searching your Magic 2015 bulk are Venom Sliver, Diffusion Sliver, and Leeching Sliver.
Magic Origins has two sweet uncommons to keep an eye out for when going through this set. The more expensive of the two is Sphinx's Tutelage, a Mill card that combos infinitely with Painter’s Servant. After naming a color with your resolved Painter’s Servant, activating Sphinx’s Tutelage will create a continuous loop of mill since your opponent’s cards are now all the same color. Elemental Bond is a Green card draw staple for decks that feature larger than 2 power creatures. Both of these uncommons see play in Commander mostly, and are good cards to have around for trading or selling.
Magic Origins was the last Core Set printed until Core Sets were picked back up in 2018. With this new set in 2018, the Magic Core Set naming convention would change again! Now instead of being the name “Magic” followed by the number of the year after the set was released, the word “Magic” would be replaced by the words “Core Set.” However the Set symbol still has “M” next to the year number. Core Set 2019 was the first of these new Core Sets and brings with it a graveyard strategy staple. Stitcher’s Supplier enters the battlefield and puts the top three cards of your Deck or Library into your Graveyard, and then does this again when it dies! In a Graveyard strategy, this is effectively worth 7 CARDS for 1-MANA, which is extremely good value! Some other cards to look out for in this set are Psychic Corrosion, Reliquary Tower, and Ajani’s Welcome.
Core Set 2020 is the next set that has been printed in the latest line of Core Sets, and brings with it a slew of cards worth finding. The top of the proverbial money pile in this set, is Veil of Summer. This card may be one of the most influential Green Cards ever printed. For ONE mana you can prevent your spell from being countered or targeted by Blue or Black spells AND draw a card to replace the Veil of Summer you just used if an opponent cast a Blue or Black spell this turn. Did I mention it also gives YOU, as the player, hexproof from Blue or Black spells as well? I hope your opponent didn’t try to use a Thoughtseize against you while you had a Forest untapped. While this card has seen bannings in a few formats, it is still an extremely powerful Commander card that gives Green interaction where it previously had none. Some other cards to look out for while checking out your Core Set 2020 cards are Twinblade Paladin, Thirsting Bloodlord, Woodland Mystic, Colossus Hammer, Angel of Vitality, Vampire of the Dire Moon, and Prized Unicorn. Many of the cards worth pulling out to trade or sell are Planeswalker Deck Exclusives. These cards tend to only have been printed in these decks, and as such carry a more expensive price due to limited availability of the products.
Core Set 2021 is the latest installment of the newest Core Sets, and the last set we will be covering today! This set has double-sided token cards that take the number 1 and 2 spots for most expensive bulk cards to look out for. Cat (020) // Dog Double-sided Token and Dog // Saproling Double-sided Token are the money cards worth looking for in your bulk. In fact, any tokens that have the Core Set 2021 Cat (020) Token or Dog Token on them are worth pulling out! Turns out reality isn’t the only place our beloved four-legged friends warm our hearts and drain our wallets (said with love, of course!) The other cards to keep an eye out for while scouring your Core Set 2021 cards for value are Garruk’s Uprising & Garruk’s Uprising (Showcase).
Many of the cards above have had reprints in other sets, and many of those reprints are just as valuable as the printings that are mentioned in this article - if not worth even more! I hope you are just as excited as I am about finding lost treasures in Bulk Bins or when buying collections. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and look forward to Bulk Bin Bargains #3!