Lifebane-Zombie-Art

Weekend Update for 7/19/14

By: Jim Marsh

Every week, some cards from Magic the Gathering increase and decease in value based upon a number of factors.

Let’s take a look at some of the cards whose values have changed the most and the factors behind why those changes have occurred.

10 Big Winners of the Week

10. Goblin Guide (Zendikar)
From $13.31 to $14.98 (12.55%)

Goblin Guide is one of the most aggressive one drops ever printed. A first turn Goblin Guide can take out a healthy amount of life. This is not even considered the life the opponent willingly sacrifices to play fetchands, shocklands, Thoughtseize or Gitaxian Probe.

Goblin Guide has become a format all star in decks that want to go from 20 to 0 as quickly as possible.

Recently a Rakdos Burn deck too first place in an SCG Modern Invitational Qualifier in Glendale. There are even another burn deck in the Top 8. Both decks ran a full four copies in the main deck.

It is also played in increasingly popular Boros Burn and straight Monored Burn decks in Modern.

Legacy has also seen the one mana 2/2 in heavy use. Red burn decks have been doing well recently with the addition of Eidolon of the Great Revel.

Mono-Red Burn has been seeing Top 8 performances in Legacy as well.

This is growth based upon increased real demand so I expect it to sustain itself and continue.

I would not be surprised to see this as a $20 card by the end of the year.

If you need a few copies you can still find copies of the Mirrodin Besieged Into the Breach Event Deck. It has two copies in there. You basically get the rest of the deck for free.

9. Dragonskull Summit (M13)
From $1.95 to $2.28 (16.92%)

The Modern Rakdos Burn deck did more than just bolster support for the Goblin Guides. The checklands are criminally underrated dual lands.

They are not as sexy as shocklands or fetchlands because they will not get you the mana you need on turn one.

They still deserve to be more than $2. You can use them just fine in Commander or any kitchen table game. I think the chances of them not being reprinted in a core set is just about nil. I would grab any you can find for under $2.

When they do come back to a core set you will see a bump like the pain lands and you can make a tidy profit. In the mean time you can run them in any of your noncompetitive decks (and several of your competitive decks as Rakdos Burn showed us.)

8. Furyborn Hellkite (M12)
From $2.53 to $2.99 (18.18%)

Is anyone using this dragon outside of Commander or casual Magic? Does it even matter?

It is a mythic rare dragon with a keyword that has already been reused once.

It is a seven drop that lands on the table with an audible thump.

Right now there is even an advantageous disparity in the value of the card. You have noticed it has shown up both in the winners and losers section of this column recently.

The vendors are willing to sell them to you for as low as $0.92. There is a buylist offering $1.50.

There is no excuse for it being less than $2 and less than $1 on a mythic rare dragon sounds like a solid deal to me.

7. Darksteel Forge (M14)
From $1.96 to $2.32 (18.37%)

Darksteel Forge is getting ready to rotate in September when Khans of Tarkir is released.

It is not being played in any competitive decks so why is it seeing an increase in price?

M15 brought with it a subset of cards that card about artifacts. One particular card that I know people are brewing with is Chief Engineer.

Mirrodin showed us what a disaster affinity for artifacts can be from a development standpoint. The ability to grant all of your creatures convoke is probably as close as we are going to get to seeing affinity in standard.

It makes all of your Ornithopters and Memnites (in Modern) into free Birds of Paradise in a heavy artifact deck.

Will it work? It hardly matters. All that matters is that someone is asking the question and playing with decklists.

This will be the best chance you have to out your Forges before rotation. Always sell into hype.

6. Cemetery Reaper (M12)
From $1.54 to $1.87 (21.43%)

Zombies, tokens, graveyard hate. Oh my! This is the casual trifecta. I love the fact that it makes 3/3 zombies for three mana.

I also love the fact that there is a buylist offering $1.00 when there is a vendor selling for $0.44.

At a dollar or less for a lord with a popular creature type you can hardly go wrong. You have your out.

5. Llanowar Wastes (10th Edition)
From $4.49 to $5.48 (22.05%)

We are going to see a lot of fluctuation in pain land prices over the next year. Most of the movement will be over the next week or two.

There is speculation that Tarkir will be a wedge block. That will mean that Llanowar Wastes could be needed to make Junk, BUG and RUG decks function.

If you have any lying around I hope you are selling them now.

At this point only more M15 is being opened and that will keep prices in check. We have been told that there is another dual land cycle coming out with Tarkir. I do not see a lot of pain lands being used while shocklands are available. After rotation we may have something else worth playing with.

Sell while the prices are high.

4. Ad Nauseam (Shards of Alara)
From $3.82 to $4.85 (26.96%)

I have a soft spot for crazy combo cards. Ad Nauseam lets you draw as much as you want to at instant speed for as much life as you are willing to pay.

The power of Ad Nauseam is tempered by the fact you have to build your deck around it. There are still several powerful storm decks that make use of it.

The SCG Modern Invitational Qualifier in New Holland earlier this month featured an Ad Nauseam deck in the Top 8.

Legacy also has a few decks with it including ANT and TES.

This card is an essential piece of the decks in question and I would gladly trade for any. A few more Top 8s and this could be a $10 card.

3. Legion Loyalist (Gatecrash)
From $2.01 to $2.65 (31.84%)

Legion Loyalist is used in standard Red Deck Wins and budget casual goblin decks that do cannot afford Goblin Guide.

I do not see why it is getting a bump with mere months left in standard but I would sell out now.

Buylists are still purchasing them for up to $1.65 which is more than the $1.45 that some vendors are asking.

This card has a hard ceiling ahead of it so this is probably the best out you are going to get before they become bulk rares.

2. Galerider Sliver (M14)
From $1.89 to $2.60 (37.575)

Few slivers are good enough to be played outside of sliver decks. Galerider Sliver is one of them. Sometimes it is played in Mono-Blue Devotion in standard.

A 1/1 that flies for a single blue mana is pretty decent. It is fantastic when it is giving your sliver legion evasion.

A lot of people are looking at the new slivers and asking if they can finally have a sliver deck in standard.

The only important thing you need to be worried about is that they will try the deck out.

I would sell these away into the excitement but I would not worry too much if you don’t manage to move everything.

Slivers are a casual favorite so even if you have a few lying around there is almost always someone who is looking for what you have. I have gone through more Muscle Slivers and Winged Slivers in the past year than I ever would have guessed.

1. Battlefield Forge (9th Edition)
From $3.42 to $5.13 (50.00%)

The pain lands have found new life with M15. Everyone is looking for lands to replace their shocklands come rotation.

I like Battlefield Forge best out of the lot of them. An aggressive deck does not mind sacrificing a few points of life for mana consistency.

Boros Burn is the exact kind of deck that would prefer to do that rather than wait a turn and scry. It can also regain the life with a Warleader’s Helix.

Battlefield Forge is also one of the few enemy pain lands that sees play in modern. Everyone knows about Shivan Reef but Battlefield Forge is also picking up momentum in modern Boros Burn.

If you are going to be trading non-Izzet enemy pain lands these are the ones I would concentrate on.

I think they will hit their ceiling right after rotation when aggressive decks are at their peak.

5 Big Losers of the Week

5. Woodfall Primus (Shadowmoor)
From $6.13 to $5.37 (-12.40%)

Woodfall Primus is a casual and commander favorite.

He is a big fatty that is tough to kill and gets rid of pesky noncreature permanents like Planeswalkers or equipment.

He was reprinted in Modern Masters last year and took a hit. He is still suffering from that but I think he is nearing his floor. I would try to trade for them around $5 for some of those enemy painlands everyone is going to be opening for the next few months.

4. Elvish Piper (M10)
From $9.10 to $7.87 (-13.52%)

I remember using Elvish Piper to cheat out Thorn Elemental, Ancient Silverback and other fatties that have not aged nearly as well. It is still a popular inclusion in commander, cubes and any casual green deck with forests.

It has been printed a half dozen times and it can be printed in any core set that wants it.

There is also some potential to make some profits. You can get them for as little as $6.30 from vendors and sell them for up to $7.10.

3. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth (Planar Chaos)
From $26.27 to $22.57 (-14.08%)

M15’s reprint of the legendary land is causing it to sink like a rock. Does standard really need mana fixing that smooth?

Eternal formats make good use of Urborg. Modern players use it in The Rock, BG, 8 Rack, Monoblack Infect and a host of Gifts variants.

Legacy uses it to do broken things with Dark Depths in Junk Depths and 4 Color Loam.

There is still a chance to make some money. You can buy them for as low as $17.94 and sell them for as much as $20.47.

This may be the only money to be made since it will take a while for the price to recover.

2. Lifebane Zombie (M14)
From $4.79 to $4.10 (-14.41%)

This zombie is taking a hit. It had a pretty good standard hey day with Monoblack Devotion, Orzhov and Golgari midrange decks that used it to preemptively deal with Blood Baron of Vizkopa or Polukranos, World Eater.

Fortunately it will not drop to bulk rare. It has seen some play as a sideboard card in Modern BG and Orzhov decks.

I would still try to trade them away as quickly as you can.

1. Pulmonic Sliver (Time Spiral)
From $4.68 to $3.63

Poor Pulmonic Sliver. It had such a unique and powerful effect for a five mana sliver.

One of the biggest weaknesses of sliver decks is that they depend on flooding the battlefield with creatures. This makes them susceptible to Supreme Verdict or Damnation. Pulmonic Sliver would help you rebuild.

Now for the same five mana you can just make your slivers indestructible. If your opponent plays Day of Judgment you can laugh all the way to the red zone.

Even the flying is not as impressive with Galerider Sliver coming down on the first turn.

There is still a bright side.

Vendors are now selling them as low as $0.75 and buying them for as much as $2.25. That will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

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Saito’s Been Brewing Again

By: Jared Yost

Pro Tour personality @TomoharuSaito has been a busy man. He  has provided the Magic community not one, not two, not three, but thirteen (at the time of this writing) decklists that players can use to get an idea of what Standard might be like until Khans is added to the card pool. He did this for Journey Into Nyx as well but I only found out recently about those Twitter posts he made in May. Some of his May ideas panned out while others did not. I think most didn’t pan out because the top tier strategies are pretty much set in stone at that point, at least in the U.S. Who wants to learn how to play a new deck near the end of the season? The decks did provide insight into several cards, however, and got people talking about cards like Prophetic Flamespeaker which was featured in some of the decks from his last batch. This time around, I’m going to dive deeply into Tomoharu’s decklists and see if we can’t glean any information about which cards might see play after rotation. I think posts like these are helpful in seeing future Standard possibilities.

He displays the decks in an elegant, simple way. He compiled the decklists together on a playmat and took a picture of each list that he thought would see play over the next couple months. Afterwards, a quick post to Twitter and all of a sudden everyone is buzzing around this news. Please check out his lists on Twitter, then come over to this Reddit post to get an idea about what the community is saying about the most recent batch of decks.

From my reading of the Reddit comments players seem to be very divided on how “good” the actual decklists are. Are these only Tier 2 strategies? Is he tricking the entire populace, listing all of these decks out and then going to decide to play something completely different? Could this be chalked up to the uniqueness that is the Japanese Magic scene? We’ll just have to wait and see when the results start rolling in.

From a financial standpoint, these decklists are a powerful tool to let us know the possible directions that Standard could go. Thirteen decks is a lot of data to go through. Let’s see which cards Tomoharu Saito thinks are going to be played the most based on the number of times they appear in each of the decklists. Lets run the numbers and see how many copies of each card are present in the decks.

* – Represents a card that we will see through rotation (commons excluded)

# of Copies Card
56 Forest
33 Mutavault
28 Swamp
27 Plains
26 Mountain
16 Courser of Kruphix*
16 Elvish Mystic
16 Sylvan Caryatid*
16 Overgrown Tomb
16 Temple of Malady*
14 Llanowar Wastes*
12 Thoughtseize*
8 Burning-Tree Shaman
8 Chandra’s Phoenix
8 Desecration Demon
8 Experiment One
8 Lotleth Troll
8 Soldier of the Pantheon*
8 Battlefield Forge*
8 Breeding Pool
8

Mana Confluence*

8 Temple of Triumph*
8 Abrupt Decay
8 Devour Flesh
8 Lightning Strike
8 Stoke the Flames*
7 Boon Satyr*
6 Temple Garden
6 Sign in Blood
6 Ajani Steadfast*
5 Polukranos, World Eater*
5 AEtherspouts*
4 Ajani’s Pridemate*
4 Altac Bloodseeker*
4 Boros Elite
4 Dreg Mangler
4 Dryad Militant
4 Eidolon of Blossoms*
4 Erebos’s Emissary*
4 Firefist Striker
4 Fleecemane Lion*
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Galerider Sliver
4 Goblin Rabblemaster*
4 Gyre Sage
4 Kalonian Tusker
4 Lifebane Zombie
4 Liliana’s Reaver
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Manaweft Sliver
4

Nemesis of Mortals*

4 Nighthowler*
4 Pack Rat
4 Precinct Captain
4 Predatory Sliver
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Scuttling Doom Engine*
4 Slitherhead
4 Sliver Hivelord*
4 Soul of Innistrad*
4 Spiteful Returned*
4 Sunblade Elf*
4 Voice of Resurgence
4 Wall of Mulch*
4 Yisan, the Wanderer Bard*
4 Young Pyromancer
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Maze’s End
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx*
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Sliver Hive*
4 Steam Vents
4 Temple of Enlightenment*
4 Temple of Epiphany*
4 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth*
4 Yavimaya Coast*
4 Banishing Light*
4 Detention Sphere
4 Necromancer’s Stockpile*
4 Path of Bravery
4 Waste Not*
4 Advent of the Wurm
4 Boros Charm
4 Chord of Calling*
4 Dissolve*
4 Druid’s Deliverance
4 Fog
4 Grisly Salvage
4 Izzet Charm
4 Searing Blood*
4 Shock
4 Sphinx’s Revelation
4 Warleader’s Helix
4 Anger of the Gods*
4 Duress
4 Mind Rot
4 Supreme Verdict
4 Urban Evolution
4 Jace, Architect of Thought
4 Kiora, the Crashing Wave*
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos*
3 Fiendslayer Paladin
3 Firedrinker Satyr*
3 Frenzied Goblin*
3 Pharika, God of Affliction*
3 Shivan Reef*
3 Hero’s Downfall*
3 Drown in Sorrow*
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion*
3 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
3 Liliana Vess
3 Nissa, Worldwaker*
2 Bonescythe Sliver
2 Megantic Sliver
2 Voyaging Satyr
2 Stomping Ground
2 Ulcerate*
2 Brave the Elements
2 Ephemeral Shields
2 Golgari Charm
2 Commune with the Gods
2 Restock*
2 Garruk, Apex Predator*
2 Vraska the Unseen
1 Battle Sliver
1 Blur Sliver
1 Constricting Sliver*
1 Hornet Queen*
1 Keranos, God of Storms*
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Striking Sliver
1 Syphon Sliver
1 Venom Sliver
1 Azorius Guildgate
1 Boros Guildgate
1 Dimir Guildgate
1 Golgari Guildgate
1 Gruul Guildgate
1 Izzet Guildgate
1 Orzhov Guildgate
1 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Simic Guildgate
1 Reclamation Sage*
1 Call of the Conclave

The decks were quite diverse and the card list reflects this. However, we’re also trying to glean some information as to what cards Saito values the most from Standard sets that aren’t rotating in the fall.

Top 10 Rares Appearing Across Decks Through Rotation:

Courser of Kruphix (16)
Sylvan Caryatid (16)
Temple of Malady (16)
Llanowar Wastes (14)
Thoughtseize (12)
Soldier of the Pantheon (8)
Battlefield Forge (8)
Mana Confluence (8)
Temple of Triumph (8)
Boon Satyr (7)

Honorable Mention:

AEtherspouts

If you’re a Standard player you will want to pick up your copies of these cards because they are the most likely to get played across several archetypes. You’re chances of being able to use the cards once Khans comes up are pretty high if you decide to pick up cards on this list.

Courser of Kruphix, Sylvan Caryatid, and Temple of Malady round out the top three. They appeared in both spike and fringe strategies (fringe examples include Maze’s End and BG Zombies), and when they did each deck contained a playset of them. Llanowar Wastes comes in at a close fourth with Thoughtseize to round out the top five. I would advise picking up all cards at the current prices if you plan on playing them.

Soldier of the Pantheon, Battlefield Forge, Mana Confluence, and Temple of Triumph all appeared as a playset in two decks. Boon Satyr appeared as a playset in one, and three copies in another. These are probably the best cards to spec on, and personally I would put my money on Soldier of the Pantheon and Mana Confluence as the breakout cards of the four. Boon Satyr and Temple of Triumph should also be solid going into rotation but I don’t think the gains will be as good as Soldier or Mana Confluence.

AEtherspouts appeared in control lists that utilized blue. I’m not sure how well these decks were tested, but it couldn’t hurt to pick up a a few copies for EDH or if you plan on playing one of them in something like UWR Control or a similar build.

Cards not in this list but still should be looked out for – Chord of Calling, Urborg, the other Temples, Painlands, Eidolon of Blossoms, Fleecemane Lion, Anger of the Gods, and Scuttling Doom Engine. They each are good enough to merit play as well.

Top 10 Mythics Appearing Across Decks Through Rotation:

Ajani Steadfast (6)
Polukranos, World Eater (5)
Sliver Hivelord (4)
Soul of Innistrad (4)
Kiora, the Crashing Wave (4)
Brimaz, King of Oreskos (3)
Pharika, God of Affliction (3)
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion (3)
Nissa, Worldwaker (3)
Garruk, Apex Predator (2)

Mythics are an interesting bunch. Due to Wizard’s policy of trying to create format staples as rares rather than mythics, we find that a large majority of mythics in this list are played in only one of Tomoharu’s builds. Ajani Steadfast and Polukranos buck this trend, but Polukranos only appears as a Chord of Calling Target in his mono green devotion list. It appears that he will be good in the new green deck based around Nissa.

Essentially, the takeaway here is that Ajani Steadfast probably has the most to gain from rotation if white weenie or green/white aggro becomes a dominant deck over the summer. Though I’m not sure if Ajani is the right walker to put in these decks – I feel like Elspeth, Sun’s Champion is much stronger and I would rather pick her up seeing her on this list. However, I also haven’t been a Magic Pro Player of the Year and everyone could be undervaluing Ajani because they haven’t tested him. Then again, I have no idea if any of these decks have been tested so it’s kind of a hard call at this point. $15 is a little rich for my blood, so if it starts going down towards $8 I think it would definitely be a good planeswalker to pick up. At the very least, if you’re playing white weenie you should be getting Brimaz which the list confirms. 

Sliver Hivelord only earns a spot in this list because people will try to make the Slivers deck work. I have no idea how good it might be but I’m guessing it won’t gain much traction from people outside of FNM. Plus, many of the pieces are rotating in the fall so I’m staying far away from slivers mainly for that reason.

Soul of Innistrad was the only soul mentioned to make it into any lists. Pharika and Keranos were the only gods to show up, and Keranos only showed up as one copy in the UWR control build. I’m not sure if the souls and gods are worse than I initially thought but this might confirm in many peoples minds that they are. I still wouldn’t discount many of them, especially Soul of Theros or Soul of New Phyrexia once rotation hits. Pharika is appearing in lists since she is such a cheap god so I would say getting in lower than $5 is pretty good for her at this point. I think she will see marginal play in the future.

Kiora was only in the Maze’s End list, which means that she doesn’t really have a home yet come rotation. Maybe something will pop up over the next few months. At $14, I don’t really see her going lower so you won’t be making a mistake buying in. I just don’t think she has that much room to grow unless another slow control deck like Maze’s End comes along.

Nissa and Garruk are tough to analyze at this point. Something tells me that somebody knows something about Nissa due to the recent price surge she has experienced over the last week. However, it could just be that a lot of casual players want her as soon as she comes out. Afterall her second +1 ability isn’t that great outside of a mono green deck. Based on these concerns I don’t think her current $35 price tag is warranted. Even Garruk, Caller of Beasts was only around $25-$30 at his peak and he suffered from some of the same issue (second activated ability only worked for green).

Garruk, Apex Predator can only go in those really controlling shells as a finisher from the looks of things. Even with all the ramp in Standard getting out a seven mana planeswalker is tough. Maybe it will be easier with the introduction of Khans but I don’t think it is going to pan out this way. Get rid of your copies for $25 now and pick them up later when they are cheaper.

Trader’s Edge

Twitter posts like these are exactly why you should have an account. Twitter in general provides valuable information to the Magic community and these posts especially can provide the right kind of value to the financial minded. The decklist pictures quickly give us an overview of the new Standard possibilities without each one of us having to do the leg work of putting a bunch of decks together. The hardest part is playtesting which will tell you which cards perform the best in their respective archetypes.

But at least we’re not fumbling around in the dark. At the very least, Tomoharu Saito’s decklists allow the community to have a vibrant discussion on the merits of each deck and which cards are the deck’s frontrunners. Which cards do you think will make the most impact on the upcoming Standard?

I’ll leave you with the notable uncommons that were found in the decks. I’m not one to speculate on uncommons (unless they are extremely undervalued) but these are the top uncommons that appeared in Tomoharu’s decks:

Stoke the Flames  (8)
Ajani’s Pridemate (4)
Altac Bloodseeker (4)
Erebos’s Emissary (4)
Nemesis of Mortals (4)
Spiteful Returned (4)
Sunblade Elf (4)
Wall of Mulch (4)
Dissolve (4)
Searing Blood (4)
Frenzied Goblin (3)
Drown in Sorrow (3)
Ulcerate (2)
Restock (2)

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What I’m Targeting for Standard

By: Jared Yost

I’ve been hearing a lot of hum drum recently about how we’re in a bear market for Magic cards because Modern prices seem to be dropping right in the middle of Modern season. This is also happening in light of Starcity’s recent announcement about adding Modern to their tournament circuit. Even so, during this time of downward trends Standard is just starting to pick up steam for the fall. I think it is a good time to look over Standard cards and figure out some good picks for the future Standard season. I’ve recently liquidated some of my Modern holdings and plan to start targeting some cards I’ve had my eye on for a while. As you might guess, these are all going to be Standard picks because over the next few months we have a lot to gain from correctly guessing which cards in Standard are going to make the most impact on the new format once Khans comes out.

In addition to this, we can’t rule out any potential long term picks. Casuals are one of the greatest forces in Magic and I plan to see that any cards flying under Spike’s radar are well within my Worldspine Wurm scope. Some cards from the the Theros block are pretty nice targets for casual players and I want to make sure that I am getting them to hold onto for the future.

Things that I’m going to target this month involve only Theros block as M15 is just a wee bit too new to fully understand which cards are the best targets. At this point, we’ve also reached the lowest prices for many of the cards from Theros block. Let’s get cracking.

Hero’s Downfall

I think that Hero’s Downfall is a great pick up right now because it will be the premier removal spell once Return to Ravnica block rotates. Even though mono black devotion is taking a huge hit with the rotation of Pack Rat, Desecration Demon, and Underworld Connections, I still think Hero’s Downfall is going to see a lot of play because it can take care of pretty much anything at instant speed. The risk here is that tokens might eventually be a thing since Convoke has made a comeback and Khans might continue to support that strategy. I still think Downfall is great anyways because it hits planeswalkers, so even if tokens surfaces I still feel like this card will hold utility across matchups. For $5 retail I think this is a fair price and I will try to pick up several copies in anticipation of people using it.

Thoughtseize
Speaking of black cards to pick up, you can’t go wrong with Thoughtseize. It will be an important player in Standard, but even better you are investing in your future with this card because I believe it is an even more important player in the Modern format. Thoughtseize is hovering around $15 retail which I think is this card’s bottom. I have picked up several copies of this card and I will continue to pick them up for around $15 whenever I get the chance. They will be very easy to trade away in the future as well, since in the upcoming year both Standard and Modern players will be looking for them.

Theros Temples & Mana Confluence

Pretty much all the Theros temples are fair game at this point. Wiser men than I might suggest going after the BNG and JOU temples but I say why stop there? You may need a wide variety of lands depending on what you want to play. There are plenty of available color combinations that could exist in the future, and with the addition of the enemy painlands, Mana Confluence, and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth there is going to be plenty of color fixing available in the future. There is a strong case for picking up Temple of Malady and Epiphany though due to the enemy painland spoiler so I believe you have the most to gain if either of those lands winds up in a top table deck.

On the other hand, we’ll still have Nykthos to support mono colored strategies. Speaking of which…

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Wizards is pushing devotion hard and this land is poised to be a nice addition to mana hungry devotion decks. It currently does some work in the mono blue devotion decks yet who is to say that other more prominent devotion decks won’t pop up?

I have a hard time believing that Nykthos can go much lower than the $5 it is currently sitting at. Being reprinted in the 2015 Clash Pack stabilizes the price for the time being but I am a believer in this one. I especially like foil copies at $15. This is one of those specs that if it doesn’t pan out over the next year in Standard I would still recommend that you hold onto them because it will be a casual all star for years to come.

Theros Block Gods (especially Phenax)

I really like Phenax in the long term. As we’ve been told by Travis before, Consuming Aberration is quite expensive for something that is generally seen as really, really bad. Why? Because there are a subset of players that exist that salivate over great mill cards. Phenax right now is almost the same price as Consuming Aberration, which is nuts! This guy is basically the God of Mill and is a mythic rare to boot. In the long term, I can’t see Phenax staying down so low especially considering the fact that so many players prefer to make mill decks.

The other gods that I like that are hovering around $5 are Erebos, Purphoros, and Kruphix. I think that each of these gods are amazing Commander additions and will hold value long term due to this. I doubt that any of them will see any significant Standard play yet in the long term like Phenax I think that they can only go up from here.

Higher priced gods to watch out for include Thassa and Athreos since they are the cheapest gods mana-wise to cast. Thassa is the easiest god to play with since she only requires a single blue mana color requirement and I like Athreos because he feels like an engine waiting to be started. We just need a key to stick in the ignition to get it running.


Master of Waves

I really like Master of Waves for the future because he is just so strong if you can combine him with +1/+1 effects from cards like Hall of Triumph or Paragon of Gathering Mists. Unfortunately due to devotion this restricts the amount of pump effects you can play though Obelisk of Urd seems to be synergistic with the master as well. He’s only about $4 retail right now which is low to me for such a powerful effect.

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

Similar to Phenax, I think that this pick is for the long term rather than for the upcoming Theros Standard. Players may continue to brew with Ashiok in the short term but long term mill players will be salivating over this planeswalker. Normal copies are around $6 retail and foils are $20. I think that both types of Ashiok will be a good pickup.

Other Odds and Ends

Many people have been harping on Prophet of Kruphix and now is as good a time as ever to pick them up. They could potentially be played in Standard if a decent midrange strategy is formed after RTR block rotates. The risk is that she gets the banhammer in Commander which would be quite devastating to everyone who has a pile of these things sitting around, especially if they are foil.

Anger of the Gods is a bargain right now at $1. It is one of the best sweepers in the Modern format and could also be an amazing sweeper during the first part of Theros block. I can only see this card going up from here so pick up your copies now while they are on the cheap.

Soldier of the Pantheon has some good things going for it now as well. Also being a $1, it is cheap. A one mana 2/1 is also nice for all of those aggro decks I’m predicting are going to show up once RTR rotates. In addition, he is a rare and has two relevant abilities – protection from multicolored and allowing you to gain life from multicolored spells, which are going to matter from time to time. If he does spike, it won’t be for long though so as soon as he starts buylisting for $3 or more I am going to get rid of any copies that I have.

I like Hypnotic Siren because it has a potentially backbreaking end game effect tacked onto a 1/1 with flying that can be played in the early game if you manage to draw her in your opening hand. Combining Nykthos with her will be what you are looking to do because it will enable the Control Magic ability much quicker than waiting until turn seven. She is currently hovering around bulk rare status which I think is cheap enough to pick up at least a few copies and see where that goes in September.

Wrapping Up

There are plenty of good pick ups right now from Theros block, whether you are a competitive or a casual player. I think that many of these cards have a very good chance of going up short term with the added bonus of being casual all stars long term.

This summer is when Theros block cards are going to be cheapest, so no matter what your strategy if you want something from Theros I would recommend picking it up throughout July or early August.

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Weekend Recap for July 13th 2014

[Editor's note: Apologies for the late posting and lack of images here. We've had some major technical issues over the weekend with our host.]

by Jim Marsh

Every week, some cards from Magic the Gathering increase and decease in value based upon a number of factors.

Let’s take a look at some of the cards whose values have changed the most and the factors behind why those changes have occurred.

10 Big Winners of the Week

10. Isochron Scepter (Mirrodin)

From $5.57 to $6.22 (11.67%)

Isochron Scepter is a casual favorite. It’s effects can range anywhere from just giving out incredible card advantage to being oppressively powerful depending on what is imprinted on it.

Even something as simple as a repeatable Lightning Helix or Remand is nothing short of insane. I have seen imprinted Ravnica charms do some serious work in commander and casual games in out groups.

It has now been almost two years since the reprint in Duel Decks: Izzet vs Golgari. The player base has grown and with it a desire to imprint Abrupt Decay.

The artifact is seeing play in a few very fringe Modern decks including a Polymorph Control deck and a Golgari Control deck.

This has strong potential in many cubes, commander decks and casual decks of all varieties.

Right now the spread is very thin. The lowest vendor is selling them for $3.79 which is not a very far cry from the highest buylist price of $3.51.

I would encourage trading for them and watching them grow slowly and steadily.

9. Haakon, Stromgald Scourge (Coldsnap)

From $2.90 to $3.34 (15.17%)

Johnnies love a good challenge. How would you like to play a commander that you cannot cast? This one requires more hoops than Phage, the Untouchable.

That does not mean that it is no good in the ninety nine. You can still use Pull From Eternity and go to town.

There is a Modern Jund Pox build that uses it to abuse repeatable Nameless Inversions.

There have also been people brewing with them to rebuy Knight of the Reliquary in Junk Loam decks.
Modern jund poxabuses nameless inversion

I have a soft spot for the card because of how unique it is but I would not trade aggressively for it. So far all of its attention has been from experiments that have not really had any results to speak of.

8. Ratcatcher (Dissension)

From $2.53 to $2.92 (15.42%)

Standard is getting ready to rotate and everyone is wondering what to do with all of those Pack Rats that are no longer worth anything.

You can put together a pretty impressive casual rat tribal deck.

Ratcatcher is an often overlooked but potentially powerful inclusion. I would look into Swarmyard as well.

Ratcatcher lets you tutor for answers like Chittering Rats or powerful threats like Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni. It still lets you draw your cards so you can still feed them to Pack Rats while progressing your strategy.

It can also find toolbox cards like Marrow-Gnawer for a big finish.

There is a very close spread at the moment. The highest buylist is $1.35 and the lowest vendor is $1.60.

This would be an easy inclusion in a trade and could start showing more growth as the year continues.

7. Eidolon of the Great Revel (Journey into Nyx)

From $5.23 to $6.05 (15.68%)

This card is on fire. The full four copies are being played main deck in burn decks in Standard, Modern and Legacy.

The Legacy burn deck sports the most impressive winning results with a semifinal finish on July 6th in the SCG Open in Worcester. This came just a few weeks since the deck put itself on the radar by winning an SCG Legacy Open.

Rotation is often the high point for aggressive red decks in Standard. I think we will see $10 in the next few months.

I would trade for these as I expect them to hold value for a long time to come.

6. Reliquary Tower (M13)

From $2.06 to $2.46 (19.42%)

Reliquary Tower is still doing surprisingly well for an uncommon with two printings that has not seen any real competitive adoption.

Some Modern Eggs lists run it since they tend to draw so many cards each turn.

It is a popular inclusion in commander decks but it is a format that just needs one copy.

I find these in bulk or get them as toss ins. Most people do not realize the value.

5. Flame-Wreathed Phoenix (Born of the Gods)

From $1.48 to $1.81 (22.30%)

I think everyone wanted Tribute to have a bigger impact than it did. Flame-Wreathed Phoenix is the poster child for the mechanic. Both sides are powerful cards but it is like playing a split card where your opponent gets to pick the half you get.

As I have mentioned Red is always a popular and powerful choice when the card pools are at their lowest. Some are hoping the Phoenix will rise from the ashes of dissappointment.

This hope has led to opportunities. You can buy these as low as $0.45 and sell them for as much as $0.60.

I still have some reservations since the slot for four mana creatures will have stiff competition in the form of Purphoros, God of the Forge and Fanatic of Mogis.

4. Galerider Sliver (M14)

From $1.54 to $1.89 (22.73%)

M15 brought a lot of crazy cards to the card pool. I do not think anyone bet one more slivers though. The next three months M14 and M15 will combine and we will find out if there is a critical mass of slivers to create a cohesive and powerful sliver deck.

Which way will it go? No one including the vendors knows. It is literally a coin flip. Does anyone have an extra copy of Krark’s Thumb handy?

There is no spread at all. Some vendors will sell these for a dollar and others will buy them for a dollar.

Here is one thing I do know. Casuals will always love slivers. This will maintain some value long after it has rotated from standard. I never feel bad having some solid slivers sitting in my trade binder.

3. Firedrinker Satyr (Theros)

From $0.61 to $0.79 (29.51%)

Last year’s Mono Red Devotion decks are hoping for a resurgence in the fall. Do you have any leftover Firedrinker Satyrs?

You can use them in the popular Boros Burn deck and get access to powerful spells like Warleader’s Helix and Chained to the Rocks.

You can also take advantage of being able to buy them for $0.22 and sell them for $0.35.

2. Battlefield Forge (9th Edition)

From $2.59 to $3.42 (32.05%)

I keep mentioning red decks. This is the enemy painland I am most excited for.

An aggressive deck does not mind losing a few life points for switching between Shock and Chained to the Rocks.

Battlefield Forge is even being used in Modern Boros Burn decks alongside Boros Charm and Lightning Helix.

We will find out soon if Khans will be a wedge block in which case you can use the Forge to help your WUR and WBR decks.

I would try to pick up a few of the painlands in drafts or trades but given how many printings they have I would be hesitant to spend or trade too aggressively for them.

1. Hall of Triumph (Journey into Nyx)

From $0.54 to $0.73 (35.19%)

I know we are basically looking at a bulk card that is now a slightly better shade of bulk. The nice thing is that you can still trade for these for practically nothing. I would get as many copies as I could for under a dollar.

The Hall is a colorless anthem. You can use these and the M15 Paragons and suddenly monocolor devotion decks can become very real threats.

This card can also go into any Commander deck that runs a lot of creatures. Any commander with token synergies will want one and you can be certain that almost all of your creatures will share a color.

5 Big Losers of the Week

5. Ajani, Caller of the Pride (M13)

From $8.09 to $7.04 (-12.98%)

This planeswalker still suffers from only being played in standard.

It is not all hopeless though. The vendors paint an optimistic picture. The spread is still surprisingly small. Vendors will sell them to you for as little as $4.72 but will still give you up to $4.51.

Rotation is coming. You need to get out now if you have not already. At least there are decent outlets.

4. Spirit Mantle (M12)

From $2.56 to $2.00 (-21.88%)

Spirit Mantle is still only seriously used in Modern Bogles. Even in that deck only two copies are used.

The power of the deck gives us hope. It has gotten 4-0 on some online dailies for the people that are not just drafting Vintage Masters until their eyes bleed.

It also has some nice financial opportunities. It buylists for $1.50. You can find a few copies for a dollar or less. There is even a copy out there for $0.25.

This negative spread extends to the Planechase copies as well. They buylist for $1.80 and can be purchased for as little as $1.50.

A few Modern Top 8s would go a long way to making this spike.

3. Thousand-Year Elixir (Lorwyn)

From $3.40 to $2.63 (-22.65%)

Thousand-Year Elixir has taken a little dip. It was reprinted in the Bant Commander 2013 deck featuring Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. If the shelves of my local Targets and Walmarts are any metric it was the least popular of the decks.

It is an interesting effect and can be used effectively with Elvish Piper, Master Transmuter or other crazy tap abilities in commander and casual decks.

Competitively is is only used in Legacy MUD and sometimes not even then.

I love when cards take a dip because not everyone updates their prices at the same time. This creates a disparity in value.

The Lorwyn copies can be purchased for $1.48 and sold for $2.01.

The Commander 2013 copies can be purchased for $0.30 and sold for $0.75.

2. Chord of Calling (Ravnica)

From $37.61 to $25.93 (-31.06%)

This staple of Modern Kiki Pod and Melira Pod is coming to M15 and a standard near you. There is still no telling what decks it will be used with but the flood of new copies has caused the original printing to go into freefall.

This is not a bad thing. It lets new players get access to cards that they can use to transition to modern and lets financiers purchase copies for $15.99 and sell them for $20.47.

1. Delver of Secrets (Innistrad)

From $0.82 to $0.24 (-70.73%)

This one is almost certainly either a mistake in pricing or just someone who really hates Insectile Abberation. Any way you slice it there is a cheap copy of Delver that I absolutely encourage purchasing.

It is all over Modern and Legacy in almost every color combination that includes Islands. It is played in UR, BUG, RUG, UWR and even 4 Color Delver decks.

It may only be a common but due to being two sided and being so powerful it will be nearly impossible for Wizards to reprint it. I would get my play set and sit on them for the rest of your life.

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