Ral-Zarek

RTR Block & M14: What I’m Targeting for Rotation Part 2 of 2

By: Jared Yost

Welcome back to my rotation review everyone! Last week I covered cards from Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash that I think have long term appeal, either through casual demand or eternal playability. This is the second part to my rotation review that will cover Dragon’s Maze and M14. The best time to start looking for these deals is about two to three months after the latest set has been released in order for the prices from the old rotating sets to really dive.

The organization of the review is as follows:

Sets

  • Return to Ravnica (previous article)
  • Gatecrash (previous article)
  • Dragon’s Maze
  • M14

Order of Rarity for Sets

  • Mythic
  • Rare
  • Uncommon (if applicable)
  • Common (if applicable)

Foil vs Nonfoil – Mentioned per card if applicable. I will mention foil prices if the card has ubiquitous Commander or Eternal appeal.

Today I will finish the review, covering Dragon’s Maze and M14.

Dragon’s Maze

MYTHIC

 

Voice of Resurgence

FORMAT – Modern

Voice of Resurgence is the most expensive mythic from Dragon’s Maze, currently sitting around $18 retail. However, this price is misleading since you can find many for sale for around $13-$15 on TCGPlayer.

Voice is clearly the most powerful card from the set for eternal formats but he suffers from the same problem as Sphinx’s Revelation. That is, at best he is played as a two-of in Pod. Kibler managed to get a Top 8 playing four Voices in his Junk deck back in May of 2013 which is cool. Unfortunately, Voice hasn’t made a showing in that deck since then and the demand from Voice is coming only from Pod variants at this point.

Definitely wait before you pick up this card. His current price is heavily driven by Standard so there will be plenty of deals after rotation on Voice. I think if you can pick these up close to $12 or less that will be a great deal for the long term. I don’t see him ever going below $10 for long and he only stands to gain in the future as long as Pod isn’t banned in Modern.

Foils will be especially good in the long term. It is a huge buy in at $60 yet I don’t see the foil price budging too much upon set rotation. $50 for foils seems like a good deal if you can swing it after rotation.

 

Ral Zarek

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

Up next is Ral, currently sitting around $7 retail. I don’t think he can drop much further after rotation. If you can snag copies from $4-$5 a few months after rotation I think that will be a great deal. Planeswalkers are always a good long term investment because they will trade / sell well from casual demand alone.

 

Progenitor Mimic

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

Progenitor Mimic is one of the better clone variants out there. It provides a ton of value if left unchecked which makes it good for the Commander format. Being mythic will also help buoy the price going forward. It is pretty cheap already at $2.50 retail. I don’t think the floor is much lower than this so if you can snag copies for $2 go for it.

Foils will be an especially good long term investment. The $13 current retail for foils is low for a third set mythic that has lots of Commander appeal. Focusing on foils is also a good strategy with this card.

 

Savageborn Hydra

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

Wizards seems to be pushing green’s creature identify toward Hydras these days since I’ve seen so many pop up, both in and out of Greek themed sets. Let’s take a look at some other Hydra prices from the past:

Khalni Hydra – $13 TCGmid
Apocalypse Hydra – $9 TCGmid
Primordial Hydra – $6.50 TCGmid (despite two printings Primoridal Hydra still above $6!)

Looks like mythic rare hydras do quite well in the long run even with more than one printing. Pick up Savageborn Hydras because they will follow in the same vein.

 

Master of Cruelties

FORMAT – Commander

The only reason I mention Master of Cruelties is the popularity of Kaalia as a general in the Commander format. Connecting Master of Cruelties with someone in Commander is the definition of “the nuts”. $2 for nonfoil versions seem like the bottom for this card. I don’t think it is going to experience giant spikes in price for quite some time however the mythic rare status will ensure it maintains value going into the future.

Foils are also a good pickup for Kaalia or other Commander players looking to foil out decks.

RARE

 

Breaking // Entering

FORMAT – Casual

Mill cards are in the realm of casual and I am greatly familiar with how well these cards trade and sell to casual players. Right now, this card is a solid $1 retail without seeing a lick of tournament play (except maybe in a rogue Modern mill deck or something). Pick up copies and stash ‘em away for the future when they’re worth $2 or more.

 

 

Guild Champions (Not in Intro Decks)

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

OK, so first lets get the foils in the Dragon’s Maze intro decks out the way so you know not to target them – Lavinia, Teysa, Exava, Ruric Thar, and Vorel. There are an overabundance of these foils on the market so you shouldn’t target them since the intro packs will stabilize the pack foil price for quite some time. I think I might make an exception for Vorel though since his ability involves doubling counters which is a popular casual mechanic. $1.50 is pretty cheap for his foil, I don’t think it can get lower than that. However, his long term gains are going to be stifled by the intro deck foil so avoid picking up too many copies.

Forget about Emmara Tandris, too. Her ability is awful and reputation as a card tarnished beyond repair. I doubt she will ever be even close to $1.

Alright, so of the four remaining maze champions I believe that foils of Melek, Tajic, and Varolz will do the best in the long term and that nonfoils of Mirko Vosk are great targets. Varolz is currently the highest foil at $3.50 retail, with foils of Tajic at $3 and Melek at $1.50. These are all great buy in points that won’t budge much after rotation.

Mirko Vosk’s ability is all about mill, which we know the casual players salivate over. Foils of this will also gain nicely but non-foils will move much easier and will still gain value.

 

Plasm Capture

FORMAT – Commander

The closest we’ve come to Mana Drain, Plasm Capture is a great card for Commander and is included in many blue/green commander lists. Foils will be especially good pickups for the future.

 

 

Notion Thief & Beck // Call

FORMAT – Modern?, Legacy?

Notion Thief and Beck // Call are the penny stocks of Dragon’s Maze. They have some appeal in Commander but could potentially derive their future price from play in Modern or Legacy lists because they are powerful depending on the metagame.

Beck // Call doesn’t really have a deck right now. However, as more cards are added to Modern, Elves may eventually come together and Modern Elves could be a thing again. Notion Thief is played in decks already though generally just as a one-of in the sideboard.

If you plan on playing Beck // Call or Notion Thief in Modern or Legacy rotation will be a good time to pick them up. However, these are pretty risky calls so I won’t pick up too many copies of either card.

UNCOMMON

 

Unflinching Courage

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

Sadly, this slightly worse version of Armadillo Cloak is worth more than most rares in the set. I am still going to tell you to get your hands on some, including foils. Uril Commander decks will want to include this card and it is an uncommon from a third set that wasn’t opened much. You won’t be making a killing off Unflinching Courage though it will still be a solid pickup upon rotation.

 

Wear // Tear

FORMAT – Modern, Legacy, Commander

Wear // Tear is a widely played card in UWx lists in Modern, is played in UWR Delver Legacy sideboards, and is a great inclusion for any red/white Commander decks. This is the most versatile artifact/enchantment destruction spell we’ve seen in a while at a very efficient mana cost. I don’t think we’ll be seeing the fuse mechanic for quite a while so pick up copies here and there when you can as throw-ins for trades. Foils are also good targets at $9.50 since I believe they only stand to gain more value in the future from eternal and Commander play.

M14

MYTHIC

 

Archangel of Thune

FORMAT – Modern, Commander, Casual

Archangel is the most expensive mythic from M14. Standard does drive some of her demand however a lot of it comes from casual appeal. Casuals love angels, and due to this her price has never dropped below $15 even though she sometimes never saw any Standard play.

In the future, she will pop up from time to time in certain Pod lists that make use of her infinite combo along with Spike Feeder yet much of the demand will always be casual. I’m not sure if she will ever drop below $12 so if you can pick her up from $12-$15 I think she will trade well after rotation. Foils are a pricy $35 but will also do well.

 

Planeswalkers (All)

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

All the Planeswalkers from M14 are $5.50 to $8 at this point. Pick up Planeswalkers closer to the bottom of that range and you will do fine after rotation. All the Planeswalkers are powerful or popular and will maintain value from the casual crowds.

 

Kalonian Hydra

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

See my review for Savageborn Hydra from Dragon’s Maze in this article. Another mythic rare hydra, another great casual target for the long term. Kalonian has a higher buy in point than Savageborn at $7 but if you can pick them up for $5 or less they should do well in the long run.

 

Rise of the Dark Realms

FORMAT – Commander

This is a great Commander card that will have a ton of appeal in the future. Foils are also a good target for these going forward.

 

Darksteel Forge

FORMAT – Commander

Darksteel Forge was getting close to $20 before the M14 reprint. Now it is little more than $2.50 for an M14 version. This seems criminally cheap to me. Pick up copies of this and wait for it to break $5 or more in a year’s time.

RARE

 

Mutavault

FORMAT – Modern, Legacy, Commander

Mutavault is an incredible card, there’s no denying that. It hit highs of $40 earlier this year and has dropped significantly down to $18. Yet still, it is the most valuable card from M14. I don’t believe Mutavault is going below $12 due to Modern demand so if you can pick up copies close to $12 after rotation this is a good buy in point.

 

Scavenging Ooze

FORMAT – Modern, Commander

Scavenging Ooze made quite the appearance at GP Kobe. It seemed to fly under the radar due to Burn and Affinity taking down the tournament but Junk did quite well playing four copies of the Ooze main deck. Looks like there will demand from the Ooze for quite a while in Modern, since it is also played in Rock and Pod decks in addition to sometimes appearing in Tribal/Naya Zoo.

Ooze is a decent Commander card however it will derive most of its value from tournament play. $5.50 is the cheapest it has been in quite some time so pick up any copies you find around $5. Interestingly enough, media promo Oozes are also around $5 – I think it is a great time to pick up those foil versions if you want foils of Scavenging Ooze. Regular foils unfortunately will be stabilized for quite a while since there are a ton of media promo Oozes out there.

 

Door of Destinies

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

Door of Destinies was a $15 card before its reprint. This card has huge casual appeal, and once M14 rotates they will start to become hard to find again. It is around $2.50 right now. Expect it to be $4+ within the next year.

 

Tidebinder Mage

FORMAT – Modern

As long as Modern Merfolk is a deck I believe that Tidebinder will be played, at least in sideboards. She provides solid utility for Merfolk and extra distruption against red and green aggro decks. If you can pick up copies around $1 I think that’s pretty good.

 

Strionic Resonator

FORMAT – Commander

I like foils of Strionic Resonator for Commander because there are some wacky things you can do in the format, and Resonator amplifies those silly things. For example, if you stack the trigger right with Sands of Time I believe that you can have infinite untaps during your untap step if you have it and Resonator in play. Pretty neat huh? I’m sure more abilities will be printed in the future for Resonator, so if you can get them for bulk or foils for $1 or less I think that’s a good deal.

UNCOMMON

 

Young Pyromancer

FORMAT – Modern, Legacy, Vintage, Casual

Players have argued that Young Pyromancer is finally the completion of the broken two drop cycle for each color. The tournament results certainly back it up, as it has seen play in Top 8 decks across Modern, Legacy, and Vintage. I feel like it doesn’t complete the cycle because it isn’t a rare but to each their own. It is clearly a powerful card if not a member of the broken two drop cycle.

Nonfoils were included in event decks so $1.50 retail for this guy is going to stick for quite a while. I imagine there will be a reprint eventually in a Commander or supplementary product so focus on foils of Pyromancer. Foils are already around $20, yet based on all the play he is seeing in eternal formats that price could easily go higher.

COMMON

 

Shadowborn Apostle

FORMAT – Casual

People will collect Shadowborn Apostle like nobody’s business, since the card breaks one of the fundamental rules of Magic by allowing you to run as many copies as you want in a deck. If people try to build Commander with this card the estimated demand can only go higher. I don’t think you can ever lose with this common even at $0.50. People will want to collect them for decks so always having a few for those folks won’t hurt. Get them as trade throw ins and this guy’s price in the future might surprise you.

 

 

SLIVERS

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

I created a section just for slivers because many of my points for the slivers will apply at any rarity.

A favorite creature from Magic’s history, slivers made a comeback in M14 by having a face-lift and changing the wording around to “slivers you control” rather than “all slivers” for their abilities. I think all M14 slivers have potential due to collectors, especially the foil ones.

Galerider Sliver has recently seen a price spike in August, probably due to FNM players trying to make slivers work in Standard with Mana Confluence. I’m not sure if it will drop much after rotation since the deck is mainly driven by casuals and the new price could stick. Wait two to three months, and buy in then once the price dips if it decides to. Foils are also good at $10 for Commander.

Other good foils to target are Manaweft, Syphon, Thorncaster, and Bonescythe. Megantic, Predatory, Striking, and Blur Sliver also seem good to me but I don’t think they will see the gains that the first four will see.

Try to pick up common and uncommon slivers as trade throw ins like Predatory and Striking Sliver. They will hold value from casual Sliver appeal going forward.

Summary

Based on feedback from the first part of this set review, I will provide a Top 5 list from each set of top picks that I think will be the best performing cards once they hit their bottoms after rotation.This is the TL:DR of the article you can refer back to if you want to quickly know which cards I’m thinking will do the best in the future. I think all the cards I’ve mentioned will do well though I have the most faith in the ones listed below.

Dragon’s Maze Top 5

5. Savageborn Hydra

4. Progenitor Mimic

3. FOIL Wear // Tea

2. Ral Zarek

1. Voice of Resurgence

M14 Top 5

5. Archangel of Thune

4. Galerider Sliver

3. FOIL Young Pyromancer

2. Scavenging Ooze (especially Media Promos)

1. Mutavault

There are plenty of great options for cards in Dragon’s Maze and M14. Lots of people regarded Dragon’s Maze as a bad set but I believe in the grand scheme of Magic people will look back on it fondly like Kamigawa block. M14 was an awesome core set and provided many great cards to the Magic card pool, so there will be value in cards from that set moving forward as well. This wraps up my RTR Block and M14 rotation review. As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Khans-of-Tarkir-Intro-Pack-Rare-Alternate-Art-41

Weekend Update for 9/20/14

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. Aether Vial (Modern Masters)
From $23.19 to $26.15 (12.76%)

Magic the Gathering is in an interesting place right now. Shocklands and fetchlands are both relatively affordable at the moment. This lowers the barrier to entry into the modern format.

It would be nice to think that modern decks will suddenly become cheaper because you can now set up your entire mana base for less than a play set of Scalding Tarns would have cost you earlier this year. The truth is that Modern staples will increase in price as more people explore the format. This will be even more noticeable with budget modern decks.

Aether Vial is a powerful addition to modern and Legacy Merfolk, Hatebears, Death and Taxes and even some Goblins decks. It is also a powerful inclusion in Commander, Cubes and casual decks that like cheap and efficient creatures.

Most Top 8 lists in Modern or Legacy will feature at least one deck that packs a play set of Vials.

On 9/7/2014 the SCG Legacy tournament in St. Louis had two Legacy Death and Taxes decks make Top 8. The modern portion of the tournament had a Hatebears deck get second place.

This steady growth will only continue.

I do wonder why the FTV Relics copies are only $30.94 and the foils are only $34.53. I would try to pick up a few before the price correction boosts them up to $50 to $60.

9. Memnarch (Darksteel)
From $6.89 to $7.99 (15.97%)

Memnarch is an interesting commander. The rules have to be adjusted slightly to make him work but he is well worth the effort if you want to generate a lot of mana to steal everything at the table.

He has not seen any competitive play. His need for lots of blue mana make Mono-Blue Tron seem unlikely to include him. He is far too expensive for affinity decks.

I do not expect anything more than slow sustained growth from him. You can purchase the Archenemy copies for as little as $4.99 and sell them for up to $6.27.

8. Battlefield Forge (10th Edition)
From $4.47 to $5.22 (16.78%)

It is not worth discussing current standard decks this week except to look forward to a new Standard in six days time.

Aggressive Mardu and Jeskai combo decks will run Forges as additional copies of Mana Confluence. This makes it one of the better positioned painlands since these are the colors that want to end the game quickly before the lands can do much damage.

I think that Boros Burn will disappear as an archetype in standard but it will always have a home in Modern.

I expect all of the enemy painlands to stay in the $4 to $7 range for the duration of their standard stay depending on the metagame.

7. Goblin Rabblemaster (M15)
From $8.48 to $10.70 (26.18%)

I have to admit that I have been constantly surprised by this card. I thought it would fall back down to $3 at rotation but instead it is sitting pretty at nearly $11.

Rotation time usually is the best time to be playing quick and aggressive decks. Red Deck Wins is usually a winner out of the gates as everyone is figuring out the metagame.

Goblin Rabblemaster is positioned nicely to lead the charge. It will also work very nicely with cards utilizing the Raid mechanic.

It is surprising me even more that it is seeing some experimentation in larger formats.

Legacy Goblin Stompy is a deck that can quickly play a three mana goblin on turn one and uses Trinisphere to set everyone back while it deploys threat after threat. It took second place in a MODO Legacy Daily on 9/12/2014.

It has also seen some sideboard play in Modern burn decks.

The card is nearly $11 so I think the time to get into it has passed but foils are only $17.32. It is a big gamble but if it does get picked up by Modern and Legacy then this is the best time to get in.

If you want to play it safe then this is about as high as the card is likely to get. Cash out now.

6. Trickbind (Time Spiral)
From $4.23 to $5.49 (29.79%)

Trickbind is picking up a little steam. Fetchlands are getting a lot of attention and cards like Trickbind, Shadow of Doubt and Squelch are easy targets to ruin someone’s day when they try to crack their fetch.

It is played in Legacy OmniTell as well. The deck managed to take top spot on 8/24/2014 in the Master Game Summer Legacy tournament.

I would not get too excited though. It was only a single copy out of the sideboard.

I would sell or trade away copies into the hype. Earlier this year you could get copies for $3. You are almost doubling your money.

5. Eidolon of the Great Revel (Journey into Nyx Foil)
From $24.98 to $32.5 (30.14%)

Eidolon of the Great Revel has been making a splash in standard, modern and Legacy Burn decks.

Can you believe these used to be $8?

If you have quadrupled your money and want to cash out that is respectable. I do believe that these will continue to be a long term hold.

The SCG Legacy Open in Atlanta on 9/14/2014 had a Burn deck make Top 8. This is getting to be a regular occurrence for the deck.

I will take a moment to say that the tournament had three Berserk Poison decks in the Top 8 as well.

Right now foil Blighted Agents are $10.51. Foil Glistener Elf is only $2. They are both commons from New Phyrexia. Glistener Elf enables a possible second turn kill. I would pick up as many as you can before the price corrects itself.

While we are on the topic the Commander copies of Invigorate can be purchased for $0.99 and sold for $1.17. The Invigorate foils are $12 as well.

4. Sundering Titan (Darksteel)
From $4.31 to $5.91 (37.12%)

So you want to be “that guy.” The one that summons a Sundering Titan through ramp, reanimation or abuses it with flickering.

It is a staple in Commander and Modern lists. It is a brutal way to punish people for greedy mana bases using shocklands, dual lands in addition to basic lands.

It is used in modern Gruul Tron, Mono-Blue Tron, Legacy MUD, Vintage MUD and Stax.

It has been reprinted in small quantities in Archenemy and From the Vault: Relics.

Due to its mana cost it is usually only played as one or two copies when it shows up at all.

It has been getting some attention recently in Stockholm.

Khans of Tarkir PTQ on 8/16/2014 had a Top 8 with two GR Tron decks in the Top 8 including the winner. Two weeks later at the GPT on 8/31/2014 Gr Tron placed second place.

Very few cards hit the battlefield with such a resounding thud.

You can purchase From the Vault copies for as little as $4.98 and sell them for up to $5.81. I think they are a solid pickup in the long term.

3. Thoughtseize (Theros Foil)
From $52.66 to $77.22 (46.64%)

I was going to compose a list of decks that run Thoughtseize but it is pretty easy to say that any deck that taps swamps for mana in Standard, Modern and Legacy is either running it or asking themselves tough questions about whether or not they should run it. It is an answer to almost everything.

Some decks like legacy Elves even splash black just to board in Thoughtseize out of the sideboard.

Mono-Black Devotion is going to be releasing its stranglehold on standard but foil prices are derived from Modern, Legacy, Vintage and Cubes. I am afraid commander does not count for this particular card due to constraints of the format.

Modern PTQ Khans of Tarkir at Riccione, Italy had three out of the Top 8 decks were running Thoughtseize. This includes the winner. A total of twelve out of thirty-two possible copies appeared in decklists.

I feel that this is the new price. If you got cheap copies when Theros came out then this is a great time to take some profit. If you are more patient these will be a solid hold until the next time it is reprinted.

2. Crystalline Sliver (Friday Night Magic)
From $10.15 to $15.93 (51.57%)

Sliver Hivelord has gotten everyone excited about building sliver decks.

It can make your entire team indestructible but sometimes that is not enough. Crytalline Sliver can keep your slivers safe from ill timed disruption like Swords to Plowshares or Path to Exile that might ruin an otherwise unstoppable offence.

The wonderful thing about slivers is that there is always an appeal. This is a safe hold for a long time to come. This is all the more true since Wizards has been using hexproof rather than shroud in recent years. I doubt we will see any reprints any time soon.

1. Metalworker (Urza’s Destiny)
From $13.73 to $25.58 (86.31%)

Metalworker has just been unbanned in commander. This means you will soon be seeing infinite mana courtesy of Staff of Domination, Umbral Mantle and Voltaic Construct among others.

You can win the game anyway you want with your infinite mana. My personal favorite way is through Golem Artisan.

There are plenty of other ways to abuse the large swaths of mana it is capable of generating.

Metalworker has been featured in Legacy and Vintage MUD decks as well as Vintage Stax.

This news makes for a huge pay day for anyone who happened to be holding onto Metalworkers. I would observe the example of Bitterblossom’s unbanning in Modern. It spiked immediately due to the frenzy of players trying to get their hands on the card and trying it out in the format. This new format only requires a single copy per player so I would sell into the hype as quickly as possible.

5 Big Losers of the Week

5. Merrow Reejerey (Lorwyn)
From $6.20 to $5.63 (-9.19%)

Merrow Reejerey is a feature in Modern and Legacy Merfolk decks.

Unfortunately it has seen its place in the deck challenged by newcomers Master of Waves in Modern and True-Name Nemesis in Legacy.

The sweet spot for Fish tends to be two mana so even a three mana lord that accelerates mana and taps down blockers is only featured as a two of.

The Reejerey will continue to decline until it hits around $3. I would get out now. It is only used in an unstable spot in a pet deck for now.

2014 modern state championships – maine

4. Living End (Time Spiral)
From 8.82 to $7.92 (-10.20%)

Living End is used solely in the appropriately named Living End Modern deck. It is an all in reanimator deck which is easily hated out with an early Rest in Peace or a timely Bojuka Bog.

It has been falling in favor in the Modern metagame. It has been over a month since it has been in a Top 8.

This deck tends to be cyclical. When reanimator decks fade a bit and graveyard hate is removed from sideboards it will rise again. This has caused the price to be nearly half the $15 it commanded at the beginning of the month.

I would grab a cheap play set or two and wait for the deck to come back into favor.

3. Mutavault (Morningtide)
From $26.81 to $23.65 (-11.79%)

Mutavault has been everywhere in standard and it will happily continue to be played in several Modern and Legacy decks.

I would wait another month or so. Mutavault will be as cheap as it will ever be as standard players unload their copies to pick up new fetchlands. If you can find any copies under $20 I would move on them and hold onto them.

They are an excellent long term investment.

2. Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni (Betrayers of Kamigawa)
From $7.49 to $6.44 (-14.02%)

I need to make a confession. I love Ink-eyes in all of its casual glory. It combines ninjas, rats and reanimation. It is hard to kill and helps rebuy enters the battlefield effects.

None of this make it a great investment. It is not played in any competitive format. It is still a casual favorite and will show up in Commander decks.

Wizards of the Coast seems determined to keep reprints accessible. It was a prerelease promo, was in Planechase 2012 and was reprinted again in From the Vault: Twenty.

It has been on a slow decline for a while. Casual appeal will keep it out of bulk range but I could easily see it getting to $3 to $4 before you know it. I would keep your one copy for any fun decks you want and sell the rest.

1. Elspeth, Knight-Errant (Shards of Alara)
From $20.45 to $17.56 (-14.13%)

I suggested above that Ink-Eyes has been reprinted to frequently to keep its price up. Supply is exceeding demand.

The same case could be made for Elspeth. She is a strong planeswalker and sees play in Modern Orzhov Tokens and even Naya Zoo. Legacy runs her in Esper Stoneblade and Stoneforge Bant.

She was in Shards of Alara and you could get her in the all foil packs. She had her own Duel Deck vs Tezzeret. Wizards printed her again in Modern Masters. This summer they packaged her in the Modern Event deck.

The deck that wants to use her most can now get her prepackaged with a Sword of Feast of Famine. It will take a while to recover from all of these printings.

She is just so strong that she has been holding onto value. I would move any copies that you have. Eventually it will be reprinted enough to get it into the $10 range.

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Khans-of-Tarkir-Sultai-01-615x461

Be Patient

Welcome to the new block and the new rotation. Khans is going to be legal for 18 months, not two years. I’ve preached patience before, because I have learned the hard way that prices are all at their highest on this prerelease weekend!

It bears repeating: Trade away everything you open at a release or prerelease. This even includes the promo cards. The value is going to go down in 95% of cases, so you want to get the most for your buck. Do not trade for anything from Khans this weekend, unless you absolutely have to have it this coming Friday for FNM. You’ll pay a premium this weekend and next.

We don’t track preorder prices here at MTGPrice, so if you find preorder prices different from my finds, feel free to leave comments or act accordingly.

I’m not going to go over everything from Khans, I’m going to list some preorder prices and what price I’ll be looking for in a few weeks/months.

Mythics:

The five Khans ($3-7 for everyone but Surrak, who is around $10-$15)

Surrak deserves his increased price. Each of these is a fun build-around, but five flash mana for a 6/6 that can’t be countered is pretty big game. If this shows the slightest sign of being Legacy playable, you’ll want to jump all over the foils too.

I don’t think Surrak will fall far, but the rest should keep their current price, at least to within a dollar or two. Pre-ordering them is not really necessary, but won’t hurt too badly. 

Clever Impersonator ($10-$15)

It’s got the right converted mana cost and offers the greatest flexibility of any Clone effect ever. You’ll need a very good reason not to run this in any blue Commander deck, or any Cube. I would expect this to creep down to about $7-$10, don’t pay more than that. Foils are a different matter: If I could trade for a foil this weekend at $25 or $30, I’d do that but not more.

If we get this effect at four mana, could we possibly get a combination of this and Vesuvan Doppelganger at five or six mana? Every upkeep, it becomes a different nonland permanent!

See the Unwritten ($3-5)

I love this card too much! I don’t know if I can be logical and impartial about it. There’s no way to cheat the mana cost, as Chord of Calling or Summoning Trap can do. It’s a greed-testing card in Commander: Do you need one thing now, or are you going to wait until you’ve got a 4-power creature in order to get two more creatures? If you can get it under $3, that seems like a steal to me.

I’ll admit, I’m likely going to be greedy with it, but the correct play will often be to cast it when your board is empty. Keep in mind that the leftovers go to your graveyard to be Delve fuel.

Empty the Pits ($1-5)

Speaking of Delve fuel! I plan on using this without Delving in EDH, but in Standard, this has a chance to be ridiculously powerful. I’m not yet ready to pay more than $2-$3 for it, though.

I will say, though, that as an instant-speed, end-of-turn finisher, I could easily see this hitting $10 or more. Heaven help us if Fate Reforged contains a permanent that lowers Delve costs, because this will be one of the primary beneficiaries.

Rares:

The Fetchlands ($15-$20)

I’ve said it, others have said it, read it again: This is going to be the best-selling set ever. The value will be there to crack boxes for value, and the fetches are a big reason for that. Think about the shocklands’ prices during Return to Ravnica block: They sometimes dipped below $10, went as high as $15.

Your first order of business will be to get all the ones you need for your decks. There will be a lot of people who simply get four of each and wait, but I’m not one of those people. If you want to get a playset of each because you brew a lot, that’s totally understandable and I understand the appeal of not wanting to trade for cards every time you have an idea.

I will be picking up a few for Commander, but for casual play, don’t try to hold these long-term for possible needs. Think about how tough it is to trade for a shockland right now. It isn’t! Especially right now as they rotate out of Standard, but there is an enormous supply of shocks out there, and there will be more fetches opened in Khans than shocks were opened in Return to Ravnica or Gatecrash. 

Keep in mind that Wizards put Verdant Catacombs in an event deck (Magic 2012’s Vampire Onslaught) so there’s a very good chance that event decks for the next 18 months might contain one, increasing supply even further!

The short version: I don’t believe that you’ll have a chance to gain a lot of monetary value by holding onto fetchlands. Shocklands didn’t get a big bump in their second year of Standard legality, and fetches will be in this format for six months less.

Foil fetches, though…that might be a different story. I don’t mind admitting it: I am going to trade for as many foil fetchlands as I can. I’ve gotten to a point where I’m content to wait on adding a card to an EDH deck until I get the foil version. Foil fetches, especially these, where the foils have two styles (Onslaught and Judge) and both are over $300, will represent a way for foil-hungry players to get what they want at a decent price.

When you have a foil fetchland available for trade, and you meet someone who wants it for their pimped-out deck, they will be ravenous for it. Feed their need.

Butcher of the Horde ($2)

Between Temples and Confluence and all sorts of things, I think that playing this on turn four is not unreasonable. Having a creature around to give it haste is just ridiculous. I think there’s a lot of potential here, at not a lot of risk. Bloodsoaked Champion is indeed the combo it appears to be, giving haste at first, and later on, allowing for vigilance or lifelink as needed.

Utter End ($2-$5)

This is going to be a sought-after Game Day Promo. It’s a very good card, useful in just about any situation, and this plus Hero’s Downfall and Thoughtseize is a strong pull for BW being a starting point for decks.

I’m going to trying very hard for the full-art versions, I’ll be somewhat into regular foils, and if the regulars get to $1 or less (remember: best-selling set ever!) then I’ll be eagerly on that too.

Join me next week as I take you through some things I really want to get now that they are out of Standard.

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Khans of Tarkir: A Full Financial Review

By: Travis Allen

Khans of Tarkir is nearly upon us. Players from every format can’t wait to start cracking packs due to the long-awaited return of the Onslaught Fetchlands. The return of the fetches, along with the curious nature of the block, the change to the Standard rotation model, and the official arrival of wedges has sent people into a tizzy. It’s that lovely time of year when every card is bursting with potential and brewers are salivating uncontrollably.

The pricing for this set, like most fall sets before it, will have its own little wrinkles. The major factor in thinking about card prices for Khans is the fetches. Demand for these is going to extend across virtually every single format. Vintage, Legacy, Modern, Standard, Cube, and EDH players alike are going to want copies. With such a massive amount of demand they will easily be the most expensive rares. When five rares are hogging the lion’s share of the box value it’s going to suppress the price of the entire rest of the box. Rares that would have been $10+ in another set will be $4-$6 instead. Mythics will still be worth the most, but their ceilings will be lower than they would have been otherwise.

Of course card prices are still limited by the value of a box. As soon as cracking packs gets more valuable than selling boxes sealed, vendors will immediately start doing so. A natural balance is reached and demand is satiated while prices stabilize. This means we won’t be seeing any $30 Polluted Deltas, but it does mean we’re going to see a lot of the non-fetch rares in circulation. Oh, did I also mention this is going to be the most opened set in history? It will be. Theros was similarly the most opened at its launch, and hype for Khans is higher what with the fetches in the set. Because of this, it may appear that a lot of my prices are on the low side. I prefer to err on the side of prudence anyways, but it is especially wise in light of this set’s dynamics. In fact, take a look at Theros prices right now.

Capture

There are a whopping three non-land rares over $3. These prices should rise a bit between now and Christmas, so while a few more may break into the $5+ range I doubt it will be more than a small handful. Also notice that all five rare lands are sub-$4. Imagine what the set breakdown looks like when you jack those five up into the $8-$15 range. All the rest of the cards, mythics included, get noticeably cheaper.

I bring all of this up to make a point that nearly all of these cards will drop from their current values, and they will drop hard. I discuss prices for many of these rares that would be over $2-$3, but only two or three from all that I discuss will manage that. The rest will drop firmly into bulk.

One last thing before I jump into the review. It’s important to remember when reading any set review that we are forced to evaluate cards in a pseudo-vacuum, but they never exist as such. When I look at Brimaz, King of Oreskos I have to consider the card individually, free of whatever the metagame looks like that particular month. Brimaz’s text box isn’t going to change, but the cards other people are playing will. I need to focus on what concrete information I have available to me. Because of this, set reviews are especially challenging. I have to look at Brimaz and make an evaluation based strictly on the words printed on the card, but his true worth will be dependent on the cards around him, a pool that will change significantly over time. Cards that are excellent right now may have been trash in an alternate timeline. It would be easy to construct a Standard environment where Desecration Demon is crap (such as he was in INN-RTR when Lingering Souls was legal,) or where Prime Speaker Zegana is a chase mythic. Even the hallowed Jace, the Mind Sculptor was nigh unplayable at release since there wasn’t a single other playable blue card in the format and Bloodbraid Elf + Blightning threatened to shut him down as soon as he resolved.

The point I’m making is that when considering this review, and all other reviews, it’s important to be good Bayesians and recognize that while a powerful card should be good, and a weaker situational card should be bad, the constraints of the format around them, complete unknowns to the hapless reviewer, will be the true determining factor in identifying whether a card is a bulk mythic or a $20 rare.

If you just want to know what to expect from the lands, click here.

White

Bulk:
Herald of Anafenza
High Sentinels of Arashin
Master of Pearls

 

End Hostilities
1 Month: $2-$4
Fate Reforged: $2-$3

With the departure of Supreme Verdict, the cheapest unconditional sweeper we are left with is End Hostilities at five mana. (I believe there has only been one other brief period where there was no four-mana sweeper.) Even given that history it isn’t terribly surprising Wizards finally tossed it, as morph really wants the format to slow down a bit so it has time to shine.

End Hostilities will certainly be played, but only in Standard. While Verdict was exciting because of applications in Modern and Legacy, Hostilities has none of that appeal. Supreme Verdict hung around $3-$6 for most of its lifespan. End Hostilities should be a tad lower; probably in the $2-$4 range for the most part. People will play it and there will be demand, but they will do so because they have to, not because they want to.

 

Wingmate Roc
1 Month: $4-$6
Fate Reforged: $3-$5

Imagine for a minute that instead of mythic this was printed at rare. Would you even give it a second look? If I told you this was an intro deck rare, would you believe me? I’m thinking it’s likely.

Perhaps I don’t “get” Roc. That’s entirely possible. It’s just that this feels rather underwhelming to me. Broodmate Dragon was good during his time, but as long as you tapped the mana you were getting eight flying power. Roc loses 25% of the damage and becomes conditional in exchange for easier mana and a small lifegain trigger. I’ve heard people compare Wingmate to Archangel of Thune. I don’t see them as being similar though. Archangel immediately put an end to racing. Attacking into it was so difficult because of the lifegain, and as soon as your opponent untapped with it their entire army was growing along with their life total.

That raid trigger isn’t just going to fire every time either. There are plenty of situations where you either will be unable to trigger it at all, or you’ll be chump-attacking to turn it on. In those situations you trade whatever for a ¾ flyer. Occasionally you’ll be happy to make that exchange, but not always. Finally, the lifegain is fairly minimal. If you only attack with your two Rocs you’re gaining a whopping two life. Sure you can alpha strike and gain maybe five or six, but aren’t you in great shape at that point anyways?

Archangel was pretty expensive. Archangel was also a major Standard threat, Modern playable, and an Angel. I don’t see Roc doing much at all in Standard, but I accept that I could be totally wrong on that. If we see it start putting up results then the price will certainly rise and you’ll have time to get in, but until then, I’d trade my copies away.

Blue

Bulk:
Dig Through Time
Icy Blast
Kheru Spellsnatcher

 

Clever Impersonator
1 Month: $7-$10
Fate Reforged: $5-$8

First things first, EDH is going to love this. If you have blue in your deck this is basically an auto-include. Impersonator is getting a good chunk of demand from there, especially the foils. Now how about sixty card formats? The last time a clone was playable was back in the M12 days when we had both Phantasmal Image and Phyrexian Metamorph. We also had something else at that time: Birthing Pod. Birthing Pod decks brought a giant pile of ETB creatures to the table that both Image and Metamorph were happy to copy, and Metamorph could even copy Pod as well. Image continued to see support in Modern and Legacy where it acts as another two-drop lord for fish. You’ll notice that no merfolk decks are running any other clones though.

Unless there’s a deck with a great deal of ETB effects, I don’t see Impersonator making huge waves in Standard. Yes, cloning your opponent’s Planeswalker is awesome, but it doesn’t actually solve the problem of your opponent having a Planeswalker. (Unless it’s Garruk.) They also got theirs down before you. When using a clone effect cloning your opponent’s creatures is usually plan B, so you’re really only playing this to clone your guys. Without a Pod deck, is it going to be good enough? Given that Siege Rhino is in Abzan, I’d guess not.

As I said, EDH demand will persist for Impersonator. There will also be people eager to try it out at FNM. As such, the price is likely to stay north of $4, but I doubt by too much. I’d expect a slow descent until next Spring.

 

Pearl Lake Ancient
1 Month: $2
Fate Reforged: $1-$3

Pearl Lake Ancient is a control finisher, and by definition, a one or two-of. Even Aetherling, the most obnoxious control finisher in years, spent his entire Standard tenure dwindling towards his current price of seventy cents. Pearl Lake will hang out at mythic bulk.

Black

Bulk:
Retribution of the Ancients

 

Bloodsoaked Champion
1 Month: $2-$4
Fate Reforged: $2-$5

Bloodsoaked Champion is a curious one. Normally it would be a pretty easy bulk rare. A few aggro black lists would run it, but generally it would be unlikely to have a large enough presence to warrant a real price tag. The equation this time around is changed by the Mardu hotness Butcher of the Horde, which we’ll discuss further down in the multicolor section. The hook here is that you can sac Champion to Butcher for haste or lifelink, swing with Butcher, then rebuy your champion for 1B. As a creature that can come down on turn one then become relevant with your curve-topper later, Champion has potential.

I don’t think he hits bulk anytime soon. His preorder price is in the $4-$5 range and cards don’t typically drop to bulk from there too quickly. There are two possible paths for Champion. The first is that there aren’t enough lists running him alongside Butcher, which means his price dwindles towards bulk further down the road. The second path is that he and Butcher become bestest buds, which should shore his price up in the $3-$5 range, depending on how good the lists end up being.

 

Empty the Pits
1 Month: $2-$4
Fate Reforged: $1-$4

When I read this at first I saw “XBBBB” and I figured it was a real card. Then I noticed it was XX instead. Oof.

What happens when you pay real mana for this? Six mana gets you a 2/2. Eight for four power. Ten for six. Twelve mana for eight power. Meanwhile, Wingmate Roc up there is getting you six power for half the cost, and it’s all in the air. Clearly we’re supposed to be paying for this with Delve. How reliable is delve going to be? On average I’d say you could probably expect to get one to three extra zombies around turn six. Let’s say that on turn six you can exile four cards. That means you’re paying six mana (one zombie) and exiling four cards (two more zombies) for a total of three zombies. At that point it’s a six-mana instant that says “put three 2/2 zombies into play tapped.” Limited all-star perhaps, but we’re playing constructed here.

As the game goes late this clearly gets much stronger, and with that mana cost later rather than sooner is going to be the game plan anyways.  On turn eight you could potentially threaten fix or six zombies at end of turn which will certainly win a game, but hardly feels format-breaking.

Even if you imagine this in a best-case scenario, how often do decks run more than two copies? Only the most devoted self-mill decks could conceivably run four. As with any delve card, each copy of Empty the Pits in your deck makes the rest of them worse. That doesn’t bode well for financial gains.

I have difficulty seeing Empty the Pits doing much to really shape the way the format plays. I don’t doubt it will see action, perhaps even consistently, in a few black lists. It’s just that the quantity used will be limited and the slot fillable by other late-game finishers if you prefer. As for casual demand, Army of the Damned seems like it would be better in 80% of situations, and that card is $1.80. I see Empty the Pits petering out over the next few months towards mythic bulk.

 

Grim Haruspex
1 Month: Bulk
Fate Reforged: Bulk – $2

I’m tossing this in here basically as a heads up that I think this card may be playable. The drawing condition is a bit restrictive, but with Bloodsoaked Champion and Butcher of the Horde you’re certainly setting up a machine to get paid. The unmorph cost is about as aggressive as it gets, and while a 3/2 for 3 isn’t winning any awards it isn’t shameful either. I don’t think this ever really breaks $3 but I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a set now if you want to play a Bloodsoaked Champion/Butcher list.

 

Necropolis Fiend
1 Month: Bulk
Fate Reforged: Bulk – $2

Is this the next Desecration Demon? Maybe. A 6/6 body was pretty legit because it was bigger than nearly every other creature in the format. A 4/5 is nothing to shake a stick at, but he loses to Polukranos straight up. You also can’t just slam him on T4 and run away with the game. On the flip side he can come down on turn five or six for two or three mana while easily leaving removal up, and he’ll let you Avatar of Woe a relevant creature about once a game.

Perhaps Fiend is bulk for the next eighteen months. Perhaps he’s bulk until 5/5s for four mana rotate and suddenly he becomes way more playable. I’m honestly not sure. I know that I want him on our radar though.

Red

Bulk:
Crater’s Claws
Dragon-Style Twins
Howl of the Horde
Jeering Instigator

 

Ashcloud Phoenix
1 Month: $3-$4
Fate Reforged: $1-$3

I’ve been bullish on four-drop red mythics once or twice in the past few years and they haven’t panned out a single time. While Hellrider and Hero of Oxid ridge saw gigantic spikes in price in their day, we haven’t seen anything of that sort since Innistrad. Whether we just haven’t had the right card or the right format I’m not sure. What I do know is that Ashcloud Phoenix will not be that card.

A 4/1 flyer for four is about on par with what to expect out of red’s aggressive deck curve-topper so long as it has lots of other good text. Unfortunately, Ashcloud doesn’t. When it returns to the battlefield it’s as a morph that will be easily blocked or killed. If it hasn’t been unmorphed it will stay dead the second time. Meanwhile the unmorph cost is prohibitively expensive at six. Any deck reasonably interested in Ashcloud is not going to be getting excited about getting to six mana to be able to unmorph this. Even if you do, it’s trigger is good but not necessarily game-winning. The end result is that it’s a weak-ish creature whose condition for repetition is too difficult or costly to satisfy. We won’t be seeing this one’s prices rise from inevitable ashes.

 

Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
1 Month: $15-$20
Fate Reforged: $12-$18

Chandra, Pyromaster was the best red Planeswalker ever when she first hit the scene last year. This year it appears Sarkhan is wresting that trophy away from her. The turn he comes down he has two choices: become a 4/4 flying indestructible haste dragon, or do four damage to something on the other side of the table. Given that he shares a mana cost with Stormbreath Dragon, his first ability is right on curve. Both Sarkhan and Stormbreath come down on five and attack for four in the air. If you’re not in the market to swing immediately, perhaps because you’re being pressured by an opposing creature, Sarkhan is capable of blowing that up instead of attacking. Four damage is a serious chunk of damage. It won’t kill Polukranos, but it will nail most other creatures, including your opponent’s Nissa’d land.

There are a few factors that are working against Sarkhan. One roadblock will be the glut at four and five in red and green. With so many options, it’s unlikely that people will be in the market for four Sarkhans. Off the top of my head you’ve got Polukranos, Xenagos, Nissa, and Stormbreath Dragon. I’m sure there are more that will be viable options as well. With so many cards all filling similar roles, most decks will want to vary their choices instead of going all-in on one or two. As for more casual formats I don’t’ see Sarkhan causing much of a stir. He’s bad in EDH, and while dragons tend to be quite popular, he doesn’t actually have “dragon” written on his typeline. The demand here should be mostly limited to Standard with perhaps some spilling over into Cube.

Overall I anticipate Sarkhan seeing moderate to heavy amounts of play. Assuming that some form of RG deck is in the top five of the format, and each one has two to three copies of Sarkhan, he should hang around north of $15 for awhile. While he is unlikely to be as pervasive as Elspeth, he should do well for himself. When Elspeth released along with Theros she was over $30. By the time January rolled around she was under $20. Even now she is only barely over $20. When Elspeth has trouble maintaining a price tag close to $25, it’s unlikely any could manage better.

Green

Bulk:
Meandering Towershell
Trail of Mystery

 

Hardened Scales
1 Month: Bulk – $1
Fate Reforged: Bulk

Ordinarily this would be unquestionable bulk but for two items. First, it’s aggressively costed. At any other mana cost I want nothing to do with this, but one is exactly where a card of this sort needs to be to have shot. The second is James’ entire article on the topic. While I’m not as much on board with the card as he is, I do see room for potential. This may pull a Parallel Lives while still in Standard, climbing to $2-$4, although Bayes tells us it’s unlikely. Rather it seems like it may be good to snag in as a throw-in once it hits real bulk because not only will it have the casual token demand at some point, it could also end up becoming part of some tier two strategies.

 

Hooded Hydra
1 Month: $2-$3
Fate Reforged: $1-$3

This is another one of those cards that I would have believed you if you told me it was rare. The fair cost on this card is unappealing, especially with Genesis Hydra and Hornet Queen running around. You can really only put this in your deck if your plan is to be unmorphing it. The cost to play it as a morph then flip it is a total of eight spread over two turns. That’s rather expensive. You end up getting paid on the back end when this finally dies with five 1/1s, but how much do we care? It’s obviously excellent insurance against End Hostilities. Beyond that I’m not sure how exciting this is in a color that also has Nissa at five.

Wizards keeps throwing these hydras at us and they have a real poor track record going so far. Polukranos is good, and Genesis Hydra is nifty, but take a look back at the other eight hydras currently in Standard and see how many others you remember. Mistcutter maybe? Here’s hoping they change “green’s creature.”

 

Rattleclaw Mystic
1 Month: $2-$4
Fate Reforged: $3-$7

As the Buy-a-Box promo for Khans, Rattleclaw deserves extra scrutiny. We’ve seen time and time again that BaB promos have a strong tendency to be Standard staples.

When Sylvan Caryatid was spoiled I was a bit bearish on it because it cost two mana and I like my dorks to cost one. I ended up coming around on Caryatid once it was clear that the 0/3 hexproof body was so powerful. Your opponent couldn’t kill him and he blocked 2-power creatures reliably.

Rattleclaw is two mana as well, but instead of dodging removal and blocking he dies to everything and can’t block a thing. The phrase “always bolt the bird” remains just as relevant today as it was some twenty years ago when it was coined, meaning that savvy opponents are not going to let this live if they have a choice.

What makes Rattleclaw unique is the morph ability. Playing Rattleclaw face-down on T3 means that on T4 you ramp to six mana. (Unmorph for 2 adding RUG with two lands left open, tap Rattleclaw for one.) This sets up a plethora of plays. You could run out double Savage Knuckleblade, Temur Ascendancy + Knuckleblade, a Scuttling Doom Engine, Sagu Mauler, the RUG Khan, or one of any multiple planeswalkers available to you. With Elvish Mystic on T1 this is all sped up a turn, which means six mana on T3. I think the last time we had six mana on T3 was Lotus Cobra, which Bant Mythic put to good use by attacking with a trampling 12/11 annihilator 2.

As a normal mana dork Rattleclaw is weak. With the shenanigans the morph ability promises, his outlook becomes much more promising. I anticipate we’ll see an immediate drop off following the release of the set. The price shouldn’t drop too low, and I’d expect growth by the time we hit Fate Reforged. For comparison, Sylvan Caryatid hung around the $5-$6 range until mid-to-late summer this year when it spiked to $10. It’s quite possible Rattleclaw follows a similar trajectory.

 

See the Unwritten
1 Month: $2-3
Fate Reforged: Bulk Mythic

In every format other than Standard Summoning Trap is preferable. As for Standard, there’s currently nothing in the format I really care about cheating into play at sorcery speed. Maybe if the Eldrazi show up later in the block this spikes, but unless that happens this is a bulk mythic.

Multicolor

Bulk:
Abzan Ascendancy
Ankle Shanker
Avalanche Tusker
Deflecting Blast
Duneblast
Crackling Doom
Flying Crane Technique
Ivorytusk Fortress (Intro Deck)
Jeskai Ascendancy
Kheru Lich Lord
Mardu Ascendancy
Mindswipe
Rakshasa Vizier
Sage of the Inward Eye
Temur Ascendancy
Trap Essence
Villainous Wealth

 

Anafenza, the Foremost
1 Month: $3-$5
Fate Reforged: $2-$4

We’ve got a three mana 4/4 in GW leaving the format right now which provides us a good idea of how much play Anafenza can manage. Loxodon Smiter got around in Standard for sure, although only being two colors instead of three is a huge boon. His counter clause is overall weaker than Anafenza’s two special abilities though. Her first ability will be decent, but won’t come up until at least turn five. If you cast her on turn three she won’t be able to put the counter on the creature you play turn four. That means you get your first +1/+1 counter a whole two turns later, assuming you even attack with your four-drop.

The more appealing text on here is the Rest in Peace, I believe. Keeping cards out of opponent’s graveyards is one of those things that doesn’t feel like it matters that much but surprises you with its utility in many situations. This is especially noticeable in Modern, when you realize just how much damage Leyline of the Void or Rest in Peace do to so many different opponents.

My concern with Anafenza is that CDE casting cost. Not only is she going to be tough to get down on turn three, it means only exactly decks playing those colors will want in. Compare that to a card like Loxodon Smiter which can be played in GW, Naya, or Bant.

Anafenza is a reasonably strong card that could see mild to moderate Standard play, and even possibly some Modern play alongside Doran. Unless she makes a big impact in that format though, I expect her price to remain fairly low. With Sarkhan and Sorin running around alongside all those fetches the other mythics are going to have a lot of work to do to keep their prices up.

 

Butcher of the Horde
1 Month: $3-$7
Fate Reforged: ???

Butcher of the Horde is looking to be the breakout card in the set. When I first saw it in the spoiler I shrugged my shoulders and kept scrolling. Apparently I was alone in this. Both Sam Black and BBD have spoken about how good the card seems to be in Standard. If it was just Sam Black I may not care too much since he’ll play anything with the word ‘sacrifice’ on it, but two players speaking about it’s strength is not something to handwave away. While I’m personally not wild about the card, I’ll respect the opinion of those that know better than me.

Apparently Butcher can and probably will be a real thing in Standard. His immediately floor should be $2 or $3 since so many people think he’s the real deal, and his ceiling will be in the $6-$8 range. It will be tough for him to pull a full-fledged Boros Reckoner and break $20 because of the fetches. He’s going to have to see a lot of play to even break $10; enough that you should see it coming before it happens.

In the short term I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a set if it looks like a card you’d want to play. The worst case scenario is you lose two or three bucks a copy, but you’re also protecting against it doubling within two to three weeks. Watch tournament results, listen to what the good players have to say about him, and remember that we shouldn’t see him go full-on Reckoner but that double digits isn’t out of the question.

 

Mantis Rider
1 Month: Bulk – $2
Fate Reforged: Bulk – $2

I almost put this in the bulk section but it’s just slightly better than that. I really doubt that Mantis Rider can get there, but stranger things have happened I guess. Mantis Rider is pretty strictly a Standard card. I doubt anyone in Modern needs it, and even if they do the demand won’t be great enough to push the price much. I’m 98% this is a bulk card.

 

Narset, Enlightened Master
1 Month: $3-$5
Fate Reforged: $2-$4

Supposedly Narset had her cost bumped up from five to six in development because she was too good at five. I believe it. First strike is a great combat ability that makes blocking much more miserable than it would be otherwise. Hexproof has proven time and time again to be miserable to put up with. It forces interaction with the creature to occur on the battlefield, where her FS will shine. Her triggered ability is patently absurd. It has the potential to buy you up to four (!) free spells. We know most of the time that won’t happen, and that on average you’ll flip a little less than two lands each time. The spells also have to be non-creatures, but that seems easy to mitigate. Flipping Divinations, Banishing Lights, Lightning Strikes, or Planeswalkers for free can pay you for casting Narset even if you only get to attack once. Can you imagine flipping an Elspeth with Narset? Hooo boy.

Even though her triggered ability means business, there’s still some serious downsides. Not casting lands or creatures means you can’t just go hog wild with her. She’s on the slightly more expensive side of things, and is vulnerable to any number of sweepers. She’s also a CDE spell, meaning there won’t be many decks that can take advantage of her. There will be demand for Narset, but it won’t be intense. That demand should keep her slightly above bulk mythic, but not much higher. As a long term spec I think she’s got legs, because EDH and casual players will be a big fan. In the meantime though, I wouldn’t mind shipping her if you don’t plan on playing with her.

 

Rakshasa Deathdealer
1 Month: Bulk – $1
Fate Reforged: Bulk – $2

While I pegged Butcher of the Horde as the breakout card of the set, Rakshasa Deathdealer may be the sleeper of the set.

Those of you that were playing several years ago may remember a little zombie leech that was integral to the success of Standard Jund: Putrid Leech. The ability of that card to come down on turn two and start threatening four damage a turn was instrumental in Jund applying heavy pressure with nearly every permanent. Deathdealer is going to play a similar role, although with a slightly different feature set. One of the things that made Leech so powerful was that pumping it didn’t require mana. On turn two you could pay the two life to hit for four and still cast a Sprouting Thrinax. Deathdealer won’t give you quite the same option but the game will be similar. A common play with Deathdealer will be attacking into a Sylvan Caryatid. If they choose to block you can trade two mana to kill their Caryatid in a 0-for-1. If they don’t block, you simply skip paying the two and proceed to cast your spells on curve. Later in the game Deathdealer can remain a threatening attacker or blocker, play defense against giant Polukranosi, or an act as a wrath deterrent. That’s a lot of options for a two-drop that can hit for four on turn three.

I’d be more excited to buy into Deathdealer if this wasn’t the fall set of what will assuredly be the most widely-opened set in history. If he hits it big and becomes a staple in a tier one BG list I don’t think $3-$6 or more is out of the question, but it would have to be a solid tier one list akin to Mono-Black or Mono-Blue. If he only sees mild play he won’t be able to climb out of bulk status. Rakshasa Deathdealer has the chops to make it big, and while the format won’t necessarily shake out in such a way that he’s able to shine, it would be wise to pay close attention.

 

Sagu Mauler
1 Month: Bulk – $2
Fate Reforged: Bulk – $5

These are wide margins but bear with me a moment. Let’s talk about what Sagu Mauler does well. He’s got trample, which is one of the best combat keywords. He’s got hexproof, the most frustrating and possibly broken keyword since storm. He’s got morph, which means you get to cheat on his mana cost and sneak him into play underneath counterspells. (Morph is especially savage here, since you can blow people out if they try to kill him. Unmorph in response to Hero’s Downfall and it fizzles.) Mauler has a giant body, exactly the combat ability you want on a 6/6, and total immunity to removal. There’s definitely a lot of competition at the six-drop slot in the upcoming Standard but Mauler has a threatening body that demands the opponent interact with it on the board.

Is Sagu Mauler going to break out and become a defining card of the format? Unlikely. Things would have to shake very specifically for him to be a legitimate contender. Chances are best that he’ll hit bulk and stay there. However there is a possibility, admittedly rather slim, that he becomes a major component of Standard and his price reflects that. I wouldn’t expect him to break out, but I’ll be keeping an eye on him either way.

 

Savage Knuckleblade
1 Month: $3-$6
Fate Reforged: $1-$4

When Ravnica came out I was definitively Simic. When Khans was released, there was no question I was looking forward to the Temur cards. RUG is my probably my most-played color combination of constructed decks. I played RUG in Standard with Kiora and Xenagos for months and I play it in Modern with Scapeshift. I like the colors and it’s awesome that RUG is getting a card everyone thinks is great.

That said, I’m not entirely convinced Knuckleblade can cut it. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been burned so many times before. When was the last time a really playable Simic card was printed? Kiora is solid I guess. The guild was one of the worst in Ravnica block. Before that, the last time I remember UG being playable was the turboland deck back in Zendikar Standard, and even that was short-lived. I’m worried that if I get my hopes up for Knuckleblade and RUG to actually be a tier one strategy in Standard they’re just going to get dashed once more. After all, RUG is cut from playing the two best cards in the format; Thoughtseize and Elspeth. How good can it really be?

Knuckleblade is clearly pushed, and the power level is there. The question is whether there will be enough support in the format for the colors. The good news for Knuckleblade is that Courser and Caryatid are in the same wedge, and those are both going to be bonkers. The bad news is that you can go play Abzan and still get Caryatid and Courser, as well as all the best black and white spells. Or even just Sultai, where you trade the damage of red in for the firm removal and hand disruption of black. The silver lining here is that red happens to contain Goblin Rabblemaster, currently one of the top ten creatures in the format. It’s been a long, long time since a RUG deck played the red for a creature, but hey maybe it’s finally time.

I can be optimistic about Sagu Mauler because it’s so likely to be bulk. It’s a fun looking card and if it hits it big then great. With nobody else rooting for him I get to feel like I’m championing the underdog. I’m not deluding myself about his chances though. He’ll probably be trash. Knuckleblade is much more on the map right now, with SCG sold out at $6 and eBay sets finishing at about $4 a copy. People will try him for awhile, and the power level is present, so his price shouldn’t tank too hard too fast. My guess is that Knuckleblade, and RUG in general are just not going to have enough raw power to be competitive. If that happens Knuckleblade will be doomed to bulk, a powerful card a victim of his colors.

It’s entirely possible RUG ends up being excellent and Savage Knuckblade is at the center of the deck. In that situation he’s $4-$10+, depending on just how excellent he and the deck are. A more realist approach is that it’s been forever since RUG has been good in Standard and that history repeats itself. In that eventuality, Knuckleblade hits bulk – $2.

 

Sidsi, Brood Tyrant
1 Month: $3-$6
Fate Reforged: $3 or $10

BUG was possibly the best deck in Theros block so we know that Sidisi is coming in with a strong precedent. When he enters the battlefield you’re getting a creature more often than not, and if Sidisi is in your deck you’ll be playing cards that set up additional triggers. Sultai Ascendancy, a card already possibly playable, gives you another trigger. Cards like Satyr Wayfinder and Pharika help a good bit too. Maybe there’s a deck with Wayfinder, Caryatid, Courser, Ascendancy, Eidolon of Blossoms, and Sidisi? Nyx Weaver even? I don’t know but it sure sounds fun.

Sidisi is a solid card that will have cross-format appeal. This alone will keep the price in the $3-$4 range for awhile. If he doesn’t materialize in Standard I wouldn’t expect his price to move much from there. However if it turns out some sort of BUG mill deck is real he’ll jump to $10+. In that situation Pharikas will also be a great buy. See how things shake out and be ready to pounce of Sidsi comes out strong.

 

Siege Rhino
1 Month: $2-$4
Fate Reforged: $3-$6+

Siege Rhino is seriously strong. Four mana for a 4/5 is a reasonable rate to begin with. Trample is exactly what you want on fat creatures and that ETB trigger is fantastic. You immediately dome your opponent and pad your life total while putting a sizeable threat on the board that can attack through opposing Coursers. He even survives combat with Knuckleblade when your opponent is tapped down. The biggest challenge to Rhino that I can see from here is Polukranos. Polukranos will be cheaper to cast and is slightly bigger. Anyone that’s played with him is aware that it’s tough to attack through sometimes because of chump blocks, so maybe the trample and trigger push Rhino into the lead.

I don’t see Rhino cratering too hard unless it turns out Abzan is just junk (heh) in the new format. That seems unlikely to pass given it’s in the same colors as Courser, Thoughtseize and Elspeth. Rhino is on the short list to be one of the most expensive rares in the set. If early lists come out with three or four copies don’t hesitate to at least pick up your own playset. It will be tough to make actual cash flipping these since the preorder price is already $4+, but you can always trade for them aggressively if he’s looking to be a real contender.

 

Sorin, Solemn Visitor
1 Month: $9-$14
Fate Reforged: $11-$16

This may be the first time in a long while that a Planeswalker actually rises from his preorder price. SCG has copies in stock at $15 and eBay sets are finishing for about $10-$11 a card. This is surprising to me because Sorin is so solid.

First things first, he’s a four-drop four-loyalty Planeswalker. Second, he’s in both black and white, two colors with some of the strongest cards in the format. Third, he is capable of putting a token down that can not only chump on the ground but also in the air, protecting him from any hasty airborne threats. If you’re worried that his protection mode is a minus instead of a plus, remember that JtMS lost a loyalty when he bounced creatures. Fourth, Sorin’s +1 is going to make attacking into Sorin a nightmare for your opponent if you have any creatures in play at all. It also makes winning races against him a impossible. Fifth, that emblem is fairly easy to obtain and has the potential to completely shut some opponents out of the game. It isn’t as strong as other emblems are but you sure can get to ultimate loyalty quickly.

I never spent much time casting Senor de Innistrad, but I have a good bit of experience playing against him. I was almost always more concerned with the +1/+0 emblem he created rather than the piddly token he was putting into play. In this situation the roles are reversed. Sorin is buffing your whole team with a plus ability every turn, and only dropping the token into play when you’re short on bodies.

Sorin has a competitive mana cost, three strong abilities, and is in two great colors. Senor de Innistrad was quite popular and was reasonably pricey until the duel deck was announced. Solemn Visitor may creep down a bit from his current price, but I don’t think we see him much below $9 or $10. If he does get that low, trade aggressively. He’s good enough to warrant $15-$20 if he sees any real play in the format.

 

Sultai Ascendancy
1 Month: Bulk – $1
Fate Reforged: Bulk – $3

I’m pretty confident all of the Ascendancies are bulk for quite some time, even if they’re playable. Still, Sultai is looking to be the best of the bunch and I’d be remiss not to mention it. It probably joins its brethren in the sub-$1.50 category, but it seems the most likely to reach a few bucks. It’s no Sylvan Library but what is? Thassa has shown us the power of repeated upkeep card selection, and the fact that it works so well with Sidsi certainly doesn’t hurt.

 

Surrak Dragonclaw
1 Month: $3-$6
Fate Reforged: Bulk Mythic

I did a double take when I looked up his preorder price. $15 on SCG and $9+ on eBay? Are you all reading a different card than I am?

He’s a five-mana 6/6. That’s fine I guess. Flash is good, sure. It let’s you leave up Knuckleblade mana or Temur Charm and flash him down if you don’t need them. The fact that he can’t be countered is wildly situational at best. Unless Temur Charm becomes a 4-of format staple I don’t think the uncounterable clause will matter much. Same with making your other guys uncounterable. Giving the rest of your team trample is certainly solid, as Nylea has shown, but without having it himself it can be totally useless in a lot of board states.

Surrak will be a reasonable threat against control decks for sure. Not only does he blank all their counterspells but he allows your other threats to trample over Elspeth tokens. Unfortunately, I don’t see him having much of a role outside of this. Other formats won’t really want him. Maybe some Riku decks will run him since more casual-oriented players are so drawn to “can’t be countered.”

Overall demand here should be low across the board. The “can’t be countered” clause tends to drive the price of pre-order cards to absurd highs (Savage Summoning was preordering at $6), but I fully expect a crash here over the next month or two. Get out and stay out.

 

Utter End
1 Month: $1-$3
Fate Reforged: $1-$4

While I’m not wild about this card being more than two or three bucks, it would be shortsighted of me to forget what happened with Hero’s Downfall. Everything went right in the case of Downfall – black was the best color in the format, it was relatively cheap, there were no enchantments or artifacts it really needed to kill – so of course the price was high. Utter end is more expensive and harder to cast, although it hits much harder than Downfall does. The biggest strike against End is that it’s four mana instead of three. When it comes to staple removal you really want to cast it as fast as possible. Each extra mana makes it much tougher to run as a full playset instead of as a one or two-of.

Given that it’s in two colors instead of one it seems much tougher for Utter End to climb towards double digits the way Downfall did. Still, there’s a lot of room between $1 and $10. I anticipate it hanging out on the lower end of things, but I could see it climbing towards $4-$5 if the format is slow enough to allow four mana removal spells.

 

Zurgo Helmsmasher
1 Month: $2-$3
Fate Reforged: Mythic Bulk

Zurgo is one of the two headlining cards of the upcoming Speed vs Cunning product, just as Polukranos was last year. Polukranos would be $15 today if not for that duel deck because he’s so playable. Zurgo…is less playable.

Zurgo of course absolutely has a dangerous front end, and I’m sure I’ll be taking seven damage on turn five multiple times in the future because I don’t want to block with anything I have in play. If you do decide to block to save yourself one-third of your life, Zurgo grows.

My issue with Zurgo is that he’s so easy to chump. Toss a spare Elvish Mystic or Caryatid or Xenagos satyr in front of him to buy yourself the turn or two you need to assemble a reasonable answer. Even if you chump him on turn five and turn him into an 8/3, there are still a plethora of effects that can kill him on the next turn. Lightning Strike picks off an 8/3 Zurgo. Polukranos and seven mana can eat an 8/3. If you decide to take the damage, a lowly Magma Spray will get him. While Zurgo applies a lot of pressure unanswered, he happens to be very answerable.

A CDE mana cost will hurt his value in competitive formats. He’s not particularly noteworthy in EDH. Any demand he has will be squelched by the Duel Deck printing. I think Zurgo is headed right for bulk mythic.

Artifact

Bulk:
Dragon Throne of Tarkir
Ghostfire Blade

 

Altar of the Brood
1 Month: Bulk – $1
Fate Reforged: Bulk – $2

This is a sneaky little artifact here. It triggers for any permanent, which means it includes lands. Fetchlands even get to trigger it twice. The mana cost is as pushed as you can get, which is exactly what you need on a card like this. Only milling one is sort of a bummer. If it milled two, or allowed you to target yourself, it would be even more exciting.

We know the casual crowd loves mill to an extent that is difficult to understand, so there’s already going to be a base of people looking to snatch this up. What really excites me is the possibility that it breaks out in Legacy or Modern to create a combo. Even if it’s part of a tier two combo deck in Modern out of the gate we won’t see the price rise too much because there will be too many in rotation, but down the road this will have real potential to jump from bulk to $5. It’s a long term play – two years at least – but there’s the chance someone could make a killing on these if they have hundreds (or thousands) of copies.

 

Ugin’s Nexus
1 Month: Mythic Bulk
Fate Reforged: Mythic Bulk

This card is exciting mostly because it references Ugin. Are we getting another colorless Planeswalker this block? Ghostfire Blade certainly sets up Ugin bringing a horde of colorless creatures with him.

Financially this card is a bulk mythic. Very clearly designed for the EDH crowd, the foils should hold value pretty well. There may be a day down the road where someone figures out how to break this, or the EDH demand ends up pushing it close to double digits, but that is at least a year or two away.

Land

The Fetchlands
1 Month: $10-$15
Fate Reforged: $8-$13

I wrote an entire article about these! Go look!

 

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