Born of the Gods First Impressions

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By: Jared Yost

Another set release is upon us and this time it is Born of the Gods, the second set in the Theros block. My first opinions of the set, after reviewing it as a whole on Friday after all the spoilers were revealed, was that it is pretty lackluster. Outside of a few cards that stood out to me, I wasn’t too pleased that Theros block at this point seems to be a reimagining of Shadowmoor / Eventide block without the awesomeness of hybrid spells and permanents.

Devotion = Chroma (These mechanics are functionally the same)

Inspired = Untap Symbol (Although the Untap ability is much stronger since it essentially gives the creature pseudo-Vigilance plus an effect)

Bestow = Persist (Though clearly different for constructed formats, for limited the mechanics work the same by ensuring that if a creature you control would die you instead get a creature that is slightly less powerful. Most would argue that Persist is stronger since it only involves one card and Persist creatures generally have enter the battlefield effects.)

Don’t even get me started with Tribute – we’ve already tried this in the past and the Judgment punisher cards weren’t seriously Constructed playable. Even in Limited I would be very cautious about playing Tribute cards, as a choice card where the choice lies with your opponent will never turn out in your favor if the player’s skill level is moderate or higher. I understand why Wizards wanted to include them though, since casual players love Browbeat and some of the new Tribute cards could mirror that popularity.

Back to the positives – Scry is continuing in this set, and the interaction between Heroic and Bestow should not be underrated. The gods also look pretty cool.

With that said, let’s go through cards that have piqued my interest. Last time I had a ranking that I used for the cards I liked. These categories indicate what I think is the best strategy to pursue when determining if you want to pick up cards in Born of the Gods. They are:

  • ACTIVE PICKUP – About two weeks after the set’s release, the crazy preorder and release prices will die down. At that point, try to acquire more than just a playset. These cards have a lot of room to grow.

  • PASSIVE PICKUP – Pick these up if you feel you will need them for your Standard deck in the short term. Otherwise, wait for event results to start rolling in before you invest in more than a playset.

  • HOLD OFF – Wait one-and-a-half to two months and then buy in at the target price. These cards may eventually see heavy play in Standard, however the price is too high to take the risk right now.

  • BULK BUY – These are the Sanguine Bonds and Darksteel Plates of Born of the Gods. If you are interested in more formats than Standard or are comfortable with long-term investments, these have strong potential. If you are only a Standard player I do not recommend Bulk Buy cards because it may take months or even years for the card to produce returns.

Mythics

Brimaz, King of Oreskos

Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Current Price: $23-$25
Target Price to Buy In: $18-$20

ReasoningEven though Brimaz has the highest preorder price at $23-$25, there is a lot of potential for a mono white or W/u devotion deck to appear in Standard on the back of this card. Many players are very excited about him and so am I.

Yet, three signs are a warning me about avoiding this card – his heavy commitment to white in the casting cost, his legendary status, and his lack of an immediate effect on the field. Despite these “shortcomings,” Brimaz has the potential to be BNG’s Voice of Resurgence. I missed out on Voice which I also considered preordering at $25, which is why I am so heavily considering Brimaz as a trade or acquire target. He is cheap enough at three mana and will assuredly be popular with the casual crowd.

Considering all of the information I have at this point, I think it would be a good idea to preorder (or pickup as soon as possible) at least two to three Brimaz at the current price if you know you want to play him. If you are looking at Brimaz for a longer term hold or incremental value, it would be best to avoid preordering or picking him up at a release, because he does have the potential to drop and stay low if the Standard opportunities don’t materialize.

Final Verdict: PASSIVE PICKUP

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Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Kiora, the Crashing Wave
Current Price
: $20
Target Price to Buy In: $5-$8
Reasoning: I am excited about Kiora as she is the first G/U walker. My excitement is tempered by the fact that she only has two starting loyalty at the price of four mana.

Kiora is very overpriced right now due to new planeswalker hype. Her abilities aren’t that exciting for the mana cost. Avoid at $20 and trade away any copies you get for cards with a more stable price. Once she reaches her bottom price a little down the road it will then be time to pick her up.

Final Verdict: HOLD OFF

 

Xenagos, God of Revels  Mogis, God of Slaughter  Phenax, God of Deception  Karametra, God of Harvests  Ephara, God of the Polis

BNG God Cycle
Current Prices:

  • Xenagos: $20
  • Mogis: $11
  • Phenax: $9
  • Karametra: $7
  • Ephara: $7

Target Price to Buy In:

 

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  • Xenagos: $10-$12
  • Mogis: $5-$7
  • Phenax: $5-$7
  • Karametra: $4-$6
  • Ephara: $5-$7

Reasoning:
Xenagos: Xenagos has a really good chance of seeing Standard play. His ability to grant a creature haste and to double its power until end of turn is no joke – it can make turn five or six very bad for your opponent. I don’t like the fact that he costs five, however being in green helps. His legendary status and mana cost will prohibit the number of copies per deck, so $20 is very high.

Mogis: Unfortunately, Mogis’ ability is similar to Tribute where you give the opponent the choice to either take two damage or sacrifice a creature. If played in Jund, you could theoretically accelerate him out turn three, which could put your opponent in a bind. This is not enough for me to pick him up at $11. Mogis will retain some value due to Commander and Casual play. Right now he is too risky for me to pick up copies while the new set hype is in full swing.

Phenax: Phenax, God of Mill am I right? If mill becomes a deck in Standard (which I doubt) then he may surpass $15 as the backbone of the deck. Unfortunately, as mill is usually a casual strategy, expect Phenax to drop pretty quickly. Avoid at current prices.

Karametra: Probably the most “boring” god of the bunch. Really, mana ramp that costs me five mana and requires that I cast a creature spell? Ugh. On a positive note, this god will be a great Commander general and in the long term may become surprisingly popular due to this. You know the drill though – don’t buy into cool new god hype.

Ephara: Well, here we go! This is the god that I am most focused on because of its interaction with Brimaz. If you have a Brimaz blocking and attacking with Ephara out, that is a card drawn each upkeep! Considering that this is only an interaction between cards in the same set, I am sure there are countless others out their brewing heavily with Ephara as a centerpiece card utilizing the entire Standard card pool. I think that $7 is a fair price for Ephara. She definitely has the potential to go up, and even if she drops I don’t see her going below $4. I would hold on to any copies you pick up at the prerelease.

Final Verdict:

  • Xenagos: HOLD OFF
  • Mogis: HOLD OFF
  • Phenax: HOLD OFF
  • Karametra: HOLD OFF (with the potential for BULK BUY for mythic)
  • Ephara: ACTIVE PICKUP

 

Flame-Wreathed Phoenix  Chromanticore  Champion of Stray Souls

Other Mythics

Current Price:

  • Flame-Wreathed Phoenix: $7
  • Chromanticore: $2
  • Champion of Stray Souls: $2
  • Target Price to Buy In: ALL $1-$2

ReasoningI don’t really like the final mythics for targets because of Tribute on Phoenix and the ultra-casualness of the other two cards. Phoenix I believe is a trap – it is a card that looks good on the surface yet because your opponent gets the final say it will wind up being underwhelming. Avoid these mythics because I feel like they will all drop a lot in the next few months.

Final Verdict: ALL – BULK BUY

Rares

Spirit of the Labyrinth

Spirit of the Labyrinth
Current Price
: $7
Target Price to Buy In: $3-$4
Reasoning: Spirit of the Labyrinth is the legacy bone that Wizards has thrown in BNG. I don’t foresee it making a big impact in Standard, as card draw is rather lacking outside of Sphinx’s Revelation. In legacy this card will shine as there are lots of decks that want to draw piles of cards every turn. A hate bear similar to Thalia, I expect it to drop considerably while in Standard and to later pick up steam once rotation hits.

Final Verdict: HOLD OFF

 

Temple of Enlightenment  Temple of Malice  Temple of Plenty

BNG Temples
Current Price
: ALL $4.50
Target Price to Buy In: ALL $2-$3
Reasoning: Similar to the Theros temples, as long as shocklands exist in Standard these will always be second rate. Not to say that they won’t be played – I believe we will start seeing the BNG lands in more decks to help create three color strategies again. Right now though, they are overpriced until more are added to the card pool through opened packs.

Final Verdict: HOLD OFF

 

Herald of Torment

Herald of Torment
Current Price
: $2.50
Target Price to Buy In: BULK
Reasoning: Herald of Torment is quite an efficient flyer, which makes me sad to say it lacks the level of power needed to be included in the current mono black devotion deck. Desecration Demon and Nightveil Specter are still better for the deck’s strategy, so I don’t see Herald making waves in the current standard. Once RTR block rotates and Theros block becomes harder to find, then I believe Herald may have time to shine.

Final Verdict: BULK BUY

 

Hero of Iroas

Hero of Iroas
Current Price: $2
Target Price to Buy In: BULK
Reasoning: I don’t see Hero of Iroas making an impact in constructed formats. I would say it looks enticing to casuals as a future all-star in those sixty card aura decks that you see casual players beating each other with from time to time. Wait for him to go down to bulk status in Standard, then pick up extra copies for future gains.

Final Verdict: BULK BUY

 

Heroes’ Podium

Hero’s Podium
Current Price: $1
Target Price to Buy In: BULK
Reasoning: Heroes’ Podium is full of flavor and many casual players are going to love this card for Commander. Not only does it provide a Coat of Arms effect to only your legendary creatures, it can also fetch them from the top of your deck for the right amount of mana. This won’t be making any waves at your local PTQs so the strategy here is to acquire foils and non-foils slowly and cheaply over a longer period to build up future value.

Final Verdict: BULK BUY

 

Fate Unraveler

Fate Unraveler
Current Price: $1
Target Price to Buy In: BULK
Reasoning: I don’t see her being played in Standard and instead appealing to casual players as yet another card to put into their Nekusar Commander deck. I don’t see her going above $1 for a long time, so if you pick up any just be aware that it could take some time for Unraveler to rise. Foil copies have a lot of opportunity in the long term.

Final Verdict: BULK BUY

 

Whelming Wave

Whelming Wave
Current Price
: $1
Target Price to Buy In: BULK to $1
Reasoning: I actually see this impacting Standard. Evacuation was an OK card when it was legal, and this is just a flavorful version of that card. Sorcery speed is a drawback, yet a board wipe is a board wipe and people do play Cyclonic Rift.

Final Verdict: PASSIVE PICKUP

Rares I Could Not Find a Price For, But Look Out for Them

 Plea for Guidance  Fated Retribution

Astral Cornucopia  Courser of Kruphix  Gild

Eidolon of Countless Battles
Plea for Guidance
Fated Retribution

I like these three white rares for casual decks and not much more. Pick them up for bulk prices if you plan on playing them in Commander. It will be quite a while before they go over bulk prices.

Astral Cornucopia
Courser of Kruphix
Gild

Astral Cornucopia is the new neat Standard version of Coalition Relic. For Standard I think it could be strong as it promotes three color decks again like Coalition Relic did. This artifact could be the tool that pushes three color decks.

Courser of Kruphix is nice for R/G monstrous ramp decks in Standard though I don’t see it being worth that much. It will definitely appeal to casuals, which in the future could boost its price, and this means it is not a pickup for the short term. Pick up for bulk if you can but otherwise wait for more results to come in.

Gild is a cool new removal spell for Standard that also promotes three color builds, so I can see it being used to help boost Jund or Esper decks. Not sure if it will go over $2-$3, however I think it is worth it to pick up two or three copies in case it starts seeing a ton of play.

 

Uncommons

Searing Blood  Fanatic of Xenagos  Bile Blight

Drown in Sorrow Kiora’s Follower  Ragemonger

Searing Blood: Even though this only deals damage to creatures, I compare it to Searing Blaze from Worldwake. Four copies of Searing Blaze were played in many decks, and Searing Blood could see just as much play. Don’t be surprised if it sees prices of more than $1 in the future. Don’t pick them up for more than $0.50 for now and hold onto any extra copies that you may acquire in the future.

Fanatic of Xenagos: I really like this creature because the Tribute almost doesn’t matter. Either I get a 4/4 Trample Haste, or a 4/4 Trample without haste? Seems pretty good. I realize that he becomes 3/3 without Tribute, but the haste could really matter for that extra damage. I expect this uncommon to be a big hit with the casual crowd which will help to bolster the price. Hold on to any extra copies you get and try to get them as throw-ins.

Bile Blight: Wow, as if black needed more great removal. Pick them up cheap and hold them for a rainy date when BNG is harder to find.

Drown in Sorrow: Upgraded Infest, yeah! Another sweet black tool that will keep the mono black devotion deck relevant. Get these as throw-ins too because I bet next year they’ll be worth a decent amount while they are still in Standard.

Kiora’s Follower: Sweet casual card with a nice Standard upside of untapping Nykthos. Even though this does not guarantee inclusion, this  guy will still have casual appeal which should help buoy the price. Either way I expect him to retain a price of $0.50 or more retail forever, which is solid for an uncommon. The name means he is hard to reprint so in the far future these could break $2 or more.

Ragemonger: Like Kiora’s Follower, I’m not sure if it will be played in Standard, but it does have the casual appeal to back it up by being a Minotaur tribe enabler. It’s a shame that Mogis isn’t a Minotaur, but as the saying goes you can’t always get what you want. Acquire several copies at the current going price. You never know if Minotaurs will become a thing once Journey Into Nyx is released.

Conclusion

Although Born of the Gods on the surface appeared to be quite dull, I found there are still interesting cards in the set that may not be for Standard that nonetheless have financial implications in the future.

For the most part, prices of the cards will drop and I recommend waiting to pick them up at their lower prices unless you absolutely need them for a Standard deck. If you feel that any of the cards I have evaluated should be reassessed I encourage you to leave a comment and explain your reasoning. In addition, if you feel that I have missed any important cards for the upcoming Standard environment you should likewise feel free to comment and let me know.

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Know What You’re Talking About

I was on Facebook earlier this week.

Yes, I know; Facebook is terrible. Everyone’s parents are on Facebook and they’re reported to potentially lose 80% of their users and Zuckerberg just sold 3.2 Billion in Facebook stock; it’s a cesspool. I get it. It’s useful to join Facebook groups to engage with brands you like and find sales and trades and it’s fun to see who from High School got fat and went to jail. It’s also (sometimes) instructive to see what people are saying about cards. Some people think that they have to set the record straight when people are wrong about cards, but it’s really more useful just to sit back and see what different groups are saying.

This set is bad. I don’t think I’m shocking anyone with that proclamation. Not every set can be good, that’s an impossible standard. But no set should be this bad. There are literally 3 cards I care about and one of them I only want to get copies of because I can virtually guarantee it’s overpriced by 300% and I want to trade it out for cards that will retain value. I’ll give you a hint- it’s blue and black and it rhymes with “Den Hacks”.

Given that the set is bad, people are doing something very curious, which is to try and find nice things to say about bad cards they would normally skip. I actually think that’s a great practice, because people who play mostly standard tend to ignore about 90% of every set and focus on the 10 cards that are going to get played in Standard and they tend to miss the stuff with the most financial potential. I happened upon a conversation one day in a Facebook group that was discussing a new card that was just spoiled.

One succinct, one-word review proclaimed “EDH” as if to say “Boom. Nailed it. Moving on.” That would be a pretty good way to handle not spending too much time on a card that was clearly not going to see play in Standard. There was just one problem.

This isn’t really that great in EDH.

Card Analysis is Hard

Even pros get it wrong sometimes, but Standard players are generally about 95% accurate with their gut reactions to cards. Bad stuff is usually very obviously bad, limited-only stuff is generally pretty obvious as well. Good stuff can be even more obvious, and though some cards are initially under or over-rated, Standard players are usually pretty close. They know what they want to play in those formats and it’s easy to identify.

With more people getting involved in MTGFinance, it seems like every set there are fewer and fewer opportunities to make money pre-ordering cards from Standard. Sphinx’s Revalation was embarrassingly-low as was Angel of Serenity. I ordered Thragtusks for $5 apiece from eBay. Five. Actual. Dollars. Price corrections happen much faster because people are on top of it more and more each set. 50 copies of Pain Seer at $2 sold in minutes and the price was corrected very quickly. I am not convinced Pain Seer should be more than $2, but the people buying it at $10 a copy disagree.

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With it getting tougher to make money by analyzing the cards from competitive formats it is even more important to learn how to analyze the cards from other formats. The person who gave Astral Cornucopia a dismissive “EDH” as if the card were a waiter who reached for his salad plate before he’d finished picking at it probably won’t lose any actual money by not correctly evaluating the card (and I likely won’t lose any if I’m super wrong and Cornucopia is just what people need to go from 9 mana on turn 6 to 13 mana on turn 7, thus winning all of the EDHs forever) he’s probably going to lose out on a lot of money eventually by failing to correctly evaluate EDH cards. If you see a card that is worse than Darksteel Ingot at 3 mana and worse than Gilded Lotus at 6 mana and say “EDH players will want this”, you should probably play a game of EDH, ever.

You Should All Play a Game of EDH, Ever

I’m serious. I was a very late adopter of EDH but I’ve seen the value in how playing it has allowed me to access an entirely new customer base. EDH players are way better to trade with than people who only play competitive formats. After weekends at SCG Opens where some competitive player would look through three of my binders and say “I’m pretty much only looking for Snapcaster and Boros Reckoner” I thought I would quit trading altogether. What I found when I traded with EDH players was that the amount of stuff they were looking for was way higher and they had no reservations about coming off of competitive cards. Having an EDH deck to play a few games will not only introduce you to those players, it may demonstrate the power level of certain cards you may be able to hook them up with to improve their decks.

EDH isn’t a joke. It’s not a fad. It’s not something to deride or dismiss. It’s a completely new card game that uses the same cards you already have and if you don’t know anything about it as a financier, you’re doing it WRONG.

Build an EDH deck. You probably have a dozen of each Commander 2013 deck, right? Bust one open. Jam some better cards in there. Evasive Maneuvers seems fun given you can generate infinite mana with the general Derevi, a Deadeye Navigator and a Gilded Lotus (or an Astral Cornucopia at X=3…maybe I was wrong about that card. No I wasn’t). Power Hungry is begging for you to jam a Parallel Lives and a Doubling Season in there and go to token town. It would take you 20 minutes and $20 to make a serviceable EDH deck with stuff you have in binders and boxes and you can trade for the rest. Once you play a few games, you’ll know right away what is good in EDH. You may have been playing since 1996, but you’re about to get humbled when you have to ask someone to hand you a Black Market or a Mana Equilibrium so you can read it.

Then, One Day, You’ll Get it

You’ll learn that you can never buy too many copies of Sol Ring at $2 or Gilded Lotus at $3. You’ll learn that Japanese foil EDH generals aren’t quite as liquid as you thought, but your group can’t get enough copies of Food Chain and Pattern of Rebirth. You’ll learn why it was a good idea to snap foil Sylvan Primordial for $1 the first week the set was out but not buy foil Chromatic Lantern yet. No article can teach you how to truly evaluate cards in EDH as well as playing a few games, building a few decks, meeting a few people who come to your shop every week but whom you’ve never met because they don’t play FNM.

You’ll also learn that there are different kinds of EDH groups, and while competitive players will not play a card like Astral Cornucopia, casual EDH players might. When games go a million turns, playing this for 15 to tap it for 5 may be what they want to do. That won’t drive the price up that high and won’t make this card suddenly a good investment, but it will let you know which kinds of EDH players might want this off of you. But how will you ever meet them if you don’t play with them?

Just like someone who plays Standard will recognize the immediate impact of cards like Brimaz, someone with a few EDH  decks and some experience is going to correctly identify the sheer, awesome power of a card like Prophet of Kruphix or Progenitor Mimic and they are going to recognize that although a card like Astral Cornucopia looks durdly and mana-intensive, that isn’t a bad thing to every group . They’ll know that by having an understanding of the format, some experience playing and some decks built so they will know what their own specific needs are.

Also, once you’re building EDH decks and picking up cards to build with in the future or trade to your group, you’ll pay more attention to prices. I’ve made way more money picking up underpriced Vigors from competitive players who only cared about the ten cards that get played in Standard from each set than I have trafficking in Huntmasters and other cards with thin margins due to a low spread. I’ve had 10 copies of Thespian’s Stage disappear out of my EDH deck stock box in one night and had 10 sit unsold for weeks on TCG Player despite being the cheapest listing. You won’t have to ask twitter why Kami of the Crescent Moon and Wheel and Deal and Forced Fruition are quintupling in price because you will have seen the power of those cards in a Nekusar deck demonstrated and you will have stocked up before the big spikes.

Rather than handing out a few fish, this week I wanted to teach you to fish and in this case, learning to fish involves playing Magic. It’s not even going to feel like work.

Finance Quick Hits

  • Nekusar isn’t done making stuff spike. Any card that makes people draw extra cards and hasn’t been reprinted is a good target.
  • For the love of Heliod, didn’t anyone read Pain Seer?
  • Bitterblossom getting bought weeks in advance of the B&R announcement is a new trend. Don’t expect to be able to have a full shopping cart at 11:59 like you used to. I really don’t expect this (or anything) to be unbanned next week and I expect the price to tank back to where it was.

Five things Owen taught me in one match

By: Cliff Daigle

At GP Sacramento last week, being 4-1 and having made several mistakes along the way, I sat down across from Owen Turtenwald, a former Player of the Year with several GP wins to his name. I tried not to be intimidated, but instead, I wanted to see what hints and tips I could glean from someone who makes a living playing this game. He didn’t disappoint.

We sat down, shuffled, presented. I gave my benediction of “May you draw mana in the appropriate ratio” (a phrase I stole from an old friend named Brian Smith) and he said “Good luck.” The gentleman next to me said, “That’s a great thing to say, to hope for good mana.” I said that I hate losing to lucky topdecks.

Owen said “It’s about sportsmanship. There’s no reason to be a bad sport.” And you know? He’s right.

Financial Lesson #1: Don’t be a jerk.

Tymaret, the Murder King

I’ve sort of been a jerk in the past in terms of trades. I’m a touch pushy, I’m constantly asking for trades, and right now, I’m dismissive of most things in binders. Mainly because they are of no interest to me or I know they are out of my price range. The point is, I can spare a moment and be more polite about things. It could only make things better.

In game one, turn two, he plays Stymied Hope to counter my turn two play of Tymaret, the Murder King. I said, “Has that been good for you today?” He smiled and said, “It’s been okay.”

Why on earth am I asking this guy if that card has been good? He countered my play and scryed, he’s maindecking it, he’s gotten full value – from me! – and I actually have to ask if the card has been worth playing? I recognize that there are situations where it would not be optimal. I imagine that if he’d had better choices, he would have been playing them. But all that said…it was there and it was very effective.

Financial Lesson #2: Believe the pros!

This applies all over the place. Owen Turtenwald doesn’t need to justify a card’s inclusion in the maindeck. Other financiers don’t need to justify themselves to me or to anyone. Heck, I don’t need to justify myself to anyone else. All I can do is listen to them or show others what I do, and let the rest of the world make up their own mind.

I get aggressive and bring his life down while trading creatures. Our boards clear, he plays a Keepsake Gorgon and I do the same. He goes monstrous on his and points to my Gorgon, to which I reply, “That’s an invalid target.” He blinks and looks at the text again, where it says “destroy target non-Gorgon creature.” He nods and looks at his hand again before passing the turn.

Financial Lesson #3: Don’t Panic!

Polis Crusher

I’ve never made a mistake with the aplomb he just showed me. I have a bad habit of cursing my fate to the heavens and questioning why Polis Crusher is the only Monstrous card that has an ability which triggers on damage being dealt. It’s my fault for not reading the card.
This applies in the financial realm as well. You’re going to be wrong about a card. You may well be wrong about large quantities of a card. When you’re wrong, accept that, figure out why you were wrong, and apply that lesson in the future. I try to do that, as I did with Primeval Bounty and the rest of M14.

So he’s got a monstrous Gorgon, while mine isn’t. We each play some creatures and rebuild the board. I need to get aggressive again, so I attack with my gorgon with monstrous mana open and with a Coordinated Assault in my hand. He makes some blocks, his gorgon blocking mine, and I monstrous to kill something else because it was a threat. Know what I didn’t do? Play the Coordinated Assault!

Financial Lesson #4: Think about your plan, especially if you want to change it.

Maybe you change your mind on a speculation. Maybe you’d resolved to hold for two years but find yourself waffling after just one. Maybe something happens and you decide to go all-in on one card.

Whichever avenue you take, be aware of why you’re changing your plan. Nothing is set in stone, but recognize if you’re making a mistake, acting hastily, or being irrational. It’s very easy to be irrational in the current Magic market, with a different card spiking every other day, simply because people think it MIGHT be good in the next set.

I attack Owen down to five and bring back the Murder King with lethal on the board. He calmly plays a Gray Merchant, casts Pharika’s Cure on Tymaret, and is comfortable at 11 now. He ends up taking that game.

So I’m following my plan of adding a third color and changing my lands and cards, going bigger: twelve cards in, twelve cards out. I stack up my deck and shuffle, then present. He does the same. When I look at my opening seven, there’s cards I know I sideboarded out. Oh hell.

I call a judge and ask if I can sideboard. It’s no longer a game loss, thankfully, but I’d like to go back to 40 cards. Unfortunately, I’ve presented my deck and that’s my deck for this game. I was too busy replacing the counterspell, the Gorgons, the Merchant, everything. I got sloppy and careless and ended up playing a 52-card deck with 23 land, losing after drawing eleven of them.

Financial Lesson #5: Pay attention!

Primeval Bounty

So much is going on, with spikes and articles and counterfeits, that it’s easy to get distracted. It’s possible that while I’m at my day job, cards are going crazy in value. I have to prioritize, though, and focus on what’s important.

Things are no longer under the radar. In fact, we have access to a ridiculous amount of information. If you’re following several hundred people on Twitter, you won’t catch everything being said. Perhaps you should make a new account just for Magic-related tweets (including mine, @WordOfCommander) and assign your interests to different usernames.

I’d like to thank Owen for also telling me that I could still make Day 2 as a 4-2. I dropped after that round, mainly because I wanted to get some EDH games in, but also because I could feel that I was tired and making silly, sloppy mistakes. If we end up playing again, Mr. Turtenwald, you may well win but at least this time I will have more cogent questions and reasonable plays.

Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

By: Travis Allen

Born of the Gods is nearly upon us, and all of you should know by now not to trade for cards during their prerelease period. It has been repeated a hundred times before, with greater elucidation than you will find here today. The tl;dr is that 98% of cards will lose value over time, so even if you get lucky and connect on the 2% that rises, you’ll probably lose way more money gambling on the rest of them.

In the process of X-0ing all your local release events, you’re going to end up with a bunch of singles. You’ll jam them in your binder ready to pawn them off on some amateur trader who thinks that Chromanticore will definitely see play (he’s quite certain.) But what exactly should you be taking in return? If you’ve read my recent article, you’ll know that I’m pretty down on a lot of Standard cards at the moment. If your trade partner doesn’t have any sweet, sweet Modern staples to trade for, then what should you take? You’re standing there with binder credit in hand, flipping through pages, wondering which two dollar cards you should be picking out. Let’s take a look some Standard cards that have probably gotten pretty comfy in binder sleeves that owners may be willing to ship away for very reasonable rates. Our goal here is to identify cheap Standard cards that are going to be in a lot of binders, that while rather uninspiring right now, have solid middle or long-term prospects that you can trade inflated BOG product for.

 

Angel of Serenity

Serenity is now available for under $4 from some vendors, which is kind of amazing given what things looked like seven months ago.

serenity

She hasn’t gotten any less powerful though, and making your opponent scoop up their Master of Waves or Desecration Demons is still just as good as when she was doing it last season. She’s even got a shot to see some solid play in Standard again before rotation, and if that doesn’t pan out she’s still an angel with an awesome effect. Angels are quite possibly the most popular casual tribe out there. A constructed-grade angel is going to be a great gainer long-term. If she shows up again in Standard you’ve got a winner, and if she doesn’t, as an angel there’s no doubt of a slow trend upwards over time.

 

Aurelia, the Warleader

Aurelia, the Warleader
Basically what I said above. Less likely to see play in Standard, but still an Angel with a cool ability at rock-bottom prices.

 

Chromatic Lantern

Chromatic Lantern
A $2-$3 card without any play in Standard whatsoever, Lantern is as low as it can be. You won’t lose money taking them, and a year from now they could make it to $5.

 

Crypt Ghast

Crypt Ghast
Cards that double mana are popular with the casual crowd and the EDH crowd. (Those are separate groups, by the way.) For $2, he’s a safe bet. He can’t get any lower, and with the extort keyword, his reprint options are considerably limited.

 

Darksteel Forge

dark forge

Forge used to be a bazillion bucks. It’s not anymore, but it could definitely work it’s way up there again. An easy choice at a dollar or two.

 

Deadbridge Chant

Deadbridge Chant
Chant hasn’t changed price in about six months, but that just means it won’t be going any lower. As a mythic from a relatively unpopular set, there’s plenty of possible upward growth. Even if it doesn’t start to climb, you probably won’t have any trouble trading away copies a year or two from now for $2. There’s basically no risk here, and while it may not be the best place to put your Magic money, if there’s only one guy in the room taking your Pain Seers for $12 you’ve gotta get something.

 

Galerider Sliver

Galerider Sliver
$1 for a strict upgrade over the previous iteration. Slivers didn’t do much of anything this time through Standard, but they were never for us anyways. After how little people cared for them, I’m guessing it will be quite some time before we see them again. As a core set rare, Galerider could easily be $4 in a year or two. With how well the Modern can support a 5-color manabase for a tribal deck, Slivers have a non-zero chance of showing up there in a semi-competitive fashion. The ability to give your entire team evasion for one mana is pretty great in an aggro deck.

 

Master Biomancer

Master Biomancer
He will never not be several dollars, and could easily climb to double digits within two years. He’s hanging right around $5 right now, and I bet you could get them for $3 or $4 in trade. Plus, Biomancer is probably the coolest creature to pair with Master of Waves. (A man can dream.)

 

Necropolis Regent

Necropolis Regent
A mythic vampire with a big body and a tasty ability that reads well to new or casual players. She’s also under a $1. There’s no way this doesn’t grow, even if only to $2.

 

Plasm Capture

Plasm Capture
I’m still a big fan long term. Mana Drain is no joke. Two for a dollar is the best rate you’ll see on this for a long, long time. If you don’t believe me that it’s popular, did you know foils are $4? That’s a good sign for long-term growth.

 

Prophet of Kruphix

Prophet of Kruphix
Currently $2. Seedborn Muse is $10 and has been printed three times. Prophet has the bonus of potentially showing up in Standard too!

 

Savageborn Hydra

Savageborn Hydra
I bet you did not know this card is $3. That’s ok; most won’t. Hydras have historically been pretty popular, and Savageborn is in the upper half when it comes to power level. It could easily double within a year or so, and will probably be $10 in about two. You’ll be glad you had 15 or 20 sitting around at that point.

 

Sylvan Primordial

Sylvan Primordial
There’s no way this doesn’t start rising after rotation and not stop until its reprinted. If your EDH deck makes green mana, you’re probably casting this. At under $1, this is one of the safest choices on this list.

 

Worldspine Wurm

Worldspine Wurm
A humongous trampling creature that leaves behind three humongous trampling creatures when it dies. At $2, I don’t see this ever being cheaper. Stash it and be happy it’s $8 in a year or two.

Join me next week when I do my Born of the Gods full financial set review!

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