Born of the Gods Financial Review: Well, There’s Always Journey Into Nyx

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By: Travis Allen

In a few days we get to play with Born of the Gods, perhaps one of the worst winter sets in quite some time. There’s very little in this set to be excited about. Brimaz is awesome, and some of the gods may be decent, but overall there just is not a lot here. It’s being called the second Dragon’s Maze, which is Voice of Resurgence, Blood Baron of Vizkopa, and 154 cards on which to proxy. Overall, there’s not much here to work with, either financially or playably. Grab a set of Brimaz, maybe some Xenagos, and call it a day.

We’re still going to check it out though, so let’s see what BNG has in store for us. Any rare I don’t mention I perceive as total bulk, and has no need to be discussed here.

 

Brimaz, King of Oreskos

Brimaz, King of Oreskos
We’re starting with the hottest mythic of the set. Admittedly, the first time I parsed the card I was unmoved. I’m not a white weenie player, and this guy seemed exactly fine. LSV’s review caused me to upgrade my expectations. There’s a good chance the lion king will be pooping tokens out for his entire tenure in Standard, and could pretty conceivably cut it in Modern too. He does a fantastic Hero of Bladehold impression for one less mana, and while he doesn’t battle cry your team, he starts attacking earlier and plays solid defense in races. In addition, Bile Blight doesn’t kill him, which is going to matter a whole lot real soon.

Preorders for Brimaz are around $25 at the moment. This is still in the prerelease honeymoon period, but out of all the mythics, Brimaz is the clear front runner. I would guess that he won’t manage to get much lower than $10 ever, if even that low. If he sinks as low as $15 I wouldn’t hesitate to start grabbing copies, and under $15 go hog wild. If you are dying to play with him right now I think you could do worse than buying a set and accepting the fact that you’re losing $40 on the purchase. If you’re the only guy in the room putting Simba tokens into play he could very well make up that $40 pretty quickly.

There’s a very real chance we could see Brimaz go north from here as well, as everyone and their mother is aware of both his power level and how unimpressive the set is as a whole. I can’t recommend buying copies right now with the intention of making profit, but there exists a non-zero chance someone will do it and succeed. Just know that the odds are not favorable enough to make it worth it.

 

Eidolon of Countless Battles

Eidolon of Countless Battles
It’s apparent from Sam’s article that they are pushing Eidolon a bit more than Keldon Warlord. Creatures of this nature historically haven’t been quite good enough, and even if they are, they’re probably not being played as a four-of. There isn’t any money to be made here at the moment, but when it hits bulk rare in a few weeks, I couldn’t fault you for grabbing copies. It’s one heck of a way to follow up an Ajani. The art is pretty cool too, so that’s something.

 

Fated Retribution

Fated Retribution
Unlikely to do too much in Standard (see Planar Cleansing,) but it’s got EDH written all over it. Like most cards of this type, normal copies will be $.15 and foils will be a few bucks.

 

Hero of Iroas

Hero of Iroas
A cool casual card that is almost definitely not going to make it past FNM. He could sneak up to a dollar or two once Theros rotates, so if you can get them for basically free, go for it. Don’t expect anything out of him in Standard though. The reason Bant Auras was a thing last season was because your two targets were hexproof, and the reason Kor Spiritdancer is good enough in Modern is that she draws cards before they can kill her. This particular hero has neither of those going for him.

 

Plea for Guidance

Plea for Guidance
Idyllic Tutor is a $10 card, but that was in Morningtide, not BNG. There will be probably five to six (or more?) copies of Plea in circulation than Idyllic. It is likely to do well, but in a span of time measured in years.

 

Spirit of the Labyrinth

Spirit of the Labyrinth
If you weren’t already convinced Death and Taxes is a real Legacy deck, this ought to do it for you. I’ll leave the card evaluation to the more qualified on this one, but suffice to say it’s definitely powerful.

From our perspective, the outlook is less exciting. It will be passable in Standard, but it’s hardly more than a Daring Skyjek. Maybe 10%-20% of the time you cast it the rules text will be relevant, but that’s about it. In Modern the forecast is similar, where there isn’t really a huge amount of card draw going around. Combo decks like Pod and Twin don’t need to draw many extra cards if any at all, and Dark Confidant gets around it. Spirit is ultimately at her best in Legacy, which is never really capable of driving prices much on Standard rares. It’s unlikely this will see any more play than Thalia does, and she’s still barely $3. Ship yours now, be on the lookout for foils, and don’t bother acquiring for speculation purposes until it’s under a dollar.

 

Fated Infatuation

Fated Infatuation
Remember Cackling Counterpart? Yeah, me neither.

 

Mindreaver

Mindreaver
This card already exists in Grimoire Thief. Grimoire Thief is from Morningtide, one of the modern sets most likely to see extraordinary price tags. Grimoire Thief is $1.50. Don’t buy Mindreaver.

 

Tromokratis-BNG-Launch-Day-Promo

Tromokratis
This guy is pretty cool, and may actually make it into Standard, but the prerelease promo is going to crush any potential value he had. Fantastic art on the promo, but then I’ve always been a sucker for monsters in the mist.

 

Whelming Wave

Whelming Wave
The coolest sweeper nobody is really going to play. How often are you going to want this over Supreme Verdict? The odds of a deck with creatures wanting to play it is awfully slim, since you’d need enough sea monsters to make it worth it. Perhaps Grixis could use it as a sweeper type effect, but they’ve already got Anger of the Gods, Infest, Bile Blight, etc. I just don’t see this cutting it, and in a world where Spirit of the Labyrinth is a $3 card, this is $.10.

 

Bile Blight

Bile Blight
How expensive can an uncommon get? We may find out this set. With how underwhelming BNG is, there won’t be a rush to crack packs. Given that black is both the best color and deck right now, there’s going to be a lot of demand on Bile Blight and not enough supply. $3-$4+ seems plausible. If you find people selling them for $.50 or less, buy them all.

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Champion of Stray Souls

Champion of Stray Souls
I find this guy real interesting. He’s obviously excellent in EDH and foils will command a premium for this reason, but I feel like he maaaay be good enough for Standard. He’s expensive, sure. No argument there. But a deck with cards like Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid, and Lotleth Troll along with Ashen Rider and Grisly Salvage could possibly exist. Is it probable? No. But it’s possible.

$3 is a bit much right now, but when he inevitably sinks to $1, I’ll probably trade for a few playsets and stash him. At the very least, he’s guaranteed to climb back up to a few bucks a ways down the road.

 

Fate Unraveler

Fate Unraveler
Complete trash in Standard but a popular casual effect, especially in the wake of Nekusar. If this was printed in Shadowmoor, it would have been subjected to the routine price spike we’ve all become accustomed too. Having been printed in BNG though, there will be more Unravelers than those looking to summon her.

 

Gild

Gild
An acceptable answer to gods for Black (which obviously needs the help,) but will probably never become more than a one or two-of type of thing. The closest comparison is Sever the Bloodline. Sever managed $2 or $3 for a brief window, but that card was pretty much completely better. The flip side of that is that we work with what we’ve got, and there weren’t indestructible Gods begging to be exiled in Innistrad. This card has gotten panned, and as unexciting as I find it, it may have enough of a place in the format to hit $2 or so. Gold tokens are certainly unique at the very least.

As an aside, this card art is seriously heinous. Anyone remember that old ReBoot cartoon from the mid-90’s? It’s been twenty years and apparently CGI hasn’t made any strides. Rich Wright also did Kraken of the Straits this set, which makes it clear he has exactly one art style: Garbage. Instead of putting this 7th-grade quality shlock on cards, WOTC should take the opportunity to step outside their comfort zone with two or three cards each set by giving the commission to slightly more exotic artists that can produce something without a Wacom tablet.

 

Herald of Torment

Herald of Torment
I have trouble seeing a deck ever wanting this over Nightveil Specter. It does slightly more damage, yes, but being able to steal cards from opponents, especially if you can generate black mana, seems way more valuable. I can’t imagine this doing anything at all until the fall, but perhaps once we lose Nightveil he’ll have a place. I’m not personally wild about him, but if you are, at least wait until June when he’ll be a dime.

 

Pain Seer

Pain Seer
Anyone remember Blood Scrivener? Remember how that card was like $8 at preorder? It’s a quarter now. Pain Seer is better than Scrivener, but not by enough. If you hadn’t noticed the pattern yet, Wizards loves to print “almost” cards that are similar to some amazing card but different enough that they never live up to the legacy left for them. Visions of Beyond, Temporal Mastery, Reforge the Soul, etc etc. Pain Seer is just an “almost” Dark Confidant.

The amount of work you need to do to make this good is just not worth it. Anyone that has cast Confidant knows that more than half the time he’s in play you aren’t turning him sideways, and unless we see some bonkers 1-drop inspiration enablers, Seer won’t be any different. I can imagine someone putting him into a slower Esper humans deck next to Xathrid Necromancer, but that won’t be enough to keep his price up. Avoid at all costs and ship ASAP. Take a 30% loss if you need to, because getting $7 in trade for him at prerelease weekend will be better than $.70 two weeks later.

Think of it this way: How often would you rather cast Pain Seer than Pack Rat?

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Fated Conflagration

Fated Conflagration
I talked about Buy-A-Box promos in my Theros review, and the long and short of it is that they’re typically quite playable. Fated Conflagration definitely seems to follow suit, but that triple red seals its fate. It will get played, but the price will never climb above $3 or $4, and that’s pushing it. There’s just not enough decks that can cast this card. Ship now and put your dollars elsewhere.

 

Felhide Spiritbinder

Felhide Spiritbinder
The most intriguing Minotaur I’ve seen yet. With how popular 187s have been lately, and how cheap that trigger is, there’s a chance he could make it to the sixty card leagues. The trigger could have easily been 2R or 3R, at which point I wouldn’t even be writing about it. 1R is affordable enough to be worth discussing. Making copies of Reckoner isn’t terribly exciting, but I’m sure there are other bodies that will be.

Having said all that, can he climb above $1? Probably not. Rares have to see some serious play to make it above a buck, and even if Spiritbinder is good, I doubt he’s that good.

 

Flame-Wreathed Phoenix

Flame-Wreathed Phoenix
This card is awesome. Here’s the thing about punisher cards. The kitchen tabler looks at Vexing Devil and says “holy crow that thing is amazing!” The FNM/PTQ player looks at it and says “It’s worse than it looks, because you always get the worst mode of the card.” The wise player looks at it and says “What if I’m happy with the worst mode every time?” That’s where we are.

Sure, you’re going to get the worse half of this card 90% of the time. But if the bad half is still very playable, then the card is completely fine. Four mana for a 3/3 flying haste is a rate we’ve never seen on a monocolored creature that stays around. The only other 5/5 flyer for four in Red made you sac two mountains when it came into play. When you cast this your opponent is going to pick the mode that’s easier to deal with, but they very well may be unable to deal with either, especially after you’ve curved out.

Red is always looking for a good four drop, and they’ve got it in Phoenix. Don’t buy in at $10, but if it slips to sub-$5, feel free to trade. I’ll be putting cash in if it makes it below $2. I’m fairly confident this thing gets below $5 at some point, and then hits $10-$15 before it rotates.

 

Satyr Firedancer

Satyr Firedancer
This is a curious card. It’s hardly an aggressive creature as a 1/1 for two. But what it does do is reward players for pointing burn at their opponent’s face. I’m sure you’ve all played against the guy with the unsleeved burn deck that shocks you on turn one. With Firedancer, it’s no longer a necessarily bad play (after turn two.) He’s kind of like a two mana personal Furnace of Rath. Allowing your burn to do double duty is nothing to scoff at, and he may be able to put more pressure on a life total than you realize. I expect him to hit bulk rates pretty quick, but I’m not certain he’ll stay there. Between him and Young Pyro, that’s eight two-drops that reward you for playing a lot of instants and sorceries. At the very least, I expect him to be reasonably popular with casual players.

 

Searing Blood

Searing Blood
How many $2-$3 uncommons can a single set support? I think we’re going to find out in BNG.

 

Courser of Kruphix

Courser of Kruphix
Courser was a real heartbreaker. At first pass I was certain I’d never cast anything else, and then I realized it didn’t allow me to play extra lands each turn. Once I got over my sudden and severe depression, I re-evaluated the card. I can see her being popular in a lot of green decks, both in Standard and more casually-oriented tables. She survives Bile Blight, blocks for days, adds double devotion, and helps ramp decks stay ahead on life against anything terribly aggressive. I feel like she’s probably a $2 card, but given how much I love casting cards like this, it’s hard for me to separate my bias. Use your own judgment on this one.

 

Hero of Leina Tower

Hero of Leina Tower
Even Rancor, the hallowed savior of green aggro, would have trouble saving her. If Wolfbitten Captive couldn’t make it, neither will this.

 

Chromanticore

Chromanticore
Imagine someone has been playing Magic for six months and decides to design a card with Bestow. This is what it would look like. The real kick in the teeth is that it isn’t even Legendary for the subset of EDH players that would want it. I can see this being a few dollars down the road just because of how silly it is, and foils will probably command a bit of a premium, but that’s about it. Look for the person at your prerelease you’ve don’t recognize that has no playmat and no sleeves. Trade it to him.

 

Ephara, God of the Polis

Ephara, God of the Polis
I think I’m a little blinded to how good Ephara is because once I thought about her alongside of Prophet of Kruphix, I couldn’t think of much else. Regardless of how good she ends up being in Standard, as with most demigods I expect her to sink towards $5 before (if) she manages anything more. UW valuable guys always seems to do well at some point in a format though, and Ephara would be a pretty solid payoff. Detention Sphere is also in these colors, which is going to be an excellent way to remove threats while boosting your devotion. I doubt she’s Thassa good, but she’s better than several others. All in all, I’m pretty up on Ephara.

 

Karametra, God of Harvests

Karametra, God of Harvests.
The only decks Karametra should be fetching from are the 99-card type. I’m guessing she’ll end up being the cheapest God in the medium term, but feel free to grab cheap copies when she bottoms out, because every God will rise after they’ve been out of Standard for a bit. There’s a sliver of a chance she sees play as a one-of in Standard, but I highly doubt it.

 

Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Kiora, the Crashing Wave
Pat Chapin said more and better words about Kiora than I can, so read that. As of the 27th there are 40 copies for $25 on SCG, so it’s obvious there isn’t hot demand yet. I’d stay away until she is around $12 or so. Watch to see if she shows up anywhere, and then consider picking some up. For why that is, read my Planeswalker Curve article.

 

Mogis, God of Slaughter

Mogis, God of Slaughter
Anyone who thinks this card is bad has never played against Sulfuric Vortex. Mogis is going to be hitting for two damage almost every turn, because sacrificing a guy will almost always result in more than two getting through. You can’t think of it as “Oh it’s only taking me from twenty to eighteen.” It’s going to be taking you from ten to eight, and they’re going to have more attackers on the board, and next turn they may play Fanatic. The pressure Mogis is capable of creating is going to be nigh insurmountable in plenty of games. Don’t underestimate him. I consider him in the same ballpark as Phoenix goes in terms of punisher cards. Yes, punisher cards are worse than they look. But whether your opponent is sacrificing guys or taking two damage, either one is probably going to be just fine. A large Master of Waves is the worst-case scenario, and there’s plenty of black removal that solves that problem nicely.

The absolute cheapest God is still about $5 right now, so that’s a pretty firm floor. I’d be happy to trade for Mogis at $5 all day, and sell as soon as he hits $10.

 

Phenax, God of Deception

Phenax, God of Deception
If you’re looking for a win condition for your control deck, Fat Jace is a better choice. That means Phenax will be relegated to more combo-oriented builds that aren’t looking to play a long game, but rather load up on creatures with huge butts that can mill for gigantic quantities at once. Remember that if you’re seeing people talk about how amazing he is, mill is very popular with more casual types that would overvalue Phenax. I’m not saying it’s impossible we’ll see a decent Phenax deck materialize, but I’m not holding my breath.

Phenax will drop to $5-$7, although it may take slightly longer than the other gods. He also stands to see the most sustainable growth in the long-term. I’d mostly avoid for the time being, and revisit this option next summer.

 

Xenagos, God of Revels

Xenagos, God of Revels
Man does this thing just smash face. Xenagos apparently is much more impressive as a God than a Planeswalker. The first turn he comes into play, he puts some intense pressure on with the Boon Satyr or Polukranos you already have in play. They’re just going to be chumping, but you can’t be too upset about that. The turn after you’re swinging with your entire board every turn with Ghor-Clan Rampager mana up, which is absolutely where GR wants to be. Xenagos will put a premium on trampling creatures, so watch for any that look spicy.

Like the other gods, his floor is around $5-$6, but realistically it’s probably $7 or $8. I’d be comfortable trading for him at $12 or less, because I definitely expect him to make appearances in Standard.

 

  

Scrylands
The RTR block structure saw a 5-5-10 model of shocks, and a 3 RTR / 3 GTC / 1 DGM – 1 GTC – 1 RTR draft structure. Theros is going 5/3/2, and the draft will be 3 THS / 1 BNG – 2 THS / 1 JOU – 1 BNG – 1 THS. The difference here is that the shocks were evenly spread through the whole RTR block, and no one shock saw considerable more copies printed than the others. The Scrylands will function differently. The first five will be opened constantly for an entire year, with Theros being a part of every draft. The BNG scrys will be considerably less available, as they’re in less packs being opened for a lesser amount of time. These three lands should end up having enough less stock that their price will reflect that. Meanwhile, the Golgari and Izzet lands in JOU will be way underprinted relative to the other ones. Keep this in mind as you’re trading. A simple “one scry for one scry” trade practice could be very lucrative in the future.

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Born of the Gods First Impressions

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

 

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:

 

  • 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:

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  • 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.

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.

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.

MAGIC: THE GATHERING BLOG, ARTICLES, AND COMMUNITY

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