Loaming About Legacy

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By: Jared Yost

The results from the Starcity Baltimore legacy tournament intrigued me. On the one hand I hate playing against Lands, but on the other hand I would love to play the deck outside of having to dump a lot of my current stock to pick up a Tabernacle.  I also enjoyed seeing BUG Delver appear in the Top 8 at the hands of two players, as the deck is a running legacy classic that just never seems to go away; becoming more powerful over time.

I did notice that a few someones made a run on Dark Depths, and now they are $50+ from retail sites. There has to be a funny story behind this one right? Well, as you may have guessed it has to do with Starcitygames Baltimore. Lands was able to take down the tournament and I am interested in some of the pieces of the lands deck that have since seen an increase in price across the vendor websites.

 

Dark Depths

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Dark Depths
Only two Dark Depths were in the decklist, so I’m not sure if $50 can be sustained. Buying out the market for Dark Depths at $30 seems wrong on so many levels. It’s banned in Modern and unless it is unbanned by the time they announce any changes (in which case I guess I’m eating my words) it is only ever going to matter in legacy. You can’t make a Legendary Snow Land your general in Commander, can you? Not even in French Commander, but that would be cool if you could.

What I’m trying to say is that you should ignore the Dark Depths spike and instead refocus your attention on some other cards that were included in that Lands decklist. Specifically those that appear as a playset in the main deck.

 

Grove of the Burnwillows

Grove of the Burnwillows
I think it is great that Grove is still played in playsets across different legacy archetypes. In addition to still being played extensively in Modern (Birthing Pod and G/R Tron decks), the original Grove 1-2 punch is being put to great use in Legacy by comboing with Punishing Fire. I would bet on slow, steady gains from Grove until it’s eventual reprinting since it still seeing Modern play, regardless of Punishing Fire being in the format. Similar to Thoughtseize, I expect the older, more unique version to maintain 75% of its original value once reprinted so don’t feel too bad if you really want to pick up a playset. Otherwise, I would hold off on this as a speculation target because of the chance of a reprint and the buy-in price already being so high.

 

Rishadan Port

Rishadan Port
So, apparently Starcity has now upped the ante for legacy again by raising their sell prices for many of the format staples over the past week. Rishadan Port did not escape this price rise, and now normal copies must be purchased for $100 apiece. In other words, just go to TCGPlayer or another vendor where you can still get them for around $70 which is still pretty close of their previous average of $60-$65.

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I like Port as an investment in legacy because Death and Taxes seems to be an archetype that Wizards is pushing proactively – with the introduction of Spirit of the Labyrinth alongside Thalia, I can only see the deck becoming more and more popular. I expect some interest to start appearing for Enlightened Tutor in legacy to help assist in finding Spirit of the Labyrinth, so maybe pick up a few copies if you can find them for $15 or less.

 

Thespian's Stage

Thespian’s Stage
Wow, Thespian’s Stage is still a $1. Quite a bargain, considering that you need four of them in order to run Kurt’s Lands deck at your local legacy tournament.

Realistically though, I think that the main driver of Stage’s price in the future will be the casual crowd. It seems like a great addition to Vesuva in Commander decks. For $1, I would pick up as many as you can. Foils will especially be worth quite a bit in the future, and even right now they’re around $9. Both foil and non-foil will be see a price bump in the future, so for the serious legacy player it would be worth it to pick up a playset.

 

Mox Diamond

Mox Diamond
Mox Diamond has been very stable; not having seen much of a price change at all over the past year. Even prior to 2013 I remember seeing Mox Diamonds available for $30. I think this is because Mox Diamond is played in a lot of fringe decks like Lands that are a small portion of the metagame, but matters a great deal to the decks that want it.

Legacy decks normally don’t play a lot of lands. Having to discard a land to make this mox worth it is a considerable drawback. Mox Opal’s drawback of being Legendary was significantly reduced with the legend rules change a while back so now more people who originally might have considered Mox Diamond for a deck have a more reliable mox that doesn’t make them discard a card.

Mox Diamond has been relegated to the land-based strategies of legacy, which currently include lands control decks and Aggro Loam. What does this mean for its financial outlook? Well, from what we’ve seen in recent sets Wizards hasn’t been giving much love to land based strategies, which is why Mox Diamond hasn’t moved at all in the last several years. If you enjoy playing the card, feel free to pick up a few copies, as the effect is very powerful and new legacy strategies are being formed every year. You never know when a new card could break Mox Diamond, so having a playset in reserve can’t hurt, especially since the price is so stable.

 

Exploration
I’ve always like Exploration from a casual point-of-view because who doesn’t love playing two lands a turn as long as you are drawing a bunch of cards, right? Even though in legacy it is only played in one deck, I think Sneak Attack sets a good precedent here and that $40 is about right for Exploration. I’ve seen many copies under $40 gobbled up pretty quickly on TCGPlayer, so I wouldn’t be hesitant to trade or pick up any copies that others may have if you want to try out playing Lands in legacy (or even just to have a few extra ones for other Commander decks).

 

Gamble

Gamble
At $12, Gamble seems underpriced to me. In Lands it’s great because you honestly don’t care what you discard (so it is essentially a Demonic Tutor). It has applications in Commander, because large hands certainly aren’t out of the question and being able to tutor something from your deck for one red mana is really cheap, with the slight downside that sometimes you may not get to keep it. Outside of these risks, I like Gamble as a pickup and will be on the lookout for people that have extra copies that they are willing to trade. Who knows, maybe Gamble will even be played in decks other than Lands one day? You never really know with legacy, and that is the beauty of legacy finance – even if your card doesn’t move in price as fast as you want, the card’s rarity will still give it value. This way, you can easily trade them out into something else you want to play if you don’t really use them anymore.

BUG Delver – The Legacy Boogyman?

After reading this great piece by Bob Huang over at Starcity, I wanted to reiterate to players that yes, in fact Deathrite Shaman and Abrupt Decay are the real deal in legacy. Don’t hesitate to pick up extra copies here and there of either card, as even if Deathrite gets the banhammer in Modern he will be a staying force in legacy for a long time. Outside of True-Name Nemesis getting banned, I can only seeing BUG Delver (otherwise known as Team America) becoming more popular, especially after the recent finish in the top 8 of two BUG Delver decks.

Elves – Suppressed Yet Popular

Elves still need a bit more work in order to push themselves back to the top of the pile. After seeing the 9th and 10th place Elves list, I was a little heartbroken as this deck seems really fun to play to me. Oh, and guess what – Deathrite Shaman is a playset in this deck as well. Elves also happens to be the second most successful combo deck after Sneak and Show, so it may be worth it to delve into an Elves list to see if there is anything interesting that is underpriced.

9th Elves

10th Elves

Wow, after looking through those lists it appears a lot of the deck is underpriced. Some of the commons and uncommons that feel underpriced to me include Wirewood Symbiote, Nettle Sentinel, Quirion Ranger, and even Heritage Druid. The first three can be picked up quite cheaply, with Nettle Sentinel’s and Quirion Rangers even being throw-ins for trades. Other good targets at rare are the deck’s backbone – Glimpse of Nature, Green Sun’s Zenith, and Natural Order. Even though these are pricer targets, I can see Glimpse and Natural Order matching Sneak Attack’s price eventually, and Green Sun one day hitting $10. I guess what I’m saying is that if you want to build Elves in legacy, you better do it sooner rather than later – I don’t foresee the deck’s popularity going down, which means that even the uncommons and commons are bound to see price rises. If you don’t believe me, just check out Merfolk uncommon prices in Modern.

Also, keep in mind that these Elves lists do not play Priest of Titania. Gaea’s Cradle now being used twice in a turn has eliminated the need to play Priest in legacy. However, being a purely casual card will still mean that it holds value in the future. I just wouldn’t expect the value to rise from legacy.

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Minor Devotion

By: Cliff Daigle

A while back, I said that the Gods of Theros make for terrible EDH generals. I stand by that statement and the rationale behind it.

I’m here to tell you that the gods of Born of the Gods (and probably the ones of Journey into Nyx) are quite the opposite and you should respect their value, especially in foils.

Purphoros, God of the Forge

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The ‘minor’ gods in Born of the Gods are much more flavorful than the ‘major’ gods of Theros. The five mono-color gods had a static and an activated ability. Only Purphoros and Thassa have abilities worth triggering on their own, and those are less than stellar. Thassa getting there with a Mutavault in Standard is pretty amusing in a control shell, I have to say.

Our allied-color gods have only one ability, and have higher devotion requirements, but to make up for that they are much more “build around me” abilities. I could see myself building an EDH or casual deck around any of these legendary enchantment creatures because what they do is powerful and unique.

I am an advocate of patience. I would tell you to trade away any and all cards you open at the prerelease. I have been doing that for years and it’s served me well. That being said, I can’t wait for the prices on these gods to drop to the $5 range, at which point I’d snag all I could. I doubt they will all get that low though, especially Xenagos. I’d be happy to get him at $10.

My sneaky prediction is that Phenax ends up as the surprise card of the set. People love to mill! People really love to mill in lots of formats, and if you think I’m not going to work on a Doorkeeper, Wall of Frost, double Returned Phalanx, Phenax curve, you don’t know how much I love janky Standard decks. Maybe I need to add green for Prophet of Kruphix.

Quick aside: I’ve told you to get your Prophets while they are cheap. They are up $1 since Inspired was spoiled as a mechanic. I’m not kidding about how good this card is in casual formats. It’s still going to get opened but if you’re looking for a safe long-term speculation, here it is.

Prophet of Kruphix

Right now, you can pre-order Phenax on TCGplayer for $8 or so. That’s a decent price point and I suspect that’s where he will be for a while yet. With Born of the Gods being labeled as a comparison to Dragon’s Maze, there may not be a lot of incentive to bust open boxes for value. Travis just this week expressed his disappointment quite eloquently, but I think that these minor gods will be casual stars for a while.

Foils of Phenax will especially be in demand, and for the other gods too. EDH decks will love Karametra’s ramp into a huge Genesis Wave or some such. Mogis fits right into lots of aggressive decks AND attrition decks. Ephara plus Sacred Mesa is going to have me grinding my teeth in jealousy during four-player games.

I’m leery of price points on prerelease weekend, but if I cracked a foil God, I’d make sure everyone in the room knew it. Someone is going to want that card a bit too much and I’d ask at least $25 for any of them, and depending on how eager that someone was, I’d try to haggle for more. I’d aim for $40 if it’s Xenagos in foil. Hey, speaking of…

Dear lord, how many awesome haste enablers can I cram into a red/green deck? Is this timing restriction genius or what? I do wish he could target himself, but with Burning-Tree Emissary around I can see why that’s a touch too good.

I don’t think there has been a card that does what Xenagos does. There have been haste-granting cards in these colors before (Fires of Yavimaya, Sarkhan Vol) but none that were indestructible. He only grants haste to one creature,, but somewhat makes up for that with the power boost. I’m looking forward to trying him as part of my mostly-creature decks, though I’m not sure if I’d rather have him or Urabrask the Hidden.

So in short, if this does end up being a lightly-opened set (though it looks like a blast to draft!) then the gods will be even more valuable than their current prices indicate. I feel good comparing them to the Praetor cycle from New Phyrexia, even though that was a spring set and this is a winter. Their prices may be under $10 now, but they will creep up over time due to their casual impact.

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

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.

 

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?

 

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.

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:

  • 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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