By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)
This week finds us in the throes of optimism over the potential of a several interesting new cards from the Magic Origins spoiler list. Compared to previous core sets, the final edition in the longstanding series looks set to add significantly more playable Modern cards to our collective deck design toolbox. Many of this week’s spikes derive directly from the unlocking of previously hidden potential, now freshly revealed due to these hot new slices of cardboard. Let’s see what we’re working with:
5 Winners of the Week
- Gilt-Leaf Palace (Lorwyn, Rare): $2.00 to $14.99 (+750%)
Gilt-Leaf Palace is just the latest in a long line of undervalued rare lands that spend a long time in the bulk bins before one day being yanked out by a spike that reveals their true potential. In this case it was the reveal of this card in Magic Origins that finally sealed the deal:
So far I’m finding it hard to believe that Green/Black Elves is going to be definitively better than the CoCo/CoC mono-green version we have now. Regardless, I have this silly rule about taking profits when I’m up 500%+ so I’ll be selling or trading off my small stash of this niche land shortly.
2. Auntie’s Hovel (Lorwyn, Rare): $3.04 to $14.99 (493%)
This land is up for similar reasons to Gilt-Leaf Palace, as the spoiling of Goblin Piledriver for Magic Origins now leaves the door open for a potential Tier 1 or 2 Modern deck that might want to splash black for discard, relevant black goblins or other tools. For those that don’t recall just how dangerous this card is, prepare to take a lesson from Goblin Rabblemaster playing with his new pal in Standard for a few months.
Also similarly, the land is unproven, the profit taking potential is high, and I see no reason to cling to more than a playset until it hits a Top 8 table.
3. Quicken (M14/Eventide, Rare): $0.99 to $3.49 (+350%)
In the case of Quicken, it is the possibility of casting an end of turn Timetwister leading into an insane combo and/or aggro turn that has people excited about the best swipe at a modern Power 9 card since Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time. Here’s the culprit:
Now, keep in mind that the last three or four attempts at printing a less broken TimeTwister haven’t really gotten us anywhere. That being said, the reduction of the casting cost vs. prior versions to 2U should not be underestimated, as it means the card can be reliably cast in the early game to refill a hand that has been intentionally emptied before the opponent has had the chance to do much of anything. I’m definitely from the camp that thinks someone will bust this card sooner or later, and I also feel relatively certain Quicken is one of the better ways to unlock it’s power, since it’s a cheap cantrip with relatively little downside. Quicken’s spike is a big one, but I think it’s going to be tough to scrape together more than a few bucks in profit per playset, so if I were holding these (and I’m not), I’d be fine with continuing to hold for 3-6 months to see what develops.
4. Legion Loyalist (Gatecrash, Rare): $1.99 to $5.99 (+200%)
This is also spiking on the premise of a new Modern goblin deck. In this case Loyalist is being targeted as one of the most reliable ways of ensuring that Goblin Piledriver gets in for an impressive chunk of damage since it makes blocking profitably quite difficult for your opponent. It’s a pretty recent rare, with quite a few copies still floating around, so I’m inclined to sell or trade any spares, while holding back a playset to play with in case Goblins pays off as a serious contender in the format.
5. Warren Instigator (Zendikar, Rare): $10.00 to $20.00 (+100%)
Along with the other two cards above, Warren Instigator was targeted in a widespread buyout because of the Piledriver reprinting. The idea here is that Warren Instigator is a solid 2-drop in the deck that can help gets more threats into the red zone as fast as possible. As a double up that can easily yield $20+ per set right now after fees and expenses, I think getting out is a fine move, though there may be some additional upside to this card if and when the deck proves itself.
Most of the cards that have lost the most this week are also Magic Origins related, but in this case we’re talking about cards whose prices are dropping back to reality after the initial wave of hype wears off.
3 Top Losers of the Week
1. Kytheon, Hero of Akros (Origins, Mythic): $25.00 to $17.00 (-47%)
The verdict is still out on whether Kytheon/Gideon is just another useless Savannah Lions in Standard, or a multi-faceted tool for aggressive decks to lock up the game. Regardless, I expect most of the planeswalkers to drop down towards $12-15 once the set is actually opened, with a couple of spikes later appearing as people win a major tournament or two with 1-2 of them. (For the record, my money is actually on Nissa as the breakout ‘walker.)
Verdict: Buy Under $15
2. Languish (Origins, Rare): $8 to 5.75 (-40%)
Languish is all set to be a major player in Standard for the next year or so, but as with most “sweeper” spells, it is already falling back towards the $3-5 range that they usually hold as rare cards. I won’t be buying my copies until they hit $4, and you probably shouldn’t either.
Verdict: Buy below $4
3. Liliana, Heretical Healer: $25.00 to $19.00 (-32%)
Liliana is in the same boat as the other Planeswalkers, but I do think she has the best chance of seeing play in Modern in some kind of low casting cost creature recursion and attrition build. Because there’s no existing build where she really slots in, I’m not in a rush to get my hands on her, and I may not jump in at all until I see a solid top table result appear.
Verdict: Hold Off For Results
James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.
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