What to do with Core Set 2019

Well, it’s here, the long-prophesied straight-to-Modern set, and it’ll be stuffed with reprints and some brand new cards.

Modern Horizons 1 (Serious, that’s the hashtag) is going to make for some crazy crazy price changes but as of right now, I’m staying the hell away from buying anything in Modern. If you’re trying to get things now, you’re rolling dice on what you think Wizards will or won’t do, and I don’t play that game anymore.

I might miss out on a card here or there but I hate going in blind. I need some information on which to act, and we have none, aside from Serra Angel is now 2WW and brings along a planeswalker, and the Cabal Therapist, who’s just a sweet design and how I wish I could sacrifice more than one critter per trigger.

I have one thought about the set, but my focus today is on Core Set 2019, the last in this series of what to buy, hold, and sell this summer as rotation approaches.

I know that the fetchlands have all gone up slightly since Modern Horizons was announced and frankly, that seems silly to me. Modern’s manabases are defined by fetch-into-shock, and right now, the supply of shocklands has never been higher. I don’t know if we’d get enemy or ally colored shocks but I also wouldn’t be surprised if we got none of them. I’ve no way of knowing, and in the absence of any information, I’d say hold your shocks if you have them, and buy the ones you need now. If they are reprinted they are gonna tank and if they aren’t then Scalding Tarn will be $125+.

Now, Core Set 2019 cards!

Vivien Reid ($24 nonfoil/$33 foil)

One of the things that a foil multiplier tells us is the population who’s using a card. The average is 2-3x, so when it’s higher there’s more of a niche demand, Commander or people who just HAVE to play Invasion foil Opt in Modern/Standard:

When it’s lower, as is the case with Ms. Reid, that means people aren’t chasing the foil at all, so there’s a high demand in Standard for this one and not much appeal otherwise. Vivien jumped when the Golgari decks took off, but this is her moment to shine quite brightly in Standard. She answers a wide range of problematic permanents in the format, and gets you a creature or a land, depending on your need.

Sadly, though, she has shown up in almost no Modern decks, and that portends badly for her price. She’s good enough in the format that I don’t think the price will drop much until we get very close to rotation, but then the market is going to flood and no one will be buying.

Keep your copies that are in decks and move the others right away.

Crucible of Worlds ($13/$28 in this set, $19/$62 10th edition, $20/$65 Fifth Dawn, $120 Masterpiece, $66 judge foil)

Notice anything about those prices? Perhaps that there’s one foil at $120, the Masterpiece, then three in the $65 range, and then the lowly $28. For fun, here’s the price graph of the nonfoil original from Fifth Dawn:

Crucible is played in a few Modern archetypes, mainly ones that grind you to a standstill. Crucible plus fetches is endless mana, but add it to Ghost Quarter and in a turn or two, it’s a Strip Mine. It’s also in 13,000 Commander decks, and now I’m totally sold. I’m in and buying.

I like buying nonfoils the most, as the price of entry is less, but at barely 2x the multiplier is appealing too. I think that even though this price was high because of low supply and not huge demand, it’s seeing enough play to make this a prime target. I don’t think its price will go down much more, so feel free to get in now.

Omniscience ($6/$16, Magic 2013 $8/$40, Invocation $105)

I hate Invocation versions of things but I’d respect if you went after that version of this card. There’s about 9k EDH decks running it, plus it sometimes shows up as a funny Show and Tell piece too. Jam those Emrakul turns!

The supply is maxed out, but really, this card is all about the casual player and I’m here for that. I think you should be buying foils up, there’s about 175 total on TCG and not many of them are under $20. This will eventually correct upwards and you should have your copies before then.

Quick hits on Tribal Goodness

Liliana, Untouched by Death ($4/$11): Zombies are one of the most popular tribes, and this version of Liliana excels with the tribe. I will be picking some up at this price for when Zombies hit it big again.

Spit Flame ($1.50 foil): I only mention this because it’s the truth in my The Ur-Dragon deck. Targeted removal is mostly bad in Commander, but getting it back over and over is wonderful.

Sarkhan, Fireblood ($11/$20): Again, a card you love seeing in Dragon themed decks and useless everywhere else. I’ll be patient, hoping the foil drops lower but this is only in 500 decks online.

Elvish Clancaller ($2/$5): The funny thing is, this is barely good enough for Commander being a two-mana lord but it’s nuts in Modern, where extra mana finds extra copies. Stock up on foils now, and sell into the hype when they hit.

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager ($20/$60): I’d say buy your foil now for the deck you have, and wait on buying nonfoils. This hasn’t been seen in Standard or any other Constructed format, it’s only in a few hundred decks on EDHREC…and yet the price is this high. The kitchen table players must have soaked this up, as a sweet card and the representation of Magic’s major villain.

Cliff ( @WordOfCommander ) has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.