Is it a real price, or an illusion?

Every set, there’s a couple of cards that end up being gainers in the long term. Ledger Shredder and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker are two examples of this from recent sets, cards that were available dirt cheap early on but became multi-format all-stars.

We also get examples of cards that show promise early, but whose prices trail ever farther downward until the early buyers have no choice but to be very very sad. 

Phyrexia: All Will Be One has a few cards who are up since the set’s release, and I want to highlight some of them and see if they can keep growing, or if they are destined to fall back down to earth. We’re going to be looking at the formats it’s played in, as well as if it’s got Commander chops, and go from there.

I won’t be posting the EDHREC numbers here because these are very new cards and while there’s something to be said for being an early adopter, I don’t want to lean too hard on such a small sample size. I’m not an expert on the format, just a rabid enthusiast.

Also, these prices might be outdated in a day or two as people go nuts for buying, especially with the oil-slick versions hitting the streets. Get what you can for yours!

Venerated Rotpriest ($10 for the cheapest version, $15 for the most expensive) – The Rotpriest decks aren’t winning big events yet, but they are fun to play and operate on an axis that many other decks can’t hang with. They might get an early hit in, but the counters will come when you try to deal with the card and they protect it in response. It adds up FAST, especially in multiples. March of Burgeoning Light is currently a bulk rare but if you have a Rotpriest in play, for two mana you get to find a second copy and slam it down. 

The deck is real enough to have caused other spikes, notably Ground Rift in Modern: 

Rotpriest itself has fallen by half from its preorder price, and I’m expecting it to fall just a little further, but I doubt it’ll make it all the way down to $5 for the base versions. Every one-mana protection spell makes the deck better, and heaven help us if they print another Standard-legal round of free spells.

Skrelv, Defector Mite ($8 to $10) – The mono-white decks are for real in Standard, and Skrelv is a Pioneer-legal version of Mother/Giver of Runes. The ability isn’t precisely protection, but it’s about 90% of what you wanted protection for in an aggressive deck: hexproof from kill spells and taking away their ability to block. Clearly worse on defense, and costs you mana or life, but still good enough that it is getting play in high numbers in a deck that has good versions across Standard and Pioneer.

I thought this price would have fallen a lot farther by now, and while more packs are being opened, the deck is good and the mite is a big reason why. Your opponent will need two kill spells early on, and especially if you’re following Skrelva with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, their plan is doomed.

All Will Be One ($11 to $22) – Another card that’s fallen by half, I don’t think this will go much further because it’s got a LOT of amazing interactions. I have seen people kill a table with this plus Black Sun’s Zenith. Any planeswalker you care to name is suddenly a violent death engine. This should be an auto-include with any non-token deck that plays Doubling Season. It’s a shame this doesn’t work with Suspend and time counters, but you can’t have everything.

What do you have is some really ridiculous combos. Quest for Pure Flame has attention as a Modern-legal two-card combo. The Red Terror is a Commander who can insta-win with the card, much like Ayara, First of Locthwain and Plague of Vermin. I think AWBO has great long-term potential, because it’s so open ended and every card that interacts with counters in some way can really abuse the enchantment.

Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler ($4 to $6) – The different versions are really close in price, which traditionally has been an indicator that a card is more popular in Constructed formats than Commander. In this case, Tyvar is seeing play with Devoted Druid combos, as the minus ability gets back either piece of the combo, in addition to allowing the druid to be played and used the same turn. 

The card was never going to be terribly expensive, but the amount of play and attention means that it’s only sunk to $4 as a rare, as opposed to something like Lukka, who’s $2 as a mythic.

Jace, the Perfected Mind ($8 to $29) – I’ve said before that I like Jace long-term if there’s a control deck in Standard. He’s already gone down to $7, up to $10, and is back to $8. Once we’re moved on to March of the Machine, I’m expecting his price to go back up, especially because he’s showing up in Modern mill decks as a three-mana, two-life way to draw three cards.

I’m hoping Jace gets a little cheaper, but I’m doubtful. We’re also in an awkward position in terms of rotation, as Jace, and the rest of ONE, will hit the one-year mark, usually where a Standard card gets most expensive, right about the time that its price starts to trickle down due to impending rotation. A careful line to balance on.

Sword of Forge and Frontier ($29 to $60) – This Sword is bonkers good in Commander, but not seeing much play outside 100-card formats. The cheapest versions should come down in price, but keep in mind that a Retro frame version is inevitable. There will be a complete set of Retro Swords available for all the completionists out there, especially since we’ve only got one Sword left to go.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, 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.