I’m nothing if not a man of the people, and while I have a vision for this column and occasionally get inspired to write three–part series (I made each word a link to a different article, so I guess you could say I’m pretty awesome at the internet) about even the most miniscule-seeming of topics, I’m not above feedback.
We’re at the end, readers. You made it through the first two parts, and I think some of you are pretty excited for part three. I can’t pretend I’m not excited myself—I called Purphoros as my pick of the week in the latest episode of Brainstorm Brewery, a podcast I hope you’re all listening to. You get it a day before the rest of the plebians by virtue of being a ProTrader, so that’s pretty cool. If you think my opinion is worth reading, why not give the podcast a listen?
Is that a bad endorsement? “Listen to the podcast where I mention Purphoros a week after I wrote about him!” Look, I don’t have to justify myself to you nerds. I just felt I’d be remiss if I didn’t plug the podcast where you get to hear three other finance experts agree or disagree with my called shots. I don’t imagine this is a super tough sell to a bunch of finance article readers, but what do I know? Besides what I think about the last five Theros block gods, that is.
We saved the best for last, I think, and my favorite god of the 15 is going to get a really in-depth look. I’m excited to write up this last batch, so forgive me my digressions. I’m sufficiently pumped now. Let’s do dis.
Athreos, God of Passage
Athreos certainly got a ton of buzz from its release, and why not? The card looked and smelled an awful lot like some other cards that existed in a similar vein, only it seemed better.
Though it failed to do much financially, Immortal Servitude was the basis for a (tier, like, 10) deck that was fun to play and that’s about it. But what if your Immortal Servitude effect were on a permanent and getting enough dudes into play let that permanent attack? People had enough experience playing the gods to know that if Thassa could get there, Athreos could certainly do so too, given its low mana cost and inherent unfairness. What would we do with this? Run wraths to take us to value town? Loop Elvish Visionary for value? Whatever it was people thought they were going to do, they mostly haven’t. Athreos hasn’t made much of an impact if any on Standard, and its price has stayed within a couple bucks of $10 basically as long as it’s been a card.
Could EDH be a reason for this? Certainly it could. I think Athreos is absolutely the top choice of general for a deck with lots of Shadowborn Apostles in it. Does that make it a $10 card on its own? No. Athreos is a fine commander in other builds as well, but I think third-set stickiness is propping the price up to an extent. Can we rule that out if we see the other generals coming in cheap? We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. If EDH is really the culprit here, will we expect to see that reflected in the foil price? Yes. Yes, we will.
You’ve got to be getting pretty good at analyzing these graphs by now. What do we think? A multiplier of three on a card that already seems pretty overpriced? Is Standard doing that? Or is EDH?
Personally, I think we can see EDH’s influence here pretty significantly. The price looks so flat compared to the non-foil, which means copies aren’t moving very quickly, but quickly enough for the dealers not to change their buy prices. Honestly, $30 may be just about perfect, which for our purposes, is actually a bad thing.
We want our gods to be the wrong price or to look like they’re going to be the right price soon. Athreos seems neither. With EDH propping the price up as well as third-set scarcity, I don’t expect the foil or non-foil to drop a ton at rotation. Certainly the non-foil has room to fall, but the foil likely isn’t going anywhere, either up or down, in the near future. I am a 2/5 on this card both in foil and non-foil.
The non-foil does have some chance of getting more reasonable at rotation, but dealers are actually cutting their buy prices rather than raising them. Could that be in anticipation of the price coming way down soon or is it in anticipation of people wanting to ship a ton of these while the buy price is $5 and the dealers would end up stuck with cards they paid $5 for and can’t sell for $4? I think it could be a bit of both. What I see is low demand and a high price for this card and both those factors kind of suck.
Is Athreos good in EDH? Sure, but all 15 cards sort of are, and I’m not bullish on the ones where I don’t see room to make a profit. I could be persuaded to go in one these at like $4, which seems unlikely but not impossible. I’m certainly keeping an eye out.
Iroas, God of Victory
Remember what I said about third-set stickiness? Well, here’s a great baseline. Worth half as much as Athreos but well below half as playable, Iroas never made an impact in Standard. This card is $5 for the same reason Godsend is $5: it has a non-zero amount of casual appeal, it’s in a durdly third set with not a lot to be excited about, and it is technically not unplayable in EDH. I could see Iroas getting there as a utility-enchantment-cum-beater in a deck with a different commander, like Jor Kadeen, but I’m not jazzed about him otherwise. Neither are dealers, who are cutting buy prices significantly, probably in anticipation of rotation. While the price is relatively flat, dealers have tried to pay as little as $2 for this card. I’ve seen people no-sir offers of $4 on Godsend before so nothing surprises me a ton, but I don’t see demand for this. Heliod at $0.75 tells me gods have a long way to fall, some farther than others. I’m a 1/5 at $5 and a 4/5 at $0.75. I imagine you will be able to get them for somewhere in the middle, but unless it’s closer to $1, I don’t know that you want to.
A multiplier of three, as well. That’s very interesting. It kind of puts the multiplier on Athreos into perspective, doesn’t it? When I said, “This price is likely due to EDH,” above, I think what I meant was, “This price isn’t not EDH,” but judging by Iroas, a mostly-ignored card, the multiplier appears to be some sort of weird standard.
Quck aside: Isn’t it fascinating that the gods seem to get their cues vis-a-vis their prices from their expansion set rather than their playability? It’s a good thing I grouped these by set or I may never have noticed these trends. I literally almost did all 15 gods alphabetically the first week. It’s a good thing I write too much or this could have been a mess and we would have learned way less. Should we predict the same multiplier for Kruphix or Keranos? Absolutely not, but nothing would surprise me. However, if we do see that for Pharika, I think we can pretty safely conclude the multiplier is a supply issue. I’m interested to see what we come up with when we get there.
As for Iroas, I feel the same as the dealers who have been slashing their buy prices. I’m like a 1/5 at its current foil price. You’d have to make these pretty cheap to make me get into the 3/5 or 4/5 range. Like, if current buy price became the new retail price, I’m probably a 3/5 at the price dealers are paying then. Maybe even not that. Iroas seems like this set’s Heliod or Ephara.
Keranos, God of Storms
I have been quoted numerous times saying, “If it weren’t for EDH, only about 100 Magic cards would be worth more than $1.” While I think that’s true and smile whenever I hear someone repeat it, we can acknowledge that Modern has been a real bro and made some cardboard worth some moolah. Thanks, Modern!
Keranos was touted as a Modern option, and while that hype appears to have trailed off, dumping Keranos nearly back where it was before all the hype, I expect its EDH playability to have a real effect on the foil. I understand why Keranos was $20 for a while—what I can’t figure out is why it’s the same as Athreos.
EDH clearly can’t pull the non-foils above $10 unless the card is played a ton (like I imagine we’ll see for Kruphix) and the dive back to $10 seems to indicate that Modern demand has all but evaporated. Keranos was never more than a one- or two-of in Modern anyhow, and that can mimic EDH demand in some ways. I expect expensive foils if only because we won’t see the race to the bottom the way we did with the non-foils.
Keranos may not be played in Modern as much anymore, but the fact that it’s an option can work both for and against us. Price memory is going to make the price stickier come rotation, which makes me pretty bearish on the card unless it comes down more than it probably will.
While the buy price for most of the rest of the gods is tailing off, Keranos is actually increasing. Dealers are going to buy super aggressively if the spread is low at rotation, making it harder to get your hands on Keranos and limiting the chance the price falls below where the buy price is now. Do I like these at $6? Not a ton, no. They’ve demonstrated an ability to be $20, but you’d have to think that will happen again to pay $6. Should these miraculously fall to $3 or $4, I’ll change my attitude significantly, but this still won’t make it past a 3/5 in my excitement. My money is better-invested elsewhere, in my opinion.
Yuck. You see the price spike as a result of Modern, but the price has not come down the way the non-foil has. I don’t think EDH is the culprit for the price staying up as much as scarcity is. See those “mini” fluctuations? Those point to a very, very low supply. If one or two purchases can upset the price balance, you’ll see little jumps like that when the stock is completely bought out by virtue of buying a small number of copies.
So the demand is non-zero, but if buying a few copies can make the price “twitch” like that, steady demand would completely wreck the price and we haven’t seen that. I’m not super bullish on the foils here, honestly. EDH demand isn’t going to put much upward pressure on the price and buy prices aren’t really moving despite the retail price coming down a smidge. This graph is ugly, folks. I’m like a 1/5 for foils and I don’t get to a 2/5 until the price gets somewhere the price won’t get.
I have a good feeling about this next one, though.
Kruphix, God of Horizons
This is what opportunity looks like. Cheaper than Iroas, steadier than Keranos, more playable in EDH than Athreos—this card has it all. The spread is currently pretty wide, so even dealers aren’t really on this guy. However, Kruphix is the most EDH-playable out of the crop it’s in and its price is not reflecting that fact.
I’m a 3/5 on this card at its current price, and if it gets really cheap, I’m even deeper. This is never going to get the boost Keranos gets from Modern, Athreos gets from casual, or Iroas gets from the people who have made Godsend $5, but it does get help from being very good.
Don’t let the low price fool you, as it’s a good thing. This card is unplayable in Standard and that has made its price plummet, but it has a ton of upside and I’m deep on these if I can pay what dealers are paying now. I want a big old pile of these. This is Purphoros-tier as far as I am concerned: useful in decks but best as a commander. Let’s see if the foil agrees with us.
Here’s a nice gut-check. The prices are very low for the foil and the non-foil. Did we misevaluate something? Is Iroas more playable than we think? Is Kruphix worse than we think? Did I overreact to the cheap price because I don’t understand that it’s cheap for a good reason?
Let’s check our multiplier, shall we? What’s that? It’s five? Not only that, it’s been five forever? I think that tells us that we’re onto something. Not only that, it tells us we have real upside on the foils. If the non-foil is $4, then that multiplier gives us $20 foils. If the non-foil hits $10, we’re looking at $50 foils, provided the multiplier holds.
And why shouldn’t it? This is a real EDH card. If I can pay what dealers are paying now for foils, I’m a 5/5. I don’t expect that to happen and I am still a 2/5 at its current price. If it doesn’t fall at all, I may buy a bit down the road if I start to see any upward movement at all. Kruphix is money, and I am glad there is actual opportunity here.
Pharika, God of Affliction
This was pretty heavily touted early by the likes of Conley Woods, but it never made the impact on Standard anticipated. EDH isn’t propping this up more than it’s propping up Kruphix and the few times it’s flirted with $6 are confusing and an insult to the god of horizons, frankly.
We can really see the relative difference in distributions between sets here: both the distribution of the cost of a redemption set over the total cards in Journey into Nyx and the distribution of Theros relative to Journey. We have $1 Heliod and that’s a damn sight more playable than Pharika, even though Pharika is a general people are going to try and try to build around.
I’m losing steam, folks. I saved a card I don’t care about for last.
Dealers are not thrilled about this card, so why should I be? At the $1.50 dealers are paying, I think this is okay, since in a few years, even bad gods strike me as $5ish cards (I’m basing this off of what we saw with planeswalkers when there were relatively few of them), but I’m not going to throw cash at Pharika at basically any price. This is played a bit in EDH and that could indicate upside if we’re buying very cheap. The foil can tell us how much EDH play there is.
Care to try and guess the multiplier for the foil?
Did you guess a multiplier of six? I will admit I did not. Not only is it six, it has been for a while and dealers don’t appear to disagree! That’s wacky.
Is EDH propping this up? It must be that, which makes the non-foils a bit more attractive but leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The plateau indicates there isn’t a ton of sales-action happening, but a race to the bottom would throw the price into at least a bit of disarray. This is honestly just mostly puzzling. Still, if the price is this flat and irrespective of Standard play, there is little potential movement in the price at rotation. I’m not bullish on these at the current price. If I could buy at buylist, sure, fine, but I don’t see this being as good a pickup as Kruphix, although that could be pure bias.
Objectively, this card looks strong, but subjectively, I’m not jazzed. With Kruphix seeming like a better pickup, why would I hedge my bets anyhow? Still, if you clicked the link and looked at how many Pharika decks there are (gorgon tribal could be a thing, I imagine, but Damia or Sidisi seem better for that), you might feel differently than I do. I’m leaving these alone, so more for you, I guess.
Something Something Omega
That concludes my series on gods. I’m a little saddened by this realization, because I enjoyed writing this series and how much good feedback I got from all of you about it.
I’ll be back next week with something different, so stay tuned for that. You won’t want to miss the next series I potentially start because I can’t keep it under 10,000 words. Leave your questions and comments in the section below and let’s make some money.
By: Jason Alt
Remember when I was going to do an article about the 15 Theros block gods and then when I started writing I only managed to cover five of them in a 3,300 word span? That was pretty crazy. If you don’t remember, what the hell is wrong with you? This is the first article you’re reading? You just clicked on a title that said “Part 2,” which is akin to saying, “You don’t need to see Highlander 1 to understand Highlander 2 and Highlander 2 is my favorite movie,” and of course you like Highlander 2: you’re a moron. Go back and read the first part. Good grief.
So now either you read part one last week or you took me admonishing you in stride and went and checked out part one before coming back. That’s good. Let’s sally forth, shall we? We’re going to talk about some multicolored gods today and I am planning on getting through either five or ten of them. I figure I can shave off some words by not having to reintroduce the topic and explain my point ratings this week, but if I only make it to five, it’s because I had a lot to say about each one. Look, people, I’m not paid by the word, I over-write as a labor of love and sometimes I have a lot to say about a topic. We ready to jump in and look at the golden gods? Let’s do the dirty.
Let’s start with the Gods of the Born of the variety and see how far we get. We could end up with a part three next week. Sorry about all the value.
Ephara, God of the Polis
“F@#& the Polis!”
Okay, remember when I said that the $1 being paid for Heliod established a floor for dealers who were not going to offer less than $1 for a legendary mythic god? Guess they haven’t gotten the memo that they’re paying $0.79 currently for a god that peaked at $15. Japanese players concocted a wacky UW deck that made good use of all of the card draw. An EDH deck with Brago could really get there with Ephara, drawing extra cards, and she could be at the helm of her own deck, chock full of token producers and cards like Mistmeadow Witch. It says “each upkeep,” guys. It scales up to get better in multiplayer.
Want to hear the good news? This card likely can’t get cheaper. If this hits $1 or lower at rotation, it’s so low-risk to scoop a handful of copies that it’s not funny. I am a 3/5 at $1ish at rotation since this card has real potential. It’s in awkward colors for creatures, but not for enter-the-battlefield shenanigans. Is drawing a card every upkeep because you have a Deadeye Navigator and Stonehorn Dignitary lock the good part of that situation or is no one ever attacking the good part? Hard to say. I am not nuts about this card for much other than its price, though.
What? This is a $10 to $12 foil. That’s really surprising considering how tepid the EDH community seems to be about this card. It’s certainly played as a commander and googling “Ephara EDH” shows pages of results. I think that this is too expensive, though, and maybe Ephara is establishing the price floor for the buylist value on a foil the way Heliod seemed to for non-foil.
If I could pay the $5 dealers are paying now, I’d give this a 4/5 at rotation. I’m not sure that’s a possibility, but you never know. I think this has upside, especially in foil, and buying in at dealer price is always a good call. Foils aren’t going to fall as much at rotation, but I also think its current price may not be the ceiling, especially since it’s been flat for so long with no help from Standard.
Karametra, God of Harvests
This feels about right to me. It’s not useful at all in Standard (often called the worst of the 15, in fact), but it’s fun in EDH and useful both as a general and as an inclusion in the 99. Karametra is only starting to see some of her vast potential tapped.
Does Karametra have upside at its current price? Potentially, but dealers have backed off and we see a large spread here for such a reasonable card. Still, the dealer price is about at rock bottom and we’ve seen Karametra’s price demonstrate the ability to spike a dollar for seemingly no reason. I am a 4/5 on these if they hit $1 or lower at rotation. This could be a $5 card pretty easily in a few years.
I have literally no idea what’s going on here. The spread is increasing in the non-foil version but the spread is shrinking (though it appears cyclical) in foil. The price has been just about flat for a year, which is odd given how useful Karametra is as a (tier 11) general. I expected this to go for more than Ephara, and not only is it going for less, we’re seeing practically no price movement, which means practically no sales.
The fact that no one else seems super excited about the foils makes me not super jazzed. I’m like a 1/5 at its current price and a 2/5 at its current buylist price and a 3/5 at its January buylist price. This could be a $20 foil, but it could take a very long time to get there based on what we’re seeing now. I’m a little surprised all the hype surrounding this card is not doing more, but we may be seeing a regional bias in my experience. Ephara is showing better behavior than Karametra is and I’m basing my analysis on the numbers, not anecdata. I think Karametra could be better than the community is giving it credit for, but I think Ephara is showing better upside.
Mogis, God of Slaughter
Okay, this is confusing, too.
Mogis‘s price is behaving like it’s not useless in Standard, but that’s not the case. It’s a fun EDH general to be sure, but this is going for Purphoros money right now and Purphoros it is not. Dealers are backing off and we’re seeing a rapid increase in the spread, but only to where it should be. For a while, this was a high-value, low-spread card and that indicates a lot of EDH play. That indicates a lot of upside as well.
Given that it’s currently feeling overpriced yet not getting a ton of its value from Standard play, I don’t know what rotation is going to do to this card. Probably something, since people who are rotating their stock tend to do so at rotation and will dump these out of the binders they’ve sat in for a year. Still, with its EDH utility making up the bulk of its price and EDH not rotating, this could barely budge. I think this has some mild upside at its current price, but not a ton. I’m a 1/5 currently, but if this starts to approach where the buylist price is now, I’ll jack that to a 4/5. This has real upside if the current numbers are to be believed.
He’s certainly a good commander, but interestingly, I don’t know how much I like him in the 99 a ton of the time. It’s not like anyone was really playing Blood Clock in EDH before. Full disclosure: I don’t know Mogis’s foil price and I’m going to check it next so we’ll discover it together. I’m predicting it will be pretty high since Mogis is mostly good as a general.
Annnnnnnd the foil is lower than I predicted. All of the Born of the Gods foil gods are practically the same price so far. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, frankly. Let’s do some analysis and try to get to the heart of what’s going on before we move on to the last two from this set.
There is a lot of variance in the gods’ non-foil prices, which appears to be meritocratic. The foils have a price that says to me “supply is very low” and the modicum of demand for each one is making $12 just about the minimum price based on low supply and non-zero demand. Enough non-foil copies exist to sate demand, but enough foils do not. We expected that: not a ton of Born of the Gods was opened and prices have been a bit wacky. With the price of a foil god seeming to be enforced by supply more than demand—but demand not being high enough to push it outside the weird “$10 to $15 zone” or low enough to make it tail off toward nothing—we’re seeing a pretty predictable price for gods from this set. I don’t anticipate that for gods from the next set nor for Xenagos, which has hella demand.
As for Mogis, I think there is not a ton of upside at his current price. If he falls at rotation, I may go as high as 3/5 for the foil, but with low supply propping up the price, it’s hard to gauge where it should be and guess how long it will take to get there. I think its current price is where-ish it should be, and I don’t know how much upside there is from there.
Phenax, God of Deception
If you’re surprised by Phenax being worth more than $2, you must not know any casual players. If you’re surprised by it being less than $5, you must be me. I’m surprised. I realize this isn’t very good in EDH because who wants to mill 300 cards when it’s so much easier to deal 63 damage? Plus, other players are attacking, so you want to get on board so you’re not the only one pursuing that angle. Still, mill is a thing in EDH (though not to a great extent) and this is the general to use if you’re going that route. I think this card’s price is predicated more on casual than EDH. Why do I say that?
Just a hunch.
Mill will always be a thing for casual players, and they aren’t restricted to one copy of Phenax, so that gives him considerable upside compared to an EDH-specific god. Not only that, but this is the only god that helps mill strategies, which means it has an edge over the others. As it stands, I hate it at its current price, but I’m a 4/5 if it falls even halfway to its current buylist price. This card has real upside, is hard to blow us out with a reprint like we saw with Mind Funeral, and I think sellers will move more than one copy at a time. This isn’t a terribly EDH-y call, but there you have it.
See, this only adds more fuel to my hypothesis! Why should a card that’s not played as an EDH general much be the exact same price as the others? And look how flat the price is, like all the others. What we’re seeing is what we hypothesized earlier.
You won’t be super surprised to hear that all the factors we discussed earlier about Mogis plus the fact that this is a bad commander (though not unplayable) means I am not bullish at all at this, even at a much cheaper price. I don’t know how much upside the foil has, so while I’m like a 4/5 on the non-foil, I’m a 1/5 on the foil. Buy in if you want, but it’s a high buy-in price and it hasn’t demonstrated any ability to get there in the future. I’d rather buy foil Nemesis of Reason, personally. Stay away, but just know that mill will always be at least attempted and the non-foil has upside.
Xenagos, God of Revels
Now we’re hitting another money god, this set’s Purphoros. How am I going to like him at his current price?
Lots. I like him lots. Not only is he an auto-win with Prossh, he’s a solid roleplayer in the 99 and also a good general in a deck full of big, stupid hydras. He’s even a good general for a deck full of creatures with infect. Boom.
He’s also pretty reasonable, price-wise. Under $5? I am bullish on this guy already. Dealers appear to be, as well, because despite a flat retail price, the spread is shrinking. Will the buy price be close to where it is now at rotation? Will Xenagos not fall at all? All I know is that this card has real upside and I like it about a 4/5 at its current buylist price, which may be about where it is at rotation, honestly. Xenagos is the second-best god we’ve reviewed so far, his price is very reasonable (reflecting real upside, especially coupled with a dip at rotation), and he puts in work. Lots of people are focusing on how cheap the planeswalker Xenagos is, but ignore this guy at your peril. He’s godly.
This card has a little bit more value than the other four in this set, but not as much more as you’d think. The spread is very low, but we’re seeing the same phenomenon for all of the gods: the price doesn’t seem to reflect the non-foil price (and therefore demand) as much as we’d hope and they’re all within a few bucks of each other irrespective of popularity of playability. That’s cool! The spread is so low right now that I almost want to say buylist price is more than I want to pay, but I think this foil has some upside, especially since it’s such a cool commander.
See You for Part Three
There you have it. I didn’t write quite as much as last week (and it’s wasn’t as humorous—sorry), but I still don’t have room to cover the last five gods. Honestly, these gods all shared some attributes and it took us a bit of work to uncover what was going on. And having a part three lets us delve into what’s unique about the last five gods.
I’ll be back at it in just a few days, so let’s get some conversation going in the comments section and wrap this little exercise up next week, in plenty of time to get ready for rotation. Until then!
Maybe the title could have been “Gods as Generals,” because that’s what we’re going to talk about this week.
I feel like all of you are teaching me more than I am teaching you, which is edifying for me to say the least. Last week, my article had been up for 24 hours with zero comments, causing me to wonder whether anyone at all had read it. “That’s silly,” I thought to myself. “I bought my mother ProTrader access so she could read my articles and print them out and put them on the refrigerator so every time she went to get out some OJ she could be reminded that her favorite son was a writer and that spending $60,000 on a chemistry degree wasn’t a waste of money but rather a sound investment in a bright future.” I put a comment about how no comments meant no one was saying anything negative, and I got a lot of comments after that. Some of them were even about the article and not about the fact that it was behind the ProTrader paywall! Some of them.
And the ones that weren’t whining from poor people (it’s $5, guys. You make more than $5 a month if you get in a month late on a mediocre spec tip) were very insightful. I would have eventually gotten around to tackling the Theros block gods as spec targets in a future article. In fact, I’m such a professional, it’s likely I would have gotten around to it before rotation. Possibly before every other financier wrote their articles about what to dump and pick up at rotation. This isn’t my first rodeo. Also, I’m not so bad at this that I think the upcoming set rotation is a rodeo. That said, there are a few cards that, come rotation, I will be… bullish… about.
Let’s talk about EVERY THEROS GOD and how I feel about their current prices, because the gods are sicko EDH cards, after all. Let’s start with the monocolored ones and get as far as we can today.
Erebos, God of the Dead
This guy is falling off as we pass peak supply and Standard players realize they don’t give a wet fart about a Greed that can attack for five. That’s cool! While I don’t necessarily know I want this guy as my general, I have found quite a few decklists that feature him, including one I featured in an article. Erebos is also pretty dandy as part of the 99. He’s a damn Greed on feet, remember? In a deck lousy with black enchantments like Painful Quandary, No Mercy, and Polluted Bonds, this guy is dope.
I actually don’t think he’s done plummeting, though, and I think he could be around $3 at rotation. I would say I am like a 3/5 when it comes to how excited I am about picking this guy up at $3.
Before we move on, let’s talk about something I should have introduced at the very top but didn’t think about until now. Gods strike me vaguely like the planeswalkers did, but back in Lorwyn. Remember when there were only five planeswalkers? They were all money. They continued to be money approximately forever. Like, until the exact second that I said, “I feel pretty good about targeting any planeswalker that isn’t named Tibalt that’s under $5,” and then WOTC went, “Really, douchebag?” and printed approximately infinity RTR Jaces until they were $3 (and yet the price of Remand remained relatively undisturbed, go figure) and now people are emailing me saying, “Hey, you said planeswalkers under $5 were good so I spent my kid’s college fund on Duel Deck Vraska! Keep up the good articles,” and it makes me want to see which make and model of pistol has the tastiest barrel. Planeswalkers are the new hydras, readers. But I guess that’s okay since gods are the new planeswalkers.
It seems like they always will be, too, right? Gods are way harder to reprint in another block. They are legendary as hell and they need to be enchantment creatures with devotion. What are the odds we get both mechanics back if we revisit this plane in like five or ten years? Even if we do come back sooner than that, we will have made a ton of money on gods before then and won’t care. I feel good about a lot of them. Durdles will want to treat the gods like Pokémon and catch ’em all, and since most of them don’t suck in EDH, they’re pretty solid. So I guess I’ll give each god we discuss today a score out of five about how bullish I am about them at rotation.
I don’t know why I’m sort of asking you. This is my column, I can do anything I want. I could grade them on a scale from fart noise to confetti and you couldn’t do a thing about it.
Anyway, let’s get back to Erebos and look at his foil price.
That’s a graph only a mother could love. I am really loving this price/spread overlay view because it shows what two different “markets” are thinking. Players are thinking, “Yeah, $15ish foil seems fine,” and dealers are thinking, “Get that out of my face.” The price is tailing off a bit and it’s lagging behind the dealer buy price, which is tailing off precipitously. Dealers are not buying these before rotation and you shouldn’t either, not even the foils.
Since Erebos is useful as a general as well as in the 99, I do think the foils are pretty good. This seems like this could be a $20ish card in a few years. Why not? It’s a foil mythic that sees EDH play both as a commander and as a role-player in decks that aren’t necessarily multiplayer. Basically every new player who bought the Eternal Bargain deck and saw a Greed in it will drool over Erebos (or has already, hence the initial demand) and I don’t expect anything to make Erebos obsolete in his role as “best Greed variant ever.” If you wouldn’t play a 5/7 for four mana, or a Greed, or an “opponents can’t gain life” enchantment, perhaps you’d play all three. This card is fine, and if the foil dips below $10, I may crank my enthusiasm for the foil up to 4/5. Yeah. Ballsy. I am not going to give half measurements like “4.5/5” because at that point, you’re saying “9/10 but do some math, readers,” and I’m not about that life. A rating of 4/5 seems okay for a foil god like Erebos at around $8, a number that seems almost absurd because you’re approaching non-foil Garruk Wildspeaker money at that point and gods can be your generals, which is even cooler.
Heliod, God of the Sun
Wow, the market price is like, whatever, but the dealer price is showing fascinating behavior. It appears that Heliod, by virtue of being mana-hungry and durdly, made dealers hit a minimum “shits given” threshold and it looks like players were right there with them. The TCGplayer price is relatively flat, and that could be due to a lack of sales as much as it could be due to price equilibrium establishing itself. I feel like there is a pretty sweet narrative going on here and I bet it took place at a lot of PTQ and GP booths.
Dealer: “Those are the cards I want.”
Player: “What about Heliod?”
Dealer: “Yes, what about Heliod? What about him indeed?”
Player: “What will you give me? I paid $8 for this guy, give me something.”
Dealer: “I am not the least bit interested.”
Player: “Come on, man! I need money for [spray paint or drugs or diapers or whatever the hell kids these days are buying].
Dealer: “I will give you one whole dollar.”
Player: “… yeah, fine.”
As a dealer, you can’t really pass up a chance at a card that’s likely $5 to $6 in a few years if someone is coming off of it for $1, even if it is Heliod and no one is that jazzed about him. After a while, the conversation took a turn.
Player: “Got a Heliod with your name on it.”
Dealer: “I will give you seventy-five cents.”
Player: “I wouldn’t fart in your mouth for seventy-five cents.”
Dealer: “Okay, a dollar. Damn.”
When dealers could no longer get them for $0.75, they bumped the price back up to a “still insulting” $1. I think this is just about the minimum buy price at rotation. If any god goes below $1, or hell, goes below $2 and wasn’t dirt cheap already, that’s probably a decent snag. If you can pay at rotation what dealers are paying now, congrats, you’re thinking like a dealer. They know there is upside at $1. I’m like a 5/5 at $1 or less on these at rotation, which is handy because I don’t see rotation making the price go up.
Personally, I want to build an entire Heliod deck. Serra’s Sanctum is just yearning to tap for a million mana and fart out a ton of 2/1 clerics. Can you imagine Sphere of Safety if you have two dozen enchantment clerics out? Norn’s Annex, Ghostly Prison, hell, Test of Endurance for all the life you gain when you spit out a ton of clerics with Suture Priest in play. You can build pillow fort and use Heliod to give you all the enchantments you’ll ever need. This is a non-traditional general and mono-white tends to feel bad in EDH, so I expect the foil to be reasonable right now.
While dealers had to raise their buy prices a bit to keep the supply steady, no one seems to pay the foil much mind. I imagine it dips even more at rotation. I think if the foil hits $5, I’m in, but I’m like a 2/5 on the foil here. Foils have higher upside, but they do have some “new card smell” tax built in when they first rotate. This isn’t a super exciting EDH god for people who aren’t lunatics like me, so I am not going that deep. Obviously, under $5 is absurd for a foil mythic god as you approach its current non-foil buy price. At $1 for the foils, I would spend enough money to make the price go up by sheer virtue of how many I bought. At its current price, I’m a 1/5. I imagine this dips at rotation since none of its price is predicated on Standard or Modern or… being played by anyone at all, really. Sure, maybe I’ll revolutionize 75% EDH with my clericgasm deck, but this is probably just the weakest of the cycle and his price won’t recover until people forgive him for shiv-ing Elspeth in the McRibs.
It’s fair to say that I have talked too much at this point and I’m not going to make it to the ten multicolored gods. I was told to keep my articles “around 2,000 words” and I’m going to hit that before we finish this paragraph. Could I cut some preamble or my dealer skit? Yes, maybe. I could also cut your face. Cut you bad. Cut you so bad, your mama would cry. You want your mom to cry? Okay, then. How about I vastly exceed my word count mandate, upset my editor, give you some bonus content, and see if I can’t squeeze the rest of the gods in next week? I didn’t expect to find this much to talk about when I conceived of the topic, but discovering things that bear discussion is always fun for me and gives me the enthusiasm to barrel through. Three more gods to go—don’t get squeemish on me now. This next one should be easy.
Nylea, God of the Hunt
I figured we’d see stronger behavior from this card, as it’s played in a (fringe) devotion deck in Modern and isn’t a terrible EDH card. I actually kind of like this in decks like Omnath if you need a mana sink or a win condition. Giving Omnath trample is non-trivial and if Omnath dies, dumping the mana into an alpha strike at one or many players is worth doing. The Modern devotion deck is silly but functional. It seems like that modicum of non-casual play gave the card a multiplier over the price of Heliod, but the dealer behavior is even less encouraging. Dealers want to pay the exact same $1 for Nylea that they’re paying for Heliod and it seems like players, enchanted (pardon the pun) by dargons and knuckleblades and commands, are letting go of the gods.
You don’t want Nylea as your general. At all. Ever. That limits the upside of this card quite a bit. The Modern play only appears to tack a buck or two onto the price and dealers don’t seem all that convinced they need to pay competitively to get these. Their total lack of enthusiasm for this card is contagious. I like these at about a 1/5 unless they are like a buck at rotation. Could this get back to its current price in a few years? I think maybe it could. I think you are safe paying what dealers are paying right before rotation if people are dumping. Still, the slight rise in Heliod’s buy price shows that players are reluctant to take an insulting number on a god, and paying more than “an insult” may be a liability. I’d be careful here.
Ugh. $10ish? Why? Modern? It’s not EDH doing this. Dealers are paying just about 50 percent of this card’s value on the button and their price is roughly descending along with the retail price in a curious way. They are reluctant to stop paying real numbers on this card, but who’s buying? This has been a $10 foil for like an entire year and it’s puzzling. I’m sure this dips at rotation because it can’t hold its current price, but unless the bottom falls out entirely, I’m not bullish on the foil. Still, if this hits $5ish, I will feel very differently. This is seeing no Constructed play outside of that fringe Modern deck and it’s only okay in EDH, and that has kept the price from fluctuating much. That said, Erebos’s foil hasn’t tailed off much, and maybe that reflects dealers’ reluctance to rock the boat and TCGplayer sellers’ reluctance to race to the bottom.
Curiously, there are a lot of foils available on TCGplayer. Even with competition amongst dealers, these aren’t really moving a ton. But with foils, people who want them for EDH will buy immediately or wait quite a long time. Rotation could be what the patient players are waiting for. Still, with a lot of loose copies that need to get soaked up before the price will increase along with tepid demand compared to better gods, I’d need to see the foil hit $4 or $5 before I even give this a 2/5, which is so odd considering Nylea has more non-EDH utility than Erebos or Heliod. Still, who’s foiling their fringe Modern deck that has Primeval Titan in it? Curious goings-on here, to be sure.
Purphoros, God of the Forge
This is demonstrating some odd behavior. The spread became virtually non-existent very recently, then dealers backed way off. Let them. This is the money god.
Out of all of the original five, Purphoros is the best in EDH. At his current price, I give him a 3/5. If he hits $3, my score opinion will change to, “What score do I give him out of 5 at $3? His power and toughness.”
Purphoros is nutty. He’s unfair in Prossh decks. As a commander, he’s equally nutty, allowing you to KO people with a single tap of a Krenko. He’s bannably good in EDH and he may be the best god of the 15. Let that sink in. He can be had for twice the cost of Heliod, a god that failed to garner a following to such an extent that his buy price fell to below a dollar. This is the guy to watch, this is the guy to pounce on, and this guy alone is the one that had me wrack my brain for reprint scenarios. How do we get blown out here? FTV Gods? Commander’s Arsenal? I don’t see it. Commander’s Arsenal, by the way, is basically the only way we will ever see a foil reprint. What’s the foil doing?
Yes…yesss. Plummet, buy price. Drag the retail price down along with you. Good. GOOOOOD.
I am bullish at below $15 here, honestly. That said, with essentially none of this price predicated on Standard play, I have no idea how much the foil will go down at rotation, if at all. Still, any discount you get is good. If you can buy these for cash from players at rotation, go ham. I am in for X of these at $12 or below. This is a $20 minimum foil in a few years, barring a catastrophe like a reprint, but the foil seems safe from that fate.
This card is bugnutty in EDH and I’m very excited about the prospect of the price going down. If the price doesn’t move at rotation, I’d leave it alone. The price is probably currently too low, but I don’t know if there is a ton of upside. I’d give this a 2/5 for the foil at its current price just because it feels so… correct right now. Could this be $50 in a few years? Sure, but is EDH that much of a driving force? We’d need something in a four-of format to boost prices that much, so let’s take a hard look at this price and wait for rotation.
Thassa, God of the Sea
This is what a price predicated on four-of formats looks like. It’s actually basically as sad as the others, honestly. Gods have been all but abandoned in Standard in favor of multi-color decks that worry less about permanents and devotion and worry more about KOing faces. Mono-Blue Devotion rocketed this plucky god to superstardom, but these days the former star is closer to Marky Mark in the second half of Boogie Nights than she is to Marky Mark in the first half of Boogie Nights. I think this card has the farthest to fall, which is handy because it has the most reason to. Price memory is propping this up to a large extent, even though it sees only a modicum of play in Modern and its days in Standard are basically over.
This is pretty good in EDH, actually, but I feel like it’s underplayed. The scry is non-trivial and making a creature unblockable is sweet. I can see Thassa making all kinds of creatures connect: Thada Adel, Daxos, or basically any general. It’s underplayed in EDH and that may continue, as it’s also pretty much useless as a general.
Its current price has me hesitant, but with dealer confidence plummeting, I feel like the retail price could be $3 or less at rotation, and with its Modern playability and EDH potential, I’m a 3/5 or 4/5 at that price point. Dealers are paying that now, but they want to pay less, clearly. If you look at dealer buy price a few weeks before the fall set is released and target that as a retail price, you are probably going to be okay at rotation. If you can pay a couple bucks less and get copies from players, even better.
I don’t like the foil price at all, and I’m not sure what’s doing it. Price memory? Even the dealers aren’t that eager to pay less than they are right now and that seems really dumb. I don’t know if this is going to dip enough at rotation for me to care about it and I’m super bearish on it unless it cuts more than half of the current price. With the current value predicated mostly on price memory and Modern playability, the picture is very muddy. I’m calling this basically a 1/5 unless it gets so cheap that you don’t need my advice about whether to buy it. Corbin wants to foil out his Modern Merfolk deck—maybe he’s propping the price up. I’m just so meh about this foil.
There you have it. This was way longer than I was supposed to make it, but I wasn’t about to make this sub-series take a month or write about fewer than five gods today.
Keep giving me feedback in the comments section, because even if I come up with a good idea, I’ll write about what you want me to write about, unless your idea is terrible. In that case, I’ll send Corbin or Travis a text making fun of you, but I won’t do it publicly because I’m trying to work on being more “approachable” and “managing my brand” and “not getting any more death threats.” So keep the comments coming. Thanks for reading, nerds.