All posts by Travis Allen

Travis Allen has been playing Magic on and off since 1994, and got sucked into the financial side of the game after he started playing competitively during Zendikar. You can find his daily Magic chat on Twitter at @wizardbumpin. He currently resides in upstate NY, where he is a graduate student in applied ontology.

Worshiping at The Shrine of Plutus: Financial Overview of Theros

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My goal with card reviews is to approach them a bit more holistically. Considering the card, what conditions it needs to be good, and how those factors impact costs is very much in the fish-teaching school, of which I am a big fan. Hopefully this Theros review will illuminate for you my evaluation process so that you can understand how to make informed trade and purchase decisions throughout the life of the set.

Any card I don’t mention is one that either I consider total bulk or I don’t feel that I have anything particularly helpful to add.

 

Chained to the Rocks

Chained to the Rocks: Chained to the Rocks is poised to be one of the strongest removal spells in the format, especially with how good decks with Sacred Foundry look at the moment. I see it available for about $2.50 on TCG Player as of 9/23/13, which likely is fairly close to its floor. Mizzium Mortars never really sunk below $2 retail, and I think Chained compares pretty well. The ceiling on this card isn’t particularly high though. While it’s quite a powerful effect, you still need to have actual Mountains (and a good deal of them) to use it, not just lands that tap for red, such as Clifftop Retreat. I can’t imagine this breaking $5 for longer than a week or two, if ever. The best strategy regarding this card will simply be picking them up in trade for $1-$2 and trading them away at $3-$4.

 

Elspeth, Sun's Champion

Elspeth, Sun’s Champion: Between Garruk, Caller of Beasts and this new Elspeth, Wizards is obviously not messing around with six mana Planeswalkers anymore. Elspeth is indisputably powerful. The question here will not be “is she strong enough,” but rather “is she strong enough for her cost relative to other options.” I feel like of any six mana Planeswalker, she has the best chance to be a major force in Standard. Not only does she protect herself when she comes down, she does an excellent job of it, and quite possibly the result of two back-to-back +1s is that you have more creatures than your opponent. In conjunction with her pseudo-wrath ability, you have a Planeswalker that can stabilize on turn 6 with either ability and then start driving towards a pretty quick victory immediately after.

Her applicability is not even necessarily restricted to control. Similar to Garruk, Primal Hunter, she may also play well as a strong alternative threat in a midrange strategy. Admittedly, unlike Primal Hunter, she doesn’t draw you cards. She does however present a different vector than simply slamming other efficient creatures. While her path to victory does include the red zone (unlike, say, Jace, Memory Adept), she keeps churning attackers out turn after turn. On the whole her path to victory isn’t as much of a deviation from a creature strategy as you may want it to be, but the sheer strength of her abilities may be able to overcome that for a midrange deck.

Elspeth is still in that Planeswalker honeymoon period of $30+. Given her high mana cost, I anticipate it may take a little longer before she starts showing up in decklists. I’m guessing she may pull a Gideon Jura though, where people are lukewarm at first, playing only one copy, but then adding more and more. I’ll be keeping a close watch on her price and quantity of appearances in T8 decklists. If she shows up as a one-of in the maindeck of a winning list and the author talks about how great she was, expect positive movement. Like most Planeswalkers, if she dips below $15 it is time to start seriously considering picking her up in trade.

 

Fabled Hero

Fabled Hero – Aside from having possibly the best flavor text in the set, Fabled Hero is another “dies to Doom Blade” face smasher. He doesn’t protect himself, but as long as you have one more guy than they have removal spell, he kills real quick. I expect he’ll see light to moderate play, depending on how good the heroic support is. If the format ever reaches a point where spot removal is weak, even if only for a single weekend, his stock rises significantly.

I would expect his price to typically hang out in the $1-$3 range on any given weekend, but spiking an event could jump him to $6+ pretty easily. If Brave the Elements targeted, then we’d be in another ballpark. Even still, I think this is the type of card that can oscillate pretty easily. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him dip, jump, dip, and jump again all within his journey through Standard.

 

Gift of Immortality

Gift of Immortality: Intro deck rare. I love the card, but do not buy into this with the intent of profit.

 

Heliod, God of the Sun

Heliod, God of the Sun: Heliod reads to me as the second weakest of the five gods. Vigilance is one of the weaker combat keywords, compared to Trample/Flying/Haste. Low white curves do tend to be heavy on mana symbols though (think Precinct Captain,) so Heliod may be able to spend a reasonable amount of time as powerful threat. His activated ability also provides aggressive white decks an outlet for mana late in the game. Two power on tokens is also a lot larger than one. A lot. As in, the first time someone starts cranking those out against you, you’re going to be amazed at how much more effective they are than you expected them to be.

The gods are a little tricky financially. They’re almost-sorta a new card type, and subsequently I don’t feel like I have a good gauge for how their casual support is going to be. If I had to take a guess (which I suppose I do since I’m writing this article), it’s that the gods in general will be more popular with the casual crowd than the average decent mythic. I feel like the floor on Heliod – and all the gods – is probably around $5-7. Their upside is easily over $20, but there will have to be tournament results to support that. I wouldn’t expect to see that anytime soon, so feel free to ditch any copies you picked up at the prerelease.

My opinion on the gods, and other cards in general of which I’m not confident in my predictions, is to ship them early and wait until I understand them better. There’s always another card to make money on, so staying away from an unknown quantity is perfectly acceptable.

 

Soldier of the Pantheon

Soldier of the Pantheon: Boy, Savannah Lions has come a long way, huh? Remember that we just came out of Ravnica, so “Protection from multicolored” reads a little better now than it will in a year. It will still probably be in discussion for any Modern white weenie deck, so if you can find Craig Wescoe, you know you’ve got a buyer. Other than that, your white one drop has to see heavy, sustained play (think Champion of the Parish) to maintain a $4+ price tag.

 

Artisan of Forms

Artisan of Forms: Artisan seems very weak to me. These days, a ton of the value in good creatures is their ETB effect, which Artisan doesn’t get you. You also have to do a lot of work to even get the clone effect. Bulk rare; trade away accordingly.

 

Bident of Thassa

Bident of Thassa: Release promo. Bulk.

 

Curse of the Swine

Curse of the Swine: Bulk, unless they reprint Aether Flash.

 

Master of Waves

Master of Waves: I have a lot of trouble seeing Master accomplish much. Blue token makers are fairly rare, but creatures that die when their Master dies just seem miserable. Given the current state of blue, what permanents do you have in play that give you a healthy amount of devotion that are not already putting the game away for you?

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Prognostic Sphinx

Prognostic Sphinx: THE TEEF will never be a four-of. I’d say $2 at his absolute best.

 

Thassa, God of the Sea

Thassa, God of the Sea: I believe Thassa is quietly the best god in the set. Purphorous and even Erebos are getting a lot of chatter, but most Thassa discussion has been less high-energy. However, I believe this is due in part to people underestimating the power of scrying every upkeep. In discussions with other players, the common opinion seems to be that the fair yet still playable cost for an enchantment that was just the upkeep scry would be 1U. That effectively means you’re getting the entire rest of the card for one colorless mana. Not competing with Jace or Supreme Verdict on the mana curve is also a great position to be in. When you finally do get Jace down, all it takes is UU somewhere to suddenly be within range of closing the game out fast. Notice that Thassa is capable of making herself unblockable.

Of all the gods, Thassa is the one I’m most interested in financially. If she ever does get below $10, I’ll start grabbing as many in trades as possible. I think it will take time for the format to begin including her, so there will hopefully be a window where she’s under-priced.

 

Agent of the Fates

Agent of the Fates: This card seems fantastic to me. The base stats of 3 power for 1BB is respectable, if not exciting. Adding deathtouch gives you a creature that is almost always relevant in combat. Then you tack on the Heroic ability and the power level of this card becomes worth discussing. The very first time you target Agent with a spell, you have immediately gotten a Cruel Edict for free, which is worth two mana. Even if they respond with removal, they’re down two cards (creature + removal) for your two cards (Agent + targeted spell.) Nobody says you have to play this on turn three, either. Running him out on turn four allows you to retain priority once he resolves, immediately giving you one mana to target with. Not to mention what happens if they actually don’t have the removal spell, which will certainly happen a reasonable amount of time.

Agent of the Fates loves Warriors’ Lesson, which is already good enough to see play on its own merits. How about Hidden Strings? Tap your best guy, untap my Agent (heroic!), cipher onto Agent, deal three, cast Hidden Strings, Tap your whatever and untap my Agent (heroic!)

Agent of the Fates is $2 on TCG Player while I write this, which is almost low enough for me to just start buying copies. If he gets under $1, he will be a major trade target, and under $.50 I’ll start in with cash.

 

Erebos, God of the Dead

Erebos, God of the Dead: Erebos has been the second most popular god so far, and I’m pretty sure that is due entirely to people not realizing how high of a cost his draw is. Two life is not an insignificant amount of life to pay to draw a single extra card. Yes, it’s repeatable, but the toll adds up fast. The ability is strongest late in the game, when both players are already limping. I don’t think the ability worthless, but I get the impression people read the words “draw a card” and ignored everything to the left of the colon. On top of that, his static anti-lifegain clause goes from “highly disruptive” to “niche ability” with Thragtusk rotating.

Erebos seems poised to see a pretty heavy drop off in demand. I’d get out now and not look back.

 

Hero's Demise

Hero’s Downfall: Domri Rade is going to find himself on the business end of a minotaur hoof frequently in the coming months. Hero’s Downfall will be a major factor in the forthcoming Standard landscape. Murder was always “almost,” and adding ‘Planeswalker’ to the card text will definitely push it over the edge. That said, I don’t see much of a reason for this to deviate from the Mizzium Mortars/Dreadbore path. I expect it to spend a very stable life hovering in the $2-$5 range. Your profit here will be trading for them at $2 and then trading them away at $4. If black ends up being the best color in Standard, the top end here may be as high as $6 or $7. (There is also no chance I call this anything other than Murderbore for the next two years.)

 

Nighthowler

Nighthowler: Possibly playable card that I doubt will ever crest a dollar. I bring it up because it’s the Game Day Top 8 promo, and it looks super sweet. The promo will likely hold value better than it’s playability would have you believe because of this.

 

Throughtseize

Thoughtseize: There’s really not too much to say here. Thoughtseize is and will be a Standard, Modern and Legacy staple. Expect Snapcaster-esque prices for the next two years.

 

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Whip of Erebos

Whip of Erebos: Cool card that’s in an intro deck. If it hits the Standard scene, don’t look to profit on this, but rather the other cards it will be dragging out of graveyards. And yes, it does work as well with Obzedat as you’d like it to.

 

Anger of the Gods

Anger of the Gods: Possibly a better Slagstorm depending on what you’re in the market for, and an effect we have been desperately in need of. (Take that, you lousy Burning-Tree Emissary decks.) This has bonus points for being impactful in Modern. I see no reason to expect much price behavior different from Murderbore.

 

Firedrinker Satyr

Firedrinker Satyr: Maybe it’s because I’m not a Jackal Pup kind of guy, but I really don’t care for this much at all. I’d ship these fast and avoid down the road. People tend to remember old cards, or new cards similar to old cards, a little too fondly in vastly different formats than when they were originally good. Remember when Nantuko Shade was like $8 preorder or something?

 

Hammer of Purphoros

Hammer of Purphoros: Solid looking card, but falls into the Koth trap of mostly being only good in really heavy red decks. Even if the card is fantastic, how many Hammer of Purphoros decks can there really be? I wouldn’t take the risk of trying to make money here; there’s better places to put your gaming bux.

 

Purphoros, God of the Forge

Purphoros, God of the Forge: I will say right now that I am less enthralled with Purphoros than many others are. One thing that I can’t look past is that he feels like the type of card that typically has one “right” deck at any given time. He may be phenomenal in that deck, but an all-star in a single deck in a single format is going to have a very real price ceiling. I don’t doubt that he’s very powerful, but $25 will be a very difficult price tag to maintain amidst a lot of other very competitive-looking mythics such as all three Planeswalkers, Stormbreath Dragon, and Thassa.

For what it’s worth, I also don’t think he’s the top-end of a very aggressive deck. Aggressive red decks want their four drop to be capable of ending the game on the spot: Hero of Oxid Ridge, Hellrider, Falkenrath Aristocrat, etc. Even if you resolve him on turn four and he’s instantly a creature, he still can’t attack right away. Purphoros seems more at home in a big red/Boros style list, where you can continue making creature drops after he resolves. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him alongside Boros Reckoner and Stormbreath Dragon in the near future.

In any case, I’d be trading these away ASAP. The odds that he loses a lot of value are far greater than he gains any. If he slips towards $10, feel free to start grabbing them, because someone will probably give him a breakout performance at some point.

 

Stormbreath Dragon

Stormbreath Dragon: This card is the real deal. Compare to Thundermaw Hellkite: both are flying hasty five drop dragons. We lose one point of power and toughness, which is for sure not irrelevant. Protection from White is going to be better than tapping all fliers in many situations, especially because it dodges Azorius Charm, Chained to the Rocks, Detention Sphere, and many fliers for the rest of the game instead of just once (nice Angel of Serenity. You’re still dead.) In fact, looking through every creature in the format with flying, there are close to zero that are nonwhite. Shadowborn Demon, I guess?

Last but certainly not least is the monstrous ability. Without monstrous, Stormbreath is already doing a very good Thundermaw impression. Once we add monstrous, our dragon is looking very threatening. Seven mana may seem like a lot, but with cards like Xenagos and Satyr Hedonist capable of providing small mana bumps, and plenty of other reasons to want to be capable of generating large amounts of mana (Polukranos, Ember Swallower, Fleecemane, etc), we may find ourselves with a very frightening dragon more often than not. The extra damage from the cards in our opponent’s hand isn’t even particularly important most of the time. Just turning him into a 7/7 is absurd enough.

As I see it, Stormbreath is poised to step in and assume Thundermaw’s role without missing a beat. Preorders have jumped from $15 to $25, and I don’t think that’s an unreasonable number for him to hang around at. Thundermaw hit $50 for a period, and if Stormbreath comes out of the gate terrorizing heros, I would expect no different. At this point he’s too expensive to buy into to spec on, but if you want a set, I wouldn’t hesitate to trade for him. I doubt you stand to lose much, and his upside is very high. If he dips below $15 again, I’d start snatching them wherever possible.

 

Boon Satyr

Boon Satyr: I want to cast this card strictly so that I can say “you’ve been boondoggled” when I kill someone with him. Even though there’s a lot of chatter about Boon Saibot, he’s still only $2 right now. Keep in mind that Loxodon Smiter has seen significant play in Standard and has even broken into Modern yet is still currently only about $4. There’s a real limit to how expensive an in-print rare can be. It will be tough for Boon Satyr to maintain a price over $4-$5 while he’s in the current set even if he’s seeing excessive Standard play. However, if he is consistently putting up results over the next year or is prevalent at the Theros Block Pro Tour, look to start snatching them up next summer when he’ll be at a low.

 

Nylea, God of the Hunt

Nylea, God of the Hunt: Nylea is widely considered to be the weakest of the gods. I’m not entirely convinced that is true, but she certainly has an uphill climb to prove otherwise. On the one hand green decks that will want trample are likely to be strong devotion enablers, and she’s a solid beater herself. The activated ability feels very weak to me however. She’s $9 right now, and I expect that to start slipping very quickly. I’d say $4 is her absolute floor though, so if she gets that low don’t be afraid to grab a few sets. Even if she never gets there in Standard, it’s likely the gods will always maintain solid casual demand.

 

Polukranos, World Eater

Polukranos, World Eater: Polukranos is a powerful card that is going to be responsible for a lot of dead 2/2s and 3/3s. He’s in the Duel Deck though, so his price has a firm ceiling. While I’m seeing copies under $5, I’d guess is floor is around $2.50. If he slips under $3, there’s a lot of room for potential profit there with little downside. I also wouldn’t hesitate to trade for a set now for personal use, as again there isn’t that much to lose.

 

Sylvan Caryatid

Sylvan Caryatid: Caryatid is the Buy-A-Box promo. Without even having to read a single piece of card text, let’s take a quick look at past BaBs:

M14: Ratchet Bomb (Standard Playable)
Dragon’s Maze: Render Silent (Unknown, but not yet)
Gatecrash: Nightveil Specter (Block Playable, possibly Standard)
Return to Ravnica: Supreme Verdict (Standard Playable)
M13: Cathedral of War (No Considerable Play)
Avacyn Restored: Silverblade Paladin (Standard Playable)
Dark Ascension: Gravecrawler (Standard Playable)
Innistrad: Devil’s Play (Standard Playable)
M12: Chandra’s Phoenix (Standard Playable)
New Phyrexia: Surgical Extraction (Standard Playable)
Mirrodin Besieged: Mirran Crusader (Standard Playable)
Scars of Mirrodin: Memoricide (Standard Playable)
M11: Birds of Paradise (Standard Playable)
Rise of Eldrazi: Guul Draz Assassin (No Considerable Play)
Worldwake: Celestial Colonnade (Standard Playable)
Zendikar: Day of Judgment (Standard Playable)
M10: Honor of the Pure (Standard Playable)

This list of every BaB promo shows that Wizards has a great track record for making the card relevant in Standard. I have no reason to suspect Caryatid will behave otherwise. As a two drop mana dork, my biggest concerns about this card are Supreme Verdict and Anger of the Gods. Your mana dorks are frequently at their best on turn one, which obviously isn’t an option here. It’s possible you may not even be able to tap this for mana once before your opponent wraths it away. Having said that, the extra cost buys you some real versatility relative to Birds of Paradise.

A lot of people expect Caryatid to be a major part of the standard landscape, and I agree. She (?) is currently right around $5, which sounds a tad high. Like Daniel Boone, I expect there will be money to be made on Caryatid next summer.

 

Ashen Rider

Ashen Rider: Probably won’t be too expensive, but foils will command a premium. If it ends up being a 4-of in Obzedat’s Aid/Erebos’ Whip type decks, the price could quintuple very quickly though.

 

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver: Many players I’ve spoken to are not wild about Ashiok, but I am quite confident Ashiok will be a part of the Standard landscape. On turn three, Ashiok ticks up to five, making Ashiok a tough kill. If your opponent doesn’t remove Ashiok, you simply untap, let Ashiok do Ashiok’s thing, and use your mana to protect Ashiok. Being able to steal creatures out of midrange decks will be quite helpful in wars of value and attrition, while threatening to obliterate a control player’s resources is a real threat indeed. Ashiok will be at Ashiok’s worst against highly aggressive decks, but that is not uncommon for Planeswalkers. I’ll let more tournament-minded players speak in-depth about Ashiok’s strength, but suffice to say I am on board.

Ashiok is still rather pricey at ~$18. I anticipate Ashiok cratering pretty quickly, as it may take time for Ashiok to find Ashiok’s way into lists. Once the number is below $10, I will gladly start picking up Ashiok in trade.

 

Daxos of Meletis

Daxos of Meletis: If a single thing on this card was missing, I’d be proclaiming it bulk. As is though, Daxos seems to have a lot of intriguing puzzle pieces. The can’t-be-blocked clause means it may be a lot easier to get through than we realize. Suiting up in a single Ethereal Armor makes Daxos a nightmare to block profitably, if at all. The life gain will be very relevant against plenty of opponents, especially if you’re sometimes gaining four or five life. Finally, being able to cast off-color cards may occasionally be supremely powerful – UW casting Murderbore will be fantastic. At $2, I’m not interested. If Daxos slips below $.50 though, I’ll definitely consider acquiring aggressively depending on if he’s appeared in any results. When a card ends up below $.50, the risk is just so low and the profit potential so high.

 

Fleecemane Lion

Fleecemane Lion: This could end up being the most overpriced card in the set. We already have something better than Watchwolf at the moment (Call of the Conclave) and nobody is playing it. The monstrosity clause is almost surely better than the state of being a token, but is it by any meaningful amount? Decks that play Watchwolf want to put guys into play and attack with creatures like Stormbreath Dragon, not spend their turn five mana to do one extra damage in a format full of good edict effects. There will be games where the monstrosity wins the game, but plenty more where you’ll wish you had just played Scavenging Ooze instead. I sold mine at the prerelease; I recommend you do the same.

 

Medomai, the Ageless

Medomai the Ageless: Nifty card that is almost surely unplayable in Standard. Foils will be worth a bunch for EDH.

 

Polis Crusher

Polis Crusher: Potentially great card but he’s in an intro deck. It’s possible someone will manage to make money on him, but it won’t be me.

 

Reaper of the Wilds

Reaper of the Wilds: This is my card seems to have a great deal of financial potential. There were only two other creatures in RtR that had three activated abilities: Deathrite Shaman and Lotleth Troll. I hope I don’t need to explain Deathrite, and I don’t believe we’ve seen the last of Lotleth either.

A 4/5 for four is not a thrilling rate of return, but it’s only a single point of power away from the now-industry standard 5/5 for four model (Deadbridge Goliath, Polukranos.) Getting to scry every time a creature dies means that as you remove opposing bodies, Reaper helps keep the flow of removal and threats going. Your first Doom Blade helps find the second one.

The ability to gain deathtouch keeps him relevant in combat throughout the game, and conditional hexproof turns spot removal into a losing proposition. I don’t think this card will necessarily be a major player in Standard for two years, but I do think it will see enough play to warrant a several dollar price tag at some point. Like Daxos, if this slips under $.50, consider me a buyer.

 

Underworld Cerberus

Underworld Cerberus: Cerberus is one of those cards that has a lot of disconnected moving parts that makes him tremendously difficult to properly evaluate. Cards like this are notorious for being misunderstood early on because of their complexity, only to shoot up in playability (and price) once people realize just how powerful they are.

Woofy is the only mythic rare in the set that has a real chance of seeing a considerable and sustained rise from his prerelease price, and the only mythic I’ll be trading for at FNM this week. I’m not sure exactly if he’s good enough, but I know his ceiling is higher than his floor is low.

 

Xenagos, the Reveler

Xenagos, the Reveler: My initial reaction to this card was quite poor. He read like a four mana satyr generator. As spoiler season marched on though, I began to see potential. His +1 ability is inconsequential in many decks – but not all. I’ve read several reviews that seem to focus on him as a ramp enabler, but I believe this is only a surface-level application, and ultimately not what Wizards had in mind, at least for his initial purpose. Rather than ramping into huge fatties that would otherwise be tough to cast, we want to find a way to squeeze usefulness out of an additional two to four mana a turn. You know what loves a few extra mana? Monstrosity.

Xenagos won’t even be the best GR Planeswalker in Standard, but he’s not as bad as I expected early on. His success will hinge largely on the playability of monstrous and monstrous-esque creatures. Expect Xenagos, Polukranos and Stormbreath Dragon to be best buds this fall. A safe price to trade in at will be $12 or so. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him follow Chandra’s price curve.

 

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx: You need at least three devotion to break even on tapping this land, which is not a trivial hurdle. I can’t imagine this having much of an impact in standard. Even if it does make it into Standard, what are the odds it shows up in more than one list? Due to EDH, I see this as a $1-2/$10 nonfoil/foil split. Even if EDH drives up the nonfoil price, it will take years to happen. Get rid of all yours, pick up a foil one for EDH, and don’t look back.

The Scry Lands: I wrote all about this last week. Tl;dr: buy under $3, which is where they will be shortly.

In summary, the cards I recommend you pay most attention to, in no particular order:

1. Underworld Cerberus
2. Agent of the Fates
3. Reaper of the Wilds
4. Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

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It’s My Land Drop and I’ll Scry if I Want To

By Travis Allen

The reveal of the Scrylands in Theros have been responsible for more belly-aching and nonsensical complaints (“these cards have no value! Putting them at rare is a cash grab!”) than any other Magic card in recent memory. The existence of the gates at common in Ravnica block hasn’t helped by providing a strong contrast to what some perceive as a marginally better land. My goal today is to develop an accurate concept of their power, use that concept to prove that a bunch of people are stupid, and then finally discuss common trajectories of rare land cycles in Fall sets.

Consider a Scryland relative to Serum Visions. Serum Visions is frequently played in Modern now that one of the best cantrips ever, Preordain, is banned. It’s completely playable and would unquestionably be a significant portion of the standard metagame were it reprinted in Theros (which there’s still time for.) 

Serum Visions
Serum Visions

Let’s start with scenario A, where you keep a 7 card hand with 2 lands and Serum Visions. You put a Hallowed Fountain into play and tap it to cast Serum Visions. You immediately draw a card, and then scry 2. You end up with 6 cards in hand, 1 land in play tapped, 18 life, and fixed the top 2 of your library.

In scenario B, you have a 7 card hand where 1 of those lands is the UW Scryland. You put it into play tapped, and scry 1. You keep the card or you ship it to the bottom. You end up with 6 cards in hand, 1 land in play tapped, and you fixed the top card of your library.

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In scenario A, Serum Visions is similar to Gitaxian Probe in a way – you’re going to replace it with the top card of your deck, but you don’t actually know what that card is. Is it removal? A threat? More mana? We don’t have that knowledge yet. So more accurately, you have 6 cards that are known, and a 7th that is a mystery card. This is in contrast to scenario B, in which you have complete knowledge of what your 7 available cards are. This has a not-insignificant impact on your ability to make mulligan decisions. For example, what about an opening 7 card hand with 3 Serum Visions? You really only know 4 cards at that point.

In scenario B, you know exactly what your hand looks like. If you have 4 Scrylands, you know for sure you’re hitting your first 4 land drops. Along the way, you’re going to be monitoring your top card in an attempt to not draw something you don’t want.

Another way to consider the side effect of impreciseness of information is to consider a 1 land hand. A 1 land hand with Serum Visions is far riskier than a 1 Scryland hand. A 1 Scryland hand is pretty easily a mulligan. A 1-lander with Serum may entice you to keep, and if you don’t have a land in the top 4 cards, you’re in real trouble.

Returning to our original scenarios, which fares better, the Serum or the Scryland? There’s definitely value in scrying an extra card deeper, especially so for a combo deck that just wants to get as deep as possible for particular pieces. However, the more accurate information of the Scryland certainly has value. There are plenty of 1-land Serum Visions hands people have kept and promptly lost because they expected it to do too much work.

Overall, I’d say that in your opening hand, a Serum Visions is reasonably better than a Scryland if piloting a combo deck. In a control deck, the margin between them is considerably thinner.

How about late in the game? Say it is turn 9+, and both you and your opponent are now topdecking. 

Temple of Mastery
Temple of Mystery

In scenario X, you draw your Serum Visions. You pay 1 mana to immediately draw the next card, and you then scry 2, hoping to move lands and irrelevant spells to the bottom of your library. You effectively drew 1 card (the Serum doesn’t really count, since you immediately replace it,) tapped 1 mana, and you scryed 2.

In scenario Y, you draw a Scryland. You put the land into play tapped, and either keep or ship the top card of your library. You end up with 1 additional mana which is tapped, and you scryed 1.

Scenario X sounds a lot better, but wait a moment. What if the card you drew off the Serum Visions was a land? You put it into play, and now you’re in a very similar situation to the Scryland play – 1 tapped land, an additional one in play, and now new cards in hand. You did scry one extra card deeper, though. This is objectively better, but that doesn’t mean it is better in every situation.

Imagine your opponent has no threats on board and your scry sees a land on top and the new Murderbore second from the top. You ship both because you don’t need either; at this point you want a threat. Then your opponent rips a creature, and you find yourself wishing you still had that Murderbore. If you had only scryed 1, you would have shipped the land, and then drew the Murderbore at exactly the right time. This isn’t to say that scrying for 1 is better than 2, but simply that occasionally you will burn yourself by having to make decisions about the game state several turns down the road with very imperfect information.

So far, it sounds like Serum Visions is basically better than the Scryland in both the early game and the late game. However, that isn’t taking into account a very important factor – the Scrylands don’t cost you a card. When you put 4 Serum Visions into your deck, you’re down to 56 cards left. The Scrylands, however, are slotted in as lands.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that lands with added value are incredibly potent. What other lands have functioned as spells? Kessig Wolf Run, Moorland Haunt, and the rest of their Innistrad Ilk have this feature. The manlands from Worldwake, which saw heavy Standard play and continue to see moderate Modern play, are also lands that grant additional value. Most recently, Mutavalt in M14 fills this role. Historically, most lands that have any sort of additional spell function make a good run in Standard.

While Serum Visions is often better than a Scryland, it is a spell and a spell alone. It provides velocity and mild card selection, but costs you information in your opening hand, card slots, and mana. In contrast, the Scrylands are about 1/4th to 3/4th as good as a Serum Visions depending on the situation, but are stapled onto lands so their effect is essentially free. Take a gander at Eyes of the Watcher, which gives us a foundation that scry 2 is worth roughly 1 mana. From this, it is fair to say scry 1 is worth roughly half a mana. The cost to playing these lands is the tempo loss of being forced to play it tapped, which all but the most dedicated aggro decks can often afford. This means that every time you put a Scryland into play, you’re getting roughly half a mana’s worth of value for roughly free. How many other lands can claim this?

There are a lot of nuances to understanding exactly how good the Scrylands will be in various decks and various situations, and Pat Chapin will probably provide better insight than I, but I hope this general discussion will illustrate that the Scrylands are considerably stronger than many out there would have you believe.

Now that we’ve established that they’re not just a “blatant cash grab” we want to consider their financial trajectory. What can we expect out of them early on, and what does their price life look like a year from now?

There are a lot of examples to look back on to answer these questions, the most recent just a quick hop back in time to Innistrad, and before that, Scars of Mirrodin. Both the Innistrad Enemy Checklands and the Scars of Mirrodin Fastlands had considerably similar price histories. During prerelease, they preorder for somewhere between $4 and $10.

As the set becomes drafted and copies begin flooding into the market, prices start dropping. They see some amount of play, but because they’re available in such quantity, and the previous set land prices have risen, they remain suppressed in value. Isolated Chapel and friends were all well under $4, some even dipping below $2 at times. The SOM Fastlands did the exact same thing; I clearly recall seeing Seachrome Coasts being under $2 at one point.

The lands hit their floor typically in early spring. As we approach Summer, players begin to dump their rotating lands from the prior set, and the Magic market as a whole collectively realizes that the only lands they’ll have available to them in September will be the [Fastlands/Checkands/Scrylands.] Prices begin to tick up slowly over the summer, and once fall hits, the lands take turns spiking hard as decks of the appropriate colors show up with a full playset. Isolated Chapel was nearly $20 at one point, as were Seachrome Coast and Darkslick Shores.

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Finally, after enjoying their time in the sun (which is actually autumn and winter), the following spring rolls around, and the circle of life continues. They too follow the footsteps of the prior set’s lands, just as those did one year earlier. Looking backwards, the Shocklands have followed this exact trajectory to date, and are poised to break out in short order. Before them, the Checklands, the Fastlands, and the Zendikar fetches have behaved accordingly.

There is no reason to expect the Scrylands to deviate from this pattern. They’re preording for $5-$9 at the moment, but they’ll be sub-$3 soon enough. I’ll personally be vacuuming them up as soon as they dip that low, and if I see any hit $1.50 on a retail site, there’s a chance I’ll go deep – several hundred dollars deep.

On a completely unrelated and final topic, I’m disappointed that the B&R list didn’t have any changes to a non-pauper format. The formats may be reasonably stable, but there is no reason they couldn’t have shaken things up with some low-impact unbans in Legacy. It leads me to believe that they simply weren’t thinking about it rather than they closely examined their options and chose to do nothing.

See you next week when I do a (mostly) full review of Theros.

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Anticipating the 2013 Fall Banned and Restricted List Update

By Travis Allen

As Theros nears, it’s almost time for another visit to the Banned and Restricted list. Updates to the Banned and Restricted (B&R) list are responsible for some of the fastest and most severe price changes in Magic finance. It occurs at a very specific time (midnight) on a very specific site (dailymtg) amidst the cacophony of the F5 key being mashed by devoted mages everywhere. The changes have immediate impacts. There’s no need to spend time considering how a card influences a metagame; when a card is unbanned it simply skyrockets in price. Whether it will be any good at all or not is completely irrelevant. Midnight at the B&R corral is entirely a “shoot first and ask questions later” scenario.

Today we’ll look at reasonable candidates for removal from the list, and the consequences of those cards being unbanned. If I don’t reference a card, it’s because I don’t consider the likelihood of it being unbanned at this time enough to warrant discussion.

One last thing – Jace isn’t getting unbanned. Don’t ask about it.

Modern

Wild Nacatl – Wizards originally cited a concern that Nacatl reduces diversity by eventually forcing all green-based aggressive strategies to be quite similar. Well, a great deal has changed since then, and the result is that we have basically no green aggro/zoo at this point.

Wild Nacatl: Duel Decks Ajani vs Nicol Bolas

At this point the soup du jour for getting into the red zone is Robots. There’s been a little RG Aggro that pops up now and then, but it’s a fringe player at best. Wild Nacatl would have the chance to put green-based aggressive decks back on the map again and help temper the significant amount of combo roaming the Modern landscape.

Wild Nacatl will be unique on this list in that she herself will not vary much in price if she is allowed back into Modern. As a common, there isn’t much room for growth. The pack foils and promo will see a slight uptick at best. Additionally, looking back at old Zoo lists before she was banned there appears to be very few rares in those lists that aren’t still seeing solid play, so none of her old cronies are poised to see a huge upswing if she returns.

As best as I can tell, the biggest winner if Wild Nacatl is unbanned is Domri Rade. He’s already showing up in Modern, and Nacatl would cement him as a legitimate contender in the format. Domri is starting to push $25 already, and could easily end up the best Planeswalker in standard. Nacatl pushing him harder in Modern could send him into the $30-$35+ range pretty easily. Unfortunately, as speculators it’s tough to put so much capital into a card with a profit margin of around $5. You’ll want to own a playset, but I wouldn’t go much deeper than that.

Honestly, beyond Domri, I’m not sure what else is a hot pickup if Nacatl is unbanned. I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments of a card I’m overlooking that isn’t already justifying its price tag.

Bitterblossom – I’m no fan of the fae myself, but I recognize that Bitterblossom would unquestionably give rise to a new (old) contender. It’s assuredly a riskier choice than Nacatl, and may end up proving to be too much, but given the relative diversity of Modern right now Wizards may be willing to try adding a little spice. Enabling fae would certainly help reign in the combo decks a bit, just as Nacatl would.

Where is the money to be made with a Bitterblossom unbanning? The non-promo itself is already $15-20, so like Domri, even if it rises in price we’re unlikely to see our investment even double. Obtaining a playset of these if you’re interested in the deck is safe, but hardly lucrative. Vendilion Clique is already obscenely priced, so that’s not particularly a good spec target. Our best bet would be a rare that is seeing no play at all right now, but would be a major player in fae.

Mistbind Clique
Mistbind Clique

My choice for this role is Mistblind Clique. Due to the champion trigger, she’s unplayable without a critical mass of faeries, but in a Bitterblossom deck, champion may as well be advantageous. As a 4/4 Time Walk that gets even sillier with Restoration Angel, a card that faeries would probably want anyways, Mistbind is fertile ground at only $3. What makes this particularly safe is that it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Mistbind do anything in a real format and she’s still $3, so that appears to be her real floor for the time being, meaning you can’t lose much on an investment. If Bitterblossom gets unbanned, Mistbind could easily break $10, and $20 isn’t inconceivable.

Interesting note: good luck finding foils of this card. As of this writing, TCG has 0, SCG has 1 SP JP, ABU has 1 NM and 1 SP, and eBay has 1 JP.

 

Legacy

Earthcraft – I’m not sure this card actually does anything in Legacy, which makes it a great card to remove from the B&R list. I think we are well beyond the point that a 2-3 card combo that requires a basic land would have any meaningful impact in that format. If it’s unbanned it will double or triple in price, but then what? A viable competitive deck will almost undoubtedly fail to materialize, so after an initial jump it will spend months dwindling down. Make sure that if you’re holding any when/if this is unbanned, you sell into the hype immediately.

Memory Jar – Many are aware that this card has the honor of being the only one in Magic history to be emergency banned. However, that was in Urza’s Legacy, and Tolarian Academy was in the set prior. Yes, Memory Jar draws you 7 cards. It also costs 5 mana. Would it be unbelievably broken? Unlikely. It would certainly be riskier than a card like Earthcraft but that doesn’t preclude Wizards from finding out.

Memory Jar itself would be the biggest beneficiary of it being unbanned, easily surpassing $15-$20.

Mind Twist – By the time you’re casting this in a way that makes it better than Hymn, it’s taking your entire hand to do it. Sure your opponent has no cards left, but neither do you, except for maybe a City of Traitors or a Grim Monolith. And that is the best case scenario. Mind Twist is a relatively safe unban, and most Legacy enthusiasts agree.

The financial impact would be very similar to Earthcraft. We’d see prices severely increase ($8-20), but when it fails to put up results, it will slowly tick down. Again, sell into the hype immediately.

Mind’s Desire – This is my favorite card on this list for a few reasons. First of all, the judge promo is phenomenal looking. Second, I simply think the card is cool when viewed through a kitchen table lens. Third, the card is comfortably under $1. If Mind’s Desire is unbanned, $15 each seems easy, as any Desire deck would want four. This card is super cheap to get in on, and has a gigantic upside.

Mind's Desire Judge Promo
Mind’s Desire Judge Promo

Before the comments fill up with people exclaiming this card is buh-roken, consider it relative to Ad Nauseam. Mind’s Desire needs 6 mana, 2 of which are blue, and a healthy storm count. Ad Nauseam needs 5 mana, 2 of which are black. The biggest point in Mind’s Desire’s favor is that a single FoW won’t stop it as it will Ad Nauseam. Given the extra work you have to do in order to cast the card however, that doesn’t seem unreasonable.

Mystical Tutor – This was banned on considerably dubious grounds due to Reanimator, and that deck is hardly crushing Legacy. We have a good idea of what the format looks like with it back, so it’s not a complete unknown in the same way something like Memory Jar would be. The biggest threat with this card is probably Show and Tell. if Mystical Tutor is unbanned, it may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in regards to getting S&T banned.

Around $4-$5, the upside on this is probably about double. Not only was it in FTV, It was uncommon in both Mirage and 6th Edition, which has a very real impact on the quantity available. I would be picking these up in trades for cheap if possible, but I probably wouldn’t put much cash directly into them.

Tolarian Academy – One of the most feared lands of all time and the frosty harbinger of combo winter. There is little consideration given to why this is banned; a simple “It’s Tolarian Academy” will suffice. However, this article by Carsten Kotter from last year has a great explanation of why the card is probably (mostly) fair. It’s certainly a few levels above Earthcraft, but it’s entirely possible it isn’t a Survival of the Fittest.

Financially? Gaea’s Cradle is ~$130. The sky’s the limit.

Worldgorger DragonWorldgorger sets up an infinite loop with something like Animate Dead, so you get infinite mana and infinite ETB triggers. In order to accomplish this however, you need to get Worldgorger into your graveyard, reanimate it with Animate Dead, and dodge your opponent having counterspells, creature removal, or graveyard removal. At that point, isn’t Griselbrand or Jin-Gitaxis just better?

Like Mind’s Desire, he’s comfortably under $1 which leaves a huge amount of room to grow, regardless of performance. Immediately sell any and all copies into the hype.


I mentioned it briefly before, but this article by Carsten is a great look at the Banned and Restricted list. There are a lot of cards on those lists that we just assume are there for a good reason, but haven’t truly considered in quite some time. It’s a fun read.

  • Stormbreath Dragon is the real deal. Did you notice that Pat Chapin’s article today (premium required) over on SCG had him in nearly every single deck that made red mana?
  • Nimbus Maze has been confirmed to not be in Theros, so sorry if you wasted $40 on a foil playset like I did.
  • There was a post on Reddit about Savageborn Hydra being a decent spec target. I definitely agree. While it’s not guaranteed he jumps while in Standard, the precedent is there to at least double your money by the time he rotates.
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City of Traders: Transparency

By Travis Allen

When I’m learning something new, I always find it extremely helpful to view examples. Seeing a concept or skill in action really helps cement the learning process for me, whether it’s finding a derivative or changing the oil on a motorcycle. So in light of that, today I’ve decided to show you exactly what I am personally holding on to. You’ll see every single card I’ve got stashed away in my “not trading” box. These are cards that for whatever reason I’ve pulled out of trade binders and sale lists and am squirreling away until they rise in price.

This type of transparency will not only act as an example of speculating, but provide total insight into exactly where I’ve chosen to put my Magic dollars. Recently I’ve started posting my shopping carts after I make a purchase on my personal Twitter account over at @wizardbumpin. This is an extension of that visibility. There is no liability when sitting in a lofty throne proclaiming things a worthy purchase, but it’s entirely different to put your money where your mouth is and show people exactly what choices you yourself have made. I hope through my increased visibility I will have to be more accountable to the public, and consequently myself.

Many of these cards were traded for rather than purchased outright. It’s important to diversify, so you’ll see a large number of piles but some are of very few cards. I would like, for instance, more Omniscience, but I just haven’t seen enough in binders to acquire more. It’s also not an entirely exhaustive list, as personal playsets are not shown, extras in decks at the moment, cards I’ve lent out, etc. Let’s hop in!

 

Standard

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We begin with one of my safest holds. I’ve got roughly 60 spare Shocklands across the 10 varieties. These guys have already bottomed out, and it looks like they may start to make their move pretty soon. They’ll all see their day in the sun at $15 or more, and as each one pops into my trade binder they will go.

 

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This is a card I wish I had more of. Zegana has an awesomely powerful effect, and is dirt cheap right now.

 

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Special promos like this plains occasionally creep up, and this one seems to have already started. I recall grabbing them for $1 back around the time they came out, and they’re up to $3 now. If they don’t climb though, I’m not losing much by having a few dollars’ worth of cards hang around.

 

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Temporal Mastery is kind of a miss for me. I picked them up when they were a bit more than they are now, anticipating them seeing play once more before rotation. It’s obvious that opportunity came and went, so now they’re a long hold. Time Walk effects are still pretty awesome, with Time Warp and Time Stretch each being $5. Temporal Mastery has the added benefit of the miracle trigger, which has a non-zero chance of becoming playable in Modern. If that ever happens, it will probably hit $15+.

 

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I was snatching up Vraska at $4-5 wherever I could. If she sees play in Standard, awesome. If not, I wait 6 months after rotation and trade them away for $10.

 

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Scavenging Ooze isn’t done rising yet, and I’m reasonably confident all copies will end up above $20 at some point. The only reason I don’t have more is that it’s tough to buy in at $14 for maybe $6 in profit on each.

 

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Deathrite Shaman and Scavenging Ooze make Angel of Serenity a little less exciting than she was before. I may hold onto her for a little while, but if she still hasn’t made a move by the first of the year, I may just go ahead and toss her in the binder.

 

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I’ve spoken before about Exava with Kalonian Hydra. She’s under $1 right now, so there’s no real reason to trade her yet. I’m hoping for $3-5 each before I let her go.

 

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Plasm Capture is a $.70 Mana Drain. I just ordered 17 more. The worst case scenario is I buylist them for $1 at some point down the road.

 

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Easy casual fodder, and with Standard likely slowing down significantly after rotation, Master Biomancer may have time to shine.

 

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I’m not sure where all of my copies of Griselbrand got to. I think someone is borrowing them. In any case, $10 feels like this guy’s floor. He sees too much play as a combo piece in both Modern and Legacy to not start creeping up.

 

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Armada Wurm is an absolute face crusher, and is only $2-3 to boot. The upside on this guy is so high I’m willing to take the risk that he doesn’t move.

 

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I started picking up Mizzium Mortars when they were under $2. Their ceiling is probably $5, but with Bonfire gone there’s a lot more room for this card to grow.

 

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Blood Baron, despite experiencing relatively minimal Standard play, has absolutely refused to drop in price. That means there is another factor here keeping him afloat, likely casual demand. I don’t feel like I can really lose much holding onto him to see if he does more post rotation.

 

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A lonely Progenitor Mimic, he’s in the same camp as Master Biomancer.

 

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Rakdos’s Return has seen a reasonable amount of Standard play so far, and a slower format bodes very well for this card.

 

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Loxodon Smiter is another card I wish I had a lot more of. He can currently be had for under $4. Meanwhile, he’s seeing heavy play in Standard right now, was absolutely everywhere in the Block PT, shows up occasionally in Modern, and even splashes into Legacy occasionally. I’m tempted to go buy a few. Hundred.

 

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Omniscience is another one I’ve mentioned in a past article. I believe $20 is very possible, so I’m waiting for a while to get there. I don’t think it will take too long.

 

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I have all of these Niv-Mizzets because I was grabbing them for $1. I figure I’ll wait and see if he goes anywhere, and if not, I should be able to at least buylist them without loss eventually.

 

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Jace, like Loxodon Smiter, was absolutely everywhere in the Block Pro Tour. It’s hard to imagine him not cresting $20 at some point.

 

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My verdict is that this will behave just like Jace and Loxodon Smiter.

 

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At $1 in trade, I like Gyre Sage. It’s a nifty card that could pretty easily be $4.

 

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I like Scion simply because of how cheap it is. I just picked up 25 at $.37 each. Someone on camera is going to cast Advent of the Wurm at end of turn, untap, then cast Scion, and they will make me some money when they do it.

 

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Lotleth Troll has seen play in all three formats, and he’s $1. It’s basically impossible to lose, so why not?

 

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Detention Sphere has a lot going for it in Theros. First of all, it’s a more powerful Oblivion Ring. Second, it’s an enchantment, which means we may be able to get paid for it. Third, it’s great against Tokens, which may be rather relevant in the coming Standard. Fourth, it deals with Indestructible Gods. Fifth, it…

 

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Deadbridge Chant is basically comparable to drawing a card every turn (ala Staff of Nin, which saw standard play), but occasionally comes with big mana savings. You can also adjust your odds with Scavenging Ooze. Could easily break $10, but even if it doesn’t, a few dollars seems possible.

 

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While Duskmantle wasn’t $1 when I grabbed him, they were still pretty cheap. It’s hard to imagine him going through all of Theros without seeing play. There are also a lot more ways to punish your opponents drawing cards/having hands in Modern, so it’s possible his break may come there instead.

 

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Similar to Vraska, Gideon is a cheap Planeswalker that could see play in Standard, and even if he doesn’t, will jump down the road due to casual demand.

 

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Another member of the $1 “why not” brigade. Bonus points for possibly being better than Griselbrand in a Through the Breach deck that doesn’t run Fury of the Horde.

 

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I don’t think I need to say anything about Deathrite that hasn’t already been said.

 

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Trostrani was a solid pickup before the Block PT when she was $3 or less. After that she doubled so I’m less aggressive about trading for her, but $10-15 is still totally viable. I’ll probably put them in my binder a week or two after rotation.

 

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I’m pretty sure I paid $.25 to $.50 each for these foil Lay of the Lands. If they see no play, it cost me a few dollars. If they do, each one is worth $4.

 

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I grab these as throw-ins where possible, since they’re unique cards that someone will be willing to pay several dollars apiece for at some point in the future.

 

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Ah, Havengul Lich. I was vacuuming these up for $3-4 when I was hoping they would spike in Standard. Like Temporal Mastery that door never opened, but I have faith (perhaps misplaced) that he will one day be $10+. Regardless of how long that takes, I will feel like a genius (unjustifiably) when it finally happens.

 

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Vorel and Renegade Krasis travel together. At less than $0.50 each, they’re fertile ground. Casual players love lords and counters, which these two have in spades. I don’t need to see much of a jump to realize a profit here, and if any form of Zvi’s BUG list shows up, they’ll likely be a part of it.

 

Modern

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I snatched up Jin-Gitaxis back when he was under $2. Since then Griselbrand was printed so Jin-Gitaxis is less of a premium reanimation target than he was, but he’s still climbed to $5 in the interim. Once he’s firmly in the $7+ range, I’ll probably move him to the binder.

 

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Regular readers of my article (all three of you) will remember me talking about Horizon Canopy a few weeks back. I ended up with a foil playset for myself, and these spares left over. If I bring a binder to GP Detroit, they will be in it.

 

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Liliana of the Veil is poised to be more expensive in 6 months than she is now. Her price is driven almost exclusively by Modern and Legacy. She may see a dip right after rotation before she hikes it back up again, and if she does, I encourage you to trade aggressively. I will be.

 

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Both Arcbound Ravager and Kiki-Jiki I was picking up for good numbers in trade a few months ago when they were a tad lower. I’m not too worried much about them being reprinted prior to the Modern PTQ season, so I’m just letting them hang out until then.

 

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Goryo’s Vengeance was a favorite of mine a year ago, but now that we have Deathrite and Ooze, I’ve had to step away. Through the Breach is the next cheaty card in Modern, and it feels like it’s hovering right on the edge of popping. Goryo’s went from $3 to $11, and I don’t doubt this would see similar movement. The only thing we’re missing is some form of reasonable fast mana, a way to cheat on splice costs, or something else I haven’t thought of.

 

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Glittering Wish showed up in what may actually have been only a single MTGO event last season, but it immediately jumped from chump change to $2+ after a bit of chatter. It’s the single legal Wish in Modern, and will only get better as more gold cards are printed.

 

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I started grabbing Pod where I could as SOM rotated, as I could see it having appeal long-term. The fact that many were reluctant to trade them only confirmed my suspicions. Frankly, I’m surprised this card is still only $5. I would expect $10-$13 really at any point between now and the PTQ season.

 

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Spellskite broke $10 last season, and it’s only been seeing more play since. It would be difficult to reprint due to the Phyrexian mana, and even if it was, it would be in some form of supplementary product, so it wouldn’t be in large volume. Recently I came across some data that says Spellskite is the second most played card in Modern! (http://www.mtggoldfish.com/format-staples/modern) I haven’t been buying above $6, but I snap them up below that.

 

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I grabbed Shadows right before the spike. I’m in no rush to get rid of them, so once the PTQ season rolls around I’ll ship them to someone desperate.

 

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GSZ is an old pickup, back from before it was banned in Modern. I really liked it at that time, too. I suppose I should probably move this to the trade binder. With the recent printing of it in FTV 20, we are a long ways off from seeing any more action on this card.

 

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Should Bitterblossom ever become unbanned in Modern, or even another real faerie enabler be printed, I expect Mistbind to be very popular. It’s basically a Time Walk stapled to a 4/4, and it plays exceptionally well with Restoration Angel. I’m not sure how a deck wins after getting Cliqued, then Resto bouncing Clique.

 

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Ancestral Visions were obtained before an early Modern Banned/Restricted list update, when I was expecting it to be unbanned. Here we are some two years later, and I still have them. On the one hand, if it was unbanned, I’d make some money. On the other hand, it would be legal in Modern, which if Gerry T is to be believed, would be miserable for everyone involved. I’m not sure what I prefer here.

 

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Whoops. I’d move these to the trade binder, but what’s even the point?

 

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Moving along.

 

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I picked these up before they showed up as an FNM promo, and I was pretty excited about it. They were the chase uncommon for an underdrafted set, and were seeing play in every single format. Path to Exile was a $5 uncommon, so why couldn’t this be? To be honest, I’m still not sure why it never climbed much higher. At this point the demand is low, so I may as well sit on them to see if the price goes up.

 

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The SOM Fastlands, along with Birthing Pod, were cards I was grabbing as much of as possible after rotation. They were dirt cheap and had been showing up in Modern. They’ve all ticked up a bit since then, particularly Blackcleave Cliffs. Eventually these are going to pop, and I’ll be quite happy when they do.

 

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I’ve discussed these a few times, but the short version is that with the move of the Modern PTQ season, I’ll likely be selling them after the first of the year.

 

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I can probably move these to the trade binder at this point; I don’t think they’re going anywhere.

 

Legacy

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It’s a land that makes a lot of mana and it’s on the reserved list. I haven’t been hunting them, but when I come across them in a collection, I’ll set them aside.

 

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Honestly, I should have sold these when they last spiked, but I was out of town at the time. Now I have to wait again.

 

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I’ll be covering Mind’s Desire probably next week, when I talk about Banned/Restricted changes.

 

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Like Mind’s Desire, I’ll speak to these next week.

 

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Also a B&R card.

 

  • Serra’s Sanctum has quietly been sneaking up since the Legend change, and is now $40. I hope you grabbed yours already.
  • Thassa feels like the strongest card in Theros as of 9/2/13. An enchantment that had Scry 1 on every upkeep would be fair at 1U, so you’re basically paying 1 mana for the entire rest of the card. Preorders are $17 which is a pricy gambit, but I’m watching this like a hawk.
  • Ensnaring Bridge is quietly one of the best cards in Modern right now. I’m not sure how much it could really peak with three printings, but it may not have finished climbing yet.
  • Foil Nimbus Maze is all but gone from TCGPlayer, SCG, and eBay.
  • As soon as I saw Magma Jet as a probable reprint, I grabbed 6 Fifth Dawn foils at $5.50 each. I now don’t see any available at less than $10, and if it starts out seeing play in the new Standard, it could go as high as $15.

Edit: I originally forgot to include all of my sealed product, so here it is at a glance:

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