Tag Archives: Kaladesh

The Mythics of Kaladesh

Oh that new set smell!

Right now, we know almost all of the mythics. As of this writing, there are still two to go, and I’ll add those in next week. It’s a curse, having the Friday article!

I’m going to go over these thirteen cards and give my predictions of what it’ll be when Aether Revolt is done in six months, when supply on these will be at their maximum.

Saheeli Rai – Preordering for $20 or so, and that sounds about right. She’s cheap at three mana, and we keep having to learn this lesson about three-drop planeswalkers. However, while I like what she does, I don’t think she keeps this price. She doesn’t defend herself at all, but is fantastic when you can keep her safe. She also requires a deck with artifacts in order for her ultimate to be good.

That being said, I have to add a caveat: red-blue artifact shenanigans made Dack Fayden good enough for Vintage play, so that’s on my radar. I freely admit that I don’t know enough about that format, but I do know that Commander demand alone will keep her price above $10, though not to $15.

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter – This is a crazy good card. At worst, she adds ‘reveal and draw a card’ to all spells. At best, she gives every spell cascade. I can’t wait to jam her into every Simic deck, and the card advantage she offers will keep her right between $5 and $10, though I suspect the foils are going to be quite pricey, likely $30+.

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship – A very powerful card, especially since you get the three damage on the first cast. It’s preordering for around $5, and I feel that’s a pretty stable price range. It might go down a buck or two, but it’ll see just enough play to keep this price.

Angel of Invention – I love an instant army, and it’s great to have the flexibility of counters or Servo tokens. This is also in the $5 range, and I actually think it’s going to creep upward in price a little as these are fantastic in multiples. I don’t think it’ll be breaking $10 though.

Metallurgic Summonings – Hang on to your hats, I think this is one of the most impactful cards in the set. It offers spell-heavy decks an incredibly powerful benefit. It’s five mana, meaning it might not make Legacy waves. It would be amazing with just the ‘gain some tokens’ ability, but it also offers the mega-Regrowth effect once you’ve cast enough spells! This is going to jump into lots of Commander decks, and the foil is going to be $20+ easily.

Demon of Dark Schemes – Fantastic card, but tough to cast and slow and grindy. The definition of an awesome Commander card, and one that will hold its $3 price pretty well.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance – There’s no doubt the card is flexible and incredibly powerful. What’s in doubt is this price tag. It’s preordering for fifty, even sixty dollars, and that’s too high. She’s going to have to prove herself in Modern and Legacy to have a prayer of holding that price, as she’s a big-set mythic. Liliana, the Last Hope is going to stay high as a small-set card, but Chandra is going to have a much greater supply. I think she’s going to drop significantly, and will be between $20-$25 when we are done with this block.

Nissa, Vital Force – Sure, she’s able to ultimate the turn after you play her, and that’s nice, but it doesn’t affect the board. Her plus ability does let you accelerate a turn of mana, and getting things back is nice, but she’s five mana. I think she’s going to follow a path like Sorin, Grim Nemesis, and drop a bit below ten bucks.

Cataclysmic Gearhulk – If your biggest problem is a swarm of creatures, this is amazing. If you’re dying to one big flier, this does nothing. It’s not a wrath, and don’t confuse it with one, because their best creature is staying. As a result, I don’t think this will see a lot of play, and drop into the $2 range.

Torrential Gearhulk – Snapcaster Mage is better, let’s get that out of the way. It’s relatively rare to have hugely expensive instants that need to be recast. Gather Specimens? This is a fun card, and can be built around for value, but I don’t think it’ll ever be unfairly powerful. Most likely scenario is blue-black, casting this to recast a removal spell. The quality of instants directly affects the quality of this card, and I expect this to drop to below $3.

Noxious Gearhulk – This is a great big awesome creature, catching you up on the board, gaining you life, and requiring two blockers. Really impressive, and something that is going to make people figure out how to do this and Eldrazi Displacer in the same deck. It’s preselling for about $6, and I don’t see that falling more than a buck or two.

Verdurous Gearhulk – Another great Displacer target, this is, at worst, five mana for an 8/8 trample. It’s preselling for a couple bucks more, but because it can’t do much on its own, I expect to see the price tumble significantly, landing below $5.

Long-Term Thinking

So the Pro Tour was last weekend, and now we are in for a long lonely spell until Kaladesh

…oh yeah. We are still in the throes of a very expensive summer to be a Magic player.

From the Vault: Lore is coming out next weekend, and I can’t remember the last time one of these was so ho-hum. Sure, it’s the first foiling for some of these, but the niche of people who need a Dark Depths or an Umezawa’s Jitte is relatively small. Plus, neither of those are particularly expensive cards.

At least FTV: Angels last summer has some sweet new art Akromas to tempt us with. This looks more like FTV: Barely Worth Retail.

Conspiracy spoilers have already started (the Ghost Assassin!!), and that I’m pretty stoked for. I want to warn you now: Don’t get caught in a trap like I did and start trading for all the assorted ‘draft matters’ cards like Cogwork Librarian. Those haven’t budged in price at all since that set came out, much to the chagrin of my foils.

But what I want to talk about this week is a topic I’ve only recently come to appreciate: how Wizards R & D plants seeds across sets for the stuff that’s coming up.

To get the sense of what I mean, I want to talk about a card that was good when it came out, good with the sets that came later, and good with the last set it’s legal with.

Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy is an awesome Magic card. It’s cheap, could block if you wanted or needed, lets you cycle through your deck, and then turns into a planeswalker who locks things up nicely. It’s a powerful card all by itself, and strong enough to make waves in Modern and Legacy, not just Standard.

Consider this your regular reminder to pick these up at sub-$30 prices and be prepared to reap the profits in a year. If decks are powering out Gurmag Angler and Tasigur, the Golden Fang on turn two or three, then JVP has a real chance to be flipped by then.

What else is Jace good with? Madness. Delirium. Self-mill, like Gather the Pack and Grapple with the Past. Cards that want to be in the yard, like Kozilek’s Return and Prized Amalgam. Only because hindsight is 20/20 can we see how good it is with a range of abilities and card mechanics.

Until very recently, I hadn’t learned to appreciate the sneaky-brilliant nature of the game designers that work in Seattle, but I’m aware now. More to the point, I don’t want to get caught out. I want to have a better time anticipating what is good and will remain good in the future.

A few weeks ago, when I was guesting on MTG Fast Finance, I picked foil Eldrazi Mimic at about $6 as a long-term hold, because I love how good Legacy Eldrazi decks are. Still do, as a matter of fact. A couple weeks after that, my compatriot Travis Allen picked nonfoils at 75 cents to a dollar, because they are good with these huge Emerge creatures, but both of us missed a very salient point:

Eldrazi Mimic only cares that the creature is colorless. It doesn’t have to be an Eldrazi, or something with devoid. It could be an artifact creature, and oh look, Kaladesh is going to have an artifact theme!

This is brilliant forethought from Wizards, and once you start looking at it, and thinking about it, you realize that they have been doing this for years! Remember the glory days of Mono-Black Devotion? Gray Merchant of Asphodel plus Nightveil Specter? Who knew that hybrid symbols could be so incredibly relevant? Wizards did.

I don’t claim to be smart enough to have figured out all the plants ahead of time. I do know that I am taking a hard look at cards that notice colorlessness (like Sanctum of Ugin) versus those that are specifically looking for Eldrazi (Kozilek’s Return). I truly love when a plan comes together, like the UR Spells deck that for some reason isn’t playing Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh. It seems like a better Thermo-Alchemist, and playing her is a total blast. I’m enjoying Standard for the first time in a long time. Powerful cross-block synergies is what Wizards is planning for, building, and anticipating. Unlocking that knowledge, and looking for those interactions, is something I want to get better at.

Also, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Shadows over Innistrad gave us token, disposable artifacts right before an artifact-themed block. Tireless Tracker is probably the best, but Tamiyo’s Journal or Magnifying Glass might become super-relevant.

The two sets after Aether Revolt, if I were to speculate, will have something to do with sacrificing. I don’t know what, but I know that Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon certainly are encouraging us to discard and sacrifice creatures, and I won’t be surprised at all if that’s the theme in nine months or so. Probably it will be enough to reinvigorate our interest in Emerge or Voldaren Pariah or something like that.

PROTRADER: Inaugural Announcement Day

By: Travis Allen

I wasn’t sure what to write about this week, and then at 10:40am Monday morning, Sam Stoddard rolled this gem out.

Six new announcements! That’s a lot of hoopla. Let’s run through them one by one.

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expensive cards

ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Grinder Finance – Holy announcements, Batman!


So you get all that?  Wizards of the Coast is now moving to a new product announcement schedule (once in the spring and once in the fall) and announcing the whole next block and supplemental products.  What does that mean for us?  Well there won’t be any speculation or leaks coming before anyone would otherwise know.  If there’s a Modern Masters 2017 (as many assume), we will find out in September.

kaladesh logo

Well what do we know about Kaladesh?

chandra nalaar

It’s the home plane of Chandra Nalaar.  Presumably she will be the focal point of the story.

HangarbackThopter Spy

These cards are also from Kaladesh.  The blue and red thopter themed cards from Magic Origins give us a glimpse into what kind of world Kaladesh will probably be.

kaladesh art book

This art piece from the art book shows a very steam punk feeling with an unusual mechanical elephant.  While I can only hope that elephant is some how the reincarnation of Siege Rhino, it is clear there will be  heavy artifact theme in Kaladesh.  Clue tokens will be particularly useful if there is a mechanic that cares about how many artifacts you have.  Examples are Affinity for Artifacts and Metalcraft, the former of which is almost certainly not in the set.  Outside of artifact synergies and some colorless synergies I don’t know what else may come from the set.


Intro Packs/Planeswalker Decks

That’s not the only thing Kaladesh is bringing us.  Planeswalker decks (mock up pictured above) are going to replace Intro Packs for new sets starting with Kaladesh.  These decks will be similar to the 30 card starter packs that are given for free to new players.  The two decks will be 2 color themed Planeswalker decks and include 4 new cards not available in the corresponding expansion set.  In Mark Rosewater’s article, here, he explains that these cards should not be good enough to see competitive play but rather be very flashy for casual play.  I think it’s only a matter of time before a planeswalker in these decks is just a tiny bit too strong and it will be very expensive.  Preconstructed decks being the only source of a card has bit Wizards of the Coast in the butt before.  True-Name Nemesis was the worst case scenario where it was only included in 1 of 5 decks (and you have to order cases in sets of 5 decks).  While these cards may not be financially relevant upon release, I would recommend looking to pick these planeswalkers up casually in trade because there is definitely a lot of collector value for Planeswalkers even if they’re not good.

Fat Packs

Fat packs are also being renamed to “Set Bundles.”  Starting with Kaladesh bundle, there is a slight increase in MSRP (to $43) and a few more boosters (up to 10 now) but not much else changes.  I don’t think this will make this any more or less attractive of a buy. Nonetheless, it is important to note the changes.


Nissa vs. Ob Nixilis

The next duel deck was announced.  Unfortunately they did not include either of the Planeswalker cards outside of the new art.  I have to imagine that these decks will include Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Ob Nixilis, Reignited but Wizards has suprised me before on lesser things.  At this point I don’t think you fire sale your Nissas or Ob Nixilis because they will still Presumably be very good until the release of the duel deck in 4 months.  Walker vs Walker duel decks typically sell better than Stuff vs Guys duel decks but both walkers see enough play they won’t tank.


Commander 2016 was announced to have 4 color commanders.  That’s about it.  I wouldn’t recommend buying Nephilim (the only 4 color cards) because they’re not particularly good even if you’re playing those colors.  Commander is Jason Alt’s forte so I will leave it to him to update you later in the week on things to pick up in preparation.


There’s some weird cards in Planechase.  It has the original printings of Baleful Strix and Shardless Agent.  Outside of those two, not many competitive cards are from Planechase.  I wouldn’t expect any influx of expensive Legacy or Modern cards but if you need some weird stuff for your cube from these sets I would wait.  I think it’s entirely possible that Shardless Agent ends up in this or the Commander release this year.


Guys, they’re getting rid of the “Ae” compound letter (that was previously used on cards like Æther Flash).  That’s pretty much all of the news for this set.  We don’t know a whole lot about Kaladesh so I am not going to even begin to speculate on a set we know even less about.

This Weekend

If you play a lot of Modern and don’t own Grafdigger’s Cages yet you will be very sad very soon.  The Modern Open in Indianapolis sported 22 copies in the top 32 decks.  That is the 10th most popular card in an extremely diverse field and the 2nd most popular dedicated sideboard card after Nature’s Claim.  This is a rare from Dark Ascension so the supply will be low enough to see a quick and violent price correction soon.  It allows any deck to cheaply interact with Nahiri, flashback (Snapcaster Mage and Lingering Souls), Chord of Calling, Collected Company, and Goryo’s Vengeance.

Nahiri is still the top of the heap as a the fastest way to win a game in Modern.  She’s got a very flexible removal mode, decent card selection ability, and an ultimate that wins the game almost instantly.  I don’t expect to see her south of $20 anytime soon so if you need copies to play  I don’t expect to get them cheap until December.  With Modern PPTQ season creeping up you may be best served investing sooner than later as we hit the 3 set stride which will cause less Shadows over Innistrad to be opened.

If Modern isn’t your thing, Standard is pretty cheap right now.  I played a sub $300 deck to the top 8 of the SCG Classic in Indianapolis last weekend.  I could have probably won if I didn’t have to get to the airport to get home.  As long as you don’t want to play Grixis Control or GW Tokens, most decks can be built for $300 or less which is a far cry from the “Grand Standard” with fetch lands.  If you’d like to play my list, you can find it here.