Tag Archives: legacy

Commander 2015 – Legacy Initial Thoughts

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Now that all the Commander 2015 spoilers have been revealed, I can’t help but notice that this year’s set is feeling pretty underwhelming to me. In fact, all things considered I can’t think of a previous Commander product that had less desirables from a Constructed standpoint. The Confluences are the closest thing to Legacy playable – if they weren’t all four mana or greater in casting cost.

I mean, think about it – even the red Confluence (Fiery Confluence) would be INCREDIBLE in Legacy if it cost just one mana less at three mana, even if that cost were 1RR. For its effect and limited amount of formats it sees play in I don’t think it would have been much to ask. However at four mana it might not be able to get there. Out of all the Confluences, I think it has the highest chance of seeing Legacy play but the jury is still out on the Confluences until results roll in.

Other than the Confluences, I’m not seeing anything pop out to me immediately as Legacy format staples like we have in the past releases (Containment Priest, True-Name Nemesis, Flusterstorm). These cards were all built with Legacy in mind, and everyone knew it even as the cards were being spoiled. I’m sure something from this set will make its way into Legacy or Vintage, so let’s take a look and see if we can make the case for any other cards in the set. First though, I want to finish my thoughts on Fiery Confluence.

Fiery Confluence

If any card makes the cut in Legacy, I think it is going to be this one since it is the cheapest. It is extremely versatile in the format and will shine best in Burn decks alongside of Eidolon of the Great Revel, though maybe out the sideboard more than the main deck since this card has more options for handling a wider range of decks. I’ve briefly mentioned some of my other thoughts on this card (and all the Confluences in general) above so let’s move along to my next pick on power level in Constructed from this set.

Karlov of the Ghost Council

This card feels like it is going to get out of hand very fast in the right deck. Unfortunately, Legacy ‘life gain’ isn’t really thing – yet. I wonder if it might slot into something like Deadguy Ale and totally transform the deck around the incredible ability.

Not only does the card get bigger, but you can eventually use those +1/+1 counters later in the game to get rid of any creature on the battlefield! All for two mana. Definitely feels like Legacy to me.

The downside to Karlov is his Legendary status, so that limits the amount of copies you could see in a deck. Still though, Karlov interacts with cards that randomly gain you life like Umezawa’s Jitte and might slot into Death and Taxes in the right metagame. I really think you need a deck built around him to make full use of his ability. Only the future will tell!

Scourge of Nel Toth

This card seems like it takes too much work to get online, but you never know. Dredge might be able to take advantage of a card like this in the right situation.  It reminds me of a cross between Tombstalker and Delraich, though better in both cases. Not only is this card a 6/6 flyer, but you only need to sacrifice two creatures rather than three black creatures.

It does take some work to get online, so Legacy might not appreciate this card immediately. We may not see it in the format, but if more support in the future is printed we could very well see this in a deck at some point.

Centaur Vincrasher

Yes, I realize that this card isn’t Dark Depths however I still feel like it could fit into Life from the Loam strategies quite well in Legacy. Lands might even be able to make use of this card, maybe out of the sideboard if the opponent still expects the Dark Depths strategy to take over the game.

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Actually, now that I think about it this card could also probably fit into other green Legacy decks as well – the centaur’s recursion triggers when any land is put into any graveyard, and fetchlands are so rampant in Legacy that it might be worth it for slower green decks to play. This guy quickly becomes huge while also having built-in recursion, which isn’t something we see very often.

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I’m sure people will experiment with this card, and I really hope this breaks into Legacy because Loam decks should be able to capitalize on the card’s great recursion, along with other decks that seek to create grindy matchups where there is a ton of removal.

Mizzix’s Mastery

This card blows Past in Flames out of the water! Being able to straight-up cast all the instants and sorceries in your graveyard rather than give them flashback is so, so much more powerful. The best part is that you can also cast it for the regular cost if you need to recast an instant/sorcery in a pinch.

I definitely think that Storm now has a new tool to play around with, and I believe it will replace the single Past in Flames copy in the deck since it is so much easier to re-cast your whole graveyard once you overload this pseudo-Yawgmoth’s Will.

An Aside – Legacy’s Future

With SCG restructuring their tournament series, in both rebranding the series and cutting back on Legacy events, it is starting to feel like more and more like Legacy is slowly going away.

Not only are the events being cut back, but we also constantly have to worry about counterfeits entering the community. I feel like we’re going to see more announcements like the one that happened this weekend at GP: Seattle as the counterfeits continue to enter the market and community at large. How many people do you think were playing with counterfeits and didn’t get caught? How many people do you think weren’t even intentionally playing with counterfeits and went unnoticed, and are even unaware of it themselves until someone with a discerning eye gives them the unfortunate news? It’s definitely a wake-up that yes, your older, reserved list cards are being created as knock-offs for fractions of the price. With such easy access to these proxies and the improvement of the creation process, I feel like more and more players are going to start to become attracted to playing with proxies as the price of the reserved list staples increases.

I think this is why Star City Games is cutting back on Legacy, as players will have less incentive to purchase these proxies if they don’t need them for a tournament setting. It sucks to think about but I think it makes the most sense. Even if it decreases the market prices of cards like dual lands, the rise of Modern as the eternal format of choice (which guarantees reprints) and the continuation and improvement of Chinese (and other) proxies means that less Legacy support makes sense in order to prevent the mass purchases of these cards for tournament play.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out in the future, but problems always have creative solutions. I’m sure if Legacy is demanded by enough players then exceptions will be made, one way or another, to keep the format alive. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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Financial Five: Magic Origins

By: Houston Whitehead

I might say it in every Financial Five article, but they just keep getting better and better at pricing cards.  Though I applaud them, I think I still found some potential gems in Magic Origins worth speculating on.

Graveblade Marauder (TCG Mid $1)

graveblade MI understand at first glance his stats are underwhelming. What justified his inclusion in this weeks FF can be wrapped up with one word. Deathtouch!  Almost any creature in the format would laugh at a 1/4, but deathtouch puts the fear in both Dragonlord Ojutai and Silumgar, the Drifting Death. Though his ability begs to be built around, it’s really not that hard in Standard to put creatures in the graveyard.  He even works well with Fleshbag Marauder and Satyr Wayfinder.  The only roadblock I can forsee in his future is Deathmist Raptor. The dino’s synergy with Den Protector would be the only leash holding back Standard play. If you couldn’t already tell, this is my favorite card in the set. He’s currently at $1 but is begging to gain value if Deathmist decreases in play.

Funny sidenote: Did you know Graveblade is a font? Here’s proof.

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Herald of the Pantheon (TCG Mid $3)

We are familiar with constellation decks from Theros block.  G/B constellation was a tier one deck for a while and I think this will at least encourage some great minds to test this cards potential with that theme.

heraldofthepantheonPlayable discounted creatures in Golgari: Boon Satyr, Courser of Kruphix, Herald of Torment, Master of the Feast, Nyx Weaver, Spiteful Returned

All of the gods, but more so, the following; Athreos, God of Passage, Pharika, God of Affliction, Erebos, God of the Dead, Nylea, God of the Hunt

Currently at $3, it’s already pulling a small amount of hype in its direction.  Gaining life ‘enchantmentfall’ shoudn’t be overlooked.  The obvious combination with Courser is sweet, but the 2/2 body is its clearest drawback.  Assuming you’re starting with the old G/B shell, Eidolon of Blossoms is a four of, but more importantly, another playset of 2/2’s.  Blocking profitably is not going to happen often so finding a way to win without taking dragons to your face is the first puzzle you have to solve.   On the surface, it seems too slow for Heroic decks. Plus, Hero of Iroas lines up better with the decks goals.   With the Pro Tour Origins kicking off on July 31st, I’d say all it takes is a deck tech to double it’s price.

Priest of the Blood Rite (TCG Mid $1)

priest of the blood riteIf Satyr Wayfinder isn’t enough fodder for you Sidisi, Undead Vizier or Fleshbag Marauder? I present to you, fodder and a Dragon-destroying Demon token (except Atarka, of course). Unless you’re playing FNM, Encase in Ice is the only ‘Pacifism’ effect in the current competitive Standard meta.

Since you’re already playing Wayfinder, what else goes well with self-mill strategies? Whip of Erebos! Whip takes away the drawback, adds lifelink to your 2/2, and leaves behind a 5/5 flying demon.  Together, they block Whisperwood Elemental and it’s first manifest creature well.  My only concern is the number of copies worth playing in a list. It clearly works best in the self-mill decks (Golgari or Sultai) but at a non-mythic rarity, it’s hard to expect a large jump even after heavy play.  Current price is $1 so a $4-5 price could come true if a whip deck finishes well in the next 2 months.

Hallowed Moonlight (TCG Mid $3.5)

hallowed moonlightThis was actually the hardest card for me to add to the list.  When it was first spoiled, It seemed way to narrow for my tastes and would end up being a meta call sideboard choice.  It’s grown on me the more and more I think about it’s potential.  It’s easy to think about when cards are good but will it be good more times than the times it’s bad.  The fact that it’s a cantrip takes most of the sting out, but did keeping two mana up on your opponents turn put you behind?  Probably not.

So what are the good times? It prevents reanimation, tokens, manifest, blinking, unearth, and Splinter Twin combo. Modern and Legacy benefit the most but Standard could justify a few sideboard slots.  I feel U/W/R modern decks benefit the most.  With Preordain and Ponder banned, these decks rely on cantrips to keep their hands full.   Most of these strategies also play most of there spells at the end of the opponents turn.  Problem is, rarity and lack of main deck potential turns this card into a long term spec.  Think of it to take a similar financial path as Shadow of Doubt.  $3.50 is the current price but I’d say you can pick them up off standard players for less during the Prerelease and release weekends.

Despoiler of Souls (TCG Mid $1)

despoiler of soulsI can’t help but look at devotion potential when I see this little guy.  Grey Merchant of Asphodel (Gary) is one of my favorite cards from Theros block.  Bloodsoaked Champion and D-Souls will obviously have great aggressive potential for Mono-Black Aggro, but the ability to bring back creatures to keep devotion high could lead to some explosive turns.

On top of those, Erebos’s Titan might not come from graveyard to battlefield but with devotion high, recasting him should be easy.  D-souls easily fits in two known archtypes, encourages you to play with a playset, and is currently prices at $1.  This price baffles me just as much as Graveblade Marauder. Yet another card that can only go up from here.

Wrap Up

If you can’t tell, black is my Magic Origins sleeper color.  If I though other cards in other color had more potential, my article would be a bit more colorful.  Alas, black is receiving additions in a variety of strategies and deck styles.  Cards that support these strategies could also see a rise but I wouldn’t underestimate what Liliana’s newly tainted necromancy will bring to the next two months of Standard.

As always thanks for reading

@TNSGingerAle


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Competitive Keeps: Theros Block

By: Houston Whitehead

I hate to be first drop before the waterfall, but I can’t help but think ahead.  We might know October 2, 2015 as the first day to spend our paychecks on Battle for Zendikar, but it’s also the day most of your Theros Block and Magic 2015 magically turn from dollars to pennies.  Just the word ‘rotation’ makes Standard players cringe worse than the last time I cursed in Sunday school. I know you’re thinking, “Dude! It’s June! Why the hell are you writing about rotation?”  In my experience, it’s a lot easier to complete trades with rotating cards when players don’t have rotation on the mind.  You’ll start noticing that ‘keep staples’ mindset right when Origins releases.  Everyone will start hoarding what rares they feel will hold value and start going out of their way to unload the rest before it completely tanks.  This makes Pre-Origins the best time to pick up rares that will keep or gain value after rotation.  Also, if Standard is the only format you play, the rest of this article is not for you.

Keep in mind these are cards worth keeping for competitive play, not casual or EDH.  Otherwise, I’d just say trade for all the gods.

 

Theros

thoughtseizeThoughtseize – Let’s start off with an easy one.  Before it’s reprint Thoughtseize (Lorwyn) fetched a ~$75 price tag.  It’s been in the $15-20 range (Theros) throughout most of its time in Standard despite the massive amount of Theros product opened. This is one of your last chances to pick them up before they start to climb again.  It’s simple the best discard spell.  Pick up as many as you can.  Currently $24 Fair Trade Price

nykthosNykthos, Shrine to Nyx – Though Nykthos has only seen fringe Modern play in Mono-Green devotion decks, the cards power is real.  WotC uses restrictive mana costs to keep powerful cards away from other colors.  No one wants play in a Boros Reckoner + Phyrexian Obliterator fight deck.  Ok, that does sound pretty sweet, but minimizing the amount of decks powerful cards can be in keeps the formats diverse.  Nykthos rewards you for playing all the restrictive CMC cards of a chosen color while also helping you accelerate them out earlier than opponents are comfortable with.  My point is, WotC isn’t going to stop printing restrictive mana costed cards. Nykthos can only get better with each new set printed.  It’s one card away from Tier one Modern play.  At worst, casual players will keep its market demand up. Currently $5 Fair Trade Price

Theros honorable mentions: Anger of the Gods, Swan Song

 

Born of the Gods

courser of K borderCourser of Kruphix – I know has only been a two-of in a few successful Modern lists.  It falls to Abrupt Decay but survives Lightning Bolt.  It’s dead weight against combo but great for creating card advantage and hitting your lands for the late game.  You know it’s power if you’ve only playing a few matches of Standard.  Speculating on a Bant control deck utilizing Courser might be a stretch, but labeling it as unplayable doesn’t seem correct either.  The current $6 price might still be a bit high, but picking up a playset for $12 at rotation shouldn’t be a bad investment. This might be the only card on this list that’s worth waiting for a lower price. Currently $6 Fair Trade Price.

spirit of labSpirit of the Labyrinth (FOIL) – Why foil? Cause, Legacy.  Legacy players love foils and Legacy foils love having oddly high prices. Foil Spirit has been a steady $10 while only seeing 1-3 copies in successful Death & Taxes lists.  In May, it dropped to $6.  D&T hasn’t put up many high places finishes in a while. But, if you play Legacy, you know the meta is always changing.  It’s only a matter of time before it falls back into favor.  With zero play in any other format, Spirit’s price has been solely dependent on the Legacy environment.  This is a good time to pick up while you can still find them.  Currently $6 Fair Trade Price.

 

Journey into Nyx

mana confluenceMana Confluence – This upgraded City of Brass will continue to take its place in Modern and Legacy decks.  It’s been as high as $20 but has mostly stayed around $10-12 during its lifetime.  I don’t predict them going that much lower but wouldn’t be surprised to see them follow a slightly slower price trajectory as Cavern of Souls. Plus, it’s a powerful non basic land. Always a worthy investment.  Currently $12 Fair Trade Price.

eidolon of the great revelEidolon of the Great Revel – Probably the best eternal playable card printed in this block. It sees four copies in both Modern and Legacy Mono-Red lists and will continue to do so.  Picking up these should be just as obvious as picking up Thoughseizes.  To be honest, you probably should have picked them up when they were $5.  Currently $11 Fair Trade Price.

 

Magic 2015

Chord of CallChord of Calling – Chord fell from $40 to $20 after its M15 reprint and has steadily decreased slowly over the past year.  Previously played alongside the villainous Birthing Pod, Chord fell when Pod was banned and never found a home in Modern Collected Company decks.  Its lack of recent play doesn’t reflect the power of this convoking tutor. Though Pod won’t be unbanned anytime soon, I think Chord will learn to stand on its own again in a future Modern meta.  Zero chance this card falls to bulk after rotation. Currently $5 Fair Trade Price.

Final Thoughts

Investing in rotating rares isn’t the quickest way to gain financial value, but it is a perfect way to acquire future format staples with a long term investment bonus. I might only have a few rotations under my belt, but I’ve made a lot of profit being patient with rotating cards like these.  I hope now you can do the same before the ‘rotation plague’ sweeps over your LGS.

As always thanks for reading

@TNSGingerAle 


 

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City of Traders: the Fiscal Axis of M14

By Travis Allen

By the time you read this, it will be a few days past the Magic 2014 pre-release. While you were all jammed together with sweaty nerds in the heat of July in card shops without air conditioning, I will have been tanning getting burned on the sunny sand of Myrtle Beach. We’re all back to the real (fantasy) world by now though, and my goal is to provide some additional perspective on the fiscal axis of M14.

Before we take a look at any specific cards, there’s a well-worn point that yet bears repeating: purchasing or trading for cards at this point in the set’s life cycle is almost unquestionably a poor choice through the lens of value. For every Sphinx’s Revelation or Voice of Resurgence, there are a lot more Armada Wurms or Koths. A set’s cards just cannot maintain the price attributed to them during the pre-release period. Anything you buy into is significantly more likely to lose value rather than gain. If your goal is to make money, you have to be exceptionally confident that you’re better at predicting a card’s trajectory than many other very intelligent people attempting to do the exact same thing. About the only time I would really recommend getting in now is if you notice a very powerful, very obscure combo that nobody else seems to have picked up on yet (e.g. Dark Depths + Vampire Hexmage.) In general, it is far more prudent to wait several weeks for the prices to settle to reasonable levels, and then jump in. If you’re picking up a playset because you need it to compete, or your goal is to hedge against future price increases, that’s understandable, but speculating this early on is a fool’s game.

A strategy I like to use for pre-releases is to go in with a plan. If I show up without any trade targets in mind, I let myself get caught up in the hype and end up trading for cards that have nowhere to go but down. Instead, sit down and open up the notepad app on your phone. Make a short list of specific cards you’d like to acquire. That way, while everyone else is chattering about the new cardboard, you can be trading your inflated property for under-valued targets that will be rising in coming weeks rather than falling. That said, let’s take a pass through the spoiler and see what catches our attention.

 

Scavenging Ooze

The reason I put this card first is because this card is b-a-n-a-n-a-s oozenanas. I’m convinced that anyone that dismisses its power level has simply never cast it. The ability on this guy ranges from tangentially useful to game-dominating. In his worst matchups, he’s a reasonable threat that keeps growing while the life-gain and graveyard-consumption will be inconsequential. In some of his better matchups, he’ll provide you enough life to race or keep your head above water against aggro. In yet others the ooze will singlehandedly shut down your opponent’s strategy by blanking their entire graveyard. Read Ooze again: it exiles any card, not just creature cards.Granted you only get the +1/+1 counter and the life from slurping up corpses, I don’t think you’ll be complaining when your ooze is happily munching on Unburial Rites or Past in Flames.He’s not a one-ride pony, either. Every girl at the party gets a turn: Scavenging Ooze is going to be even more important in Modern than Standard. Out of the top 16 decks from GP Kansas City, there was exactly one deck that didn’t care about its graveyard at all. Read that again: one out of sixteen decks had no interaction with their graveyard in Modern. The rest had some combination of diverse threats such as Tarmogoyf, Snapcaster, Kitchen Finks, or Goryo’s Vengeance. He’s going to have incidental value against a gigantic swath of the field, and be a severe threat to a significant portion. Here’s another way to appreciate his wide-spread application: in Legacy, Maverick decks cut Tarmogoyf completely for Scavenging Ooze.

What other factors are going to affect the price of the ooze? He was in the first wave of Commander precons, so there’s a small supply of him out there already. He’s also the Steam promo for DOTP, which will definitely help suppress his value. The flipside of that is the quantity of formats in which he is relevant. Most recently, the best parallel I can think of is Thragtusk. He’s a high-utility green creature against many decks, his casting cost is not restrictive, and he’s not a single-copy threat in the same vein as Aetherling. Thragtusk peaked at $30, and spent very little time at less than $10:

Thragtusk. August 2012 - July 2013.
Thragtusk. August 2012 – July 2013.

While there are fewer copies of Thragtusk in circulation, Scavenging Ooze is relevant in every real format. So overall, there will be more copies of Ooze available, but both more and longer-term demand. With that consideration, if Ooze ever gets below $10, I’d start getting in aggressively. I expect his demand will spike once the Modern PTQ season begins and he’s needed concurrently in Standard, Modern and Legacy. Even if for some reason he didn’t rebound while he’s still legal in Standard, he certainly will once M14 rotates and he continues to be a premier 2-drop in Modern.

 

Archangel of Thune

I’m a lot less excited about this card than many in the multiverse are, and I’m seeing conflicting reports. Gerry T thinks she is reasonable, but isn’t too high on her making that much of an impact. Sam Black didn’t even mention it in his set review. Meanwhile, others are hailing her as the venerated Real Deal. The closest thing I can liken Archangel of Thune to is Sublime Archangel.  Both are midrange white angels that want to beat your opponent up, and reward you heavily for having lots of bodies.  Sublime Archangel showed up a little over her tenure, although accomplished nothing of note. Having said that, Sublime Archangel spent months above $20, and only recently slipped below $10. Archangel of Thune is a mythic, an angel, and the type of player that likes angels is likely to like lifegain. Sam Stoddard also pointed out some nifty synergies with things like Seraph Sanctuary. Her usefulness really depends on what sort of methods there are to gain life. A soul warden on steroids in Theros could certainly push her over the edge. Overall, I think $30 is unwarranted, but even if she sees absolutely no play in Standard, she’ll likely be $6-10. With only transient Standard play, $15-20+ is certainly viable. This card is probably the one on the list I am most unsure of.

 

Bonescythe Sliver

He’s currently $2 on SCG. If you can get these for $1 in trade, I’d get in on it. Double Strike may as well be Alpha Strike. It never even has to do anything relevant in Standard to be worth $3-4 at some point due to it being a Sliver.

 

Burning Earth

Plenty recognize this for the gut-wrench-inducing effect it is against some players. I personally remember playing Turboland, ready to untap and unleash a torrent of spells with my 9 lands in play after finally stabilizing against a red deck. Then he cast Manabarbs, and I basically lost on the spot. This will be capable of similar gastrointestinal torment. It’s only $1 on SCG at the moment, but with only a single copy in stock. I can’t imagine ever having to take less than $1 for this in trade, and it could easily be a several dollar card, as it has a distinct chance of transcending sideboard-grade into being main deckable. This will be great to try and pick up as a throw-in from players that remember Manabarbs being a cheap card, forgetting that there were 11 printings.

 

Chandra, Pyromaster

There has already been a fair amount written about Chandra so far by others. Without reading a single word on the card, it’s important to consider the climate into which this card is released. M14 has Chandra’s face plastered all over it. I find it unlikely that Wizards would make her the central theme of a set and then put out another smoldering pile of a planeswalker. My gut feeling is that, like many planeswalkers, she’s better than people are originally giving her credit for. $25 is definitely far too much money to for us to be interested, but there’s certainly a point at which we get in. Gideon, Champion of Justice is $4, and Vraska is $7, so I’d say $5 is roughly her floor. With that in mind, keep an eye out for how she fares in the format, and look closely at anything we learn about future sets that may indicate a greater value in her abilities. There may be a lot more relevancy to “can’t block” in Theros than there is right now. It’s also worth noting that after going all out with her in M14, it’s unlikely they’ll do a complete redesign just a year later, so expect to see the Pyromaster in M15 as well.

 

Elite Arcanist

This card seems like one of the better chances to be a sleeper out of any I’ve seen so far at a mere $1. Several players who are far better than I have gone out of their way to mention how good it seems. In a format where removal is sparsely played, a 1/1 that generates a powerful effect repeatedly is king. It could end up doing nothing, but Dungeon Geists were $1 at one point too, then everyone saw Jon Finkel casting it. I’m not saying this card is Dungeon Geists, but rather we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss it.

Dungeon Geists. Feb 2012 - July 2013.
Dungeon Geists. Feb 2012 – July 2013.

 

Fiendslayer Paladin

$8 seems way too high for this guy, but I like him a lot, and not only because my inner 17 year-old thinks his art is super sweet. He’s not quite protection from Black or Red, but protection from Black and Red removal is still solid. We’ve already had a 2/2 first strike lifelink for WW before, so we’re only paying 1 for the added pseudo-protection. With Doom Blade and Shock in the M14 spoiler, he’s probably going to be safe from a majority of the removal in the format. If in the next few weeks we see Standard shift to all Doom Blades and Pillars and Incinerates, he could be great in 3-drop Hexproof with a pile of mana dorks next to Witchstalker and Geist. It’s also possible that Knight ends up being a relevant creature type in Theros. Watch this guy closely. At worst, you have a playset of sweet-looking Knights.

 

Garruk, Caller of Beasts

I haven’t read as much about Garruk as Chandra, but he seems real legit, and it’s easy to imagine scenarios where he’s just busted. A turn one elf with a Farseek sometime in the next two turns means a turn 4 Garruk, who spits out an Armada Wurm. You could have just cast the Armada Wurm, but now you get a Planeswalker that’s threatening a never-ending stream of action next turn and two blockers to make sure he gets there. There’s also the combo-esque element of him where you’re slamming Craterhoof Behemoths into a board full of elves and Elvish Archdruid, or putting Worldspine Wurm into play seven turns early (at FNM). I’d watch him closely, because if he drops below $10 at any point, a single breakout performance at a GP (likely at the hands of Brad Nelson or Brian Kibler) will quickly double his price.

 

Imposing Sovereign

A 2-mana 2-power creature is always close to castable in certain Standards. A 2-power 2-drop that puts your opponent’s ability to block behind by an entire turn is definitely playing ball.  While very similar to Blind Obedience, I’m guessing that 2-power attacker will be worth more damage than extort in most games. Reading Twitter, I get the impression this card may be slipping through some cracks at the moment. It’s preordering sold out at $3 while I write this, and it seems like it could quite easily be a $5-$8 card depending on how prominent it becomes. I’d watch this very closely, because this is the exact type of card you can get people to under-value in a trade when it starts to sneak up.

Speaking of which, I find it odd that Wizards would print this on the heels of Blind Obedience. It leads me to believe that the “no blocking” mechanic may be particularly relevant in Theros. It’s not limited to just these two cards, either. Blind Obedience and Imposing Sovereign are similar in a sideways manner to Chandra’s +1. Not blocking is shaping up to be available in several flavors at the moment. Sam Stoddard mentioned that the synergy in M14 with the fall set is a lot more subtle than Farseek and Arbor Elf were. Maybe it’s something, maybe it’s not.

 

Into the Wilds

God, I wish.

 

Kalonian Hydra

Zvi Mowshowitz was talking about this card, and when Zvi goes out of his way to discuss particular cards, I pay close attention. It has a lot of hype right now, and is sold out at $30. This number is inflated without any results, so unless it comes thundering out of the gates, expect a pretty rapid crash. As a Mythic though, it will always have the possibility of tripling in price after spiking an event. It certainly is the most competitive Hydra printed so far. It suffers from the MTGS-maligned problem of doing nothing except eating doom blade before your attack phase, but when it attacks, boy does it ever. Don’t forget that this hydra is BFFs with Corpsejack Menace, taking advantage of the replacement effect twice by the time he’s in the red zone, meaning he’s a whopping 24/24 trampler. As far as “do nothing” creatures go, he does nothing until he’s sideways and killing your opponent. Like several other powerful cards without an immediate home, this has the possibility to pull a roller-coaster. Skyrocket pre-release, crash post-release, then spike an event and skyrocket again.

 

Liliana’s Reaver

Cards of this type have historically been too weak to see play by any but the most mindless zombie aficionado, whether because they cost too much or don’t do enough when you finally get them to connect. Reaver has an outside shot at bringing honor to his genealogy though. It gives you another attacker next turn, and makes it tougher for your opponent to fight back by stripping resources. Remember when I was talking about how many ways there were to make blocking less reliable in this format? You’ve also got the semi-hyped Lifebane Zombie to remove any restorative angelic figures that may swoop in unexpectedly ahead of time. This is card I’ll definitely be trying to get as a throw-in during trades. If it goes nowhere, it won’t have cost me much, and if it does, I’ll look like a genius.

Edit: I wrote this bit about Liliana’s Reaver before I realized it was an intro pack rare. I’m leaving my initial reaction to him intact so that you can see the thought process. Let this be a lesson that it’s important to be aware of additional product Wizards is putting out and the impact that product will have on card prices. All in all, that piece of information sets his ceiling a little lower than I anticipated; perhaps around $4-5. Still, there’s room to profit on him as good throw-in fodder.

 

Mutavault

$15 for this card is close to the cheapest it has ever been. Mutavault been a player in Legacy for years. It hasn’t done too much in Modern yet, but that’s to the surprise of many. That format is rather combo-heavy at the moment, but if Wizards decides to push things back towards battling again, it could quickly become a big player. I can definitely see it seeing play in a basic-heavy list alongside Burning Earth. Helping it’s case is that almost any deck that wants one Mutavault wants four. I don’t see a time this card was ever less than $10, so I’d be willing to get in on any copies I could get at that price or lower. Even if it doesn’t immediately rebound, it will in time.

 

Ogre Battledriver

If you untap with Ogre Battledriver, your opponent is in a world of hurt. Can you imagine casting Increasing Devotion with this in play? Hah. It also works pretty well with Young Pyromancer, another card lots of red mages have been chatting about. The biggest hurdle to overcome here is that he’s an intro pack rare, which will set a pretty low ceiling on him. Even so, $3-5 isn’t impossible. If you’re paying almost nothing for him in a trade, I’d go for it.

 

Path of Bravery

I don’t really care for Path of Bravery, but players better than I think it’s worth discussing. I bring it up because at the moment it’s only $2 on SCG. Any lower and it’s a fairly low-risk target.

 

Primeval Bounty

I only mention this card because as I was flipping through the spoiler, saw the art, recognized the card, and in my head guessed $.50. Then I saw it was A) a Mythic, and B) sold out at $8. What? Let it crash to $1 before you pick it up for EDH.

 

Sanguine Bond

Just pointing this out because two weeks ago I told you how to avoid getting hit by reprints, and this card was most assuredly reprintable.

 

Savage Summoning

This is not a $6 card. This is not even a $1 card. Certain players really, really hate counterspells. Don’t be suckered into trading for it.

 

Scourge of Valkas

Look for cheap foils. He will be popular for dragon-centric EDH decks.

A quick note about all five planeswalkers – there is going to be an all-black promo of each at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend. In traditional Wizards fashion with limited-run product, the box of five will retail for the ludicrously low price of $65. It’s going to be available at SDCC, then there’ll be what I’m assuming will be an incredibly small supply available on the Hasbro website following the event. These things are going to be bonkers expensive. First of all, they’re going to be real scarce. Probably Book Jace scarce, who by the way is currently about $180. Second of all, they’re not just a simple alt-art promo; they’ll be the only Magic cards in existence to be printed with this design. On top of all this, not only is it an incredibly unique style, they also happen to be all black, which will certainly appeal to the angsty teen that is still alive and well in the heart of many anime-watching Magic nerds. I fully expect sealed packages to be $500 within about a year, and I see it entirely possible they’ll be $700 or more down the road. The only thing that will prevent these from hitting astronomic prices is that we already know three are virtually uncastable outside of Standard, and I don’t have high eternal hopes for the new Garruk or Chandra either.

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