Tag Archives: oath of the gatewatch spoiler

OGW Spoilers I’m Excited About

The first card I want to talk about that I’m really excited for from Oath of the Gatewatch is Nissa, Voice of Zendikar. I haven’t seen too many mentions of this planeswalker yet but I want to point out that she is a perfect slot into the previous Pro Tour breakout deck, Bant Tokens from Pro Tour BFZ.

As you might recall, Sam Black and crew piloted this deck to amazing success at the last Standard Pro Tour. Now, I’m not saying that this deck is going to take down a huge tournament right out of the gate again – that is presuming too much on my part, where right now really I’m just trying to get a feel where the metagame might be going. Dark Jeskai is a much faster and more consistent deck than Bant Tokens, which is why it has fallen out of favor since the release of Magic Origins and the ubiquitous adoption of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (the little Jace that could). However, Nissa adds some versatility and stall to the deck that is desperately needed.

Putting out 0/1 plant tokens and having the ability to pump your whole team is nothing to scoff at. She fits right into the curve at three mana, with a four mana followup Gideon being extra special.

Plus, since we’re playing eight planeswalkers in a deck like this there might even be room for the new Oath of Nissa enchantment. At one mana, we can’t discount the usefulness of this enchantment since it acts practically as a one mana land tutor (and if there are better cards than lands well so much the better!) and then on top of that provides perfect mana for the three mana Nissa into the four mana Gideon, which normally would be somewhat difficult at the best of times due to needing two green for Nissa and two white for Gideon. Being Legendary for this enchantment isn’t even a drawback – you’ll never need more than one in play at a time, so feel free to keep casting more to continue digging for cards you might need off the top of your deck. I really like this enchantment a ton, since it feels like a fixed Sylvan Library or Sensei’s Divining Top that is still fine for a format like Standard.

Nissa is currently preselling for $20, which I think is extremely cheap for a planeswalker that could definitely have four copies in the updated deck. Again, along with cards like Hangarback Walker and Gideon, Nissa adds another element of ongoing token generation and threat that needs to be dealt with. Typically, three mana planeswalkers have proven to be powerful and I would not be surprised at all for Nissa to help new and existing archetypes as the OGW Standard metagame pans out.

Oath of Nissa is preselling for a bit more at $6-$7, which I think is pricey for a Standard rare. Remember, we are in a totally new era for Standard rare card prices, so I’m not expecting Oath of Nissa (even if it is found in a playset in a Tier 1 deck) to ever stay above $5 for long. There are just too many Standard rares out there these days, and if you consider the amount of product that will be opened for Expeditions in this set, you have a recipe for long term lower prices across the board on all set rares. I mean, if Siege Rhino could never break $5 for long, I certainly don’t expect this enchantment to.

Next, I want to talk about this guy, Reflector Mage. This card seems really good to me. Obviously since it is an uncommon, the price ceiling is going to be something like $2, especially since it is a multicolor… but wow is that effect nice! I mean, this card could even see play in Modern or Legacy. Not being able to cast the card again during your opponent’s next turn is devastating, especially for combo-oriented decks. Plus, you don’t even have to cast this guy to get the effect – all you have to do is have him enter the battlefield, so the trigger still works with stuff like Aether Vial. Just wow, very excited for this card and the possibilities it has in Standard and beyond.

OK, now this card is what I think that Snapcaster Mage was supposed to be. Now, this card has limits that Snapcaster does not – first, it doesn’t have flash and it will always cost at least five mana to cast. So we’re not going to see any four mana Anticipates with a body being cast in Standard. Even though this is a terrible Snapcaster for eternal, you are getting a ton of value for you mana when playing this in Standard. It provides a 4/4 body with (some form of) evasion that primarily allows you to flashback an instant or sorcery card from your graveyard. Just because this isn’t Snapcaster Mage doesn’t mean that we should count the Dark-Dwellers out – on the contrary, I think this card will be great in Standard and I expect to see Atarka Red or other decks adapt it quickly in the new metagame.

Also, Commander is a Thing…

Along with some awesome new Standard tools, we’re getting some great Commander staples that I’m sure have been causing some buzz since their release.

Obviously leading the wave is Kozilek, the Great Distortion, which is the big nasty Eldrazi that all the casuals have been swooning over ever since #Oathgate happened where key pieces of the set were spoiled on /r/magictcg. This guy is going to have casual appeal for years and years to come, so the play here is to wait about three months after the set’s release and then pick up your copies for stocking away for a rainy day. Like the past Eldrazi bretheren (and even the new Ulamog, which is starting to rise in price again…) this will be a great addition to your portfolio for years to come. The key is to time the market right and try to get in on the low point, hopefully when it hasn’t found a home in Standard and the set has reached market saturation.

Holy crap is this Sphinx bonkers in Commander! As if blue wasn’t oppressive enough as it is! If this “resolves” (since there are ways of getting rid of this on the stack that aren’t counterspells) it is going to be so, so difficult to stop the combo player that just dropped this thing on the table.

This card has to be the one of the most protected cards in Magic, and that is saying something. Yes, you can still wipe this with something like Wrath of God, but you’re playing against a blue player! Who is almost always going to have countermagic to back this up. Sure, it costs a ton of mana, but in more casual playgroups I can totally see this thing running away with the game.

I’m actually really glad this card isn’t Legendary, because having this as your general would be super oppressive. Geist of Saint Traft is pretty bad but this would be even worse since you can’t counter it. Just my two cents, maybe I’m overrating this card, but when I first saw it I couldn’t believe that Wizards made a card that is such a potential lockdown against you.

Finally, the last card I want to mention is Thought-Knot Seer, which has been getting a ton of buzz from the Commander crowd. A four mana 4/4 with Thoughtseize+exile attached is really, really good. The fact that you get to let an opponent draw a card is irrelevant in multiplayer, since you can make an ally or other opponent that isn’t a combo player have a card.

Since most Commander decks play lands that generate colorless mana, this is an easy slot into many decks. I for one can’t wait to update my Karn, Silver Golem deck with all the great new toys in the set, including putting basic Wastes into there so I don’t get blown out by cards like Ruination or Wave of Vitriol!

Final Thoughts

All in all, I’m really excited for OGW for both Standard, Commander, and beyond. This set is much more exciting than Battle for Zendikar, because not only do we get Wastes and add a brand new Basic Land to the game, but we also get much more powerful Eldrazi and Allies (along with an Ally Commander, which has a five color Commander identity and is easy to cast!) that many players are going to desire.

Not sure if I’m onboard with whole 2HG theme for the release or whatever – personally, just always give me one-on-one matches. For those that enjoy that, though, you have something else on top of all the new cards to look forward to!

Painful Choices

Welcome back to another Thursday installment of my article series. I really appreciate you reading these, and I’m hoping that you had a wonderful New Year’s celebration. I know that last week I said I would bring back an old persona of mine, but a spoiler came up that I think is a bit more pressing. I was going to just write this article on the running MTGPrice spoiler coverage, but it ended up being a lot longer than a quick blurb about a card’s price that I’m trying to restrict myself to. If you’re not tired of me bombarding you with green link text yet, you can go check out our running spoiler coverage right there in that convenient link.

The card/bulk rare I want to spend an entire article talking about is none other than Remorseless Punishment. The most recent in the line of “your opponent chooses which bad thing they want to happen,” this five-mana sorcery has gotten a resounding “meh” from the Spikey players of the world, and a “I want to copy this with Howl of the Horde and then Increasing Vengeance from the non-competitive players that I see and commonly interact with on Facebook. If you’re one of the former, you can probably agree with me that this will not see competitive Standard  play, and we certainly won’t be seeing it in any Modern lists. Five-mana black spells in Modern are reserved for game-winning effects like Ad Nauseam, and this is not going to have that kind of impact unless your opponent is sitting with no creatures, no hand, and has three life left.


If you’re not planning on sleeving up Grixis Twin for your next PPTQ and you just like to jam Magic cards with your friends over a kitchen table, you probably have a bit of a different opinion on this card. Your wheels are turning on how to make this deal 10 damage, or how to combo it with Liliana’s Caress to limit their options further. My co-reviewer Jason Alt said that this is going to pre-sell for more than it should, although I don’t think SCG is going to pre-sell a rare for less than $.49. Vendor confidence in this card is extremely low, and I can’t say that I blame them. This is not the (potential) Constructed all-star that Kozilek’s Return is. This card has an entirely different market, one that I have quite a bit of experience interacting with.


You knew Browbeat was worth $1.50, right? I think that’s one of the more well-known “picks” that is impossible to keep down in price. It was in a Planechase a while ago, and then reprinted in a Duel Deck, but is still rock solid and easy to sell at $1 locally (or $.50 on a buylist if you’re lucky).


On Jason’s paragraph about Remorseless Punishment, he talked briefly (and linked a very helpful article from 2006) about something called the “Browbeat effect.” The shortened version (I’m assuming you’d rather stay here and talk with me instead of leaving this page), is that while both effects of Browbeat are very powerful and cost-effective on their own (a 2R Lava Axe is incredibly powerful and undercosted, as is a 2R Concentrate), the power in these diminishes significantly when your opponent gets to pick their poison. The common sentence that I hear a lot to describe this is: “The card will never do what you want it to do, it will do what your opponent wants it to do.”

If that statement is true, then why is the card constantly bought  from my display case at $1 a copy, and why is it immune to reprints from a value perspective? Well, probably because the vocal and competitive minority are looking at the card from the wrong perspective. In order to “properly” evaluate the card (and the “Browbeat effect” as a whole), let’s step into the shoes of somebody who has never been to a Magic tournament and just wants to slam cardboard with their friends with 78-card unsleeved decks.

Hi, my name is Johnny. I’m a fictional character that DJ made up for the purposes of this article. I really like to play red and black, and enjoy effects that burn my opponent. Unfortunately, red doesn’t have cards that draw more cards consistently; that sort of thing is left for blue, green, and black. Thankfully, Browbeat is really good in my burn deck. My friend Sam really hates taking direct damage, so he pretty much always lets me draw three cards off of it, even if he’s at full life points. I really love the look on some of my other friends faces when they’re thinking about what to do, because either way I get a really powerful effect for three mana!

Thanks for the interview, Johnny. I’ve had multiple conversations that were similar to this, and stitched them all together to sort of represent the type of player who is comfortable paying $1 for a Browbeat to jam it in his burn deck. The kitchen-table grinders who really want to upgrade on the arms race are the ones who give Vexing Devil a reason to be $10. As someone who regularly plays against (or as) the burn deck at Grands Prix, you laugh at Vexing Devil because it’s a burn spell that gets countered by Path to Exile or a 4/3 that gets countered by paying four life. Johnny sees a way to “guarantee” four damage for one mana on the first turn of the game, especially since the “control decks” full of wraths, counterspells, and planeswalkers that we know and love are much less common in the non-competitive world that’s mostly made of tribal, mill, ramp, and combo.

Vexing Devil.full

So the argument against this card is that it doesn’t do what it wants you to do, right? What if your primary goal of building the deck wasn’t winning? If the endgame of building your kitchen table burn deck is simply having fun and enjoying a game with your friends, the bar of “what do I need my cards to do” changes. Now you want your cards to help you have fun, and Browbeat fills that void for the invisible crowd that most of the competitive crowd doesn’t interact with anymore. Just like Dash Hopes and Vexing Devil, it’s a lot of fun to start throwing Lava Axes for just a fraction of the price; even if the card sometimes only ends up being a Concentrate or Counterspell.

Now, the other assumption used in the debate is that your opponent will always choose what mode is best for herself when it comes to these punisher cards. But again, we’re looking at this through a different lens than most of the rest of the world here. If you’re sitting at table 547 in round one of a Grand Prix and you slam Browbeat on turn five, your opponent is more than likely going to have the game experience and knowledge to analyze the situation and then select the option that hurts themselves the least. However, that’s not where any of these punishers are going to see play.

When we’re slamming cardboard on kitchen tables, the players involved in the game are statistically going to have less experience playing at a highly competitive level. I don’t think it’s wrong to assume that even though there’s almost always a “correct choice” when presented with a Browbeat scenario, the opponent of someone actually playing the Browbeat is not going to always choose that correct option. When this happens, Browbeat actually does do both of the things that the caster wanted it to do: it gives him the Concentrate when he was hellbent, and it helps him have fun by casting a red card draw spell.

So how does all of this factor into Remorseless Punishment? It obviously doesn’t go into the same deck as Browbeat, unless you want to build some sort of weird R/B “bad choices” deck. It has the potential to do twice as much damage as Browbeat or Dash Hopes, but you have to put in some serious effort to get those kind of results out of the card. Like Jason said, it’s probably going to be a more expensive Blightning most of the time. However, I don’t think that’s going to stop the player casting it from having a lot of fun forcing his opponent to make two painful choices, and the kitchen table player still has room for his opponent to make a mistake.

The point of this article is not to tell you to go out and buy Remorseless Punishment at 49 cents each from SCG. This is not a Wasteland Strangler. This card is a Crucible of Fire. You wait until you can buy these at 10 or 25 cents, and then wring your fingers together like a villain until your #mtgfinance cabal of 300,000 non-competitive players slowly scoops up supply over the course of two years until it’s a $2 card. Even if you never get the chance to buy in at 25 cents or lower, I would still respect the potential demand for this card and treat it differently than other true bulk rares.

End Step

  • ‘Tis the season for Modern-legal cards to spike in price! One of the sideboard cards that I think some people have forgotten about since about a year ago is Night of Souls’ Betrayal. It saw play as a two-of in the sideboard of the mono-black Eldrazi deck that saw camera time in the Modern Open, and I’m pretty sure there are only seven copies left in all existence because it’s a rare from Kamigawa block. I’m not saying that this is a spec target, but I think you buy your copies now if you think you’ll need them.
  • In other news, can someone please explain to me why foil copies of Genesis Wave only have a multiplier of two compared to the non-foil? It’s the epitome of “cast big spells and big things happen” in Commander, has one printing from half a decade ago, and I see almost every green player in my local group sleeving it up. While EDHREC disagrees and suggests that only the mono-greeniest of mono-green generals play the card in high percentages, it just strikes me as odd that such a Commander-iconic card only has the standard foil multiplier of two.

Looking Behind to Look Ahead

It’s that time of year again. The time to look at the past to see where we might be headed into the future. I’m going to list all the articles I’ve written over the past year below that have generated a good discussion, so that we can review them one more time to know where we might be headed in the future. My hope by doing this is to see what predictions have gone wrong for me, which have gone better, and which we can learn from to see how we can approach Magic finance.

Battle for Fatpacks

This article takes the top spot for most comments of the articles I’ve authored in 2015. I’m not surprised that it generated so many comments – after all, we thought items like fatpacks were immutable to market pressure because Wizards could just print more of them… but we learned very quickly that wasn’t the case.

Looking at it again, the article was meant to highlight that this was a highly unusual case for fatpacks because they usually just sit on the shelves at your local game store, gathering dust until someone wants another box for their collection and also decides that they should get a few packs at the same time. Unfortunately, until we get more of the same type of fatpacks in Oath of the Gatewatch we’re still going to see $60+ prices on these guys. Even after more land packs are introduced, I’m not sure if the fatpacks from BFZ block will ever fall below retail due to the huge demand for full art lands.

Modern Masters 2015 Controversy

My next most commented article, this piece highlighted the extreme divergence from a value-centered Modern Masters 2013 set to a… let’s be generous and say limited centric experience for those opening Modern Masters 2015 boosters. Specifically, the rares of Modern Masters 2015 were a total trainwreck in terms of value. It had more than double the amount of bulk rares that Modern Masters 2013 included. Thus, many players were frustrated with the fact that pack prices increased while the value of opening single packs over boxes (basically, drafting the set) decreased.

Out takeaway here is that Modern Masters sets will keep giving us stuff like Tarmogoyf and Cryptic Command but otherwise will start focusing on limited more than the value of the rares included.


In Modern Masters’ Wake

This blurb was a catch-all of the comments I had concerning prices after the release of Modern Masters 2015 and leading into the Grand Prix that followed the release weekend. I noted that cards like Primeval Titan didn’t shift much in price after the release, while others were on their way up and up hard. As we all remember, Snapcaster Mage experienced a humungous spike because of the omission of Innistrad from the set. Other random cards, like foil Omniscience, also spiked at the time since they too managed a reprint dodge.

Of course, since then many of these cards have settled down from their post-release spikes but could yet again see another resurgence in price as the next Modern season approaches. Modern is quite an unpredictable beast, so it will be hard to tell which cards will spike the hardest but we’ll definitely be seeing higher prices on many Modern staples as the season approaches more closely.

Modern Masters 2015 – Release Weekend Update

This article highlighted all the issues I researched concerning the release of Modern Masters 2015. I think this article, along with my one about the general value of rares you can expect to pull out of a pack, are quite telling in terms of the quality control of the set.

You can check out the article for specifics, but there were a ton of issues with the green packs that Wizards created for this Modern Masters release. Collation issues, in pack damage (something also seen with foil Expeditions *sigh*), and other mishaps like order allocation scares were enough to get people like myself to notice and comment. Hopefully this year we’ll experience less issues with premium set releases, though based on Expedition damage issues I’m not sure if the quality control measures have been fully implemented at this point.

Goodbye to Theros, Hello to Holds

Here I commented on which cards from Theros block were the best targets to hold moving forward. I still maintain that Thoughtseize is the strongest target since it is the best discard spell in the Modern format at rare. Foils are still a great pickup, since they haven’t moved in price since I commented and I believe that they have nowhere to go but up until the next reprinting.

Check out the article for more thoughts on where I think certain Theros staples are heading in the future.


Magic Origins Clash Pack Review

My most exciting clash pack review to date, this review generated buzz since it contained Windswept Heath! Now that we know that precon products like clash packs will contain in-demand Standard staples, as well as event decks containing mythic rares, I think it is a wake up call to us all that Standard staples are not great speculation targets anymore – not unless you pick them up in preorders before the set is released, and it is always a difficult thing to predict the metagame.

We all have our stories of failed speculation targets, and mine are also included among those. What this clash pack has taught me is that I need to be even more careful when picking up Standard cards for future gains, and I think instead I will need to think about their appeal in Modern and beyond (as well as foil pros and cons) before acquiring any Standard legal cards moving forward.

The Spread on Fate Reforged

Though I looked at Fate Reforged as a whole in this article, I’ve more highlighted the fact that Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is an unusually popular casual card – so much so that it continued to demand a $30 and higher retail tag even after the set had saturated the market. I’m not one to say I told you so but… Ugin is now a $50, and won’t go down until Fate Reforged rotates from Standard.

Foil Ugins, on the other hand, have dropped in price considerably since I wrote that article. Since Standard players rarely have need of foils, the initial Commander got-to-have-it-now hype has died down and you will be able to get a great deal on a foil Ugin over the coming months as Fate Reforged rotates from Standard.

The Timeless Adventures of Monastery Mentor

The other incredible mythic rare from Fate Reforged, Monastery Mentor, also deserved his own article from your’s truly since I believe that he has great eternal appeal based on early results from tournaments after Fate Reforged was released.

A nice win for me, my own copies that I procured back in April after I wrote the article have appreciated well. According to the price history, that was the low point for foil mentors and they’ve gone past $70 each retail since then. I hope you all were also able to pick up foil Mentors throughout the early stages of last year before they crossed $50 or even $60.

Jace, the $40 Origins Mythic

Here, I spent a great deal of time considering Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and why his price history was mirroring that of most broken planeswalker of all time, Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Even now, I fear that I underestimate the power of little Jace in eternal formats. He seems to keep exceeding all of my expectations for what a Standard legal card can become value-wise. Now, I’m thinking that his price will never go below $30 since the demand he sees in Modern (along with a short print run of Origins) will forever keep him in the low $30 range until the inevitable reprint happens.


Tradewind Rider – Riding the Tides of the Trade

Finally, the last article I want to talk about it has a more personal touch to it than many articles I release for MTGPrice. The article poses the question “Is it worth it to trade anymore?” based on several premises such as the time to trade, more cutthroat approach to trading, and condition-based trading that seems to be happening these days.

The piece probably strikes most of you as something that an old curmudgeon harpening back on the glory days of Magic trading would spew, and there certainly is quite a bit of complaining to back that up. Maybe I’ve been neglecting to fully utilize and learn the new tools of the trade that have been given to the player community. After looking at this article again I want to make it one of Magic related news years resolutions to finally not be frustrated with the way trading happens for me these days, and instead to embrace technology for the additional opportunities it grants me rather than the slow-down it seems to have become. Puca banning users from selling points hurts trading on that exchange somewhat, but even then I still think it is a great way to pick up Commander and Cube staples that I have a hard time finding locally.

PROTRADER: Modern Season Is Upon Us

The Modern hype is here and it’s very much for real. I am embarrassed for even momentarily suggesting Modern may be hitting a plateau as far as interest is concerned. Last week I went as far as to use wishy washy language surrounding my prediction for how Modern cards would perform come 2016. Clearly, Modern season is going to offer up significant opportunity. And with record breaking Star City Open attendance in Cincinnati this weekend (1,022 participants) it’s clear there’s more growth ahead.

All that said, it’s really interesting to see which cards have already began ascent and which have remained stagnant. Even with some metagame evolution, a large portion of the mainstays of Modern should still be relevant – Affinity, Tron, Splinter Twin, Infect, etc. Yet when I review the top movers so far in 2016, I’m seeing almost all the growth thus far occurring with Eldrazi cards, presumably due to the current block.

Eye of Ugin

Despite being narrow in scope, I believe the data out there is strong enough to conclude Modern will once again be a lucrative format to speculate on. But the train is already leaving the station – in fact, it’s already nearing its final destination on stuff like Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple. With that in mind, I’m going to look to a couple ideas that are still worth pursuing as the Modern hype rapidly approaches its peak for the first half of 2016.

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