Category Archives: City of Traders

Khans in a Dragon’s World

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By: Travis Allen

Dragons of Tarkir became tournament legal this past Friday, and players jumped into the format with both feet at the SCG invitational. Invitationals are great for spurring players to put effort into building real decks, because the payout is high enough to be worth it. This makes these week-zero events a great barometer of the format ahead of the Pro Tour. While we’re looking at it to see where the money is, you can bet your butt PT competitors are looking closely at the results as well.

I’m not going to talk about Theros cards much, if at all. They’re pretty much all a sinking ship at this point. If you own them, do so because you need to for play purposes. Other than that, if it’s from Theros block and it’s not Thoughtseize, I’d be looking to trade it away.

So what was the big winner this weekend? What new card burst out of the gates and amazed us all with its power? Siege Rhino. Big, dumb, brutally efficient Siege Rhino. Yawn. It put 12 copies, three playsets, into the invitational top eight, and another set in the open top eight. We can’t really be surprised at this point. Those stats are hard to argue with. What is surprising, though, is how cheap it still is. I’m looking at MTG Deals, an online store, and I see 89 copies at $4.94 each. $5? Really? For a dominant Standard threat that’s even making medium-sized waves in Modern?

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When Khans came out, I wrote about how rares from that set would be suppressed. With fetches in the set soaking up big value, it’s tough for other rares to break through. We would expect the few big competitive mythics to take a small hit in value but remain the most expensive cards in the set, while the rest of the rares fall off fast. When we look at Khans though, that’s not what we’re seeing:

ktk

Our first mythic is three slots down, behind two fetches. In fact, of the top eight cards, only two are mythic. It turns out that Khans doesn’t have much in the way of big, playable mythics. Between the two Standard top eights this weekend, there were only six Sorins, four Wingmate Rocs, and I don’t even know how many Sarkhans. There were so few that I didn’t even bother to write it down. It turns out that all of the playability in Khans of Tarkir is in the rares, not the mythics. This is a big shift, too. Take a look at leaders of Fate Reforged and Theros right now:

FRF

Seven of the top eight cards in Fate Reforged are mythic, and Theros is similarly quite mythic-heavy at the top.

Okay, so what do we do with this information? What it tells me is that all the most playable cards in Khans of Tarkir are rare, not mythic. If mythics are highly competitive cards, it should be no problem for them to hold the highest value slots in a set. With their much-limited availability, it’s much easier for their prices to hold closer to or above $20. The fact that this isn’t happening means the KTK mythics are just unexciting on the competitive scene, which is what drives Standard prices. If the mythics aren’t that good, then we should be buying rares. And what’s the non-land rare that saw the most play this past weekend? Siege Rhino, whose $5 price tag is looking very odd right about now. This is an excellent number to be jumping in at. All I can imagine looking at that price is sitting there in November looking at $15 Rhinos and thinking, “Man, I can’t believe these were $5 awhile ago.” Even if it doesn’t jump that much, I can’t imagine you lose value picking these up at $5.

Keep in mind that Khans rotates next spring, though, about a year from now, not in the fall of 2016 as we’ve become accustomed to. This will impact how the card prices behave, although we’re not exactly quite sure how yet. Currently, rotating sets begin to see their prices really sag about four to six months ahead of the fall set. That time frame under the new model puts the price drop for cards rotating in the spring right at the fall rotation beforehand. That would mean that just as Theros is rotating and Khans staples should be skyrocketing in the new meta, they would instead be dropping ahead of their spring rotation. It’s very odd. I have a feeling that this first spring rotation is going to creep up on people and prices are going to stay high on KTK cards right until the bitter end.

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Alright, we’ve managed to talk about one card so far. What’s next? After Siege Rhino, the next most common rare we’re interested in is Thunderbreak Regent. I liked Regent quite a bit in my set review, although apparently not nearly as much as everyone else. It had climbed to nearly $10 coming into this weekend, and it quite clearly deserved it as the most-played Dragons of Tarkir rare. Be wary though: it’s in an event deck, which will hamper its price somewhat. I don’t like picking up Regents right now, actually. I’d much prefer to wait until the Pro Tour to see if some other cards can pick up steam and knock Regent’s price down a few notches.

Three different cards came in with 10 copies each; Tasigur, Whisperwood Elemental, and Mastery of the Unseen. Tasigur came in across half the decks in the top eight, in fact, but only at two copies per deck. He’s an extremely powerful creature, and it’s clear that everyone that makes black mana wants to be in the Tasigur business. It seems the problem is that his legendary status and hunger for grumper fuel makes it difficult to warrant running more copies. Even at $25, I really like foils, by the way. He is seeing play in both Modern and Legacy, and Fate Reforged isn’t going to have been drafted all that much. $25 for eternal staple foils is too cheap.

Whisperwood Elemental and Mastery of the Unseen showing up at the same rate isn’t too surprising, as they’re best buds. GW Manifest has made its position in the metagame clear, and Deathmist Raptor is a powerful new tool for the deck. Even if the deck holds on at one copy per top eight, I think we see Elemental lose a little bit of steam from its current price of around $15. There are already copies on TCG around $10. $15 was his “wow, this is new and exciting” price. I’d guess $8 to $12 is his “yep, another manifest deck” price. Meanwhile, you don’t still own Mastery of the Unseen, do you?

Just behind those guys is Surrak, Hunt Caller with nine copies in the top eight. That’s a decent showing, and I wonder if perhaps we’re just seeing the beginning of what he can do. He’s got an obvious home in GR aggro types of decks. Can he break out to other strategies, though? His ability to give any of the dragons haste is quite spicy, and with Battle for Zendikar on the horizon, he may be hasting up Eldrazi this fall. At $5 a copy, I don’t dislike trading for him here. He’s shown that he’s good enough to run in the big leagues, and while we could see a small dip in price, you don’t have much to lose getting in now. Be aware though, he’s in the same event deck as Thunderbreak Regent.

What surprised me most in the other direction is Dragonlord Ojutai. During the first few rounds of Standard on Saturday, I saw a lot of Ojutai, and even tweeted that it was a good pickup with all the camera time it was getting. It ended up doubling up over the weekend, so it seems plenty of people agreed with me. Looking back though, we see only three copies of Ojutai in the invitational top eight, and three in the sideboard of Buffalo Magic player and general hater of cool things, Alex Bianchi. Even though Ojutai came out swinging and looked great at the start of the weekend, he apparently couldn’t follow through. With a price tag of $15, this is a definite ship. Compare Ojutai’s price trajectory to Whisperwood, and you’ll see quite a bit of similarity. Now recognize that Whisperwood did quite well during its inaugural weekend, and has continued to perform. Ojutai’s 95-percent best-case scenario is performing just as well as Whisperwood has, and if he can’t manage that, we should see prices back under $10. Of course, I still am not convinced that Ojutai is that good of a card, so take my advice here with a grain of salt, I suppose.

Over on the Modern side of things, Affinity’s win gives us nothing to care about. That whole deck is a minefield with MM2015 on the horizon. Infect in second place doesn’t give us much to work with either, except for Inkmoth Nexus. Nexus has climbed up towards $12. If it doesn’t show up in MM2015, I’d be surprised if it didn’t hit $20 by the end of summer.

UW Tron in third is interesting. We see an Ugin in the list, lending certainty to the theory that we’ll be seeing the spirit dragon pop up in every format here and there. My favorite card out of this list is the Gifts Ungiven. It was reprinted in the first Modern Masters, meaning it’s unlikely we’ll see it again this year. It’s been slowly climbing since, and the card’s power is undeniable. This could be $10 before year’s end.

Other than that, there wasn’t much interesting in that event. Two Merfolk lists in the top eight is amusing, and I seem to recall Corbin tweeting enthusiastically about the whole affair. There’s nothing particularly new in these lists, though, so I don’t think we’re seeing some revitalization of the archetype. I did see three copies of Collected Company over in the Zoo list, which is running 27 creatures. I’m dubious this will be enough to propel Zoo into the top two tiers of Modern, though it’s hard to argue the card doesn’t add power to the strategy. Being able to keep up Path or Bolt and then flip in two creatures if you don’t need them is welcome, I’m sure.

So far, Dragons of Tarkir hasn’t made too large of an impression on Standard. The power level is uncertain at this point. I see a lot of discussion that the set is dead on arrival, with plenty of comparisons to Dragon’s Maze, which was Voice of Resurgence and a few hundred other cards. I don’t think it’s that bad yet. Hopefully the Pro Tour will show us some more uses for DTK cards. Like, say, Descent of the Dragons.

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Honorable Mentions

By: Travis Allen

Last week was my big honking Dragons of Tarkir set review, which you can find here. It’s a wild and exciting piece of work, sure to enrich your life beyond belief.

One aspect of that review that I got some guff for is that it’s a fairly safe piece of work. I don’t peg any prices at particularly high numbers, and I expect basically every single card to fall in price. While 95% of cards fall from their prerelease prices, there should be at least one or two breakouts, right?

Yes, but identifying them – and then attaching prices and timelines to them – is exceedingly difficult, as well as dangerous. If I say that card X is the breakout card of the set and is going to rise in price tenfold, there will be people out there that rush out and spend a lot of money speculating on it. If that card fails to ever rise in price, that person lost money because of something I said. They’re going to be upset that they listened to me, and they’re never going to forget that either. I will be forever “that one guy that cost me a hundred bucks.”

It’s considerably safer for me to always shoot low on card prices. If I don’t comment on anything as likely to see huge gains in value, nobody is going to lose money. They may miss an opportunity, but in this field, there’s always another one around the corner anyways. If I call cards as potential breakouts and urge people to put money into them, I run the risk of people losing money because of something I said. When I have to decide between making safe choices that aren’t going to potentially harm people, and risky choices that could end up burning someone, I’m going to take the former every time. The numbers I used reflected this philosophy. I did try and acknowledge possible price surges in the discussion of the cards, away from the numbers, but I don’t think I did a good enough job. Starting with MTG Origins, I’m going to change how I handle set reviews so that it doesn’t take you forty-five minutes to read them, and so that I can explore possible price trajectories without worrying about the fallout.

There were a handful of cards last week that I didn’t discuss, but that stood out to me as unique and interesting cards. This week I want to double back and take a look at those cards, exploring each, and discussing what the prices could look like.

 

Mirror Mockery
We’ve seen plenty of Clone effects in the past, and typically they’re too expensive for anyone to care. Even ones that are relatively pushed, like Clever Impersonator, aren’t quite right for Standard. In fact, the last time a playable clone effect was in Standard was when Phantasmal Image was around some number of years ago. Here we are now with Mirror Mockery, another clone (sort of) with a converted mana cost of two.

Level zero is putting this on one of your creatures that you want to create additional copies of. Casting this on your Siege Rhino means you get the drain trigger every turn, although that’s possibly the greediest line imaginable, both in mana and in play. It’s going to be excellent on any creature of yours that leaves tokens behind, such as Hornet Queen. Four free insects every time you swing with the queen is absurd, although one wonders how many times you need to do that to win the game. The hard part tends to be getting her into play in the first place.

Moving over to creatures of the same color, things are a bit more sane. Sticking this on your Master of Waves and then swinging in without fearing his death is what dreams are made of. This is unlikely to come up often though, as your opponent would have to basically be on Mono-Red in order to make attacking with Master safe. I also like it on Profaner of the Dead, another card we’ll talk about soon. Every time you swing with your real Profaner, you get a copy, which you can then use to exploit itself to Upheaval all their two-toughness creatures. This is useful, although perhaps not necessarily enough.

Whenever you cast Mockery targeting your own creature, you’re setting yourself up for a blowout. Your opponent removes your Master of Waves in response, and now you’ve handed them over a 2-for-1.

What if we enchant their creature though? This is why Mockery is worth talking about. Casting it on your opponent’s Rhino means that now they can’t profitably attack with it. They do so at a loss in fact, because of the trigger and the ability to block with the token. If they remove the Rhino in response to your Mockery, then that’s fine – you just destroyed a creature for 1U. When it isn’t a Rhino, it can be a Rabblemaster, or a Stormbreath, or a Tasigur. All of these effectively blank the creature as an attacker, and in the case of ETB creatures like Rhino, you even gain an advantage. Did your opponent just cast Elder Dragon Atarka? Hit her with Mockery and dare them to attack.

None of these situations are likely to be frequent enough on their own to matter, but the culmination of them may warrant enough useful situations to break through. A card that you are capable of getting value from on your own creatures, while also acting as an excellent deterrent against some of your opponent’s threats may be enough to push this into Standard play. We aren’t looking at $7 here, but $2 or $3 is quite possible. These are $1 right now so I’m passing, but if they get into the $.10 – $.20 range, I’ll consider picking up a few sets and taking them as throw-ins. If I get them at $.20 and they jump to $2.00 I’m unlikely to bother selling/buylisting them, but I’ll gladly trade them as $8 playsets.

 

Profaner of the Dead
Profaner offers a unique trigger that we don’t see often. His Exploit has the potential to force an opponent to pick up their entire board, which is an obscene tempo play. At first I dismissed him because it’s not “or equal to.” If you sacrifice Profaner, who has three toughness, they don’t have to pick up their own three toughness creatures. Only two toughness and below. That’s unfortunate. Notice, though, that I say toughness, not power. When I first read this I thought it was power, and so wasn’t too excited. Everyone is typically trying to play creatures with as high a power as possible, so the competition is fierce. Toughness though? Pfft. You can win that fight hands down. Dragon’s Eye Savants is an 0/6 for two. Two! That hits Siege Rhino, Tasigur, Polukranos, Courser of Kruphix…really, what doesn’t that hit? This isn’t even counting using cards like Triton Tactics. If you can find any extra way to get value out of that Tactics other than just increasing the value of your Profaner’s trigger, you’re in business.

Maybe Mono-Blue wants it, maybe there’s another list out there in the market for that type of effect. I don’t know. What I do know is that upheaving your opponent’s entire board is disgusting, and the last time we had that available to us, it was Cyclonic Rift and it cost seven, not four, and didn’t leave a body behind. Profaner is unfortunately a one-of in the intro decks, so his price is capped, but we can treat him just as we can Mirror Mockery. Grap them at dirt cheap prices, and if there’s a bump in price, trade playsets for more stable cards.

 

Stratus Dancer
I’m the first to admit that I’m not necessarily the best at properly evaluating counterspells. I thought Plasm Capture was going to be playable in Standard, although in my defense, not a single Simic card ended up mattering whatsoever. While I’m not bad at figuring out if removal will be playable, countermagic is tougher for me.

That said, Stratus Dancer is quite respectable. I generally think that the megamorph costs are too high to be Standard playable once you factor in the fact that you have to spend three to play them face down, but Dancer’s is one of the cheapest of the bunch. Perhaps the better way to think about it isn’t that she’s a five mana Negate, but rather a five mana Muddle the Mixture that comes with a 3/2 flyer attached. Stopping their Crux of Fate while turning your bear into an insectile aberration is quite the tempo swing indeed.

With Mono-Blue in the discussion again, especially after the reveal of Silumgar Sorcerer, Stratus Dancer will have an immediate home. A 2/1 flyer for two isn’t exciting, but it’s passable, and that means that drawing two in your opening hand stills allows you to play a threat on turn two and turn three. Breaking out beyond Mono-Blue will be tougher, though still very possible. Unlike Profaner of the Dead, she isn’t in an intro deck, so theoretically the sky’s the limit here. Under $1 I’ll be trading for copies since the risk is so low and the ceiling is so high.

 

Dragon Tempest
At $2+, there is certainly a market out there for this card. It will likely be hanging around the fringes of Standard for months at FNM, and I’m sure Conley or TWoo will take a crack at it at some point. It will also have a solid casual following, as they have no trouble with enchantments that don’t do anything when they resolve. That alone is likely to keep this out of the complete bulk bin.

Where Tempest gets exciting is when you consider it as sort of a Valakut-esque combo piece. With a Tempest in play, any time you can dump a pile of dragons into play all at once it becomes a huge burst of damage immediately. In fact, five dragons at once is twenty-five damage – more than enough to kill someone in one shot, and that’s without even attacking. “Well duh” you say sarcastically. “As if you need help killing someone when you put five hasty dragons into play.” Listen up smartass. Without Tempest, they can just untap and wrath away all your hard work, or maybe they have that new stupid token-crushing sideboard card Virulent Plague to turn your army of dragons into an army of bears. “By the way, where are you even getting all those dragons from at once?” Right here, bucko.

Dragon Tempest alongside Descent of Dragons represents a powerful mid-game and late-game engine. In the midgame, Tempest gives all your flying threats haste, one of the most powerful keywords in the game, while also occasionally getting to zap something for free. Even just picking off errant Elvish Mystics is useful, and getting to take out a Mentor or Rabblemaster while swinging for four is going to be glee-inducing. With Descent hanging around you’re at the same time threatening a huge game-ender. While tokens are the immediate go-to for Descent, they don’t need to be. Elvish Mystics, Sylvan Caryatids, Courser of Kruphixs, and whatever other motley assortment of small red and green creatures you bring to the party will serve just fine as dragon fodder. Tempest makes your Descent that much more dangerous.

I’m going to watching Tempest for a few weeks to get a feel its price without much of a play pattern. I’m wondering if this is possible of really being less than $1. Once we get a few weeks in and this has settled, I’ll probably look for opportunities to snag them up. If it does indeed break out in Standard it will represent a solid profit to be realized in trade, and if it doesn’t, copies will be good to stash for awhile while they soak up casual demand.

 

Assault Formation
Let’s talk about this card line by line. The first ability, which will forever be known as “Dorans your team,” means that all your dudes deal damage based on toughness, not on power. With the actual card Doran, this would lead to the same stalemates that already existed. While our 4/5 Tarmogoyfs would just bounce off each other before, now they will trade. The same will occur with Tasigurs and such. With Assault Formation though, it’s not all creatures. Rather, it’s your creatures. There’s no more equality there – your Siege Rhinos are 5/5s and theirs are 4/5s. Your Courser of Kruphix is a 4/4, theirs is a 2/4. Your Sylvan Caryatid is a hexproof 3/3, theirs is a 0/3. That’s pretty busted. It gets even more absurd when you consider that toughness is way cheaper than power is. Remember when I talked about Profaner of the Dead earlier, and that you could buy Dragon’s Eye Savants, an 0/6, for two mana? That’s a 6/6 for two with Assault Formation in play. Silumgar, Drifting Death? 7/7. Torrent Elemental is a 5/5. Sultai Soothsayer is a 5/5 for five that helps you find Formation if you don’t already have it.

G to Rolling Stones your guys means that you don’t have to worry about playing Wall of Mulch or Caryatid or Wall of Frost. You’re free to play the all the defenders with the most absurd power to toughness ratios. You eat a little bit of tempo here, since you need precious spare mana to attack on turns four through six, but when you do end up swinging with 6/6s and 7/7s, I’m not sure that will matter all that much. Honestly we’re unlikely to need this ability too much, since we’d rather not be forced into a situation that absolutely requires us to have Formation in play to attack, but it’s good to have as an option. At the very least it makes our Caryatids viable threats, something I’ve found myself wishing for many times in the past.

Finally, we have 2G: +1/+1 your team. Repeatedly. The mythic Purphoros, God of the Forge has something similar for 2R, although it doesn’t boost toughness. Sunblade Elf gives you the same effect at a much pricier 4W. If you weren’t already winning combat before, this means that it’s going to be near impossible for your opponent to beat you in the red zone.

What really excites me about Assault Formation is that Commune with the Gods is still legal. You get to look at the top five for a threat or your enabler? Jeeeeeez. AND fill up your graveyard for Tasigur? JEEEEEEEEEEZ.

Assault Formation may even break into Modern. One of the roughest parts of Doran decks in the past has been that you’re incentivized to play creatures with high toughness, but without Doran they’re overall less effective. With Formation floating around you now have additional copies if you need them. I doubt you’re playing all four, but just having the fifth or sixth may be enough. Having a good reason to play four maindeck Spellskite is just the bee’s knees.

I can’t say that I’m expecting this to be a big winner, since if I was, I would have said so last week. It is still an enchantment that wants you to play worse cards. Part of why I put it in bulk last week was because I try to temper my own excitement over green cards though, so if I’m right, and this card really is as powerful as I think it may be, then we could have a $5-$15 card on our hands. Once this is below $1 I’ll begin grabbing copies where I can.

 

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Collected Company
This is one of the toughest cards in the set to figure out. On the one hand, the power level is clearly there. For four mana, at instant speed, you can potentially put six total mana worth of bodies into play. That’s no joke. During your opponent’s attacks, cast Company, flipping Eternal Witness and Tarmogoyf, getting back the Company? Yes I would like some of that please.

It’s what happens when things don’t go perfectly that we’ve got to wonder about. For instance, what if you only hit one creature? If you paid an extra mana to instant-speed a three-drop that’s probably totally fine, but what if it’s just an Elvish Mystic? That feels a lot crummier. And how about missing entirely? Especially if you opted not to play a creature in hand in order to set up the double threat? You’d probably pick up your cards, throw them in the nearest garbage can, and drive into the sea.

We come to a point where it’s a numbers game. How many hits do you need in your deck to be worth it, and is that number reasonable? According to this breakdown by Reddit user Mango_Punch, you need twenty creatures for a 66% chance to hit on two, and twenty-four for an 80% chance. In Modern the only deck running nearly enough creatures to even consider this is Wilt-Leaf Abzan, and that’s at twenty hits. There’s nothing in Standard that comes anywhere close to hitting twenty targets right now, which is worth talking about for a moment.

If Collected Company does in fact prove to be a real card, I expect it to be in Modern or Legacy, not Standard. Mana costs are too stratified in Standard for this to be as powerful as it is elsewhere. When cards like Siege Rhino, Tasigur, Stormbreath Dragon and Whisperwood Elemental are key players, Collected Company just feels weak. This is important for understanding pricing. If the card is only playable in eternal formats, it will be near impossible to sustain prices north of $5. I guess Abrupt Decay managed to be expensive while not seeing much play in Standard? There’s no way Company will hit that level of play though.

I will point out one potential application of this in Modern that may be worth exploring. You all remember the Melira combo from Pod decks: Melira, Kitchen Finks, and Viscera Seer. Well it turns out the new Anafenza does a very good Melira impression when it comes to undoing Persist triggers, and is overall a better creature to boot. In fact, if your goal is strictly to combo, you’ve got a lot of redundancy now. You’ve got eight enablers (Melira, Anafenza), eight Persist creatures (Finks, Murderous Redcap), and eight sacrifice outlets (Seer, Bloodthrone Vampire). Eight of each combo piece is one heck of a lot of redundancy, and aside from Redcap, they’re all three mana or less for Collected Company. I have no idea what the correct list looks like, but it’s interesting to consider that at some point it may simply be more profitable to just ram the combo down your opponent’s throat every turn without fear and require them to have an answer every time, because whatever they kill you have more copies of lying in wait.

Overall I have trouble picturing Collected Company hitting big numbers. I’m very dubious of it performing well enough in Standard, and I doubt that it is strong enough to become a tier one card in any other formats. And even if it does, will that be enough to push an in-print rare north of $5? Unlikely. Still, I like this at bulk prices. We could see the $.20 to $2.00 play here at some point, and even if we don’t, it will be worth stashing for the long term. Two or three years down the road this may actually pop in Modern.


I’ve got an additional treat for everyone that read the last 3,000 words and found themselves still wanting more. The folks over at Wizard Foundry contacted me and asked me to review an Alpha Edition Grimoire Deck Box. I don’t see much in the way of written reviews of Magic-related products, so I figured we could give it a shot. This is a trial run, and if there’s positive feedback, we’ll consider being more open to this type of thing in the future.

Wizard Foundry provided me with the Grimoire, but no money changed hands. I am not being paid for my opinion. I made it perfectly clear to their staff that this review will be 100% unbiased. That said, let’s jump in.

The Grimoire Deck Box is a foray into the world of luxury Magic accessories, a market seemingly under-served. There’s custom playmats of course, custom sleeves (which as I understand it are all awful), and nifty die. Beyond that, there isn’t too much ostentatious accessorizing in our hobby, relative to many other activities people pursue for entertainment. For an immediately adjacent comparison, think about how much video game related crap is out there. T-shirts, sweaters, hats, belts, belt buckles, backpacks, action figures, display figures, statues,  stickers, binders, bed sheets. Your entire apartment could be Mushroom Kingdom-themed if you felt it necessary.

Grimoires are intended to be stylized storage containers. Ideally the appearance will evoke an image of being a grey-haired wiry wizard carrying around comically over sized dusty tomes that hold ancient writings describing arcane or forbidden arts. I’d make a comparison to a Harry Potter character here, but I only saw the first movie, so I wouldn’t know who to pick. Just imagine I referenced a character that fits that description. Great.

What struck me most when I pulled the Grimoire out of its cardboard shipping box was how large and sturdy it is. I had seen pictures, but for some reason it hadn’t clicked. It’s got a real heft to it. You’ll see in the comparison photo that’s larger than the common UltraPro or Monster nine-sleeve binders. Not only is it that long and wide, it’s also quite deep. All this adds up to a serious profile that can’t be missed when it’s sitting on a table.

Publication 1

Getting in close, the outside is covered with a sort of faux leather, although not in the same way your jacket from Wilson’s Leather is fake. Rather it’s meant to look like an old important book’s leather, heavily textured and tight. It’s likely a bit less durable of a material than the resilient plastic of my UltraPro binder, but then again, my UltraPro wouldn’t look nearly as good on a bookshelf. The box itself is composed of a compressed plywood or something to that effect. It’s solid and hard to the touch; much more so than my trade binder with the stiff cardboard cover is. Really the proper way to think of this thing is as a big wood box that has some leather wrapped around it. There’s no plastic anywhere to be found here, which gives it that sense of quality that heavier objects tend to impart. At over two pounds, you’re going to notice every time you pick it up.

publication 3

For those of you worried about how well this will hold up to errant spills perpetrated by careless elbows, have no fear. I poured a fair bit of water on the cover and there was absolutely no absorption. Half a paper towel picked up most of it, and I finished drying it off with my sweater sleeve. Ten minutes later you’d never know it was wet. I’m sure that if it gets coated in Mountain Dew it’s going to end up sticky, but a damp paper cloth should clean that right up.

publication 4

The front cover slash lid is held shut by a pair of small magnets. I had the good fortune of finding someone at my local store who has owned one of these Alpha editions for a while, and his experience is that it is not the most reliable closure system. They are still in use on the Beta edition as well, although the 3rd edition that is in pre-order right now seems to do away with the magnets in favor of a physical clasp that I’d imagine is more satisfactory. As is the lid doesn’t fly open randomly, but it will absolutely open if tilted forward with decks inside.

I find myself impressed with how well the lid handles pressure in the wrong direction, such as if a child hung on a refrigerator door. There’s no give when pushed or pulled, which is reassuring. My large trade binder is not far from losing it’s front cover after a year of constant in and out of my backpack. I get the impression that this Grimoire would hold up much better than that flimsy sports card binder in that regard. One thing does worry me though, and that’s the danger of over-opening the lid. Opened on a flat surface the lid doesn’t touch the table, and instead hangs an inch or two above. A careless observer or eager child may lean on the cover, and while I’m not sure if the result would only be ripped fabric or if the entire lid would separate, but either way, you wouldn’t be happy. You’ll need to be careful about opening it with unbridled enthusiasm. Flipping the cover open without restraint will strain the binding at least. With the Alpha edition, it will need to be slow and controlled access at all times. As it stands, this is my largest structural concern. I would hope that future editions are engineered such that it’s not so easy to damage the cover’s hinge.

Velvet lines the bisected compartment, and you aren’t worried about putting sleeved cards in here. The interior is clean and mostly smooth. I would be comfortable using a Grimoire to store a powered cube, although I would probably seek to move the power away from the ends of the rows, just in case. A wooden panel divides the compartment, and it is removable with a bit of effort. I doubt this will come up often, though it’s nice to know that the option exists.

How does it function for its intended purpose? Check out the photo below to see how much it can hold. You could fit ten seventy-five card decks in here, or six of the UltraPro Pro-Deck boxes that are designed to hold Commander decks. Wizard Foundry’s website claims that it holds 800 cards with double sleeves, which I believe. I put all my currently sleeved decks in, about 325 cards, roughly half double sleeved, and they did not fill an entire row. I’d say 800 double sleeved cards for the entire box is not an unfair number, although that may end up being rather snug. At the end of the day you can fit a lot of stuff in this box. The avid Commander player could fit three or four decks in here along with a stack of tokens, dice, life pads, and whatever other small trinkets they feel compelled to bring along. In fact, you could easily fit a typical 12oz bottle in one of the rows. Perhaps that is how best this box could be used – to hide precious bottles of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout on your bookshelf, away from thirsty eyes.

publication 2

My overall reaction to the Grimoire Deck Box has actually been very similar to my original reaction to the iPad. It’s great at doing exactly what it’s meant to do – but is that something that needs doing? In my life, at least, the iPad doesn’t fill any particular hole. Between my phone, laptop, and desktop, I don’t find myself in any situations that a tablet would be useful to me. Similarly, I’m not sure exactly how to fit this Grimoire into my Magic collection. It would be unquestionably useful to me if I had a cube, but I don’t. I never keep more than two EDH decks together unlike other writers here on MTGPrice. It exists in this odd space of being too large for any purpose I have for it, while also not fitting into my standard Magic backpack layout. I never leave the house without my trade binder, and as such my backpack is already heavy and short on space. Beyond my trade binder I typically carry only a deck box and perhaps a fatpack with some other odds and ends, and while the Grimoire could hold both the deck box and fatpack contents, I could never fit it into my bag alongside my trade binder. By virtue of its size – which is necessary to hold heaps of EDH decks or cubes – I find myself without cause to bring it out of my house.

This is a personal issue, of course. If you own a cube or you love to carry multiple decks with you, you’ve already committed the space in your bag to those items. The Grimoire would do an excellent job of keeping that all neat and tidy in a package that’s sure to spark conversation, so if you’ve been looking for a vessel, this is for you. If you’re like me, and only tend to carry one to two decks at a time along with an omnipresent trade binder, this may end up not servicing any of your needs. Wizard Foundry isn’t unaware of this though, as they’ve recently begun a Kickstarter campaign for a new model that’s much smaller. I obviously don’t have the new model in my hands, so I can’t comment very specifically on it, but it does seems to be a much more manageable size. I get tired of having my Modern deck, two Tiny Leaders decks, a small dice bag, and a plastic case for ‘in process’ cards all floating around in my bag. If I could shove all of those into one of the newer, smaller models, I think I’d be pleased.

At $75 each these are not a cheap addition to your inventory. I of course can’t tell you whether it’s worth it, as that’s a personal decision, but I would think that for someone with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of cards wrapped up in EDH decks or a cube, you wouldn’t mind shelling out a bit for a sturdy case. I did find the comment in the video amusing that the guy is tired of storing all of his cards in those flimsy cardboard 1000-count boxes. If I transferred all of my cards from run-of-the-mill card boxes into Grimoires, it would probably run me over $2,000. I wouldn’t recommend replacing your $1.50 longbox full of bulk rares with a Grimoire.

If you’re a cube owner or an avid EDH player, I wouldn’t hesitate to point you in the direction of the Grimoire line. You’re the type of person that’s already carrying around hundreds of cards intended for play, and the protection and style offered by the Grimoire is likely to be right up your alley. If you’re like me, always dragging a trade binder around with no more than one or two deck boxes, you may want to turn your attention towards the Kickstarter for the smaller profile box rather than the full size ones available now.


 

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Draggin’ Up The Rear – Full DTK Financial Set Review

By: Travis Allen

You guys like Dragons, right? Dragons? DRAGONS?? DDRAGONSFSFFFFF

I’ve never been a devout dragon follower so there’s no special excitement in Dragons of Tarkir for me. It does strike me as a bit saturated though. It’s not special if you have it every day, right?

From our current vantage point, DTK appears to be at least a reasonable set. There’s no shortage of casual and Commander cards while there’s also enough muscle in the set to impact Standard, especially with two seemingly very playable Planeswalkers. I’m not sure there’s any meaningful Modern or Legacy impact here, but time will tell.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging to review though.

It’s important to remember when reading any set review that we are forced to evaluate cards in a pseudo-vacuum, but they never exist as such. When I look at Sidisi, Undead Vizier I have to consider the card individually, free of whatever the metagame looks like that particular month. Sidisi’s text box isn’t going to change, but the cards other people are playing will. I need to focus on what concrete information I have available to me. Because of this, set reviews are especially challenging. I have to look at Sidisi and make an evaluation based strictly on the words printed on the card, but her true worth will be dependent on the cards around him, a pool that will change significantly over time. Cards that are excellent right now may have been trash in an alternate timeline. It would be easy to construct a Standard environment where Desecration Demon is crap (such as he was in INN-RTR when Lingering Souls was legal,) or where Prime Speaker Zegana is a chase mythic. Even the hallowed Jace, the Mind Sculptor was nigh unplayable at release since there wasn’t a single other playable blue card in the format and Bloodbraid Elf + Blightning threatened to shut him down as soon as he resolved.

You’ll notice in bulk sections that some cards have an asterisk (*) next to them. These are cards that basically all have the same review: they’re quite likely bulk, but there’s a world in which they’re quite good. These are the types of cards that if they ever hit the $.15 – $.25 range, I will probably buy a few sets just in case.

My price predictions are where the cards will be in one month, and where they will be as Origins arrives.

White

Bulk
Anafenza, Spirit of the Family Tree
Gleam of Authority
Hidden Dragonslayer
Profound Journey
Radiant Purge
Sunscorch Regent

 

Arashin Foremost
One Month: $1-$2
Origins: Bulk or $3-$5

The future of Arashin Foremost depends heavily on the fate of Warriors. If the tools provided in this set are strong enough to push the deck into tier one status, I can see Foremost being a part of that strategy. Coming down on turn three turns your Chief of the Edge into a six power threat, and each turn after that she gives your most threatening body double strike. Silverblade Paladin was over $12 at one point, and his effect was very similar. Theoretically, Foremost’s would be better in a dedicated warrior deck.

If warriors can’t make it though, it’s bulk. This outcome is more likely. Keep an eye on early tournament results – if people are getting work done with the tribe, don’t be afraid to scoop up copies at $1 apiece.

 

Myth Realized
One Month: Bulk – $2
Origins: Bulk or $4

Myth Realized reminds me of Mastery of the Unseen. Both are capable of being absurd in particular decks, and subsequently carrying price tags of several dollars. Both also may go completely unplayed, reaching absolute bulk in a matter of days after release. These are the cards that make me want to stop doing set reviews.

There’s an outside chance Myth Realized could find a home in some control-esque decks. Landing one of these on turn one and then eventually swinging for seven or eight quite a few turns later is entirely plausible, although the lack of indestructibility when activated means that it will never be truly safe.

While an excellent choice on turn one, these still aren’t dead late in the game. The ability to put counters on with spare mana means that a few turns of draw-go once you’ve got six or nine mana in play means this can turn threatening quickly, even when drawn many turns in. Overall a control path seems less viable currently, with the amount of enchantments running around, and thus enchantment hate, but we could see a big drop off in those types of cards after October.

I’m also wondering if it has a home elsewhere. It would be interesting to see some sort of GWX deck pop up that uses Eidolon of Blossoms and a boatload of enchantments to build gigantic Myths, while leaning on cards like Suppression Field, Silkwrap, Banishing Light, Chained to the Rocks, Monastery Siege, and Skybind to disrupt your opponent’s board presence.

It’s really tough to tell you whether this card is real or not, just as it was for Mastery of the Unseen. You’ve really got to just make this call with your gut and watch tournament results like a hawk if you’re considering buying in.

 

Ojutai Exemplars
One Month: $2-$4
Origins: $2-$4

Exemplars are going to be a pain in the ass to both play with and against. If your opponent has Exemplars in play and open mana, there are an unreasonable amount of lines to consider. Not only do you have to think about playing around the variety of spells they could be representing – Valorous Stance, Ojutai’s Command, whatever – you also have to think about how each one of those could interact with Exemplars. “If he’s got Stance, what mode does he use? And then does he tap this guy, or does he let me swing with both, and then choose the lifelink? What if it’s Murderous Cut instead?” The problem exists on the other side of the table as well. Piloting this card is going to be difficult with a single spell in your hand, much less multiple.

Difficulty of play aside, the power level is there. A player can play protect the queen with a threat of this nature and proceed to win on the back of it. The multiple modes allow you to get troublesome blockers out of the way, gain life to race or regain lost ground, dodge removal, or neutralize threatening attackers. They really are capable of nearly everything so long as you can do a decent job keeping moderate control of the game. Exemplars also pairs very well with Monastery Mentor, as both are capable of winning the game on their own when backed up with a grip of spells. I can certainly imagine a UW list that plays four of each and no other creatures.

Exemplars is the type of card I see taking some time to work out. People will play one copy in the board or the main, and over a few weeks slowly increase the quantity they’re playing, until it’s a major component of the format, similar to perhaps Whisperwood Elemental. Out of the gate Exemplars should slip into the few dollar range from the $10 they’re currently preordering at. After that it’s a question of whether things shake out in a way that the sort of deck they’re in is good. If so, then they could easily rebound to double digits. If not, they’ll languish in the two or three dollar range. The power level is there, it’s just a question of what the rest of the room looks like.

 

Secure the Wastes
One Month: Bulk – $2
Origins: Bulk – $2

I can’t decide how I feel about this card, so rather than shove it in the bulk section, I’ll let you know what I’m thinking.

We’ve never had an X token producer this efficient before, especially at instant speed. If your opponent stabilizes and then casts an otherwise-irrelevant spell after clearing your board, you can drop this at end of turn and suddenly be attacking for four or five damage. It’s worse than Raise the Alarm at two and Hordeling Outburst at three, but it’s better than anything else above that, and it’s also playable at any point on the curve.

What drove me to pull it out of the bulk section is that the tokens are warriors. With Chief of the Edge, those 1/1s get threatening real fast. It’s also obscene with Purphoros, who is legal for another few months.

It’s unlikely that this sees enough play in enough places to drag itself above $2, but I didn’t want to skip talking about it entirely.

Blue

Bulk
Blessed Reincarnation
Dragonlord’s Prerogative
Illusory Gains
Living Lore
Mirror Mockery*
Profaner of the Dead
Stratus Dancer*

 

Clone Legion
One Month: Bulk
Origins: Bulk

This is the type of card that makes my policy of “include text about every mythic” feel silly.

 

Icefall Regent
One Month: Bulk – $3
Origins: Bulk or $3-$5

Here are the two obvious comparisons: For one mana more than Dungeon Geists, you get an extra power and a two-mana tax to remove it. For one more mana than Icefall, you get Frost Titan. Hrmm. Dungeon Geists won a Pro Tour, but otherwise didn’t light Standard on fire. Frost Titan spent some time as the best titan in Standard. Hrmm.

Four power is a bit better than it would be in other sets due to Ferocious floating around. Can you imagine untapping with this, casting a Ferocious See the Unwritten, and putting two more Icefalls in play? Hah. Three toughness is sort of a beating, but if our opponent’s are spending four mana to kill it with Lightning Strike, I probably can’t complain.

What I like about this is how much of a tempo loss it is for your opponents in a color, in a clan, in a set that is on board with tempo plays. Playing an early Savage Knuckleblade allows you to begin applying pressure, and when they resolve a Siege Rhino or Tasigur in an attempt to stabilize, you can follow up with Icefall to tap it down and continue serving with the Knuckleblade. Your opponent is now in the unenviable position of either having to cast another stabilizing creature, which means they’re going to eat the Icefall’s attack next turn, or they can take their entire turn off to kill Icefall, which means you get to attack with the Knuckleblade again while following it up with some other threat.

Cards like Icefall Regent need support and opportunities. While Siege Rhinos create metagames, Icefall Regents prey on them. Is this an Icefall meta? No way to know. The card is definitely capable of terrorizing at least a few potential Standard formats though.

 

Shorecrasher Elemental
One Month: $2-$5
Origins: $1-$3

People are jazzed about Shorecrasher heralding the return of Master of Waves and Thassa. I’m not sure why; people complained non-stop when Mono-Blue was crushing FNMs everywhere. Whatever.

There are two futures here: Mono-Blue is good again, and in that case, Shorecrasher is probably a four-of, and one where Master, Thassa and Shorecrasher can’t keep up with Siege Rhinos and Hornet Queens. My money’s on the latter. Siege Rhino is just a savage beating for everything in that deck except for Thassa, which decks playing Rhino can keep deactivated. Perhaps more importantly is the lack of Mutavault, which was a key player in the strength of both Mono-Blue and Mono-Black.

I will say this – I wasn’t on board with Mono-Blue, and then two things happened: Chapin wrote an article saying the deck was coming back in a real way, and they spoiled Silumgar’s Sorcerer. Chapin can be a bit over zealous at times, though it’s still always worth listening to him. Meanwhile Sorcerer looks busted in this deck – it counters your opponent’s stabilizing creature while pressuring in the air and providing devotion. With all the one-drops this deck usually needs to run, you shouldn’t even have a problem sacrificing a Gudul Lurker or something.

If the surf ninjas do turn up in force this summer, remember that Master of Waves was only over $10 for for about four months, and that was as the uncontested best deck in the format. A more likely price for Shorecrasher is between $5 and $10, although a spike above that range could occur. With both Master of Waves and Thassa in the deck, there’s plenty of mythics to spread value across. Shorecrasher’s window is also very small – his relevancy is likely only until Theros rotates, at which point he loses the devotion angle, and his cost suddenly becomes a liability. Without any Standard demand, he drops towards bulk mythic.

Black

Bulk
Damnable Pact
Deathbringer Regent
Foul Renewal
Hedonist’s Trove
Pitiless Horde
Silumgar Assassin

 

Blood-Chin Fanatic
One Month: $1-$2
Origins: Bulk or $3-$5

Blood-Chin is in the same boat as Arashin Foremost. For an aggressive tribal deck, he’s an excellent finisher. His stats are reasonable and he allows you to burn out wounded opponents, much in the same way Kalastria Highborn used to. I’m not exactly sure whether warriors would rather have him or Foremost, or both, but I imagine either one is viable depending on the shape the deck takes in response to the format.

Of course if warriors doesn’t pan out he’s bulk.

 

Corpseweft
One Month: Bulk – $2
Origins: Bulk

This was in the bulk column until I realized it says “twice.” Knowing that it makes at minimum 2/2s, I’ve got to include at least something here.

Three is certainly more for an enchantment that doesn’t actually do anything than you’d like to pay, but the fact that you aren’t doing a lot with this until the later turns of the game ameliorates that concern, since there’s no need to ever cast this on curve. Two is a fair price for the activated ability at least.

Only eating creature cards from your graveyard is sort of a bummer for sure, but a deck built with that in mind won’t be too inconvenienced by it. At twenty creatures this isn’t completely unreasonable. What is perhaps most alluring about this is the flexibility of the token you create. If your opponent has one large blocker, you can go wide with several 2/2s. If you need a haymaker to crash through, exile all your creatures at once and get in with an 8/8. Heck, you could even live the dream and exile Torrent Elementals. Considering that the fodder for this is creatures that already spent their time in service, that’s not a bad rate. Corpseweft could end up drawing you quite a few virtual cards in a matchup, which most three mana enchantments can’t claim.

My biggest qualm is that it uses cards in your graveyard as a resource, something we’re already doing a lot of with Tasigur, Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, and Murderous Cut. Do you want to be going through this much work to make some 2/2s and 4/4 tokens when you could be casting Tasigur or Dig? I’m not so sure. This is a Mastery of the Unseen card – it could hit pure bulk and never rise again, unlike the horrors it creates, or it could smash a GP one weekend and jump to $6. I’ll pass for now, but if I can buy a bunch of copies for $.20 or less each at some point, I probably will.

 

Risen Executioner
One Month: $3-5
Origins: $2-$4

Risen Executioner is one of two creatures with power greater than two that can return from the graveyard this set. I’m not sure why Wizards decided we needed them both right now, but hey, there you go.

Pumping zombies feels a bit EDHish, but the old Sidisi will still be legal, and putting 3/3s into play instead of 2/2s would be quite the upgrade. He also makes your Empty the Pits lethal far faster, while Pits clears out all the creatures that make casting him from the graveyard too expensive. An end-of-turn Pits for four or five bodies followed by untapping and casting Executioner puts a lot of damage on the board from zero.

His return clause is a tad strange, but most other creatures with reasonable power that can infinitely recur from the graveyard have conditions. Vengevine requires two creature spells, the  Raptor needs you to unmorph guys, Demigod required casting Demigod, and Skaab Ruinator required exiling bodies from the yard. While Executioner’s cost may feel high, it’s actually quite cheap. All the other creatures listed require you to have more gas in some capacity. If you delve away all your other bodies, with maybe Tasigur or Angler, Executioner is just 2BB: join the party. If you find yourself with a boatload of mana and a value-adding sacrifice outlet, go hog wild.

With the undead Sidisi looking to knock people off as he comes into play, and being a zombie himself, Executioner looks like he may play well in some form of mono-black or heavy black control. He’s a great target to sac to Sidisi, and the BB in his cost pays the grey merchant.

I anticipate his price will dwindle in the near future, as it may take time to figure out how best to use him. Torrent Elemental, a card I felt similarly of while reviewing Fate Reforged is still $3.50. I’d expect that to be Executioner’s floor a month from now, and he’ll hang out around $2 if he doesn’t see any play at all. If he’s the real deal, double digits is entirely possible.

 

Sidisi, Undead Vizier
One Month: $3-$5
Origins: Bulk or $2-$4

One of the earliest spoilers, Sidisi has been the subject of some debate amongst my sort on Twitter. A 4/6 blocks almost everything on the ground right now, and Deathtouch means she stonewalls Rhinos and Tasigurs. In the meantime, the Demonic Tutor trigger allows you to find your appropriate answer for the game state at hand, whether it’s a Crux of Fate, a Downfall, a Drown in Sorrow, or a Grey Merchant.

Five mana isn’t cheap though, and the Exploit trigger isn’t free. Sure, oftentimes you’ll be able to throw a Wayfinder under the bus, but that won’t always be an option. In general you’ll be searching your library, but we need to recognize it isn’t 100% guaranteed. Is a slowish conditional Tutor good enough for Standard?

Sidisi feels a bit like Tasigur did, in that you can see where the power in the card lies, but it’s tough to tell whether or not the work is worth it. I’m moderately bullish on Sidisi. Tutoring for specific answers is strong, her body is relevant, and she’s not miserable to cast. What’s this mean for her price? Probably in the low single digits, at least for awhile. Tasigur is just under $10, and he rapidly became a multi-format all-star. I don’t see Sidisi breaking into Modern or Legacy anytime soon, which severely hampers her price outlook for the near future. It doesn’t help that there are a lot of cards in this set has two playable Planeswalkers and a boatload of cards that could break out into the $10 range.

Red

Bulk
Berserker’s Onslaught
Crater Elemental
Commune with Lava
Dragon Tempest*
Ire Shaman
Volcanic Vision
Zurgo Bellstriker

 

Descent of the Dragons
One Month: $2-$4
Origins: $1-$3 or $4-$10+

Why do I think this “lol EDH” card could be over $10 in a few months? Let me remind you of three cards that will be legal:

  

Those three cards represent a plethora of bodies to turn into 4/4 dragons, and the tool to make it happen very quickly. Here’s an admittedly above-average game:

Turn 2: Dragon Tempest

Turn 3: Hordeling Outburst

Turn 4: Cast Battlefield Thaumaturge for 1U, then cast Descent targeting all four of your guys for RR. Put four 4/4s into play, dealing sixteen to your opponent’s face, then swing with sixteen hasty flying power.

That’s obviously a best-case scenario, and includes you having Dragon Tempest in your deck, but it’s not terribly unreasonable to see four cards over four turns. Substitute Dragon Fodder for Tempest on turn two and you’ve still got a turn five kill.

People will be quick to point out that Hour of Need has existed for some time, and that’s fair. The difference is that Hour of Need is ok with Thamaturge in play, and atrocious without him. Descent is unreal with Thamaturge in play, and still completely castable if you don’t draw him. With a straight cost of 4RR, it’s never going to be unbelievably expensive to transmute your whole board, as it would be with Hour of Need.

When you aren’t making swarms of dragons, you’re playing a regular UR game with Hordeling Outburst, Goblin Rabblemaster, Anticipate, and other solid cards. Lightning Strike, Stoke the Flames, Hordeling Outburst, and Goblin Rabblemaster have all proven that they’re completely real cards on their own, and Thaumaturge and Descent just give the deck an obscene top end. How convinced am I that the deck will land?

Capture

You can see I have some vested interest in the deck succeeding. I’m not talking up Descent because I bought 121 Thaumaturges though, I bought 121 Thaumaturges because I see a real contender forming.

Perhaps the Magic world spins in a way that a swarm of 4/4 dragons isn’t good enough, but I’m convinced that it’s a real enough possibility that I chose to buy in.

 

Dragon Whisperer
One Month: $3-$6
Origins: $3-$6

Whisperer looks real to me. Whenever you’ve got a spare mana you can send her into the air to score for two, adding late-game relevancy to a two-drop. Being able to gain evasion as needed for only a single mana is going to help apply pressure in situations where your other small aggressive guys are getting stonewalled. Being able to add to the damage when your opponent can’t answer a flyer is also very useful. For five mana you can serve for four in the air, which won’t take long to finish your opponent off. Both of these abilities are exactly what these sorts of decks want – a way to get extra damage in past bodies clogging up the ground. The Formidable ability is icing on the cake, and it’s sweet icing to boot. In games where you’re having trouble pushing through you can begin pooping out dragons. This will be excellent in the RG monster decks that often lack card draw but not powerful creatures. Just as you run them out of cards in hand and you think you can start to gain control of the board, they’ll simply start generating dragons until you kill everything or you’re dead, with the latter much more likely.

Dragon Whisperer could even herald the return of a red devotion deck. That RR casting cost helps enable Nykthos shenanigans, and she provides you a mana outlet to boot. Purphorous would love another shot at Standard.

It looks like Whisperer is preordering for about $6 on eBay right now, which doesn’t seem far from where her price will land in the short term. I’m unsure if she can climb above $5 or $6 before the fall, although anything is possible. If she’s seeing some play in decks that don’t all involve Nykthos over the summer and her price stays low, it may be worth picking up copies for what would be a probable jump in October. In the meantime, if this is the type of card you want to play, A. you’re a monster, and B. feel free to pick up a set at retail.

 

Thunderbreak Regent
One Month: Bulk
Origins: Bulk – $5

The last time we had a playable Gameday full-art rare was Dungrove Elder back in M12, and there were only a handful before that as well. We did get a full Kalastria Highborn though, so sometimes tier one Standard staples show up in this slot. I’m not sure if Wizards just keeps missing the mark with what they expect to impact the format, or if they just choose the cards with a dartboard.

2RR for a 4/4 flyer is mediocre, but one that bolts the opponent when they try to remove it is a another matter altogether. The reason a card like this would generally be unexciting is because it’s so vulnerable to removal and doesn’t accomplish anything if they kill him before he attacks. With that clause on there, you’re at least getting three out of the deal. He’s also in a great spot on the curve, in that he comes down ahead of all your other big nasty threats. If he was five I’d be much less interested, but at four you still have room above him for cards like Atarka or Stormbreath. You even have a shot of getting him down on turn three between Elvish Mystic and Dragonlord’s Servant.

Non-foil pack copies will be between bulk and maybe $4 if he’s a four-of in some sort of dragon stompy deck. Those gameday promos will be a bare minimum of $3, and could be upwards of $15 or $20.

Green

Bulk
Assault Formation*
Collected Company*
Den Protector
Foe-Razer Regent
Obscuring Aether
Sunbringer’s Touch

 

Avatar of Resolute
One Month: Bulk – $2
Origins: Bulk – $2

GG for a 3/2 is usually fringe playable. Add in Reach and Trample and you’ve got yourself a bona fide beatstick. No chump blocking for you, goblin token! Add in the extra +1/+1 counters you’ll occasionally get and it’s clear WotC is pushing this pretty hard. Honestly, this is not far from being a mythic.

Right now Fleecemane Lion is less than $2.50, and spent all of two months at $4. I would be surprised if Avatar manages to see more play than Fleecemane, especially given how tough GG as a cost is. That gives us a good feel for what Avatar’s price trajectory looks like.

 

Deathmist Raptor
One Month: $3-$6+
Origins: $2-$5+

Deathmist is a tough card to evaluate. Cards that can return from the graveyard are always tricky, because sometimes they’re incredibly powerful (Vengevine), and other times they’re complete duds (Skaab Ruinator). With two of them in this set, Wizards is setting out to test me apparently.

What makes Deathmist particularly appealing is that he’s free, in a way. The price is turning a permanent face up, but no extra mana is required to bring him and his pals with him. This is noteworthy in the same way Vengevine is; you can return multiple copies for the same cost. Note that $19 Vengevine works the same way, while $.93 Skaab Ruinator only returns one at a time.

Having just watched the finals of GP Miami, it seems to me that Deathmist will slot directly into the GW Devotion/Mastery of the Unseen list that took the top two slots. I can’t say for sure whether this deck will still be a thing by the time Deathmist actually hits the streets, but if Mastery continues to perform alongside Whisperwood Elemental, Deathmist seems great. Deathtouch means he can freely attack into your opponents because he either gets in for three or trades, at which point you’re free to bring back his whole pack with your manifests. Deathtouch doubles as an excellent defensive keyword when you’re on the back foot, and he’s also great face down, as he’s a superb surprise blocker. Double G in his mana cost even plays well with Nykthos.

His preorder price is hanging around $10 right now which is high for an unknown element, but I don’t think it’s wildly out of line. I anticipate that he’ll drop into the $5ish range, but I’ll be surprised if he makes it down to $2 bulk mythic pricing. I suspect he’ll always be hanging around Standard, and during the periods where Whisperwood and Mastery are strong cards, he’ll be right there with them, with a price tag nearing $10 to boot.

 

Shaman of the Forgotten Ways
One Month: $2-$4
Origins: $1-$3

I really, really want to say this card is terrible. He adds less mana than Somberwald Sage, which is his entire reason for existence, and his Formidable ability costs a million mana. Three toughness is better than one, but when people are casting Lightning Strike and Stoke the Flames, does it matter? I guess he dodges Wild Slash. Does that matter? Does anything matter? Is life meaningless? Or is it just my life?

I suppose it’s worth remembering that Generator Servant is still legal. Those are the types of effects that need to hit a critical mass to matter, but when they do, they can prove to be real contenders. With four Servants and four Shamans, along with Caryatids, You could be dropping Kolaghans and Atarkas quite quickly. If ever there’s been a set with plenty of fat to ramp into, this is it.

While Sage was under $1 for most of her lifespan, she did show up as a four-of in a few Craterhoof decks, which jumped her into the $3 range. We may not have Craterhoof, but we do have Hornet Queen and a pile of pushed dragons. My guess is that we forget about his ways, but the type of deck he’s good in has been tier one in Standard before. If he makes it, we’ll see numbers in the $5 to $9+ range. Like Arashin Foremost, you should be able to see it coming if the stars align.

 

Surrak, the Hunt Caller
One Month: $1 – $3
Origins: Bulk – $4

Remember that scenario earlier with Savage Knuckleblade and Icefall Regent? What if you put a Surrak in between? He gets haste with the Knuckleblade in play, and then gives the Icefall haste next turn. Pretty nasty, huh?

Surrak is definitely on the radar. Like Knuckleblade, and Icefall, and Shaman of the Great Hunt, and so many other Temur-oriented cards, he’s in this “is tempo good enough?” limbo. Four mana creatures don’t typically give your creatures haste each turn, which means we’ve got a lot of potential power in Surrak. On the other hand, it won’t matter if our opponents constantly have grips of removal and counters. You’ll never hit Formidable, and your Surrak will spend the whole game staring at a Siege Rhino.

I will say I am looking forward to casting See the Unwritten the turn after Surrak, triggering Ferocious, dumping two Eldrazi into play, and then giving one of them Haste with his Formidable trigger. Yes. Yes I am.

In any case, the probably ceiling here is low-ish. Even best case scenario, I think Surrak is under $5. That’s still a hell of a lot better than when he was a Khan though.

Multicolor

Bulk
Arashin Sovereign (Intro)
Boltwing Marauder (Intro)
Harbinger of the Hunt (Intro)
Kolaghan’s Command
Necromaster Dragon (Intro)
Pristine Skywise (Intro)
Silumgar’s Command

 

 

Atarka’s Command
One Month: $1-$3
Origins: $1-$3

I’m deferring to Sam Black and a few other pros on Twitter who are of the opinion that Atarka’s Command is so far the second best of the bunch, to the point that it embarasses Ojutai’s. It’s easy to look at the card and say that it doesn’t do much, but it’s important to remember how cheap it is to cast. It does a reasonable Skullcrack impression, with the missing component the “damage can’t be prevented clause.” That’s certainly a useful component of Skullcrack, but I imagine most would argue that stopping large chunks of lifegain that would get the opponent back into the game is more relevant.

Being able to dome for three and pump the team puts a lot of pressure on quickly with a spread of attackers. Similarly, swinging in and then casting this for the life gain prevention and pump lets you neutralize the utility of lifelink creatures. Being able to make one last alpha strike into their blockers while turning off the lifelink guys can be the difference between winning and losing.

Even if this does turn out to be the best command, I have trouble imagining it at more than a few bucks. I doubt it hits actual bulk prices, but I can’t imagine it being worth more than $5 for longer than a weekend.

 

Dragonlord Atarka
One Month: $2-$4
Origins: $2-$3

Atarka is quite reasonable as a finisher in big GR decks. An 8/8 flying trampler threatens to put the game away the turn you swing, and seven mana is one less than I would have expected to see on a creature with these stats. We’ve seen the “split five” before on Bogardan Hellkite, and it was quite good in the games you managed to resolve him. Atarka coming down on turn five or six cleaning up a Siege Rhino or some other assorted trash is powerful.

The biggest problem with Atarka, and all the elder dragons, is that it’s very unlikely anyone is going to need full playsets, especially ones that cost seven. Atarka is cool, and could definitely see some Standard play, but when she’s in a set with Sarkhan, Narset, and several other decent mythics, she’s going to have a hard time keeping a price tag in line with her mana cost.

 

Dragonlord Dromoka
One Month: $2-$4
Origins: $2-$4

Assume you aren’t playing against a control deck, and what is Dromoka then? A 5/7 flying lifelink for six. That’s good enough to win some games I guess. You wouldn’t put a creature with just that text on it in your starting sixty though. She’s clearly great against control decks with her two additional clauses. Is she good enough elsewhere to warrant main deck play, especially in a format full of giant curve-topping haymakers? I doubt it. She’s sideboard material only, although she’s good at what she does there. Two or three copies in the board won’t be enough to push this out of the “bulk mythic dragon” tier of pricing.

 

Dragonlord Kolaghan
One Month: $2-$5
Origins: $2-$5

A 6/5 flying haste for six isn’t shabby. There is currently no Modern legal card with six hasty power that doesn’t cost at least seven or come with a drawback, so she’s setting a bar on that metric. If you untap and your opponent isn’t dead yet, she gives whatever other creatures you can throw at the board haste too. Alright, that’s all quite reasonable. Probably not format defining, but definitely reasonable.

How about the other ability? This is very Ob Nixilis rules text. “Wow, ten damage! That’s absurd!” Sure. How often do you think your opponent is activating this unless it practically wins them the game? I’ll take ten if it means I get to resolve a Hornet Queen and roadblock you until I can draw an answer. Other than that, don’t count on this to do damage, but rather prevent people from doing things. Just like Ob Nixilis basically shuts off shuffle effects,  and Voice of Resurgence shuts off counterspells, Kolaghan makes your opponent play a Leyline of Singularity game by stranding cards in their hand. Is that good? I’m inclined to say only very situationally. It will certainly crush your Sidisi Whip opponent, but I’m unsure how much your Abzan Control or RW Tokens matchup is going to care.

I need to make a point of noting, since I’ve seen it wrong multiple times in multiple places – Kolaghan only counts for creatures and Planeswalkers, not instants and sorceries. There is no punishment for them Downfalling her as soon as she resolves.

It would be interesting to see Kolaghan as part of some sort of Jund Crushinator deck that plays Atarka’s Command, Caryatid, Rattleclaw and Servant as ways to ramp into Kolaghan and a fleet of hasty dragons. Kolaghan may not kill them the turn she comes down, but how about the Dragonlord Atarka behind her?

I imagine Kolaghan, like the other Dragonlords, will float around the few dollar range. Above bulk mythic, but unlikely to have enough copies in enough decks to push above $5.

 

Dragonlord Ojutai
One Month: $2-$4
Origins: $1-$3

Ojutai hangs out and watches the action unfold until you’re in a position to protect him when you turn him sideways. That means he’s either coming down very late, or he’s going to be on defense for awhile. As a 5/4, he’s really not great at blocking, which is what you’ll want him to be doing half the time. When you finally do manage to get in with him, he casts Anticipate, which we know to be worth two mana. Silumgar, on the other hand, casts a better Mind Control when he enters the battlefield, which costs at least five. I am underwhelmed by Ojutai.

If any deck actually wants copies of Ojutai, they’re only going to want one, maybe two. UW decks are much more likely to want Elspeth or Pearl Lake or Ugin as a closer due to their versatility. Meanwhile, on the casual side of things, Ojutai is in the third and fourth worst dragon colors, and is hilariously terrible as a commander. What we’ve got here is another Isperia, i.e., bulk mythic.

 

Dragonlord Silumgar
One Month: $3-$6
Origins: $2-$5

Thus far Silumgar looks like the most playable of the Dragonlords. At six mana you get a body that doesn’t die to Stoke the Flames, blocks most anything and wins, and can serve for three in the air. On top of that, you get to steal the most relevant permanent on the board. Siege Rhino? Tasigur? Stormbreath Dragon? Whisperwood Elemental? Take ‘em all! Even more savage is stealing Elspeths, Ugins, or perhaps most savage of all, an Ashiok that just ticked over ten counters. A topdecked Silumgar, moreso than any other Dragonlord, can immediately swing the game from a heavy loss to a nearly-guaranteed win.

Even still, his price outlook isn’t the hottest. I do like him more than any of the others. He’s much less contextually good than his peers, and you are unlikely to be afraid to have three in your deck. That said, he’s still not going to make a great commander, and there are plenty of huge game-ending threats in this Standard formats. He’s also terribly embarrassing against Hornet Queen, for what that matters. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hang out in the near fiveish range, but I can’t imagine he’s capable of sustaining double digits for more than a week.

 

Dromoka’s Command
One Month: $1-$4
Origins: $1-$5

Whoa. Is this the best rare in Dragons of Tarkir? A few friends and I were conjecturing about what the Selesnya charm would be, and not a single person had a friendly outlook. We anticipated some sort of Healing Salve, a half-assed Rampant Growth, and a universal agreement that the card costs two mana more than it needs to. Karametra’s foul taste lingers still.

Imagine my surprise when this popped up. At a converted cost of two, already this was far ahead of what was expected. Five and six mana charms have to do an incredible amount of work, but at two mana and a guaranteed four modes, any charm is going to have a real chance of being relevant to someone, somewhere.

Right off the bat this card is playable based on modes three and four. Make my dude bigger and kill your Rabblemaster or Mentor is going to happen time and time again. My Siege Rhino eats yours, or my Tasigur eats your Rhino, or heck even my Elvish Mystic trades with your Rabblemaster. This is some excellent (and cheap!) removal for a color combination that is not known for doing that frequently.

Mode two is especially relevant right now, eating Coursers, Whips, Dragon Tempests, and Ascendancies. This seems like it’s over performing right now, and I anticipate this mode’s usefulness will scale back after October when we lose the enchantment set. Still though, it’s going to matter a lot between now and then, and maindeckable enchantment hate is not going to go unnoticed down the road.

“Counter Stoke the Flame” is going to be awesome all summer, as RW decks can no longer rain down fire without fear of reprisal. This explains the lack of a “can’t be prevented” clause on Roast or Rending Volley – WotC apparently wants them Drommandable.

Dromoka’s Command will be an interesting case study in the coming year. How much can a two-color utility rare be worth? Hero’s Downfall broke $15 at one point as a fall-set rare, so there’s certainly precedent for high prices on useful spells. It’s highly unlikely Command will see the requisite price to reach that level, but it’s worth knowing it’s not unheard of.

For the most part, I’m anticipating this hangs around in the sub-$5 range. It will be played in some number in nearly any deck that can cast it, although I’m not convinced it’s an auto-four-of. Perhaps time will remember this outlook poorly. In any case, you’ve still got to be making both green and white mana, which provides a real constraint on the number of decks capable of running it. Should some GW list become uncontested tier one and this is major component we could see the price rise above $5, but mostly expect to pay around $2 to $5 for this in the meantime, with sub-$2 prices possible if other cards end up suppressing values elsewhere.

 

Narset Transcendent
One Month: $20-$30
Origins: $12-$18

I don’t really want to ramble about how good Planeswalkers may or may not be, because a lot of individuals who are much better at Magic and more in touch with the competitive scene than I am tend to write a lot about them, so I’d rather just defer to their opinions.

What we do know about Narset is that she’s two colors, which is already a strike against her. Planeswalkers of a single color will find themselves in a wide variety of decks, as we saw with Jace, Architect of Thought and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. Two color walkers have many less potential homes just by virtue of needing more types of mana. This doesn’t mean that two color Planeswalkers can’t be successful, just that there is a lower theoretical ceiling on them, as there is with any card that is more than one color.

From a slightly more subjective standpoint, I doubt that Narset is a Modern or Legacy playable walker. So few four mana walkers see in play in Modern, and in Legacy it seems much more likely that you’d rather just cast Jace most of the time. I can’t say for sure that she’ll never show up in either format, but I’m definitely not expecting her to make a big impression on either.

Narset is a two-color, Standard only Planeswalker. She’ll have to be outstanding to hold a price north of $20 after a few weeks. My guess is that she’ll frequently hang out in the $14 – $24 range, with brief ventures outside of that range. Over the summer I expect her to hit her floor at around $10 – $12, and that is when it will be time to buy in. Post-rotation, as with most Planeswalkers, she’s likely to climb some from there. In the meantime, I’m a seller, and I wouldn’t be looking to pick up personal copies until she’s $20 or lower.

 

Ojutai’s Command
One Month: $1-$3
Origins: Bulk – $2

Abilities two, three, and four are obviously useful. Essence Scatter isn’t legal, but if it were, I’m sure people would be playing it. With a format that includes Siege Rhino, Tasigur, Rabblemaster, Mentor, and Whisperwood, creatures are a big deal. Four life is unexciting if at least useful. It will win games that should have been lost. And finally, drawing cards is something any UW deck is happy to be doing.

How good is the first ability? This is a little trickier to nail down. There are two immediately obvious options in Seeker of the Way and Soulfire Grand Master. Both are very playable in the sort of deck that would like Ojutai’s Command. Less conventional options do exist as well. Fleecemane Lion is a legal target. Using him to trade early is completely fine if you know that you can later buy him back and immediately monstrous him. Heir of the Wilds or Frost Walker are also not what you may think of when returning two-drop threats, though both could certainly fit into decks that run command.

Even with four very usable modes, the drawback here is likely the cost. At three this would be unreal, so as is it can’t be any cheaper. The addition of that one colorless mana hurts though. The difference between three and four is the difference between whether you can stop Rhino on the draw or not.

I’m inclined to think this will be a fairly cheap card for the most part. It’s not going to be a $.10 rare, but unless UW is suddenly better than UB, which I’m dubious of, this will be relegated to tier two and three play. Without other formats to really prop it up, the price should drag for the most part.

 

Sarkhan Unbroken
One Month: $12 – $17
Origins: $9 – $14

Sarkhan is a lot more powerful than Narset. He’s guaranteed to draw you a card instead of maybe possibly if-this-is-the-right-card-type drawing you one, and he even tosses a free mana in on the deal. Making a 4/4 dragon is an excellent minus ability, as he not only protects himself, he does so in a way that isn’t just chump blocking. Those 4/4’s are legitimate threats. His ultimate is mostly crap, but you can’t have everything.

Even though he’s stronger than Narset, that three-color mana cost is brutal. A two color Planeswalker has restricted options, but a three color has basically one. Unless we start venturing into four color decks, which Standard mana bases don’t support, he’s really only going to have one home. With only a single viable shell, regardless of how strong Sarkhan is, he’ll fall victim to the metagame if RUG ends up poorly positioned at any given time. Even if he’s hands down the best card in that deck, it’s still only a single deck to drive his price. And like Narset, I don’t see him breaking out of Standard.

Where does that leave his price? The last three eBay auctions for Sarkhan ended at $19 a copy, while the latest Narset auctions are over $30 each, to give you an idea of where the public is on them. Even if Sarkhan is solid it seems like sustaining a price tag north of $15 will be tough. Look for him to slip towards $10 as we get into summer.

Lands

Bulk
Haven of the Spirit Dragon


 

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Guessing Game

By: Travis Allen

I started out this week planning on writing about GP Miami, reviewing what had done well and placed in the top sixteen, and providing some outlook on Standard cards for the next few weeks. It was while working on my Dragons of Tarkir review that I realized this was a foolish endeavor – with Standard about to change again, who knows what will be good in a week? An entire brand new set is around the corner, and with it will bring an evolving metagame. Rather than spend all day today reviewing a Standard that’s about to evolve, I’ll touch on it briefly, and then provide a look at PAX East through a financial lens.

Standard Procedure

The biggest winners to come out of this weekend were Whisperwood Elemental and Mastery of the Unseen. Whisperwood already doubled a few weeks back, but he’s crept up from the $11-$12 range a week ago towards $13-$14. It’s completely safe to sell excess copies here. There’s an outside chance he climbs towards $20, but why get greedy? Take your profit after he took down the top two slots of a Standard GP and move on.

Mastery of the Unseen, by the way, should already be in your trade binder or for sale somewhere. Prices have already started dropping in the last few days, as many expect it not to hold the short term. It may have rocked the GP this weekend, but nobody is going in blind next week. There will be plenty of hate for GW Mastery decks, and that will make it tough to put any copies into the top eight.

One note on this topic is that while Mastery, and the deck as a whole, may contract in the coming weeks, we should remember through the summer how well it performed. Supply is high and Mastery is part of an in-print set, so prices are currently restricted. If numbers have fallen off to sub-$1 by July or August it may be wise to snatch some up. A great deal of the deck in its current form is from Theros, but Mastery and Whisperwood are really the key cogs in the machine. As long as BFZ brings us green mana producers and a single card with a mana sink like Genesis Hydra or Polukranos, the deck may explode again.

PAX East

At this year’s PAX (don’t go to pax), Wizards once more dropped a load of spoilers on us, including the aforementioned Battle for Zendikar set in the fall. Even without formal confirmation, there are a few things we can almost completely count on:

  1. Eldrazi
  2. Fetchlands
  3. Full-art basics
  4. Landfall
  5. Allies

Last we saw the Eldrazi, they were busy consuming Zendikar while our intrepid heroes ran away. Heroically, I’m sure. I have no doubt they’ll still be hanging around munching on the scenery this time through. The Lithomancer’s story from the latest Commander product tells us that Kozilek, Ulamog, and Emrakul have been around for a very long time, so I’m guessing we’ll see revised versions of them rather than a new slew of legendary Eldrazi. I’m also anticipating a new mechanic that isn’t Annhilator, since that is just a zero on the fun scale.

Our important takeaway here is to keep an eye out for giant-monster enabling cards. I particularly like See the Unwritten, which I’ve picked up several sets of for myself. Summoning Trap saw play on and off in Zendikar, and hit a price of maybe $3 or $4 at it’s peak. Trap was a rare though, while Unwritten is mythic. Being a sorcery stinks, as does having to actually pay for it, but on the plus side, you get to flip two creatures if you have Ferocious enabled, and the cards go into the yard, which means you are enabling a boatload of Delve. In fact, an Unwritten completely powers up a Treasure Cruise on its own. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for other cards in Khans that may be particularly powerful in a set with landfall mechanics or gigantic creatures. Knight of the Reliquary was cheap as dirt before the fetches of Zendikar rolled around, and then she hit $20. Fetches are already in the format so we aren’t getting any boosts along that line, but similar “plays well with the next block’s mechanic” spikes may be out there.

A good lesson to learn here is that cards don’t actually have to be good in order to rise in price. Speculation alone could push Unwritten into the $5-$8 range if people get excited. If you had picked up cheap copies ahead of that, you could dump into the hype, and then not care one bit whether the deck actually put up results. As long as expectations are there, the price will be there, and that’s all we need to care about on a spec like this.

Fetches are highly likely to show up. It seems weird running them back-to-back, but there’s a developmental advantage to this. Putting the fetches in running blocks reduces the number of sets that they have to design with fetches in mind. Those lands set constraints about what cards work and don’t work, and if you do one right after the other, you get overlap. Khans already works with fetches, and so will Zendikar, so putting them next to each other means you have to spend less time working within those particular parameters.

Subsequently, now is the time to move all your spare Zendikar fetches. The upside of holding on is so small, so remote, that there’s just no reason to expose yourself to so much risk. I’m holding onto my personal sets, because I’d rather have them and burn some value than deal with trading them away and reobtaining, but I recognize that decision may not be for everyone. If you decide to sell, get them out there, cash out, and move on to greener pastures. Like See the Unwritten. Hah.

A return of full-art basics won’t devalue the ones you have, but it will make them grow a lot slower. Up until now I’ve been holding all of the ones that came through my possession, hoping they’d climb into the $4-$10 range like the Unhinged ones did. There’s no chance that coming to pass now though. I don’t plan on selling mine, because I like having them, but if you can get reasonable numbers for yours, you shouldn’t feel bad about moving them. A second batch of full-arts means we’re almost never going to see Zendikar full-arts worth more than two or three bucks. Foils will be completely immune to all of this though. Don’t sell those if you can avoid it.

Not a lot to say about Allies and Landfall at this point. We can be relatively sure they’re coming, but I’m not sure how to capitalize on that financially at this point. Maybe Harabaz Druid jumps? I don’t know.

Two questions I’ve been asked at every single Magic event I’ve attended in the last few weeks: “Is Goyf in MM2, and if so, what will his price be?” The former was an easy answer, and the latter is far trickier. If you’ve been reading MTGPrice for awhile you may remember I talked about how Goyf would actually increase in price due to his presence in the first Modern Masters run. This time around I’m less sure.

Part of the original reason Goyf increased in price was because the presence of Modern Masters brought a lot of new players to the format, but it didn’t give out enough copies of Goyf to satiate the new demand. For every ten people that started building Modern decks, only one set of Goyfs was opened. The result was that demand further increased its lead over supply. This time around, there will supposedly four times as much MM2015 as the original MM, although I can’t find the source for that. Assuming that’s somewhat accurate, with so many players already invested in Modern, and a much larger print run available, it seems as if far more supply will be added to the system than demand this time, which of course results in lower prices. Yes, pack prices are higher by $3, which would work to increase the cost of Goyf, but I’m not entirely sure how much of an impact that will ultimately have.

If I’m right, and Tarmogoyf does drop in price, how low is he going? While his price feels insurmountable at $200 today, keep in mind it wasn’t too long ago he was $130.

Capture

A little over a year ago, last January, a Modern Masters copy was as low as $130. Future Sight copies were similarly discounted. I expect we’ll drop back into that range, and perhaps even slightly lower. My broad range on his price, once settled, is in the $100-$160 ballpark, with $120-$150 the more probable range. This of course is purely speculative, and you should treat it as such. I could end up way off the mark here.

Karn Liberated is joining us again this summer as well. We weren’t sure if he would be in MM2015, but it was reasonable to expect he’d show up somewhere this year. You definitely want to be getting rid of copies. While Goyf’s price is in question, Karn’s is most certainly not.

One more point I want to make regarding MM2015 is the density of playables. The original Modern Masters had fifteen mythics, of which nine were constructed-viable. (The five Kamigawa dragons and Sarkhan missing the mark.) That’s a 60% rate of useful mythics. About twenty-ish of the rares were playable outside of FNM, for a rate of near 38%. For a set that’s designed to reprint format staples and put important cards in player’s hands, those numbers feel rather low to me. Only twenty-nine total constructed relevant rares and mythics? I’m going to run through the latest Modern IQ and pick out all of the rares and mythics that I think may need a reprint within the next year and see how many I come up with.

Snapcaster Mage
Creeping Tar Pit
Abrupt Decay
Cryptic Command
Damnation
Maelstrom Pulse
Serum Visions
Spellskite
Fulminator Mage
Sower of Temptation
Vendilion Clique
Splinter Twin
Remand
Blood Moon
Crucible of Worlds
Aven Mindcensor
Dark Confidant
Liliana of the Veil
Vedalken Shackles
Bitterblossom
Leyline of Sanctity

That’s twenty-one viable reprint targets, twenty-five if you consider the entire cycle of Worldwake manlands. Keep in mind this is only one event, too. I’m sure if I went through a few weeks of Modern IQs I could find plenty more cards in need of greater supply. The takeaway here is that not everything is going to be reprinted, and there are quite possibly going to be more cards that spike in price because of their absence rather than cards that crash because of their inclusion.

Origins will bring it Legendary-Creature-into-Planeswalker flip cards that should all be quite nifty. I sort of expected the front of Liliana to be GW, given that she’s wearing Selesnya colors in the artwork and everything, but I suppose that would violate color rules handily. Not much to discuss on the Planeswalker front; they look cool and will probably be expensive.

With flip cards back on the printing press, It’s possible to see a return of Delver of Secrets. Even though I’m sure Wizards isn’t keen on introducing the menace to Standard again, reprinting them is a pain in the ass, and they may take the opportunity to do it while they can. We’ve had a real paucity of good cheap blue and white spells in Khans, which may hint at a return of Delver.

I’m not sure what to make of Garruk Relentless or Huntmaster of the Fells returning. Both are marquee flip cards, but would take up valuable mythic slots, and not fit into the origins timelines whatsoever. I’d lean towards them not appearing, but time will tell I suppose.

Alright, that’s a good overview for today. The full spoiler will hopefully be up before next Wednesday, so I should have my Dragons of Tarkir review up next week. In the meantime, I’m going to go enjoy the first few days above 32 degrees fahrenheit in five weeks.


 

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