Dominaria Financial Review: Part 2

With the full set in the public eye now, Chas Andres can give you the full breakdown of the set’s current value, its future value, and which cards are worth picking up sooner rather than later! Learn what’s first-rate and what would be a speculation mistake before the Prerelease!

SCG Prerelease Playmats!

Welcome back to my financial set review for Dominaria! This is the
second (and final) installment, so please check out
Part One
if you haven’t had a chance to take a look yet. Want to know my thoughts on
Mox Amber and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria? That’s where you’ll find them.

I was a little worried that my overall opinion of Dominaria would
go down once the full set was revealed, but that didn’t happen. No matter
what kind of Magic you like to play, there’s something for you in Dominaria. Wizards of the Coast is going to sell a lot of packs, I
think. I’ll certainly be buying a couple of boxes for myself.

When a set is both deep and popular (like Dominaria is likely to
be) prices tend to spike hard during the first few weeks of Standard
legality before experiencing a lengthy and slow bottoming-out. Consider Khans of Tarkir, the last set to receive this level of hype. About
two weeks after the set dropped, there were TONS of exciting cards in the
$8-$20 range: Mantis Rider, Siege Rhino, Wingmate Roc, and more. Many of
these cards tripled or quadrupled from their modest pre-order prices, and
the average expected value of a booster pack’s singles was above the retail
cost of buying said booster. That sort of peak can’t ever last, though, and
since so many packs were opened, those prices ending up dropping-hard. Even
though Siege Rhino ended up being the most important card in Standard for
quite some time, it was readily available for less than $5.

This narrative might not apply to Dominaria, of course. For one, Khans of Tarkir had five allied fetchlands in the rare slot, and
those weren’t going to drop below $8-$10 regardless because of their power
in Modern and Legacy. Having that much value tied up in a single cycle of
cards created a situation where there just wasn’t a lot of surplus value to
go around among the set’s other staples, so there wasn’t much upside for
marginal cards like Wingmate Roc.

Even though Dominaria doesn’t have any fetchlands, I expect the
set’s hottest cards to spike pretty hard over the next couple of weeks
before starting their long, inevitable fall. If you’re looking to buy in,
I’d suggest either doing it now or waiting until midsummer. You don’t want
to get caught paying top dollar right around the first of May.

To the cards!

Mythic Rares

Karn, Scion of Urza – $38

There has been a lot of hype around Karn, Scion of Urza, and I totally
understand why. Colorless planeswalkers have always been good, and the fact
that this thing only costs four mana to cast is absurd. High starting
loyalty? Built-in card advantage machine? Sign me up.

This is usually the part of the review where I’d insert a paragraph break
and then tell you all the reasons why Karn won’t actually be that good. I’m
not going to do that today because Karn is just as good as he looks. I
suppose you could argue that Karn’s plus-one is a little worse than just
getting to draw a random card, and his minus-two isn’t going to be
game-breaking outside of a couple decks, but those are pretty minor

In many ways, Karn, Scion of Urza reminds me of Jace Beleren. I expect Karn
to slot into at least one tier one Standard deck, but the fact that it’s a
cheap, colorless mythic rare basically means that Karn’s hit the jackpot on
chase mythic bingo. You’re probably not getting in under $30 this year
unless 90% of the Magic community has completely misevaluated him. I’d
never speculate on a $38 Standard-legal card, and I won’t be doing so here,
but you can go ahead and buy your Karns now if you need them for your own

Lyra Dawnbringer – $16

Baneslayer Angel is back, and she’s legendary! Back in 2009, Baneslayer was
a $50 card that warped the entire market around itself. It didn’t see
nearly as much play by the end of its time in Standard, though, and even a
card as powerful as Baneslayer Angel is pretty metagame dependent.

It’s hard to know how effective Lyra Dawnbringer is going to be without
seeing how the metagame develops. She doesn’t match up terribly well
against The Scarab God, but honestly, what does? Fatal Push doesn’t hit
Lyra, and her second ability matches up nicely with the powerful Shalai,
Voice of Plenty. Lyra will be legal in Standard for a couple of years, and
during that time I expect she’ll go through periods of dominance. Buying in
at $16 is fine, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Lyra Dawnbringer experiences
some spikes toward the $30 mark. The fact that Lyra is legendary should
keep her from ever being a four-of in a deck, but we saw Archangel Avacyn
in the $30-$40 range recently. Lyra Dawnbringer might not be that
impactful, but it has a shot at greatness

Darigaaz Reincarnated – $7

I love the flavor behind Darigaaz Reincarnated, but inflexible seven-mana
cards must do a lot to see play in Standard. Flying, trample, haste and a
very slow reanimation ability don’t seem like they’re going to cut it in
2018. A Jund deck might want a couple of these in their sideboard for some
sort of grindy control matchup, but I’m guessing this one ends up being a
$2-$3 mythic in the end.

Muldrotha, the Gravetide – $6

At first glance, Muldrotha, the Gravetide looks like a Commander-only card.
Its ability is deceptively powerful, though, especially in a metagame with
oaths, sagas, and Field of Ruin. If the metagame is slow enough, I can
imagine the advent of some kind of Muldrotha control deck that looks to win
by recurring Field of Ruin and Phyrexian Scriptures over and over again.
I’ve seen some rumblings about Modern playability, too, but that seems like
a bridge too far.

I’m going to err on the side of being conservative here and say that
Muldrotha, the Gravetide is going to end up being a $2-$3 mythic. The
upside here is intriguing, though, and I’ll be buying in fast if I start to
see any top players messing around with some kind of Muldrotha Control

Verix Bladewing – $5

My biggest problem with Verix Bladewing is that it’s in a format with a ton
of other good four and five-drop red cards. This thing must compete with
Rekindling Phoenix, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Hazoret the Fervent, and
Glorybringer. That’s a lot of firepower!

Three of those cards are going to rotate soon, though, and Verix Bladewing
might find a home after that. Think of Verix as a slightly more expensive
(but more versatile) Broodmate Dragon and you’ll see why I think this is a
Standard-playable mythic. Cards that scale so that they’re respectable in
both the midgame and late-game tend to be underrated, and Verix Bladewing
is the sort of card that could easily end up stabilizing in the $15-$20
range at some point. My goal is to buy in at some point in the late summer,
but there’s a shot that Verix will make a splash before that and you’ll
wish you pre-ordered at $5. Keep an eye on this for now, at least.

Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar – $5

Sometimes, you just need a really big boy. Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar fits
the bill, though I can’t imagine this one’s going to replace Carnage Tyrant
anytime soon. Multani might end up seeing play as a one-of or two-of out of
a sideboard, but that wouldn’t be enough to elevate this card out of the
bulk mythic range.

Naru Meha, Master Wizard – $4

I can picture Naru Meha, Master Wizard showing up as a two-of in some kind
of crazy Wizard deck, and foil copies will undoubtedly be popular among
Commander players, but the fact that you need to play this alongside an
impactful instant or sorcery spell means that you’re really looking at a
five- or six-drop here-at least. I’d rather just run another good spell
instead. Future bulk mythic.


Cabal Stronghold – $5

I don’t get the love for Cabal Stronghold. Yeah, it’s kind of like Cabal
Coffers, but you need five basic Swamps on the battlefield before
this card actually does anything. That makes Cabal Stronghold a poor choice
for most decks in both Standard and Commander. I bet it’ll see some light
play now and again, and it’ll be worth considering if mono-black becomes a
thing, but this is a $1-$1.50 rare, not a $5 one.

Josu Vess, Lich Knight – $5

Perhaps this is the card that makes Cabal Stronghold good? I’d rather just
run Josu Vess, Lich Knight in a W/B Knights shell or a B/G ramp deck,
though, and I think it has a shot to see play in both of those builds. A
4/5 menace for four is decent in the metagame right now, and the kicker
gives you an unstoppable late game topdeck for free. I love the versatility
here, and the only real question to me is how good Josu’s unkicked form
will be.

In terms of price, $5 seems about right. I think that Josu Vess will see
enough early play to sustain that number, and it might climb higher if it
sees play as the top end in multiple good decks early on. I don’t love
speculating on any of the higher end rares in Dominaria right now
because I think that the mythics are good enough to suck away most of the
set’s overall value, but I like this card more than most that are currently
on the $5 tier.

Thran Temporal Gateway – $5

Thran Temporal Gateway feels like a trap. The tempo disadvantage is big,
and you’re still playing eight total mana for the first thing you flash
onto the battlefield. Either you’ve filled your deck with giant things (in
which case you’d rather just play a bunch of ramp spells) or you’re not
really getting top value out of your gateway and have no reason to run it
at all. People are going to try to make this work, I’m sure, but I doubt
it’ll be anywhere near the format’s top tier. Aetherworks Marvel this is

On the other hand, Quicksilver Amulets are very popular among the casual
crew, and this one works with artifacts and planeswalkers. I doubt it’ll
drop into bulk, and it should be a nice long-term hold. I’m staying away at
$5, though.

Helm of the Host – $3

Helm of the Host goes infinite (or nearly infinite) with a couple of
popular commanders, and it seems worth including in most Commander decks
that like to play with the combat phase. That should be enough to keep this
card in the $2-$3 range, and I’ll be aggressively trading for foils for as
long as Dominaria is being opened. This isn’t good enough for
Standard play, though.

Blackblade Reforged – $3

Making your creatures arbitrarily large is fantastic in Limited and okay in
Commander. It tends not to be great in Standard. I’d love a Standard format
where Blackblade Reforged is good enough, but I don’t think that’ll happen
and I expect this one to end up being a $1 rare.

Rite of Belzenlok – $3

Players love their tokens, and the fact that Rite of Belzenlok is in
Standard alongside Anointed Procession means that it’ll see at least a
small amount of play. I’m not sure where this card goes after that, but
$2-$3 seems right to me. Grab ’em if you want ’em.

Torgaar, Famine Incarnate – $3

If Torgaar, Famine Incarnate had any kind of evasion, or really any keyword
at all, I’d be a lot more interested. As it is, I don’t think this card is
good enough to either go all-in on early in a game or to run as a payoff
card in some kind of cheap tokens deck. I’d probably run a couple of these
in the Rite of Belzenlok/Anointed Procession deck that I just talked about,
but I’m thinking this one stays in the $1-$2 range and never makes it big.

Traxos, Scourge of Kroog – $3

I have no idea where Traxos, Scourge of Kroog will fit, but the card seems
incredibly good. There are plenty of decks where you’ll be casting an
artifact almost every turn, and a 7/7 with trample only needs to hit a
couple of times before your opponent is dead. Heck, this card might even be
powerful enough for play in some of the Eternal formats. At $3, I’m willing
to take a flyer. It’ll be worth it if Traxos sees play in one good deck in
any format, and it’ll be a bargain if he beats those metrics.

Jodah, Archmage Eternal – $2.50

Jodah, Archmage Eternal is a fantastic five-color commander, especially for
anyone who wants to just jam a bunch of big giant things in their deck and
try to cast them. I bet this card looks great in foil, too. As for
competitive Magic, I’m not seeing it. Future bulk rare.

Marwyn, the Nurturer – $2

Marwyn, the Nurturer has a high floor thanks to casual demand – it’s
fantastic in any Elf-related Commander setting – and I think it’ll be
playable in Standard as well. Of course, I said the same thing about Gyre
Sage and after a week one spike to $5 that card didn’t end up doing much of
anything. $2 is a totally reasonable gamble if you’re a believer in either
Standard Elves or Marwyn being part of a ramp shell, but there’s a chance
that this one’s a total dud, too. I suspect that this one will spend at
least a week or two above $5 at some point, but there are other cards I’d
rather speculate on first.

Aryel, Knight of Windgrace – $2

Aryel is powerful enough to be playable in the right sort of Standard deck.
A 4/4 vigilance for four mana isn’t the most unreasonable body, and both of
Aryel’s abilities are very good. The financial upside is limited here since
there will probably only be one Aryel deck in Standard, but $2 is
reasonable if you want a copy and I could see this being a $5-$6 card if
everything breaks right.

Dread Shade – $2

A bet on Dread Shade is a bet on a mono-black deck featuring this, Josu
Vess, and Cabal Stronghold. My guess is that Josu Vess will find play in a
two-color deck and these other cards won’t prove powerful enough to be
worth building around. If I’m wrong, this might end up being a $4-$5 card
for a while. If I’m right, this is a bulk rare.

Benalish Marshal – $2

I like Benalish Marshal a lot more than Dread Shade. The payoff is better,
and mono-white is already a tier two Standard deck. An aggro deck with a
solid midgame featuring Aryel and History of Benalia? Yes, please! $2 seems
like a reasonable gamble here, and this is another one of those mid-tier
cards with a decent shot at hitting $4-$5 at some point.

Lich’s Mastery – $2

Lich’s Mastery is hard to evaluate. It’s either stone unplayable or it’s an
important late-game card for some sort of lifegain-y Vampires strategy
and/or a combo brew that just wants to stay alive a little longer. I’m
going to bet against it for now because I haven’t seen enough buzz in the
competitive Magic community to get me excited, but there’s a shot that this
one ends up breaking out at some point.

Daring Archaeologist – $1.50

I’ve got a couple of artifact-based Commander decks that’ll want to look at
Daring Archaeologist. The card is too slow for Standard, though, and I
suspect it’ll end up in the bulk range before long.

Sylvan Awakening – $1.50

I love the potential of Sylvan Awakening. Indestructible is crucial here,
and this card can be anything from a kill condition in ramp decks to (my
preferred option) a combo piece that’ll help generate infinite mana. It’s
at least going to be good in Modern Ascendancy, I expect. $1.50 is great
for a card with this sort of upside, and I’m going to preorder a set right

The Mending of Dominaria – $1.50

There will be some (Gitrog Monster) Commander decks that want The Mending
of Dominaria, but it’s too expensive and too slow for competitive play.
Future bulk rare.

Oath of Teferi – $1.50

In Standard, I expect Oath of Teferi to end up being an unplayable win-more
rather than an unstoppable combo piece. The right planeswalker being
printed can change that, of course, but I wouldn’t bet on this one making a
major impact on any Constructed format. It’s a sweet Commander card,
though, and the sort of Doubling Season-ish thing that can end up being
worth $5-$6 at some point. I’ll be looking to snap up a few copies for my
long-term box if Oath of Teferi ever hits bulk.

Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth – $1.50

So, you need to ramp yourself to seven mana, have a legendary creature or
planeswalker on the battlefield, and have a graveyard full of legendary
stuff for Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth to be good? There’s a very small
chance that someone makes an Approach-style deck work with this card, but
it looks super bulk-y to me.

The Antiquities War – $1.50

Aside from the week when Saffron Olive causes The Antiquities War to hit $6
because he managed to kill somebody with a dozen 5/5 Treasure tokens, this
one should stay in the bulk range.

Territorial Allosaurus – $1.50

The four-drop slot is always going to be competitive, but I think
Territorial Allosaurus has a chance at seeing real competitive play. Much
like with Verix Bladewing, I find that people consistently underrate the
flexibility that kicker gives you to avoid stuffing your deck with so many
cards that can’t be played until the late game. Territorial Allosaurus
gives green ramp decks something that’s hard for them to access
normally-removal-without being too far below the curve in its non-kicked
form. I don’t think that Territorial Allosaurus will shine until after
rotation, but it’s one of my favorite fliers in the $1 range right now.

Evra, Halcyon Witness – $1

Evra, Halcyon Witness is one of those cards that I’m always going to want
to find room for in Commander, but I never actually will. It’s too slow for
Standard. Future bulk rare.

Mishra’s Self-Replicator – $1

Mishra’s Self-Replicator would be downright frightening at a lower CMC. At
five, though, I can’t imagine this one gets anywhere near a good
competitive deck. Future bulk rare.

Kazarov, Sengir Pureblood – $1

You don’t really have to read past the part where this is a 4/4 for seven
mana. Bulk rare.

Tempest Djinn – $1

Tempest Djinn is solid in a vacuum, but I can’t imagine a mono-blue deck
showing up in Standard any time soon. This one should drop to bulk and we
can re-evaluate in a couple of months once we see what the next expansion

Haphazard Bombardment – $1

If you ran the requirements for a red bulk rare through a neural network,
you’d probably get something like Haphazard Bombardment. It might be a lot
less elegant than this, but it wouldn’t be any better. Bulk rare.

Verdant Force – $1

There was a time when Verdant Force was the best big green monster out
there. That time was 1998. If you find a way back there, I suggest grabbing
some cheap dual lands before your return to the future. Fun card, but bulk

Uncommons Currently Selling For More than $1

Damping Sphere is the marquee uncommon right now, and I expect it to see a
bunch of play in Modern. There are plenty of popular sideboard cards that
are better against Tron, Storm, etc., but Damping Sphere is solid against a
bunch of the format’s best decks, and its versatility will allow it to
shine. I wouldn’t pay $5 for this, though; it’s not going to see play in
either Standard or Commander, so the price will come down considerably over
the next couple of months.

Cast Down is going to be a Standard staple for a while, and it’ll only get
more important when Fatal Push rotates. $2.50 isn’t really a bargain, but
you can snag your copies now if you don’t want to deal with having to open
them or trade for them.

Song of Freyalise is quite powerful. I don’t know if it’ll see enough play
to sustain a $2 price tag at uncommon, but it’s fantastic in tokens decks
so the potential is certainly there. There’s no upside beyond $2, though,
so I won’t be buying in.

I’m not paying $1.50 for any of these uncommon legends. Enough packs of
this set will be opened for these to drop to or below the $1 mark. They’re
great cards, but there’s no reason to buy in now.

This Week’s Trends

We had our first major Standard spike in weeks, with Combat Celebrant
jumping into the double digits thanks to an excellent finish at Grand Prix
Seattle. U/R God-Pharaoh’s Gift looks like it has the legs to remain good
through the release of Dominaria, though it might not be a popular
choice for the FNM crowd to build from scratch since it rotates in the
fall. If you want to go in on any of the secondary specs, I love Warkite
Maurader since it’s still very cheap and it won’t be rotating in September.
Walking Ballista is already quite expensive, but it sees enough Eternal
play to remain high through rotation.

Staying with Standard, Dire Fleet Daredevil also continued to gain value
this week. The play it sees in Modern Humans should be enough to keep it
around $10, and it could flirt with $20 if it ends up finding a home in the
next Standard environment. Your window to buy in the single digits is
closing fast.

Over in Modern, Engineered Explosives continues to spike. I’ve talked about
this card a couple of times over the past two weeks, and the fact that it
hasn’t been reprinted in forever while being an important sideboard play in
B/R Hollow One means that it won’t be losing value anytime soon. I expect
it’ll stabilize in the $80-$90 range for as long as Hollow One continues to
be one of the best decks in Modern.

Also up this week: Goblin Guide. This spike is mostly because Skirk
Prospector was printed in Dominaria, meaning that Modern Goblins might be a
thing. Not only is Goblin Guide still a decent buy at current, but Goblin
Piledriver is a sexy spec right now. It didn’t take much for the card to
double in price a couple months back, and this one’s going to be a $15 card
if Modern Goblins finishes anywhere near a Top 8.

Over in Legacy, another series of Reserved List spikes are hitting some of
the top cards in the Mirage through Urza’s Destiny-era
sets. City of Traitors and Grim Monolith both saw major buyouts last week,
and the sky remains the limit for these cards. I’ll let you know when these
spikes stop happening, but you might be waiting a while.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that nearly all the Masterpieces are on the
rise right now. These cards were relatively cheap back when it looked like
Masterpieces would be appearing in almost every set, but they’ve started to
climb now that it looks like WotC is pulling way back on their support for
the project. The more special these feel, the more they’ll be worth, and
even unplayable Masterpieces like Meekstone are currently on the move. I’ll
do a full article on these for you soon, but for now it’s worth picking up
any Masterpieces that you think you’ll need at any point over the next year
or so.

SCG Prerelease Playmats!