Eldritch Moon Finance Review: Part Two

Chas Andres is back with Part Two of his Eldritch Moon Financial Review! Which mythic does he think is way overhyped? Which cycle of cards may prove better than anyone thinks? Most important of all, what would Chas buy if he were in your shoes?

Welcome to the second half of my Eldritch Moon financial set review! If you missed my first half, check it out here. This will article will cover all the remaining cards in what turned out to be a pretty exciting set.

Mythic Rares

Tamiyo, Field Researcher – $34.99

I’m very skeptical of three-color planeswalkers. If Tamiyo were, say, green, red, and blue, I’m not sure she’d see any play. Sarkhan Unbroken is probably a more powerful planeswalker, and I bet you forgot that he’s actually still Standard-legal.

Bant is where it’s at these days, though, so the metagame seems ripe for Tamiyo to make an impact. She draws you cards when you’re ahead, stalls for a turn when you’re behind, and has a game-winning ultimate that will rarely be used. Sounds like the recipe for a solid, Constructed-playable planeswalker to me.

I still see no world where Tamiyo stays at $35, though. In the best case, she’s a three-of in on very good Standard deck. Worst-case…well, Sarkhan Unbroken is $6.15 right now. I’m staying away.

Ceiling: $25-$30 format staple in a Tier 1 Bant list.

Floor: $6-$8 causal favorite

Realistic Outcome: $10-$12 role-player that drops into the single digits after Collected Company rotates.

Liliana, the Last Hope – $29.99

Liliana’s power is quieter than Tamiyo’s, but make no mistake: she is the better of the two cards. The thing to remember about Liliana, the Last Hope is that she ticks up to protect herself while Tamiyo ticks down. In the early mid-game, Liliana will sit around making combat harder and picking off the occasional one-toughness creature. In the late mid-game, her minus-two will usually read “draw a card.” In the late-game, it will read “draw one of your best cards.” And that doesn’t even touch on her ultimate (not as hard to reach as most) or her synergy with graveyard and delirium cards.

This isn’t Liliana of the Veil, and the fact that LotV exists means that Liliana, the Last Hope won’t see as much Modern play as she would have otherwise. It’s also possible that the Standard metagame will go through periods where Liliana, the Last Hope isn’t very good—even LotV had times when she was barely playable in Standard. Overall, though, this is a very high-quality card with a good chance of being the most impactful in the set.

Ceiling: $50 multi-format staple.

Floor: $6-$8 complete bust.

Realistic Outcome: $20-$30 card with spikes to $40 depending on how black is doing in Standard at the moment.

Grim Flayer – $14.99

Grim Flayer is a risky buy at current retail. Standard is just not a friendly place for Grizzly Bears right now (Sylvan Advocate says hello!) and Grim Flayer is just mediocre in the early-game unless you’re connecting with it a couple of times. Even with delirium, the payoff isn’t great; there will be games when you’ll be ahead and just crush with this, but how many of those games would you have won anyway?

Yes, it is possible that there is a great delirium deck out there—we did just talk about Liliana, the Last Hope—and that Grim Flayer is the two-drop it wants. Two-drop mythics can be worth a whole lot, and cards that are solid early and great late tend to be the most valuable and important in the whole set. This isn’t the easiest thing to cast on turn 2, though, and I really do think that it’s a one-deck pony in the best of cases. I’m not buying it.

Ceiling: $15-$18 staple in a Tier 1 delirium deck.

Floor: bulk mythic.

Realistic Outcome: $3 near-bulk mythic that people keep trying to make happen.

Deploy the Gatewatch – $4.99

How many planeswalkers do you need to run for this to be good? With twenty planeswalkers, you’re hitting two 75% of the time (not counting null hits for doubles thanks to the legend rule) and one 95% of the time. That’s probably too many planeswalkers for a deck to realistically be playable, and if the odds are much lower than that, you’d just rather run the four- or five-mana planeswalker you want and risk missing some part of the time, right?

There is certainly a world where this card is good, but even in that world there is only going to be one Superfriends deck and the planeswalkers are each going to be more expensive than this is. Casual players are going to love this card, though, and it’s a great long-term hold, especially in foil. It also might make an impact in Modern eventually—cards that cheat things onto the battlefield are always worth keeping an eye on, especially “subset tutors” that only get better with time.

Ceiling: $7-$8 staple in Standard Superfriends.

Floor: bulk mythic.

Realistic Outcome: $3-$4 Casual mythic.

Mirrorwing Dragon – $4.99

Kitchen table players and deep-dive brewers are going to have a blast with this. Zada, Hedron Grinder is a beloved card for a reason, and Mirrorwing Dragon is the sort of creature you should expect to see across the table from you at an especially casual FNM.

In terms of competitive play, Mirrorwing Dragon lacks the haste it would need to be an especially potent threat and its protection clause doesn’t dodge most of the best removal spells right now. It might find a home after some future rotation when the preferred removal suite changes, but I doubt it’ll do much right out of the gate.

Ceiling: $25-$30 preferred finisher in some future where this dodges all the best removal spells.

Floor: bulk mythic.

Realistic Outcome: $3-$4 casual favorite, spikes to $8 at some point because it shows up in a Saffron Olive video.

Nahiri’s Wrath – $4.99

Nahiri’s Wrath is terrible unless you’ve got some serious madness going on. It’s a useless topdeck, you need to be discarding at least one creature if you want it to do anything, and you’re always losing card advantage unless you’re casting spells with their madness cost. Maybe this is a scalable three-mana sorcery-speed Murder in some sort of B/R shell, but it’s going to be such a dagger to draw when you can’t make it work.

Ceiling: $8-$10 four-of staple in a really good B/R Madness deck.

Floor: bulk mythic.

Realistic Outcome: bulk mythic.

Ishkanah, Grafwidow – $2.99

Ishkanah, Grafwidow is my pick for underrated mythic of the set. Six power and eleven toughness for five mana is a great deal, reach lines up well against Avacyn, the extra bodies line up well against the current horde of tokens decks, and the activated ability is just going to randomly win some games. If there is a delirium deck, this is a fairly good payoff card for the top of the curve. If it weren’t legendary (thanks, Commander!) I’d like it even more.

Ceiling: $8-$10 top-end finisher for a very good delirium deck.

Floor: bulk mythic.

Realistic Outcome: $5-$6 top end for a solid delirium deck – some post-release hype and a possible spike if it breaks out at the Pro Tour or another major event.

Mind’s Dilation – $2.99

Mind’s Dilation is one of my favorite cards in the set. It’s going straight into a couple of wacky big-mana Commander decks I like to play when I’m feeling rambunctious. That said, this card is unplayable in all competitive formats and it’s probably not good enough to be a solid long-term Commander spec either.

Ceiling: Commander favorite with some long-term appeal.

Floor: bulk mythic.

Realistic Outcome: bulk mythic.


Spell Queller – $7.99

Spell Queller is just awesome. “Countering” an aggro deck’s three-drop and then eating their 2/2 is going to be a common play in the new Standard, and even though this is a gold card, it may end up spawning a U/W tempo deck in addition to slotting right into Bant Company. I do think it will continue to find a home after Collected Company rotates, but it’s possible that it will be a single-deck staple at that point. Regardless, you might want to pick up your set of Rattlechains as well.

Ceiling: $10-$15 staple in two to three great decks with some Modern play as well.

Floor: $3-$4 as decks with this card never seem to break through for some reason.

Realistic Outcome: $6-$10 multi-deck staple, potentially dropping toward $3-$4 after Collected Company rotates.

Bedlam Reveler – $5.99

This is it, the hardest card to evaluate in the entire set.

I have no idea how good Bedlam Reveler will be. I think people are overrating it because its first ability looks sort of like delve, only it doesn’t work on your dead creatures or fetchlands. Drop a handful of burn spells and you’re paying four or five for this, though, at which point it starts to look interesting. Drawing three cards is no joke when your hand is already empty. In the right deck—one with a lot of burn and maybe a couple of counters—this is one of the best late-game topdecks imaginable and one of the worst things you could hope to see in your opening hand.

Is that good enough? If it were a buck or two, I’d throw down on a couple of playsets. At $6, the risk is just too high that this is stone unplayable. Magic finance is as much about risk avoidance as anything else, and I just don’t like buying late-game cards for decks that want to load up on one- and two-drop spells. These decks tend to need exactly two copies of one late-game thing. It might well be Bedlam Reveler, but the odds are against it.

Ceiling: $20 as the second coming of Treasure Cruise in both Modern and at least one aggressive Standard deck.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: bulk rare.

Cryptbreaker – $3.99

If Zombies are going to be playable in Standard, Cryptbreaker will probably be a big part of the reason why. Its 1/1 body isn’t much by itself, but it plays really well with Relentless Dead and gives the Zombies players something to do in the early-game alongside serious late-game inevitability.

Will Zombies be good enough? I’m still skeptical. The deck is just too slow, and I don’t think Eldritch Moon gives it enough of a speed boost to play with the more powerful W/X and Bant decks. Maybe after rotation in the fall?

Ceiling: $6-$7 four-of enabler in the format’s best deck.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: $1-$2 role-player in a Tier 2-3 deck, potential to hit $5-$6 after rotation if everything breaks right.

Collective Brutality – $2.99

If Madness decks end up finally working, Collective Brutality might be a big part of why. -2/-2 isn’t as good right now as it usually is, but it’s still solid, as is the pseudo-Duress. Other than that, this might show up as an enabler in Legacy Reanimator decks, which are always up for a solid discard outlet that can disrupt early-game plans.

Ceiling: $5-$6 staple black removal spell, expensive foils thanks to Legacy interest.

Floor: bulk rare .

Realistic Outcome: $1-$2 playable in a couple of Tier 2 lists.

Selfless Spirit – $2.99

Selfless Spirit will see play in Modern. Dauntless Cathar does, and Elves is going to want access to this via Chord of Calling. That probably won’t change the price much, but if you can get a foil cheap, you should do so.

In Standard, I really just think that this is a good card. Spirits seems like the tribe that’s gained the most from Eldritch Moon, and it’s possible that the non-Spirit decks are going to want this (at least out of the sideboard) to give their better creatures protection in the mid- to late-game at almost no cost. And once Languish rotates, Selfless Spirit is going to be even better. At $3, it’s one of the safest cards to pre-order in the whole set.

Ceiling: $10-$12 multi-deck role-player in Standard and better in Modern than you think.

Floor: $2-$3 second-tier enabler.

Realistic Outcome: $5-$6 staple in Spirits that occasionally shows up in other good decks as well, especially post-rotation.

Mausoleum Wanderer – $2.99

Mausoleum Wanderer is amazing. It’s not quite Cursecatcher, and it lacks the multi-deck flexibility of Judge’s Familiar, but we know that this is a playable ability (Judge’s Familiar won two Pro tours!) and Mausoleum Wanderer is absurd in a dedicated Spirits deck. There aren’t going to be many games where you draw this and won’t be playing a Spirit on the next two turns, making this a strong evasive threat that can jump in the way of any problematic spell during the mid-game. It’s even solid in decks that only have a couple of other Spirits, making this one of the strongest cards in the entire set.

Ceiling: $8-$10 staple in a very good Spirits deck and a role-player in several other good decks.

Floor: $2-$3 staple in a Tier 2 or 3 Spirits deck and a sideboard card in several other decks.

Realistic Outcome: $5-$6 Standard format staple.

Splendid Reclamation – $2.99

I have no idea how or where this card will be played, but I expect that it will be. A Scapeshift alternative or backup plan in Modern Valakut decks? A utility card alongside Life from the Loam? A value play in a deck filled with fetchlands? A Standard ramp card in delirium or, more interestingly, alongside The Gitrog Monster? All I know is that this card is powerful, it hits all the right buttons for a large cross-section of the Magic-playing populace, and it has the potential to be really, really good.

Ceiling: $10-$12 multi-format staple.

Floor: bulk rare (at least for a couple of years) like Realms Uncharted.

Realistic Outcome: $3-$5 role-player in Standard with a large Casual following.

Oath of Liliana – $1.99

Edicts are going to vary based on how many tokens are clogging up the metagame, which doesn’t bode well for this card’s immediate future, but black just got an excellent planeswalker and this isn’t a hard card to three-for-one with if you’re in some kind of Esper Superfriends build. Oath of Liliana is narrow, certainly, but it has the upside to be a four-if in a very good deck.

Ceiling: $4-$5 top-tier removal spell in Esper Superfriends.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: $1 card with a very real chance to make an impact down the line.

Collective Defiance – $1.99

Versatility is a great thing, and Collective Defiance certainly delivers on that level. It might be trapped between worlds, though—a little too expensive for the burn decks and not quite what midrange or control wants to do. There’s some upside here, as with any card that has the potential to be a three-for-one, but I just can’t see where Collective Defiance slots into Standard right now.

Ceiling: $5-$6 solid role-player.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: $1-$2 rare that never quite finds a home.

Distended Mindbender – $1.99

If emerge ends up being as good as I think it is, Distended Mindbender is being massively underrated right now. Sacrifice a Matter Reshaper or Catacomb Sifter and this thing comes out on turn 4, smashing face for five while snatching a couple of cards out of your opponent’s hand. Yes, the card disadvantage is (somewhat) real, and yes, this will sometimes miss. It’s also possible that I’m totally overrating emerge. The power level is so high that I’m in at $2 per card, though.

Ceiling: $6-$7 Standard staple.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: $3-$5 Standard role-player.

Heron’s Grace Champion – $1.99

Heron’s Grace Champion is powerful, but the fast Humans decks definitely don’t want a four-drop and the slower ones probably don’t want a creature that can’t be hit off Collected Company. This is also competing with Tamiyo for a spot in those decks, and I have to think that Tamiyo will win most of the time. That isn’t to say that Heron’s Grace Champion won’t show up now and again as the metagame warrants, but I doubt it becomes a staple four-of in any flavor of Standard Humans.

Ceiling: $3-$4 Tier 1 role-player.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: $1 occasional role-player.

Imprisoned in the Moon – $1.99

Imprisoned in the Moon is a nice one. Blue rarely gets removal spells this definitive, and it has a shot at seeing some real play in Modern where it can stop things like Urza’s Tower and Liliana of the Veil. If the price stays this low, I’d grab a set ASAP.

In Standard, Imprisoned in the Moon is likely to remain on the sidelines (or in sideboards) until Dromoka’s Command rotates. That might keep the price low for now, though I think it will make an impact in Magic’s most popular format as well. It’s just too versatile not to see play.

Ceiling: $6-$8 multi-format staple.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: $3-$4 card with occasional spikes higher once Dromoka’s Command leaves Standard.

Permeating Mass – $1.99

One power isn’t cutting it in aggro or the faster midrange decks, so Permeating Mass is going to have to live or die in some sort of green-based control, combo, or slower midrange shell. I feel like this is a worse Typhoid Rats a lot of the time, but the fact that it can blank two-power creatures and live to tell about it means that it will always be worth considering if the right deck comes along. I don’t see it happening right away, but I bet Permeating Mass makes an appearance at some point during its time in Standard. Its upside is decently high, too—you don’t need to look very far to find a ton of homes for a good green one-drop.

Ceiling: $6-$8 role-player in multiple green decks.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: bulk rare that jumps to $3-$4 at some point thanks to a new deck.

Sigarda’s Aid – $1.99

I have no idea if this effect will be worth a full card in Legacy or Modern, though it might be a plant for Kaladesh—Chandra’s folk like Equipment in addition to Thopters, right? Sigarda’s Aid is certainly bonkers with the protection Swords and Batterskull, though it doesn’t stack in multiples and card disadvantage is rough. My guess is that this isn’t good enough to see play in competitive formats, with the caveat that it could be really good in Standard next season if the right Equipment or Auras are printed.

In Commander, this is a must-run in every Equipment- or Aura-based deck. Grab foils, which will hold their value and then some over the long haul.

Ceiling: $4-$5 staple in post-rotation Standard with some fringe Eternal play.

Floor: bulk rare with long-term upside.

Realistic Outcome: $1 rare with long-term upside.

Collective Effort – $1.99

Collective Effort is my favorite of the “Collective” cycle. Unlike the red spell, you don’t have to pay extra mana to escalate this. Unlike the black one, you don’t have to pay extra cards. You won’t always get a three-for-one out of Collective Effort, but it’s easier than you might think. I’m also a sucker for enchantment removal that can be played in the main deck because it has enough extra utility.

Will white decks have room for this, or will they be too busy playing other spells and attacking? I don’t know yet, and it’s worth seeing where the format goes during its first few days. The power level is very real here, though.

Ceiling: $5-$6 staple role-player in multiple Tier 1 W/X aggro and midrange lists.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: $3-$4 role player in multiple decks.

Dark Salvation – $0.99

Much like with Cryptbreaker, this is an efficient, scalable card in a competitive Zombies deck and a stone cold blank if said deck doesn’t pan out. I think it’s being underrated at a buck, if only because it’s quite good if the format breaks its way. It’s a bulk rare if Zombies doesn’t make it, though.

Ceiling: $4-$5 role-player in a very good Standard Zombies deck.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: bulk rare.

Emrakul’s Evangel – $0.99

Emrakul’s Evangel is not a competitive Magic card. Tokens and Rite lists are going to want a quicker way to kill, either with a full team pump or a threat like Nantuko Husk alongside Zulaport Cutthroat. Some causal mages will want this, but I can’t see it ever being too hot a commodity.

Ceiling: $1 casual card for Doubling Season shenanigans.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: bulk rare.

Spirit of the Hunt – $0.99

To my eyes, there aren’t enough great Wolves or Werewolves out there to make this a playable Standard card. If I’m wrong, or of that changes, Spirit of the Hunt could slot in as a really nice midrange creature. Until then, it’s a bulk rare.

Ceiling: $3-$4 role-player in a very surprising Standard Werewolves deck.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: bulk rare.

Stromkirk Occultist – $0.99

Stromkirk Occultist might be fine in the right format, but 3/2 isn’t where you want to be in the current Standard format and there are lots of other three-drop Vampires that seem likely to be played before this one. Wait until Olivia, Mobilized for War actually shows up in a good deck. Then we can talk.

Ceiling: $2-$3 role-player in…I don’t know, mono-red?

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: bulk rare.

Summary Dismissal – $0.99

Four-mana counterspells are not maindeckable unless they are a whole lot closer to Cryptic Command than Summary Dismissal is. I don’t want to just summarily dismiss this card, though—it’s quite good against the Eldrazi, especially if emerge becomes a thing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up becoming an important sideboard card at some point. That’s your ceiling, though.

Ceiling: $2-$3 important sideboard tech with one or two maindeck copies in a couple of control decks.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: $1 sideboard role-player in Standard.

Impetuous Devils – $0.99

Impetuous Devils is kind of like a removal spell for 2RR that can sometimes spill over for a couple of extra points of damage. It looks a little like Spark Trooper or Ball Lightning, but it’s much more like Chandra’s Outrage than either of those. It might see some play, but it’s unlikely to be great unless we get a lot of aggressive red cards in the next set.

Ceiling: $3-$4 staple in an aggressive red deck that really wants a four-drop like this.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: bulk rare.

Providence – $0.49

If Chaplain’s Blessing isn’t playable in Standard, I doubt Providence is. It would take a seriously warped metagame for this to be good in any format, and Providence’s lack of utility in Commander seals the deal.

Ceiling: Combos with a card that hasn’t been printed yet and sees some weird price spike in 2021.

Floor: bulk rare.

Realistic Outcome: bulk rare.

Overall Thoughts on Eldritch Moon

Eldritch Moon’s power level feels higher than average to me. It’s certainly more in line with a set like Dragons of Tarkir than, say, Born of the Gods or Dark Ascension.

A lot of the potential value in this set will be determined by which (if any) of the potential linear decks breaks out. Considering that U/W Skies is already good and Reflector Mage is one of the two or three most important cards in the format, I was already excited about Eldritch Moon’s potential new Spirits. Since Mausoleum Wanderer, Spell Queller, and Selfless Spirit are so strong, my review reflects their higher-than-average shot at seeing significant Standard play. If I’m wrong and, say, Zombies, Werewolves, or Vampires breaks out instead of or in addition to Spirits, a different group of cards will spike while others disappoint.

Eldritch Moon also contains multiple cards with cost reduction abilities (Emrakul, the Promised End; Bedlam Reveler; the emerge cards) which tend to be underrated at launch and all of which have the potential to make a major impact in Standard. The “Collective” cycle may also be underrated due to how powerful and versatile they are—Charms and Commands also tend to be underrated during the pre-order period.

Don’t let the summer lull fool you: Eldritch Moon is full of upside. Closely monitor what the professional testing groups are up to, read as many articles as you can, and watch the #SCGCOL coverage next week. There’s money to be made in this set—I guarantee it.