Forecasting M13

Wondering what to do with cards you opened at the Prerelease this past weekend? Chas tells you which Magic 2013 cards he thinks you should hold on to, which ones you should sell, and which ones you should invest in.

M10 brought back the Lorywn planeswalkers, Time Warp, Traumatize, Twincast, Haunting Echoes, Bogardan Hellkite, Coat of Arms, Darksteel Colossus, Pithing Needle, and Platinum Angel.

M11 gave us back Nantuko Shade.

M12 was more generous, reprinting Gideon Jura, Sorin Markov, Grim Lavamancer, and Solemn Simulacrum.

At the time, these were all highly touted reprints. While they weren’t all expected to make a splash in Standard, they were all massively tradable assets at the Prerelease that were expected to carry a serious price tag for at least the next year. Even the purely casual cards like Darksteel Colossus were expensive back then—the giant robot regularly sold for $10 early in the summer of 2009. One of my friends cracked a foil one at the M10 Prerelease and traded it straight up for a Baneslayer Angel, which looked pretty silly about a month later but seems pretty fair again today.

With the exception of Solemn Simulacrum, all of these reprints tanked immediately after the set’s release. Take a look at this chart showing the fall of M11’s Nantuko Shade:

Yup, that’s a drop from over $5 to under $1 in just a few months.

Here’s Bogardan Hellkite from its July 2009 rerelease through the end of 2011:

I’d show you Grim Lavamancer’s chart from last July through today as well, but the Black Lotus Project data is missing last summer’s prices on many cards. Needless to say, it was selling for $6 at release and only $1.50 right now.

The splashy rare and mythic reprints for M13 are Captain of the Watch, Serra Avatar, Serra Avenger, Mutilate, Vampire Nocturnus, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, Akroma’s Memorial, Gilded Lotus, and Stuffy Doll. All of these cards retailed for at least $4 before being spoiled in the set, giving us our biggest haul of high profile reprints since M10. Combine this with a couple of new planeswalkers, and it would seem that you’d get the recipe for a pretty spicy set.

The problem is, of course, that it likely won’t feel that way in a few months.

One of the reasons that a card like Gilded Lotus was worth so much is that you couldn’t trade for them anywhere. Mirrodin was almost a decade ago, and the card is awesome in Commander. With an influx of supply, the current demand is going to be satiated very quickly. This is even more problematic for a card like Traumatize, Nantuko Shade, or—spoiler alert—Serra Avenger, whose price was inflated based on nostalgia and a cool factor beyond actual playability. These are the cards that tend to fall off a cliff pretty quickly.

There are some great cards in M13, and a few that have room to grow. But keep those cautionary tales in mind when you open up a sweet reprint at the Prerelease and have the chance to trade it to someone for a card whose value is much more stable.

A Streamlined Review

I had a lot to say about Avacyn Restored—about 10,000 words worth, if I can recall.

I will probably do another long review like that again in the future, but there simply isn’t as much to say about a core set. Because so many of the cards are known quantities, I’ve decided to condense my analysis of M13 as much as possible.

I’m going to write about each mythic rare individually, but I’m going to group most of the rares together at the end of each section. Cards that I believe will end up $2 or less aren’t worth spending much time on, so I’m not going to waste your day with too many thoughts on them.

In addition to my specific price predictions, I’m also going to make a ‘buy,’ ‘hold,’ or ‘sell’ call for each card this time around.

Cards are only going to get called a ‘buy’ if I strongly feel that they are worth buying into. These are the cards that I will likely buy a set of myself. Not all cards that I predict as risers will get a ‘buy’ grade; some may only go up a dollar or two and aren’t worth your time.

Cards are only going to get a ‘sell’ rating if I am pretty certain that I can reacquire them at a much better price later on. If there’s a reasonable chance the card is a lot better than I think or the price is stable, I won’t recommend that you sell.

Most cards are going to get a ‘hold’ rating, meaning that I believe their price is relatively stable or the future is still too uncertain. If you open any of these cards, feel free to keep them or trade them away as you see fit—just monitor the market as you normally would.

Here are a few heuristics I’ve kept in mind while writing my review so that you can get a window into my thought process:

  • As stated above, reprints of classic cards tend to be overvalued—often substantially so—when they first reappear in a new core set.
  • Popular casual mythics like Angelic Destiny can hold their value longer than normal thanks to the fact that core sets tend to be underdrafted.
  • Casually popular planeswalkers in a core set tend to stay inflated longer than their record in tournaments would indicate. The three new planeswalkers in M12 were still worth a pile of money several months after release.
  • Because of the scarcity of the set, Standard staple rares in core sets tend to settle in the $5-$7 range.
  • Powerful casual-only rares in core sets tend to dip into the $0.50-$2 range for quite a while before their inevitable rise. I’m often too bullish on these out of the gate.
  • I need to make more aggressive predictions; going against my instincts and hedging my bets for Avacyn Restored really cost me!
  • Hype and immediacy drive prices more than anything nowadays. Cards that can slot right into a competitive deck will be the initial risers.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the analysis!

White – Mythics & Money Rares

Ajani, Caller of the Pride

Current Price: $39.99

Price at RTR Release: $29.99

Call: Sell

Ajani will drop to $24.99 (or even $19.99) if it doesn’t see any Standard play at all, but I doubt that will be the case. While the small Ajani can’t protect himself as well as Elspeth, Knight-Errant can, four is a fantastic starting loyalty for a planeswalker and his abilities are all good—especially for just three mana.

I predict that Ajani will actually become a reasonable role-player in Standard, probably to the same degree as Liliana of the Veil and probably more so than Tamiyo is right now. You should still trade away your copies of Ajani, though—brand new planeswalkers still come with a preorder tax on them courtesy of Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Serra Avatar

Current Price: $3.99

Price at RTR Release: $1.49

Call: Sell

It’s hard to believe this was once a $20+ card and one of the flagship creatures of all Magic. After all, back during the Urza’s Saga era, you couldn’t get guys any bigger than this; Oath of Druids decks would even use it as a win condition!

Unfortunately, this isn’t an Angel—despite having ‘Serra’ in its name—and the nostalgia factor will only keep the price so high for so long. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pay seven for this when you can get more guaranteed power out of a Wolfir Silverheart at five, and I don’t think it’s going to have the same casual appeal that it did fifteen years ago. It’s sad to say, but Serra Avatar is a bulk mythic.

Sublime Archangel

Current Price: $19.99

Price at RTR Release: $18.99

Call: Hold

Goodness, I love this card. The art is gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see the foil. I love that she turns your entire team into threats so that she can sit back and you can swing for seven or eight with some durdly bear that you played a couple of turns ago.

$20 is a lot for a non-planeswalker mythic, though. Griselbrand isn’t there yet, though I expect he will be soon. Neither are all but 2-3 cards in a given set. While I wouldn’t be shocked if Sublime Archangel finds a home at the center of a deck, I don’t feel like I would bet on that happening soon. She’s incredibly weak to Vapor Snag and other instant speed bounce and targeted removal, but she’s stellar against something like Tamiyo. I think she’ll be much better positioned after rotation.

The most likely course of action is that people will still be trying to make her work in a couple of months. I predict a small fall in her price, but I don’t think it’ll be much. People are excited about her too; she’s sold out most places and should immediately rise to $25 if she finds a home anywhere. This is a marquee card—if I open any, I won’t be trading them away just in case—but I still think $20 is a tad high.

Odric, Master Tactician

Current Price: $2.49

Price at RTR Release: $3.99

Call: Buy

Odric is going to be an extremely popular casual card. This type of Soldier/Knight effect is big with the kitchen table crowd—see Knight Exemplar and Silverblade Paladin for past examples—and Odric allows you to pick off utility creatures or simply falter your opponent’s entire team. He’s well costed for the mana, and his abilities don’t require a complex assemblage of weird pieces to work; he simply combos with having a big army. If he weren’t an intro pack foil, I’d peg his price closer to $6.

White – $2-and-less Rares

Captain of the Watch, Faith’s Reward, Intrepid Hero, Planar Cleansing, Rhox Faithmender, Serra Avenger, Touch of the Eternal

Of these, I like Captain of the Watch, Faith’s Reward, Intrepid Hero, Serra Avenger, and especially Rhox Faithmender to hold some longer-term casual value. I don’t think any except possibly the Avenger hold much Constructed sleeper potential, but that card was a bust last time around and the drawback still feels too steep.

I wish Faith’s Reward had just been called ‘Sunrise,’ but we can’t all get what we want.

White — Commons and Uncommons of Note

Oblivion Ring

This will still sell for $1. It pretty much always has, regardless of market saturation.

Blue – Mythics & Money Rares

Jace, Memory Adept

Current Price: $11.99

Price at RTR Release: $6.99

Call: Sell

I don’t think anyone is finding a new use for this guy between now and September. I do think there will be a million or so new copies of it unleashed into the world. Trade your copies away ASAP.


Current Price: $9.99

Price at RTR Release: $2.99

Call: Sell

Don’t get me wrong; I love big stupid blue things more than anything. You have no idea how much I want to make this work with Dream Halls in Legacy or at least with Praetor’s Counsel in Commander. In fact, when I first read about this card I navigated over to SCG in the hopes of buying a copy for a couple bucks.

Then I saw that it was preselling for ten freaking dollars. That’s a dollar for each mana it costs to play. And that’s the problem.

Six mana is a lot. Seven mana is too much. Eight mana is insane. Nine mana had better get you an Eldrazi or at least a really big Genesis Wave. Ten mana is unspeakable—actually, The Unspeakable only costs nine!

And when you play it, you had better hope you have a ton of awesome cards in your hand…cards that you couldn’t have otherwise played with your ten mana or cheated out with whatever you used to get the Omniscience on the battlefield.

The more I think about the card, the more it seems like an unnecessary step on the road to winning a game of Magic. A fun step, sure, but fun’s usually a heck of a lot cheaper than ten bucks.

Master of the Pearl Trident

Current Price: $4.99

Price at RTR Release: $2.49

Call: Sell

People tend to massively overvalue Legacy playability when pricing brand new cards. While Legacy can drive the price of a ten year old card into the stratosphere, Eternal demand has very little to do with the price of uncommons and rares in current sets. Anyone who wants a set of these for their competitive Merfolk deck will have no problem picking them up, and then you’re left with a trillion more copies just sitting around in peoples’ binders.

Merfolk are casually popular though, so I wouldn’t be shocked if this card barely stays over $2 in the next few months, but it has no Standard application at all unless a whole troop of Merfolk happened to have moved to Ravnica at some point in the past couple of years. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if this card makes it into M14 as well and is available for $0.49 at some point next summer.

Talrand, Sky Summoner

Current Price: $3.99

Price at RTR Release: $3.99

Call: Hold

While a four-mana 2/2 that needs a lot of support seems kind of weak, Talrand has a little bit of Meloku in him which I very much like. Delver is going to be a tier 1 deck for the rest of the summer, and I expect Talrand variations to slot in quite nicely.

A few words of caution, however: Talrand is in an intro pack, and he might not be so well positioned once Standard shifts in the fall. I wouldn’t buy a set of these unless you have immediate use for them, but I think it’ll be a good card for a couple of months at worst.

Blue – $2-and-less Rares

Battle of Wits, Clone, Redirect, Spelltwine, Sphinx of Uthuun, Stormtide Leviathan, Void Stalker

Even though Battle of Wits is worth basically nothing, people are going to want them. Keep them in your binder, not your bulk pile.

Otherwise, Void Stalker is the only card in here with much potential. A blue creature that can be an early beater and act as a removal spell later in the game shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. While I don’t see a home for it right now, I’d try to pick up a set at bulk prices just in case.

Blue — Commons and Uncommons of Note

Augur of Bolas

I’m not sure the instant and sorcery based blue decks really need another creature, but this one should stay in the $0.75 – $1.00 range regardless.

Fog Bank

This card has been $1-$2 for years. I think it’ll stay in the $1 range for now.

Jace’s Phantasm

I think this guy is overrated—if you can get a buck for yours at FNM, do it.


This should stay around $1 for a while and see a reasonable amount of play.

Black – Mythics & Money Rares

Liliana of the Dark Realms

Current Price: $29.99

Price at RTR Release: $19.99

Call: Sell

The Wizards of the Coast development team certainly seem to have wrapped their minds around planeswalkers at this point. They’re pretty much all splashy, fun, good cards that aren’t broken in half and are mostly just good in one or two specific strategies. Kudos to them for that.

The Magic-playing populace needs to catch up, though. Right now, we’re all still waiting around for the next broken-in-half planeswalker, and too many of us are willing to pay absurd preorder prices for the newest one in order to see for ourselves. Until preorder prices on these cards approach something sane, I’m going to recommend a sell on all of them across the board.

As for Liliana’s playability, she’s a little better than her detractors say. She doesn’t do a lot, but there will be decks that want her. Remember that Phyrexian Obliterator was selling for $25 without seeing any real Standard play—casual folks love mono-black.

Vampire Nocturnus

Current Price: $12.99

Price at RTR Release: $9.99

Call: Hold

Unlike last time, there simply aren’t that many good Vampires around for the Nocturnus to be absurd with. Of course, I don’t expect that to stay true for long. The Orzhov guild on Ravnica has Vampires aplenty, and I’d be shocked if we didn’t see more of them this time around. While Nocturnus will take a small dip thanks to increased supply (including the PS3 promo from Duels 2013), it won’t fall far and will probably end up right back in the $12-$15 range again before too long.

Disciple of Bolas

Current Price: $2.99

Price at RTR Release: $4.99

Call: Buy

Usually, cards like these require you to lose life while drawing cards. In fact, when I first saw the Disciple of Bolas, I assumed that was true. After a moment, though, I realized my error and moved this right to the top of my sleeper pile.

Don’t forget that black often wants to sacrifice its own creatures, turning this drawback into an advantage quite often. Not only is this card absurd with Geralf’s Messenger, if’s even good with innocuous playables like Grave Crawler.

If mono-black is really back, this is going to be the major part of why.


Current Price: $3.99

Price at RTR Release: $3.99

Call: Hold

I loved this card last time around, and I love it even more now—especially if we’re going to get the shocklands back. While it’s only good in the blackest of black decks, there will be enough of those to keep the demand for this reasonably high.

If heavy black continues to be a poor metagame choice, feel free to sell, but know that you’ll always have a decent number of casual players who will trade for these.

Black – $2-and-less Rares

Diabolic Revelation, Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis, Phylactery Lich, Shimian Specter, Wit’s End, Xathrid Gorgon

The best of the bunch here are Nefarox and Phylactery Lich, two cards I’d pick up a set of just in case. The Lich had its moments during its last go around, and mono-black is far better now even if one-mana artifacts are worse. As for Nefarox, black decks will want a finisher without Grave Titan around, and this one isn’t terrible; no comes-into-play ability, but a solid power/mana ratio, evasion, and an impressive attack trigger.

Black — Commons and Uncommons of Note

Vampire Nighthawk

People love this card. It’ll be a solid buck for the next year.

Red – Mythics & Money Rares

Thundermaw Hellkite

Current Price: $19.99

Price at RTR Release: $29.99

Call: Buy

This is the best card in M13. It’s very much ‘the new Baneslayer Angel,‘ and I’d be surprised if it drops under $20 anytime soon.  

As a general rule, however, it doesn’t make sense to speculate on newer cards over $5 or so unless you are incredibly sure that they are about to take a serious jump. I think this card is for real and will see immediate play, so if you think you’re going to play it, feel free to buy in and enjoy without much risk—you’ll be able to get your purchase price back out of it when you move on to another deck. I wouldn’t drop $80 on a set unless you had a use for them, though.

Chandra, the Firebrand

Current Price: $4.99

Price at RTR Release: $4.99

Call: Hold

This is pretty much the floor on a semi-interesting planeswalker, so you risk nothing by picking up a set. I very much enjoyed Conley Woods‘ use of Chandra in last week’s Rogue’s Gallery videos, but otherwise I haven’t seen her pop up much. I don’t think that’s going to change.


Current Price: $1.99

Price at RTR Release: $1.49

Call: Hold

I hope this isn’t banned in Commander because I think it’s going to lead to some fun (and fast!) games. It’s still a bulk mythic, though.

Red – $2-and-less Rares

Fervor, Firewing Phoenix, Hamletback Goliath, Krenko, Mob Boss, Magmaquake, Reverberate, Slumbering Dragon

There are actually a few intriguing cards here that I’d like to address.

Magmaquake is almost good enough, and I wish it hit both players and planeswalkers—that would have probably put it over the edge. As is, I can’t see anyone playing with it unless they really need Bonfire of the Damned 5-7 or something.

Krenko, Mob Boss is a fun casual card that should trade well despite being very underwhelming in competitive play. Keep these in your binder.

Firewing Phoenix is one of the better versions of these that they’ve printed. It’s elegant without being too unwieldy. Unfortunately, though, Magic seems to be moving a little quickly for this guy to work. If Standard slows down considerably, it might be worth looking at this guy as a reasonable source of card advantage.

Slumbering Dragon is the coolest of the bunch and it has the most potential by far. In some games, it’ll come down on turn 1 and a few turns later it’ll either stop your opponents’ attacks cold or start winning the game for you.

Most of the time, though, it will either eat a removal spell or show up too late to do anything. I’m very wary of control cards that are only good very early in the game and are terrible topdecks, especially creatures that can eat removal that might otherwise be turned off. As cool as this guy is, I think it’s going to be a bulk rare before long.

Red — Commons and Uncommons of Note


Green – Mythics & Money Rares

Garruk, Primal Hunter

Current Price: $7.99

Price at RTR Release: $6.99

Call: Hold

Big Garruk has been $40 before—not too long ago, in fact—and he does have the potential to be a Standard staple again. Unlike the other two planeswalkers in the set, this guy has actually been good in tournaments before, so I can’t really recommend selling with the price so low, especially not with green getting some nice new tools in M13.

While I don’t think Garruk will ever be $40 again, I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up in the $10-$15 range again at some point over the next year. I wouldn’t bust my butt trying to stockpile these, but you can safely hold any that you open.

Elderscale Wurm

Current Price: $3.99

Price at RTR Release: $2.99

Call: Hold

It’s big. It’s fun. It’s for casual players only. This guy will probably hit $5 at some point down the line, but certainly not while M13 is being opened.

Primordial Hydra

Current Price: $2.99

Price at RTR Release: $2.99

Call: Hold

This card has already taken a hit; it was trading around $5 before being announced in M13. Casual players dig this guy, and you’ll probably be able to pick them up as bulk mythics and trade them for a buck or so over that. It’s not big money, but it’s something.


Current Price: $9.99

Price at RTR Release: $14.99

Call: Buy

This card is currently sold out at $9.99, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it relisted at $12.99 or even $14.99 at some point soon. Thragtusk is well ahead of the curve in terms of abilities, and it’s probably the second best card in the set after Thundermaw Hellkite.  

The best thing about this card is that you don’t even need to combine it with anything in order to get value—simply playing a game of Magic will likely gain you five life and a Beast. If you want to run it with, say, Restoration Angel though, it becomes straight up insane.

Yeva, Nature’s Herald

Current Price: $6.99

Price at RTR Release: $3.99

Call: Sell

This is my favorite card in the set, and I think casual demand alone would’ve kept her in the $8-$10 range if it weren’t in an intro pack. Intro pack rares tend to have a long term ceiling of around $5, though—see Wolfir Silverheart—and I doubt Yeva will do all that much in Standard; green doesn’t really need this effect, and the color has a ton of great four-drops already.

Green – $2-and-less Rares

Boundless Realms, Elvish Archdruid, Ground Seal, Predatory Rampage, Quirion Dryad, Silklash Spider

The sleepers here are Quirion Dryad and Ground Seal, both of which will likely see a little bit of play.

Ground Seal is a nice little reprint, giving green access to the same basic effect that Nihil Spellbomb provides. I think the card will climb a little from $1 to $2 over the next few months as people try to pick up a set.

Quirion Dryad seems much better positioned now than it did during Tenth Edition. Return to Ravnica is about to give us a ton of gold spells as well as, I believe, a ton of great fixing. This is another card I’d snag a set of at $1 each; it has the (fringe) potential to be a $5-$7 rare next spring if everything breaks right.

Green — Commons and Uncommons of Note

Mwonvuli Beast Tracker

This is a fantastic Commander Tutor—expect foils to be worth something for years to come.


$2 is about right for this staple, though it should drop down a bit while the set is being drafted. If you don’t have a set, get a set.

Multicolor, Artifact, & Land – Mythics & Money Rares

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

Current Price: $7.99

Price at RTR Release: $7.99

Call: Hold

Yeah, yeah, I know, reprint logic dictates that this card should drop like a stone. I don’t think it will, though.

Unlike most high mana cards, Nicol Bolas is worth every drop you invest into him. He wasn’t a $20 card (before the duel deck) for nothing—casual and Commander players adore this guy. After all, he’s the most powerful planeswalker ever made. You will pretty much always find a trade target for this dude, so if he starts dropping, pick up a couple and hold them for a year. I still think Bolas is legit.

Akroma’s Memorial

Current Price: $9.99

Price at RTR Release: $5.99

Call: Sell

This card, on the other hand, is still overpriced. It has zero Constructed applications, and as splashy as it is it still doesn’t fit in all that many casual decks. It was $15 for years because it was in Future Sight, a short printed set that was incredibly hard to get ahold of. Even though it’s a mythic rare, I don’t think it’s hit bottom.

Gilded Lotus

Current Price: $3.99

Price at RTR Release: $2.99

Call: Sell

Even though this card is only going to drop about a buck, I still recommend it as a strong sell. Right now, it has a price memory of $10—the value it held up until a few weeks ago—and you’ll probably be able to get a strong $4 in trade for it until people begin making the necessary adjustments. I don’t think this will drop into the bulk range—the ‘Lotus’ factor really helps—but if it hits $2 I’m buying a bunch as a long-term spec.

Multicolor, Artifact, & Land – $2-and-less Rares

Door to Nothingness, Sands of Delirium, Staff of Nin, Stuffy Doll, Trading Post, Cathedral of War, Dragonskull Summit, Drowned Catacomb, Glacial Fortress, Hellion Crucible, Rootbound Craig, Sunpetal Grove

Stuffy Doll is unlikely to see much play and doesn’t get a ton of casual use either; it’ll settle in the $1.50 – $2.00 range.

Cathedral of War and Hellion Crucible will both see play, but I’ve made the mistake of overvaluing utility lands enough at this point. Neither will be a staple, and I expect to see both of them in the $1 range before long.

The M10/11/12/13 lands are quite tired at this point. Everyone should have their playsets by now, and they shouldn’t break $3 ever again. I’d guess most will settle between $1 and $2.

Multicolor, Artifact, & Land — Commons and Uncommons of Note

Tormod’s Crypt

A buck is as low as this’ll go. Expect this staple to hover between $1 and $2 unless it gets reprinted again.

Reliquary Tower

This card was trading up around $4-$5 until the reprint was announced, so make sure to pick some up while M13 is being drafted. While I doubt it’ll get that high again, it should end up in the $2-$3 range after dropping down to a buck in the next few weeks.

That’s it for Magic 2013. While I will continue writing articles in this spot all summer long, I’m putting most of my brain into Cryostasis until fall—otherwise, I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle the anticipation of Return to Ravnica!

– Chas