Going Infinite – MBS Set Review

Monday, January 31 – What affects the prices of new cards? Should you be trading your new Mirrodin Besieged rares or holding onto them? Jon Medina gives you all the tips you need to make smart decisions on all the new cards.

It’s that time again, boys and girls! Mirrodin Besieged is being released this Friday, and I’m here to talk about the cards from a trading
and financial perspective. As always, if you haven’t read Ben’s review please do that now.

Before I dive into the cards, let me make the strategy clear. My strategy is to trade for everything from the new set, then ship it while prices are
still high. The two-week period after the release of the set is when the new cards are in the highest demand. It’s also when most of the cards
will be at their highest price point. It’s become a commonly accepted fact that most presale price points are higher than where the card will
eventually land.

It’s tough to give you a hard and fast list of cards to pick up because although a card may not be good now, it might be good later. That’s
why I give comments on most cards to get you thinking about what conditions are needed to make these cards “good” or desirable.
Everyone’s trader strategy will be a little different. There are some cards that I’ll be aggressively pursuing, but this is because of the way
that my outlets are configured. I plan to trade these to the local crowd and sell them online between Magic Online Trading League and Twitter.

You might only trade with the Commander group in your shop. If that’s the case, all the cards that I designate as Commander cards might be more
of a priority than the high-dollar mythics or the in-demand rares.

I’m doing things a little differently this set. I’m still trying to find my voice with these set reviews; Ben does an awesome job at calling
pricing trends and giving you numbers, so I’ll avoid numbers, and instead I’ll outline my instincts about timing and the different factors that might
affect the price of a card.


Hero of Bladehold $9.99

I’m not sold on this card yet. I expect a lot out of a four-drop in Standard. Hero has to compete with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Vengevine, Koth of the
Hammer, and Chandra’s Outrage (okay, just kidding about that last one), and it doesn’t stack up. At the four-mana slot, Hero is susceptible
to Mana Leak and even Cancel, not to mention she’s in range for Jace to bounce her before you get any value. Fortunately there is an upside; if she
swings, then things start to get out of hand quickly. She’s also a Knight; this fact alone will attract the attention of those who are building the
Knight deck.

Price Modifiers:
Down — Prerelease Foil Mirran Faction

Ship the regular copies of these at full price on release day. Pick up as many release promos as you can. You can always get these cheap because people
don’t really care about their “free” promos. This has the potential to see play; if it does, then these promos will come in handy.

Mirran Crusader 3.99

The abilities on this card are pretty impressive, and it’s a Knight. A lot of people are comparing this guy to Paladin En-Vec, which is a card
that did see Constructed play. Double strike is a powerful ability, and I expect this to see some play in Standard.

Price Modifier:
Down — Buy-a-Box Promo

Ship these at the release or shortly thereafter. Pick up the buy-a-box promos if you can get them cheap. This might be a good card, but the promo
reprint is going to kill the price.

Phyrexian Rebirth 1.49

I expect this to be a one- or two-of in some control decks. I personally think that Sunblast Angel does more work in a control deck, but this is
relevant outside of control decks. It really shines in the yet-to-be-popular Shape Anew deck because it does two things that the deck needs: it wraths
the board and spits out an artifact creature.

Price Modifier:
Up — Blightsteel Colossus and Shape Anew

Aggressively trade for these at $.50 to $1. Worst-case scenario, Shape Anew sucks, and you can ship these to Commander players for $1.5.

White Sun’s Zenith 1.99

The internet noise has been comparing this card to Decree of Justice. Before we do the analysis, let’s clear the air. Decree of Justice is a sick card.
If White Sun’s Zenith is half the card that Decree was, then it will see play. Let’s do the side-by-side. Both cards can be cast at instant
speed; Decree of Justice can’t be countered (if you cycle it). WSZ gives you 2/2s, and Decree only gives you 1/1s. Decree has another mode in
which you can make 4/4 flying Angels. WSZ doesn’t have another mode, but it does shuffle back into your deck upon resolving.

Price Modifier:
Down — This card is in the “Battle Cries” Precon deck.

Pick these up at $1 and hold onto them. Side note: when I say pick them up at $1, I understand that you’ll be asking your trade partner to ship them at
50% of the Star City Games list price — that’s okay with most people; trust me. Most people won’t value this card highly; if they do, tell
them it’s in the intro pack.

Common /Uncommons

Leonin Relic-Warder
— This card will see play not only in Standard but also in Eternal formats. The thought of Aether Vialing this guy into play and nabbing a
Counterbalance makes me want to sing a joyous song.

Master’s Call
— Everyone wants to build Shape Anew; pick these up at $.25 and ship them at $.50 or use them as leverage in trades you really want to make.


Victory’s Herald
Man, I just want to swing with twelve (that’s right, no less than a dozen) flying, lifelink Cats (see White Sun’s Zenith)! That’s
what this card makes me want to do. Unfortunately, this card sucks, so the only chance I have of doing that is in Commander. Does anyone remember the
card True Conviction? That card is better than this, and that card is $.30.


Blue Sun’s Zenith 2.99

This card is basically Stroke of Genius. I don’t see this replacing Stroke, nor do I see it being used in the same way as Stroke (though
it’s possible). I see this card being played in Turbo Land or U/W Tap Out-style decks. It’s a Mind Spring that costs an extra blue mana for
instant speed; I think this is a reasonable tradeoff, but what do I know?

Price Modifier:
Down — Maybe we’re not as desperate for blue draw as we were when Mind Spring was being played.

Ship ’em! Even Mind Spring didn’t break the $2 mark at the trade tables.

Consecrated Sphinx 7.99

I hear a lot of fuzz about this guy not being as good as the Titans, but I’m not buying into the negativity. He can’t race a Titan, but he
can dig like no other. If you combine his ability with the +2 ability on Jace Beleren, things start to get nutty. If the Sphinx is borderline right
now, imagine what will happen when the Titans rotate! I mean, if the pros can talk up Sphinx of Magosi, then I can talk up this guy!

Price Modifier:
Up — It’s a mythic, so it has the potential to go big!

: $7.99 is too much for this card right now. If you can trade for them at $4-5, then do it and hold onto them until they make a blip on the Top 8
radar. If you can’t get them on the cheap, watch this card; once anyone with a brain (i.e. Patrick Chapin, Mike Flores, Gerry Thompson) give it the
thumbs up, then buy these at $7- 9.

Mitotic Manipulation 1.49

This is an odd card that might see some tournament play. It might sound crazy, but I like this in the U/G Scapeshift build in Extended. Digging seven
deep for a second Valakut seems good. Beyond that, you can Vindicate a Jace (it doesn’t have to be a permanent that you control) in the control
mirror; even if you whiff, you can use it as a Rampant Growth in blue.

Price Modifier:
Up — I talked about it in this article.

I guarantee that you’ll get this for $.50 at the release all day long. Pick these up at $.50 or less, and ship them only if people will trade for them
at $1. If you can’t ship them for $1, then just sit on them until the Japanese break the card.

Common / Uncommons

Corrupted Conscience
— Seems like an interesting card. People want this in Commander hardcore.

Neurok Commando
— This is good enough to take a chance on.

Steel Sabotage
— Get foils; if the Eternal formats start using this, you can cash in.

Treasure Mage
— People are too excited about this card. The fact that you can fetch a Wurmcoil Engine, Spine of Ish Sah, or Mindslaver with it has people going
bonkers. Get as many of these as you can.


— This is the Clone variant of the set. It’s probably better than Clone and better than Renegade Doppelganger. I’d keep an eye on this.

Distant Memories
— Pro tip: don’t let your opponent decide what to do with your spells.


Black Sun’s Zenith $3.99

This card will be a Standard and Extended staple. It’s not as good as Damnation, but it’s close. The option to pay three mana and decimate
a board of 1/1s is really what makes this card legit. It is an early-game and late-game answer to creature mobs.

Price Modifier:
Down — Game Day Promo — It’s the full-frame foil.

Pick these up. People are going to need this and Consuming Vapors, which for some reason was selling at about $3.99. I’d ship this for $5-6. If they
don’t want to trade for it at that price, just hold onto it.

Massacre Wurm $9.99

This creature seems pretty strong, but you can’t help but ask the question, “Is this guy better than Grave Titan?” Against Elves,
maybe, but against anything else, Grave Titan gives you a unique edge that’s hard to beat. If we ever see a Titan-less Standard, then this card
has a shot at seeing some play.

Price Modifier:
Down — Grave Titan rides it like a pony.

Ship this hard at $10. It won’t stay there as long as Grave Titan is alive… or Zombified… or whatever he is.

Phyrexian Crusader $4.99

Until Go for the Throat was spoiled, this guy looked like he’d be invincible; now that Go for the Throat has been released, this guy looks weaker. On
the other hand, it hits the right spot of the infect curve, and this thing is almost unkillable in Legacy. I heard people at GP Atlanta telling tales
of dropping this guy off a Dark Ritual on turn 1, which is absolutely insane in a format that relies heavily on Swords to Plowshares and Lightning
Bolts to stay alive.

Price Modifier:
Up — Infect is going to be a deck.

Give $5 in trade on these if you have to. They’ll be in high demand.

Phyrexian Vatmother $1.99

A 4/5 for four is okay; it beats the vanilla test, but when you add infect, that tips the scales of fairness. This guy kills if he connects three times
with no pump effect. If there ever was a time I wanted to play Soaring Seacliff in Standard, that time would be now. This guy bridges the gap between
Crusader and Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. The only question is which four-drop will be used, this guy or the infect lord, Hand of the Praetors. Maybe
there’s room for both.

Price Modifier:
Up — Infect is in; damage is out.

Commons / Uncommons

Go for the Throat
— The only thing awkward about this card is the name. This will be the marquee removal spell for Standard, and it will solve removal problems for
some decks in Extended. I expect this to see play in every format with the exception of Vintage. Pick these up (in regular and foil) if you can.

Gruesome Encore
— People are going to want these because everyone wants to slap opponents in the face with their own dead Titan.

Septic Rats
— Remember; think infect!


— This screams infinite-life combo; maybe we’ll live to see the day and maybe not. Either way, who cares, since you’re probably going to be
poisoned to death.


Hero of Oxid Ridge 7.99

When the battle cry mechanic was spoiled, I said, “This ability is okay, but give me some haste; then we’ll talk.” People are
underrating this card because they’re getting caught up on its goofy but deceptively relevant triggered ability. Not only can this guy make your army
pro-walls and weenies, but he also turns an army lethal in an instant! Keep in mind that he’s also a Knight; can you picture him charging in with
a team of indestructible dudes (assuming that you’re playing R/W Knights)?

Price Modifier:
Up — Haste + Battle Cry = Opponent Cries

Pick these up, and sit on them. I have a feeling that they’ll be really good.

Slagstorm $1.99

This card is like Firespout, which has seen a lot of play. Firespout was more splashable and let you select ground or air creatures, but this does
something that Firespout doesn’t. It lets you kill planeswalkers. This card allows you to have a maindeck answer to creature swarms without being
totally useless against control decks. Firespout is a $3 uncommon; I think we can at least expect this to be a $3 rare.

Price Modifier:

Pick these up at $2 or less, all day long. Only ship them at $3 or higher.

Common /Uncommons

Goblin Wardriver
— This card curves nicely with Goblin Guide and Goblin Chieftain. I like this card; you should pick it up.


— There are too many ifs here. If this guy resolves, if they don’t Bolt him, if the top card is a sorcery or an instant, then you can play
it. If Cruel Ultimatum was around, maybe I’d be tempted to play the if-game.

Hellkite Igniter
— It’s too much to cast, but it’s pretty sick once it’s in play.

Red Sun’s Zenith
Disintegrate that shuffles back in, nothing more to see here, folks.


Green Sun’s Zenith $9.99

This card is sick. It’s one of the best in the set. I can see this being a player in all formats. It’s particularly good in Extended Combo
Elves. I’ve heard the pros talk about this card being used in ways I’d never conceptualized. For example, I read about someone saying it can be
an early ramp spell by fetching an Overgrown Battlement or a late-game threat by getting a Primeval Titan. There are systematic uses for the card I’d
never thought about.

Price Modifier:
Up — Commander and the Competitive Market.

$10 is Noble Hierarch and Knight of the Reliquary money. I’m not sure that we’re there yet, but I know that we could get there. I prefer to let other
people take the risk on this one. $10 is the max you can hope for on a rare like this, so I’d ship them at $10 and pick them up on the post-release

Thrun, the Last Troll $19.99

This card is good, no doubt. The real question is what his price will be. The great thing about this guy is that he can throw down with Jace
and come out on top. He can also be in control decks and midrange decks, so he’s flexible. The problem is that he doesn’t have a home right
now, and he has some stiff completion in the form of Vengevine. I know that this guy is going to see Tier One play; the question is how many copies
people will use in that deck.

Price Modifier:

This guy is a wild card. There’s no doubt that he’s powerful, but I recommend shipping him until we see what his price starts to do. If it
starts creeping up, get them in the window.

Common /Uncommons

Lead the Stampede
— This card seems really good, but when you start trying to build with it, it gets tricky.


Creeping Corrosion
This will probably be a sideboard card in Standard, maybe in Extended when Fracturing Gust rotates out. It’s obviously not going to be a big
money card, but it’s still something you should consider picking up.

Phyrexian Hydra
— I feel really weird putting this in the bulk section because it has so much potential, but I just hate the fact that chump blockers shrink it.

Praetor’s Counsel
— This card would be the nut high if it were blue. Now it’s doomed to the Commander mythic dungeon.


Glissa, the Traitor $7.99

I like this card. Everyone and their mother have already mentioned the interaction with Executioner’s Capsule; the same is true about Ratchet
Bomb and Engineered Explosives. I think this card has potential, but it’s homeless for the moment. The first place that I’d try to play this card
is in a G/B Extended Elves build. The next place would be in a Rock deck in Legacy. I’m not sure if this will ever find a home.

Price Modifier:
Down — Prerelease promo. Phyrexian Faction

Ship the regulars; pick up the promos. SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas $34.99

This card is really good. I expect it to see play in all formats. I can see it finding a place in everything from the Standard infect deck to the
Extended Time Sieve deck, the Legacy Affinity deck, and even the Vintage Jace Deck. I really don’t have much to say about this card other than:
those who think it’s bad are wrong.

Price Modifier:
Up — Mythic and badassery are a good combination.

Pick these up. Vengevine is $36.99 right now. I’d be really surprised if it doesn’t see at least that much play. Try to get foils.


Blightsteel Colossus $14.99

This is one of my favorite cards in the set (sorry, Patrick). I’ve been playing Polymorph and Tinker for as long as I’ve been playing
Magic, and it’s great when we get a card that adds to those strategies. This card is a champion all across the board; it will see competitive
play, and it’s a balls-to-the-wall Timmy card that people are excited about.

Price Modifier:
Up — Iconic mythic that can kill you in one hit.

Pick these up. Commander players, competitive players, and even little kids are going to want these. I asked my Twitter followers what card that they
wanted me to give away. I expected Tezzeret, but I got an overwhelming response for this guy. If you get a chance to trade for a foil, do it. Trade
hard for the foil if you have to; those will be like gold for the first month or so.

Bonehoard $1.49

I dismissed this card at first until I heard someone put it into context for me. With two words, they changed my mind about this card; those two words
were “Stoneforge Mystic.” The fact that you can now fetch a fatty with the Stoneforge and put it into play with its ability is pretty good.

Price Modifier
: Up — Commander

Ship these, but try to get foils. Even if they do see play in Standard, you’re not going to see much return on these.

Phyrexian Revoker $4.99

I dreamed up this card once upon a time, and now that it’s real, I can’t believe my eyes. Is it ridiculously good? No, probably not — cards like
Gaddock Teeg, Meddling Mage, and Ethersworn Canonist always seem to have less effect on the game than you think they should. Nevertheless, the card is
good, and it will see play in every format. It’s actually a little better than Pithing Needle because it can shut off mana abilities.

Price Modifier:
Up — Open wide, Jace!

Pick these up. Try to get as many foils as you can. These will be a mainstay in your binder for a while; ship them for value when you can, but keep the
flow incoming.

Sword of Feast and Famine $12.95

These are hard to evaluate because you never know what the metagame is going to morph into. The thing that impresses me most about this Sword is that
you can pay five mana, then “get in there,” and still untap to drop another threat or a planeswalker. The tempo that you gain from this
type of play seems incredible.

Up — Commander players, Cube builders, Thrun, the Last Troll

This has the potential to see a small price increase, but I’d ship these now just in case they don’t. I want more time to wait and see on this
one. This is also a good foil pickup. Keep that in mind.

Common /Uncommons

Ichor Wellspring
This card is begging to be played in Time Sieve. You can also capitalize on its ability with Venser. I’d rather have Wall of Omens in a Venser deck,
but if you’re trying to get metalcraft, then this may be the way to go.

Plague Myr
This might be helpful, especially if you want to drop Tezzeret on turn 3, and who doesn’t!

Signal Pest
He enables metalcraft and battle cry. This card is pretty good.

Silverskin Armor
This is great at enabling metalcraft and giving your guys pro-Go for the Throat.

Sphere of the Suns
This will be a chase uncommon. It reminds me of Coldsteel Heart, and that has seen tournament play in its day.


Darksteel Plate
— People will want this, but it’ll be bulk.

Decimator Web
— In case you’re not sure how you want to win.

Knowledge Pool
— That annoying Commander player who plays things like Wild Evocation is going to want this. Get foils.

Magnetic Mine
— With Time Sieve getting so much love, I think this might actually be viable as a sideboard card. Keep an eye on this one.

— This is like Minion Reflector for artifacts. It will see play in Commander, but I doubt that it will see play in Constructed.

Myr Turbine
— I expect the casual crowd to be picking these up.

Myr Welder
— This card seems like it could be broken. Keep an eye on it.

Psychosis Crawler
— There are no words.

Shimmer Myr
Flash is a powerful ability. If I were to build a Myr combo deck, it would probably have this guy in it to help me fully utilize my mana and my
turns. This is selling for $2.49 right now, so technically it’s not bulk, but if you can ship them for that price, you should. Just keep an eye
on the card in the coming months; it has potential.

Spine of Ish Sah
— Upon first sight, this card looks pretty unimpressive, but if you note its interaction with Venser and the ability to tutor it with Treasure
Mage, the card begins to look interesting. I don’t think that you run four of these in a deck, but it’s still a card to keep in mind.
It’s not total bulk.

Thopter Assembly
— This card combos nicely with Time Sieve, but with all the love that Time Sieve is getting from this set, I don’t think Thopter Assembly
is all that exciting anymore.

Forge[/author]“]Titan [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]
— So, I can pay twelve mana and get a 9/9? I think I’d rather drop an 11/11 infected robot instead.


Contested War Zone $1.99

This land seems really good against a control deck; there’s not much they can do except take a beating. In the aggro versus aggro matchup, it probably
gets pretty chaotic. I can’t picture how this would play out, but free pump is always good, especially for infect creatures. I expect this to be
run as a one- or two-of in some aggro decks.

Inkmoth Nexus $11.99

I don’t remember the days of Blinkmoth Nexus, since I wasn’t around for that era of Magic. People say that Blinkmoth Nexus was everywhere.
The possibilities that this guy brings to the table make this the one of the best rares in the set. Inkmoth Nexus is viable for control; it’s a
staple in the infect deck, and it has pro-Go for the Throat. It has some interesting interactions, like making him a 5/5 with Tezzeret or slapping a
Cranial Plating on it and one-shot-ing someone. There is no doubt that this card is good. How good? Time will tell.

Price Modifier:
Infect, Legacy Applications

I’m going to tell you to ship these at $12 and pick them up at $8 if you can. Picking them up at $8 will hedge against a potential price drop. This
could very well be a $15 card, but there’s no data to support that yet. To get to that spot, it has to see massive amounts of play, like Maelstrom
Pulse in Jund or Noble Hierarch in everything.

It’s going to be tough to manage the price of this one, since I expect it to go up a little more before it comes down (if it comes down); we
won’t be able to tell if this growth is “artificial” or not. You just have to use your judgment; if it does well in a Legacy event, then
chances are that any growth is real. Keep an eye on this card; it could break the pricing mold of a modern rare.

Cool by Association

Before I take off for the week, I want to talk about some cards that I plan to pick up in the coming weeks. These are cards that I feel have gained
something from the release of Mirrodin Besieged, and they might see price spikes as a result.


Contagion Engine
— You can fetch this with Treasure Mage.

Abyssal Persecutor
— One of the biggest problems with running this guy is actually killing him. Now that we have Go for the Throat, you don’t have to be
creative, and you can use part of your natural removal suite to kill him.

Wurmcoil Engine
— This has protection from Go for the Throat, and it can be fetched by Treasure Mage. This will see more play in the coming months.

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
— This will become the infect finisher of choice; it’s relatively cheap, and it’s a mythic.

Shape Anew
— These were trading like hot cakes at GP Atlanta, and I expect this to be a deck in Standard, even if it’s only Tier 2.

Grand Architect
— I said this card would be good, and I still believe it will be. The new card Spine of Ish Sah brings a new threat to a deck based on Grand
Architect, and Treasure Mage increased the consistency of the deck.

Indomitable Archangel
— Gains shroud with Silverskin Armor; this could be relevant.

Etched Champion
— With metalcraft becoming more relevant, this guy is poised for a bump in price. These always trade well.


Time Sieve
— This is the deck on everyone’s mind. Pick these up at $1 while you still can.

Master Transmuter
— This has solid interactions with Spine of Ish Sah and Blightsteel Colossus. Master Transmuter has already seen play in a U/R Vintage Stax deck,
and I know that this card has potential in Extended. It also has pro-Go for the Throat.

Open the Vaults
— This is another part of the Time Sieve deck. I expect these decks to get popular, and this will be a key component.

Heritage Druid
— I think Green Sun’s Zenith puts this Elf deck over the top; I could see these Heritage Druids trading at $2-3.

That’s all I have for this week. Enjoy your release tournament, and I’ll see you next week. Thanks for reading.

Jonathan Medina