M12 is here, and I haven’t even had time to digest New Phyrexia Standard yet! I guess having the Jace/Stoneforge stranglehold broken only a little over
two weeks ago makes me feel like there was an entire format in NPH, which will forever be lost in time. I wonder if certain decks could have been good.
We’ll never know, and I’m not one to dwell on the past. I’m a roll-with-the-punches / out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new kind of guy, so let’s talk M12.
If you’ve ever read one of my set reviews, then you know what’s coming next. I’ve gotta get my plug in there for Ben Bleiweissâ€”his set reviews have
always been one of the highlights to my adventures in Magic. Even when I was just starting out as a Magic player (before I became a trading master),
I loved reading his thoughts. Now, as a writer and someone who seeks to understand the singles market, I regard his opinion very highly. Here’s a link to his M12 review.
I’m going to start the review with the mythic rares then move on to the rares and finish with a couple of uncommons. Each section will have cards that
I think are worth talking about then a list of bulk cards. The cards in the bulk list are either cards that are bulk now or cards that I think will be
bulk when all is said and done. Before we start talking about the mythic rares, I want to talk about the cycles in this core set (the duals and
Core Set Duals
The core set duals have been around since M10. They went from being around five dollars to about a dollar or two. It’s important that you know that
they are not worth a lot of money, but also that you don’t dismiss them. As a trader you should still be trying to pick these up because they will be
cornerstones (along with the Scars duals) of Standard mana bases for the next season (fetches are rotating, remember?). This means that people will need
them. I will note that Rootbound Crag is the hardest to move of the core set duals, so be careful not to stock up on those. Here are the current
Remember the Titans
Of course you remember them; they dominated Standard before Caw-Blade. The truth is that I just wanted to use “Remember the Titans” as a heading
because I loved that movie, and the Titan topic gave me a convenient “in” to use it. As we expected, the price of the Titans dropped. All of these guys
are still going to be big in Standard, but the two that I think have the most potential are Grave Titan and Sun Titan.
I expect U/B Control to rise to the top, which will make Grave Titan the business; even some Grixis Twin decks are running Grave Titan. I also really
like the interaction between Sun Titan and the new clone Phantasmal Image. My choice for most potential might surprise you since Primeval Titan is
obviously very powerful, but from a pricing perspective, Primeval doesn’t have a lot of room to grow, where the other two Titans do. Not to mention
that once Valakut rotates, you can expect Primeval Titan’s price to take a hit.
I talked about the new planeswalkers last week, and I still feel the same way about them as I did then. Check out last week’s article if you want to get
the skinny on those. I wanted to note that Chandra has gone up to $34.99 from $29.99 and Jace to $39.99 from $34.99. Jace seems to be selling really
well, so if you can get them at last week’s prices at the release then it might not be a bad idea.
Angelic Destiny $7.49
As a control player, I would never play this card. I have fewer than ten creatures in pretty much every deck that I play (except my Commander deck). I
really don’t like this card personally, but its power cannot be denied. I only get about halfway through when reading the text before I cringe; it
sounds like this…
Creature gets +4/+4…
and basically I’m dead.
This is the kind of card that can just take off if it finds the right deck. It really helps you get the most out of your value creatures, and if you
pair it with Squadron Hawk, then things can get ugly for your opponent.
If it finds the right deck, this card can easily hit $15. If you play aggro, then you should pick these up at $7.
Bloodlord of Vaasgoth $7.99
He’s the Prerelease card, which didn’t affect Vampire Nocturnus’s price much, but it’s still a factor. The thing that all Vampires have going for them
is that they have huge casual appeal. I don’t think that this card is going to move much pricewise because of its casual appeal. If its price were
solely based on playability, then it would definitely be moving downward. The card is not as good as Vampire Nocturnus because he doesn’t affect the
board immediately, and he’s pretty high on the curve for the competitive Vampire deck.
It’s easy to pick this up cheap because it’s a promo. I would expect it to see a small amount of play as a 1-2 of in some Vampire builds, but he won’t
shake up the Standard metagame.
Gideon Jura $19.99
Look at Gideon’s price. Now take $5 dollars off. That’s what he’s going to cost in three weeks (maybe less). As a small-time dealer, this is a scary
thing. I’ve been buying Gideons at $10 each, and I recently just tried to sell some at $15. Guess what? No one bit! Gideon has been on a downward
spiral since he got kicked out of the Caw-Blade club. If you have any, you should ship them now and pick them up in the dip. If you don’t have any,
then you should pass until the dip.
Ship these hard.
Do not engage
Sorin Markov $9.99
Sorin used to be a nice cash cow for the savvy trader. We used to be able to sell these for $8 to dealers. Now its price is $10, and dealers buy it at
$6. This is still not a bad buy price but not as good at the $8 dollar one. Unless the flip is worth the time, you shouldn’t be picking these up. Let’s
face it; Sorin isn’t going to do anything in Standard, so we have to rely on his casual appeal to keep his price afloat, and that’s probably not going
to happen. I expect to see him in the sub-ten range really soon.
Don’t pick these up unless you have a buyer.
Do not engage
Bulk Mythic Rates
Furyborn Hellkite $3.99
— Two words for you. Three red.
Primordial Hydra $7.49
— Why is this seven dollars? Did they ban Go for the Throat?
Time Reversal $1.49
— It’s official; we can laugh at those people who bought these at $30.
If you look at the pricing for the rares from highest to lowest, the highest-priced rares in the set is Visions of Beyond at $7.49, and then there is a
steep decline, which means there’s not a lot of financially exciting rares in this set. The first batch of rares that we’re going to look at are
reprints that are not going to do much financially.
These cards really can’t be called bulk, but I also don’t have anything to say about them. Chances are that they are not going to go down or go up.
They found a comfortable place on the couch, and that’s where they’re going to kick it.
Archon of Justice Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.99
Birds of Paradise Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $1.99
Cemetery Reaper Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.99
Day of Judgment Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $1.99
Elvish Archdruid Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $2.49
Goblin Chieftain $1.49
Honor of the Pure Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $1.49
Let’s move on to the exciting rares!
Adaptive Automaton Â Â Â Â Â $4.99
This card has it all, casual appeal and tournament viability. There are some recent Merfolk lists that are running Phyrexian Metamorph to copy their
lords. You get a little more benefit out of the Metamorph because you can use it to kill legendary creatures (ahem Progenitus), but you can play the
Automaton on an empty board, which lets you stay aggressive.
I could see this being an $8 rare, especially if it sees regular play in Standard.
Chandra’s Phoenix $2.99
People are excited about this card. I like the fact that getting it back from the graveyard doesn’t cost anything. I could see this playing a similar
role as Hellspark Elemental in red decks. It’s a repeatable source of damage, and it’s a really bad target for a counterspell. In the late game it
helps to refuel a red deck’s hand.
This will see play in Standard. It’s the buy-a-box promo so it could have a similar pricing trend to Surgical Extraction. This means that it would
trend down at first and then see a small upswing when it starts to see play.
Dungrove Elder Â $2.99
If it weren’t for the new Garruk, then this would be in the bulk list. Before Garruk, Primal Hunter, this guy was the only incentive to play
mono-green. If you have this guy in play when you drop Garruk on turn five, you’ll be drawing six cards the next turn (after making a Beast). It feels
like the pieces of a solid mono-green list are coming together (also see Skinshifter).
The price is low enough that you could take a chance and trade for a handful of these. The worst-case scenario is that the card sucks, and you can ship
it to casual players (i.e. little kids) for the price that you picked it up.
Engage (but not too many)
Grand Abolisher Â Â Â Â $6.99
I love me some hate bears, and every time a new one is printed it always gets me going. I think to myself “oh man this card is awesome,” then the card
typically ends up dropping to the bottom rung of the price spectrum; see Leonin Arbiter $.49 and Phyrexian Revoker $2.49. This card is one of the
better hate bears, but even the best hate bears are not carrying impressive price tags; see Meddling Mage $2 and Gaddock Teeg $3. This means that
someday (probably soon) this card is going to fall to the $4 or less realm.
Hate bears trade well when they first come out, but you don’t want to get caught holding the bag on this one.
Do not engage
Grim Lavamancer Â Â Â Â Â Â $5.99
This is one of the more exciting reprints. It’s going to breathe new life into Mono Red, give aggro decks an edge, and give a tool to control decks. If
this card wasn’t printed in the Fire and Lightning decks, then I think it would have had a lot more room to grow. I see Lavamancer being in high
demand, but the price may only see a minimal bump.
I’ve had a lot of people asking for this. Pick up as many as you can.
Jace’s Archivist Â Â Â Â Â Â $2.49
Windfall is such a powerful effect, and I’m surprised that they put it on a creature. This card is flexible because it can be used in a mill strategy,
a graveyard strategy, or a control strategy to help refill your hand. He doesn’t fit right into any current decks, but this is definitely a card to
keep an eye on.
I am not sure what this card is going to do, but I like it. You can pick them up at a dollar, and I recommend that you do.
Lord of the Unreal $2.99
That little 2/2 bear that cost one blue mana has got people going nuts for this card. Between this and the Automaton, Illusions could really be a deck.
Keep in mind that this is in a Precon deck, so that will keep the price low.
I always trade for lords because they always trade well. This card is no exception.
Phantasmal Image $2.99
This card is another one that adds to the viability factor of the Illusions deck; it’s one of the cheapest clone variants ever printed, and it’s
recurrable with Sun Titan. Sure people can kill it with their Tumble Magnet, but that’s not much different than infinitely tapping it. This card is
also very exciting for Commander because you can transmute Muddle the Mixture for it. I’m a big fan of this card.
This won’t replace Phyrexian Metamorph in most decks, but in the decks that this card is played in, it’s going to be a superstar. It also has Commander
Quicksilver Amulet Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $2.99
I see a lot of cool six- to seven-mana creatures in Standard, and I’ve been tempted to “bet” on them by trading for them. The better bet is to trade
for Quicksilver Amulet instead, since the only chance for some of these creatures to see play is with this card. Don’t forget that Emrakul is still in
This card has a lot of upside. It has casual appeal (See Elvish Piper $3.99 Out of Stock), it potentially could be played in Standard, and it’s always
been a solid option in Commander decks.
Rites of Flourishing Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.99
I was riding the fence about sticking this card in the bulk section, but then I reminded myself that Valakut is still in the format for another three
months after M12 drops. There was a Standard deck in the past that ran this card, and I think it’s a reasonable consideration even after Valakut cycles
Get in there and get these at fifty cents!
Skinshifter Â Â Â Â Â $3.99
I have a really tough time believing that this is a four-dollar card. Maybe my evaluation skills still need to mature, but it seems like this card is
going to see a ton of play. As a control player, I wouldn’t mind having this guy on my team in Standard, and I’ll even go as far to say that this could
see Legacy play. Yes, I realize that it has to compete with Tarmogoyf, but this thing flies. OK, maybe that’s just Crazy Talk, but I already said it, and there’s no going back now.
This card has a lot of potential, and it’s worth picking up. I could see this hitting $6 pretty easily.
Solemn Simulacrum Â Â Â Â Â Â $4.99
I almost lost it when I heard that this was being reprinted (in a good way). This is one of my favorite cards in Commander, and now it’s in Standard. I
can’t wait to play a list with it, and I get the feeling that I am not the only one who feels this way. This is going to be in high demand, but I’m not
sure if the demand will tax the supply enough to see a price increase. If this makes its way into a Top 8 deck at SCG Open: Cincinnati as a four-of,
then I expect it to increase in price.
You can’t go wrong by picking this card up, and getting foils is a double win.
Sundial of the Infinite Â Â $2.49
There’s been a lot of talk about this card. I expect Wizards to print something cute to go along with this while it’s still in Standard. It’s possible
that whatever it is that Wizards prints to interact with it could be really good, and this card could see some competitive play. This is all conjecture
of course. If we take the train from Imagination City back to Reality, then we have to ask, “Do Sundial’s current interactions warrant picking it
up?” I’m aware of most of the Legacy implications, and from what I can see, I have to say no.
This is a cool card and definitely one to watch, but I wouldn’t actively seek to pick them up.
Do not engage
Vengeful Pharaoh Â $1.99
This card is pretty powerful, especially with a graveyard-based set coming out. I typically don’t like to speculate, but if I can pick these up at $1
then I will, even if it’s only to trade them away to a speculator at $1.50 or $2.
I’m a buyer at $1; anything more, and I would rather just wait and see what happens.
Do not engage
Visions of Beyond Â $7.49
Here it is, the big bad rare of the set and one of the hardest cards to evaluate. Drawing three cards at instant speed is nothing to balk at, but the
requirement is pretty hefty. It gets me thinking about the question that was floating around for a while: “How much life would you pay to cast
Ancestral Recall in Constructed?”
The proper thing to do here is to remove the words “Ancestral Recall” from our brains when evaluating this card. We have to look at it like any other
card. Will this card see play in multiple formats? Yes, probably Standard, Commander, and maybe Vintage (Oath). Will it be in the best deck in any of
those formats? Probably not. Does it have casual appeal? Not really.
As you can see, this card is not doing well in the context of the questions that matter.
Sadly, I don’t think this card is going to “get there.” Since it’s an in-print rare, the best-case scenario is $10, which is only $2 more than it is
now without proving itself.
Do not engage
These cards are not necessarily garbage, but they’re the cards that I don’t expect to make a big splash in Standard, which means that their price is
not going to move much.
Aegis Angel Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.99 –
This does cool things with Quicksilver Amulet, but that just means that we want Amulets, not this guy.
Arachnus Spinner Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.99 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â Mono-green has Dismember; we don’t need to play a six-mana creature to remove things.
Call to the Grave Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $1.99 –
This is borderline playable in a control deck, but since it’s a reprint, I don’t expect it to do much pricewise.
Djinn of Wishes Â $0.49 -Â Â Â Â Â Â
Man, I wanted you to be good.
Doubling Chant Â $0.99 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â I usually want big green spells like this to do something in Commander, but this one even fails that test.
Druidic Satchel Â $0.99 -Â Â Â Â Â Â
This never does what you want it to.
Flameblast Dragon Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.99 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â Yeah, we know the story here.
Garruk’s Horde Â Â $0.99 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â This guy could be sick in Commander, but that won’t make him more than $1.
Gideon’s Avenger Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $1.99 -Â Â Â Â Â Â
Repeat after me, “This card is not good.”
Manabarbs $0.49 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â Doesn’t everyone have like 36 of these in their basic land box?
Mesa Enchantress Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.49 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â Wizards, stop trying to make Mesa Enchantress happen.
Mind Unbound Â Â $0.99 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â This is cool for Commander. I’ll be putting one in my five-color deck with proliferate.
Monomania Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $1.49
– This card seems good, but it’s bad for the same reason that casting a Cruel Ultimatum on someone with four cards is bad; they get to keep one!
Pentavus Â Â $0.49 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â No comment.
Personal Sanctuary Â Â Â Â Â $0.99 –
Â Â Â Â Â This seems useful. Not.
Redirect Â Â Â $0.75 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â Let me count how many more things I’d rather do with two mana.
Reverberate Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.99 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â See above.
Royal Assassin Â Â $0.49 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â If I ever start collecting a Magic card, it will be my beloved assassin.
Rune-Scarred Demon Â $1.49
— Commander all the way, maybe Oath of Druids in Vintage, but still bulk.
Scrambleverse Â Â Â $0.49 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â This card seems sick with Greater Gargadon.
Sorin’s Vengeance Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.99 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â I want to cast this and copy it with Chandra, just once.
Sphinx of Uthuun Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $1.49 -Â Â Â Â Â Â
This could see play as a 1-2 of in control decks with Venser (See Sphinx of Lost Truths)
Sutured Ghoul Â Â Â $0.49 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â This is bulk for now, but when Innistrad drops, it could be sick!
Throne of Empires Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.99 –
Â Â Â Â Â Really…
Warstorm Surge Â $0.99 –
Â Â Â Â Â Â This is actually pretty sick since it only counts your creatures. Think Commander.
Worldslayer Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â $0.49 -Â Â Â Â Â Â
Let me check. Yep, still bulk.
Before I get out of here, let me hit you with my picks for the top three uncommons.
Goblin Grenade $.99
— This was the second most asked for uncommon at the Prerelease. Red decks are usually cheap to build, so I expect this to be popular. Plus who doesn’t
want to fling a Goblin at someone’s face?
— I expect this to see at least Tier 2 play in Standard, possibly Tier 1. This was also popular art the Prerelease.
Swiftfoot Boots $2.99
— Out of every card in the set, this was probably the most asked for card at the Prerelease. I know that I traded for the first one that I saw for my
Commander deck. It will be a $4 card before too long.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy your week!
P.S. — Check out Jace, the Mind Sculptor’s price on Star City Games. (Wink wink, nudge nudge.)