This has been one of the toughest weeks of my life.
Early on the morning of Saturday the 8th, only a few days before the
official start of Guilds of Ravnica previews, it began to look
like Hurricane Florence had a real shot at making landfall just a few miles
away from my home in Wilmington, North Carolina. Now, normally, I wouldn’t
have too much of a decision to make regarding a storm like this-if it looks
like it’ll be bad, I’ll grab my cats and my best Magic cards and book it
out of town for a few days.
But this situation was slightly different. My wife Emma and I were already
in the process of moving to Denver, Colorado, and I had our house about 60%
packed. We already had a new apartment leased in Denver, but we weren’t
planning on moving until the morning of the 24th. I had another two weeks
to finish packing, at which point she was going to fly back from Colorado
and help me drive the car across the country while I took the truck.
But now there was a hurricane-a big one-that was only days away from
potentially destroying everything we owned.
What do you do in a situation like this? The sane option would have been to
simply evacuate for the storm, come back when it was over, and attempt to
do the rest of our move on schedule. Of course, this plan had the very real
downside of “hey, your house might flood and/or blow away.”
Which is why I explored a second option: buying Emma a last minute plane
ticket, getting the truck immediately, squeezing two weeks’ worth of
packing into 48 hectic hours, and booking it for Denver.
I’m not sure that there’s a perfect Magic finance metaphor for this
situation, but I definitely approached this decision in the same way that I
analyze cards. A longer move would mean that I could pack things up more
carefully, get a better sense of what I could leave behind, and sell things
that I wasn’t planning to bring.
But that choice also involved the potential of losing everything.
The crazier option required a ton of physical and emotional labor as well
as making some personal sacrifices, but I quickly decided that a few
hellacious days were worth mitigating the odds of having all of my
possessions destroyed by the storm. And by midday on Sunday, I realized
that it was the right choice for me, as bonkers as it seemed.
I won’t go into too many details here, mostly because I’m bone tired and I
still have to get to all the stuff in this article that you’re actually
excited to read, but needless to say my move across the country involved a
five-hour airport trip at four AM, waiting in multiple gas lines in a
moving truck, several boxes of my stuff that were just labeled
“aaaaaAAAAHHHHHH,” and a moment where I broke down in tears as I finally
made it out of Wilmington, perhaps for the very last time, as Blue by
Eiffel 65 played in the background. It was…a lot.
But Emma and I are in Denver now, moving into our new place, safe and
sound. I still have no idea if our old place is okay because Wilmington is
currently inaccessible, but even if it’s bone dry, I know that I made the
right call. The eye of Hurricane Florence passed right over my old
hometown, flooding streets and knocking over thousands of trees. If it had
hit as a Category 4 storm like many were predicting, Wilmington would have
been wiped off the map. Even as the Category 1 that it was, many of the
streets I drove on daily for the past few months are now unrecognizable.
Are there any lessons to be learned from this? I’m not entirely sure. I’m
exhausted from the move, I’m relieved that I escaped, and I’m worried about
the safety of the people and places that I left behind.
If anything, I think this experience speaks to something that we in the
world of Magic finance often ignore: the very real value of moments that
are happy and safe and fun. Being responsible with your money is important,
but don’t miss out on this great new set just because you want to save a
few bucks by waiting until the prices get a little lower.
There’s a lot of ineffable value to be had spending a weekend playing an
amazing game with amazing people, and you just never know when some
external force beyond your control will threaten to take that all away.
At any rate-
Guilds of Ravnica
is Very Very Good
Oh man, it’s just so powerful. While we don’t know all the cards
yet, it looks to be on the Kaladesh and Dominaria end of
the spectrum-far better than the underpowered Ixalan. Thus, we
should be approaching Guilds of Ravnica with the understanding
that most of these early prices will come down.
Put simply, a large fall set cannot have two $20+ planeswalkers, a $35
rare, and a full cycle of ~$10 rare lands unless every other card in the
set is essentially bulk, which is not going to happen with Guilds.
The fact that the set is so good means that a boatload of packs will be
opened, and EV of each booster pack will eventually have to come down until
it’s roughly in line with that booster pack’s MSRP.
This means that most good cards in Guilds of Ravnica are going to
be worth slightly less than comparable cards in underpowered sets like Ixalan. For example, Carnage Tyrant has remained expensive ever
since Ixalan came out despite large windows of time where it saw
very little play simply because there are only a couple of cards in that
set that people actually want. If the shocklands, Assassin’s Trophy, and
Vraska, Golgari Queen are all going to remain expensive, then there’s not
going to be a ton of extra value to go around.
This doesn’t mean that there can’t be $30 mythics in Guilds
-especially early on-and some prices will probably go nuts during the set’s
first few weeks of legality. But I tend to be more bearish about
pre-ordering cards from sets like this because everything is just so sweet.
Like Syndrome said, if everything is special, then nothing is
Does this mean that you should hold off and pre-order nothing? Of course
not! Like I said in my intro, the utility of “hooray! I get to play a sweet
deck in Standard for a few awesome weeks during the start of the format!”
is well worth the possibility of losing a few bucks come November. But if
you’re slightly more casual or budget conscious, I recommend pre-ordering
booster boxes instead of singles. Draft a bunch, keep what you need, and
sell/trade the rest away while the EV of a pack is super high. If you want
to drop a bunch of cash of Guilds of Ravnica early on, I think
boxes are the highest value play.
Anyway, onto the cards! As always, I’ll be back next Monday to cover
whatever sweet spells I don’t get around to today.
Vraska, Golgari Queen – $24.99
I’d be shrugging my shoulders at Vraska, Golgari Queen if it cost five
mana, but at four? Dang, this thing feels pushed to me. If you’re behind on
the battlefield, paying four mana for an Abrupt Decay that has to be dealt
with isn’t bad. If you’re in some kind of midrange stall, Vraska can mulch
through lands, draw you cards, and threaten a game-breaking ultimate
My only problem with Vraska, Golgari Queen is that it won’t fit into more
than a few very specific decks. I feel pretty confident that it’ll find at
least one home, which should keep it in the $10-$12 range at least. If it
finds two homes-or if Golgari Midrange ends up being a tier one
strategy-then $25 retail seems about right. This means that you’re paying
for upside if you’re buying in at the current price, which I don’t
necessarily love. But Vraska, Golgari Queen is good enough that I don’t
blame anyone for snagging a couple if they want to play with it right away.
The value here isn’t great, but I doubt that this planeswalker is going to
Doom Whisperer – $14.99
To me, the big question with Doom Whisperer is this: how good is surveil?
The fact that the ability doesn’t draw you any cards is somewhat
frustrating, but paying four life to (essentially) ensure that the next 2-3
cards you draw are gas is still pretty good. And that’s on top of a 6/6
flying, trampling threat.
In general, I like cards that offer you a threat plus an ability to impact
either your battlefield or your hand regardless of how quickly that threat
is dealt with. Doom Whisperer certainly fits that bill, and I suspect it’ll
see a significant amount of play.
My only worry is that the five-drop slot is usually very competitive, and
it’s possible that some other powerful threat will manage to outclass Doom
Whisperer entirely. There’s certainly $30 upside, but there’s also bulk
rare downside. $15 seems like a totally reasonable gamble for anyone who
wants to take it, but I tend to prefer the set’s bevy of lower risk options
Nullhide Ferox – $11.99
Nullhide Ferox is really interesting. It seems to have at least two uses in
the expected Standard environment: slipping in alongside Llanowar Elves and
Steel Leaf Champion in Mono-Green, and being a useful “gotcha!” counter to
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager in pretty much any shell that can cast it.
Honestly, this seems like the sort of card that will probably end up being
worth less than it should be based on how good the rest of the set is.
There’s a shot that Nullhide Ferox will hit $20-$25 over the short term if
Mono-Green is a big winner during week one or week two of the new Standard
environment, but I’m not even totally sure that this card is actually
better than Vine Mare in that deck. And regardless, if Mono-Green ends up
as a second tier deck, or if this card is relegated to sideboards, it’ll be
a $4-$5 mythic. This is another high-risk medium-reward play to me, so I’m
leaving it be unless I want to play with it on day one.
Lazav, the Multifarious – $11.99
Is it time for Phyrexian Dreadnought to make its triumphant return to
Legacy? Maybe, but that shouldn’t affect the value of Lazav, the
Multifarious, which will require a good deck in either Standard or Modern
if it is going to maintain its $12 price tag. Eater of Days, maybe? Both
Eater and Dreadnought are reasonable specs at the moment – their buy-ins
are low, and Phyrexian Dreadnought is on the Reserved List so it can pop
off without even seeing any actual play.
At any rate, I think Lazav’s best chance to beat or maintain its current
price tag is simply as an Omenspeaker or Augur of Bolas-style value
creature in Dimir or Grixis-based midrange and control decks. Surveil 1 is
worse than scry 2 or the Augur of Bolas ability, but the fact that Lazav
can become a legitimate lategame threat makes it the kind of card that I
love. A two-drop that’s good early and late? Yes, please! Two-drop mythics
have all sorts of upside and this one has a shot at being a two-of or
three-of in all sorts of decks. There’s risk here too, of course, but I’d
rather snag a set of these than Nullhide Ferox because the upside here is
Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice – $11.99
Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice is very good when you’re ahead, impacting
combat the turn you play it as well as many turns afterward. The fact that
you can draw this card off a Militia Bugler pretty much guarantees that
it’ll see play, too. If there’s a Boros Aggro deck or some sort of Boros or
Mardu Midrange brew, Aurelia is going to be involved.
Aurelia does have some downsides, though. It’s harder to jam a whole bunch
of colors together and hope for the best in an aggressive deck, and Aurelia
still has to compete against Rekindling Phoenix in the four-drop slot of
every deck that runs red. The Phoenix is going to be better a lot of the
time, which means that Aurelia might not show up as much as it would in
another Standard environment. $12 is a reasonable buy-in for a mythic that
looks like it’ll see play one way or another, but I don’t think that
Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice will end up being one of the 5-6 most
expensive cards in the set. I’m staying away.
March of the Multitudes – $7.99
Dang. I like March of the Multitudes just as much as all the cards on the
$12 tier, and I don’t see too much downside to pre-ordering this one at $8.
Instant speed is the key here, just as it was with Secure the Wastes back
in Dragons of Tarkir. March of the Multitudes gets better in
multiples, too, where a second copy on a clogged, midrange-y battlefield
can straight up win the game.
The biggest problem, obviously, is Goblin Chainwhirler. March of the
Multitudes is a sad spell in a Chainwhirler-rich environment, and I can see
the argument that this card won’t really get a chance to shine until after
Goblin Chainwhirler rotates. I’m still not sure that Mono-Red survives
rotation, though, and casual demand should keep March of the Multitudes at
or above the $4-$5 mark regardless. March of the Multitudes is not a
slam-dunk spec by any means, but the downside is low, and I think people
are sleeping on it a little because they haven’t correctly factored in just
what a casual darling this spell is likely to be.
Trostani Discordant – $7.99
Trostani Discordant is pretty similar to Regal Caracal, which saw a
reasonable share of Standard play during Amonkhet‘s run in the
format. Trostani’s body isn’t quite as big, but the fact that the anthem
effect hits all of your creatures instead of just your Cats is a pretty
significant upgrade, especially in a tokens deck. I can absolutely see this
card finding a home in Standard, though probably not outside of a single
brew, and I’d imagine that deck will run four copies of March of the
Multitudes and only 1-2 of these. March also has more splash potential,
too. Trostani will likely end up closer to $4 than $10, but it’s not bad by
any means. Guilds of Ravnica is just very good, and some cards are
going to have to fall by the wayside a little.
Dream Eater – $6.99
Dream Eater desperately wants to be part of the Titan cycle, but the value
just isn’t there. I feel kind of like a greedy kid on Christmas morning
asking for his tenth present, but if this card had more power and
toughness, I think we’d have something here. As is, I want my six-drop to
be a better threat in addition to helping me stack my deck and bounce a
thing. Boy, we sure are spoiled these days, aren’t we? Anyway, I think
there are better things to do with six mana, and this is going to be a
future bulk rare.
Arclight Phoenix – $4.99
Arclight Phoenix seems pretty weak in Standard. A 3/2 flier for four with
haste isn’t great, and it’s going to be hard to cast three spells in a
turn-during your pre-combat main phase, no less-in order to get a fairly
weak payoff. Plus, there’s already a better four-mana Phoenix in Standard.
Arclight Phoenix’s Modern and Legacy potential is there, though. You’re
obviously not paying this card’s casting cost if you can help it, but every
creature with a trigger that allows it to be returned from the graveyard to
the battlefield without having to tap mana is worth two or three extra
looks. My guess is that this thing drops to bulk mythic range before
finding a home in eternal at some point in the indeterminate future. I’ll
be looking to pick them up cheap at some point later this fall-unless
someone breaks it sooner, of course.
Assassin’s Trophy – $34.99
What can I say about Assassin’s Trophy that hasn’t been said already? It’s
going to be a format staple in Standard, Modern, and Legacy. I don’t think
I’ve seen a single person who is low on this card yet, and I won’t be the
one to buck the trend. You will need four of these at some point, and the
reason this card is starting at $35 is because demand is going to way, way,
way outstrip supply for the first month or two that Guilds of Ravnica is legal.
So the real question isn’t whether or not Assassin’s Trophy will drop in
price-it will-but how long you’re willing to wait to buy your copies. My
guess is that this card will bottom out around $18-$20 this December,
though it could go as low as $12-$15 if it disappoints in Standard (it will
not disappoint in Modern). Can you wait that long? If not, just snag these
now and forget about them.
Beyond that, I think that Assassin’s Trophy will quickly begin to cause
shifts in the Modern metagame that are worth keeping an eye on. Jund
staples like Bloodbraid Elf, Kolaghan’s Command, Liliana of the Veil, and
Tarmogoyf are likely to increase in price, so grab them now if you want to
play with them. Tron might start to see less play, though the deck should
remain good enough that you don’t need to panic-sell your staples if you
own them. I wouldn’t buy into Tron right now, though-it’s a bit more of a
risk than usual at the moment.
Mission Briefing – $14.99
I keep looking for reasons to dislike Missions Briefing, and I’m just not
finding them. It’s not nearly the slam-dunk Eternal staple that Assassin’s
Trophy is, but I do think that it’ll see play in Modern and perhaps even
Legacy-Mission Briefing lets you play the alternate cost to cast Force of
Will from your graveyard, while Snapcaster Mage cannot.
I do think that the Snapcaster Mage comparisons are a tad overblown,
however. That card is always a two-for-one, whereas Missions Briefing is
going to be a one-for-one often enough. But unless surveil is a lot worse
than I think, or the casting cost ends up being too restrictive, Mission
Briefing will see a significant amount of play. I think it’ll end up closer
to $8-$10 than $15 based on how good the set is, but I’d be surprised if it
ends up being a total bust.
Chromatic Lantern – $7.99
Chromatic Lantern and Gilded Lotus were both close to $15 last spring due
to their ubiquity in Commander. Gilded Lotus was reprinted in Dominaria, though, and it’s down to $3 now. Chromatic Lantern will
likely follow suit, making it a tad overpriced at $8. It might see some
Standard play, but I doubt it will be a staple in that format. Call it a
future $4-$5 card that you’ll want to snag a few long-term copies of at
some point later this year.
Mausoleum Secrets – $6.99
Mausoleum Secrets seems great. I’m not sure how much Standard play it’ll
see, but you only have to have one or two creatures in your graveyard
before this card opens up a whole universe of possibilities for your black
deck. I’d like it a lot more if it could see play in Living End, but the
restrictions on Mausoleum Secrets seem far outweighed by its raw power.
Is it worth $7? In a normal set, absolutely. In Guilds of Ravnica,
that’ll depend on how much Standard play Mausoleum Secrets ends up seeing.
As long as you’re willing to risk the card bottoming out around $4, the
current retail price tag seems fine to me. The upside is certainly there,
and the fact that it might see play in multiple good Standard decks plus a
few Eternal decks is really nice.
Knight of Autumn – $5.99
Are you kidding me, WotC? Why is Guilds of Ravnica so good?
Knight of Autumn is amazing. Ahead on the battlefield? Drop those counters
and go to town. Behind against aggro? Gain that life. Got a problematic
artifact or enchantment to deal with? Knight of Autumn has your back. This
thing will see play in Modern and Standard at the very least. It might even
see play in Legacy.
$6 is totally fine for a powerful multi-format staple. Grab your set and be
happy to have them.
Beast Whisperer – $4.99
How much better is Primordial Sage when it costs two mana less and isn’t
much of a threat? I feel like Beast Whisperer would be absolutely bonkers
if you could play it for three mana, but I’m not sold on this being a
Constructed playable at four. A 2/3 is just so small, and you need to cast
at least a handful of other creatures afterward before Beast Whisperer ends
up being worthwhile. If the format ends up being super slow I could see
this being a midrange battlefield breaker, but I need more than that out of
my $5 rare in a set this good. This is a future $2 card with a whiff of
Ionize – $2.99
Ionize is fine, though dealing that extra two damage to your opponent is
generally not something a control deck is going to care about very often.
Straight control is generally going to ignore that opposing life total
until it thinks it can win the game. If Ionize ends up being the three-mana
counterspell of choice for the format, it can certainly end up in the $5-$6
range, but I suspect it’ll likely be a $1 card instead.
Niv-Mizzet, Parun – $2.99
Niv-Mizzet, Parun is a pretty impressive Dragon, allowing you to draw a
card and ping something whenever anyone plays an instant or a sorcery
spell. The casting cost is the big issue here, of course, as it’s going to
be hard to drop this bad boy on turn 6 even if you’re running four copies
each of Steam Vents and Sulfur Falls.
I don’t think you can play Niv-Mizzet in a three-color deck, which pretty
much just limits it to straight up Izzet Control, though Sarkhan, Fireblood
seems like it might be able to give Niv enough of a helping hand to get it
over the hump into playability.
Regardless, $3 seems right for a powerful borderline playable during the
pre-order period. I’m kind of surprised that this wasn’t a mythic rare,
which says a lot about how hard this set was pushed. Feel free to grab a
couple of copies if you want to mess around with it, but I’d be surprised
if Niv-Mizzet, Parun ever ends up being worth more than $3-$4 and it has a
very good shot at ending up as a $1 rare simply due to how few decks can
reliably run it.
Ritual of Soot – $2.99
Ritual of Soot seems straightforward, but it can be pretty hard to evaluate
cards like this. Languish was so good that it warped Standard around it for
a couple of months, while Yahenni’s Expertise was so bad that it saw
essentially zero play during its entire run in Standard.
Ritual of Soot is more Yahenni’s Expertise than Languish, but that doesn’t
mean that it won’t see play. Depending on how the format evolves, I can
certainly see all the new Golgari decks running this as a way to deal with
a fast aggro start while holding back Assassin’s Trophy for the big
Of course, cards like this are never worth big money unless they become
multi-deck staples like Languish, so I don’t see the potential for this to
be a good spec target. This card might hit $5, but that’s it. Feel free to
buy Ritual of Soot if you need it, but ignore it otherwise.
Venerated Loxodon – $2.99
Venerated Loxodon is awesome on a stalled battlefield, or even as
Chainwhirler protection, but paying five mana for a vanilla 4/4 is awful,
even with convoke. And if you convoke a bunch of things to play Venerated
Loxodon…well, first, you have to actually have those creatures, and second,
it puts them out of commission for a turn. I feel like this is a limited
bomb, but a future bulk rare.
Deafening Clarion – $2.49
I almost missed “choose one or both” on Deafening Clarion, which
means that you’ll probably get a decent amount of incidental life gain on
this card whenever you cast it to wipe out your opponent’s early game
critters. It’s still not incredibly powerful, but it’s a solid role-player
in some sort of Jeskai control shell. $2-$3 seems about right, though keep
an eye on Firesong and Sunspeaker, which some intrepid soul might decide to
buy out in order to pair with this card.
Midnight Reaper – $2.49
Midnight Reaper is one of my favorite cards in the set, and it has flown
pretty far under the radar so far. This is no Grim Haruspex, which did not
replace itself when it died, and that additional card should push this
effect from unplayable to very good. I can see multiple decks using this as
a card advantage engine, which gives it $10+ upside. That’s not even close
to a guarantee, of course, but the $2.50 buy-in is low enough that it’s
worth taking a flier on Midnight Reaper just in case it pays off.
Blood Operative – $1.99
For Blood Operative to be good, there will probably have to be a dedicated
surveil deck where you can dump this in your graveyard fairly easily. It’ll
also require a format where graveyard hate is important. I can see both of
those things happening-especially the second one-but even still, I don’t
think that Blood Operative spikes above $5 for long. Grab a set if you need
them, but feel free to disregard this card otherwise.
Connive – $1.99
My problem with Connive-unlike many of the other rare split cards-is that
both sides cost roughly the same amount of mana. They’re each useful in
different situations, of course, but I like the split cards where you can
use one half if you draw it early and the other if you draw it late. I can
still see a world where Connive ends up being a Constructed-playable card,
at least out of sideboards, but I’d rather gamble on Expansion or Response
right now, both of which have slightly cheaper buy-ins.
Erratic Cyclops – $1.99
Eight toughness is kind of a big deal for four mana, and its possible that
some sort of Izzet deck will want to put the walls up for a bit while they
assemble some sort of crazy spell-filled turn. I feel like this is going to
end up being too cute-why not just run more good spells?-and that Erratic
Cyclops will be relegated to the bulk rare bin before long. I’ll
re-evaluate this card if the new Standard environment ends up being the
sort of thing where 6/6 ground-pounders rule the day, or if a bunch of
great enablers show up, but we’re not there yet.
Firemind’s Research – $1.99
There’s certainly a shot that Firemind’s Research will help fuel some sort
of crazy jump-start deck that cycles through dozens of spells, and I really
hope that we’re all living in that world soon enough. That said, I feel
like I’m going to be pretty happy whenever my opponent casts this card
because it doesn’t really do anything for at least another turn or two.
Firemind’s Research is also awful off the top of your deck. Oh-and it has
to compete with Search for Azcanta. I’m not dismissing the card entirely,
but it screams future bulk rare to me.
Izoni, Thousand-Eyed – $1.99
I’ve already seen a few of the pros
messing around with Izoni
, but this pricy Elf Shaman is likely going to be a one-of or two-of in any
deck where it shows up…if it shows up at all. You can’t go too wrong
pre-ordering any card for $2, but this one seems far more likely to end up
as a bulk rare than a $5-$6 staple, even if it does end up showing up in a
good deck now and then. I’m out.
Swiftblade Vindicator – $1.99
Swiftblade Vindicator seems tailor-made for a dedicated Mentor deck, where
it can grow and grow until your opponent can’t deal with it. The lack of
haste hurts a lot here, though, as does the fact that it’s an awful
topdeck. Oh-and it dies to Goblin Chainwhirler, though that may not
actually end up mattering. Swiftblade Vindicator is a $3-$5 card if Boros
Aggro with a bunch of mentor stuff ends up being a good deck, and it’s a
bulk rare if not. There’s no real upside for speculators here, but feel
free to snag these if you’re a Boros mage.
Bounty Agent – $1.49
Right now, Bounty Agent is an answer for a threat that doesn’t exist yet. I
don’t think it’s fast enough for Modern Humans, and it doesn’t do enough to
warrant a sideboard slot in that deck, either. I can certainly see a world
in which Bounty Agent ends up being a four-of in some good Standard deck
simply because a 2/2 Human with vigilance for two mana is halfway
reasonable even without being a conditional piece of removal, but I don’t
see an immediate home for this one. I’ll guess that Bounty Agent ends up
kicking around the $1 mark for a while, but I can certainly see a world in
which it has at least one spike up to $5-$6 during its time in Standard.
Feel free to snag a set now if you want to use them.
Omnispell Adept – $1.49
Omnispell Adept is incredibly cool, but you’re paying eight mana and
waiting a turn for that first sweet activation-that’s not my idea of a good
deal. This is not a competitive card, and it will be a future bulk rare.
Response – $1.49
Response will sink or swim based on how good “deal 5 damage to target
attacking or blocking creature” is in the new metagame as well as the other
white removal spells we get. If this card can deal with most of the new
metagame’s major threats, Response could end up seeing quite a bit of play.
I can certainly see a future where this card settles in closer to $5 than
$0.50. I’m in for a set at current retail.
Expansion – $1.49
Boy, I hope Expansion is good. I’d love for the metagame to develop in such
a way that you can hold up Expansion, hope to fork a removal spell, and
then go nuts with a Sphinx’s Revelation-style effect late in the game. My
gut tells me that this card’s best-case scenario is as a sideboard card or
a maindeck two-of in Grixis Control, which means it’ll settle in around $1.
There’s some juicy upside here, though, and I might snag a few copies for
Runaway Steam-Kin – $1.49
There are certainly best-case scenarios where Runaway Steam-Kin comes down
on turn 2, ends up beating in for a bunch of damage, and then powers out
your lategame spell a couple of turns early, but this is such a horrific
topdeck and it’s so bad when you’re behind that I just don’t see it as the
two-drop of choice for any sort of aggressive red or Boros start. I guess
it might end up showing up in some sort of Modern combo shell, which might
spike the price to $3-$4, but it’s far more likely that Runaway Steam-Kin
is a future bulk rare.
Find – $0.99
Find should see some sideboard play at the very least, acting as kind of a
janky mirror breaker that can tip the scales in your favor a couple of
different ways. Golgari looks pretty good, too, so this might end up being
a maindeck two-of or three-of in a tier one Standard deck. For $1, it’s a
Guildmages’ Forum – $0.99
While I don’t like sleeping on any rare non-basic land, I don’t think that
Guildmages’ Forum is very good at all. Decks that care about +1/+1 counters
tend to be fast, and this land is slow. I’d rather just play some number of
shocklands and fastlands and call it a day. Future bulk rare.
Vivid Revival – $0.99
Five mana? Sorcery? Multicolored cards only? Yep, Vivid Revival is a future
bulk rare for sure.
This Week’s Trends
I’m a tad surprised that the Standard market has remained fairly
slow through the first week of Guilds of Ravnica previews,
but most people are still holding off and taking a wait-and-see
approach to the new Standard environment. Once bitten twice shy, I
suppose, though I do expect the new format to be really dynamic and
interesting based on how neat the new cards are.
Search for Azcanta was the only real gainer this week, perhaps because
people recognize that the blue two-drop is going to see play in almost
every blue-based deck for at least the next year. I wouldn’t be shocked if
it hits $30 at some point this fall.
Over in Modern, Jace, the Mind Sculptor continues to tick up,
gaining about $4 this week. This mirrors a trend that I’ve seen on
MTGO over the past month or so, and it’s based on the lack of
available copies-Masters 25 was kind of a disappointment,
remember-versus the card’s current power level in decks like
Azorius Control in Modern. Tarmogoyf and Blackcleave Cliffs have
started to tick up as well, likely as a result of Assassin’s Trophy
revitalizing the Jund hype in Modern. Expect those cards to
continue to rise, as well as the deck’s other key staples, like
Dark Confidant and Liliana of the Veil.
On the flip side of the format, Karn Liberated is starting to tick down a
bit. Like I said in my Assassin’s Trophy paragraph, I don’t think that Tron
will fall completely out of Modern’s top tier. The fact that there’s doubt
about that for the first time in a very long time does make me pause,
though, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Tron’s staples start very slowly
ticking down over the next couple of weeks as we see what affect the new
Golgari staple will have on Magic’s most popular format.
Over in Legacy, Dread of Night jumped a couple of bucks due to
being a very low supply uncommon (it was only in 6th Edition and Tempest) combined with the rise of
Death & Taxes in the wake of Deathrite Shaman’s banning. It
seems pretty stable at $6 right now, though, so I wouldn’t worry
too much about missing out on this one.
Lastly, Faerie Artisans was the big Commander gainer of the week.
It’s quite good with a lot of the new Commander 2018 tech,
and pretty much every card from the older Commander sets- Commander 2016 included-have the ability to spike at
pretty much any moment. Don’t expect to see this one under $10
again any time soon.