The last few times a new set has dropped, I feel like I’ve been pretty damn good at telling you where it’s best to invest. Fate Reforged saw a couple of
good speculations like Mastery of the Unseen and Outpost Siege drop, and who was telling you to buy them when they were 35 cents?
Before I ventured into the world of writing, I loved buying and selling Magic cards. I was addicted to the feeling of nailing a great spec down. The sheer
art of predicting is one that I seem to do very well for myself on. From Master of Waves to Craterhoof Behemoth, I can safely say I have a knack of calling
And Dragons of Tarkir is no exception.
I have plenty of juicy hits for this beast of a set, and I want you all to revel in the spoils with me.
Today let’s talk about the most adequate places to put your money and just what kind of returns you should expect on them.
The first card I want to review with you is considered the least flashy of the Command cycle: Kolaghan’s Command.
At $2.99 right now, this card seems absurd to me. This card doesn’t worry about meeting most costs, and it will always be the best kinds of two-for-ones.
Stripping a card at instant speed while also being able to kill a creature or deal direct damage is a powerful effect. Returning your best creature to your
hand as well isn’t something to scoff at either, and while the fourth mode of destroying an artifact is clearly the worst, I expect an upwelling of U/B
Control, meaning when they tap out to play a Perilous Vault you can simply destroy it and make them discard their best card.
I expect this Command to not drop below its current price, making it safe money. The upside is quite nice considering there are some early indicators that
a R/B Aggro deck might be a good choice going forward. I imagine this card would be either a four-of between the maindeck and sideboard due to how potent
the effect is. I would happily pick up a set of these.
If Kolaghan’s Command is the “least flashy,” than Silumgar’s Command is 100% the least respected.
Early Pro Tour testing for me has shown this card is a lot more real than anyone is giving it credit for, and at $1.99 it’s clear that people don’t take it
The Negate function on it is overcosted, but coupling that with removal, a bounce spell, or the second half of Hero’s Downfall makes for a very interesting
proposition. Of all the Commands, this is one that could have multiple homes in either Esper or U/B Control. I find that Ojutai’s Command, while good for
one less mana, doesn’t woo me at most points of the game. Essence Scatter + Draw a card for four mana isn’t going to be blowing the doors off of any
houses, and the “return a creature that costs two mana or less” is going to be hard to integrate in a deck that surely wants to be more controlling.
Returning an Orator of Ojutai or Seeker of the Way might be your best case scenario, but is that really going to get you further ahead?
Silumgar’s Command, however, seems like it has room to grow at the price it is at right now. Two dollars isn’t much for these kinds of effects, and it’s
almost a sure thing that decks that can reliably cast this card will. Control decks can occasionally have trouble with planeswalkers, and it should be
noted that this card can deal with not one but two at the same time. You can’t ignore that.
This card might be the most confusing to me on the list.
.99 cents for a rare means it usually falls closer to the “bulk” category, but Hidden Dragonslayer is anything but that. A 2/1 for two mana isn’t anything
special; sure it’ll go in aggressive decks because it has upside, but when it is megamorphed is where the true ridiculousness of this card starts to shine
Siege Rhino is a pain in the ass, as are a lot of other big and strong cards coming out of Dragons of Tarkir, but Hidden Dragonslayer doesn’t actually care
about any of them because when he’s unmorphed he destroys a creature with a power of four or greater.
Let’s just talk about a few of the things this creature kills:
- Whisperwood Elemental
- Polukranos, World Eater
- 92% of things printed in Dragons of Tarkir
- Attacking Goblin Rabblemasters
- Butcher of the Horde
- Genesis Hydra
- Your mother-in-law
The list goes on and on.
Smite the Monstrous won’t ever see play, but attach it to a 3/2 body and now we’re talking. This card has a ton of room to grow, and I’ve already ordered
my set. I don’t see how this card could not be a hit.
When he’s not punching dragons, alligators, or whatever else he wants to punch, Surrak is busy not costing what he should.
There was a time when four mana for a 5/5 usually meant a pretty big drawback. Oh Blastoderm, how far we’ve come.
Surrak is powerful, and I mean really, really powerful.
Formidable, as you probably found out at your Prereleases, isn’t very hard to obtain. Decks that cast Surrak are going to play things like Elvish Mystic
and Rattleclaw Mystic, which means that with his huge power already, you’re looking at casting him on 3 and another threat on 4 which, you guessed it, will
A massive body with Fires of Yavimaya built in seems like you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. At two dollars, this Surrak will easily hover around
four to five dollars once decks with him start to spring up. Also, it’s a good idea to note that when Polukranos rotates out, Surrak will fill a large void
that green decks will need in order to survive.
It’s funny, because the other Dragonlords start at six dollars, and it’s arguable that only one (maybe two) of them are better than Kolaghan. That remains
to be seen, because this dragon hits very hard and makes sure your other creatures can hit just as hard too. Like I mentioned with Surrak earlier, giving
all of your creatures haste is a powerful effect. Of course, you’re not casting Kolaghan on a board where it’s not going to deal six damage either. This
elder dragon having haste means that you’ll be taking a huge chunk out of their life total, but that’s not even the awesome part.
By turn 6, there is a big chance that whatever is going to allow the opponent to keep pace with Kolaghan is going to do so at the expense of a whopping ten
This is an unprecedented price tag for an opponent to pay. All of a sudden, duplicate copies of Elspeth to whatever creature you’ve killed already are
going to be ridiculously unplayable for how much life they are going to cost. Kolaghan sits snuggly at four dollars, and as a mythic in red and black, I
believe there is a possible Jund deck somewhere with it as the finisher. Before Kolagahn, these decks capped out at Stormbreath Dragon, but now they may
have a far more powerful finisher.
Casting the new Sidisi can make you feel absolutely filthy. In a format with a ton of cards that become superfluous over time like Sylvan Caryatid, tokens,
or Satyr Wayfinder, how good does it sound to take one of those cards and turn it in to the best card in your deck?
That’s just what Sidisi, Undead Vizier lets you do. With a casting cost of five and a fairly bulky body that also has deathtouch, Sidisi might be the best
value creature pound-for-pound to come out of Dragons of Tarkir.
One thing playing a lot of Hearthstone has taught me is the value of mana investments: For instance, there is a card right now called Piloted Shredder. The
Shredder is the single most played card in all of Hearthstone for the simple fact that for four mana you get a 4/3 body that, when it dies, generates a
random two mana minion. The power level can range from an awful parrot to Doomsayer and everything good in between. Essentially, for four mana, you’re
guaranteed six mana worth of value.
Sidisi on a stalled board can end a game without batting an eyelash. Cards like Diabolic Tutor were staples in Magic, and for that cost plus one, you’re
getting a very defensive body that can also play offense quite well. Let’s take it a step further. For two mana you could play Demonic Tutor, and tagging
three on that gets you a 4/6 deathtouch.
What makes Sidisi so appealing is that she naturally fits in to the scheme of existing decks. Sultai Reanimator would love to have this zombie because it
can turn a ton of value creatures of 2/2s into Whip of Erebos, Sultai Charms, Doomwake Giants, Hornet Queens, or whatever it needs to put a game away.
Abzan Midrange can sacrifice a Sylvan Caryatid or Elspeth token to tutor up a removal, a planeswalker, or draw spell.
Underrated is a word I would use to describe this card which is, as of most forums I read, being regulated to Commander circles. I think it has the
potential to be a Standard all-star.
And lastly, there’s my pick for speculative card of the set:
I like Swiss Army Knives, and this card is all that and a bag of chips.
Mythics are a little hard to evaluate: they usually need to be flashy, interesting, and have an effect that could potentially win you a game on the spot.
At ten bucks a pop, I think Exemplars is the kind of card that is wise to “go deep” on. Mythics have proven over time that, when the storm becomes perfect,
they have a nearly infinite capacity to grow. This card has so much going for it that it’s hard not to want to pick up dozens of copies. The “tap
target creature” for control decks is obviously huge, and being able to cast a removal spell inside of combat, give your creature first strike and lifelink
(potentially letting you eat another creature), or exiling it if it’s the target of a removal spell or under a harmful enchantment can all be game
This card might be in a strange place now with Hero’s Downfall being a potential foil to it, but down the line- after rotation- this card is going to have
“Baneslayer” written all over it.
Unless they reprint Baneslayer Angel.
I really, really hope they reprint Baneslayer Angel. This is one case where I’d be happy to be wrong about a card.
So bear all of this in mind when you’re issuing your preorders, kiddies.
I hope you strike gold…mostly because I already bought all of these things…so if you strike gold it means I already struck it.
Regardless, my testing for the Pro Tour is already underway…so don’t you think I’d be trying to point you all in the right direction?