Ravnica Allegiance Financial Review: Part 3

This final installment includes the latest pricing updates on every card, Chas’s look at the final rare and mythic previews, as well as a study on free money when it comes to the promotions surrounding this block!

Welcome to the third and final installment of my Ravnica Allegiance financial set review! If you missed either of
the first two installments, you can find them

My overall thoughts about the set haven’t changed much since last week. I’m
still very high on Simic, Rakdos, and Gruul as future tier 1 decks, and I
expect a bunch of the Azorius cards to see play in whatever Teferi-based
control deck ends up making an impact. I’m less sure about Orzhov, but that
doesn’t mean that there aren’t a bunch of top tier cards coming out of that
guild. Plus, Esper Control is looking better and better.

Before we get started with the last batch of previews, though, let’s take a
look at which Ravnica Allegiance cards have gone up in price since
I reviewed them last week:

I’m not surprised by most of these increases. I was very high on Tithe
Taker, Judith, Bedevil, Spawn of Mayhem, and Electrodominance at their
initial price points. I also quite liked Gruul Spellbreaker and Rix Maadi
Reveler, though they weren’t among my breakout calls.

Hydroid Krasis feels like the biggest surprise to me, but that’s likely
because I was underrating Simic as a top tier guild. It didn’t produce a
tier 1 deck in either of the first two Ravnica blocks, but maybe the third
time is the charm? I still don’t see how this card ends up in more than one
deck, which limits its upside quite a bit, but I’m more bullish on that one
deck being good than I was last week.

Onto the new cards!

Mythic Rares

Domri, Chaos Bringer – $22.99

Now that we’ve seen the entire set, I’m not particularly thrilled about
pre-ordering any of the planeswalkers in Ravnica Allegiance.
Domri, Chaos Bringer is only good in a deck with a very high creature
count, which means that we’re looking at GRUUL SMASH or nothing. He can’t
protect himself, and at four mana, he’s directly competing with Rekindling
Phoenix and Nullhide Ferox.

That said, I do feel like Domri will find a home in whatever we decide to
call GRUUL SMASH. It might end up kicking around the $20 mark for a while
if that deck is great, but narrow planeswalkers like Domri tend to end up
closer to $10 or $15 these days. Unless you want to play Gruul on day one,
I’d hold off for now.

Biogenic Ooze – $7.99

Boy oh boy do I want Biogenic Ooze to be good. It’s actually pretty
comparable to Tendershoot Dryad, which has seen play in Standard from time
to time. Six power across two creatures is certainly not an embarrassing
rate for five mana, though you must sink a bunch more mana into the Ooze if
you really want to go off.

Ultimately, though, I just don’t think enough people are going to want to
spend five mana on a 2/2. I know it doesn’t stay a 2/2 for long, but I like
my mid-game and end-game threats to be bigger, faster, or more evasive.
Commander token hype should still keep this one in the $4-$5 range, but
I’ll be a tad surprised if Biogenic Ooze ends up being a major Constructed

Mesmerizing Benthid – $6.99

I’m not sure where Mesmerizing Benthid fits into the metagame, but the raw
power level is higher than most people have given it credit for so far. It
probably won’t end up having hexproof for long but playing a 4/5 that comes
with two additional blockers makes it a pretty formidable bridge from the
early game to the part where you win.

That said, I’m pretty gun-shy to buy in at $7. The realistic upside here is
something like an $11-$12 role-player, while the downside is that
Mesmerizing Benthid ends up being a $1.50 bulk mythic. This is not the type
of card that’s worth buying in early; it’s the kind of card where you
resign yourself to paying full freight in the unlikely case of a breakout.

Angel of Grace – $17.99

“This five-drop is great against aggro!” feels like a bit of a tough sell,
but Angel of Grace is actually a pretty great card against aggressive
decks. It’s got a solid enters-the-battlefield ability, flash, and a way to
let you stabilize your life total even after it dies. Boros Angels is
absolutely going to run this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up
seeing more play than Lyra Dawnbringer in that deck.

My concern is mostly about where Angel of Grace sees play beyond Boros
Angels. That deck isn’t anywhere near the top of the Standard metagame
right now, and an $18 card needs at least one top tier home if it wants to
maintain its value. If Angel of Grace ends up in a new breakout deck, it’ll
probably end up peaking at $25-$30 before dropping back down to $15. If
not, I see the card settling in around $7-$8. It’s a Constructed-caliber
card for sure, but Angel of Grace is too financially risky for me at
current retail.

Captive Audience – $4.99

Captive Audience is super cool, but it costs seven mana and it’s probably
not going to win you the game for a couple of turns. I can see Grixis
Control sticking a few of these in their sideboard for super grindy
matchups, but it’s too risky to rely on – and too much of a dead draw –
against the rest of the metagame. Captive Audience is the sort of card that
might end up being worth $5+ in a couple of years because of how unique it
is, but it’ll probably end up falling into bulk rare range in the meantime.


Kaya’s Wrath – $7.99

Kaya’s Wrath is really good, y’all. WWBB is less of a hurdle in the current
Standard than it seems, and if Jeskai Control can handle Crackling Drake
and Niv-Mizzet, Parun, then certainly an Orzhov or Esper brew will be able
to cast Kaya’s Wrath on-curve.

The big question here – and really, one of the biggest questions coming out
of Ravnica Allegiance preview season – is this: which three-color
shard makes for the best control shell? It’s all about Jeskai right now,
but there are good arguments to be made that Esper or even Grixis (possibly
with a Teferi splash) will be the future of Standard control.

If you’re paying $8 for Kaya’s Wrath, then, you’re essentially betting on
either Esper or Orzhov Control breaking out. I don’t think that’s a
particularly bad bet, and Kaya’s Wrath should be an $8-$12 card in a world
where Esper Control is a big deal, but there is some risk involved –
fpossibly more than you think.

Personally, I’m going to hold off for now and I’ll look to buy low if
Jeskai or Grixis ends up winning out at the start of the new metagame. As
long as Esper Control ends up being a thing at some point during the next
two years, Kaya’s Wrath will end up seeing play.

Incubation Druid – $3.99

Incubation Druid is also an incredibly exciting card. Its vanilla form
isn’t exactly Utopia Tree, but it’s fairly close in a climate like Guilds of Ravnica Standard where a large portion of your manabase
is made up of lands that are going to tap for two different colors
regardless. I’m already seeing the synergies unfold in my mind between
this, Hydroid Krasis, and Hadana’s Climb. Or you can throw it in a Selesnya
deck with Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants and Venerated Loxodon. Or you can
just turn it into a multi-faceted threat on your own late in the game
thanks to its adapt cost.

I tend to be skeptical of cards that require a lot of hoop-jumping, but if
it’s good enough on its own and it synergizes with cards that you already
want to play…well, that’s the mark of a really good spell. I don’t like
Incubation Druid quite as much as Growth-Chamber Guardian, but I expect
both cards to play a role in at least one top-tier deck in the new
metagame. $4 feels like a pretty solid buy-in for a card that could easily
end up at $8-$9.

Cindervines – $2.99

Cindervines is exactly the sort of card I love in Commander, where I can
ping people all day long before zapping some super problematic artifact or
enchantment. I don’t think it’ll end up seeing much play in competitive
Constructed, but it is worth noting Seal of Primordium does show up now and
then. There are better sideboard cards against decks like Affinity, though,
and I’m not sure there’s a deck that wants to run this in their 60-card
main right now. That can change, but in the meantime, I’d expect
Cindervines to end up settling in the $1 range.

Theater of Horrors – $2.99

Oh man, Theater of Horrors is another rare that I absolutely love. I feel
like it’s a better Outpost Siege since the cards you “draw” with Theater of
Horrors stick around until you find a turn to use them, essentially making
them a second hand that you must unlock by jumping through an incredibly
easy hoop.

I suppose that Theater of Horrors overlaps a little with Experimental
Frenzy, but this card is cheaper to cast and seems destined to work in
slightly different decks – not just burn, but Rakdos and Jund Midrange. The
upside for these cards tends to only be in the $5-$6 range, but Theater of
Horrors has a pretty good shot of ending up there. A totally solid buy at

Priest of Forgotten Gods – $2.99

Priest of Forgotten Gods might be good, but it’s really, really hard for me
to get past the part of the card where it’s a 1/2 for two that requires you
to tap it and sacrifice two other creatures before it does
literally anything. The payoff is impressive, certainly, but I’m not sure
the support is there for an Aristocrats-style deck right now. If I’m wrong,
then I suppose Priest of Forgotten Gods will end up as a $4-$5 combo piece
or something. If not, then this is just a future bulk rare.

Repudiate // Replicate – $2.99

If Repudiate // Replicate sees play, it’ll be on the back of its
versatility, not its power level. I don’t think I’d ever be happy spending
two mana on a Stifle, especially not in a format without fetchlands, nor am
I stoked about a slightly worse Quasiduplicate.

The best of these new split cards are the ones where a totally reasonable
removal spell is attached to a not-quite-embarrassing use for the card if
you don’t need removal right now. Neither Repudiate nor Replicate seem up
to that task. Future bulk rare.

Revival // Revenge – $2.49

Show me something that actually combos well with Revival and I’ll change my
mind, but for now I feel like this card is being overrated. Militia Bugler?
Plaguecrafter? Possibly, but at what point do you just want to run Find //
Finality instead? It’s not because of Revenge, I assume, because that card
seems slow and bad.

Sam Black gets into the nitty-gritty with all five of the new split cards,
and I tend to agree with him about which ones are good. This one looks like
a future bulk rare to me, sadly, but there are couple of cheaper split
cards further down this list that are super good buys right now. We’ll get
there soon enough.

Unbreakable Formation – $1.99

We’re not playing Make a Stand in our competitive decks, and I’m not sure
that Unbreakable Formation is significantly better. I guess it might see a
little play in Selesnya Tokens or some sort of quick Boros or Orzhov deck
that really just wants the tokens as well as a nice clean combat step?
Regardless, this looks like a $1-$2 card to me. Grab a few if you need
them, but there’s not a ton of upside here.

Benthic Biomancer – $1.99

I haven’t seen a ton of love for Benthic Biomancer yet, but I’m still
holding out some hope. Little utility creatures often end up being far
better than they look, and a one-drop that gives you a loot while growing
into a 2/2 seems like it might have some game. Benthic Biomancer will
certainly end up seeing play in any sort of Merfolk deck that may or may
not actually come to play, but the real upside would start coming into play
be if, say, the Simic Ramp decks ended up using this card as a draw
smoother/enabler. It’s far from a slam dunk, but there’s absolutely a world
where Benthic Biomancer ends up being a $5-$7 card for quite some time.

Nikya of the Old Ways – $1.99

Sometimes, the old ways die out for a reason. Nikya of the Old Ways demands
that you leave all your toys at home if you want to come over and party at
their house – yuck. Ramp decks aren’t going to mess with a card that blanks
half their deck, especially not when the card itself is a five-drop without
evasion, and I think all the GRUUL SMASH decks are going to want to be
playing more threatening cards on turn 5. Future bulk rare.

Glass of the Guildpact – $1.99

Cheap anthem effects are always worth a second look, but this one doesn’t
play well with 95% of tokens so I’m not terribly interested. Future bulk
rare, though Commander demand might cause it to end back up in the $2 range
again someday.

Guardian Project – $1.99

Speaking of Commander, Guardian Project is pretty close to reading “draw a
card whenever you play a creature” in that format. Primordial Sage sees a
decent amount of Commander play, and Guardian Project probably will too.
Just don’t expect it to be worth more than $1 at any point soon.

Hero of Precinct One – $1.99

I’m never going to completely dismiss a Young Pyromancer-style card,
especially when it’s a respectable 2/2 Human for 1W in a vacuum. I don’t
know how many multicolored cards you must run before Hero of Precinct One
is good enough, but I feel like you’re ahead even if you’re just activating
this twice per game.

At the very least, deck builders are going to keep considering ways to make
Hero of Precinct One work for the next couple of years. And who knows? It
might even spawn a new version of Modern Humans, a deck that already runs
twelve multicolored cards in its current maindeck configuration. I don’t
see an immediate path to success here, but for $2 there are far worse

Immolation Shaman – $1.99

You won’t fool me this time, Harsh Mentor! I liked you more when you were a
2/2 that could attack in the early game, and even that wasn’t good enough
to make you playable in anything. Maybe the activated ability puts
Immolation Shaman over the top, but I doubt it. Future bulk rare.

Plaza of Harmony – $1.99

Good decks don’t run Gates because Gates are slow and bad outside of
Limited. Plaza of Harmony does not do anything without Gates, and it’s not
worth running Gates just to unlock a little bit of life and fixing when you
play this card. Future bulk rare.

Tome of the Guildpact – $1.99

Tome of the Guildpact is fine in all those nonsense big-mana multicolored
Commander decks I like to build, where I can just chain through my hand
while gaining some incidental mana. This does nothing on the competitive
stage, though, so wait until it hits bulk before buying in. It’ll be a
$2-$3 card long-term, but you’ll have to wait quite a while for that
investment to pay off.

Ethereal Absolution – $1.49

Ethereal Absolution is very cool. Every Orzhov and Esper Tokens Commander
player is going to want a copy. Six mana is too much for competitive play,
though, which means that this will almost certainly end up as a bulk rare.

Bedeck // Bedazzle – $0.99

As much as I would like to get out my Bedazzler and fasten a bunch of hot
pink rhinestone studs to your Urzatron lands, I don’t think that the rate
here is good enough to see any competitive play. Maybe if there were fewer
good burn spells in Standard? Future bulk rare.

Awaken the Erstwhile – $0.99

I have no idea how to use Awaken the Erstwhile, but I’m surprised
that I haven’t seen more chatter about one of the most interesting cards in Ravnica Allegiance. How quickly we forget that symmetrical effects
don’t always have to be symmetrical! Maybe having a couple of Death Barons
around is good enough. Maybe this ends up as a win-con for some sort of
deck that can draw ten or twenty lands in a single turn. Maybe it’s just a
way for midrange to fight against a control deck with a fully sculpted

Five mana might end up being a deal-breaker, of course, but the buy-in
can’t be any lower than $0.99 – that’s bulk rare pricing for a brand new
set. Cards this powerful rarely start at $0.99 and worst case I like it as
a long-term combulk hold. I’m snagging a set or two for sure.

Font of Agonies – $0.99

I might throw Font of Agonies into a Commander deck or two, but the fact
that it’s a miserable topdeck that requires a massive amount of set-up
should keep it from seeing any competitive play. Future bulk rare.

Lumbering Battlement – $0.99

Lumbering Battlement is better in Commander than it looks since it can hide
a number of your creatures from a mid-game wrath while allowing you to
rebuy your enter-the-battlefield triggers. It’s not a card for competitive
Constructed play, but casual interest could push it up toward the $2-$3
range eventually.

Mirror March – $0.99

I kind of liked Mirror March until I re-read how much it cost to cast this
sucker. For six mana, I want some guaranteed damage. Future bulk rare.

Thrash // Threat – $0.99

Huh? Why is Thrash selling for $0.99? Not only is it a one-sided fight
effect (your target won’t deal damage back), but it’s a way for green to
interact with planeswalkers – and at instant speed, no less. Heck, even
red-based decks can get in on the fun if they want to.

Thrash is a sideboard card at worst, and it’s probably a maindeck two-of or
three-of in a planeswalker-heavy metagame. Snag these now so you won’t have
to buy them when they’re $4-$5.

Warrant // Warden – $0.99

I like Warrant even more than Thrash, and neither card has any business
being this cheap. This is a great tempo play for any blue or white-based
deck. It’s flexible, powerful, and it comes tacked onto a Serra Angel that
stops it from ever being a completely dead card. Warrant is going to see so
much play that “Cherry Pie” will be permanently stuck in your head. Grab it
at $1.

Verity Circle – $0.99

“I cast….Zone of Truth!”

Verity Circle is probably not a spell you’ll want to cast in a competitive
Constructed game, but I suppose it could end up seeing use in a pinch.
Cards like this are stellar in certain multiplayer Commander groups,
though, so don’t expect this one to end up as true bulk. $2-$3 long-term
seems about right to me.

This Week’s Trends

  • Remember Guilds of Ravnica Mythic Edition? It ended up
    essentially amounting to free money for anyone who actually got the
    Hasbro Toy Shop website to load. MSRP on that sucker was $250, and
    you can easily get $500 or so for your copy if you choose to sell
    it. A slam dunk.

I bring this up now because Wizards of the Coast just announced the release
of Ravnica Allegiance Mythic Edition, which will have eight new
full-art planeswalkers and the same MSRP as the Guilds of Ravnica
version. While the planeswalker line-up looks a tad underwhelming at first
blush, it seems worth it to do the math and figure out if Ravnica Allegiance Mythic Edition is worth the buy anyway. After
all, free money is free money, right?

Adding up the retail costs of the regular, non-mythic version of all the
planeswalkers in the Guilds of Ravnica version gets us a total
value of $181, or roughly $23 each. Together, the mythic versions of all
eight have a retail price of $720, or $90 each.

How does the Ravnica Allegiance crop add up? Well, the eight new
‘walkers have a current MSRP of $133. That figure is likely to go down,
however, since Domri, Chaos Bringer and Kaya, Orzhov Usurper are still at
their preorder highs. So let’s estimate the expected value at $120, which
is roughly two-thirds of what the Guilds of Ravnica batch is
worth. That number might even end up lower for the Masterpieces; Guilds of Ravnica Mythic Edition had a couple of high-end
Eternal playables in Liliana, the Last Hope and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Ravnica Allegiance has Dack Fayden. After that, you’re mostly
hoping that Karn finds a second wind somewhere.

There’s also a strong possibility that WotC prints far more copies of this
version of the mythic edition than the last one.Modern Masters 2015 was printed in far higher quantities than Modern Masters 2013, remember, and even the Comic-Con exclusives
have gotten more common as the years have gone by. It’s quite likely that
you won’t be able to quick-flip these nearly as easily.

That said, $250 still seems like a pretty solid buy for this set. If we
assume that you’d be happy to pay $50 for 24 packs of Ravnica Allegiance and $100 for the ‘walkers, than you’re
essentially just paying an extra $100 to upgrade them to masterpieces.
There’s no way to be certain that Hasbro won’t just release infinite copies
onto their eBay store (no more Hasbro Toy Shop!), but as long as they’re
halfway reasonable with their allotments, you should still be able to make
at least $50 or $100 per copy that you purchase. Less free money is still
free money, right?

  • In other news, cards that look sweet with the Ravnica Allegiance previews are going up in price for the
    third straight week. Nullhide Ferox and Elenda, the Dusk Rose are
    both up another couple of bucks, while Divine Visitation and
    Hadana’s Climb are each up about a dollar. Hadana’s Climb seems
    especially good to me right now, and I’m not sure the price has
    fully adjusted to how good the Simic previews are yet. There’s $15
    upside here if everything breaks right, especially since Rivals of Ixalan was such an under-opened set.