Financially, core sets behave very differently from normal expansions.
While most sets have between zero and three high quality reprints, core sets are defined by their returning cards. Most of the time, the best cards in the set have been kicking around for years.
Price memory cuts both ways here. On the casual side, people tend to underestimate how much a card will drop in price now that the supply has increased. On the competitive side, the price drop is often overestimated. This is because Standard legality creates a huge influx in demand that has no bearing on the casual market. Thousands of players who never needed Scavenging Oozes before are going to want them now, for example, while roughly the same number of people who want Forge[/author]“]Darksteel [author name="Forge"]Forges[/author] today are going to need them a week from now.
The other thing I like about speculating on returning cards is that you’re no longer paying a novelty surcharge. If you preorder a playset of Kalonian Hydras, you’re betting on its upside versus a completely blank track record. If you buy Mutavaults, you can point to the card’s sustained success in Standard, Modern, and even Legacy. The Hydra has tantalizing upside, of course, but I’m going to take the safer bet nine times out of ten.
Keeping this in mind, let’s look at the returning cards in M14 first and see if we can spot some easy risers and fallers.
Mutavault – $15
The first time around, Mutavault actually did go as low as $12.50. Other than that brief dip, though, it has never spent much time below $20 and had been selling in the $30-40 range until the reprint was confirmed. Granted, there were some tier 1 tribal decks in Standard back then that aren’t around now, meaning that unless Theros has a tribal component this land might see significantly less play now. After all, it is at its worst in a format where everyone is playing three or more colors. There just isn’t room in most decks for a colorless land.
On the other hand, this is an Eternally playable card that has been good since the day it was printed. Core sets aren’t drafted that much either. I bet this land will see some play, and I bet anyone who buys there set at $15 each will be satisfied with that decision. Don’t drop your bankroll on these, but pick up a set if you think you’ll ever want them.
Scavenging Ooze – $15
This card is also the real deal. I think people are underestimating Scavenging Ooze because it has fallen slightly out of favor in Legacy. Don’t hold that against it—you can say the same thing about many other cards that absolutely dominated Standard. The fact that Scavenging Ooze came to us by way of the Commander precon and hasn’t yet had a chance in Standard or Modern is intriguing, and it is possible that the card is being way underrated right now.
I see this dropping to $6-$8 if it doesn’t see immediate play—the promo is helping saturate the market—but if it becomes a tier 1 staple, it should stabilize more in the $20-$25 range. My guess? Scavenging Ooze will settle in the $10 range—Fauna Shaman territory—before rising toward $20 next spring. Much like with Mutavault, it is perfectly fine to grab a set of these now if you think you’ll need them.
Liliana of the Dark Realms & Jace, Memory Adept – $8
I’m lumping both of these planeswalkers together because I don’t have too many things to say about either one. I expect they’ll both be joining Ajani at $5 this summer even though Brain Jace did start to see a little play back in the spring. Remember when he was $20 for like a week in March? That was fun.
Forge[/author]“]Darksteel [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] – $10 & Sanguine Bond – $4
Both of these cards are randomly expensive due almost exclusively to availability issues. Darksteel was a long time ago, and Sanguine Bond was in just one core set. I expect this new reprinting to chop the price of these in half to $5 and $2 respectively—Sanguine Bond has already dropped $2 from earlier in the week. If you open these, trade them away immediately.
It is kind of cool that Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood are both in Standard at the same time though. It is possible that some kind of big mana black deck will try and jam the combo. If so, expect Exquisite Blood to be the half that will temporarily go up in price.
Ajani, Caller of the Pride – $5
It is worth noting that SCG dropped their price on this to $5, which is aggressively undercutting the market. That speaks to the lack of demand for one of last summer’s most hyped cards. $5 is probably the bottom for this planeswalker though—you can always find casual players willing to trade for nearly any of planeswalker that cheap. Feel free to target these as random additions to trades because they should move easily close to retail.
Door of Destinies – $4
Think of this like the Gilded Lotus of M14—a formerly $10 casual card cut that will be cut in price by 75%. It’s possible that Theros will be a tribal set, but I bet this was added to the set in order to help out the Slivers. As such, this will probably sell for most of the year in the $2.50 range before slowly creeping up again after rotation.
Ratchet Bomb – $3
The more tokens there are in the format, the better Ratchet Bomb is. It is also a nice little anti-aggro card that nearly any deck can make use of. The last time it was Standard legal many different decks brought it in out of the sideboard. I expect the M14 Ratchet Bomb to bounce between $1.99 and $3.99 depending on how much play it is seeing at the moment. It will almost certainly be worth more than $3 at some point, but its upside is very limited. Feel free to hold off buying these for now.
Chandra’s Phoenix – $1.50
The last time this card was legal in Standard it debuted at $3 and peaked at $9. For almost its entire run in Standard, it sold for $5 or more. Is Standard any less conducive to Phoenix decks now than it was then? I don’t really think so. Preorder a set—it’s worth the $6 gamble that the card will pick up right where it left off in the spring of 2012.
Returning Bulk Rares: Silence, Garruk’s Horde, Quicken, Wild Ricochet, Indestructibility, Domestication, Clone, Nightmare, Shivan Dragon, Planar Cleansing, Traumatize, Trading Post
Silence was a chase rare in M10 and an afterthought in M11. After sitting the last two core sets out, it’s back for another go. Elite Arcanist shenanigans notwithstanding—the combo is too fragile—I expect Silence will once again be relegated to the fringes of Standard.
Quicken has “the look” of a broken card, but it has never seen much play—blue wants one-drop cantrips that offer a small amount of deck manipulation and Quicken is often a do-nothing draw. Planar Cleansing threatens to see sideboard play sometimes, but it has never gone higher than $1.50 or so. Indestructibility is a reasonable casual card that will drop back into the bulk range thanks to a reprinting. Domestication used to be uncommon and was likely raised in rarity for Limited purposes. Wild Ricochet is interesting, but I don’t think Magic has changed enough since Lorwyn to make this card good the second time around. Trading Post actually saw a little bit of play before, but I think it’ll stick to the fringes.
Now that we’ve dispatched with the appetizer, let’s gorge ourselves on the main course: new cards! Starting at the top, we’ve got two spicy new planeswalkers.
Chandra, Pyromaster & Garruk, Caller of Beasts – $25
I’m happy to see that people are acting slightly saner about planeswalkers this year. Last summer, Liliana preordered at $30, and Ajani debuted at a whopping $40. Chandra and Garruk are easily better than either of those two, yet they’re selling for a good deal less.
Let’s start with Chandra. She’s disappointing to a lot of players because unlike most planeswalkers she’s pretty lousy when you’re behind. The best ‘walkers are good no matter what the game state is, giving your deck a ton of versatility.
That isn’t red’s deal, though. If you’re playing a heavy red deck—which is what Chandra is designed for—you’re either ahead, you’re digging for those last few points of burn, or you’re almost assuredly going to lose. Chandra is built with those specifications in mind, which makes her seem weaker on the surface than she actually is.
Chandra’s +1 ability lets you get in an incidental point of damage while giving you the tiniest of falters—enough to ideally swing combat in your favor if your opponent has tried to stabilize the board with a large blocker. Other times, she’ll pick off a utility creature or come down post combat to finish off a creature. Got no hand, no board, and need to finish them off? Chandra might not survive, but she’ll let you dig another card deeper while she sticks around. She does good work in a board stall too, helping you get closer to card parity with a blue deck.
Let there be no mistake: Chandra, Pyromaster is a good card. Of course, that doesn’t mean much in a vacuum. Ral Zarek is good too, and he dropped in price significantly. Unlike, say, Lightning Bolt, Chandra requires a very specific type of deck to be good in order for her to see a bunch of play. And if that deck is good, Chandra has to be the card it wants to run in the four-drop slot. Because the deck will have to be quite aggressive, Chandra will have to be the absolute top of the curve too. To me, that screams $15 fringe ‘walker—not $40 staple.
Turning to Garruk, we find a six-drop that basically reads “play this card: do some absurd stuff.” The emblem is obviously busted, and if you can get Garruk to -7, your hand will already be filled with creatures. The -3 also allows you to cast two fatties in a single turn instead of one. Needless to say, this card is going to be a popular one with the casual crowd.
That said, Garruk is not as good as Chandra and isn’t even an upgrade from the $12 Garruk, Primal Hunter. That card just does so much—it draws you more cards, it protects itself, and it wraps up the game even quicker. 4GG is about as prohibitive a casting cost as 2GGG, so don’t expect to get this version in play much faster either. Financially, I’d expect this Garruk to end up in roughly the same place—a $10-$12 mythic that will see play in one or two Standard deck and many 100-card Commander lists.
Both planeswalkers will likely hold their value for a while even if they don’t see much play. These summer planeswalkers tend to do that. Don’t feel the need to trade these away immediately if you think they might make a splash in Constructed and you want to wait and see how they do.
Archangel of Thune & Kalonian Hydra – $30
I like these two creatures more than both of the planeswalkers honestly, and my opinion was validated when their prices jumped from $20 to $30 shortly after I wrote this review.
Archangel of Thune is my favorite card in the set, and I believe she’ll make an immediate impact in Standard. Lifelink is just so good, and giving you a Gavony Township activation each time she hits—not to mention incidental life gain—is absurd. Even if I’m wrong, remember how little play Sublime Archangel saw last year? It started at $20 as well and hit a high of $35 in early January. This Angel is not only better than last year’s, but she also plays wonderfully with one of the most beloved casual mechanics: tokens. I’ll be shocked if this card drops below $20 soon. $30 is a bit much, though, and I expect this card will come down if it doesn’t see play. If it does, think $35-$45 as a reasonable ceiling—Thundermaw Hellkite numbers. I’m not saying that’s likely, but that’s the upside.
I love Kalonian Hydra too, but I expect it’ll head in the opposite direction. This is the splashiest Hydra ever, and I bet it’ll be the source for hundreds of wonderful stories over the next year. It’ll be a casual fan favorite, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it shows up in a few Standard ramp decks. I expect this thing won’t see more than fringe competitive play and will eventually settle in the $8-$10 range.
Shadowborn Demon – $10
I don’t know how far Wizards has to push these random drawback-y Demons before they start to see play. We’ve had a ton of them, and thus far they’ve failed to make any sort of collective impact.
Shadowborn Demon is the best one yet though. In order for a five-drop to be “good” in today’s game, it has to do something splashy when it enters play and be capable of winning the game by itself. This card certainly comes close. Destroying a non-Demon creature is outstanding—it can kill pretty much anything and is abusable with bounce and flicker effects. A 5/6 flying body deters a counterattack at worst. At best, you can start feeding your utility creatures to it and start winning the game.
This is one of the M14 cards I am keeping a very close eye on. I could easily see it as the breakout card of the set. It has already gone from $8 to $10 since I wrote this.
Primeval Bounty – $6
This is a nifty little Commander card because it’s rather unassuming—all of the things it gives you are relatively small in that format, so you’ll get a ton of advantage out of it while everyone else just sort of groans and lets it happen. In Standard, though, I don’t see it—six-mana spells have to do something when they hit the battlefield.
This one should drop to $3-$4 soon, so feel free to hold off if you just want one for your casual deck. I don’t see it having a Constructed impact.
Scourge of Valkas – $4
First impression: “Yawn, the big, stupid red Dragon mythic of the set. Yawn. Moving on.”
Second impression: “Wait, this thing only costs five? And it deals damage equal to its power to something when it comes into play? That’s kind of absurd.”
Third impression: “Oh, it does damage equal to the number of DRAGONS you control to something. So…one damage. Yawn.”
Rise of the Dark Realms – $3
This is my least favorite card in the set.
Not to get all old fogey on you, but the reason Commander is a fun format is because there are so many different cool things you can do. With 100-card decks and 40 life, the sky is practically the limit in terms of making truly awesome things happen. That format breathed life into hundreds of old cards and led to unprecedented diversity in casual deckbuilding.
Cards like this make that world just a little bit smaller. For nine mana, you cast this and basically just win the game. Woo hoo. Once in a while, this might not just win and will instead let one person figure out how to order a bunch of comes-into-play triggers while everyone else twiddles their thumbs and someone else tells everyone not to just concede yet because they have a sweeper, only we still have to wait for everything to resolve. Commenters, give it to me straight: am I right here, or am I just becoming disillusioned with the Commander format?
Regardless, $3 is fine for this card. Some players are going to want a copy or two, but there will be enough to go around. It’ll probably drop to $2 in a few months.
Ring of Three Wishes – $3
Bulk mythic. There are better tutors in Commander, and there’s no way something like this is going to see any competitive play. Nice nod to Magic history though.
Windreader Sphinx – $2.50
At five mana, this would make for some interesting but ultimately frustrating games, and I would have been intrigued to build around it. At seven mana, I don’t think it’ll even see play in the fringiest Commander decks.
Devout Invocation – $2.50
This foil is going to look so awesome you have no idea. It is also going to be amazing in token-based Commander decks—not only does it double your tokens in one go, but the second batch of them are all going to be Angels. The regular version of this card will be a bulk mythic, but don’t sleep on those foils. I preordered a playset for myself.
Fiendslayer Paladin – $6
The preorder price on this one started at $2 and is up to $6, so the hype machine has certainly been churning. While this card best compares historically to Paladin-en-Vec, most of the recent core sets have given white a similar rare two-drop or three-drop—think Grand Abolisher or Knight Exemplar. At any rate, this is a very solid card that will likely stay in the $5-$8 range as long as it sees a reasonable amount of play. If it doesn’t show up anywhere, it’ll drop to $3. One of the least risky rares in the set, feel free to trade for these at $6 if you want a set for yourself.
Lifebane Zombie – $6
This one also started at $2 and is equally sweet. As long as Thragtusk and Restoration Angel decks are running around—which, granted, is only going to be for another few months—this guy is going to do some serious work out of the sideboard. When it’s good, it’ll be very good, but it reminds me a little of Notion Thief—people are dreaming on the upside potential of a corner case. Of course, the evasive body is far better than Notion Thief’s flash ability, meaning this can slot right into an aggressive curve and give those sorts of decks a little bit of disruption. This will likely drop toward $3 and I wouldn’t speculate on it, but it’s got some really intriguing upside.
Savage Summoning – $6
I don’t get the love for this card at all. If playing things as though they had flash was broken in Standard, people would have played Yeva, Nature’s Herald. They didn’t. This card’s closest historical comp is Insist, which trades the flash and +1/+1 counter for an extra card. I’m not actually sure which is better, but I do know that Insist is a $0.50 bulk rare. Even if this effect is marginally more powerful, does that mean it will actually see play? Cards that choke up your hand and are only good a small part of the time rarely end up outside the bulk box.
Witchstalker – $6
Is this card significantly better than Obstinate Baloth or Great Sable Stag? Remember, the blue and black spells that grow this guy have to be cast on your turn. Hexproof is super annoying and very powerful, of course, so if Theros yields some good auras and/or a way to abuse it this might make an impact. As it is, I think most control decks will shrug this off and most green decks will prefer to run splashier creatures that do something when they enter the battlefield. It’ll be a two-of or three-of in some sideboards, which is good for a $1-$2 rare.
Xathrid Necromancer – $6
Onslaught block was a very long time ago, but I played a great deal of Standard back then. In case you are newer to the game, know this: Rotlung Reanimator was an absolute house and one of the best cards in the format. Heck, you would have had to trade two Polluted Deltas to get one back in 2002.
Rotlung Reanimator was a Zombie Cleric that triggered off of Clerics, but for the most part people ran him in Zombie decks. The deck didn’t even run any other Clerics a lot of the time—getting multiple Rotlungs out was enough. Killing that guy on site was always a good plan even if it cost you some card advantage.
At first glance, Xathrid Necromancer compares pretty favorably to Rotlung Reanimator. The fact that the tokens come into play tapped is a large negative, but the fact that it triggers off of Humans—a very relevant creature type—is huge. It is worth noting that Human tokens trigger this and that multiple triggers will stack, giving you two Zombies for each death when you have two of these in play.
Of course, as I said in the beginning, Onslaught block was a very long time ago. Creatures are much better now. This might not end up being one of the defining cards in the format, but I can certainly see a very good deck springing up around it. If I’m right, it’ll hit $8-$10 no problem. If I’m not, it’ll drop to $2-$3. I’m not buying at $6 as a spec unless I see it show up in a tournament or two, but I’m certainly going to be watching it closely.
Mindsparker – $5
If you’ve ever played Mono-Red Aggro, you’ll understand just how difficult it can be to come up with fifteen useful sideboard cards. I mean, your deck is already jammed with everything close to a Lightning Bolt. What more do you want?
Playing a 3/2 first striker for three is honestly pretty good. Most of the time, this’ll deal four damage while sticking around and being annoying against the sort of deck that can give it the most trouble. $5 seems kind of high to me for a sideboard card, so I think it’ll drop a bit, but it will certainly make its presence known.
Dark Prophecy – $4
This card does exactly none of the things I want it to. You need to combine it with something else, for one. It can’t kill your opponent. It can, however, randomly kill you. It doesn’t do anything when you play it. It is nearly impossible to cast. In my mind, this is significantly worse than Underworld Dreams and isn’t close to the playable Necropotence variant you’re looking for. This is a future bulk rare.
Galerider Sliver – $3, Bonescythe Sliver, Megantic Sliver, Syphon Sliver – $2, Thorncaster Sliver – $1.50
Let’s deal with this cycle all at once, shall we?
Galerider Sliver outmodes Winged Sliver. It’s one mana cheaper, and it only gives flying to your team. Syphon Sliver is the new Essence Sliver, but it’s black instead of white and you get a 2/2 for three instead of a 3/3 for four. Megantic Sliver goes the other way, giving you an extra point of power and toughness along with an extra point of pump for just one mana more than Might Sliver. Bonescythe drops the mana cost of Fury Sliver from 5R to 3W in exchange for a point of power and toughness. Thorncaster Sliver is the only one with a unique effect—Quilled Sliver probably gets the closest and this one is far better.
I’m pretty unenthused about this new batch honestly. I guess it’s hard to come up with new Sliver abilities, but having four of the five rare Slivers as rehashes feels kind of lazy.
Financially, these guys are probably right where they should be. None of them is going to see any competitive play, nor do they redefine the Sliver paradigm. I’ll probably run all of them in my Sliver Commander deck, though, so that’s something. Expect them to rise a bit in the coming years thanks to increased casual demand as M14 goes out of print, but there are far better long-term spec targets than these.
Grim Return – $3
Does this card actually do anything? If it didn’t have that pesky “from the battlefield” clause, it would be amazing, and I would have already started trying to brew around it in Modern. As it is, it requires you to have three mana open when something dies. In that way, it reminds me of a really limited clone. I don’t know, am I underrating this like I did with Unburial Rites? Grim Return is certainly a unique card, and this type of thing is almost never unplayable. I’m going to err on the side of it being bad, but I’m ready to be proven wrong.
Imposing Sovereign – $3
Right now, this is selling for the same price as Blind Obedience. For my money, this card is straight-up better.
It’s counterintuitive, I know. A 2/1 is going to cause a smaller life swing than an available extort trigger in most cases, an enchantment is much harder to remove, and the artifact-tapping ability on the Blind Obedience probably does something once every twenty games or so.
Here’s the thing though. Most aggressive decks don’t want to tap out for an enchantment on turn 2 when they need to be hitting their curve. Imposing Sovereign is awesome in that regard, and if you couple this with an aggressive start, it begins feeling a little like a Time Walk. I know everyone feels burned on Kismet abilities since Blind Obedience didn’t amount to much, but this is one of my picks as an underrated future staple.
Strionic Resonator – $3
This card is going to be amazing in Commander, and it even kind of redeems the existence of Rise of the Dark Realms. A nice compliment to the $5 Rings of Brighthearth, I can’t wait to start jamming Strionic Resonator in multiple decks of mine.
Of course, I felt the same way about another $3 preorder card, Illusionist’s Bracers, and that one is now down to just 50 cents. I think that the resonator will stay around $1, but these sweet Commander things always settle lower than the preorder price. If you want one of these, give it a few weeks. The price will come down.
Tidebinder Mage – $3
This card might see some play on the sideboard of Merfolk decks in Modern and Legacy, but without the tribal synergy it’s just a significantly worse Fiend Hunter. I expect this to see some fringe play, but I don’t see this as a sleeper hit or anything. Future $1-2 card.
Liliana’s Reaver – $2
This card is actually a three-for-one if it connects, putting you up a Zombie and making them discard. If you’re behind, paying four for a 4/3 with deathtouch isn’t awful either. The four-drop slot is the most competitive by far, so I’m not sure this is going to make it. It’s probably better than you think, though, and it is one of the cheaper cards in the set I’m going to be keeping an eye on. Put this on your sleeper radar.
Path of Bravery – $2
I’m underwhelmed by this. The anthem half of this card is the very definition of a “win more,” and the other half doesn’t give your creatures Lifelink—it just gains you a few incidental points most of the time. Casual token decks might like this, but I don’t think it’ll show up in Soul Sisters or anything. $1 rare.
Seraph of the Sword – $2
We’ve come so far since I was a kid and my single copy of Cho-Manno, Revolutionary would singlehandedly destroy the multiplayer tables at my high school. Seraph of the Sword is neat, but 3/3 flyers for four just don’t cut it anymore. $1 rare.
Ogre Battledriver – $1.50
If not Chandra, perhaps this is the four-drop that red wants? That would certainly be the case if it had haste itself, but instead you have to spend your full turn 4 for a 3/3 and a chance to give your next few creatures a temporary bonus. I think people will give this card a shot, but I’d be kind of surprised if it amounts to anything.
Burning Earth – $1
This is the four-drop that red actually wants. Against most of the mana bases in Standard right now, this is going to be a one-sided Mana Barbs. That is incredibly sweet and ridiculously punishing. $1 each for these is a steal, and I recommend picking up a set now if you plan on playing a red deck at any point in the near future.
Haunted Plate Mail – $1
Artifacts are notoriously hard to kill. This one turns into a terrible Geist of Saint Traft / Batterskull combo sometimes, which is pretty neat. If we were in an era that favored creatureless control more, I’d say this would make more of an impact. As it is, I think these decks are just going to run Aetherling or something else. Even still, this is one of the few dollar rares in the set that has a shot of seeing some real play.
New Bulk Rares
Colossal Whale – This card will be awesome in my sea creatures Commander deck. It will not make an impact anywhere else though.
Ajani’s Chosen – Perhaps this is a Theros plant? I could see this seeing a small amount of play if auras suddenly get really good. Until then, don’t bother.
Jace’s Mindseeker – This is a must-play in any Commander mill deck. Of course, Commander decks are all a hundred cards tall, so what the heck are you doing?
Dismiss into Dream – The dream is playing Dovescape after this hits so the board is filled with really fragile Birds.
Oath of the Ancient Wood – Seriously, is Theros actually going to be an enchantment block? And if so, are we going to get any cards that are actually good to enable it? This one is going to be bad regardless.
Awaken the Ancient – This doesn’t untap the Mountain it enchants, so it’s actually a five-drop. Treat it as such. Pro tip: aggressive red decks should not be playing any five-drops.
Into the Wilds – I am like half the target audience for cards like this. My Commander decks have enough of them, though, and I’m going to run Oracle of Mul Daya instead any time I have a choice in the matter.
Vastwood Hydra – Hey, look! It kind of has modular! I wish green got Dinosaurs instead of Hydras. They’re all so meh.
Goblin Diplomats – I like how Alluring Siren is in blue but Alluring Siren for everything is in red. Regardless, blocking is for suckers, so I don’t expect this to see any play outside of some sweet Draft decks.
Elite Arcanist – This is another super fun card that is never going to be as good as you want it to be. Most of the time, it’ll soak up some incidental damage and leave you down a card. Boo.
Bogbrew Witch – I’ve written this much of my set review without actually looking at the commons and uncommons, so I don’t know what Festering Newt and Bubbling Cauldron do or if they’re even in the set. I can only assume they’re terrible. If they’re not, I’ll scroll back up and reedit this paragraph so it will be like you never even read it at all.
Pyromancer’s Gauntlet – This is a five-drop for a burn deck…that requires you to have other burn spells in order to be any good at all. If your hand isn’t already empty on turn 5, well, I don’t know what to tell you.
Guardian of the Ages – Actual garbage.
Commons and Uncommons of Note
Young Pyromancer – This is the marquee uncommon of the set so far, and SCG is already sold out of foils at $10 each. In early Cube testing this card was underperforming, though, so you might want to hold off on picking up your set just yet. That doesn’t mean this card doesn’t have a shot to be excellent in Standard, but let’s slow down the hype train until we see how it plays, okay?
Elvish Mystic – Llanowar Elves is back! I mean, uh, Fyndhorn Elves. No—Arbor Elf! And if you want to play it in Standard, you have to go buy a brand new play set of them! Needless to say, the foils are already $8 each. What fun.
Banisher Priest – Hooray, this set has infinite Fiend Hunters! Banisher Priest foils are preselling for $4. Get one if you want one, I guess. I don’t like this as much as actual Fiend Hunter though.—it’s easier to kill and the trigger isn’t abusable.
Darksteel Ingot – This is an awesome reprint, mostly because I keep randomly wanting these for decks and forgetting where I put my stack of them. This is another $4 foil, so don’t throw yours away.
Encroaching Wastes – This is probably slightly worse than Tectonic Edge, though sometimes it’ll give you the kind of blowout that Tec Edge only wishes it could deliver. At $4, this is one of the more reasonably priced foils—the card will see play for sure.
Manaweft Sliver – This $4 Gemhide Sliver reprint is better than you think—the card is actually playable as an accelerant outside of Sliver decks simply as a 2CC Birds of Paradise that can attack sometimes.
Shadowborn Apostle – I’m kind of excited to see if anyone can make this card work. On its surface, it isn’t as good as Relentless Rats, but the more Demons that are printed, the better this gets. It is worth knowing that non-foil copies of this sell for $1, so don’t just throw them into your pile of chaff.
That’s the set! It’s not all that impressive, honestly, but core sets rarely are. I like a few of the new marquee cards, but in the long term I’d take a set of Mutavaults and Oozes over any of them. Which new cards are your favorites? Hit me up in the comments.
Until next time –
– Chas Andres