Shadows Over Innistrad Financial Set Review: Part 2

The sequel to Chas Andres’ acclaimed financial set review is here! See which hot new cards he’s ready to pick up when Shadows over Innistrad hits the shelves!

Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease April 2-3!

Welcome to the second part of my Shadows over Innistrad set review! You can read the first part here.

I normally spread my large set reviews over three weeks, but I don’t want to make you wait until after the Prerelease to find out what I think about the last handful of spoilers. Not wanting to be a Slowbro, I brewed up an extra carafe of iced coffee and finished part three of my set review seven days early—you’ll see it on the StarCityGames.com front page either tomorrow or Wednesday.

While I still do have a couple of mythics to cover—I’ll get to them right after this preamble—the vast majority of this review focuses on Shadows over Innistrad’s 59 rares. What are we looking for in a freshly spoiled rare? It’s actually not that far off from what we look for in a mythic.

The Best Preview Cards Tend To Be…

VersatileSylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix saw play in multiple Tier 1 decks for almost an entire year. If a card’s upside is “good in several decks” as opposed to “good in one deck,” it’s worth a second look.

Good Early and Good Late—It sounds simple, but this is the secret to finding a really good Magic card. If you can identify a card that is great on turn 2 and turn 10, you’ve probably found a card that will see significant play in Standard.

Cards with a High Floor—No card is guaranteed to see play, but it would take a miracle for some (like the new land cycle) not to make an impact. While these cards tend to make lousy specs, they’re worth picking up right away if you’re planning on using them and they’re decent low-risk trade targets at the Prerelease.

Cards with a High CeilingCollected Company started at $5 because nobody knew whether it was a $20 card or a bulk rare. These are the cards you want to pay close attention to during the first few weeks of tournaments and testing. If you had known that Collected Company was going to be format-defining if it worked and worthless if it didn’t, you would have been able to act quickly once the early returns came out.

“Good” Versions of “Bad” Cards—People routinely undervalue cards that remind them of lousy cards from the past. It’s easy to dismiss a card as “just like Tibalt,” failing to realize that a reduction in mana cost or increase in scope has turned a bad effect into a great one.

On the flip side, what warning signs should we look for in cards that tend to be overvalued?

Preview Cards I Avoid Tend To Be…

Narrow—Yeah, R/B Vampires is probably going to be a great deck, but what about Zombies? Humans? Werewolves? Some of these tribes will see play in Standard, but most of them won’t. You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on cards that are only good in one potential deck, only to find out that it’s not actually a playable deck at all.

Win More/Magical Christmas Land Cards—The great thing about preview season is that no Shadows card has had a chance to break your heart yet. People tend to evaluate cards while assuming that they’ll be playing with perfect mana and without facing any disruption. Because of that, cards with high variance tend to be overrated early on. We all dream about drawing Thing in the Ice on turn 2—but is it an okay card to topdeck on turn 12?

Cards with Low Floors—Obviously the floor of almost every rare is “bulk rare,” and that’s fine when you’re looking a $2-$3 spec. What I don’t like are $10-$20 cards that could be bulk a month from now.

Cards with Low Ceilings—If a card is only going to be worth $8 if everything pans out exactly as you hope but it’ll be a bulk rare if it doesn’t, why are you buying in at $6? Isn’t it worth the potential of paying another $8 to avoid losing $24?

“Bad” Versions of “Good” Cards—People routinely overrate cards that remind them of sweet spells from the past. It’s a form of price anchoring—if you call something “the new Primeval Titan” or “the new Dark Confidant,” you’re going to associate it with those splashy, expensive mythics regardless of how it actually plays.

These are all just rules of thumb, though, and it’s just important to know when to break them. At the end of the day, evaluating a preview card just comes down to a simple equation of opportunity cost versus expected return. Bulk rares and $2 cards have a lot less to prove than a $20 expected staple, and I’m going to hold staples to that higher standard.

The Remaining Mythics

The Gitrog Monster – $9.99

The Gitrog Monster is a good example of the sort of exciting but narrow card that isn’t worth pre-ordering. It’s a five-mana gold creature that doesn’t have a strong enters-the-battlefield ability, so it’s not fast enough for Modern regardless of what Life from the Loam / Ghost Quarter shenanigans you’ve got planned. It might find a home in Standard, but that mana cost is super-restrictive. You’re either playing straight G/B (and when’s the last time that color pair was great for a long stretch of time?) or Jund without fetchlands. The Gitrog Monster a legendary creature, so you probably only want two or three in your deck anyway. Ramp decks don’t want to lose the lands, card draw or no card draw, so you’re probably playing this near the top of your curve in attrition/midrange. It might find a home in a deck like that. It might not. I’d pay $3 to find out. I won’t pay $10.

· Ceiling: $12-$15 mid-range Standard staple and Tier 3 combo enabler in Modern

· Floor: Bulk mythic

· Realistic Outcome: $2-$3 Casual favorite and occasional budget/rogue deck all-star

Goldnight Castigator – $4.99

Goldnight Castigator is a very exciting card. I’ve heard people compare this to Thunderbreak Regent—it’s effectively a 4/5 flier for 2RR, which is similar—but the fact that this thing has haste gives it far more upside. Red is always looking for ways to speed up the top of their curve and finish a game before the midrange or control player regains inevitability; think Hellrider, Thundermaw Hellkite, etc. I think most of us can agree that if this card didn’t have a drawback (but did have lower toughness) it would be a top-tier format staple.

So how bad is that drawback? I think it mostly depends on how the format shakes out. If Shadows Standard turns into a format full of decks that want to burn and race, Goldnight Castigator is probably more of a sideboard card. If the metagame becomes slow enough, however, Goldnight Castigator suddenly becomes a backbreaking maindeck play.

The biggest problem with Goldnight Castigator is that it’s going to be an awful topdeck whenever you’re too far behind on the battlefield. For every game it’ll steal with its combination of flying and haste, there will be a game where it’s just going to get stranded in your hand. I imagine it’ll just be a sideboard card for a grindy aggro deck like R/B Vampires, but it could be a maindeck four-of if there’s a deck aggressive enough to know that it’s going to lose no matter what if it gets behind on the battlefield.

Taking four times damage is rough, but I don’t buy the argument that you’ll only want to play two or three of these because you don’t want multiples on the battlefield at once. Obviously you aren’t going to let your opponent untap when you’ve got two of these on the battlefield, but are they really going to survive an aggro curve into turn 4 Castigator, turn 5 second Castigator? Even forcing them to respect the possibility of a second Castigator is going to be powerful.

Ultimately, I think this is the sort of card that will get better with time. Formats tend to be more aggressive early on, so unless this is uncovered as the set’s sleeper mythic early on, it could drop toward bulk before finding a home at some point this summer.

· Ceiling: $15-$18 four-of in a Tier 1 red/burn deck and sideboard card in R/B Vampires

· Floor: Bulk mythic – casual players hate cards with major drawbacks, so they’ll stay away

· Realistic Outcome: $2-$3 mythic with spikes to $6-$7 at some point

Seasons Past – $2.99

Seasons Past looks a lot like Praetor’s Counsel, but the difference between six and eight mana is stark. For example, would this card be playable in Standard?

“Seasons Past



Draw four cards.”

I don’t know if it would—Dragonlord’s Prerogative basically does that in blue, and that card is a $0.49 bulk rare—but in the right green deck, I don’t think it would be hard to imagine netting four cards off Seasons Past, and they’re likely to be better than random cards off the top of your deck, too. And as we all learned from our year-and-a-half with Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise, you don’t even really need to work on filling your graveyard.

I’m not sure what deck in Standard might want Seasons Past, though. Ramp might want a copy or two, but perhaps only in the sideboard. Some sort of G/B value deck? If The Gitrog Monster sees play, I’d expect this will, too. It’s a long shot, but I wouldn’t dismiss it as a guaranteed bulk rare, either.

· Ceiling: $6-$7 three-of in a surprisingly good G/B or Ramp deck

· Floor: Bulk mythic

· Realistic Outcome: $2 mythic – Casual demand and some fringe play in Standard

Ulvenwald Hydra – $2.99

Fetching any land is pretty strong—potentially very strong—but I don’t see a land in Standard that makes me want to run this creature. Beyond that, you’re paying six mana for an arbitrarily large green creature that doesn’t have trample or evasion. I can’t remember the last time that has been good in a competitive format. Ulvenwald Hydra might see some play in mono-green Commander—it’s certainly worth running if you own Gaea’s Cradle or Maze of Ith—but Eldritch Moon would have to bring some pretty interesting lands for me to start getting excited about this in Standard.

· Ceiling: $5 role-player in some Ramp decks

· Floor: Bulk mythic

· Realistic Outcome: Bulk mythic

White Rares

Declaration in Stone – $3.99

Declaration in Stone is a great removal spell for white/x aggro decks. The exile clause is important for getting around Archangel Avacyn, and the clue tokens aren’t a big deal if you’re not going to let your opponent live long enough to turn the corner. I don’t love this in midrange/control—the card disadvantage is real—but any card that does exactly what you want for the right price going to be Standard playable.

· Ceiling: $6-$7 four-of staple in two very good white-based aggro decks

· Floor: $1-$2 staple in a second-tier aggro deck—likely because R/B Aggro is so dominant

· Realistic Outcome: $3-$4 staple in a single good aggro deck

Thalia’s Lieutenant – $2.99

The fact that Thalia’s Lieutenant isn’t legendary is awesome. Playing one Lieutenant into another is sweet, and this is one of those cards where it’s not very hard to get more than your two mana’s worth. We’ll need some more Humans, though there are quite a few good ones right now. What about Reflector Mage in a Bant Collected Company deck? I’m not sure if the mana is there, but I’d like to try. Thalia’s Lieutenant might even see play in Modern; I know some of the Soul Sisters players are trying it out, though I’m not sure it’ll make the cut there when all is said and done.

If Thalia’s Lieutenant doesn’t find a home right away, it should be a nice pick-up at current retail. Casual play should give it a pretty high floor, and it might end up spiking toward $6-$8 if a good Humans deck ends up materializing at some point. I’m in for a playset.

· Ceiling: $8-$10 Standard staple and Modern role-player

· Floor: $1-$2 kitchen table card

· Realistic Outcome: $2-$3 rare with occasional spikes to $5-$6

Eerie Interlude – $2.99

Ghostway wasn’t very good the last time around, but Standard is a whole different beast in 2016. I love cards that combo with cards that are already good: Reflector Mage, Goblin Dark Dwellers, Elvish Visionary, Thought-Knot Seer, and the list goes on. If you can regularly use this to dodge a removal spell while also gaining value on your enters-the-battlefield effects, good game.

Is Eerie Interlude better than Eldrazi Displacer in a deck like that, though? It’s certainly an upgrade if you want to blink multiple creatures and it can be played in more decks, but I’m always wary of spells that are so reactive that they might as well be dead a good chunk of the time. Restoration Angel was so good because it was a 3/4 flier with flash on an empty battlefield. Topdeck Eerie Interlude on the wrong battlefield state and you’ve got nothing.

Oh, and for the next few months, at least, you’ve got Hallowed Moonlight to worry about as well. It might not see any play with most of the cards in Rally rotating, but it will prevent Eerie Interlude from getting too crazy. It’s also in the latest Duel Deck, too, which should keep the ceiling quite low.

Casual players will love this card regardless, though, so I can’t see Eerie Interlude dropping below $.70 or a buck. It’s a decent buy at $3 if you want to build around it, but it’s a risky spec target.

· Ceiling: $4 staple in a Rally-style combo deck

· Floor: $1 Casual favorite

· Realistic Outcome: $1-$2 Casual favorite and fringe player in Standard

Always Watching – $1.99

I’d like this card a lot more if it was actually a strictly-better Glorious Anthem, but the sorts of Casual mages who love cards like this pack their decks with gobs of tokens. It’ll still show up in Commander decks and on kitchen tables, but it’s not going to be impactful enough for Standard and I doubt it’ll be one of the most beloved Casual cards in the set either.

· Ceiling: $3-$4 Standard role-player

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Odric, Lunarch Marshal – $1.99

Odric, Lunarch Marshal appears to be just below the threshold of Standard playability. A 3/3 for 3W is Hill Giant mana, and you need a pretty large army as well as a creature with a solid keyword before Odric actually does something. I can certainly imagine a world where this card ends up in a deck or two, but I don’t expect it to be a likely staple.

· Ceiling: $2-$3 role-player in a G/W tokens deck

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Bygone Bishop – $1.99

I was a Mentor of the Meek believer for a long time, so I recognize that I might be a little biased toward liking Bygone Bishop. This would be a format staple as a 3/2 flier, but a 2/3 flier is still a massive upgrade over Mentor’s 2/2 body. I also think that investigating is stronger than having a chance to pay one to draw a card; put this in a deck with a bunch of aggressive creatures, and your late-game draws are suddenly gas. I don’t see a deck for the Bishop right now, though, but if it drops to bulk I’ll be looking to buy in for future iterations of Standard.

· Ceiling: $8-$10 four-of staple in the format’s most dominant aggro deck

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $2-$3 role-player in a decent W/x Aggro deck

Hanweir Militia Captain – $1.99

Good early on? Check: a 2/2 for two isn’t what you really want, but it does come out and do something right away. Good late? Check: having three other creatures is a pretty low bar to clear in any sort of W/x Aggro or Humans deck, so this will flip easily enough.

Hanweir Militia Captain is certainly a narrow card in need of a home—it’ll be a bulk rare if there isn’t a W/x Aggro or Humans deck that wants to go wide—but it’s still a two-drop that can come down on turn 4 or 5, flip into a big body, attack for a bunch, and then help build up your army. I don’t think Hanweir Militia Captain is at risk of taking over Standard—it’s really weak to, say, Languish—but I can imagine a world where this is an easy $6 staple. I love snagging a set at $2 per copy.

· Ceiling: $6-$7 four-of in a Tier 1 W/x Aggro deck

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $3-$4 four-of in a W/x Aggro deck that is occasionally Tier 1

Angel of Deliverance – $0.49

For an eight-mana creature to see play, it has to do something immediately when it enters the battlefield. Angel of Deliverance fails on that level (and many others), making it a pretty obvious bulk rare candidate.

· Ceiling: bulk rare

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Drogskol Cavalry – $0.49

A seven-mana 4/4!? No thank you. I might be interested if the Spirit activation were significantly cheaper, but this card isn’t even good in Commander.

· Ceiling: bulk rare

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Blue Rares

Thing in the Ice – $19.99

All right, let’s have some real talk about this card. Its best-case scenario is incredible. For two mana, you get an early blocker that dodges Lightning Bolt in Modern. Cast a couple of quick spells, and bam, you get a massive finisher that also sets your aggro opponent back so far that they can’t possibly recover. That’s so much value for just two mana!

Of course, the downside is pretty steep as well. Draw this late in the game and you’re basically just buying yourself an expensive Kraken Hatchling. Two-drops are obviously going to be lousy draws on turn 8 most of the time, but I’ve seen people comparing this to Tarmogoyf. Tarmogoyf is so good because it’s beyond powerful no matter what else is going on. Thing in the Ice needs perfect sequencing to shine.

Will Thing in the Ice see play in Standard? Probably, but getting to four spells without access to Gitaxian Probe or Ponder shenanigans is tough, and having to deal with Reflector Mage in the format is tougher. Luckily, a 0/4 for two mana that has to be dealt with at some point is probably good enough to see play regardless of how many hoops you have to jump through.

I’m much more skeptical about Thing in the Ice in Modern. Delver decks don’t want a 0/4 no matter the upside, so we’re looking at some sort of blue-based control shell. Grixis, maybe? Or Blue Moon? I think it could see play in one of those decks, but at $20 I need a lot more certainty.

Vintage? Legacy? Thing in the Ice is good with the plethora of one-mana blue cantrips and it combines well with Vampire Hexmage, but playability in those formats doesn’t help the price for in-print rares all that much. The player base is just too small and current print runs are just too high.

My biggest problem with the card is that its financial downside is so massive. For Thing in the Ice to pay off, everything has to go exactly right. If it’s even half a turn too slow—think Ludevic’s Test Subject—you’re looking at a bulk rare. It was worth the risk as a $4-$5 pre-order, but $20!? That’s close to this card’s absolute ceiling. If I open one of these at the Prerelease, I’m trading it away.

· Ceiling: $20-$25 multi-format staple

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $4-$5 staple in a Standard control deck, occasional forays into Modern

Epiphany at the Drownyard – $3.99

People are comparing Epiphany at the Drownyard to Fact or Fiction, but that’s pretty fallacious. The best part of Fact or Fiction was that you could always get the card you wanted most even if the piles were four-to-one against. Epiphany at the Drownyard doesn’t do that, which means that the card has a Browbeat problem: no matter how much mana you sink into your Epiphany, your opponent will get to choose the lesser of two evils.

Epiphany might not be Fact or Fiction, but it’s also not as bad as the disappointing Steam Augury. Late in the game, you can flip eight or nine cards off Epiphany and it won’t matter much which pile your opponent gives you. Scaling card draw spells tend to be pretty good, though I don’t love how weak this is at lower mana costs; at three mana, you always get the second-worst card you flip. At four, you’ll probably get the second- and third-best cards…unless the “best” card you flip isn’t very good, in which case you’ll get one mediocre card and one bad card.

Is it worth playing this over Anticipate or something else a little easier to control just because you want the late game power? I’m not so sure. I tend to underrate versatility, which is often the difference between a good card and a great one. If the format has a draw-go-style blue control deck, I imagine it’ll want at least two or three of these. If not, it’ll end up in the bulk bin.

· Ceiling: $7-$8 format staple, a worthy successor to the Dig Through Time / Sphinx’s Revelation throne

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $2-$3 role-player in the format’s U/x Control deck

Rattlechains – $1.99

Rattlechains is interesting. A 2/1 flier with flash for 1U is already pretty good, but it can also save a creature from a removal spell and enable other sweet Spirit plays. If Spirits end up being a Limited-only tribe, Rattlechains will fall to bulk pretty quickly. If they’re pushed for Standard, this could be one of the biggest sleepers in the whole set. Based on my quick survey of the Shadows spoiler, I don’t see it happening soon, though.

· Ceiling: $6 staple in U/W or Esper Spirits Tempo or Draw-Go.

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: Drops to bulk before spiking later – perhaps in Eldritch Moon?

Welcome to the Fold – $0.99

Domestication is not a playable card in any Constructed format, and Welcome to the Fold (without considering its madness cost) is significantly worse than Domestication. The only way you’re playing this card is in a dedicated madness deck, and I’m not sure those are going to want blue mana. Perhaps as a sideboard option to use off a Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy discard?

· Ceiling: $2 sideboard card or role-player in a weird Tier 2 deck

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Engulf the Shore – $0.99

Engulf the Shore is no Cyclonic Rift, but the fact that it works at instant speed makes it better than the unplayable Whelming Wave. It’ll play second fiddle to both Cyclonic Rift and Evacuation in Modern (not that either card sees much play currently) and it’s a long shot to make a splash in Standard.

· Ceiling: $2 role-player in some kind of U/x Control

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Confirm Suspicions – $0.99

My first investigation reveals that this is a five-mana counterspell. My second uncovers the shocking fact that five-mana counterspells are terrible. My third confirms those suspicions: this is a bulk rare.

· Ceiling: $1-$2 sideboard card in U/x Draw-Go

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Forgotten Creation – $0.99

The first application I can think of for Forgotten Creation is in a Sphinx’s Tutelage Mill deck. I’m not sure it’s good enough there, or whether that deck has the legs to even be a fringe player in the new Standard, but it’s at least worth considering. Beyond that, it feels like an enabler that’s just a touch too slow and clunky to be effective. Card selection is nice, but unless you’re going off with madness or WotC decides to print a bunch of storm cards in the next set, I don’t see how Forgotten Creation fits in.

· Ceiling: Unlikely $4-$5 combo piece in U/x Madness or Tutelage Mill.

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Nephalia Moondrakes – $0.49

Can you imagine how many more words I’d have to write if every card in Shadows over Innistrad were good? Luckily, there are several cards in this set that are obviously unplayable in every format. Thanks, Wizards!

· Ceiling: bulk rare

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Black Rares

Asylum Visitor – $4.99

I’m more and more convinced that the R/B Vampires deck is going to be great, and I don’t see how Asylum Visitor doesn’t make the cut. A 3/1 for 1B is totally fine, and it’s worth noting that the ability is not symmetrical; you’re the only one who gets to draw cards off Asylum Visitor, no matter whose hand is empty. This isn’t Dark Confidant—early on, it’s basically just a vanilla 3/1—but it doesn’t take much for a two-drop to be good, especially one that is powerful no matter when you draw it. I think this card is being underrated a little because Pain Seer and Blood Scrivener were so disappointing, but Asylum Visitor seems much better than either of them.

· Ceiling: $10-$12 four-of in multiple black aggressive decks; say, Vampires and Zombies.

· Floor: $2-$3 four-of in R/B Vampires, which ends up being a little disappointing somehow.

· Realistic Outcome: $5-$6 four-of staple in R/B Vampires, which ends up being a very good deck.

Diregraf Colossus – $4.99

I’m fairly sure there will be a great Vampires deck in Standard, and I’m fairly sure there won’t be a playable Spirits deck in Standard, but what about everyone’s favorite brain-eaters? Diregraf Colossus is amazing in a dedicated Zombie deck, but is this card plus Relentless Dead enough to make that deck good? And what is the upside to Diregraf Colossus if Zombies does break out? $6-$7? I’d be all over this at $3, like Thalia’s Lieutenant, but at $5 the upside is just too low for a card this narrow.

· Ceiling: $6-$7 staple in a very good Standard Zombie deck

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: One of the two – there is no in-between here. I’ll guess bulk, but Patrick Chapin disagrees with me and he’s loads better at evaluating cards than I am.

To the Slaughter – $2.99

To the Slaughter is a very high-variance card. When it’s good, it can kill a flipped Jace, Telepath Unbound and a Dragonlord Ojutai in one shot. When it’s bad, you’ve just paid three mana to take out a 1/1 Soldier or an Eldrazi Scion.

Because of that, To the Slaughter one of those cards I expect to shift wildly in quality depending on how the metagame develops. It’s very good against certain control decks, weak against most aggro decks, best when people don’t see it coming, and far, far better in a deck that can hit delirium with regularity than it is in one that can’t. It’s not a bad buy at $3—I have no doubt it’ll see competitive play one way or the other—but it might see-saw from $1 to $6 throughout its time in Standard. If you don’t have any immediate plans to run To the Slaughter, holding off for now is fine.

· Ceiling: Delirium is so much easier to hit than we thought! $6-$7 four-of staple in multiple top-tier decks.

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: Unplayable $1 card at times, $5 staple at others

From Under the Floorboards – $1.99

From Under the Floorboards isn’t Sphinx’s Revelation—you need a madness enabler first, and making a bunch of 2/2s is often worse than drawing cards—but it has a shot at being a massively powerful finisher in some sort of U/B Zombie or Esper Madness deck.

Six power (divided up well) and three life for 3BB at sorcery speed isn’t great, but it isn’t awful, either. The madness payoff is serious business, though; discard this to Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy at the end of your opponent’s turn 6, for example, and you’re making four Zombies (that untap and can attack or block right away) and gaining four life. Have ten mana kicking around late in the game? That’s eight Zombies (sixteen power!) and eight life—assuming, of course, that you have a madness outlet.

Will a deck like this be good enough in Standard? Will there be another good U/B madness outlet besides Jace? Is this card powerful enough to see play in the faster Madness deck (R/B) that we all expect to dominate Standard? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out.

· Ceiling: $7-$8 format staple four-of in U/B Zombies or Esper Control and R/B Vampires

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $2-$3 role-player in some sort of decent Madness Control deck

Elusive Tormentor – $1.49

Elusive Tormentor is the sort of card that goes unplayed, drops to bulk, and then becomes crucial sideboard tech out of some Kibleresque Abzan Midrange deck at the next Pro Tour. “How on Earth can the control decks hope to stop it?” Rich Hagon will gush, and it’ll jump to $5 overnight despite not being good in the vast majority of matchups.

At any rate, I don’t think this card is very good at being a madness enabler but I actually really love it as a midrange threat. A 4/4 for four is totally playable by itself, and Elusive Tormentor can provide serious inevitability in a grindy game. If the format trends that way, Elusive Tormentor will find a home. If Shadows Standard is too fast, it won’t. At under $2 per copy, I’m in for a playset.

· Ceiling: $5-$6 top tier finisher in B/G or B/W Midrange

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: $1-$2 sideboard card with peaks to $5

Triskaidekaphobia – $1.13

Triskaidekaphobia is amazing. Did you know that there are thirteen pieces of firewood in the stove, thirteen screws around the barrel, thirteen pieces of china on the ground, thirteen knives hanging on the wall, etc.?

In terms of competitive playability, I don’t think Triskaidekaphobia has much of a shot at scaring people. It’s cute in some kind of aggro shell, but I can’t imagine it makes the cut over something that can attack or affect the battlefield in some real way. The painlands are pretty effective at fighting against it in Standard, and fetches do a good job in older formats. It’s cool enough that it might eventually end up as a $2-$3 rare, but that won’t happen for years.

· Ceiling: $2 win condition in a goofy budget deck everyone loves

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Ever After – $0.99

This is a new staple for casual Reanimator decks, especially in Commander; hitting six mana there isn’t hard, and getting two copies of Zombify for the price of one-and-a half-copies of Zombify is solid. Snag foils if they start at two bucks apiece.

In Standard, Ever After is probably too slow. I like the idea of “casting” two giant monsters for just six mana, but ramping into them is going to be more efficient and reliable. I could see this as a two-of finisher in some sort of midrange Zombie deck, but I doubt we’ll see it spawn a new archetype.

· Ceiling: $2-$3 Standard role-player

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

Markov Dreadknight – $0.49

If Markov Dreadknight’s activation cost were free, we might have a card worth talking about. Instead, we’ve got yet another easy bulk rare call.

· Ceiling: bulk rare

· Floor: bulk rare

· Realistic Outcome: bulk rare

That’s it for part two of my Shadows over Innistrad set review! Expect part three—along with This Week’s Trends—either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease April 2-3!