Hey everyone. We’ve got a ton of ground to cover in this article, so I’m going to skip introductions and get right to the meat of Time Spiral. As usual, let me disclaim that all information is taken from MTGsalvation.com — all credit goes to them for the spoiler information in this article, and all blame to them if anything is wrong.
Why is there so much to cover?
Wizards has introduced “Time Shifted” cards with Time Spiral. These are cards that are reprinted from older sets — they have the old, pre-Eighth Edition card frame, their original artwork, but updated rules text and a purple Time Spiral expansion symbol. These cards will be distributed one per pack (or three per tournament deck), and therefore are the equivalent of a Rare. However, there are 121 Time Shifted cards in Time Spiral, and only 80 regular rares, meaning it will be harder to collect a full set of Time Shifted cards than it will be to collect a set of Rares! It has been made public that the Time Shifted cards will be legal in all formats that Time Spiral is legal — meaning you’ll be playing with these cards in Standard, Block, Extended, and Limited (Vintage & Legacy too, but since these are all reprints, you already had access to these cards!)
This set is off-the-scale as far as playables go. Wizards pulled out all the stops in the design of Time Spiral, and I will say, without any hesitation, that this is the best set ever made as far as playables-to-set size ratio. Anywhere between 25% to 33% of the set is going to be playable in one format or another, which is an absurdly high percentage. Between the Time Shifted cards and the regular Time Spiral cards, this may very well be the release that sets the standard for all future Magic releases. The bar has been raised significantly.
As of 10pm on Thursday, September 21 (the day before the prerelease), 116 out of the 121 reprint cards were spoiled on MTGsalvation.com and 242 of the 301 cards from the main set were spoiled on MTGsalvation.com. Let’s look at the reprint cards first, and then the new cards.
Time Shifted Cards
People all over the Internet are speculating about the value of the Time Shifted cards. Some feel that the value of the Time Shifted cards will be low, since there are other versions of these cards already available for the getting. Others think that the values of Time Shifted cards will be high, since they are of equal rarity to a regular Rare. I fall mostly into the latter camp — if the card is tournament playable, it will be of the same value as any tournament playable rare that is in print.
Compare Time Shifted cards to the base set. When Ninth Edition was released, painlands were in the $2-$5 range, and Paladin En-Vec was virtually a bulk rare. Once these cards were brought back into Standard, their values increased magnificently — painlands have doubled-to-tripled in value, and we can barely keep Paladins in stock at $12.50 each.
Granted, there will be a ton more Time Spiral opened than Ninth Edition. Few people use Ninth Edition for draft, and fewer people buy it to crack for singles, since it’s a 100% reprint set. Another comparison I can make is to Ravnica Birds of Paradise. The reprint of Birds in Ravnica actually drove down the value of Birds of Paradise, because there were so many Ravnica Birds brought onto the market. Even now, the value of scarcer, White-Bordered Birds (Seventh and Eighth Edition) bring in more value than Ravnica Birds. (To note: It also didn’t help that there were so many mana-fixing artifacts and lands available to each color in Ravnica Block. This diminished the importance of Birds of Paradise as a card.)
Let’s go down the reprint list color-by-color. I’ll list the card, the approximate value it’ll hold, and a brief explanation if necessary. If I put the value as Bulk, I think it’s a reprint that won’t really garner any attention in the end.
Akroma, Angel of Wrath – $15-$20
Akroma is the big daddy chase card of Modern Magic for casual players. It’s held a $20-$25 value for nearly a year now, and is also highly desired for Reanimator decks. It will come down a little bit in value due to an influx of Akromas hitting the market, but it will definitely continue to be a highly-desired, high-dollar chase card.
Auratog – Bulk
Celestial Dawn – Bulk
Consecrate Land — Bulk
The reprints can be divided into two sections — those that are from easily obtainable sets, and those that are from not-so-easily obtainable sets. I’d consider the non-easy sets to be Alpha/Beta/Unlimited, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, and Legends. As such, there aren’t a ton of non-Time Spiral Consecrate Lands that will be running around out there. This is a great anti-LD card, and a casual favorite, but there aren’t many (any?) man-lands to put Consecrate Land on in Standard right now. If there ends up being a cycle of lands like Treetop Village/Faerie Conclave at some point in this block, this’ll probably go up in value. Otherwise, it’ll be more of a $1-$2 curiosity.
Defiant Vanguard — Bulk
… Unless Rebels gets nuts by the end of the block.
Disenchant – $1-$3
Disenchant is a curious case, because it has been printed in a bajillion-and-a-half sets. See Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Tempest, Urza’s Saga, Mercadian Masques, Mirage, Ice Age, and several reprint box sets. On the other hand, Disenchant is a stone-cold tournament staple. I expect older Disenchants to hit the value of Naturalize very quickly, but the proliferation of non-Time Spiral Disenchants will keep this from hitting the $4-$5 range (which it would hit if it were printed as a functional reprinted Rare under a different name).
Enduring Renewal – $3-$4
There’s not much to combo this with in Standard (Ornithopter and Wild Cantor, but no cards to sacrifice them to), but it’ll definitely have a place in Extended. Enduring Renewal plus Ornithopter plus some reusable sacrifice outlet (maybe Krark-Clan Ironworks?) could equal a fourth-turn Extended kill.
Essence Sliver – $4-$5
Slivers are back, and this was a popular Sliver beforehand. Actually, Slivers are among the best cards in Time Spiral. Slivers are going to be a Tier 1 tournament deck. No reason for this guy to go down in value with the renewed interest in Slivers.
Honorable Passage– Bulk
… But very playable as a sideboard card.
Icatian Javelineers — Bulk
… But the original versions will go up to around $.50-$.75 each.
Moorish Cavalry – Bulk
Sacred Mesa – Bulk
Soltari Priest – $4-$5, at least
This is going to be one of the chase cards of Time Spiral. The Tempest Uncommon version of Soltari Priest was going for $2.50-$3 each before Time Spiral, and it wasn’t readily available at many places. This is a staple for White Weenie, except reprinted as a Rare. It won’t go quite as high as Paladin En-Vec (it can’t block, and it doesn’t survive Black), but it will be extremely desired.
“Sorry about Squire!
Time Spiral has brought back a ton of great cards from Magic’s past. These “Time-Shifted” cards visit all of Magic’s earlier sets, and include fan favorites such as Akroma, Call of the Herd, and Shadowmage Infiltrator. All in all, these purple-expansion-symboled reprint cards hearken back to good memories…
Except for Squire.
Well, we wouldn’t want to open up a reprint Squire any more than you would, which is why we’re offering our “Sorry about Squire” promotion, only at the StarCityGames.com Time Spiral prerelease in Richmond, VA. On Saturday and Sunday, we are offering you a second chance on your Squires! Simply bring up a Time Spiral version of Squire to our retail booth, and we will trade you a pack of Coldsnap for your Squire, no questions asked! That’s right – one Squire equals one pack of Coldsnap! If you trade in a foil version of Squire? We’ll give you five packs! This offer applies only to the reprint Time Spiral Squire. Trust me – if we never see another Dark version of Squire again, it’ll be too soon!
Witch Hunter — $2ish
Will have casual player appeal.
Valor – Bulk
Zhalfirin Commander — Bulk
Dandan – Bulk
Flying Men – $2-$3
These were selling steadily at $5-$7 as an Arabian Nights common, and were desired for Vintage and Legacy play. I don’t see people paying that high for a more readily available Flying Men, but it is still a great weenie creature for a color that doesn’t have many great weenie creatures. The foil version of Flying Men will be worth an arm and a leg to Vintage players.
Ghost Ship — Bulk
Could go higher if it sees play. Probably $2-$2.50 max.
Giant Oyster – Bulk
Leviathan – Bulk
Lord of Atlantis – $3ish
I’m assuming the updated Lord of Atlantis has been reworded to be in line with the updates to Goblin King, Lord of the Undead, and Elvish Champion. It’ll also fall around the same value as Goblin King and Lord of the Undead.
Mistform Ultimus – Bulk
Ovinomancer – Bulk
Pirate Ship – Bulk
Prodigal Sorcerer – Bulk
Psionic Blast – $10-$15
This is probably the most surprising reprint in Time Spiral. It gives Blue a highly playable removal spell, and has a reference point in Standard for pricing as-is (Char). This is a can’t-lose card.
Sindbad – Bulk
Stormscape Familiar – Bulk
Unstable Mutation – Bulk
Voidmage Prodigy – $2-$3
Still not the best, but it is an invitational winner card, and will work well with Wizards.
Whispers of the Muse — Bulk
There will be some interest in this card initially, but paying six mana to draw a card is kind of bad in modern-day Magic.
Willbender — Bulk
Avatar of Woe – $7-10ish
On casual appeal alone, Avatar of Woe hit as high as $15 recently. Dredge and reanimation makes this potentially a tournament-worthy card this time around, but I think the value will drop slightly over current market prices, due to an influx of Avatars onto the market.
Bad Moon– $10ish
Before the reprint, Bad Moon was selling for $5-$6. It was already highly desired and high-value. Now, it is very playable in Black Weenie, and this will be the only readily available black-bordered version.
Conspiracy — Bulk
Darkness — Bulk
This will drive down the value of the Legends one to the $1 range.
Evil Eye of Orms-by-Gore — Bulk
Sengir Autocrat – Bulk
Soul Collector – $2ish
Same as the Scourge version. Appeals to casual players.
Stupor – Bulk
Swamp Mosquito – Bulk
Twisted Abomination – Bulk
Uncle Istvan – Bulk
Undead Warchief – $3ish
Same as the Uncommon Scourge version. A huge card with casual players, and one with potential constructed implications.
Undertaker – Bulk
Withered Wretch – $3ish, and rising
The Uncommon version of Withered Wretch from Legion sold for a solid $2 before Time Spiral. Standard was in desperate need of graveyard hosing, and this plus Tormod’s Crypt make for a great pair of graveyard-hosers. In addition, this will be wanted for Black Weenie decks. See Bad Moon and Dauthi Slayer.
Avalanche Riders – $3-$4
This was a staple of Red decks, and now is back as a rare. Much like Withered Wretch and Soltari Priest, people will want these to play with, and there won’t be enough copies of the original to go around.
Disintegrate — $2-3ish
This would be Bulk, due to the vast amounts of 3rd and 4th edition versions floating around unwanted for so long. However, it is strictly better than Blaze, and this is the only readily available black-bordered version of Disintegrate that will be around. That alone will bring the value up. See Demonfire, but less so since there are white-bordered versions around.
Desolation Giant — Bulk
May go higher if it’s playable this time around.
Dragonstorm – Bulk
Eron the Relentless – $2-3ish
Tournament playable, but the Homelands version is all around us.
Fire Whip – Bulk
Fiery Temper — Bulk
The original version will rise in value.
Goblin Snowman – Bulk
Kobold Taskmaster — Bulk
Will drive down the value of the Legends original.
Orcish Librarian – Bulk
Orgg – Bulk
Tribal Flames – Bulk
Wildfire Emissary — Bulk
White Weenie will now involve flyers and Shadow creatures.
Avoid Fate – Bulk
Call of the Herd – $12ish
A Standard staple, and one that sold in the $12-$15 range last time it was Standard legal. There is no reason this card will sell for less this time around, especially with so many Blue/Green and White/Green decks that will easily be able to run this card. This might even spike the value of Glare of Subdual.
Cockatrice – Bulk
Craw Giant – Bulk
Gaea’s Liege – Bulk
Hail Storm — Bulk
Hunting Moa — Bulk
Jolrael, Empress of Beasts – $2ish
Close to bulk, but it’s also a potential finisher in Green decks.
Krosan Cloudscraper – $3ish
That’s what the Legions version sells for, and no reason for this one to go for less.
Scragnoth – Bulk
Spike Feeder – $2ish
The Stronghold version was relegated to obscurity, but this is an amazingly versatile creature for Green, especially given the graft mechanic. This will see play, but the value will be kept down until the supply of Stronghold Spike Feeders dries up.
Spitting Slug – Bulk
Thornscape Battlemage — Bulk
Verdeloth the Ancient – $2ish
Same as the Invasion version.
Wall of Roots — Bulk
If this wasn’t a common in Mirage, this card would easily start above $1. However, the Mirage versions will quickly be worth as much as a Rare. The foil version of Wall of Roots will sell for a lot.
Whirling Dervish — Bulk
Could rise to $2ish if Black becomes dominant.
Woolly Spider — Bulk
Fiery Justice — Bulk
Possibly a little higher since a three-mana/color, five-damage spell is a lot more viable with the lands brought in by Ravnica.
Merieke Ri Berit – Bulk
Mystic Enforcer – $3-$5
This has gone up in value because of Threshold decks in Legacy, and this is also the value that Mystic Enforcer sold for when it was Standard legal. Depending how achievable threshold becomes in Standard (for Green/White especially), this may go higher in value.
Mystic Snake – $5ish
Blue/Green is already seeing heavy play, and Mystic Snake is a shoo-in for that deck. This was a $5 card last time it was Standard legal, and Blue/Green wasn’t as good back then as it is now.
Nicol Bolas – $2-3
A popular, yet high-cost Legend, see Razia.
Shadowmage Infiltrator – $12ish
When this was last Standard legal, it was a $10-$12 card. It was also overshadowed by Psychatog. This time around, Ohran Viper is already hitting the $15-$20 range, and Shadowmage Infiltrator will be the king of Blue/Black. Shadowmage Infiltrator will zoom straight back up to the $10-$12 range almost immediately, and possibly go higher once people start playing with it.
Sol’kanar the Swamp King – $3ish
Possibly higher. 5/5 for five, with evasion and minor life gain. This time around, there’s no Red or Blue Elemental Blast to hose Sol’Kanar in Standard. This could go higher if Blue/Black/Red becomes a powerhouse. It’s definitely aged well, given alternate choices in Standard.
Spined Sliver — Bulk
Who isn’t going to want Slivers?
Vhati il-Dal — Bulk to $2ish
Only on casual value.
Void – $2-$3ish
These were played in the old Machinehead deck, and there are a lot of good Black/Red cards running around right now. This might be the card that cements the deck together in the end.
Claws of Gix – Bulk
Dodecapod – Bulk
Feldon’s Cane — Bulk
The older versions will hit the $1 range and stay there.
Grinning Totem – Bulk
Mindless Automaton — Bulk
Could have interesting interactions with Dredge cards.
Mirari – $6-$7ish
This time around, there isn’t Cabal Coffers for Mirari to play friendly with, meaning that it likely won’t hit double digits. It’s still a very casual-coveted card, along the lines of Coat of Arms.
Serrated Arrows -$2ish+
Will be held down in price initially due to the Homelands version, but it will be played in many decks. The value probably will rise on the Arrows once the Homelands copies dry up.
Tormod’s Crypt – $2-$3ish
The common Chronicles version was one of our best-selling cards this year at $1-$1.50 each. The Dark version was selling out at $5-$6 each. This is mostly a sideboard card, but it is one of the best anti-Threshold (and Vintage sideboard) cards in Magic. It also fits very well into Affinity in Extended. The foil version of Tormod’s Crypt will end up being one of the most valuable cards in the set, due to Vintage and Legacy interest.
The Rack – $2-$2.50ish
Unlike Megrim, The Rack works well on a curve. You can drop it before the discard starts (since it costs one) or after you cast your discard spells (when you empty you opponent’s hand) and get maximum effect. Popular with casual players, and it will go up in value if it ends up having Constructed uses (see Hypnotic Specter).
Arena – $3-$5
Arena got a raw deal the first time around, since A) many people didn’t have access to it, and B) removal was a lot better in the days of Swords to Plowshares and Lightning Bolt. This time around, we can compare it to a universally splashable Contested Cliffs. Your opponent chooses their creature, but that creature automatically taps. Tapping is an effect of Arena, so you can attack, and then choose one of your already-tapped creatures to throw into the Arena. This is a land that doubles as removal, and it is good.
Desert — Bulk
Nifty. Might hit the $2 range if there are a lot of one-toughness creatures running around — but right now the weenie threshold seems to be two-toughness.
Gemstone Mine – $6-$10
One of the best five-color lands ever printed, and would be in the $10 range if there weren’t so many Ravnica dual lands. It might still hit the $10 range, since the Uncommon versions were already solidly worth a five spot. This is better than Tendo Ice Bridge, and Tendo Ice Bridge was a $6-$7 card during Kamigawa Block (though it plunged like a rock once Ravnica came out)
Safe Haven– Bulk
NEW TIME SPIRAL CARDS
Wow, that was a lot of breakdown on the reprint cards. Let’s go over the new Time Spiral cards, and see what’s worth picking up or trading away this weekend. Please refer to MTGsalvation.com for the spoiler information on these cards — due to space and time constraints, I’ll have a condensed summary of each card. Remember all information here is credited to MTGSalvation.com’s spoiler — if any of the cards are wrong, yell at them. If the cards are all right, huzzah!
According to MTGSalvation, each color has four Slivers. There are also five multi-colored Slivers, and an artifact slivers. This makes for a total of twenty-six(!) new Slivers in Time Spiral. Not all of the rarities and abilities have been spoiled yet, but the ones that have seem very powerful.
Slivers have always been among the most popular cards in Magic, and they enjoyed a period of time as a playable deck in Extended. This may be the case again. Let’s take a look at the Slivers of Time Spiral, and which are worth trading for.
Pulmonic Sliver — Rare, 3/3 for WW3. All Slivers have flying and “If this creature would be put into a graveyard, you may put it on top of its owner’s library instead.” (Not great — there are better evasion Slivers in both this set and in Legions, although it is technically Avenging Angel when played alone)
Quilled Sliver — Not Yet Spoiled
Sidewinder Sliver — Common, 1/1 for W. All slivers have flanking (Mtenda Herder)
Watcher Sliver — Common, 2/2 for W3. All slivers get +0/+2. (Unintersting)
Psionic Sliver — Not Yet Spoiled
Screeching Sliver — Common, 1/1 for U. All Slivers have “Tap: Target player puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.” (Will be popular, but is common)
Shadow Sliver — Not Yet Spoiled
Telekinetic Sliver — Uncommon – 2/2 for UU2. All Slivers have “Tap: Tap target permanent.” (Opposition. This Sliver is definitely tournament caliber, and will be highly desired as an Uncommon).
Mindlash Sliver — Not yet Spoiled
Plague Sliver — Rare, 5/5 for BB2. All Slivers have “At the beginning of your upkeep, this creature deals 1 damage to you.” (Juzam Djinn, except potentially game wrecking if you’ve got too many Slivers in play. Black will side this in/play it against Slivers, or just play it on its own as Juzam Djinn. Figure this to be in the $4-$5 range initially, and rising if Juzam ends up being any good in this day and age)
Vampiric Sliver —Uncommon, 3/3 for B3. All Slivers have “Whenever a creature dealt damage by this creature this turn is put into a graveyard, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.” (Worse than Toxin Sliver, and the ability is pretty negligible.)
Bonesplitter Sliver — Common, 2/2 for R3. All Slivers get +2/+0. (It’s 4/2 for four, which is not too great. Still, it also turns your older slivers into larger monsters, so it might be playable. It’s common, so it won’t be worth a lot.)
Fury Sliver — Uncommon, 3/3 for R5. All slivers have double strike. (The most expensive Sliver ever printed, and a 3/3 double-striker for 6 on its own. Not too great.)
Sedge Sliver — Rare, 2/2 for R2. All Slivers have “This creature gets +1/+1 as long as you control a Swamp.” And “B: Regenerate this creature.” (Potentially the best Sliver in this set. It’s Sedge Troll, except it also turns your other Slivers into Sedge Trolls. It is playable on its own, and it is probably the Sliver you most want to draw in a aggressive Sliver deck. $5-$6 range)
Two-Headed Sliver — Common, 1/1 for R1. All Slivers have “this creature can’t be blocked except by two or more creatures.” (Decent evasion early, but common).
Fungus Sliver — Rare, 2/2 for R3. All Slivers have “Whenever this creature is dealt damage, put a +1/+1 counter on it.” (Fungasaur, and if the Sliver takes lethal damage, it dies before it gets the counters. Pretty bad, but it’ll be $2-$3 because it’s a Rare sliver.)
Gemhide Sliver — Common, 1/1 for G1. All Slivers have “Tap: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.” (Wow! They made a Birds of Paradise Sliver — and it’s a common! This will be a common that sells for more than base price, and it is a card that will be played in Standard, sliver decks or not. Get four of these.)
Might Sliver — Not Yet Spoiled
Spinneret Sliver — Common, 2/2 for G1. All Slivers have “This creature can block as though it had flying.” (Pretty blah. Feel free to ignore.)
Dementia Sliver — Uncommon, UB3 for 3/3. There is debate on the MTGSalvation.com boards about whether this sliver has the Cabal Therapy or the Nebuchadnezzer ability. Consider this not spoiled, but probably a little expensive in mana cost for either of those abilities.
Firewake Sliver — Uncommon, 1/1 for GR1. All Slivers have haste and “1, Sacrifice this creature: Target sliver gains +2/+2 until end of turn.” (Fires of Yavimaya, but on a 1/1 creature. Maybe playable, but there seem to be better choices in this set, and in Legions.)
Harmonic Sliver — Uncommon, 1/1 for GW1. All Slivers have “When this creature comes into play, destroy target artifact or enchantment.” (Aura Shards is a solid $1 card now. If G/W ends up being a Sliver color, this will be a solidly played card. Not so great on its own.)
Opaline Sliver — Uncommon, 2/2 for UW1. All Slivers have “Whenever this creature becomes the target of a spell an opponent controls, you may draw a card.” (Reparations, but also useful against decks with removal. Not great on its own, but pretty decent in a U/W Sliver build.)
Vesner’s Sliver — Common, 3/3 for 5. A Vanilla 3/3 Sliver.
If you’re looking to pick up Slivers, each of the colors seem to have useful Slivers to choose from. Sedge and Plague Slivers are going to be chase cards in this set, so you can’t go wrong if you’re valuing them in the $5 range, at the least.
Rares of Note:
Magus of the Disk: (WW2 for a 2/4 Nevinyrral’s Disk) — Insanely good, probably among the top 5 cards in the set, and will be in the $10 range, at minimum.
Mangara of Corondor: (WW1 for a Legendary 1/1 that taps to remove itself and a permanent from the game) – Essentially Vindicate for mono-White. It will see play, since it is basically a 1/1 Vindicate. $3-$5 range.
Opal Guardian: (WWW for an Enchantment that turns into a 3/4 Pro-Red flyer when your opponent plays a creature spell). – Great for mono-White decks, but Opal creatures in general have never been overly popular. $2-$3 range.
Pentarch Paladin: (WWW2 for a 3/3 Knight with Flanking. When it comes into play, you get to choose a color. WW, Tap: Destroy target permanent of that color) – Amazing in White Control, and definitely tournament playable. Between Pentarch Paladin, Magus of the Disk, and Mangara, White got some amazing removal spells in Time Spiral. $5 range, possibly higher.
Restore Balance: (No regular CC. Suspend 6: W. Balance.) — I think this is one of the weaker suspend spells, since your opponent A) can play around it, and B) it, at minimum, will not resolve until turn 7. Trade these away, as I think people will initially value it high, but find the Suspend length to be too long to make it playable.
Serra Avenger: (WW for a 3/3 Vigilance Flyer that you can’t play on your first, second or third turns) — i.e. you get to play a 3/3 Vigilant flyer on turn 4, and still have mana open for Mana Leak/Rune Snag/a second Serra Avenger/whatever. This will see a lot of play, plus it’s an Angel — what more do you want from a chase card? ($5-$7 range)
Tivadar of Thorn: (WW1 for a Legendary 2/2 Pro-Red First Striker. When it comes into play, destroy target Goblin) — Not too bad in Extended, but there aren’t many Goblin decks in Standard right now, and there are better Goblin hosers in Legacy. Still, it’s two-thirds of Paladin En-Vec, plus it kills Goblins as a throw-in. ($3ish or so)
Uncommons of Note:
Griffin Guide: (W2 for an Enchant Creature that gives your creature +2/+2 and flying. If the creature goes to the graveyard, you get a 2/2 flying Griffin) — Elephant Guide hit the $.75-$1 range when it was Standard legal, and Griffin Guide might very well do the same.
Knight of the Holy Nimbus: (WW for a 2/2. If it is destroyed, regenerate it. Any opponent may pay 2 to make it not regenerate this turn.) — A solid White Weenie creature, and one that is extremely difficult to deal with early in the game. Look for this to replace the rotating Hand of Honor and/or Samurai of the Pale Curtain in Standard White Weenie ($1ish)
Rares of Note:
Ancestral Vision: (No regular CC. Suspend 4: U. target player draws three cards) – Ancestral Recall on turn 5, if you cast it on turn 1 — except it costs zero mana. This compares extremely favorably to Tidings and Concentrate. Almost every Blue mage on the planet is going to be vying for four of these at the Prerelease, and early buzz indicates that this card will live up to the hype, and get played as a four-of in every Standard Blue deck. $10-$15 range.
Draining Whelk: (UU4 for a 1/1 Flyer with Flash. When it comes into play, Counter a spell, and put +1/+1 counters on it equal to the mana cost of that spell.) — Although this seems to be popular right now, it doesn’t compare favorably to other countermagics in Standard. It’s slower than Mystic Snake, and seems like a “Win-More” card. Overwhelming Intellect didn’t see a lot of play, and I’d rather draw six cards as a Blue mage than put a 7/7 creature into play (especially if I’m tapping out). Trade these away.
Magus of the Jar: (UU3 for a 3/3 creature that taps to be Memory Jar) — This, on the other hand, says “Tap to draw seven cards”. In addition, Megrim is still around, making this potentially a deck. Magus of the Jar has Summoning Sickness, which is the only thing keeping it from being completely stupid. The Magus Cycle, in general, are the best cards in the set. $5-$7 range after the prerelease, but people will be trading heavily to get these — might be worth shipping them now, and picking them up again once the hype has dropped a little.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir: (UUU2 for a 3/4 with Flash. All other creature cards in your hand have Flash. Your opponent can only play spells when they could play a sorcery) — Blue made out with the nuts in this set, and Teferi is an insane creature for Blue. This could very well be the best card in the set, and a worthy replacement for Keiga and Meloku. Teferi is a decent-sized surprise blocker, shuts down your opponent’s spells during their non-main-phase-on-their-own-turn times, and lets you play your other creatures as instants. $6-$8 range, just like Meloku and Keiga.
Trickbind: (U1 Instant with Split Second. Stifle (Counter target triggered or activated ability). That ability can’t be played again this turn. Can’t affect mana abilities) — This is an improved Stifle for only one more mana, It can’t be counterspelled, it can shut down permanents that have repeated activations, and it is legal in Standard. Stifle was a $5-$6 card when Standard Legal, and Trickbind will be around $5-6 as well. This may also see Vintage play, since it cannot be Force of Willed.
Vesuvan Shapeshifter: (UU3 for a Clone with Morph U1. During your upkeep, you may turn it face down. When it comes into Play or turns face up, you can turn it into a copy of any other creature in play.) — Vesuvan Doppelganger meets Clone meets Morph. This guy is actually pretty decent, since it can be played to an empty board, and can change into other creatures each turn for only U1. $3-$4 range.
Walk the Aeons: (UU4 Sorcery. Time Walk with a buyback cost of “Sacrifice Three Islands.”) Without Buyback, it’s Time Warp for one more mana. That’s still playable and desirable. Buyback, in this case, is just icing on the cake. $4-$5 range.
Uncommons of Note:
Careful Consideration: (UU2, Instant. Target player draws four cards, then discards three. If you play this during your main phase, draw four and discard two instead.) — Filtering four cards for four mana, at instant speed, is a great deal for Blue. You keep the same card count, plus you end up with three cards in your graveyard. This is good for, say, a Psychatog deck, a threshold deck, or a deck that doesn’t want to tap out on its own turn. ($1 range)
Wipe Away: (UU1, Instant. Split Second Boomerang): Eye of Nowhere ended up being a $.50 common, because it was played in so many decks. Wipe Away replaces Eye of Nowhere, and wins in a Blue-on-Blue Mirror Match. ($1 range)
Commons of Note:
Cancel (UU1, Counter target spell) — Trade for four of these, they are a staple. The foil versions will be in the $3-$4 range.
Looter il-Kor (U1 for a 1/1 shadow creature that Merfolk Looters when it combat damages an opponent.) — Merfolk Looter/Thought Courier, except it gets to attack. Blue Mages are going to love this. (Foil Version – $1-$2)
Rares of Note:
Liege of the Pit (BBB5 for a 7/7 flying trampler with Morph BBBB. At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature other than this. If you can’t, take 7.) — play on turn 3, and morph during combat on turn four for seven damage. Will the Morph ability get around the Lord of the Pitesque drawback on this creature? Maybe — if people are valuing this high to start though, trade them off. ($2-$4 range)
Living End (No regular CC. Suspend 3: BB2. Living Death) — unlike Balance, it’s a lot easier to build a deck around a three-turn delayed Living Death. In fact, the entire dredge mechanic seems built to abuse this card. If only Withered Wretch and Tormod’s Crypt weren’t reprinted! If this card ends up being good in a Dredge build, it’ll be in the $5-$7 range. If not, it’ll be a casual card in the $3-$4 range. If people are valuing it in the higher range, trade them away at your prerelease.
Nether Traitor (BB for a 1/1 Haste Shadow creature. Whenever another creature is put into your graveyard, if Nether Traitor is in your graveyard, you can pay B to return Nether Traitor to play) — Might be a possible play in Black Weenie, since it’ll keep coming back, and has evasion. On the other hand, it’s only a 1/1, and it can’t chump block. Trade these away. ($2-$3)
Stronghold Overseer (BBB3 for a 5/5 flying shadow creature. BB: Creatures with Shadow get +1/+0 and creatures without shadow get -1/-0 until end of turn) — Will this or Skeletal Vampire replace Kokusho as the black finisher of choice in Standard? It depends how aggressive your deck gets, but Stronghold Overseer can play both offense and defense, relative to the amount of mana you leave up. This is either going to be a $3-$4 card that appeals to casual players, or a $8-$10 replacement for Kokusho. I tend towards the former rather than the latter, and I’d trade these to anyone who values them particularly highly.
Uncommons of note:
Nightshade Assassin (BB2 for a 2/1 First Striker with Madness B1. When it comes into play, you can reveal X black cards in your hand to give target creature —X/-X until end of turn) — Black got the Madness goods in this set, and two mana for a conditional Nektrataal seems decent. There are support cards to go along with this. Pick these up while they are cheap, in the chance that Black madness becomes a playable deck in either Standard or Extended. ($1ish)
Phthisis (BBBB3, Sorcery. Destroy target creature. Its controller loses life equal to that creatures’ combined power and toughness. Suspend 5: B1) — If you throw this up in the air on turn 2, your opponent basically has a huge Fireball looming over their heads on turn 7. If you just cast this on turn 7, you have a huge Fireball in your hand that doubles as removal. This is kind of clunky, but it also is capable of killing a creature and dealing 10-12 damage at the same time. Pick up four of these, as they may very well be good — many people will disregard it initially since it costs seven to cast.
Smallpox (BB, Sorcery. Each player sacrifices a creature, then discards a card, then sacrifices a land, then loses 1 life) — Possibly the best Uncommon in the set. Raze plus Innocent Blood plus equal discard plus the loss of one life. This will often get three-for-three on turn 2, but at a time when you can set back your opponent to nothing. Decks will be built around this card. ($2 range)
Sudden Death (BB1, Instant, Split Second. Target creature gets -4/-4 until end of turn.) — How valuable is Split Second on a removal spell like this? Well, it would have been aces against Meloku, since your opponent couldn’t respond by making tokens. It’s still probably pretty good, especially since that fourth toughness is key against Loxodon Hierarch (Last Gasp sometimes falls short). ($1ish)
Commons of Note:
Gorgon Recluse (B4 for a 2/4 with Madness BB. Whenever it blocks or becomes blocked by a non-Black creature, destroy that creature at the end of combat) — you can drop this in the middle of combat as a surprise blocker, as long as you have BB up to madness it. Otherwise, compare this to Basking Rootwalla (3/3 for 0) and Arrogant Wurm (4/4 for 3), and it fits right into that curve (2/4 with Basilisk for 2). Pick up four of these as well (Foil version – $1-$2)
Rares of Note:
Bogardan Hellkite (RR6 for a 5/5 flyer with Flash. When it comes into play, deal 5 damage however you choose among creatures or players) — a large, flying Dragon for casual players, and a reanimation target for competitive players. Isn’t life grand? ($3-$4)
Jaya Ballard, Task Mage (RR1 for a 2/2 Legend. R, Tap, Discard a card: Destroy target blue permanent. R1, Tap, Discard a card: Incinerate. RR5, tap, Discard a card: Inferno) — Another chase card, and one that functions as a repeatable Incinerate, anti-Blue tech, and a game-ending Direct Damage firestorm/mass creature remover. Plus the artwork is great. Personally, it seems a little fragile as a creature to me (Grey Ogres aren’t great), but an Incinerate a turn is a hard thing to turn down. ($7-$10 to start, but may go down to the $5 range. Might be worth trading while they are high)
Magus of the Scroll (R for a 1/1 with the Cursed Scroll ability): Well, the good news it that it’s Cursed Scroll. The bad news is that it has Summoning Sickness, and it is attached to a 1/1 body. Still, Grim Lavamancer has found a home in many, many decks, and this will as well. ($7-$10)
Reiterate (RR1 for Fork with Buyback 3): Twincast was a $10-$15 card when it was Standard legal, but that’s because it was Blue. Fork was also a $10-$15 card. Does adding one mana to Fork/Twincast make it worth a lot less? Yes, even with Buyback. Fork/Twincast were always more of a casual card anyhow, outside of Owling Mine ($4-$5 range)
Wheel of Fate (No regular CC. Suspend 4: R1 to Wheel of Fortune) — This one seems almost as powerful as the Ancestral Recall, because the Red mage can tap out on turn 2, and empty their hand by turn 6. Unlike Wheel of Fortune, you’ll have all your mana open on the turn that you draw seven new cards. ($5ish. If people are valuing this higher, trade it away).
Uncommons of Note:
Thick-Skinned Goblin: (R1, 2/1 Goblin. You may pay 0 instead of paying echo costs on permanents you control. R: This gains Pro Red until end of turn) — If there are good echo creatures, the first ability will be relevant. It’ll also appeal to casual players. The second ability might be relevant to the Goblin mirror match. ($.75ish)
Commons of Note:
Mogg War Marshal: (R1 for a 1/1 Goblin with Echo. When it comes into play or goes to the graveyard, put a 1/1 Goblin into play) — basically you get either two 1/1 goblins, or two 1/1 goblins, for R1. Not a bad deal, especially if you are running Skirk Prospector or Goblin Piledriver. ($1 for the foil)
Rares of Note:
Hypergenesis: (No regular CC. Suspend 3: GG1. Eureka): Casual players love the Eureka effect, but it’s never really been great in competitive play. Trade these away at around $3-$5 each, as they will probably end up being close to bulk rares.
Magus of the Candelabra: (G for a 1/2 Candelabra of Tawnos) — possibly insane in a Tooth and Nail build. Early Harvest is a better option otherwise, for combo decks. Trade these away at $3-$5 each, as well.
Spectral Force: (GG3 for an 8/8 trampler that doesn’t untap for a turn if your opponent controls no black permanents when you attack) — great against Black, and probably playable against everything else as well. What does your opponent do when you drop an 8/8 trampler on the board on turn 3 or 4 (remember, you’re the Green mage — you accelerate)? Cry. ($2-$3, but could end up being a lot higher. Trade for these.)
Squall Line: (GGX for an instant Hurricane) — Well, Blue has to counter this. It’s both a finisher and a removal spell for problematic evasion creatures. If Hurricane was a $2-$3 as a rare, so is this one.
Stonewood Invocation: (G3 Instant, with Split Second. Target creature gets +5/+5 and can’t be targeted until the end of turn) — Might of Oaks, move over! The biggest problem with running Might of Oaks was that your opponent could respond by removing/bouncing the targeted creature. This spell has Split Second, meaning that not only will this spell not get countered, but your opponent will not be able to mess with whatever you target. This is an awesome new finisher for Green, and many people will underestimate just how good it is. Pick them up now, because I have a feeling they’ll be in the $3-$5 range around States, whereas people will consider them junk now.
Thelon of Havenwood (GG for a 2/2 Legendary Elf. Each Fungus gets +1/+1 for each spore counter it has. GB, remove a fungus from your graveyard: every fungus in play gets a spore counter): I don’t see there being a competitive Thallid deck, but casual players love Thallids. Trade these to them, because they will be valued in the $3-$5 range by those looking for Thelon, but are worth more in the $2 range.
Thelonite Hermit (G4 for a 1/1 Elf with Morph GG3. He gives all Saprolings +1/+1. When you turn him face up, put four 1/1 Saprolings into play) — the replacement for Deranged Hermit, and one that combos extremely well with the Selesnya Guild from Ravnica. He puts eight power worth of creatures onto the board on turn 4 or 5 (depending on whether you drew acceleration). It also works extraordinarily well with Glare of Subdual. Note to you folks out there: Glare of Subdual — get it while it’s still cheap. $5-$7 on the Hermit.
Wurmcalling (GX, Sorcery with Buyback G2. Put an X/X wurm token into play) — I don’t know about you, but I don’t like paying GG3 for a 1/1 creature each turn. I also don’t like paying G4 for a 4/4, or G6 for a 6/6 with no abilities. Trade these away, and play better Green creatures.
Uncommons of Note:
Krosan Grip: (G2 for Instant speed split-second Naturalize) — Can’t be countered, and it can deal with Greater Good without giving your opponent the chance to respond with a sacrifice. It can also break up Aluren, Enduring Renewal/Goblin Bombardment, and, if need be, Yawgmoth’s Bargain. ($1ish)
Scryb Ranger: (G1 for a 1/1 flyer with flash and Protection from Blue. Return a Forest to your hand: Untap target creature. Use this ability only once each turn) — Let me get this straight. They took Quirion Ranger, which was already a Tier 1 Green creature last time it was Standard legal, and gave it flying, flash and Pro-Blue for only one extra mana? This card is insane. Get four of them. ($2ish)
Commons of Note:
Mwonvuli Acid-Moss: (GG2, Sorcery. Frenzied Tilling for a Forest) — Good land destruction plus mana acceleration. This will often hit on turn 3 in a Green deck. Expect to see this get played a lot in Standard, especially with all those Karoo lands floating around. ($2 Foil)
Search for Tomorrow: (G2, Sorcery. Search your library for a basic land card, and put it into play, then shuffle. Suspend 2: G) — Note that the land comes into play untapped. If you suspend this on turn 1, you’ll get an extra untapped land on turn 3. ($1-$2 foil)
Rares of Note:
Ith, High Arcanist (UW5 for a 3/5 Legendary Vigilance creature. Tap: Untap target attacking creature. Prevent all combat damage dealt to and from that creature. Suspend 4: UW) — I would definitely be happy to suspend this on turn 2, and then have a full compliment of available mana open on turn 6 to defend with. If not suspended, it’s pretty overcosted. I’d go ahead and trade these away to someone else, if they are being valued higher than $3-$4ish.
Kaervek the Merciless (RB5 for a 5/4 Legend. Whenever an opponent plays a spell, this deals damage to target creature or player equal to that spell’s cost) — quite good for casual or Reanimator, but otherwise probably too expensive to cast. Trade these away to casual players.
Mishra, Aritificer Prodigy (URB1 for a 4/4 Legend. Whenever you play an artifact, you may search your graveyard, hand or library for another copy of that card, and put it into play) — This seems like a classic win-more card, with the exception that Mishra himself is a 4/4 for four. Note that Black/Blue/Red is Affinity’s colors, so maybe he can find a home there. Still, people will be valuing these high, so trade them away as well.
Scion of the Ur-Dragon (URBRG for a 4/4 Legendary Flying Dragon. 2: Search your library for a Dragon and put it into your graveyard. This becomes a copy of that card until end of turn) — Definitely nifty, and definitely themed towards casual players. It will probably settle down in the $2-$3 range, so trade them now.
Rares of Note:
Gauntlet of Power: (5. When it comes into play, choose a color. Creatures of that color get +1/+1, and basic lands of that color add one extra mana to your mana pool) — Sort of like a limited Mirari’s Wake/Heartbeat of Spring, except it only affects one land type or one creature type. Still, this will be a very popular card, and it might have constructed applications once Heartbeat of Spring rotates – $5ish
Hivestone: (2, all creatures you control are slivers) — Will this be the big anti-sliver tech card, to side in against sliver decks? Chances are, if you are playing slivers, you don’t need this. If Slivers are Tier 1, this will be Stabilizer ($2ish). If not, it’s a junk rare. Trade them away.
Lotus Bloom: (The prerelease card. You all know this one by now) — Well, it’s the prerelease card. How good is Black Lotus if you can’t play it before turn four? It might be good for combo decks, but chances are that the Ancestral will be the winner of this cycle. This’ll probably settle in the $4-$5 range because of the prerelease version, so trade them away if they are being put in the $10 range (which many people might).
Uncommons of Note:
The Totem cycle (Each is a three-drop artifact that taps for a colored mana, and turns into a creature. Blue is U1 for Chronatog, Red is R4 for Two-Headed Giant of Foriys, Black is B2 for Phyrexian Negator, White is WW1 for Thunder Spirit, and Green is GGG2 for Weatherseed Treefolk) — These are both acceleration and conditional creatures. Will they be any good? Probably not terribly great — I can’t see paying five mana a turn to attack for four-five damage. The most playable is the Negator totem, but people will want these all weekend. Get four copies of the Black one, and trade away the rest.
Commons of Note:
Chromatic Star (1. 1, tap, sac: Add 1 mana of any color to your mana pool. When it goes to the graveyard, draw a card) — This is essentially Chromatic Sphere with a fixed wording. Affinity will want to run this instead of Chromatic Sphere, because you can sac it to Ravager in a pinch to draw a card, without spending the mana (Foil version: $1-$2)
Rares of Note:
Academy Ruins (Legendary. Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool. U1, Tap: Put an artifact card in your graveyard on top of your library) — Volrath’s Stronghold for Artifacts. This might have Vintage applications. $2-$3, but $10-$15 on the foil version.
Gemstone Caverns (Legendary. If it’s in your opening hand, and you’re not going first, you can put it into play with a counter on it. If you do so, remove another card in your hand from the game. Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool. Add any color if it has a luck counter on it.) — The invitational winning card, and essentially Mox Diamond if you are on the draw. $5ish, and more if it turns out going second just for this card is worth it.
Kher Keep (Legendary. Tap, add 1. R1, Tap: Put a 0/1 Kobold of Kher Keep into play) — This is a really cheap creature generator, but it makes 0/1 creatures. Still, this might be playable in the right deck. $2ish, trade them if people value them higher.
Swarmyard (Tap: Add 1. Tap: Regenerate target Insect, Rats, Spider or Squirrel) — Casual players will love this card, but are there any competitive Insect/Rats/Squirrel/Spider decks right now, in any format? $2-$4, and trade them away for something more playable.
Vesuva (As Vesuva comes into play, you may choose a land in play. If you do, it comes into play tapped as a copy of that land) — Reflecting Pool, except it can copy your opponent’s lands, and/or kill other Legendary lands, and/or copy things like Wasteland or Mishra’s Factory. Quite good, and will be sought after by players in multiple formats ($6-$8)
Commons of Note:
Terramorphic Expanse (Tap, sacrifice: Search your library for a basic land card, and put it into play tapped, then shuffle your library) — This is amazingly good for a common, and will probably be the premium common of the entire set. Every deck can play this in Standard, and it allows for cheap mana fixing. I expect this to be in the $.50-$.75 range quickly, and foils will sell for $5, at the least.
See y’all at the prerelease, and if you’re in Virginia — come by and trade in some Time Shifted Squires!