The Financial Value of Worldwake

Friday, January 29th – Ben Bleiweiss has been at the forefront of the Magic: The Gathering card market for years, as the General Manager of Acquisitions for StarCityGames.com. In today’s article, Ben gives his thoughts about the value of the cards in Worldwake – every Mythic, every Rare, and all of the Uncommons and Commons that Ben thinks count. Find out which card Ben thinks is the Baneslayer Angel of Worldwake! Which cards do Ben think are horribly undervalued, and which should you trade off while their value is high? Find out inside! Also – check the end of the article for a special announcement!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the latest in my series of Financial Values articles! In this column, I will take a look at the value of the cards in Worldwake. I will explore which I believe will rise in value, which will drop, which are the sleeper cards, and which cards are just going to be solid any-which-way you cut it.

More so than any set in recent memory, I feel that the cards in Worldwake are being misevaluated by the community at large. It’s not to say that I disagree with the popular sentiments from everyone, but I think there are a good number of cards being vastly overrated and underrated. One of the reasons I believe some of the cards are being underrated is because they are not being viewed in a long-term scope.

Wizards of the Coast has applied for three copyrights all at once: Mirrodin Pure, Scars of Mirrodin, and Phyrexia Reborn. In addition, the next Duel Deck is Phyrexia vs. the Coalition, and this year’s From the Vault deck is Relics (artifacts). In addition, Mirrodin block is set to rotate with the release of the block after Rise of the Eldrazi. If you put all of these factors together, we’re looking at the fall set/block for next year as an artifact-based block. With this in mind, there are several cards in Worldwake that may not have a rise in value for six months, but are have a very, very strong upside come October of 2010!

For the first time in company history (or, at least, since I’ve been with StarCityGames.com), we’ve put up singles for presale as they were officially spoiled by Wizards of the Coast (either through official previews on other websites, or on MagicTheGathering.com itself). This has been going on for over a month now (since the new Jace was spoiled), which means that I have a pretty good idea of the trajectory of several cards in the set. Whether they will continue on that path once the set is released, and people begin to play with the cards, is an entirely different question, one I explore several times in this article.

This also means that all of the cards in this article are hyperlinked. Wizards of the Coast usually gets their full spoiler up on Gatherer the Friday of the prerelease, so any cards that do not have a picture initially when this article goes up at midnight on Friday should have one early in the day (Eastern Standard Time) that same day. The majority of the rares and mythics already have pictures up, so there shouldn’t be a lot of gaps, even when this article first goes up.

Here’s how this article works:

In the first section, I list the Mythic Rares, alphabetically. I give our starting price, whether I think the card will go “UP” in value, “DOWN” in value, or the value will remain “STABLE.” I then give my thoughts about that particular card! In the second section, I discuss the rares. In the third section, I’ll give some brief thoughts about the Uncommons and Commons in this set that I have particularly strong feelings about.

Well, with one exception. Let’s discuss the most undervalued cards in the set, before we get into the rest.

Celestial Colonnade (U/W, Currently $6)
Creeping Tar Pit (U/B, Currently $5)
Lavaclaw Reaches (B/R, Currently $5)
Raging Ravine (R/G, Currently $5)
Stirring Wildwood (W/G, Currently $5)

Whoo boy, where to start about the almost criminal undervaluation of the Manland cycle from this set? Never before in all my years of pricing Magic cards have I seen more of a cognitive dissonance from the community at large regarding a set of five cards. I’ve been keeping up with the message boards, and I’ve read commentary such as:

“Jund can’t afford to run Raging Ravine, it’s already pressed for color fixing.”
“Celestial Colonnade takes too much mana to activate for a control deck.”
“Creeping Tar Pit will just die to Red. Why should I play it?”
“What good is reach on a land designed to attack?”

And so on, and so forth. I want to put something in big, bold, italic letters:


The dissonance in evaluating these cards comes from people just not putting these two halves of each of the manlands together. I can understand this! People look at Raging Ravine and say “Wow, it can attack as a 4/4!” but they also forget “Wow! This is a Shivan Oasis / Highland Weald / Kazandu Refuge / Rootbound Crag!” With each of these lands, at worst, you’re getting an enters-the-battlefield-tapped Dual Land. The upside of each of these lands are that every single one of them is a viable win condition!

If you’re playing a Red/White/Blue control deck (LSV style), why wouldn’t you want a land that fixes your mana, and also can start beating for four once you’ve gotten the game under your control? You already need a U/W land – why not run one with double purpose?

Jund – Given the often scattershot combination of fetch lands, tri-lands, M10 Dual lands and basics, how could you not be salivating over switching into what is either a huge mid-game beater (Raging Ravine) or an end-of-game mana-sink capable of dealing 6-8 damage a turn (Lavaclaw Reaches)? I mean seriously – turn 1, what would you rather drop:

Dragonskull Summit


Lavaclaw Reaches?

To summarize:

1) These are uncounterable win conditions.
2) They are great mana fixing.
3) There seems to be some counter-current of interest lately about most two-color mana fixing lands when a set first comes out – this happened with Lorwyn, Shadowmoor, Eventide, and M10 (Tribal Duals, Filter Lands, and the M10 dual cycle). Yes, even the filter lands started in the $3-$5 range, and most of them hit close-to-or-above double-digits at their peak in Standard. Same goes for M10 lands.

Look folks, I’m not going to kid you – good lands, over time, tend to hold the most value (as a group) of any type of Magic card. They tend to peak (as a group) the highest, because they are the foundation of building any sort of deck, and because they can be used in multiple decks, as long as their colors are supported.

This might be controversial to say, but I feel that the Manlands from Worldwake are more significant to Standard than the fetch lands from Zendikar! (The same does not apply to Extended, where fetch lands can get the Ravnica cycle of duals). They have competitive appeal, casual appeal, and likely will show up in decks reaching as far back as Legacy. I would be shocked if all five of these Man/Dual lands did not hit double-digits before Regionals time (usually around May in the U.S.).

Get them now. Right now they are being valued as either weak versions of the Urza’s Legacy manlands, or just another enters-the-battlefield-tapped dual land. It won’t be long before people realize that these guys are the sum of both of these parts – quite valuable indeed.

Okay, onto the rest of our regular set review!


Abyssal Persecutor
Current Price: $30
Up, Down or Stable? Down (to $20ish)
Thoughts: If two cards in this set have had immense hype, this is one of them (the other being the new Jace, which I’ll get to shortly). Is Abyssal Persecutor “Baneslayer Angel” for Black? The answer is no – unlike Baneslayer, Abyssal Persecutor won’t turn around a game (5/5 plus Lifelink plus First Strike are a formidable package together). Is Abyssal Persecutor the overhyped “Lotus Cobra” of the set? The answer to that, also, is no! I do believe that Abyssal Persecutor is currently being overvalued, but the body on this creature is undeniably huge – unlike Wall of Denial, the Persecutor is a huge blocker that can take down attackers. If any color is in the position to take advantage of removing their own creature, it’s Black. I expect the Persecutor to see a fair amount of tournament play, but the drawback will turn off a lot of casual players, who were partly responsible for the huge surge of price on Baneslayer Angel.

Admonition Angel
Current Price: $12
Up, Down or Stable? Down (to $5ish)
Thoughts: Triple-White mana cost is a lot to ask, and though this is better than Roil Elemental… who was playing Roil Elemental? This’ll probably occupy the same territory monetarily as Jenara, Lord of Extinction, and other semi-playable, popular-with-casual-players periphery mythics.

Avenger of Zendikar
Current Price: $3
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: Casual fodder.

Comet Storm
Current Price: $4
Up, Down or Stable? Down (to $3)
Thoughts: This is the prerelease card for Worldwake, and that will suppress the value of Comet Storm. It took Ajani a year to finally soak out of circulation enough that both the Shards Ajani and the Shards Prerelease Ajani were higher in value. If history has taught me anything by now, it’s that if the prerelease/release card is playable enough, it will eventually get high in value regardless of how many copies of the cards are in circulation (Demigod of Revenge, Figure of Destiny, Vampire Nocturnus, Ajani Vengeant). Comet Storm is not one of these cards (see Ant Queen, Kaldra pieces).

Dragonmaster Outcast
Current Price: $7.50
Up, Down or Stable? Down (to $5ish)
Thoughts: Comparisons to Scute Mob abound – Dragonmaster Outcast needs one more land to get going, but once it gets going, one removal spell won’t solve your opponent’s problems. Also, Dragons are more popular than Insects (I actually had to look this up – I would have assumed Scute Mob was an Ooze!) I’d also tend to think that if I were a control player looking to build a deck around Ranger of Eos, I’d rather be Red/White/Blue than Green/White/Blue, making this a much better finisher than Scute Mob in the current Standard in a controlish deck.

Eye of Ugin
Current Price: $3
Up, Down or Stable? Up (to $5+)
Thoughts: This is a total plant for the Rise of the Eldrazi set. Alone, you can ignore the “Colorless Eldrazi Spells cost 2 less to cast” line, and view this straight in the context of “If I have Urzatron out, I can tutor up an artifact creature a turn.” I’ve heard several players show an interest in that ability, as they can play several onesies in their Urzatron deck (Sundering Titan, Darksteel Colossus, etc) and fetch that creature with reliability.

However, one of the focuses of the next set is sure to be “Colorless Eldrazi spells” – and viewed in that context, Eye of Ugin is a City of Traitors/Ancient Tomb. If Colorless Eldrazi permanents end up being in any way, shape or form tournament viable, this land will likely skyrocket in price. I’d take the risk and buy a playset now, because at worst it’ll be a popular EDH card for tutoring up artifact creatures late game. There’s just too much potential upside for this set-early plant.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Current Price: $35
Up, Down or Stable? Up (to $50+)
Thoughts: The ceiling on Jace truly scares me. Elspeth is pushing a $35-$40 price tag, and we are having trouble keeping Baneslayer Angel in stock at $60. Both of these cards are popular with both casual and tournament players but, truth be told, neither Baneslayer nor Elspeth is seeing exceptional levels of tournament play. Compare to Tarmogoyf, which people were basically fitting into every single Standard deck that ran creatures when it was legal is Standard, and you’ll see that Baneslayer Angel is a minority in the metagame (not run in most Jund, and not at all in Elves, Vampires, Mono-Red Burn, etc). The same goes for Elspeth, but even more so – but we’re looking at essentially a $35 card and a $60 card based on popularity and a (minority, but important) role in the Standard metagame.

So what happens when Wizards of the Coast prints a mythic that is going to be played as a 3-to-4 of in Vintage, Legacy, Extended, and Standard, has multiple useable (and popular) abilities, and has both casual and competitive draw? That’s basically where I see Jace – and I’m listening to the buzz from a lot of pros I respect, and many are saying that Jace is a format-defining card. I would not be surprised if Jace ended up pricing higher than Baneslayer Angel come Regionals (assuming they are held around the same time they usually are) – and that’s without Baneslayer Angel taking a price hit. I know it’s already expensive, but it’s only going to get more expensive as time goes on. If you want Jace, get it now, before you’re dropping $200+ a playset.

Novablast Wurm
Current Price: $5
Up, Down or Stable? Down (to $3)
Thoughts: Casual fodder. Worth picking up 1x if you think reanimator decks might make a comeback at some point.

Omnath, Locus of Mana
Current Price: $12
Up, Down or Stable? Down (to $7-$8ish)
Thoughts: Doesn’t play as well with multi-colored decks, and vulnerable the turn it enters the battlefield. On the other hand, it gives Green something to do with decks that can generate absurd amounts of Green mana (Elvish Archdruid build?), while holding out for other Green spells that could use lots of Green mana (Ant Queen). I wouldn’t discount Omnath for competitive play, and I think Omnath will be super-popular with the casual crowd (Rofellos anybody?), but I don’t see Worldwake making a shift towards Green decks.

Wrexial, the Risen Deep
Current Price: $2.50
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: Large body, semi-evasive, and the ability seems interesting for casual play. However, how much play did Mindleech Mass see? Nemesis of Reason? I lump this guy in with both of those, until there’s evidence to the contrary.


Agadeem Occultist
Current Price: $1
Up, Down or Stable? Up (Sleeper, maybe to $2ish)
Thoughts: If you’re playing against a deck that’s heavy on Ranger of Eos targets, this is a way to steal all of their creatures off of the board. Also seems like a very powerful effect if you’re running a casual Allies deck, but I don’t think Black is going to be the main Ally color(s) for a competitive Ally deck (that deck is likely W/U/G — more on this later)

Amulet of Vigor
Current Price: $4
Up, Down or Stable? Down (to $2ish)
Thoughts: A lot of people are going crazy on Amulet of Vigor for its combo potential in multiples — since each Amulet is a triggered effect, you can untap a comes-onto-the-battlefield-tapped land for each Amulet you have out. For instance, if you had two Amulet of Vigor out and played an Izzet Boilerworks, both Amulets would trigger. You would get to untap the Boilerworks, tap it for UR, have the second trigger resolve, untap the Boilerworks again, and end up with UURR from the one land, in one turn.

Of course, this requires having multiple Amulets of Vigor, and maybe there’s some sort of combo deck featuring Trinket Mage or Artificer’s Intuition that makes good use of this extra mana. I wasn’t a big believer in Locket of Yesterdays, and there aren’t many cards, outside of lands, that Amulet of Vigor really effects — the main being Time Vault in Vintage, but isn’t Voltaic Key just better for that purpose?

Anowon, the Ruin Sage
Current Price: $3
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: This will fight with Malakir Bloodwitch for the top-end of the curve in Vampire decks. Very playable, but the three toughness might be a deal breaker in the current Standard metagame. This is one of the stronger “Abyss” variants ever printed, since it does not kill itself in the end (Magus of the Abyss). Remember, wayyyy back when, Call to the Grave was playable in Zombie decks during Onslaught block, and Call to the Grave couldn’t beat for four.

Archon of Redemption
Current Price: $1.50
Up, Down or Stable? Down ($1)
Thoughts: Bulk random Angel lifegain card, along the lines of Angelic Chorus. These effects have been more prolific since 10th Edition (Angelic Chorus, Beacon of Immortality, Boon Reflection, greater emphasis on lifegain commons and uncommon), so this type of card isn’t as impressive as it might have been to casual players two-to-three years ago.

Basilisk Collar
Current Price: $1.50
Up, Down or Stable? Up ($4-$5)
Thoughts: This is the most powerful piece of combat-oriented equipment printed in quite some time (Sword of the Meek, we’re not talking about your comboriffic potential). Basilisk Collar is cheap to cast, cheap to equip, and has two abilities that can help swing a game in your favor both on offense and defense. People are used to playing with equipment that gives power/toughness bonus (Loxodon Warhammer, Sword of Fire and Ice, Sword of Light and Shadow, Behemoth Sledge) or ones that are obviously powerful (Umezawa’s Jitte, Lightning Greaves), and not ones that give pretty generic keyword abilities (Lifelink, Deathtouch).

I think people will catch on that Basilisk Collar is a less-annoying version of Jitte. No, it is nowhere near as powerful as Jitte — so please don’t quote me on saying “Basilisk Collar is as good as Umezawa’s Jitte!’ because it’s NOT as good! It is comparable to Jitte in that — A) you can use it to play offense and defense, B) your opponent really won’t want to block whatever creature is equipped by the Collar, and C) It can swing the tide of the game from one person’s favor to the other just by being on the battlefield. It lets you get past Wall of Denial, promotes unfavorable trades, and can let you race all other things on the board being equal. I believe Basilisk Collar will see a bunch of competitive and casual play, and is a bargain at its current price.

Bazaar Trader
Current Price: $ .75
Up, Down or Stable? Up (???, depends if it finds a deck)
Thoughts: Without a deck, Bazaar Trader (much like Donate before) is a bulk rare. However, once Donate found a deck (it took a while for it to be paired with Illusions of Grandeur), it took off in value. Outside of Immortal Coil in Standard, there isn’t anything too exciting to pair Bazaar Trader with. However, there will likely someday be something you can use Bazaar Trader with, so it’s probably worth it to just pick up and hang onto a play set early. It’ll always be hovering at the $0.50-$1 price tag until it gets used, and then it’ll take off — but cards like this have a tendency to eventually find a deck (cheap cost, powerful effect when combined with the right card(s)).

Butcher of Malakir
Current Price: $2
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: It’s Grave Pact on a Vampire. Anowon, the Ruin Sage is more exciting, if you’re looking for this sort of effect. Anowon also costs two mana less than the Butcher.

Chain Reaction
Current Price: $3
Up, Down or Stable? Down ($2)
Thoughts: While this is the Red “Wrath of God”, A) Day of Judgment isn’t exactly tearing up any metagames right now (though this will likely change thanks to the new Jace), and B) it is anything but a sure thing. Chain Reaction will be fantastic in group play, where it will likely wipe out everything on the board. In Standard, if you’re playing a Red deck (Valakut, or Mono-Red Burn), how is this going to help you get past Wall of Denial and Baneslayer Angel? Answer — it’s not.

Death’s Shadow
Current Price: $2
Up, Down or Stable? Up ($3-$4)
Thoughts: Great with Ad Nauseam, or other suicide-Black cards that exist in older formats. Not sure there’s enough in Standard right now to make this guy worthwhile (versus just putting yourself at a very low life total in a format that is currently rife with Burn spells and haste creatures), but the size on this guy, versus the cost, is very attractive. Eight life isn’t too bad a life total to be at, and this makes Death’s Shadow a 5/5 for B. That’s cost-effective.

Goliath Sphinx
Current Price: $0.60
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: Why is this card taking up a Rare slot in Worldwake? Wouldn’t this be better suited as a Blue Rare in a Core set (M11?) Bulk.

Harabaz Druid
Current Price: $2.50
Up, Down or Stable? Up ($4-$5)
Thoughts: This is the Gemhide Sliver/Utopia Tree/Bloom Tender of the set, and the rare versions of this ability tend to stick in the $4-$5 mark while in Standard, depending on playability. Allies are a lot stronger in Worldwake than they were in Zendikar, though I’m not sure how strong they are, in total. One thought, though, is this — the Japanese have been ordering several allies from us in large quantities, and this is one of them (the other Rare one being bought in high numbers is Jwari Shapeshifter). I always pay attention to a card when the Japanese seem to be stockpiling them during the preorder period.

Joraga Warcaller
Current Price: $4
Up, Down or Stable? Up (to $5-$6)
Thoughts: This is the release card, which will initially hold its value down. I do believe this is one of the better cards in the set, for what it does (Elf Lord, can get big, fits into a preexisting deck, works well with Oran-Rief, the Vastwood), and so the value will eventually reflect its stature in both competitive and casual play.

Jwari Shapeshifter
Current Price: $1
Up, Down or Stable? Up ($2-$3)
Thoughts: See Harabaz Druid. If there’s an Ally deck out there, this is one of the stronger cards in that deck. You don’t see Clone effects this cheaply, without some major drawback (arguably, playing this in a tribal deck eliminates a lot of the drawback).

Kalastria Highborn
Current Price: $5
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: This is a great card for the Vampire deck, both casually and competitively. It fits much of the same role that Rotlung Reanimator filled — but instead of getting 2/2 Zombies after a Wrath, you’re hitting your opponent with a 4-6 point Drain Life. It fits the curve, and does exactly what you want it to do. What more can you ask for from a Rare?

Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
Current Price: $2
Up, Down or Stable? Up (to $3)
Thoughts: Will have a slight uptick. This is the Red Propaganda — and while it doesn’t come down in the early game like Ghostly Prison/Propaganda do, it does A) help stop the ground attack, both with 3/3 creatures and with itself as a 5/4, and B) sets up one heck of an Alpha Strike, if left unchecked (since the tokens stay around indefinitely — they are not “until end of turn” tokens). I’m not entirely sure which deck runs Kazuul, or if he’s relegated to casual play, but I’ve heard a lot of excitement about him from the right people to know that I shouldn’t write him off as a bulk rare.

Lodestone Golem
Current Price: $4
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: Another plant for a future set (in this case, the next Mirrodin Block). Lodestone Golem is an automatic replacement for Juggernaut in Vintage Workshop decks (which will make the foil version of this guy skyrocket), and a Sphere of Resistance effect to supplement Trinisphere in Extended. It’s also a solid beater on top of everything else, and may play out even better in an Esper build.

Marshal’s Anthem
Current Price: $2
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: It’s a Crusade/Glorious Anthem effect that sometimes gets a creature (or two) back late-game. Solid for casual play, might see some constructed play, but there’s a lot of Crusade effects out there at this point, so like lifegain, they aren’t as exciting as they once were.

Mordant Dragon
Current Price: $0.75
Up, Down or Stable? Down (Bulk Price)
Thoughts: Generally a bad Flameblast Dragon. Bulk.

Quest for the Nihil Stone
Current Price: $0.99
Up, Down or Stable? Down (Bulk)

Thoughts: Unlike The Rack, or other The Rack variants, Quest for the Nihil Stone requires the opponent to have a completely empty hand to function. This is a lot to ask, even from a discard player. Yes, it turns on automatically after a Blightning. But if you’re looking to drop a quest on turn 1 of a game that works well with Blightning, wouldn’t you rather try out Bloodchief Ascension, which has a more generally game-affecting ability?

Quest for Ula’s Temple
Current Price: $0.99
Up, Down or Stable? Down (Bulk)
Thoughts: If you’re looking to cheat giant Blue creatures into play, Polymorph is the better way to go. If you play a ton of 6-10 mana creatures to make sure that this Quest is fulfilled, likely your hand will be jammed up with lots of dead cards while your opponent beats you silly. I just don’t see this card happening, and I’m usually pretty open to people building wacky decks that have potentially huge mana-cheating cards as their centerpiece.

Seer’s Sundial
Current Price: $2
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: A solid card-drawing card for casual players, and an interesting variant for Mana Ramp combo decks, if any emerge. Not sure this is better than Howling Mine or Font of Mythos, though, if you’re just looking to draw a brute number of cards.

Selective Memory
Current Price: $0.59
Up, Down or Stable? Up ($1ish)
Thoughts: Mirror of Fate + Selective Memory = what Doomsday did for Legacy/Vintage? Who knows, but I don’t think there’s a high ceiling on Selective Memory, as much as the room for it to grow by a little bit and have usefulness in a niche deck. Would you retool this in 43 Lands.dec in Legacy that would combine this with Treasure Hunt, much like the Intuition/Accumulated Knowledge engine? I’ve actually said a lot more about Selective Memory than it probably deserves. Could very well end up just languishing in the bulk rare box indefinitely.

Stone Idol Trap
Current Price: $1.25
Up, Down or Stable? Up ($2.50-$3)
Thoughts: One of the better traps printed, and one that has Constructed applications. Is your opponent coming at you with two creatures? For four mana, you get to both kill their creature, and smack the heck out of your opponent for six the next turn. If you look at this at 3, 4, or even 5 mana, it seems attractive for a Red deck — “R4, Instant — destroy target attacking creature. Deal six damage to that creature’s controller.” It gets even better as your opponent piles more creatures on you early. I can see someone dropping a pair of these early if they are getting rushed by a Zoo-type deck that vomits out creatures (turn 4: R1, R1, kill two creatures, attack back for twelve the next turn). Currently one of the more underrated cards in the set.

Stoneforge Mystic
Current Price: $1.50
Up, Down or Stable? Up ($4-$5)
Thoughts: Another plant, again from the next Mirrodin block. I expect to see a lot of equipment popping up within the next year, so this guy will likely be a very strong contender come October. Moreover, I believe Stoneforge Mystic is Extended playable — you can fetch up Jitte, Sword of Fire and Ice, or Sword of Light and Shadow (among others). The ability to get any equipment from your deck, and have a body to put it on, seems very powerful.

Strength of the Tajuru
Current Price: $0.75
Up, Down or Stable? Down (Bulk)
Thoughts: Bulk rare. Doesn’t seem to exciting for either casual or competitive play.

Talus Paladin
Current Price: $0.99
Up, Down or Stable? Up ($2ish)
Thoughts: Will likely see play if there’s a viable Ally deck out there, casually or competitively. I don’t think Allies will be meta-game breaking, so this’ll likely settle in the $2 range if Allies catch on.

Current Price: $1.50
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: An awesome card for multi-player games (see Woodfall Primus), and a potential target for Reanimator Decks (B, sac three permanents: put 18 power worth of creatures on the board, that can’t easily be killed by Innocent Blood/Diabolic Edict). Not sure how often this guy will be hard-cast competitively, but the design is awesome.

Terra Eternal
Current Price: $2
Up, Down or Stable? Stable
Thoughts: A great sideboard card if you’re really worried about land destruction. REMEMBER: It affects both players, so it makes your own Wastelands and the such useless. Will have a lot of appeal to casual players, or those who want to do wacky things with their manlands.

Thada Adel, Acquisitor
Current Price: $2
Up, Down or Stable? Up ($3-$5)
Thoughts: Great in Vintage and decent in Legacy, with a huge upside once the artifact block hits in October. Pick these guys up now, because they will likely be a sleeper hit that have a real place in the metagame nine months from now.

Wolfbriar Elemental
Current Price: $3
Up, Down or Stable? Up ($4-$6)
Thoughts: Compares to Broodmate Dragon, but for mono-Green: Six mana gets you eight power worth of creatures. Gets even better if you believe in Omnath as a force for Green, or if you have a deck that centers around ramping up your mana.


Bestial Menace: With every highish-level token generator that is printed, Overrun/Ajani decks come that much closer to being playable.

Everflowing Chalice: Great in Standard while there are no other artifacts that accelerate for two mana. Gets a lot worse if any other ones (like Ravnica Signets, or Mind Stone) appear.

Kor Firewalker: One of the best cards in the set, and one of the best color anti-Red color hosers printed. This is better than Silver Knight for what you need it to do — kill Red creatures, and keep you in the game against burn. Highly recommended you pick up a set of these.

Leatherback Baloth: The question is this: even though this guy has an undeniably huge body (GGG for 4/5), would a mono-Green deck want to play him over an Elf?

Loam Lion: Kird Ape for W/G, and yet another amazing target for Ranger of Eos in a W/G aggro deck. I expect this guy to climb in value, and he’s another reason why White-based Zoo might end up being better than Red or Green-based Zoo in Extended.

Quicksand: It’s seen play before, and it’ll see play again. Good for killing Bloodbraid Elf and Kor Firewalker.

Sejiri Merfolk: Fits right into where you want him to be, if you’re playing W/U merfolk. Would have been a superstar in Lorwyn block.

Shoreline Salvager: Generally, this effect shows up on smaller cheaper creatures with some evasion ability (Shadowmage Infiltrator, Cold-Eyed Selkie). Will be interesting to see if this effect is good on a creature that is reasonably costed, and has some body to it.

Slavering Nulls: Headhunter variants inevitably see some love (casually and competitively), but it might not be a lot of love.

Slingbow Trap: Great against Vampires, and probably a better card against White decks to battle Baneslayer Angel than Windstorm.

Smother: A tournament staple. If you don’t have these from Onslaught block, pick them up now. Tarmogoyf killer in Extended.

Spell Contortion: I’m not so hot on this card, but I do think it has a better upside than Cancel in the current metagame (U instead of UU to initially cast, the ability to chain it to draw cards late game).

Tectonic Edge: Currently running at $0.99, but this is one of the chase cards in the set. Yes, it won’t blow people completely out of the game like Wasteland/Strip Mine did, but it’s arguably at an equal-to-slightly-higher power level than Dust Bowl, which was a tournament staple. Deals with manlands, Valakut, Agadeem, Dark Depths, and several other lands that you just want to get rid of, and Tectonic Edge can be played in any deck. Pick up four of these now; I believe they will be hitting the $2-$3 mark come Regionals time.


Arbor Elf: I’m excited about this guy for Enchantress deck that like running Wild Growths and Utopia Sprawls.

Bojuka Bog: A lot of people are going nuts about this card, calling it the ultimate Dredge killer (since it is uncounterable, and can’t be hit by Duress on the first turn). However, there are a LOT of instances where you want to be able to kill an opponent’s graveyard on their turn, and Bojuka Bog only lets you kill the graveyard at sorcery speed. Tormod’s Crypt and Relic of Progenitus are a lot more versatile for stopping a dredge opponent when you need to get rid of a Bridge from Below (i.e. on their turn).

Calcite Snapper: A solid control card, and will be part of any deck that runs Jace as a centerpiece in Standard.

Explore: A solid cantrip accelerant. Should see a bunch of play, casually and competitively.

Groundswell: Might of Old Krosa, welcome back to the metagame.

Halimar Depths: Index for three is particularly strong when A) you don’t care about your first turn drop, or B) you want to set up Treasure Hunt to draw a lot of cards, without expending extra mana/cards. Very solid for what you want it to do, and I think that control players will be very thankful this tool is around.

Khalni Garden: Polymorph decks just became viable in Standard, and better in Extended.

Mysteries of the Deep: Control players have been lacking a good instant-speed draw spell, and I’m not sure that Mysteries of the Deep is that card. I think that there are potentially better choices right now in Standard, between Divination, and a deck-manipulated Treasure Hunt.

Nature’s Claim: A cheaper Naturalize with a Crumble drawback. Extremely solid if you only care about getting rid of an opponent’s artifact/enchantment at the cheapest cost possible. Should see play as far back as Vintage.

Roiling Terrain: A great land destruction spell, especially if you’re running a heavy-LD deck. Does this card singlehandedly bring Ponza back to Extended, by making land destruction a win condition as well as a mana-denial strategy?

Searing Blaze: Lash Out was good, and this is just as good. Will see a lot of play.

Sejiri Steppe: Should be interesting to see if White Weenie plays this, or if people use this as a way to push Baneslayer Angel past Malakir Bloodwitch in the White vs. Vampires matchup in Standard.

Treasure Hunt: Fantastic, and people doing the “you draw 1.5 cards on average” math don’t take into account the vast repertoire of library manipulation available to a Blue mage, in every format in Magic (especially with Jace and Halimar Depths and Ponder around in Standard). Compulsive Research was initially shunned when Ravnica was first released, but ended up being the hallmark Blue card drawing spell of its Standard format. I believe Treasure Hunt will end up filling that same role.

Wind Zendikon: The best Zendikon — cheap, evasive, and it has a big body for what you’re paying.

I hope everyone has a great prerelease! Ours in Richmond has been cancelled due to weather (frown), but I’m really looking forward to seeing how the values of the cards in this set play out over the coming weeks. Worldwake isn’t as strong a set as Zendikar, but it’s absolutely nowhere near as weak as many people are making it out to be; I think that when we look back at Worldwake a year from now, we’ll see that it was a very solid Expansion set that was well worth opening for singles.

Oh yes, there was something about a special announcement in the blurb for this article, wasn’t there? There are actually two special announcements:

1) I’m going to be a first-time dad come (around) May of this year! Kate and I are expecting our first (we should know the gender towards the middle of next week), and I’m really excited about this big step forward in my life!

2) Partly because of me becoming a dad, I’m going to be doing less travelling for the business as a buyer at events (there are other business related reasons as well, but I won’t bore you with all the details). Because I will be out of town less frequently, this opens me up to have more time to write articles again. Beginning with this article, I will once again be writing a weekly column for StarCityGames.com! So tune in next week, when I’ll talk about how Worldwake has affected the values of cards from older sets and formats! See you next Thursday!

Ben Bleiweiss
General Manager of Acquisitions, StarCityGames.com
Your thoughts/comments are appreciated in the forums, or at [email protected]StarCityGames.com if you do not wish them to be public!