[Editor’s Note: The card links do not work yet because the cards are not in the database. Please do not send us a million e-mails reminding us of this fact – we already know.]
Tomorrow is the Betrayers of Kamigawa prerelease, and you’re excited about the chance to get some hands-on play with the cards. Whether you’re in Ohio, California, or attending our Prerelease/Power 9 Tournament with special guest Ron Spears (a great artist and a great human being) in Richmond, chances are that you will be looking to trade your cards. Other people will be looking to trade cards with you. In order to go into the tournament prepared, I’ve compiled a list of the Top 20 Betrayers of Kamigawa Cards to Trade For. Whether you’re looking to acquire the hottest cards in the set before they are on sale anywhere, or whether you’re looking to find the highest-valued cards to trade away for other cards you need, this list is for you!
All spoiler information has been retrieved from www.mtgsalvation.com – just as 100% of the credit goes to them for providing the spoiler information, 100% of the blame goes to them if for some reason the wording of the cards are not as they have printed on their spoiler. As of this writing, only four cards are missing off their spoiler – enough of the set has been revealed there that I feel comfortable making this list.
Please remember that this is not a list of the most tournament worthy or most powerful of cards in Betrayers of Kamigawa – though some of the cards on this list also intersect with that list. This is a list of the cards which I feel will hold the most value from the set, and will have the greatest appeal to casual players and tournament players alike.
Before we get started with Betrayers of Kamigawa, let’s see how I did last time with my Champions of Kamigawa Top 20 Cards to Trade For list.
The Tournament Playable list (Alphabetical)
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Glimpse of Nature
Horobi, Death’s Wail
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
How I did:
Very well. Cranial Extraction ended up being the chase card of the set, and has held its value over the past months. Ghostly Prison and Hinder have continued to be sought after uncommons from the set, commanding a premium price over other uncommons. Azusa, Gifts Ungiven, Horobi and Isamaru have all been among the more desirable and valuable cards in the set, and have all been in the $4-$7 range. Glimpse of Nature is beginning to pick up in value, as it is seeing play in Vintage and Legacy Kobold decks – we’ve sold dozens over the past two weeks. Boseiju has slipped in value from its initial $10 range, but still commands a good price (the $5 range.) Time Stop held value for a while, but has continued to slide as nobody has really found a use for it yet. 9/10 correct.
The Casual Playable List (Alphabetical)
Dosan the Falling Leaf
Heartbeat of Spring
Hisoka, Minamo Sensei
Konda, Lord of Eiganjo
The 5 Spirit Dragons (Jugan, Keiga, Kokusho, Ryusei, Yosei)
How I did:
Pretty well overall – Eight-and-a-Half-Tails, Marrow-Gnawer, and Konda have all stayed in the $4-$6 range – with Marrow-Gnawer making gains in recent weeks due to the announcement of a rat-heavy theme deck in Betrayers of Kamigawa. Orochi Hatchery and Heartbeat of Spring stagnated early, but have also started picking up in value as Heartbeat is seeing tournament play (ironic, no?) and the Hatchery is appealing to players who realize that Betrayers will be snake-intensive. Dosan has fallen in value to the $2-$3 range, but still commands a price over bulk cards. The same goes for The Unspeakable. Night Dealings and Hisoka were complete busts, as Hisoka has ended up being one of the least popular cards in the set! Lastly, the Dragons have all done very well all around, with the “bad” dragons staying in the $4-$6 range, Kokusho threatens to hit $20 as no store seems to be able to keep him in stock at any price, and Yosei/Keiga have both been popular with players – 8/10.
Significant cards I missed:
I had put him in the top thirteen cards for play (as you can see in the forums of my past article) but he ended up being the third most sought after card in the set past Kokusho and Cranial Extraction. He will continue to be desired as Regionals and Block Constructed approach.
The only flip card that ended up being worth anything, but it’s one of the stronger sellers/valued cards in the set.
Meloku and Kumano
These are two more legends which have held the $5 range, making them not really better or worse than the other cards on my tournament list. Given that I hit on 9 of 10 cards on that list that have similar value, I don’t really mind not having included these, especially since you can open any Spiritbane preconstructed deck and get Kumano.
Overall, I think that my last set of advice about cards to trade for were right on the mark. If you had traded for all the cards on my list, you would have turned a tidy profit and gotten the cards in the set which have generally maintained their value or risen in value. To sum up, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to placing value on cards and spotting price trends – this is what Pete has paid me the big $$$ for over the past three years as Magic Card and General Manager at StarCityGames.com.
Keep this in mind as I present the Betrayers of Kamigawa Top 20 Cards to trade for list. I’m intermixing the casual and competitive list this time around. The list will also be ranked according what I feel will be the most valuable cards in the set. Here’s the list!
1) Sickening Shoal – XBB (Rare)
Instant – Arcane
You may remove a black card with converted mana cost X in your hand from the game rather than pay Sickening Shoal’s mana cost.
Target creature gets –X/-X until end of turn.
Every single mono-Black control deck out there is going to auto-run four of this card. It’s a natural fit in a deck packed with Cranial Extraction, Kokusho, and other high-cost Black cards that are expendable when drawn in duplicates. Those cards were the most valuable cards in Champions, and this card appeals to the same player that would want those two cards. On top of that, players love alternate casting cost cards, and it combos very well with Horobi’s Whisper.
Horobi’s Whisper – 1BB (Common)
Instant – Arcane
If you control a Swamp, destroy target non-black creature.
Splice onto Arcane – Remove four cards in your graveyard from the game.
This allows you to cast both Sickening Shoal and Horobi’s Whisper for zero mana, since the Whisper can splice onto Shoal. While commons tend not to make this list, I would also suggest that you pick up any foil Horobi’s Whisper that you see, for this reason.
2) Blazing Shoal – XRR (Rare)
Instant – Arcane
You may remove a red card with converted mana cost X in your hand from the game rather than pay Blazing Shoal’s mana cost.
Target creature gets +X/+0 until end of turn.
There’s a cycle of five alternate-cost cards in the set, and these two are the best of the five. Blazing Shoal will appeal to both the casual and tournament player, as it can break the curve in many situations. Goblin decks may play it to pitch Siege-Gang Commander and Clickslither/Goblin Goon for an early kill. More casual players will go for the mythical first turn kill, consisting of double Shoal, double Searing Wind, Raging Goblin. In a pinch, it serves as a slightly-worse Enrage with more options attached.
3) Tendo Ice Bridge (Rare)
Tendo Ice Bridge comes into play with a charge counter on it.
Tap, Remove a charge counter from Tendo Ice Bridge: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool.
This is the best 5-color land printed in quite some time. It’s a slightly watered down version of Gemstone Mine, except one which can tap for mana after depleting all counters. Tendo’s Ice Bridge promises to be everything that Mirrodin’s Core was not – a one-shot, five-color land that goes online on the turn it comes into play rather than after a turn’s wait.
4) Genju of the Spires – R (Uncommon)
2: Enchanted Mountain becomes a 6/1 red Spirit creature until end of turn. It’s still a land.
When enchanted Mountain is put into a graveyard, you may return Genju of the Spires from your graveyard to your hand.
The cycle of Genju are really strong, each reminiscent of the man-lands out of Urza’s Legacy. Unlike those lands, these are enchant lands, meaning that they can be Naturalized or countered. However, they are also recurring – if Ghitu Encampment met an untimely demise as a creature, it would not come back. Not so for Genju of the Sprires – kill the land it enchants and it will return! It only costs a single Red to cast, and activates turn after turn for two to hit for six. It’s the best replacement for Blistering Firecat/Ball Lightning out there (it essentially is a 6/1 haste creature once you hit four mana – two to cast, one to enchant, one to attack). Unlike those creatures, it can attack turn after turn, and it can return to attack after it is killed a first time. That’s a fine trade off for the loss of trample. This set is especially strong for Red, and Genju of the Spires will see a lot of play.
5) Genju of the Cedars – G (Uncommon)
2: Enchanted Forest becomes a 4/4 green Spirit creature until end of turn. It’s still a land.
When enchanted Forest is put into a graveyard, you may return Genju of the Cedars from your graveyard to your hand.
See above – this guy is only slightly less powerful than Genju of the Spires, as it is a five turn clock instead of a three turn clock. However, a recurring 4/4 creature is nothing to laugh at. The entire Genju cycle will be quite popular, both with casual and competitive players. Everyone loves man-lands!
6) Patron of the Orochi – 6GG
Legendary Creature – Spirit (7/7)
Snake offering (You may play this card any time you could play an instant by sacrificing a Snake and paying the difference in mana costs between this and the sacrificed Snake. Mana cost includes color.)
Tap: Untap all forests and green creatures. Play this ability only once each turn.
Seedborn Muse was one of the most popular cards out of Legions, and has maintained a high value over time due to casual play. Patron of the Orochi attaches itself to a relatively popular creature type (snakes) and ramps up the power of the aforementioned Muse’s ability quite a bit. In a two-player game, Seedborn Muse allowed you to untap twice – once on your turn (regular) and once during your opponents turn (one extra). Patron of the Orochi allows you to untap three times in the same span – twice on your turn (once normal and once during your turn) and once during your opponent’s turn. Remember – the Patron untaps itself. Plus, there’s a good chance this will be a one-of in the Vernal Bloom/Heartbeat of Spring version of Tooth and Nail – it’s a 7/7 and would allow that deck to generate close to twenty mana per turn easily.
7) Hokori, Dust Drinker – 2WW (Rare)
Legendary Creature – Spirit (2/2)
Lands don’t untap during their controllers’ untap steps.
At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, that player untaps a land he or she controls.
Winter Orb (which has maintained value despite having been out of circulation for over five years now) sees print as a 2/2 White creature for four mana. This works well with Ghostly Prison and Icy Manipulator, both of which are in Standard rotation right now. Combined with the multitude of good artifact mana-producers (such as the five Talismen from Mirrodin), a new-wave Prison deck is entirely possible thanks to this card.
8) Higure, the Still Wind – 3UU (Rare)
Legendary Creature – Human Ninja
Ninjutsu 2UU (2UU, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card into play from your hand tapped and attacking.)
Whenever Higure deals combat damage to a player, you may search your library for a Ninja card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.
2: Target Ninja is unblockable this turn.
Ink-Eyes might be the pre-release card, but Higure is going to be the most desired Ninja from the set. It allows you to tutor for other Ninjas and makes other Ninjas unblockable, making it the lynchpin of any Ninja deck. Ninjutsu seems like a relatively strong ability, and one that will really appeal to casual players and tournament players alike. While this card probably isn’t tournament worthy, it is, in essence, the Sliver Overlord or Kilnmouth Dragon of the Ninja race.
9) *FOIL* Frostling – R (Common)
Creature – Spirit (1/1)
Sacrifice Frostling: Frostling deals 1 damage to target creature.
Frostling is so very, very close to being Mogg Fanatic. The inability to do damage to players is huge, so it isn’t quite in that category. However, it is a great creature to soulshift back into play, fits a great early spot in the curve that red has been lacking, and comes at a time when Wizards seems to be making a push towards viable Sligh decks. It’s the best common in the set, and the foil version of this card will be valuable – see Sakura-Tribe Elder ($5 foil), Cranial Plating ($5 foil) and other flagship common foils from other sets. Remember, this is for the FOIL version of this card.
10) Patron of the Nezumi – 5BB (Rare)
Legendary Creature – Spirit (6/6)
Rat offering (You may play this card any time you could play an instant by sacrificing a Rat and paying the difference in mana costs between this and the sacrificed Rat. Mana cost includes color.)
Whenever a permanent is put into a graveyard from play, that player loses 1 life.
The Rat tribe has been popular in Magic since Alpha, when players played decks with 30 Plague Rats and 30 Black Lotuses. If you know anyone who still has one of those decks together, please contact me at [email protected] because I’d like to buy that deck. In lieu of that deck, rats have continued to be popular. Relentless Rats have done extremely well for dealers, and Marrow-Gnawer has been a very strong seller. Patron of the Nezumi isn’t quite a rat lord per se, but he does come out easily enough on the back of a Relentless Rat (turn 3 Rat, turn 4 Patron), and as an instant to boot. He acts as Disciple of the Vault for all of your opponent’s permanents – not as powerful as the Disciple, but very powerful on the back of a 6/6 creature. This is one that a lot of casual players will be itching to get their hands on.
11) Genju of the Falls – U (Uncommon)
2: Enchanted Island becomes a 3/2 blue Spirit creature with flying until end of turn. It’s still a land.
When enchanted Island is put into a graveyard, you may return Genju of the Falls from your graveyard to your hand.
Not quite as strong as Faerie Conclave, as it doesn’t double as a land drop. However, it’s a fine replacement for the Conclave in formats where the Conclave is not legal, such as Block Constructed and Standard. Also, it’s the only Genju with a strict ability to push through damage (flying/evasion) as none of the other Genju have an ability like trample or fear or the such. It’s strong as a 3/2 Blue flyer for two mana a turn, and one which can lay on the board behind Wrath of God effects.
12) Disrupting Shoal – XUU (Rare)
Instant – Arcane
You may remove a blue card with converted mana cost X in your hand from the game rather than pay Disrupting Shoal’s mana cost.
Counter target spell if its converted mana cost is X.
I took a beating on Hisoka last time around, and this counterspell is reminiscent of his ability. However, I think it will be a lot more powerful because A) it doesn’t have summoning sickness, B) you can use it starting on the first turn, and C) it’s useful even without the alternate cost being paid. There are a few cards in standard right now that a control deck would fear, including Disciple of the Vault and Krark-Clan Ironworks. Disrupting Shoal gives Blue a tapped-out answer to each, as there are plenty of good one-mana Blue spells that a Blue deck would run for the Disciple (such as Annul, Condescend, Reach Through Mists, and Serum Visions), and there are a ton of four-mana Blue spells being played (Concentrate, Gifts Ungiven, Last Word, Rewind, March of the Machines) that would be able to stop an Ironworks that attempts to come online before you have sufficient mana up to counter it.
This card also has a lot of potential for Vintage play, where there’s a greater density of spells along the lower mana costs. Plus, it’s a free counterspell, and all past free counterspells (Force of Will, Misdirect, Daze, Foil, Thwart) have performed well.
13) Isao, Enlightened Bushi – 2G (Rare)
Legendary Creature – Human Samurai (2/1)
Isao, Enlightened Bushi can’t be countered.
2: Regenerate target Samurai.
If someone’s looking to make a Samurai deck, Isao gives them a lot more incentive to play White/Green rather than White/Red. He looks a lot like Troll Ascetic on paper – while he’s not untargetable, he is uncounterable. He also regenerates for two mana, acts as if a 4/3 on the block or offense. Did I mention he not only regenerates himself, but other samurai as well? He’s also easier to splash than Troll Ascetic, with only a single Green in his mana cost. The only thing holding this card back from being higher is that it is a 2/1 rather than a 3/2. If it had been a 3/2 with Bushido 1, it would have easily been in the Top 10 cards to get. As it stands, he’s going to be the most popular samurai in the set.
14) Patron of the Kitsune – 4WW (Rare)
Legendary Creature – Spirit (5/6)
Fox offering (You may play this card any time you could play an instant by sacrificing a Fox and paying the difference in mana between this and the sacrificed Fox. Mana cost includes color.)
Whenever a creature attacks, you may gain 1 life.
Eight-And-A-Half-Tails and Samurai of the Pale Curtain have both been very popular cards with both casual and tournament players. Patron of the Kitsune has some already playable creatures which can offer themselves up. In addition, it acts as an Orim’s Prayer on crack, making it very appealing for group play – whenever anyone attacks, you’re gaining life.
15) Lifegift – 2G (Rare)
Whenever a land comes into play, you may gain 1 life.
Speaking of life gain, Lifegift is completely insane in group play. It triggers whenever anyone puts a land into play – and it’s lands coming into play, not just being played from hand. With Lifegift out in a group game, you’re looking at 5-10 life a turn, easy, every go around. In more tournament-oriented play, this is a great fit in Turboland and Enchantress as a way to gain enough life to “go off”. Plus, it has potential with the Soratami cards in Block play. It is a card which looks innocent enough, but has potential to amount to something great.
16) Yukora, the Prisoner – 2BB (Rare)
Creature – Demon Spirit (5/5)
When Yukora the Prisoner leaves play, sacrifice all non-ogre creatures you control.
Let me say this right off the bat – I believe that the MTGsalvation spoiler has the creature type wrong, and that Yukora is almost certainly legendary. I’m going to assume that he is. With that said, this is the best Juzam Djinn printed since Juzam Djinn. It beats out all the pretenders such as Phyrexian Scuta, Grinning Demon, Derelor, and Balduvian Hordes. Yukora is a 5/5 creature for four mana with no drawback whatsoever in the right deck. In a mono-Black control deck with Kokusho as your only other creature, this guy is a great drop to lead the way – plus duplicates are pitchable to Sickening Shoal if you have a Yukora already in play. A lot of people will not be able to look past the drawback, but think of him more as a Steel Golem that gives you the option to play more creatures, and you’ll start seeing why this guy will be popular with tournament players and will command $$$.
17) Genju of the Fields – W (Uncommon)
2: Enchanted Plains becomes a 2/5 white Spirit creature with “Whenever this creature deals damage, you gain that much life” until end of turn. It’s still a land.
Whenever enchanted Plains is put into a graveyard, return Genju of the Fields from your graveyard to your hand.
While the other four Genju are highly offense-oriented, Genju of the Fields is the sole defensive Genju. However, it plays well as a way to stall the early game – gaining two life while stopping a Myr Enforcer is a huge roadblock against Affinity, especially while it gives you time to search out that Wrath of God you need. Plus, it survives the after-Wrath. Spirit linked creatures have also been traditionally popular, though that ability is usually associated with angels (Warrior Angel, Exalted Angel). Nonetheless, the Genju will all be popular, and this one will see play in both casual and competitive decks.
18) Shining Shoal – XWW (Rare)
Instant – Arcane
You may remove a white card with converted mana cost X in your hand from the game rather than pay Shining Shoal’s mana cost.
The next X damage that a source of your choice would deal to you or a creature you control this turn is dealt to target creature or player instead.
Man, how good would this have been back during Slide days, when you would have had Exalted Angels and Eternal Dragons at your beck and call to pitch against an attacking Goblin Piledriver early in the game? Still, Shining Shoal is the best damage redirection card ever printed that can allow a White mage to hit an opponent or their creatures. Shining Shoal is the best Shoal without an alternate cost, and is a great tool that White otherwise lacks (creature removal/damage redirection) overall. This will be popular on both fronts, though the effect isn’t as immediately splashy as the red Shoal or as immediately obvious as the black Shoal.
19) Nourishing Shoal – XGG (Rare)
Instant – Arcane
You may remove a green card with converted mana cost X in your hand from the game rather than pay Nourishing Shoal’s mana cost.
You gain X life.
Gaining life is traditionally shunned in tournament play, but is embraced like a diabetic hugging a vat of insulin by casual players. This is a great casual card, where players typically play a ton of fatties main deck. Suddenly, Verdant Force becomes 8 life, Avatar of Might becomes 8 life, and Thorn Elemental becomes 7 life. This might also be a card that Tooth and Nail plays off the board, as you can pitch Tooth itself in a pinch for a quick 7 life, and you can recur it multiple times with Eternal Witness if you need to hard-cast it for several dozen swings of life during the course of a game.
20) That Which Was Taken – 4
4, Tap: Put a divinity counter on target permanent other than That Which Was Taken. Each permanent with a divinity counter on it is indestructible.
Strictly casual, this is the Sword/Shield/Helm of Kaldra of this set. It’s too slow to work in Constructed, but it’s perfect for a group game where it has a great, splashy effect (making a permanent virtually indestructible) and allows a player to play kingmaker in a group game (holding it back to do “favors” for other people.)
Runner Up: Genju of the Fens (The Black Genju, turns a Swamp into a 2/2 Spirit with the ability to pump B: +1/+1) – this fell just outside the list, as it takes four mana to get this Genju even with the Green one! However, there is potential that this will replace or complement Nantuko Shade in mono-Black control decks based around Cabal Coffers, as it survives Mutilate and Innocent Blood (among other effects) a lot more safely, and has about the same base stats as the Shade.
Possible Sleeper Card: Slumbering Tora (3-mana Artifact with the ability “2: Discard a Spirit or Arcane card: Slumbering Tora becomes an X/X artifact creature until end of turn, where X is the discarded card’s converted mana cost.” – I’m hesitant to put this card on the Top 20 list, because it could be complete junk. However, with all these 7-8 casting cost spirits now running around (Patrons, etc), this guy could also function as a quick game-over when backed by Wrath effects.
Sickening Shoal (Rare, Black)
Blazing Shoal (Rare, Red)
Tendo Ice Bridge (Rare, Land)
Genju of the Spires (Uncommon, Red)
Genju of the Cedars (Uncommon, Green)
Patron of the Orochi (Rare, Green)
Hokori, Dust Drinker (Rare, White)
Higure, the Still Wind (Rare, Blue)
*FOIL* Frostling (Common, Red FOIL)
Patron of the Nezumi (Rare, Black)
Genju of the Falls (Blue, Uncomon)
Disrupting Shoal (Blue, Rare)
Isao, Enlightened Bushi (Green, Rare)
Patron of the Kitsune (White, Rare)
Lifegift (Green, Rare)
Yukora, the Prisoner (Black, Rare)
Genju of the Fields (White, Uncommon)
Shining Shoal (White, Rare)
Nourishing Shoal (Green, Rare)
That Which Was Taken (Artifact, Rare)
A special thank-you to MTGsalvation.com for providing the early spoiler, and may you all have a great pre-release with a lot of great trades!
Ben can be reached at [email protected].