The Top 20 Champions of Kamigawa Cards to Trade For!

Many of you know Ben as one of the columnists of the site, but he’s also the General Manager of StarCityGames.com. One of his job duties is to set all of the buy and sell prices on the website. This means that he’s in the thick of determining the values and trends of Magic cards 24/7. Join him as he takes a look at the best cards you can trade for at the Champions of Kamigawa pre-release this weekend!

Hey everybody! I’ll be taking over the duties for this little pre-prerelease article formerly written by Nate Heiss. Who better to take it over than me, Mr. General Manager person of StarCityGames.com? There are two types of players in this world: Tournament and Casual players. Each of them evaluates cards differently – what is good in a six player chaos game, for instance, is not necessarily what is good at Friday Night Magic. Accordingly, I’ve split the list into two halves – the casual cards you’d want to trade for, and the tournament cards you’d want to trade for.

All spoiler information has been retrieved from www.mtgnews.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 cards are not as they have printed on their spoiler. As of this writing, there were still twelve cards missing, most of them rares. However, enough of the set has been revealed there that I feel comfortable making these lists.

Remember one rule of thumb: Casual players like Dragons, Angels, large splashy effects, and tribal cards such as Coat of Arms and Relentless Rats. Tournament players love cards which will dominate metagames at the PTQ, Grand Prix, and Pro Tour levels. Sometimes these cards intersect, but many times they do not.

This list is *not* a best-of-Champions of Kamigawa list! I’ll be writing that article next week. This list is a guide to the cards in this set which I feel will have the highest monetary value of all the cards in Champions of Kamigawa. I also feel these cards will be the most likely to retain their value over the coming weeks and months.


1) Azusa – G2 (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Human Monk

You may play two additional lands each of your turns.


Azusa is amazing in any sort of Turboland deck, and might be the card that puts a straight Rude Awakening deck over the top in Standard. Exploration and Fastbond have held their value over time, and Azusa is the best extra-land-drop-per-turn card since Exploration.

2) Boseiju, Who Shelters All (Rare)

Legendary Land

Boseiju, Who Shelters All comes into play tapped.

Pay 2 life, : Add 1 to your mana pool. If that mana is spent on an instant or sorcery spell, that spell can’t be countered by spells or abilities.

Tooth and Nail loves this card, as that deck can easily search out a copy of Boseiju early with either Sylvan Scrying or Reap and Sow, and then force through Tooth and Nail itself against a control deck. In addition, Death Cloud decks might run this, and Boseiju acts as a way to force through spells on a control on control match.

3) Cranial Extraction – B3 (Rare)

Sorcery – Arcane

Name a nonland card. Search target player’s graveyard, hand, and library for all cards with that name and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

Speaking of Tooth and Nail, this card hoses that deck something mightily. Cranial Extraction kills any deck which runs only one kill condition. Cranial Extraction seems playable across multiple formats, including Vintage – unlike Jester’s Cap (six mana activation), Cranial Extraction has a chance to strip the hand, plus all four copies of a card like Psychatog or Worldgorger Dragon.

4) Ghostly Prison – W2 (Uncommon)


Creatures can’t attack you unless their controller pays 2 for each creature attacking you.

One of only two uncommons on the list, Ghostly Prison is just what White needed – an amazing control/tempo card to allow it to race against aggressive decks. This card works wonders against affinity, and will be an auto-include in a Standard environment heavy on artifact removal but short on enchantment kill.

5) Gifts Ungiven – U3 (Rare)


Search your library for four cards with different names and reveal them. Target opponent chooses two of those cards. Put the chosen cards into your graveyard and the rest into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

A preview card on MagicTheGathering.com, a lot of people seem excited about the fixed Intuition. I think it’s slightly overrated right now – it’s decent, but it won’t usually get the cards you need. With that said, its pedigree is Intuition and Fact or Fiction, so that alone gives it some street cred.

6) Glimpse of Nature – G (Rare)


Whenever you play a creature spell this turn, draw a card.

The sleeper rare of the set, Glimpse of Nature just asks for someone to break it in half. There’s a deck out there somewhere, possibly across multiple formats, that can abuse the heck out of this card. Is it U/G Madness? The Kobold deck in T1? Affinity? Food Chain Goblins? This card will be broken, but until someone does the grunt work to break it, people will undervalue it. Pick it up now while it’s cheap.

7) Hinder – UU1 (Uncommon)


Counter target spell. If that spell is countered this way, put that spell on the top or on the bottom of its owner’s library instead of his or her graveyard.

The only other uncommon on either list, Hinder is the best counterspell printed in quite some time. The ability to act as a hybrid Dissipate/Memory Lapse will be truly powerful in the hands of a skilled player. Expect to see these immediately replacing Rewind in U/W control decks.

8) Horobi, Death’s Wail – BB2 (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Spirit


Whenever a creature becomes the target of a spell or ability, destroy that creature.

White got Ghostly Prison as a way to battle Affinity, and Black got Horobi, Death’s Wail. While it might not seem blatant at first, Horobi is quite good against the artifact deck, as Shrapnel Blast is often Affinity’s only way to target. In the meanwhile, Horobi shuts down all modular creatures, Cranial Plating, and the ability for Blinkmoth Nexuses to pump one another. It also allows for supplemental cards such as Relic Barrier to become creature kill.

9) Isamaru, Hound of Konda – W (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Hound


Savannah Lions, you have a new doggy friend! Isamaru will be in White Weenie if and when White Weenie ever revives itself. Can you afford to run four under the new Legends rule? Maybe, maybe not – but this is the large one drop for a Standard environment lacking large one drops.

10) Time Stop – UU4 (Rare)


End the turn. (Remove all spells and abilities on the stack from the game, including this card. The player whose turn it is discards down to his or her maximum hand size. Damage wears off, and”this turn” and”until end of turn” effects end.)

Time Stop straddles the line between casual and tournament big-splashy-effect card for the set, much like Mindslaver and Platinum Angel did in Mirrodin. I think Time Stop will end up in the playable camp, though it’s certainly not all that and a bag of chips. The ability to worm a Blue player out of any situation can’t be all bad, can it? Time Stop is part Counterspell, part Time Walk, and will function much like the aforementioned Mindslaver – sometimes it will swing and miss, but often it will completely wreck the opponent.


1) Dosan the Falling Leaf – GG1 (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Human Monk

Players can play spells only during their turn.


Reminiscent of City of Solitude, Dosan allows combo players to go off without hinderance, and allows Green mages to cast their spells without having to worry about pesky countermagic. Casual players hate having their spells countered, and flock to cards such as this.

2) Eight-and-a-Half-Tails – WW (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Fox Cleric

W1: Target permanent you control gains protection from white until end of turn.

1: Target spell or permanent becomes white until end of turn.

Shaman en-Kor, Mother of Runes and Devoted Caretaker are all small White guys that keep your opponent from messing with your other creatures. Casual players hate having their creatures killed, and Eight-and-a-Half -Tales fills this void in spades – it can protect your creatures and allow your creatures to break through your opponent’s defenses.

3) Heartbeat of Spring – G2 (Rare)


Whenever a player taps a land for mana, that player adds one mana of that type to his or her mana pool.

Mana Flare has held its value quite well over the years. Vernal Bloom, Priest of Titania and Gaea’s Cradle have done so as well. Moving Mana Flare to Green territory, where it will surely be appreciated, can only lead to a card which is a sure winner with casual players. Great for play in both group games and team games.

4) Hisoka, Minamo Sensei – UU2 (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Wizard

U2, Discard a card: Counter target spell if it has the same converted mana cost as the discarded card.


While most casual players hate Blue, some stick by the color through thick and thin. Ertai, Wizard Adept and Patron Wizard have been hits with casual Blue mages for years, and Hisoka fits right into the mold of those two cards.

5) Orochi Hatchery – XX (? – presumably Rare)


Orochi Hatchery comes into play with X charge counters on it.

5, Tap: Put a 1/1 green snake creature token into play for each charge counter on Orochi Hatchery.

Serpent Generator. Phyrexian Processor. Lab Rats. Verdant Force. Riptide Replicator. Soul Foundry. Players love to play with creature token generators, and this is one of the first capable of spitting out multiple creatures a turn! In addition, snakes are the green tribe of Kamigawa, so the ability to make multiple snakes will only enhance the value of this card.

6) Konda, Lord of Eiganjo – WW5 (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Human Samurai

Vigilance (Attacking does not cause this creature to tap.)

Bushido 5 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +5/+5 until end of turn.)

Konda, Lord of Eiganjo is indestructible.


Indestructible. Does not tap to attack. Has the largest of a new ability (Bushido) in a set. He’s a samurai, which I think will be a popular creature type in this block. This was one of the first previewed cards, and reaction has been great from the casual quarter on most of the major forums across the Magic internet.

7) Marrow-Gnawer – BB3 (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Rat Rogue

All Rats have fear.

Tap, Sacrifice a Rat: Put X 1/1 black rat creature tokens into play, where X is the number of Rats you control.


As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, casual players love tribal cards. Marrow-Gnawer is the rat lord, and he works well to multiply your forces. He might be good enough to see competitive play, given the rise of Chittering/Ravenous Rats decks in tournament play. Until then, this will allow a casual player to churn out a near exponential number of rats into play. If left unchecked for more than a couple of turns, Marrow-Gnawer can spawn an army of dozens of unblockable rats.

8) Night Dealings – BB2 (Rare)

Whenever a source you control deals damage to another player, put that many theft counters on Night Dealings.

BB2, Remove X theft counters from Night Dealings: Search your library for a nonland card with converted mana cost X, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

A tad too slow for Constructed play, Night Dealings fits amazingly well into slower black control decks. It can tutor for zero drop artifacts right away (such as Engineered Explosives or Tormod’s Crypt) and gains counters off of non-creature damage (such as Drain Life, or, heaven forbid, Pestilence). I could see mono-Black control decks in group games, giving Night Dealings dozens of counters in one shot with well timed Crypt Rats activations. In fact, this might be the best group game card in the set, given how many counters you can give this using Black damage-all-player effects.

9) The Unspeakable – UUU6 (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Spirit

Flying, Trample

Whenever The Unspeakable deals combat damage to a player, you may return target Arcane spell from your graveyard to your hand.


The Unspeakable is the Spirit of Night of this set – if you cast Peer Through Depths, Reach Through Mists, and Sift Through Sands in the same turn, you get to put The Unspeakable into play for free. This is quite doable, and so The Unspeakable will be quite in demand – see the Helm, Sword and Shield of Kaldra for more examples of how cards like this have held their value on the secondary market.

10) The Dragons, of course!

All of the below are 5/5 Legendary Creature – Dragon Spirit creatures with Flying. They each have an ability which triggers when they go to the graveyard from play. All five are rare.

Jugan, the Rising Star: GGG3, distribute five +1/+1 counters among any number of creatures.

Keiga, the Tide Star: U5, gain control of target creature.

Kokusho, the Evening Star: BB4, each opponent loses 5 life. You gain life equal to the life lost in this way.

Ryusei, the Falling Star: R5, deals 5 damage to each creature without flying.

Yosei, the Morning Star: WW4, target player skips their next untap step. Tap up to five target permanents that player controls.

These are all large, flying dragons. They all have splashy, big effects. They are the casual player chase rares of the set. Nuff said.

Happy hunting, have fun at the prerelease, and may you acquire foil version of all the cards you want!

Ben can be reached at [email protected].