The Top Saviors of Kamigawa Cards to Trade For!

Ben Bleiweiss is back to give you the straight dish on which cards will be the most valuable and most sought after from Saviors of Kamigawa. If you’re going to the prerelease tommorrow, this is a must-read article! Find out what cards to trade for, which cards will be valued more highly by casual and competitive players, and more!

Tomorrow is the Saviors of Kamigawa prerelease, and it’s another chance to get to play with the new set before anybody else! Whether you’re coming to the StarCityGames.com Pre-Release and Power 9 Tournament in Richmond (with special guest artist Michael Sutfin, who drew Exalted Angel, Sensei’s Divining Top and Radiant, Archangel among other cards) or hitting the trail in Alaska, you will be exposed to a fresh market with virginal values attached to cards from the new set. We will be putting up our singles preorders (with prices) mid to late Saturday, but this does not help those of you who are heading out bright and early Saturday morning to play some Magical cards. For those of you, here is the insight into the top Saviors of Kamigawa cards to trade for on Saturday!

All spoiler information is courtesy of 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. The full set was spoiled on Wednesday, so this list should be complete.

Before we get to Saviors of Kamigawa, let’s see how I did with Betrayers of Kamigawa.

The list:

1) Sickening Shoal

2) Blazing Shoal

3) Tendo Ice Bridge

4) Genju of the Spires

5) Genju of the Cedars

6) Patron of the Orochi

7) Hokori, Dust Drinker

8) Higure, the Still Wind

9) *FOIL* Frostling

10) Patron of the Nezumi

11) Genju of the Falls

12) Disrupting Shoal

13) Isao, Enlightened Bushi

14) Patron of the Kitsune

15) Lifegift

16) Yukora, the Prisoner

17) Genju of the Fields

18) Shining Shoal

19) Nourishing Shoal

20) That Which Was Taken

If you followed the forums of that article, you’d note that Umezawa’s Jitte was supposed to be on this list (which would have displaced That Which Was Taken), but I somehow just plain left the card off. I’ve triple checked my list for this article, so I can assure you there would be no oversight such as this again.

The hits: Sickening Shoal, Blazing Shoal, Tendo Ice Bridge, Genju of the Spires, Hokori, Dust Drinker, Yukora the Prisoner, Shining Shoal. All of these cards have maintained their value relative to other cards of their rarity, and are among the most desired cards in the set. No problems here! (7/20)

The near-hits: Genju of the Cedars, Patron of the Orochi, Higure, the Still Wind, Disrupting Shoal, Isao, Enlightened Bushi, That Which Was Taken. These cards all have either maintained a higher value than average due to casual player interest, or are on the cusp of tournament playability and have maintained a higher value because of potential tournament usage. (6/20, 13/20 total)

Middle of the Road: *FOIL* Frostling, Genju of the Falls. Slightly above average value, but they aren’t in any sort of demand right now. (2/20, 15/20 total).

This would be the cut off for where my last list tailed off. I hit 17/20 Champions cards (for an 85% success rate) but only 15/20 Betrayers cards (75% success rate), meaning that I didn’t do quite as well this time around. Lifegift, Patron of the Nezumi and Nourishing Shoal have proven to be complete bulk. Genju of the Fields might be worthwhile someday, but right now it’s not. Patron of the Kitsune has proven to be the most disappointing on this list, as it has a lot of potential but has not caught on at all with casual players.

What’d I miss? Not counting the Jitte (which I covered above), Final Judgment is the most significant card I undervalued. Many people pointed this out in the forums, but I wrote it off as another Wrath variant that would be marginal in block (such as Kirtar’s Wrath and Catastrophe). It hasn’t (yet) been played significantly in Standard, but it’s become a staple of Block play. Mirror Gallery, Iwamori, Kira, Great Glass Spinner and Eradicate all would fall into the near-hits section above – cards which have seen some tournament play or have held continued interest with casual players. Other than Final Judgment though, I didn’t miss any heavy hitters.

Enough of the retrospect. Here are the top Saviors of Kamigawa cards to trade for, broken down by category: The hits (high dollar cards that will hold value) and the near-hits (cards that will hold value due to casual play or mid-range tournament play). I’ve put the cards alphabetically within each list.

The Hits (Rare):

1) Celestial Kirin – 2WW (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Kirin Spirit (3/3)


Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, destroy all permanents with that spell’s converted mana cost.

A lot of control decks in block played Final Judgment as a board sweeper even though their mana base didn’t much support a double White spell. These same decks might move towards a more White heavy build to accommodate Celestial Kirin, as these decks are already running Hana Kami, Stir the Grave, Ethereal Haze, and other arcane spells. Shining and Sickening Shoals allow this to act as a double removal spell at times (I.E.: Give a creature -3/-3 and kill Meloku at the same time with Sickening Shoal). It doesn’t work well with Hideous Laughter or Cranial Extraction – but then again, it might replace Hideous Laughter entirely as the mass-weenie kill spell of choice. Plus, it’s a 3/3 flyer for four, putting it ahead on the curve of power/toughness.

2) Hand of Cruelty – BB (Uncommon)

Creature – Human Samurai (2/2)

Protection from White, Bushido 1

3) Hand of Honor – WW (Uncommon)

Creature – Human Samurai (2/2)

Protection from Black, Bushido 1

I’ll lump these two together. They are both variants on White/Black Knight, and traditionally White/Black knight variants have hit the $1-$2 mark as uncommons when they are playable (see Soltari Monk, Soltari Priest, Silver Knight, and other WW or BB pro-enemy color creature). These guys are good, and should be no exception to that rule. Slight nods to the Hand of Honor, as it has a deck pre-built (White Weenie) whereas Hand of Cruelty does not.

4) *FOIL* Ideas Unbound – UU (Common)


Draw three cards. Discard three cards at end of turn.

Insane in Vintage. Vintage players love foil cards. This will be driven into the $4-$5 range almost immediately. This may also perform well in U/G Madness (no promises on that one), and U/G Madness is one of the most popular Extended decks we get foil orders for.

5) Kagemaro, First to Suffer – 3BB (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Demon Spirit (*/*)

Kagemaro, First to Suffer’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand.

B, Sacrifice Kagemaro: All creatures get –X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your hand.

A great board sweeper in block, and one that fits into many Block control decks. This will see a lot of play in the upcoming Block Constructed season.

6) Mikokoro, Center of the Sea (Rare)

Legendary Land

Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool.

2, Tap: Each player draws a card.

I’ve seen opinions online that range from calling this junk to calling this amazing. I tend to fall on the latter – it’s a land that allows you to draw cards (meaning it is hard to remove in Standard and Block), and it can be activated at end of an opponent’s turn to allow you the first real crack at using the extra card. This is the closest we’ve seen in nearly a decade to Library of Alexandria, and the appeal to casual players of cards which draw everyone extra cards should not be discounted either.

7) Thoughts of Ruin – 2RR (Rare)


Each player sacrifices a land for each card in your hand.

The chase card of the set, hands down. Effectively a Red Armageddon, and one that comes during a Block format filled with mana-hungry decks. This card will singlehandedly change the way Block Constructed is played, and it will have an immediate impact on Standard (and possibly Extended, due to Goblin Ringleader) as well.

8) Twincast – UU (Rare)


Copy target instant or sorcery spell. You may choose new targets for the copy.

Fork has always been a $10-$15 card, but I know several people who have speculated that this value is due more to nostalgia than practical use. However, this is also met with a caveat – if Fork were Blue, people have said, it would be incredible because the only reason Fork isn’t played in Vintage is because it’s the wrong color. Okay, Fork is Blue now. This card will make an impact (though how significant time will tell) in Vintage. It will be coveted by casual players. Will it be played in Standard, Extended or Block? Possibly. Thoughts of Ruin, Twincast, and the two Hands are the four cards that are pretty much no-brainers from this set.

The Near-Hits:

1) Eternal Dominion – 7UUU (Rare)


Search target opponent’s library for an artifact, creature, enchantment or land card. Put that card into play under your control. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

Epic (For the rest of the game, you can’t play spells. At the beginning of each of your upkeeps, copy this spell except for its epic ability. You may choose a new target for the copy.)

As we’ve seen from the Pro Tour, there isn’t really a spell in block that has too high a casting cost (give or take the introduction of Thoughts of Ruin, control decks will need to begin running countermagic or die – but that’s another story.) Is the effect (Bribery for anything each turn) worth the loss of being able to cast spells the rest of the game? Potentially. In the control mirror match, the ability to put a large monster into play each turn (Kokusho, Kodama of the North Tree, Meloku) combined with the slow bleed of threats from an opponent’s deck might be worth the trade. To note: Sway of the Stars costs the same (10) as Eternal Dominion. To effectively use Sway, many decks have had to float mana to cast post-Sway spells. Is Eternal Dominion better if you can have enough mana to Twincast it (UUUUU7), so that you are taking two threats a turn out of an opponent’s deck? That scenario doesn’t seem like a stretch, especially since Twincast can copy so many opposing spells in the mirror, including Cranial Extraction, Gifts Ungiven, Kodama’s Reach, and Soulless Revival.

2) Infernal Kirin – 2BB (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Kirin (3/3)


Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, target player reveals his or her hand, and discards all cards with that spell’s converted mana cost.

Not quite as good as the Celestial Kirin, because it cannot stabilize the board against an aggressive deck. It also can’t take out the higher cost threats from control decks (Myojin, Sway of the Stars, Epic spells, what have you) that easily, making it best as a way to strip mid-control cards (Ethereal Haze, Glacial Ray, and the such) from an opponent’s hand.

Kami of the Crescent Moon – UU (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Spirit (1/3)

At the beginning of each player’s draw step, that player draws a card.

As mentioned earlier, casual players absolutely love Howling Mine effects, and this guy is Howling Mine #5. Is it playable in Constructed when combined with Aether Vial? Possibly (the three toughness helps it serve a dual purpose against White Weenie and an emerging Sligh deck), but this one will most likely retain value on casual interest alone.

3) Kiyomaro, First to Stand – 3WW (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Spirit (*/*)

Kiyomaro, First to Stand’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand.

As long as you have four or more cards in hand, Kiyomaro has vigilance.

Whenever Kiyomaro deals damage, if you have seven or more cards in hand, you gain 7 life.

Potentially dumb with the White sweep cards, most likely to be relegated to casual play. Will appeal a lot to casual players, as it exemplifies the best Timmy aspects of “Hand Size Matters” – it gets larger the more cards you have, it gains you life, and it doesn’t tap to attack. More appealing than the other four Maro cards to casual types, significantly less powerful than Kagemaro.

4) Kuon, Ogre Ascendant – BBB (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Ogre Monk (2/4)

At end of turn, if three or more creatures were put into the graveyard from play this turn, flip Kuon, Ogre Ascendant.

FLIP: Kuon’s Essence – Legendary Enchantment

At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, that player sacrifices a creature.

Remember, it doesn’t need to be in play when the other three creatures were put into the graveyard – it only cares, at end of turn, if they were put into play. If this were a 2/2, it wouldn’t be on this list. However, it has three points in its favor:

1) It’s a 2/4 for 3. If you’re playing mono-Black, that’s a pretty good deal.

2) It’s an Ogre that fits well on a curve. Will this pave the way for a more aggressive black deck featuring cards like Yukora and Tomb of Urami?

3) In casual play, this thing will flip like it was nothing, and then you have what is essentially a more powerful Abyss. This is a medium to playable Constructed card, and an awesome casual card (Call to the Grave regularly sold for $3-$4 while it was Standard legal, and in casual play this is better).

5) Neverending Torment – 4BB (Rare)


Search target player’s library for X cards, where X is the number of cards in your hand, and remove them from the game. Then shuffle that player’s library.

Epic (For the rest of the game, you can’t play spells. At the beginning of each of your upkeeps, copy this spell except for its epic ability. You may choose a new target for the copy.)

The closest thing we’ve seen in print for a while to Haunting Echoes. When this is cast, you’re going all-in more so than any other Epic spell – you are banking that your opponent will not be able to kill you before you deck them, as each of the other four epic spells affect the board while this one does not effect the game state at all. Is this a backbreaking kill card in a control on control match? Can you activate Myojin of the Seeing Winds, knock 20 spells out of your opponent’s deck, and just auto-win the match? This has potential for both Constructed and casual players (see Traumatize, Seeing Winds, Jester’s Cap, Haunting Echoes), and should do relatively well on the secondary market.

6) Pithing Needle – 1 (Rare)


As Pithing Needle comes into play, name a card.

Activated abilities of the named card can’t be played unless they’re mana abilities.

Pithing Needle will be played a ton, but it’s kind of like Cursed Totem or Stabilizer – it’s quite good at what it does, but what it does isn’t very splashy, impressive, or main-decked. However, it does stop Sensei’s Divining Top in Block (which virtually no other card can do), stymies Sakura-Tribe Elder, and serves as a sideboard card for Affinity in Extended against Pernicious Deed. It also stops equipment (from both equipping and activating, in the case of the Jitte). I see this card doing well, but never really rising too high in value due to a complete lack of appeal to Timmy and Johnny type players.

7) Reverence – 2WW (Rare)


Creatures with power 2 or less can’t attack you.

A solid Moat effect for Standard and block – and one that might also see Extended play against Goblin decks, as it shuts down Piledrivers, Ringleaders, Warchiefs, and basically anything that isn’t powered up by a Sledder. Good against White Weenie, Snakes, and Sligh in Standard/Block. It will also be popular with casual players, as it is more like the desireable Teferi’s Moat (especially since the effect isn’t symmetrical) and less like flops such as Aurification.

8) Sakashima the Imposter – 2UU (Rare)

Legendary Creature – Human Rogue (3/1)

As Sakashima the Imposter comes into play, you may choose a creature in play. If you do, Sakashima comes into play as a copy of that creature, except its name is still Sakashima the Imposter, it’s still legendary, and it gains “2UU: Return Sakashima the Imposter to its owner’s hand at end of turn.”

Clone/Vesuvan Doppelganger, except it doesn’t kill opposing legends like Clone does. It does let people copy their own or opposing legends though – plus it can bounce back for later use. Also keep in mind that it duplicates comes-into-play effects, so Sakashima can be combined with cards like Eternal Witness (or an opponent’s Eternal Witness) to extra fun.

Two uncommons of note that probably will be played, but are probably not going to rise in value: Descendant of Kiyomaro and Charge Across the Araba.

Good luck trading tomorrow, and may all your trades earn you gold!

Ben Bleiweiss

General Manager, StarCityGames.com