Throne of Eldraine Financial Set Review, Part 2

Chas Andres returns for Part 2 of his Throne of Eldraine financial speculations! Many of his predictions from Part 1 are already proving correct, so you won’t want to miss this!

Throne of Eldraine
is looking really good so far.

The fall set release always has an outsized effect on the Standard
metagame, because it’s accompanied by a shrinking of the card pool via
rotation. That doesn’t always mean the fall set is always powerful, though.Ixalan only ended up having a small handful of impactful Standard
cards. Ditto for Battle For Zendikar. Sometimes this is due to
missteps by Wizards of the Coast – I sincerely believe they thought that
Dinosaurs were going to be good! – and sometimes it’s due to an intentional
powering-down of the format to prevent power creep.

Throne of Eldraine
isn’t going to have either of these problems, because it is shaping up to
be quire powerful indeed. In fact, it has a handful of cards that could
have been rares in Modern Horizons. There are multiple three-mana
planeswalkers, several future Modern staples, and one of the most powerful
removal spells I’ve ever seen.

As I said last week
in the first part of my Throne of Eldraine financial set review,
it’s always going to be safer to buy cards from the older Standard sets
that are already at peak supply. With Standard demand about to shoot
through the roof and nobody drafting Ravnica Allegiance or Core Set 2020 anymore, these are the cards that have the best shot
at gaining value.

That said, there are a lot of cards in Throne that I’m incredibly
excited about, both as a player and as a finance expert. There are even a
few Throne cards that I think are great buys right now, even
though excitement for the set has started to reach a fever pitch. Let’s get
to it, shall we?

Mythic Rares

Creating new play patterns for planeswalkers is hard, but WotC nailed it
with The Royal Scions. Five starting loyalty is absurd for a three-mana
planeswalker, especially considering the fact that The Royal Scions only
tick up. This makes up for the fact that its ultimate is merely good
(instead of game ending), and that it can’t really protect itself any other

I don’t think The Royal Scions are going to end up being a format-defining
planeswalker like Teferi, Time Raveler, but this is still the best chance
for Arclight Phoenix to see Standard play after rotation. Putting a looting
ability at +1 means that people will try to build an Izzet Phoenix style
deck around this card, and that strategy still has a lot of high-level
support in cards like Dreadhorde Arcanist and Finale of Promise.

Financially, I feel like The Royal Scions are already pretty close to their
realistic ceiling. This planeswalker is too narrow to become a multi-deck,
multi-format staple, and $20 is the going rate for a mythic planeswalker
that only shows up a single top deck. It’s possible that I’m wildly
underrating the looting ability and The Royal Scions single-handedly
revitalizes the looting decks in Modern, but I’m not optimistic about that
possibility. This seems like a $15-$18 Standard card to me.

Questing Beast – $20

Questing Beast is exactly the sort of card that midrange decks need access
to in order to deal with problematic planeswalkers. One of the biggest
problems that creature decks have right now is that they can’t really
compete with the cascade of value coming from the most powerful
planeswalkers. By allowing aggressive players to eat away at their
opponent’s life total while also taking out their value ‘walkers, Questing
Beast should help open up several lines of attack in the new Standard

My only worry about Questing Beast is that it won’t be played as a four-of
in most cases. It’s a legendary creature, so you don’t want to draw more
than one, and it’s already hard to find room for four-drop creatures in
decks that want to attack. Questing Beast is one of the hottest cards in
the set so far, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it surging past
$20 in the short-term since it is so obviously good. Long term, we’ll see. Throne of Eldrane is powerful enough that Questing Beast might end
up closer to $15 than $30, but I highly doubt this card busts entirely. It
just does so much.

If you’re pre-ordering this card, don’t forget to snag a set of Shifting
Ceratops as well. That creature is just $5 still, and I can’t imagine you
won’t be playing it in your Questing Beast deck. That’s the green creature
I’d rather speculate on, too.

Robber of the Rich may not look like much at first glance, but red is
always in need of two-drops with haste. You probably aren’t running Robber
in any deck that doesn’t want to dump its hand pretty early on, but that
doesn’t mean that it won’t have multiple homes. Plus, this card is very
good in that sort of deck. You’re likely to gain some situational card
advantage – perhaps game-breaking card advantage – in any game where you’re
connecting with Robber of the Rich multiple times.

The best part about Robber of the Rich is that your opponent will simply
have to find a way to deal with this card in some number of games, which is
awesome for a two-drop. The rest of the time, a 2/2 with haste for two and
no other abilities is totally fine. It’s not a card you’d be stoked to
play, but it’s never going to actively hurt you.

Metagame-wise, I can see Robber of the Rich finding a home in Mono-Red
Aggro as well as any sort of Izzet deck that’s trying to take advantage of
The Royal Scions. If both of those decks are good, or if Robber of the Rich
gains a foothold in a third deck, we’re looking at a $20-$25 card. If not,
this thing could end up down in the $5-$8 range. I don’t hate buying in at
$15, and I do think that Robber of the Rich will see play, but it’s not a
must-buy at current retail.

Embercleave – $6

Wow, what a great piece of Equipment. Temur Battle Rage should be a good
reminder of how powerful trample and double strike can be when they’re
paired up at instant speed, and even spending four mana for an effect like
this is worth it since it’s somewhat repeatable. There are obviously going
to be some games when your board gets eaten up and this will feel like the
worlds’ clumsiest six-drop, but isn’t that true of every pump spell?

Financially, the biggest problem I have with Embercleave is that it’s
unlikely to show up in more than a single deck. It’s also unlikely to be as
popular in casual formats, where you’re not just trying to do a ton of
damage very quickly most of the time. I can certainly see a world where
this card ends up being a $10-$15 staple, but I don’t think it has legs
beyond that. $6 is a fine price to pay if you plan to use Embercleave, but
I don’t think it has enough upside to be a solid spec target. Regardless, I
don’t see a ton of downside here, so feel free to buy in if you want to
test it out.

Outlaws’ Merriment seems super underrated to me. I get that it’s a
hard-to-cast four-mana enchantment that doesn’t do anything the turn you
play it, but every token it makes is better than you think. All three of
them have haste, and they can all impact the game right away. The
difference between a generic 1/1 and the creatures that this card makes is
pretty large.

Outlaw’s Merriment might not generate as many tokens as fast as Assemble
the Legion did, but any enchantment that can passively generate tokens
every turn is worth considering as a control finisher. Plus, the fact that
the tokens each have powerful abilities on their own means that this card
can give equipment-based decks a steady supply of worthy sword-carriers.

Other than being potentially underrated, why is Outlaws’ Merriment just $4,
which is the bulk mythic price during preview season? In large part, it’s
because there’s no clear home for an effect like this in Throne of Eldraine Standard right now. Feather decks don’t want
four-drop enchantments, and there’s no Boros Equipment or Jeskai Control
shell screaming for this card right now.

This is certainly an issue, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Outlaws’
Merriment ends up dropping in price before eventually finding a home, but I
still really like this card long-term. It’s a $10+ card if it ever does end
up in a good Standard deck, and Commander players are always going to want
a copy. There are a couple of other Throne cards that feel like
slightly stronger pick-ups to me right now, but I’m totally fine grabbing a
set of these at current retail, too.

I really like Harmonious Archon, too. Ten power for six mana is a nice
bonus, but the real point of this card is that you can kill someone out of
nowhere in a tokens deck. Depending on how the metagame develops, I can
imagine Selesnya, Boros, and Orzhov decks all looking at Harmonious Archon
for the top of their curve.

This card isn’t perfect, of course. You can get absolutely blown out with a
single spot removal spell, which isn’t an issue that most Overrun effects
have. But $4 mythic rares rarely have the upside of “potential multi-deck
Standard staple that Commander players also love.” Harmonious Archon is all
that and more. I’ll want a stack of these for my long-term spec box
regardless, so I’m going to snag at least a playset of them now in case it
pays off in Standard.


Do you want to bet against Once Upon a Time? I sure don’t. WotC has proven
time and time again that they aren’t good at making free spells without
breaking something in half, and Once Upon a Time certainly has the look of
a multi-format staple.

I see a lot of people comparing this card to Ancient Stirrings, but it
serves a more general purpose. You might want to run Once Upon a Time
alongside Ancient Stirrings in decks like Mono-Green Tron, but I actually
think that this card has a wider base of appeal. Not only is it going to be
helpful in Modern decks like Amulet Titan and Devoted Devastation, but it’s
the perfect way to smooth your draw in Standard, too.

Financially, my biggest worry about Once Upon a Time is the fact that it’s
a rare in a set with so many other powerful cards. Even the mighty Teferi,
Time Raveler is just $18 right now despite being the most important
format-defining card in Standard and a powerful Modern staple in its own
right. It’s also risky simply because Once Upon a Time an expensive new
card that we haven’t played with yet; no matter how good it looks there’s
always a chance that we’re just totally overrating how good Once Upon a
Time actually is. I don’t think that’s particularly likely, but whenever
you’re dropping $12 on an untested rare from a set that will be heavily
opened, there’s some risk involved.

That said, I still don’t want to bet against Once Upon a Time. I think this
card will prove to be as powerful as it looks, and it should end up being a
$15-$20 rare, at least in the short-term. If you get your copies at $12, I
don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

You might not be old enough to remember when WotC considered Affinity their
biggest design mistake in about a decade, but I am. Fifteen years later,
it’s still not hard to stuff your deck with a pile of cheap artifacts and
go off – in fact, it’s probably easier now than it was back in the days of Mirrodin and Darksteel.

My point is, this card doesn’t cost 2U. It costs U. Sometimes you might
have to pay an extra colorless or two, but those games will be fairly rare.
The rest of the time, you’re essentially getting a one mana way to re-buy
any artifact in your graveyard. Oh, and that self-mill effect isn’t too
shabby, either.

Emry is going to see play in Modern. She might even see a lot of play in
Modern. Sam Black outlined a few potential Emry brews in his article last
week, including Whirza, Affinity, and Lantern Control. I think he’s onto
something. This card feels more like a Modern Horizons rare than a
Standard-legal card, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up spawning a
whole new Modern archetype.

Financially, my one worry is that Emry is unlikely to do much in Standard.
It’s possible that there will be a deck with enough artifacts to make it
worthwhile, but you’re probably paying full freight for Emry most of the
time. And if Emry doesn’t see a ton of play in Standard, her short-term
value is unlikely to be all that high.

I don’t think you’ll be sad buying Emry at $7.50 if you’re a Modern player
and all you care about is long-term value, but Throne of Eldrane
is looking like a high value set so far. Short term, that might mean that
Emry spends time in the $3-$5 range despite being a solid eternal card. I’m
personally going to wait and try to buy in at $4, but I do run the risk of
missing out. This card is legit.

You should buy Murderous Rider for $6. Seriously,

go do it

. Then come back and read the rest of this article.

Back? Okay. Let’s talk about why that was a good move.

If there’s an instant-speed spell that destroys creatures or planeswalkers,
it is almost certainly going to be both expensive and ubiquitous. Vraska’s
Contempt pre-ordered at $5, but it ended up spending more than a year as a
$15-$20 card. Before that, Hero’s Downfall debuted at $5 before spiking to
$20. It ended up spending most of its time in Standard as a $10 card.

I can’t argue that Murderous Rider is a strictly-better version of either
Vraska’s Contempt or Hero’s Downfall, but I’d probably choose it over both
of those cards for most of my decks. The loss of life is real, and
Murderous Rider doesn’t exile like Vraska’s Contempt does, but the fact
that you can essentially get a free 2/3 Knight with lifelink out of the
deal is absolutely amazing. This card is going to see play all over the
place, and it’s going to be worth at least $10 with the potential for
spikes into the $15-$20 range. This is the safest buy in the set right now,
full stop.

When Tom Ross and Reid Duke are both telling us that Charming Prince is
going to be a multi-format staple, it’s time to listen. Tom Ross’ point is
simple: all three of Charming Prince’s modes are totally fine when they’re
attached to a 2/2 Human who costs 1W, but it’s the versatility that makes
the card. Dodgy draw? Scry 2. Playing against aggro? Gain 3 life. Have a
bunch of Humans (or even a Stoneforge Mystic) to re-set? Time to blink that

$5 is a totally reasonable buy-in for a card that’s likely to see play in
formats as far back as Legacy. Its short-term value is going to depend
almost entirely on how good it is in Standard, and we won’t really know
that until the metagame starts to develop, but I can easily see Charming
Prince as a multi-deck staple in the $15 range. And even if this thing ends
up more as a Modern staple, $4-$5 seems like the bottom. This is another
very safe buy.

Much like the monkey’s paw that Wishclaw Talisman is based on, this card is
a high risk, high reward sort of proposition. Best case, this card ends up
fueling several combo decks across several formats. Worst case, the
symmetrical aspect of the card keeps it from seeing much play.

There are ways to break the symmetry of Wishclaw Talisman; I just don’t
know if the card is powerful enough to warrant jumping through those hoops.
Of course, one of those “hoops” is “play the best planeswalker in
Standard,” so I’m not sure I want to bet against Wishclaw Talisman showing
up as a value card in Esper Control at the very least.

I tend to dislike pre-ordering cards like this, because people generally
only see the upside and fail to consider the very real downside of giving
your opponent a free tutor. That said, the fact that you can use your first
wish to get a card that nullifies Wishclaw Talisman’s drawback might seal
the deal for me. This is a $1 card if it doesn’t pay off, but I’m
interested in making a wish or two. I’ll grab a set at $4.

When a one-drop has as many lines of text as Fervent Champion does, I get
excited. You’re obviously going to want to pair this card with a bunch of
other Knights for maximum effect, but Fervent Champion is also amazing if
you have multiple copies in your opening hand – no additional support
necessary. That might be good enough for all the aggressive red decks to
run this card, regardless of how many other Knights they have.

It’s also possible that Fervent Champion will lead to some sort of wacky
Modern combo deck, where it goes infinite with Sunforger pretty quickly.
This might just be a casual combo, but I’d still be snapping up copies of
Sunforger wherever possible over the next couple of days. That card is
pretty cheap right now at just $3, and even just a quirky Saffron Olive
brew could cause the equipment to end up in the $8-$10 range.

Even if Sunforger doesn’t pay off, I like Fervent Champion. Best case,
we’re looking at the next Goblin Guide, and this Knight will end up being a
$6-$7 card with long-term upside. And heck, if Fervent Champion only shows
up in a Knight deck or two, I still doubt it drops below $2. If you want to
play with Javier Dominguez’ World Champion card, buying in right now at $4
is fine.

Lochmere Serpent – $3.50

Wait, a card I don’t actually like? Seriously? I guess it had to happen
sometime. Lochmere Serpent would probably see play as a finisher or a
control mirror breaker in a world where Teferi, Time Raveler weren’t all
over the dang place. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we currently live
in. Right now, Lochmere Serpent is simply not a powerful or efficient tool
for finishing off games of Magic. That might change in the future, and
Lochmere Serpent might be a great buy next fall, but for now I suspect that
this one will end up as a future bulk rare.

I think I might be contractually bound to dislike creatures that give your
opponent a bunch of free stuff before dying to a removal spell. Clackbridge
Troll is definitely one of the better ones, though. Haste is the big game
here – if your opponent doesn’t have a removal spell right away, you’ll get
to draw a card and gain three life at the very least.

I don’t think Clackbridge Troll is quite as good as Desecration Demon, a
card that spiked as high as $15 in its day, but the fact that they’re
comparable at all gives me pause. Desecration Demon needed the perfect
shell to work, though, and I’m not sure Clackbridge Troll is nearly as well
positioned in the current, Teferi-dominated metagame. I guess what I’m
saying is that there’s some upside here, and I’ll certainly reconsider my
opinion if Clackbridge Troll starts showing up in interesting decklists,
but I’m going to pass for now.

Ayara, First of Loctwain – $3

I really like Araya, First of Loctwain in a vacuum, and I hope that a
Mono-Black Sacrifice deck like the one Autumn proposed last week ends up as
a key part of the new Standard metagame. If that does happen, you’re going
to want to own cards like Gutterbones, Midnight Reaper, and Priest of
Forgotten Gods. All three of those cards are pretty cheap right now, and
worth a flier regardless.

I’m still staying away from Ayara, though. Sacrifice decks are often touted
as the next big thing during preview season, but they rarely seem to end up
doing anything once the rubber hits the road. Even worse, Araya’s BBB
casting cost pretty much limits her to Mono-Black unless we get another top
tier piece of fixing. Mono-black decks also rarely seem to pay off, and
even if I’m wrong about all of it, we’d still only be looking at a $4-$5
card. That’s not a great $3 investment.

Feasting Troll King seems great. A 7/6 with trample is a fine finisher
regardless, and the fact that you can recur it at least once makes it so
much more versatile than most big green monsters. With some additional Food
production in your deck, this thing becomes pretty unstoppable.

I don’t think Feasting Troll King will show up in more than one or two
decks, but it’s a powerful enough card that it could end up being $5-$6 for
a while. That won’t happen if Throne has too many expensive cards,
but I still doubt you’ll be bummed to have spent $3 on this. It’s a fine
buy at current retail if you’re planning to tap forests later this month.

Gadwick, the Wizened is going to be outclassed by Hydroid Krasis in most
instances, and I’m not sure there’s a deck that can’t cast Krasis while
still wanting to run Gadwick. It’s possible that Simic Ramp is going to
want to run a couple of these in addition to the Jellyfish Hydra Beast, but
that’s not enough to make me feel like this particular Wizard is worth
speculating on at $2.50.

I’d definitely run Gadwick in a Commander deck or two, and it’s possible
that this card will become relevant once we return to Theros
simply due to its mana cost, but I’d expect this one to end up down at $1
before either of those two things start to matter. Future bulk rare.

I like two-drops that have late-game value, and Wildborn Preserver fits
that role with aplomb. Honestly, my biggest worry is that this card isn’t
good enough early in the game, where it’s going to be a generic 2/2 some
large amount of the time, but I’m absolutely going to play it in any deck
where I can use the flash to my advantage as much as possible. Simic Flash,

We’ll have to see if Simic Flash survives rotation, or if Wildborn
Preserver is better than I think in some sort of green-based aggro or
midrange deck, but $2 is a reasonable price to pay if you’re curious. I
don’t think there’s a ton of upside here, but this is a very solid card.

We know how good Cry of the Carnarium is, but I don’t think Witch’s
Vengeance will see quite as much play since it’s so much narrower. It’s
good against Knights, certainly, and I’m sure there will be a lot of stray
Humans running around, but I don’t think the upside is there for this to
end up as a maindeck card very often. I suspect that Witch’s Vengeance will
be a pretty solid sideboard card in the $1-$2 range, neither spiking nor
dropping fully into bulk rare territory.

Worthy Knight – $1.50

Hero of Precinct One was a $5 card for a few weeks, and Worthy Knight has
similar upside. It’s possible that the dedicated Knight decks don’t even
want to run this card, but I suspect they’ll at least seriously consider
it. If Knights does well on Week 1 of the new format, Worthy Knight might
have a small, short term breakout.

Regardless, Worthy Knight is more like a $2 card long-term if it’s good and
a bulk rare if it’s not. Don’t hesitate to grab these at current retail if
you’re building Knights, but feel free to ignore it otherwise.

Giant Killer – $1

Giant Killer might actually provide enough value to be worth running in
Standard despite the fact that neither side of this card is particularly
great on its own, but together? That’s a decent removal suite. I feel like
Giant Killer is probably just a tad underpowered, especially compared to
Murderous Rider, and this will probably end up as a limited-only bulk rare.
But all one-drops have potential, and I’m going to at least keep this one
on my radar.

Doom Foretold – $1

I love the art and flavor of Doom Foretold, but I suspect it’s too slow for
competitive constructed play. Not only does it force you to sacrifice
permanents as well as your opponent, but it’ll likely just sit there for a
few turns before it destroys anything great. I suppose there’s a chance
that it’ll show up in some sort of eternal Stax deck, but I feel like its
best suited to cubes with some kind of Stax subtheme. I don’t see this as a
hidden gem or anything, but if you’re going to invest, get foils that you
can flip to Cube and Commander folks.

Opportunistic Dragon is not going to see a ton of play, but I can imagine
it acting as a useful sideboard card in Standard from time to time. If
you’re fairly certain that your opponent is going to have either a Human or
a problematic artifact, this is a pretty beefy Fiend Hunter. I’m going to
call this a future bulk rare, but it has $3-$5 upside if the metagame
breaks right.

I’m surprised to see Sorcerous Spyglass back so soon, but it makes some
sense from a development perspective. Sorcerous Spyglass is a nice safety
valve to have against problematic planeswalkers, and WotC knew the card
would rotate out of Standard (with Ixalan) a full year before War of the Spark would leave the format. Since R&D was
designing Throne of Eldraine well before War of the Spark
had even hit shelves, I can easily imagine that they wanted to ensure that
it would remain in Standard just in case it was the only thing keeping a
couple of cards in check.

$1 is a totally reasonable price to pay for Sorcerous Spyglass if you still
don’t have a set. This card has been as high as $5 in the past, and it’ll
end up in the $2-$3 range at least the next time it sees significant play
in Standard. Just be aware that the available supply for this card is a lot
higher than for every other rare in the set, which limits its upside

Wicked Wolf – $1

Wicked Wolf’s flavor is pretty awesome, and this is a straight-up limited
bomb, but I’m not paying 2GG for a 3/3 in Standard, even if it does have
some additional upside. There are several better options in the format
already. Future bulk rare.

Stolen by the Fae is another limited bomb, but I’m not going to play this
card at sorcery speed in competitive constructed. There are better ways to
bounce creatures, and there are better ways to make tokens. Future bulk

This Week’s Trends

Mox Opal was the biggest Modern gainer of the week, which shouldn’t come as
too much of a surprise to anyone paying attention to that format’s
continuing evolution. The Grixis and Four-Color Urza and Whirza decks all
rely pretty heavily on the powerful Mox, and it’s been quite a while since
Mox Opal was reprinted. The card is up to $130 right now, and I bet it’ll
hit $150 at least before peaking and leveling off. The perfect storm of
scarcity and demand.

Pillar of the Paruns was the week’s other major Modern gainer, as the card
jumped about $15 and is now out of stock at $30. Pillar of the Paruns is an
important part of the mana base in Five-Color Niv-Mizzet, a deck that
continues to have success in the revitalized Modern metagame Pillar of the
Paruns should remain expensive for the foreseeable future, especially since
the card has only been printed once, though this particular price spike was
likely the result of a buyout after

this deck won a Modern event on MTGO last week.

The card might dip a bit once the hype dies down, but I still think it
has a rosy future.

I told you to buy Haakon, Stromgald Scourge and Knight Exemplar last week
due to Throne of Eldraine-related Knight hype, and I hope you took
my advice. Both cards roughly doubled in price this week, and casual demand
should cause them to remain fairly high going forward. Much like with
Pillar of the Paruns, I expect there was a buyout at play here. The buyout
just happened to be a pretty solid move regardless, and it coincided with a
lot of real-world demand as more and more high-quality Knights are
previewed in Throne of Eldrane. Next to spike: Kinsbaile Cavalier,
which is climbing from $2 to $3 as I write this.