Welcome to the third and final installment of my Throne of Eldraine Financial Set Review! If you missed Part 1, featuring my thoughts on powerful planeswalkers like Garruk, Cursed Huntsman and Oko, Thief of Crowns, you can find it here. Part 2, featuring future staples like Questing Beast and Once Upon a Time, is over here.
Now that the entire set has been revealed, allow me to double down on my prediction that Throne of Eldrane is an extremely above-average set in terms of power level. It might not have quite as many obvious future Eternal staples as War of the Spark, but it should be in the conversation. At the very least, it’s a whole lot better than Ixalan or Core Set 2020.
This is important to nail down, because new Magic sets tend to fall into one of three categories:
- Top-heavy sets where most of the value is tied up in a handful of expensive cards. Think Dominaria, where it was hard for any sleeper card to break through due to Teferi, Hero of Dominaria; Karn, Scion of Urza; Mox Amber; and History of Benalia holding so much value.
- Balanced sets that feature a healthy number of moderately expensive rares and mythic rares. Think Guilds of Ravnica, which has Arclight Phoenix at mythic and a high number of $8-$10 rares, including the shocklands.
- Below-average sets that are light on good cards, allowing even moderately desirable cards to hold more value than you’d otherwise expect. Think Rivals of Ixalan, where Zacama, Primal Calamity and The Immortal Sun are worth two to three times what they would be if they were printed in a better set.
At this point, it’s safe to say that Throne of Eldrane is not going to be a Rivals of Ixalan-style set, where solid casual mythics end up being worth $20. It’s just too good. It doesn’t look like Throne is going to be a Dominaria-esque set, either. It’s certainly possible that we’re all underrating the best mythics, like Brazen Borrower and Oko, but I still doubt that they’ll end up being worth more than all the other rares and mythic combined. No, I’m guessing that Throne of Eldraine will end up more like Guilds of Ravnica, with a fair mix of values all across the board.
This means that it’s a bit safer to buy cards you need during the preorder period. It also means that there won’t be quite as much money to be made by hitting on your specs.
Why? Because when a set is top-heavy, hitting on the correct mythic (say, preordering Teferi, Hero of Dominaria for $13) can be a huge windfall. On the other hand, the less playable cards from these sets that start out in the $5-$10 range tend to drop pretty hard. You’re punished pretty harshly for buying into the wrong cards early on in a top-heavy set.
In a more balanced set, especially one with a fairly high power level like Throne, a larger percentage of cards end up retaining their preorder price tags. This is great for folks who want to buy in early for personal use, but it means that there will be fewer cards jumping from $2 to $10 or $13 to $50.
Keep this in mind as you read through the final part of my financial set review today. I’ve taken this into account as I’ve made my predictions, and a lot of the card-by-card blurbs contain some variation of the phrase, “feel free to buy these if you need them for a deck, but it’s not worth speculating on.” There are still some obvious buys right now, though, and we’ll get to those a little later. For now, let’s start with the remaining mythic rares.
Brazen Borrower – $15
I don’t know why one of the most powerful cards in Throne of Eldraine is so confusing from a flavor perspective. Shouldn’t a card called “Petty Theft” actually involve stealing something? No matter. This is a finance review, not a flavor review, and Brazen Borrower seems destined to become a future format staple.
I actually like Brazen Borrower a little less than a few of the other Adventure cards, but it’s still a perfect tempo play for any deck that wants to slow down an opponent and attack in the air. Simic Flash is the obvious first step to consider when building around this card, but even blue-based control decks might want to consider Brazen Borrower, since it’s a three-drop that can bounce something and then kill a Teferi. My guess is that Brazen Borrower will show up early and often, spending some time in the $20-$25 range. Buying in at $15 seems solid to me.
The Great Henge – $12.50
The Great Henge is the best member of the mythic artifact cycle by far. You’re almost never paying more than five mana for this, and it’s going to immediately generate two of that mana right back. After that, you’re going to gain two a turn, have access to two extra green mana, and all of your creatures will draw you into gas for the rest of the game. Unbelievable.
I can’t imagine building a green, creature-based Commander deck that doesn’t want The Great Henge, and I suspect it’s good enough to see play in whatever green midrange deck ends up making waves in Standard, too. This would be a $20+ card in a worse set, but it’s probably going to end up in the $7-$10 range in Throne of Eldrane simply because there’s so much competition. Have I mentioned that this set is very good?
The Magic Mirror – $8
Oh, hey, here’s a card that I’m not even going to think about touching at current retail. The Magic Mirror is not good enough for competitive Constructed play, and this is especially true in a format that’s defined by Teferi, Time Raveler. Even if you can cast The Magic Mirror for significantly less than nine mana, it still draws you cards at an absolutely glacial pace.
Nothing happens the turn you cast it, and the turn after you still only draw a single card. Bouncing The Magic Mirror sets you back completely, which is a problem thanks to the aforementioned Teferi. This card is fine in Commander, I guess, but Throne of Eldraine is good enough that fringe Commander playables aren’t going to end up being worth $3, much less $8. Future $3 mythic.
Realm-Cloaked Giant – $5
Realm-Cloaked Giant, on the other hand, seems incredible.
Control decks are always looking for ways to reduce the number of finishers they have to put in their deck, since controlling the battlefield during the earlier parts of the game has to be the top priority. Seeing Pearl Lake Ancient in your opening hand is always going to feel bad, but you need cards like that in your deck to actually win the game at some point.
Realm-Cloaked Giant fixes this problem by giving you a free finisher attached to a sweeper. A 7/7 creature with vigilance isn’t great, certainly, but it’ll get the job done when it’s attached to a fairly reasonable sweeper spell. At the very least, your opponent must play a lot differently once they realize that you’re destroying everything on the battlefield and you’ve got a guaranteed follow-up.
It’s certainly possible that there will be too many Giants running around the format for Cast Off to end up being a reliable way to bin all the creatures on the battlefield. If that happens, Realm-Cloaked Giant will probably end up becoming a bulk mythic. I’m pretty bullish on this card regardless, though, and I suspect it’ll end up spending a decent amount of time in the $10 range during its run in Standard. It’s the most underrated mythic in the set right now.
The last time a card like this saw play in Standard, it was Whip of Erebos all the way back in Theros. The Cauldron of Eternity is more situationally powerful, but it’s also a heck of a lot harder to set up. Quite frankly, I’m not sure why you’d play The Cauldron of Eternity over Command the Dreadhorde, nor do I think they fit in the same deck.
It’s possible that I’m underrating The Cauldron of Eternity, and I can see a world where it ends up as a two-of or three-of in a Standard reanimation deck. I don’t think all the pieces are there yet, but The Cauldron of Eternity has two years of Standard legality to make its presence felt. Call this a future bulk mythic with intriguing upside.
Fabled Passage – $10
Evolving Wilds often sees Standard play, especially in formats where the fixing isn’t great. Since Throne of Eldraine doesn’t have a cycle of rare multicolor lands, Fabled Passage is going to have to do some work in three-color decks as well as in the two-color decks that don’t have a Core Set 2020 temple in their color pair. This is also going to be a future Commander staple, much like Prismatic Vista has proven itself to be over the past few months.
Fabled Passage isn’t as good as Prismatic Vista, but it’ll only need to show up as a four-of in more than one top-tier Standard deck to justify its $10 price tag. If it ends up in three to four top decks, it’ll end up being the most valuable rare in the set. That’s far from a guarantee, but casual demand should backstop this card in the $5 range and the upside sure is tantalizing.
I’m rarely one to drop $10 on a non-mythic rare that hasn’t been tested yet, but this is one of the safer options out there for those who like to gamble on hot new cards.
It might be hard to get both counters on Yorvo during the mid-game, but that’s only because this Giant is likely to start big and stay big. I still think I’d rather have Steel Leaf Champion in my stompy decks most of the time thanks to its built-in evasion, but that’s not an option anymore. If there’s a mono-green deck in the new Standard metagame, Yorvo will be a four-of in that deck.
Financially, $5 is just about the top of the curve for Yorvo. It’ll be worth $5 if mono-green is good, but it’s a dollar rare otherwise. I’m not a big fan of buying in at current retail because there’s no upside, but it’s not an awful price if you’re a believer.
Hushbringer – $5
In a worse set, Hushbringer would be a safe pick to stay at $5 or even gain value going forward. It’s going to be better than Tocatli Honor Guard in most situations, and that card was as high as $4 when it was seeing a lot of Standard sideboard play. That card was printed in the disappointing Ixalan, though, and there’s a lot more value to go around in Throne. Most likely, this is a $2-$3 role-player in Standard that should keep decks relying on cards like Judith, the Scourge Diva and Risen Reef from getting out of hand.
There is, of course, a shot that Hushbringer is good enough for Eternal play as well. In that case, it’ll probably stick around the $5 range for now with a shot at gaining major ground in a couple of years. I don’t expect that to happen, which is why I’m not all about buying this card at $5, but it’s not a bad deal if you want to play it.
Bonecrusher Giant – $4
In case this hasn’t been clear so far, I’m incredibly high on the adventure mechanic as a whole. The built-in flexibility and card advantage is super-strong, and most of the rares and mythic rares with adventure are aggressively costed. When we look back on Throne of Eldraine years from now, I suspect we’ll remember it as “the set with those broken Adventure cards.”
Bonecrusher Giant is one of the best adventure cards in the set. Much like Murderous Rider, it has the look of a future format staple that’s going to show up in all manner of decks over the next several years. What red deck doesn’t want a card that can kill a creature at instant speed on Turn 2 and come out as a threat on Turn 3 or 4? Don’t take my word for it, either—Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa called it one of the best cards in the set last week.
If any cards in Throne of Eldrane do break out financially, it’ll be the ones that see play in three to four top Standard decks at the same time. Bonecrusher Giant has that kind of upside. $4 seems like a bargain for a card that you’re going to be seeing a lot of over the next several years.
Faeburrow Elder – $4
Bloom Tender is a $55 card, so Faeburrow Elder should be worth more than $4, right?
Well, probably not. Bloom Tender is expensive because it was only printed once, back in Eventide, which was a very, very long time ago. It saw a little play in Standard, but that was in an era where you had five-color decks running Cryptic Command. It was kind of a weird time.
There’s a shot that Faeburrow Elder will end up fueling some mildly competitive three-card infinite combo in Standard, which would keep it in the $5 range, but it’s probably just a casual and Commander card. It’ll end up at $4-$5 long term, but probably not before bottoming out in the $1-$2 range for a while. I’d rather invest in Bonecrusher Giant right now.
Fires of Invention – $3
I have no idea of Fires of Invention is the most powerful card in Throne of Eldrane or a total zero. It’s one of the most high-variance cards I’ve seen in a very long time. On the one hand, it lets you cast things for free – exactly the sort of effect that gets WotC into trouble and has led to the most broken cards in the history of the game. On the other hand…well, its drawbacks are very real. You certainly can’t just slot this card into any sort of traditional storm or combo deck and cross your fingers.
$3 is a decent gamble for a card with this kind of upside. If Fires of Invention breaks out on Week 1 or finds a couple of homes in Modern, it could hit $10-$12 by mid-October. If you’re a believer, feel free to buy in now.
Personally, I’m going to wait. Cards like this usually take time to find a home, and I suspect Fires of Invention will end up as the sort of “combulk” card that will fizzle out early, drop down to $0.75, and then roar back up toward the $6-$7 mark once it shows up in some wild new deck with an utterly brutal infinite combo. Regardless, I suspect it’ll spend some time above the $3 mark at some point in the future.
Mirrormade – $3
Mirrormade is one of the best causal cards in Throne of Eldrane. Consider the fact that Copy Artifact is a $35 card and Copy Enchantment is a $13 card. Granted, they’re both low-supply rares from old sets, but Mirrormade is exactly the kind of role-player that’s going to show up in all sorts of Commander brews for years to come. It might drop into the $1-$2 range at some point this fall or winter, but it’ll be a $6-$8 card at some point down the line. Bank on it.
Stonecoil Serpent – $3
Endless One saw a little bit of play back in its day, and Stonecoil Serpent is a straight upgrade. This card is at its best in Draft, but I wouldn’t be shocked of it sees some Standard Constructed play, too. The fact that it has protection from Teferi, Time Raveler is notable, and it’s a pretty good answer to Hydroid Krasis as well.
Of course, creatures that are just big for the sake of being big are rarely all that good. Stonecoil Serpent is unlikely to see much play if its protection ability ends up being out of sync with the metagame, and I also don’t think I’d want to play this in a world where Epic Downfall was a common removal spell. This is far from a clear Standard staple, and I definitely don’t think it’ll end up in Modern Affinity like some people seem to believe, but I also don’t think it’s a total bust.
Ultimately, I’d expect Stonecoil Serpent to end up as a metagame-dependent role-player in Standard. It could end up in the $6-$8 range if things break its way, or it could drop into bulk rare range if not. I’m probably not going to buy in at $3 unless it ends up in a decklist that I want to build, but it’s got some promise if everything breaks right.
Vantress Gargoyle – $3
Vantress Gargoyle’s playability is going to depend a lot on how the next generation of control decks are built. This isn’t the sort of card you’re going to want to play outside of a deck where you expect to have at least four cards in your hand all the time, and it’s not great if you’re relying a lot on mass removal for battlefield control, either.
That said, Vantress Gargoyle has a pretty big body for just two mana. Any card than can reliably block everything on Turns 2-3 while still acting as a late-game attacker is solid in my book, and the upsides certainly outweigh the downsides in the right kind of control deck. Worst case, this is a powerful sideboard card. Best case, it’s a staple in control for the next couple of years. I don’t think there’s much financial upside here at $3, but don’t be afraid to buy in if you want a copy. The card is good.
Acclaimed Contender – $3
I don’t know if the Knight deck is going to end up being good enough, but this looks like one of the stronger three-drops for that strategy if it is. It’s probably not good enough to see play otherwise, though, and there isn’t much financial upside here regardless. Best case, this is a $3-$4 rare in a single deck. Worst case, it’s a bulk rare. It’s fine to snag Acclaimed Contender now if you want to sleeve up Knights on Week 1, but I’m staying away.
Castle Ardenvale – $3
The Castle cycle is incredible. It doesn’t matter that they all have slightly underwhelming abilities that might not be worth a full card on their own, because the downside of including them as part of your manabase is minimal. These things aren’t even legendary! Best case, they’re basic lands with game-winning upside. Worst case, they enter the battlefield tapped sometimes. All of the cards in this cycle do more than enough to justify that downside in most decks, and they’re going to see a lot of play over the next several years.
Anyway, Castle Ardenvale is great. It’s an uncounterable source of creatures that you can play for almost no cost in almost every white deck. The only reason that Castle Ardenvale won’t be worth at least $5 in the future is if the rest of the set is just too good, and even still I don’t see why you’d ever regret nabbing a set at $3. Rares that are guaranteed to see as much play as these lands should be worth more than the price of a booster pack.
Castle Embereth – $3
Castle Embereth is also incredible. It’ll end up being worth more than $3 at some point, just like every member of this cycle. I can’t imagine building an aggressive red deck in Standard without including Castle Embereth, and it’ll end up in a lot of my casual decks, too. There’s no reason not to buy a set now.
Castle Vantress – $3
Castle Vantress will only see play in Standard if people are playing with blue cards. If you think that people are likely to play blue cards in Standard at any point over the next couple of years, you might want to buy a set of these.
Castle Locthwain – $2
Castle Locthwain is at its best in aggressive decks where you’re activating its ability with an empty grip, paying three mana and one life to draw an extra card each turn. That’s a super=good deal for a card that has almost no drawback. Castle Locthwain is worth more than $2, and it’s going to see a lot of play.
Castle Garenbrig – $2
Castle Garenbrig might be the least versatile land in this cycle, but it could end up being the most impactful. If this card can speed up Primeval Titan by a turn in Modern with any regularity, look out. We might have a new top tier Modern deck on our hands.
Worst case, Castle Garenbrig should still see enough casual play to be worth $2. Heck, Temple of the False God is still worth $1.50 thanks to Commander, and that card has been reprinted roughly a trillion times at uncommon. Everyone is sleeping on how good these lands actually are, but that won’t be true forever.
Fae of Wishes – $2.50
Fae of Wishes seems tailor-made for best-of-one on Magic Arena, where you can gain access to a bunch of situationally great cards that would otherwise be out of your reach. Mastermind’s Acquisition has been doing this job for months now, and that card is still a solid $2 despite being about to rotate out of the format.
Of course, Mastermind’s Acquisition was printed in Rivals of Ixalan, a set with such a low power level that even fringe playables are worth at least $2-$3, so we can’t really use its price tag as much of a benchmark here.
At any rate, Fae of Wishes is one of the harder adventure cards to evaluate. If the format is slow and adventure is better than I think it is, this could end up being a major format staple. I’m guessing it ends up being just a hair too slow, though. The upside is there at $2.50, but the $1-$2 range seems more likely to me.
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell – $2.50
It’s rare that I’ll personally endorse a four-mana 2/4 that may never even want to attack or block, but Torbran, Thane of Red Fell seems absurd to me. It plays really well with…oh, let’s say half the red cards ever printed, and it’s about to become the king of “Oops, I win!” cards in the format.
Aggressive red cards like Torbran are rarely huge moneymakers, but I don’t think you can go wrong at $2.50. Torbran will see play in at least one competitive Standard deck, and it’s a killer casual card regardless. I can’t imagine it drops below $1.50, and there’s $5-$8 upside if everything breaks right. Snag ’em if you need ’em.
Blacklance Paragon – $2
With Goblin Chainwhirler leaving Standard, creatures with a toughness of one are finally playable again. Huzzah! Blacklance Paragon is probably not going to see any play outside of a dedicated Knight deck, but it does seem to be a solid two-drop for that strategy. If Knights catch on, this card should be a $2-$3 card long-term with a chance at hitting $5-$6 over the short-term. Otherwise, it’ll be a future bulk rare. Snag these if you’re building Knights but feel free to ignore Blacklance Paragon otherwise.
Irencrag Feat – $2
Cards like Irencrag Feat get broken. Period.
I know there’s a “you can only cast one more spell this turn” clause on Irencrag Feat. I don’t care. Someone will eventually find a way to make this work. Maybe it’ll be Goblin Charbelcher in Legacy or Modern. Maybe it’ll be Draukuseth, Maw of Flames in Standard (incidentally, that’s not a bad pick-up at a current retail price of just $0.59). Maybe it’ll be some number of activated abilities. I don’t know.
There’s a very real shot that Irencrag Feat drops into the bulk rare range over the short-term as people figure out how to use it, but it’ll end up finding a home somewhere, someday. I’m going to wait until it drops below $1, and then I’m going to stock up.
Irencrag Pyromancer – $2
Irencrag Pyromancer is one of my favorite lottery tickets in Throne of Eldraine. It’s possible that the drawbacks are just too much to overcome here – three mana to cast, only activates once per turn at best, zero power – but the upside here is massive. Izzet decks are going to show up in Modern again at some point, and they’re certainly powerful enough for Standard right now. Getting a couple of Lightning Bolts with a chance at more just for doing things that you’re already going to do seems amazing to me, and there’s a shot that Irencrag Pyromancer becomes a multi-format staple. That’s the kind of potential reward I’m looking for when I preorder a $2 card.
Linden, the Steadfast Queen – $2
Linden, the Steadfast Queen might become the centerpiece of a brand-new deck, but not unless we get a few more top-tier “lifegain matters” playables. Ajani’s Pridemate is obviously great, but Bloodthirsty Aerialist is going to be almost impossible to cast in a deck that wants to have access to triple white mana on Turn 3 as much as possible. Sweepers are going to be a big problem for Linden, too.
If you’re a believer in Linden, I’d suggest looking at Ajani, Strength of the Pride as a potential spec target. That Core Set 2020 planeswalker is just $6 right now, and it would quickly become the mythic centerpiece of any Linden deck. I’m guessing that Linden ends up as a bulk rare, at least for now, but Ajani is the buy if you think I’m underrating the Steadfast Queen.
Dance of the Manse – $2
If everything breaks right, Dance of the Manse could enable a Rally the Ancestors-style combo deck with artifacts instead of creatures. This card seems like it could work as a mid-game speed bump as well as a late-game finisher, perhaps working alongside Emry, Lurker of the Loch and Gingerbrute. I don’t know if that’ll be good enough for Constructed, but it’s certainly possible.
Worst case, Dance of the Manse seems like an excellent Commander card. It might end up in the bulk rare range over the short-term, but it’s the sort of card that will always hold some amount of long-term value. I don’t think this is a great spec regardless – even Rally the Ancestors didn’t end up over $2 for long – but its current price tag belies its overall quality.
Oathsworn Knight – $2
I don’t think you want to play Oathsworn Knight in any competitive deck – even one built around Knights. The three-drop slot is going to be pretty competitive in that deck (if it even ends up being a deck), and I highly doubt there will be room for a 4/4 without haste, trample, or any other powerful evasive or damage-dealing ability. The Oathsworn ability is interesting, but it hasn’t been very good historically. I don’t think this is the card that changes things. Future bulk rare.
Return of the Wildspeaker – $2
I remember when I was a big Momentous Fall believer back during Rise of the Eldrazi previews. Look how far we’ve come! Neither side of this card is amazing, but they’re both solid value for 4G at instant speed, and the versatility is what makes me really excited about Return of the Wildspeaker. This card is going to see play.
Financially, $2-$5 seems about right to me. There isn’t a ton of upside here since only a few decks are going to want this card, and they’re probably not going to want to play more than two to three copies. This is a totally fine card to snag at current retail if you play a lot of green, and it might be a tad underpriced right now, but it’s not a great spec target.
Stormfist Crusader – $1.50
I don’t think the mana is there for Mardu Knights to end up being competitive, and I feel like the Orzhov or Boros build is going to be stronger than the Rakdos one. Stormfist Crusader might still end up in an aggressive Rakdos deck regardless of creature type, but cards like this rarely break $3 even if they end up seeing play in a pretty solid aggro brew. Feel free to buy in if you want to use this, but it’s not going to be a big money-maker even if you guess correctly.
Folio of Fancies – $1
Folio of Fancies is an unbelievably good Commander card. I can’t count the number of games that I could have won if I’d been able to mill my opponent for the number of cards in their hand after they’ve drawn half their deck.
I don’t think there will be room for Folio of Fancies outside of Commander decks that are already dedicated to milling out their opponents, but that should be enough to cause this thing to end up in the $5 range at some point regardless. You might have to wait a couple of years, though – we’re talking very long-term with this spec.
Sundering Stroke – $1
Getting hit by Sundering Stroke is going to be hard to survive in Limited, but I can’t imagine this comes up at all in competitive Constructed. Fireballs rarely make the cut these days, and Fireballs that can only be cast for 6R are definitely not good enough. Future bulk rare.
Escape to the Wilds – $1
Escape to the Wilds looks like it’ll end up being too slow to show up in competitive Constructed, but I don’t want to underestimate a card that’s so close to just saying “draw five cards” on it. Escape to the Wilds is almost certainly a future bulk rare, but it comes with a tantalizing amount of upside for a $1 card. I wouldn’t fault anyone for buying in.
Happily Ever After – $1
There is no good way to win the game with this card in a competitive setting. It’s a fun kitchen table card, but a future bulk rare.
This Week’s Trends
The Modern market has finally quieted down, likely because the past two weeks’ worth of Throne of Eldrane previews have been so exciting. Historically, the Magic community has been bad at paying attention to more than one thing at a time, and we’ve been hyper-focused on Modern ever since the August B&R announcement. We’re about to enter the most exciting Standard season of the year, and Modern prices are probably going to continue falling a bit as a result.
So far, Mox Opal and Sword of Fire and Ice appear to be the biggest losers at the start of this Modern bear market. Both cards have just finished some pretty serious rallies, though, and it’s possible that their price is finally just coming into line with actual demand. I wouldn’t expect either card to tank hard enough that I’d want to sell my copies, but you should take note of the fact that the overall Modern index is likely to keep dropping some over the next six to eight weeks.
If you haven’t been able to find the Brawl preconstructed decks at a reasonable price, don’t despair. WotC has officially announced that they will be doing another print run of these, which means that they should be available for less than $40 somewhere within the next couple of months. At any rate, you shouldn’t be paying anywhere near $33 for Arcane Signet right now, which is the cheapest available price I can find for the card. Just be patient.