The Financial Value Of Innistrad

One of the biggest articles of the year can’t be missed! Ben Bleiweiss, Director of Sales at StarCityGames.com, uses his expertise and longevity in the trade to evaluate where each card will be a few months from now.

Welcome to the article with my thoughts about the Financial Value of Innistrad! My name is Ben Bleiweiss, and I am the Director of Sales at StarCityGames.com! In this article, I’ll be discussing my thoughts about the prices of all of the Rares and Mythics in Innistrad and pointing out some key Commons and Uncommons that I believe will hold above-average value.

Here’s how the article works: I’ll give the current price for each card and then the “Future Price,” which is where I think the card will settle just prior to the release of the next set (in this case, Dark Ascension). I’ll then discuss the reasoning behind my numbers and give some miscellaneous thoughts about that card.

Each section is sorted by color, and at the end of each section I list the Rares/Mythics that I believe will be in the bulk pricing range. For the sake of argument, bulk priced cards are Rares that will settle at $1 or less, and bulk Mythics are ones that will settle at $2 or less.

Enough talk—let’s get on with the article!

[Editor’s note: Click on the card images to see their Preorder page!]


Angelic Overseer

Current Price: $6
Future Price: $3

Thoughts: It isn’t that long ago that we saw Argent Sphinx—and Argent Sphinx had a lot of preorder hype but never delivered. Angelic Overseer is suboptimal without a Human in play and is likely worse than playing more Humans, or Sun Titan, in a deck that has Humans. Will have appeal as an Angel, but I expect its price to halve.

Champion of the Parish

Current Price: $2.50
Future Price: $2

Thoughts: Humans will be a playable tribe (Wizards pushed them and Vampires pretty hard in this set), and they should improve as a tribe while the block goes on. I don’t think Champion of the Parish will be great off-the-bat, but it’s on the curve enough that I would probably pick up a playset before Dark Ascension comes out, just in case. I would just wait for the price to drop a smidge first.

Elite Inquisitor

Current Price: $3.50
Future Price: $2.50

Thoughts: The protection from Werewolves, Vampires, and Zombies here is about as relevant as protection from Demons and Dragons on Baneslayer Angel—there for flavor, will occasionally matter, but what you’re really looking at when evaluating this card are the other abilities. First strike and vigilance are very synergistic, so expect this guy to see play even outside of Human decks.

Mentor of the Meek

Current Price: $4
Future Price: $5-$6

Thoughts: Innistrad is chock-filled with Johnny-cards—combo enablers and the sort. Mentor of the Meek is among the better of them and works well with a few already-established Scars block cards (Elspeth Tirel or Puresteel Paladin in an equipment/weenie-based deck). I think that Mentor will end up seeing a lot of Standard play because it can quickly amass a lot of card advantage and is easily splashable.

Mikaeus, the Lunarch

Current Price: $8
Future Price: $3

Thoughts: Also printed as part of an unpopular From the Vault set. Great as a Commander, not so great in Constructed.


Current Price: $2
Future Price: $2

Thoughts: Meddling Mage didn’t do as well the second time around, in part because it was harder to cast than this, and in part because it was vulnerable as a 2/2 creature. Will be played, but more as an anti-combo card, or an anti-control card, than something that can stop that last aggro creature from killing you.

Stony Silence

Current Price: $2
Future Price: $3-$4

Thoughts: Null Rod, straight color-shifted into white. Considering Swords.dec is still going to be a potent force in Standard, this will warrant a sideboard look. In other formats (Legacy/Modern/Vintage), this is a strong contender for Hate Bears-style decks, as enchantments are much less vulnerable to hate than artifacts.


Angel of Flight Alabaster

Dearly Departed

Divine Reckoning

Geist-Honored Monk

Quick Thoughts: I see Divine Reckoning as the second coming of Harsh Mercy, which is to mean that if you want to run a Day of Judgment effect, you probably want all of your opponent’s creatures dead, not all minus one.

U/C of Note

Fiend Hunter

Spectral Rider

Quick Thoughts: Two efficient creatures—one that will fit in both aggro and control (Fiend Hunter) and one that is great for swinging in with a Sword equipped (Spectral Rider).


Cackling Counterpart

Current Price: $3
Future Price: $2

Thoughts: Rite of Replication kept swinging around the $1-$2 mark, and Cackling Counterpart is basically in the same school of card (and would appeal to the same players) as Rite of Replication. I expect it to perform nearly identically.


Current Price: $4
Future Price: $2-$2.50

Thoughts: I personally really like this card but have to realize that the applications to use it (as an Erratic Explosion effect) are limited by its being a 1/1 creature most of the time. I still think Mindshrieker can be explosively powerful—but not enough that I would invest a huge amount into it.

Mirror-Mad Phantasm

Current Price: $5
Future Price: $3

Thoughts: Cute and able to set up the rest of your deck if it’s taking advantage of your graveyard. The problem is the more copies you play, the less effective it is. Also very vulnerable to removal—so it will either be built around or ignored completely.

Skaab Ruinator

Current Price: $22.50
Future Price: $15

Thoughts: I view Skaab Ruinator in the same school of card as Abyssal Persecutor—huge, undercosted evasive fatty with a drawback. In the case of Persecutor, it was the “you can’t win” clause, whereas Skaab Ruinator is “you can’t necessarily cast this.” I think there will be decks that end up getting the most of out of recurring the Ruinator from the graveyard—but as a niche Mythic (and one that from early reports doesn’t play well in Dredge in older formats), I don’t see it being the next Vengevine. I do think it’s playable enough to hold value though.

Snapcaster Mage

Current Price: $30
Future Price: $20

Thoughts: There hasn’t been a rare that has risen this far and this quickly in value since the introduction of Mythic Rares. We started Snapcaster Mage at $6 and tried $7.50, $10, $12.50, $15, $20, $22.50, $25, and finally $30 as price points for this guy, and he keeps selling. Foil versions are consistently hitting $90-$100 on eBay at the time of this writing.

Is Snapcaster Mage the best card in the set? The majority of people I’ve talked to say yes—including other buyers in-house, pros, and my observations in the forums. My personal belief is that Snapcaster Mage is the best card in this set for older formats (Modern on back) and the second-best card in the set for Standard (more on this in a second). I believe Snapcaster Mage is a can’t-miss proposition—it’s good, everyone knows it’s good, and it’s not going to disappoint.

Then why do I have it dropping $10? Simple supply and demand. As people draft this set, open product, have Magic Online set redemptions, and generally get a lot of Snapcaster Mages into the open market, people will realize that a new-set Rare isn’t the hardest thing in the world to track down.

For comparison, it took Stoneforge Mystic just about a year to hit this price level, and there are very few other Rares that have broken the $15 mark (much less the $20 mark) since the advent of Mythic Rares (Noble Hierarch, Maelstrom Pulse, and Knight of the Reliquary pop into my mind). All of these had support from older formats (Extended for all three, Legacy for Hierarch and KotR), and that’s why I think Snapcaster may drop some (to $20) but won’t plummet entirely. I also think that Snapcaster will be a $20+ card for the next two years and may hit $30 a couple of set releases down the road—so even if you buy them now, they will likely eventually regain their value. They should be in the $20ish range a couple of weeks after the set release—but not drop lower.


Back from the Brink

Laboratory Maniac

Ludevic’s Test Subject | Ludevic’s Abomination

Rooftop Storm


Undead Alchemist

Quick Thoughts: I’d have Ludevic’s 13/13 monster worth more, if it weren’t also the release card (which means the market will be flooded). I don’t buy into the Laboratory Maniac / deplete your library deck—a 2/2 creature is just a little too vulnerable for my tastes for that combo.

U/C of Note



Forbidden Alchemy

Invisible Stalker

Quick Thoughts: Curiosity and Dissipate are proven tournament staples—and seriously Wizards, did blue need the help? Invisible Stalker will be a staple in Swords.dec.

Less Quick Thought: Forbidden Alchemy is my pick for the best card of the set for Standard. I would compare this card to Fact or Fiction—often you only end up with the one card you really want with Fact or Fiction (except in this case, you’re the one who choses it), and you can set your deck up to take advantage of other cards going to your graveyard (Think Twice/Skaab Ruinator/etc.). The fact that you can also flash this back late game is absurd—this would have been one of the more powerful cards in the set without that second ability. I think the foil version of this card will top $10 shortly after release.


Bloodgift Demon

Current Price: $3
Future Price: $4

Thoughts: People aren’t used to this size flier (five for a 5/4) being tournament playable, but Bloodgift Demon’s ability is strong enough to push it to tournament playable status. Pick them up now—this will see play.

Bloodline Keeper | Lord of Lineage

Current Price: $4
Future Price: $3

Thoughts: Very comparable to Imperious Perfect and should have great appeal to casual players. Right now we’re short just a couple of Vampires to make a Tier 1 Vampire deck in the new Standard. This guy will fit right in once we have a couple of more sets under our belt.

Heartless Summoning

Current Price: $5
Future Price: $6-$8

Thoughts: This is my pick for the most underrated card of the set. Heartless Summoning is a fantastic engine card and one where the benefits far, far outweigh the detriments. Dark Ritual (B) would get you three mana (BBB), so you’d be up BB when casting it. Heartless Summoning (B1) nets you two mana (2) for every turn after you cast it, so in essence this is a creature Dark Ritual that just sits and sits and sits on the board, generating amazing tempo advantage.

Heartless Summoning works fantastically with Birthing Pod, Food Chain, or other engine cards that care about converted mana cost. Heartless Summoning lets you cast Myr Superion for free (as a 4/5 for zero mana—yes, this works), drop Titans on turn four, and lets you evoke Mulldrifter for U (since evoke is a cast).

I’m just pulling some random six-drops out of a hat—but I think there are going to be a lot of Standard games that go like this:

Turn 2: Heartless Summoning, Myr Superion (4/5)

Turn 3: Bloodgift Demon, start drawing cards

Or how about:

Turn 2: Heartless Summoning

Turn 3: Phyrexian Rager, Solemn Simulacrum

Turn 4: Birthing Pod, start upgrading your Rager/Simulacrum

I think this card has so much potential for abuse—get it now because I think that this is a card that will end up seeing a lot of play, in not just Standard.

Liliana of the Veil

Current Price: $35
Future Price: $25

Thoughts: May go up as the block goes on—but underwhelming as is. Most planeswalkers end up having a 25-50% depreciation from preorder prices, and I don’t think Liliana will be immune to this.

Reaper from the Abyss

Current Price: $5
Future Price: $3

Thoughts: Will be popular in casual play (the more players you have, the better its ability is), but that’s what will keep its value afloat, not competitive play.


Army of the Damned

Curse of Death’s Hold

Endless Ranks of the Dead

Sever the Bloodline

Skirsdag High Priest

Unbreathing Horde

Quick Thoughts: Can you tell that I don’t think highly of Zombies as a competitive tribe?

C/U of Note

Bump in the Night

Diregraf Ghoul

Unburial Rites

Victim of Night

Quick Thoughts: But I do think that Vampires has a great amount of potential, especially as a B/R deck. Bump in the Night is the spruced-up reincarnation of Lava Spike, and there are enough B/R decks out there to take full advantage of it. Unburial Rites is a card that will work fantastically with Forbidden Alchemy.


Devil’s Play

Current Price: $2.50
Future Price: $2

Thoughts: It’s the buy-a-box promo (so the value will be kept somewhat in check), but it’s tournament playable, and that’s good enough to rescue it from bulk pricing.

Past in Flames

Current Price: $10
Future Price: $6

Thoughts: Let’s just straight get this out of the way—Wizards of the Coast reprinted Yawgmoth’s Will that only works on sorceries and instants and costs one more, but can be flashed back itself. The problem is that one mana makes a difference. The ability (or lack thereof) to reuse zero-mana artifacts or lands makes a big difference in the power level between the cards, and there isn’t really a lot of fast mana in Standard, which limits its usefulness to the majority of players.

On the flip side? This is a great Modern card, works right into the existing storm combo decks, and will likely see play in Vintage and Legacy to a degree. While I see the regular version of this card taking a dip, I think the foil versions of Past in Flames will start at $20 and at the worst hold that value.

Stromkirk Noble

Current Price: $2.50
Future Price: $2

Thoughts: Again—Vampires are now a Black/Red tribe (like it or not), and this one fits right on the curve. Should go up in value (like the other Vampires/Humans) as the block goes on.


Balefire Dragon

Blasphemous Act

Charmbreaker Devils

Curse of Stalked Prey

Falkenrath Marauders

Heretic’s Punishment

Instigator Gang / Wildblood Pack

Kruin Outlaw / Terror of Kruin Pass

Quick Thoughts: I’m not a huge fan of the Werewolf tribe—I think they are hard to transform when you want them to and easy for your opponent to turn back to Human (especially since I think blue decks with a lot of instants/sorceries will be prevalent in the new Standard). Curse of Stalked Prey is the card I list as bulk in this article that I think is most likely to end up not being bulk, if it finds a home. I’m just not sure it will.

C/U of Note

Ancient Grudge

Brimstone Volley

Burning Vengeance

Desperate Ravings

Furor of the Bitten

Infernal Plunge

Rakish Heir

Quick Thoughts: Rakish Heir is being criminally undervalued as a Vampire Lord—I think that by the time this block is done, we’re looking at a $2-$3 Uncommon. Burning Vengeance is cheap enough, and has no activation cost, that I would compare it to Astral Slide/Lightning Rift. Keep an eye to see what other “from the graveyard” cards end up getting printed because this could end up being a deck.


Daybreak Ranger | Nightfall Predator

Current Price: $2
Future Price: $2

Thoughts: If there’s one Werewolf that will do something, it’s this one—the transformed ability is just really, really good.

Garruk Relentless | Garruk, the Veil-Cursed

Current Price: $40
Future Price: $15

Thoughts: I think Garruk will have the steepest drop-off of any card in this set, in terms of value. It’s hard to transform Garruk, and neither side has a particularly exciting set of abilities. This will fall in the $15ish range, just like Venser/Elspeth did a year ago.

Gutter Grime

Current Price: $1.25
Future Price: $2

Thoughts: A fantastic casual card that has some applications for Constructed if a midrange tempo deck happens along. The primary value of Gutter Grime will be to those players who love playing Doubling Season decks in Commander.

Mayor of Avabruck | Howlpack Alpha

Current Price: $3
Future Price: $3

Thoughts: The Prerelease card, so there will be a lot of them out there. Good for a Human deck—except isn’t the Human deck going to be mono-white? Good for both Human and Werewolf tribes, and so it will hold value as a playable tribal lord.

Moldgraf Monstrosity

Current Price: $1.50
Future Price: $2

Thoughts: Underrated as the top end of the chain aka Titans and such. Bigger, tramples, and gets back multiple threats when/if it dies. I would keep a close eye on the Monstrosity because I think its being unfairly disregarded right now.

Parallel Lives

Current Price: $4
Future Price: $4-$5

Thoughts: Half of Doubling Season (which is now infinite dollars) for one less mana. It’s not necessarily the right half (the counters), but never underestimate the casual appeal of doubling tokens. Should hold steady value and have a chance for Constructed play if a token deck makes it.

Tree of Redemption

Current Price: $4
Future Price: $3

Thoughts: Very cool design, but cool design doesn’t mean playable. Should be a good sideboard card against red decks (or decks that can’t just outright kill a creature).


Creeping Renaissance

Elder of Laurels

Essence of the Wild

Kessig Cagebreakers


Quick Thoughts: Creeping Renaissance foils should have superior value due to Commander play.

C/U of Note

Ambush Viper

Avacyn’s Pilgrim

Boneyard Wurm


Prey Upon

Quick Thoughts: I’m not sold on Boneyard Wurm (or Splinterfright), but I’ve heard enough players whose opinion I respect say they are both playable to at least put the better of the two here. I’ve heard Legacy players talk about Ambush Viper as a playable creature, so keep that in mind for foil versions.


Geist of Saint Traft

Current Price: $15
Future Price: $6-$8

Thoughts: The most overrated card in the set. More often than not, it will die on the attack—so basically you’re getting a one-shot hit for four damage for three mana. That’s something you might want in red but isn’t really a great mix in the U/W deck. I think this will get played but will quickly be found to be inferior to other cards that a U/W aggro deck wants to play.

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born

Current Price: $5
Future Price: $3

Thoughts: I think Grimgrin is being undervalued, because it survives Dismember (if you’re playing with the timing correctly), eats Titans, and can finish the game in a couple of swings. A lot of people look at the drawback and blanche—I think the benefits of Grimgrin make him a reason to put blue in your black Zombie deck.

Olivia Voldaren

Current Price: $8
Future Price: $4

Thoughts: Cool casual appeal, I don’t think it’ll be up to snuff in Constructed due to the high activated cost of maintaining both abilities to kill/steal anything worthwhile.


Evil Twin

Quick Thoughts: There are a lot of clone cards suddenly out there, and while this one has great flavor, it’s not very practical to have to play black to get this effect.


Grimoire of the Dead

Current Price: $4
Future Price: $3

Thoughts: Could go higher if someone gets this to work with proliferate—but it has the drawback of costing you multiple cards when someone destroys/bounces it right before it’s set to reanimate everything.


Creepy Doll

Manor Gargoyle

Runechanter’s Pike

Witchbane Orb

Quick Thoughts: How sad that Ivory Mask (as an artifact, natch!) isn’t really meriting much of a consideration circa 2011!

C/U of Note

Inquisitor’s Flail

Trepanation Blade

Quick Thoughts: I’m really bullish on Inquisitor’s Flail, which can make a creature get out of hand really quickly.


Clifftop Retreat / Hinterland Harbor / Isolated Chapel / Sulfur Falls / Woodland Cemetery

Current Price: $6-$8
Future Price: $5-$10

Thoughts: As time goes on, the ones of these that are more played (traditionally, U/G, U/R, and B/G) will be of the higher values, and the ones that are less played (traditionally, R/W and B/W) will be of the lower value. Either way—these are very strong and should maintain value over time. They are better than the Scars dual lands, and the Scars dual lands are in the $3-$8 range at this point.

Gavony Township

Current Price: $2
Future Price: $2

Thoughts: A little too costly to activate to be super-effective, but should have its place in both EDH and as a niche Constructed card.

Kessig Wolf Run

Current Price: $2.50
Future Price: $1.50

Thoughts: Overrated right now—Skarrg, the Rage Pits is the closest comparison, and Skarrg was a better card at two or three mana. Again—I may be undervaluing this because I may be undervaluing Werewolves as a tribe—but I just don’t see it.

Moorland Haunt

Current Price: $3.50
Future Price: $4-$5

Thoughts: Fantastic for W/U decks that run Swords. The effect is very powerful for a repeatable land, and I would expect this to become a staple (but as a 2-3 of) in the new Standard.

Nephalia Drownyard

Current Price: $2
Future Price: $2

Thoughts: Casual players love Mill cards, and this is a very good Mill land for those players. See also: Mind Funeral, Glimpse the Unthinkable.


Stensia Bloodhall

Quick Thoughts: The only “clunker” Rare land in this set—nice batting percentage!

C/U of Note

Ghost Quarter

Quick Thoughts: Was hitting $5 because of Modern before it was announced as a reprint in this set. I can see this hitting the $3 mark by the time Dark Ascension comes out.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and as always I would love to read your comments in the comments section of this article! I hope that everyone enjoys Innistrad (it’s an above average set, with a lot of cards that have great Johnny potential), and I’ll be seeing you again in three months for my Financial Review of Dark Ascension!