Welcome back everyone, and I hope you are ready to talk more budget Magic! Today we are going to be picking up where we left off on newer gems to keep an eye on! I hope by the end of this read that you consider picking up some of these cards!
First up is Academy Loremaster. This card is currently $0.47 for non-foils and $0.61 for foils. This could definitely pose a problem in Pioneer. Being taxed two mana on turns three and/or four is not something most players want to do for extra card draw. This, however, does not matter for control players. We want to play cards on our opponents turns, so who cares if we get taxed two mana on our turn for extra card advantage! This will aggravate our opponents big time to see us potentially drawing into more control spells to use later. For two Blue it is not a bad creature to drop in terms of its base power and toughness. A 2/3 is something weenie decks do not want to see on turn two. Overall, I do not expect this one to explode in value, but $0.61 for the foil is a huge bargain. The prerelease is at $0.79 and the promo pack being $0.62, those are the two I would target.
Urborg Lhurgoyf is an interesting card that might not hit huge monetary value, but it does have some upside in Pioneer and possibly casual Commander. Its current price is $0.68 for non-foils and $1.09 for foils. My mind goes to recursion when I see this card, and Golgari () is at the top of that list for both speed and power. Think about using this with quick creature spells and another pet card of mine, Graveblade Marauder. Having Graveblade Marauder out and then casting Urborg Lhurgoyf for its full kicker cost would be a huge play! If we are running a creature-heavy deck, this play would make perfect sense. Another thing to consider is Urborg Lhurgoyf's power and toughness will increase with each creature in your graveyard. This will help going into the mid to later parts of your game. Overall, I feel the Lhurgoyf has potential to go up, and you should trade into a playset when you can!
Next up is Valiant Veteran. The current price is $0.81 for non-foils and $1.00 for foils. In most cases it seems like Lords dip in monetary value, and then over time we see them slowly creep up. This one will be no different, especially since it has a spot in Commander soldier decks! In Pioneer, I love this as a speedy 2 mana value card that boosts our other creatures. Plus, it synergizes with another card in Pioneer, Skyknight Vanguard. With both in play, Skyknight Vanguard produces 2/2 tokens instead of 1/1 tokens when it attacks! This is crazy good value for those of us on a budget and looking for functionality. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We get late game value by utilizing the ability to put a +1/+1 counter on each soldier in play! Your opponents won't want to see that happen after blockers are declared. This is another one that is at a very good price, and I would suggest acquiring a playset with some bulk trade.
Keeping up on the lord train, Vodalian Hexcatcher is next on our list. It is currently $3.13 for non-foils and $3.49 for foils. This is going to be immediately plugged into merfolk decks across the board. Not only are we buffing our merfolk as they come out, but we can utilize them or merfolk tokens to potentially counter spells that may remove a single merfolk we do not want to lose, or counter a board wipe. The good thing to note with the ability is that there is no initial cost, so we can just sacrifice as many merfolk as we need to counter the spell at any time. We can potentially make use of this in Commander, seeing as board wipes are pretty widespread throughout decks. I personally would like to see this come down a bit more before trading or buying, but it is not a horrible buy-in rate. See if you have things you would not mind trading out of to get a playset of this.
Weatherlight Compleated is next on our list, and for good reason. Its current price is $4.32 for non-foils and $5.78 for foils. This is another great early game play for speedy deck with small creatures and/or recursion. It would not take too long to get the counters needed to make this a creature given the right build. And as creatures die, we get to scry to see what our next draw is going to be. I'm not sure if we would get to the seven-counter threshold for the card advantage, but in Commander that is easily attainable. The risk does not exceed the reward with this, as we are looking to have a 9/9 flier when it becomes a creature.
Some may argue it's a little fragile as it can be killed by both Artifact removal and Creature removal once that threshold has been reached. This is true, so consider having a backup plan. In Black we have cards like Deadly Dispute to counter our opponent's removal by sacrificing it in response to draw two cards and create a treasure token. This eliminates one of their removal spells while we draw into more spells and gain treasure. In Red we can use Shrapnel Blast to deal five damage to either our opponent or a creature threat. This one is pretty cheap considering its upside and that it is of mythic rarity. At the very least I would consider trading for two copies of this.
Last on our list for today is Anointed Peacekeeper. The current price is $0.66 for non-foils and $0.82 for foils. This can be used in weenies for added protection from removal or planeswalker spells that threaten our creature base. I like the idea of sideboarding this, both in a control build or a creature build that could make use of the taxing effect. The interesting thing about Peacekeeper is that it taxes the initial cost for our opponent to cast the spell, and then it taxes abilities once it is out. For three mana we get a 3/3 creature, it has vigilance, and then it has the taxing effects. There is not much to argue about on this one, as it can slide into almost any White build. It is not flashy, but its current price is a steal, and you should definitely pick up a playset whenever you can!
That is all for today, and I hope you come back as we continue our discussion of these types of cards!