This week in Box to Extended, we take a bit of a break from the usual floor trades to concentrate on an event that brings around even the most casual of players. Once every three months or so, we are presented with the opportunity to sit down on equal footing, a new set in hand, and attempt to make heads or tails of a format in its infancy. I feel that this article is best served to explain some trade strategies that can work to make you a great deal of money at prereleases. Unlike most other articles, I don’t feel that explaining every rare in detail is needed. Instead, I will give my financial opinion on some of the sleepers—what to hold and what to dump.
First and foremost, let’s get to the spoiler. Everyone knows what the money cards in the set currently are, so I won’t bother covering those in detail—but what about the sleepers? Everyone is so blinded right now by overpriced cards like Garruk and Snapcaster that people are oblivious to the current low-end rares that have future potential. Without further ado, let’s get right into the thick of things!
Angelic Overseer – This guy’s current presale price of $5 to $6 is a steal. If you can pick them up at this value or lower in a trade, do so. Given the minor tribal theme in this set, we are sure to see some sort of Human midrange deck, and this guy is your late game. With the ability to dodge spot-removal and Wrath effects, there is no doubt in my mind that this guy is a major sleeper. Every aggro deck wants a way to win after Wrath, and this guy is that answer!
Champion of the Parish – A solid 1-drop always demands a good look, and if the Humans archetype proves to be a legit deck, this guy will be a front-runner. I am not huge on this guy to be a chase rare or anything like that, but I can certainly see him sitting in the $5 to $6 range. At the current price of $2, I can certainly see a double-up on your investment within a couple of weeks.
Fiend Hunter – Even though this guy isn’t rare, expect a solid demand for him over the next few weeks. Keeping a few in your binder at the $2 to $3 range can net you a healthy profit. You can usually pick up uncommons off people for cheap from their Sealed pools and Draft leftovers, so picking up a set of these for a $2 to $3 rare is a solid investment.
Nevermore – Meddling Mage was a great card back in its day, and Nevermore seems to have just as much, if not more, potential. Given the extra mana, you lose a body, which can be taken as a negative in some cases, but in this scenario, I see it as a major positive. No longer can your opponent EOT spot-removal your mage just to Day next turn. Expect this to be a major sideboard player in the midrange decks; at $2, this rare is a low flyer with only room to rise. I don’t foresee a major role in Legacy, but certainly a solid role in Modern as a possible answer to some of the combo decks that have been running rampant.
Stony Silence – This functional Null Rod has some advantages over the old sideboard mainstay that certainly make it worth more than the $2 price tag. In Standard, it is sure to see some play as a way to deal with both Birthing Pod and Equipment. In Legacy, expect this to replace Null Rod, in decks that can support it, as a way to get around artifact-destruction that runs rampant in sideboards.
Cackling Counterpart – I want to believe this card has a lot of potential, but I am not one hundred percent sold, though it’s certainly a solid Commander card with potential to see some Standard play. At $2 to $3, I can see this being a safe bet, but I wouldn’t jump on this card too heavily.
Laboratory Maniac – I saw these trading hands as high as $5 this past weekend, and while that is way over the presale price, prereleases bring about those kinds of values at times. Unload all of these you have before they become bulk. The Leveler combo is straight bad, and once people get over their initial excitement, this card has nowhere to go but down.
Snapcaster Mage – I expect this guy to settle in the $10 to $15 range after a while, but given his hype and demand, I expect his current tag to hold for a few months. If you want to make some quick cash and have no need for the Mage any time soon, sell out now and pick them up later at the reduced rate. After a year or two, once the formats have settled and Innistrad is rotated out of the Draft circuit, expect a slow and steady rise for years to come.
Army of the Damned – I may be slightly biased about this card, given my love for some Timmy effects, but I believe we have a solid finisher in any Black control deck, and I think it could warrant a higher tag than the current $4. I don’t want to go to deep into this one, but pick up a set anyway, just to be safe. If you can get them for good value, pick some up; otherwise, don’t worry about it too much—the application is narrow and currently doesn’t have much of a home.
Bloodgift Demon – I truly feel that this guy has a home in both a control and a midrange deck. He’s a solid flyer for the cost, and he comes with a powerful ability to boot. He can be acquired in the $2 to $4 range right now, and I believe, given his potential, that it’s a solid price range that will either hold or increase in the coming weeks and months.
Reckless Waif – This is another of the uncommons in the set that has a lot of potential. Some herald this card as the new Goblin Guide. Though that may be a stretch, I certainly see this guy fitting into the B/R Sligh deck that is certain to emerge. I could see this guy being a $3 uncommon, but even if he doesn’t hit that, he is certainly a solid pickup at bulk prices, which people are almost always happy to receive for an uncommon.
Garruk Relentless – Get out now! I don’t know if you would play this card, but frankly, at least it draws you a card. This, in my opinion, may be among the fastest-falling planeswalkers in history. The only thing it has going for it is the new Transform factor, but once that wears off, I don’t expect much from this guy.
Kessig Cagebreakers – This guy seems far better than the bulk price he is currently demanding. If I had to go all-in on one card from this set, it would be this guy. He is a Hero of Bladehold–type creature in a color that can both ramp him out and put guys in the ’yard easily. I expect him to hit at least $3 to $4 even with mild play; if he sees anything serious, I could see it being even higher.
Moorland Haunt – Although I think the presale is a very fair price at $3, I still see potential for a lot of growth. This card seems insane in a multitude of formats, and it most excites me in Legacy control decks. I don’t see a huge rise anytime soon, but grabbing a few for your personal collection now would be smart.
Well, that’s what I feel are the big-ticket items to watch out for. There are a lot of cards that are, of course, not worth mentioning in every set . . . and that seems especially true for this set. Innistrad has shaped up to be another Kamigawa block thus far, but even given the general lack of power, there are still some very strong mythics and sleeper rares.
Unfortunately, I didn’t squeeze much trading in, due to prerelease fever, but on the few trades I did make, I feel I made some great long-term value.
−1 Birthing Pod $12.99
+2 Stromkirk Noble $3.49
+1 Heartless Summoning $3.99
+1 Bloodgift Demon $2.99
Picking up new cards for old staples is usually among the last things I want to do. In fact, I usually prefer to do exactly the opposite. Given that I expect all of these cards to rise quickly, though, I felt this was acceptable, and I hope to see some payoff in the near future.
−1 Lhurgoyf, Deckmasters foil $1.99
−1 Kird Ape, ARB $3.99
−1 Jokulhaups, Deckmasters $0.75
+2 Leonin Arbiter, foil $1.99
+1 Leonin Arbiter $0.49
I truly feel that, even though I took a major hit here, it will all work out in the long run. Even with the increased values on my cards, I still think that I received the better deal simply because all of those cards are hard to get rid of and are therefore extremely hard to get full value from.
Well, I wanted to cover a few more things this week, but it appears I am running out of room, so I suppose we will have to continue this escapade into the world of prereleases and releases next week. I will also cover the bannings and price changes in detail, as well give the information I find out this weekend at the SCG Open in Indy. If anyone will be there, feel free to come up for a trade, or just introduce yourself. If you can’t find me, send me a mention on Twitter, and I will make sure to find you.
Until next week, keep the trades up and the presale prices down.